Preparing for Sunday - November 11, 2018

Hi Shoreliners,

I hope your week is going well! Let’s remember to keep our eyes on Christ and our noses in the Book! This week we’ll be seeing that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life from John 11. We’ll also say a special prayer for Megan as she gets on a plane to Asia! 

Come ready to sing the following songs:

Grace Alone - The Modern Post

I love this song, a paraphrase of Ephesians 1. It’s a great way to start our service as we’re reminded who we were before Christ, and who we are now after coming into His family. We’ve been born again by grace and grace alone!

To God be the Glory - Fanny Crosby

As you know, it’s important to sing old and new songs. We studied the life of Fanny Crosby in our community group, and this one of her most well-known hymns. We played no part in our salvation, so all glory belongs to Him alone! We’ve been redeemed, pardoned, and set free from sin - praise the Lord!

In Christ Alone - Keith & Kristyn Getty

Continuing in our corporate worship, we’ll move deeper into the work of Christ and sing this modern hymn which so beautifully describes the person and work of Christ. Only in Him do we find our hope!

Great are You Lord - All Sons & Daughters

We’ll finish up our time of singing, by simply declaring His greatness. I also like this song because it has a future perspective - one day all the earth will worship Him, every knee shall bow, every tribe and nation will see that Jesus is Lord!

Lord I Need You - Matt Maher

We’ll conclude our service by recognizing our need for repentance, our need for Jesus - the perfect sacrifice. Only by repentance and faith in His life, death & resurrection can we sing “My one defense, my righteous”! But oh what comfort and peace comes when we are born again. He is our hope and stay!

Preparing for Sunday - November 4, 2018

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Hi Shoreliners,

I’ve been really encouraged by our time studying John 10! What an incredible picture we have in Jesus being our Good Shepherd. This week we will continue in this chapter and consider one of the most well-known verses on eternal security - John 10:27-29. You don’t want to miss this Sunday!

Come ready to sing the following songs:

Mediator - Ghost Ship

As we start our service, we’ll worship and sing to the one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ. He took our place and became the only Door that gives us access to the Father. Let’s put aside cares and worries from this past week and focus on this great truth!

All Creatures of our God and King - Traditional (Sov. Grace arr.)

Last week we sang “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”, one of the oldest hymns left that we still sing. This week, we’ll be singing another ancient hymn, written by St. Francis of Assisi in the 1100’s! This version has two extra verses written more recently that describe our response (come and rejoice in His great love) and Jesus’ return (He shall return in power to reign…). Each verse culminates in “O Praise Him! Allelujah!” What an amazing song that has stood the test of time.

He Will Hold Me Fast - Matthew Merker

We normally don’t introduce two new songs in two weeks, but I couldn’t pass this one up because it so beautifully illustrates the passage we will be in this week. With lyrics like “Those He saves are His delight, He will hold me fast” and “He’ll not let my soul be lost, His promises shall last”, this song accurately reminds us that a soul once saved can never be lost. No one can take us out of the Father’s hand!

Grace - CityALight

We introduced this song last Sunday, and it’s a great introduction to our time around the Lord’s table. There is great beauty in solid words and a simple melody. This song captures that well, and it also beautifully describes the great grace that “leads us home”, grace that restores us, grace that frees us.

Death Was Arrested - NorthPoint Worship

We’ll conclude our service by celebrating together with this song of victory! Thought Christ’s life, death & resurrection we have been made new!

Preparing for Sunday - October 28, 2018

Hi Shoreliners,

It was such a privilege to share God’s word with you last Sunday! Thank you for allowing me to serve you and our Savior. Pastor Pilgrim is back this week, and we’ll be back in the book of John, seeing how Jesus is our great Shepherd.

Let’s come together joyfully on Sunday to praise our God! He delights in our praise!

Come ready to sing the following songs:

Famous One - Chris Tomlin

Over and over in scripture we read that God’s name will be great among the nations. We know that His purposes will come to pass, and He desires to use us in His great plan for this world. We’ll start off our service by echoing scripture, declaring that His name is great!

The Solid Rock - Traditional

We’ll continue our praise by reminding ourselves that Christ is the only true rock, our source of strength, our help in times of trouble. This great hymn illustrates this truth by comparing everything else in this world to “sinking sand.” Let us hold fast to Christ!

A Mighty Fortress is Our God - Martin Luther

As we near the 501st anniversary of the Reformation, it’s important to sing this great hymn written by the author of the Reformation himself, Martin Luther. This hymn reminds us that God is in control, He will prevail over the evil one, and His kingdom reigns forever!

Grace - CityAlight

As we close out our time of singing, I’m excited to introduce this new song to you. There is great beauty in solid words and a simple melody. This song captures that well, and it also beautifully describes the great grace that “leads us home”, grace that restores us, grace that frees us. Make sure to listen to this song before Sunday!

I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous) - Traditional (Chris Tomlin arr.)

We’ll conclude our service by once again thanking our Savior for the work of the cross. May we live for him daily in response to His great love!

Preparing for Sunday - October 21, 2018

Hi Shoreliners,

Charles Spurgeon had this to say about corporate worship: “Singing the divine praises is the best possible use of speech: it speaks of God, for God, and to God, and it does this in a joyful and reverent manner.  Singing in the heart is good, but singing with heart and voice is better, for it allows others to join with us. Jehovah is our God, our covenant God, therefore let him have the homage of our praise; and he is so gracious and happy a God that our praise may best be expressed in joyful song.

