Abba, Father…

I was thinking this morning how great it is that we can call God Abba, Father. There are many “names” for God in the Bible. But when we call on God as our Father it makes it more personal and intimate. How does knowing that we can call out to God as our Father impact our relationship with Him? What does knowing that God relates to us as His children tell us about who He is? Do we take seriously the words of Jesus when he instructed us in how to pray in the Lords Prayer, telling us to call out to “Our Father who is in Heaven”?

This week in our sermon we will take a look at God as our Father. There are several passages of scripture that we will use but we will focus primarily on what we can learn about who God is as our Father and how great it is that we can call on Him in this way. In our message this week we will look at Romans 8.14-17; 1 John 3.1; and John 1.12-13 as we consider how great it is that we can all God our Father.

I hope you will join us for worship this Sunday!!

Pastor Mike

Remembering 9/11

On this day most, if not all of us will stop to reflect upon the events that happened on 9/11/2001. Almost everyone knows exactly where they were and what they were doing when the Twin Towers fell. Many of us will stop and thank God for those who responded as our nation was in crisis. Most of us will remember to pray for those who lost loved ones on that day and since. A few of us will commit to praying for them regularly. But as time passes and memory fades, so will the attention that many people give to that day. And yet it is a day that is so important in the history of our country. Whether you agree with the way our nation responded or not, whether you think the wars that followed were just or an overreaction is a point I would not want to argue. But I think that we could all agree many brave men and women have sacrificed in service to our country…for generations before the events of 9/11, on the day of that fateful attack and in the days and weeks and months and years that have followed there have been many countless people who have given their lives in service to this great nation.  As we continue to stand up for our freedom and the values that we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts, I am sure we will continue to see brave men and women whose lives are cut short protecting this great nation. So today I am thankful that there are those who would stand up for us.

But as we stop and recognize all those who have sacrificed and been lost in the years gone by, let us also stop and lift up a prayer for their families and for this great nation in which we live. I am reminded at times like this that the power of prayer is what gets us through our darkest and most difficult days. I know in my own life, in those times of deepest despair and great personal loss…I find comfort and solace in prayer to my heavenly Father.

2 Chronicles 7.14 reads “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” We are a nation in need of intervention. Let us fall on our face before the Lord, humble ourselves in prayer and seek His face. May our God in Heaven hear our collective voices and heal this great land of ours!

Pastor Mike

Music for Sunday 9/9/12

I love to make things.  I always have projects underway: Christmas presents, birthday presents, baby or wedding or Mother’s Day gifts.

But I don’t create anything.  Creating means to make something from nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  To just speak it into being.

That’s what our God can do.

And as much as I love to make things, I’ll be the first to agree that making something

1) is a lot of work,
2) takes forever, and
3) sometimes takes many tries to get it right.

Here’s what our God spoke into being in six days:

And God saw that it was good.

From the highest mountains to the tiniest details of the tiniest living things…that’s what our God can do.

The splendor of the King, clothed in majesty;
Let all the earth rejoice, let all the earth rejoice.
He wraps Himself in light, and darkness tries to hide;
It trembles at His voice, it trembles at His voice.

How great is our God!  Sing with me, “How great is our God!”
And all will see how great, how great is our God!

And God’s power goes beyond our planet, our solar system, beyond everything we know or imagine.  Everything, everywhere, is in the hand of God.

God of wonders beyond our galaxy, You are holy, holy.
The universe declares Your majesty; You are holy, holy.
Lord of heaven and earth.

To serve a God with that kind of might and power–what does that mean for us?  God has power over everything in our lives.  Everything that is wrong or unfair, everything we need…it’s all in His hand.

This is my Father’s world,
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world,
The battle is not done;
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and heaven be one.

Come join us this Sunday and worship our almighty Creator.  Our God is an awesome God!

How Great Is Our God: words and music by Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves and Ed Cash. Copyright 2004 Alletrop Music/worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Music. God of Wonders: words and music by Marc Byrd and Steve Hindalong.  Copyright 2000 Storm Boy Music/Meaux Music/New Spring Pub. CCLI #3163058.

In the beginning…

In last week’s message we looked at what biblical worship looked like. What an awesome worship service it was as we had a special time of “worship” together. One of the things that we learned is that “worship” is not a place; rather it is an attitude of the heart and mind as we gather together to praise the name of the Lord. We can worship in just about any place we find ourselves if it is the desire of our hearts. But unfortunately we tend to get caught up in the “stuff” of the world. When that happens we come to church with distractions on our mind and our attention turned to other things than the Lord.

