Be Like My Heavenly Father (6-19-2022)

All of our songs this week encourage us to be like our Heavenly Father in all aspects of our lives.

1. O To Be Like Thee

Thomas Chisholm, lyricist of this song, also wrote the words to “Living For Jesus,” another song which could easily fit in our list this week. Clearly he had a longing for increasing Christlikeness in his life. Hopefully his words inspire us to do the same.

2. This is My Father’s World

Psalm 19:1 tells us that “the heavens declare the glory of God.” It should be evident as we look around this world that there is a Creator who cares about us. If we want to be like Him, as we stated in the last song, then it is important for us to praise Him for Who He is, as we do in this song.

3. Take Time To Be Holy
4. More Precious Than Silver
5. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

If someone in your life that you have a relationship with is important to you, then you will make sure that person is a priority in your life. You will make time for that person. You will treat them as a priority and desire to have relationship with them. You will turn to them both in good times and in bad. Shouldn’t all this be true for our Heavenly Father? This medley of three songs will encourage us to treat our relationship with Him as such.

6. I Am Mine No More

How much does our Heavenly Father want to have a relationship with us? So much so that He sent His son as a sacrifice. Jesus paid the price for our sins. Therefore, “I’ve been bought with blood, I am mine no more.”

7. All to Us

We learned this song at our church-wide singing the last Wednesday of May. I thought this was a perfect spot to introduce it on Sunday morning. Because of the things that God has done for us, we should want the following things: “Let the glory of Your name be the passion of the church. Let the righteousness of God be a holy flame that burns. Let the saving love of Christ be the measure of our lives.” What a different place the world would be if the church lived this message every day!

8. Always Forgiven

I asked our minister what his final point in the sermon would be. He said to accept God’s grace, love and mercy. That pointed me to this song. It’s also a wonderful reminder that if He is our Father, that means that “now and forever, I am Your child.”

9. O To Be Like Thee (reprise)

We’ll sing the last verse of this song as a reminder to be like Him as we leave our assembly and head out into the world.

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF WORSHIP

WELCOME

SCRIPTURE READING – Matthew 5:43-48

O To Be Like Thee (1,2,3)
This is My Father’s World (1,3)

PRAYER

619 – Take Time to Be Holy (1,2)
963 – More Precious Than Silver
983 – Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

COMMUNION
OFFERING

I Am Mine No More

All to Us

SERMON

Always Forgiven

O To Be Like Thee (4)

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Life Through Death (4-17-2022)

While all of our songs this week talk about Jesus’ death, over half of them are fast and upbeat songs. How can songs about death be upbeat? Because it’s through his death that we celebrate His resurrection and our new life!

1. Salvation Has Been Brought Down

We begin with this classic Albert Brumley hymn from 1940. If you don’t know the name Albert Brumley, you should! He wrote a little song you might know called “I’ll Fly Away.” Just as that song has some nice step outs with the alto, tenor and bass, this one is even more complex. Still, it’s always a crowd favorite and sets the tone for our service in celebrating our new life through Jesus’ death. (Do you recognize any faces in this video? It has over 1 million views!)

2. Here I Am to Worship

“I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross.” It’s hard to fathom just how much God loves us and just how much Jesus’ was willing to endure to save us from our sin. As we reflect on that love and how much He endured, what else can we do but say “here I am to worship”?

3. How Deep the Father’s Love

Some songs are very rich in scripture and paint a very vivid picture of what the Bible says. This can have a very strong emotional effect. We will attempt to make that effect even more powerful by having scripture readings prior to each verse of this song which reinforces what we are singing.

4. Beautiful Lamb

This is the first time this song is being introduced on a Sunday morning at our church after having been sung in our Wednesday night singing class numerous times. This song reminds us that by Christ’s wounds, we are healed.

5. O Listen to Our Wondrous Story

This song demonstrates another reason why Jesus’ death can produce such a happy disposition in all of us–because He’s no longer in the grave. The chorus asks the question “where is He now?” The answer: “In heaven interceding.”

