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The Gospel for Now and Forever

August 27, 2017

As we continue our series on the Everyday Gospel this week, we'll be hearing about how the Gospel is to impact our leisure this Sunday.  This series has continued to direct our attention to the fact that God cares about each moment of our day, not just those few moments we spend at church each Sunday.  

During our singing time this week, we'll be focusing on how the Gospel, how the completed work of Christ, not only impacts our current days, but also gives us a future and a hope.  Christ has conquered sin and death...He has taken away our condemnation...He has promised help for all our trials and all our fears....He has given us purpose for all our activities.  He has bought for us the opportunity to live each moment with joy, hope, and expectation of the the eternal impact of our decisions.  If you're like me, you need those reminders, and you need to regularly re-embrace the effects of the Gospel on your daily decisions...and surrender everything to the Lord.  We'll also be celebrating communion together, reminding one another of the eternal significance of Christ's work for us on the Cross.

Here are the songs we'll be singing this week:

-10,000 Reasons
-Come Thou Fount
-Grace So Glorious
-You Have My Surrender
 
Here's a Spotify playlist for you to listen to as you and your family prepare for Sunday.  We can't wait to worship the Lord together with you all!
 
 
Posted by Tim Payne with

Trust in God

Trust In God
- April 2nd - 

If you're anything like me, you need to regularly remind yourself not to rely on or put your trust in anything but God.  Now, some might say that's a pretty cynical point of view, saying, "Come on...you can't rely on anything other than God?"  But hear me out.  We should trust people, assuming the best of them and taking them at their word.  We should rely on friends and family to do what they say and help in time of need. We should trust authorities to stick to their word and follow through on their promises.  We should trust gravity to bring raindrops down from the skies.  But in all of these, and countless more examples, our confidence must ultimately be in the God who sustains and upholds all things according to the purposes of His will.  If we trust in Him, we will not be shaken.

This Sunday, we'll be singing about the confidence we can have in God's powerful, sovereign, loving, reliable hands holding us and the world around us.

Here are the songs we'll sing:
Come Praise and Glorify
A Mighty Fortress
Boldly I Approach
Come To Me
You Have My Surrender

And here's a Spotify of most of them (A Mighty Fortress is not on Spotify in the way we sing it).

Where is Our Hope?
- March 26th - 

Psalm 103:1-5
"Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,    
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,    
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,    
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,    
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good,
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."

We come each week to worship a Lord who provides, heals, redeems, and satisfies us...who crowns us with love and mercy.  If we place our hope in anything else, or base our perspective on external circumstances, how foolish are we?

Let's put our trust in the eternally trustworthy and generous God we serve!

Here are the songs we'll be singing this coming Sunday...let's come ready to Bless the Lord for all his benefits.

-10,000 Reasons
-Forever
-Nothing But the Blood
-Not In Me

Listen on Spotify here.


God Alone
- November 20th-
Psalm 62:5-8
"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
 He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
 On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
 Trust in him at all times, O people;
    pour out your heart before him;
    God is a refuge for us."

Part of worship is declaring dependence on God, and reminding myself that I need God not only as my only hope for salvation, but also as my only hope of accomplishing the daily 
responsibilities in front of me in a way that honors Him.  If I'm honest, I very rarely live out the truth in these verses above...most often, I don't wait in silence on God alone, for my hope is, all too often, in my ability or effort...my strength or my diligence.  The problem is, when I put my trust in those things, I am always disappointed...even if I succeed initially, eventually, my strength fails.  When we come to corporate worship on Sundays, it's much the same...we so often get out of bed and get to church on sheer will-power and habit and rush in to sing a few songs with distracted minds, try to get something out of the sermon without being distracted by the chores lining up at home and the work piling up for the week ahead.  What if we came to our worship gatherings with the heart of the Psalmist from Psalm 62....ready to wait on God alone in silence, putting all our hope in Him, and trusting in Him as our strength and salvation?  How would that change my Sundays?  How would that change yours?  Let's ask the Lord to remind us of these truths from Psalm 62 this week. Here are the songs we'll be singing:

God and God Alone
O Praise the Name
At the Cross
Mercy Reigns
Before the Throne

Here's the Spotify Playlist of the Songs
Here are the Lyrics: 11_20_16.docx



Weakness and the American Dream
- November 13th -
So much of what our country was founded on is good and wise.  It's good to provide religious freedom.  It's good to celebrate hard work and reward people for their labors.  It's good to provide a system of laws to create order and protect the innocent and weak from the tyranny of unjust rulers.  It's good to acknowledge that all men are created equal in the sight of God.  The list goes on and on.  We have much to be grateful for in this nation.  However, it's foolish to place our hope in the strength and wisdom provided by a system of government.  This week, our nation exercised an amazing part of our freedoms by voting in a variety of public servants, most significantly, our new President Elect.  And if you're like me, you're tempted to quickly hope for certain things to happen and others not to happen during his presidency.  And if we're not careful, we hope in the strength of our governmental system or despair it's ineffectuality.  If we're not careful, we celebrate the strength of a victory or decry the weakness reflected in defeat.  

But the Savior we serve would have us look not to human or institutional strength for hope, but to humility and weakness.  The most hopeful anecdotes or quotes from this election cycle should not be the grandiose promises made, but the evidences of humility given.  If a politician touted their great organization and ideas and record and support but didn't stop to acknowledge where they were weak; where they need help, then they are in a precarious place, whether victorious or not. Our God is a God who delights in genuine humility and desperate weakness...for those are the canvases on which He paints his most glorious masterpieces of victory and strength by his Spirit's gracious activity.

This Sunday, we'll be celebrating communion together as a church and we'll be looking at the truth that Jesus came in weakness, and welcomed us to join in and celebrate the weakness of the cross so that we might also join in singing of and celebrating his victory and defeat over sin and death.  Jesus is all powerful and glorious, high and lifted up, and his power is made (shown to be) perfect in our weakness.  

What a glorious mystery!  Here are the songs we'll be singing this week:

-Holy Holy Holy
-At Your Name
-Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery
-Be Enthroned

Here are the Lyrics: 11_13_16.docx
And here's the Spotify playlist.

Nothing Compares
- November 6th -
Psalm 89:5-7 says:

"Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
    your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
 For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
    Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
 a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones,
    and awesome above all who are around him?"

We come this Sunday to declare that nothing compares to our God...no wisdom of this world, no ruler of this age, no media outlet, no political pundit, no theologian, no career, no sports team, no social cause could or should compete with our God as He's revealed himself to us in His Word for our trust, our dependence, or our source of direction.  He is awesome and above all around him.  He is greatly to be feared because in Him is all wisdom and power and might.  He is also greatly to be loved because He is full of mercy and compassion.  Because of the love with which He loves us, He sent his Son to die for our rebellion and draw us back into relationship with Him.  He loves us enough to speak to each of us, personally, and to us corporately by his Spirit..  What a God we serve! 

