This past Sunday Bluff Park Community Church held it’s annual (wait, can a one-year old church plant have an “annual” anything? Oh well…) it’s annual “Carols by Candlelight”.
And it was truly incredible. For one thing, WE’VE BEEN AN OFFICIAL CHURCH FOR A YEAR!! Just, wow.
And even beyond that, our worship leader Mike Gelderman along with the other members of our (incredibly talented) band led us in a great time of family worship. The kids (so how cute were they?) led by Mrs. Reeves Thompson were so fun! And the family meal of shared soups that followed was a great time to enjoy one another and the blessings that we share as brothers and sisters in a common family. God has truly begun to knit together such a beautiful and unique community among us.
It’s all just, so…. unbelievable!
And I think that’s the one word that I would use to describe our gathered time together. “Unbelievable.” It was an unbelievable time, not only because of the time we spent together (as great as that was). Nor was it unbelievable simply because of the grace-filled community that God is bringing together (again, as incredible as that is).
Ultimately this time spent together was so “unbelievable” because of the story that we told together as we sang these worship songs and carols. Because ultimately it is that story, the story of “God with us” that even enables us to be an “us”!
The very first song we sang together sums up this story well. We opened our time of gathered worship with a new song written by Sovereign Grace Music entitled The Unbelievable. You can check out the lyrics below.
And what an unbelievable story it is!
 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.  And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.  And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden,  but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.  Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
[The LORD God said to the serpent]  I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”  therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.  He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.  Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,  to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.  And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”  But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.  And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,  and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,  to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Truly Unbelievable! And yet because of deep, deep grace, so very truly true!