Preparing for Worship – Apr 19

From Mark Hoffman
This Holy Week, we have focused our attention on Christ, moving from Palm Sunday ever closer to the cross. Now, we center our attention on all that the cross of Christ means for us as we gather for a Good Friday service of worship we are calling “Journey to the Cross.” Through Scripture, songs, and Communion, this “Journey to the Cross” will allow us to reflect on the Purpose of Christ, the Passion of Christ, and the meaning of his cross for us as the People of Christ. Our Good Friday service begins at 7:00pm.
 
Then…
 

It’s Easter Sunday! We celebrate the triumphant resurrection of Jesus in song, with the final, victorious verse of Jerusalem revealing the empty tomb, and leading us to declare that Christ the Lord Is Risen Today! Scripture from Romans 6:4 and Galatians 2:20 will remind us of the life that we have in the living and risen Lord Jesus, prompting us to sing Glorious Day. Colossians 3:1-17 will lead into our Fellowship Greeting, and then we will continue proclaiming the gospel in song with Living Hope.  

After our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids 5 years old through 4th grade are invited to attend) Pastor Andrew will continue our Gospel of John sermon series with a message from John 2:22-3:36 entitled “Remember and Believe.” Our response together in song is Because He Lives (Amen). We will continue our response of worship through our Giving, and conclude our service with some brief announcements and a Benediction.
 

Continue to draw near to Christ through prayerful reading of the Journey to the Cross devotional guide, and prepare your heart for gathered worship by reflecting on the Scripture and songs above.   I’m looking forward to worshiping and exalting Christ with you in our services this week. See you then…   Mark  

 


Preparing for Worship – Apr 5

From Mark Hoffman

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16

We are excited about many things this week… first, we want to highlight our AWANA ministry this Sunday! You’ll see some of our AWANA clubbers and leaders present and helping out in various ways, and we will have an opportunity to hear about and pray for this fantastic ministry to kids as our service progresses.    
 

 This week we are also very much excited to begin a new sermon series in the Gospel of John. Beginning now and continuing through the end of the summer, we will examine one chapter each week from this rich, biblical narrative of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Our first song, Grace On Top Of Grace, echoes the opening verses of John and leads us into worship of Christ. We will read and reflect on the foundational truths from John 1 and continue in worshipful response with Here for You and How Great Thou Art. Children’s Church will have a distinctly AWANA flavor this week, and all kids 5 years old through 4th grade are invited to attend.   Then, Pastor Andrew will begin our new sermon series with a message from John 1 entitled “The Word Became Flesh.”  We will remember Christ as we take Communion together, and respond in song with What a Beautiful Name. Concluding our worship will be a time of Giving, some brief announcements, and a Benediction.

 
 

You will also notice a slightly new approach to the way we do our time of Giving, though it’s not really “new” at all, just something that hasn’t been part of our worship flow in recent years. In an effort to fully embrace our giving as an act of worship, we will share in a responsive prayer before the offering, and then have one of our elders pray over our gifts afterwards. I really like these thoughts about the purpose of offering in worship from The Worship Sourcebook:     The offering is a vital part of our response to God and God’s Word. It helps us connect our adoration for God with our life of discipleship. The money given at the offering is a token and symbol of our desire to devote our whole selves to God’s service in response to God’s loving faithfulness to us. It is symbolic of the many other gifts we should return to the Lord: time, possessions, talents, insights, and concern for others. The word offering implies something freely given, something presented as a token of dedication or devotion. Everything we have is a gift from God, and our offerings are a way of acknowledging God as the giver. Take care not to refer to this act of worship as the “collection,” which can imply that it is gathering money to defray expenses. Quite the contrary—the purpose of the offering is to offer our first fruits to God, to render to God a sacrifice of praise.*

 
 

Our gathered worship is a time of receiving and responding. Will you come prepared to do both? Take some time to reflect on the Scripture and songs above. Prepare your heart and mind to receive God’s Word and to respond to it through prayers, praises, giving, serving, and caring for one another. From Christ’s fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. In response, let’s live out the fullness of the gospel together.

 
 

See you on Sunday,

Mark
 
 
*Reprinted by permission from The Worship Sourcebook, Second Edition, © 2013, Faith Alive Christian Resources.


Preparing for Worship – Mar 29

from Mark Hoffman

 

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me…

I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me.”

We begin this week by proclaiming in song that we believe that Jesus is The Way, the Truth and the Life. Since our whole life and mission as a church revolves around Jesus Christ, we come together to proclaim our faith in him and to worship him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. No matter what has happened during the week, let’s bring our troubled hearts to Christ and rejoice in what he has done for us as we sing Today Is the Day and Resurrection Power.   This is our final Sunday of March Missions Madness! This week, as part of our focus on global missions, we highlight Compassion International. After a special Kids’ Time, Pastor Andrew will bring our March Missions Madness series to a close with a message from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 entitled, “Bring An Underdog Mentality.” We will respond together in song with Who You Say I Am, and conclude our service with a time of Giving, some brief announcements, and a Benediction.   Find some quiet moments to prayerfully reflect on the Scripture and songs above. Prepare your heart and mind to humbly come before Jesus together in worship. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.   A couple of reminders…. Don’t forget to stick around after the service for the Fellowship Lunch and Easter Egg-Stravaganza egg-stuffing for the Easter Egg Hunt!

