Sunday 05.01.16 (the Lord’s Supper)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at what Paul wrote about the Lord’s Supper in his first letter to Corinth before we celebrate the Supper together. Throughout May we will have no regular evening services. Tonight at 6:30pm we will be hosting the 2016 Adrian High School graduating class at our annual Senior Banquet.

@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@630 PM Class of 2016 Senior Banquet (if you are helping or supply food, please be at the fellowship hall by 6pm)

Sermon Notes
The Lord’s Supper ~ 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, 11:17-34

  • The Lord’s Supper is the greatest fellowship meal we can share on earth (10:16-17)
  • The Supper is a display of the family unity of the church (11:17-22)
  • The Supper is a gospel proclamation (11:23-26)
  • The Supper should not be taken lightly (11:27-32)
  • Therefore as we partake of the Lord’s Supper:
    • Ponder through the Supper what Jesus has done for us (11:23-26)
    • Consider your relationship to God’s family (11:27-34)

Good Reads 04.27.16 (on: faith during uncertainty, Harriet Tubman, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On facing uncertainties and difficulties with faith: No Matter What Happens by Emily Jensen

Although I have deep concern for the hearts and lives of those around me, ultimately, there is comfort in knowing that external circumstances won’t impact the security of my own salvation. When I don’t have to defend my own stance before God, I can focus on pouring out love to others, remaining calm in difficult storms. I don’t have to fear those who can kill the body (or the dream or the bank account), because the one who controls both the soul and the body says my destiny is secure. (click here to read more)

On the need for church community: Isolation from the Church is Dangerous by Josh Buice

We must learn to see the church as a blessing from God rather than an inconvenience.  We must never look at the church as a violation to our spiritual privacy fence.  We were never called to walk the journey of the Christian life alone.  Surround yourself with gospel preaching, gospel singing, and gospel friends who will be honest with you.  When the church is honest with you, receive it.  Take heed so that you will not fall (1 Cor. 10:12).  We all need the church. (click here to read more)

On Harriet Tubman (who will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill): 9 Things You Should Know about Harriet Tubman by Joe Carter

The abolitionist Thomas Garrett once said about Tubman, “I never met with any person, of any color, who had more confidence in the voice of God, as spoken direct to her soul. She frequently told me that she talked with God, and he talked to her every day of her life . . . she said she never ventured only where God sent her, and her faith in the Supreme Power was truly great.” (click here to read more)

On the new book Visual Theology: 5 Ways to Use Visual Theology by Tim Challies

Visual Theology is a book that offers systematic teaching on how to live the Christian life. There are many excellent resources that are meant for new believers or for believers eager to spur on their growth in knowledge and holiness. The majority of the resources are essentially short systematic theologies and, while systematic theology is good and crucial, I wanted to focus instead on systematic Christian living. (click here to read more)

On curiosity and eternity: What Can We Take to Heaven by Barnabas Piper

True curiosity is the pursuit of truth, the exploration of God’s creation and will for the world. In this way curiosity in this life is a launch pad for the next. Everything we learn of God, every soul we impact, every aspect of culture we impact for good, everything we create for His glory is preparing us for heaven and preparing this world to be the new earth. We cannot redeem this fallen world, only Jesus can and will do that. But we bear God’s image and are His emissaries. That means that we can leave bits and pieces of His image all over this world, and curiosity is how we do that. What is more, our own relationship with Him and knowledge of Him is enriched and enlarged, and this goes with us too. We don’t start over when we die; we take our knowledge and love and relationship with us. (click here to read more)

Sunday 04.24.16 (the holy temple)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at 1 Corinthians 6 and see what it means to belong to Jesus as a temple of the Holy Spirit. Then at 6pm, weather permitting, we will gather in the gym to then go out and prayer walk the town. Hope to see you there!

