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June 11, 2020

Re: The future of Sunday morning services

Dear Church Member,

Last week the church leadership team met and began to discuss the possibility of a transition from online services to live services in our facility.

Like many of you we are eager to reconnect in a safe and responsible way.

To that end we have tentatively chosen July 26th as a possible restart date — subject to the following conditions:

  1. We will continue to follow and respond to the most current provincial guidance and adjust our plan/timing accordingly.

 

  1. We will not be the first church in our city to ‘restart’. Before we go ahead, we will want to hear from several other churches re: their re-opening experiences and be assured that they have been able to successfully avoid a COVID19 outbreak and re-open in a meaningful way (the last thing we want to do is be known as that Marda Loop church that started too soon).

 

  1. Next week we will be sending a survey to each of you so that we can hear what you think about re-starting (re: gathering restrictions, timing, etc) — especially if you’re a senior. The province currently recommends that churches consider “ways other than in-person attendance to include/support people who are at greater risk of severe disease, including people over 65 years of age and people with chronic medical conditions.”

 

  1. We will also be doing an internal ‘risk assessment’ in relation to the timing and process of re-opening.

This is the plan we will be implementing over the next month. We look forward to hearing from you via the survey. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the church office (or a leadership team member).

Our hope and prayer is that the virus will continue to abate, the province will be able to further loosen restrictions and many churches in our city will successfully be able to re-gather in the weeks and months ahead.

By choosing a July 26th date and preparing as though we will open on that date, we will be ready for any eventuality.

May God continue to keep you in this socially distant time.

 

 Your Marda Loop Church Leadership Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today John’s message is touching on the conversations that have been reignited as a response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and the others who have been the victims of broken, human systems. Our songs today are centered on lament. As we grieve with our brothers and sisters in Christ all over North America and the world, let us remember that God hears our grieving and sits with us in the midst of the darkness.

Isaiah 58 / Purge Me – Urban Doxology

In Labor All Creation Groans – Bifrost Arts

In his sermon this week, John quotes Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who says “the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.” In Romans, Paul says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, ESV). We all need God to purge the sin from our lives; to separate the evil from the good in our heart. In C.S. Lewis’s book “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” one of the characters – Eustace Scrubb – is turned into a dragon by his greed. When it comes time for Eustace to be freed of his dragon scales and return to being a boy, it requires the claws of the lion Aslan, the Christ figure in the novel, to fully tear the scales and the dragon skin off him and reveal the boy that he was originally created to be. The purging of sin from our lives and the separating of evil from our hearts is not an easy process, and it will almost certainly come with some level pain and discomfort. Whatever the process looks like, I am sure that we cannot scratch off the dragon scales or purge the sin alone, but when we allow Christ to move in these ways we are allowing him to reconcile us back to the Father and return us to who we were originally created to be.

Lift Your Voice – The Brilliance

Seek First – Ben Smith & Jason Upton

Let us seek the Kingdom of God together. Let us know that after the pandemic and through the conversations about racial inequality and prejudice we will be changed. As we go into this next week, I pray that we will all be more intentional about seeking God and softening our hearts so that our Creator can continue to do good works in us.

 

If you prefer to listen to worship music in a playlist format, we’ve got you covered there too! All of these songs are also available on our Spotify playlist so that you can worship as you go about your week. Our playlist is updated every week so that the songs I’ve posted to go along with the message will be right at the top of the queue. Thanks, and God bless!

Spotify Playlist

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Good morning Church! Perhaps I should just say welcome, because I never really know where or when I am being joined, which is one of the cool things we get to enjoy about online services. Whether you need consistency and routine, or flexibility and choice, we get to listen to the sermon as many times as we need and focus on God at whatever time we can focus and listen most wholly. Though, there is certainly something to be said about worshiping when we don’t feel like it; perhaps in the middle of a storm? That is the topic that John is preaching on this week, so wherever you are coming from, and whatever the waters are looking like, I pray that you are able to seek God earnestly in the message and in the songs that I have gathered together today.

10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman

Give Thanks To God – Housefires

One of my favorite ways to begin a time of worship is by dwelling on the truth that no matter what is happening, there is a reason to praise the Maker of Heaven and Earth. Psalm 34:1-3 says “His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together” (ESV). As we join in worship, let us remember that we do not just praise God when He does great things, but we should praise Him continually because He is great!

