Preparing for Worship – Nov 8

from Mark Hoffman

Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples!

For great is his steadfast love toward us,

and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!   Psalm 117
 
 
We gather this week to worship our God of love and faithfulness. We begin by hearing God proclaim Himself to us through Scripture in Exodus 34:5-8. We then respond back to Him in worship by declaring in song Your Grace Is Enough and by lifting up the words of Psalm 117 in praise. This Psalm again points us to the love and faithfulness of God and further fuels our worship as we sing Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Beginning To End).
 
 
God’s Word from 1 John 1:5-9 reminds us that God’s greatest demonstration of love and faithfulness is seen in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is in Christ alone that we find restored fellowship with God and fellowship with one another. Our Fellowship Greeting time is a response to this truth.
 
 
This week, we want to take a special opportunity during our service to thank all of our veterans this Veterans Day. Following some brief announcements and our Children’s Church dismissal we will collect offerings and Connection Cards during our regular time of Giving. As we learn a new song, Hymn of the Holy Spirit, may it prepare us to hear God’s Word as Pastor Andrew continues his Holy Spirit sermon series with a message entitled “The Holy Spirit and Fellowship.” His sermon text will be 2 Corinthians 13:11-14.
 
 
The song As You Go sends us out in the power of the Spirit to give glory to God with our lives.
 
 
This weekend, will you prepare your heart and mind for worship? Prayerfully reflect on the Scripture and songs above, and come with a sense anticipation as we gather in the presence of the living God to worship him for who he is and for all that he has done for us in Jesus Christ!
 
See you on Sunday,
Mark


Preparing for Worship – Oct 25

from Mark Hoffman

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith

and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God,

waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.  

Jude 20-21

These verses, tucked away in one of the shortest books in the Bible, portray an incredibly rich picture of what gathered worship is all about. As we gather this week, we desire for our worship to reflect this picture which God has painted for us. We will begin together with a responsive prayer, and then continue our prayers with a new song, Spirit of the Living God, asking that the Holy Spirit would move in us and speak to us, and that we would hear his voice clearly. Our Scripture reading from 2 Timothy 3:10-17 reminds us that God speaks to us most clearly through Scripture, which is breathed out by the Holy Spirit and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. We respond to this truth singing Jesus Firm Foundation and Build My Life. Following some brief announcements and our regular time of Giving, Erik Hildebrandt will lead a special Kids’ Time for our children which will include an exciting Catch the Wave project update. Then, Pastor Andrew continues his Holy Spirit series with a message from 2 Timothy 3:16-17 entitled “The Holy Spirit and the Word.” We close in response singing Spirit of the Living God. Worship is not passive; it’s active. And not only is worship active, but it is interactive. I say this because in order for us to truly experience all that God has for us in our gathered worship we must both give and receive. As receivers, we come as the people of God to experience the presence of God and to receive his grace, peace, and truth. As givers, we come to open our hearts and to humbly give all of ourselves to him and to offer him the praise and adoration that he so richly deserves. In addition, we must come ready to give to and receive from one another. We are called to love and to encourage, to serve and to build one another up. We must come ready to give these things and more. And we must come willing and ready to receive these things from others as well. Prayerfully reflect on the Scripture and songs for this week. Prepare to come and gather for worship on Sunday as one who receives and as one who gives – both to and from the Lord as well as to and from one another. See you on Sunday, Mark



Preparing for Worship – Nov 1

from Mark Hoffman

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us,

that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” 1 John 3:1

 
 
We gather this week to once again experience together the love and grace of our God and to respond in worship. We begin by singing praise to our Good Good Father and proclaiming that we are his beloved children. Scripture from 1 John 3:1 and Romans 8:15-16 affirms this truth and leads us to respond with How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.
 
The extravagant love of God is most gloriously displayed in the message of the gospel. The atoning death of Christ on the cross purchased forgiveness and eternal life for all who believe, and we come to remember this gospel truth at the Communion table.
 
At MCF, we invite all believers in Christ to take of the bread and cup. Please hold the elements when they are passed so that we may take them together as an expression of our unity as redeemed children of God in Christ Jesus. We will respond together with the Lord’s Prayer and in song with New Doxology.
 
