Archive for September, 2011
How can we read the Bible so that the Bible transforms us? In short, we are transformed when the Spirit grants us to see and to know Christ better in the Word. This is because seeing and knowing Christ is the way we are transformed into Christ’s image (2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 1:18; 1 John 3:2). Our goal is to be like Christ, and the means is our vision of Christ.
Ok. Got it.
But how does that work? What is the relationship between our spiritual apprehension of Christ and our becoming like Christ? How does reading the Word work on us?
Sometimes an illustration helps. In his article on how to read the Bible, “Christ-Centered Bible Study,” Keith Johnson begins by illustrating the relationship between hearing the Bible’s message and living its demands:
Imagine yourself in a large house in which those who are deaf and those who can hear are living together. In one of the rooms, you see a guy sitting in a chair, listening to music on his iPod. Rhythmically, he’s tapping his foot, drumming his thighs, jutting out his chin, and swaying to the beat. His entire body moves in response to what his ears are hearing. It’s obvious that he’s enjoying himself and listening to a pretty good song.
A few minutes later, one of the deaf persons enters the room. Seeing the guy listening to the music and rocking out, he thinks, that looks like fun! I think I’ll try that. So he sits down next to him and begins to imitate him. Awkwardly at first, he tries drumming his thighs, jutting his chin out, and swaying to the music just like the guy with the iPod. With a little practice, he begins to catch onto it. By watching and trying, he begins to mirror the others guys actions pretty closely. But although he eventually gets better at keeping time, he concludes that it’s not as much fun or as easy as it initially seemed (especially the chin jut–very difficult to do when you’re not actually hearing the music).
After a while, a third person enters the room and watches this scene. What does he see? Two people apparently doing the same thing, apparently listening to the same thing. Is there a difference? Absolutely, the first guy hears the music and his actions are a natural response to the music’s rhythm and melody. The second guy is merely imitating the outward actions. Being deaf, he’s not listening to anything.
There’s an important spiritual parallel here. The dance (outward actions) represents the Christian life, while the music represents the grace of the gospel.
That’s a helpful image. After all, Jesus used the senses of both seeing and hearing to communicate what it means for us to apprehend his identity and his message (Matthew 13:13).
The whole article is worth reading.
HT: Dane Ortlund
On Friday, October 21 at 7:00 PM, DSC will host the second annual Cause for Praise, a night of praising God with our city. Last year, Cause for Praise was recorded live and released as DSC’s first album of songs for worship, Cause for Praise. This year’s Cause for Praise will be a live recording, as well, which will be released as a series of digital downloads available in the months following this year’s concert.
In addition to being a live recording, this year’s Cause for Praise concert will also serve as the release concert for an album of psalms adapted, set to music, and performed by members of DSC. The album’s title, Psalterium, is Latin for “Psalter,” which refers to a collection of psalms. So, it’s a new word, but this is what happens when artists name things. We get something new, creative, and refreshing. In the years ahead, we expect to release additional collections of psalms set to music, so this album is officially titled, Psalterium, Volume 1.
Here’s the artwork for Psalterium, Volume 1:
Admission is free and open to anyone. So, take advantage of this great opportunity to invite family and friends from work or the neighborhood to DSC.
There’s an empty lot across the street from DSC. Actually, there are a few of them. But the one we all think of is the lot across from us at the corner of Vista Del Norte and Osuna.
Surely, most of us have imagined what could be with that space. We love our community and that looks like a great space for community things. Over the years, a number of proposals have been possible, including a local department store and even a strip mall. Of course, it’s not hard to imagine soccer fields and a community park.
On Tuesday of this week the future of that land was decided. As it turns out, that last idea wasn’t hard for the decision makers to imagine either.
Here’s the text of an announcement and invitation that went out to the E-Newsletter mailing list earlier today:
We have good news! The city of Albuquerque has finalized the decision to make the lot to the East of the church an official Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta landing site and recreational field (soccer fields / city park). This decision was finalized on Wednesday, and the dedication of the field is this Sunday, September 25 at 9:00 AM.
The Mayor’s office contacted the Vista del Norte Neighborhood Association President and asked that she do what she can to get the Vista del Norte Community to the dedication. The Neighborhood Association recognizes that DSC has been a great support to the neighborhood and has invited us to participate in the dedication.