6. Buried With Christ (A New Creature)

No matter which title you know this song by, it’s a great reminder of what death in Christ is all about. Not only do we take part in His death through baptism, we must also put to death the past life. I especially like how the oft forgotten 4th verse puts it: “Think it not strange that things I once cherished cannot allure me or charm as before.” May we all live a life that exemplifies this.

7. Lord, I Lift Your Name on High

“From the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky.” A perfect thought to walk out of the church building and take to the world. I guarantee this one will stick in your head long after you leave service.

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF WORSHIP

WELCOME

SCRIPTURE READING – Romans 6:1-4

Salvation Has Been Brought Down

Here I Am to Worship

PRAYER

How Deep the Father’s Love

COMMUNION
OFFERING

Beautiful Lamb

O Listen to Our Wondrous Story

SERMON

Buried With Christ (A New Creature) (1,2,4)

Lord, I Lift Your Name on High

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Faithful Through Trials (3-20-2022)

Our sermon this week will cover a lot about the book of Daniel. As I flipped through each chapter, reminding myself of the stories and what his life was about, one thing became evident: he knew how to stay faithful to God through trials! Our songs this week will help us do the same.

1. Majesty

We’ll begin our time of worship with this song of declaration. It’s a great reminder that in good times and bad, we should give all “glory, honor and praise” to God.

2. O God of Every Nation

Given what the world is going through with the war in Ukraine, I thought this was a very appropriate song to have as we go into prayer. This song itself is a prayer, set to the tune of “O Sacred Head.” The lyrics implore God to heal our world and keep in us visions of love and peace.

3. What the Lord Has Done in Me

This past Sunday, I was invited to stay for a devo with the youth group. When I saw this song was in their youth songbook and that they knew it, I jumped at the chance to lead it. I have no doubt that the message of this song would be what Daniel would say of his life. The wonders performed in his life were “what the Lord has done in me.”

4. My God and King

The book of Daniel contains the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, probably a favorite Bible story of anyone when they were a kid in Bible class. This song reminds us that when our confidence is in God, as theirs was, we will be kept from the fire. This song is also an important reminder that while we often pray for Ukraine, we should also remember those in Russia, as well, as many are against the war and can be persecuted for speaking out. This song is written by Konstantin Zhigulin, a Christian in Russia.

As a bonus, here is the song being sung in Russian by the group Psalom, led by Konstantin.

5. How Shall the Young Secure Their Hearts

One thing that our lesson this morning will point out is how Daniel served God in all phases of life, from young all the way to old…and even when following Him may not be popular. This song follows a similar thought process, noting that God’s word not only will “guide our youth” but will also “well support our age.”

6. Had It Not Been the Lord

I’m pretty sure that if you or I were thrown into a lion’s den and came out alive, this is one of the songs we might be singing! (I also think it’s a fitting song to sing now that we are back to one service and hopefully through the pandemic.)

7. We Bow Down

Nebuchadnezzar might have thought he could get everyone to bow down to his image of gold, but those who are faithful only bow down to one king…the King of Kings.

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF WORSHIP

WELCOME

SCRIPTURE READING – Daniel 1:8-15

Majesty

O God of Every Nation

PRAYER

What the Lord Has Done in Me

COMMUNION
OFFERING

My God and King

How Shall the Young Secure Their Hearts

SERMON

Had It Not Been the Lord

We Bow Down

BONUS: Given that I mentioned the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, I thought you might enjoy listening to this song called “Fire in the Furnace.” You might recognize the voice of one of the soloists.

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Prepare For War (2-20-2022)

A lot of the songs on this week’s list are favorites of mine. That’s not why I picked them, though. They were chosen to fit the theme of preparing for war. Why do I like songs about preparing for battle? Honestly, that’s what life is all about. We need to be ready to fight on a daily basis. These songs all provide me with motivation to fight the fight…or perhaps remind me that God is fighting for me when I don’t feel like I fight anymore.

