Preparing for Worship – Dec 6

from Mark Hoffman

We are already a week into December, can you believe it? I sincerely hope that your Christmas season has gotten off to a good start, and that you’ve been able to still find Jesus amidst the hustle and bustle that comes along with this time of year. A great way to keep ourselves grounded in the true meaning of Christmas is to gather for worship each Sunday. Here’s what we will be doing this week…

Come and worship,

Come and worship,

Worship Christ, the newborn King!

This familiar refrain calls us together for this second week of Advent to worship our King, Jesus Christ. We will open our service in song with Angels From The Realms Of Glory and As With Gladness Men Of Old. As we light the second candle on the Advent wreath, we will consider the theme of Anticipation found in Isaiah 25:1,6-9 and respond together with It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.

Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids Kindergarten through 4th grade are invited to attend) and a few brief announcements, Pastor Andrew will continue our Advent sermon series, The Mystery of Christmas. In response to the revealed “mystery” of Jesus Christ, we sing the song of anticipation, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. Concluding our service will be a time of Giving, prayer, and a Benediction.

I recently read these thoughts on the Christmas season from author and pastor Max Lucado:

It’s the season to be jolly because, more than at any other time, we think of him. More than in any other season, his name is on our lips.

And the result?

For a few precious hours, he is beheld. Christ the Lord. Those who pass the year without seeing him, suddenly see him. People who have been accustomed to using his name in vain, pause to use it in praise. Eyes, now free of the blinders of self, marvel at his majesty.

All of a sudden he’s everywhere…

Soon life will be normal again. December’s generosity will become January’s payments and the magic will begin to fade. But for the moment, the magic is still in the air…

Let’s embrace the “magic” of the Christmas season. Let’s be awestruck that God became human, that Jesus came for us. Let’s prepare to gather for worship this Sunday and marvel at the wonderful Mystery of Christmas.  

See you on Sunday,

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Nov 29

from Mark Hoffman

 

This week marks the first Sunday of the Advent season! As we gather this week, the Christmas hymn O Come All Ye Faithful calls us to come together and to adore Jesus Christ in worship. Continuing this call is the contemporary hymn Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery. As we light the first candle on the Advent wreath, we will explore the theme of Longing in Isaiah 42:1-9. O Come Emmanuel will be our sung response, expressing our longing as God’s people for our promised Savior.

 

Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids Kindergarten through 4th grade are invited to attend) and a few brief announcements, Pastor Andrew will begin this year’s Advent series, The Mystery of Christmas. After exploring the reasons why we should investigate the “mystery” of Jesus, we will remember Him in Communion, and respond together in song once again with Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery. Concluding our service will be a time of Giving, prayer, and a Benediction
 

The Christmas season often gets so full and so busy, it can become very easy to lose our focus on Jesus. Try to find a few moments this weekend to focus on Christ and consider the wondrous mystery of the Christmas season. Prayerfully read the Scriptures above and take in the message of the songs. Engage the true message of Christmas with fresh awe and appreciation, and let’s long for more of Jesus this Christmas season.

 

Lasty, a special thanks to Julie Smith who wrote all of the devotions for our Advent candle lighting this year. Thanks, Julie!

 

I look forward to worshiping with you all on Sunday…

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Nov 20

from Mark Hoffman

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, 

to sing praises to your name, O Most High…

Psalm 92:1

What the Scriptures say is true… It is indeed good to give thanks to the Lord. Not only is it good because it’s the right thing to do (God deserves our thanks, after all) but it is also good for us because it refocuses our attention on Him. He himself is our ultimate joy and satisfaction! We begin by singing Blessed Be Your Name, acknowledging that our thanksgiving and praise isn’t contingent on our circumstances, but that we are to bless the Lord at all times. (Psalm 34:1) We will then proclaim words of thanksgiving together from the Psalms and lift our voices in thanksgiving and praise with Great Is Thy Faithfulness and Good Good Father

After we invite our kids up front for a special Kids’ Time, we are pleased to welcome our special guests Eric and Janet Johnson to hear from them and to show appreciation for their years of service on the mission field. After a few brief announcements, Pastor Andrew will continue our Built Together sermon series with a time of prayer interwoven with teaching from Ephesians 3:14-19. Our shared prayer in song will be Hymn of the Holy Spirit. Concluding our service will be a time of Giving, prayer, and a Benediction

Giving thanks is something we as Christians ought to be very good at! Let’s prepare for gathered worship this week by reflecting prayerfully on the Scriptures and songs above. Then we can all come together on Sunday ready to praise and thank the Lord.