 
 
Also, remember to pick up a copy of the “Journey to the Cross” devotional guide for Holy Week. These will be available at the welcome center beginning this Sunday. We want to use these guides as a church to help inform our worship as we approach Good Friday and Easter.
 
 
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday! Mark


Preparing for worship – Mar 22

from Mark Hoffman

I am blessed, I am called, I am healed, I am whole

I am saved in Jesus’ name

We gather once again this week to worship the Lord for all that he has done for us! As we begin by singing God You’re So Good, we proclaim the goodness of our God in all that he has given to us through faith in Jesus Christ. The familiar, yet powerful truth of John 3:16 reminds us of the love, life and forgiveness shown to us in Christ, and we respond again in song with My Victory and Nailed to the Cross.     

 

As March Missions Madness continues here at MCF, we are extremely excited to have missionaries Clint and Vivienne Smith with us! We will hear an update from them, and following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids 5 years old through 4th grade are invited to attend) Clint will preach a message from Matthew 16:24-28. Our response to the Word will be the song The Wonderful Cross. To close out our service, we will worship through our Giving, and conclude with some brief announcements and a Benediction.    
 
Take some time this weekend to prayerfully reflect on the Scripture above. Familiarize yourself with the songs so that we can join our voices in response to the Lord. Please be in prayer for our leaders, our worship team (Dan Kyriak and Jim Herold are leading this week) as well as our missionaries. When we gather with our hearts and minds prepared for worship, it’s like an invitation to the Lord to work powerfully in his church.     
 
Looking even further ahead, I wanted to give you a little idea of what we are preparing for at MCF as Good Friday and Easter are fast approaching! Starting on Sunday, March 31st, we will be making available a Lent/Easter devotional guide called “Journey to the Cross.” (You can find a preview of the guide here.) The guide contains daily devotional thoughts from a variety of Christian leaders and writers beginning the day before Palm Sunday and continuing through the day after Easter Sunday. We hope that using this guide together as a fellowship will inform our worship and our conversations as we move through Holy Week together. We will observe Good Friday together with a time of worship we are also calling “Journey to the Cross.” Our theme for Easter Sunday, “Remember and Believe,” is taken from John 2:22. There is much to look forward to, and much to be in prayer about as well.  
 
I look forward to worshiping together with you all this Sunday! Mark


Preparing for Worship – Mar 15

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23:6

This Old Testament verse proclaims New Testament truth… that God continually pursues us with goodness and mercy through Jesus Christ, and that by faith in him we have the promise of eternal life with him! This week, we begin our time of worship by singing Goodness Love and Mercy and reading together the truth of Psalm 23. The songs How Deep the Father’s Love and Your Love Defends Me help us to frame our response to this truth in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 
Following a video update from missionaries Dave & Andrea Hutchings and our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids 5 years old through 4th grade are invited to attend) Pastor Andrew brings us a message from Matthew 7:1-6 entitled “Guard Against Overconfidence.”  We will respond together in song with Lord I Need You. Following our regular time of Giving and some brief announcements, we will pray for and send off our short-term Japan missions team, and be sent out ourselves with a Benediction.
 

Find a few quiet moments this weekend to reflect on the gospel message of the songs and Scriptures above. Prepare your heart and mind for gathered worship of our great God and Savior. Be in prayer for our time together, for our church, for our leaders, and for our missionaries. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!



Preparing for Worship – Mar 8

from Mark Hoffman

To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus,

called to be saints together with all those who in every place

call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:2-3

As we read these words of Paul addressing the church in Corinth, we hear Scripture directly addressing us as well. For we also are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints, gathering this week along with believers across the globe to call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are united in worship because of the gospel of Jesus – the message of life and forgiveness through faith in him. The song Nailed to the Cross gathers us around the message of the gospel as we begin our time of worship this week. Then, 1 Corinthians 1:2-3 leads us to respond together in worship with And Can It Be and Grace Alone.  

 
 

Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids 5 years old through 4th grade are invited to attend) and a short video profile of Elder candidate Bill Buchanan, we are excited to welcome church planting partner Josh Young as he preaches God’s Word to us from Matthew 5:43-48. Responding to Christ’s command to love our enemies, we sing Build My Life. We will also worship through our Giving, and conclude with some brief announcements and a Benediction.       Will you prepare for gathered worship this week? Prayerfully reflect on the Scripture and songs above. Prepare to gather as God’s people to call on his name together, and to experience and celebrate the grace and peace that is in Christ Jesus.  