1. Soldiers of Christ Arise

Before we ever head to battle, we need to make sure we are properly fitted for battle. When Charles Wesley originally wrote these words as a poem, he titled it “The Whole Armor of God.” While his lyrics have been set to many different tunes, this one by William Bradbury is the best in my book, especially with that opening tenor line sounding the battle cry.

2. Onward Christian Soldiers

Sabine Baring-Gould wrote the lyrics to this song as a processional song for children to march to. That actually surprises me because the content of some of the lyrics is quite heavy for children. “Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise” is hardly a phrase I would expect to have to sing at Vacation Bible School. In fact, the song has been used by many dignitaries. Winston Churchill picked the song for a church service when meeting with Franklin Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower must have liked the song, as well, as it was used at his funeral.

3. The Battle Belongs to the Lord

This song was just led a few weeks ago, but I felt like it was too fitting for our theme to leave it off the list for this week. Jamie Owens-Collins, the composer, notes that “There are times when God comes in and just, boom!, answers your prayer right now and gives you a miracle. But, most of the time, He lets us really walk through the process.” It’s during those times that we need to remember the battle belongs to the Lord.

4. Rescue Me

This might seem like an odd choice of song to sing before communion. However, Jesus’ death and resurrection are all about rescuing man kind! There is no time that we, as Christians, are more aware of our need to be rescued than when we remember Jesus’ death, His body, and His blood.

5. A Shield About Me

This was the last song to be added to the list for this week. It didn’t pop in my head until I was finalizing the list, but it quickly became a must have on the list. This song is such a comfort as I fight the battles of life, knowing that He is a shield about me!

6. Hard Fightin’ Soldier

This is one of those songs that I’m going out on a limb and assuming that everyone knows. It’s one that I have memories of singing in chapel as a kid in school. That little boy sitting in chapel had no idea he’d get to record that song as an adult years later (as evidenced in this video).

7. The Banner of the Cross (There’s a Royal Banner)

During times of war, the flag bearer was an important role for someone to carry out. Seeing the flag was a symbol to remind those in battle of what they were fighting for. It also gave the soldiers an easy mark to gather around. Keep in mind that imagery as we sing this song. As an invitation song, this is also a great reminder to make sure that we are walking underneath His banner.

8. Firm Foundation

“I know I can stand secure!” This seemed like a good place for us to end our time of worship together. There’s no greater foundation we can have in battle than Jesus. I hope these songs all leave you with that sense of hope.

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF WORSHIP

WELCOME

SCRIPTURE READING – Luke 14:28-33

Soldiers of Christ Arise

Onward Christian Soldiers (1,2,3)

PRAYER

The Battle Belongs to the Lord

Rescue Me

COMMUNION
OFFERING

A Shield About Me

Hard Fightin’ Soldier

SERMON

The Banner of the Cross (There’s a Royal Banner)

Firm Foundation

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Leading with Light (1-23-2022)

Our church is currently going through a series on leadership, particularly in hopes of possibly installing new elders and deacons. It goes without saying that anyone hoping to be a leader in the church should be following the leadership of Christ! As a result, by following Him, we will walk in the light (I John 1:5-7) and also shine that light for others.

1. Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us

Did you know some of the songs we sing were actually intended to be sung by children? This is one of those songs. William Bradbury, the composer of the music for this song, set out to write light melodies that children could sing. (In fact, we’ll be another one of his tunes in our service.) No doubt, though, this is a message that every adult can appreciate. Perhaps it is the inner child in each one of us that needs to be reminded of Jesus watching over us as a Shepherd. What a comfort!

2. He Leadeth Me

Dr. Joseph Gilmore was preparing to give some thoughts on Psalm 23. But for some reason, this time the words “He Leadeth Me” grabbed him in a way they never had before. Perhaps it was because they were currently in one of the darkest times of the Civil War. It is in those dark times that we need God to lead us the most. He wrote the words to this song and his wife mailed them in to a paper. William Bradbury (name sound familiar?) saw them and set them to music.

