November 19, 2010

Christmas Hope | Advent Devotional 2010

Advent season—where we celebrate the first and second comings of Christ—is just around the corner, starting the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  Over these four Sundays at Grace Pres, we will be exploring in the Gospel of Luke how Jesus invites us to unite to him with awe, humility, and grace.

One paradox of the holiday season is that despite the focus on joy and celebrating with family and friends, many of us are left feeling alone and miserable.  To help draw our hearts away from the distractions of seasonal busy-ness, a devotional guide is provided to celebrate in community.  The guide includes weekly Scripture readings, discussion questions, songs, and prayers, all geared toward group participation.  Additionally, there are notes on the meaning and history of Advent and a daily reading guide in case you want to reflect further on the season through Scripture.  This would be an excellent way to celebrate with your Community Group or your family (there are readings and prayers geared toward children).

Download the devotional here

Most of the material was originally created by Cardiphonia and Christ The King in Raleigh, NC, and is used by permission.  See permissions at the end of this post.  Make sure to check out the Cardiphonia blog for many more excellent Advent resources.

If you would like to accompany the singing on guitar or piano, here are links to sheet music for the songs in the devotional.

To learn more about the Advent celebrations at Grace Pres, please visit  I hope that you can join us if you're in the area.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction.  For a web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred.  Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Grace Presbyterian Church of Silicon Valley.

November 18, 2010


do you take any steps in preparing to worship on Sundays?  like a musician practices her parts before getting together with others to make music, how do you get ready for church?

recently I have started tweeting the weekly worship set at Grace Pres, thanks to a handy function of Planning Center Online that gives a url that links to the full set, including the song listings.  you can find my latest tweet-age here.

as a worshiper, I find it helpful for me to prepare my heart and mind for worship by knowing what songs and prayers will be incorporated into an upcoming service.  if there's a song with which I'm not familiar, I might take the time to go look up the words or learn the melody (see that on the Planning Center link, there are Amazon MP3 links for many of the songs we'll be doing).

as a worship planner, I find it helpful to know what other congregations are singing.  it helps to see the frequency that songs are used, how the songs fit together in an entire set, and what new/old material is being done by ears that I trust.  one congregation I follow, Sojourn Community Church in Lexington, does a FULL blog post each week about their setlist, including prayers, scripture readings, and reflection on why each song was chosen.  I'd love to something more informative like this, but it would require more time than I can offer.  in the meantime, I'll keep tweeting away, and following the tweets of other churches.