Music for Sunday 3/31/13

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (I Peter 1:3).

New birth and a living hope–those are the themes of our Easter hymns:

Lives again our glorious King, alleluia!
Where, O death is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Dying once He all doth save, alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave?  Alleluia!
–Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph over His foes.
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
–Christ Arose

There in the ground His body lay; Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth in glorious day, up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ!
–In Christ Alone

Here are two more themes we’ll look at in our music this Resurrection Sunday morning: first, our foundation, and second, our response.

Christ’s resurrection is the very foundation of our faith.  If Jesus was just a man, just a teacher, just someone with some good ideas, who died and is now dead, then as Paul says, “we are of all men the most pitiable.”  But we come together on Resurrection Sunday to proclaim: Death cannot keep his prey.  He tore the bars away!   We serve a risen Savior!  Here are Paul’s words in I Corinthians 15.  First, his eyewitness account of the risen Lord:

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

And then, the implications the resurrection holds for us:

Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 

And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 

And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

That’s the foundation of our faith.  That’s why we can sing these words in one of the choir’s anthems:

Christ is made the sure foundation, Christ the Head and Cornerstone;
Chosen of the Lord and precious, binding all the Church in one.
Holy Zion’s help forever, and her confidence alone;
Christ is made the sure foundation, Christ the Head and Cornerstone.
–The Sure Foundation

That’s why we can join at our sunrise service to sing:

In Christ alone, my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
–In Christ Alone

and follow with the chorus of The Solid Rock:

On Christ the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

And finally, we’ll look at our response.  In my April newsletter article, I ask the question: Now what?  We’ve just been through Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter; we’ve covered the whole story of Jesus’ earthly life and His work of redemption.  Now we have to ask ourselves: how do we respond?

The last verses of three of our songs in the Easter service give clear answers to that question.  The choir will sing:

The Church who on Jesus have founded their faith
Must now rise with the dawning and face a new day;
Forsaking the evil of earth’s sinking sand.
Let us build upon Jesus and on that Rock we stand.
–The Sure Foundation

In The Man Who Calmed the Sea, we’ll sing:

Now I hear the call that echoes down through history:
“Come, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me.
Through every joy and sorrow My grace is all you’ll need.
Trust Me in the storm, for I’m the man who calms the sea.”

No fear shall overwhelm me, for Lord, I do believe
You’re the Master and the Maker, You’re the man who calms the sea.

I’ll trust You for tomorrow and seek You for today,
For You’re the Master and the Maker, You’re the man who calms the sea.

And after we observe the Lord’s Supper, we’ll respond together:

And so with thankfulness and faith we rise
To respond, and to remember
Our call to follow in the steps of Christ
As His body here on earth.

As we share in His suffering
We proclaim Christ will come again!
And we’ll join in the feast of heaven
Around the table of the King.
–The Communion Hymn

The more I look at our Easter music, the more excited I am to sing it!  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  Please join us to celebrate and rejoice and worship our risen Redeemer.

In Christ Alone: words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.  Copyright 2002 Thankyou Music (PRS).  The Man Who Calmed the Sea: words and music by Gary Sadler and Stuart Townend.  Copyright 2011 Thankyou Music (PRS)/Paintbrush Music.  The Communion Hymn: words and music by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend.  Copyright 2006 Thankyou Music (PRS)/Mail Train Music.

He is Risen!!

This Sunday concludes our sermon series “Behold the Power of Jesus”. But today marks the beginning of events that lead us to that victorious celebration. If we think back to this past Sunday, Palm Sunday, we saw that Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem triumphantly. As He did so he made some very bold proclamations. He proclaimed Himself to be the fulfillment of prophecy as He rode in on the colt of a donkey fulfilling the prophecy of Zecheraiah 9. He also proclaimed Himself as the sacrifice necessary for reconciliation with God…He taught that he must die, so that we could live through faith in Him.

