One of the things that makes PS23 unique is that all of the contributor are engaged in pastoral ministry. We love to write, but our first love is the local church and shepherding the flock of God. And part of shepherding God’s people is teaching them the full counsel of God. So we thought we would give a glimpse of our shepherd’s hearts by sharing what we are teaching and why.
At PBC we just started a series in the Servant songs of Isaiah, four beautiful and powerful prophecies of Christ’s messianic ministry found at Isaiah 42:1-9, Isaiah 49:1-13, Isaiah 50:4-11 and Isaiah 52:13-53:12. We are looking at these prophesies, along with the Song of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) as part of a 2-part prelude to a study of the Gospel of John.
The reason we are looking at these passage is because they present Jesus’ messianic ministry in theological terms, and by better understanding these passages the people of the church will be better prepared to to spot key messianic signs sayings and theology in the gospel of John. More importantly as our understanding of His messianic ministry grows our love of Jesus will grow too. (You can listen here.)
At FBC, I teach twice a week to my youth. On Sunday mornings, we have been studying through the Gospel of John. A little over a year ago (before Shepherd’s Conference 2017), I was just finishing up a series called “Route 66,” which was a walk-through the entire Bible (an overview of each Bible book). During that time, I was exposing to the students how each book points us to Christ in some way. And though that was helpful, I kept wanting to show the student more of Jesus. So, I decided to teach a Gospel and John’s gospel kept sticking out to me (esp. when it it was taught on several times at ShepCon that year). On June 17, 2017, we began our study through John. I am now in the middle of John 10 and it has been a joy to see John present Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him, we may have life in His name” (John 20:31).
As for Wednesday nights, I just finished up Revelation (by request of the students). We did 10-lessons as an overview and it was a blessing to get our eyes on seeing all of God’s promises fulfilled. After our break in August, we will begin to go through Genesis 1-11. It just seemed appropriate to jump all the way back to the beginning and answer a lot of BIG questions my students face, like “how was everything created?,” “where humanity came from?,” “if God is perfect and good, why are we such a mess?,” “where did evil come from?,” “where did all the races comes from?,” “why do people not live as long as they used to?,” “is evolution or creationism correct?,” “where did all the languages come from?,” “is there evidence for a worldwide, catastrophic flood?,” etc., etc. I really believe that by getting these 11 chapters right, a whole lot of theories looks silly, and maturity of faith grows exponentially (cf. Rom 15:4).
Since September of 2016, I’ve been preaching through the book of Romans on Sunday mornings (with a handful of short breaks here and there to preach on other things). Seeing the riches of the Gospel unfolded so methodically in that letter has been a blessing to my soul, and I trust, beneficial to our church, despite the many shortcomings of the preacher. If anything, it has deepened our understanding of the Gospel, clarified our great need for it on a daily basis, and convicted us of our lack of passion to spread it throughout the world.
At the current time we are 3 weeks into a 5-week series called Making the Most of Church Life, in preparation for the kick-off of our fall schedule, when many of our small groups and bible studies start up again after a well-needed summer break. In this series we are looking at the connection in Scripture between our investment in the life of the church and our spiritual growth, arguing that we experience the most spiritual growth when we are most invested in the main things God has given us to focus on as a church (worship, fellowship, training, and evangelism). After this series is over, we will get back into home-stretch of Romans (chs. 14-16), and hopefully finish that series up by Advent season.
(If interested, you can listen to any of the sermons preached at our church here.)
We have been in Matthew for almost five years. We tend to take the summers off to cover a theological issue, this summer we did not because the way the Lord timed it, we reached Matthew 24-25, the Olivet Discourse, the same time we wanted to do our eschatology study. Jesus encourages all believers be ready as the main response to the end times. Be ready today.
Our Bible Studies are working through Galatians. I wanted them to understand justification and union with Christ, especially how those relate to the way we live as followers, under the Spirit, using our freedom to serve, not as a license to selfish ambitions. Finally, our men are going through 9 Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever. Men in the church need to understand why the church and our responsibilities, it is our role, as a body to faithfully follow the head, Christ Jesus. Therefore, we want every man to understand our purpose, the essentials, and be able to articulate and train others.
As music minister, preaching is not my primary responsibility, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get opportunities to do so. A few weeks ago, our Senior Pastor took a break from preaching through the Gospel of John and handed the pulpit ministry to me. In the past, when he’s asked me to preach, he’s no-so-subtly hinted that he’d love to hear me preach on some aspect of music and/or worship. While all preaching should lead to doxology, I’ve never preached on music’s role in the life of the Church. This time I did, and poured my focus upon the Old Testament’s Great Commission passage, Psalm 96 and how singing is an integral command to fulfill that commission.
In addition, the Young Adults Bible Study I lead just finished a two year study through Paul’s Epistles to Timothy. In response, through the summer we’ve had elders, deacons and senior saints in our church come share their hearts and testimonies with our group. It’s been encouraging and deepened relationships between the generations.
As a church, we’ve been studying through the Gospel of John Sunday mornings, while Sunday evenings are dedicated to a Biblical biographical series called “Strength in the Desert: Lessons for waiting on The Lord“