Here are the songs we'll be singing this weekend:

- How Great Thou Art
- Cling to Christ
- O Great God
- Grace So Glorious
- Exalted One
- Grace Alone

Here are the lyrics for those songs:  11_6_16.docx

And here's the Spotify playlist.



Draw Near
- October 23rd -

Hebrews 4:14-16 says: "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

As we have been studying "Christ and Him Crucified" these past two weeks, it has been with an eye toward boasting in Christ Alone...putting all our hope in what He has accomplished on our behalf, not in what we accomplish on his. As we come to sing together this Sunday, let's draw near to the throne of grace with confidence, because we have a great high priest who is both willing and able to understand our weakness and who lives to intercede for us, and who provides for us access to a personal relationship with the himself and the Father and the Spirit.  

Here are the songs we'll be singing this week:
-All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name
-O Praise the Name
-O Come to the Altar
-His Mercy is More
-Be Thou My Vision

Here's a Spotify Playlist (doesn't include His Mercy is More because it hasn't been released yet)
Here are the lyrics: 10_23_16.docx

 


Steadfast Love and Faithfulness
- October 16th -

These last few months, my Bible reading plan has had me in I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, and I & II Chronicles, as well as several Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.  One of the overwhelming themes that strikes me from these books is God's steadfast love and faithfulness to his people.  Throughout these books, we see the ongoing wandering and rebellion of his people in spite of his miraculous provision and rescue and protection of them!  I see myself so often in Israel's wanderings...not usually in their exact actions, but in the restlessness and lack of focus on God that they so regularly exhibit...and that's why it is so striking and impactful to see that God always, faithfully, without fail, disciplines his children, and then pours out his forbearing, steadfast love and mercy on them.  He is faithful to bring them through trials and out of rebellion and into a place of proper worship of Him. And then they wander and rebel again, and He brings them back again...over and over and over.  What a patient love which with the Father loves his children!  His steadfast love and faithfulness are the truths about Him that we plan to celebrate this coming Sunday.  We look forward to worshipping Him together with you!

Here are the songs:
-How Great Is Your Faithfulness
-This is Amazing Grace
-The Solid Rock
-In Christ Alone

Here's the Spotify Playlist
Here are the Lyrics:  10_16_16.docx 

 
One Boast
- October 9th -
As the family of God, we have a unique privilege...we get to proclaim the truth of the Gospel with our words, with our actions.  This isn't unique to us at Grace Church in Frisco, of course, but it is unique amongst the people and nations throughout history...only those chosen by the sovereign mercy of the One God and One Creator of us all get this privilege.  And when we gather on Sunday mornings, we join all of God's people, both past and present in singing about the majestic salvation wrought by the Savior on the cross.  We get to boast about the rescue Jesus purchased for us with his blood...even the angels can't comprehend what it means to be rescued from death to life and brought into the family of God...they understand the majesty of God, but they can't boast in His Rescue the same way his Family can.  As we sing this coming Sunday morning, let's sing with all the proper emotion and passion that befits this unique and singular boast that we can claim along with our brothers and sisters in Christ! Jesus, and Him Crucified to set us apart for himself...He is our boast and our song!

Here are the songs we'll be singing to help us focus on this One Boast:
-This I Believe
-Stronger
-Jesus Paid It All
-O Great God
-All I Have Is Christ

Here's the Spotify Playlist 
And here are the lyrics to those songs:  10_9_16.docx


One God, One Father, One Church
- September 25th - 
This Sunday, we have the joy and privilege of celebrating the truth that we have One God....eternally God, Creator of All...and that He, in love, sent his only Son, beloved and not created, to suffer and die at the hands of evil men so that evil men and women like you and I could have access to God not temporarily, but permanently and eternally!  Let's sing with joy because of this amazing grace!  Here are the songs we'll be singing and the Spotify playlist of them:
-How Great Is Our God
-At Your Name
-This is Our God
-Man of Sorrows
-His Mercy is More (a new hymn by our friend Matt Boswell that hasn't been recorded yet)

Here's the Spotify


Worship Together
- September 11th -
There's something powerful about coming together.  Countless songs have been written about the human desire and need for community, connection, unity, and harmony.  While so many of those strike a chord with us, they almost always miss the ultimate purpose for that urge and desire that resides in every human heart.  We desire connection and community because we were made to be a part of God's family.  We were made to be in union with Him, and since sin entered the world, our ability to fully experience and enjoy communion with Him is fracture and perpetually disfigured until He comes again to bring us into eternal communion with Him.  And when we come together as His body each Sunday, we get to experience a brief glimpse of what it will be like to be in perfect union with Him and his people forever in heaven...we get to sing unified and corporate expressions of praise to the God who made us to be with Him.  As we come this week, we'll be singing songs that use plural/corporate language (we, our, together, etc) to help us reinforce the amazing truth that God has poured out on us together as His people and called us to worship Him with one unified voice.  Let's join together to worship the King who is drawing us to himself.

Here are the songs we'll be singing together:

-Praise God

-Unstoppable God

-10,000 Reasons

-Behold Our God

-What A Savior

Here's the Spotify Playlist
and 
Here are the Lyrics: 9_11_16.docx



The Body and Worship
-August 21st-
There are countless circumstances in life where what's going on inside my heart and mind overflows into a physical expression.  Some of those expressions are good and some are bad, but they all say something about who I am and what matters to me.  I might clap at the end of a musical performance to show appreciation for the skill of the performers and the beauty of the music.  I might cheer on someone in the Olympics as they seek to earn a gold medal and break a world record.  I might share a smile with my wife when our daughter does something cute.  I might laugh out loud at a particularly funny moment in a movie.  I might jump out of my chair and shout in celebration when my team scores a touchdown to win the game (it has been done...just ask my 7-year-old daughter, Annie, who imitates me).  To my shame, I also have been known to throw my hands up in disgust when someone cuts me off in traffic, or clap my hands in frustration when I can't get the screw to go into the hole in the ceiling fan mount as I stand on top of the ladder with my hands over my head. In each case, I use my body to reflect the truth about the condition and feelings of my heart.

And while there is something profound about how the content of our hearts overflows into physical expression even when nobody is around us, there is an even greater impact and effect (positive or negative) when it happens collectively.  A stadium collectively exploding in cheers and high-fives for a game-winning score, a standing ovation for a standout performance at the theatre, an angry mob shouting in protest of injustice (real or perceived), fundraising events like the March of Dimes and Race for the Cure, and the gathered people of God passionately and corporately expressing praise back to Him through song...and the list goes on.

