Archive for March, 2011
One reason to join us for Clarus ’11 is a new tradition of book giveaways. These giveaways are the kinds of books we want you to have from the kind of publishers we are happy to recommend.
One of our giveaways this year is by Jonathan Leeman called, Reverberation, complements of Moody Publishers. On Sunday, Ryan preached from Colossians 3:16-17 where we are commanded to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” What follows is a quote from a chapter of Leeman’s book on the centrality of Scripture in our singing.
What I Behold
We’re singing the sixteenth-century words of “A Mighty Fortress”, and I notice a woman who was recently assaulted now sing with all her might of a “bulwark never failing.”
We’re singing the eighteenth-century words of “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and I’m heartened by the older saint who has persevered in the faith for decades, still singing, “prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”
We’re singing the nineteenth-century words of “It Is Well with My Soul,” and I look out and see the middle-aged brother struggling with discouragement over his fight against sinful anger now raising his voice to shout, “My sin-oh, the bliss of this glorious thought: my sin, not in part, but the whole is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more; Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.”
We’re singing the twenty-first century words of “In Christ Alone,” and I see the talented young mother who is tempted to regret what she’s given up to have children now exult in her new ambition: “In Christ alone my hope is found, he is my light, my strength, my song.”
As I sit, look out, and behold, my own praises to God are strengthened by the stories and songs of others. My faith is invigorated and enlarged by His work in them.
The Echoing Word
Christians in our churches sing because their new hearts can’t help but echo the Word that has given them life. Whether those songs were written in the sixteenth century or today, they should echo Scripture. If there is any place where God’s Word should literally reverberate, it should reverberate in the church’s songs. Remember, Scripture alone gives life. Therefore, a church’s songs should contain nothing more than the words, paraphrases, or ideas of Scripture.
And Christians sing together because it helps us to see that our hearts’ praises, confessions, and resolutions are shared. We’re not alone. Singing in the church, I believe, is about listening as much as it’s about singing. So Paul commands us to “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord” (Eph 5:19 NIV). If I’m to speak to others in song, I’m to listen to others as well. In fact, I do sometimes stop singing just to listen and thank God for the voices around me!
You might think of the dim and temporary unity all the home team fans experience as they root for their team at a football game. Together they rise to their feet and cheer.
How much more should a church of Jesus Christ, both enjoy and display its unity when it sings! These brothers and sisters share our new identities, our Lord and Savior, our comfort and support, our hope and our joy. You’re with them, they’re with you, and we’re with Him.
That’s a good word and we’re grateful to Moody Publishers for this complementary book giveaway.
Don’t forget, if you haven’t purchased your ticket for Clarus, you can do so online.
Ryan’s points drew attention to the various ways in which God’s word functions among His people. If you recall, he said that each point could be the subject of a sermon on its own.
So, if you’re interested in exploring any of Ryan’s points further, they are listed below with links to several sermons previously preached here at DSC:
- The Word Planted within
“I Resolve to Give Myself to the Word”
- The Word Propagated among Others
“The Urgency of Unity: A Display of God’s Power in the Church“
- The Word Praised back to God
“Spirit Filled Singing“
- The Word (and Worship) Permeating All of Life
“A Mother’s Daily Tasks as Worship”
By way of reminder, audio from previous sermons is always available and searchable at the messages portion of the site.
- What does Clarus mean, and how did you arrive at that name?
- How did Clarus become a regional conference of The Gospel Coalition?
- Tell us about this year’s theme, “Scripture: God Speaks.”
- Who do you want to show up for the conference?
- Tell us a bit more about your speakers, G. K. Beale and Carl Trueman
Of particular interest to those unfamiliar with The Gospel Coalition will be TGC’s Foundational Documents and Ryan’s answer to Collin’s question, How did Clarus become a regional conference of The Gospel Coalition?
Several developments have led to this partnership. Becoming a council member of TGC this past year obviously had a lot to do with it. Also, this past year we organized a TGC regional chapter in Albuquerque. In years past, Clarus was the annual rallying point for a number of these local friendships, and Clarus is where many of these friendships were formed. Since Clarus fits so nicely under the TGC umbrella, it seemed natural to both us and TGC’s executive leadership to tie the existing local/regional conference efforts of Clarus into the broader movement of TGC. We hope this partnership will serve God’s purposes for his glory.
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 Southwest (Phoenix, Denver, El Paso, among others). We are thrilled to have TGC’s support and to be able to help the gospel-centered resourcing and networking efforts of TGC.
As Ryan mentioned on Sunday, with increased exposure to the conference we expect ticket sales to increase. To secure your place, purchase your ticket in advanced at the Information Center, the Resource Center, or online.
