Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 12.12.21 PM

Join us this Sunday at 9:30 am for a special one-time session Worship is Not a Spectator Sport on why and how we gather and worship as a congregation.

If you come to Grace Church’s worship services, this is for you! (hint: that’s all of us)
If you wonder why GCA does worship services the way we do, this is for you!
If you wonder why Grace Church has women lead worship, read Scripture, serve communion, this is for you!
If you serve up front in any capacity at GCA, this is for you!
When a church meets for worship, the congregation are not to be spectators but participants. We talk to God as we pray, we praise God as we sing, and we listen to God as the Word of God is preached.
When a church meets to worship, the leaders are not performing for an audience. They invite you to pray and sing with them as the church participates in corporate worship and the preacher proclaims a message from God for all the church, including himself.
This conversation with Pastor of Insight Ron Bean will give you a window into the intentionality of gathered worship at Grace Church of Alexandria.

It’s my firm belief that we live in one of the most exciting times in history for church music. Contrary to cultural assumptions, it seems that solid, traditional hymns are more popular than ever. In addition, modern church musicians are writing new worship songs, creating new hymns, and even adapting old hymns to fresh music. Our song of the month is an excellent example of the “re-tuned hymn” movement that is helping to feed our church.

Most of you have never heard of Ada Habershorn, but I’d guess a lot of you have at some point heard her song Will the Circle Be Unbroken. Though that song has more traction in popular culture, her most popular hymn is actually a song originally known as When I Fear My Faith Will Fall. The song was born out of the revivalist culture of the early 20th century and concern for Christians who were floundering in their faith. Just a couple of years ago, Matt Merker, a staff member at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, having expanded the lyrics of this hymn and set them to a beautiful new tune, has provided the Church with He Will Hold Me Fast. I’m excited to finally learn this song along with our congregation. While acknowledging the fear and sorrow of this life with it’s trials and temptations, it grasps firmly onto the true hope of the gospel – not that we are faithful, but that Christ is faithful to us. If you are like me, you regularly face challenges to your faith – not necessarily the intellectual kind but the gritty, experiential kind that we face when our circumstances do not match up with what we expect from a loving God. I invite you to join me this Sunday in singing this song both as an affirmation of our faith in our faithful Savior, and as a cry of help to Him as well, “Yes! Hold me fast!”

Verse 1
When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast;
When the tempter would prevail, He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold through life’s fearful path;
For my love is often cold; He must hold me fast.

Chorus
He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Saviour loves me so, He will hold me fast.

Verse 2
Those He saves are His delight, Christ will hold me fast;
Precious in his holy sight, He will hold me fast.
He’ll not let my soul be lost; His promises shall last;
Bought by Him at such a cost, He will hold me fast.

Verse 3
For my life He bled and died, Christ will hold me fast;
Justice has been satisfied; He will hold me fast.
Raised with Him to endless life, He will hold me fast
‘Till our faith is turned to sight, When He comes at last!

 

You can find sheet music and a recording of the song here. You can also listen to a recording of the song in the video below.

 

 

Over the centuries, it’s become a tradition in Western churches to greet each other on Easter with the phrase, “Christ is risen!” and to then expect the response, “He is risen, indeed!” The origin story of this Paschal Greeting has passed from history into myth. Though we don’t know when it came into being as a greeting, it is clear that this phrase has been used by myriads of Christians throughout history, both as a daily greeting, and as a special feast day greeting on Easter. It captures the foundation, joy, and hope of the Christian faith as believers center their relationship with each other around the reality and experience of Jesus’ resurrection.

Keith and Kristin Getty, two of our favorite modern hymn writers, have provided the church with a beautiful hymn based on this greeting. It affirms the historical reality of the resurrection and revels in what it means for the Church and her mission. We will be learning this hymn together over the next few weeks so that we will be ready to sing it well together on Easter Sunday. As we prepare ourselves, I’d like you to consider some of the following ideas in order to better prepare yourself and your family to worship through this song.
Read over and meditate on the lyrics
When it comes to music, what matters most in our Sunday gatherings is that we understand and embrace the words we are singing. Taking a few minutes to learn these lyrics will go a long way in helping us all to savor the resurrection together. Just scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the them.
Listen to the song
One mixed blessing of living in the Age of Information is that we have many avenues to access musical recordings. Whether you stream through Spotify, purchase through iTunes or Amazon, or prefer to purchase direct from the artists, you have several options to obtain excellent recordings of this song. You can follow the links above, or just do a search through your preferred music provider and see what other recordings you find. You can also watch the YouTube video embedded in this post.
Play the song
Finally, if you are a closet musician or vocalist and would benefit from having the sheet music, you can purchase music online to print at home. For a simple, hymn-like version, I’d suggest Lifeway Worship, the company that produces our hymnbook. If you’d like a more complicated arrangement for piano, Praisecharts and Lifeway have multiple arrangements available.
I’m looking forward to preparing this song with you and greeting each other Easter Sunday with…
Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!
VERSE 1
How can it be, the One who died,
Has borne our sin through sacrifice
To conquer every sting of death?
Sing, sing hallelujah.
VERSE 2
For joy awakes as dawning light
When Christ’s disciples lift their eyes.
Alive He stands, their Friend and King;
Christ, Christ He is risen.
CHORUS
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!
Oh, sing hallelujah.
Join the chorus, sing with the redeemed;
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed.
VERSE 3
Where doubt and darkness once had been,
They saw Him and their hearts believed.
But blessed are those who have not seen,
Yet, sing hallelujah.
VERSE 4
Once bound by fear now bold in faith,
They preached the truth and power of grace.
And pouring out their lives they gained
Life, life everlasting.
CHORUS
VERSE 5
The power that raised Him from the grave
Now works in us to powerfully save.
He frees our hearts to live His grace;
Go tell of His goodness.
CHORUS
He’s alive, He’s alive!
Heaven’s gates are opened wide.
He’s alive, He’s alive!
Now in heaven glorified.
Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Ed Cash; © 2012 Gettymusic and Alletrop Music (BMI) (adm. by MusicServices.org) 

