So, what does a typical worship service look like at United Baptist? That’s a hard question to answer, because what you see will depends a lot on what you expect or what you are used to.
If you are used to a high church service, like those at an Episcopalian church or a Roman Catholic service, you will recognize some of the basic structure. We do things like pray a common confession, pass the peace and read the scriptures out loud. But you will also notice that a UBC service is much simpler. We don’t wear robes, or chant, or use incense or anything like that. Much of the year we follow the same scripture reading plan the lots of other Protestant churches follow (the Revised Common Lectionary). Sermons at UBC run from 20-30 minutes, so they are probably a little longer than at your Episcopal Church.
If you are more used to the contemporary services – the kind with a worship band -- you will either find our service kind of stodgy, or a breath of fresh air. We sing a couple songs straight from a hymnal. A couple of other songs will be a little more recent in origin. We don’t use a projector or screen, so we print the words to these songs in our bulletin. We do a lot of praying out loud, sometimes written so we can all pray together, sometimes following a leader. Our sermons are not usually based on a topic, but instead tend to be geared toward explaining the scripture reading of the day.
If you are an old-fashioned Baptist type, you will also find some familiar touchstones at UBC. The hymnals, the pulpit, the offering, the preaching. We celebrate communion once a month. The pastor wears a suit. We use a piano to accompany the singing, and sometimes an organ.
In fact, however, we consider all these things kind of incidental. The main thing is that we gather every Sunday to worship our Lord Jesus Christ. We try to infuse the good news of Jesus throughout the entire service. The idea is that our worship is one big sermon in which the whole congregation takes part. Throughout the service we preach the gospel to one another in our prayers, in our songs, and in our actions. This doesn’t make us unique – lots of churches do this, in lots of different ways.
So, depending on your expectations, you may see our worship as more modern than some of the more formal and structured types of churches. Or you may think that we are more traditional and old fashioned than some of the churches that use projectors and bands. We’re OK with that. In fact, we like standing in the middle. We think there is a place for that. Either way, the one thing you can always expect to hear and see at UBC is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We’re pretty clear on that. No matter how you worship, it’s all about Jesus.
Everyone knows that death is a permanent condition. There is no recovery, no fix, and no retrofit. It is the end, the finale, the curtain call with no encore. And no one, not one person, gets out of life alive.
At least, that is the common wisdom.
But we Christians don’t really give a cursed fig tree for “common wisdom.” We believe that there was a man, sent by God, who was in fact God himself in human form. This man, whose name was Jesus, once lived among us, died, and then lived again.
And we mean died: truly, really, totally, completely dead. Not mostly dead. Dead dead.
But when he came alive again he came really truly alive. Not like zombie alive or vampire alive, everybody knows is really more like “undead” than actually alive. No, we are talking so totally, completely, entirely alive that his new aliveness is infectious like a virus. Like a plague, only in reverse – instead of killing millions, it is a virus that bringing new life to millions.
One day I heard about Jesus and his New Life, and something inside cracked wide open. Bright light and fresh air poured into my coffin-heart full of moldy bones and rags. We live in a world of death and all the rotten rotting rot that goes with it. In spite of that, and in spite of the deadness of my own heart, I found the resurrection of Christ brought a fresh aliveness to a life more real.
Not easier, mind you. Not trouble free. But more real, more vivid, and more hope-filled. The Good News is that He can do that for you too.
You don’t need to understand it. The call to trust His resurrection is not a test where you need the right answers. It’s not a game you need to win by working harder. And it’s not a transaction you need to pay for by earning more.
It’s a gift. All you need to do is receive it. When you do, the new resurrection life in Jesus will be yours, too. I know. Crazy, right?
Come on. Let’s get crazy. It’s resurrection.
Pastor David Denis
This week Pastor Denis will be presenting the message. The scripture readings this week are Acts 4:32-35, 1 John 1:1-2:2, and John 20:19-31.
