The Bio-Parable of the Human Immune System

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Good morning Church, and welcome back to our online service! Before I get into what John will be talking about in his message, I would like to say happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers in our midst. Whether you are currently a mother, a soon-to-be mother, hope to be a mother, have biological children or otherwise, I pray that those people around you would be able to love and bless you today and this week as a thank you for all the ways that you have loved and blessed us. This morning John’s message is about the parable of the immune system and he is talking about God’s providence in our own bodies. God has truly put us together in incredible ways, so as we worship this morning let us turn our thoughts and our hearts towards our amazing Creator. If you would like to sing along with any of these songs, the lyrics are either right on the screen or down in the descriptions, so please feel free to worship in that way if you are comfortable.

Seek First – Ben Smith & Jason Upton 

Indescribable – Chris Tomlin 

Our first two songs this morning remind us of God’s works and his provision for us in those things that he has made. Not only does God provide for us in times of trouble and in our urgent needs, but he is continually providing for us in the minutia and the mundane. Yes, God meets us in our needs and provides in some truly extravagant ways, but when we stop to think about the little things that make it possible to think and breathe and walk, the things that we see as mundane can become vibrant and awe-inspiring too.

Over and Over – Influence Music 

My favourite line from the song “Over and Over” is in verse two. The line says “eternal perfection in each miracle, / surpassing the wonder of what you’ve done before.” I especially like this phrase because it reminds us that God was and is a creator, continually working and creating good things that display his majesty. Paul says “for by him all things were created, in the heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17, ESV).

Give Thanks To God – Housefires 

So Will I – Hillsong Worship 

In Psalm 139, David says,

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16, ESV).

I pray that as you go out into this next week you will be able to see yourself and others in a renewed way. It is miracle, in the most literal sense, that we are alive. Let us strive to treat each other as grand creations and masterpieces created by the most renowned artist.

 

As always, all of these songs are also available at the top of our Spotify playlist, so if you would like to have these songs in a playlist format for as you go about your week you can check out the link below. Thanks, and God bless!

Spotify Playlist  

 

 

 

 

 

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With our situation ever evolving, I hope that you all have managed to find rest and peace in Christ this week. As we delve into more psychology this week, I have chosen some songs to focus our attention on God our father and our comforter. Michelle’s message is breaking down more of the psychology and science of our brain and what happens when we are confronted with things that elicit a fear response. So, as you listen to and perhaps sing the following songs, I encourage you to be thinking about who God is and how unchanging he is in the face of fear.

Goodness Of God – Bethel Music – https://youtu.be/IvSuGyJQ6oM

Your Glory / Nothing But The Blood – All Sons and Daughters – https://youtu.be/eQssA0HKYxE

As always, it is important to remember why we worship and who we are worshiping. “Goodness of God” is a statement of truth and a commitment of our aspiration to worship God in all things. In the face of fear, in the darkest valleys, and on the highest mountains, God is good and God is faithful. The second song, a medley of “Your Glory” and “Nothing but the Blood,” reminds us that more than simply being good, when we fail to see the beauty in the things around us we can always see the beauty in God’s sovereignty and glory as well as in Christ’s sacrifice for us. The link to “Your Glory / Nothing but the Blood” doesn’t have any lyrics attached, so while you are welcome to sing along as you learn the words or search for a video with lyrics attached, I encourage you to sit and listen to the words and internalize them as a prayer: “Lord, may I always behold your glory with awe and thankfulness.”

I Will Fear No More – The Afters –https://youtu.be/wMmmbJlWhtk

If you watched this week’s sermon before reading this blog post, you will recognize this song as the one I sang as our response to Michelle’s message. I don’t want to step on Michelle’s toes and speak too much about what fear is and how we can respond to it, but as you sing this song I want to draw special attention to the line in the second verse that says “when the wind and wave are coming, you shelter me.” In the midst of dark and uncertain times, it can be easy to believe that the only way to survive a storm is for God to calm the waves. However, what we see in scripture and what this song is hinting at is the reality that sometimes God’s solution is to shelter us from the waves rather than to make them go away.