Voice of Truth – Casting Crowns

The first verse of this song makes reference to the time after the feeding of the five thousand when Jesus walks on the waters of the Sea of Galilee, which is known by a few different names, and meets the disciples at the boat in which they are struggling against the wind. This story is recounted three times in the New Testament: one in Matthew, one in Mark, and one in John. In John and Mark’s accounts of this event, the story focuses on the majesty that is displayed by Jesus. Matthew’s account also shows the greatness of Christ, but Matthew’s account also tells us about Peter’s reaction to the encounter. Peter calls out to Jesus, saying “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” (Matthew 14:28, ESV). Jesus then commands Peter to come to him, and the part of the story that I want to focus on is what comes next. Before Peter is rescued from the storm, he begins to drown. As soon as Peter calls out for help, it says that “Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him,” but before that there was a moment when it seemed that the storm would overtake him.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus – Helen H. Lemmel

I Will Fear No More – The Afters

When Jesus comes to the disciples, walking through the storm, he says “take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27, ESV). Better yet, he says this before he has even calmed the storm. At this point, the disciples rationally have a really good reason to be afraid. They haven’t grown up hearing stories about Jesus walking on water – this was completely unprecedented. However, they knew who Christ was and is. While rationality may have provided reason for fear, the faith they had in their teacher was the reason they had to listen to His voice. “Do not be afraid.” Even though the winds have not yet died down, “do not be afraid.” Though it may feel like you are drowning, “do not be afraid.” Because Jesus assures you that there is no reason to fear, let us decide not to be afraid together.

 

If you prefer to listen to worship music in a playlist format, we’ve got you covered there too! All of these songs are also available on our Spotify playlist so that you can worship as you go about your week. Our playlist is updated every week so that the songs I’ve posted to go along with the message will be right at the top of the queue. Thanks, and God bless!

Spotify Playlist

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Good morning and welcome, Church! Today John is speaking on the wilderness, breaking down what it looks like for us walking through this wilderness season right now. The selection of songs I have laid out looks a little bit different than it typically does. Many of these songs don’t have any lyrics attached and while I usually try to only include one or two unfamiliar songs, it is likely that many of these songs will be new to you today. I have chosen the following songs in the hopes that they will aid you in this time of wandering through the wilderness and hopefully give a new perspective on the waiting and the hardship that is found in such times.

Speak to the Silence – United Pursuit 

Not Yet – Chris Renzema 

There is much to be said about what the wilderness is and what it does. One of the things that we can see so clearly right now is that such experiences force us to wait and be still. Psalm 27:13-14 says “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord” (ESV). These two songs remind me, and I hope they remind you, that there is beauty to be found in the waiting and in the silence. In the sermon, John says that God is at work in the wilderness too because the wilderness still belongs to God. Remember that God is in the waiting just as much as he is on the other side of it.

Desert Song – Hillsong Worship 

One of my favourite books in the Old Testament is Habakkuk. Though it is short, the book displays Habakkuk’s own desert, or wilderness experience. In this book we see the change in Habakkuk as he moves from questioning God to submission and faith. Habakkuk 3:17-19 says

“though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on high places (ESV).

In the midst of the wilderness, Habakkuk finds the beauty and rest in the Lord. Let us also seek God’s presence and sovereignty in the midst of our wilderness.

Below My Feet – Mumford & Sons  

Highs & Lows – Hillsong Young & Free 

“Below My Feet” isn’t a typical worship song, but I hope you can perceive the presence of God in the wilderness of Marcus Mumford. The band wrote this song after Marcus’s father died and it describes the process of moving through grief and reconciling God’s presence in the midst of loss. One of the lines says “I was told by Jesus all is well / so all must be well” and it is said with some cynicism. How can we reconcile the dissonance of God being over and in everything while suffering and hardship are also in many things? Though we cannot always understand, we must remember that God is at work in the wilderness, in the middle of the suffering and the hardship. Let us seek to name and identify God in the hardships of the wilderness, so that when change and renewal come we can rejoice and know that God was at work in trials and the triumphs, the highs and the lows, the wilderness and the times of plenty. “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14, ESV).

