WAKE UP!!!!

This week as we continue our trek through the letters to the seven churches in Revelation this is the message we will hear…Wake Up! Jesus tells us the church there and the church today, don’t just go through the motions on the inside be authentic and real in your faith. Our passage of scripture will come from Revelation 3.1-6.

Don’t forget about our Community Block Party this Saturday evening from 6-8 pm. This will be a great time of engaging our community with music, fellowship and fun. If you want to help with set up we will start about 4.30 or so.

 

Block Party

Block party promo

Our annual block party is right around the corner!  Join us this Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. for an evening of free family fun featuring live music from our praise band, giveaways, and free food.  We’ll have games, face painting, and a bounce house for the kids, and our brand new playground is ready and open!  See you there!

Music for Sunday 7/21/13

Lately these words from Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing keep coming back to me:

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above.

This is a moment of vulnerability for both the hymn writer and the singer.  We’re admitting that we’re prone to wander–to wander from what we know is right, to wander even after we have come to know the great love of our merciful Savior.

Jesus said to the church at Thyatira: Hold fast until I come.  He was speaking to the ones in the church who had not allowed themselves to be corrupted by the false teacher, reminding them to keep My deeds until the end.  He is calling us to stand firm, to hold to His teaching, to resist false teaching and those who would lead us astray, and to live for Him.  In the same way, Peter writes in I Peter 1:13-16: Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

But how do we do that?  We can’t be holy in our own strength–after all, isn’t that the crux of the gospel message?  We can’t just wake up one day and decide we’re going to be holy and live righteously from then on.  It’s only through God’s grace and strength in us that we’re able to live for Him.  And so we must pray, as in the hymn: here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it; seal it for Thy courts above.

That’s why each of the songs we’re singing on Sunday is a prayer.  In each one, we’ll ask God to give us strength, to prepare us, to guide us.  We’ll start by praising Him for who He is:

My Jesus, my Savior, Lord, there is none like You;
All of my days I want to praise the wonders of Your mighty love.
My Comfort, my Shelter, tower of refuge and strength,
Let every breath, all that I am never cease to worship You.
–Shout to the Lord

and then pray:

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
–Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary,
Pure and holy, tried and true;
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living sanctuary for You.
–Sanctuary

In our middle hymns, we’ll ask God to be the center of our lives as we walk with Him.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea;
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
–Just a Closer Walk with Thee

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art:
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
–Be Thou My Vision

The choir will sing:

Purify my heart, let me be as gold and precious silver.
Purify my heart, let me be as gold, pure gold.

Refiner’s fire; my heart’s one desire is to be holy,
Set apart for You, Lord.
I choose to be holy, set apart for You, my Master,
Ready to do Your will.
–Purify My Heart

The image of the refiner’s fire is a common one in the Bible, found, for example, in I Peter, in Malachi, and in Proverbs.

So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:7).

But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord (Malachi 3:2-3).

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts (Proverbs 17:3).

The idea is God burning away all the impurities of our hearts and minds, leaving us as pure gold before Him.  I think this image can be applied to churches as well, as we seek to resist–and ask God to remove–any part of our teachings, actions, or fellowship that is not pleasing to Him.  But of course that starts with each individual member, and that’s why we’ll close with this prayer:

Change my heart, O God, make it ever true.
Change my heart, O God, may I be like You.
–Change My Heart, O God

Shout to the Lord: words and music by Darlene Zschech.  Copyright 1993 Darlene Zschech/Hillsong Publishing.  Sanctuary: words and music by John Thompson and Randy Scruggs.  Copyright 1982 Whole Armor Music and Full Armor Music.  Purify My Heart: words and music by Brian Doerksen.  Copyright 1990 Vineyard Songs and Mercy/Vineyard Publishing.  Change My Heart, O God: words and music by Eddie Espinosa.  Copyright 1982 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing.

To the Church at Thyatira

This Sunday in worship we resume our series on “7 churches, 7 letters, 7 lessons” as we look at the letter to the church at Thyatira in the book of Revelation. As with each letter we have and will look at we will see what the Lord had to say to that church in the form of commendation and rebuke. Then we will ask ourselves how that applies to us as a church to make sure we are not repeating the same “mistakes” they made then.

