Preparing for Worship – Mar 27

from Mark Hoffman

May the God of hope 

fill you with all joy and peace in believing, 

so that by the power of the Holy Spirit 

you may abound in hope.  

Romans 15:13

Usually we think of a benediction as a word of blessing which sends us out at the end of a worship service. And yet I feel like this benediction of Paul’s, taken from the end of his letter to the Romans, is particularly appropriate for us as a starting point for our worship this week. Because we can come together (even through the assistance of technology) and worship as an expression of our faith in the God of hope, coming to him in times of uncertainty to experience the joy and peace that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, so that by the power of his Spirit we can overflow with real hope. With this in mind, we will begin with a song of hope, Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me. We will declare confidence in our Good Shepherd as we recite Psalm 23 together, and respond again in song with You Never Let Go.

We’ll set aside a few minutes of our live-stream again this week specifically for our kids and then highlight some announcements as well. Pastor Andrew will wrap up the book of Ephesians with his final message in our Built Together sermon series as we look at Ephesians 6:18-24. Following the message, we will sing Mighty To Save as a response to the call to boldly proclaim the hope that we have in Christ. And closing out our service we’ll worship through Giving, with prayer, and a final Benediction.

I miss seeing you all in person, but I do look forward to connecting in worship on Sunday morning. I’m praying for health and hope for you all!

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Mar 20

from Mark Hoffman

“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”  Ephesians 6:14-18 

 

Paul paints quite a picture in these verses, doesn’t he? Go back and read them again… It’s a picture of confidence and fearlessness in the midst of a battle. It’s a picture of strength. In uncertain times like these, we long for strength that looks like this. We desperately need strength like this.  And in Christ, we can have it. This is why Paul urges us to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” (Eph. 6:10) 

This week, even though we can’t gather in our usual way, we are going to gather through the use of technology with a live-streamed service of worship from the Bee’s home. Our songs of worship will praise the Lord for his greatness and acknowledge our need for him with How Great Is Our God and Lord I Need You

We will have a special prayer for our kids, we’ll have a few announcements about what’s going on at MCF in the midst of these unique times, and then Pastor Andrew will continue our Built Together sermon series with a message from Ephesians 6:14-18

To close our time of worship, we will sing a song expressing our hope and strength in the Lord, It Is Well With My Soul, and conclude with a Benediction.

To prepare for our time of worship, take some time to reflect on the spiritual armor in Ephesians 6, and on the message of our songs this week. Consider how truth and righteousness, the gospel and faith, salvation, the Word, and prayer, all make us strong in the Lord. And let’s gather at the same time on Sunday morning at 9:30am, ready to stand firm in the Lord’s strength through our worship together. Yes, we will be in many locations, but we will be one in Spirit! I hope you can join with us!
 
– Mark
 


Preparing for Worship – Mar 13

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand firm.  Ephesians 6:13

We gather this week to worship our Almighty Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We’ll begin in song with The Lion and the Lamb, and then hear the call in Ephesians to be strong in the Lord, take up God’s armor, and stand firm. An important way that we do all of these things as followers of Christ is through our gathered worship of him. As we come together in God’s presence to hear his Word and respond in songs and prayers, we are built up in faith and empowered to stand firm in the Lord together. The songs Behold Him and Living Hope will be a means for us to do this very thing.

 
Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids Kindergarten through 4th grade are invited to attend) we are excited to have missionaries Jon and Elaine Winter joining us for an update. Then, after a few brief announcements, Drew Barnes will continue our Built Together sermon series with a message from Ephesians 6:10-13 entitled “The Real Battle We’re In.” Our response in song will be Jesus Firm Foundation. Concluding our time together we will worship through Giving and in prayer, and will be sent out with a Benediction.
 

Thanks for taking the time to prepare for gathered worship this week. Last week, Pastor Andrew’s action items from Ephesians 6:10 were first, to humble ourselves before the Lord, and second, to submit ourselves to the means of grace found in the Word, prayer, and the fellowship of God’s people. We can meaningfully engage in all of these in our gathered worship this Sunday, and every Sunday! With this mind, please find a few moments to prayerfully engage with the Scripture and songs above. Be in prayer for Drew Barnes as he prepares to preach, as well as for all of our leaders. May our whole fellowship be built up in faith and bring glory to the Lord this week.

