Sunday was an exciting day for our church family...
we were able to move from gathering for corporate worship in homes
(which has, by the way, been such a rich time together and will continue through community groups)...
... into our new Sunday morning facility!!!
Our team divided into groups in order to begin familiarizing ourselves and brainstorming ways to make our Sunday mornings run smoothly in the days ahead. Below, the worship and set-up teams are getting a tutorial in sound equipment...
A couple of our "safety & care" team received some informal security training (compliments of our good friend, JJ, who drove down with his beautiful bride, Kate, from Virginia for this special occasion... all the while, a couple of my daughters twirled in the background, ha ha...).
During set-up, several others were busy exploring the facility, brainstorming ways to do hospitality and effective childcare ministry, as well as prayer walking the grounds...
We gathered back up for corporate worship at 10:00 AM (which will be our regular time to gather once we officially launch on 9/11)...
Tony read Psalm 100..
"Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his,
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him, bless his name!
For the LORD is good, his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations."
We sang a couple songs and then Tony preached from Ephesians 3:14-21...
* Paul's Posture - one of humility (see Ephesians 1-2)
"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,..."
* Paul's Petitions
"... that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and grounded in love may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."
* Paul's Perspective
"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."
We took the Lord's supper together and sang of the "Deep, Deep Love of Jesus"...
We concluded our time of worship with a church covenant signing ceremony with some of our core team members...
"The church is the vehicle by which God is accomplishing His purposes in the world. The church exists to display the glory of God because all things exist for His glory. Followers of Jesus have been invited graciously into God's redemptive purposes for the world through the church. In light of this reality, the opportunity to join a local church is much more than a commitment to consistent attendance or active involvement in community. It is also a sacred call to be involved in the redemptive work of our sovereign God and to be a microcosm of the universal household of God. Therefore, we will covenant together to fulfill these purposes and hold one another accountable to this high calling." - an excerpt
We sang one final song, Mandi Mapes' "We are the Body" (which I recommend to you :). We shared many tears of joy in humble celebration of what God has done, is doing and will do. May He grant us much grace as a church in the days and years ahead receiving all glory that is due His name! What a mighty, gracious, loving, merciful God we serve!
(Eyasu & his fellow Ethiopian born friend, Abraham, after worship - adorable)
A brief snippet of worship singing Matt Papa's "O Fount of Love" (if you have not already, order his "This Changes Everything" CD... anointed, rich lyrics, sound theology and great musicianship)
Thank you for your continued prayers as we seek to reach Raleigh and the ends of the earth for the glory of our great God! Keep up with us at: www.idcraleigh.com