Preparing for Worship – July 19

from Mark Hoffman

O, for a thousand tongues to sing

My great Redeemer’s praise,

The glories of my God and King,

The triumphs of his grace!

 

The opening verse of this well-known hymn expresses a sense of worship and praise that is so strong it bursts forth with uncontainable energy. “One tongue isn’t enough! I need a thousand tongues to sing your praises!” It’s our desire to enter into worship this week with that same sense of uncontainable praise that overflows from the heart. Giving voice to our worship as we pour out this praise to the Lord is Psalm 145:1-7 and the songs O For A Thousand Tongues and Here for You.

 

As we look further in Psalm 145, we see that it paints us a picture of our God who is so deserving of praise: “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” All these character qualities of God come together on display in what we call his “forbearance.” In his patient grace and mercy, God doesn’t make us pay the penalty for our sin. Instead, he places our penalty on Jesus Christ to be paid in full by his death on the cross. Through his patient forbearance, God opens the way to forgiveness for us by faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23-26.) Jesus Messiah and Glorious Day is our sung response in worship.

 

Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all children ages 4 years through 4th grade are invited) and our regular time of Giving, Pastor Andrew will continue our One Another sermon series with a message entitled “Bearing with One Another.” His text will be from Ephesians 4:2.

 

In this passage, Paul calls us to bear with one another in love, being “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” We close with a prayer in song, Holy Spirit, asking that we would have such unity as a church and so reflect Christ to the world.

Please take a few moments this weekend to prepare your heart and mind for worship as you reflect on the Scripture and songs above.

 

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Mark



Preparing for Worship – July 12

from Mark Hoffman

Another week brings us another opportunity to come together in the presence of God as the people of God to lift praises to God! As we encounter the living God together in worship, we begin with singing. Our songs are words of worship set to music which provide us with a shared expression of prayer and praise. We begin that shared expression of worship this week by singing How Great Is Our God and Come Thou Fount Come Thou King.

We come worshiping the Lord because He has “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14) This truth is the heart of the gospel message, leading us to respond in song with Hallelujah to My King and Grace Alone.

Following our Fellowship Greeting, Children’s Church dismissal (all children ages 4 years through 4th grade are invited) and our regular time of Giving, Pastor Andrew will continue our One Another sermon series with a message entitled “Forgive One Another.” His text will be from Colossians 3:12-13.

Singing in humility before the Lord, we close with Jesus Paid It All. This song sends us out with the reminder that the Lord has forgiven us much. He paid it all. And though we may be weak or hard-hearted, still his call to us is that we “find in him our all in all” and forgive one another in the same way that he forgives us.

“Christians aren’t perfect… just forgiven.” That may strike us as trite, bumper sticker material, but it’s the truth! We’ve done nothing to deserve the forgiveness of God, but in his infinite mercy he shows us love and grace anyway. Please take time this weekend to prepare for worship by reminding yourself of the truth of the gospel. Be ready and willing to extend the same sort of grace and forgiveness to others that the Lord has shown to you. Be willing to humbly seek forgiveness from those whom you have wronged or offended. Reflect on the Scriptures and songs above, and let’s enter the Lord’s presence together with humble hearts ready to worship and glorify him in all that we do.

See you on Sunday…

Mark



Preparing for Worship – July 5

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction,
with the comfort with which
we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (ESV)

 

This week we turn our attention to the command in Scripture to “comfort one another.”  First, we must recognize that this comfort doesn’t begin with us; it begins with God. So this week we gather and come before the Lord in worship because he has shown us the ultimate “comfort in affliction” by forgiving us and saving us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our God Saves declares this truth.

Our forgiveness and salvation through faith in Christ brings us into an eternal relationship with the living “God of all comfort.”  As we journey through life with the hope of heaven in view, his comfort sustains us through the suffering and difficulties we encounter along the way. This week we will reflect on David’s prayer of faith in Psalm 86 as he sought help and comfort from his saving God, and we will share our own stories of God’s faithfulness during an open time of testimonies.  Our songs of response are Great Is Thy Faithfulness and Cornerstone.