3. Savior, Lead Me

We wrap up this medley of three songs with one which I can find very little info. This song was written by Frank Davis, but I can find no other songs we sing which were also written by him. Did he know when he wrote this in 1880 that we would be singing it 140 years later? What a testament to the comfort this song has brought to others for generations!

4. Lead Me to Calvary

Jennie Hussey truly meant it when she said “may I be willing, Lord, to be bear daily my cross for Thee.” She had become disabled with deformative arthritis. Even still, she kept a positive disposition by living out these words, making sure she never forgot “Gethsemane,” “Thine agony,” or “Thy love for me.” May we all learn from her example.

5. Send Your Light

Even when we follow God’s lead, there will no doubt be times when we feel discouraged. It is in these moments that we can cry out to Him and ask Him to send His light. (Given that this is our youth minister’s last Sunday, this song was at His request. Perhaps it was providence that it still fit our theme!)

6. Go Light Your World

As we examine servant leadership and what that looks like, I can think of no better song than this one. This song reminds us of all the hurting people in the world. If we don’t step up as leaders and carry our candles to those hurting people, then who will?

7. Let the Lower Lights Be Burning

The analogy of this song could easily get lost here in 2022. Imagine a boat out at sea on a stormy night. You are on land and want to help that boat navigate its way toward the shore to safety, but along that shore are cliffs, rocks, and other dangers. The only way to keep that boat headed in the right direction is to keep the light in the lighthouse burning. Now imagine your life as the lighthouse; it is then easy to see how this song still applies today! (Since our youth minister got to pick a song, so did his wife. Again, whether it was coincidence or not that it fit our theme so well, I’ll let you be the judge.)

8. I Saw the Light

It can be easy to take The Light (Jesus) for granted, but let us never forget the day that He saved us and what that means for us. That should cause us all to exclaim: “Praise the Lord! I saw the light!”

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF WORSHIP

WELCOME

SCRIPTURE READING – Matthew 20:25-28

Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us (1,2,3)

He Leadeth Me (1,3,4)

Savior, Lead Me

PRAYER

Lead Me to Calvary

COMMUNION
OFFERING

Send Your Light

Go Light Your World

SERMON

Let the Lower Lights Be Burning

I Saw the Light

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Perfect Peace (12-5-2021)

Back in 2014, I wrote a blog titled “Peace” and had a set list of songs centered on that topic. Here we are 7 years later, and again I was given the topic of “Perfect Peace.” Some of the songs from the previous set list made this list. However, the list is definitely different from last time. Let’s see what made this list!

1. Rejoice in the Lord Always

This song does not specifically mention peace, but our scripture reading includes these words, so I thought it was a great place to start. Putting these words into practice is definitely a way to stay on track toward peace.

2. My Only Hope is You

Songs that are repetitive sometimes get a bad rap. This song repeats the same words with each verse, only replacing one word (hope, joy, peace). But despite the repetition, I think these are words that our soul needs to be reminded of.

3. Peace, Perfect Peace

When Edward Bickersteth wrote this hymn, he began each verse with a question mark. Have you ever noticed that before when singing this song? “Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?” Why did he make that a question? Because we don’t have to look around very hard to see that this world is not full of peace. There is sin and strife everywhere. Yet, despite all that, we Christians can still have peace. How? The second line of the verse answers the question. “The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.”

4. Love, Love, Love, Love

Describing the gospel in one word is a daunting task. This song, therefore, describes it with several different words: love, joy, peace. Just like our first song, this song is sung as a round where the women echo what the men sing.

5. Instruments of Your Peace

Because we are given peace that passes understanding, it is our duty as Christians to spread that peace to others. This song tells us all the ways that we can do that. They are powerful methods, but hard nonetheless. “Where there is injury, we will never judge.” Do you think Christians, as a whole, have succeeded in not judging? May we all strive to do better!

6. Til the Storm Passes By

This song does not reference peace directly. In fact, a storm can be the antithesis of peace. This song asks God to please keep us safe in those moments. “Keep me safe til the storm passes by.”

