Worship Has a Purpose

Hello, H1 Family!
 
Recently, we’ve sung a new song at church about coming into a holy moment with Jesus.  The song is called Holy Moment, and the chorus lyrics are here:
For your honor and fame
Fall again in this place
Fill us up as we overflow with praise
 
One of the reasons I love singing this song with you is that the chorus declares one of our life purposes.  Isaiah 26: 8 tells us that our deepest soul’s desire is to bring honor to the Lord’s name and to bring him renown.  Read it here in the NIV translation:   “Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” 
 
It is part of who we are to want to bring fame to the name of Jesus!  It’s coded in us, and written on our hearts.  One of the ways that we can bring honor to the Lord is to sing about who He is, and celebrate Him corporately, stirring each other on to participate in actively praising our King.  Another part of our song says it so well:
Look and see the Glory of our God
Lift your voice to heaven
Jesus is our anthem
Celebrate the wonder of His love
 
When we sing together in praise to Jesus, we are not only bringing him honor in a unified way.. we are also fulfilling the Biblical instruction to greet each other in songs and hymns.  Ephesians 5:18b-19 says, “Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.”
 
I want to encourage you to continue worshipping the Lord in your private time and spaces, and also to put great value on your participation in worship with the church family.  Worshipping Him is one way to define the call that all of us have on our lives.  He is worthy of the adoration we give Him individually and as a body.  I look forward to sharing the next holy moment with you.
See you soon!  Let’s sing about who the Lord is and offer our adoration to Him together.  It is a good thing to dwell in the House of the Lord together.
 
Lovingly,
Anita
 
P.S.  If you need some starting fuel for your worship at home, try reading your favorite chapter in the Bible and praying about how God has shown Himself to be the person He’s promised to be.  Sing your response to Him, after you think about how He’s revealed Himself to you in a way that you recognized.  Worship always starts with seeing Jesus.  It is our heart’s response to His revelation of Himself to us in big and little ways.  We are wired to do it.  


What Apple Gets About Disciple Making

Not long ago I was in the Apple store working on my iPhone. A young lady was helping me—she probably looked to be in her early twenties. While she was working on my phone I starting talking to her about her job. I asked, “Have you been working here long?”

“No, not really. Just a few months,” she said.

“Do you like working here?”

Her face lit up, “Oh yes!”

Seeing her enthusiasm, I decided to inquire further. “Well, I bet it’s hard, learning all this stuff. You must have had to sit through hours and hours of training, right?”

She smiled. “Not really.”

I asked, “So how did you learn to do what you do?”

She said, “Well, I went online and saw there were job openings, so I registered for a two-day seminar hosted at a local hotel ball room. After two days, they placed me in a store and assigned me to a mentor. For the first few weeks I just wore regular clothes and the mentor wore the bright Apple shirt and lanyard. I just watched everything he did and took it all in. After dealing with a customer, he would ask me if I had questions or we would discuss that particular situation.”

By this time she had stopped working on my phone and was completely into this story, so I kept listening.

“Then,” she said, “after a while, I put on the Apple shirt and lanyard and my mentor dressed in regular clothes and he followed me around as I took care of customers. If I had a problem, he was ready to jump in and help. When he thought I was ready, he just set me free to go on my own. Now I’m prepared to do the same things with another trainee!” She smiled.

I did, too. Because what she described was disciple making, Jesus style. Jesus took in curious men, drew them to faith, let them shadow him for a season, and then he cut them loose to go on their own. When they were ready, he watched them reproduce into seventy-two more men. His plan was so simple and yet so profound. Jesus drew men to himself, let them follow him until they got it, and then he sent them out to reproduce.

When I look at the modern church, I’m grieved that somehow along the way we’ve missed the strategy of Jesus. Somehow we traded making disciples for making decisions. Somehow we traded a clear process with running programs. We stopped moving people through stages of maturity and started shuffling people between services. Somehow along the way we thought that if we got people to worship and in a group that they would figure it all out and become strong, when in fact, the church has become weak.

We’ve forgotten that the church exists to train up men and women who will take the gospel to their offices and neighborhoods and the world, and we started just trying to fill seats. What Jesus gave us was simple, reproducible, and powerful.

Apple gets it. Do you?

Written by Craig Etheredge

This blog is an excerpt that comes from our book Bold Moves.



