It’s official! Beginning Sunday August 16, 2015 we will gather to worship at 6:00PM as Patriarch Church.
In all we do, as the local Body of Christ, we long to bring Glory to God by expressing the Supremacy of Jesus and advancing His Gospel. Our prayer is to witness the power of the Gospel unto salvation and experience the joy of the saints in the depth of the Gospel. The central focus of our church will be on the following:
The Word – The Bible is the single source of truth and is the power to change lives. Each time we gather, the Scriptures will have the two fold purpose of teaching and preaching. God’s people need to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, studying truth deeply. At the same time, those who don’t know the Savior need the Gospel in a plain, understandable proclamation. The heart of each message will be focused on making disciples. The goal will be to present the truth in the Word of God to challenge and grow the mature believer, while parts of the message spoon feed the curious.
Prayer – We desire to be a church that gathers with a shared passion to experience the presence of God. Kingdom disciples need to hear God’s voice more than man’s good advice. They need to feel the presence of their Creator more than just sing a few songs and hear a helpful message. God’s people have a hunger to experience Him; and it’s a good hunger. This kind of God experience can be found through obeying His command to humble ourselves and pray and seek His face.
Sing to the LORD! – Worship through songs of praise has been a part of church gathering for millennia. People in love, love to sing! We will sing the heart songs from ages past, and new choruses that lift us to the Throne of God.
Lord’s Supper –The Lord’s Supper proclaims the Gospel. The Lord’s Supper brings about a deep remembrance of the Lord Jesus and is a looking forward to feasting with Christ. It is the reality of our faith based on the historical work of Jesus. Our souls feed by faith on what the broken body and spilled blood achieved for us – a justified and sanctified fellowship with the risen Christ. In addition the Lord’s Supper is savoring the new covenant, a call to love the church, especially the poor, and a call to self-examination.
Baptize – Christ commands baptism. In the purpose of making disciples, we publically express union with Christ in His death and resurrection. This expression happens by immersion in water. It is accomplished in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. “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.” So the imagery of baptism is death, burial, and resurrection. Christ was buried and raised to new life. The believer is raised symbolically to new life in Christ as the Church looks on rejoicing in the power and work of the Holy Spirit to regenerate hearts. We are the redeemed because Christ is the Redeemer!
Live for JESUS – The early church gathered to worship, learn, and be encouraged. Then they went out to change the world. The goal of the service is not to applaud the message or talk about how amazing the music was. The goal is to go back out into the world for which Christ died better equipped to live out and share our faith. AND WE DO IT TOGETHER!
Together we experience life by loving the Lord and each other in the Grace of God. Grace strengthens our souls by faith when we meditate on the Scriptures (Psalms 1:3). Grace strengthens our souls by faith when we see saints love each other sacrificially by the power of Christ (Matthew 5:16). Grace strengthens our souls by faith when we see the heavens declaring the glory of God (Psalm 19:1). Grace strengthens our souls by faith when we fulfill our ministry with God’s help (1 Timothy 3:13). Grace strengthens our souls by faith when fellow-Christians pray for each other (Ephesians 4:16).
I look forward to serving Christ and proclaiming His Gospel together as your pastor.
Living a Balanced Life
(An In-Depth Study of First John)
1 John 5:18-21
As John’s letter to the church comes to a close the question of how to live a more balanced life comes into clear focus. John never addresses the clock or the calendar. He never offers self-help type advice toward dividing your time between family and career. As we have discovered through our journey of First John, true meaningful change in our lives together can never be achieved without addressing the Son of God; the Gospel.
John taught us that balance begins with the truth. Without the truth we never deal with reality. Those who had left the church did so because they strayed from what they heard from the very beginning; the apostolic doctrine regarding Christ. Without the truth, these individuals found themselves in the wrong place at all the wrong times. If we live without the truth we too will be out of balance with no hope, no matter how much we tinker with our calendars and attitudes.