7. I’ve Got Peace Like a River

People always tell me that many times they walk out of service humming the last song we sing. I think today will be no exception!

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF WORSHIP

WELCOME

SCRIPTURE READING – Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord Always

My Only Hope is You

PRAYER

Peace, Perfect Peace (1,2,3,5,6)

COMMUNION
OFFERING

Love, Love, Love, Love

Instruments of Your Peace

SERMON

Til the Storm Passes By

I’ve Got Peace Like a River

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Giving Thanks (11-21-2021)

We typically say thank You to God in prayer. This week, we get to do so in every song!

1. 10,000 Reasons

It’s hard to believe this song is 10 years old now. Most song that old fade in popularity, but this song is still holding strong in the top 100 songs being sung in churches across America. After having experienced not being able to worship together during COVID, being able to sing this song together is one more thing I can add to the list of 10,000 reasons to be thankful!

2. Thank You, Lord!

Rather than tell you the story behind this song, I’ll let the composer tell it himself.

3. Every Time

If we’re honest, we don’t always have a thankful attitude. It can be easy to take things for granted in this life. This song reminds us that if we take the time, we can find God in the little things in life, whether it be watching a storm, seeing a little child, etc.

4. There is a Redeemer

Melody Green makes such a simple statement in the chorus of this song, yet it is one that has resonated with Christians around the world. Her husband, Keith, wrote the third verse and released the song on his final album before he was killed in a plane crash. I’m sure Melody looks forward to joining Keith “in that holy place,” as we all do!

5. Thank You, Lord

Gary Mabry is probably one of your favorite songwriters in the church even though you didn’t know it. He wrote “Blue Skies and Rainbows,” “A Common Love,” and this song. When Gary wrote this song, he was inspired by how thankful someone he knew who had cerebral palsy. That gives new meaning to the context to the phrase “thank You, Lord, for making me whole.” What a great example for all of us.

6. Give Thanks

Henry Smith was leading this song that he wrote himself at his home church. Little did he know that a visiting US military officer liked the song so much, he took it over to Europe and its popularity spread. When the song was recorded by Integrity Music, he had to contact them to inform them it was his song. They had only credited is as “unknown.” They were more than happy to pay Henry for this beautiful work.

7. Worthy Art Thou

“Worthy of earth and heaven’s thanksgiving!” How could we not sing this song with the word “thanksgiving” in it? More importantly, it helps us remember all the reasons He is worthy of our thanksgiving.

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF WORSHIP

WELCOME

SCRIPTURE READING – Luke 17:11-19

10,000 Reasons

Thank You, Lord!

PRAYER

Every Time

COMMUNION
OFFERING

There is a Redeemer

Thank You, Lord

SERMON

Give Thanks

Worthy Art Thou

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Life With the Spirit (10-24-2021)

What does life look like when we are walking with the Spirit? Our songs this week will help answer that question. Let’s have a look!

1. Each Step of the Way

Being in tune with the Holy Spirit is not an easy discipline. It requires us to remain mindful of the Spirit as we walk through our daily lives. In other words, it requires us walk with Him “each step of the way.” I love the alto solo in the chorus of this song, so I hope the altos will really sing out and shine on this one.

2. Each Step I Take

The songbook “Praise for the Lord” primarily arranges the songs in alphabetical order, as opposed to some songbooks that arrange by topic. It’s interesting then, that not only are “Each Step of the Way” and this song next to each other in Praise for the Lord alphabetically, but they also completely match each other in topic, and they are even in the same key! Therefore, they make a great medley. Another interesting fact about this song is that it is one of the most chromatic songs that we sing in church. What does chromatic mean? Allow me to try and explain.

If you were to start on a piano at middle C and just play the white keys moving up the scale, that is the diatonic scale (Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti). But then if you were to start at middle C and work your way up the scale including the black keys, that is the chromatic scale. In other words, instead of singing only 7 notes, we’re using 12 notes. This makes the song more colorful, or chromatic, but also makes it more difficult to sing. Can you hear the parts that are chromatic as you listen?

