He Will Rejoice Over You

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Happy last week of October, everyone! As we’re approaching November, we’re also getting ready to introduce our new original tune “Zephaniah 3:17”.
So for this week’s devotion, let’s take a focused look at this encouraging verse and meditate on how it should affect the way we lead as worshipers.

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
‭‭Zephaniah‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭NLT‬

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
‭‭Zephaniah‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

REFLECT:

This verse has so much for us to digest in regards to how we lead people in worship. Let’s look at each wonderful promise in turn.

If the Lord is in our midst, living among us, how does that shape our perspective, leadership, and music in worship? Is our hope and expectation increased, knowing that God is with us and mighty to save the lost?

What does God’s promise to “quiet you by his love” mean for you? What things in your heart need to be calmed?

The verse’s final claim may be the most astonishing and, for some, the hardest to comprehend: the Lord delights and rejoices over us with loud, joyful songs. If we really accept this truth, how might it change the way we come to worship and lead people in worship? Does this verse change the way you picture God thinking about you, or the people you serve?

PRAY:

Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, I want to believe and understand and accept the gift of your delight. As I pray your promise, written in scripture so long ago, will you help my unbelief and show me a clear picture of you and your love. “For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Keep on…

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And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.  ‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:9-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

REFLECT:

What is Jesus teaching us in this passage about persistence? Why is this sometimes challenging for us? What changes in us as we consistently ask, seek, and knock?

What is different about the way our Heavenly Father hears us and gives us gifts than the way our earthly caretakers do?

Does this passage change the way that you view God’s desire to answer prayers? Does Jesus’ encouragement to “keep on” push you to ask for things more boldly?

PRAY:

Father, we believe that you are the giver of good gifts. Help us in our unbelief and doubt.
Jesus, you found us when we were still sinners, you have opened the door for us to enter the Kingdom.
Spirit, please grow our boldness and persistence. We want to ask more, seek more, and knock more.
Amen, Amen, Amen.

New Song: “Abba”

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Happy October, Vineyard Church family!

We’re really stoked about this month’s new worship song, “Abba”

Written by Jonathan David & Melissa Helser, this tune helps us to speak one of the great wonders of our faith:  that God himself calls us his children!  We belong to him!  And not only do we belong, but we are surrounded by his presence in a way that is more real than the air in our lungs or the rocks we stand on.  God is near to his children.

Whether it’s for the first time or the 10,000th, we the church need to be reminded and to praise the Lord for the incredible gift of adoption into his family.  Who we used to be, all the names we labeled ourselves, they are all washed away and replaced by “Son” and “Daughter”.

So as we lift up worship to our Abba, our Father, let him speak to you about the transformation he has made in you and the new  robe and ring that he offers to all who come to him.

Chord charts available on Planning Center

 

Don’t Overlook The Kingdom

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Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13:31-32‬ ‭NLT‬‬

REFLECT:

Why does Jesus compare God’s kingdom to such a small, unassuming seed?

Do we underestimate what the kingdom can do? Are we seeing things as small that Christ sees as life-changing?

Does Christ’s illustration change where we expect to see the Lord grow his kingdom? What should this parable teach us about the way we look for the Spirit’s work in people’s lives?

Jesus says that the tiny kingdom-seed becomes a tree that provides a home. As servant-leaders, what can we do to cultivate the soil of our community so the Spirit can grow the shelter of his kingdom through us?

PRAY:

Father, let me join with your plan as you breakthrough with your kingdom.
Christ, teach me to see as you see. Help me to expect your handiwork in unexpected places.
Spirit, overflow in the places you lead me, cultivating and transforming from the planted kingdom-seeds.
Amen. Amen. Amen.

Buried In a Field

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“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13:44‬ ‭NLT‬‬

REFLECT:

In the parable, what are we meant to learn from the man’s reaction upon discovering the treasure?

What is the significance of the treasure being found in a common field? It could have been in a palace or trophy room, so what is Christ teaching about where we look for the Kingdom?

We should be wary of actions that build “walls” between people and God’s life-giving treasure. As leaders, we want to be inviting people to witness and share in the Gospel. What can we be doing in our leadership to welcome people into the “field” where the Kingdom is hidden?

PRAY:

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we desire more desire for your presence. Help us, in our weakness, to fall more and more in love with you. You are the treasure that makes all of our perceived riches seem like dust by comparison. Nothing compares to you, to your love. Please, Lord, fill us and bring us closer to you and your will, for the healing of the world around us. Fill us with joy overflowing until we want to tell everyone we meet about the treasure of your grace. Let us tell of your glory and power.

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” (2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬)
Amen, Amen, and Amen.

As Children

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Happy Wednesday, friends!  This week’s worship devotion should help us lean into our worship value for the month, Accessibility. We’ll reflect on this wonderful truth: that we are called God’s children!  Let’s begin.

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But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
‭‭John‬ ‭1:12-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
1 John 3:1a NIV, ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
Matthew 7:7-11 NLT

REFLECT:

What changes about the way we approach God when we know he willingly adopted us as his own?

Think honestly for a moment.  When you ask something of the Lord, do you believe he will “give you a stone”, or do you wait with hopeful expectation?  Do you ask for the Father’s help like terrified beggars or as beloved children?

Do we trust the Lord’s declaration over us, living in an ever-growing understanding of the positional grace that Abba has given us?

Listen to this wonderful worship tune and reflect on these words of praise.

