Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Our Faithful God

Preparing Your Heart for Worship - November 12, 2017

This Sunday, our study of Romans reaches Chapter 11. We’ll be looking at the first 10 verses, but spend some time reading the entire chapter so that you get a feel for the overall direction of the chapter.  

As you think toward our time together - here’s what we’ll be doing this Sunday. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the songs we’ll be singing as well as the passage we’re studying so that we can all make the most of our time together. 

Creation Calls
A multi-generational choir will open our service with a song based on Psalm 19. As we saw last week, the gospel message, along with the revelation of who God is, reaches every corner of the earth. The beauty of the Lord touches all the earth. This song points us again to the reality of the universal proclamation of the gospel  

Behold Our God

As we continue worshiping - we’ll keep our focus on God and turn our thoughts to the throne room of Heaven where He sits even as you read this. When we gather together each Sunday and sing to Him, we join with those gathered around the throne, and indeed all of creation, as we exalt our God.

Crown Him with Many Crowns

Awake, my soul and sing - of Him who died for me....
What a great prayer for us all to pray as we strive to be engaged in exalting our Savior. What a joy and privilege it is each week to come together as brothers and sisters in Christ and sing to the Lord together!

Prayer of Praise
The more we sing of the wonders of who God is and all that He has done for us, the easier it is to praise Him in prayer. As always, remember that whoever is leading us, we have the privilege of joining them and praying along with them. When we say “Amen!” together at the end of the prayer, we’re all joining with them in saying “YES! I agree!” It’s a wonderful way to be unified as we approach the throne of grace. 

Worship through Giving - How Great Thou Art
The act of bringing your gift to the Lord is an act of worship. We are, as we bring our tithes and offerings, speaking of how great God is to us. As we give, we’ll also sing about how great God is. Let this truly come from our soul, singing “how great Thou art!”

Meditating on God’s Word
We are a church that is centered on the Word. We hear, read, study, memorize, and meditate on God’s Word. Each of these elements is present in our worship gathering in some way. 

Pastoral Prayer of Petition
I really do love being your pastor. This prayer of petition is a time to come to the Lord on behalf of the congregation as together we confess our sins, receive the assurance of pardon, and beseech the Lord to be actively at work in our lives. 

Grace Greater than Our Sin

There’s a reason that there are so many songs written about God’s grace. There’s a reason we love to sing them. And yes, there’s a reason that this hymn, written in 1911, remains. It’s a beautiful expression of God’s grace that has been poured out on us and covers all of our sin.

Speak, O Lord

This really is more of a prayer than a song. This should be our collective prayer as we get ready to hear God’s Word. The whole idea is that we are coming before the Lord and asking that the living, active, penetrating, transformative Word of God does in our lives what He intends for it to do. “Take Your truth plant it deep in us, shape and fashion us in Your likeness!”

Sermon: God’s Faithfulness
Romans 9-11 does stand as a “section” of Romans. Of course, it fits into the overall big picture and flow, but as we move into Romans 11, we are coming to the third division in this section of Romans. As you spend time reading this week, read through the entire chapter at least once, then go back and read verses 1-10 several times and think through these questions so as to make the most of our time together:
  • Who are God’s people?
  • What does “foreknew” mean?
  • What is the Elijah store referred to? 
  • Why does Paul mention it?
  • What is the relevance of the “remnant?”
  • Where else do we see the “grace vs. works” idea in Scripture?
  • What is meant by “the rest were hardened?”
  • Why does God close ears and darken eyes? What does it mean?

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Another great hymn of the faith, this song celebrates God’s faithfulness. He never changes. He is always faithful to His Word. He is absolutely and completely trustworthy no matter what seems to be happening in our lives. What a beautiful song this is and what a beautiful doctrine it celebrates!

Be sure and continue to pray Colossians 4:2-4 daily and always be looking for the opportunities to share the gospel that the Lord brings to you.  


Be in prayer for:
• Rex, the worship team, and choir as they prepare to lead us in singing.  
• Pray that we all come together on Sunday with hearts prepared to engage in intense, focused exaltation of God. 
• Pray that we demonstrate holiness, unity, and love in both our personal lives as well as together as the Body.
• Pray for me as I prepare to preach God’s inspired, inerrant, sufficient, authoritative Word.


Rob

Monday, October 23, 2017

New songs this Sunday!!

Preparing Your Heart for Worship - October 29, 2017

This Sunday, we continue our study of Romans 10 and shift our focus from man’s responsibility to call upon the Lord in repentance and belief from the heart to our great joy and privilege of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with others.  

Singing Together as the Body of Christ
We’re singing a few new songs this week. Micah Miller will be leading our time of singing along with a few others. Be sure and be praying for him as he prepares this week to lead us in exalting Christ. 

