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Archive for the The Church Category

Oct 5

DeYoung, Gilbert, and Kelly on the Mission of the Church

2010 | by Trent Hunter | Category: The Church

Kevin DeYoung, Greg Gilbert, and Ryan Kelly were recently featured on The Gospel Coalition blog discussing the mission of the church. In this round table discussion, they work to clarify the relationship of the gospel message to deeds of mercy.

In a recent message, “Summarizing Luke: The Man, The Message, The Mission,” Ryan addressed the question of the church’s mission at greater length.

May 24

Obedience: The Hard but Right Path

2010 | by Parker Landis | Category: Recommended Link,The Church

Kevin DeYoung has a great blog post about the not-so-glorious task of being a faithful church member versus choosing the more en vogue, but less biblical path of setting out on your own and seeking to change the world through radical action.  Here’s the first paragraph:

It’s sexy among young people — my generation — to talk about ditching institutional religion and starting a revolution of real Christ-followers living in real community without the confines of church. Besides being unbiblical, such notions of churchless Christianity are unrealistic. It’s immaturity actually, like the newly engaged couple who think romance preserves the marriage, when the couple celebrating their golden anniversary know it’s the institution of marriage that preserves the romance. Without the God-given habit of corporate worship and the God-given mandate of corporate accountability, we will not prove faithful over the long haul.

Read the rest here.

Apr 19

Confession: Killing Sin and Creating Fellowship

2010 | by Parker Landis | Category: Books,Gospel,Quote,Sermon Follow-Up,The Church

Yesterday, Zach preached on John 3:19-21 about the need for Christians to “come into the light” by confessing their sins to each other.  The following quotes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s, Life Together powerfully illustrate the importance of confession in breaking the power of sin and creating real fellowship among believers.  The final chapter, from which the quotes below are excerpted, is worth the price of the book alone.

He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, not withstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final breakthrough to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everyone must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners! (p. 110)

In confession a man breaks through to certainty.  Why is it that it is often easier for us to confess our sins to God than to a brother? God is holy and sinless, He is a just judge of evil and the enemy of all disobedience.  But a brother is sinful as we are.  He knows from his own experience the dark night of secret sin.  Why should we not find it easier to go to a brother than to the holy God? We must ask ourselves whether we have not often been deceiving ourselves with our confession of sin to God, whether we have not rather been confessing our sins to ourselves and also granting ourselves absolution. And is not the reason perhaps for our countless relapses and the feebleness of our Christian obedience to be found precisely in the fact that we are living on self-forgiveness and not a real forgiveness?  Self-forgiveness can never lead to a breach with sin.

Who can give us the certainty that, in the confession and forgiveness of our sins, we are not dealing with ourselves, but with the living God?  God gives us this certainty through our brother.  Our brother breaks the circle of self-deception.  A man who confesses his sin in the presence of a brother knows that he is no longer alone with himself; he experiences the presence of God in the reality of the other person. As long as I am by myself in the confession of my sins everything remains in the dark, but in the presence of a brother the sin has to be brought into the light.  But since the sin must come to light some time, it is better that it happens today between me and my brother, rather than on the last day in the piercing light of the final judgment. It is a mercy that we can confess our sins  to a brother. Such grace spares us the terrors of the last judgment. (pp. 115-16)

In confession the break-through to community takes place.  Sin demands to have a man by himself.  It withdraws him from the community.  The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation.  Sin wants to remain unknown.  It shuns the light.  In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person.  This can happen even in the midst of a pious community…

The expressed, acknowledged sin has lost all its power. It has been revealed and judged as sin. It can no longer tear the fellowship asunder.  Now the fellowship bears the sin of the brother.  He is no longer alone with his evil for he has cast off his sin in confession and handed it over to God… Now he stands in the fellowship of sinners who live by the grace of God in the cross of Jesus Christ. (pp. 112-13)

Mar 18

Funeral for Shannon Ash

2010 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: The Church

It’s with sadness that we tell you that, yesterday, one of our own, Shannon Ash (daughter-in-law of Terry Ash), was unexpectedly and suddenly taken home to glory. Although she went into the ER yesterday morning, having been unable to keep food down for several days, it was an unknown blood clot that, only hours later, caused her death.

The funeral service for Shannon will be at Desert Springs Church, this Saturday, at 11:00AM.

Of course, please pray for the Ashes — for Terry and Marcia, for Jeff (husband), and for their two little girls. Pray for God’s strength, comfort, peace, nearness, and joy; pray that God would show himself strong and good, and his Word sufficient; pray that we, as a body, would be able to wisely and lovingly begin to bear this burden with them.

And let’s fix our minds on God’s truth at a time like this. Oh how we need passages like this from 2 Cor. 4-5.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you … because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

Feb 2

Missional Church

2010 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: The Church,Vision

Here is a great description of what we’re aiming to be at DSC.

Jan 23

Wrong Reasons to Love the Church

2010 | by Zach Nielsen | Category: Gospel,Meditation,Quote,The Church

Josh Harris:

Acts 20:28 tells us that Jesus obtained the church with his own blood. Is this what your love for the church is based on? If it’s anything less than it won’t last.

  • Don’t love the church because of what it does for you. Because sooner or later it won’t do enough.
  • Don’t love the church because of a leader. Because human leaders are fallible and will let you down.
  • Don’t love the church because of a program or a building or activities because all those things get old.
  • Don’t love the church because of a certain group of friends because friendships change and people move.

Love the church because of who shed his blood to obtain the church. Love the church because of who the church belongs to. Love the church because of who the church worships. Love the church because you love Jesus Christ and his glory. Love the church because Jesus is worthy and faithful and true. Love the church because Jesus loves the church.

(HT:  Pure Church)

Dec 28

Why You Should Bring Your Bible to Church

2009 | by Zach Nielsen | Category: Quote,Sermons,The Church

Jonathan Dodson has a good post that should be passed around on why Christians should bring their Bibles to church (assuming they live in a country where they can own a Bible).  His main points are:

1. It allows the Bible to make up your mind about meaning, not you make up your own mind about the meaning.
2. It allows you to read the Bible in context.
3. It helps you avoid confusing the medium for the message.

Some good quotes from his piece:

  • Follow the argument of Scripture, not just the argument of the preacher.
  • When we read in context we get to see the Bible, not in bits and pieces, but as an awe-inspiring whole.
  • Reading in PowerPoint prevents us from seeing the Bible as complete thoughts that hang together in context.

Read the whole thing.