Since the beginning of the church age, God has been advancing his kingdom through the expansion of the local church. From the time of Paul to the 21st century, our call has been to go, preach the gospel, and build God’s church. In fact, some have argued that, “the single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches” (C. Peter Wagner). Therefore, it is our belief that planting new churches is not an option, but an imperative and an urgent task that the church is called to engage in.
Thus, we desire to plant a new church in West Chicago, Illinois that exists to bring glory to God and affect gospel change by gathering God’s people and growing them to be like Jesus. Our earnest hope is that this new church, founded in a spirit of grace, will be a God-glorifying, Christ-exalting, Spirit-led, prayer-saturated, gospel-advancing, truth-driven, theologically-sound, disciple-making, love-showing, hope-giving, justice-pursuing, holistically-minded, needs-meeting, mercy-overflowing, and compassion-filled church.
1 Peter 2:24…He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Good Friday draws us to remember that our God is a God of patience, full of mercy and grace. In the private counsels of God in eternity past, he had determined a solution – Jesus, the Son of God would bring restoration and healing for alienated and broken humanity through the Cross on Mercy’s Hill. This is the heart of Good Friday; this is the heart of the Gospel.
Prepare your heart for Easter by listening to the Good Friday message, He Brings Restoration and Healing, part of the What’s So Great About Jesus? sermon series.
Join us at Mercy Hill Church for Easter Worship Celebration tomorrow at 10am at Turner Elementary School in West Chicago.
Preview from our celebration tomorrow…
“Here’s the truth: Muhammad died and stayed dead. So did Confucius. Buddha, as enlightened as he may have been, died and stayed dead. None of these other leaders covered the sins of the people who put their trust in them. All of them are dead. But not Jesus! He is alive! It is he alone who has paid the price for our sins and was raised so that we can be restored with God.”
If you are not worshiping in a church that celebrates the clear Gospel of the Risen Christ, we invite you to join us for our Easter Celebration – tomorrow morning, 10am @ Turner Elementary.
If you are new to Mercy Hill Church or Christianity or thinking of attending our Good Friday service – this is for you.
To quote a friend of mine, “Setting aside time to reflect on Good Friday will make your Easter celebration all the richer.”
Holy Week began last Sunday with Palm Sunday, and continues Friday as we reflect on and rejoice in the greatness of Jesus’ restoration and healing. So join us on Friday, not just Sunday. I invite you to join us at Turner Elementary tomorrow night at 6:30pm, and then again on at Turner on Sunday morning at 10am.
I encourage to read and pray through our text for this Friday… 1 Peter 2:24…“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”Let the richness of this amazing truth sink deep into your heart.
Let’s join together to pray for Jesus to save, restore, and heal hearts as he awakens them to the amazing reality of his grace and redemption this weekend.
That the risen Jesus would be worshiped as he is treasured above all else,
1 Peter 1:3-5…Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
The promise of ultimate future hope that is secure, glorious, unable to slowly fade away, gives us the ability to face this current life with courage and even joy! Our hope is a real, solid, living, never dying hope, because of our living Savior!
Link to audio for the sermon Jesus Offers Real Hope from the Easter 2014 series, What’s So Great About Jesus?
When our Community Groups get together, one of the things they do is to talk through the sermon from that weekend, with a goal of application and life transformation. Today, from the Easter series, What’s So Great About Jesus?, Pastor Craig showed Jesus as great because He Offers Real Hope (taken from 1 Peter 1:3-5.) Below are the discussion questions Community Group leaders will use. We’d encourage you to use these to: 1) prepare for Community Group; or 2) discuss with your family or friends if you’re unable to make it to Community Group.
- What kinds of things do people place their hope in? Why?
- Read the passage together…Why does Peter call our hope a living hope?
- We looked at 5 questions that pointed to truths about the hope that we have from God. Answer each: Who is the author of that hope? What motivates him? What is the rock under living hope? What is the fruit of living hope? What is the guarantee of our living hope?
- Contrast living hope with false hope based on your answers.
- Discuss the connection between what we hope in and what we worship.
- What is it that you are most likely to hope in other than God? What from today’s text/sermon was most helpful in keeping your hope in the right place?
- Split the men & women: talk openly about your struggles to hope in God. Pray specifically for one another that God’s grace will come to lead you into real hope and real worship.
Many were traveling for Spring Break on Sunday, March 30 when I spoke on a very important subject for our new church: Developing a Culture of Peace. If you were not able to hear the message, I would encourage you to spend the 30+ minutes to listen to it. You can click on this link and either listen to it then, or download it to listen to later.
This past Sunday began a 4-message Easter series, What’s So Great About Jesus? that is an attempt to bring biblical clarity to the crowded field of peoples’ opinions on the question. The idea is to let the biblical writers answer the question.
The first message, from the writer of Hebrews 4:14-16, proposed that Jesus is great because he understands our deepest needs. He understands that our sin has caused us to be separated from God and so he becomes our Great High Priest – our Advocate before the Father; our Mediator; our Sacrificial Lamb, once for all paying the price for our forgiveness and reconciliation. He understands our weaknesses and the intensity with which temptations and trials hit us. Through his blood he makes access to God’s throne of grace open and free. He pleads with us and for us at that throne and calls us to boldly come and pray for mercy and grace.
Link to the audio for He Understands All Our Needs.
When our Community Groups get together, one of the things they do is to talk through the sermon from that weekend, with a goal of application and life transformation. Today, from the Easter series, What’s So Great About Jesus?, Pastor Craig showed Jesus as great because “He Understands Our Deepest Needs” (taken from Hebrews 4:14-16.) Below are the discussion questions Community Group leaders will use. We’d encourage you to use these to: 1) prepare for Community Group; or 2) discuss with your family or friends if you’re unable to make it to Community Group.
- Why is it that we can have confidence that some people will be there for us, but not others? What’s at the root of that confidence?
- Read Hebrews 4:14-16 together…What are the two commands in these verses?
- What does it mean to “hold fast our confession”?
- What does it mean to “…draw near to the throne of grace”?
- What is it about who Jesus is or what has he done, that stands behind these commands?
- What keeps you from holding fast to your faith in Jesus? (What trials, temptations, etc.?)
- What keeps you from “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace”? (What keeps you from prayer?)
- Split the men & women: talk openly about how you can help each other overcome the things you mentioned in the previous two questions. Pray specifically for one another that God’s grace will come to “help in time of need.”
When you look at the life and ministry of Jesus, one thing you see is that he assumes conflict. He says in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” What need is there for peacemakers if there is no conflict! Conflict is implied. The questions is: How will we deal with it?
At Mercy Hill, we take peacemaking seriously, so we have put a stake down and said, “By God’s grace, our relationships will be different. How we handle conflict will be different. We want to prepare for those times when conflict comes (and it will) by developing into our DNA a ‘culture of peace’ that reflects God’s peace and the power of the gospel of Christ in our lives. We want to say to one another that gossip, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and broken relationships are not appropriate for the people whom God has reconciled to himself through the sacrifice of his only Son.”
The sermon last Sunday unpacked this theme. Click the link to listen to Developing a Culture of Peace. A resource Pastor Craig referenced that has influenced his own understanding of biblical peacemaking is The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict. The Peacemaker’s Ministry website is packed with helpful resources as well. http://www.peacemaker.net.