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)

As we begin our time together - we gather to bless the Lord - to worship His holy name. To sing about his excellent greatness. This is a great song to begin our time of worship with. It reminds us that every day is a new day and that no matter what the situation is in our lives, God’s goodness and mercy and kindness are ever present in our lives.

Forever Reign

As we continue singing together, this song (new to us) continues to celebrate God’s attributes and then turns to a great description of what our response to His goodness should be. Be sure and listen to this song a few times so we can all be ready to sing it together. 

Better Is One Day

Coming almost directly from Psalm 84, as we continue singing together, we’ll continue to declare our dependence on God and the desire we have to know Him more deeply.  

Breathe

This short song is a simple declaration of our daily dependence on the Holy Spirit in all of our life. 

The Solid Rock

As we prepare for our time in God’s Word together, what a joy it is to sing about Christ our hope. It truly is the sacrifice Jesus made on my behalf that is the foundation of my hope and joy and comfort and peace.  

Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery

This song isn’t new to us, but we haven’t sang it very much. As we sing together, let this song be a meditation on all that Christ has done for us. 


Sermon: Beautiful Feet, Romans 10:14-17
This passage of Scripture is a familiar one. While it doesn’t hold the “popularity” (for lack of a better term) of verse 9-10, it’s certainly a great passage that speaks of our assignment to take the Gospel to as many people as we can. 
Read through Romans 10:5-17 several times and pay close attention to verses 14-17. As you consider the passage, answer the following questions that come from verses 14-17:
  • who is the “they” referred to three times in verse 14?
  • what is the first thing we want the “they” to do? 
  • at the end of verse 14, what is “their” need?
  • there’s a new “they” in verse 15 - who is it?
  • what is this new “they” to do?
  • why do you think Paul uses the image of feet in this verse?
  • what does it mean to “obey the gospel?”
  • read the Isaiah quote in Isaiah 53:1. why do you thin Paul used this passage
  • what is the foundation of faith and hearing?

O Church Arise

As we consider the command of Scripture - we couldn’t think of a better song to conclude our time together with. The call of Romans 10:14-17 is to rise up, armor up, and step up to the challenge of sharing the good news of Christ with the world. That begins with those that God has placed in our lives - friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and others that we have some sort of “connection” with. 

Be sure and continue to pray Colossians 4:2-4 daily and always be looking for the opportunities to share the gospel that the Lord brings to you.  


Be in prayer for:
• Micah Miller, Cody & Katelyn Western, Amy Pryor, and Ryan Halstead as they prepare to lead our time of singing together. 
• Pray that we all come together on Sunday with hearts prepared to engage in intense, focused exaltation of God. 
• Pray that we demonstrate holiness, unity, and love in both our personal lives as well as together as the Body.
• Pray for me as I prepare to preach God’s inspired, inerrant, sufficient, authoritative Word.


Rob

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sunday - the highlight of my week!!

Preparing Your Heart for Worship - October 1, 2017

I always look forward to being together with my church family every Sunday!. This week, we’ll be turning our thoughts to what it means to be the Body of Christ and the role we are meant to play in each other’s lives. The many elements of our day together have all been put together not only to remind us of the gospel, but to think on and celebrate that God has brought us all together as members of Fellowship Baptist Church. We’ll sing together, study God’s Word together, hear from others as they share about being a part of Fellowship, and take the Lord’s Supper together. The day will culminate in our annual church picnic (at Parr Hill park this year), one of my favorite yearly events. It’s a time to just enjoy being together as brothers and sisters in Christ as well as being “very Baptist” and enjoying a lot of food together!

Preparing Your Heart
Over the next couple of days, as you think toward our time together, read the following passages and think through the list of questions so that we can make the most of our time together. 
Colossians 3:12-17
• How are God’s people described?
• What are we told to put on?
• Who are we supposed to bear with? (what does “bear with” mean?)
• Why do we forgive others?
• What are we to do more than anything?
• What should rule in your heart?
• What should dwell in your heart?
• As a result of that, what two things are you to do for one another?
• What are we to do everything in?
Ephesians 4:29
• What kind of speech is “only” to come out of your mouth?
Hebrews 10:24-25
• What are we to consider?
• What are we not to neglect?
• What are we to do instead? 

The goal of reading the passages and answering these questions is to help you think through the passage I’m preaching on this Sunday. 


Here are the songs we’ll be singing together this week. 

Oh How Good It Is

What an amazing declaration of why we gather each week! As the lyrics of this song say: with one heart we sing to the Lord, and with one voice we live out His Word!  

Trust and Obey

There are two simple words that are repeated over and over in this song, and they summarize very well what our response should always be to God’s instructions to us!

Amazing Grace

There’s a reason that this is considered to be one of the best hymns ever written. What a wonderful expression of what Christ has done for us. Just the first verse alone is something that would be beneficial to meditate on again and again.   