Let’s come together joyfully on Sunday praise our God! He delights in our praise!

Come ready to sing the following songs:

Hosanna (Praise is Rising) - Paul Baloche

We’ll start off our service by praising the Lord for the change that happens when we become His child. Hope is stirred, hearts yearn, eyes are opened! He is our Savior, worthy of all our praises!

The Lion and the Lamb - Big Daddy Weave

We’ll continue our praise by singing about what will happen in the future. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord! He is our unstoppable God.

Our Great God - Fernando Ortega

This song speaks of the sovereignty of our Lord over all creation, as well as over our lives. We are “weak and frail, helpless in the storm”, He comes to our rescue by conquering death & Satan and by providing us with a Redeemer! There is no other response but, Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!

Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery - Matt Boswell

As we close out our time of singing, we’ll reflect on the work of Christ in this beautiful song. He is the true and better Adam, come to save us, who are bound for hell. He is the fulfillment of the law, and it’s in Him that we stand!

Jesus, Thank You - Sovereign Grace

We’ll conclude our service by once again thanking our Savior for the work of the cross. May we live for him daily in response to His great love!

Preparing For Sunday - October 14, 2018

Hi Shoreliners,

I’m looking forward to gathering together on Thursday this week to conclude our fast and spend some concerted time in prayer and corporate worship! I’m praying that Thursday will be refreshing and encouraging as we sing and pray together. Here are the songs that we’ll be singing on Thursday & Sunday:

Come ready to sing the following songs:

Thursday:

1. Cannons - Phil Wickam

2.   Mediator - Ghost Ship 

3.   Come behold the Wondrous Mystery - Matt Boswell

4.   You never let go - Matt Redman

5.   Your Name - Paul Baloche

6.   All Glory be to Christ - Kings Kaleidoscope 

7.   Be Thou My Vision - Traditional

Sunday:

1. God of Wonders - Third Day

2. Our God - Chris Tomlin

3. I Saw the Light - Traditional

4. Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) - Chris Tomlin

5. Be Thou My Vision - Traditional

Preparing for Sunday - September 30, 2018

Hi Shoreliners,

How have you responded to the “great invitation”? Are you drinking daily in His word - being filled by the Holy Spirit and living for His glory? This week, we’ll continue in our study of John and move in to chapter eight!

Come ready to sing the following songs:


Holy is the Lord - Chris Tomlin

Last Sunday, we sang the powerful hymn - Holy, Holy, Holy. This week we’ll open by again proclaiming God’s holiness. The earth is filled with His glory!

’Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus - Traditional

We’ll continue singing this comforting hymn which reminds us of the joy, hope, and peace we have in our relationship with Christ. My favorite line in this hymn is “how I proved Him o’er and o’er.” We can look back at our lives and recount His faithfulness, and we know that He will be with us to the end! 

10,000 Reasons - Matt Redman

After we read a portion of Psalm 103 - we’ll sing this beloved song by Matt Redman based on the same psalm. 

All Glory be to Christ - Kings Kaleidoscope 

We’ll close out our time of singing with our new song of the month. There is not better way to close than by bringing all glory to Christ and the work He has done!

It is Finished - The Modern Post

Last Sunday, Pastor Pilgrim quoted the second verse of this song - “There’s no sacrifice to offer, there’s no penance to complete. Freely drink of living water, without money come and feast.”  What an amazing truth! Because of the finished work on the cross, we can draw near to Christ and drink deeply. We’ll close our service with this upbeat song.

Preparing for Sunday - September 23, 2018

Hi Shoreliners,

“Corporate worship is designed to make you thankful, not just for possessions and accomplishments, but for what you’ve been given in Christ.” -Paul David Tripp

Come ready to sing the following songs:

Open the Eyes of My Heart - Paul Baloche

Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:18, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people”. As we start our service, we’ll ask the Lord to open the eyes of our hearts to know and understand “the hope to which he has called us”. 

Sooner Count the Stars - Sovereign Grace

We’ll continue singing this great song that focuses on the indescribable nature of our God. No “praise is high enough, words deep enough or song sweet enough” to fully define His love for us! 

Holy Holy Holy - Traditional (Ghost Ship arrangement)

At Shoreline, we love to sing old and new songs. This favorite hymn written by Reginald Heber in 1826, is based off the Nicene Creed. The words evoke a sense of awe at the majesty of God, and call on all of creation – humans, saints and angels, and all living things – to praise the Godhead three-in-one.

You are my All in All - Dennis Jernigan 

Our last two songs are popular ones from the 1990’s and they both communicate great truths to us. This one reminds us that Christ is sufficient for everything we need in our lives. When we take our eyes off the world, and place them on Christ, He truly can become our “all in all.”

Amazing Love - Billy Foote

We’ll finish our service by praising the Lord for the finished work on the cross and rejoicing in His amazing love for us. 

Preparing for Sunday - September 16, 2018

Hi Shoreliners,

John MacArthur recently said, “The heart can only go as high in worship as it can go deep in theology.” That’s why it is important to study the word verse by verse, especially the “hard sayings” that we learned about last week. This Sunday we’ll get in to chapter seven and continue our study together.

Come ready to sing the following songs:

Forever - Chris Tomlin

Psalm 148 tells us that all of the universe is involved in praising the Lord. We’ll start by praising Him for his faithfulness, His strength and His committed love.

Hymn of the Ages - Rend Collective

As we continue singing, we’ll turn our praise to Jesus as we sing about the author of salvation, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is the preeminent one throughout all of history, and every knee will bow in worship!

