This weekend, our family pastor Brian Tryhus concluded our series on Obedience with a message about sacrifice and the providence of God. He urged our congregation to obey the call of God despite the fear that naturally arises, because we can trust Him. You can listen to the message or the entire service here.
Here's our order from this weekend:
Pre-Service - "Suffering Servant" (A–B) [Dustin Kensrue]
Call to Worship - Congregational Reading - Romans 12:1 ESV
"I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)" (E) [Charles Hutchison Gabriel]
Special Guest - Pastor Reynixon Rosales
Message - "Obedience: Sacrifice" [Brian Tryhus]
"The Stand" (A) [Joel Houston]
"You Are God Alone (Not a god)" (A) [Billy Foote, Cindy Foote]
"You Have Overcome" (A) [Bill Horn, Erik Oldberg]
Thoughts: This was a powerful weekend. For one, we had a special guest, pastor Reynixon Rosales (he usually goes by Pastor Nixon) from the Smokey Mountain landfill community in Manila, Philippines. He is one of the amazing leaders I had the privilege of meeting a few weeks ago on my trip to Manila with Trash Mountain Project. In our services this weekend, he shared how he grew up in Smokey Mountain, ended up getting out of the community and finishing his education, and then how God called him and his wife back to that community. Smokey Mountain has the worst living conditions I have ever witnessed, and Nixon and his wife, Cora, answered God's call on their lives to head back in these conditions to feed the children and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus. They are heroes of the faith for me, and for everyone else who has met them.
The timing of his visit with our church was perfect, as it aligned perfectly with what our family pastor, Brian Tryhus, preached on: obedience and sacrifice. His example was Esther, and how her initial reaction to the call of God on her life was fear, but ultimately she willingly laid down her own life for those of her people, and she became a critical part of God's story.
The service as a whole was a powerful time of worship. The team led very well, with everyone doing their part to serve the congregation with excellence. We opened in the pre-service again with "Suffering Servant," and after this we read Romans 12:1 together as a congregation. This verse was key to tie everything in the service together–our offering ourselves as living sacrifices is a response to the "mercies of God" (ESV). Kelsey Thomsen then led us on "I Stand Amazed." We responded to the message with "The Stand," and then Kelsey led us again in "You Are God Alone," which we sang for the fourth time now in our services and is our church is learning it and singing it together. I love this song, as it is entirely a song about who God is–His sovereignty, His immutability, and His power. The character of God is crucial to understanding why we should follow and obey Him as He calls us and directs our lives. He is ultimately worthy of all that we are. We closed our services with "You Have Overcome" to bring full circle the connection between Christ's sacrifice for us and putting our obedience in the proper place of being a response to what Christ has already accomplished for us. This truth is critical for us to understand as believers; our obedience, our worship, or any "good work" are all responses to how Christ has accomplished our salvation for us. These deeds do not move us toward salvation. They are a means of following the example of our Savior. They are a means of demonstrating our thanks and love for Him. They are a means of being selfless for others, just as Christ was selfless for us.
It was a beautiful weekend of both celebrating the sacrifice that Christ made for us and contemplating His call on our lives to make disciples. Between Brian's message, Pastor Nixon's testimony, and our time of singing together, it was an incredibly moving and challenging weekend of worship.
Your turn: what were your experiences, observations, or take-aways from this weekend?