Labor Day Picnic tonight—Cancelled!

Monday 9/5– Everyone, sorry about this, but we’re going to have to cancel our Labor Day gathering out front, due to impending rain.

Next week we’ll be back on schedule with home groups on 9/12. And the following week (9/19) we’ll all be back at the church building for our large group gathering. Hate to miss you all tonight, hope your Labor Day evening is blessed regardless!



NO YA Monday July 4th

Hello everyone, we’ll take the week off from meeting for July 4th.

Next week (7/11) we’ll be back at the church building for our large group meeting.

There’s a lot going on, right? Stay close to Jesus. Stay in step with the Spirit. Listen to the word above all else. God knows who we are and what he wants us to do.

See you next Monday.

Memorial Day, With YA

When: This Monday, May 30 @ 6:30 pm

Where: Front, Ballfield, in front of the church building

What:  Cookout, Worship, Testimony, Hang Out

Food: Bring a side or dish to share, and we’ll grill up the meat!

Note: Hello everyone, we’re experiencing trouble with our Instagram account, as you may have noticed, so we can’t currently post this info. Maybe we’ll find out we don’t even need it, but in the mean time, feel free to share this info with anyone you know who might want to join us. See you then!

A Hymn for Tuesday Night

The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended,
The darkness falls at Thy behest;
To Thee our morning hymns ascended,
Thy praise shall sanctify our rest.

We thank Thee that Thy church, unsleeping,
While earth rolls onward into light,
Through all the world her watch is keeping,
And rests not now by day or night.

As o’er each continent and island
The dawn leads on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent,
Nor dies the strain of praise away.

The sun that bids us rest is waking
Our brethren ’neath the western sky,
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
Thy wondrous doings heard on high.

So be it, Lord; Thy throne shall never,
Like earth’s proud empires, pass away:
Thy kingdom stands, and grows forever,
Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.

–By John Ellerton

No YA tonight – 12/27

Hey friends, what a great time with you all last Monday night at the Christmas Hymnsing.

Just a reminder that we do not have young adults fellowship tonight (12/27)—the church building is closed.

We’ll be back together next week (1/3) in our home groups, and then our first large group of 2022 will be Monday night 1/10. And then we’ll be back on our usual every-other-week schedule. Peace! And happy new year.

“Boundless Shall Thy Kingdom Be”

A hymn for Christmas Eve, by Ambrose of Milan:

Savior of the nations, come, 
virgin’s Son, make here thy home!
Marvel now, O heaven and earth,
that the Lord chose such a birth.

Not of flesh and blood the Son,
offspring of the Holy One;
born of Mary ever blest,
God in flesh is manifest.

Wondrous birth! O wondrous Child
of the Virgin undefiled!
Though by all the world disowned,
still to be in heaven enthroned.

From the Father forth he came
and returneth to the same,
captive leading death and hell,
high the song of triumph swell!

Thou, the Father’s only Son,
hast o’er sin the victory won.
Boundless shall thy kingdom be;
when shall we its glories see?

Praise to God the Father sing.
Praise to God the Son, our King.
Praise to God the Spirit be
ever and eternally. 

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Don’t Waste Your Twenties

This is a repost from July of 2014…Hope you enjoy.

A writer named Trevin Wax, who is 33, gives these pieces of advice for those of you in your twenties:

  • Read beyond the requirements of college, church, or work. That’s right. Read. Feel free to enjoy video games, movie-watching, or other fun activities, but make sure you are intentional about deepening the well of your spiritual and educational life. You’ll soon discover how much need to draw from that well.
  • Build relationships and connections with people who care about similar things. Find people you respect. Learn from them. Walk with people in ministry and learn from their successes and failures. Seek out mentors and listen to them.
  • Embrace the big markers of life. If you believe God is calling you to marriage and childbearing, don’t postpone those two things indefinitely. Truth is, no one is ever really “ready” to have a kid. Ever. You’re never “mature” enough or “financially stable” enough to get married or have kids. I actually think, most of the time, the reverse is true. Marriage and kids are often what God uses to grow us up.
  • For those who are single by circumstances or by calling, please do not misinterpret the previous word as suggesting that you can’t be mature without marriage or kids. History is filled with examples of Christians whose singleness (whether permanent or temporary) provided the opportunity to channel passion and wisdom into fruitful ministry. Take John Stott’s advice: “Go wherever your gifts will be exploited the most.”
  • Future pastors, sermon preparation doesn’t start when you get a ministry position. It’s the result of whole-life preparation. Remember that. And start preparing now. Immerse yourself in the Word and in the lives of people.
  • Future missionaries and church leaders, you are on mission now. You don’t need a title, a ministry position, or a seminary degree before you’re on mission. Jesus’ commissioning is all you need to love God, love people, and witness to the truth of the gospel. John Mayer sings ”Waiting On the World To Change.” It did. 2000 years ago when a dead Man walked out of His tomb. So let’s get going.
  • When the day arrives and a leadership role is thrust upon you, you’d better be the person you need to be. You can and will do some training, of course, but so much of your role requires you to be a certain kind of person, not just do a certain kind of thing. 
  • Be willing to serve in the trenches of ministry without praise or acclamation. Serve your church. Work hard at whatever job you’re at. Encourage the people around you. If God chooses to expand your sphere of influence, wonderful. If not, then be the best you can be right where you are.