3. A Shield About Me

While this song is not directly about the Holy Spirit, I still thought it was fitting. I take great comfort knowing that the Spirit is with me given the spiritual dangers of this world. The Spirit, when used with the full armor of God, can help provide us protection. I hope you feel filled with the Spirit as we sing this song.

4. On Bended Knee

No doubt this song began as a prayer during personal time of worship. As I searched for songs about the Holy Spirit, I couldn’t pass this one up as the second verse makes the request “change my life, O Holy Spirit.”

5. Holy Spirit

Written by Sylvia Rose, a school teacher and principal from Detroit, this song makes different requests of the Holy Spirit in each verse. The first verse asks the Spirit to dwell in us. The second verse asks the Spirit for comfort. And the last verse asks for the Spirit to rescue us. You may hear similarities in style and rhythm between this song and another song that she wrote, “Restore My Soul.”

6. Pass It On

Living with the Holy Spirit should be evident in our lives including to others who see us. If it is, it will make others see the evidence of the Spirit in our lives and they will want to find out how they, too, can have it in their lives. Make sure that you “pass it on.”

7. My God is Singing Over Me

Living with the Spirit should certainly affect the way that we interact as a church family. While this song is based on Zephaniah 3:17, the second verse actually is a rephrasing of Romans 15:5-6 which encourages us to live in harmony. That is certainly something that takes the Spirit dwelling in us. May we strive to do so as we “give the praise and glory to our Father, Friend and King.”

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF WORSHIP

WELCOME

SCRIPTURE READING – Eph 4:29-32

Each Step of the Way
Each Step I Take

PRAYER

A Shield About Me

COMMUNION
OFFERING

On Bended Knee

Holy Spirit

SERMON

Pass It On

My God is Singing Over Me

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Sovereign (9-12-2021)

There aren’t many songs that have the word “sovereign” in it, though there are a few on our list this week! If we expand that topic to God being “higher” or “above all,” then there is no shortage at all of great songs on this topic. Let’s see which ones made the list.

1. Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah

“His glory is exalted far above the earth and sky.” This song sets the tone for our entire service. Coming from Psalm 148, it reminds that everything truly does declare the glory of God, from the sun and moon down to the trees and animals.

2. Come, Thou Almighty King

“Thy sovereign majesty, may we in glory see!” Not only does this song address the sovereignty of God, it also addresses the sovereignty of the Trinity, that is, God in three persons: the Father in verse 1, the incarnate Word (Jesus) in verse 2, and the Spirit in verse 3.

3. Jesus, Rose of Sharon

“Be Thy glory seen on earth from shore to shore til the nations own Thy sovereignty complete.” This is a hymn that is definitely not sung very often. (In fact, by my records, we haven’t sung it in the last 3 years.) Not only does the song express the desire for God to be sovereign on earth, the chorus also asks Him to do so in our hearts!

4. Above All

The entire verse of this song reminds us of all the things that Jesus is above. This song also ties in nicely with the last one as it, too, compares Jesus to a rose. The analogy here is very different though. “Like a rose trampled on the ground, you took the fall and thought of me above all.”

5. Highly Exalted / You Are My All in All (Chorus)

Paul Baloche indeed is a songwriter who can write a great anthem, and he definitely thinks of God as sovereign. He co-wrote both the last song and this song! The ending to Highly Exalted sometimes throws people off a little, so instead when we get to end of the second chorus, we’ll go into a chorus of “You Are My All in All” to finish.

6. Salvation Belongs to Our God

Revelation is filled with amazing imagery of God’s sovereignty. Revelation 7 describes a multitude so large that it can’t be counted standing before the throne of God crying out “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne.” Then the angels and elders fall down and cry out “Be to our God forever and ever. Amen!” This song is a gorgeous depiction of that moment.

