Church Business Meetings
Apr25

Church Business Meetings

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.                 -John 13:35 I have several books on my bookshelves that attempt to capture the business of the church.   Replant by Devine attempts to navigate the geography of church restoration. Churchless by Barna directs the reader towards how a church can understand and connect with the unchurched. Essential Church by Rainer discusses how to reclaim a lost generation. Simple Church takes a fresh look at church ministry and guides the reader how to do less with excellence to produce more with passion.  This last Sunday we had our quarterly business meeting at Hope Baptist. I really don’t like calling our time together a business meeting.  What transpires is nothing like a typical baptist church business meeting. Each ministry leader reports to the church, and every attendee has the opportunity to speak and provide input. We pray. We talk. We encourage one another. We challenge one another… But above all, we love on one another.  I find this experience refreshing and productive. I think that even our business meetings stand as a solid testimony to the love and acceptance that marks Hope Baptist Church.   What a blessing to be part of what God is building at Hope Baptist...

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Results of the Resurrection
Mar27

Results of the Resurrection

As I considered the strong parallel between the Passover in Exodus and the crucifixion of Jesus as our Passover, I was struck by the results of the resurrection – what the resurrection means to the Christian.  John Piper captured 10 of these results well in his book, “What We Owe the Resurrection of Jesus.” 1) A savior who can never die again.  “We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again” (Romans 6:9). 2) Repentance.  “The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel” (Acts 5:30-31). 3) New birth.  “By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). 4) Forgiveness of sin.  “If Christ has not been raised, your hope is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). 5) The Holy Spirit.  “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear” (Acts 2:32–33). 6) No condemnation for the elect.  “Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God” (Romans 8:34). 7) Jesus’s personal fellowship and protection.  “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:20). 8) Proof of coming judgment.  “God has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). 9) Salvation from the future wrath of God.  “We wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10; Romans 5:10). 10) Our own resurrection from the dead.  “We know that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence” (2 Corinthians 4:14; Romans 6:4; 8:11; 1 Corinthians 6:14;...

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Walking in Newness of Life
Nov22

Walking in Newness of Life

Today I had the privilege of baptizing a young man who has trusted in Jesus as his Savior.  What an incredible honor.  Before the baptism, I took the opportunity to explain the theology of the act of baptism using Romans 6:1-7 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  For one who has died has been set free from sin Baptism makes 3 significant points: Identity Notice the use of first person plural, “We”in these verses.  Through baptism the individual moves from “me” to “we.”  As a believer you are not alone. Each believer is part of the universal church as is grafted into the Vine. We, together, are the body of Christ to the world. We are the church.  Transformation “Newness of life” is exactly what it sounds like. It is a radical transformation from the person you once were to the likeness of Christ. Through baptism the believer testifies that God has done a tranformational work in their life such that they now despise the sin they was desired and seek the righteousness they once ignored.  Freedom Death is the great equalizer. Everything dies. This is the ultimate statistic: 10 out of 10 people will die. However, to the Christian death is not something we fear or even something negative. To the believer, death sets us free from the chains of sin.  Through death, sin loses its power over us and we are liberated to live righteous lives for Christ alone!  Baptism is a picture of death to sin and self and resurrection to eternal life with Jesus Christ.  Today a young man at Hope Baptist Church stood in testimony proclaiming Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. I stood as a witness and the church stood in affirmation. We celebrated. We rejoiced. We worshipped.   Now, we work. Let’s share the gospel, seek...

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