Following our regular time of Giving and our Children’s Church dismissal (all children ages 4 years through 4th grade are invited) we are pleased to have Drew Barnes with us to continue our One Another sermon series with a message entitled “Comfort One Another.” His text will be from 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

We close with a song of faith, It Is Well with My Soul, as we leave comforted and encouraged by the Lord to go out to comfort and encourage others.

This week, you can prepare for worship by reflecting on the songs and Scriptures above. Also, call to mind how God has been faithful to draw near to you in times of need, suffering, sorrow, or struggle. Will you share your story during our testimony time?

I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday…

Mark



Preparing for Worship – June 28

from Mark Hoffman

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus,by the new and living way that he opened for us… Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 
not neglecting to meet together,
as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
–from
Hebrews 10:19-25

 

These words from Hebrews invite us to draw near to God in worship, coming together as people of faith to glorify him in all that we do, recognizing that all of this is made possible for us because of Jesus Christ. Our gathered worship this week centers on this truth from Scripture as we are reminded that our lives are intended to be a continual, confident response to the salvation that Jesus Christ purchased for us on the cross. We begin by lifting our voices in praise of him, singing The Lion and the Lamb and Jesus.  

The song O Come to the Altar leads us to the communion table to remember the death of Jesus which makes our life of faith possible. At MCF, we invite all believers in Christ to participate. Please hold the bread and the cup when they are passed so that we may take them together as an expression of the fellowship that we share in Him. Our shared response after communion is Who You Say I Am.

After our regular time of Giving, we will pray for and dismiss all children ages 4yrs through 4th grade to Children’s Church. We are once again pleased to have Lucas Hagen continue our One Another sermon series with a message from Hebrews 10:24-25 entitled “Stir One Another Up.”

Since living out the “one anothers” is a response of faith and confidence in Christ, our closing response is a song of faith, Once and for All.

Please take some time this weekend, even if only for a few quiet moments, to reflect on the Scripture and songs above. Remember that the blood of Jesus saves us and gives us confidence to live for him, and his desire is for us to live in fellowship with him and with one another. So let’s not “neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some.” Let’s instead gather together on Sunday ready to draw near to the Lord in worship and to receive and respond to all that he has for us.

See you on Sunday!

Mark



Preparing for Worship – June 21

from Mark Hoffman

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Jesus.

And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying,

“This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

Luke 15:1-2

What caused the Pharisees to grumble causes us to rejoice! Jesus receives sinners. In fact… broken, lost, and flawed people just like us are not only received, but we are sought out and saved by a loving and gracious God. This incredible truth is at the heart of the gospel and is central to the parables that Jesus goes on to tell in Luke 15. These salvation stories of Jesus lead us to respond in song together with Reckless Love and How Deep the Father’s Love.

The song No Longer I reminds us that the good news of salvation in Christ extends beyond the moment of forgiveness to eternally affect the lives that we live on this side of the cross and the empty tomb. As Galatians 2:20 says, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

This week is a Family Fellowship Sunday when all ages intentionally worship together. (Older children remain in the service, with Nursery and Toddler ministry still available for little ones.) After our weekly time of Giving, we will celebrate the week of Inspiration Studio, where dozens of kids heard the message of what it means to be “Rooted” in Christ. We are also pleased to welcome missionaries Jeff and Carolyn Anderson for a visit to tell us about what God is doing through their ministry in Spain.

While Pastor Andrew and family are on vacation, we are very excited to have our own Lucas Hagen preach a message in our One Another series from Galatians 6:2 entitled “Bear One Another’s Burdens.”

As we hear the Lord’s command to bear one another’s burdens, our closing song, Build My Life, is a renewed commitment to build our lives on God’s love, and a plea that He would fill us with His heart and lead us in that love to those with burdens around us.