God created us as both spiritual and physical beings. He made us to express spiritual truths physically, and He made us "corporate" people, whose collective expression outstrips the sum of the parts when we gather to give outward physical expression to inward spiritual truths.

So every Sunday, when we gather for worship, we have the unique opportunity to participate in expressing physically, together, truths that are true for every one of us who is redeemed by the blood of Jesus.  If the most important thing about you and me is that Jesus died to save us and we've placed all our hope and future in his hands, then there should be a regular overflow of physical expression that reflects those truths. If we are aware of a desperate need for Jesus in an area of our lives, that should overflow into the way that we sing and lift our hands to the Merciful Savior.  Or if we're excited about what God has done recently in our lives, that should overflow into loud shouts of praise or clapping or dancing.

Our bodies were made to carry out the physical manifestations of the worship that is overflowing from our hearts.  If we come on Sundays ready to worship at the altar of our own comfort, our bodies will reflect that.  If we come on Sundays ready to worship at the altar of "cool", our bodies will reflect that.  If we come on Sundays simply exhausted from a busy week, having shut off our minds, our bodies will reflect that.  But if we come on Sundays ready to worship our Savior who has died to rescue us, and to celebrate the truth of his transforming grace at work in our lives, then our bodies should reflect that in some combination of the physical expressions of worship called for in the Bible...like clapping, or shouting, or raising our hands, or dancing, or bowing down, or singing.  Not all of those at once, and not even all of them every Sunday, but over time, those physical expressions of worship to God should be overflowing from the hearts of those who have been saved by Jesus and are being transformed into His image. 

However, this is not a show.  Outward worship is to be a reflection of an inward transformation. If physical worship wouldn't be a reflection of what God has done in your life because you haven't trusted in Jesus for rescue or repented and turned from your sins, then don't just sing and clap to fit in.  But if you have put your trust and hope in Jesus alone for salvation, then physical worship is and should be the natural outflow of that miraculous spiritual change.

What is your body saying about your heart on Sunday mornings?  Are you declaring the excellencies of a crucified Savior who has transformed you, or are you declaring something altogether different?  Is your physical expression of worship encouraging those around you to worship, or not?  This week, we'll be celebrating Baptism (another external expression of an internal truth) with three dear friends in our congregation, and we'll be singing songs that give us ample opportunity to worship the Savior together with all our heart, soul, mind, AND strength. He is worthy of all our worship!

Here are the songs we'll be singing:
-All Creatures of Our God and King
-Generous King
-This is Amazing Grace
-Be Enthroned

Here are the Lyrics  8_21_16.docx
Here's the Spotify Playlist


Praise and Desperation
-August 14th -
If you think back over the course of your life, you can most likely name at least a few times where you felt somewhat desperate or even despairing.  In fact, that might describe how you are feeling today or this week.  Often times, I think we can assume that if that's our condition, we simply aren't in a state to worship the Lord.  We can believe that our circumstances, our feelings, our experiences, our sins, and our emotions are all creating a roadblock to worship...and in fact, we can simply have no desire to worship the Lord as a result.  But throughout the Scriptures, we see that God has uniquely designed us to be able to feel and communicate both desperation and praise with almost the same breath.  In James 1, He calls us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds, and in Psalm 40, David makes these amazing statements back to back in verses 11 and 12:

"11 As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
    your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
    ever preserve me!
12 For evils have encompassed me
    beyond number;
my iniquities have overtaken me,
    and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
    my heart fails me."

David worships the Lord for His steadfast love and faithfulness and then declares honestly that he feels overtaken and encompassed by evils, enemies, and his own iniquity.  David's sense of desperation and even despair, don't drive him away from worship, they drive him TO worship. David doesn't just ignore his problems and put on a brave face pretending to have no hindrances in his worship.  David simply sees no dichotomy between feeling desperate and singing praises. One way he considers trials a joy is that he sees them as an opportunity and motivation to praise the Lord for his steadfast love and faithfulness.  No matter where your circumstances have you this week, join David's example and allow your desperate moments to be filled with praise. Let's pour out our honest emotions and requests to the Lord and agree with the Psalmist that God will ever preserve us and He is always worthy of joyful praise.  And let's let God fill our hearts with supernatural joy in Him.

Here are the songs we'll be singing this Sunday:

-Holy
-Be Enthroned
-Blessed Be Your Name
-None But Jesus
-Never Once

Here are the Lyrics:  8_14_16.docx
Here's a Spotify Playlist


The Unlikely Miracle of Death to Self and the Amazing Gift of Life to God
-August 7th -

Baptism is one of those unique occasions, like weddings and funerals, that can, if we let them, help us focus on the really important things in this world. When we witness a baptism, we're witnessing what the Bible describes as a person being united to Christ in His death and united to Him in His resurrection life. So we are, in a sense, witnessing a death and a resurrection. This is truly amazing, but we might not think so, unless we remember that the death we are talking about is just as terrible as physical death, and the new life is just as real as a drowning victim being resuscitated to have a second chance at life! 
 
 
 
 
 

Death to self is as contrary to our nature as trying to breathe under water. We love ourselves, our selfish desires, our ambitions, our private pleasures, our right to convenience, our sense of importance, our control of our future. Say goodbye to all of that? Consider myself dead to all of that? I might as well consider myself immune to snake bites or unbound by the law of gravity! No, overcoming the power of self-centered sin takes a miracle. It takes the miracle of God convincing me that death is the way to life. When we become Christians, God graciously convinces us, by the Holy Spirit, that remaining in the distress and disease of sin is much worse than death. So we take the remedy He offers. We ultimately receive the life He offers, but it starts with our receiving the death He offers. He offers us our own death, the death to self—repentance. And He offers us His death, the death that can pay the debt for all our sin—propitiation. When I accept the offer, I go down into the grave, where Christ has gone for me. I take a big breath and take the plunge, in faith.
 
 
 
 
 

When we each take that step, what we find there is life. New life. Life of love. Life of hope. Life of joy. Life we couldn't have imagined before when we were living for self. We find acceptance, where before we were always dying to prove ourselves. We find peace, where before we were always in strife with God and others. We find rest, where before we always worried about our needs, our plans, our control. And we find power, because only the power of God can turn self-centeredness to others-centeredness, envy to encouragement, animosity to reconciliation, pride to humility, despair to freedom. All of this transformation is no less amazing than life from death.
 
 
 
 
 

So let's be amazed again. As we gather to worship our God and Savior this Sunday, let's be amazed at His work in us and in those He has redeemed. Let's say again, "Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling!" As we celebrate with those who are being baptized, let's embrace the glorious paradox that death means life, because our God in His infinite wisdom has made it so. It took an amazing rescue to keep us from drowning in our sins, and—joy of all joys—Christ was strong enough and good enough and loving enough to be the Life-saver!

