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


Preparing for Worship – May 11

from Mark Hoffman
 

But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house.

Psalm 5:7


There is so much wonderful truth that overflows from that single verse of Scripture! God’s love is abundant. It is uncontainable, never-ending, and exceedingly more than we could ever want or need. God’s love is steadfast. It is resolute, persistent and eternally unwavering. And it is through God’s love – which He has graciously shown to us in Christ Jesus – that we are invited to enter His presence to worship Him.
This week in our worship, we begin in praise of God for the abundance of His steadfast love toward us.  We will proclaim God’s love with readings from the Psalms and respond to the truth of Scripture singing One Thing Remains, And Can It Be and Your Love Defends Me.
During our regular time of Giving and Children’s Church dismissal (all children ages 4yrs through 4th grade are invited to attend) we want to wish all of our moms a happy and blessed Mother’s Day!


Pastor Andrew will then continue his Freedom In Christ series with a message from Galatians 5:16-26.  “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” This is God’s call to us. Our closing response is to offer up the song Holy Spirit as a corporate prayer, asking that we, as individuals and as a church, would by guided in our actions and attitudes by the Holy Spirit of God each and every day… for His glory.

 

Reflect on the songs and Scriptures above as you prepare your heart and mind for worship on Sunday. Think about God’s boundless love for you… The God of the universe created you, He died for you, He saved you, and He dwells within you. He has taken every initiative to show his infinite love to us! May we respond in lives of worship…


That’s my desire for this blog! I really do want Preparing for Worship to be a helpful tool in building up lives of worship among the people of our fellowship and helping us all to prepare for gathered worship on Sunday.  Since you’re reading this, I’m hoping that means that you are finding this to be a useful resource to that end. Since our church communication is moving away from the weekly “Connection Point” email, here’s how to find Preparing for Worship moving forward:

One way is to simply bookmark the link to this blog, you’ll always find the most recent blog post there on the website. You’ll also be able to find Preparing for Worship posted at the end of the week on our Meadows Christian Fellowship Facebook page here.


One last thing… will you tell someone else in our church about Preparing for Worship? Share the link or the Facebook post with a friend and simply let them know how it helps you prepare for worship on Sunday. I truly believe that if we are all prepared in heart and mind to come before the Lord together, our times of worship will be richer, our fellowship will be built up, and God will be glorified.


Thanks… and see you on Sunday!


Mark



Preparing for Worship – May 4

from Mark Hoffman

Last week, guest preacher Josh Woodruff brought us bad news, good news and great news from Galatians chapter 4. The bad news is that, apart from Christ, we are enslaved to the law and by that very same law we are condemned as sinners. But the good news is that Jesus Christ came to set us free from this bondage, and the great news is that through faith in him we are adopted as sons and daughters into God’s family!

It is gospel truth like this that moves our hearts and minds toward worship of our God. Responding to the truth of who God is and all that he has done for us in Christ is at the heart of what worship is all about. As pastor and author John Stott wrote in his book, Between Two Worlds, “Word and worship belong indissolubly to each other. All worship is an intelligent and loving response to the revelation of God.”

This week, we gather once again to respond in worship to the truth of who God is and all that He has done for us in Christ. As we reflect on the gospel truth that “for freedom Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1) we respond in praise, singing Grace Alone and No Longer Slaves.

Our singing leads us to the communion table to remember Jesus’ death on the cross which purchased our freedom from sin and death. 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 our regular time of Giving, we will pray for and dismiss all children ages 4yrs through 4th grade to Children’s Church. Following this, we have the privilege as a fellowship to pray for our Elders as they enter into a new term of service as shepherds of our flock.

Pastor Andrew returns to the pulpit this week, continuing our Freedom in Christ series with a message from Galatians 5:1-15 entitled “Called to Freedom”  Our closing response together is Build My Life.

This week, remind yourself daily of the truth of the gospel, and allow the daily actions and attitudes of your life to be a response of worship to God. Find a few moments to prayerfully reflect on the Scriptures and songs above so that we can fully engage our hearts and minds in worship together this week.  See you on Sunday!

Mark