This letter is written to a church that has allowed a false teacher to come into their midst and lead them astray. Particularly in this instance in the area of “acts of immorality and eating things sacrificed to idols” but any false doctrine that leads us astray is dangerous. What is the bigger picture for us as a church? I believe the admonishment here is to continue to grow in your faith and serve Him more faithfully and fully with each passing week, month and year…as a church and as individuals. Join as this week as we hear the message to the church at Thyatira…do not compromise, be holy.

Pastor Mike

Music for Sunday 7/14/13

Well, if our building doesn’t get swept out to sea before Sunday…our service will be a little different this week because we’ll be seeing a video presentation from the My Hope America with Billy Graham campaign.  We’ve changed the order of the service a little too, so the choir will start us off with a call to worship–although in this case it’s more of a call to action. The song is Hear the Call of the Kingdom, another great text by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend, and it’s the perfect way to open our service because it fits exactly with our emphasis on sharing with others the hope that Jesus has given us.

King of Heaven, we will answer the call.
We will follow, bringing hope to the world;
Filled with passion, filled with power to proclaim
Salvation in Jesus’ name.

I like the progression of the three verses in this song.  Before it gets to its main point in verse three–Hear the call of the Kingdom to reach out to the lost–it starts at the beginning: recognizing the great gift that we have received.

Hear the call of the Kingdom. Lift your eyes to the King.
Let His song rise within you as a fragrant offering
Of how God, rich in mercy, came in Christ to redeem
All who trust in His unfailing grace.

And once we have received this gift and we come to understand more and more its true value, our response naturally must be to follow the Giver and walk in the light as His children.  Ephesians 5:8-10 says, For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

Hear the call of the Kingdom to be children of light;
With the mercy of Heaven, the humility of Christ;
Walking justly before Him, loving all that is right,
That the light of Christ may shine through us.

Then as a natural extension of our joy in God’s mercy and redemption, and as the light shines through us:

Hear the call of the Kingdom to reach out to the lost,
With the Father’s compassion in the wonder of the cross.
Bringing peace and forgiveness and a hope yet to come,
Let the nations put their trust in Him.

King of Heaven, we will answer the call.
We will follow, bringing hope to the world;
Filled with passion, filled with power to proclaim
Salvation in Jesus’ name.

 Hear the Call of the Kingdom: words and music by Stuart Townend, Keith and Kristyn Getty. Copyright 2006 Thankyou Music (PRS).

Freedom

The fourth of July is upon us and each year at this time we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. What an important time in our country’s history as we took a stand against oppression and tyranny of those who would rule over, tax and impose laws on us without representation. This morning I took a few moments to read over the Declaration that our forefathers signed (found here: Declaration of Independence). As I reread this historic document I was reminded of the conditions they lived in and the stand they took that we might all be free. Free! I am thankful for each and everyone who has sacrificed for the freedoms we have! It would be impossible to mention them all in this space.

As I reflect upon the sacrifices made by the great men and women of this country that have gone on before us I am also reminded of those who have sacrificed for our faith. They too are many and it would be impossible to even begin to mention them here. There have been (and are) those who were imprisoned, ridiculed, mocked and murdered all for the name of Jesus Christ. Paul writes in Galatians 5.1 these words: “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery”. Jesus came and walked among us, lived a sinless life in spite of being tempted as we are, and then died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins! It is “for freedom that Christ has set us free”. As we consider and celebrate the freedoms we have as a country we need to also consider the freedom we have as believers in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We were set free from the chains of sin by His death that all who shall believe in Him shall not perish. The wages of sin is death and we have been set free from those wages! Paul admonishes us to “stand firm” and to not be “subject again to a yoke of slavery”. A yoke was a common farm instrument that bound two animals together for the purpose of work. We are no longer bound to a life of sin once we place our faith in Jesus. Yes we will sin as we are not perfect, but as we are convicted of that sin and seek forgiveness we will be set free from the penalty.