Here are the songs we'll be singing as we celebrate this Sunday:
-Great and Mighty King
-Cling to Christ
-You Alone Can Rescue
-Amazing Grace

Here are the lyrics: 8_7_16.docx
Here is the Spotify playlist.

 
 
 



Prayer and Sovereignty
- July 31st - 
“Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance. It is laying hold of His willingness.” - Martin Luther

This week, we'll be celebrating the sovereign rule of God, as well as recognizing our need through a time of corporate prayer.  I love the truth that God's power isn't limited, nor is His compassion circumstantial.  He is always willing and able to meet our needs and provide a way for us.  So, when we sing about His reign and rule, and subsequently ask specific things of him, we're in no way contradicting ourselves...we're simply resting in the mystery of God's sovereignty being in perfect partnership with his promise to answer the prayers of his people.  Let's come Sunday full of excitement that He is full of power and compassion, and confident that he chooses to listen to and answer the prayers of His children.  

Here's the list of songs for Sunday:

-How Great is Your Faithfulness
-Unstoppable God
-You Have My Surrender
-All the Way My Savior Leads Me
-The Solid Rock

Here are the Lyrics: 7_31_16.docx
Here is the Spotify Playlist


Love Conquers
- July 24th - 
"In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." I John 4:10-11

I don't know about you, but on an intellectual level, I am very happy about these verses, and they impact the way I think about my standing before the Holy and Just God of the universe.  However, if you're like me, maybe they don't impact the way you live your life as much as they ought to.  In everyday life, I can tend to boil love down to a pretty weak and impotent concoction of hugs and smiles and flowers and chocolates.  But God defines love as sacrifice.  John says the love of God should flow out from us toward one another as children in God's family.  And elsewhere in Scripture, we see that the love that we have for one another is to be a witness to a lost and dying world in which hatred and violence so often reign.  Jesus loved us enough to die for us.  God loved us enough to send his beloved Son to take the punishment that we deserved.  And their call to is us is to love like they love us.  This Sunday, we'll be singing about how the power and love of God will not and cannot be defeated, and we'll be asking Him to empower us to follow his example. The songs we'll be singing are:

-Rejoice
-Unstoppable God
-Here is Love
-At the Cross
-When You Move
-Exalted One

Here are the lyrics: 7_24_16.docx
And here's the Spotify Playlist


Eyes on Jesus
- July 17th -
I came across this fantastic devotional from Charles Spurgeon today.  I trust it encourages you as you go through your week and as you prepare for the joy of worship the Lord together with his people on Sunday!

"It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of his children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.” All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: he tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.” Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument—it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.” Keep thine eye simply on him; let his death, his sufferings, his merits, his glories, his intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to him; when thou liest down at night look to him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after him, and he will never fail thee." 

Amen!  O Lord, help us to look to Jesus and live for His glory, letting no hope or fear come between us and You.

Here are the songs we'll be singing as we look to Jesus together this Sunday:
-God and God Alone
-Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery
-Man of Sorrows
-All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name
-Forever
-All Things New

Here are they lyrics:7_17_16.docx
And here's theSpotify Playlist



In Christ
- July 10th -
Recently, I've been discovering more and more things that I just am not quite as good at as I used to be.  It used to be, I could stay up really late with almost no consequences the next day. It used to be that I could work out in the morning, and wouldn't be sore. It used to be that I could ride a roller-coaster without feeling I'd left my stomach two loops behind.  But I'm starting to notice that I'm not as young as I once was.  (I know all of you in your 40's and beyond are just rolling your eyes now, but the de-youthification process has begun.)  I am finding out that I was made with a shelf-life. I am, by nature, broken and breaking down.  This wasn't the original design, but because of the effects of sin, we are all broken (physically and spiritually).  However, because of the mysterious and merciful providence of God, we have a hope.  Our hope is that, In Christ, we will one day get the undefiled and un-broken and unbreakable eternity with God.  In his Sovereignty, God allows me to see and feel the effects of sin, but He has a future and a hope set before me...and before every one of us who has put our hope in Him.  We don't have to despair and give up trying to avoid the compromises that face us every day like Esther and Mordecai did. We can set our eyes on Jesus and look forward to the finishing and perfecting of both our faith and our bodies.  In Christ, this hope is found, and we can see.  That's what we're going to sing about this Sunday...God's sovereignty over all things and our identity in Christ because of his purchase of us at the Cross.  Here are the songs we'll be singing:

-How Great Thou Art
-Great and Mighty King
-O Come to the Altar
-In Christ Alone
-None But Jesus

Here are the Lyrics: 7_10_16.docx
Here's the Spotify Playlist


God Moves in A Mysterious Way
- July 3rd -
As we embark on this series in Esther, I've been pondering the Providence of God, and this old Hymn came to mind.  I love the imagery that William Cowper uses to describe and celebrate God's kind sovereignty over all things:

God Moves in a Mysterious Way
Verse 1

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm
Verse 2
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will
Verse 3
Ye fearful saints fresh courage take
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head
Verse 4
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense
But trust Him for His grace
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face
Verse 5
His purposes will ripen fast
U
nfolding every hour
The bud may have a bitter taste
But sweet will be the flower
Verse 6
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain
God is His own interpreter
And He will make it plain

As we come together to worship the Lord this Sunday, let's come ready to celebrate the truth that God is on His Throne, and that He has plans to prosper us, and not to harm us, and He is eager to meet with us His children as we come to him in worship.

We'll be singing:
-Holy Holy Holy
-Revelation Song
-Come Thou Fount
-Never Once
-10,000 Reasons

Here are the lyrics: 7_3_16.docx

Here's the Spotify


The Gospel of Hope
- June 19th -
 Last week, we heard a pretty penetrating message about the dangers of comparing ourselves to others; the dangers of having our eyes on those around us instead of on Jesus.  We heard that God is pleased when we are honest with Him and one another as relates to our need for help to change and conquer our sin. We heard how the Pharisee was hoping in his efforts and works to bring him favor with God.  Ultimately, we heard Jesus' words, "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."  As we look forward to singing together this coming week, I am so grateful for the conviction of the Lord in these areas, and as we talked in our community group last night, I was excited for the opportunity to grow as a group in applying Scripture and being honest with ourselves, one another, and the Lord where we are weak and need forgiveness and help to change.  But honestly, there's a temptation that we can all face, which is to quickly become stuck more aware of our need to change than we are of the Hope for change that is available to us in the Gospel.  This Sunday, we're going to sing songs that help us to locate our Hope in the Gospel so that we allow conviction to drive us to our knees like the tax collector and then the glorious hope that we have in Jesus Christ to motivate us to grow more and more into his image.  Let's be a humble, yet rejoicing, church this Sunday as we sing together!