Let’s come prepared in heart, mind, and soul to encounter God and his gospel in worship this Sunday.  See you then…

Mark



Preparing for Worship – June 14

from Mark Hoffman

Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
   and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!   (Psalm 32:11)

Repeatedly throughout Scripture we see that God desires for His people to find their joy in Him. As we gather for worship this week, Psalm 32:11 is God’s call to us yet again to be glad and rejoice in Him. The song Rejoice amplifies this call to us: “Rejoice! Come and lift your hands and raise your voice! He is worthy of all praise! Rejoice! Sing the mercies of our King, and with trembling, rejoice!”

However, Psalm 32 is unique because it ends with the call to rejoicing, but it begins with confession and repentance. Our rejoicing must begin with the acknowledgement that we are hopeless sinners in need of a Savior. But by turning away from sin and toward God through faith in Jesus Christ, we find complete forgiveness and new life in Him. This is the gospel fulfillment of Psalm 32, and it is the truth we respond to and rejoice in as we pray and as we sing How Marvelous and Glorious Day.

Following our regular time of Giving, we will pray and dismiss our kids to Children’s Church (all children ages 4 years through 4th grade are invited to attend) as we also want to take an opportunity to wish all our dads a very happy Father’s Day!  

Pastor Andrew then continues our One Another sermon series with a message from Ephesians 5:21 entitled “Submit to One Another.”

This call to submit in Ephesians 5:21 is firmly planted within a context of worship. We submit to one another out of reverence for Christ as we are filled with the Holy Spirit, singing in worship and gratitude to God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And What a Beautiful Name It Is

I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday!

Mark



Preparing for Worship – June 6

from Mark Hoffman

The LORD is my shepherd….

You prepare a table before me….

Psalm 23 is one of the most well-known passages of Scripture in all of the Bible. Often described as a Psalm of confidence, it expresses a deep and intimate trust in the Lord for His care and provision. Psalm 23 will begin to frame our worship this week as we read and respond to the beautiful truth it contains, worshiping the Lord both as our Shepherd and as a gracious Banquet Host. Our songs will be You Never Let Go, Who You Say I Am and Good Good Father.

Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all children ages 4 years through 4th grade are invited to attend) and our regular time of Giving, Pastor Andrew will continue our One Another sermon series with a message from Romans 15:5-7, which calls us to “welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

Our closing song, The Wonder of Your Love, allows us to join our voices in praise so that together we may “with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:6)

This weekend, find a few quiet moments to listen to the songs and reflect on the Scriptures above. Remember that even though we can be stubborn sheep, our God is a perfect and patient Shepherd, always lovingly guiding us to where we need to go. Bring to mind the idea that God has graciously invited us to his banquet celebration, where we sit as His guests in restored fellowship with Him through faith in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ. And finally, remember that we are called to welcome one another just as the Lord welcomes us… and all of this is for His glory.

I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday!

Mark



Preparing for Worship – May 30

from Mark Hoffman

As we gather this week, Psalm 33 calls us into the presence of our Creator God to worship Him. It calls us to worship with an exuberance and an energy that could be best described as fully dedicated, fully engaged, vibrant praise of God: “Shout for joy! Give thanks to the Lord! Make melody to Him! Sing to Him a new song with loud shouts!” This is God’s word to us. This is His invitation to come before Him and worship Him as Creator and Savior. We join in and echo this call to worship with “All Creatures of Our God and King, lift up your voice and with us sing, O praise Him! Alleluia!”

Scripture from Galatians 6:14-15 & 2 Corinthians 5:14-17 reminds us that we are also created to be new creatures of our God and King through faith in Jesus Christ. It is Christ’s death on the cross that releases us from the bondage of sin and death into this new life.  As we sing You Gave Your Life Away, we proclaim this truth and prepare our hearts for communion. At MCF, we invite all believers in Christ to participate in the ordinance of communion. Please hold the bread and the cup when they are passed so that we may take them together as an expression of the fellowship that we share in Him. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) It is in response to this love that Christ displayed on the cross that we sing At the Cross (Love Ran Red).