Sin is enticing…it looks good, smells good and feels good. The struggle we face is to not go back to our old way of living but live in the freedom we have in Christ. What does it mean to you to know that Jesus Christ has set you free from the “wages of sin”? What does the effect of having faith in Jesus Christ have upon our lives? How are we radically changed when we come to faith in Jesus?

Let me hear your thoughts. And remember as you celebrate the freedoms we have this year as a country that you too as an individual believer in Jesus Christ have been set free!

July Newsletter

The July newsletter is available here.   And be sure to check out the video from VBS!

Music for Sunday 6/30/13

Here’s what Jesus said to the church in Smyrna:

Do not fear what you are about to suffer.  Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

And here’s what the kids who attended VBS will be singing on Sunday:

You hear me when I call, You are my morning song;
Though darkness fills the night it cannot hide the light.
Whom shall I fear?

My strength is in Your name, for You alone can save.
You will deliver me; Yours is the victory.
Whom shall I fear?
–Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)

How is it that Jesus can say to His people, “Do not fear”?  How can a church that was facing tribulation, poverty, blasphemy, and prison not fear, but remain faithful?

I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind;
The God of angel armies is always by my side.
The one who reigns forever, He is a friend of mine;
The God of angel armies is always by my side.
–Whom Shall I Fear

This is the power we have as God’s people.  The one who reigns forever–or as our Scripture passage says, the one who is the first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life–is by our side!

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord.
Our God, You reign forever.
Our Hope, our Strong Deliverer.

You are the Everlasting God, the Everlasting God.
You do not faint, You don’t grow weary.
You’re the defender of the weak, You comfort those in need.
You lift us up on wings like eagles.
–Everlasting God

As we read last week in Revelation 1:8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty,” and this is the one who has promised: “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.  What will man do to me?”

Be strong in the Lord, and be of good courage;
Your mighty Defender is always the same.
Mount up with wings, as the eagle ascending;
Victory is sure when you call on His name.

So put on the armor the Lord has provided,
And place your defense in His unfailing care.
Trust Him, for He will be with you in battle,
Lighting your path to avoid every snare.

Be strong in the Lord, and be of good courage;
Your mighty Commander will vanquish the foe.
Fear not the battle, for the victory is always His;
He will protect you wherever you go.
–Be Strong in the Lord

As a side note, I was so excited when I realized how this message in our series on the seven letters just happened to line up with the Sunday after VBS.  (We did not plan that, by the way.)  Jesus said to the church, “Do not fear.  Be faithful.”  Our VBS theme verse was II Timothy 1:7–For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment–and the kids learned about daring to change, daring to trust, daring to stand strong.

Please join us this Sunday! If your child attended VBS, we’d love to have you with us as the kids sing their theme song, Whom Shall I Fear, and as we share as a congregation another of their songs, Everlasting God.  (We’ve never sung this one in our worship service before, but don’t worry–the kids will teach it to you!)  We’ll also show a video of our week at VBS.  Hope to see you there!

Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies): words and music by Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, and Scott Cash.  Copyright 2012 Worship Together Music/sixsteps Songs/A Thousand Generations Publishing/Alletrop Music/McTyeire Music.  Everlasting God: words and music by Brenton Brown and Ken Riley.  Copyright 2005 Thankyou Music (PRS).  Be Strong in the Lord: words by Linda Lee Johnson and music by Tom Fettke.  Copyright 1979 Hope Publishing Company.

To the Church in Smyrna…

This week in worship we will take a look at the second letter to the churches from Revelation. The message to the church (then and now) this week is be faithful. In Jesus’ address to the churches, Smyrna is only one of two churches that does not get a rebuke or condemnation. Jesus instructs the church there to be faithful until the end. Those who remain faithful are promised the crown of life. Our primary passage this week is Revelation 2.8-11.

I also want to take a moment to thank everyone for all the hard work this week at VBS. Without all the hard work of the faithful volunteers none of this would be possible. Over the course of the week we engaged well over 50 children and their families. Thank you to all for all you did for our Lord. Join us Sunday as the children from VBS show us some of what they learned.

 

Vacation Bible School

VBS is next week