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.

Why Parent/Child Dedications?

This Sunday, we have the joy to dedicate two sets of parents and two wonderful little boys! Here’s an explanation of why we do what we do…

Why “Parent & Child Dedications”?

  • The practice of child dedication is based on scriptural precedent, rooted in the Old Testament, in which Jesus was presented to the Lord in the temple as an infant (Luke 2:22-35).
  • The practice of child dedication is also based on, and acknowledges, God’s blessing towards and care for children (Isaiah 54:13; Matthew 18:1-5, 10; 19:13-15; Luke 18:15-17; Acts 2:39; 1 John 2:12-13).
  • The practice of child dedication is fundamentally an act of the parents. It is a commitment that parents make in their heart before Jesus and agree to live out in their home together. The dedication we perform during the church gathering is simply a public acknowledgment of that commitment.
  • In dedicating a child, parents acknowledge that their children are a gift given to them by God (Genesis 33:5; Psalm 127:3-5). As such they are a blessing, privilege, and tremendous source of joy (Proverbs 23:24-25) — even though they require much labor. Ultimately, we recognize that they have been created by our Father in heaven (Psalm 139:13) and, as such, belong to him, though entrusted to parents to be raised in Christ (Exodus 13:2, 12).
  • In dedicating children, parents commit to live as people who, by the grace of God, have a genuine walk with Jesus. In this way, they are committing to live a life worthy of emulation so as to not serve as a stumbling block to their child’s ongoing faith and trust in Jesus. (Matt. 18:5-6)
  • At the same time, our church (elders, deacons, members and community) commits to supporting, encouraging and praying for parents, by the grace of God, as they seek to fulfill their God-given task of parenting and raising their child up in the knowledge of the Lord.

Child Dedication is Not:

  • Baptism: In order to avoid any confusion, it is important to note that dedicating children is neither a “dry” baptism nor a substitute for baptism. As a church, we recognize believer’s baptism (i.e. baptism following the placing of your faith in Jesus) as the biblical model of baptism.
  • Magic: This likely goes without saying, but it too needs to be said. The practice of dedicating children is not magic, nor a formula by which to manipulate God, nor does it place any kind of extra-special blessing or protection upon children, nor does it secure or ensure their immediate or eventual salvation.

(Adapted and used by permission from Downtown Cornerstone Church, Seattle, WA. http://www.downtowncornerstone.org/2014/04/30/mothers-day-child-dedications.)

“I Promise…” Week 1 Preview

This Sunday, we begin 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!”

I welcome you to join with us, as we let the flood of God’s faithfulness wash over us to refresh our souls and to encourage our faith. God can be trusted. His promises never fail!

If you are looking for a church home, Mercy Hill meets at 10am at the Winfield Park District building.

Our Marching Orders…A Final Look at Mark’s Gospel

indexIn our final message in Mark, I wrapped up with this statement:

Mark shows us that Jesus came as the Servant King in fulfillment of the Old Testament hopes and promises that God would graciously restore and redeem wayward people to him. To do that, he has helped us to clearly understand that Jesus is God (his divinity); that he is King/Lord (his authority); that he is the Suffering-Servant of Isaiah 53 (his humanity and sacrifice); and that he is the Messiah/the Christ (his saving work).

Because all of these are true, Jesus has the authority to issue “marching orders” for his church, his redeemed people; to give us our purpose, our mission, here on earth until he returns. It is not complicated…Our mission is to take what he has revealed to us and make it known to all of creation! (Mark 16:15)

Listen to the message Marching Orders from the King.

Review and/or listen to the whole series from the Gospel of Mark: Jesus the Servant King. (47 messages)

God Promises…

promiseslogoWe have all experienced the pain of a broken promise. The thing about promises is that they are of no more value than the ability of the one who makes it to carry it through. Human promises are fragile things, because people are fickle, forgetful, negligent. But God’s promises will never fail, because God is faithful, trustworthy, sovereign, and good.

On Sunday, June 21, we begin a series of messages titled: “I Promise…” (Trusting in the Faithfulness of God). Over the course of the summer we will let the flood of God’s faithfulness wash over us to refresh our souls and to encourage our faith. God can be trusted. His promises never fail!

For all the promises of God find their Yes in Jesus!” (2 Cor. 1:20)

Live Fully Awake!

indexI concluded the sermon “Live Fully Awake!” (from Mark 13) with this question:

In light of the truth that when Jesus talks about the future, his words are often meant to change how we live in the present, here is a final question: “Today, how would you live your life, what kinds of things would you do, if you knew for certain that Jesus were returning tomorrow?”

Listen to the sermon, Live Fully Awake!

Bringing Hope & Joy…An Update from New Century Church

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Children’s Day team and kids. (Melody is 2nd from right.)

Mercy Hill is glad to partner with New Century Church this month. Thanks to your generosity, we are able to help offset costs they are having to do a special Children’s Day Outreach in each of the seven mission locations. Melody Pullian, who is a children’s ministry leader for New Century, recently sent us this update…

Hi Pastor, how are you and your family and church? It is our great joy to share with you our thanksgiving to God for this month. God has been very gracious as we are continuously faithful. Walking by faith in the planting of community churches is our every day challenge. But seeing the goodness in what we do keeps our feet going to the communities, our mouths speaking the Gospel and our arms embracing the helpless. We thank the Lord because we know that though we’re far apart, in Christ’s Kingdom we are one. For we know that our labor for God’s Kingdom will never be in vain.

We are now on the third week of Children’s Day in mission areas in GK-Los Baños, San Cristobal, Majada, Southville 6, and San Agustin Bay, and also including the main church. As photos have shown smiles of children manifested how God is working through their lives. Teachers and Staff are also blessed to be used in sharing God’s love and extending His Kingdom. You, together with the Mercy Hill Church congregation, are all part of this successful program. Thank you, Pastor for praying with us. God bless you all! We love you!

For His Glory, Melody

You can see more on the Facebook page for New Century’s Kids Ministry. Please continue to pray for God to draw men, women, and children to himself through the faithful efforts of New Century to be Jesus to the communities God calls them.

Spiritual Hypocrisy

indexI ended yesterday’s message by calling everyone in the room (myself included), a hypocrite. And then quickly, joyfully, reminded us that, “Jesus died for hypocrites like you and me – and lives in us so that we can have victory over this pull towards hypocrisy!” It was a call to flee to the grace of God in Jesus Christ and plunge under it’s healing waters.

Those were words of spiritual refreshment after an honest, straight-forward look at spiritual hypocrisy, the nature of the spiritual hypocrite, and the ways to guard our hearts from the pull to spiritual hypocrisy.

Listen to the message: Spiritual Hypocrisy from Mark 12:38-40.