Holy Week 2017 Artwork

Our artwork for Holy Week (Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday) were done by Bruce Butler. Bruce is usually seen at Park Church either co-leading his Gospel Community or playing electric guitar as we worship through singing. However, by trade he’s a graphic designer and he agreed to work with us to illustrate these three critical days in our Christian Calendar year. Read the following, written by Bruce, to learn more about the artist and his art.

Who I am

I am a graphic designer and musician from the East Coast. In 2012, I moved to Denver from Buffalo, New York to be closer to family and began designing for WorldVenture, a missions organization in Littleton, CO. I’m currently designing for Olsson Associates, a civil engineering consulting firm in Golden. I co-lead a Gospel Community near Sloans Lake and, in my free time, I enjoy playing music, cooking with friends, and spending time with my nieces and nephew. You can see more of my work by following me on Instagram at @madebybruce or visit madebybruce.com.

Piece

Biblically, the word “hand” represents an ownership, power, or control yielded by its owner. In each of the pieces, I used this “hand” imagery to illustrate humanity’s role in Holy Week, as well as the underlying tone of each day. The trapezoid is meant to represent a triangle with one side missing, highlighting one of the most overwhelming aspects of Easter: that Jesus not only stepped out of the infinite to become man, but that on the cross He chose to break eternal communion with the Trinity to take on the wrath of God that we deserved.

For Palm Sunday, Jesus was ushered in to shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9) with the waving of palm branches. But this celebration was the beginning of a storm brewing. By the end of this week, these same people were calling for His blood. The hand waving the branch represents the world—and even the Church—often worshipping who we want God to be, and not whom He has revealed Himself to be.

For Good Friday, we are reminded that our redemption came at a great cost. The storm that had started earlier that week erupted on Friday. After having been seized, beaten, and given a rigged trial the previous night, Jesus willingly continued his walk to the cross. Without getting into the gory details, flogging was a barbaric act that most victims didn’t survive. Though it was not the hands of the religious leaders holding the whips, when the crowd chose to release Barabbas and crucify Christ, their ownership in Christ’s death was stamped over the whole event.

And lastly and most importantly, with Easter we celebrate that He’s alive; that despite our misplaced worship and rebellion, He used His ownership, power, and control to run after us and pay the debt we owe. The storm has been broken up by the light. In seeing Jesus’ open, nail-scarred hand we are reminded that we play no part in earning our place before God, but it is offered as a gift.

Click on an image below to enlarge.

Process

When asked to create this piece, it was a bit daunting knowing this is the event that is the culmination of our beliefs as well as something millions try to artistically reinvent yearly. The idea of it being based on hands and ownership came before choosing which style I would attempt. Because of the “grittiness” of Easter week, I decided to lean more towards a textured, illustrated style. Though I usually favor more digital art, I was inspired by artists like Dave Quiggle and Sam Larson to broaden my technique and include vivid colors, textures, outlined strokes, and hand drawn techniques like stippling. I started in Adobe Illustrator, making thin templates for the branch, hands, and whip, and printed them. I then added the detail in pen and also did an entire page of just clouds and lightning. I imported these into Photoshop by taking a picture with my phone and erasing the background white layer.

The rest was done in photoshop using several textures.

Click on an image below to enlarge.

Book Review: You Are What You Love by James K. A. Smith

Finally, here is a book on Christian discipleship that takes seriously the biblical vision of the human person.

Tapping into the reader’s imagination from the beginning, Jamie ushers us into a consideration of how our loves direct our living. Thinking matters, no doubt. But the object of one’s affections – what a person implicitly envisions as “the good life” – is the ultimate commander-in-chief of the life of every individual and society.

Further, our loves are shaped by the different habit-structures, or liturgies, in our lives. What are the implications of these two fundamental realities? This concise yet content-rich book will tell you.

Delving into corporate worship, church tradition, family, education, and vocation, Jamie explores the innovative and formative possibilities for true, and therefore holistic, Christian discipleship.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Purchase You Are What You Love, here.

yawyl

Bread & Wine 2016 Event Recap

Around 300 of us gathered at Moss Denver on November 30 to celebrate our fourth annual Bread & Wine event.

Why do we return to this celebration year after year?

Our tagline for Bread & Wine is as follows: An evening to taste and see the glory of God through his good creation. Let’s unpack this a bit.

