Archive for September, 2012
On Sunday we announced the appointment of six new deacons: Sandy Beauchamp, Greg Dart, Leonard Duran, Marvin Gibson, and Jason Mancini.
Here’s a nice description of the office of deacon on DSC’s Leadership page:
In the New Testament Scriptures, there are two offices in the local church: pastors (or elders) and deacons. The deacon is a “servant” office (this is what the Greek word “deacon” means, and what we see in Acts 6 with the first deacons). However, it is also a managerial office: deacons lead others in an area of service. In Acts 6:3 “the seven” (deacons) were put “in charge” of a task. The seven of Acts 6:3 may have helped to manage around three thousand in the church at that time.
In Acts 6 we see areas that require some form of leadership, such as problem-solving and peace-making, related to an area that starts in the material realm (in this case, taking care of the needs of widows). Again, deacons give attention to more practical needs of the body. This frees up elders for the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4). Though the needs that deacons respond to often start in the material realm, the ministry often mingles physical and spiritual needs. For example, “complaints” are handled (Acts 6:1), Stephen preaches (Acts 7), Philip preaches (Acts 8), and deacons “hold fast the mystery of the faith” (1 Timothy 3:9).
On our Leadership Page you will also find photos for each of DSC’s leaders, including these five new deacons.
Ryan quoted from former Wheaton English professor, Clyde Kilby’s, “Resolutions for Mental Health“:
At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me. . . .
I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled with worthy potentialities. . . .
I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. . . .
I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be a “child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder.”
Psalm 104 is one of many psalms that focus on God’s glory in creation that we have heard preached in our series through the Psalms, Pour Out Your Heart to Him. Here are a few others:
- “How Majestic!” – Psalm 8
- “A Picture Worth a Thousand Words” – Psalm 19:1-6
- “Lord of the Storm” – Psalm 29
- “Nothing to Fear, the Lord is With Us” – Psalm 46
- “The Growing Crescendo of God’s Praise” – Psalm 96
- “The Dark Side of Creation” – Psalm 97
If you were at DSC on Sunday, you noticed that our Resource Center is back open, and in force. With 250 titles including 150 titles we haven’t carried before, the Resource Center has a broader selection of books from a broader range of categories.
More books around is good for our church. As Christians, we are learners, thinkers, and reflectors. God has made us that way, and this is part of what it means to know God, and it’s part of how we grow as Christians. Jesus even summarized God’s entire law with the command to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Books work on the heart and the soul through our mind. Some the heavier ones (try picking up the 6 pound Large Print ESV Study Bible) even work on our strength! What is a good Christian book but the careful work of another Christian person to learn, think, reflect, and then write on a subject for the growth and maturity of God’s people?
On the week of the relaunch, here are three things to notice about the new Resource Center:
The Resource Center is open on Sundays before and after each service, and during the week during regular office hours. Browse any time, and purchase books during those hours.
Out with the big kiosk and computer. In with the iPad and The Square. This should make buying books faster and easier, with cash, check, or credit card.
More shelf space means more titles.
On the square island are seasonal books, books at a deep discount, featured books related to DSC’s preaching and teaching ministry, and books authored by guest speakers.
Along the wall you’ll find a column of Bibles along with five columns focused by subject with topical shelves. Right now we carry one title of each book, and in time we may carry two copies of some books. This approach allows us to carry a breadth of titles, so don’t feel bad about taking the “last copy.” When a book is sold on Sunday, it’s purchased for replacement on Monday.
We will highlight specific shelves and titles here on the blog in the future, but for now here’s an outline of the columns and shelves you’ll find along the wall. In addition to an entire column devoted to Bibles, we have five columns with topical shelves:
- Old Testament, New Testament
- Biblical Interpretation, Bible Studies
- Biblical Theology
- Systematic Theology
- Historical Theology
- Christian Life 101
- Spiritual Disciplines, Prayer
- Suffering and Loss
- Vocation, Decision Making, and Money
- Manhood and Womanhood, Sexuality
- Church 101
- Corporate Worship, Church Leadership
- Various Church Topics
- Biblical Counseling 101, Conflict
- Issues in Biblical Counseling
- Perspectives on the Church
- Marriage, Dating and Courtship, and Singleness
- Books for Children
- Books for Youth
- Global Missions, Church Planting
- Introduction to Christianity
- Evangelism 101
- Apologetics 101, Issues in Apologetics
- Worldview and Culture
- Issues in Worldview and Culture
We pray for this Resource Center to encourage, equip, and build up the church here at DSC. For recommendations of books to purchase online, many of which are not available on site, visit DSC’s Resources page.
