How We Worshipped for Christmas

Every now and again I like to share an order of worship from Grace Fellowship Church. This service’s cast of characters included Paul (our lead pastor) as the preacher and service leader, Josh as the lead worshipper, and Murray as the elder who led the pastoral prayer. Steve, our new associate pastor, also led a couple of elements while Thushara and Stefan each read a short passage of Scripture. Our band consisted of two guitars, piano, and drums accompanying one …

God Has a Heart for the Vulnerable. Do You?

With my arms still ailing through nerve damage, I thought it an appropriate time to ask a couple of friends to help ease the load just a little with some guest articles. Thus, today’s article is from my friend Paul Martin (who, as you know, also co-hosts my podcast). From here on out, you’re reading his words! We were explaining our son’s disability to a neighbor one day when she asked, “Don’t they have a pre-natal test for that?” We …

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Services Shaped Like an Hourglass

There are some Sundays when the worship service simply unfolds around me. With the rest of the congregation, I am moved from element to element, from songs, to Scripture, to sermon, to shaking hands. But there are other Sundays when I am very mindful of our church’s order of worship. On these Sundays, I maintain a sharp awareness of how the service has been planned and is now unfolding, which is to say, I maintain a sharp awareness of our …

How We Worshipped: Reformation Sunday

Every now and again I like to share an order of worship from Grace Fellowship Church. This service’s cast of characters included Paul (our lead pastor) as the preacher and service leader, Josh as the lead worshipper, and Murray as the elder who led the pastoral prayer. Our band consisted of guitar, piano, and drums accompanying one male and one female vocalist. The various elements of the service are in bold with the name of the person who led the …

How We Worshipped: A Sunday in October

Every now and again I like to share an order of worship from Grace Fellowship Church. This service’s cast of characters included Paul (our lead pastor) as the preacher, Josh as the lead worshipper, Peter (one of our Assistant Ministers) as the service leader, Thushara (one of our deacons) as Scripture-reader, and Steve as the elder who led the Scripture-reading and pastoral prayer. Our band consisted of guitar, piano, cajon, and accordion accompanying one male and two female vocalists. The …

What’s the Purpose of … Pastors?

The Bible knows nothing of lone Christians, of believers who are willfully independent from a local church. Rather, Christians gather in communities to worship together and serve one another. And as God commands his people to gather in community, he also commands them to be led—led by men called and qualified as pastors or elders (terms the Bible uses interchangeably). As we progress through a series of questions  about things we as Christians often take for granted, we now come …

What’s the Purpose of … the Church?

Whatever else we may know about Christians, we know this: Christians are supposed to go to church. Every Sunday, Christians gather together to worship God and spend time in fellowship. But do we actually know why we do this? Do we pause to consider the purpose of the local church? In this series of articles we are considering the purpose of many things we may take for granted, and so far we have looked at marriage, sex, and children. Today …

How We Worshipped in Our Grief

This week has been one of the most difficult in the history of Grace Fellowship Church. On Monday we learned that Beti Mubili, a young lady who had been long-time member of the church, had been killed in a recreational skydiving accident. We met spontaneously on Monday evening to just be together in our grief and our hope; we gathered yesterday for a memorial service; and, of course, we gathered today for our weekly worship service. But because of the …

The Beauty of a Defiant Church

Beti loved adventure and loved to invite others to join in them. Her latest thrill was skydiving. “You should come with me,” she told Sam. “You’re crazy,” he replied,” “There is no way I’m jumping out of a plane. Why do you like stunts like that, anyway?” “Because they give me joy.” “And what if your parachute doesn’t open?” “Then I’ll be with Jesus.” On Sunday, Beti’s parachute didn’t open and she went to be with Jesus. The news went …

Why We Must Emphasize A Pastor’s Character Over His Skill

The New Testament clearly, repeatedly, and unapologetically lays out the qualifications of a pastor. What is so remarkable yet so often overlooked is this: Pastors are called and qualified to their ministry not first through their raw talent, their finely-honed skill, or their great accomplishments, but through their godly character. Of all the many qualifications laid out in the New Testament, there is just one related to skill (he must have the ability to teach others) and one related to …