Following a few brief announcements, we get to hear an update on all that God is doing in our Game Night ministry. After Children’s Church dismissal (all kids 5 years old through 4th grade are invited to attend) and our regular time of Giving, Pastor Andrew continues our Holy Spirit sermon series with a message entitled “The Holy Spirit and Prayer.” His sermon text will be Ephesians 6:18 and Romans 8:12-17.
 
Our closing response is a prayer in song to the Holy Spirit. The final verse of the song Holy Spirit goes this way:
 

Holy Spirit from creation’s birth Giving life to all that God has made Show Your power once again on earth Cause Your church to hunger for Your ways Let the fragrance of our prayers arise Lead us on the road of sacrifice That in unity the face of Christ May be clear for all the world to see

 
Will you pray in this way? Use the songs and Scriptures above to prepare for gathered worship this Sunday. As you do, pray that we would all hunger for the ways of the Spirit in our midst, and that our unity in worship would clearly show the beauty of Christ to the world.
 
 
See you on Sunday,
 
Mark


Preparing for Worship – Oct 18

from Mark Hoffman

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

I owe everything to Him

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Hallelujah to my King

Worship is a time to receive, remember, and respond to the truth of the gospel. We gather to be reminded that Jesus Christ is our Savior and King, and that we owe everything to him! These are the words we declare together as we respond in worship, singing Hallelujah to My King. The story of Jesus from Luke 4:16-21 reminds us that Christ came not only to proclaim good news but also to be the fulfillment of that good news. Through his death on the cross and his victorious resurrection, we have forgiveness and eternal life through faith in him. We continue to praise our Savior and proclaim the good news in song with Living Hope and Who You Say I Am. Following a few brief announcements, we are pleased to welcome Tony Piantine for an update on all that God is doing at Camp Daniel. After Children’s Church dismissal (all kids 5 years old through 4th grade are invited to attend) and our regular time of Giving, Pastor Andrew continues our Holy Spirit sermon series with a message entitled “The Holy Spirit – God Through Us.” His text will be taken from John 20:21 and Luke 4:14-19. Our closing response, This I Believe, is a sung declaration of our faith in the Lord. As we have gathered to receive, remember, and respond to the truth of the gospel, we are sent out to proclaim this truth to a world that so desperately needs to hear it. Worship pastor and author Bob Kauflin writes, “There’s no strict divide between evangelism and worship. Evangelism, or telling others the good news of the gospel, is simply praising God in front of those who don’t know him.”  Receiving, remembering, and responding to the truth of the gospel isn’t just confined to an hour on Sunday mornings – it’s how we are called to live every day of our lives. It affects how we work, how we love our families, and how we treat our neighbors. All of life is worship; gathered worship on Sunday morning gives us the chance to express that worship together in the presence of the God who loves us and saved us. This weekend, prayerfully reflect on the Scripture and songs above. Pray for all those involved in leading the worship service (Eryn Bee and Dan Kyriak will be leading worship this week) and for all who will attend. Prepare your heart and mind to receive, remember, and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. See you on Sunday! Mark



Preparing for Worship – Oct 10

from Mark Hoffman

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

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God

that was given you in Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:3-4

 

The apostle Paul talks quite a lot about grace throughout the New Testament. In his greeting to the Corinthians we see just how much God’s grace in Christ is at the front of his mind. Grace, simply put, is a gift God gives that is totally undeserved. With this definition in mind, if we began to list the many graces of God to us, we would never reach the end of the list! He keeps on giving to us more than we could ever deserve, and at the top of that list of graces is our life and salvation in Jesus Christ. This week, we will remember and respond to God’s grace in prayer and in song, singing Grace Greater Than Our Sin and Grace Alone. Romans 8:1-4; 9-11 further emphasizes the gift of life that we have in Christ as we respond with Because He Lives (Amen).

 
Following a few brief announcements and a Catch the Wave update from Erik Hildebrandt, we will pray for and dismiss all kids 5 years old through 4th grade to Children’s Church. Then, after our regular time of Giving, Pastor Andrew continues our Holy Spirit sermon series with a message entitled “The Holy Spirit – God In Us.” His sermon text will be Romans 8:1-11.
 
