Archive for February, 2011
In Sunday’s sermon, “Seek Things Above,” Ryan preached from Colossians 3:1-4, where Paul exhorts us to “seek things that are above, where Christ is, not on things that are on earth.”
Ryan quoted a helpful section from Jeremiah Burroughs’, A Treatise of Earthly-Mindedness (1649), where Burroughs expands on Paul’s words in Colossians 3:
- When men look upon earthly things as the greatest things.
- When their choicest thoughts are busied with earthly things.
- When their hearts cleave to the earth.
- When their hearts are filled with distracted cares about the world.
- When the greatest endeavors of their lives are about earthly things.
- When they seek any earthly thing for itself, and not in subordination to some higher and godly good.
- When they are earthly in spiritual things.
- When they conceive of the most heavenly truth in an earthly way.
A Treatise of Earthly-Mindedness is available for purchase here and download here. If you would like to explore this theme more, consider buying Jason Stellman’s recent book, Dual Citizens: Worship and Life Between the Already and the Not Yet.
We are very pleased to announce that, as of 2011, Clarus will serve as a Regional Conference of The Gospel Coalition (TGC). Several developments have lead to this unique partnership. DSC began this yearly conference, now named Clarus, several years ago. Over the years, by God’s grace, we have been privileged to have some first-rate speakers; thus, interest and participation has steadily grown—both in attendance and on the web. In 2010, an Albuquerque Regional Chapter of TGC was formed. Many of these Albuquerque-area pastors were already in fellowship/partnership, and in many cases through connections made at Clarus. After discussions with TGC’s executive leadership, it seemed natural to tie the existing local/regional conference efforts of Clarus into the broader, national movement of TGC.
For those who have attended Clarus in previous years, it will be clear that this partnership will not change much of the feel and aim of the conference. Our hope is that, now as a Regional Conference of TGC, this event will be able to more broadly serve pastors and other interested Christians in the SW (Phoenix, Denver, El Paso, etc.). We are thrilled to have TGC’s support and to be able to help the gospel-centered resourcing and networking efforts of TGC.
Clarus conference attendees are entitled to a discount to TGC’s National Conference in Chicago from April 12 – 14. Instead of $250, the cost for an adult will be $100. For couples, instead of $350, the cost is $150. If you are attending Clarus and plan to attend the TGC’s National Conference, contact the church office for the discount code.
So we hope you will join us, April 29 – May 1, to hear from guest speakers, G.K. Beale and Carl Trueman on this year’s theme, “Scripture: God Speaks.” Stop by the Clarus site to learn more about Clarus, this year’s speakers, the conference schedule, and how to register.
At the conclusion of his third letter, John wrote to Gaius, “I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face” (14). DSC’s Church Directory is meant to help us know one another by name, but also by face.
Our church directory was completed this last year and we are committed to keeping this resource current. Here are some details for how to be included in and take advantage of the directory:
- Photo Appointments: If you are not in DSC’s current Church Directory, sign up at the Information Center on Sunday or call the church office at 505.797.8700 to set a time to have your photo taken for the supplemental edition to be released this Spring. Photo appointments are available from Thursday, March 3 – Saturday, March 5.
- Update Information: Update your directory information at the Information Center on Sunday or by contacting the church office at 505.797.8700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hard Copies: Hard copies of the Church Directory are still available at the Resource Center for $5.00.
- Online Edition: The current directory, along with any updates, is also available online. Contact the church office for the password.
God looks not at the elegancy of your prayers, to see how neat they are; nor yet at the geometry of your prayers, to see how long they are; nor yet at the arithmetic of your prayers, to see how many they are; nor yet at the music of your prayers, nor yet at the sweetness of your voice, nor yet at the logic of your prayers; but at the sincerity of your prayers, how hearty they are.
This weekend is DSC’s annual Prizing the Privilege of Prayer weekend. Saturday at 8:00 AM is the Men’s Prayer Breakfast. If you haven’t RSVP’d yet, call the church office if it is open to let us know you are coming. But if you forget, you are still welcome to come. This Sunday, take advantage of the chance to pray with the body through guided prayer gatherings in the West Wing during both services.
There are also several helpful prayer books and resources available at the Resource Center:
- Prayer Coach: For All Who Want to Get Off The Bench and onto the Praying Field, James Nicodem
- Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus’ Name, Bryan Chapell
- A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, Paul Miller
- Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions
In Sunday’s sermon, “Self-Made Religion,” Ryan preached from Colossians 2:18-23 to warn us against the danger of self-made religion. Self-made religion, to be sure, comes in many different forms. One of those forms, which is as subtle as it is dangerous, is legalism. Paul wrote to the church, “…why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations …according to human precepts and teachings?”
