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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

Worship Ministry - March 2023

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What He’s Done

In the gospels, we see over and over again the compassion Christ had for those that were hurting. The two blind men in Matthew chapter nine, having faith that Jesus could heal them, had their sight restored. The man with a “serious skin disease,” in Mark chapter one, begging for cleansing. A girl suffering from twelve years of bleeding, in Luke chapter eight, reached out to touch the robe of Jesus believing that even that small act of faith would heal her.

Compassion toward those suffering from physical hurt wasn’t the only way Christ reached out to the people He came across along His journey. He drove demons out of those who were spiritually hurting. He calmed the storm for others that were stricken with fear. Again and again, Christ Jesus met the needs of the community around Him, and this is still true right now. Think of all the provisions God has blessed you with over your lifetime! The money and job He provided when you didn’t know how you were going to pay that bill; the encouraging people He surrounded you with during your great time of need; that miraculous doctor’s report that can’t be explained. His blessings being immeasurable is a testament to how incredible our God is and how much He cares for us.

At age thirteen, I watched as my mother battled severe cancer and ultimately lost that fight. I watched as her body got weaker and weaker, the coughing got worse and worse, and the days she could barely get out of bed because of all the chemo and radiation treatments she had to endure. Eight days before I turned fourteen, my mother, the person I was closest to in all the world, took her last breath. Oh, how I wish Jesus would have healed her body here on Earth. Oh, I wish she could have stretched out her hand and touched His robe! I often think about how she never got to see me drive, graduate, and go off to college. She didn’t get to be there when I married my best friend, or to celebrate the birth of my two children. There are many days that I am flooded with intense emotions, longing to see her again and wishing she was here to be a part of whatever is happening at that moment. Tears fall that she never got to meet my bride. Tears fall that she never got to play with my dinosaur-loving son or spoil my baby girl with way too many clothes and treats.

If I were honest, when asked the question, “what is the best birthday present you’ve ever received?” my answer has to be the present received on my fourteenth birthday knowing that my mother was forever healed and is in the presence of God. I never give that answer because it seems too dark and morbid, but it shouldn’t be. Just like all of those healed in the gospels, I should want to “spread the news about Him (Jesus)” (Matt. 9:31), and want the world to know the hope I have in Christ. Hope that whether it be here on earth or in heaven, I will be made whole just as my mother was because of our salvation in Christ Jesus. We should want to testify to the world of “What He’s Done” in our lives and what He will do when we take our last breath. I still miss her, but because of Jesus, I have a joyful hope to rely on. Just like the two blind men, the man with the skin disease, or the girl who bled, I have a testimony of God’s healing because He has washed me clean of my sins. Do you have this hope? Can the world see His hope in you? Tell the world who God is!

Lyric of the Month
All the glory and the honor to the Son
My sins are forgiven
My future is Heaven
I praise God for what He's done

Psalm 95:1-2
1Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us
shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
 2Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.

Posted by Evan Gray with

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