Here are some resources to help you prepare:
Spotify List
Lyrics: 6_19_16.docx

One Hope
- June 5th -
God is faithful.  He is powerful. Our God did not rescue us from sin and death just to leave us on our own to handle the challenges of life.  We have a sure and strong foundation in Christ.  We have an anchor in the storms that come our way.  We have a Defender against the enemy of our souls.  We have an Advocate before the throne.  We have a Friend when all around us seems to be chaos, confusion, loss, and pain. And yet, I am so often tempted to place my hope in my own strength, feeble as it truly is.  I grasp at the approval of others and put up walls around my vulnerabilities, so as to appear stronger than I am.  I can be tempted to strive after a success defined by temporal things, comforts that won't last, and pleasures that draw me away from Jesus, rather than toward him.  And yet, God remains faithful.  He remains my Defender and Advocate, and Friend.  His salvation is permanent and my "child status" before Him is irrevocable.  He calls me to set my hope fully on the future that He has prepared for me after conquering sing and death.  And I am reminded again to fix my eyes on Jesus, place Him, once again, at the center of my view, and declare my full dependence on Him.  Over and over, I have to remind myself to hold on to Jesus as my source of joy, my source of hope, and my strength to endure. That's what we're going to Sunday as we sing together.  Here are the songs we'll be singing to help us celebrate the Hope have in the Gospel, and to declare our desire to put all our Hope in Him:

-Crown Him With Many Crowns
-Cling to Christ
-Grace So Glorious
-When I Survey
-None But Jesus
-I Surrender All


Here's the Spotify Playlist
And here are the Lyrics: 6_5_16.docx

Standing on the Gospel
- May 29th -
“Orthodoxy is the teaching that best follows the bible and
best summarizes what it teaches—best accounts for the
paradoxes and apparent contradictions, best preserves
the mystery of God in the places where reason can’t go and
best communicates the story of the forgiveness of the
gospel.”—Justin Holcombe

I love this quote and how it defines orthodox teaching.  When we sing together on Sundays, we are teaching ourselves.  We can choose to teach ourselves orthodox truth as Holcombe defines it,  or we can choose to sing unorthodox non-truth. Unorthodox songs come in many forms...sometimes they aren't exactly inaccurate representations of the Bible, but they're just unclear and so they aren't the 'best'.  Other times, they really do misrepresent a truth of Scripture in an effort to achieve a better melody or a better rhyme.  I think it's pretty rare that Christian songwriters intend to be unorthodox in what they say with their songs, but if we aren't aiming and fighting for orthodoxy, we usually end up missing it.  Orthodox teaching isn't always easy to achieve, so it's essential that we take to heart the goal of using the songs that 'best follow the teaching of the bible'.  This Sunday, we're going to be reading the Nicene Creed together, which is another way we seek to remind ourselves of the central and orthodox teachings of Scripture and seek to protect ourselves from being blown off course by a 'trendy' or 'popular' teaching which isn't the most accurate biblically.  We look forward to singing songs full of truth about the Gospel of Jesus Christ together with you all this Sunday!  The songs for this week are:

-God and God Alone
-Once and For All
-Man of Sorrows
-The Solid Rock
-Give Me Faith
-Gladly Would I Leave Behind

Here's the Spotify Playlist 
And here are the lyrics: 5_29_16.docx
  
Thou and Thou Only, First in My Heart

- May 22nd -
House payments, kids' sports, status at work, status on social media, family harmony, STAR testing, family health, personal joy and fulfillment, vacations, holidays, politics, etc, etc, etc.  The list of topics that could distract us or draw us away from Christ is endless.  Many of these 'distractions' are healthy and important things to be concerned with and focused on.  However, if they become 'first', then we must put them in their proper place behind Christ and Christ Alone.  If we trust in anything else to the detriment of our hope and trust in Christ, we must repent!  If we put our hope for the future in anything other than Christ's atoning death and conquering resurrection, we must repent!  If we fear poverty or failure or sickness or death more than we fear wasting our life in light of eternity, we must repent and turn back to a full dependence and reliance and focus on Christ.  That's what we're going to sing about this Sunday.  We can't wait to cast our cares and fix our eyes on Christ together with you all.  Here are the songs we'll be singing:

-At Your Name
-God and God Alone
-Be Thou My Vision
-You Have My Surrender

Here's the Spotify

Here are the lyrics: 5_22_16.docx

He Acts, We Respond
- May 15th -
The rhythm of our corporate singing times is intentionally organized to reflect the rhythm of salvation.  While salvation is wonderfully deep and wide in all of it's intricacies, the overall rhythm is pretty simple: God acts, we respond.  God is eternally unchanging in his character and his initiative toward us. He is Loving, He is Faithful, He is Just, He is Merciful.  Just like the Father in the story of the Prodigal Son, He comes after us in love and mercy whether we're more like the younger brother - openly rebelling, or more like the older brother - self-righteous and condescending.  He pursues us as we pursue our own flavor of separation from him.  He initiates, and we respond. And so it is when we come to praise him together on Sundays.  It's his initiative that brings us out of bed and gives us the strength to come to church.  It's his initiative that turns our hearts away from our fears and failures and achievements of the week and toward Him. It's his initiative that gives us joy in our salvation. It's his initiative that reminds us of the love and faithfulness that he has poured out on us.  And it's his initiative that prompts our hearts and minds to engage in singing truth to him, and about him to one another. Our job? Respond.  Meditate on truth about your Heavenly Father this week.  Get up on Sunday morning and pray for energy and mental recall to remember the truths you've studied.  Use your voice and your body to express simple emotions like desperation, thanksgiving, and joy to this Father who initiates in love and faithfulness and mercy toward his children.  Here are the songs we'll be singing this week as we seek to facilitate appropriate response to our initiating Father God....thanking him for his initiative, and asking for his help to respond.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Here Is Love
O Come to the Altar
Spirit of God
Take My Life

Here's the Spotify Playlist

And here are the lyrics for these songs: 5_15_16.docx

The Prodigal Father
- May 8th -
There are very few truths that have more dramatically impacted me than the truth that God relates to me, in Christ, as his very own Son.  Specifically, the truth that the Love of this Father not only accepts me as a result of a legal technicality, but actually ran after me in my rebellion, pursued me when I had only hatred for Him.  Because of the love, humility and generosity my Dad has always showed me, I have a really good (though admittedly shadowy since we're not in Heaven yet) picture of what God's Love for me must be like in Christ. The image of the Prodigal Father watching the horizon, eagerly anticipating the return of his son, straining his eyes for the first glimpse of his rebellious son's desperate repentant turn back to Him is one that is difficult to contemplate without my heart bursting forth in grateful song.  Because of his initiative toward us, because He ran to meet us when we were still far off, we get to experience and celebrate this extravagant, prodigal, love of God.  This week, we'll be singing to and about this extravagant Father.  We'll be doing so by the power of the Spirit that he gave us as a gift to empower our praise and let us feel his closeness every moment of every day.  What a great Father we serve! Here are the songs we'll be singing this week:

Praise God
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
Grace Alone
Lord, You Are Gracious
All I Have is Christ
Not In Me

Here are the Lyrics to these songs: 5_8_16.docx

And Here's the Spotify List so you can listen to them this week in preparation for the weekend.