Join songwriters and singers Keith and Kristyn Getty for an unforgettable Irish Christmas on Monday, November 30, at 7:30 pm. The Gettys write and sing many of the gospel-centered songs we treasure at Grace Church of Alexandria. Songs such as: By Faith, In Christ Alone, Speak O Lord, and others.

JoyanIrishChristmasattheKennedyCenter

Hey folks, I want to encourage you to listen to a song we’re introducing this Sunday at Grace Church of Alexandria. Many of you may be familiar with it already. It’s called Psalm 62, also know as O Praise Him, by Stuart Townend (of In Christ Alone fame) and Aaron Keyes.

There are several links below to listen or purchase, as well as one to purchase your own sheet music should you read music or want to play it at home.

Purchase sheet music on PraiseCharts or LifeWay.

Looking forward to singing this with you!

~ Pastor of Worship Garrett Lee

Theme Song for the Current Sermon Series

This summer we’re discovering truths from 1 and 2 Peter in the sermon series Through the Fire to the Feast. Sandra McCracken’s new song We Will Feast in the House of Zion is a perfect fit as the theme song for this series at Grace Church of Alexandria.

Through the Fire to the Feast

Even in our privileged position as Christians, we still all have to pass through fire to arrive to the feast God has prepared for us, where our cup will run over. Together, the sermon series and song probe the mysteries of how we must pass through fire to get to the feast. In particular, this song sets before us the joys awaiting us so we will press on through adversity to arrive in God’s kingdom.

Composer Interview

Sandra is interviewed here in a worthwhile discussion about her album from the Psalms, on life, loss and longing.

We Will Feast in the House of Zion

Chorus 
We will feast in the house of Zion 
We will sing with our hearts restored 
He has done great things, we will say together 
We will feast and weep no more

We will not be burned by the fire
He is the LORD our God
We are not consumed, by the flood
Upheld, protected, gathered up (Chorus)

In the dark of night, before the dawn
My soul, be not afraid
For the promised morning, oh how long?
Oh God of Jacob, be my strength (Chorus)

Every vow we’ve broken and betrayed
You are the Faithful one
And from the garden to the grave
Bind us together, bring shalom. (Chorus)

from Psalms, released 14 April 2015
Written by Sandra McCracken and Joshua Moore
© 2015 Drink Your Tea (ASCAP) / Joshmooreownsthis Music (ASCAP)

Victory of Christ over the Grave

At Grace Church, we recognize that every day is a day to rehearse the gospel, every Sunday is a celebration of Jesus’s death and resurrection, and every moment is to be lived in the reality of our King’s soon return. However, this does not negate the benefit of observing Christian holidays and festivals. If there is a high point in the Christian year, it is Easter, when we especially celebrate the victory of Christ over the grave.

jerusalem-artwork

Jerusalem

As we prepare to honor this special day, we’ve been learning a new song called Jerusalem, and it was written by a group of church musicians in Australia called City Alight. Here’s whatTim Challies had to say about it recently:

What do I like about it? I like that it is written in the present tense rather than the past tense; I like the constant calls to action: See, Hear, Feel, Lift; I like the progression from the streets of Jerusalem, to the cross, to the empty tomb, to the New Jerusalem; I even like the simplicity of the melody.

Listen, Download, Watch

My hope in introducing this is that our congregation will be able to offer it up skillfully in worship on Easter Sunday. I encourage each of you to take time this week to listen to the song a few times. If you’re a musician, take a look at the sheet music and play it through. Everything you need is found right here, on iTunes, or (listen for free) on Spotify. If you really like it, I’d encourage you to support these songwriters by purchasing the song on iTunes. They also have a full album available that sounds excellent.