Lyrics to “As Children” by Jeremy Riddle
As children we come with arms open wide
So desperate for You, so in need of Your life
May our praise fill Your ears, may our cries touch Your heart
We need Your presence to change who we are, so we ask…

Come, Holy Spirit, come in Your power
Come inhabit our praise
Come now and reign in our lives
Come, Holy Spirit, come like the wind
Come be Lord of our hearts
Come fill Your church once again

You said if we asked for bread
That You’d give us no stone
So in all of our hearts
God, we kneel and we groan….we ask

PRAY:

Abba, we ask that you would speak gently to our souls.  Remind us, in the midst of the enemy’s lies, that we have been adopted as your beloved children.  When we feel distant or removed from you, let us remember our access to your kind presence so we can ask boldly for your good gifts.  Help us, Father, to walk as imitators of your perfect love and character.  Holy Spirit, unleash your power and transformative strength in every area of our lives, for the healing of the world and glory of your kingdom.  Please teach us what it means to be children of God, day after day.  Amen.

What The Father Is Doing

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My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
‭‭John‬ ‭15:12-15‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In this passage, we are faced with one of the most unfathomable mysteries of our faith:

WE ARE CALLED GOD’S FRIENDS

Jesus told his followers that, by revealing to them what the Father was doing, he was inviting them into a circle of friendship. This gift of love, this entrusting of intimate knowledge, changed everything about the disciples’ position, whether or not they fully understood what Christ was saying.

God Incarnate looked upon those who followed him, and we who follow him now, saying, “I no longer call you servants… for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” And how could we remain what we were? How could we not be changed and transformed forever by the receiving of such a marvelous gift? We are invited into the inner court of the King, our rags replaced by royal robes.

Christ, in his words and deeds, opens the eyes of the believer and we see, if still imperfectly, the magnitude of God’s love for his people. Humility in life and to a cross, victory over death and shame, power poured into broken vessels, all leading to a command, to a commission…

“Love each other as I have loved you.”

In the same way that Christ shared his love and the truth of God, freely and in abundance, we are called to herald the Kingdom. As sinners made sons and daughters, the friends of God, we share the Good News and invitation of the Father. We make known the great work of the Lord.

PRAY:

Jesus, our Savior and Friend, help us to live like you and keep your command and commission. Never let us lose sight of what the Father is doing. Beautiful Trinity, fill your children with so much overflowing love that we must be poured out on everyone we walk with. We lay down our lives, we want to work in your field, so that the world would know your perfect love. Amen.

Through The Roof

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One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭5:17-20, 24-26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

REFLECT:

The men in this passage did everything they could to bring their paralyzed friend before Christ. Their boldness and faith was used to remove the barriers between their friend and the Savior. Think about a friend of yours that does not know the healing love of God. What might the Lord be calling you to do to bring them “right in front of Jesus”?

PRAY:

Loving Father, I ask for the courage and obedience to step boldly into ministry for my friends. Help me to love others like you have loved me. Let me be obedient in love, to give all that I have for your healing ministry to the broken people around me. I long for the day when my friends pick up their mats and go home praising you, Jesus. I ask this in your name, amen.

New Song: “Folks Like Us”

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It’s new song time, Maryville Vineyard!  This Sunday, we will be introducing a fantastic, high-energy, and communal tune from our neighbors and friends at the Campbellsville Vineyard.

“Folks Like Us” gives us the words and notes to do two really important things as a church:

  1. Admit that we’re a broken people
  2. Call upon our wonderful Father for help

This is one of those songs that just gets real from the first note.  Honest, humble worship with jammin’ music is a rare and wonderful combination.

Give “Folks Like Us” a listen in the video above or on Spotify, iTunes, etc.

See you all on Sunday!

The chord chart is available in Planning Center

The Doctor Goes To The Sick

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After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭5:27-32‬ ‭ESV‬‬

CONSIDER:

  1. When Christ approached Levi, the tax collector was at his booth. Jesus met Levi in the very seat the Pharisees scorned.

2. Jesus gives the same call to Levi that He gave to the 12 disciples: “Follow me”. Further still, Levi responds by “leaving everything.”

3. Jesus dined in Levi’s house, in a sinner’s space.

4. Jesus reclined with the company at table, he did not just pop in and leave at the first chance.

5. In the climax of this passage, Jesus tells the scribes and Pharisees that God’s heart is for the sick, sinful, and broken. The Great Physician intentionally pursues the sick and unwell.

REFLECT:

Have you ever been surprised by someone that Jesus invited into relationship, perhaps a person that seemed way too far from Christ to be called?

What is behind the Pharisees’ question, “why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Have you ever been conditioned to frown upon fraternization with “the other side.” What makes some Christians so worried when they see a brother or sister “dining with sinners”?

What encouragement do you feel when you read Christ’s response to the Pharisees? How should this change the way we think about ourselves and others when see sin and sickness prevailing?

What’s the difference between ‘stopping by’ and ‘reclining’ with people? Why does Jesus linger at the table?

Do we believe God is stronger than our brokenness? Do we trust Him to protect and to heal, as we follow him into the houses of the sick?

PRAY:

Loving Father, I praise your name and thank you for rescuing me. You saw me when I was far from you, when I thought you would have nothing to do with me.  I ask that you would give me your compassion for the sick, the broken, and the ones cast aside.  Take me with you wherever you go.  I want to partner with you, the Great Physician, to bring healing to the world around me.  In the name of Jesus, amen.