Created for Good Works
- April 24th - 
What a highlight it was last week to celebrate our Grand Opening together as a church!  We have been so blessed by our Faithful Father to finally be at this point in the life of our church.  As Craig preached, Sunday, from Ephesians 2, we have all been saved by Grace...by the gracious and unmerited rescue of our Savior. I love how the Father who saves by grace has saved us for a purpose - to bring glory to Him by doing good works He has pre-ordained for us to walk in!  He saves us by grace alone, gives us purpose, and empowers us by his Spirit to fulfill that purpose...what a God we serve!  One of those good works we get to do week in and week out is to join together with other rescued sinners and sing to and for the God of Grace.  This Sunday, we'll be singing the following songs to help us walk in the good work of worshiping God together:

-Here For You
-You Alone Can Rescue
-Grace and Peace
-Come Thou Fount
-Beautiful
-Behold Our God

Here's a Spotify link to the songs.  See you all on Sunday!

Imitate Christ
- April 10th - 
This past Sunday, we were encouraged to imitate Christ by welcoming one another as just as He has welcomed us. As we seek to respond to that this coming week, we want to be reminded of the humility and sacrifice that was involved in Christ welcoming us. We’re going to take communion together to remember Christ’s sacrifice, and sings songs that help us to remember and celebrate the magnitude of the task that it was for the Son of God to welcome and rescue sinners like you and me. Here are the songs we’ll be singing (with links to the Spotify playlist and lyrics)….see you at 10:00am on Sunday!

Crown Him With Many Crowns
Come Behold The Wondrous Mystery
Gladly Would I Leave Behind Me
Stronger
Jesus Paid It All

Spotify Playlist
Lyrics: 4_10_16.docx

By Grace Alone
- March 13th -
Isn't it amazing that Christ saved sinners like you and me?  This Sunday, we are focusing our singing time on the amazing grace that Christ poured out on us to save us.  In order to be amazed by grace, we must first understand the lengths He came to rescue us...the depth of un-loveliness  us by nature.  And yet, we must never stay stuck on the divide created by our sin...we must turn our eyes to Jesus and confess that it's only by His grace that we are brought near to God.  It is by grace that we have been saved and it is by grace that we are changed into his image.   Let's come ready to celebrate saving and transforming grace this Sunday!  Here's a spotify playlist of the songs for this week.   

Man of Sorrows
All Things New
At The Cross
This is Amazing Grace
I Surrender All

An Attitude Like Christ's

- March 6th - 

As we heard on Sunday, we should come to the Sunday gathering with an attitude of servanthood, asking, "How might my participation in the gathering serve others in my family and the church?"  How revolutionary it would be if we all came prepared to serve one another and with an eye toward our participation having as a  primary goal the benefit and building up of others?  It would be a radical statement about the greatness of our God...and it would have a radical impact on our worship of the Savior.  This Sunday, let's come prepared to sing to our Savior, and serve our neighbors!  Here are the songs we'll be singing:

Rejoice
Name Above All Names
There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood
Behold the Lamb
All I Have is Christ

Here's a Spotify Playlist of the songs...

Singing Together
- February 25th - 

Sometimes, in 21st century American culture, we find it offensive when we're told to do things. Children (who usually give us a glimpse into our own hearts without the carefully constructed social filters) often give their parents a hard time via a dirty look, a foot stomp, or even a tantrum in response to a call to "hurry up", "brush your teeth", or "clean your room".  We prefer to be in control.  We prefer to go at our own pace. We prefer to prioritize our comfort and preserve our independence.  But that mentality doesn't jive with what we heard last Sunday.  Jesus is calling us to gather together as His people, united for the purpose of worshiping Him.  And even more, He has prescribed a method for worship when we gather...it's called singing.  We do many other things to worship Him (or ourselves) throughout our week, but if we desire to worship Him in a local corporate gathering of his Church, He has prescribed a primary way for us to do so...sing.  He calls us to sing joyfully, to sing loudly, to sing with instruments accompanying us, to sing to one another, to sing to Him...Jesus tells us to sing.  Are we listening?  Are we obeying?  Are you coming on Sundays, ready to sing words and melodies written to assist you in obeying your Savior's instruction to sing praises to Him?  I encourage you...I exhort you...Sing!  God is pleased when his people sing to Him together.  Let's do it!

Here's what we'll be singing this Sunday:
-Here For You
-How Great Is Our God
-Our Song from Age to Age
-Amazing Grace
-Take My Life

Here's a link to the lyrics: 2_28_16.docx

and Here's a link to the Spotify playlist

Gathering in His Presence
- February 18th -

As we continue our study of corporate worship this week, we have the opportunity to respond to the Word we received last week...to gather together anticipating the active presence of God with us as we gather.  God doesn't uniquely dwell in a particular structure, at a particular time of the day or week, but He has called us to gather together as a local church body in a specific place, at a specific time each week for the purpose of engaging with one another and with Him in one of our most privileged activities....the worship of the Almighty God by His People. We don't exclusively experience God's grace together in the corporate weekend gathering of our little church, Grace Church.  However, we do experience the presence of God in a unique and powerful way when we join together with the local expression of His Family for the express purpose of engaging with Him, learning from His Word, and praising His Name.  As you look toward this coming Sunday, we say with the Apostle Paul,  "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." - Romans 15:13. We'd encourage you all to listen to these songs leading up to Sunday so you can be undistracted in praising the Lord together with us!

There is One Reason
Grace So Glorious
Here is Love
Spirit of God
In Christ Alone

Here's a Spotify Playlist of these songs we'll be singing this week!

Behold God Together Through His Word
- February 5th - 

Church, We're so excited to behold the Lord together with you on Sunday...and to declare our dependence on Him together.  The privilege of gathering together to worship the Lord in Song and by hearing his Word preached is one of my favorite every week.  This week, we'll be singing songs that we hope will remind us of the majesty of God and the beautiful story of the Gospel...his perfect rescue of a people for himself as revealed in his Word.

