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



Preparing for Worship – Aug 30

from Mark Hoffman

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” Colossians 3:16

For the month of September, we are highlighting our vision for Live Groups (small groups) at MCF. We will see that as the early church devoted themselves to certain core values, God blessed them and worked explosive growth (Acts 2:42-47). Each Sunday, Pastor Andrew will be exploring how we can “apply the skills” of the early church by being devoted to the very same things they were.

We begin this week learning a new song, Jesus Firm Foundation, which points us to the first of these “skills” – being devoted to the Word of God. At the Cross (Love Ran Red) reinforces the truth of the gospel and prepares us to come 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. After this tangible reminder of the gospel, we respond in praise with New Doxology.

Children’s Church is back! Following a few brief announcements, we will pray for and dismiss all kids 4 years through 4th grade to Children’s Church. Then, after our regular time of Giving, Pastor Andrew brings us the first message in our Devoted series with a message entitled “Devoted to the Word.” His text will be taken from 1 Samuel 3.

Our closing response is Jesus Firm Foundation.

Will you take a few minutes this weekend to pray? Please pray specifically…

  • That God would meet us in our gathered worship and build us up in our faith.
  • That we would be devoted to the Word like the early church was.
  • That God would strengthen and multiply our Live Groups and leaders.
  • That we would not just be a church with groups, but that we would be a church of groups.

See you on Sunday!

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Aug 23

from Mark Hoffman

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

God’s clear desire for us is that we would be a praying people. In response to this, we will be devoting our gathered worship this week to prayer in what we call a Prayer Sunday. Our Prayer Sunday will involve prayer in several “directions,” beginning with the opportunity to “Look Up” to the Lord in praise, singing Today is the Day and Rejoice the Lord Is King.

Pastor Andrew and our elders will then lead us to pray in other directions as well. We will “Look Back” at the One Anothers of Scripture we learned this summer, confess where we’ve fallen short, and ask for God’s help to live them out. By Our Love will be our sung response.

Next, we will “Look Around” with an update from our Elders about where we are right now as a church and allow time to lift up in prayer the realities and challenges that we face. Praying together in song, we will sing Build My Life.

Lastly, we will “Look Forward” with excitement and hope for what’s ahead at MCF. Specifically we want to lift up our fall ministries and groups, praying that the Lord would work through us to help people take next steps in knowing, loving, and becoming like Jesus Christ. Our final song, As You Go, sends us out to glorify the Lord with our lives. We also have the joy of ending our service with a child dedication.

Please note that instead of our regular Giving time during the service, offering plates will be available at the end of the service as we leave the sanctuary… and don’t forget to stay for our Fellowship Lunch!

Will you take just a few minutes of your time this weekend to pray for our time together on Sunday? Reflect on the Scriptures and songs above and pray for God to draw you in to worship of him. Pray for all those who will be leading our Prayer Sunday. Pray that our worship and our fellowship would build us up as a church. And let’s prayerfully prepare to gather as a praying people to Look Up, Look Back, Look Around, and Look Forward in prayer together.

See you on Sunday…

Mark

PS – For some really great thoughts on the connection between prayer and the singing we do in our worship services, check out this short post by worship pastor Matthew Westerholm:

Your Prayer Life Is Better Than You Think



Preparing for Worship – Aug 16

from Mark Hoffman

“For freedom Christ has set us free…”  Galatians 5:1

We have been set free! By faith in Jesus Christ, through his death and resurrection, we have been set free from the bondage of sin and death. We begin our worship this week proclaiming our freedom in Christ as we sing Death Was Arrested. Scripture and song continue our declaration of freedom with Romans 8:1-2 and Revelation 1:5-6, Who You Say I Am and Christ is Enough.

As we will hear further from Scripture, we have been set free for a purpose: We are to use our freedom in order to love God and love others. In light of this truth, it is our desire to express the love of God to one another during our Fellowship Greeting.

After announcements and time of Giving, Lucas Hagen will wrap up our One Another summer sermon series with a message from Galatians 5:13-14 entitled “Serve One Another.”

Responding to God’s call to use our freedom to serve one another in love, we lift up the song The Wonder of Your Love.

Here is one of my favorite “one another” passages:

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 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.  (Hebrews 10:22-25)

This is a beautiful picture of what God wants gathered worship to look like. Will you set aside just a few minutes this weekend to prepare for worship? Using the Scripture and song links above, pray that we will enter into the kind of worship described here in Hebrews 10. This is God’s desire for our gathered worship! Let’s pursue this together, and all the more as we see the Day drawing near.

