Sunday Preview, December 15, 2013

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After two weeks away, I can’t wait to gather with you, the saints of Sovereign Grace, on Sunday. Yes, I can’t wait because I love to be with all of you. But mainly I can’t wait because we gather together to encounter God. As members of his church, we have been given access into God’s presence. That’s astounding! “[W]e have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19). That’s true for every individual member of Sovereign Grace Church. Any time Any place. Full access to the presence of God. That said, there is an encounter with the living God available to us when we gather together as that church that’s unique. God manifests his presence in different ways to the “living stones” of his temple when they are gathered together than he does when they are apart. So we will gather together on Sunday because there is an encounter with God and an experience of his presence that is not available to us otherwise. Sunday morning is extraordinary. What we do is no ordinary thing. It can feel routine and mundane and familiar. But it is actually mind-blowing. Let me try to convince you that’s true. I’ll stay in the Book of Hebrews–chapter 12, verses 22-24. This text is that we should have in mind when we come to the Sunday Celebration each week. This is a description of the gathering we come to. This is the gathering we join. This is a description of reality—a reality that we can’t now see completely with our physical eyes. But it is reality nonetheless—a very significant reality:

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, (We don’t just come to Oak Grove Middle School in Bloomington, Minnesota when we come to a Sunday gathering. We come to Mount Zion, to the city of God. Now, there’s a sense in which this city is still to come. But there’s a sense in which we’ve already arrived there in Christ. Together we are citizens of the city of God, enjoying all the benefits of citizenship.)

And [you come] to innumerable angels in festal gathering, (You see, this is a gathering! And it’s a festive gathering. It’s a party! There are angels at this gathering and their dressed for a party because that’s what Sunday morning is—it’s a celebration. We join innumerable angels when we gather together on Sunday to celebrate. And not only are there angels, but look at verse 23.)

23 and [you come] to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, (That’s every Christian! With this gathering we join every gathering of those enrolled in heaven.)

and [you come] to the spirits of the righteous made perfect (That’s every believer who has died and gone to heaven. So in this gathering we join with Abraham and Moses and David and James and John and Peter and Paul and Augustine and Martin Luther and Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon and Martyn Lloyd-Jones).

(And all the assembly is there) to [come to] God, the judge of all, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

That’s a description of a remarkable encounter with God. And it happens corporately. It’s a gathering! Participation in Sunday celebration is, in a very real sense, participation in the heavenly worship. There’s a veil, but we’re almost in the same room. And we come celebrating into the presence of the same God, by the same blood of Jesus, and we do it together! That’s what we participate in during this Sunday celebration. We gather together in order to encounter God, to celebrate the blood of Christ shed on our behalf, we gather to party in God’s presence because of the gospel. That’s why I can’t wait to gather with you on Sunday to worship in song and worship over the word as we look at the 7th commandment in our ongoing series on the Ten Commandments: “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). Come ready. Come expectantly. Come hungry. Come ready to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).

Blessing Casa de Esperanza at Christmas

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Dear Saints of Sovereign Grace,

We just found out about an urgent need concerning the orphans of Casa de Esperanza that we want to make you aware of. Please read the email below from Kristi Fluharty whose daughter, Lily, serves at the orphanage.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,

Pastor Rick

Dear Friends,

As most of you know, God has opened the door for our church to befriend and support those at Casa de Esperanza Orphanage in Caranavi, Bolivia.

As support continues to dwindle from the aging supporters in Holland, Casa’s needs continue to increase, especially during this Christmas season. Fidel and Charo, the orphanage directors, are in La Paz right now hoping to shop for the approximately 150 gifts they would like to bless the children and workers with. The reality is that there is no money to speak of to buy Christmas gifts this year. They would normally spend about $13 per person which equates to a need of $1950.

Might we, as brothers and sisters in Christ, give out of our abundance, to bless the least of these? “FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON…”

Let us ask and trust God for this provision. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20).

If you would like to give to bless the children on Christmas, you can go to our website and click on the header to give online. Or you can go here directly to give. Or you can put a check in the offering plate this Sunday. Simply write “Bolivia” in the memo, and we will make sure your contribution gets to Casa.

