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 as we discover what the Bible means when Christians are described as being in Christ. Today we consider the way the apostle Paul prayed for the church and how God's Spirit at work in us has the effect of sanctification, that is making us holy. As we read these words we discover that we are EMPOWERED to live truly distinct lives. Ultimately, we are aiming at the bottom line today: When you really experience grace you routinely extend grace.
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This week's announcements:
Today's Order of Worship
Time for Remembering
Songs for Worship
2272 “COME! COME! EVERYBODY WORSHIP”
158 “COME, CHRISTIANS, JOIN TO SING"
469 “JESUS IS ALL THE WORLD TO ME”
Whom Shall I Fear
Ephesians #6: Empowered
Ephesians: Who do you think you are?
We are: Challenged
A prayer for ________ ________
Spiritual maturity is a ________ , measured by ________
First: Inner Spiritual Strength
Second: Deep Faith
Third: Abundant Love
Fourth: God’s fullness
Spiritual maturity is a ________ , but it has a clear ________
Ephesians 3:20–21 Philippians 3:12–15
We are: Empowered
Take it Home:
Spiritual Development: Solitude
I have discovered that all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact,” wrote philosopher Blaise Pascal, “in that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber.” Pascal wrote those words in 1670, but they are even more applicable today. We fill our lives with distractions — social media, television, games — and assume we are trying to avoid boredom. But often our diversions are rooted in a fear of solitude.
By avoiding solitude, though, we are missing out on opportunities for deeper communion with God. Solitude is the discipline that calls us to consciously pull away from everything else in our lives, including the company of other people, for the purpose of giving our full and undivided attention to God.
Almost every significant figure in the Bible — from Jacob to Elijah, Moses to Paul — spent time practicing the discipline of solitude. The Gospels frequently mention how Jesus “went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). In Luke 6:12 he “went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”
Throughout his life Moses would often set himself apart to be alone with God, often for extended periods of time. In Deuteronomy 9:18, Moses reminds the Israelites that he practiced solitude and fasting “before the LORD for forty days and forty nights” on their behalf. Such passages can make us uncomfortable and despairing of our own lack of discipline: Moses could spend 40 days in solitude while we struggle to spend 40 minutes alone with God! But with effort, we, too, can practice the discipline of solitude.
Three things to consider when practicing solitude...
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This week's prayer focus:
Sunday - Our Mission: God, grant boldness and opportunities for us to share the Gospel with others. Ephesians 6:19
Monday - Our Church: God, help us be financially responsible and good stewards of the blessings You’ve provided. Malachi 3:10
Tuesday - Our Leadership: God, allow nothing to hinder our ministers and volunteers from Your calling on their lives. Nehemiah 6:3
Wednesday - Families: God, help us recognize the importance of first making disciples of Christ in our homes. Proverbs 22:6
Thursday - Our Community: God, we ask for your healing of the broken structures and systems in our community. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Friday - Children/Youth: God, help our young people humbly submit to and honor those in authority over them. Ephesians 6:1-3
Saturday - Adults: God cause our adults to humble themselves and seek Your face. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Merger Prayer Focus: Transforming Church and community
Jesus calls us to not only make new disciples, but in the process to transform the world. That starts with transforming our church and our community into a more loving, Christ-centered, grace-filled place.
Pray that our community would be transformed. Luke 4:18
Pray we could grow as missionaries and evangelists. 2 Timothy 4:5
Pray for enthusiasm in worship. Psalm 100:1-2
Pray for enthusiasm in hospitality. Heb. 13:2
Pray for generosity in our giving. 2 Cor 9:11
Pray for involvement in risk-taking mission and service. James 1:22
Pray for an openness to try new things. Isaiah 43:19
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.