See you on Sunday…

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Mar 6

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,

to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,

    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.  Psalm 145:10-12

As we gather for worship this week we will begin in song, lifting our voices to proclaim Hallelujah To My King. We’ll read Psalm 145 together as an act of worship, extolling the greatness of our God and King, and sing a response of praise to him with King Of Kings and How Great Thou Art.

After our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids Kindergarten through 4th grade are invited to attend) and a few brief announcements, Pastor Andrew will bring us the next message in our Built Together sermon series with a message centering on Ephesians 6:10. What A Beautiful Name will be our response in song. To close our service we will worship through our Giving and with prayer, and will be sent out with a Benediction.
 

I hope you will use the Scripture and songs above to prepare your heart and mind for gathered worship. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Mark



Preparing for Worship Feb 28

from Mark Hoffman

Praise the Lord!

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,

in the company of the upright, in the congregation.

Psalm 111:1

We begin this week by gathering before the Lord as his people and declaring in song that Our God Saves. Later on, in today’s sermon text from Ephesians, we will hear about responding to the the Lord not just outwardly, on the surface, but from the heart. Psalm 111 will provide for us words of worship to proclaim from the heart together, and we will continue in response singing Behold Him and Cornerstone.

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 sermon series with a message from Ephesians 6:5-9. We’ll respond together to the truth of God’s Word through the taking of communion, and in song with Christ Is Enough. We will then conclude our time of worship with Giving, prayer, and a Benediction.
 

Please take some time to prayerfully engage with the Scripture and songs above. Pray for our time of gathered worship together and come prepared to respond to the Lord from the heart.

See you on Sunday,

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Feb 21

from Mark Hoffman

…giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:20-21

We enter into worship this week by proclaiming the truth that, even though we’ve done nothing to deserve it, God lavishes Grace On Top Of Grace upon us in Christ. God’s Word in Ephesians 5:20-21 points us further to the right responses of thanksgiving and submission. Thanksgiving may come easily, but submission is much harder! But because both of these responses flow out of reverence for Jesus Christ, we remind ourselves in song that Jesus Is Better, and that he alone is The Way.
 

Since it’s a Family Fellowship Sunday, we will invite our kids up front for a special Kids’ Time (toddlers will be dismissed at this time and all other kids will remain in the service.) Then following a few brief announcements, Pastor Andrew continues our Built Together sermon series with a message from Ephesians 6:1-4, as we explore what Christian submission looks like in parent-child relationships. We will once again respond in song with Jesus Is Better, and close with a time of Giving, prayer, and a Benediction.
 

I hope you can carve out just a few minutes this weekend to prepare for gathered worship on Sunday. Begin to internalize the message of the Scripture and songs above. Pray for our time together as a church and come ready to worship the Lord as his beloved children.

See you on Sunday!

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Feb 14

from Mark Hoffman

Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,

singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart. Ephesians 5:18-19
 
 
This week in our worship, we begin by proclaiming the gospel to one another in song with Nailed to the Cross. Then, continuing in response to Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 5:18-19, we will sing Hymn of the Holy Spirit and His Mercy Is More.
 
Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids Kindergarten through 4th grade are invited to attend) and a few brief announcements, we are excited to have one of our Elders, Bill Buchanan, continue our Built Together sermon series with a message from Ephesians 5:18-33. Responding to the Word of God and to the example we have in Jesus Christ, we will sing You Gave Your Life Away. Closing out our time together we will worship through Giving and in prayer, and will be sent out with a Benediction.
 
You can prepare for gathered worship by familiarizing yourself with the Scripture and songs above. Be in prayer for Bill, for the worship team, and for all who will be leading this week in worship. Pray that we all would be willing to live out God’s Word as the church gathered on Sunday and as the church scattered the other six days of the week!
 
