Archive for April, 2013
There are many ways in which we should not be like babies, but there is at least one way in which we must. In Sunday’s sermon, “Like Newborn Infants…,” Ryan drew out the comparison that Peter makes between infants and Christians 1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk [of the Word].” As those who are born of the Word, Christians should cultivate and feed an appetite for the Scriptures so that we long for Scripture as much as we really do need it.
Here’s how C.H. Spurgeon put it:
“Oh, that you and I might get into the very heart of the Word of God, and get that Word into ourselves! As I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf, and consume it, so ought we to do with the Word of the Lord—not crawl over its surface, but eat right into it till we have taken it into our in most parts. It is idle merely to let the eye glance over the words, or to recollect the poetical expressions, or the historic facts; but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible.”
If you have struggled with Bible reading in general, read Ryan’s article, “How’s Your Bible Reading Going?,” for a reflection on some of the reasons we have a hard time sticking with the Bible. Then, pick up the Bible and feed, remembering Jesus’ own words, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
Church discipline is that loving process whereby God, through his people, addresses us in our sin for our restoration to him, to his people, and for his glory. Church discipline assumes a corporate aspect to our growth in godliness. It includes the most normal and easy of conversations with one another about how we may grow in faithfulness to God, but it may include any one of several steps outlined by Jesus in Matthew 18:15–18,
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
Since we’re all sinners, we should all expect to find ourselves on both sides of this process throughout the course of our Christian lives. But we should all pray for ourselves and for one another that we never see the later stages of this process, and for God’s grace to repent if we do. It should be clear that the issue that moves any of us from one step to another is not the initial sin we’ve committed but the sin of refusing to repent and turn to God.
So important is this process for the purity and health of the church that we have included a paragraph expressing our commitment to this in the DSC Covenant of Fellowship.
I expect and trust that as I lax in my commitment to these principles this body at Desert Springs Church will hold me accountable with reproof, rebuke and exhortation to keep me faithful to the commitment that I am making; and furthermore, as I commit myself to this fellowship, I realize that I am entrusted with the same obligation of mutual exhortation and encouragement. If I ever continue in my sin without true repentance, and do not hear the pleas and rebukes of my brothers and sisters in Christ, I implore this body to seek my spiritual restoration in proceeding in the steps of restoration and purity given by Jesus in Matthew 18:15-20.
If you would like to further explore the subject of church discipline, here are a few resources to check out:
- “A Redemptive Judgment,” a sermon by Ryan Kelly
- “A Primer on Church Discipline,” a previous post at the DSC Blog
- Church Discipline: How the Church Protects the Name of Jesus, a book by Jonathan Leeman (Available at the Book Nook)
- “Discipline,” a short video and article at 9Marks Ministries
- “What are the benefits of practicing church discipline?,” an article by Mark Dever
- “Why is “discipline” not a negative but a positive thing?,” an article by Mark Dever
- “Can church members simply resign their membership in order to avoid church discipline?,” an article by Jonathan Leeman
“A Prayer about the Entanglements of Pornography” (Scotty Smith)
Here’s a heartfelt and helpful prayer for those ensnared in the destructive sin of pornography.
“The Boston Bombers Were Outside Their House” (Matt Smethurst)
The shoot out that took down Suspect #1 happened right outside the home of believers, Stephen and Emily McAlpin. Here’s their story.
“The Explosion in Texas and Fatherhood” (Grant Castleberry)
Over at the new CBMW site, Grant Castleberry reflects on the death of his father, fatherlessness, and tragedies like last week’s explosion in West Texas.
“Courtroom horror” (World Magazine)
Andrée Seu Peterson, reporting on the Gosnell murder trial, reflects on a conversation with her 81 year old mother to show the moral contradiction in the legality of abortion.
“How Mollie Hemingway Introduced the Nation to Kermit Gosnell” (Trevin Wax)
Trevin Wax shows how the Gosnell story gained traction in the mainstream media.
“Get to Church Early” (Joe Thorn)
Chicago area pastor, Joe Thorn, gives us some good reasons to make a priority of being on time to church.
“The Legacy of John Piper in the Lives of Real People” (Desiring God)
After 33 years at Bethlehem Baptist Church, John Piper has retired from his preaching post, though not from ministry. Here’s a nice video tribute put together by his church.
“Thanks to the Bethlehem Staff” (John Piper)
Also related to Piper’s retirement, here’s a encouraging read. This is a personal thank you from Pastor Piper to his staff.
“The Mystery of the Tiny Door in a Tree” (Joe Rosato, Jr.)
Five dollars from me personally (Trent Hunter) to anyone to visits this tree and brings home a picture of themselves in front of it.
As part of our Spring for SNAP initiative, we’re hosting a Business as Mission Workshop this Saturday at DSC from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM. As you consider joining us, here are answers to a few questions you might be asking.