 
 

See you on Sunday, Mark 



Preparing for Worship – Mar 1

from Mark Hoffman

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing,

but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18

The saving power of the gospel brings us together for worship once again this week! It is the gospel of Christ that wrapped up our Explore God series, and it is this same message of life and forgiveness in Christ that brings us into our month-long focus on missions we are calling March Missions Madness!  We begin by proclaiming the truth of the gospel and responding in praise as we sing Resurrection Power, This Is Amazing Grace, and Living Hope. Then, as our first official guests of March Missions Madness, we have the pleasure of welcoming Marty and Susan Larsen on the occasion of their retirement from ministry.

 
Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids 5 years old through 4th grade are invited to attend) Pastor Andrew will kick off our missions-focused sermon series with a message from 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 entitled “Focus on the Fundamentals.” We will take Communion together, respond in song with Man Of Sorrows, and conclude with a time of Giving, some brief announcements, and a Benediction.  
 
 
We are excited about March Missions Madness! Please prepare for our worship gathering by prayerfully reflecting on the gospel truth of the Scripture and songs above. Pray for our missions focus this month. Pray that the Lord would build us up as a church and use us to reach out to our community and to the world with the powerful, saving message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
 
 
See you on Sunday! Mark


Preparing for Worship – Feb 22

from Mark Hoffman

For I am not ashamed of the gospel,

for it is the power of God for salvation

to everyone who believes.

Romans 1:16

The heartbeat of the Bible is the gospel — the message of forgiveness and new life in Jesus Christ. This gospel message isn’t just a mere collection of philosophical ideas. It is so much more. The gospel of Jesus is truth, and it is power. The song Come Thou Fount Come Thou King gathers us this week for worship, and then Romans 1:16 reminds us of the saving power of the gospel as we respond with Once And For All and Death Was Arrested.  

 
 
Following a special Kids’ Time, Pastor Andrew will wrap up the Explore God series by addressing the final question, “Can I Know God Personally?” In response, we lift our voices to sing O Come To The Altar and In Christ Alone. Concluding our service will be our regular time of Giving, some brief announcements, and a Benediction.   And don’t forget to stick around after the service for lunch and the business meeting!    
 
 
Use the Scripture and songs above to reflect on the truth and power of the gospel in your own life. As you prepare for worship in this way, also pray that the Lord would glorify himself and build us up in faith as we gather to worship him together.
 
 
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Feb 15

from Mark Hoffman

You spoke and worlds were formed, You breathed and life was born You knew that one day You would come So far from Heaven’s throne, Clothed in human form You showed the world the Father’s love

This week, we begin our worship together with the song You Gave Your Life Away. The song allows us to proclaim the same truth we explored last week – that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, who came on a rescue mission to restore our relationship with him through his death and resurrection. Scripture from 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NLT) reinforces this gospel truth and prompts us to respond in worship as we sing Hallelujah! What a Savior and Because He Lives (Amen). In light of the new life we have through faith in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) we will welcome one another with a Fellowship Greeting and continue praising him in song with Christ Is Enough.               Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids 5 years old through 4th grade are invited to attend) Pastor Andrew will continue thExplore God series by addressing the question “Is the Bible Reliable?” The answers we discover lead us to confident praise as we sing Jesus Firm Foundation. Concluding our service will be our regular time of Giving, some brief announcements, and a Benediction.               Intentionally take some time this weekend to soak in the truth of the gospel. Be reminded that Jesus Christ – fully God and fully man – came and lived a perfect life, shouldered our sins on the cross, and rose again in victory over the grave. Allow the songs and Scripture above to strengthen you in the truth of the gospel and to prepare your heart and mind for gathered worship on Sunday.               I look forward to seeing you then! Mark



Preparing for Worship – Feb 8

from Mark Hoffman

Last week as we explored the question “Is Christianity Too Narrow?” this distinction became clear: RELIGION is humanity’s attempt to reach God, but CHRISTIANITY is God’s attempt to reach humanity. God reached out to the world in the person of Jesus Christ. And Christ’s death and resurrection accomplished everything necessary to bring us, through faith, into eternally restored relationship with the true and living God. This truth is what compels us to worship this week, and it is why Jesus Christ is at the center of all of our worship — through prayer, Scripture (Galatians 2:20 and Romans 8:11) and song (Jesus, My Victory, Jesus Paid It All and Glorious Day.)

  Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids 5 years old through 4th grade are invited to attend) Pastor Andrew will continue the Explore God series by addressing the question “Is Jesus Really God?” Our response to the answers we discover will be to sing What a Beautiful Name. Concluding our service will be our regular time of Giving, some brief announcements, and a Benediction.   Take time this weekend to prepare for gathered worship. Use the Scripture and songs above to gather your thoughts and focus your heart and mind on Christ. Pray for our church, pray for our leaders, pray for our visitors, and pray for our time of worship together. May the Lord build up his church on Sunday!

 
See you then, Mark