Happy Birthday Woodside Plymouth

“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you.” (Ephesians 1:16–18, ESV)

A year ago today my family was loaded up (including Sparkle our rabbit) into our minivan with Joe and Grace Peper chasing us from behind in my old "Merc" leaving the relative comforts of my in-laws and venturing into the unknown of Plymouth, Michigan. A year ago last Sunday the membership of two churches, Woodside Bible Church and Plymouth Baptist both voted to become one church and to launch a new campus of Woodside Bible. What an amazing year it has been.

Lately, as I have read Ephesians I have felt a sense of unity with Paul in how he thinks of the church; with gratitude. I am so thankful for each of you at Woodside. But Paul also couples his gratitude of the church to the Lord with a request for the church. He prays that the Father would open the eyes of the hearts of the church to see and know the hope to which they have been called. Effectively, he prays that the church would have a clear vision of how incredibly great, in Christ, our future will be.

So how do we have any clue about how great the future will be for us? That’s what Paul tells us he is praying for in the first part of this passage. That the Father would give us a view of his glory, the Son’s authority, and the Spirit’s wisdom and that beyond just knowing these attributes about God we would really know, or maybe better said experience, who he is for us. Paul wants us today to know how great our tomorrow will be by the reality of knowing the kindness and love and grace that God has for us.

You may have heard me, here or there, say something to the effect of “in Christ our best days are in front of us.” That is absolutely true because of what Jesus has accomplished for us. He endured a lifetime looking forward to his future death so that we might, in this lifetime look forward to future life with him. And because of what he has purchased for us, all the best days lie in front of us, even if they are difficult day, because of the hope we have in Christ.

So I am praying that whatever the Sovereign Lord holds in his hand for each of us, and Woodside Bible Church, this next year that we would know and experience the hope to which he has called us. I want our eyes to be open to see God at work and his grace and mercy moving powerfully among us and through us to the world. Our future is incredibly bright!

Sunday Gathered Worship!

This Sunday will mark for us the one-year anniversary (or birthday) of Woodside Bible Church’s Plymouth Campus! So we will sing, and give thanks, and worship God as we usually do. Here’s what we will be singing, which you can listen to this weekend via Spotify.

  • Mighty Warrior
  • Grace So Glorious
  • Lamb of God
  • It is Well With My Soul
  • Jesus, Thank You

Our Senior Pastor, Doug Schmidt will also be preaching this Sunday as we look forward to a new year.

Ice Fest Activities

This weekend is also the annual Plymouth Ice Festival in downtown Plymouth. Tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday we will be making our parking lot available as well as a free shuttle into downtown to serve and bless anyone who is attending the festival. We’d love to have you serve with us on Friday evening or Saturday as we want to be as hospitable and welcoming to anyone who comes. Please let me know if you can serve for a few hours on Friday or Saturday.

Also — be sure to come out on Saturday at 4pm as we host the “Ice Fest Movie Night” for everyone. We’ll be showing the movie Frozen and there will be plenty of popcorn and hot chocolate. Even if you don’t have children, come and join us for the sake of shared life together! It’s going to be a lot of fun to just gather together and have a great time! Of course invite your friends, neighbors, family members, grandkids, coworkers, worst enemies, whoever else out to join us. We’re going to have a great time and this is an easy way, low-key way to introduce someone to Woodside. Perhaps we will be able to experience more of the hope to which we are called as we share life and the goodness of God together.

I am thankful and praying for you this week! Because of Christ our best days are ahead.

In Christ,

Jeremy

Dear Woodside... Hope In God

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10, ESV)

This afternoon I’m sitting in my office with a bit of a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I am firmly confident that we would prefer to tackle the issue of suffering within the laboratory of a Sunday morning worship service on a more theoretical playing field. You know what I am talking about; it’s easier to talk about suffering rather than to experience it. And yet, as we’ve seen over the last few weeks from our series in 1 Peter, trials are a tool that God uses to purify our faith and make us more like Christ. The theoretical will become practical for us at some point. This week it seems that suffering and trial been more practical for some at our campus than theoretical. As I’ve heard about job loss, death, cancer and sickness this week at our campus you can understand the lump in my throat and tears.

Yet, over the last month this concluding statement in Peter’s letter has deeply resonated with my heart regarding you for a few reasons. For one I’ve experienced, in part, the truth of this verse in my own life, particularly in the last year. But more so because the hope and future that is promised here is powerfully compelling. The joy and stability that are offered here are magnificently beautiful. Consider what Peter tells us about God’s grace in the midst of our sufferings.

First, Peter declares that he is the “God of all grace.” Every joy, good, mercy, and hope that we long for comes from God. Even in the midst of trials and sufferings God’s grace and lovingkindness is coming for us in those afflictions. As Isaiah spoke of Christ he described him as one who would not break a bruised reed nor extinguish a candle wick that has just a smoldering, smoking fire to it (Isaiah 42:3). He is the God of all grace who will not break and destroy his suffering children.

This is why the second half of the verse is so important. Because we feel the pain of suffering, of loss, and of affliction we stand on shaky feet. Some of us are doing well just trying to keep upright due to the affliction we are experiencing. Yet Peter points us to the restorative hope we have in Christ. The God of all grace is the one who HIMSELF will “restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” This is what we desperately need in our afflictions.

I know that some in our body this last week have felt the opposite of “restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established.” Because of what’s happened the feeling is more like “lost, denied, weak, and insecure.” I get those feelings. Yet the reality of this verse is that God is the one who bring restoration to what we’ve lost through our sufferings. He is the one who will confirm the calling and identify he’s given us. He will use our weaknesses to show his strengthen and in turn strengthen us for all glory. He is the one who will displace our insecurity and forever give us a name that cannot be taken from us. He will firmly establish us with him forever!

I want to encourage you today to take this verse to heart. Memorize it. Meditate on it often. Let the truth of it sink deeply down into your heart so that when the suffering and afflictions come you’ve got some hope to stand on. God’s grace is coming for you! Bank your hope on the God of all grace and allow him to show up for you in his kindness. Our best days are ahead in Christ.

Be Praying:

With that, I’d like to ask you be praying specifically for a couple at our campus who are walking through a deep valley of trial right now. 
 
Kelly Havrilla — Today I received a call from Kelly’s husband David that her last cancer scans revealed two new growths in her body that have to be treated. Kelly and David are praying about and pursuing options towards treatment but would deeply covet your prayers for wisdom and complete healing. Furthermore, they have asked that you pray that God would give them grace to be able to make decisions in a manner that displays the gospel of Christ. Would you please seek God’s face for grace to heal Kelly! 

This Sunday:

Sunday we will begin a new series in the Word together entitled U & I. We’ve all seen relationships of various kinds break down and crumble due to a variety of different problems. Recently our campus pastors got together and identified six things we felt were the top relationship destroyers. Over the next six weeks we hope to tackle them and show how the gospel gives us hope to repair and rebuild our relationships. This series isn’t just about marriage or dating or singleness. It encompasses every kind of human relationship we could have.

Here’s what we will be singing on Sunday morning:

  • Your Love Never Fails
  • Came To My Rescue
  • Place of Freedom
  • Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
  • The Heart of Worship

We’ve placed a playlist on Spotify so you can listen beforehand as well.

I am praying that God continues to show you deep grace and upholds you deeply in the midst of trials and afflictions. I am so thankful, extremely thankful for this church and for your partnership with us in the gospel. It’s a privilege to serve you. Our best days are ahead in Christ! Trust him!

In Christ,
Jeremy