Your Name - Paul Baloche

Our last two songs, before we worship by hearing God’s word, focus on exalting Christ for who He is and what He’s done. This song by Paul Baloche is taken from Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Behold our God - Sovereign Grace

In this song, we worship God for His shear majesty and greatness. Taken from Isaiah 40:12-17, it asks us questions that we would not dare to answer except with “Only You, Lord!” We are called to consider and adore Him, there is nothing that can compare to Him!

All Glory be to Christ - Kings Kaleidoscope

We introduced this song last week. It goes along well with the book of John as we study the “I AM” statements. Jesus is the great I AM, He is faithful and true. When we seek to live our lives centered in His will, we know we can have confidence that everything will “work together for good”. It’s when we look to do things in our own strength that “no legacy will survive”. When we have this perspective we can truly say “All glory be to Christ our King!”

Preparing for Sunday - September 9, 2018

Hi Shoreliners,

I really enjoyed our family service last Sunday. It was great to get the kids involved a little bit by reading scripture. Next time, I’d love to see a few singing with us on the worship team! This week we’ll be learning a new song and continuing to exalt Christ, the I AM, our Redeemer and Deliverer both through our songs and through our teaching as we finish out chapter six of John.

Come ready to sing the following songs:

This is Amazing Grace - Phil Wickam

Last Sunday, we sang a couple great songs focusing on God’s grace in our lives. We’ll continue this theme as we start on Sunday morning - remembering the great work of redemption that was accomplished by Jesus. 

Everlasting God - Chris Tomlin

As we continue singing, we’ll turn our focus to God’s attributes as reflected in the book of Isaiah. He is the almighty, everlasting God who cares for the weak and promises to give strength to His people. May we look to Him and stand on the promises of His word!

Cornerstone - Hillsong

Speaking of standing on His promises, this solid hymn arrangement encourages us to look to Christ for our salvation and for our daily strength. He is the solid rock, our Cornerstone - the unchanging God who is constant in the midst of a chaotic world. 

All Glory be to Christ - Kings Kalaidoscope

I’m so excited to sing this new song with you. It goes along well with the book of John as we study the “I AM” statements. Jesus is the great I AM, He is faithful and true. When we seek to live our lives centered in His will, we know we can have confidence that everything will “work together for good”. It’s when we look to do things in our own strength that “no legacy will survive”. When we have this perspective we can truly say “All glory be to Christ our King!”

There is a Redeemer - Keith Green

We’ll finish our service with this classic song that brings glory to Christ for being our Redeemer. Thank you Father for sending us Your Son!

Spiritual Disciplines: BIBLE READING

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In a recent survey, I asked some people from our congregation to anonymously answer a few questions about their Bible reading. The results weren't too surprising:

  • 62% Read their Bibles between the hours of 5am and 9am
  • 15% Read their Bibles after 9am in the morning
  • 15% Read their Bibles in the evening
  • 8% Read their Bibles late at night
  • 54% Spend about 20-30 minutes reading
  • 31% Read for about 10-20 minutes
  • 8% Read for more than 30 minutes
  • 8% Read for less than 10 minutes

The majority of Christians are reading their Bibles daily, in the early morning, for about 30 minutes or less, but how many of them are memorizing Scripture?

We have been studying the "Spiritual Disciplines" and up until now have discussed "Fasting," "Prayer," "Confession," and what the Spiritual Disciplines are in general. We've pointed out how important it is to our walk with Christ that we’re practicing various disciplines in order to grow in the knowledge of Jesus (2 Peter 1:3-11). But none of the disciplines are as effective against temptation--or in building us up in our faith--as the discipline of Scripture Reading & Memorization.

How Did Jesus Overcome Temptation?

In the wilderness, as Jesus was being tempted after 40 days of fasting, Satan came and suggested that He turn stones into bread and satiate His physical hunger. Jesus responded with Scripture. Later, Satan brings Jesus to the top of the temple in Jerusalem and encourages Him to throw Himself down (himself quoting Scripture out of context)--and Jesus' response is to defend Himself by quoting Scripture. Finally, as Satan parades all the kingdoms that have ever been established on the earth, he offers them to Jesus if only He would bow down and worship him. Jesus says, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” (Matthew 4:10).

At this point, Satan exits stage right, until another opportune time. How did Jesus defeat Satan's attacks? By quoting Scripture!

In the longest Psalm (and chapter of our Bibles for that matter!), David expresses his love, appreciation, and reverence for the Scriptures. One of the major ideas he points out in Psalm 119 is the reality of hiding God's Word in his heart:

9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.

10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!

11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Notice that the remedy for an impure lifestyle as a young man is to guard against temptation with Scripture. David implores the Lord not to let him wander from the commands of God laid out in the law. He explains that the secret to victory over sin is to "store up Your word in my heart". How do we store up God's Word in our hearts? How do we--like Jesus--readily quote Scripture depending on the temptation?

The answer is reading and memorizing the Bible.

Reading and Memorizing

One year I made it a goal to memorize the entire book of Ephesians with the aim of reciting the entire book to our students at youth group on New Year's Eve at the end of the year. Falling behind during the holidays, I went into the final week of the year with all of chapter 5 and 6 still unfinished. So I decided to print up cards that had about 5-10 verses on each of them, and at every stop light on my morning and late afternoon commute I would read through the verses until I could recite them. By the end of that week, I had succeeded! Scripture memory was not insurmountable; I simply needed a goal--even one that seemed impossible--and a daily commitment to read and commit to the task.

