Worship Matters Video Intensive Training

"In 2008, Bob Kauflin wrote Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God, in which he sought to connect a biblical theology of worship with what worship leaders actually do on Sundays. Through the book, Bob builds congregational worship on biblical principles that transcend cultures, generations, and ethnic groups.

Given the encouragement that’s come in response to the book, Bob has recorded a 12-session training course as a supplement to Worship Matters. In this video series he teaches through a broad range of topics, from practical guidance on putting songs together, growing in spontaneity, and planning a service to spiritual topics like humility, comparison, and idolatry. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more practical, engaging, and pastoral tool for worship leaders, pastors, and anyone involved in music ministry in their local church.

The sessions can be viewed consecutively or separately, depending on what serves you. Watching these videos with friends or the musicians at your church would be ideal, as you get to work through the content together. Outlines, transcripts, and subtitled versions in English (and Spanish, in the future) are available for download underneath each video.

We hope and pray this video series proves to be a helpful tool for you, your team, and your church in developing your gifts and increasing your love for our glorious Savior, Jesus Christ!" - Sovereign Grace Music

Click HERE to link to the Worship IntensiveTraining Videos.

The Kingdom Strikes Back

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A New Decree

In series in Esther, we are in chapter 8. [You can listen to the sermon HERE]. In chapter 8 - we see the Gospel message displayed in story form:

The Irrevocable Decree of Death - The Counter Decree of Life - The Window of Opportunity

The Jews, after receiving the death decree and the counter decree had a window of opportunity to prepare to "strike back." Astoundingly, many people during that time became Jews.

We can see our own story in Esther - we've been given the death decree because of our sin against a holy God. He, in his mercy, has provided a way of escape - through Jesus Christ's sacrifice. We've been given a window of opportunity - a chance to prepare for heaven and bring others with us.  This is how we "strike back" - not with human weapons - but weapons of walking in the Spirit, sharing our faith, being witnesses for Christ on the earth.

Questions of Application:

  • If you only had 9 months to live - how would you live differently?
  • What's on your "bucket list"? Are those things kingdom related?
  • According to the message, how are our spiritual weapons different from worldly ones? 
  • Where are you tempted to use weapons of this world?
  • What are the weapons of our warfare? How can you grow in using them? 
  • What's one thing you can do this week to "strike back" - for the Kingdom?

 

 

Men's Quarterly Event: ACT LIKE MEN

July 1st

8-11 @ SovGrace Church

On July 1st - we will be hosting our 2nd quarterly Men's Breakfast. We have invited Kevin Bryan, a pastor from Redeemed South Bay Church to speak.

Our theme is taken from 1 Cor 16:13: “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

We will be discussing what it means to be the leaders and men of God that He has called us to be.

Join us Saturday, July 1, from 8-11 @ the church!

God's Sovereignty and Evangelism

Here's a quote that didn't make it into the Sunday Sermon in Esther, on God's sovereignty. It's from J.I. Packer's Book Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God.  I thought it might be helpful to fill out questions you might have regarding the subject.

“Evangelism, we have learned, is a task appointed to all God’s people everywhere. It is the task of communicating a message from the Creator to rebel mankind.

 The message begins with information and ends with an invitation. The information concerns God’s work of making His Son a perfect Saviour for sinners. The invitation is God’s summons to mankind generally to come to the Saviour and find life. God commands all men everywhere to repent, and promises forgiveness and restoration to all who do. The Christian is sent into the world as God’s herald and Christ’s ambassador, to broadcast this message as widely as he can. This is both his duty (because God commands it, and love to our neighbor requires it) and his privilege (because it is a great thing to speak for God, and to take our neighbor the remedy - the only remedy- that can save him from the terrors of spiritual death.)

 Our job, then, is to go to our fellow men and tell them the gospel of Christ, and try by every means to make it clear to them; to remove as best we can any difficulties that they may find in it, to impress them with its seriousness, and to urge them to respond to it. This is our abiding responsibility; it is a basic part of our Christian calling.”

Guitar Tutorials

Ever wanted to learn how to play some of the worship music you hear on Sundays? Want to brush up on skills so you can serve your Community Group more effectively?  

Sovereign Grace Music has several guitar tutorials available on their website: Sovereign Grace Music.

Here's one to get you started!

Click HERE to check out more!