Here's the list for Sunday and a Spotify list of all but one of the songs (One Foundation is a re-write of the classic hymn How Firm a Foundation which isn't on Spotify)

-Behold our God

-One Foundation

-Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery

-In Christ Alone

-You Have My Surrender

Spotify Link

Built Together
- January 31st - 
As Paul said in  Ephesians 2:19-22 “…you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

As we gather together for our Sunday services, we gather as the united people of God…and He is building us together to be a unique expression of His Body here on earth.  We gather as a demonstration that we are no longer far off but have been brought near.  We gather at the beginning of each week to say  to God,  “We are Here for you, Lord! We gather to say to one another and the world, “We’ve been bought with a price! Jesus is first in our hearts!” We gather because we are united in Christ.  We gather because we are being built together as a dwelling place for God!   Come praise and glorify the Lord with us tonight!

Here are the songs we'll be singing:

- Here For You
- Come Praise and Glorify
- We Sing
- Be Thou My Vision

Here's a Spotify Playlist so you'll recognize the songs when you come tonight and so that you can re-sing them this week!

The Gathering
- January 22nd - 

This Sunday, Craig will be starting off a new series called "The Gathering", in which he will be opening up the Scriptures on the topic of corporate worship.  We will be hearing about what the Word has to say about questions like, "Why Sing?", "Why clap and shout and bow down and dance?", "Why take communion and an offering together?", "What are the goals of corporate worship?", "What makes corporate singing different than personal devotional singing?", and "How does our corporate worship further the mission of the Gospel?".  I can't wait to be reminded and encouraged about the significance of meeting with God's people week after week to celebrate and center ourselves on the King of Kings.  As we start into this series, we're going to sing about the generous provision of God for us at the Cross, where his love overflowed to rescue and redeem a people for himself.  Take a listen to these songs this weekend in preparation for our Sunday evening service, so that you can participate fully and without distraction as we come together to praise the Name of Jesus.

-Crown Him with Many Crowns
-Generous King
-Rejoice
-At the Cross
-Jesus, Thank You

Here's a Spotify list so you can easily find these songs and listen!

The Unbelievable Truth

- December 9th - 

When it comes to the Christmas Season, we’re often asked to suspend disbelief.  Christmas movies and books about the legend and myth of Santa Clause constantly bombard us, asking us to buy into the idea that an over-large, over-happy, over-generous old man can climb into a carefully designed piece of 16th century technology pulled by a team of eight reindeer can bring a Christmas gift to every child in the world in the span of one night. (Actually, if you really get into it, they’d have about 30 hours, since that is how long it takes for the entire world to experience the “Night before Christmas”)  Even young children intuitively know this is totally impossible, and yet, we all (to varying degrees) suspend disbelief to enjoy a nice set of stories and indulge our imaginations for the sake of the joy and the spirit of Christmas.

The true story of Christmas is intuitively MUCH more far-fetched than the Santa myth.  The true story of Christmas is that God, who was around before time began, created a world full of intricacies and complex organisms and countless mysteries of science and time and space.  To some of these complex organisms, He gave the ability to know right from wrong, and He provided them with a simple rule to be obeyed...  They didn’t obey, and in disobeying, they introduced death into the world.  Ultimately, generation after generation continued down this path until the time God had set before creating the world to put an end to this death problem.

And here’s where the Christmas story comes in: God sent his Son – equal to Him in deity and yet submitted to his Father’s authority – to take the form of a lowly man.  And this Son, Jesus, came as an infant, born to a virgin and raised by a carpenter.  He never disobeyed the Father’s laws, living his life to help the needy, rescue the broken and rebellious, and proclaim free grace to those who trusted in Him as the only way to the Father.  For this, he was repaid with the hatred and vitriol of the ruling religious class of the day and put to death…a punishment he willingly accepted and took as the substitute for all of those who had actually deserved death for their actions.  He then rose from the dead, 3 days later, to conquer death, inviting all who confess their sins and believe in his provision for salvation through faith alone to join him in eternal fellowship with God, his Father.

Wow!  Talk about unbelievable!  And yet, we know that this unbelievable story is actually true.  By the work of the Spirit, we can celebrate this unreal story as absolutely real.  Let’s not take the passive approach to the mystery of Christmas, just allowing it to be just like the Santa stories.  Let’s engage with the majesty and the mystery of God’s perfect plan to save the world through relentless love, mercy, and grace.  This Sunday, that’s what we’re going to seek to do…engage with the mystery and relish in the awesome plan the God unfolded to save sinners like you and me.  Here are the songs we’re going to sing Sunday that help us celebrate the unbelievable mystery of God’s grace in sending his Son:

-God Made Low
-The Unbelievable
-Rejoice
-This is Amazing Grace
-O Come All Ye Faithful

And here’s the Spotify Playlist.

Advent and The Christmas Season
- December 3rd -

The Season of Christmas is upon us...the time when our world starts spinning just a bit quicker and everyone is hustling around trying to shop, decorate, wrap, rehearse, cook and prepare for what many see as simply a fun traditional holiday and others honestly dread.  It's such a window into our hearts to see how we treat this season.  What should be a joyful time celebrating the coming of the Savior of the World, often turns into stress, disappointment, and frustration with unmet expectations and competition for the attention and affection of friends and family and the competing desires to make the most of time off and get some much-needed rest. Might all of these challenges be because we see this season as being about ourselves?  Might we need to take a step back and consider that this season is not about our fun, our relaxation, our memories, our generosity, or even our families?  This season is about the same thing all of life is about: the Glory of God.  If we can manage to pursue the Glory of God this Christmas season by centering our attention on his perfect provision and faithfulness toward us through his Son, I think we can confidently look forward to Him providing what he promises to provide: grace for the season and joy in him.  

To help us do this, this Sunday we will be looking at a few of the promises and prophecies sprinkled throughout the Old Testament about the promised Messiah. We're doing that to remind ourselves that God always keeps his promises.  We're also doing it to thank him for sending that promised Messiah to rescue us.  Our hope is that in remembering the promises of God and his faithfulness to answer them, we can prepare our hearts for this coming season, and look forward to a day when God will finally fulfill his ultimate promise to return and bring forth a new heavens and a new earth for the Glory of God and the ultimate good and joy of His people.  Christmas is all about Him...so let's prepare our hearts to make Him the center of our Christmas season!

Here are the songs we'll be singing on Sunday...we encourage you to make them the soundtrack of the rest of your week so you can be undistracted and comfortable to worship Him in Spirit and Truth on Sunday.

-O Come, O Come Emmanuel
-Prepare Him Room
-He Who Is Mighty
-Joy to the World
-Our King Has Come

Here's a Spotify Playlist.

Songs for Sunday, November 15th
- November 13th -

Grace Church, the music team can't wait to worship the Lord together with you all on Sunday at 5:00pm!  We'll be singing songs that help us to declare truth about God's greatness and power, his uniqueness amongst all other people and Gods.  We'll also be singing about how this great God makes himself available and accessible to us through the Gospel of his Son, and how we can find shelter in His wings and purpose in his calling.  What a joy it will be to sing to our God together!  Here are the songs we'll be singing, along with the Spotify list so you can sing them the rest of the weekend!