 

If you prefer to listen to worship music in a playlist format, we’ve got you covered there too! All of these songs are also available on our Spotify playlist so that you can worship as you go about your week. Our playlist is updated every week so that the songs I’ve posted to go along with the message will be right at the top of the queue. Thanks, and God bless!

Spotify Playlist 

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Good morning Church! Wherever you are at this morning, physically or emotionally, I pray that you will know and feel the unity in Christ that is displayed through a community of believers who are gathering in worship together this morning. Though we cannot yet be physically together, know that we are still worshiping as one body of Christ. The message today is brought to us by Michelle who is expanding upon the attachment styles that she has been teaching us about, and this week she is specifically unpacking the connection between attachment styles and how we connect with God as our foundation. As we hear the Word of the Lord this morning and listen to the message that Michelle has prepared for us, let us focus our eyes on the foundation of our faith and the foundation of our lives.

Build My Life – Pat Barrett

Be Thou My Vision – Audrey Assad 

Psalm 18:2 says “the Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (ESV). Like the Psalmist, we have hope and can trust that God is the right place to be rooted in. In the context of a secure attachment, children use their parents as a “home base” or refuge when exploring the world around them. Likewise, God invites us to take refuge in him. In doing this, God equips us to go out into the world and do his work.

Defender – Kings Kaleidoscope

The second verse of this song really resonates with what Michelle is talking about this week. In particular, the line “He brought me to a safer place, equipped my hands and feet with strength, so I advance with confidence in Christ” paints a beautiful picture of how God is simultaneously acting as our refuge and equipping us for his work. He is our rock, He has rescued us, and He is preparing us for redemptive, engaging work in the world. As we listen to these words let us remember that we are called to great things and God invites us to participate in his plans.

Highs & Lows – Hillsong Young & Free 

Cornerstone – Hillsong Worship 

I chose to end our worship today with songs that remind us that even in the moments when we do not feel safe, the times when we can’t seem to find the shelter that God provides for us, even then is He with us and is He our foundation. I doubt anyone of us always feels the sense of comfort and safety that comes from being sheltered by God, but through the Word of God we know that those feelings don’t tell the whole story. Paul says “for I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, ESV). As we go into this week, let us strive to live into the truth that God is always our foundation, and let us remember that even if we can’t feel it, God’s love is unwavering and unending and he will be our solid rock through it all.

 

If you prefer to listen to worship music in a playlist format, we’ve got you covered there too! All of these songs are also available on our Spotify playlist so that you can worship as you go about your week. Our playlist is updated every week so that the songs I’ve posted to go along with the message will be right at the top of the queue. Thanks, and God bless!

Spotify Playlist 

 

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Good morning Church, and welcome back to our online service! Before I get into what John will be talking about in his message, I would like to say happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers in our midst. Whether you are currently a mother, a soon-to-be mother, hope to be a mother, have biological children or otherwise, I pray that those people around you would be able to love and bless you today and this week as a thank you for all the ways that you have loved and blessed us. This morning John’s message is about the parable of the immune system and he is talking about God’s providence in our own bodies. God has truly put us together in incredible ways, so as we worship this morning let us turn our thoughts and our hearts towards our amazing Creator. If you would like to sing along with any of these songs, the lyrics are either right on the screen or down in the descriptions, so please feel free to worship in that way if you are comfortable.

Seek First – Ben Smith & Jason Upton 

Indescribable – Chris Tomlin 

Our first two songs this morning remind us of God’s works and his provision for us in those things that he has made. Not only does God provide for us in times of trouble and in our urgent needs, but he is continually providing for us in the minutia and the mundane. Yes, God meets us in our needs and provides in some truly extravagant ways, but when we stop to think about the little things that make it possible to think and breathe and walk, the things that we see as mundane can become vibrant and awe-inspiring too.

Over and Over – Influence Music 

My favourite line from the song “Over and Over” is in verse two. The line says “eternal perfection in each miracle, / surpassing the wonder of what you’ve done before.” I especially like this phrase because it reminds us that God was and is a creator, continually working and creating good things that display his majesty. Paul says “for by him all things were created, in the heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17, ESV).

Give Thanks To God – Housefires 

So Will I – Hillsong Worship 

In Psalm 139, David says,

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16, ESV).