See you on Sunday…

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Nov 15

from Mark Hoffman

This is the day that the Lord has made;

    let us rejoice and be glad in it! 

Psalm 118:24 

This week, we begin our worship together with rejoicing as we sing Today Is the Day. This week is also another ministry highlight week — it’s our Caring Friends Sunday! This is a time for us as a church to gather with our Caring Friends ministry, not only to hear updates about the ministry and to get a taste of what Caring Friends is all about, but above all to worship our God together as his beloved children. Our Caring Friends will share God’s Word with a reading from Ephesians 3:7-13, and we will respond together in song with Who You Say I Am. Then, Caring Friends coordinator Sharon Rickerson will come and present us with a closer look at this vital ministry of MCF to adults with intellectual disabilities. 

 
 
Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids Kindergarten through 4th grade are invited to attend) and a few brief announcements, Pastor Andrew will continue our Built Together series with a message from Ephesians 3:11-21. Our response is to proclaim together God You’re So Good. Concluding our service will be a time of Giving, prayer, and a Benediction
 
 

Prepare for worship this week by prayerfully reflecting on the Scripture and songs above. Pray for our Caring Friends ministry as well as for our time together on Sunday, that we would glorify God by helping people to know, love and become like Jesus Christ in all that we do. 

 

See you on Sunday…

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Nov 8

 

Come let us worship our King

Come let us bow at His feet

He has done great things!

 

We enter into worship this week by lifting up these words together. With a call to worship reminiscent of the Psalms, the song Great Things gathers us as God’s people, reminds us of the great things he has done, and provides us with a shared response of worship. It is just this sort of remembering and responding that is central to what it means to be “the church.” The apostle Paul expands our understanding of the church even further, reminding us that we are “members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” (Ephesians 3:6) This truth will lead us to respond with a Fellowship Greeting time, and in song together with Nailed To The Cross and Come Thou Fount Come Thou King
 
Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids Kindergarten through 4th grade are invited to attend) and a few brief announcements, Pastor Andrew will continue our Built Together series with a message from Ephesians 3:1-10. As we sing Death Was Arrested we declare the message of the gospel as partakers of its promise in Christ Jesus! Concluding our service will be a time of Giving, prayer, and a Benediction
 
 
The church isn’t a building, or a bunch of events or programs or activities. The church isn’t a brand or a business. The church is people. People who have been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and set apart to glorify him in all that they do. This is the church. This is who we are. Please pray that God would continue to build us up as his church this Sunday, and beyond.
 


I look forward to worshiping with you…

Mark





Preparing for Worship – Nov 1

from Mark Hoffman

“Therefore remember…” Ephesians 2:11

 

Gathering for worship is a time for remembering and responding. We come to be reminded of who God is and all that he has done for us in Jesus Christ, and then to respond in praise and worship of him. We’ll open with the song This Is Amazing Grace, which will then lead us to Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians to “therefore remember” the message of the gospel of Jesus. The Solid Rock and Rock of Ages You Will Stand will continue our response together in song.
 

 

Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids Kindergarten through 4th grade are invited to attend) Pastor Andrew will preach the next sermon in our Ephesians series, Built Together, with a message from Ephesians 2:11-22. Following the message, Communion will be another means for us to remember how we are brought near to God by the blood of Christ shed on the cross. Our final response in song will be Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me. Concluding our service will be a time of Giving, a few brief announcements, and a Benediction
 

You can prepare for worship this week by finding some moments to prayerfully reflect on the Scripture and songs above. Pray for all those leading and serving this Sunday, and be praying that all we do as a fellowship would continue to build us together in Christ.

 

See you on Sunday,

 

Mark

 



Preparing for Worship – Oct 25

from Mark Hoffman

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; 

it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

We gather in worship as those who have received a wonderful gift! This gift is God’s gift of salvation in Christ alone, by grace alone, and through faith alone. We gather not to boast of anything we have done, but instead to praise the Lord for all that he has done for us. We will begin in song with This Is Amazing Grace. Then we’ll read the wonderful reminder of God’s grace in Ephesians 2:4-10 and respond together by singing Grace Greater Than Our Sin and Grace Alone.
 