False Evidence Appearing Real

Dear Church,
 
In one of my recent devotions, the author addressed fear and used the words False Evidence Appearing Real.
There is a debilitating fear that Satan tries to put on us everyday. It is intended to keep us from having the power, love and sound mind that God wants us to have. Sometimes we think of fear as an emotion, but it is actually a spirit. In fact, fear is one of Satan’s favorite tools, and he loves to harass Christians with it! But Jesus tells us that all things are possible to him who believes! And an on-fire, Bible-believing Christian who is fearless is the enemy’s worst fear!
It has been said that fear is the opposite of faith, and that is true. We can’t live in faith and fear at the same time. Fear paralyzes us and keeps us from receiving God’s promises. It keeps us from stepping out and obeying what God has called us to do. This is especially true in the area of being disciples who make disciples. As Pastor Tim has been sharing his Vision to Multiply, it could be very easy to listen to Satan’s tool of fear. Jesus calls us to be disciple makers and I believe each and every one of us is a disciple maker.
Fear must be confronted head-on with the power of faith. We must proclaim the Word of God and command fear to leave. 
So the next time fear knocks on your door, send faith to answer it!

Blessings,
Sherry


Measure Twice. Buy Once.

We are replacing our previous mower and Oscar Cantu said to me, “Measure to make sure it will fit in the shed.”  I was told that the previous mower had a 48” deck so I get a new mower with a 46” deck.  No problem, right?  Wrong.  As it turns out the previous mower had a 42” deck—a detail I would have discovered if I had measured to make sure it would fit. 

2 Timothy 2:15
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,  a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

As we pursue the vision to multiply and become disciples who make disciples we have to learn more about God through his word.  Here is some advice: measure it yourself.  Yes, I know you have heard some sermons.  Yes, I know you have been told some Bible stories.  Yes, I’m sure your elementary Sunday School teacher was wonderful.  However, what if what you think you know isn’t quite right?  What if it is off just enough that it is not actually the truth from God anymore?

The only way to know is to measure it yourself, or as Paul said to Timothy, “correctly handle the word of truth.”  Trust me when I say that I was ashamed and embarrassed that the mower didn’t fit in the shed but I would not have been ashamed if I measured for myself.  You don’t ever have to feel ashamed or embarrassed for what you don’t yet know as long as you keep studying the word of God for yourself.  It doesn’t matter how many times you have to measure.  Just keep measuring so that the word and your life fit together.
 
In Him,
Pastor Tim
 


Called to Be Uncomfortable!

In 2 Timothy 3:11&12, Paul says “You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured.  You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra but the Lord rescued me from all of it.  Yes, and everyone who wants to live godly lives will suffer persecution.”

If we did a survey and asked all the believers in world if they loved suffering and persecution many would probably say no.  If we asked those same believers if they wanted to live godly lives, they probably would say yes.  But according to this passage, living godly means suffering persecution; and suffering and persecution can be VERY, VERY, VERY uncomfortable.  The question that we should all ask ourselves, is do we want to please God, or be comfortable?

As human beings, we never want to get out of our comfort zones; but if you are a believer in Christ you have been called to be uncomfortable.  You weren’t called by God to be safe, and the life that Jesus lived was not safe. 

If you are depressed, idle, not knowing where God is leading you, and not seeing provision in your lives; it might be because you are living a comfortable, safe, non-controversial life.  You are living a life where you are not being stretched or challenged.  You might be a person that doesn’t want to attend church because you have been hurt, and feel like you need to be healed; or maybe because it’s more comfortable to deal with problems on your own, and to not let anyone in your life.

As a church let us step out in faith, by getting out of our comfort zones/boats and allowing God to lead us to walk on water. We are all called to be WATER WALKERS! CALLED TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE! AND LET THE CHURCH SAY AMEN!

 

Pastor Marcus



What is the Pastor’s Job?

Dear Church,
Ephesians 4:11-13
 
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
 
Can you imagine what the whole measure of the fullness of Christ would look like? I’m not exactly sure either but I sure do want to see it. So I guess this means that I, your beloved pastor, need to build you up in unity and knowledge so that you will be mature and we can all experience the fullness of Christ. WRONG.
 
Read it again. My job is to EQUIP the people of God for works of service that will build unity, knowledge, and maturity so as to attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. I can’t attain the fullness of Christ alone. We all must be equipped disciples that are maturing in knowledge, faith and unity.
 
With this in mind I am inviting you to Equip yourself in three ways to be a disciple who makes disciples.
  1. Journal every day. Write down what the Holy Spirit is showing you as you pray and read Scripture.
  2. Process discipleship material every week. Talk with others about the weekly material on the website.
  3. Meet with a spiritual mentor every month. Find someone who will challenge you to become a disciple who makes disciples by talking together about your journal and the discipleship material.
 
I especially want to invite you out to a discipleship experience on Sunday nights called “Equip.” Everyone is invited to come and process the discipleship material together. There you will learn how to think differently about the church, about yourself, and about how to be a disciple who makes disciples. If all goes well, we might just get equipped for the works of service that will lead to the fullness of Christ. Let’s go see it together.
                