-Here For You
-How Great You Are
-This I Believe
-I Will Follow
-I Have a Shelter

  
Songs for Sunday, November 8th

- November 4th -

Here we are again!  As you can tell, blogging is not my forte!  Well, here are the songs we will be singing on Sunday, November 8th.  We'll be celebrating Orphan Sunday, so these songs are intended to help us focus on the Gospel implications of adoption, and how we've been adopted out of both orphanhood and rebellion (separation and alienation from God). What glorious truths we get to sing and celebrate this week!

Crown Him With Many Crowns
The Prodigal
Grace Alone
The Father's Love
Father

And here's the Spotify List!           

Songs for Sunday, October 4th
- October 2nd, 2015 -

Church, I've been lax in not posting the Spotify list the last few weeks!  I'm so sorry! If there are songs we've sung that you haven't been able to remember or get ahold of, please respond below, and I'll be sure to point you in the right direction.

Here are the songs we'll be singing this Sunday:

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

10,000 Reasons

Forever Reign

He Will Hold Me Fast

Give Me Faith

And Here's the Spotify List.  See you all Sunday at 5:00!



Choir Invitation
- September 3rd, 2015 -

 
One of the other opportunities this fall that we want to invite you to consider being a part of is the Grace Church choir. Depending on your church background, you may or may not be used to a choir being a regular part of the church life. But why would we want to have a choir at Grace Church? And why would we want you to consider being a part of it?
 
Our gathering weekly to worship God together under his word is both a joyful privilege and an essential part of our life as the body of Christ. Our gathering means God calls us as his people again and again to draw near to him. Our gathering allows us to grow in our knowledge of his excellencies. Our gathering is a renewal in the promises of the gospel. Our gathering gives us opportunity to build one another up through our gifts and through the power of his Spirit. Our gathering is for his glory, and it is a glorious gift to us.
 
Because our weekly gatherings are so central to God's work in our lives, our desire is for our gatherings to be marked by beauty and so reflect the beauty of God's glory. And because we also want to reflect the multifaceted grace of God, we desire for there to be a variety of expressions of beauty in our gatherings. A choir in addition to our worship band can help us add to the variety of expression in our corporate worship. A choir can provide a unique and powerful musical expression. A choir both models joyful praise of our glorious God before the congregation and also reflects the diverse makeup of the congregation which is gathered together for a common purpose. Unison and harmony in singing remind us that single-mindedness and peaceful co-laboring in serving the Lord together are things that delight God's heart. 
 
For these reasons, we would like to develop a larger choir comprised of Grace Church members to be a part of our music team and aid in leading the church in song more regularly. In the past, a choir has been a part of special Christmas and Easter services, and over the last year or so we have had a small vocal ensemble that has served with our music team several times throughout the year. But we would like to continue expanding this ministry even more because we want as many people as God has blessed with talents and gifts in the area of music to be employed in using those gifts to serve the church and to add to our joyful expression of praise.
 
If you think God may be calling you to serve in this ministry to our church, join us for rehearsals on first and third Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. at the church building, beginning this weekend, September 5th. You do not have to be able to read music to join the choir. Serving in the choir is also a great way to start plugging in to Grace Church's overall music ministry if you are interested in joining the regular worship team. 
 
Please message Kendall Ellis on The City if you have any questions or to drop him a line saying you would like to attend a rehearsal.



Obedience Starts With Affection, August 9th
- August 6, 2015 -

In John 5:1-4, he Apostle, John says "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"

As we come to worship the Lord this coming Sunday, I want to encourage us all with this truth....in whatever way God is specifically calling you and me to obey him today, this week, this month, this year, our obedience must start from affection.  And not our affection for God, but his affection for us.  If my ability to obey God depended on my desire for and faithfulness to relationship with him, I would have much room for despair, indeed.  But because, through Christ, I am born of him, I can know that He has unending affection for me, and from that place of acceptance and limitless affection being showered upon me, I can come to the house of the Lord each week (and indeed into his presence each moment) confident that I belong there, that He wants me there, and that He is calling me to respond to His affection with an affection for him of my own.  My obedience stands on the foundation of Jesus' obedience, which stands on the pursuing, faithful, affectionate LOVE of the Father for his children.  My obedience matters to God.  It matters because it shows my affection for him.  It matters because He is a holy God.  It matters because it proves, stems from, and is empowered by His affection for me...Obedience starts with Affection.  That's what we're singing about on Sunday. Here are the songs we'll be singing.  See you Sunday!

 
Come Prepared to Worship, August 2nd
- July 30, 2015 - 
This coming Sunday, we get to come together, once again, to worship the God who is worthy of worship.  We get to come together to worship the God who has chosen to love us and provide for us more than we could ask or imagine.  Most importantly, we come to give Him the glory He is due for the rescue He has purchased for us that we might be called the children of God!  This is a sober and amazing thing we get to do on Sunday.  Because of that, let's come prepared. Let's plan our Saturday and Sunday in such a way that we can be to church by 4:45 with our hearts ready to receive from the Lord, respond to Him in worship, and serve and bless those around us with our presence, our smiles, our words of greeting and encouragement.  Here is the Spotify list of the songs we'll be singing on Sunday.  I find it helpful to listen to these songs in advance of our singing times on Sundays (ok, that's because I need to play and sing them without being a distraction to the church), but just think how much less distracted you'll be in worshiping the King of Glory if you are familiar with the words and melodies (and the truths from Scripture they represent) before you sing them on Sunday.

Have Mercy - Bandcamp Debut
- July 28th, 2015 -
I'm very excited to announce the release of "Have Mercy", Grace Church Band's very first single on Bandcamp.  It's a song written, produced, recorded, etc by members of the Grace Church Band.  We have posted this song on Bandcamp for the purpose of making it available to you.  Hopefully, this song serves our church and others who track with us via social media or the web.  We hope this song and the ones that follow will be a blessing to our local church and the greater body of Christ as they seek to worship the Lord in Spirit and Truth.  Check back here for future releases.

What Worship Leading is All About
- July 28th, 2015 -
I just read this article by Bob Kauflin.  It is a perfect example of what the worship leaders here at Grace Church are seeking to do each week...to balance facilitating, modeling, teaching, supporting, caring for, and leading the church into God-glorifying worship.  I was very provoked by what Bob had to say about the tragedy that their church experienced and his and the pastors' response to it as they sought to serve the people in their church.  May the Lord be with the family who lost their dad and husband, and the church who lost a friend, and may God be glorified in and through this whole tragedy.

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