God promises…”I will hear your prayers”

God makes this astounding promise to his children…Isaiah 65:24…Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.

God is making this promise: “My child, I promise that I will hear your prayers – in the midst of your sadness and grief, or in the moment of your crisis, or in the depths of our loneliness, or when you feel abut to be overwhelmed – I will hear your cries for help, pleas for protection, appeals for provision, requests for wisdom …”

Join us this Sunday as we let this amazing promise encourage our faith and strengthen our prayers!

Working With You for Your Joy

Mercy Hill’s new elder team* met for the first time recently. We began our time reflecting on Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 1:24…Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.” It is a statement of the role of elders and their servant-leadership in the church.

So we asked the obvious question: “How do we, as elders, work with our people for their joy?” It was a robust conversation. So much came back to helping people find their joy in Jesus Christ alone, evidenced by a steadfastness of their faith in him. How do we lead and structure the church to help in that goal?

Please pray for the elders as they meet again soon. This is an important time in the life of Mercy Hill Church. Pray that they will be men led by the Spirit; full of love and grace; wise, thoughtful and strategic.

(*Terry Berthel, Jack Dean, Ryan Guerra, Craig Sturm, Bob Vishanoff)

We’re Outdoors Tomorrow! (July 19)

park2015We will meet tomorrow (July 19) for a special outdoor time of simple worship, eating and playing together, and of course…ice cream – in celebration of National Ice Cream Day!

Bring your own lunch. We’ll provide lemonade, water, and ice cream (with toppings).

Time = 11:00am

Location = Easton Park in West Chicago (map)

“I Will Never Leave You” Preview

When you face the challenges of your life, God commands, “Be strong and courageous; be faithful.” And he makes the same promise to you that he made to Joshua: “You can do so because I will be with you forever. I will not abandon you.” Join us this Sunday at Mercy Hill as we explore God’s promise: “I Will Never Leave You.”

Annual Meeting Highlights

anlmtgIt was an important and exciting time as Mercy Hill had her first ever Annual Meeting on Sunday, June 28. Here are some of the highlights from that meeting:

  • 25 men and women agreed together to become the inaugural members of Mercy Hill Church!
  • Those members then agreed together to function under the proposed Mercy Hill Church Constitution and By-Laws.
  • The members next, joyfully affirmed five men as the first elder/pastor team of Mercy Hill: Terry Berthel; Jack Dean; Ryan Guerra; Craig Sturm; and Bob Vishanoff.
  • Finally, the members approved the proposed FY2015-16 Budget that began on July 1, 2015.

Thanks for all those who were able to attend. May God be glorified in his church as we faithfully pursue his call to make disciples!

I Promise…I Will Love You Eternally

promiseslogoOur confidence, our hope is not that we will never forsake Jesus, nor that we will always love and treasure him perfectly. Our confidence, our hope is in the love of God for us – because his love for us will never change, because he will never change. He has promised to love us with an eternal love that will never diminish, never walk away.

God chose us before the foundation of the world; set his saving love on us; called us and enabled us to believe; he reconciled us to himself (not sparing his own Son, but delivering him up for us); he will bring us home in glory. God has done this. He will not fail.

This is a profound promise God makes to his children! Listen to the message: I Will Love You Eternally (from Rom. 8:35-39).

 

“I Promise…” Week 2 Preview

In a very soulful, poignant new melody, singer/songwriter Joy Williams sings: “I may never understand why I walked so far away. I may never understand why you stayed…I tried and I failed…And you loved me.” As I listened, I wondered: “Is she talking about a person, or is she talking about God?” Could go either way I guess!

Human love, at its best, will always have moments of failure, moments of selfishness. But God promises those who are his children: “I will love you eternally – no wavering, no failure, no abandonment, always for your good.”

This Sunday at Mercy Hill, we continue the “I Promise…” series by looking at how Romans 8:35-39 reveals this wonderful promise. In the text, Paul will ask: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Spoiler alert…he will answer: nothing or no one, “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Join us Sunday as we walk the journey between the question and the answer to get a glimpse of the eternal, unchanging, hope-giving love of God in Jesus!