@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm Prayer Walk the Town

Sermon Notes
The Holy Temple ~ 1 Corinthians 6:9-20

  • The sins of your past do not define you if you have been cleansed by Jesus (6:9-11)
  • Belonging to Jesus defines you, therefore live in wisdom and purity (6:12-18)
  • Being a temple of the Holy Spirit defines you, therefore live as a vessel of God’s glory (6:19-20)

All Things to All People (a meditation)

We live in a world where it is easy for us to fall under the sway of the seemingly all-demanding “I”. It’s been like that ever since Genesis 3 where Satan lured Eve into eating from the forbidden tree by speaking words exalting personal autonomy: You will be like God (Genesis 3:5). When we come to Jesus we realize that this self-worship gets us nowhere good and that true happiness and true life comes from the One who told us to deny self daily (Luke 9:23).

As we read in 1 Corinthians 8&9, Paul learned that life in Jesus means great freedom. There are still things that are right and wrong, things to do and avoid, but in letting go of self and following the great Savior-King we possess many great freedoms a life of self-worship and sin did not afford us.

Yet, for the sake of the gospel—in people coming to Jesus and in people growing in Jesus, Paul was willing to lay aside certain rights. We read:

But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block for the weak. … Therefore, if food makes my brother or sister stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother or sister stumble. ~1 Corinthians 8:9, 13

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. … I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. ~1 Corinthians 9:19, 22

Paul wasn’t advocating a compromise of faith. He did not start worshiping Greek and Roman gods and goddesses in order to connect with people in his culture. Nor did he ever give a hint that they might be true gods or goddesses. Paul never took his eyes off Jesus crucified, resurrected, and ascended, the only solution to sin and the only way to salvation.

Instead, Paul advocated a willingness to set aside personal freedoms in order to see as many people as possible come to know Jesus and grow in Jesus.

He wasn’t afraid to offend with the gospel, as the story and person of Jesus is offensive to certain people (1:23). But beyond that he would do all that he could to avoid offending another. So if a fellow Christian, young in their faith, struggled with the appropriateness of eating meat sacrificed to idols, then Paul said, “I will avoid it.” If he was sharing Jesus with one of his fellow Jews and they ate fish and lamb but not pork, then he would eat only fish and lamb.

This is what Paul meant by all things to all people. Except for the gospel and Jesus himself, if something Paul did or felt he was free to do would hinder his witness to another, then he would set aside his freedom for the sake of the other. This is the reversal of Genesis 3 and the propensity to exalt self, instead choosing to walk in the same humility and other-concern that Jesus showed by going to the cross in the first place. This is the same attitude we should have as well.

This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.

Good Reads 04.20.16 (on: relationships, Bible reading, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On Bible reading: How To Read the Bible for Yourself by John Piper

When we read, we do not generally really think until we are faced with a problem to be solved, a mystery to be unraveled, or a puzzle to be deciphered. Until our minds are challenged, and shift from passive reading to active reading, we drift right over lots of insights.

Asking ourselves questions is a way of creating a problem or a mystery to be solved. That means the habit of asking ourselves questions awakens and sustains our thinking. It stimulates our mind while we read, and drives us down deep to the real meaning of a passage. (click here to read more)

On relationships: Why There’s No Such Thing as a Soul Mate by Debra K. Fileta

All over the world there are Christian young men and women waiting for that magical moment when they will come face to face and eye to eye with the person that will stir their heart and connect deeply with their soul. For the one who will complete them and make them whole. There is no such thing as a person who will complete our souls, because according to God’s word, we are only made complete in Him. (click here to read more)

On the Christian life and the power of the Holy Spirit: Let’s Ponder This Schaeffer Quote At Least Once a Week by Ray Ortlund

At the linked page you will find a brief, but powerful quote from Francis Schaeffer: click here to visit The Gospel Coalition

On Christianity, homosexuality, and the image of God: Aren’t Gay People Made in the Image of God? by Ricky Alcantar

The Bible says that—unique among the stars and the mountains—humanity was created “in the image of God” (Gen 1:27). We are created beings, in the image of God, and precious to God. In light of this every single human being is something glorious and should be treated as such with dignity, value, and respect. This means each person’s value and worth are rooted beyond cultural consensus, rooted in the very fabric of creation. (click here to read more)