Following our regular time of Giving and Children’s Church dismissal (all children ages 4yrs through 4th grade are invited to attend) Pastor Andrew will begin a new sermon series on the “One Anothers” of the New Testament, beginning with Christ’s command for us to love one another as He loved us. Our sermon text is John 13:34-35.

We close in a song of exhortation, knowing that as we love one another with the love of Christ, the world will take notice, and they will know By Our Love that we are followers of Him.

As we reflect on the Scriptures and songs above, may the Lord prepare us to love and worship Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength!

See you on Sunday…

Mark



Preparing for Worship – May 24

from Mark Hoffman

Preparing for Worship 05-27-18

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Galatians 1:3-5

This week we will wrap up our Freedom In Christ series in Galatians which began back in February. That seems like a long time ago! So, in our gathered worship this week, we want to look back along the gospel path that we have traveled in Galatians, and there is no better place to start than in Paul’s greeting from Galatians 1:3-5. In this brief passage, we are reminded that Jesus Christ gave himself on the cross for us, delivering us from sin and death. We remember that Christ made a way for the grace and peace of God the Father to be poured out on us as his adopted children. And in response to all of this, we are called both now and for all eternity to ascribe to him the glory that he deserves.

We will sing the message of this gospel with My Victory and The Wonderful Cross. As we revisit more of the Galatians message together, we will be reminded that the death and resurrection of Christ makes possible a death and resurrection in us as well, so that we can live new lives to the glory of God walking daily by the Spirit of God. Take My Life and Let It Be is the prayer we sing together.

This week is a Family Fellowship Sunday and we have much “family business” to attend to! (On Family Fellowship Sundays, our older children remain in the service, with Nursery and Toddler ministry still available for little ones.) We will have our weekly time of Giving, and for Memorial Day we will honor the memory of those who gave their lives in service to our country. During our Fellowship Celebrations time, we will recognize our Graduates and highlight our summer Cruise Nights ministry. Then, following a special Kids’ Time, Pastor Andrew will wrap up the book of Galatians with a message from Galatians 6:11-18.

Christ Is Enough is our closing declaration because everything we need is found in him!

If you would, please set aside a few moments this weekend to prayerfully allow the Scriptures and songs above to prepare your heart and mind for gathered worship. And please remember to share this blog with others and give it a “Like” on our church Facebook page!

I look forward to worshiping the Lord with you on Sunday… and plan to stick around for the Fellowship lunch afterwards!

Mark



Preparing for Worship – May 17

from Mark Hoffman

I will extol you, my God and King, 

and bless your name forever and ever. 

Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. 

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,

and his greatness is unsearchable.

This is how David begins his song of praise in Psalm 145.  As we gather for worship this week, it is this psalm that calls us into the presence of our great God to praise Him for who He is and all that He has done for us in Christ. This call to worship from the word of God inclines our hearts to Him and leads us to sing Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.

In the last few weeks, we have heard from Galatians 5 that we have been set free from sin and called to live the life God desires for us by walking and keeping in step with His Spirit. As we hear this truth from Scripture again this week, we will respond through prayer and by singing Hallelujah to My King and By Our Love.  

Following our Fellowship Greeting, our regular time of Giving and Children’s Church dismissal (all children ages 4yrs through 4th grade are invited to attend) Pastor Andrew will continue his Freedom In Christ series with a message from Galatians 6:1-10.

In this passage of Scripture we are all called to have humility before one another, and to never grow weary of doing good to everyone, especially within the household of faith. It is in response to God’s call for us that we again sing By Our Love.  

Prayerfully reflect on the Scriptures and songs above as you prepare your heart and mind for gathered worship this week. See you on Sunday!

Mark