I recently celebrated my 15th wedding anniversary with my wife, Jessica. We asked a friend who’s a chef to prepare a private meal for us. I also contributed by preparing a fantastic… mix tape. OK, OK. I’m not that cool. It was a Spotify playlist, and good thing it was. I had over 100 songs queued up to serenade us during the meal! But it was more than creating a mood to enhance our candle-lit evening. Each song marked a specific season or experience in our relationship, and stirred us to retell every story as they played.
Album cover for Neighbor Songs
The Porter’s Gate worship project, founded by Isaac and Megan Wardell, seeks to do that for the church: write songs that connect with our life experiences and communities, and stir up our stories as God’s family. In 2017, they released a collaborative album titled Work Songs that focuses on worship and vocation. Last month, they released their second project titled Neighbor Songs—another collection of songs focused on loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Our current sermon series plays off this book. We are recommending it for Life Groups and for anyone who wants to dig further into the question of what community looks like for 21st century Christians. The chapters are simple and relatable. Willis includes practical suggestions on how to put principles into action.
This past Sunday, Pastor Luke referenced Willis’ chapter, “Your Best at the Table.” First Free Rockford offers a free, online spiritual gifts assessment. This is an excellent starting point if you’re not sure where you fit. But, as Pastor Luke mentioned, it’s a starting point, not a final conclusion. Willis writes:
“The best tool for discerning your spiritual gifts is not a test, but the body of Christ. There you will find out what you bring to the table. As others to speak into your life and be willing to listen to their insight. Ask them to observe where they see God using you most significantly.” (page 72)
The book is available in The Scroll Resource Center for $8, which is better than you can do onAmazon. There’s also a freeLeader’s Guide download available from Moody Publishers. Life groups who study this book will find unusual depth in the group questions.
Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and anti-Nazi dissident. He wrote Life Together while part of the underground Christian community during World War II. Accused of being part of a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Bonhoeffer was hanged in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945.
His thoughts about prayer, worship, work and service remain thoroughly relevant today. A sample:
“A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner.”
For kids: Go deeper into science with …
Indescribable: 100 Devotions About God and Science by Louie Giglio.
If you and your kids or grandkids enjoyed The Amazing Chemistry Show last month at First Free, here’s a follow-up resource. The book contains fascinating facts and hands-on activities, all with a devotional approach. Topics include space, earth, animals and the human body. The regular price is $17.99 but you can get it in The Scroll for $11.99.
The Scroll Resource Center is open from 8 a.m. to noon on Sundays, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays.