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.
I 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.
Jesus poses a challenging question to the religious lawyers of his day…“How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David…David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” It is a question intended to stir their minds and hearts to faith in him as the Messiah – fully man, fully God.
Warren Wiersbe captures well the crucial nature of what Jesus is doing: “This is a far more important question than the ones His enemies had asked Him, for if we are wrong about Jesus Christ, we are wrong about salvation.” At stake in how we answer the question of who Jesus is? In simple terms…everything. Eternity is at stake! Life and death; heaven and hell.
When Jesus turns to you and asks, “Who do you say that I am?” how do you answer?
Listen to the message: The Messiah is No Mere Man, from Mark 12:35-37.
I know this is a day late, but in the spirit of wanting to extend Mother’s Day a little longer, here is a link to a simple 4 minute reflection I shared yesterday for the moms at Mercy Hill Church.
I closed yesterday’s message from Mark 12:18-27 (God of the Living) with this beautiful quote from R.C. Sproul…
“We do not understand the depth of joy and delight that God has prepared for His people in heaven. If you use your imagination and try to think of the greatest possible experience that you will have in heaven, then multiply the joy you will feel in that moment by a million times, you still will not have begun to appreciate what God is preparing for His people in heaven.”
Listen to the message: God of the Living from the Jesus the Servant King series.
On April 25th, 2015, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal just northwest Kathmandu, the capital city. The earthquake’s damage was devastating. Families have found themselves homeless, children have become orphans, and more than a thousand people have lost their lives. There are many reputable agencies helping in relief efforts. Here are a few that I would deem “trustworthy”…
- Equipping the Saints for Ministry. ES4M is a ministry working to equip Nepalese pastors and church leaders. They are getting funds directly to SARA Ministries (church and children’s home).
- Gospel for Asia. Gospel for Asia has 450 churches and 20 Bridge of Hope centers in the region.
- Samaritan’s Purse. Samaritan’s Purse is rushing disaster response experts and supplies to Nepal in the aftermath of the catastrophic 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the county on Saturday, killing thousands and destroying numerous houses and buildings.
“Whose image do you bear?” I asked this as we wrapped up our worship in the Word (Mark 12:13-17) yesterday. It was a question of allegiance. Every one of us has been stamped with an image by the ultimate authority in heaven and earth. God himself has placed his image on us (Gen. 1:27) and when we believe, seals us with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13). Caesar owned the denarius, but he did not own the people of his time. Likewise, the state does not own us. God owns us; he has the supreme right to claim our lives as his own. So, then, as Jesus taught, we are to give back to God the things that are God’s, including our lives, our liberty, our possessions, and our affections…indeed our whole lives, strength, soul, and mind.
Listen to One Allegiance Above All Others (from Mark 12:13-17).
On Saturday, May 2 from 9am to Noon, we have the opportunity to show our love for our communities through the avenue of CareFest. This year, for the first time, we will be doing CareFest at two different locations!
We’ll be doing basic landscaping, clean up, and other simple projects that Turner Elementary (in West Chicago) and Winfield Central School (in Winfield) have asked us to do. Because we are dividing the team, so to speak, we really need to get a sense of who will be able to help at each site.
Please be looking at your schedule, praying about your involvement (even if you can just give an hour, that would be great) – then either…
- Sign up at the information table on Sunday morning, or
- Respond to the Facebook event invites: (Turner) / (Winfield), or
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know which site you will be at
Thanks for considering joining us for this simple, tangible expression of love for the children, parents, and staff of these schools!
So much of the drama in the Gospel of Mark is the conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders of his day. In my studies, I ran across some great thoughts from J.C. Ryle on the relationship we ought to have with those who are claiming to be spiritual leaders:
”Christians must beware of depending too much on ordained men. They must not look up to ministers as Popes, or regard them as infallible. The Word of God must always be the test of the actions and teaching of those who lead in positions of spiritual authority.”
In other words: Spiritual leaders ought to be followed so far as they follow Scripture, and no further. Quoting Ryle again…
”There is only one Priest and Bishops of souls, who makes no mistakes. That one is the Lord Jesus Christ. In Him alone is no weakness, no failure, no shadow of infirmity. Let us learn to lean more entirely on Him. Let us ‘call no man father on earth,’ (Matt. 23:9.) So doing, we shall never be disappointed.”
The most important thing to ask about anyone in spiritual leadership is this: “Are they for Christ, or against him? What does he teach? How does he live? Is he doing good?” Quoting Ryle one last time:…
”We must remember that a physician is useless, however high his degree and diploma, if he cannot cure diseases, and a soldier useless, however well dressed and drilled, if he will not face the enemy in the day of battle. The best doctor is the man who can cure, and the best soldier the man who can fight.”
We were worshiping in Mark 12:1-12 yesterday; the parable of the wicked tenants. One thing that struck me was the amazing hardness of heart of the leaders whom Jesus was graciously offering one more warning, one more chance to turn from unbelief to faith. I saw myself and my own struggle against sin and unbelief. Here’s a quote from the sermon:
Our bent, as fallen, sinful human beings, is towards hardness of heart – desiring to throw off the sovereignty of God and be our own gods – to tend our own vineyards! We need to own that. As we own that, we will cry out to God for his grace to cause our hearts to be tender.
Listen to the audio of Rejected, Now Exalted! (Mark 12;1-12) from the series Jesus the Servant King.