Think back to the last meal Jesus shared with his group of disciples before his crucifixion. There in the upper room, God incarnate grabbed two of the most basic elements of mealtime – bread and wine. And with a couple sentences he breathed new meaning into them: “Take and eat; this is my body… Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Jesus selected common elements to represent the drastically uncommon – God’s reconciliation of His people to Himself through the labor of His Son.

But wait. Could there be another layer of import woven into Jesus’ actions that night?

It’s fascinating that Jesus chose elements that required human activity and involvement in order to create. Truth be told, he could have used barley instead of bread, grapes instead of a Grenache. His selected symbols for his sacrifice on the cross could have been items that exist within untouched creation, apart from the work of people.

But they weren’t. He chose bread and wine – elements that necessarily require the work of human minds and hands – to represent his reconciling work, work that actually created the family of God.

This demonstrates the value God places upon the activity to which he has called us. Certainly, the sovereign Lord of the cosmos is Himself working salvation for his namesake through the narrative of human history. And yet, he knits our individual and localized stories into this grand narrative, ushering us to play our part in restoring all things through our daily actions.

In short, God’s redemptive and unifying grace is communicated and established through human interaction with one another and the created order. And it is in these places that we see the very glory of God. But only if we’re looking for it.

That’s why we host Bread & Wine each year. We need regular reminders to experience our dynamic world as one that is “charged with the grandeur of God.” These reminders need be more than verbal; oftentimes we need embodied practices to teach our souls what our intellect may already grasp.

This particular evening we highlighted the role and reality of hospitality in the renewed Christian family. You see, this “bread” was broken for us, and this “wine” was poured out for our sins, that we may be brought near to our Father. Like the prodigal son from Luke 15, we have run away from the Author of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness in order to glut ourselves on cheap substitutes. But through the meal of Jesus’ body and blood, we are recreated into the family of God.

Now, compelled by this infinite hospitality shown to us, may we step into our daily lives portraying this same gracious welcome, making use of the material things at our disposal to sacrificially love those around us.

What a beautiful, merciful, and creative God we serve!

Photos of the event taken by Melanie Fenwick.

Advent Fasting Guide—Week Four

Below are some ways to engage with God during this season of Advent, particularly through reading, praying, and singing. We pray that God meets us in these disciplines! If you want to read about why we’re in a season of fasting during Advent, read “A Call To Fasting During Advent”.

Read
Isaiah 58:1-12 | Micah 6:8

Pray
This week we want to encourage you to do a prayer walk either in your neighborhood or by your work or school. What’s a prayer walk? It is what it sounds like: praying while walking. We’re used to associating prayer with a closet or a church sanctuary, not city streets. Some have described prayer walking as “on-site intercession” or praying “on-site with God’s sight.” It helps us pray in a new way in the neighborhood God has placed us, seeing new things we might never have seen, and immediately bring them before God in prayer. It breaks us out of our routines and gets us out of the church’s four walls. It reminds us our neighbors are real people and there are real issues to talk to God about for our neighborhood. God’s heart is to see His kingdom come and His will be done in the Highlands as it is in heaven, and prayer is one of the main ways we participate in His work!

While you can always prayer walk alone, we encourage you to go in groups of two (or three max). Before heading out, pray for the leading of the Spirit as well as spiritual protection and insight as you go! Briefly plan where you are going to walk, but don’t be afraid of adjusting that as you walk. Remember that as you go, don’t be creepy & don’t make a scene. It’s also helpful to re-group once you come back to discuss what God might have spoken or done while you were out praying. Here are a few directives as you go:

  • Pray Scripture. While not necessary, some choose to pick a particular Scripture to pray as they walk. You can even read the Scripture out loud and then expand on that passage in your own words.
  • Pray out loud. Proclaim and speak out the rule and reign of Jesus over dark places. Jesus is Lord even if those in the neighborhoods don’t recognize Him as such.
  • Pray as the Spirit leads. He might give you discernment, a word of knowledge, or insight into something that you can pray about. Be responsive to whatever He might be speaking.
  • Pray aware of your surroundings. This includes people as well as your senses. Observe houses, buildings, posters, signs, graffiti, anything that might direct your prayers. If God opens the opportunity for a conversation with someone, engage with them telling them that you’re walking around praying for the neighborhood and ask them if you could pray for them.

Sing
This week we’ll be singing through a song based on this idea of and longing for justice written by Sojourn Music called “Let Justice Roll Like A River”. It’s a prayer of corporate confession, a prayer of intercession asking God to bring about His justice, as well as a personal prayer for God to use us as His instruments of justice and love.

