I pray that your time with us in today's worship encourages your faith and helps you move closer to Jesus as you discover more of his plan for your life.
We are continuing a study of the book of Ephesians through a series of messages titled "Who do you think you are?". Michelle, Pastor Gary's wife, will share from her experience working to bring healing to her clients.
Today we consider the way Paul reminded the Church of how they were unified for a purpose. This purpose is clearly seen in our ability to serve and be served by the body of Christ. As we read these words we discover that we are GIFTED for and by one another as we live as part of a church family.
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This week's announcements:
Today's Order of Worship
Songs for Worship
2196 “WE WALK BY FAITH”
398 “JESUS CALLS US”
571 “GO MAKE OF ALL DISCIPLES”
Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)
Goodness Of God
Ephesians 4:1–16 (ESV)
Unity in the Body of Christ
4 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”
9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Take it Home:
Spiritual Development: PRAISE
Finding Joy Through Praise
In one way or another, we have all witnessed the effect of praise. Praise completes the joy of an experience. Have you ever been to a sporting event where the crowd was very quiet? The silence is almost unbearable. The best part of a sporting event is cheering for the home team’s victorious accomplishments. The most enthusiastic fans repeat those great moments to one another over and over again! Likewise, we will find energy coursing through our spiritual lives when we repeat — over and over — the mighty acts of God in history and his acts in our own lives. It is good to celebrate the joy and wonder of our relationship with the Lord. Praise in Worship Praise not only completes our joy in fellowship with the Lord, but it also gives us a foretaste of heaven. Worship through praise is the chief activity of eternity. Paul admonishes us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1 – 2). We learn something of what Paul means by this from the book of Revelation. Though many people have pigeonholed Revelation as a book solely about prophecy, this book is one of the most profound worship manuals in the Bible. While the Psalms are our biblical hymnbook, the book of Revelation reveals heavenly scenes of worship. John’s words in Revelation 4:1 shed new light on praise by giving us an amazing description of worship: “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven.” It is exciting to think that worship is an open door to God’s presence. Notice that John was ushered right to the throne! There is no waiting room or foyer for preparation. Why? Because the way has been completely opened through Jesus Christ! The writer of Hebrews expressed it this way: “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). As we meditate on the realities of heaven that John colorfully describes, we find sights of glory that thrill the imagination, sounds of power, songs of praise and fragrances of incense in the prayers of the saints. As we ponder John’s words, we understand that worship is much more than an exercise of the mind. It is an experience of the whole person caught up in glory. Few activities strengthen our faith more than cultivating a richer, fuller understanding of God through worship. Praising the Character of God Praise calls us to consider the nature and character of God. In Revelation 7:12, the multitude worships and adores God by calling for seven blessings upon him: “Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” The worshipers affirm and celebrate the matchless glory of the Lord. Reflection upon God’s character is a powerful means for enriching our prayer lives. As we seek to grasp God’s greatness and ascribe to him all the honor that is due him, our faith is strengthened, our hearts are encouraged and our vision of God grows. Many of us would do well to focus less on in-depth analyses of our problems and to meditate more time on the character of God, who is the answer to our problems. Put It Into Practice As we honor God, we receive a deeper sense of God’s presence. When have you sensed God’s presence? What was it like? How did this change your thoughts or actions? When you worship this week, quiet your heart and remind yourself that God is always present with you.
This week's prayer focus:
Sunday - Our Mission: God, let Your church be a light in our community and world. Matthew 5:16
Monday - Our Church: God, bring unity to the Body of Christ. John 17:20-23
Tuesday - Our Leadership: God, help our worship leaders and musicians lead us before Your throne in a spirit of worship. Psalm 33:3
Wednesday - Families: God, help our families faithfully follow Your commands. John 14:15
Thursday - Our Community: God, soften the hearts of the lost in our community, show them your light. John 3:16-18
Friday - Children/Youth: God, change the world through our young people rather than letting the world change them. Romans 12:2
Saturday - Adults: God, enable our adults to live lives of faithfulness to You and perseverance to the end. Hebrews 12:1-3
Merger Prayer Focus: Transition
Pray for our merger team to communicate clearly with people who have sincere questions. 1 Peter 1:22
Pray for those who fear what might be lost, to find peace through faith in Christ. Psalm 34:8
Pray for excitement as we begin to consider new opportunities for ministry. Acts 8:5-8
Pray that our membership becomes bound to our mission rather than our buildings. Matthew 28:19-20
Pray for the process of discerning what spaces our ministries require. Philippians 1:9-10
Pray for an eagerness in our churches come together as one. Colossians 3:14
Bible Reading Plan:
Join us for our 5x5x5 New Testament Reading Plan. 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week, & 5 questions to go deeper.