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Worship Ministry - May 2023

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I remember it like it was yesterday! I was seven years old and my family lived in Jefferson City, MO at the time with my dad serving a local church there. He had invited a group called “Heaven’s Gate, Hell’s Flames” to come to help us put on a drama production. This show was a collection of short skits, all tied together, depicting the last moments in people's lives. I remember there was a construction worker that fell from a scaffolding, an older man that had a heart attack, and a mom in a car accident. The part I remember very clearly, however, was the devil character that appeared throughout the show. It just so happened that the devil character was played by my dad in makeup that would make the members of Kiss proud.

As a seven-year-old who had been in church every week of his entire life, this was the first time that heaven and hell became real. This was the first time that I was able to understand God in a tangible concrete way and realize that Satan is real. It was the first time I understood that I had a choice to make; follow God and go to heaven, or join Satan in hell. This is an oversimplification of the choice each of us gets to make, but as a young boy simple was all that I knew. I was simply picking between God and Satan...that’s it.

As I look back on that event twenty-three years later, I have come to realize that I didn’t choose God because He is holy, kind, and full of love. I choose God because He wasn’t Satan. I came to God because I had great fear that if I took my last breath going home from church that night, I was going to have to spend eternity in hell with Satan. How many of us walk with Christ because of that same fear? Not walking with Him because He loves us. Not following Him because He’s holy. Not living for God because He’s our creator and made a way for us through Jesus, but out of fear.

In Deuteronomy 31, we read about how Moses’ life is coming to an end and that Joshua will succeed him as leader over Israel, and that Joshua, not Moses, will lead the people into the Promise Land. Moses tells the people “6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Moses also encourages Joshua not to fear for “8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

I believe this is a good reminder to us as believers. Some of us have come to God and His salvation out of fear, or we are living in fear because of the world around us, but we don’t have to remain in that fear. The same God that has told the Israelites not to fear is the same God we serve today. The same God that promised His people He wouldn’t forsake them and that He would go before them, is the same God we serve now. As His people, His children, we have the same assurance that we have nothing to fear for our King holds all, knows all, and rules over all.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 So let us surrender and give our fears over to God! “And every fear I lay at Your feet I'll sing through the night, Oh God, the battle belongs to You!” (Battle Belongs) Let us choose God because of His majesty and holiness. Let us choose to worship Him because He is worthy. Let us choose to be fearless because of His power and hope. Let us lay every fear at His feet and praise God for His goodness.

I love you, and I love serving this church!

Lyric of the Month
So when I fight I'll fight on my knees
With my hands lifted high
O God the battle belongs to You

1 Chronicles 16:23
Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.

Posted by Evan Gray with

Worship Ministry - April 2023

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Easter

In just a few days we will all gather together and celebrate our Risen Savior! I am looking forward to my first Easter here at Oakhill and worshiping our Lord with my church family. Easter Sunday should be one of the highlights of our year, for what greater privilege is there than to rejoice in knowing that Jesus Christ is alive, and He defeated death!

I hope all of you will plan on coming to the Good Friday Night of Worship. Worship begins at 6:30 pm and what better way to begin your Easter weekend than worshiping with God's people! That night will be filled with opportunities to sing praises to our King and to be blessed by our choir as they lead us in worship. There will be songs that everyone knows well and new songs that will encourage you. Plan to join us that night and bring friends with you! Easter is a time when unchurched people are more open to coming to church, so be bold in the Lord and invite your co-workers, neighbors, and friends.

Sing!

“We sing to Him, whose wisdom form’d the ear, our songs, let Him who gave us voices, hear; we joy in God, who is the Spring of mirth (amusement, especially as expressed in laughter), who loves the harmony of Heav’n and Earth; our humble sonnets shall that praise rehearse, who is the music of the Universe. And whilst we sing, we consecrate our art, and offer up with every tongue a heart.” - Nathaniel Ingelo

I've been involved in church music for as long as I can remember. I've sung in children’s, youth, and adult choirs, and had many opportunities to lead these groups throughout my ministry. I love church music! I love God’s people singing His praises in one mighty voice! I love the power song can have to encourage, challenge, and convict. However, this only can happen through the power of the Holy Spirit and with the people of God laying down themselves for the betterment of the whole. If we each come into worship expecting our four favorite songs to be sung, our favorite passage of scripture to be taught, and for the service to be wrapped up in under an hour so that we can beat everyone to lunch, we are going to leave every worship service frustrated and empty.

Church is a weird and wonderful place where God’s people, who come with different preferences, different baggage, and different lives bind themselves together under the banner of Christ, lifting their voices as one to glorify their King! It does, however, mean that we must approach this time together with the right heart attitude; with a heart willing to serve others, and a willingness to put the bride of Christ ahead of our own needs. Keith and Kristyn Getty said it best:

“That means you are going to be singing songs you may not have chosen because they are not your favorite, to arrangements or with accompaniment that you may not have chosen because they are not your favorites. You are going to need to be willing to lay down your own tastes for the good of the wider assembly. For as long as we have the health and the ability, we are each called to sing with the people of God, and to love our people enough to serve each other in the way we sing” (“Sing!” by Keith and Kristyn Getty).

Let us seek the truth of God’s Word, the truth in the lyrics we sing, the fellowship of other believers, and the edification of His church! If we are willing to do this and come with our hearts ready, I believe God will move in mighty ways!

I love you, and I love serving this church!

Lyric of the Month
He is risen Hallelujah, hallelujah
Christ is risen Let the whole world sing
Christ is risen Christ is risen from the dead

Philippians 2:8
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Posted by Evan Gray with

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