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

When Isaac Watts wrote this song in 1707, it was intended to be a communion hymn. It remains to this day, a wonderful meditation on the cross and our response to it. Based on Galatians 6:14 (But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ...) the song begins contemplating the cross and that all of our own accomplishments pale in comparison. He then points us to Christ’s love for us, and, in a powerful image, points to the diety of our Suffering Savior - “Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?" The final verse is our proper response to Christ’s overwhelming love for us.
Here's my favorite version of this song: https://sovereigngracemusic.bandcamp.com/track/when-i-survey-the-wondrous-cross

You Are My All In All

The chorus of this song reminds me of John 1:29 when John said of Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” May Christ’s sacrifice for us ever be on our lips. 


As always, be in prayer for:
• Pray first and foremost for yourself, that you would come with your heart prepared to worship Christ and celebrate the gospel as we come to the Lord’s Table together as the conclusion of our time together this Sunday. 
• Rex and all those who lead the music in our time together.
• Pray that we all come together on Sunday with hearts prepared to engage in intense, focused exaltation of God. 
• Pray that we demonstrate holiness, unity, and love in both our personal lives as well as together as the Body.
• Pray for me as I prepare to preach God’s inspired, inerrant, sufficient, authoritative Word.


Rob

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Faith Alone in Christ Alone


Preparing Your Heart for Worship - September 24, 2017

This Sunday, we’ll conclude Romans 9. Paul’s conclusion is fantastic! We’ll see the first part of his conclusion this week, and the full picture when we begin Romans 10. 

Call to Worship
Our Choir will be calling us to worship with the song “Blessing and Honor.” What a great way to begin our time together - declaring that we are here to bless and honor our Great God and lift up the name of Jesus!  




Come People of the Risen King
We come together, united to sing praises to our King! While this version is different than how we'll do it, I've always been a big fan of the Melodica (the strange mouth blown keyboard instrument in the beginning). But pay attention mostly to the great lyrics!

Rejoice the Lord is King
As verse 4 of this song says, we rejoice in the glorious hope that Christ is returning! This hope is a settled assurance - knowing that He will come for His children! 

Prayer of Praise
As we continue worshiping together, and are led in praising God through prayer, join in praising God with the one leading this time - and when we conclude - we all say “AMEN!” to affirm that this is our prayer. Even though we’re hearing the words of one person as they lead us, we’re all coming to God together in praise of His glory and grace.  

Worship through Giving
This month, we’re collecting an over and above offering for Missouri Missions. This offering goes to support various gospel efforts here in the state of Missouri. If you were with us a couple of weeks ago, we heard from Jason and Matt, pastors at The Church @ Affton. They have benefitted from this offering more than once. We have set a goal of $3,500 this year. Pray about what God would have you give to this offering over and above your tithe.

Meditating on God’s Word
In 1 Timothy 4:13, we’re exhorted to ...devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture. This time in our worship gathering is intended to do just that. When we hear God’s Word read, we are hearing directly from Him. We also meditate on His Word through memorizing it, and hearing from others as they have memorized it. What a joy it is to hear others quoting the Word that they have hidden in their heart. 

In Christ Alone, My Hope is Found

This modern hymn, declares the whole life of Christ and what it means. It teaches us the foundations of what we believe in Christ the God who changed all of history and who wants a relationship us. 
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live

The author of the hymn writes: “No matter how many times I hear that verse, I get chills up my spine. The picture of Christ standing in victory, the image of sin’s grip being broken and the promise that I am his and knowing that he in fact is mine brings him incredibly close to me.”

Show Us Christ

This song is a wonderful declaration for the congregation to make together as we prepare to hear from God’s Word. Every word on every page of the Bible is about Christ - who He is and what He came to do. The challenge to the preacher is always to bring the weight of that to bear in the sermon. When God’s Word is planted deep in our hearts, it will always bear fruit.


Sermon: By Faith, Romans 9:24-33
This week, we’ll be looking at a larger section of Scripture than we usually do, but this section stands together as a “whole” and a sort of conclusion to Romans 9. In verse 30, Paul says (as he often does), “what shall we say then?” - and draws us to the conclusion of what he’s been teaching. 
As you read through this passage a few times, consider the following questions to help you make the most of our time together on Sunday:
  • who is the “us” that are called?
  • what is the back story in Hosea?
  • who are the “sons of Israel” in v. 27?
  • who did not pursue righteousness?
  • how did Israel pursue righteousness?
  • who attained righteousness?
  • how did they attain it?
  • who is the “stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense?”
  • who will not be put to shame?

By Faith

You just can't argue with bagpipes for the opening of a song now, can you? 
While we have sang this song before, it’s certainly going to be unfamiliar to many. As we consider one of the main things that this Sunday’s passage teaches - righteousness is achieved through faith in Jesus Christ - this song is a great summary and conclusion, as well as a call to proclaim the gospel of Christ to all. 