Is it important to pick a translation you enjoy. At Shoreline, we teach from the NKJV, but in my personal devotional time, I read the ESV. I have always liked memorizing the NIV(84), but that translation is no longer in print. So currently I am working on memorizing Romans in the ESV. There are lots of great tactics and tricks that can help you with memorization, and I employ many of these to assist me. But I also find the value in memorizing various verses throughout the Bible.

(This is a flashcard set of 365 important verses in the Bible and a great way to learn a verse a day for the next year! https://quizlet.com/16217081/flashcards)

Are you reading and memorizing Scripture? For our next blog post, we will dive into the importance of meditating on the Word, and the discipline of Bible study.

Pilgrim Benham

Spiritual Disciplines: PRAYER

Leonard Ravenhill said, "No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.”

A Survey on Prayer

In a recent survey, people were asked some specific questions about their prayer life. This was fascinating:

  • Of those who say God exists, 70% pray daily, as do 10% of those who don't believe in God. 
  • 42% ask for material things when they pray
  • 45% of 18 to 24 year olds pray meditatively
  • 91% of women pray, as do 85% of men. 
  • 32% regularly feel a deep sense of peace: 12% never experience this. 
  • 26% regularly sense the strong presence of God: 21% never do. 
  • 15% regularly receive a definite answer to a specific prayer, 27% never have, 25% have once or twice. 

Ask the average Christian, and most of them would say they are praying daily. They may pray in one spot at a repeated time, or "reflexively" throughout the day as situations arise. Certainly Scripture exhorts us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." How does one 'pray without ceasing'? By living in a constant communion with the Lord--from the opening of the eyes each morning to the close at the end of day--you are relying on God for your daily bread and are perpetually crying out to Him in adoration, confession, and thanksgiving.

The Sermon on the Mount

The spiritual discipline of prayer is something Jesus specifically instructs us about in His sermon on the mount, In Matthew 6:5-18, Jesus says, "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full."

The Pharisees (to whom Jesus is referring to here as hypocrites) loved to pray in front of others.  They were expert actors in the art of religiosity.  I wonder how many Christians today are the same way--expert actors--fooling everyone that they really love God, but behind closed doors, they take off the mask and are just like the world. Jesus says they have received their reward in full.  That means the reward they get is just some guy walking by saying, “Oh, wow, he’s praying.  Cool. Man, what a guy”. But Jesus says we are to be different than the religious hypocrites who are fakes:

"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

The Prayer Closet

Not "if" you pray. But 'when'. Jesus encourages us to go to a private place, and spend time speaking with our Father in heaven. This is what we call ‘the prayer closet’.  This is not the location where your wife's dozens of shoes are tucked away, but where you go away and get alone with God.  Do you have that place? Maybe it’s your room, or maybe a place under a tree or on the beach. For many, their prayer "closet" is simply that same chair where they sit down and seek the Lord. For others, it is the driver's seat of an empty car during a morning commute. Wherever it is, it is a place where only God sees you, and you aren’t praying simply to impress others. Notice verse 7:

"And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

Short and Simple

For many years, I thought that the longer and more 'spiritual' a prayer, the more spiritual the person.  But this is simply not true. Sometimes people start their prayers with, “Oh God, Ruler and Master of the Universe…”  They use formal titles of respect for a God they are completely unfamiliar with.  I love prayers that are short and simple and direct.  I think that is the picture here also that Jesus is striking in our dependent, reflexive prayer life of communion with the Father.  When you read through the Psalms, you see short, simple and direct prayers that are true to David’s heart:

“Oh God, save me!”

“Help me Lord!”

“My heart is thirsty for you God!”

We often think that we need to pray long, drawn out prayers so God will stop running the universe and say, “Wow!  THAT is a prayer!  Gabriel, Michael, come here!  Listen to this!  This woman is using such eloquent speech when she prays!  I’ll definitely answer her prayers from now on!”

The pagans would pray to their false gods by babbling phrases over and over, in a sort of incantation that would invoke empathy or mercy. But Jesus says that our Father knows what we need before we even ask.  So if He knows, why do we bother asking?

Why Pray?

I believe it is to commune with Him. Jesus was equal with the Father, and yet completely dependent upon Him (John 5:30). Why did Jesus bother to pray constantly throughout His public ministry? Because it afforded time to speak with and fellowship with His heavenly Father.

A.W. Tozer said, “Sometimes I go to God and say, "God, if Thou dost never answer another prayer while I live on this earth, I will still worship Thee as long as I live and in the ages to come for what Thou hast done already. God’s already put me so far in debt that if I were to live one million millenniums I couldn’t pay Him for what He’s done for me.” 

Often God will not answer our prayers--not because He is unable or is too busy--but because we are praying with wrong intention. James said in his letter, “You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures" (James 4:2-3).

God simply wants us to ask.  But when we do ask, sometimes we don’t receive what we are asking for because we are asking with the wrong motives.

Have you ever prayed for something that you never got? Did you end up grateful that you didn’tget it when things turned out later?

“Lord, please let this guy propose to me and marry me!”

“Lord, please let this business deal go through!"

“God, I beseech you, by your authority in heaven and earth, please give me a new Camaro."

We ask with the wrong motives, so often God is gracious to not answer our prayers in the affirmative. We are to pray "in Jesus' name", which simply means to ask as if Jesus Himself were interceding. Ask yourself this question: Is this a prayer that is in line with what Jesus would pray? Is this a Biblical prayer? Will the answer to this prayer conform me into the image of Christ? Will it help glorify God through my life?