✟ SAVE THE DATE: On this coming Saturday, April 18 at 7:00 pm the Granite State Ringers will hold a concert in our sanctuary. This is in part a thank-you for the use of one of our downstairs classrooms as their rehearsal space. We are also going to invite the public and use this event as a fund-raiser for the Friends Emergency Family Shelter next door. We will receive a free will offering which will go to the shelter.
The GSRs are well known for the quality of their performance – they do things with hand bells that will surprise and delight you. You can get a taste of them on Youtube.
So reserve this date on your calendar, and invite your friends. Let’s see if we can pack the house.
Mark your Calendars:
April 18 - Granite State Ringers concert @ UBC 7pm. A free will offering will be taken to benefit the Friends Emergency Family Shelter.
April 20 - UBC Quarterly Business Meeting @7pm, come at 6:30pm for refreshments.
April 25 - Camp Sentinel Spring Clean-up day. Work day begins at 8am and lunch will be served at noon.
May 2-3 - ABCVNH Annual Gathering - UBC is part of the American Baptist Churches of Vermont and NH (ABCVNH). On May 2-3, 2015, delegates from churches all over the region will come together in Rutland VT for conversation, prayer, encouragement, learning, and to transact the business of the region. There is a movement of gospel renewal taking place in our region, and if you want to get a glimpse of how that looks, you should come to the gathering. Friday will be mostly business, and for that we need anyone who wishes to serve as a delegate from UBC to listen, discuss, and vote. Saturday will mostly be a teaching, worship and fellowship time. There are three EXCELLENT workshops, all very pertinent to UBC and I would ask for a few people to come and sit in those workshops so that we can learn what is being offered. I have trouble being in three places at once. ;-)
If you are considering attendance, or just want to know more, see Pastor Dave right away. Registration is going on now.
60 Days of Prayer for ABCVNH
Our Region Minister, Rev. Dale Edwards, is calling upon us to engage in prayer for our Region during the 60 days leading up to the Annual Gathering which will be held May 1-2 at the Holiday Inn in Rutland, VT. During this time we encourage you to read and reflect upon the Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134). These were Psalms thought to have been sung by Jewish pilgrims as they made their way up to Jerusalem for one of the three annual festivals that the Jews celebrated. To help you with this, a booklet has been prepared to guide you during the 60 days (which begins March 2). Talk to Pastor Dave if you would like to receive this booklet.
Serving our Neighbors in the Military
300 NH National Guard soldiers deployed to the Persian Gulf about a month ago. Pastor Dave is involved in an initiative to develop a network of churches to support, encourage, and assist the families of those deployed service members. Several National Guard armories around the state are hosting Family Readiness Groups – support groups for spouses and families of deployed service members. The Concord FRG has asked for help from churches providing child care for their meetings. Their regular meetings are monthly, for 1-2 hours. If you would like to serve you neighbors through this opportunity, contact Pastor Dave.
✟ A message from Hannah Denis:
Hi Everyone, Beginning this Sunday there will be a box by the door going into the Meeting Room. The box will be excepting toilet paper donations that will be given to Rise Again Outreach. The box was set out by the Destination Imagination team from Lighthouse Homeschool Co-op. Destination Imagination is a team challenge based program. This year, the LH co-op is doing a community service based challenge. The team decided to collect toilet paper for the refugee population of Concord. They partnered with Rise Again and have collected much. Please donate, thank you. If you have any questions please ask Hannah Denis or contact her at email@example.com.
UBC has a new website! Please check it out at www.unitedbaptistchurchconcordnh.com and share it with your friends!!
✟ Camp Sentinel is planning a mission trip to Haiti in January 2016. If you would be interested in joining the team, click here: Sentinel Mission Trip or visit "Sentinel Haiti Outreach" on Facebook.
United Baptist Church
Check here regularly to find out what's happening around United Baptist, along with occasional gospel focused articles on important topics.