Our church is in a very odd place; nearly five years after originally being planted, we are essentially in the process of replanting the church. One of the great oddities of our area is that it is very transient, people move in and out of the area frequently. In fact, I am told by several pastors who have been in this area 20 years or more, that a church needs to grow 15%-30% a year on average to keep pace with shrinkage from families moving away.
And last year we were hit especially hard, with roughly 3/4 of the church moving away. … Continue reading
For the past ten years I have been involved in teaching on rafting trips through the Grand Canyon. The subject matter consists of Genesis 1–11 regarding creation and the Noahic flood. With each trip I exhort the participants to be observant—to look at everything they see, to consider what they can learn about their Creator. The book of Job provides one of the texts I use for this exhortation: Job 12:7–10.
Wisdom and the Deep Things of God
Just before Job launches a three-chapter discourse (Job 12–14), Zophar speaks briefly (Job 11) of wisdom and the deep things of God (Job 11:7–9).… Continue reading
God appointed two ordinances to the church: believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper (also called the Lord’s Table and Communion). Baptism consists of the declaration of one’s salvation, of being “in Christ Jesus” by faith.
Baptism symbolizes our commitment of faith; the Lord’s Supper symbolizes our obligation to brotherly love and to the “one anothers.”
Baptism is our Godward obedience; the Lord’s Supper is our brotherward obedience.
The Lord’s Supper provides a picture of the full program of redemption:
It requires Christ’s incarnation: “My body . . . My blood” (Matthew 26:26–29).
It demands Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice: “for you” (Luke 22:19).
In just a couple of days at our Good Friday service, our church will be remembering the death of Christ once again by eating and drinking together in the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is a time for Christians to remember the death of our Lord in a unique way as one family purchased by his blood. It’s a time for local Christian churches to re-calibrate themselves around the reality that through Jesus’ substitutionary death, he secured the forgiveness of sins and right standing with God for us.
In preparing to observe this ordinance, I often reflect upon the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11, where he warns a young, sin-tolerant, and immature church against eating and drinking the Lord’s Supper in an “unworthy manner.” There he writes:
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you.
We all—hundreds of us—asked God for something good: a baby’s life. Something that would give us an opportunity to magnify his mercy and exalt Jesus together as a church family. Instead, he let baby Tahlia die just a few hours after she was born. Instead of a telling miracle story, we are grieving with our friends who have been left with empty arms.
Every grief is different, and it’s usually unfair to compare one loss with another. But most people seem to acknowledge that grief over a lost baby is in a special category.