Our next Elders Q&A will take place on the last Wednesday of this month, September 26, at 6:30 PM.
Every important relationship includes some question asking and some question answering. As part of their leadership here at DSC, our elders are always available to answer questions in person, and once a year these men make themselves available to answer questions in a church-wide setting.
Since this is a Q&A, you are invited to submit questions for our elders to answer in the course of the evening. You can do this in three ways:
- Submit your question using your bulletin Comment Card next Sunday and drop that in an offering box.
- Email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Show up with your question on the 26th. Ryan will be taking some questions from a mic in the course of the evening. Of course, we appreciate your questions early. This helps us notice recurring themes and spend our time in a way that best serves the congregation.
Any questions that are not addressed at the Q&A will be answered through the DSC Blog or email.
Asking good questions encourages unity among our body and helps all of us pray more specifically for our church and its maturity in Christ.
To help you better pray for these men, consider Peter’s words to elders concerning the wonder and weight of their calling as shepherds from 1 Peter 5:1-5:
I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
One of the ways that we’re told to praise God is through exultant description. For example, in verses 7-8 we’re told to “ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name.”
To encourage us in this, Ryan mentioned a list of God’s attributes alphabetically listed in a book called, Prayer Coach. In the appendix of this book, there’s a section titled, “A to Z of Biblical Names, Titles, and Attributes of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” The book is available online or at our newly refreshed Resource Center, opening this Sunday. This is a great tool for ascribing to God glory in our prayers.
Here’s an example from the letter A:
- Able (Dan. 3:17; Matt. 9:28; Rom. 16:25; 2 Cor. 9:8; Eph. 3:20; 2 Tim. 1:12; Heb. 7:25)
- Abounding in love and faithfulness (Ex. 34:6)
- Adam, the last (1 Cor. 15:45)
- Advocate (Job 16:19; 1 John 2:1)
- All (Col. 3:11)
- Almighty, the (Job 5:17)
- Alpha (Rev. 1:8, 21:6)
- Amen, the (Rev. 3:14)
- Ancient of Days (Dan. 7:22)
- Anointed One (Psa. 2:2; Acts 4:27)
- Apostle and high priest (Heb. 3:1)
- Architect and builder (Heb. 11:10)
- Atoning sacrifice (2 John 2:2)
- Author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2)
- Avenger (2 Sam. 22:48; Psa. 94:1)
- Awesome (Ex. 15:11; Neh. 1:5; Dan. 9:4)
This Sunday Ryan will return to his series through the Psalms, Pour Out Your Heart to Him, with the first of three sermons from what are sometimes called, “Creation Psalms.” This kind of psalm draws on the colors, sounds, things, and realities of creation to show us the beauty, majesty, sovereignty, and saving power of the Creator.
For example, consider how Psalm 96 calls on all of creation to praise God, showing the breadth of God’s sovereign and gracious rule:
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord,
for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
To help you prepare ahead of each Sunday, here are the texts for the next three weeks:
Everyone lives in God’s world, and everything God made points to him. But we need divine revelation to overcome the hardness of our heart toward the Creator revealed in creation. With that in mind, this would be a great time to invite a friend to join you at church. May God do a great work to glorify him in our church and in the lives of those we bring, to show himself great as Creator, and as Redeemer!
For a refresher on the nature and purpose of the Book of Psalms, here’s an excerpt from the “Introduction to the Psalms” by Jack Collins from the ESV Study Bible.
The Psalter is the songbook of the people of God in their gathered worship.
These songs cover a wide range of experiences and emotions, and give God’s people the words to express these emotions and to bring these experiences before God.
At the same time, the psalms do not simply express emotions: when sung in faith, they actually shape the emotions of the godly. The emotions are therefore not a problem to be solved but are part of the raw material of now-fallen humanity that can be shaped to good and noble ends. The psalms, as songs, act deeply on the emotions, for the good of God’s people. It is not “natural” to trust God in hardship, and yet the Psalms provide a way of doing just that, and enable the singers to trust better as a result of singing them. A person staring at the night sky might not know quite what to do with the mixed fear and wonder he finds in himself, and singing Psalm 8 will enrich his ability to respond.
