Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Appeared

This coming Sunday will mark the annual date that the church of Christ corporately celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. Every Sunday is a celebration for the Christian Church all around the world when it comes to the good news of Jesus. For in those gatherings the communion of disciples in Christ make much of Jesus. This continual celebration is evidence of God's grace in the risen savior Jesus Christ, because it has lasted faithfully by God's power for over 2000 years. Not only has it stood the test of time, it has saved the lives of God's people for many many years. God is always faithful to save his own, and anyone who is a genuine follower of Christ, can testify how true it is by how humble it becomes to worship Jesus. The church therefore has a beautiful opportunity to keep gathering and making much of Jesus in any culture, proclaiming the freedom message of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. This whole week, know as Passion Week, is marked by a Savior who is the Son of God and the only way, truth, and life for anyone to believe.
So what makes Easter Sunday so special in light of how special every week of worship is for the disciple of Christ? Because the appearance of Jesus had a definite time signature. We can be assured that anytime the church gathers in Christ, that it is a blessed moment. However, we need to recognize the appearing moment of Christ's story over death; the resurrection over sin and death. The assurance of victory in Jesus. Each year, and every generation must hear Christ resurrected. The frailty and failures of our lives without the resurrection would lead our hearts to hardness, and our hands to graven images of worship that will remain dead with our sin. Praise be to God, for the appearance of Jesus. And in faith I believe the story of the Gospel, for my life personally and for God's people corporately.
Disciples of Jesus; let us with excitement and great anticipation prepare our hearts, minds, and lives to appear in community to make much of Jesus who did appear from the grave as victorious and eternal. If you are without a church, or are looking into the story of Jesus, and need a place to be this Sunday please join us at Elevation Church (www.el-church.com) at either 9 or 11 am. We will be celebrating the appearance of Jesus that has lasted for generations.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The opportunity for double honor

The life of being a Christian is sustained by Jesus. It is in Jesus, that any person, male or female can and should find worth, value, and salvation. Obviously Jesus wants his individual people to be building each other up within a Christ honoring group of other individuals that are saved in Christ. This body, locally expressed all over the world is know as a church.
The real face to face opportunity for the body to grow is to know how to serve one another. Everyone within the local body of Christ is of value, and sometime within the community of faith the ones who can get a "short end of the stick" are pastor's wives. These are ladies who are usually moms, wives, and women that carry the extra load of being a pastor's wife. Often misunderstood, forgotten, or marginalized they can seem lost to the church. This link http://ryanhuguley.com/preaching/6-ways-to-serve-your-pastors-wife-on-sunday/ to the article "6 Ways to Serve Your Pastor's Wife"is really helpful.
Just as an honorable mention, the church I serve at, Elevation Church in Auburn CA, does doubly honor my wife well, and though they do, some don't and this helpful, gospel centered approach to serving one another out of a reverence for Jesus is just more ways, that God gets glory and we get joy in doing so.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jesus' men leading Jesus' mission



In the continuation of the sermon series at Elevation Church from 1&2 Timothy (www.el-church.com) I preached last Sunday about Biblical Eldership. This is the highest office within the local Jesus centered church. The relevance of Godly men aspiring to the noble task of eldership is critical for church health and gospel advance.
The obvious confusion is with the culture that seeks to make much of it's leadership calling and less of God's leading the church through Godly men who will make much of Jesus and not themselves. Therefore a host of qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3:2-7 apply to this generation of men who desire the task, office, and calling of being a pastor/elder of the local Jesus centered church.
Nobility from the worldly sense has little to do with who God is calling forward to lead His mission of the gospel. No doubt that a man of God who is desiring the task of eldership ought to be a man's man. That mean he is not either confused with his own gender or weak in the attraction of gender confusion in culture. He leads as a man, because God has called forth men from the beginning of creation to do so in humility and in God's will. A man who is a Christian. That is not one in title because they attend a local church or have had family members call themselves Christians and therefore thing that they are one too. These are men who are saved by Jesus, walk in the Holy Spirit of a changed, bought, and redeemed life because of the perfect ministry of Jesus. A man who thinks he can lead the mission of God without being saved by that mission will be a shallow self centered man looking to clean the outside of his life in religion, and all dirty on the inside with sin.
God is graciously calling forward men to lead His mission. These men are not for themselves, but men who will live for the gospel of Jesus. This generation is in need of these men. Not for the preservation of self, church, or culture; however for the proclamation of Jesus.
A few places to start is
1) Begin to read well the Bible. Especially look with a sober heart into passages like 1 TImothy 3:1-7 to see if you as a man are ready to consider desiring this task.
2) Seek Jesus in humble and contrite prayer. Don't rush into this decision to try and fix your identity, or save God from the wicked culture. Yet, pray for both confirmation and transformation to this leadership role.
3) Finally, seek wisdom from Jesus' men who preach and teach the Bible. These men could be virtual in the sense of an author, a keynote speaker, a teaching pastor you have heard online. One of my recommendations is to listen to this sermon http://marshill.com/media/text-and-context/the-ox-qualifications-of-a-church-planter and then talk with a real live person(s) to "flesh out" this desire. Also, if married, get wisdom from your wife. Let her speak boldly and honestly into your possible desire to lead the mission of Jesus.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Parent Rap

Simply one of the best vids I have seen creatively and tastefully done on roles, responsibilities, all to rap...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Saved through childbearing

The Bible in 1 Timothy 2:15 says that women are saved through childbearing. This powerful statement can have transformational effects for women if applied in Christ. The ways it is not, is taking the word saved and making it about you. For instance, some religious belief systems would express this statement in a means of God's acceptance of you as a person of value, worth, and destiny. This expressed view is nothing short of idolatry and heretical toward the doctrine of God's salvation in Christ alone. The Bible is clear that women and anyone for that matter are saved by God's grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) and this is a gift and not of ourselves. Therefore the process of having a child in itself is not a means to being saved in Christ anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.
The other view is putting off the childbearing all together; or at least until you have saved up the right things before you bear children. This popular cultural view among the progressive western culture of putting off childbearing is a salvation of being a woman for yourself and your pursuits. This low view of 1 Timothy 2:15 seems right for the individual woman who bristles against her design and God given blessing. Therefore the putting off of childbearing can, in and of itself, seem to be a salvation at the neglect of being saved in the process of appropriate childbearing in Christ.
So what then does this verse mean? In context, it is Paul's way of instructing his apostolic delegate Timothy to teach the doctrines of gender, roles, and intent of God's provision of childbearing to give the gift of God's grace at the fall of humanity (Genesis 3:15) and the ultimate birth of God's son, Jesus who will save the world of sin (John 3:16).  It is this gift of both having and raising children that become the reminder of God's redemptive love toward women and men, who are born of a woman. Therefore the end of this verse is key to apply to the woman of God who wants to make much of Jesus in her childbearing, doing so in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control. The delight of being saved through childbearing is God's use of creation for His glory and our good. The raising of children then becomes the expressed opportunity to be both blessed because God is a giver of good gifts, such as children, and the provider of generations who will make much of Jesus, (Psalm 127:3).

A local story of freedom

Please take a look at this vid. It's from a coffee house, set aside for proclaiming the freedom of the gospel in Christ toward the global issue of exploitation of people, especially young women and girls of Sacramento region. Here it is... http://vimeo.com/41957932