I pray that as you go out into this next week you will be able to see yourself and others in a renewed way. It is miracle, in the most literal sense, that we are alive. Let us strive to treat each other as grand creations and masterpieces created by the most renowned artist.

 

As always, all of these songs are also available at the top of our Spotify playlist, so if you would like to have these songs in a playlist format for as you go about your week you can check out the link below. Thanks, and God bless!

Spotify Playlist  

 

 

 

 

 

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This morning John will be talking about his experience of seeing God in the Albert Camus book, The Plague. As most of you will know by now, our aim is to be a Church that is constantly engaging God everywhere, and this week John is helping us to engage God in literature. Whether you are visiting us virtually for the first time or you have been a part of this congregation for many years, I pray that today God will meet you where you are and that his truth will fill you with hope and peace. If you haven’t already watched this week’s message, it will be posted both here on our website and on our YouTube channel so don’t forget to check it out!

No One But You – Hillsong Worship 

10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman 

As we begin our worship, these first songs can help us to quite our minds and focus on the things above. There are always so many things that are competing for our attention, and especially in a time with so much uncertainty there are even more things to fill our thoughts. Fortunately, there is nothing wrong with having many thoughts and questions, and many of these things that are taking our attention are important things to think about. But in the midst of these things, let us keep God at the forefront of our minds, and right now I encourage you to let all other things fade into the background as we focus on God alone in our time of worship.

Give Thanks To God – Housefires   

In times of trouble and uncertainty it can be easy to focus on the darkness. As you listen to Give Thanks To God, I hope that you can allow your heart and your mind to be turned away from the dark things and focus on the light. This song walks through a few of the many aspects of God’s character that we can be thankful for. I encourage you to focus on truth this morning. The truth found in Camus’s book that John will be talking about, the truth found in these songs, and the truth that is the Word of God written in scripture.

Your Glory / Nothing But The Blood – All Sons and Daughters

Goodness Of God – Bethel Music 

Psalm 145 says, “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness” (Psalm 145:5-7, ESV). Today and as we go into this next week, let us meditate and dwell on God’s wondrous works. When we are tempted to despair, let us declare his greatness instead. Though the situation may seem bleak, let us continue to engage God everywhere together, and let us seek to name God in books, and songs, and people alike.

As always, all of these songs are also available at the top of our Spotify playlist, so if you would like to have these songs in a playlist format for as you go about your week you can check out the link below. Thanks, and God bless!

Spotify Playlist 

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Good morning and welcome to Church! Maybe you didn’t notice, but this morning I am using “capital-C-Church.” While we are still not meeting in a “small-c-church” building, we are just as much the body of Christ now as we ever have been, and as one body of Christ we are the Church. Today Pastor John is preaching on worry, so whether you are reading this blog and listening to these songs before or after hearing the message, I pray that your heart would be quieted and that through worshiping in this way you will find peace and comfort in Christ today.

Good Grace – Hillsong United 

So Will I – Hillsong Worship 

In Isaiah 41 verse 10 the Lord says “fear not, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” As we draw in to our time of worship today, I encourage you to think about our God who is in and through all things. “Fear not” is the phrase that is repeated most in the Bible, and it doesn’t appear so frequently because we are being commanded to stop being scared or worried or anxious, it is actually said as an assurance. We don’t have to be afraid, and we know this because scripture says that the same God who spoke the universe into being is holding us securely in his mighty hands.

Lay It All Down – United Pursuit 

Psalm 55:22 says “cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved” and in Matthew, Jesus says “come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest in your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, ESV). We have been invited to enjoy a peace and a hope and a joy that is unlike any other. The peace, hope, and joy found in Christ are fulfilling and lasting, and this offer is continually extended to us.

Be Thou My Vision – Audrey Assad 

Yes I Will – Vertical Worship

My prayer for us this week is that we would continue to grow into the good things that God has in store for us; that we would be ever increasing in our ability to place our trust in Jesus and that we would continually be casting our worries at his feet. Though we don’t know what is coming next, we know that our God is working all things for his glory. As we go into this next week, let us do so with a renewed sense of hope and peace and joy.

 

If you prefer to listen to worship music in a playlist format as you go about your week, our Spotify playlist is updated weekly and always has the songs for the current week at the top of the list! Thanks, and God bless.