Dr. Beale is the former President of the Evangelical Theological Society (2004) and the author of several books, including:
- We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry
- The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism: Responding to New Challenges to Biblical Authority
- The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God
Dr. Trueman is widely regarded as a leading scholar in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and is the author of several books, most recently:
- Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative
- Histories and Fallacies: Problems Faced in the Writing of History
- Minority Report: Unpopular Thoughts on Everything from Ancient Christianity to Zen Calvinism
- The Wages of Spin: Critical Writings on Historical and Contemporary Evangelicalism
On March 12th, the Paradox youth and family ministry hosted their first Saturday night “Engage” gathering, part of a new ministry format. I’ve asked Greg Schneeberger, DSC’s Minister to Youth, to share about the new format and their first Saturday gathering:
Paradox youth and family ministry has turned a corner. We’ve decided to drop our ill attended Wednesday night gatherings and switch to two longer, more fun, and deeper Saturday nights per month. The first of these two gatherings occurs every second Saturday night of the month, from 5:00-9:00 PM. This gathering is for all youth and parents in middle school and high school. The second gathering takes place every fourth Saturday of the month during the same timeframe, but this gathering is offsite and exclusive to the high school ministry. We’re calling these gatherings “Paradox Engage.”
Our first foray into our new format was on March 12. In short, it was a huge success. We had almost 100 parents, students, and families gathered with us to celebrate the grace of Christ in worship, community, and mission.
True to the core values of our church, Paradox is committed to creating fun environments where youth and parents can grow together. We want our events to be a great time for relationship building across ages. The 2nd Saturday Paradox Engage did just that. Parents were talking. Young people were outside playing. Young adult and high school leaders were serving. Everyone was eating great food. When our hang out time came to a close, we sang music to our Lord, studied his word, and met together in small groups. The small group time was sweet to watch. Dads, moms, young adults, and kids sat together and discussed the big things of God. At the end, they closed in prayer. I watched with thankfulness as the night went off without a hitch.
No doubt, we’ll have things to change for next time. But our goal was accomplished. We were able to show the world that Christians can gather across ages, hobbies, and styles to be unified in the love of Christ. I’m excited to see where this goes and add fun elements to the gathering in the future. By God’s grace we will continue to gather and be strengthened as an intergenerational body so that both young and old can be equipped to be on mission in the world.
Read more about Paradox, review the schedule, and note upcoming events here.
In Sunday’s sermon, “Prepare for Battle,” Carlos Griego preached from Ephesians 6:10-20, where Paul issues his familiar exhortation for believers to “put on the whole armor of God” (6:11). But it is significant that this is not how Paul begins this section on spiritual warfare. He begins with the command for believers to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (6:10).
In his sermon, Carlos quoted from a helpful article on Ephesians 6 by Sam Storms to draw out the importance this initial command:
The simple exhortation “Be strong!” is both dangerous and useless. Self-reliance in spiritual warfare is suicidal. Believers do not strengthen themselves. Our strength must come from an external source, namely, the Lord. The strength of an earthly general is in his troops. But in the Christian life, the strength of the troops is in their general.
By way of reminder, you can search DSC’s sermon database by topic at the Messages portion of the site. In addition to Carlos’ sermon from Sunday, several other messages are available there on the topic of spiritual warfare.
In Sunday’s sermon, “The Christian’s New Clothes,” Ryan preached from Colossians 3:10-16 where Paul tells us what believers are to “put on” (3:12). The language of “put on” and “put off” calls to mind the imagery of clothing. Christians are to wear the new clothes of new life in Christ. These new clothes are “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (3:12) As we put these things on, we do so, “bearing with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgiving each other” (3:13). Above all, we are to “put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (3:14).
Those new clothes have a lot to do with relationships. In fact, those new clothes have everything to do with relationships.
As those who are God’s “chosen ones, holy and beloved,” we are to love one another. And that love is not a matter of mere good thoughts or good intentions towards people. Christian love, which is the capstone of Paul’s list, is defined by this list. It is patient. It is kind. It forgives.
Growing in this love is our glorious occupation as believers.
As you depend upon God’s Spirit for the grace to do so, here are some resources for your help and encouragement:
- The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict, Ken Sande
- War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles, Paul Tripp
- Love in Hard Places, D.A. Carson
- To Love Mercy: Becoming a Person of Compassion, Acceptance, and Forgiveness, Sam Storms
- Love Walked Among Us: Learning To Love Like Jesus, Paul Miller
- “Fighting for Reconciliation,” Ryan Kelly
- “Fighting Conflict at the Root,” Ryan Kelly
- “Conflict, Confrontation, and Peacemaking,” Ryan Kelly