Month: February 2015

Philippine Project Reminders…

UnSEEN2015_w_verseWe are so glad that at just a year old, God has given us the opportunity to partner with New Century Church in Los Banos, Philippines. Our team of Robb Davidson, April Dippy, and Craig Sturm leave for the Philippines on Monday! As the time for their departure draws near, here are a couple of important reminders…

  • Please be praying for their final preparations: sermons and lessons are being prepared; a workshop is being finalized; packing is happening. Be praying for health and safe travels. April has put together an entry on the project blog that highlights key events during the project that you can be praying for – at the time they are happening! Check into that often!
  • The team is still receiving donations of phones, digital cameras, and laptops. Please get those to the team by Sunday at the worship service. There is a need as well for donations to help offset the costs involved in the project. Those can be given on any Sunday or mailed (29W538 James Avenue, West Chicago, IL 60185). Please make checks out to Mercy Hill Church with “Philippine Project 2015” in the memo line. You can give that at any time, even after the team has left. Any funds left over will be used for future ministry partnership projects with New Century.

Making the Impossible Possible

indexSunday, we explored Jesus’ interaction with the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-27. This quote from Tim Keller was so helpful in seeing the central theme in the text:

Anyone who counts on what they are doing to get eternal life will find that, in spite of everything that they’ve accomplished, there’s an emptiness, an insecurity, a doubt. Something is bound to be missing. How can anyone ever know if they are good enough? (from King’s Cross)

After exposing the hopelessness of the man’s scenario, and indeed the hopeless for all of us, Jesus soars in verse 27…”With God all things are possible.” The Gospel makes the impossible possible!

Listen to the sermon: Making the Impossible Possible.

SIN: The Ultimate Outrage of the Universe (John Piper)

What makes sin sin is not first that it hurts people, but that it blasphemes God. This is the ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe.

  • The glory of God is not honored.
  • The holiness of God is not reverenced.
  • The greatness of God is not admired.
  • The power of God is not praised.
  • The truth of God is not sought.
  • The wisdom of God is not esteemed.
  • The beauty of God is not treasured.
  • The goodness of God is not savored.
  • The faithfulness of God is not trusted.
  • The promises of God are not relied upon.
  • The commandments of God are not obeyed.
  • The justice of God is not respected.
  • The wrath of God is not feared.
  • The grace of God is not cherished.
  • The presence of God is not prized.
  • The person of God is not loved.

The infinite, all-glorious Creator of the universe, by whom and for whom all things exist (Rom. 11:36)–who holds every person’s life in being at every moment (Acts 17:25)–is disregarded, disbelieved, disobeyed, and dishonored by everybody in the world. That is the ultimate outrage of the universe.

(From: What is Sin? The Essence and Root of All Sinning, by John Piper)

Marriage According to Jesus

indexThis past Sunday found us back in the book of Mark – chapter 10, verses 1-12. It is clear that the greater emphasis of Jesus in this passage is to show us the dignity, beauty, and importance of marriage. He raises the discussion on to a different plane altogether. The Pharisees want to talk about divorce; Jesus demands talking about marriage. Their primary interest was to see how far they could go in the realm of divorce and remarriage and still remain within the letter of the law. Jesus’ primary interest was in restoring men and women to the lifestyle for which they had been made. It is so hard for us to see this because, like the Pharisees, we want so much to have a detailed answer on the explosive issues of divorce and remarriage that we just blow by the essential nature of the purposes for marriage. But if we don’t get this, we won’t rightly get divorce and remarriage. Jesus knows this, and so drives the discussion back to its fundamental origin – God’s purposes in marriage.

Listen to the message, Marriage According to Jesus. Part of the series, Jesus the Servant King.

Mercy Hill Sunday Services Moving to Winfield – March 15!

A central and defining characteristic of MHC has been the call to “live on mission” as individual followers of Christ.

  • It is encouraging to see many at MHC living with “gospel intentionality” and representing Jesus in their communities.
  • What we call “living on mission,” is not dependent on the geography of where we meet on Sunday mornings. It is dependent on where God individually places each of us.

We have always considered it important to model “living on mission” not just individually, but as a church.

  • By God’s grace, so far, we’ve engaged in on-going opportunities to represent and share Jesus with one of the communities we are in – West Chicago.
  • The desire is to continue to build into those opportunities in West Chicago and pursue similar opportunities as a church in other surrounding communities.
  • We’ve been pursuing the “surrounding communities” aspect since last fall as some of our Winfield residents have had an increasing love for and opportunity to serve that community (CareFest opportunities, local school engagement, Ronald McDonald House and more).
  • We desire to keep moving forward in faith. To take what God has taught us as we’ve engaged West Chicago and use that model to also begin new and intentional engagement where God has clearly opened doors in Winfield. This is an exciting step!

When we began meeting at Turner Elementary in Feb. 2014, we agreed it was the best immediate place for us to gather as a new church. We intended to re-evaluate our meeting location in the fall of 2014. In the process of that evaluation God confirmed that while Turner was a providential meeting place for us at the start of Mercy Hill Church, it was not a long-term option.

bldg2_frontThe doors on the other opportunities we pursued in West Chicago closed. In the midst of that though, a door seemed to be opening in Winfield. Specifically at the Charles R. Beggs Recreation Center (Winfield Park District) on County Farm in Winfield. Not only was the facility suited for the needs of our church, but the park district staff were (to our surprise) very eager to consider the option for a church to meet there for the first time ever! After two months of conversation with park district staff, as well as prayer and consideration as elders and ministry leaders, we are confident that God is leading us to begin meeting in this really exciting new location.

The park district has been incredibly accommodating, and for example, has agreed to give us a 50% reduction in rental rate in order to allow us to maintain our current expense for rental. It also provides some on-site storage and other benefits that will reduce the workload on our volunteer efforts.
The plan for the transition is to complete our current rental contract with Turner that takes us through the first two Sundays of March, which means Sunday, March 15th will be our first Sunday meeting at the Charles R. Beggs Recreation Center.
Let’s bathe this decision in prayer…
  • Be praying with us for a smooth transition. There are a lot of logistics involved.
  • Be praying that God will continue to open doors to serve with a Gospel purpose everywhere MHC is represented.
  • Be praying about how he is calling you to continue serving within MHC and your own communities.

We understand that change of any kind or significance brings with it questions and feedback. Please bring those to any of the elders or ministry team leaders if we can help!

We are so excited to see how God continues to lead MHC in his plans for us in our individual communities and as a church in our CONTINUED efforts in West Chicago and NEW opportunities in Winfield!