See you on Sunday…

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Aug 9

from Mark Hoffman

Come rejoice now O my soul
For His love is my reward
Fear is gone and hope is sure
Christ is mine forevermore

These words call us into worship of the Lord as we sing together a new song, Christ is Mine Forevermore. It’s a song that reminds us that life on this side of heaven is far from perfect, but we have all that we need in Christ.

God’s Word to us in James 5:13-16 also acknowledges the struggles and imperfections that we face. Yet in all of the circumstances of life – whether it’s sickness, sin, joy, or struggle – we are invited to come before the Lord to be built up together through prayer and praise. We praise the Lord for his love and care for us in all of life’s circumstances as we sing You Never Let Go and Blessed Be Your Name.

Following announcements and a time of Giving, Pastor Andrew will continue our One Another sermon series with a message from James 5:16 entitled “Confess To and Pray For One Another.” Our response together is to come before the Lord and say, “Lord I Need You.”

This week, spend time prayerfully reflecting on the songs and Scripture above.  Pray for all those leading and serving on Sunday morning. Pray that the Lord would prepare your heart and mind to worship Him. Pray that He would empower you to live out the “one anothers” for the good of the church and for his glory!

Mark


Preparing for Worship – Aug 2

from Mark Hoffman

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

 

We come to be reminded of the truth of the gospel and to respond in worship. The good news of Jesus never gets old! Instead, the message of the gospel sustains us, encourages us, and builds us up. The hymn And Can It Be points us to the amazing love of God shown to us in Christ and focuses our hearts and minds on gospel truth.

At the heart of the gospel is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and Colossians 3 reminds us that our participation by faith in Christ’s death and resurrection changes everything for us. The song My Victory helps reinforce this truth and leads us to the Communion table. 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. After Communion, we shift our attention from the cross to the empty tomb as we sing Christ Is Risen.

Announcements will be followed by a time of Giving All children will stay in the service today while Pastor Andrew continues our One Another sermon series with a message from Colossians 3:16 entitled “Admonish One Another.” In response to God’s Word, we join in singing What a Beautiful Name.

At MCF we love children and recognize that our kids are all a blessing from the Lord. Closing our time of worship this week, we are pleased to join together with some of our families for a Child Dedication.

I look forward to joining you in worship this Sunday. Let’s come with hearts and minds prepared to live out what God’s Word call us to in Colossians 3:16-17…

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

See you on Sunday!

Mark



Preparing for Worship – July 26

from Mark Hoffman

I hope that you are planning to be at MCF this week because it’s shaping up to be an exciting Sunday of worship and fellowship! Read on to find out more…

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable!” (Psalm 145:3) One gets the sense that perhaps as he is writing this Psalm, David realizes that he can’t even come close to expressing the greatness of God in words. And just as we begin to recognize God’s immeasurable and incomprehensible greatness, we also begin to understand that there is an infinite amount of God for us to explore and enjoy in our worship of him! So we dive in to the endless sea of God’s greatness together as we join to worship him, singing Great Are You Lord.

David expresses even more of God’s greatness in Psalm 40:16-17. When we see God’s greatness, we recognize how frail and needy we are by comparison. He is holy and perfect; we are sinful and broken. But we worship a God of salvation! He took thought of us and sent Jesus Christ to pay the price for our sins. He is our help and deliverer! We continue in worship as we proclaim this truth of the gospel, singing Man of Sorrows.

Presenting a beautifully rich picture of this salvation in Christ is the act of baptism, and we are pleased to be able to celebrate the baptism this week of Chase Koons. The song Because He Lives (Amen) allows us to declare together the truth pictured in baptism – that in Christ we have died to sin and have been raised to new life. We are alive because he lives!

After announcements and our weekly time of Giving, Pastor Andrew will have a special Kids’ Time for our children in the service. We are also very excited to welcome church planters Josh and Rachel Young. We are partnering with Josh and Rachel as part of our Catch the Wave vision and we are pleased to have them join us this week. Josh will be preaching in our service with a message from Genesis 22 with a message entitled “Blessed To Be A Blessing.”

Our closing response is the song Who You Say I Am. Then, plan to stay for our church picnic immediately following the service!

It will be a great Sunday of worship and fellowship… Will you come prepared? First, take time to prayerfully reflect on the Scripture and songs above. Soak your heart and mind in the message of the gospel. Pray for all those who will be leading and speaking on Sunday, and pray that the Lord would build up his church and bring glory to himself through our worship and our fellowship.

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday…

Mark



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