I’m certain this song will become a staple in our repertoire for Sunday morning worship services at GCA, and I’m greatly looking forward to singing it with you.

~ Garrett Lee, Pastor of Worship

by Pastor of Worship Garrett Lee

During this Sunday’s service (1/11), we’ll be considering the eternal plan of the triune God to obtain a people for himself, for the praise of his glory. As you prepare for our time together, consider reading through Ephesians, at least the first three chapters. You can also see what songs and Scriptures we’ll be considering together here.

www.planningcenteronline.com/plans/17338883/public

We’ll be introducing a new song, How Rich a Treasure We Possess, which expounds on this eternal plan of God to glorify himself in the church by Christ Jesus forever. I’ve attached the sheet music for you to view here. You can also listen to it on Spotify.

How Rich a Treasure We Possess

How rich a treasure we possess, in Jesus Christ our Lord
His blood our ransom and defense His glory our reward
The sum of all created things are worthless in compare
For our inheritance is Him whose praise angels declare

How free and costly was the love, displayed upon the cross
While we were dead in untold sin the Sovereign purchased us
The will of God the Father demonstrated through the Son
The Spirit seals the greatest work the work which Christ has done

How vast and measureless the flood of mercy unrestrained
The penalty was paid in full the spotless Lamb was slain
Salvation, what a priceless gift received by grace through faith
We stand in robes of righteousness we stand in Jesus’ name

(Bridge)
For Yours’ is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory
Yours’ is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory
Yours’ is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory
Yours’ is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory;
Amen, amen, amen

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

2 Corinthians 8:9

New Online Giving Option

The Bible encourages believers to give back to the Lord from his provision to us. To help making giving easier as an act of worship to God, this week we’ve launched online giving via The City for church offerings to Grace Church of Alexandria.

How to Give?

  • Where: Go to The City, GCA’s online meeting place which is at gca.onthecity.org. Then select Giving from the left menu.
  • Need an account? If you do not have access to The City, click here to request an invite.
  • How: Set up a method for giving (checking account or credit card).
  • Which Fund? Choose which fund(s) to give toward (regular offerings go to the General Fund, or choose a special fund).
  • Frequency? Decide if this is a one-time gift or a recurring gift to repeat weekly, bi-weekly or monthly

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 1.54.59 PM

Where Your Gifts Go

You can choose for your tax-deductible contribution to go towards the following options:

Regular offerings to go…

  • the General Fund (for the overall ministries of the church)

Special funds…

  • the GCA Future Fund (building and projects fund)
  • the GCA Adoption Fund (to help fund adoptions and post-adoption training), or
  • the 2014 Thanksgiving Offering (to benefit Aaron and Carrie Kraft, missionaries to Mexico).

A small administrative fee of several percent is deducted from each gift. Feel free to add between 1-3% to your gift to compensate for the processing fee (which does not go to GCA).

The Heart of Giving

As you give online, remember that this is a gift of worship to bring honor and praise to the LORD. To maintain a heart of worship, consider taking time to reflect and pray when you log in and give online. If you set up automatic giving once a month, considering scheduling a time for reflection and prayer once a month on the day your gift is scheduled to be sent.

Questions?

See Jonathan Matías, the lead pastor, with questions about the new online giving system.

 

 

Words can hardly capture the magnificence of the Lord’s extravagant grace. Songs and hymns help us capture the wonder of salvation and channel our hearts to praise of God. Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder is one such song that exults in the gospel.

This month at Grace Church we’re singing this moving hymn, first published in 1774 and put to new music by Indelible Grace in 2001. Other GCA songs of the month can be found here.

Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder
1. Let us love and sing and wonder
Let us praise the Savior’s name
He has hushed the law’s loud thunder
He has quenched Mount Sinai’s flame
He has washed us with His blood
He has washed us with His blood
He has washed us with His blood
He has brought us nigh to God
2. Let us love the Lord Who bought us
Pitied us when enemies
Called us by His grace and taught us
Gave us ears and gave us eyes
He has washed us with His blood
He has washed us with His blood
He has washed us with His blood
He presents our souls to God3. Let us sing though fierce temptation
Threatens hard to bear us down
For the Lord, our strong salvation,
Holds in view the conqu’ror’s crown
He, Who washed us with His blood,
He, Who washed us with His blood,
He, Who washed us with His blood,
Soon will bring us home to God4. Let us wonder grace and justice
Join and point to mercy’s store
When through grace in Christ our trust is
Justice smiles and asks no more
He Who washed us with His blood
He Who washed us with His blood
He Who washed us with His blood
Has secured our way to God5. Let us praise and join the chorus
Of the saints enthroned on high
Here they trusted Him before us
Now their praises fill the sky
Thou hast washed us with Thy blood
Thou hast washed us with Thy blood
Thou hast washed us with Thy blood
Thou art worthy Lamb of God

©2001 Laura Taylor Music.

footer