Keep Asking

In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus nears the conclusion of the sermon on the mount with these words:

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."

Asking is very general.  You askthe store clerk to help you find vegan pancake mix (which sounds like a mistake).  But seekingis a little more intense.  You’ve asked, but now you are vigorously seeking after it, pacing up and down the aisles at Whole Foods desperate for your breakfast. Knocking is even more persistent still: now you are pounding on the manager’s office door, saying, “I need my V-cakes!"

That's a silly example, but I wonder how many of us view prayer the way Jesus describes it in Matthew 7. Asking, seeking, knocking. The Greek tense implies a continual asking, a continual seeking, a persistent, unending knock on the door of Heaven.

We aren't to give up on God because he hasn’t answered one of your prayers.

Often I'll ask someone how many times they have prayed for this? They answer, “once.” No! We should be constantly praying, submitting our prayer requests to the Lord. Often we don't pray but talk to others about the problem rather than the One who can resolve it in an instant.

The Lord's Prayer

On one occasion, Jesus' disciples wanted to know HOW to pray.  They asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, and Jesus did.  In Matthew 6 verse 9, Jesus gives them what we call "The Lord's Prayer". It is actually more accurately known as 'the disciples' prayer": 

9 "This, then, is how you should pray: 
"'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 
10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 
11 Give us today our daily bread. 
12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' 
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. 

Does it get more simple than that? Jesus says prayer is this:

  1. Submit your life to your heavenly Father.
  2. Give Him the honor and glory He is due.
  3. Trust His will and invite Him to do His work in His way.
  4. Ask for Him to provide for your needs today.
  5. Confess your sins and in prayer forgive others who have sinned against you.
  6. Beseech Him to protect you and direct you away from the path of evil.

And notice that Jesus tells us to ask for 'daily' bread? That means we need to go to Him today. And tomorrow. And every new day until we are with Him in glory. We have the privilege of seeking the Father in prayer and trusting Him to answer. No man is greater than his prayer life. So rise up, and be greater today!

Pastor Pilgrim

Preparing for Sunday - August 26, 2018

Hi Shoreliners,

We’re excited to gather together again this Sunday and worship with you! As we finish out the month of August, we’ll once again be singing about our firm foundation - Christ Jesus. We’ll also be continuing in our study of John, starting chapter six and learning that Jesus is Sufficient!

Come ready to sing the following songs:

Nothing but the Blood - Traditional (arr. by Andy Cherry)

We’ll kick off our service by focusing on the saving, atoning work of Christ as communicated in this beloved hymn. In an age when many are denying the atonement, we must point to God’s word - “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins”. Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant, we no longer have to sacrifice bulls & goats, Jesus’ sacrifice perfectly satisfied the demands of the law! 

Indescribable - Chris Tomlin

As we continue singing, we’ll turn our focus to the indescribable nature of God’s attributes as revealed in creation. Romans 1:20 says, “For His invisible attributes, namely His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” We too, being His creation, were made to worship and give Him glory. We can join along with creation and say - “You are amazing God!”

Jesus, Firm Foundation - Various

This is our new song for the month of August. It is based off the hymn “How Firm a Foundation” written in 1787 by Robert Keene. This hymn has encouraged the body of Christ for over 200 years, and this new rendition continues in this tradition by adding a great bridge and chorus. “We will not be shaken, Jesus firm foundation!”

All I Have is Christ - Sovereign Grace

We’ll finish our opening time of singing with this sobering, yet joyful song. We were once lost in the dark of night, totally blind to our situation, but God came in with His marvelous light and redeemed us. Hallelujah! All we have is Christ!

Build My Life - Passion

We’ll finish our service with this powerful song that calls us to build our lives on the word and work of Christ. He alone is worthy, and we joyfully give our lives to serve Him!

Spiritual Disciplines: FASTING

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Fasting: Receipt through abstention

Guest Writer: Joe Beery

Sanctify a fast...and...say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach...Then will the Lord...answer and say...Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things" (Joel 2:12-32) 

When I was at a music festival in high school, I heard a speaker say that, “fasting was like pouring gasoline on the fire of your prayers.” Being the 16-year-old pyromaniac that I was, this image was burned into my memory. That story jumps to my mind often, and I share it with people at least once every few months. And yet—I suck at fasting. I don’t have anything close to a schedule that I follow, and I’ll usually only remember that I should fast when I want God to give me something or when I feel like the world’s crashing down around me. 

I’m also pretty sure that I’m not alone on this one. I contend that most Christians in the West today only think of the discipline of fasting when they’re considering a fad diet. (And that’s not to let my Eastern brothers and sisters off the hook; I’m only speaking for what I know). This isn’t a dig on the health benefits of fasting—often God’s commandments prove to beneficial to our bodies and our souls. But the abandonment of such a powerful discipline is concerning: more than begrudgingly turning the discipline into a ritual (like prayer) or failing to follow the discipline but recognizing that it should be done (like giving sacrificially), fasting seems to have fallen totally off the radar. 

Scripture provides a 3-chord understanding of the practice in the form of answering 3 “W” questions. 

