On Monday night, January 18, we hosted an Info Meeting for anyone interested in learning about DSC’s next church plant, Christ Church. Nathan Sherman, our present Youth and Family Minister, will be the lead planter for this effort. Here’s an FAQ that Nathan put together for us in follow up to the Info Meeting, in case you missed it or need a refresher:
1. I missed the Informational Meeting. Can I listen to the audio?
Yes, you can listen to the audio here.
2. Wait, I heard Clint Moore is going with Christ church too. Is that true?
Yes, that’s true. Clint Moore will also be joining Nathan as a second staff elder. This was a grueling and difficult decision for Clint and Joanna, as they wrestled through both their excitement for church-planting on the one hand, and their love for Desert Springs on the other. In the end, it was their love for DSC that actually energized their decision to be sent out by it—they desire for the theology and mission of DSC (“spreading God’s glory broader and deeper”) to find more outposts around the city and the world.
3. Where will it be located?
We are excited to be planting in the downtown area, where we will meet in the afternoons at The Cathedral of St. John Episcopal. While in the past, there has been a large-scale flight from the downtown area of people and churches, it seems that there is a downtown revitalization beginning. Businesses, restaurants, bars, and shops are returning, as well as a grocery store, condos, and apartments to support the number of people who are moving back (see here). Our desire is for more gospel-preaching churches to be in this area to minister to the growing life of the city there.
4. What will be similar to DSC about Christ Church?
- Commitment to Expositional Preaching through books of the Bible
- Children’s Ministry philosophy
- Plurality of Elders
- A high and serious view of membership
- Missions (ongoing support of SNAP as well as partnerships, at some level, with Native America and the Achi)
- Community Group ministry
- Mission and Vision (spreading God’s glory broader and deeper through worship, community, and mission)
- Regional network affiliation with The Gospel Coalition
5. What will be different than DSC about Christ Church?
- Time – Because we will be tenants of The Cathedral of St. John, our corporate gathering will meet at 5 pm on Sunday evenings
- Church service – a higher liturgy with a weekly call to worship, corporate confession of sin and profession of faith, Scripture reading, preaching, communion, and benediction
- No Men’s/Women’s/Youth ministries – though we will not have structured ministries in these areas, we will still do ministry to men, women, and youth, primarily through the context of our community groups and personal discipleship
- Denominational affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention
6. What are good reasons to want to go?
- The Great Commission – if you are convinced that the primary means of Kingdom expansion is church planting, then you should be excited about Christ Church. Most will stay and some will go, but The Great Commission (evangelism and discipleship) should be the primary motive for wanting to be part of this plant—everything else is secondary.
- Love for the Local Church – your love for Desert Springs should fuel a desire for more outposts like it around the city
- Ownership of something new and growing – perhaps you have an entrepreneurial spirit and love to see new things begun for the glory of God. One word of caution is needed, though: at some point Christ Church will no longer be new—it will become an established and aging church.
- Geography – perhaps you live, or work, or play in the downtown area and have been longing for a gospel community presence there
7. What are not so good reasons to want to go?
- Just to be part of a small church (Lord willing, we will not remain small)
- Running from conflict at DSC
- Problems with leadership at DSC
- Desire for more church leadership or a power grab
- A feeling of under-appreciation at DSC
- Looking for a fresh start or a jump start in your Christian walk
- You just really like Nathan or Clint
- Preferential issues (cookies, music volume, the style or fashions at DSC, etc.)
8. What will it cost us to leave?
- While we aren’t leaving the country, relational dynamics with long-term friends, family, community groups, children’s friends, pastors at DSC will all change
- The commute to downtown could get old
- For four months of the year, we will be worshipping during afternoon and evening football games (including the Super Bowl)
- As a church plant, Christ Church will not be the polished, well-oiled machine that DSC is
- All hands must be on deck, and not just for setup and teardown for a couple of hours on Sundays (which will be minimal). But in Sunday worship and community group attendance; in service to the church (children’s ministry), in evangelism and discipleship, and in giving. In a larger church, it is easier to think that others will pick up the slack—this can’t be with a church plant.
9. What should I do if I’m considering wanting be a part of the Core Team?
Email Nathan (email@example.com) or Clint (firstname.lastname@example.org) to express interest; or pick up a handout at the Christ Church kiosk on Sundays and drop the tear-off in one of the offering boxes. Interest must be communicated by this Sunday, January 31, so that Nathan and Clint can begin scheduling individual meetings throughout February and March with those considering planting.
10. What is the timeline for launch?
After all interviews with those interested are completed, the DSC elders will review the list and form a Core Team that will be most strategic for both Christ Church and DSC. The Core Team will be notified by mid-April and asked to give a firm commitment by May 1. Beginning in early-August, the Core Team will begin meeting together on Sundays for closed services to solidify the DNA and vision of Christ Church, followed by a full-public launch in mid-November.