As we gather this week our scripture passage for our message will come from Genesis 1. Our message will lead us to consider that God as Creator is worthy of our worship. It is my prayer that as we gather we will come to learn more about how God has shown His great love for us in the act of creation. Join us this Sunday as we worship the Creator, God.

Pastor Mike

September Newsletter

The September newsletter is here.

Music for Sunday 9/2/12

As you can see in Mike’s post below, we’ll be talking about worship this week.  And there are some songs that do just that–talk about worship.   They speak about our attitudes toward worship and remind us that we should (and must) choose to worship.  This type of song would have fit our theme this week, but my thought was: less chat, more action.  We have the privilege to gather this week as a family and worship our God, and I wanted to fill this time with songs that are themselves words of worship.  And so I want to encourage you to approach our service this Sunday (and every Sunday) with an open heart, prepared to leave behind the things of this world and worship God’s holy name.

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song (Psalm 95:1-2).

Hosanna, hosanna, You are the God who saves us,
Worthy of all our praises.
Hosanna, hosanna, come have Your way among us;
We welcome You here, Lord Jesus.

For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.  In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.  The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land (vs. 3-5).

Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King!
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name.  
I sing for joy at the work of Your hands,
Forever I’ll love You, forever I’ll stand;
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care (vs. 6-7).

Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You’re my God.
You’re altogether worthy, altogether lovely,
Altogether wonderful to me.

Hosanna (Praise Is Rising): words and music by Brenton Brown and Paul Baloche.  Copyright 2006 Thankyou Music/Integrity’s Hosanna! Music.  Shout to the Lord: words and music by Darlene Zschech.  Copyright 1993 Darlene Zschech/Hillsong Publishing.  Here I Am to Worship: words and music by Tim Hughes.  Copyright 2001 Thankyou Music. CCLI #3163058.

What should worship look like?

This week our scripture passage comes from Psalm 95 as we transition from our series in Colossians back to our emphasis of experiencing life more abundantly through our relationship with Jesus Christ. This Sunday we will attempt to answer the question: What does Biblical worship look like? For many of us our idea of worship is based upon what we have experienced growing up in churches or what we have learned from those around us as we have “worshiped” together in church services?

It is time that we moved beyond the idea that worship means going to church on Sunday. Worship is not confined to a place rather worship is more a matter of the heart. What I mean by this is we are restricted in our ability to worship God when we think that we can only worship when we are in church. In fact just “being” in a church service does not mean you are worshiping. We call it a “Worship Service” but that only holds true if you come with the right heart, the right motives and with the right object of your worship…God! In Psalm 95 we see some very clear components of biblical worship. This Sunday we will take a look at the image of Biblical worship found in this Psalm and then over the next several weeks we will look at various attributes of God. It is my prayer that through this we can better understand what Jesus is saying in John 4.23-24 when He says “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Blessings,

Pastor Mike

Music for Sunday 8/26/12

I’m excited for our service this Sunday! For our Back to Church service, I’ve based the music on one of my favorite themes: Children of God. We have so much to celebrate! We’re not just “religious people” or “people who go to church.” We’re not some club or civic organization. We are the beloved children of our heavenly Father.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (I John 3:1)

This Sunday the adult choir, children’s choir, and praise band are combining to bring our special music, a song called…Children of God. This is a song by the band Third Day that you may have heard on the radio. I loved these words the first time I heard them and I’ve been looking forward to doing this song for a long time.

Praise to the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ,
Our God and our King, to Him we will sing;
In His great mercy He has given us life.
Now we can be called the children of God.

Great is the love that the Father has given us.
He has delivered us. He has delivered us.

Children of God, sing your song and rejoice,
For the love that He has given us all.
Oh, children of God, by the blood of His Son
We have been redeemed and we can be called
The children of God.

A mystery is revealed to the universe,
The Father above has proven His love;
Now we are free from the judgment that we deserve,
So we are called the children of God.

We are the saints. We are the children.
We’ve been redeemed. We’ve been forgiven.
We are the sons and daughters of our God.

Think about what a love that is! Once we were all God’s enemies, in complete opposition to His holiness. It’s only because of His unfathomable love that we have been welcomed into His family. What can we do but sing His praises?

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul.
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before, O my soul.
I worship Your holy name.

The sun comes up. It’s a new day dawning.
It’s time to sing Your song again.
Whatever may pass or whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes.

You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger.
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind.
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing:
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.

And on that day when my strength is failing,
The end draws near and my time has come,
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending;
Ten thousand years and then forevermore!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul.
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before, O my soul.
I worship Your holy name.