1. What is fasting? 

In more vivid colors, the question reads, “Is fasting purely an abstention from food, or are there other manifestations of this practice?” The typical biblical fast is certainly one from food; there are also instances where God’s people engage in absolute fasts, abstaining from food andwater. Furthermore, there are some examples of abstaining beyond food and drink; for example, Paul encourages married couples to abstain from giving their bodies to one another for a season of spiritual formation, and then to come together again.[1]

One of the most important take-aways here is that fasting is not abstaining from sin. The joining of a husband and wife, or the taking in of food for sustenance, are both high-order goods. These are gifts from God. You don’t “fast” from porn or from gluttony—you mortify these sins through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Fasting is something else entirely. In order to “discipline the flesh” and “make it a slave,” (i Cor. 9:27), we are called to spend time denying ourselves goodthings that werightlydesire for a season as a reminder that they are not ultimatethings. This discipline has been furniture in the house of Orthodoxy since the earliest days: Tertullian wrote a treatise on the subject in A.D. 210. In it, he defended fasting as a better aid to religion than feasting. Polycarp, the disciple of John, urged fasting upon the saints as a powerful aid against temptation and fleshly lusts in A.D. 110. 

2. Who should fast? 

When reading about the biblical description of fasting, it should be immediately apparent how counter-cultural this discipline is. We live in the midst of a call to hedonism— “happiness” and “pleasure” are the ultimate aims of society. Spiritual formation as counter cultural isn’t unique, though. Jesus laid out the three essential components to Christian living that likely struck the same recalcitrance in His audience that it strikes in us: prayer, alms-giving, and fasting.[2]Christ’s command is, of course, backed by his practice—before beginning his ministry, Jesus fasted forty days and nights in the desert, enduring our temptation (Matt. 4:1–11). There’s no wiggle room: both Jesus’s actions and his teaching indicate the essential nature of fasting in the Christian life. 

There are also only one circumstance that the Bible says is not a time to fast: when the incarnated Logos is bodily with you (Mk. 2:19). Jesus, then says, once He’s departed, then his disciples will fast (Mk. 2:20). Essentially every other circumstance is demonstrated to be one where fasting is warranted. Mourning? “[The Israelites] mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the LORD and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.”[3]Worshipping? “While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”[4]In a season of preparation? “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me … When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”[5]Old? “Anna … was very old … She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.”[6]

3. Why should we fast? 

When Jesus teaches on fasting, there’s a promise linked with the commandment—as Paul reminds us in Eph. 6:1–3 (discussing obedience to parents), we should always be mindful of promises linked with commandments because God does not lie; His promises can be relied upon. Therefore, when Christ says in v. 18 that “your Father who sees [you fasting] in secret will reward you,” we can rely on that promise. 

Furthermore, we should fast for the very reason that I was told to fast at the music festival all those years ago: fasting is gasoline on the fire of our prayers. Historically, when men and women have linked fasting with prayer, they have witnessed the Shekinah glory—God’s manifest presence. From John Wesley to John Calvin, regular practices of fasting has led to revival, reconciliation, and reformation as the eyes of God’s people are lifted from the ordinary and set on the extraordinary.

Consider the words from Joel at the head of this blog: “Sanctify a fast...and...say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach...Then will the Lord...answer and say...Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things." This is an interpolation of a passage instructing the Israelites in pleading with the Lord for mercy and for the presence of God. We mustfast because we’re called to fasting; we must fast because we live in world woven through with the curses of Genesis 3, the “sin that so easily ensnares us,” with “an enemy that prowls like a hungry lion, seeking to devour us”; we must fast because the Church has been given a way to conform our hearts with the heart of our Creator, and to create immeasurable intimacy with Him. “Why should we fast?” Why wouldn’t we? 

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[1]i Cor. 7:5. It is debatable whether this call to abstain from intimacy is “fasting” in the purest sense of the word, however the heart motive appears to be the same—denying that which is not forbidden in order to further commit oneself to God.

[2]Matt. 6.

[3]2 Samuel 1:12.

[4]Acts 13:2.

[5]Esther 4:16.

[6]Luke 2:36–37. 

Preparing for Sunday - August 12, 2018

Hi Shoreliners,

I hope your Summer has gone well! As we finish out the Summer and get busy again with the school year, let’s keep daily worship and God’s glory as the focus. May 1 Corinthians 10:31 be our rallying cry: “…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This Sunday, we’ll continue in John 5, learning that Jesus is equal with the Father.

Come ready to sing the following songs:

Build Your Kingdom Here - Rend Collective

We’ll kick off our service by encouraging each other to make Christ supreme in our lives - “come set your rule and reign in our hearts again”. When we are walking in confidence in our relationship with Christ, the repercussions move into every area of our lives. We will desire to be used by the Lord, and we will truly see the kingdom of God making inroads into our culture.

Jesus, Firm Foundation - Various

We introduced this new song last week. It is based off the hymn “How Firm a Foundation” written in 1787 by Robert Keene. This hymn has encouraged the body of Christ for over 200 years, and this new rendition continues in this tradition by adding a great bridge and chorus. “We will not be shaken, Jesus firm foundation!”

Blessed be Your Name - Matt Redman

If Jesus is our firm foundation, then we can rest in Him no matter what trials and tribulations may come our way. This modern classic by Matt Redman encourages us to bless the name of the Lord through every situation.

Great is Thy Faithfulness - Traditional

We’ll finish our opening time of singing with this beloved hymn, which continues in the same theme of the last two songs. He gives us “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.” Great is His faithfulness!

In Christ Alone - Keith & Kristyn Getty

We’ll finish our service with this powerful song that speaks of great finished work of Christ on our behalf. We must continually put our faith in Christ alone, we stand in confidence through the death, love and power of Christ!

