Archive for February, 2010
In light of Sunday’s sermon about the State of the CommUnion and the growing role that Home Groups play at DSC, here is a great message by John Piper, titled “No Condemnation in Christ Jesus, One Body in Christ.” The main thrust of what Piper says here is that we, the church, are one body in Jesus Christ with special ways of serving each other, but this is all “pie-in-the-sky theory without smaller groups.” Here is one classic Piper-esque quote:
Oh, that God would turn our small groups into invincible platoons of faith and love and witness and service. Oh, that when the next calamity strikes perhaps nearer to home, every suffering and grieving saint at Bethlehem would be surrounded by a band of wounded healers lavishing the many-colored grace of God on each other and pressing on!
Once a year we, as a church, take a Sunday morning to look back on the last year and look forward to the next. It’s similar to the President’s State of the Union address. But because the church isn’t a union, but a community, and in communion with Christ, we call it the State of the CommUnion (yeah, we know it’s kind of hokey, but after a few years it just kind of stuck).
It’s not a usual Sunday for us, and not a usual sermon for me. We usually spend more time talking about “who we are” and “where we’re going” than just what a certain passage says. The passage we’ll look at this Sunday is Acts 2:41-47. We’ll spend time talking about what it means, but we’ll also spend time “bragging on God” for what he’s done in our midst in the last year. We’ll take time to talk about what we see on the horizon for the next year — some things you’ll have heard just a bit about and some will be new to you. I’ll tell you things that have come out of hours and hours of some recent elders meetings on vision, communication, and planning — some things we’re very excited about and sense that God is in.
In short, it’s a time for a locker room talk, a family meeting. And because I love my team, my family, I love these Sundays.
As was mentioned on this past Sunday, remember that this coming Sunday we will also be having special prayer times during each of the services — either in the West Wing at 9:00 AM or in the Conference Room at 11:00 AM. Please plan to attend one of the services and the opposite prayer time, if you’re able to do both.
Want to listen to last year’s State of the CommUnion message? Stop the clamouring. It’s right here.
This is the title of a 5-part series that John MacArthur did about the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, which we studied in Sunday’s sermon. If you would like to study this parable more closely, MacArthur’s sermons are available to listen or read online at the links below. Here is a short excerpt, just to whet your appetite.
Ninety percent of Americans believe in God; 85 percent say they believe in Jesus. Certainly, these people all think they’re headed for Heaven. I’m quite sure that hell is populated mostly with people who are shocked to find themselves there. People typically answer the question, “Are you going to Heaven?” with, “Well, I’m a good person. I’m a religious person. I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. I’m going to Heaven. God certainly wouldn’t send me to hell.” Hell is full of surprised people. That’s really what this story is about — a man who was shocked to find himself in hell. Equally shocking to those who listen to the story was the idea that the other man was in Heaven. This was contrary to all of their expectations…
Read the rest here:
Just like Ryan preached about the Pharisee’s self righteousness on Sunday, we’re all guilty of justifying ourselves instead of trusting in the promise of the gospel. Here is part of an article from C.J. Mahaney about fighting against that tendency.
Remember the passion for Jesus you had? Remember the joy and overwhelming gratitude to God that came from knowing your sins were forgiven?
Now think about your Christian life today. Have you moved on to other things? Maybe you’re primarily focused on fighting lust, or pursuing godly relationships with the opposite sex, or battling pride, or cultivating patience.
If so, life is probably quite different for you now. Perhaps you often lack joy, or wonder why you can’t make greater progress in spiritual maturity, or feel condemned when you sin. So you study your Bible more, or attend another small-group meeting, or serve in new ways at church, or read the latest book.
All these practices are good. Some are vital. But let me suggest the likely root cause of your problems: Perhaps you have simply drifted from the message that saved you. If you lack passion for God, if you sometimes wonder where the joy went, then consider: Are you still clinging to the gospel? Whether you grew up in church or were saved on the streets, you were saved by the same simple message: Christ died for your sins.
In light of Sunday’s message on money, here are some great reflection questions from Randy Alcorn about money and finances.
Has the degree of my giving suggested that I have recognized and embraced the full extent of Your grace in my life? Or does it suggest I need to recognize and respond to Your grace in deeper and more heartfelt ways?
Lord, am I honoring You as owner and CEO/CFO of the assets You’ve entrusted to my care? Or am I treating You as a mere financial consultant, to whom I pay a fee? (2 percent, 10 percent, or …). Have I been acting as if I own the store, and You work for me, rather than recognizing that You own it and I work for You?
Is my life revolving around You? Open my eyes, Father. What am I holding onto that’s robbing me of present joy and future reward? What am I guarding and keeping for myself that’s preventing me from having to depend wholeheartedly on You?
Read the rest here. If you want to learn more about a biblical perspective on money, make sure to check out Alcorn’s book Money, Possessions, and Eternity. Also, we have a shorter book from Alcorn that you can pick up for free at the Resource Center titled, The Treasure Principle. Be sure to join us for Clarus ’10, where Randy Alcorn will be joining us for the weekend of April 30 – May 2.
Here is a great description of what we’re aiming to be at DSC.