Today (Thursday) during Holy Week Jesus gathered with His disciples for a meal, the last supper. As they ate he instituted the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, breaking bread with them and drinking wine…one representing His broken body the other his shed blood. At that same meal He predicted His betrayal by one of the twelve. In a few short hours He would be arrested, betrayed by a kiss and the events of Good Friday would begin. A mock trial, false accusations, frightened leaders and ultimately a fateful conviction with a sentence of crucifixion. (there actually was no conviction and yet a sentence was imposed) He would be beaten mercilessly, mocked, cursed at and humiliated. His weakened body would be forced to carry the cross bar to Golgotha. (at least as far as he could carry it) Can you see Him there? A crown of thorns upon His head, the blood streaming down His face, His body bruised and bloodied and weakened from the beatings and all that had taken place. Then they raise Him into place and after a few hours upon that cross, bearing the weight of the sin of the world upon himself….he dies. His body is taken down and placed in a tomb.

Sunday comes and some women have prepared spices to take to the tomb. When they arrive they find the stone has been rolled away and the tomb is empty. A guarded tomb, a giant stone and some empty burial clothes! He is risen, He is risen indeed!! Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has risen from the grave and overcome death and sin! The resurrection is the cornerstone of our faith. We find in all of the Gospel accounts and it is central to Paul’s writings.  On Friday night at 6.30 we will have a special Good Friday service as we gather together to remember the events that took place that fateful night, I hope you will join us for this special time of worship.  Then I invite you to make plans to join us Sunday morning as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. There are two opportunities to worship with us Sunday one at our Sunrise service at 7 am (followed by breakfast provided by the Men’s Brotherhood of the church) and then again at our Celebration service at 10.30 am. I hope you will join us and I encourage you to bring a friend with you.

He is risen, He is risen indeed!

Pastor Mike

Music for Sunday 3/24/13

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.
–Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)

On Palm Sunday, the crowd at Jerusalem shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.”  This week at our commemoration of Palm Sunday, we’ll sing similar words.  But there’s a major difference between our words and those of many in that crowd at Jerusalem.

Here’s the difference: we have the full picture now.

We see throughout the gospels that not many people understood who or what Jesus was during His life on earth.  They saw Him as a teacher, a rabbi, a prophet–or a troublemaker.  They saw a man who performed unbelievable signs and wonders, but they did not fully understand what He came to earth to do.  The whole chapter of John 7 gives a good picture of the public attitude toward Jesus at the time.  In John 12:16, even His disciples had no idea what was going on as He rode into Jerusalem.

But now, as believers, we have the full picture–to the extent that our human minds can understand it.  We have the testimony of Jesus Himself, fulfilled through His death and resurrection, and the testimony of His apostles and those who saw Him on earth, preserved for us in scripture.  We have the Holy Spirit with us now to speak to our hearts.  We can see that He was the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies (even the people’s inability to believe was a fulfillment of prophecy, we read in John 12:37-41), and we can understand that instead of coming to set up an earthly kingdom, His kingdom is not of this world.  Instead of coming to free the Jews from Roman rule, He came to free all who believe–from sin and death and eternal punishment.  We no longer wonder, “Who is this man?”  We know.  He is our Savior and Redeemer.

Wonderful, merciful Savior, precious Redeemer and Friend;
Who would have thought that a Lamb could rescue the souls of men?
You are the One that we praise, You are the One we adore.
You give the healing and grace our hearts always hunger for.
–Wonderful, Merciful Savior

But there’s also sadness in our knowledge of the full picture, because unlike the disciples and the crowd praising Him that day, we know what’s coming next.  That’s why our service will progress from the choir’s triumphant opening and our own songs of “Hosanna” to close with these words:

For me it was in the garden He prayed, “Not My will, but Thine.”
He had no tears for His own griefs, but sweat drops of blood for mine.