Let Justice Roll Like a River?
Forgive us, Lord, for passing by when children cry for bread
?Forbid it, Lord, that justice lie in tatters, cold and dead?
Outside these walls run desperate streets where greed is law and life is cheap?
We bar the doors, refuse to see, or hear the words You said:

Let justice roll like a river, like a river let it roll (2x)

Convict us, Lord, we dance and laugh ignoring those who weep?
Correct us, Lord, our golden calf has lulled our hearts to sleep?
The gap between the rich and poor grows ever wider, shore to shore?
There’s racial hate, religious war and wolves among the sleep

Indwell us, Lord, and purify our hands to work for You?
Enlist us, Lord, to serve nearby and ‘cross the waters, too?
Your image-bearers on the earth will never know how much they’re worth?
Unless we love and help them first and show the way to You

Let it roll (4x)

Advent Fasting Guide—Week Three

Below are some ways to engage with God during this season of Advent, particularly through reading, praying, and singing. We pray that God meets us in these disciplines! If you want to read about why we’re in a season of fasting during Advent, read “A Call To Fasting During Advent” at http://www.parkchurchdenver.org/blog/post/a-call-to-fast-during-advent.

Read
Matthew 28:18-20 | Acts 1:8

Pray
This week we’re going to focus in on praying the Bible. Often we struggle to find the words to say to God, and this method or prayer utilizes Scripture as an aim in informing and directing our prayers. This can be done both alone as well as with others! Feel free to meet up with the same person you met last week or pray with someone new.

It’s highly simple: let the words of Scripture become the words of your prayers. For example, if you pray through Psalm 23, read “The Lord is my shepherd,” and thank Him for being your shepherd. Ask Him to shepherd your family that day, to guide, protect, and provide for them. Pray that He will make your family members His sheep; that they will look to Him as their shepherd. Ask Him to shepherd you through the decision you must make about your future. Pray for Him to bless the undershepherd at your church, shepherding him as he shepherds the church, etc. When nothing else comes to mind, go to the next line—“I shall not want”—and continue to pray.

Simply go through the passage, line-by-line, praying what you find in the text or what it brings to mind. If nothing comes to mind, or if you don’t understand the verse, go to the next. You might choose to linger long on one verse. Conversely, there may be only a handful of matters that prompt prayer as you go through many verses. Nothing says you have to pray over every verse. Continue in this way until (1) you run out of time, or (2) you run out of Psalm (or Bible).

Here are a few other things you could pray and ask God for:

  • Praise Jesus who holds all authority on heaven and earth!
  • That we would be disciples who love & obediently follow Jesus
  • For your neighborhood, workplace, & schools
  • Pray for church plants/missionaries that Park Church supports:
  • Nationally – Marottas in Richmond, McLaughlins in Knoxville, Morginskys in Denver
  • Internationally – Bartols in the Czech Republic, Procopios in Paris, and the Perezs in Spain
  • That we would be filled with the Spirit to boldly witness of Jesus

Sing
Contrary to popular belief, Isaac Watts’ aim in writing “Joy To The World” was not to write a beautiful Christmas hymn, but rather an Advent hymn on the return of Jesus based on Psalm 98. He even gave the song this heading: “The Messiah’s Coming and Kingdom.” Would we be a people who long for our King’s return and who will “come and make the blessings flow far as the curse is found”!

Joy To The World
?Joy to the world the Lord is come, let earth receive her King
?Let every heart prepare Him room?
And heav’n and nature sing, and heav’n and nature sing?
And heav’n and heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns, let men their songs employ?
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains?
Repeat their sounding joy, repeat their sounding joy
?Repeat repeat their sounding joy

He rules the world with truth and grace? and makes the nations prove?
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love,? and wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders of His love

No more will sin and sorrow grow nor thorns infest the ground?
He’ll come and make the blessings flow?
Far as the curse was found, far as the curse was found?
Far as, far as the curse was found

Advent 2016 Artwork

About the Artwork

You may have noticed the artwork for The Coming of the King: Advent & Christmas—the two banners on the sides of the stage and the design on your bulletin and on the screen during the service. If you were here last year, you may have already picked up on the fact that it’s all very similar to the artwork for God With Us, our Advent 2015 series. You’re correct.

Last year we worked with Jeremy Grant, an incredible designer and collage artist, to create that work. This year, we’ve taken Jeremy’s art from last year and, with his permission, “remixed” it for The Coming of the King. Why did we choose to do this? Here’s what Jeremy writes about the original piece:

Purple and dark blue colors symbolize waiting and longing, and are the traditional colors of Advent. These darker areas (collaged from images of evening, twilight, deserts and water) show the brokenness and chaos of our world as they cut back and forth sharply.

