A Heart Prepared to Pray: 4 Suggestions

mother-prayer-620x389Isaiah 55:6 calls us to pray: “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.” This past Sunday, I shared the following suggestions for coming to God with a heart prepared to pray…

  1. Come to him with a heart of awe & worship. Psalm 145:1-3: I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.”
  2. Come to him with a heart of need & repentance. Luke 18:13-14: But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
  3. Come to him with a heart of humility. 1 John 5:14: “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”
  4. Come to him with a heart of trust & confident hope. Hebrews 4:16: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

In days previous, God’s people could only come to the porch, so to speak. Now, through Jesus, we are invited to walk right in the front door! So pray. It doesn’t have to be perfect or polished. Just pray. Your Father who loves you promises to hear.

Listen to the sermon: I Will Hear Your Prayers, from the “I Promise…Trusting in the Faithfulness of God” series.

Sermon Audio: “I Will Hear Your Prayers” (7.26.15)

promiseslogoBefore they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24)

God is making this promise: “My child, I promise that I will hear your prayers – in the midst of your sadness and grief, or in the moment of your crisis, or in the depths of our loneliness, or when you feel abut to be overwhelmed – I will hear your cries for comfort, appeals for help, pleas for protection, calls for provision, requests for wisdom, need for strength.”

Listen to the sermon: I Will Hear Your Prayers.

God promises…”I will hear your prayers”

God makes this astounding promise to his children…Isaiah 65:24…Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.

God is making this promise: “My child, I promise that I will hear your prayers – in the midst of your sadness and grief, or in the moment of your crisis, or in the depths of our loneliness, or when you feel abut to be overwhelmed – I will hear your cries for help, pleas for protection, appeals for provision, requests for wisdom …”

Join us this Sunday as we let this amazing promise encourage our faith and strengthen our prayers!

Working With You for Your Joy

Mercy Hill’s new elder team* met for the first time recently. We began our time reflecting on Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 1:24…Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.” It is a statement of the role of elders and their servant-leadership in the church.

So we asked the obvious question: “How do we, as elders, work with our people for their joy?” It was a robust conversation. So much came back to helping people find their joy in Jesus Christ alone, evidenced by a steadfastness of their faith in him. How do we lead and structure the church to help in that goal?

Please pray for the elders as they meet again soon. This is an important time in the life of Mercy Hill Church. Pray that they will be men led by the Spirit; full of love and grace; wise, thoughtful and strategic.

(*Terry Berthel, Jack Dean, Ryan Guerra, Craig Sturm, Bob Vishanoff)

We’re Outdoors Tomorrow! (July 19)

park2015We will meet tomorrow (July 19) for a special outdoor time of simple worship, eating and playing together, and of course…ice cream – in celebration of National Ice Cream Day!

Bring your own lunch. We’ll provide lemonade, water, and ice cream (with toppings).

Time = 11:00am

Location = Easton Park in West Chicago (map)

“I Will Never Leave You” Preview

When you face the challenges of your life, God commands, “Be strong and courageous; be faithful.” And he makes the same promise to you that he made to Joshua: “You can do so because I will be with you forever. I will not abandon you.” Join us this Sunday at Mercy Hill as we explore God’s promise: “I Will Never Leave You.”

Annual Meeting Highlights

anlmtgIt was an important and exciting time as Mercy Hill had her first ever Annual Meeting on Sunday, June 28. Here are some of the highlights from that meeting:

  • 25 men and women agreed together to become the inaugural members of Mercy Hill Church!
  • Those members then agreed together to function under the proposed Mercy Hill Church Constitution and By-Laws.
  • The members next, joyfully affirmed five men as the first elder/pastor team of Mercy Hill: Terry Berthel; Jack Dean; Ryan Guerra; Craig Sturm; and Bob Vishanoff.
  • Finally, the members approved the proposed FY2015-16 Budget that began on July 1, 2015.

Thanks for all those who were able to attend. May God be glorified in his church as we faithfully pursue his call to make disciples!

I Promise…I Will Love You Eternally

promiseslogoOur confidence, our hope is not that we will never forsake Jesus, nor that we will always love and treasure him perfectly. Our confidence, our hope is in the love of God for us – because his love for us will never change, because he will never change. He has promised to love us with an eternal love that will never diminish, never walk away.

God chose us before the foundation of the world; set his saving love on us; called us and enabled us to believe; he reconciled us to himself (not sparing his own Son, but delivering him up for us); he will bring us home in glory. God has done this. He will not fail.

This is a profound promise God makes to his children! Listen to the message: I Will Love You Eternally (from Rom. 8:35-39).


“I Promise…” Week 2 Preview

In a very soulful, poignant new melody, singer/songwriter Joy Williams sings: “I may never understand why I walked so far away. I may never understand why you stayed…I tried and I failed…And you loved me.” As I listened, I wondered: “Is she talking about a person, or is she talking about God?” Could go either way I guess!

Human love, at its best, will always have moments of failure, moments of selfishness. But God promises those who are his children: “I will love you eternally – no wavering, no failure, no abandonment, always for your good.”

This Sunday at Mercy Hill, we continue the “I Promise…” series by looking at how Romans 8:35-39 reveals this wonderful promise. In the text, Paul will ask: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Spoiler alert…he will answer: nothing or no one, “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Join us Sunday as we walk the journey between the question and the answer to get a glimpse of the eternal, unchanging, hope-giving love of God in Jesus!

“I Promise to Forgive Your Sin Forever!”

promiseslogoThis Sunday, we began a series of messages titled: “I Promise…” subtitled, “Trusting in the Faithfulness of God” with one of the most amazing, profound promises that God makes to his children – from Psalm 103…as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” In a sense, God says to us: “I will forgive your sin forever!”

In a previous generation, Charles Spurgeon exploded in praise over the incredible truth in this passage…

“O, glorious verse, no word even on the inspired page can excel it! Sin is removed from us by a miracle of love! What a load to move, and yet it is removed so far that the distance is incalculable…If this is the distance of its removal, there is no shade of fear that it will ever be brought back. Even Satan could not achieve such a task!”

Listen to the sermon: I Will Forgive Your Sin Forever.