He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them His very own.
He bore the burden to Calvary, and suffered and died alone.
–I Stand Amazed in the Presence

And the next time we gather, it will be not with Palm Sunday’s joy and triumph but the stark contrast of our Good Friday service, where we’ll sing together:

I’ll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross.
–Here I Am to Worship

This is where we must confront the for ourselves: why we can worship and sing praises triumphantly.  Our freedom came with a cost, a cost we can’t begin to understand.

Hosanna (Praise Is Rising): words and music by Brenton Brown and Paul Baloche.  Copyright 2006 Thankyou Music (PRS)/Integrity’s Hosanna! Music.  Wonderful, Merciful Savior: words by Dawn Rodgers and Eric Wyse and music by Dawn Rodgers.  Copyright 1989 Word Music, LLC/Dayspring Music, LLC.  Here I Am to Worship: words and music by Tim Hughes.  Copyright 2001 Thankyou Music (PRS).

Behold…a Triumphal Entry

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, the day we celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. It is also the beginning of our Holy Week services which will include our Palm Sunday celebration as well as a Good Friday service at 6.30 this coming Friday and our celebration services on Resurrection Sunday (Easter) at 7 am and 10.30 am. I would like to invite each and everyone of you to join us for this special week of services. I would also encourage you to invite your friends, family and neighbors to join us as well.

This Sunday our primary passage of scripture will come from John 12.12-26 as we study the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into the city. This is one of the few stories that we find in all of the Gospels and it is also good to look at the other accounts as well (Matthew 21:1-17Mark 11:1-11Luke 19:29-40) . Jesus entered the city that day with a purpose, he knew His time was approaching. He triumphantly rode in on the back of a donkey to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah 9.9. Join us this Sunday as we look to see what we can learn from this and the impact it can have on our lives.

Blessings,

Pastor Mike

Music for Sunday 3/17/13

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

All I once held dear, built my life upon,
All this world reveres and wars to own;
All I once thought gain I have counted loss;
Spent and worthless now compared to this:

Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You; there is no greater thing.
You’re my all, You’re the best, You’re my joy, my righteousness,
And I love You, Lord.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Now my heart’s desire is to know You more,
To be found in You and known as Yours;
To possess by faith what I could not earn,
All-surpassing gift of righteousness.

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Oh, to know the power of Your risen life,
And to know You in Your sufferings;

To become like You in Your death, my Lord;
So with You to live and never die.

Knowing You is one of my favorite texts for demonstrating the difference in our lives before and after knowing Jesus, as well as these verses from In Christ Alone:

And as He stands in victory sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ!

No guilt in life, no fear in death; this is the power of Christ in me.
From life’s first cry to final breath Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand;
‘Til He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I’ll stand!

Old things have passed away and new things have come!  We’re no longer bound by the things the world tells us are important, things that bring no fulfillment or true happiness.  We’re no longer bound by fear, or guilt, or the grip of sin.

And why?  God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them.

Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
And buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever:
One day He’s coming–O glorious day!

Our special music this week will be the Casting Crowns song Glorious Day.  This is an old hymn text in a contemporary setting, portraying the life and work of Jesus from His birth to His death to His–and our–final victory.

We’re going to close this service, our last Lenten service before Palm Sunday, with How Deep the Father’s Love for Us, a meditation on the great love and the great cost that made our new life possible.

How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure;
That He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss; the Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One bring many sons to glory.

I will not boast in anything: no gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ; His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?  I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart: His wounds have paid my ransom.

Special thanks to Anita for bringing our special music, and to Steve, Allen, Tanner, and Summer for sharing your time and your gifts these past several weeks.

And as hard as it is to believe, next Sunday will be Palm Sunday, and the week after that is Easter.  I want to encourage you to worship with us at all our Holy Week services, and to invite someone to join you–many people who don’t regularly attend church are more open to attending at Easter.  Come join us, and if you don’t know what it is to be a new creation, if you haven’t found this freedom and victory, talk to us.  See Pastor Mike or me.  Find out how you can say these words:

And as He stands in victory sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ!