In Him,
Pastor Tim


Sufficient Grace

Hebrews 4:16 –
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.
2 Peter 1:2
– May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
 
Acts 4:33
– And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
 
2 Corinthians 12:9 –
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
 
John 1:16 –
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

 

Grace upon grace. Extra grace! Wow, what a comfort to know that no matter what you are facing today, God’s grace has been heaped upon you with extra measure! You can rest in His power and let His grace complete what your struggled labor cannot. Whatever it is that you lack, His grace is enough! I am so thankful for a Father I can fully trust. I can rest in the knowledge that His power and grace is with me, and you, today. His grace is sufficient.
 
Blessings, 
Pastor Sarah
 


Commit to Equip

Our next step in the Vision to Multiply is Equip.  This is where we will learn how to be disciples who make disciples in three ways.

  1. Journal each day about what the Lord is telling you as you spend time in prayer and Bible study.
  2. Engage discipleship material each week and talk about it with others.
  3. Meet with a spiritual mentor to discuss how you can become a disciple who makes disciples.
 
I would like for everyone in the congregation to engage in these three things in whatever way you can but I am especially looking for a group of people who would say, “I Commit to Equip.”  This group will work closely with me this year from April thru October.  They will commit to journaling every day.  They will commit to discussing the discipleship material every Sunday evening from 6-7:30 p.m.  And they will commit to meeting with me once a month for these seven months.

Let me be clear, if you can’t commit to all of this right now, it’s okay.  It doesn’t mean you don’t love Jesus.  You won’t be shamed for your lack of commitment.  Assumptions won’t be made about your character.  And you will still be invited to join the next group(s) which will start early in 2019.  Everyone is still invited to journal as you are able.  Everyone is still invited to the discipleship class each Sunday evening.  And everyone is still invited to find a spiritual mentor… even if you aren’t working directly with me this time around.

 

If you do want to Commit to Equip simply reply to this email now.  How will you engage the Equip step of the Vision to Multiply?  What is the Holy Spirit telling you to do?  What questions do you have about Equip?  I want to hear them as well.  Together we will take back what Hell has stolen as we multiply the church for the glory of God.

In Him,

Pastor Tim



Is Your Vision Compromised?

Dear Church,
On March 7th my uncle passed away. We had family that came from far away to be together. Family I had not seen since I was a little girl so I had no memory of them. Our family had drifted apart and it was easy to because they live so far away. It got me thinking about how we can drift away from our faith. The Israelites would always forget about God; how he rescued them from Egypt, how he kept them safe in the wilderness, how they got to enter the Promise Land. They could never seem to remember the awesome God they had. The new generation didn’t witness the Red Sea split, they didn’t get to eat manna, they only got to hear about the wonderful things of God. They had a premature relationship with God, so they would drift away from the true God. So is our relationship premature? Has it become easy for us to walk our way rather than go God’s way? Has our vision been compromised? If so, we are drifting away and forgetting how Jesus died with purpose to set us free. We should live with purpose to serve Him. Let’s keep a close relationship with God. Put into practice what we learn from Him. I didn’t have a close relationship with my family because of distance. Don’t keep your distance from your Creator who keeps promises; instead wholeheartedly walk towards Him.
 
Jacki
 
 
Mike and Heather Webb are missionaries that serve as regional coordinators in Africa and they will be sharing with us here on Sunday, April 29th.  Check out this video where Church of God pastors from Africa talk about the importance of coming together in ministry.
 
 
                


Why Have You Been Standing Here?

Dear Church,


This past Wednesday in Bible study we read the parable of the master and his vineyard found in Matthew 20. The master hires people early in the day, in the middle of the day, and late in the day all to go and harvest the fruit of the vineyard. At the end of the day he then proceeds to pay everyone the same amount. Two interactions jump out at me.
 
First, the last time the master goes out to hire workers he asks them, “Why have you been standing here all day?” To which they replied, “No one has hired us.” As we move closer to the Equip step of the Vision to Multiply I realized that I am going to be asking you to do some things that you may have never done before. You may be quick to jump on board or you might be reluctant but I want you to know that God wants you on the payroll. I know you may not have been “hired” to do things like this before but God has some harvesting for you to do.
 
Secondly, the workers that worked all day felt it was unfair to receive the same as those who only worked an hour, but notice the focus of the master. All he was concerned about was harvesting more fruit. He didn’t need the work to be equal. He just wanted as much fruit as possible from the vineyard. So if you are new to the vineyard, don’t compare your fruit to others. Praise God for the opportunity to pick fruit and make disciples. If you have been in the vineyard for years now, remember that the master is the master and he is good. Praise God for the opportunity to pick fruit and make disciples.
               
In Him,
Pastor Tim