Sunday’s dedication provides a great opportunity for us to connect with our neighbors, and this park will do the same for years to come. The mission “field” has truly come to us! So, if it works for your family to attend the dedication at 9:00 AM, we would encourage you to do so. Of course, for those that attend, please don’t neglect your commitment to attend service at 10:45 AM, and we certainly encourage you to meet and invite any new friends you make at the dedication to join us for service.
The transformation of dry ground into a beautiful park is good news for our community, and a picture of the best news of all. Through the prophet Isaiah, God spoke about the work He would accomplish in a people through Jesus Christ: “I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground” (Isaiah 44:3). May we faithfully display and tell of this truly good news with the neighborhood we love!
In years to come, the corner of Vista Del Norte and Osuna will see much trafic from our immediate and wider Albuquerque community.
Let’s kick off a new and exciting relationship with the city and represent the love of Christ for our neighborhood together this Sunday.
In Sunday’s sermon, “If You Wanna Be Happy for the Rest of Your Life…,” Ryan preached from Psalm 1 about the blessed life. The word, “blessing,” may create any number of impressions in our mind based on how we’ve heard the word used. But “blessing,” is roughly equivalent to what we might mean by “happy.” Psalm 1, Ryan said, “tells us how to be happy no matter who you married, no matter where you live, or how much you make, or what you do for work, or whether you have the family you envisioned. It tells us the pathway to true happiness even amidst hardships and difficulties.”
As we’ve mentioned over the past few weeks, our series through the Psalms coordinates with the release of a new DSC album, Psalterium, at our next Cause for Praise concert, Friday, October 21. Psalterium is a 5 track album of various Psalms set to song. Here are the lyrics to Psalm 1, a song we’ve been singing for several weeks now, based on the first Psalm and composed by Matt Jones:
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way
of sinners or of scoffers who are seated,
but finds his delight
in meditation day and night
on the law of the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted by the streams of living water;
In season it will be
bearing fruit and its leaves do not wither;
In all that he does
he will prosper as he goes,
for the Lord knows his way.
Many if not all of the Psalms were originally set to music as a means of helping God’s people internalize God’s Word. Of course, in translation we’ve lost the original meter and any rhyming patterns. But songs like this help deliver the Psalms to our hearts and heads in a way similar to how they were originally received.
As part of our month long emphasis on Great Commission resources at the Resource Center, we’re featuring a helpful film on DVD by N.D. Wilson, Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl, based on a book by the same title.
Here’s the description:
A visual, poetic exploration of the narrative nature of the world and the personality of the Poet behind it all. When Nate Wilson looks at the world around him, he asks “What is this place? Why is this place? Who approved it? Am I supposed to take it seriously?” What could such an outlandish, fantastical world say about its Creator? In these sparkling chapters, Wilson gives an aesthetic examination of the ways in which humanity has tried to make sense of this overwhelming carnival ride of a world. He takes a whimsical, thought-provoking look at everything from the “magic” of quantum physics, to nature’s absurdities, to the problem of evil, evolution and hell. These frequently humorous, and uniquely beautiful portraits express reality unknown to many Christians-the reality of God’s story unfolding around and among us. As the author says, “Welcome to His poem. His play. His novel. His comedy. Let the pages flick your thumbs.”
This video trailer and the following endorsements will more than adequately relate why we included this DVD in our lineup this month. Be sure to read the last endorsement, which is from our very own Greg Schneeberger.
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“Combining stunning visuals with an entertaining and engaging text, Wilson yanks you out of the numbing sameness of your frenetic pursuit of what quickly passes and leads you to care about and inquire into things that are transcendent. Don’t watch it once. Watch it over and over again. It’s just that powerful and and important.”
—Paul David Tripp, Professor and Executive Director of Pastoral Life and Care, Redeemer Seminary; President, Paul Tripp Ministries
“My friend Nate reminds me of C.S. Lewis and Jerry Seinfeld at the same time. Like Lewis, he has a white knuckle grip on philosophical themes and inquiries while at the same time using them in service to the gospel in a way that resonates with the real questions and concerns of our time. He’s also Seinfeldian in the sense that he has a remarkable knack to see usually ignored details. He has a keen eye for seeing God’s handiwork and finding gospel truth that many would overlook as every day, mundane things. Combine all this with a good sense of humor, remarkable creativity, humble confidence, and savvy vision and you have a trustworthy and fun guide showing you around. Highly recommended!”