Spiritual Disciplines: CONFESSION

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The Potency of a Gracious Weapon: Practicing Confession

Guest Writer: Joe Beery

To shamelessly borrow an idea from Kathy Keller, if someone told me that there was a pill I could take that would enrich my friendships and arm me against temptation, I doubt I would hesitate to sign-up. Like many in my generation, I have found it difficult to make friends as I’ve moved out of the academic melting pot of high school and university, and I’ve also seen the staggering grip that sin has on our world. Even in the church, I’ve often found it difficult to move past awkward handshakes and a commentary on the weather with the people I think are genuinely interesting. In light of this discovery, I set out to find any common threads in the rich, deep friendships that I’ve made in my life. The answer? An earnest and frequent practice of mutually confessing our sins.

The Reformation and Confession

Confident that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way, I decided to ask around. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, I learned that confession was just as rare amongst the people I asked as in my own circles. I fear that, especially as Protestants, we threw the baby out with the bath water during the Reformation—we rejected exclusive confession to the Catholic Priests, but failed to embrace our counter argument: that we must, then, confess our sins to fellow believers in our community. When we confess our sins to one another, we forge trust. By taking off the carefully crafted masks that we show to the world, and having other people reciprocate, we are free to plumb the depths of nearly any topic because we genuinely know one another. Then, we can mutually delight in a broader range of topics. Literary genius C.S. Lewis wrote that friendship is the product of one person turning to another as they both enjoy some object or display and saying, “You too!? I thought I was the only one.” When we open our hearts to confess our sins to one another, we find the same sense of companionship in that moment of confession and in the subsequent conversations that our relationships are no longer marred by a sense of fake, or the unknown.

Confession is a Weapon!

The profound power of confession goes beyond grounding deep friendships. God reveals to us throughout the Scriptures that confession is a weapon we wield against sin, and the by-product is the refining of our hearts. Ephesians 5:11–14 (ESV) says, 

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, ’Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’

When we allow our sins to remain in darkness, they fester like a wound—the infection spreads from what we thought was a discrete area of our lives out into the rest of us. However, when we confess our sins, “exposing them to light,” then, “Christ shines on us,” and our hearts are brought into conformity with the will and purposes of God. Solomon warns that “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” (Proverbs 28:13). 

Oh! If we could understand the incredible power of confession! John says in his letter, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (i John 1:9). James exhorts us to “therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16 ). And the Psalmist, amidst war with his sin nature, writes, “I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ’I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.” (Psalm 32:5). When we feel as though we are at the mercy of our temptations, God tells us that we have been not a shield, but a weapon that the Holy Spirit, through the blood of Jesus Christ, empowers us to wield ferociously: by confessing our sins to one another, we are “cleansed of all unrighteousness,” and our prayers become the efficacious prayers of the righteous lauded in James. 

Are you willing?

Brother or sister, if you are willing to lay aside your pride and lean into the biblical practice of confessing your sins to other believers, you take a necessary step on the road toward glorification. Confession is more than mere ritual—it is the process by which you discover and uproot the “sin that so easily ensnares you.” (Heb. 12:1). You must spend time reflecting on the desires of your heart and the motivations of your actions to confess your sin and drown it in Christ’s blood. This point is important: you must confess the sins of your heart, for they are your sins. Unlike some other practices that can carried by a group, confession requires you to invert your internal walls of privacy—a solo act. 

To survive as the bride of Christ in the aftermath of Genesis 3, a world war torn by sin and temptation, we must lay claim to every weapon in our arsenal. The need to mortify sin and remain steadfast in our relationships with other believers is a primary concern in the Church, yet we have all but abandoned a spiritual discipline that directly leads to success in these areas. If we take the Bible seriously, and if we really care about holiness and our relationships, then we must seriously pursue the practice of confessing our sins. We must, quickly, seek out believers and build relationships upon the bedrock of confession to firm up our own souls, lest we abandon one of our greatest advantages out of synthetic, selfish pride. 

Preparing for Sunday - July 15, 2018

Hi Shoreliners,

We’re back into the swing of things with Pastor Pilgrim back from vacation and returning to our study in the book of John. If you missed last Sunday, make sure to listen online. This week we will finish out chapter three, learning that Jesus is above all! 

Come ready to sing the following songs:

Mediator - Ghost Ship

This song has become one of our favorites at Shoreline. It’s great to start our service with this energetic song taken directly from the words of scripture. It helps to remember at the outset of our service what Christ has done and it will help us direct our thoughts and attention to His great work!

Mighty to Save - Hillsong

We don’t sing this song very often, but as we consider this week that “Jesus is above all”, this song kicks off this triad of songs centered around this theme. He is the “author of salvation” and the mover of mountains. He shows His supremacy in our lives and in our salvation.

Our Great God - Fernando Ortega

As we continue singing, this song communicates that our God is above all in many spheres - in heaven, on earth, and in our daily lives. There is nothing left for us to do but to cry out, “Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!”

Jesus Paid it All - Traditional

We’ll finish our opening time of singing with this beloved hymn. It encourages us that even though we are children of weakness, Jesus is our “all in all”. This song once again shows us the supremacy of Christ in His work on the cross. His atonement truly “paid it all” and we can rest in this knowledge, secure in Christ!

Forever - Kari Jobe

We’ll finish our service with this powerful song that speaks of the unending, glorious rule of Christ. He is the Lamb that overcame, forever is He lifted high and exalted because of His great work!

