Looking to Sunday (and reflecting on the Trinity) – November 27

Looking to Sunday (and reflecting on the Trinity) – November 27

Trinitarian Worship

Recently, I read an article entitled Real Evangelism Is Trinitarian, which I commend to you for your edification. Basically, the gist of the article is this: if your evangelism isn’t shaped by the Trinity, it’s not real evangelism. In the article, Glen Scrivener takes time to deal with some of the objections one may have about Trinitarian evangelism (e.g., “it’s too complicated”) and some of the misconceptions about what Trinitarian evangelism looks like (e.g., “let me tell about the Trinity, it’s kind of like an egg”). Once we get past some of those preliminary road-bumps, grasping the idea is a pretty smooth ride. Who is this Jesus that we are inviting people to put their faith in? He is Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus is irreducibly God the Son, which means, he’s got a Father–the eternal Father. And not only that, but also, this Jesus lives and communes with his Father through the eternal Spirit, and when we put our faith in this Jesus, we get his Spirit as our seal. In other words, you can’t simply “save the Trinity for later.” You don’t get the gospel without the Trinity; even the benefits of the gospel are Trinitarian (a Christian is adopted into the family of God, with Jesus as his brother, Jesus’ Father as his Father, and Jesus’ Spirit as his Spirit), and prayer is Trinitarian (we pray to God the Father, through the atoning and mediating work of the Son, by the power of the Spirit).

What does all of this have to do with Emmaus and this week’s Looking to Sunday? Well, this week, we are finishing our book study through Philippians. Remember, we’ve entitled this book study “Partnership In the Gospel,” and our elders chose this book because they believe we have room to grow in the area of evangelism–we need to partner together for the advancement of the gospel. Throughout this study, we have been challenged in many ways to share the gospel with the lost. My prayer (and the prayer of our elders) is that this study would set a precedence for the rest of our lives; we don’t want to just be serious about evangelism during the weeks that we study through Philippians, we want our lives–like Paul’s–to be marked by a zeal for gospel advancement. As we go and evangelize, it’s important that we are evangelizing as Trinitarian Christians.

However, if we aren’t thinking about the God we worship in Trinitarian categories regularly, we won’t share the good news of this Triune God. So for my own part as a worship leader, I am doing everything I can to assure that our worship services are shaped by the Trinity. I want our public prayers to be shaped by the Trinity. I want our confessions and assurances of pardon to be shaped by the Trinity. I want our benedictions to be shaped by the Trinity. In short, I want you to know and love that the God I invite you to worship with me on Sunday mornings is Triune.

This week, we will be singing the “Doxology,” which is an explicitly Trinitarian hymn that Christians have been singing in a multitude of languages for hundreds of years. I’ve written two additional verses to this hymn that try to retain the song’s same theme of the sovereign power and glory of our Triune God. You can hear the new recording in the link below. Here are all the lyrics to the song:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Praise him, all creatures here below!
Praise him above, ye heavenly hosts!
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Praise God who spoke and made dust flesh!
Praise God who fills inhabitants!
Praise God who opens eyes of men,
To see his worth and treasure him!

Praise Father God who sent his Son!
Praise Christ who makes peace by his blood!
Praise to the Spirit who seals us!
Praise the Almighty Three-in-One!


We will also be singing “My One Comfort” (link below). This song was written by Dustin Kensrue, and is a musical adaptation to the first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism (by the way, parents, if you’re looking for a catechism to work through with your kids, this one is great!). Again, the song is explicitly Trinitarian, and is therefore instructional for true worship (and subsequently, true evangelism). Here are the lyrics:

My one comfort both in life and death
Is that I am not my own
I’ve been bought with blood and I confess
I belong to you alone!

By the Father’s good decree,
Jesus, you’ve delivered me
By your Spirit, set me free
To follow you

Jesus you have taken hold of me
And in your grip of grace I’m finally free

Set List:

My One Comfort

Father, You are All We Need

Come Thou Fount

Now Why This Fear


Looking to (Hymn) Sunday – November 20th

Looking to (Hymn) Sunday – November 20th

This coming Sunday, we will be changing up the regular music portion of our service. We will gather together and sing only hymns, with piano as the only musical accompaniment. Why? Great question, let me give you two reasons.