We Need Pastors

Pastoral Training Class

 

Our mission of planting and building healthy local churches requires an ongoing supply of leaders and that is why we are excited about four men entering into our Pastoral Training Course:

  • Bill Fisher
  • Luke Friedly
  • Roosevelt Joshua
  • Steven Partnoff

This is a one year plan that is designed to accomplish two things: to help a man who “aspires to the office of overseer” (1 Tim. 3:1) discern his calling and to help prepare him for that role. 

This Sunday afternoon begins our first of twenty-one meetings where these men will be reading a variety of materials and writing papers on various aspects of theological issues and practical pastoral ministry.  We meet together to discuss, encourage, pray, instruct, and challenge one another. 

The assignments are laid out as “The Pastor and. . .his calling, his role, his character, his household, his prayer life, his worship, and his theology (8 lessons), his preaching (4 lessons), and his counseling (2 lessons).

As pastors, Lynn and I are committing that when they complete this course, we will give them our assessment of their calling and where we see them in the process, along with some recommendation as their next step. Completing this course could lead a man into an ordination process or possibly to attend the Sovereign Grace Pastors College or some continued training and ministry experience in the church. 

Please pray for these men and for God to be at work in their hearts, giving us all discernment and grace as we seek to raise up more pastors. . .”for the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.

God's Sovereignty and Our Responsibility

Esther

Speaks Up

Speaks the Truth

God remains in control.

Last Sunday, Ron spoke on God's sovereignty and human responsibility. Click HERE to listen to the sermon.

“Sovereignty” produces in our hearts security, hope, restfulness, and courage because we learn that even when we are not faithful - He remains faithful; and that no matter how dire the circumstances, God is still in control and fully able to accomplish his plans. 

But there are some pitfalls that we can easily slip into and get off track with regard to God's sovereignty.  If we are not paying attention we can easily lose our way. (Like coming up the N57 to Pasadena from OC and if we're not careful, we end up on the E 60 to Riverside!)

We can get off track in these areas:

  • prayer - thinking that we don't need to pray or that our prayers don't matter or aren't effective
  • sharing our faith - believing that it doesn't matter if we do or don't
  • obeying God's commands- not understanding the importance God places on obedience

And so, instead of the wonderful truth of God’s sovereignty filling our hearts with faith to act, faith to obey, we find our hearts growing dull and beginning to coast and the adventure of trusting God is gone. 

God’s sovereignty does not negate human responsibility. 

  • It does not take away the necessity of our obedience. 
  • It doesn’t take away from the urgency or the importance of our obedience.
  • It doesn’t take away from the genuineness of our obedience. 
  • It doesn’t negate the responsibility of the hearer.

The three things we learn from Esther:

  1. Esther speaks up (even though it's risky)
  2. Esther speaks the truth
  3. God remains in control

APPLICATION QUESTIONS:

  • What areas are you tempted to drift in regarding God's sovereignty? Do you find yourself just resigned instead of full of faith? How would you gauge your prayer life? Sharing your faith? Your obedience level?
  • What steps do you need to take to pray, share and obey in the areas you haven't been?
  • What difficult conversations are you avoiding because you are afraid of the outcome?
  • How could you apply this message to your friendships? your marriage? your parenting? your relationships at work or school?

 

Walk It Out Wednesdays

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Each week, we will be posting an installment of our Walk It Out Wednesday series. This will be a recap of the Sunday sermon with a link to the audio file.  Sometimes we'll feature a particular section of the sermon or focus on a quote you may have missed - but we'll always have some application questions to help you apply the message. You can use this for your discussion in Community Group or for your own personal discipleship.

We are committed to growing disciples - who obey and don't just listen. (James 1:22-25)
This is a tool for your discipleship in your relationship with Jesus. (John 14:15 and John 14:23)

So - come back every Wednesday to check out Walk It Out Wednesday - designed to help you live during the week what you hear on Sunday.

 

Mission Video- Croatia

Church Plant in Croatia

"The story of this church plant is also a story of our partnership in the gospel in our ecclesiastical union called Sovereign Grace Churches. Being part of Sovereign Grace means Christians are discipled, raised up and sent out for the mission to tell others about Jesus and his great sacrifice on the cross and resurrection from the dead! Our partnership gives us the opportunity to do this together--we get to see more local churches planted and established so that others can be transformed by Jesus the way we have been. May God encourage our hearts and fill us with a fresh vision for this purpose and our partnership. We can do more together than alone!"- CB Eder

"The Man The Kings Delights to Honor"

In our series in Esther, we have come to the turning point of the story. (You can listen to the sermon HERE.) . This is the beginning of the downfall of Haman. In focusing on the emotional life of Haman and zeroing in on the sin of pride, we come face to face with our own emotions and the pride behind them.