Establishing that foundation, John utilizes the rest of the letter laying the track on which a balanced life, like a train, moves forward. Like parallel rails fit for a locomotive, two rails run all the way though this letter; assurance and vigilance. John offers absolute assurance to everyone who is found walking in the light. The main idea of First John can be summed up like this: Assurance of eternal life—based on obedience—empowered by love for God. “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life” (5:13). “We know that we have passed out of death into life because we love the brethren” (3:14). “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe his commandments; for this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (5:2, 3). John’s threefold thrust is assurance of eternal life, conditioned upon obedience, empowered by love for God.
Love for God, allegiance to God, trust in God is the heartbeat of this great letter, and balance for life is found only in these things. God’s commandments are not burdensome to obey if you love him. If you delight in his promises to do you good and trust that he is real and genuine toward you, then doing what he commands will be the very thing you want to do. Being sure of this, we trust that he will never command us to do anything that will be for our ruin. He only commands us to do what is best for us. A recurring theme that weaves its way throughout Scripture from Genesis to Revelation goes like this, “You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it maybe well with you” (Deuteronomy 5:33). If you love God, if you trust that it will be well with you, obeying God’s commandments will not be burdensome, but the very thing you want to do.
So it is no surprise after all this, John would leave these words ringing in his readers ears: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” There are mighty strokes of assurance as we close this letter. There are also stern warnings to remain vigilant in a world under the control of the evil one.
God Our Rescue (vs 18)
- Eden (Genesis 3:16)
- Noah and the Ark (Genesis 7:1)
- Exodus (Exodus 2:23-25)
- God’s Name (Proverbs 18:10)
- Job (Job 19:25)
The Child of God:
- Protected by Jesus
- Does not continue in sin
- Satan cannot touch
Two Kingdoms (vs 19)
The Kingdom of God
- God is greater (1 John 4:4)
- Victory is already won (John 12:31)
The Kingdom of Satan
- Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:3-4)
- Satan snatches the Word away from hearers (Matthew 13:4-19)
- Satan does deceptive signs and wonders (Matthew 24:24)
Assurance Grounded in Christ (vs 20)
Given us understanding
We know the truth
Reject Falsehood (vs 21)
Idolatry – Valuing any thing or person more than God.
Balance is achieved by changing values
Values change only when the heart changes
Only the touch of God changes a heart
No, not the movie…
Our first shipment of children’s clothing and school supplies sent to the orphanage in Madagascar! Very exciting… special thanks to Sharon Dowis for gathering up all the items for us.
James 1:27 (ESV)
27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Living a Balanced Life
(An In-Depth Study of First John)
Abundant Life, Prayer and the Word
1 John 5:14-17
During one of Jesus’ conversations with the religious leaders in Jerusalem he presented them with this purpose statement: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10b) Eternal and abundant life is a profound promise. In order to live this life Jesus called abundant, one must be certain about the status of their relationship with the Savior.
In the verses just prior to this week’s text, John delivers the good news of the certainty of eternal life. If you are a child of God you are certain of eternal life. If your life is being lived in the light, in the likeness of Christ, loving unconditionally and giving sacrificially you can be certain that your real home, your eternal home is the Kingdom of God!
Now John gives us a look at another major aspect of our abundant life in Christ; God hears our prayers! To many American Christians, prayer is much like a Christmas list. Like letters to Santa, their prayers are simply lists of stuff they ‘know’ will make life better. They treat prayer as if it were the little bell one uses to call the butler to come fluff their pillow. Prayer never informs God. It is never the case that something is happening in our lives that God is to busy or distracted to see. Jesus taught us that God knows what we need even before we ask. (Matthew 6:8)
On rare occasions, we see accounts of people praying and God changing the course of their lives. Examples include Hezekiah’s prayer by which God extended his life by 15 years. (Isaiah 38:5) Jesus taught His disciples to pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1-8) However, the overwhelming conclusion one sees in all of Scripture regarding prayer is that prayer changes us. When John states that we receive whatever we ask in prayer he doesn’t leave us with the understanding that sinful requests will be delivered. There is a condition in this promise. If we ask ‘according to His will’ God hears us. (vs 14) And we can only ask according to His will if our will comes into alignment with God’s. This is one of the most amazing results of prayer. As we pray, we begin to hear and understand God’s will. In other words, prayer is less like a bell to call for the butler, and more like a war-time walkie-talkie. When the sergeant radios headquarters to report that the battle is getting intense, he is strengthened and renewed when he hears the General’s reply; “Stand firm, we almost have them surrounded, victory is minutes away!” Prayer changes us.
