Grace Church Life

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Sunday Recap and Looking Ahead: May 1, 2016

This past week I came across a quote from Anthony Carter, pastor at East Point Community Church outside Atlanta, where he says:
"I must be reminded that I do not go to church for myself. I go to church for all those who have come to church for me. The most selfish act a Christian can do is stay away from the gathered body of Christians. To stay away is to deny my brothers and sisters the fellowship and encouragement only I can give." *
Our gathering together, in one respect, is about serving and edifying one another, as Paul writes to the Corinthian church, “Let all things be done for building up” (1 Cor 14:26). We build one another up in fellowship, we are built up through the preaching of God’s Word, and we build one another up through the songs we sing. Here is a brief recap of what we did this past week at Grace Church.

Call to Worship – I began our time by reading from Hebrews 1:3-4, reminding the church that we gather together in the name that is above every name, Jesus Christ, and there is no one and no thing more worthy of our praise.

Singing - We responded to this Call to Worship by singing a version of the traditional hymn All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name titled His Name is Jesus, which adds a chorus declaring, “His name is Jesus, Risen Lamb for sinners slain! His name is Jesus, all creation sings the praise of Jesus’ name!”
We then sang Glorious Christ marveling at and reminding one another of the character and work of the God-man, Jesus Christ.

Creeds and Catechisms – Periodically, we take time as a church to recite either an historic Christian creed or a portion of a catechism during our corporate singing as a means to build one another up in biblical truth and be reminded of the faithfulness of God to build His church. This past Sunday we read together the 4th century Nicene Creed, being reminded of that which we believe, of that which we stake our lives upon.

Responding in Song - We then sang Blessed Assurance. The bridge of the song declares, “This my story, this my song, born of Spirit, washed in blood. This my story, this my song, in my Savior I belong.”
The hope and the theme of our lives is the love God has shown us through Jesus Christ. With our hearts full reflecting on what God has done for us in Christ we sang How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.

Pastoral Prayer - After singing, I had everyone sit down and spent around 5 minutes praying for us as a church. I used Ephesians 3:14-21 to pray for Christians in Nigeria, specific needs of individuals in our church, and the preaching of God’s Word.

Offering and Announcements - I then welcomed our visitors and led the church in giving tithes and offerings, and made two announcements highlighting our upcoming men’s breakfast on May 14 and our next church picnic on June 5.

Preaching - While dismissing children under 10 who were with us for the first half of the service, we briefly greeted one another as Larry Malament came to preach God’s Word to us. He preached the second sermon in our current series on Ruth, addressing us from Ruth 1:6-22. Larry said, “This story is a treasure from God to help us know how to interpret and respond to God’s providence in our own stories.” He concluded by encouraging us to navigate the dark providences of our lives by interpreting them through Scripture and trusting his sovereign power and care.

Benediction - After concluding his sermon in prayer, Larry sent the church off with the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:22-23.

Looking Ahead

This coming week we plan on singing How Great is Your Faithfulness, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, God Moves in a Mysterious Way, and New Again.
I will be continuing our series in Ruth, preaching from Ruth 2.

This coming week we have the privilege and opportunity to build one another up by declaring the faithfulness and grace of God to us through Jesus Christ in our songs and sitting under the Word of God which gives life to dead things. We have much to look forward to!

Devon Kauflin

Anthony Carter, Experiencing the Truth: Bringing the Reformation to the African-American Church (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008), 91.