Monthly Archives: August 2014

Preparing For Worship – August 31, 2014

slideInHimThis week in Ephesians, we will be studying chapter 1, verses 3-4.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

What a powerful and dense two verses! We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. We were chosen in him before the foundation of the world. Because of Christ, we are made holy and blameless before the Father.

Take a minute and read that passage again.

Can we even fully grasp what it means to be so completely blessed? Can we fully grasp the richness of God’s love in choosing us so long ago? Can we even fully grasp what it means to be made holy and blameless?

May God truly enlarge our ability to understand. And then, may we respond in praise.

 

To prepare to sing together, check out these helpful links:

Oh! Great Is Our God! (Listen | Purchase)

Come Thou Fount (Purchase)

Before the Throne (Listen | Purchase)

I Stand Amazed (Listen | Purchase)

Grace Alone (Listen | Purchase)

See you on Sunday.

Preparing for Worship – August 24, 2014

slideInHimTeaserThis week we begin a series on the book of Ephesians titled “In Him”. This will be a beautiful opportunity for us to see how when we are in Christ, we are brought from DEATH to LIFE. Transformed from ALIENS to CITIZENS. Brought from DARK to LIGHT. The OLD is made NEW. Though we were ONCE FAR OFF, we are brought NEAR to God.

In every chapter of Ephesians, we will see the gospel fleshed out in the person and work of Jesus. This week, we will be studying the first two verses. We will see who wrote it, who it was written to and talk about the purpose and primary themes found within. Join us as we dig deeply into this foundational piece of scripture.

Start reading the book now HERE.

To prepare to sing together, check out these helpful links:

Made Alive (Listen | Purchase)

By His Grace (Listen | Purchase)

Jesus Paid It All (Listen & Download)

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us (Listen | Purchase)

In Tenderness (Listen | Purchase)

See you on Sunday.

Ideas for studying Ephesians

ephesiansAs a church we believe that the discipleship of children happens best through regular and intentional times as a family. In Deuteronomy  we see God’s instruction to his people and in this instruction we learn how the intentional and regular discipleship of children can happen in the context of the family home.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 says – The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

As parents, our role is to teach our children to love God with heart, soul and might. We should teach them these things in the normal, every day settings that have been given to us. I realize that many of you didn’t have an example of this when you were growing up and you may need practical instruction of how to do this. We don’t have everything together as a family, but I thought I would share what we have done as some possible examples of how to disciple children in the every day settings of home life.

MEMORIZE:
Next Sunday at The Town Church we will be starting a sermon series in the book of Ephesians. We believe that our Sunday morning gatherings should be a part of what we are also learning together as a family. In preparation for our time in Ephesians, we began memorizing chapter 2 together as a family. Ephesians 2 is a beautiful summary of the gospel and is a great chapter to memorize. Children of all ages are able to memorize Scripture. Don’t count the little ones out (our sons are 2, 5, 6, 8 and 10 years old).

eallThis is how we memorize together. We have taken note cards, cut them in half, put them on a ring and then leave them on our dining room table. I write the verse on one side and draw a picture on the other side that helps us remember something about the verse. At breakfast each morning we work through a verse or two together as a family. We have several methods of memorization. We will break the verse into short phrases and repeat them over and over. We will give each person a word of the verse and we will each say our word as we work around the table – over and over. We will say a portion of the verse but leave a word out, allowing someone to fill in the blank if they remember it. After a day or two of this kind of repetition, the verse has been memorized and we move on to the next. Below are some examples of our verse cards. E1E2E3

We are always amazed at how well our boys are able to memorize Scripture. Children often do better at memorization than adults. As a family, we would like to invite you to join us in memorizing Ephesians 2 with us.

READ & STUDY:
In addition to memorizing Ephesians 2, we are also reading the book of Ephesians together one verse at a time. We have chosen to do this at breakfast as well. I will read one verse from Ephesians and ask a few simple questions about the verse. The next day, I will read the same verse and ask some quick review questions from that verse before moving on the the next verse.

For example, I will read Ephesians 1:1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who were in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus. 

Then I will ask the following questions:

  1. What book are we reading? (Ephesians)
  2. What kind of book is it? (a letter)
  3. Who wrote the letter? (Paul)
  4. What was Paul? (an apostle)
  5. Who was Paul an apostle of? (Christ Jesus)
  6. Did Paul choose to be an apostle? (No)
  7. Who called Paul to be an apostle? (God)
  8. Who was Paul writing to? (the saints)
  9. What is a saint? (a Christian/a follower of Jesus)
  10. Where were these saints? (Ephesus)
  11. Tell me something about these saints. (they were faithful)

The next day, I do a few review questions quickly from those verses and move on to verse 2. Repetition is key. Looking at the words in the bible is key. It’s really as simple as reading and asking observation questions. Our boys enjoy it and it is a tremendous help and supplement for them as they listen to sermons on Sunday mornings. They hear words we’ve already been discussing as a family and they are hearing how these words can then be applied. They see verses on the screen during songs or during the sermon and they are excited to see they’ve already memorized that verse. They see Sunday morning as an integration of what we are already doing and not simply something we add onto to the week.

Our role as parents is to disciple our children – to point them to Jesus. There are several ways this can be accomplished. These are just a few examples from the Black home. What do you do to point your children to God, His Word and His Son Jesus?

Preparing for Worship – August 17, 2014

MissionSlideAll

 

 

 

 

We will spend this week working through our Vision and Mission as a church. This will be a great opportunity for us to be reminded of why we exist and what God wants to accomplish through us as a church.

Our vision is to see the gospel transform everything.

We believe this will be displayed in us as we worship God in community, love others, engage the culture and seek to make disciples of Jesus.