What is the “Business as Mission” (BAM) Workshop?
This workshop is designed for two purposes. The first purpose is to help all of us better grasp the opportunity for the gospel that is before us in all of our jobs and vocations.
The second purpose is to help us begin to partner as a church in creatively supporting the work of SNAP through our respective vocations.
What do we mean by that? We’re not talking fund raising. We’re talking about skill and business resource sharing. Let me explain.
Are you a lawyer? Our SNAP team will be entering what is called a creative access country requiring a legitimate job identity in order to carry out their primary agenda of gospel ministry. They will need help setting up an LLC in the US to further legitimize their work. You can help with that.
Or, here’s another example. Let’s say you make candlesticks. Maybe candlesticks are in need in our target country. You could be a supplier and our missionaries can sell your candlesticks. Or maybe you can help our missionaries establish a candlestick business of their own. Or maybe our missionaries will be making widgets, and you can help as a consultant in manufacturing processes.
What outcome should we pray for?
Creative access countries need sending churches to be creative. We’re praying for God to grow our church in seeing our vocations, skills, and business resources as assets that can be creatively employed for the sake of the church’s mission. Then, out of this we are praying for creative solutions, skills, and business resources to emerge from within our body in support of our SNAP initiative.
What’s the Schedule?
9:00 AM to 12:00 PM – Business as Mission Foundations: 3 sessions covering the Biblical and historical “why?” and “what?” of BAM
12:00 PM-1:30 PM – Lunch break
1:30 – 3:30 PM – Business as Mission Practice: 2 sessions covering the “how?” for specific SNAP initiative, including next steps for our church
If you want to come, just show up on Saturday morning. No registration required. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Who is leading the workshop?
We will be joined by three workshop leaders:
Larry W. Sharp is the Founder and current Director of Strategic Partnerships of a Business for Transformation consulting firm, International Business and Education Consultants (www.ibecventures.com). He has served 21 years in Brazil and 19 years as Crossworld VP of Operations and currently as Vice President of Business Partnerships. Since 2007 he has devoted energies toward Business as Mission themes. He holds degrees in Bible, business (B.A. Seattle Pacific University), and education (M.A. Azusa Pacific University) and a Ph.D. (University of Calgary, Canada) in comparative sociology of education and administration. He has spent most of his career in education and supervisory roles. While in Brazil he served as teacher and headmaster of the Amazon Valley Academy (15 years) and President of the Missão Cristã Evangélica do Brasil for six years.
Ben Briggs moved to China at age 25 to start a leather factory. Knowing practically nothing about manufacturing, business management, leather, or Chinese, Ben and his Dallas-based bosses at Barrington engaged business for mission. Over the ensuing eight years, the factory grew to 100 people producing high-end goods for Ritz-Carlton, Neiman Marcus, Tommy Bahama, the PGA, and more. But most importantly, Ben’s team hired and mentored several deaf, handicapped, and Down syndrome employees, using their business as a platform to bless employees, glorify God, and benefit the community.
Dean Callison serves as a Sixteen:Fifteen Business As Mission Coach. Dean is a Certified Financial Planner and has spent the last 25 years doing financial and philanthropic consulting. Dean has assisted many stewards in the transfer of financial resources to missional projects around the world but he is especially interested in assisting stewards with gifts of time and talent to help the growing Business As Mission movement. Dean is pleased to assist Sixteen:Fifteen, influence churches and individual stewards towards real business and real missional efforts in the least reached areas of the world. Dean has a degree in Business and Economics from Taylor University. Sixteen:Fifteen exists to help local churches discover and use their unique gifts in partnership with others to make Christ known among all nations. Sixteen:Fifteen’s vision is to coach 1,000 churches toward a strategic missions focus, resulting in an incremental $1 billion invested to reach 1,000 unreached people groups around the world within the next 10 years.
1) Tell us a little about your new role over DSC’s Men’s Ministry.
I am the deacon that has been charged with developing our Men’s Ministry at DSC and Ron Giese is my Men’s Ministry elder. In our DSC Men’s Ministry mission statement, it says, “The Men’s Ministry of Desert Springs Church (DSC) exists to challenge men to live for God’s glory and not their own”. I will be the first to confess, I am not an expert or someone to point to as a man consistently living for God’s glory and not my own. But I have a desperate desire to seek His will in this area and I have many brothers in DSC that have told me they have this same desire. So, I want to be used by God to develop a men’s ministry where our faith is strengthened, where we can invest in each other, and live for God’s glory.
I also want to mention that I have a team of men working to help guide and shape this ministry, including, David Gidlow, Jason Mancini, Lee Scott, and Jim Tate.