Prayer is Confidence (vs 14-15)
- Intimate relationship (1 John 4:16)
- Our wills align (with God)
- Members of the Family doing the will of the Father
Prayer is Power (vs 16-17)
- Prayer is to the Christian as Spinach is to Popeye (Joshua 1:6)
- Importance of Family [Body of Christ]
- Prayer’s power over a Brother’s sin
- Don’t waste prayer? [on sin that leads to death]
- ALL wrongdoing is sin [sin is not defined by government or culture]
Life Balance is always attained by Truth
Prayer and the Word is the ONLY source of Truth
The ONLY way not to live dirty and stupid is Prayer and the Word
Prayer and the Word is a means of Grace obtained in private AND in corporate
This Wednesday (April 29, 2015) instead of our typical gathering to study at the Patriarch Project office, we will be meeting at a local restaurant to enjoy a time of fellowship and share a meal. Most importantly, we will be sharing our lives with the owner of the restaurant and his staff. Why?
Starting any new business is difficult. In the first year especially, it is a lonely struggle to attract your customers, provide products and services for their needs, and work out the ‘kinks’ along the way. The job description for an entrepreneur reads fairly simply…a little knowledge about your industry combined with a lot of hard work. Most of us never think about what it takes to serve good food at a price we are willing to pay.
What would it mean to a struggling restaurant owner to have a group of folks show up for dinner and order lots of food, have a great time, tip over the top, and let him and his staff know how much they appreciate the restaurant being a part of the community? Well, Wednesday night we are going to find out. For that’s exactly what we are going to do.
So are we saying it’s a party or evangelism? It is simply another dining out experience or proclaiming the Gospel? YES! I can promise you there won’t be any soapboxes or Bible thumping. We haven’t purchased a box containing an evangelism kit or learned a method or memorized a script to lead someone to the Lord. If everything in life should bring glory to God, and we believe that is true, then there is no such thing as a wall in life that separates sacred from secular. As a matter of fact, if all of life is all for Jesus, then there is no such thing as secular. If the Gospel truly applies to ALL of life, eating in a restaurant has no different purpose than going to Bible study.
When Jesus said, “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-20), one can’t see it as a simple act of handing out Gospel tracts or knocking on a stranger’s door and asking a question. The Great Commission looks more like a life long relationship. After all, Jesus said to ‘baptize’ these disciples. As a pastor I’ve baptized a number of people. By the time we arrived at the baptismal event I knew them fairly well. After all, one must spend a fair amount of time together in the Word of God to teach the why’s and how’s of baptism. But the disciple making process in the Great Commission does’t stop at baptism. Jesus also said , “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”. This sounds to me like making disciples includes a lot of training. How long does it take to learn to observe all that Jesus in His Word commands? I would say a lifetime. Living a Gospel life must include intentional relationship building.
Of course, salvation is God’s work. We don’t ‘save’ anyone. However, He chooses to include us in the process. (That’s the disciple making part) If Christians are asked to define what it is to make disciples, I wonder what their answer would be. Since Jesus gave us the command to make disciples, I think it would be wise to live a disciple making life. One of the best definitions of a disciple maker’s role in life I have ever heard is this: to know that all of life is all for Jesus, and to constantly create a space in every relationship for the Holy Spirit to work.
In a very real way, that’s what I pray happens at the dinner table Wednesday night. As we enter the restaurant we will not see ourselves as demanding consumers. Wednesday night, and every night, we will see ourselves as disciple makers, demanded by our King to share His love.