First, the Church did not begin in the 21st century. You’re probably aware of this, but have you ever stopped to ponder what this means? It means that we have an ancient spiritual lineage, which we actively carry on. When we gather together on Sunday mornings, there is more going on than we are often aware of; we are not merely coming together as a group of Christians in the Kansas City area who have covenanted together for corporate worship and mutual edification (though we are certainly doing that), we are also being cosmically aligned to the universal Church (you know, the capitol “C” Church, comprised of all God’s elect, spanning across all human history and physical time and place). D.A. Carson puts it like this,

Thus, whatever it is we do when we gather together… we do in the profound recognition that we believers constitute something much bigger than any one of us or even any empirical group of us. We are the church, the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16-17). One of the entailments of such a perspective is that, however much we seek to be contemporary for the sake of evangelistic outreach, there must also be a drive in us to align ourselves with the whole church in some deeply rooted and tangible ways. What it means to be the church was not invented in the last twenty years. (D.A. Carson, Worship by the Book, page. 44-45)

Because of this reality, it is healthy for us to, from time to time, tangibly remind ourselves that we do not need to–indeed, we dare not–reinvent the wheel. So this Sunday, we will only sing old songs. Songs that have been sung by a myriad of saints for hundreds of years (with the exception of “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us,” which was written in 1995). As we sing these songs together, imagine the countless members of Christ’s Body singing the very same words throughout the centuries; the truths that comfort your soul comforted theirs as well, the crack in your voice on the high notes cracked in theirs as well, the God that you sing to is the same God they sang to–indeed, the God you’re singing to is the same God that those saints are singing to right now in glory! We get to join them in their praises with the same songs they used during their sojourn here on earth! May this be a deep comfort for you: the foundation you stand on when you come to worship is none other than “the faith once for all delivered to the saints”–that foundation has been a bedrock for countless Christians who have gone before you, it hasn’t given way for two thousands years, and it’s not about to now!

Second, corporate worship is supposed to be corporate. Now, we reinforce this already at Emmaus. It’s why our call to worship is received corporately, and why our confessions are offered corporately, and why even my prayer on behalf of the congregation is corporate (you won’t find one singular personal pronoun in those prayers, only plural). It’s why we labor not to burst your eardrums with the volume of our instruments, and it’s why we keep the lights on. We are trying to rid any notion that the service of corporate worship is a time for individual Christians to come together and seclude themselves from one another–we work in an open warehouse, not a labyrinth of holy cubicles. Even still, sometimes I think it’s easy to unintentionally begin to depend on the band for corporate worship, and we ought not do that.

The musicians I lead on Sunday morning are not performing for you. You realize this, don’t you? We are helpful insofar as–and only insofar as–we offer you a vehicle by which you can join us in ascribing worth and adoration to your God. But that should be something you don’t need us for. We can do that together without any instruments at all. If Paul could do it in a 1st century prison, we can do it in a 21st century, air-conditioned room! So this Sunday we are stripping the music portion of our worship down almost to its irreducible elements (we’ll still have microphones and a piano). The intention is to foster corporate-mindedness. There should be enough not going on for you to hear the person next to you, for him to hear you, and for both of you to hear the one glorious, powerful voice of a corporate body of Christians doing what they were made to do.

I’m aware of the fact that you might be unfamiliar with a couple of these songs, so I will put the links to the music and the lyrics for the most unfamiliar ones down below; I encourage you to listen to them and become familiar (though it shouldn’t be too daunting; they’re hymns, which means their melodies are incredibly catchy).

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

It Is Well With My Soul

Arise, My Soul, Arise

I Hear the Words of Love

Arise, My Soul, Arise

[Notice the hymnist preaching to his soul in this song. What does he appeal to in order to brighten up his downcast heart? Not superficial “look-at-the-bright-side-ism,” no, he preaches gospel truth to himself. He reminds himself of the fact that the Father doesn’t forgive him because he’s a beautiful snowflake who caught a twinkle in God’s eyes, as if forgiveness were merely a kind gesture God offered because he was in a good mood. No, the wonds of Jesus plead his case, and cry out “forgive him!” and it is this reason that he can come with confidence and cry “Abba, Father.” Breathtaking.]

Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears
Before the throne my surety stands
Before the throne my surety stands
My name is written on His hands

Five bleeding wounds He bears, received on Calvary
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me
“Forgive him, oh forgive,” they cry
“Forgive him, oh forgive,” they cry
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray, His dear Anointed One
He cannot turn away the presence of His Son
His Spirit answers to the blood
His Spirit answers to the blood
And tells me I am born of God

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear
With confidence I now draw nigh
With confidence I now draw nigh
And “Father, Abba, Father” cry


I Hear the Words of Love

[Notice the utter confidence the hymnist places in Christ. He acknowledges his own instability, but what comforts him and assures him of his standing before God is the never-shifting stability of Christ’s work on his behalf. In the last verse, the hymnist confesses that he will find absolutely no resting place in his own love, but only in Christ’s, and that he will have no confidence in his own truth (or truthfulness/trustworthiness/faithfulness), but only in Christ’s.]