As Christians, we have a dual citizenship. We belong to heaven, and yet we also belong here. This dual citizenship puts us in a kind of awkward position. Our ultimate allegiance is to our King, who is Christ. And yet Christ commands of us a certain allegiance to imperfect human authorities. For example, just this Sunday in Ron Giese’s sermon, “Engaging the World,” we heard from Titus 3:1, where Paul exhorts us to “be submissive to rulers and authorities.”
So, what does Christian citizenship look like under a government with rulers who promote and protect the taking of life and not life itself?
John Piper has been a steady guide on questions like this. In his recent post, “How Pro-Life Christians Honor a Pro-Choice President,” Piper gives us eight answers to our question. Here they are:
1. Humble ourselves.
2. Acknowledge God’s image, wherever we find it.
3. Acknowledge the institutions God has established.
4. Honor laws not conflicting with Christ’s lordship.
5. Resist withdrawing into isolation.
6. Oppose injustice and unrighteousness with non-violence.
7. Expect straightforward answers from leaders.
8. Trust the sovereign, loving purpose of God.
Click here to read his explanation of each answer.
God has given us weeks and seasons and years on purpose. These have a way of regulating the rhythms of life. The Bible doesn’t tell us to read the Bible in a year. It just tells us, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). You don’t need to read the Bible in a year, but in 2016 you can certainly read the Bible regularly if you haven’t. The New Year is a great opportunity to decide how you’ll do that.
If you’re looking for a Bible Reading plan, Justin Taylor posted today his annual survey of options, “Reading the Whole Bible in 2016.” If you’re looking for more of a pattern for ongoing reading rather than a plan to read the Bible in a year, here’s a simple plan by Drew Hunter summarized in his recent Tweet: “No check-box, no guilt, 2015 Bible-reading plan: two Old Testament, two New Testament chapters per day. Finish a book, pick another.” It just might be for you.
While a read through Justin’s post should surface a good plan for you, here are a few plans to consider:
- Chronological Reading Plan: Reading God’s Story: A Chronological Daily Bible, by George Guthrie is a unique resource. This Bible is published with a one year daily reading plan in mind, ordering the Biblical material chronologically along the Bible’s own narrative framework and includes a reading plan. George Guthrie has also published a one year chronological Bible reading plan, Read the Bible for Life.
- The M’Cheyne Plan with Daily Devotional Commentary: For the Love of God is a two volume series of books written by D.A. Carson providing daily reading to supplement the M’Cheyne reading plan. This plan, named after its designer and Scottish minister in the 1800′s, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, takes you through the Old Testament once and the Psalms and New Testament twice in one year.
- Several Places A Day: Crossway’s Daily Bible Reading Plan is available as a PDF form to print out as a series of bookmarks. This plan gets you through the Bible in a year, reading from several different places in the Bible each day. Crossway has published 10 reading plans to supplement the ESV, including RSS, email, audio, and print versions daily. Also, the Discipleship Journal “Bible Reading Plan,” by NavPress, takes you through the entire Bible by reading from four different places each day.
- Just a List of Chapters: The Bible Reading Record, by Don Whitney, is a simple list of every chapter in the Bible. With this, you can read at whatever pace you like and keep track of what you’ve read until you’re through the Bible. This, of course, wouldn’t necessarily be a one year plan, but it could be. To get through the Bible’s 1089 chapters in a year, you need to read an average of 3.25 chapters a day, which comes out to about four chapters per day if you commit to reading five days each week.
- A Plan for Following God’s Redemption Plan: The Bible Eater is a simple one-page print out with a list of every chapter in the Bible of you to read on a certain rhythm and check off as you go. This plan highlights the Bible’s chapters that are especially significant for grasping the Bible’s storyline centered in Christ.
If the Bible is new to you, or if you haven’t personally invested in knowing the Scriptures through regular reading, listen to Ryan’s sermon on Psalm 1, “If You Wanna Be Happy for the Rest of Your Life….” And if you need some help reflecting on some of the spiritual dynamics involved in our struggle to read the Bible, check our Ryan Kelly’s article, “How’s Your Bible Reading Going?.” Finally, for a list of helps in understanding the Bible as you read it, check out the previous DSC post, “Help for Understanding the Bible.”
Christmas is that one time of year when we’ll hear about the birth and work of Christ in song in just about any and every context, from restaurants to retail stores. These songs play because they are time tested and familiar, even to those who aren’t Christians. Many of these songs we’ll sing together on Sundays.