In his article “Legalism and its Antidotes,” Dominic Smart expands on the danger of legalism:
Legalism is primarily a God-ward thing. It’s a way of making and keeping yourself acceptable to God. From this flows the legalism that is directed towards one another. It’s a way of scoring sanctity points in our fellowships, and exerting what one postmodernist called a “truth regime” – it’s about pride, power and control. It simultaneously glorifies man and “unsecures” man. Thus, its true opposites are grace and faith.
Yet it is so plausible. The need for order, structures and boundaries feeds our quest for control. Our very ability to keep some rules feeds our pride and gives us the impression that our relationship with God is somehow founded upon this ability.
…It often arises out of a good motive: to be holy. We don’t want sin to rule over us, we don’t want to grieve God or to stray from his path. And it is a narrow path compared to the one that leads to destruction. So in order to avoid big sins we add rules to God’s word – hedging sinful territory around with codes that are intended to keep us from it. It is the well-intentioned, keen and committed who are most prone to it. The half-hearted Christian couldn’t really care enough to veer towards legalism (though he or she makes up for it with many other errors). It was the scribes, following good Ezra, who developed “the traditions of men” which people preferred to the word of God: a preference that Jesus blasted in Mark 7.
But all this focuses the mind on self. It takes the mind and heart away from Christ, the Proper Man. It takes our faith away from His sufficiency and misplaces it upon ours. We live to achieve his approval; we forget that we are already alive and accepted in Christ. Ever so plausibly, we are sold a different gospel: one that isn’t really a gospel at all. And the desire not to sin in some big way can be little more than a mask to hide our lack of faith in Jesus, “who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption”. (1Cor 1:30). Holiness is not a matter of living on eggshells with a God who is reserving judgement on us and might turn us away at any moment.
It really is a deadly false thing, this warped alternative, this lie, this all-pervasive and hideous distortion of Christian living.
Smart goes on to unfold the following eight ways in which legalism is a distortion of the Biblical gospel:
- Legalism cannot deal with sin
- Legalism cannot bring us closer to God
- Legalism sends us in entirely the wrong directions as we progress through life
- Legalism is narrow-minded and sinfully boring
- Legalism encourages, even protects hypocrisy
- Legalism ends up trivializing life with God.
- Legalism produces a false gospel
- Legalism robs God
We recommend the entire article, where Smart expands on each of these points and follows them up with eight antidotes to the poison of legalism.
Over the past week, we published a series of posts summarizing some of what God did in and through DSC in 2010. You can read the series on the blog (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) or download and print out the full report. This was in coordination with Ryan’s series, Worship, Community, Mission.
In conclusion to this series, we showed this 2010 highlight video during last week’s service:
This post is the third in a series of three posts highlighting some of what God did at Desert Springs Church in 2010. The full report is also available for download in case you’d rather print it off and read it in one sitting.
What follows is a report about God’s work in a number of areas under the umbrella of Local and Global Missions.
Local and Global Missions, Clint Moore
Becoming a church planting church
- In 2010 we rolled out our vision, mission, and really, calling to become a church that plants churches that plants churches. This included two messages at Missions Emphasis Week. One about counting the costs of becoming a church planting church and one about the purpose behind church planting locally. This will be a costly endeavor for us as a church that will require a continued paradigm shift toward radical sacrifice, prayer, and generosity as we send families out to live among the nations and our neighbors. We rolled out our goal of $2.5 Million for church planting over 10 years through our $1/day in 2010 + prayerfully increasing by $1/day in future years. 133 folks were committed to this by the end of 2010, and many of those were committed to more than $1/day in 2010 already.
- We formally announced Carlos as the first local church planter to be sent out from DSC. He is continuing to gather steam when it comes to pastoral training through Re:Train and Acts 29.
- We have already received $27,000 in giving toward church planting at DSC, and it is only January. God is indeed providing for His purposes.
SNAP – Sunrise North Africa Partnership
- Applied for and received a $75,000 matching grant for church planting among the unreached from SKI (Strategic Kingdom Initiatives) to be used for training and launching funds for our team in the coming years.