In preparation for our gathering together, I encourage you be praying now about how God wants you to be on mission with His church.

To prepare to sing together, check out these helpful links:

Doxology (Listen)

God is Good (Listen | Purchase)

Jesus! (Listen | Purchase)

Rock of Ages (Listen | Purchase)

See you on Sunday.

 

 

Visual Vision & Mission

God has blessed The Town Church with many talented artists. We believe they have been placed at The Town Church to be used by God in helping us communicate the truths of God to our people.

Every year we have been in existence as a church, we have worked through our Vision and Mission. We typically talk through these things in the late summer or early fall when things are settling back into a more routine schedule for families and students. Our Vision as a church is to see the gospel transform everything. We believe this vision will be accomplished through our mission as we worship God in community, love others, engage the culture and seek to make disciples of Jesus.

A few years ago we asked Andrew Steger to design four icons that would help us in remembering our mission.missionbar

Once Andrew designed these icons, we wanted to be able to use them in a way that would regularly remind us of our mission. We asked another one of our artists, Major Chisholm, to make these icons into large paintings that we could place in our sanctuary as regular reminders of our mission.Majorpainting

In August of 2012, Major revealed a new finished piece of work each week as we walked through each aspect of our mission. Week 2

Week3Week4We are thankful for the hours of work Andrew and Major have put into making our Vision and Mission a part of our regular gathered worship experience. Next time you are in our sanctuary, take time to look at each painting. There are hidden details pertaining to our mission in each piece. Find Andrew and Major and ask them to explain why they did what they did in each piece.Final

The Town Square (Sept. 4-Oct. 9)

Men, are you ready to use your brains to the extent that your heart will be moved? Join us on September 4th at 6:15AM for the next installment of The Town Square. The Town Square meets for 6 weeks.

We mentioned at the beginning of the year that we would alternate between reading a living author and a dead author. Starting in September we will be digging into the depths of the rich doctrinal work of John Owen (1616-1683). Some may find him difficult to read. Some may have to read and re-read sentences to make sense of his work. This will challenge all of us – but it will be a treasure for everyone who accepts the challenge. Are you up to it? You are!

1581346492The work of John Owen that we will be reading is called – Of The Mortification of Sin in Believers (written in 1656). The book has recently been updated and has been published in a more readable version called Overcoming Sin & Temptation. Unfortunately/Fortuntately, the book in its updated form has been compiled with a few other works by Owen. The only way to purchase the updated format is by purchasing the full work.

We would encourage you to purchase the book NOW and begin reading.  Begin by reading the foreword of the book, written by John Piper. Feel free to read the preface to the work by editor Justin Taylor. You could also read the introduction to the work by Kelly Kapic. The introduction is a helpful overview of the life of John Owen and his view of sin, temptation and the Christian life.

Once you get the book, please note that we will only be discussing the first work in the book called Of The Mortification of Sin in Believers.

You can purchase the book at Amazon HERE ($17.36)

The Kindle version is HERE on Amazon ($9.99)

Are you ready to be challenged? I think you are. Fasten your seat belts. Put on your helmet. Gird up your loins. Do whatever it is you need to do to be ready for our time together on September 4th.

Buy the book. Invite a friend. Encourage others to be there. It’s going to be challenging but that’s ok lil’ bud.

To RSVP for this 6 week study, click here.

**By the way, be thankful that the book has been updated. The full title of the book is Of The Mortification of Sins in Believers: The Necessity, Nature, and Means of it. With a Resolution of sundry cases of Conscience, Thereunto belonging.

Preparing For Worship – August 10, 2014

Psalms Main Slide

This week we continue our series on the Psalms by studying Psalm 5. In this Psalm, we continue to see that we can call out to God in prayer for help. And we see that God pours out blessings on his people in verses 11-12.

11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield.

In preparation for our gathering together, I encourage you this week to be reading Psalm 5 and preparing now to worship God. To that end, check out these helpful links:

Rejoice (Listen | Purchase)

In The Shadow Of The Glorious Cross (Listen | Purchase)

My One Comfort (Listen | Purchase)

Rock of Ages (Listen | Purchase)

Come Thou Fount (Purchase)

See you on Sunday.

 

 

Preparing for Worship – August 3, 2014

Psalms Main Slide

This week we continue our series on the Psalms by studying Psalm 4. In this Psalm, we see that we can call out to God for help because he is trustworthy. Just as we saw in last week’s Psalm (3), we can rest because God has all things under his control:

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)

Two times in this Psalm, the word “Selah” occurs. There are several understandings of this word, but most agree that it seems to be an instruction to the people when singing the Psalms together. It is thought that each time the congregation would encounter the word Selah, they would pause for thought or for a musical interlude. Essentially, the word is telling us to “pause and calmly think about that”. The idea is that there are times when we read or sing a line from the Psalms that is worthy of pausing to reflect and consider the truths that have been written.

One practice that we have in our worship gatherings at The Town Church is to put scripture on the screen during musical interludes. Sometimes these are scriptures that are exactly what we have been singing and sometimes they are scriptures that simply compel us to rejoice in the goodness of God. Our goal during those times is to engage our minds with the truths of God’s word – even during an instrumental section of the song.

So this week – allow your mind to be engaged with the truths of the scriptures on the screen – even in times when you aren’t singing.

In preparation for our gathering together, I encourage you this week to be reading Psalm 4 and preparing now to worship God. To that end, check out these helpful links:

Praise To The Lord (Listen | Purchase)

Before the Throne (Listen | Purchase)

Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus (Listen | Purchase)

Jude Doxology (Listen | Purchase)

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) (Listen | Purchase)

See you on Sunday.