Worship Companion – January 23 2022

I’ve very excited to begin a new series with you all this week entitled “The Story of Israel.” Multiple times over the past months I have found myself in conversations with people and finding that to go to a deeper level of understanding the gospel people first need a clearer picture of the Old Testament. So often we reference or preach from the Old Testament in our services, but without a simple timeline and a clear understanding of the key events the message contains only a fraction of the power that it would have if people were more confident with the Old Testament and it’s trajectory.
With that in mind, we’re setting out to traverse the land of the ancient Middle East over an 8 weeks series that will hopefully refresh your understanding or freshly inform you of the key events. 
Yet, this series is NOT a history lesson. The goal is not to learn the events so much as to get to know the kind of Creator God who would be responsible for these events – what is He like, why does He does things the way He does? The outcome is not meant to be knowledge of facts, but a depth of relationship with God that benefits from seeing the highs and lows from the story of Israel, ultimately pointing toward the fulfillment of Israel’s hopes in Christ Jesus born in Bethlehem.
Let’s explore the wilds of the Holy Land together!

Abraham’s Journeys

Anchor Texts:
While the whole book of Genesis is generally in out scope of interest this week, here are a few key passages:
Above are all the key references for one of the main themes this week, all in one handy webpage!
What is that key theme? We’re going to look at BLESSING.
While it certainly isn’t the only theme, its a key theme that drives forward the story of God and his people – God wants to bless… EVERYONE. 
Humanity is blessed in the first case, and the key blessing delivered to Abraham in Genesis 12 is that through him, “all the nations of the world” shall be blessed.
Along with this theme, we need to look at another obvious theme in Genesis, the “creation, fall, restoration” rhythm that helps us understand why things doesn’t automatically turn out peachy for everyone, given God’s intention to bless. The story is complex, but together we’ll see how brokenness and blessing walk hand in hand throughout the big story of Scripture.
The Theme in Art:

The Blessing of Abraham

I found this painting of Abraham in several places online but I couldn’t find the information for who painted it or when. It’s an excellent painting in which there are many of the key images and symbols, the sky, the tent, the light, and according to one blog, the clever “dust” or stones on the ground, though I haven’ been able to figure out how it is a clever symbol of the promise quite yet. Let me know if you do.
The Theme in Song:
The focus this week is on Abraham, Isaac, and Jakob, but the bulk of the focus must be on Abraham. We know the least about Isaac, and Jacob is the father of the tribes of Israel, but the Abraham is the small stone God sets in motion to begin an avalanche of salvation that rolls throughout history.

The Theme for Kids:
Here’s the short version of our topic for the week – Abraham and the blessing from God!


Worship Companion – Christmas 2021

Merry Christmas!
This week the Worship Companion is full of resources to enrich you and your family this week as you worship, watch, and pray together.

“Journey to Bethlehem” – Mexico – Cut Paper – No Date


Worship Companion – December 19 2021

Worship Companion – December 12 2021

Life is full of upsetting moments. Something awful happens and you or someone you love suffers, and it seems like it makes no sense, like it happened to the wrong person or that it shouldn’t have happened at all. We find ourself asking “where is the justice?”

Church Tapestry at St. Augustine’s Scaynes Hill, UK

Worship Companion – December 5 2021

Welcome Back!
It’s been 2 weeks since we’ve had a worship companion, but lots has been happening around the church! In the meantime, Advent has begun! Keep reading to find resources to help you enter into the advent season this year.

The Return of Christ

Worship Companion November 14 2021

We might be familiar with Jesus’ words to “come and follow” him, or “come and find rest,” but we should also remember that Jesus left a strong message with us when he ascended: for us to “GO!” We’re going to look at the “how” and the “why” of that command this week.

Title: Christ as The Way, The Truth, The Life
Date: 20th century
Artist: Unidentified Argentinian artist
Building: Chapel of Divino Maestro
Object/Function: Sculpture, freestanding

Worship Companion – November 7 2021

When you walk into work, be it an office, or a jobsite or your living room, do you know what your task is for the moment? What about your task for the day? What about your purpose in that occupation?
Knowing your focus is critical to being a good worker and finding enjoyment in your work. This week, we’re talking about our “life focus” — the mission God has given us.
Title: Christ Speaking With the Disciples [Click for smaller image view]

Title: Christ Speaking With the Disciples Artist: Pencz, Georg

Worship Companion – October 31 2021

No spooky stuff in this Hallowe’en Worship Companion; just a fascinating and also tragic story of the life or Ruth and Naomi this week. We’re looking at the story of two unlikely people who end up following God together.
Title: Story of Ruth [Click for smaller image view]

Worship Companion – October 24 2021

Welcome back to the worship companion! After a couple weeks off, I am back and I’ve been thinking, it’s good to be back. What I mean is, it’s good to be gathering together, back with my brothers and sisters and worshipping God together.

Multitude of Worshippers – Gregory Stanton

Worship Companion – October 3 2021

Welcome to October!
This is a month of preparations for Upper Thames Missionary Church. We are preparing for the next big step as we walk with Christ, namely the arrival of Brian and Paula Smith, our new Associate Pastoral Family and their three children Ezra, Emery, and Evangeline.

“Pathway to Autumn” by Paul Oakley ca. 2015