“I Promise to Forgive Your Sin Forever!”

promiseslogoThis Sunday, we began a series of messages titled: “I Promise…” subtitled, “Trusting in the Faithfulness of God” with one of the most amazing, profound promises that God makes to his children – from Psalm 103…as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” In a sense, God says to us: “I will forgive your sin forever!”

In a previous generation, Charles Spurgeon exploded in praise over the incredible truth in this passage…

“O, glorious verse, no word even on the inspired page can excel it! Sin is removed from us by a miracle of love! What a load to move, and yet it is removed so far that the distance is incalculable…If this is the distance of its removal, there is no shade of fear that it will ever be brought back. Even Satan could not achieve such a task!”

Listen to the sermon: I Will Forgive Your Sin Forever.

Why Parent/Child Dedications?

This Sunday, we have the joy to dedicate two sets of parents and two wonderful little boys! Here’s an explanation of why we do what we do…

Why “Parent & Child Dedications”?

  • The practice of child dedication is based on scriptural precedent, rooted in the Old Testament, in which Jesus was presented to the Lord in the temple as an infant (Luke 2:22-35).
  • The practice of child dedication is also based on, and acknowledges, God’s blessing towards and care for children (Isaiah 54:13; Matthew 18:1-5, 10; 19:13-15; Luke 18:15-17; Acts 2:39; 1 John 2:12-13).
  • The practice of child dedication is fundamentally an act of the parents. It is a commitment that parents make in their heart before Jesus and agree to live out in their home together. The dedication we perform during the church gathering is simply a public acknowledgment of that commitment.
  • In dedicating a child, parents acknowledge that their children are a gift given to them by God (Genesis 33:5; Psalm 127:3-5). As such they are a blessing, privilege, and tremendous source of joy (Proverbs 23:24-25) — even though they require much labor. Ultimately, we recognize that they have been created by our Father in heaven (Psalm 139:13) and, as such, belong to him, though entrusted to parents to be raised in Christ (Exodus 13:2, 12).
  • In dedicating children, parents commit to live as people who, by the grace of God, have a genuine walk with Jesus. In this way, they are committing to live a life worthy of emulation so as to not serve as a stumbling block to their child’s ongoing faith and trust in Jesus. (Matt. 18:5-6)
  • At the same time, our church (elders, deacons, members and community) commits to supporting, encouraging and praying for parents, by the grace of God, as they seek to fulfill their God-given task of parenting and raising their child up in the knowledge of the Lord.

Child Dedication is Not:

  • Baptism: In order to avoid any confusion, it is important to note that dedicating children is neither a “dry” baptism nor a substitute for baptism. As a church, we recognize believer’s baptism (i.e. baptism following the placing of your faith in Jesus) as the biblical model of baptism.
  • Magic: This likely goes without saying, but it too needs to be said. The practice of dedicating children is not magic, nor a formula by which to manipulate God, nor does it place any kind of extra-special blessing or protection upon children, nor does it secure or ensure their immediate or eventual salvation.

(Adapted and used by permission from Downtown Cornerstone Church, Seattle, WA. http://www.downtowncornerstone.org/2014/04/30/mothers-day-child-dedications.)

“I Promise…” Week 1 Preview

This Sunday, we begin a series of messages titled: “I Promise…” subtitled, “Trusting in the Faithfulness of God” with one of the most amazing, profound promises that God makes to his children – from Psalm 103…as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” In a sense, God says to us: “I will forgive your sin forever!”

In a previous generation, Charles Spurgeon exploded in praise over the incredible truth in this passage…

“O, glorious verse, no word even on the inspired page can excel it! Sin is removed from us by a miracle of love! What a load to move, and yet it is removed so far that the distance is incalculable…If this is the distance of its removal, there is no shade of fear that it will ever be brought back. Even Satan could not achieve such a task!”

I welcome you to join with us, as we let the flood of God’s faithfulness wash over us to refresh our souls and to encourage our faith. God can be trusted. His promises never fail!

If you are looking for a church home, Mercy Hill meets at 10am at the Winfield Park District building.