Good morning Mercy Hill and happy Sunday to you! If you're new with us, we just wanted to extend a special welcome to you. Feel free to fill out a Connection Card to get more info or prayer. We're glad to have you with us!
If you're tuning in for the Watch Party, you'll notice that the platform has tabs where you can find today's Worship Guide, read an online Bible, and even chat. While we're meeting virtually like this, we'd encourage everyone to please consider taking a moment to put a comment in the chat box there. Let us know who you are and maybe where you're tuning in from. Say hi. We miss you! And as we get into the message, feel free to share other Scriptures that come to mind, prayer requests that you have, questions that you'd like answered, etc. It would be great to interact even in this limited format.
Here are a few critical announcements to keep in mind:
- Mercy Hill Men's Hike: Mercy Hill men, mark your calendars for a morning hike on the trails around Almaden Lake Regional Park (6099 Winfield Blvd. San Jose) next Saturday, August 22, at 9:00 am. Park in the free parking lot on Winfield Blvd., bring a chair as we'll have brief sharing time, then we'll pack the chairs back in the cars and head off for a refreshing hike on the beautiful trails off the lake. We'll be done by 10:30 am. Please plan to wear a mask and bring water with you on this hike - we hope to see you next week! For more info see here.
- All Church Prayer: Today's All Church Prayer meeting will be hosted in-person at the Wilson's residence and will take place in their yard for a safe, socially-distanced meeting (RSVP required). If you need the location details you can request that when you RSVP and a member of our team will get back to you. For any planning to attend, we ask that you please respect the county's guidelines by committing to self-screen before arrival and socially distance and wear a mask while present. We know this is hard, but we thank you in advance for your understanding! For more on this, you can check out our reopening document here. To RSVP, please fill out the form here. (Note: we may have to cap attendance, so be sure to register as soon as you can to save your seat!)
- Foster The Bay Interest Meetings: Our church is a partner with Foster The Bay, an organization that inspires local churches to develop a sustainable, effective foster care ministry. They're hosting virtual interest meetings during this season and we'd encourage anyone to attend and find out about unique ways to care for a child in the foster care system. Interest meetings provide a low-pressure, no commitment opportunity for you to learn more. To sign up for a virtual interest meeting, click the link here. Once you fill out the form, you will receive an email with the Zoom meeting link for the date you choose.
- Sunday Service Afterparty: Remember to join us immediately following the Watch Party via Zoom for the Afterparty (which today will include a time of celebrating communion, singing, and prayer). You can find a link to join in here.
- Mercy Hill Kids Online Worship: Beginning at 11:30am today! Go here to read more and to find a link to sign in!
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- Home Groups: Many of our Home Groups are moving to a hybrid (in-person + virtual) format. Whatever your comfort level with meeting, you're welcome to come check one out. Find one to join here. You are not alone!
- COVID-19 SOS Form: If you or anyone you know needs help during this challenging time, we'd love to do what we can!
Title: The Vineyard and the Stone: Making the Most Critical Decision of Our Lives
Text: Luke 20:9-18
Preacher: Nick Weber
Manuscript: If you appreciate following along with written material, you can find today's manuscript here.
- In our text, Jesus sees Himself as God's last appeal to a people who have long resisted and rejected Him. As one commentator puts it: These people in our text here “face the most critical decision of their lives” (TNTC). Do you agree? Why the use of such extreme language? What have you personally made of Jesus? What have you done with His claim on your life? How have you responded to His offer of amnesty and reconciliation?
- Do you find this parable of the vineyard and the subsequent discussion of a rejected stone to be comforting and encouraging or convicting and a bit frightening? Why? What stands out most to you in these verses? Explain.
- In verse 13, after all that's gone down with his servants to this point, the owner of the vineyard asks himself: "What shall I do?" Are you surprised by his response? How would you have responded? What do we learn about the heart of God for us in this? How would you apply what we learn of God here to your own life? What should this revelation of God's "maniacal mercy" touch, influence, and change for you?
- One commentator writes: “Since the beginning of creation humanity has sought to be like God without obeying [Him] (Gen 3:5), to become lords of Eden rather than stewards of it. What is the sum total of human history if not the attempt to rid the universe of God so that humanity can rule supreme? The tenants of the vineyard are the ultimate expression of human rebellion: they kill the heir and seize the inheritance for themselves” (PNTC). Do you agree with his summary of human history? How have you seen this same sort of thing at work in your own life—both before you came to Christ and even after? In what ways are you tempted even now to act as a "lord of Eden" instead of as a steward of it?
- How do you interpret your "unanswered" prayers? Do you sometimes feel like God is stingy, like He's holding back, like He has to be wrangled into showing you kindness? How does this text push against these false notions? Elisabeth Elliot writes: "God will not protect you from anything that will make you more like Jesus." How might this help us understand what God is up to even when life is still hard?
- Look back at the last week, month, year. What would you say has been the cornerstone of your life? What are you building your life upon and around? Is it Jesus or something else?
- In the sermon, Nick said, "When it comes to what you will make of Jesus you essentially have two choices: (1) Either you can stumble and fall over Him and ultimately be crushed by Him; or (2) you can stumble and fall upon Him and ultimately be built back up in Him." Which of these are you experiencing most now? How has God been moving you from the first to the second?
Call to Response
If you need prayer in any way, please either: (1) request it during the Watch Party via the "Request Prayer" button; (2) fill out a Connection Card; or (3) post your request to our Mercy Hill Community Facebook Group. We’d love to be lifting you up and caring for you in this time!
If you’d like to give an offering this morning, please check out our Give page to find the best option for you!
Mercy Hill Kids
While difficult, this pandemic does create a wonderful chance for parents to step towards their God-given call as chief disciplers of their kids. We know this may feel overwhelming and that is why we want to help! Parents of Mercy Hill children should have already received an email from the Director of Mercy Hill Kids, Christina Lugo, regarding ways you can utilize the Gospel Project curriculum at home. This information has also been included on our blog here. Beyond this, each Sunday, we are also looking to host an online worship gathering for our kids. You can check here for more details. We'd love to have you join us!
If you have any questions or need help in any way, don't hesitate to reach out to Christina at
Have a Wonderful Week!