Lighter colors (collaged from images of clouds and morning light) symbolize Jesus, the “light of the world,” cutting through darkness and chaos to bring light and peace. Little stabs of pink color represent joy.

There are two banners, representing Jesus’ comings to earth. Jesus, the messiah, has already come down to earth (as a child in Bethlehem) fulfilling the longing of the prophets and people of God from centuries past. And Jesus, the master of the cosmos, has promised he will return to earth again. So we look back, and remember what he has done. And we look forward with eager anticipation to what he will do next.

Whereas last year the lighter colors were in the shape of a sunburst, symbolizing the great shock and “thrill of hope” that is Christ actually among—God With Us—this year the lighter colors make a crown. Not too much of a stretch for a series entitled The Coming of the King, right? Why use something so obvious?

The lordship of Jesus Christ, although “obvious” to His followers, is certainly not obvious enough—not even to His followers! Do we understand that, in all of our darkness, in the valley of the shadow of death, in sin and error pining, a King has come and rescued us? Do we prepare Him room in our hearts to be the actual King? His crown is not symbolic, and His authority is over a real kingdom whose increase will never end.

Lastly, at the point of each crown is dot. Three of the four dots are purple and one is pink, symbolizing the advent candles that traditionally symbolize the four weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas Eve. In an Advent wreath, these four candles surround a larger, white “Christ candle” to be lit on Christmas Eve. In our illustration, the white crown stands in for the Christ candle, supporting those four other points.

About the Artist

Jeremy Grant is an award-winning artist and graphic designer. His collages and found-object assemblages have been exhibited in solo and juried shows across Colorado and Arkansas. Jeremy is married to an author, has two beautiful babies and loves Jesus, bourbon and robots. You can check out more of his work at jeremygrantcreative.com.

Advent Fasting Guide—Week Two

Below are some ways to engage with God during this season of Advent, particularly through reading, praying, and singing. We pray that God meets us in these disciplines! If you want to read about why we’re in a season of fasting during Advent, read “A Call To Fasting During Advent”.

Read
Ephesians 4:1-16 | John 17:20-23

Pray
This week we encourage you to meet up with someone, perhaps a roommate, spouse, or someone in your Gospel Community, to pray with utilizing conversational prayer (taken from Redeemer Presbyterian Church). As you pray with this other person, use the style of conversational prayer. It differs from what we often experience in group prayer: talking in detail about our prayer requests so that there is little time left to pray, or praying in one long monologue after another. Conversational prayer recognizes that prayer is dialogue, conversing in prayer not only with God but also with others present. As we pray, we invite and expect the Holy Spirit to be praying with us as well, guiding and edifying our prayers among us. This style of prayer also emphasizes the art of listening — to the Holy Spirit and to one another. Its use of short, focused prayers prevents anyone from dominating with long, lofty monologues or covering all the prayer requests in one breath.

Begin the prayer time with adoration, praising God for who He is. Think of an attribute and characteristic of God that relates to the topic, so you can build upon that. When a topic is complete, it will be clear by silence. Wait for someone else to present a new topic in prayer, or pose one yourself. Keep each prayer short (1-3 sentences) and focused on just one thought. Listen actively to and pray silently with the person praying. Discipline yourselves to not think about what you’ll pray next. Build upon the prayers of one another, as in conversation, so that you are knitting the short prayers into a broader and deeper one. Silence is okay! Rest in it. Don’t rush to fill it. Anyone can continue praying within the same topic, or move onto the next one. Don’t close each short prayer in “Jesus’ name, amen.” This fosters continuity and the leader will close the entire prayer time at the end. If a scripture comes to mind, do pray it. This is often how the Holy Spirit edifies our prayers. As you pray, also bring in His promises, commands, and desires. Doing so will help guide and transform your requests. Use everyday language. Pray spontaneously, not necessarily in order. Pray loud enough for the other person to hear you.

Here are a few other things you could pray and ask God for:

  • That Park Church and the Church in Denver would be united
  • That we would each know our gifts as individuals as well as our roles in seeking the maturity of the body of Christ
  • Pray through lines from “O Come O Come Emmanuel” – (i.e. “Bid Thou our sad divisions cease…” Where are there divisions? Pray for unity and reconciliation.)