As we get a window into this man’s heart, we see one of the most blatant displays of what we know as pride. What C. S. Lewis referred to as “The Great Sin” which is the sin that is behind every sin. 

Definition: Pride is a heart absorbed with “self.” Pride forces us to focus on ourselves and forces us to make everything in life about us. It is a gravitational pull inward. It says, “I am all about me and my life!”

James 1:1-10. The root of conflict and God's remedy:

1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people!  Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

CS Lewis wrote, pride is the “complete anti-god state of mind.”

“Pride renders faith impossible.”

But there is hope! We can obtain humility from the Man Whom The KING delighted to honor.

“We have our pride from Adam; we must have our humility from Christ.” ~ Andrew Murray

APPLICATION QUESTIONS:

  1. If pride is the heart focused on self, in which areas do you find this to be true?
  2. If comparison reveals pride, where are you most tempted to compare yourself with others - favorably or unfavorably?
  3. When you're angry, what do you want? 
  4. When you're feeling sorry for yourself, what were you hoping for?
  5. What steps do you need to take to cultivate humility?

 

Think Again - A Book Review

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"This book helps you focus more on the glory of Jesus Christ. It helps you track conviction through to the culminating joy of forgiveness. It reminds you that your weaknesses are meant to guide you to boasting about His strength. It points out the gifts God has given in community, creation, and most importantly, the gospel, to lead you way from self-worship. It helps you to distinguish between healthy self-examination and all consuming introspection. It will insist that you center your thoughts on Jesus. "- Jon Payne

Click HERE for the full review.

Click HERE to buy the book.

Mission Video- Boston

"Sovereign Grace is a family of churches that exists to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ by planting and strengthening churches for the glory of God. One expression of our mission can be found in the churches we have planted in the New England region of the U.S.: Crossway Church in Franklin, MA (2001), King of Grace Church in Haverhill, MA (2002), King’s Cross Church in Manchester, NH (2016), and Trinity Church in East Cambridge, MA (2016). Each of these churches have found their home in unique New England communities for the purpose of reaching the lost with the gospel." - Mark Prater

A Plan For Obedience

Esther: The Hiddenness of God.

 We all are faced with trials and temptations and often can wonder where God is in the midst of these. We can come to church on Sunday to sing about and confess God’s sovereignty but so “easily and completely lose track of the implications of that theology whenever problems emerge in our daily lives.” (Duiguid)

 In Lynn’s sermon last week we learned from Esther that Esther was called on to die - to lay her life on the line.  The possibility of her death was a real one. She needed to be willing to die in order to save her  entire people from annihilation.  

 Esther's willingness to die was borne out of her obedience to and her trust and faith in God.

 We as Christ followers are similarly called to die - to ourselves, our sinful desires, and selfishness. And, the only way we will be ready to die -- is what we see in Esther: a plan of obedience and an unwavering faith in God.

 We meet each week in small groups for the purpose of applying God’s word to our lives. As disciples, we are eager to grow in not just our knowledge of God's word but in our obedience to it as well. We don’t want to lose track of the implications of theology that will help us in our trials and temptations.

 So, if you haven’t listened to the sermon yet, you can now by clicking HERE.

 Then, answer some of these application questions:

  1.  What is your faith challenge today? What's going on in your life that causes you to wonder where God is and what He is up to?
  2. What is your response to life’s circumstances? Are you giving in to depression and discouragement?

  3. Are you assimilating into the culture around you until you are not even recognizable from the world? How?

  4. How’s your “willingness to die”? Where might the Holy Spirit be asking you to die?

  5. What steps of obedience can you take right now as an act of faith? What's your plan?

 These would be great things to discuss in your community groups as you meet this week.

For Such a Time as This...

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Who knows...

     

In our series on Esther, (listen to the message HERE) we learned that God sovereignly ordained everything in her past to prepare her for this moment in history - to save the Jews, God's own people. But God needed to awaken her first to realize that this was her "defining moment."

"God needs to do a work in us in order for him to work through us."
The three components to a work that God must do within us:
  1. We must learn to trust God with where we are.
  2. We must learn to discern the difference between temporal and eternal dangers
  3. The result of trusting God with our lives and prioritizing the eternal is that we become willing to lay down our lives for the mission.