Knowing You: words and music by Graham Kendrick.  Copyright 1994 Make Way Music.  In Christ Alone: words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.  Copyright 2002 Thankyou Music (PRS).  Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me): words by J. Wilbur Chapman, additional words by Michael Bleecker and Mark Hall, and music by Michael Bleeker and Mark Hall.  Copyright 2009 My Refuge Music/Club Zoo Music/Be Essentioal Songs/Word Music, LLC.  How Deep the Father’s Love for Us: words and music by Stuart Townend.  Copyright 1995 Thankyou Music (PRS).

The Power to Change Lives

Behold the power of Jesus to change lives! As we continue our Lent sermon series this week we will look at the power of Jesus to change lives. I do not think that anyone who has trusted in Jesus would deny the change that takes place. But what does the Bible say about that change and how does it manifest itself in our daily lives? How are we really changed after we trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior?

The Bible tells us that after we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior…that is we have believed in our heart and confessed with our mouth that He is Lord and King, the Son of God…we are a new creation. Think about that…we are made new into what we were originally intended to be. Not a people who are perfect, but a people that live for God and not for ourselves. Our scripture passage this week will come from 2 Corinthians 5. We also will get to hear the personal testimony of how God has changed a life. I hope you will join us this Sunday at 11 am as we worship the Lord in spirit and in truth and find out more about the power that Jesus has to change lives and the change that takes place when we trust in Him.

Blessings,

Pastor Mike

Music for Sunday 3/10/13

I believe You’re my Healer, I believe You are all I need.
I believe You’re my Portion, I believe You’re more than enough for me.
Jesus, You’re all I need.

Bekki Johnson will be bringing our special music this Sunday (thanks so much, Bekki!) with this song, Healer.  I met with her this week to practice and as I listened to the message of such strong faith contained in these words, I found myself thinking: do we really have faith like that?  Do we truly believe that Jesus is all we need?

As humans, it’s easy to fall into thinking that we can solve our own problems, or that we know what’s best for ourselves–which is essentially setting ourselves up as being wiser or stronger than God! And what’s the result?  When times of trouble come, we don’t know what’s best.  We don’t know what the future holds.  We chase the empty ideas and philosophies of man that the world offers, and find no true strength or hope.

Jesus asks, “Where is your faith?”

You hold my every moment, You calm my raging sea,
You walk with me through fire and heal all my disease.

I trust in You, I trust in You.
–Healer

We have the privilege to personally know and serve the Almighty God, who is both the maker of the universe and the one who knows and loves us each individually.  That’s the theme of our opening songs for this service:

Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Has thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?
–Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail:
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end;
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!
–O Worship the King

I have a Maker, He formed my heart.
Before even time began my life was in His hands.
He knows my name, He knows my every thought.
He sees each tear that falls, and hears me when I call.
–He Knows My Name

I’ll be playing an arrangement of Day by Day for the prelude, which I chose specifically for this service because of the words to this hymn:

Day by day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best–

Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure, mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day the Lord Himself is near me with a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Power.
The protection of His child and treasure is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,” this the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in every tribulation so to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting, e’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting, till I reach the Promised Land.

We’ll also sing Compassion Hymn, by Stuart Townend and Keith and Kristyn Getty, which follows the earthly life of Jesus and His great love for us as…

  • He came to save us:

There is an everlasting kindness You lavished on us
When the Radiance of heaven came to rescue the lost;
You called the sheep without a shepherd to leave their distress
For Your streams of forgiveness and the shade of Your rest.

  • He healed people and ministered to their needs:

And with compassion for the hurting, You reached out Your hand
As the lame ran to meet You and the dead breathed again;
You saw behind the eyes of sorrow and shared in our tears,
Heard the sigh of the weary, let the children draw near.

  • and He showed compassion even in His last hours, as He made the ultimate sacrifice for us:

We stood beneath the cross of Calvary and gazed on Your face,
At the thorns of oppression and the wounds of disgrace;
For surely You have borne our suffering and carried our grief
As You pardoned the scoffer and showed grace to the thief.

