Archive for July, 2013

Jul 30

Resources on Biblical Eldership

2013 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Follow-Up

Knowing what the Bible says about eldership is important for all of us.

It’s important for those who are leading and shepherding as elders, for those who are taking their lead and receiving their care, and for those who aspire to serve formally in this role in the future.

In Sunday’s sermon, “The Shepherding of Christ’s Flock,” we looked at 1 Peter 5:1-5, one of the key passages in the New Testament on eldership. 1 Timothy 3:1-7 would be another go-to passage.

If you are interested in digging around more on this subject, here are a few great books:

You’ll notice we linked to two books by Alexander Strauch. The first is a thorough treatment of the breath of the Bible’s teaching on the subject, and the second is more more like a pamphlet than a book. Both of these books, along with the others, are available at the Book Nook. If you’re more of a listener then a reader, check out Strauch’s sessions on Biblical Leadership from his visit to DSC for a Saturday Seminar in 2006.

Jul 25

The Culture of the Church in the Last Days

2013 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Follow-Up

In Sunday’s sermon, “The Life of the Church in the Last Days,” Ryan unpacked the significance of several words, including self-control, seriousness, love, and hospitality. As those who are living in the last days, these are the qualities that should characterize our life together.

From his article, “Create a Contrast Culture in your Church,” here’s a helpful reflection by Jonathan Leeman on how our citizenship in heaven transforms our life together as God’s people.

Think about the local church as an embassy from the future. It’s a formally constituted gathering of Spirit-indwelt kingdom citizens who proclaim and display Christ’s end-time rule. They gather to declare their king’s warnings and promises, and they gather to formally affirm one another as kingdom citizens through the keys given by their king, which they do with baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Here are the laws, and here are the passport holders.

What’s more, these eschatological embassies on earth, spread out like pins on a map, should be characterized by an unworldly culture. It’s not a culture imported from another place, but from a future age. It’s not defined by sushi, cricket, or burqas, but by the habits of holiness and love and the ambassadorial work of discipling, evangelism, hospitality, and caring for the needy.

Citizenship, mind you, is an office. And activities like discipling, evangelism, and hospitality constitute a Christian’s basic office responsibilities. “Go and make disciples,” Jesus says. “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality,” Paul says. These are what Christians do by virtue of being citizens of Christ’s kingdom. We “live as citizens worthy of the gospel,” which means “striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27, my translation; cf. 3:20).

The local church, in short, is the embassy where we show up for work, where we learn to be ambassadors who evangelize and disciple, and where we display an otherworldly culture that shines like stars in the dark night sky (Phil. 2:15).

Leeman continues with 12 ways churches can cultivate such a culture.

Jul 22

VBS “Kingdom Chronicles” Recap Video

2013 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Events

On most evenings during the year, DSC’s building is pretty quiet. Last week it was not quiet. Last week we had over 300 children with us each evening to sing songs, play games, and learn about our king, Christ, at Vacation Bible School (VBS).

More than 4,000 hours were invested by more than 200 volunteers, and all of this for the sake of God’s praise in the salvation of children and the encouragement of their faith. And it’s wonderful when our children join us in spreading God’s name as well. The children raised $3,175 for church planting in North Africa. Many thanks to those of you who helped make this happen.

Here’s the VBS recap video we played in yesterday’s service.

Jul 18

Throwback Thursday: “Put On Your Armor and Pray”

2013 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermons

Actually, there is no such thing as “Throwback Thursday,” but today we are linking to a sermon preached by Ryan from October 19, 2003 from Ephesians 6:10-24, titled, “Put on Your Armor and Pray.”

The title of this sermon should ring a bell for most of us. If you’ve been up at DSC in the evenings dropping off kids or volunteering in this year’s VBS, you’ll know that this year’s theme comes from Ephesians 6. For those of you who are parents, perhaps this sermon will come in handy as you instruct your children in the Scriptures in follow-up to VBS this year. For all of us, Ephesians 6 is an important text of Scripture and this is a sermon we need. And, of course, it will also be interesting to hear Ryan’s voice from 2003!

Here are some of the verses the kids have been hearing and learning all week at VBS:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance . . .


Jul 11

Why Has Christianity Survived?

2013 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Gospel

One answer to this question is because Christianity is falsifiable.

Consider the flurry of sensory verbs in the first two verses of 1 John 1:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life — the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us. (emphasis mine)

This kind of language is a reminder of the historical nature of our faith. At the heart of what we believe as Christians are things that happened in real time in history. The incarnation, the death, and the resurrection of Christ happened.

Here are two images from a helpful article, “Christianity, The World’s Most Falsifiable Religion,” illustrating the contrast between how Christianity started and how other religions started:

Read the whole article here.