The Deacon and the Church

This Sunday in our worship service we will have the honor to ordain several men as Deacons in our church. This is an exciting time and it continues our emphasis this month on using our gifts to serve the Lord. As we set these men apart for service and ministry in our church we do not wish to put them on a pedestal, rather we wish to acknowledge them as leaders in our church, men of good reputation, wise and full of the spirit. Men we believe God will use for ministry and service in this church and to the glory of His name.

Our primary passage of scripture this week will come from Acts 6.1-7. This is where we first see this idea of Deacons in the New Testament. As we look at this passage and others we will see the leadership and ministry of the Deacon unfold. Join us this Sunday as we worship the Lord and spend time in prayer for these men who lead and serve our church under the guidance and wisdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Pastor Mike

Music for Sunday 10/7/12

As we begin our series on discovering and using our gifts, we’re looking this week at Romans 12 with the theme of offering ourselves to God and using our gifts for His glory.  We must give ourselves completely to God and submit our will to His leading, and that’s the idea in the song We Are an Offering:

We lift our voices, we lift our hands,
We lift our lives up to You; we are an offering.
Lord, use our voices; Lord, use our hands;
Lord, use our lives, they are Yours; we are an offering.
All that we have, all that we are,
All that we hope to be, we give to You.

The choir will be singing A Living Sacrifice.  This whole song is a prayer, asking God to take us and use us to show His love.

Lord, we come to You with hearts of gratitude;
You’ve shown us how to love and how to live completely.
Help us to forgive and love as You have loved us.
Help us to be a living sacrifice,
Sharing the love and grace of Jesus Christ;
To show the love of God to all the world.
Lord, let us be a living sacrifice.

As we worship You in Spirit and in truth,
Lord, bless us with Your grace to know we are forgiven.
May we live in peace and share Your loving mercy
To show the love of God to all the world.
Lord, let us be a living sacrifice.

We have another theme this week: the observance of the Lord’s Supper.  As we share communion in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice, we’re reminded of our responsibility.  In light of His sacrifice for us, what else can we do but sacrifice ourselves to Him? 

The Wonderful Cross combines the hymn When I Survey the Wondrous Cross with a new chorus by Chris Tomlin and Jesse Reeves.  It also combines both our themes for the service: God’s gift, and our response, and it shows the result that comes of sacrificing our all to Him: the wonderful cross bids me come and die, and find that I may truly live.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Oh, the wonderful cross, oh, the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die, and find that I may truly live.
Oh, the wonderful cross, oh, the wonderful cross;
All who gather here by grace draw near, and bless Your name.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Finally, how can we remember Christ’s ultimate sacrifice without pouring out our thanks to Him?  And we show that thanks by offering ourselves as sacrifices–which is our spiritual act of worship.

My heart is filled with thankfulness to Him who bore my pain;
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace and gave me life again;
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness and clothed me in His light,
And wrote His law of righteousness with power upon my heart.

My heart is filled with thankfulness to Him who reigns above;
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace, whose every thought is love;
For every day I have on earth is given by the King.
So I will give my life, my all to love and follow Him.

We Are an Offering: words and music by Dwight Liles.  Copyright 1984 Word Music, LLC.  A Living Sacrifice: words and music by Mary McDonald.  Copyright 2012 Lorenz Publishing Company.  The Wonderful Cross: words by Isaac Watts, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, and J. D. Walt.  Music by Lowell Mason, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, and J. D. Walt.  Copyright 2000 worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Music.  My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness: words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.  Copyright 2006 Thankyou Music.  CCLI #3163058.

Gifted for Service

This Sunday in our worship service we will begin a short series emphasizing our gifts and how we can use those gifts for the Lord. The Bible makes it clear that each Christian is given spiritual gifts. These gifts are given to us as the Lord sees fit and they are intended to be used in service to Him, most often this service is in His church.

This week our message will come from Romans 12. In this passage of scripture we will begin to see how we can use the gifts the Lord has given us for His glory and in His church. Join us this Sunday as see how we all fit together as one body and in so doing serve the Lord here in His church.

Pastor Mike

October Newsletter

The October newsletter is here.