…and finishes with our responsibility: as we have been shown this great compassion, we must share it with others.

How beautiful the feet that carry this gospel of peace
To the fields of injustice and the valleys of need.
To be a voice of hope and healing, to answer the cries
Of the hungry and helpless with the mercy of Christ.

What boundless love, what fathomless grace
You have shown us, O God of compassion!
Each day we live an offering of praise
As we show to the world Your compassion.

We’ll close with My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness.  Let’s make this a corporate statement of faith in our almighty, compassionate Healer:

My heart is filled with thankfulness to Him who walks beside;
Who floods my weaknesses and strengths and causes fear to fly;
Whose every promise is enough for every step I take,
Sustaining me with arms of love and crowning me with grace.

Healer: words and music by Mike Guglielmucci.  Copyright 2007 Planet Shakers Ministries, International, Inc.  He Knows My Name: words and music by Tommy Walker.  Copyright 1996 Doulos Publishing (BMI).  Compassion Hymn: words and music by Stuart Townend, Keith Getty and Kristyn Lennox Getty.  Copyright 2009 Thankyou Music (PRS).  My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness: words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.  Copyright 2006 Thankyou Music (PRS).

Behold the Power to Heal

This week in our worship service we continue our look at the power of Jesus. As we look upon Him and behold the power He has we see he has the power to heal. Our primary passage of scripture comes from John 5.1-18. In this passage we see Jesus address and heal a man who had been “ill for thirty-eight years”. Not only did he heal him but he did so on the Sabbath, which broke all of the customs and laws forbidding “work” on the Sabbath.

There is so much we could learn from this passage of scripture and many things we could discuss. But it is my hope that we will see that Jesus has the power to heal. Life is full of ailments and illnesses and certainly they are not limited in scope to the physical ailments we face. Jesus has the power to heal our spiritual illnesses, emotional illnesses, and relational illnesses in addition to the physical illnesses we have to deal with in life. I hope you can join us this Sunday as we “Behold the Power of Jesus”.

Pastor Mike

March Newsletter

The March newsletter is available here.

Music for Sunday 3/3/13

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.

We Praise You, O God, Our Redeemer is one of my favorite hymns for opening a service.  What better way to begin corporate worship than to sing these words together as a body:

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.

This week, as we look at the story of Jesus calming the sea in Luke 8:22-25, I chose this hymn specifically for its second verse:

We worship You, God of our fathers, we bless You;
Through life’s storm and tempest our Guide You have been.
When peril overtake us, You will not forsake us.
And with Your help, O Lord, our battles we win.

We’ll follow with Still, a song by Reuben Morgan that combines this theme with the words from Psalm 46:10: Be still and know that I am God.

Hide me now under Your wings. 
Cover me within Your mighty hand.

Find rest, my soul, in Christ alone.
Know His power in quietness and trust.

When the oceans rise and thunders roar,
I will soar with You above the storm;
Father, You are King over the flood,
I will be still and know You are God.

What storms and tempests are you facing in your life right now?  What a blessing to know that the one who has power over nature, the one with power to heal the sick, the one with power over death and the grave, is our Guide, our King, and our Redeemer!  I’m reminded of the words the choir sang last week: Never once did we ever walk alone.  Never once did You leave us on our own.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
“It is well, it is well with my soul.”
–It Is Well with My Soul

We’ll be singing a new hymn this week: The Man Who Calmed the Sea by Stuart Townend, the writer of How Deep the Father’s Love for Us and co-writer of In Christ Alone.  I only recently discovered this song, and my response on finding it was, “Why on earth did I not know about this song before?”  I’m actually not going to post the words here this time, because I want to save them for you to discover as the message of the song unfolds.  You’ll just have to come to the service to experience them for yourself!

Please do come and join us.  Come to worship, give thanks, and sing: Through life’s storm and tempest our Guide You have been!

Still: words and music by Reuben Morgan.  Copyright 2002 Reuben Morgan/Hillsong Publishing.