Spotify Playlist – https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7EB9xkQQtZJcMRAzV5hrdO

 

 

 

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Welcome and good morning! As we enter into our time of worship today, we will be hearing from Michelle who will be bringing the Word and giving us a deeper understanding of the incredible creation that is the human mind. This morning, as we use this lens to look at the how we find meaning in the midst of suffering, let us lift our voices and turn our thoughts to the things above together. Wherever possible, I have included links to the songs with the lyrics either right in the video or in the description bellow.

Look To The Son – Hillsong Worship 

Be Thou My Vision – Audrey Assad 

While we listen to these first two songs, let us focus our eyes, our hearts, and our minds on God. In these times of uncertainty and waiting, it is so easy to get caught up in the fear and the frustration and loose our thoughts in the situations that we are not content with. My prayer is that in listening to these songs today you will feel the peace of Christ come upon you and that we would together be able to turn back to the one who does know what is going to happen next and the one who does have the answers and the solutions to all of the situations that have left us desiring resolution. Of all our desires, let Christ be the first on our hearts.

Highs & Lows – Hillsong Young & Free   

This song is based on the words of David from Psalm 139:

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your spirit? Or Where shall I flee from your presence. If I ascend to heaven you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me. If I say ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you” (Psalm 139:1-12, ESV).

In response to the word that Michelle has just brought, let us remember that even the darkness of this situation is not dark to our almighty God.

It Is Well – Bethel Music 

Give Me Jesus – Sovereign Grace Music 

I encourage you this morning to heed the words of Psalm 31:23-24 that calls us to “love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” It is okay to have doubts and to have worries, but know that you do not have to be bound by those things. As we go into this next week, let us know that in our times of feeling lonely, hopeless, doubtful, and worried, God is with us in those depths. Even better, let us remember that though the situation may at times feel hopeless, Christ does not just give us hope but he is our hope.

 

Just in case you missed it, I will be updating our Spotify playlist weekly. So if you prefer to listen to worship music in a playlist format as you go about your week, the songs for the current week will always be at the top of the list! Thanks, and God bless.

Spotify Playlist 

 

 

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Welcome and happy Easter! I pray that you are all doing well and that the hope of Christ is sustaining you in the midst of uncertainty and physical separation. Today, if you are indeed reading this on Easter Sunday, we are gathering online and singing at home to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. As you enter in to your time of worship today, I pray that you will feel the depth and the magnitude of the sacrifice that Christ made for you because He loves you. I encourage you to sing along if you are comfortable, and as always I have included links to videos with the lyrics attached whenever possible!

In Christ Alone – Keith and Kristyn Getty 

Forever (We Sing Halleluiah) – Kari Jobe 

This morning, we begin with songs that focus our thoughts on Christ who paid our ransom. The part of the Easter story that I always find the most amazing is how God’s immense power was displayed through the resurrection. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death,” but God’s power was so great that Christ overcame death, paying the price of sin, and He lives again so that we too can have life. Of the many amazing things that God does and has done, this is the great victory that was fuelled by great love, and this is why we sing.

Death Was Arrested – North Point InsideOut 

I chose Death Was Arrested as our song of response today because to me it has always felt like an especially happy and hopeful song. There is awe, and might, and love, and sacrifice found in the Gospel, but we must not forget that equal to these things is the joy found here too. Christ is our hope and our joy, and we can rejoice in the knowledge that He has and is reconciling us with the Father. As you listen to this song, I urge you to hear and feel the joy that only Christ can bring.

Your Glory / Nothing But The Blood – All Sons and Daughters 

Be Enthroned – Bethel Worship

As we go into the coming weeks, let us lift our praise to Him who is above all things. As you listen to our closing songs I encourage you to think about the ways in which you can praise the Lord this week. Let us act in ways that show and share God’s Glory, and let us live as servants who bow before the throne of our enthroned King. Today I leave you with the prayer of the apostle Paul, who says:

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 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” (Ephesians 3:14-21; ESV).

 

Just in case you missed it, I will be updating our Spotify playlist weekly. So if you prefer to listen to worship music in a playlist format as you go about your week, the songs for the current week will always be at the top of the list! Thanks, and God bless.

Spotify Playlist 

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