But there are newer songs for the season too. Sovereign Grace has gifted the church with a series of new tunes and songs for Christmas. One of them, “Prepare Him Room,” we will sing together on Sunday. It’s from an album of Christmas songs by that title. Here’s a video of the song followed by the lyrics.
“Prepare Him Room”
Words and Music by Rebecca Elliott and Dave Fournier
O behold, the mystery now unfolds
See the star shine on the virgin foretold
Angels sing and light up the sky
Hope rings out in a newborn’s cry
Swing wide, you ancient gates
For Christ is born today!
Prepare Him room
Prepare Him room
Let the King of glory enter in
God with us, the promise has come to be
This, the one the prophets were longing to see
In the darkness a blazing light
To the hungry the words of life
His kingdom now is near
For those with ears to hear
Oh, our hearts, as busy as Bethlehem
Hear Him knock, don’t say there’s no room in the inn
Through the cradle, cross, and grave
See the love of God displayed
Now He’s risen and He reigns
Praise the Name above all names!
© 2014 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI) All rights reserved.
Click here to download the album, Prepare Him Room. If you haven’t subscribed to the DSC Music Blog, check it out. Drew publishes a weekly Sunday Recap post with a list of songs we sang that Sunday along with links to audio, lyrics, and chord charts.
The Thanksgiving holiday is a great time for Christians to think about the deeply theological significance of giving thanks. Thanksgiving is one of the main things that human beings were made to offer God. In fact, we could say that it is the main thing we were made to offer God.
As creatures, everything about us—our life, our breath, every happy thing—is from God. That’s why, according to Romans 1:21, as soon as sin entered the word, unthankfulness followed: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God.” It’s also why thanksgiving is commanded for all of life: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17).
The way to be thankful is not to focus on thankfulness, but to focus on the one who gives us all things. With that in mind, praying to God a prayer of thanksgiving is always a good idea. Here’s an ancient thanksgiving prayer:.
We give you thanks, Holy Father,
for your holy name, which you have caused to dwell in our hearts,
and for the knowledge and faith and immortality that you have made known to us through Jesus your servant;
to you be the glory forever.
You, almighty Master, created all things for your name’s sake,
and gave food and drink to humans to enjoy, so that they might give you thanks;
but to us you have graciously given spiritual food and drink,
and eternal life through your servant.
Above all we give thanks to you because you are mighty;
to you be the glory forever.
Remember your church, Lord,
to deliver is from all evil and to make it perfect in your love;
and from the four winds gather the church that has been sanctified into your kingdom,
which you have prepared for it;
for yours is the power and the glory forever.
May grace come, and may this world pass away.
Hosanna to the God of David.
If anyone is holy, let him come;
if anyone is not, let him repent.
For more on the importance of thanksgiving to the Christian life, listen to Albert Mohler’s Briefing from November 25.
Yesterday, France was brutalized by Islamic terrorists.
This is a time for praying against what God is against, and for what God is for. God is against murder, and he is against the false gods that demand the slaughter of the innocent. He is for the putting down of injustice, and he is for the knowledge of his glory filling the earth, even through the salvation of former worshipers of Allah.
There are many things to pray on a weekend like this. Denny Burke recommends we pray the words of Psalm 10, and that’s a good suggestion:
Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
“He won’t call me to account”?
But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.
The Lord is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.
Here are some helpful reflections, suggestions, and articles from around the web on this and related tragedies.
- John Piper helps us with his article, “France: A Fabric Torn.”
- Scotty Smith offers “A Prayer of Lament in Response to the Terror Attack in Paris.”
- If you’re up for some sermon listening, this might be a weekend for reviewing Ryan’s sermon on several imprecatory psalms, “Praying against what is against God.”
- Joe Carter offers his always timely, “9 Things You Should Know About Islamic State.”
- A year ago, Joe Carter published “Three Ways to Pray for our Enemies.”
- Back in February, Tom Schreiner offered “A Biblical Meditation on the Execution of 21 Christians.”
- Also in February, Caleb Greggsen answers the question, “Does Islam Inevitably Lead to Violence?“
- Finally, from the Atlantic March, here’s a careful and important piece on the origin and aims and ISIS: “What ISIS Really Wants.”
On October 11 we had the joy of witnessing the baptism of twelve brothers and sisters between our two Sunday services. In case you missed one or both of the services, here are the video testimonies from our brothers and sisters who were baptized.
As we listen to these testimonies, remember what baptism represents: the death and resurrection of a person in union with Jesus Christ, who died and was raised for their sake. That’s what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote in Romans 6:3-4: “. . . all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
9:00 AM Service
[RSS and email readers, click here to view this video]
10:45 AM Service
[RSS and email readers, click here to view this video]
For more videos like these, click here for DSC’s YouTube Baptism playlist.