2) We’re looking forward to the Men’s Retreat at the beginning of May. I know you are leading the charge for this retreat. Where did the idea come from?
Hah! To say that I am leading the charge for the Men’s Retreat might be a bit of an overstatement. Before Ron talked to me about working with him on men’s ministry, he talked to the men in my huddle group who endorsed me enthusiastically. And after Ron and I prayed about this opportunity, I was eager to jump in and lead in this area of ministry to men. And as soon as my huddle group knew that I was committed, the first thing they said was, “Marvin, when is our Men’s Retreat?” So, I cannot say I had the idea for our Men’s Retreat but I do hope I can be part of increasing the frequency of our Men’s Retreat to once a year rather than once every three or so years.
In terms of the theme, I surveyed all of our men’s huddle groups and other men in DSC and about 80% of the men said they want spiritual leadership to be the theme for this retreat. And this can be spiritual leadership in our homes, at our work places, at DSC, and in our lives. The crucial question for every man is, how may I live for God’s glory as a man in my various roles?
3) Tell us about our speaker, Michael Kelshaw. Who is he and what will he speak about?
Our speaker, the Reverend Michael Kelshaw, is the teaching pastor and the men’s ministry pastor at Trinity at the Marketplace in Albuquerque. He was a speaker at our DSC Man Conference in 2011 and you can listen to those sessions here.
As I said earlier, Michael will speak to the theme of spiritual leadership. The title for this retreat is “Walk This Way”, and our foundational scripture is Joshua 24:15, “… But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Michael will teach three sessions. The first session will be based in Psalm 1:1-6, the second session will be based on Joshua 24:14-28, and the third session will be based on Ephesians 5:22-6:4.
4) What are your hopes for this retreat in the life of our church?
My hopes for this retreat are that the men of DSC, and Redemption Church, and Trinity at the Marketplace have fun, are challenged as men, and come away with a better picture of what spiritual leadership looks like. I also have a hope that men will find other men to do one-on-one Bible reading together and develop deeper relationships where they can continue to build each other up.
Our DSC Men’s Ministry mission statement speaks to our need to live for God’s glory and not our own. It continues: We do this by putting men with other men in (1) retreat settings, (2) small-group settings that we call “huddles,” and (3) accountability settings of 2-4 men. In these settings we seek to learn truth from the Scriptures, confess sin, and encourage faithfulness and purity in all our relationships.”
We have our men’s huddles today, and we will have a retreat. But I don’t want this retreat to be a peak experience that we forget. My hope is that this is a retreat where men can get together, side by side, as we men find that most comfortable; but by the end of the retreat, my hope is some number of men want to continue face to face in biblical relationship where they read the Bible together, hold each other accountable, build each other up, and seek to live for God’s glory together. Even as I write this, I am all the more convicted that this is exactly what I need. But I am encouraged that I have many brothers with the same desperate desire.
Some have asked if this is a father-son retreat. To clarify, this is not designed to specifically be a father-son retreat, but that is not to say father’s should not bring their sons. Some sons are already men, and all sons are being groomed to be men. If you have a son that would benefit from being with us, then they are welcome to attend.
5) Okay, I’m sold. I’m a guy and I want to go on the retreat. What should I do?
First, you should find ten other guys, get them to go, and take advantage of the group discount that does not exist for this event; just kidding, of course . . . kind of. I do encourage you to talk to other men, encourage them to go, and even go as a Community Group. As far as registering, you can register at the DSC Men’s Ministry page. You can opt to pay online or to pay in person, but registration is required.
Eat first or bring snacks (part of our teambuilding) for the first night, and breakfast and lunch are provided on Saturday. Sleeping is in a large bunkhouse (more teambuilding) but if you have special requirements, there are some apartment rooms available.
Last of all, the location is Oro Quay Retreat Center in the east mountains and our retreat will be the only event on the property from May 3-4.
Here’s a video from a new song we sang on Easter Sunday, “Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!,” by Keith and Kristyn Getty.
[RSS and email readers, click here to view this video]
1. How can it be, the One who died,
Has borne our sin through sacrifice
To conquer every sting of death?
Sing, sing hallelujah.
2. For joy awakes as dawning light
When Christ’s disciples lift their eyes.
Alive He stands, their Friend and King;
Christ, Christ He is risen.
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!
Oh, sing hallelujah.
Join the chorus, sing with the redeemed;
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed.
3. Where doubt and darkness once had been,
They saw Him and their hearts believed.
But blessed are those who have not seen,
Yet, sing hallelujah.
4. Once bound by fear now bold in faith,
They preached the truth and power of grace.
And pouring out their lives they gained
Life, life everlasting.
5. The power that raised Him from the grave
Now works in us to powerfully save.
He frees our hearts to live His grace;
Go tell of His goodness.