 
God raises us to new and abundant life through faith in Christ by powerful working of his Spirit in us. Responding to this incredible truth together, we close by singing Glorious Day.
 
Paul said that he was giving thanks to God always because of the grace given to us in Christ. Can you try to adopt that attitude this week? Start seeing God’s grace toward you in the everyday things of life. And be sure to set aside a few quiet moments this weekend to prepare your heart for gathered worship on Sunday as we come before the Lord together to remember, receive, and respond to his amazing grace toward us in Jesus Christ.
 

See you on Sunday! Mark



Preparing for Worship – Oct 4

From Mark Hoffman

Save us, O Lord our God… that we may give thanks to your holy name

and glory in your praise. Psalm 106:47

We gather once again this week as people saved by God for a purpose — to thank and praise our Lord and Savior in all that we are and all that we do. Our reading from Psalm 106 calls us to worship our saving God as we respond in song with Our God Saves.
 
The truth of the gospel is that our God saves because we need rescuing! Ephesians 2:4-5 reminds us that we were dead in sin, but God has given us new life in Jesus Christ. We will enter into this gospel truth together, first by coming before the Lord in repentant prayer, then by rejoicing in God’s gift of life and salvation through Christ as we proclaim This Is Amazing Grace. All of this leads our hearts and minds to the communion table. At MCF, we invite all believers in Christ to take of the bread and cup. Please hold the elements when they are passed so that we may take them together as an expression of the fellowship that we share in Jesus. Our response in song is to declare the Living Hope we have in Christ.
 
Following a few brief announcements, we will pray for and dismiss all kids 5 years through 4th grade to Children’s Church. Then, after our regular time of Giving, Pastor Andrew begins a new series focused on the Holy Spirit with a message entitled “The Holy Spirit – God With Us.” His text will be from John 14:15-16 and 16:1-15. Our closing response is a prayer set to music, Holy Spirit.
 
I like to define worship as being a “Spirit-enabled response to the truth of who God is and all that he has done for us in Jesus Christ.” God desires for these responses of worship to be woven through every moment of our lives. He also desires for us to gather regularly as his children to respond in worship together. Please take some time to prayerfully reflect on the Scriptures and songs above. Allow the Spirit of God to lead you in worshipful response to God’s person, presence, works, and Word… in the everyday moments of life and then overflowing in gathered worship together on Sunday.
 
I look forward to worshiping with you…
Mark


Preparing for Worship – Sept 27

from Mark Hoffman

All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,    and all your saints shall bless you! They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom    and tell of your power.  (Psalm 145:10-11)

We gather in worship this week to give praise and thanks to the living God, our Only King Forever.  As we read Scripture together from Psalm 145, we are reminded that we have been called into God’s kingdom to worship him as our King and to make him and his kingdom known to the world. These words of worship from the Psalms lead us to respond in song with The Lion and the Lamb and All Creatures of Our God and King. Since it’s our monthly Family Fellowship Sunday, after our weekly time of Giving and some brief announcements, we will have a special Kids’ Time for all our children in the service ages 5 years old through 4th grade. Then, Pastor Andrew will conclude his Devoted sermon series with a message entitled “Devoted to Kingdom Multiplication.” His sermon text will be taken from Acts 2, 4 and 6.   Our closing response is a hope-filled cry to our Lord and King to Build Your Kingdom Here. And don’t forget to stick around for our Fellowship Lunch right after the service! Build Your Kingdom Here is such an upbeat song, it’s pretty easy to engage in it. But when we simply read the words without the music, we recognize what a powerful prayer the song really is. Check out verse 3:

Unleash Your kingdom’s pow’r

Reaching the near and far

No force of hell can stop

Your beauty changing hearts

You made us for much more than this

Awake the kingdom seed in us

Fill us with the strength and love of Christ

We are Your church

We are the hope on earth

That’s an incredible prayer filled with incredible truth. As you prepare for worship this week, will you begin to pray like this? Reflect on the songs and Scripture above. Come before the King and pray that he would reign in our hearts. Pray that the Lord would build his kingdom here at MCF and that the life-changing message of the gospel would spread through us as we devote ourselves to kingdom multiplication. See you on Sunday…