Thank you so much for prayerfully considering giving to this need.

Sincerely in Christ,

Kristi Fluharty

Now Hiring: Sunday Celebration Audio/Video Technician

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Sovereign Grace Church is looking to hire a Sunday Celebration Audio/Video Technician. This position will be responsible for the consistent setup and reliable functioning of the audio and video gear and technologies used in support of the Sunday Celebration service. Applicants should possess attention to detail, a technological proficiency with computers and audio/video equipment, a joyful servants heart in working with other people, and a willingness to learn new technology. In addition to Sunday Celebration requirements, this position will also involve weekly audio/video editing and uploading of sermons to the church website.

Qualified applicants will have experience with the audio/video gear and equipment used by SGC in the Sunday Celebration through prior service on the Worship Team or similar experience in another setting.

Adult Membership or Child of a Member status at Sovereign Grace Church is required. To apply, please fill out an online job application here no later than December 8.

The complete job description can be viewed here.

Resolved Christmas Party

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Join us for the Resolved Single’s Ministry Christmas party. We will enjoy food, fellowship, games, music, and more!

When: Wednesday, Dec 18 at 6:30pm
Where: Beth Wilson’s House: 8513 Haeg Circle, Bloomington, 55431

Bring an appetizer or a dessert to share!
Invite your friends!
Email or call if you have any questions.
Hope to see you there!

~ Hannah Brandes

Sunday Preview, December 1, 2013

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This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. What a glorious season we are entering as we celebrate the birth of the Son of God, Jesus Christ! Sunday we’ll continue our annual Thanksgiving Weekend pulpit swap with our sister church Cross of Grace. Pastor Rick will be heading to Chaska and their Lead Pastor, Scott Crook, will be joining us to preach on our gospel identity from 1 Corinthians 4:1-21.

What better way to end the Thanksgiving weekend than by joining together as the church to give thanks for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Please take some time this weekend and thank on of the many volunteers who serve on Sunday mornings to make our Sunday Celebration happen.

Trusting the God Who Is, Rather than the God We Imagine

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Most of our growth in Christ happens in the everyday process of life. But, as you’ve probably found, God also uses specific moments of extended and directed teaching, prayer, and worship to do a deep work in your heart. Both are important! That’s why this March we’re excited to host author and speaker Lydia Brownback for a 2 day women’s conference on fear and anxiety. With years of teaching and personal experience, Lydia comes to share from God’s Word that anxious fear doesn’t have to characterize a daughter of God. At this conference you’ll receive powerful Bible teaching, be blessed by the presence of God through worship in song, and enjoy the fellowship of other believers over an extended time that God can use to address long standing areas in your heart that may feel overwhelming.

Gather your group and call your friends. It’s time to put away fear and anxiety through Jesus! We invite you to experience the refreshment and renewal that comes from spending extended time focused on the many truths the Bible has to say about fear and anxiety.

2014 Sovereign Grace Churches Women’s Conference

When March 14-15, 2014
Where: Bloomington Hilton
Who: Women 18 and older
Cost: $99 (includes conference registration, Friday night dessert reception, and lunch on Saturday)

Early Bird Registration for the conference ends on December 31 and the price goes up. Sign up soon to secure your spot and save some money!

Conference Details and Registration HERE

Sunday Preview, November 24, 2013

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Written in StoneOn Sunday we again have the privilege of gathering together to enjoy the One who is enjoyment Himself. What an amazing thing it is that God’s goal to be glorified and our desire for joy are not at odds. God is most glorified in us when we find our ultimate enjoyment in him. May we arrive on Sunday anticipating a joyful corporate encounter with the Father through Christ.

Please pray for Jameson Nass and the Worship Team as they lead us in worship in song. And please pray for Rick as he leads us in worship over the word. This week marks a transition in our Ten Commandment series. We move from the first four commandments, which focus on our love for God, to the next six commandments, which focus on our love for others. And love begins in the home. Join us as we examine the fifth commandment: “Honor your father and mother,” and consider together that it is a serious command and a life-long command and a fulfilled command.

Rick Gamache
Senior Pastor