I hear the words of love,
I gaze upon the blood,
I see the mighty sacrifice,
And I have peace with God.

‘Tis everlasting peace!
Sure as Jehovah’s Name;
‘Tis stable as His steadfast throne,
Forevermore the same.

The clouds may come and go
And storms may sweep my sky;
This blood-sealed friendship changes not;
The cross is ever nigh.

My love is oft-times low,
My joy still ebbs and flows;
But peace with Him remains the same;
No change Jehovah knows.

I change, He changes not,
The Christ can never die;
His love, not mine, the resting place,
His truth, not mine, the tie.


Grace & Peace,


Looking to Sunday

Looking to Sunday

Nov. 13

Fill our worship with grace, Lord Jesus Christ, that every thought, word, and deed may be acceptable to you, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen. (based on Psalm 19:14)

Revive Us Again (Charlie Hall)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
(Ephesians 1:3-4)

Grace Greater (The Village Church)

Great Are You Lord (All Sons & Daughters)

Corporate Confession:
Holy and merciful God, in your presence we confess our sinfulness, our shortcomings, and our offenses against you. Forgive our sins, and help us to live in your light and walk in your ways, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)

Made Alive (Citizens & Saints)

Philippians Series: Philippians 4:2-7

Jesus is Better (Austin Stone Worship)

As we go from here, do not shrink back. Look to Jesus. Preach the gospel to yourself, and live it out in love to your family and your neighbors. May your view of God continue to grow as you worship God with your life, and do it all for the glory and honor of our God three in one.

My Top 11 Gospel-Drenched Songs that Emmaus Sings

My Top 11 Gospel-Drenched Songs that Emmaus Sings

There are many blessings about being a member of Emmaus Church, but one that stands out to me every week is the gospel-drenched singing that we get to do. At Emmaus, we don’t just sing songs, we sing gospel-drenched songs. We don’t simply sing songs because they mention Jesus. The vast majority of our songs have very little to do with me and my response to Jesus (though we believe that stating your response to Jesus is very appropriate, demonstrated by the psalmist), and much to do with Jesus and his rescue of me. This is strategic. When we planned out our liturgy before we ever planted our church, one of the questions that drove our thoughts was, “How many times can we declare the gospel in one service?”  That question was answered by us committing to gospel-drenched songs, gospel-drenched prayers, gospel-drenched scriptures, gospel-drenched confessions and statements of pardon, gospel-drenched communion, and gospel-drenched sermons.

I recently went through and listened to many of the songs that we have sung over the last year and I have compiled my top 11 list of gospel-drenched songs that Emmaus sings. I thought you may enjoy listening to them. Here they are in no particular order.

May the gospel be declared to you and then from you as you hope in Jesus. Enjoy!


josh hedgerJoshua Hedger is the Pastor of Preaching & Vision at Emmaus Church. He is married to Tish and they have an adopted teen daughter and a biological toddler son. Joshua has served in several other ministry roles including Director of Church Planting at Midwestern Seminary, planting another church, a youth pastor, and as a missionary in West Africa.

Looking to Sunday – November 6th

Looking to Sunday – November 6th

Every Monday we publish a worship guide for the coming Sunday. Read the scripture we will be reading during our worship time and become familiar with the songs.

Call to Worship

Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.” – Psalm 96:7-10

O Great God

For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:14-18

Behold the Christ

Be Thou My Vision

Corporate Confession

Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up… Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth. – Hosea 6:1, 3

Private Confession

Corporate Confession

And you, who were once dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. – Colossians 2:13-15

O Fount of Love



How Firm a Foundation


Now may you press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. May press forward in this life as citizens of heaven, looking forward to the resurrection, which is a sure promise of yours in Jesus. May you stand firm in the Lord, to the glory of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, who is One God. Amen.

Looking to Sunday – October 30th

Looking to Sunday – October 30th

Every Monday we publish a worship guide for the coming Sunday. Read the scripture we will be reading during our worship time and become familiar with the songs.

Call to Worship

Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! – Psalm 100:3-4

Dear Refuge

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. – Philippians 3:7-8

All I Have Is Christ

Psalm 126

Corporate Confession

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! – Psalm 31:1-2

Private Confession

Assurance of Pardon

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. – Romans 8:15-17

A Son of God



Grace Alone


Now may God equip you to reflect this word in your life this week; may you regard everything in this life as nothing compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, your Lord. May you be filled with zeal to leverage your entire life for the progress of the gospel, by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the justifying work of the Son, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Pin It on Pinterest