Sing
“O Come O Come Emmanuel” is a translation of a Latin hymn “Veni, Veni, Emmanuel” which was a paraphrase of the “O Antiphons.” The “O Antiphons” (also known as “The great O’s”) have been used for over twelve centuries during the final week of Advent in monasteries & convents just before the Magnificat (Mary’s song found in Luke 1:46-55). Each verse highlights a different biblical name for Jesus: Wisdom, Adonai (or Lord), Root of Jesse, Key of David, Dayspring or Radiant Dawn, King of Nations (or of the Gentiles), Emmanuel. If you’re looking for a version of the song to listen to, click here.

O Come O Come Emmanuel?
O come, O come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel?
That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here
?And drive away the shades of night and pierce the clouds and bring us light

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind
?Bid Thou our sad divisions cease and be Thyself our King of Peace

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny?
From depths of Hell Thy people save and give them victory o’er the grave

O Come, Thou Wisdom from on high and order all things far and nigh?
To us the path of knowledge show and cause us in her ways to go

Advent Fasting Guide—Week One

Below are some ways to engage with God during this season of Advent, particularly through reading, praying, and singing. We pray that God meets us in these disciplines! If you want to read about why we’re in a season of fasting during Advent, click here.

Read
Psalm 63 | Matthew 6:31-33

Pray
This week we encourage you to practice “listening prayer.” We often monologue in prayer before God without even taking time to listen. Similar to the directive Eli gave to Samuel in 1 Samuel 3, speak to the Lord and tell Him you are listening. Then actually take time to do it! It might be a couple minutes, it might be 10 minutes. You might get distracted during this time… That’s ok! The goal is to try to listen; not listen perfectly.

Don’t rush on to other things, but slow down and enjoy God’s presence! He is with you. Meditate on that amazing truth. If God seems to speak or remind you of anything, write that down in your journal or phone! It might be a simple phrase or word, a passage of Scripture, a picture or vision. Pay attention to the small things! Consider praying the prayer below from AW Tozer:

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness,
and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more.
I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace.
I am ashamed of my lack of desire.
O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee;
I long to be filled with longing;
I thirst to be made more thirsty still.
Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed.
Begin in mercy a new work of love within me.
Say to my soul, “Rise up, any love, my fair one, and come away.”
Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up
from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Here are a few other things you could pray and ask God for:

  • A renewed hunger and devotion for Him
  • A greater experience of His presence with you in this season of Advent both individually and as a church when we gather
  • An increasing awareness of sin and a heart that’s quick to repent
  • That we would be a people who seek first His kingdom here in Denver
  • Anyone you know who’s going through a hard time or whose heart might be cold, shut off, apathetic, or complacent

Sing
This week’s song is “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus,” written by Charles Wesley in 1744. It was written in response to Wesley’s observation of orphans around him as well as the class divide in Great Britain and his longing for Jesus to mend those things.

We’ll be singing through the Rain For Roots version that you can find here. As you sing the song, ask God to increase your longing for Him in this season. Where do you need to be set free today? What are you afraid of? Turn to Jesus for rest!

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free
From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee
Israel’s strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth thou art
Dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart

Born Thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King
Born to reign in us forever, now Thy gracious kingdom bring
By Thine own eternal Spirit Rule in all our hearts alone
By Thine all sufficient merit, raise us to Thy glorious throne

We are waiting, we are waiting, we are waiting for you (4x)
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

A Call To Fast During Advent

In Acts 13:1-4, the early church was at a crossroads. Hungry for God’s power and direction, we find them spending intentional time in prayer, fasting, and worship. It was in that little prayer meeting where the Holy Spirit spoke to them and called them to send out Paul and Barnabas as missionaries, forever impacting the course of the church! A couple months ago the elders felt an increased conviction about our pursuit of God, particularly through the disciplines of prayer and fasting. We responded by beginning to fast and pray together on Wednesdays with our elder and staff team. It has been an amazing (and challenging) gift to us that God has been using in multiple and profound ways, and we wanted to extend a broader invitation: During this season of Advent, we want to invite the whole church into a season of corporate prayer and fasting in order to seek God’s face and His power and His direction for Park Church.

Before we get into specifics, what exactly is fasting and what does it have to do with Advent?