Music for Sunday 9/30/12

This Sunday, as we consider the eternal nature of God, we’ll begin and end the service with songs that are paraphrases of psalms on this subject.  These two songs span a broad spectrum of sacred music–the first is a contemporary song by Chris Tomlin from 2001 while the second is a traditional hymn by Isaac Watts from 1719–but they both use the words of the psalmist to celebrate our eternal, almighty God.

Forever is taken from Psalm 136 and uses the same structure as this psalm, repeating the refrain “His love endures forever” after each line in the verses.

________________________________________________________

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.  His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.  His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:  His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,  His love endures forever.
(Psalm 136:1-4)

Give thanks to the Lord, our God and King.
His love endures forever.
For He is good, He is above all things.
His love endures forever.

_____________________________________________________

To him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, His love endures forever.
and brought Israel out from among them, His love endures forever.
with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever.
(136:10-12)

With a mighty hand and outstretched arm,
His love endures forever.
For the life that’s been reborn;
His love endures forever.

______________________________________________________

Who made the great lights—His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.
to the One who remembered us in our low estate, His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies, His love endures forever.
and who gives food to every creature. His love endures forever.
(136:7-9, 23-25)

From the rising to the setting sun,
His love endures forever.
And by the grace of God we will carry on;
His love endures forever.

______________________________________________________

The chorus of the song says:

Forever God is faithful,
Forever God is strong,
Forever God is with us,
Forever, forever!

Now step back in time 300 years or so, when Isaac Watts published The Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament in which he versified, or paraphrased, 138 psalms including O God, Our Help in Ages Past from Psalm 90.

______________________________________________________

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Psalm 90:1-2)

O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home!

Under the shadow of Thy throne Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone, and our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood, or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God, to endless years the same.

______________________________________________________

For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. (90:4)

A thousand ages in Thy sight are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night before the rising sun.

______________________________________________________

You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning— though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered. The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. (90:5, 6, 10)

Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream dies at the opening day.

_______________________________________________________

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.  Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.  May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.  May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands. (90:14-17)

O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while life shall last, and our eternal home.

______________________________________________________

We’ll also be looking at Isaiah 46:9, which reads For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me, so we’ll be singing I Worship You, Almighty God:

I worship You, Almighty God; there is none like You.
I worship You, O Prince of Peace; that is what I want to do.
I give You praise for You are my righteousness.
I worship You, Almighty God; there is none like You.

Continuing the theme of “forever God is faithful,” we’ll sing Great Is Thy Faithfulness, which praises God for His unchanging nature and unfailing love.  The first verse is a reference to James 1:17: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God, my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou has been, Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

And no series on the attributes of God would be complete without singing Holy, Holy, Holy, the same words that are sung around God’s throne in Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! all the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who wert, and art, and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Forever: words and music by Chris Tomlin.  Copyright 2001 worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Music.  O God, Our Help in Ages Past: words by Isaac Watts and music by William Croft.  I Worship You, Almighty God: words and music by Sandra Corbett-Wood.  Copyright 1983 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music. Great Is Thy Faithfulness: words by Thomas O. Chisolm and music by William M. Runyan.  Copyright 1923,  renewed 1951 Hope Publishing Company.  Holy, Holy, Holy: words by Reginald Heber and music by John B. Dykes.  CCLI #3163058.

40 Days of Prayer

We have been talking about the 40/40 Prayer Vigil over the last couple of weeks. Today is the start of the 40 Days of prayer. I want to invite all of you to join me and other believers across our nation on this 40 day journey as we engage in prayer for our nation. As we do so let us remember the promises of God in 2 Chronicles 7.14: “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.”  You can pick up your prayer guide at various locations around the church or you can access it online at 40/40 Prayer Vigil.

This week in our worship service we will be looking at the Eternal nature of God and what that means to us. Our focal passages of scripture will be from Psalm 90.1-2 and Isaiah 46.9-10. I hope you will join us this week as we worship our Savior together and seek His face.

In His Grace…

Pastor Mike

Music for Sunday 9/23/12

This week as we consider the redemptive work of God the Son, we’ll be using hymns to celebrate our redemption.  First, I Know Whom I Have Believed:

I know not why God’s wondrous grace to me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love redeemed me for His own.

This stanza speaks to the mystery we sang of last week: the love, the grace, the sacrifice that’s beyond our understanding.  But even though we can’t fathom this kind of love, we have faith in…

…the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day (II Timothy 1:8-12).