Preparing for Sunday - June 17, 2018

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Hi Shoreliners,

The Benham family will be on vacation for the next couple weeks, so we have the privilege of having some great guest pastors come and share the word with us. This week, Pastor Carl Dixon is coming and will be teaching us how to be filled with the Spirit. Pastor Carl is a man worthy of respect and honor, this Sunday is not to be missed!

Come ready to sing the following songs:

Your Love Awakens Me - Phil Wickam

We’ll start our service by praising the Lord for opening up our eyes to believe the gospel. Jesus’ work on the cross broke down the walls between us, and by His grace we now have access to the Father. His love is great! And He is greatly to be praised!

Hosanna (Praise is Rising) - Paul Baloche

We’ll continue with the theme of salvation by singing this great song by Paul Baloche. This song describes some of the changes that happen when we get saved - praise rises, eyes are opened, broken hearts are healed and hope is stirred. He is worthy of all our praise!

Cornerstone - Hillsong

Our final two songs reflect on God’s sovereignty and care in our lives. We’ll start by sining this modern version of “My Hope is built on Nothing Less” by Hillsong Worship. If our hope is built on Christ, then we can have confidence in his sovereign plan for our lives, no matter what “storms” may come our way. He is Lord over all!

It is Well With My Soul - Traditional

We’ll finish our time of corporate worship by singing this great hymn. It if filled with beautiful metaphors that describe our lives and our relationship with Christ. Lines like, “when peace like a river”, “when sorrows like sea billows role”, “my sin not in part, but the whole, was nailed to the cross and I bear it no more”. We can honestly sing, “It is well with my soul” because of what Christ has done. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord oh my soul! 

Give me Faith - Elevation

We’ll finish our service by coming to the Lord in humility and asking Him to increase our faith. We are weak in our sinful flesh, but we have been given a new nature and have been made new creations in Christ. As we walk with the Lord, we grow in faith as we give glory to Him. The Holy Spirit enables us to walk in faith and trust in His goodness. May we be filled daily!

Preparing for Sunday - June 10, 2018

Hi Shoreliners,

How is your week going? Are you filling your mind with God’s word, seeking to be filled by Him every day? As we seek to live out Romans 12:1-2, I’m more and more convinced that what we fill our heads with affects this in a monumental way. Let us be a church categorized by our knowledge of God’s word, not our knowledge of movie quotes or sports stats. May we be living our lives with an eternal perspective! I’m looking forward to worship with you on Sunday!

Come ready to sing the following songs:

How Great Thou Art - Traditional (Paul Baloche arr.)

This is one of the most popular hymns, sung by believers in many languages all across the world. It was written by a Swedish poet in 1885, translated into German, then into Russian and became a hymn. Our English version was translated in 1949 by English missionary Stuart Hine. However, it wasn’t until George Beverly Shea started singing it during Billy Graham’s crusades that it became such a popular hymn here in America. Since then it has exploded, and not a Sunday goes by without many churches singing this great hymn about the greatness of our God!

Forever - Chris Tomlin

We’ll continue our time of singing by worshipping our God for His faithfulness in all seasons of life. This song is based on a number of psalms, but we’ll be reading 1 Chronicles 16:8-12, which says in part “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!”

Hymn of the Ages - Rend Collective

We introduced this new song from Rend Collective last Sunday. It is a well-written, singable song extolling the majesty and greatness of our triune God. We are beggars, standing in awe of what Christ has done. He is our redemption, the hope of all the world, the alpha and omega without end. O that we would have a thousand tongues to sing His praise!

Build My Life - Passion

This song reminds us that Christ alone is worthy, and He alone can save. We must build our lives upon His word, it is a firm foundation that we can trust! Let us not be shaken!

All I have is Christ - Sovereign Grace

We’ll finish our service by directing all glory to Christ. We must remember where we were before Christ, understand the work of Christ on the cross, and know how that changes everything! It’s only when we understand our own unworthiness, can we truly understand our new life in Christ - Hallelujah! 

Preparing for Sunday - June 3, 2018

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Hi Shoreliners,

Last Sunday we prayed for David Bechtel - please be lifting him up as he starts this new stage in his life! This week we’ll be continuing in John 2 and celebrating the Lord’s table together. May we be as zealous as Jesus was about true worship!

Come ready to sing the following songs:

It is Finished - Dustin Kensrue

What a great way to start off our service by rejoicing that our debt is paid, and we can stand righteous before the Father through what Jesus did at the cross. This is a great, upbeat song that reminds us “only by the work of Jesus can salvation be secured.” The work on the cross is finished! Let us sing and rejoice!

All Creatures of our God and King - Traditional (Sovereign Grace arr.)

I love this arrangement of one of our oldest hymns - especially the last two verses added by Sovereign Grace. We need to lift up our voices and sing to the Lord, praising him for His work in creation, His work on the cross, and His future work when we returns “in power to reign.”

10,000 Reasons - Matt Redman

We’ll conclude our opening time of singing by reflecting on the words of Psalm 103. May God give us the grace to bless His name every day, all throughout our lives.

Man of Sorrows - Hillsong

As we prepare our hearts for communion, we’ll sing this song, taken from the words of Isaiah 53 -“He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” We look not to ourselves, but to the old rugged cross for our salvation, all praise and honor must be directed to Jesus!

Hymn of the Ages - Rend Collective

We’ll close out our service by singing this new song from Rend Collective. It is a well-written, singable song extolling the majesty and greatness of our triune God. We are beggars, standing in awe of what Christ has done. He is our redemption, the hope of all the world, the alpha and omega without end. As we finish our service, o that we would have a thousand tongues to sing His praise!