This week our pastor, Joe Hishmeh, continued our discipleship series, "Ephesians - United in Christ." In the message for the weekend, Joe shared from Ephesians 5:1-8 how God calls us to "Love not Lust." When we settle for lust instead of love, we are selling ourselves short, and accepting far less than God's best for our lives. It was a powerful challenge to pursue love and our true identity and purpose in Christ. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. Because of the drive of the message, we focused on the amazing love of God that never changes, never fails, never leaves us, never forsakes us, and never gives up.
Here's our service plan from this weekend:
"Sing to the King" (D) [Billy Foote, Charles Silvester Horne] Welcome/Greeting Time "One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)" (Bb) [Brian Johnson, Christa Black, Jeremy Riddle] "Forever Reign" (Bb) [Jason Ingram, Reuben Morgan] "Your Great Name" (Bb) [Michael Neale, Krissy Nordhoff] Message - "Ephesians 5:1-8" [Joe Hishmeh] "The Love of God" (D) [Frederick M. Lehman, arr. by Bill Horn] "Amazing Grace" (D) [John Newton, Edwin O. Excell, John P. Rees, arr. by Bill Horn] Offering/Announcements/Dismissal
"Sing to the King" - We opened our services this weekend with this great hymn rewrite by Billy Foote. One of our newer team members, Cindy Gular, led us on this one and did a great job. I loved opening with this song, as it set our eyes on our hope: Christ's victorious return and the consummation of our salvation. As Joe said in his message, "Our lives our best when long-term values are the basis of our short-term decisions." When we keep our eyes on our future and our hope in Christ, we live differently.
"One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)" - We continued after the welcome time with this song, which helps us declare the truth about God's constant and unchanging love for us. I love singing this song together with our congregation.
"Forever Reign" - This song says a lot about God and His character. I love how it juxtaposes God's perfection against our weakness in the verses, helping us to see and sing of our great need for Him.
"Your Great Name" - We finished the first part of the service with this song, which points us to the cross and the redemption that we find in Christ alone. He is Lord, and He is high and lifted up, and one day every knee will bow before His throne and confess that truth. My hope for our congregation is that we will confess that truth not only with our words, but with our lives.
"The Love of God" - We responded to the message with this profound hymn about God's love. I (along with most everyone else who hears this song) particularly love the last verse: "Could we with ink the oceans fill, and were the skies of parchment made/ Were ev'ry stalk on earth a quill, and ev'ry man a scribe by trade/ To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry/ Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky." That is beautifully said.
"Amazing Grace" - We tagged this onto the end of "The Love of God" to finish out our services. We did something we don't normally do, in that we sang it only with piano. It was a nice moment for us all to hear one another singing this most familiar of hymns together. I feel that it also helped tie everything together from the service: recognizing our own sinfulness, the greatness of God's love and grace for us, and fixing our eyes on our hope in Christ.
Thoughts: This weekend was a great weekend. Our team did a great job, and I am happy with how each song tied together with the focus. I felt that the church sang well in each of our services, and that people were engaging with the truth of God and His gospel in the songs that we were singing. The weekends are consistently a highlight of my week, as we remember the gospel and praise God for who He is and what He has done for us.
What were your thoughts or experiences on your worship experience this weekend?
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