The Psalms also provide guidance in the approach to worship: at times they offer content that is difficult to digest, calling on God’s people to use their minds as well as their hearts and voices.
They show profound respect for God as well as uninhibited delight in him.
They enable the whole congregation to take upon themselves, to own, the troubles and victories of the individual members, so that everyone can “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15).
They enable God’s people more fully to enjoy being under his care, and to want more keenly to be pure and holy, seeing purity and holiness as part of God’s fatherly gift rather than as a burden.
You can purchase a copy of the ESV Study Bible online or at our newly refreshed Resource Center which will reopen on Sunday, September 16.
When we speak about gifts in the church, what usually comes to mind first are the gifts that God’s Spirit has given to individual believers for the building up of the church. Some of these are mentioned in passages like Romans 12:6-8, and 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.
What we don’t consider often enough is the gifts that God has given to his church in various kinds of leaders.
In Sunday’s sermon, “Jesus’ Plan for Your Growth,” Ryan spent some time unpacking Ephesians 4:11-12, where Paul writes, “God gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”
If God has given these leaders to his church, and if they are integral to the growth of the church, then we should know who they are and what they are given to do. Some of these roles are clear from the title, but some require some dot-connecting.
Clues To Understanding The Gifts in Ephesians 4:11-12
First, from verses like Ephesians 2:19-20 and 3:3-5 we can discern that “apostles” and “prophets” were closely related to one another and were unique in their foundational role in the establishment of the church.
So then you are . . . members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone…
When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
So, while there are different kinds of prophets and prophecy in the New Testament, there is also a more specific kind of “prophet,” as mentioned in Ephesians 4, closely related to the role of an apostle. These prophets were probably Scripture writers along with the apostles. Luke is an example of a Scripture writer who wasn’t an apostle.
Second, there is good reason to see a logical or chronological order to this list in Ephesians 4. Obviously, “apostles and prophets” are foundational, and they are first in Paul’s list. But in 1 Corinthians 12:28, another passage dealing with the unity and growth of the church, Paul gives us a similar list but this time he actually numbers a few of the roles: “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.”
The whole list isn’t meant to be logical or chronological. But at least part of it is. Tongues is last for a reason, given the context. And the order of the first few are actually numbered, and probably according to a kind of priority: “. . .first apostles, second prophets, third teachers. . .”
So, here are some short role descriptions for each of the leaders in this Ephesians 4 list:
- Apostles – These are the twelve appointed by Jesus, which included Matthias who replaced Judas, and also, Paul.
- Prophets – These are men like Luke who wrote Scripture but weren’t an apostle.
- Evangelists – These are the men who took the Word and the gospel to places where it hadn’t reached. These were what we would call, “missionaries,” or, “church planters.”
- Pastors – These are the shepherds who led churches once they were established, most often raised up from within the church itself. These are in other places called, “elders,” or, “overseers” (1 Peter 5:1-2).
- Teachers – Since teaching is a function of pastoring, and since “pastors and teachers” seem to be paired grammatically, these are often seen as the same role. But if this is a list of five different kinds of roles in logical and chronological order, then teachers would be those in the church with a ministry of teaching under the authority of the elders of the church. In our immediate context, this would include Sunday School workers, Community Group leaders, Men’s and Women’s Ministry teachers, and others.
But then notice that each of these leaders is given in order to “equip the saints for the work of ministry.”
There are several neat implications that we can draw from Ephesians 4:11-12. Here are a few:
- God has given special care to the establishment and structure of his church. He is a careful builder and has his own designs for the creation and growth of his people.
- Each of the equipping roles that God has established work together to grow the church. We need the Scriptures given to us by the apostles and the prophets. We need some to go out and take the Word where it hasn’t gone. We need some to shepherd and lead established churches. And we need teachers.
- Central to the church’s growth is the Word. Each of these roles is related in some fashion to the Word. There are Word-writers, Word-takers, Word-feeders, and Word-teachers.
- Every member of the church is a minister. The role of each of these leaders is to “equip the saints for the work of ministry.” Who are the “saints”? That’s all of us. From Ephesians 4:14-15 we learn that we grow as we mature in right doctrine, and we are held to the truth as we – the saints – speak the truth to one another in love.