No One But You – Hillsong Worship https://youtu.be/rOPqG6FkV1c

Be Thou My Vision – Audrey Assad – https://youtu.be/Optrm7lF16s

In closing, my hope is that over the course of the next week, and the next month, and however long this period lasts, we would be fixing our eyes on God instead of the problems in our midst. In Philippians 4:8, Paul says, “finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things,” and let us make that our goal this coming week.

One More thing,

This week, I have also compiled a list of songs that we have sung together, or that I have put in this worship blog, and created a Spotify playlist. Maybe you need to be reminded of these truths as you are driving to the grocery store to pick up essentials this week. Or, maybe you would like to be able to let these songs play in the background as you do work from home this week. However you use these songs and listen to music, I hope that this playlist is a helpful tool while you try to draw near to God throughout the week.

Spotify Playlist – https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7EB9xkQQtZJcMRAzV5hrdO?si=OWpqbha-Qxya_UDqDsdjVg

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Though it is week two of our non-traditional church services, and I miss your faces already, God is still good and so we still worship. As John unpacks what is going on in our world this week, I have put together a list of songs that I hope will encourage you, remind you where we find our strength and our comfort in times of trouble, and focus your eyes on the good in the midst of the bad. While listening to these songs, remember that we do not need to sing side-by-side for God to hear our praise and answer our prayers, whatever the answer may be. As was the case last week, if you would still like to sing a long at home, I have included links to the original artists’ recordings with lyrics attached in the description where possible!

10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman – https://youtu.be/r3K3roEF36k

Goodness Of God – Bethel Music – https://youtu.be/IvSuGyJQ6oM

            The First two songs in our set are what you can think of as our typical opening call to worship. Both of these songs can serve to focus our hearts and minds on the reason we normally meet on Sundays for church, the reason we watch John’s sermon when it is online, and the reason we listen to and sing music: we do all these things as an act of worship. These songs also remind us that it is not just on Sunday mornings that worship occurs, nor is it simply singing songs of praise with the rest of our congregation. Our lives are to be worship and we are called to worship the Lord wholly in the depths of our despair, in our most triumphant and joyous moments, and every time in between.

It Is Well – Bethel Music – https://youtu.be/8Wb_WD1emFQ

For our song of response, “It Is Well” can help to remind us where we are to look to in our times of crisis and trial. This is a modern, recreation of an old him with new lyrics added to the verses and the bridge. One of the lines in the verse says “far be it from me to not believe, even when my eyes can’t see,” and I believe many Christians can identify with that statement right now. Though the situation is bad and it looks as if it will only get worse, we can have faith that God is not just waiting on the other side of this global pandemic, but he is in the crisis with us now.

Highs & Lows – Hillsong Young & Free – https://youtu.be/7ESO6SHEwGk

God Himself Is With Us – https://youtu.be/Vv8xirwTsPY

Our closing songs are starkly contrasting in style but unified in their message. As you listen to these songs, and as you go about the next week – whatever it may look like, I would like to encourage you to remember that our God sits with us in dark places. Psalm 23: 4-6 says

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

The valley may be longer than we were expecting, and the shadow may feel darker and colder than we ever expected, but God is still the one who is in control, even in trying times, and God is with is and in us through all of these things.

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“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” IS 43

One of my favourite texts!

I just wrote this yesterday as a concluding thought for the introduction of my faith/science book:

A PROPHETIC IMAGINATION

Through the prophet Isaiah God says:

“See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you…. I am doing a new thing…. From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you. They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today. So you cannot say, ‘Yes, I knew of them.’” Isaiah 42:9, 43:19, 48:6-7, NIV

Even as Isaiah’s contemporaries had trouble imagining what God had in store through the coming of Jesus, it stretches us to think that the Jesus we know now (through the gospels) can also be known through creation. Yet, what else could contain the glory of God apart from a universe?

Theologian Walter Brueggemann writes; “If there is any point at which most of us are manifestly co-opted [by the commonly accepted view of reality], it is in this way. We do not believe that there will be newness but only that there will be merely a moving of the pieces into new patterns…. ”

To believe that God can be known through creation — in concert with the bible, in an authoritative, epiphany-inducing, life-transforming, all-things-filling way — is to trust that God can and will do something new.

Brueggemann goes on to write, “We need to ask not whether it is realistic or practical or viable but whether it is imaginable.”

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