Questions for application:

  • Do you struggle with where God has placed you? (In California, in Pasadena? In your job, or school, or in your relationships?)
  • How are you cultivating a kingdom mentality? Are you discerning between temporal and eternal dangers and priorities?
  • Where is God challenging you to trust His sovereignty? to prioritize the eternal? to lay down your life? How are you taking up the cross and following Christ?
  • How have the trials and circumstances of your past prepared you to be a light and a witness in the place that God has called you -at this particular time, in this specific place--for His glory?

2 Cor. 4:7-18

The surpassing power of God working in us, the life of Jesus manifested in us, bringing the grace of God to more and more people to increase thanksgiving and bring glory to God. 

A New Church Plant in Santa Ana - and how you can be a part of it!

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In our history as a local church, Sovereign Grace Pasadena has been instrumental in planting 3 churches: San Diego, Kansas City and Orange.  And, now, Orange is launching the beginnings of planting another neighborhood church in Santa Ana.

Planting Churches is one of the 7 shared values we have as a Sovereign Grace Church. 

 The following list was adopted in the new SGC Book of Church Order. It's what one has called "the DNA of our family of churches."

  1. Reformed soteriology
  2. Gospel-centered doctrine and preaching
  3. Continuationist pneumatology
  4. Complementarian leadership in the home and church
  5. Elder-governed and -led churches
  6. National and international outreach and church planting
  7. A family of interdependent churches united in fellowship, mission, and governance.

Next week, we as a church have an opportunity to live out some of these values- being a family of interdependent churches - as we roll up our sleeves and join Orange in this church planting venture.

HOW YOU CAN BE INVOLVED:

Come down to Santa Ana on Sunday, May 21st from 5-7 pm at the Hidden House Coffee Shop where we can join the Orange Church in meeting, greeting and talking with people from the neighborhood. Bring your whole family!

Address:  511 E. Santa Ana Blvd, Santa Ana, CA 92701

There will be a jump house for the kids, coffee and snacks and Ian McConnell (Director of Church Planting) from Philadelphia will be there as well.

Let's get as many people as possible from our church to go down and be light and love to this neighborhood and share the love of Jesus with them!

Roundtable on Race, Culture and The Church

This past Tuesday, we hosted about 125 people from the greater Los Angeles area-pastors and ministry leaders from many different churches who gathered together to learn about how to navigate the issues of ministering to a variety of ethnicities in our churches.  

After a brief history lesson on the social dynamics of race and the church in Los Angele by Dr. Matthew Jones from DelRey Church, we had a panel discussion- hearing from 5 pastors / leaders, from various backgrounds and cultures: Bobby Scott, Kris Brossett, PJ Tibayan and Steve Ross and Matthew Jones.

PJ gave a message on The Theological Framework for Race and The Church and the panel addressed Pastoring In Light of Race and Culture.

We are so grateful to partner together with other churches and pastors in the LA area to share Christ and His glorious gospel with the people in our communities!

Navigating our engagement with "the world"

In the message on Sunday about Esther, we learned that just like Esther, we are a part of a larger story that begins in Gen. 3 - a cosmic battle, with enmity between God and Satan. If we don't understand our place in this story, we will be unable to respond properly when temptations come.

Here's a quote that fits with our messages on Esther:

“The world is no friend to grace.  A person who makes a commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior does not find a crowd immediately forming to applaud the decision or old friends spontaneously gathering around to offer congratulations and counsel. Ordinarily there is nothing directly hostile, but an accumulation of puzzled and disapproval and agnostic indifference constitutes, nevertheless, surprisingly formidable opposition.

An old tradition sorts the difficulties we face in the life of faith into the categories of “world, flesh and devil.”  We are for the most part, well warned of the perils of the flesh and the wiles of the devil.  Their temptations have a definable shape and maintain a historical continuity. That doesn’t make them any easier to resist; it does make them easier to recognize.

The world though is protean; (ever-changing, variable, shifting, mutable, inconsistent, vacillating...) each generation has the world to deal with in a new form.  World is an atmosphere, a mood. It is nearly as hard for a sinner to recognize the world’s  temptations as it is for a fish to discover impurities in the water. There is a sense, a feeling, that things aren’t right, that the environment is not whole, but just what it is, eludes analysis. We know that the spiritual atmosphere in which we live erodes faith, dissipates hope and corrupts love, but it is hard to put our finger on what is wrong.”

~ Eugene Peterson.  A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.