—Tullian Tchividjian, Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale
“Every time Nate Wilson opens his mouth my mind is bent a little bit, and this film is no exception. Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl throws out all assumptions and takes me on an adventure which ends with a bigger awe for God, a more mysterious world, and a thankfulness to be part of God’s big story.”
—Mike Anderson, The Resurgence, Mars Hill Church, Seattle
“Rembrandt and Van Til have a baby. ‘Notes’ is truly a small slice of heavenly art; a picture of what is and where it is going. As a doctoral student in philosophy, a minister, and resident of the whirling ball I can honestly say that this book captures something of the unity and diversity of God’s glory that many others do not. . . .Unlike other commentators (and no offense) I take Nate at his word that there is intention in every page. The work is like a tapestry, not a scratch and sniff. One must dig, wait, watch the thread, hold on, and not let seeming confusion confirm suspicions of incongruity. . . .The book is a mirror to redemptive history: many stories, one great purpose and goal and God. I enjoy Don Miller, but this is no wannabe. Nate brings a fresh brush stroke, a wisely used artists’ pallet to the exposition of the beauty of a universe where God is utterly huge…and you…dear reader, are not. Read this book for a feast of the fantastic.”
– Gregory C. Schneeberger, Minister to youth and families, Desert Springs Church, Albuquerque, NM
This Sunday began our new series in the book of Psalms, Pour Out Your Heart to Him: A Study in The Psalms. Ryan’s message, titled, “An Invitation to the Psalms,” answered a number of questions important for the beginning of a series like this. For example:
- Where are the Psalms?
- What are the Psalms?
- What’s unique about the Psalms?
- What is the layout or structure of the Psalms?
- How should we use the Psalms today?
Some of Ryan’s answers were developed at some length, and so we’ve made detailed notes from his sermon available as a pdf download here.
In the course of his sermon, Ryan noted how clearly the Psalms speak about the Word of God. In fact, in the Psalms we have some of the clearest teaching about the nature and purpose of God’s Word. Three Psalms are worth meditating on, especially if they are unfamiliar to you: Psalm 1, 19, and 119.
Consider the words of David in Psalm 19:7-11:
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul;the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.Moreover, by them is your servant warned;in keeping them there is great reward.
As we read this, we should consider that that David did not just write these because they were true, but he actually knew them to be true in his experience. Let’s pray for this to be true for us as well.
This past Sunday ended our summer long series, God Speaks, We Listen: Through the New Testament in 90 Days.
This Sunday’s sermon, “God Speaks in the Book of Revelation,” addressed a book of the Bible that is as important as it is misunderstood, or at least underappreciated. It seems we’re either a fanatic about Revelation, paralyzed by the book, or we’re ambivalent and don’t really care. Some of us have been each of these at different times, and others of us are all of them at the same time. But John opens his letter by saying that this book is a “revelation of Jesus Christ” and that those who hear and take this book to heart are “blessed’ by God. It’s to be understood. It is for our joy in God.
So, we simply must care about the book of Revelation. The fanatic needs to be focused on the book’s center, to see the book as having the same ultimate purpose as all of Christian Scripture – to lead us to Christ. The paralyzed needs to relax. We can’t wait until we understand the book of Revelation before we start reading. We only get the book through repeated reading and familiarity over time. It eventually has its way with us. In fact, even if you were to read a great volume of material on the book, you still wouldn’t ultimately get it, since the book was meant to be received in the form in which it was given. And the ambivalent need to be made excited about the book of Revelation. After all, God gave it to us.
And all of that is what a sermon is for. So, if you missed Sunday’s sermon, give it a listen, and then pick up the book of Revelation and start reading.
If you’re interested in exploring the book further, here are some helpful resources:
- Audio Lectures: From Symbolism to Significance: The Book of Revelation, G.K. Beale
- Audio Sermons: Revelation 1-3: What Jesus Has to Say to The Churches, Ryan Kelly
- Bible Study: Revelation: The Triumph of Christ, John Stott
- Short Commentary: The Returning King: A Guide to The Book of Revelation, Vern Poythress