7. Highest Place

Ramon PInk was visiting Hawaii and was so taken with the views around him, he found himself contemplating the Lordship of Jesus, saying “I place you above all else.” Pretty soon he had written this song and then took it to a camp and introduced it there. The song has become a wonderful declaration of worship for believers around the world.

8. Majesty

On a trip to England, Dr. Jack Hayford was impressed by the country’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. He knew God wants His people to have that same enthusiasm for Him. He noted “there is something of majesty in all this.” He then wrote this song. It’s a great way for us to close out our time of praising God for His sovereignty in our lives.

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF WORSHIP

WELCOME

SCRIPTURE READING – Revelation 1:5b-8

Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah (1,3)
Come, Thou Almighty King

PRAYER

Jesus, Rose of Sharon (1,4)
Above All

COMMUNION
OFFERING

Highly Exalted
You Are My All in All (chorus)

Salvation Belongs to Our God

SERMON

Highest Place

Majesty

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Grace, Love, and Mercy (8-22-2021)

Have you ever done a word association exercise? Someone says a word, then you say the first word that pops in your head. If you were to do a word association with the word “grace,” I’m quite confident that two of the top words you would get would be “love” and “mercy.” Clearly these words all go hand in hand, as 5 of our songs have all three words. The other two songs both mention “grace” and “love.” Let’s look at all 7 of them.

1. At Calvary (Years I Spent in Vanity)

When William Newell wrote the line “years I spent in vanity and pride,” he was truly writing about himself. He was a troubled teen, but his father persisted at getting him enrolled at the Moody Bible Institute, hoping it would bring about some reform. It did! Not only did he become a Christian while there, but eventually he returned to be a faculty member. He wrote the words to this song and gave it to the head of the music department, who then put them to music.

2. Faithful Love

Grace, love and mercy aren’t just something that are communicated verbally. They can be shown through touch, through facial expression, and so much more. This song definitely refers to them as tangible in the phrase “tender touch filled with grace.” Ken Young also caps it off by saying that he’s “seen faithful love face to face” in Jesus.

3. O the Depths and the Riches

By now, you can see the pattern of how much grace, love and mercy are tied to Calvary and Jesus’ blood that was shed for us. In a small booklet he wrote with the stories behind his songs, Tillit Teddlie only said two things about this song. 1) It was based off John 3:16. 2) He considers it one of his very best!

4. Always Forgiven

What happens when God gives us grace, love and mercy? Verse 2 of this song reminds us that because Jesus took our sin, God now sees us as if we had never done any wrong! How amazing is that?

5. Stepping in the Light

Eliza Hewitt was working as a school teacher when one of her students hit her with a heavy slate, giving her a spinal cord injury and sending her to the hospital. Being trapped inside through winter while recovering, you can imagine how thrilled she was when she was finally able to get outside and go for a walk. She wrote her first hymn, “There is Sunshine in My Soul Today” after that experience. This song was soon to follow. After having been injured, these songs show that she was someone who not only appreciated God’s grace, love and mercy, but also had a positive disposition in life and would spread that grace, love and mercy to others.

6. Boundless Love

Dennis Loewen had been performing in a rock band in the 1960s, when his life took an unexpected turn and the band broke up. Perhaps if that breakup hadn’t occurred, he may never have taken the time to write this song, which he is most well known for. Dennis clearly felt unworthy, as we all do at times, of God’s love and grace as he declares “I can’t believe that He selected me.” But he shows his desire to serve God in his life by stating “Jesus, my Lord, it’s You I owe!”

7. Walking Alone at Eve

Because of God’s grace, love and mercy, we look forward to “a home with God, a place in His courts to rest!”

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF WORSHIP

WELCOME

SCRIPTURE READING – Ephesians 2:4-10

At Calvary (Years I Spent in Vanity) (1,3,4)

Faithful Love

PRAYER

O the Depths and the Riches

COMMUNION
OFFERING

Always Forgiven

Stepping in the Light (1,3,4)

SERMON

Boundless Love

Walking Alone at Eve (2,3)

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