After a special Kids’ Time with Pastor Justin, Pastor Andrew will continue our sermon series in Ephesians, Built Together, with a message from Ephesians 2:4-10. We will respond in song, proclaiming Jesus Christ as our Living Hope. Concluding our service will be a time of Giving, a few brief announcements, and a Benediction
 
Will you be intentional about preparing for worship this week? Create a few moments to prayerfully reflect on the Scripture and songs above as you ready your heart and mind to join with others in worship of the Lord.
 

See you on Sunday!

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Oct 18

from Mark Hoffman

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 

even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.  Ephesians 2:4-5

We gather this week once again to be reminded of the gospel and to respond in worship! We’ll begin by lifting our voices in song with How Great Thou Art and The Way. As the song declares, we believe that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Ephesians 2:4-5 points to this as well — that God, through the richness of his mercy and the greatness of his love, has provided for us the way from death to life, and that way is through Jesus Christ! We will respond to this gospel truth in song with His Mercy Is More.
 

Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids Kindergarten through 4th grade are invited to attend) Pastor Andrew will continue our series in Ephesians, Built Together, with a message from Ephesians 2:1-5. We will join in a response of faith with Because He Lives (Amen) and conclude our service with a time of Giving, a few brief announcements, and a Benediction
 
 
Reflect on Ephesians 2:1-5 as you prepare for gathered worship. Drink deeply of the truth of this passage of Scripture. Allow the songs to become a familiar and natural response of worship to the Lord. Pray for our church in general, and for our worship gathering in particular, that God would build us up and glorify himself in us.
 

See you on Sunday…

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Oct 11

from Mark Hoffman

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus 

and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, 

remembering you in my prayers…

 

As we see in this passage from Ephesians, it is the people’s faith in the Lord Jesus and their love for one another that moves Paul to thanksgiving and prayer for them. As we gather this week, it is also our faith in the Lord Jesus and our love for one another in him that brings us together for worship. We will begin our time of worship in song with Great Things and Jesus. Then as we hear Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:15-23 we will make this prayer our own, and respond in worship to God for the “immeasurable greatness of his power toward us” as we sing Resurrection Power

 

Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids Kindergarten through 4th grade are invited to attend) Pastor Andrew will continue our series in Ephesians, Built Together, with a message centered on this wonderful prayer of Paul for the Ephesian church and how it relates to us today. We will again declare the resurrection power of Jesus as we sing Christ Is Risen, and celebrate the picture of that power through several baptisms. Concluding our service will be a time of Giving, a few brief announcements, and a Benediction
 
 

Will you find a few quiet moments, individually or with others, to prepare for gathered worship? Pray Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1 for yourself, for your family, for our church. Come prepared to gather in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus, who is the “head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

 

See you on Sunday!

 

Mark



Preparing for Worship Oct 4

from Mark Hoffman

Lift up your heart!

Lift up your voice!

Rejoice!

Again I say, rejoice!

This week, we gather once again in the presence of our living and loving God, lifting up our hearts and voices to him in worship with Rejoice the Lord Is King. In Ephesians 1:3, Scripture reminds us that God deserves worship like this. He is so worthy to be blessed by the praises of his people because he has so richly blessed us in Jesus Christ. In light of this, we will read together a call to blessing from Psalm 103:1-5 and then respond in song with 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) and Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me.

 

Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids Kindergarten through 4th grade are invited to attend) Pastor Andrew will continue our series in Ephesians, Built Together, with a message from Ephesians 1:3-14. Then, responding to the glorious truth of all that we have in Christ, we will remember the Lord by taking Communion together, and proclaim the hope that we have in him as we sing In Christ Alone. Concluding our service will be a time of Giving, a few brief announcements, and a Benediction

 

Please carve out some time to soak in the truth of the Scripture above. Let God’s Word prepare you for gathered worship on Sunday. May the lifting of our hearts and voices in worship bless him with the glory and honor he so greatly deserves.

 

See you on Sunday! Mark