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Sept 20

from Mark Hoffman

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:6-7

As we gather for worship this week, we begin by lifting our voices together to Rejoice in our God, praising him in song for who he is and all that he does for us. As 1 Peter 5:6-7 reminds us, we can find peace in our anxiety when we humble ourselves before the Lord; we take comfort in him because he is mighty and because he truly cares for us in every way. He cares for us in the smallest details of our lives, just as as he cared for us enough to die on the cross for our sins. In light of this truth this week, we will “cast our anxieties” on the Lord in prayer, and worship him for his great care for us as we sing Christ Is Mine Forevermore and Death Was Arrested. Following a few brief announcements, we will pray for and dismiss all kids 5 years old through 4th grade to Children’s Church. Then, after our regular time of Giving, Pastor Andrew continues our Devoted sermon series with a message entitled “Devoted to Care.” His sermon text will be from Matthew 15. Just as we see Christ’s care on display in Scripture, we are called to “become like Jesus” by being to devoted to care as well. We close this week with a song that calls us to be a church that is known By Our Love and our care for each other and for those around us. Becoming like Jesus transforms us, brings glory to Christ, and makes the world a better place. Will you take a few moments to be reminded of the care that God has shown you in your life? Allow the Scripture and songs above to prepare your heart and mind for gathered worship on Sunday. Then ask the Lord to help you to become more like Jesus as you reflect his care to the people in your life. See you on Sunday,

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Sept 13

From Mark Hoffman

See what kind of love the Father has given to us,

that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 1 John 3:1

Every time we gather in worship, we do so at the invitation of our loving God who has adopted us as his beloved children. As we come and open our hearts to the Lord in worship, we begin by responding to his invitation, singing Here for You. As our “family gathering” continues, we praise our Father for his great love, singing Your Love Defends Me and One Thing Remains.   Just as God demonstrates his to love to us in Jesus Christ, we are called to the same unrestrained, sacrificial love for one another (1 John 3:11,16,18). We express this love “in deed and in truth” during our Fellowship Greeting.   Following a few brief announcements, we will pray for and dismiss all kids 5 years old through 4th grade to Meadows Kids. Then, after our regular time of Giving, Pastor Andrew continues our Devoted sermon series with a message entitled “Devoted to the Fellowship.” His text will be taken from 1 John 3.   As we lift our voices to sing The Wonderful Cross, we are reminded that Christ’s love demonstrated on the cross presents for us an example to follow. We are to love one another as he loved us. And as we increase in our devotion to fellowship, we truly are becoming more like Jesus Christ.   You are invited to worship! Will you come? Hear God’s invitation as you prayerfully reflect on the Scripture and songs above. Then, come on Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. not as a spectator, but as one invited to a family reunion. We are the family of the loved and the forgiven, and all are welcome.   See you on Sunday… Mark



Preparing for Worship – Sept 6

from Mark Hoffman

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and all that is within me,

bless his holy name!

These words of David in Psalm 103 call us to express praise and thanks to the Lord from the very deepest part of ourselves. This is why we gather in worship! We will begin by singing 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord). As Psalm 103:1-5 guides us further, we recognize that the “benefits” that prompted David to overflow with praise – forgiveness, healing, redemption, love, mercy – all of these are blessings that God has graciously poured out on us through faith in Jesus Christ. This truth steers our worship directly to Christ as we continue singing Jesus and Jesus Firm Foundation.

Following a few brief announcements, we will pray for and dismiss all kids 5 years old through 4th grade to Children’s Church. Then, after our regular time of Giving, Pastor Andrew continues our Devoted series with a message entitled “Devoted to Prayer.” His text will be taken from Matthew 6:9-13.

Our closing response, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, acknowledges the incredible privilege that we have to bring everything to the Lord in prayer.

Will you pray for our worship gathering this week? Use the links above to prayerfully prepare for worship this Sunday. Also, please be praying as we are starting up new Know-Love-Become courses this Sunday at 11am following the worship service. I’d love it if you would join me in Fellowship Hall for the “True Worshipers” book discussion class! The book is a really easy read with lots of thought-provoking content to discuss. I’m really looking forward to having a dialogue together about worship and pursuing growth as people of worship.

See you on Sunday…

Mark