As always, be in prayer for:
• Rex and all those who lead the music in our time together.
• Pray that we all come together on Sunday with hearts prepared to engage in intense, focused exaltation of God. 
• Pray that we demonstrate holiness, unity, and love in both our personal lives as well as together as the Body.
• Pray for me as I prepare to preach God’s inspired, inerrant, sufficient, authoritative Word.


Rob

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Are We Vessels Prepared to Worship?



Preparing Your Heart for Worship - September 10, 2017

As we continue our study of Romans 9, last week and this week are the “thick” of this chapter. There are certainly different views of the Doctrine of Election, there always have been, and there probably always will be. As we work our way through Romans 9, probably the most “election dense” passage of Scripture in the Bible, we must remember that while this is part of Paul's explanation of the Gospel, your interpretation of what Romans 9 teaches about the doctrine of election is not a “primary/central gospel issue.” Proclaiming the gospel to everyone we can does not hinge on this particular issue. There are godly, growing Christians that have come to different conclusions in their study of this passage. What unites us is our commitment to being obedient to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), Acts 1:8, and many other passages, including Colossians 4:2-4 and 1 Peter 3:15-16. As we consider the purposes of the church, which are so clearly expressed in our Purpose Statement: “Worshiping Jesus, Following Jesus, Sharing Jesus... TOGETHER!,”  let us keep the “TOGETHER” as the lens through which we strive to exalt God, edify each other, and evangelize the lost. 

Scriptural Call to Worship
As God’s Word should always remain central, what better way to begin our time together than hearing His voice calling us to turn our mind’s attention and our heart’s affection to Him   

This Is Amazing Grace

The title of this song clearly calls us to be amazed at His grace. How can we not be? Consider how the words to this song describe so many elements of what He has done for us.  

At Calvary

God’s mercy is great. At the cross I was declared “NOT GUILTY” of my sins. As we sing this song together, may we truly meditate on the freedom we have in Christ. (P.S. - the version in the video is a different tune than what we'll sing on Sunday, but a really cool version of the song)

Prayer of Praise
As we continue worshiping together, and are led in praising God through prayer, join in praising God with the one leading this time - and when we conclude - we all say “AMEN!” to affirm that this is our prayer. Even though we’re hearing the words of one person as they lead us, we’re all coming to God together in praise of His glory and grace.  

Worship through Giving
We should always pause during this time to remember that every resource we have, whether it is finances, material possessions, or time, is a gift from God. This is a time to acknowledge that. Whether you give weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly, this is a time to meditate on worshiping God through giving back to Him.

Meditating on God’s Word
In 1 Timothy 4:13, we’re exhorted to ...devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture. This time in our worship gathering is intended to do just that. When we hear God’s Word read, we are hearing directly from Him. We also meditate on His Word through memorizing it, and hearing from others as they have memorized it. What a joy it is to hear others quoting the Word that they have hidden in their heart. 

Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King

Just the first line of this song is enough to draw me in - “tune my heart to sing Thy praise.” As we continue our time together, let this line be our prayer that we praise Him for His excellent grace. 

Change My Heart Oh God (with “Take My Life”)

As we prepare to study a passage of Scripture that speaks of God’s active work in our hearts, let us remind ourselves that not only do we need His activity in our lives, but we should seek to be transformed by His Word and His Spirit. We need His holiness, righteousness, and transformation in our lives continually.

Sermon: Vessels, Romans 9:19-23
In this passage, Paul is responding to objections to what He has been teaching. As I’ve said many times - this is a difficult passage and there are some tensions that come as we work our way through it. As you prepare your heart for the teaching of God’s Word, read the passage and consider the following questions so that we can make the most of our time together:
  • What is causing Paul’s opponent to ask this question?
  • In this illustration, who is the potter? Who is the clay?
  • What might Paul be referring to in using the terms “honored” and “dishonorable?”
  • What are the terms “wrath” and “power” referring to?
  • What are the “riches of His glory?”
May the Holy Spirit open our minds and hearts to what He is saying to us through His Word. 

Now Why This Fear

For those who have repented of their sins and placed their faith in Christ, there is no need to fear God’s wrath. The line “no wrath remains for us to face....” is a wonderful response of the believing heart to this passage. Those who are saved are truly “vessles of mercy” and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

As always, be in prayer for:
• Rex and all those who lead the music in our time together.
• Pray that we all come together on Sunday with hearts prepared to engage in intense, focused exaltation of God. 
• Pray that we demonstrate holiness, unity, and love in both our personal lives as well as together as the Body.
• Pray for me as I prepare to preach God’s inspired, inerrant, sufficient, authoritative Word.


Rob