This week our adult ministries pastor, David Hinkle, continued our discipleship series, "Ephesians - United in Christ." In his message, David shared from Ephesians 2:11-22 about living in unity in the Church for the purpose of glorifying Jesus Christ. One of the most impacting thoughts was that God has chosen to hang His name and reputation in the world primarily through the Church. He also gave us some really useful practical wisdom about how to respond to the needs of those who are hurting. It was a strong challenge for all of us to pursue love, peace, and unity with one another, not for its own sake, but for the glory of our great God and Savior! You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.
For our singing this week, we focused on the saving work of Christ on our behalf.
Here's our service plan from this weekend:
Pre-Service Countdown - "Beautiful Things" (D) [Lisa Gungor, Michael Gungor] "Kingdom" (A) [Kristian Stanfill] Welcome/Greeting Time "Hallelujah To My King" (C) [Paul Baloche] "Lead Me To The Cross" (D) [Brooke Fraser] "In Christ Alone" (E) [Keith Getty, Stuart Townend] Message - "Ephesians 2:11-22" [David Hinkle] "Your Great Name" (Bb) [Michaele Neale, Krissy Nordhoff] Offering/Announcements/Dismissal
"Beautiful Things" - This was the second time we have sung this song in the pre-service time. It was a great fit for the focus of the weekend, because it points to the amazing truth that Jesus has taken our broken lives and not only made them new, but He knits us together as something as beautiful as the Church -- His body -- here on the earth. We can accomplish more together than we can apart, and we need one another. There is nothing more powerful than seeing the Church truly living as the Church -- doing life together, caring for one another, supporting and encouraging one another, bearing one another's burdens, serving together, and loving like Jesus loved us.
"Kingdom" - This was our opening song of our services this weekend. It was a late addition to the list after debating between it and "The Solid Rock." I love how this song connected with the message, as we sang about how God has made us "the kingdom of God" and "an army of love," whose purpose is to carry love and truth to our broken world. He has put us together not just to form a "holy huddle," but for a glorious mission and purpose: to expand His kingdom and to take His gospel to the ends of the earth.
"Hallelujah To My King" - After our welcome time, we continued with this song, which recalls and celebrates the gospel, and how "We were strangers/ now we're called His own." This thought is tied very closely with the focus passage this weekend, which says that we "have been brought near by the blood of Christ" and that Jesus "Himself is our peace." We have great cause to praise Him--He has rescued us and made peace for us, that we could be with Him forever. Sarah Oldberg led us on this song, and she did a great job as always.
"Lead Me To The Cross" - Sarah led us this song as well, and it continued to help us focus our eyes on the cross. Everything in our lives as Christians ought to begin with the cross, because everything changes for us there. When we fix our eyes on the cross (which is empty, by the way...) we see things in the proper perspective. We see the incredible and ridiculous love of God. We see grace beyond measure. We find our motivation to love others and to be truly selfless, because Jesus was selfless for us.
"In Christ Alone" - I love this modern hymn by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. This was one that I thought was more familiar to our church than it was. I had anticipated a little more participation, but it seemed to me that people were focusing more on the words of the song (and that's not a bad thing!) because they were somewhat new to them. I love how this song communicates the gospel. I think I will need to make a point of singing it more often with our congregation, because this is definitely a song worth singing. Again, we sang this because I wanted us to focus on the gospel, because all of our worship and response stems from that.
"Your Great Name" - We responded to the message by singing this song together. Amy Thompson started us off and led the first verse of this song, and then I jumped in with the male vocal on the chorus and we continued on together. This song was definitely a highlight of the weekend. We sang it because David emphasized the truth that Jesus has placed His name and reputation on His body, the Church. All of us come from different places of brokenness and need, but when we love as Jesus loves, and care with the kind of care that Jesus has for us, Jesus' name is lifted up and exalted. We honor Him and worship Him when we imitate Him in our world.
This weekend started a little rough in our first service, as we had a few hiccups in the band, but we smoothed them out for the last three services. It was a great moment of learning and growth for our team, because when things go bad, it is easy to get sidetracked and overly focused on our mistakes. To press on, we have to learn our lessons and move on and keep working to make things better. Our team did just that. It was a great weekend of worship, where the church was challenged to follow Jesus more fully, and where Jesus was truly lifted up!
I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were!
What were your thoughts or experiences on your worship experience from this weekend?
p.s. don't forget to check out The Worship Community!