- Invested another $6000 ($500/month) in evangelism, discipleship and leadership development through Arab World Ministries Media outreach and their Maarifa Website, as well as their PALM (Preparing Arab Leaders for Ministry) program. Planning the same for 2011 as we continue to invest in the future ministry of our church planters.
- Hosted AWM couple that was expelled from North Africa who helped paint a picture for us of the environment we are sending out team into, as well as challenged us to stay the course, though North Africa is a moving target.
- We formally recognized our SNAP families as the first candidates to be trained for going to North Africa as church planters with AWM/Pioneers. We are continuing to send them through various theological and ministry trainings in the next couple of years, and, Lord willing, send them out in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Each family is also undergoing close evaluation by all of the current elders for relationship health, preparedness for planting churches, parenting, marriage, and a host of other categories. We will, Lord willing, submit them as candidates for church planting with Pioneers toward the end of 2011.
- People in the DSC body have begun to rally around these families to support them financially, logistically, relationally, and prayerfully.
- After more than 30 years of translation work by Carol and Rodrigo Barrera, the Rabinal Achi New Testament was finished in the early fall of 2009. And the audio recording was finished by Hosanna just a few months after that in early 2010.
- Several elders and missions leaders traveled to Achi land in January 2010 in order to help celebrate the NT being finished, and to help establish a yearly pastoral training time for Achi Pastors pointing them to use God’s word as the central tool in their ministry.
- We’ve continued our partnership with Dr. Jacobo Pineda through his ministry of Community Health Evangelism (CHE) by sending 14 people on medical and dental trips in 2010, and 11 on a water project to Guatemala. God raised $2000 through us to help with water projects in Guatemala during our Sola Aqua month in September. Besides giving monetarily to this project, the entire DSC body has rallied to support the Dental and Medical trips by supplying medicines, medical supplies, and toothbrushes for these mission trips.
- Total DSCer’s who went to Guatemala in 2010 ~ 49.
- Working with Barreras and Pinedas on a “What’s Next” proposal for doing more Community Health Evangelism, as well as leadership development, and possibly church planting in Guatemala.
- Travel to Mexico has been very limited again this year because of the increased and sustained violence in Juarez. Please continue to pray that things will change, and that through this, God will continue to use the church, especially our partner, Las Palmas Church to reach their neighbors for Christ.
Native American Partnership
- A team of 17 from DSC helped lead VBS with our partner church (Bethel Navajo Baptist) in Steamboat Arizona. By the end of the week there were almost 120 students and several adults coming to hear about Jesus and study the Bible.
- We are praying that we will continue to grow in our partnership and potentially provide some theological and pastoral training for Bethel Baptist church, as well as expanding the VBS and construction projects to the Rez in 2011.
Local Mobilization of God’s people to be on Mission
- The main thrust for mobilizing God’s body on mission has been a push for prayer for, equipping for, and modeling of a missional life. We are fervently asking God that He will move in our leadership (elders, staff, deacons, and community group leaders) to be on mission in all of life, pray that God use them to save souls, and mobilize those they lead to do the same.
- Working with Jay, we have established a monthly SYNC meeting for vision casting, mission realignment, as well as leadership and theological training for Community Group leaders. We are praying that as the vision of missional communities (groups on mission to expand God’s kingdom) spreads to the CG leaders, it will spread to their people as well.
- Offering our third offering of the Ambassador Training Series in 2011 – designed to equip God’s people to be faithful, competent Ambassadors through discussing the Knowledge, Wisdom, Character, and Tools of an Ambassador for Christ.
- There are currently 26 Community Groups at DSC, and at least 12 of them started this year either out of nothing or splitting off of an existing group. Nine of the 26 groups are at “capacity” now. And several of those are raising up new leaders within and looking to split in order to make room not just for more DSC folks, but, Lord willing, as we go out on mission, for new converts that we are asking God to provide as He wills.
- Because of DSC donors, the Abba fund is nearing $50,000 in interest free loan money available for families to borrow to help with adoptions (loans are limited to $5k for now).
- 5 Families completed adoptions of 8 children at DSC in 2010. 4 new families began the adoption process in 2010. And 3 families continued the process of adoption in 2010. Several families are being trained or already serving in foster care as well.
- Continued our Bi-monthly fellowship where we come to share stories, struggles, and praises in adoption.
- Held our 2nd annual Adoption Sunday. Trent Hunter called us to love orphans individually and corporately. We seem to be a body uniquely gifted to press into this pocket of hurt and lostness in our city, state, country, and world and we pray God will continue to use us to make disciples through adoption and other orphan care.