From Pastor Matt

As you have heard many times from us, we, as your pastors, believe that Scripture makes very clear the importance of the gathering of the local church in the corporate worship service. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” This is a very important passage in the context of one of the most important books on worship that we have in the New Testament. The author makes this statement after spending over 9 chapters explaining Christ’s centrality to our faith and how he alone makes it possible to approach our holy God in worship. So, it is important that we gather together to remind one another each Sunday of the centrality of the gospel and how it should be shaping all of our lives.


You have probably heard me say at the beginning of our worship services something like, “As we gather for worship let’s hear once again from God’s word as we remember that it is He who draws us to himself in worship.” I say this very intentionally week after week because it is easy for us to forget this very important fact. We have the habit of thinking that our worship is about our emotions and that the more we feel, the more God is present with us in the worship service. While it is very important that our emotions are engaged in our worship, God is not more or less present with us based on our feelings. Christian, the truth is that God is always with us once we have trusted in Christ’s perfect sacrifice. Likewise, he is with us in a very important way as we gather as his body, the church (see Matt. 18 and 1 Cor. 12-14 for more on this).


All of this is not something we should take lightly and it is something that we should be very excited about and look forward to week after week. We should not merely show up to our Sunday morning worship service with our minds and hearts in 50 different directions and hoping that “God might show up” or thinking about what the pastors and others helping to lead the service might be able offer to us or, perhaps even worse, not thinking about anything at all. No, our corporate gatherings are something that every member of our congregation should be praying for and asking God to prepare our hearts for.


In an effort to help to make this more feasible, the pastors have decided to start an ongoing series in our blog posts to help. We will seek to remind you of the importance of corporate worship, to give you things to think about and pray for, and provide you with a preview of the coming Sunday’s worship service. In addition, we will try to talk about any new songs that we will be introducing, print the words, and sometimes even have a link for you to listen to a version of the song. My prayer is that you will find this to be not only helpful, but encouraging and edifying. I hope that it will help to bring you to a greater appreciation of why we gather as a body and to help you “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8).


This Sunday

This Sunday we will be introducing a new song called He Will Hold Me Fast. This hymn was adapted by Matt Merker from Capitol Hill Baptist Church from an older hymn by Ada Habershon (1861-1918). Merker changed some of the wording, added the 3rd verse and wrote the music to this new version. It is a beautiful prayer and song of confession to God and an assurance of his grace and love. These are the words:


When I fear my faith will fail,
Christ will hold me fast;
When the tempter would prevail,
He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path;
For my love is often cold;
He must hold me fast.


He will hold me fast,
He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so,
He will hold me fast.

Those He saves are His delight,
Christ will hold me fast;
Precious in his holy sight,
He will hold me fast.
He’ll not let my soul be lost;
His promises shall last;
Bought by Him at such a cost,
He will hold me fast.

For my life He bled and died,
Christ will hold me fast;
Justice has been satisfied;
He will hold me fast.
Raised with Him to endless life,
He will hold me fast
‘Till our faith is turned to sight,
When He comes at last!


As you can see, the words of this hymn really speak for themselves and I think that this song will be a wonderful addition to our congregation’s “songbook.” If you are interested, you can click HERE for the hymn-style sheet music to this song. You can also click HERE to hear the congregation at Capitol Hill Baptist singing the song.


Preparing for Worship

As you prepare for the service this week, you can read through the words of this song and pray that God would use them to work in our hearts as he transforms us. Additionally, you can read through Mark 1:1-13, which will be the sermon text. Of course, you can pray for you pastors and others leading in the worship service that God would use us despite our weaknesses. Additionally, you can plan to arrive at church early, so that you are not coming in frantically at the last minute right as the service is starting (or after). Of course, you should pray that God will help you and your family in this area, because Satan loves to work against us on Sunday mornings! Try to arrive at your seat at least 5 minutes before the service starts so that you can use the prelude time to ask God one last time to prepare the hearts of our congregation as we prepare to meet him in worship.

See you Sunday!