Also, you can begin preparing for worship during the Easter season by picking up a devotional guide at the Welcome Center. “The Cross” is a devotional guide that can be used as a 10-day devotional leading up to Easter OR as an 8-week Lent plan starting the week of Feb 23rd. It’s suitable for personal study or in groups, and features various devotional writers as they focus on the message of Christ’s cross and resurrection. You can check out a preview here
 
I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday…

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Feb 7

from Mark Hoffman

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  Ephesians 5:1-2 

 

We open our time of worship this week with a call to Rejoice. It is because of the love and salvation that is in our Lord Jesus Christ that we gather in worship and respond with a rejoicing that begins in our hearts and overflows in song. (Psalm 13:5-6) As we hear the words of Ephesians 5:1-2 further pointing us to the love and salvation that is found in Jesus, our response together is How Marvelous and One Thing Remains.

 

Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids Kindergarten through 4th grade are invited to attend) and a few brief announcements, Pastor Andrew continues our Built Together sermon series with a message from Ephesians 5:1-17. Our response to this passage of Scripture is to proclaim together in song that Christ Is Mine Forevermore. Concluding our time of worship is a time of Giving, prayer, and a Benediction.
 

As you prepare your heart and mind for gathered worship this week, prayerfully take in the meaning of the Scriptures above and familiarize yourself with the message of the songs we’ll sing together. Come ready to rejoice in all that Christ has done, and to receive and respond to all that the Lord has to say to us through his Word. 

 

I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday…

 

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Jan. 31

from Mark Hoffman

We begin this week by entering into worshipful conversation with the living God, setting a prayer to music as we sing Come Thou Fount Come Thou King. Then we will hear from the Lord through his Word as we read today’s sermon text from Ephesians 4:25-32. The fact that we have “put away falsehood” implies that we have, in its place, taken hold of the truth of Jesus. So it is the truth of the gospel, then, and the life found in him that becomes the basis for all that we do. We will proclaim and celebrate the truth of the gospel in song with And Can It Be and Grace Greater Than Our Sin
 
Following our Children’s Church dismissal (all kids Kindergarten through 4th grade are invited to attend) a 7&8 retreat recap, and a few brief announcements, Pastor Andrew will continue our Built Together sermon series with message from Ephesians 4:25-32. The truth of God’s Word will lead us to respond through the taking of communion, and in song with Jesus Paid It All. Concluding our time of worship is a time of Giving, prayer, and a Benediction.
 

Find a time and place this weekend to prepare for gathered worship. Slowly take in the truth of Ephesians 4:25-32. Familiarize yourself with the message of the songs we’ll sing together. Prayerfully prepare your heart to remember the Lord in communion. Let’s all come ready to meet with the living God in worship and to bring him glory in all that we do!

See you on Sunday…

Mark



Preparing for Worship – Jan 24

from Mark Hoffman

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and all that is within me,

bless his holy name!

Psalm 103:1
 
As we gather this week, we’ll begin by praising the Lord, singing This Is Amazing Grace. Then, as we proclaim the message of Psalm 103 together, we’ll begin to see more reasons why we are called to bless the Lord in our worship. The Lord forgives us. He is loving and compassionate towards us. He heals us, he redeems us, and he satisfies us with good. Basking in the truth of who God is and all that he does for us, we respond together in song with 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) and Lord I Need You.  
 
 
After we invite our kids up front for a special Kids’ Time (toddlers will be dismissed at this time and all other kids will remain in the service) and following a few brief announcements, Mark Hoffman will be preaching this week as we continue our Built Together sermon series with a message from Ephesians 4:17-24. Our response to God’s Word together is Who You Say I Am. And finally, following a time of Giving and prayer, we are excited to close our service with Baptisms! (And don’t forget to stay for lunch and our business meeting, too.)
 
 
Please pray for our time together on Sunday. Pray that the Lord would strengthen and enable all those leading and serving during the service as well as our business meeting. Prepare your own heart and mind for worship by finding time to prayerfully reflect on the Scripture and songs above. Pray that Christ would be exalted and glorified in all that we do.
 

See you on Sunday!

Mark