On life and the church: 3 Reasons You Absolutely, Positively Must Go to Church This Weekend by Michael Kelley

…when we do the very simple act of just show up, to not take a Sunday off, we are recognizing some key truths about God, ourselves, and the church herself. And these are the deeper reasons, the ones that go beyond the fact that you have a good preacher or you like the music or all your friends will be there – these are the deeper reasons why you must take heed the words of the writer of Hebrews: “And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25). (click here to read more)

Sunday 04.17.16 (true repentance)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at Jeremiah 7 and consider what true repentance means. After our morning worship gathering, we’ll meet for our spring fellowship meal–bring your favorite picnic themed foods to share. Hope to see you there!

@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@Noon Spring Fellowship
@6pm Song Sing in auditorium
@7pm Church Business Meeting

Sermon Notes
True Repentance ~ Jeremiah 7:1-29

  • Some basics of repentance
    • Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of attitude and actions
    • Faith and repentance go together
    • Repentance is at the heart of the gospel (Mark 1:14-15)
    • Repentance is a necessary part of salvation (Acts 2:37-38, Romans 2:4)
  • True repentance starts with the heart; therefore, we must focus on the condition of the heart above religious ritual
    • Ritual is worthless if the heart is not turned to God (7:4, 8-18)
    • The problem is that a heart of sin is deceitful and desperately sick and we need new hearts (17:9, Ezekiel 36:26-27)
    • Legalism and moralism will always fail to fix the problem of sin because they don’t fix the heart
  • True repentance moves from heart to action; therefore, with a  desire to please God we are to forsake sin and pursue righteousness
    • The examples of Judah and Israel should warn us not to follow the same path (7:12-15, 24-29, 1 Corinthians 10:6)
    • We should long to obey God’s voice (7:23)
    • We should seek personal holiness (7:9-10)
    • We should work to end injustice (7:5-6)
    • We should desire a better way to live (7:5, Ephesians 4:17-32)

Giftedness and Maturity (a meditation)

Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~1 Corinthians 1:7

The Christians at Corinth formed quite a dysfunctional church. You don’t have to read long into the letter to find Paul chastising their divisiveness, their pride in housing sexual sin, their misunderstandings of marriage, and much more. Towards the end of the book Paul even spent the better part of three chapters correcting their misunderstandings about and abuse of spiritual gifts.

Yet in his greetings to the church he reminded them that God has made them a holy people in Jesus (1:2), expressed his thanksgiving to God for them (1:4), and spoke positively about how they possessed their various spiritual gifts (1:5-7).

This confirmed his great love for them, even if he had to rebuke a variety of issues. But in light of chapters 12-14, Paul’s greeting also reminds us that giftedness is not equal to spiritual maturity.

Paul told them they had every spiritual gift they needed, yet later he had to teach them the proper place and function of the gifts. From what we read in chapters 12 and 14 it would appear that the jealousy and division among the church members extended to their use of spiritual gifts. Some who didn’t think their gifts were as spectacular as others felt left out or pretended to have the gifts. And some who thought their gifts were the more spectacular sought to exclude others saying, “We don’t need you.”

Paul slammed such attitudes and told the church a better way existed: the way of self-sacrificial love (chapter 13). Love is more interested in the good of others than it is the good of self. After all, in the context of the body, “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad” (12:26). Seeking the good of others in the church community brings a greater good to self because the whole body is built up.

This is what spiritual maturity realizes: yes, there are a variety of gifts but they all come from the same Holy Spirit who gives the gifts as he wills (12:4-11).

The Spirit gifts us as a fact of new life. He doesn’t wait until we are mature enough before he bestows a gift upon us. But God also intends that we use these gifts properly as we mature and as we help others mature. We use these gifts to learn a deeper and better love which maturity manifests.

So more than the question of what gift you have (or wish you had in comparison to someone else), is the question: How will you use your gift? God intends them “so we can help each other” (12:7). Is your use of your gift a sign of increasing self-giving love and thus a mark of growing maturity?

This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible together as a church.