10,000 Reasons is a contemporary hymn by Matt Redman and another song you may have heard on the radio; the choir also sang it a few weeks ago. This Sunday we’ll use it as a congregational song so we can join together to sing these words and worship His holy name.

We’ll also sing We Praise You, O God, Our Redeemer, a hymn that’s so fitting as we gather as a family to thank God for His blessings and seek His guidance for a coming year:

We praise You, O God, our Redeemer, Creator,
In grateful devotion our tribute we bring.
We lay it before You, we kneel and adore You,
We bless Your holy name, glad praises we sing.

With voices united our praises we offer,
And gladly our songs of thanksgiving we raise.
With You, Lord, beside us, Your strong arm will guide us.
To You, our great Redeemer, forever be praise.

We’ll follow that with The Master Hath Come.  I love the third verse:

The Master hath called us, in life’s early morning,
With spirits as fresh as the dew on the sod:
We turn from the world, with its smiles and its scorning,
To cast in our lot with the people of God:
The Master hath called us, His sons and His daughters,
We plead for His blessing and trust in His love;
And through the green pastures, beside the still waters,
He’ll lead us at last to His kingdom above.

And we’ll close the service with Let It Be Said of Us.  Let’s make this our prayer for the coming year:

Let it be said of us that the Lord was our passion,
That with gladness we bore every cross we were given;
That we fought the good fight, that we finished the course
Knowing within us the power of the risen Lord.

Let it be said of us we were marked by forgiveness,
We were known by our love and delighted in meekness;
We were ruled by His peace heeding unity’s call,
Joined as one body that Christ would be seen by all.

Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song;
By mercy made holy, by the Spirit made strong.
Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song
‘Til the likeness of Jesus be through us be known.

Children of God: words by Mac Powell; music by Mac Powell, Tai Anderson, David Carr, and Mark Lee. Copyright 2010 Songs from the Quarry. 10,000 Reasons: words and music by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman. Copyright 2011 Shout! Publishing/Thankyou Music/worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Music/Said and Done Music.  We Praise You, O God, Our Redeemer: words by Julia Cady Cory; music: Netherlands folk song, arr. Edward Kremser.  The Master Hath Come: words by Sarah Doudney; music: traditional Welsh melody.  Let It Be Said of Us: words and music by Steve Fry.  Copyright 1996 Maranatha! Music/Word Music, LLC.  CCLI # 3163058.

Friends in Christ…

This week in our worship service we will conclude our series of messages that have taken us through the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae. Our scripture passage comes from Colossians 4:7-18 and is the conclusion to his letter. In this passage of scripture we read about all these people that are in Paul’s life. Friends of his in Christ who have walked with him, supported him, prayed for him and even been imprisoned with him.

It causes me to stop and ask the question…do I have these types of friends in my life? Maybe an even better question would be…am I the type of friend that we find in these passages to those who call me friend? The people we surround ourselves with have a deep and profound impact on our lives. If we are surrounded by negative and discouraging people we will in fact find ourselves becoming as they are…negative and discouraging. However if we surround ourselves with people who are believers in Christ that are devoted to fulfilling the work He has called us to and who will pray for us, walk with us, and share in the work of Christ with us…we will find ourselves to be more positive and devoted to the work of the Lord. Join us this Sunday as we complete this great letter from the Apostle Paul.

Also make sure you stay after our service Sunday for our Annual Fish Fry. Come to worship the Lord, stay for the food and fellowship! (casual dress recommended)

Blessings…

P. Mike

Sharing Christ…

We are getting close to the end of our study on Colossians on Sunday mornings. This week our scripture passage comes from Colossians 4.2-6  and we see Paul begin to address some concluding thoughts. He is continuing the theme he has been on in the previous chapter as he talks about the new self that we become when we place our faith and trust in Christ. We have seen how the change that takes place impacts us and the way we relate to others. Now Paul instructs his readers in how we can prepare to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others around us.

Many Christians get very uptight when you start talking to them about sharing their faith in Christ with others. It is often hard to share your faith with those you know closely, but sharing your faith with anyone can be challenging. This is especially true if you are not prepared to do so. We need to remember though that we are not given an option of whether or not we will share our faith…we are commanded to so so. Both in Matthew 28.19-20 and Acts 1.8 we are instructed to go and tell. If we are to take these two passages of scripture seriously then we need to be prepared to share our faith. Paul gives us some practical ways we can prepare to share our faith verbally as well as live it out before others. Join us this Sunday as we see what Paul has to say about sharing our faith.

Blessings…

P. Mike