The chorus of the hymn is taken directly from verse 12:

But “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.”

We’ll also be singing Grace Greater than Our Sin.  Look at these beautiful words:

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt,
Yonder on Calvary’s mount out-poured, there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.

This is a very familiar hymn to many of us, so it’s easy to just zip right through without giving much thought to what we’re singing.  But take a moment to consider the message here.  As the hymn goes on to say:

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide–what can avail to wash it away?
Look! there is flowing a crimson tide; whiter than snow you may be today.

Everyone is stained by sin (Romans 3:23).  The stain of our sin is dark, there’s no way to hide it from God, and there’s nothing we can do about it ourselves.  Were it not for God’s marvelous grace, we would be separated from Him forever.  Once we have received that grace, how can we keep from singing His praise?  That’s the message of our last hymn, I Will Sing of My Redeemer:

I will sing of my Redeemer and His wondrous love to me;
On the cruel cross He suffered from the curse to set me free.

I will tell the wondrous story how, my lost estate to save,
In His boundless love and mercy He the ransom freely gave.

I will praise my dear Redeemer; His triumphant power I’ll tell,
How the victory He giveth over sin and death and hell.

I will sing of my Redeemer and His heavenly love for me;
He from death to life hath brought me, Son of God, with Him to be.

Sing, O sing of my Redeemer, with His blood He purchased me.
On the cross He sealed my pardon, paid the debt and made me free.

What a privilege that we can gather together to sing these words and worship our Redeemer and Deliverer!

But maybe you’re reading this and you’ve never received this grace.  Maybe you’re still stained by sin.  Maybe you have no idea what we’re talking about!  If that’s true for you, please come join us on Sunday.  Talk to me or to Pastor Mike.  We can help you find out more about the way to redemption.  Here’s the last verse of Grace Greater than Our Sin:

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face, will you this moment His grace receive?

Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within!
Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater than all our sin!

I Know Whom I Have Believed: words by Daniel W. Whittle and music by James McGranahan.  Grace Greater than Our Sin: words by Julia H. Johnston and music by Daniel B. Towner.  I Will Sing of My Redeemer: words by Philip P. Bliss and music by Rowland H. Prichard.  CCLI # 3163058.

God the Son, our Redeemer

In last week’s message we took at look at God the Father and what it meant that we can call on Him intimately as our Father in heaven. This week we will take a look at God the Son, more specifically we will take a look at the redemptive work of Jesus Christ as God’s own Son who came to redeem us from our sins. We will be looking at two passages of scripture: in Romans 3.21-26 we will see our need for redemption and in 1 Peter 1.17-23 we take a look at the great value there is in the redemptive work of Christ.

How great it is to know that Christ has come to pay the price for our sins so that through faith in Him we can be brought back into a right relationship with our Father in heaven. Join us this Sunday as we celebrate the redemptive work of Christ our Savior who died on the cross for our sins.

Pastor Mike

Music for Sunday 9/16/12

A mystery is revealed to the universe.  That’s a line from the song Children of God.  And what is the mystery?

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

We are free from the judgment that we deserve.  We were God’s enemies, and now we are His children, joint heirs with His own Son, Jesus.  This is love that we can never understand.  This is the mystery.  How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (I John 3:1)

And although this is a joyful thought, it’s a sobering one as well.  What did it cost for us to be delivered from judgment?

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.

Behold the Man upon a cross, my sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me life; I know that it is finished.

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.

It was my sin that held Him there.  Why should I gain from His reward?  Here is the mystery again.  We were lost, in darkness, sinful.  And yet God loved us enough to sacrifice His own Son to pay our ransom.  And now we can sing, as in 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.

The adult and children’s choirs sang Children of God a few weeks ago, and now this Sunday we invite you as the congregation to join us in these words as we celebrate our Father’s love.  I highly recommend watching the band Third Day’s music video for this song.  Watch it all the way to the end…and rejoice in your adoption!

Children of God: words by Mac Powell; music by Mac Powell, Tai Anderson, David Carr, and Mark Lee. Copyright 2010 Songs from the Quarry.  How Deep the Father’s Love for Us: words and music by Stuart Townend.  Copyright 1995 Thankyou Music.  CCLI # 3163058.

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

Load more