What Is Fasting?
Fasting is one of those disciplines that most Christians know they should do, but rarely get around to it. The interesting thing is that it’s one of the disciplines we see Jesus doing (Matthew 4:1-11; 17:21), a discipline He assumes His disciples are doing (Matthew 6:16) and a discipline we see the early church continuing to do (Acts 13:1-3; 14:23). So what is it? David Mathis defines fasting as “voluntarily going without food — or any other regularly enjoyed, good gift from God — for the sake of some spiritual purpose.” Some people, for medical reasons or otherwise, can’t fast from physical food but that doesn’t mean they’re excluded. Many have found that fasting from social media, television, particular activities or foods have shown themselves to be a helpful way of intentionally engaging with God.

Fasting ultimately is about refraining from one thing that we might engage more intentionally with another, namely God. Sam Storms comments, “The ironic thing about fasting is that it really isn’t about not eating food. It’s about feeding on the fullness of every divine blessing secured for us in Christ. Fasting tenderizes our hearts to experience the presence of God. It expands the capacity of our souls to hear his voice and be assured of his love and be filled with the fullness of his joy. Let me say it again: Fasting is not primarily about not eating food. It is primarily about feasting on God.”

What does Advent have to do with fasting?
The word “advent” means “arrival” or “coming”. The season of Advent marks the beginning of the Christian Calendar four Sundays before Christmas. It looks back to Christ’s first advent in a humble manger in Bethlehem, but also looks forward to His second advent as glorious judge who is coming in the clouds. This season is about longing, hoping, and anticipating Christ’s return to right every wrong in the world and wipe away every tear. It’s about acknowledging the shadows we face in this world but also praying for the dawn to drown out the darkness. While fasting is generally a discipline associated with the season of Lent, we believe that fasting during the season of Advent can be a powerful aid to our engagement of this season as it is designed to intensify our desires and longing for God.

What are we asking you to do?
Would you consider joining us in prayer & fasting for 4 Wednesdays during the season of Advent? Every Wednesday, we would love for you to fast during breakfast and lunch for the purpose of praying that God would give us two things:

  1. A hunger for God – We don’t just mean more knowledge about God, but rather we want to be a people who know Him intimately, commune with Him, and experience Him! He is not merely a doctrine to be studied, but rather a Person to be known.
  2. A unity in mission – As we get to know Him more and more, an inevitable by-product is we want others to know Him! People naturally share the things that they love… Would you cry out with us that God would provide more clarity and unity for us as a church as we join Him in all He’s doing in Denver and the world?

Friends, these are things that we believe only the Holy Spirit can do in our hearts. We can’t grit our teeth to muster up more hunger. We believe prayer stands as a reminder that apart from Him we can do nothing.

Practicals
Practically speaking, we are asking you to refrain from breakfast and lunch on Wednesdays in order to spend time intentionally praying for four Wednesdays of Advent. Each week, we will provide something for you to “read, pray, & sing” at some point during the day or even with your roommates or family before or after dinner, but by no means is that the only or one thing you should do. Click here to see our fasting guide for week 1 of Advent. Many find it helpful to get out of their home or office in order to engage more intentionally due to the distractions found in your rhythms of normalcy. Consider setting reminders on your phone or calendar, or having one person you will fast with who you can keep in touch with throughout the day. Whatever it is you opt to do, we encourage you to have a plan! Below are a few resources that might be of assistance to you in this season.

Resources
Books*
“Hunger for God” (John Piper, free digital copy)
“Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” (edited by Nancy Guthrie)
“The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings For Advent” (John Piper & David Mathis)
“Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings For Advent” (John Piper)

*All of these books can be found on our book shelves.

Sermons
“Prayer, Fasting, and the Course of History” (John Piper)
“Feasting On God” (Sam Storms)

Articles
“Fasting For Beginners” (David Mathis)
“Why Do Christians Fast?” (An Interview with John Piper)
“Sharpen Your Affections With Fasting” (David Mathis)

Music
“Waiting Songs” (Rain For Roots)
“Messenger Hymns: Advent” Matt Boswell

Christ In The Psalms 2015 Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms artwork and download artwork guides here.

Every summer we return to the Psalms as a church. We are preaching through the entire Psalter, generally about 10-12 psalms every summer in chronological order.

Our prayer is that as we work our way through the Psalms, the Psalms would work their way into our every days… That they would inform our prayer lives, our lives of worship before God, and that we would see Christ within every chapter!

Last summer, we asked a variety of artists to help us “see” the psalms in a new light. Each artist picked one of the psalms we were going to study that summer, and as they studied it and meditated on the text, they responded to it in art. Below are 12 of the Psalms put to canvas and wood and paint.

We pray these pieces of art help you see new things you may have never seen in each Psalm, and even feel them.