He ends with this encouragement:

Friends, if you are entering or still in your twenties, let me exhort you: do not sit these years out. Do not wait on the big job or the amazing ministry you think you deserve. Love God and love people now.

Become the person you want to be in your thirties; prepare for the role you’d like to have, even if, like me, you’re busing tables at Cracker Barrel. You’re not waiting on anyone, and time won’t wait for you either.

If you’d like to keep thinking about your twenties, last year I wrote a booklet specifically for you called Surviving Your Twenties and you can download it here.

The Abiding Influence of the Obsolete Tutor

Last night in our home groups we continued our discussion of the Old Testament Law and what it has to say to followers of Christ today. For the discussion, I shared a very helpful passage from Allen Ross’ book Holiness to the Lord. Ross has some good insight into how the Law, while no longer over the follower of Christ as a law-code, still can act as a helpful guide to God’s will for our lives:

The law was a pedagogue [a tutor] leading to Christ. [See Galatians 3:19-29.] The law in many ways laid the foundation for the full revelation of God’s plan of salvation that came in the person of Jesus Messiah, the Son of God. A pedagogue was a servant who came alongside he child as a tutor and supervised that child in everything until maturity. Then the pedagogue was no longer needed. The people of God in the Old Testament represent the beginning of the household of faith; they were living in the promises and awaiting the fulfillment. Now that the Messiah has come and the promises are being fulfilled, the household of faith no longer needs the pedagogue, but can live in the light of the fulfillment of the promises. Nevertheless, what the pedagogue was teaching through the ritual and the rules can now be freely applied in the spiritual life.

The law was thus both regulatory and revelatory. The regulatory aspects of the law – kinds of animals, composition of incense, handling of blood, and all the other ritual acts – were bound up in the culture and experience of ancient Israel. The revelatory aspects of the laws – holiness of God, nature of sin, access to God, forgiveness of sin, removal of impurity, and all the many theological meanings of the acts – taught the abiding truths of the person and work of the Lord as they were unfolding in Scripture. When Christ came and inaugurated the new covenant, the regulatory aspects of the law came to an end: there was no longer a temple, sacrifices, or a functioning priesthood based on the Sinai covenant. But what all these laws revealed about the nature and will of God did not come to an end, for they are binding revelation.

For further study in the concepts Ross is working with here, see New Testament passages like Galatians 2:15-21, Galatians 3:19-26; Matthew 5:17-18;and Romans 10:4.

The On-Ramp to the Infinite Expanse

Probably one of the things most people notice early when they really begin to study the bible for themselves is how much the bible quotes itself. It might begin with the slow realization that what seems to be a collection of random half-words and numbers on the side or in the middle of the page is actually a bunch of bible verse references, and you might start to look them up. And if you do, you’ll find that nothing opens up your understanding of the Bible like seeing these connections and how they illuminate what the Bible is saying. The deeper you get into it, the more you might start wondering–how could someone even understand the bible at all if they didn’t know all these connections?

It’s really an interesting question to consider: how much biblical knowledge does someone need to understand the bible? Can we, for instance, just hand someone a Gospel of John and expect them to understand what they’re reading?

I recently found an interesting passage that addresses this question in a new book by Gary Schnittjer. He starts off quoting another author…

Ben Witherington III says,  “The Gospel story may be told in arcane language and may occasionally quote arcane texts but that language and those texts are now part of a new story…and must make sense without scurrying back to the OT again and again to get the full gist of the story because probably only a tiny minority of the audience…are learned enough and sophisticated enough to catch and then probe the allusions or echoes, or even for that matter to know where to look for the quotations.”

This is a great short answer to our question. at least when we’re discussing the Gospel story, it must be understandable in its essential elements, at face value, when it’s heard or read for the first time. So yes. Hand people the Gospel of John, cold, with no back story. Let God’s word do its work. But then, what of those center column references? This is how Schnittjer connects the dots:

Does not attention to scriptural allusions obstruct the simple gospel? It could, but that is not the point. The Scriptures, like anything else, can be understood in an initial manner without encyclopedic knowledge of backstory and context. Followers of the Messiah need to start somewhere.

At the same time, Scripture consistently advocates a life of meditating upon, studying, teaching, and obeying the Scriptures. The initial testimony of the Scriptures provides an on-ramp to a fuller understanding which necessarily includes interpreting exegesis within Scripture. First-time reading of Scripture offers much even while the Scriptures themselves welcome and invite close study including scriptural allusions by subtle devices.

So it’s both/and. And wouldn’t you expect God’s word to be this way? Understandable, clear, compelling, the first time you hear it–like jumping into a refreshing pond on a hot day–and also, bottomless, always fresh, infinite in depth and variety and complexity and expanse–like a pond that opens up into a shoreless ocean.

This book by Gary Schnittjer (who teaches at nearby Carin University) is Old Testament Use of Old Testament: A Book-by-Book Guide. It’s exactly what it claims to be: a guide to how the Old Testament authors quoted works by other authors, and other books they themselves had written. So, while many of us have noticed that (for instance) Matthew quotes Jeremiah, have we noticed how Jeremiah quotes Moses, or the Psalms? Realizing that the later Old Testament authors were reading and working with the parts of the Hebrew Bible they already had can be very helpful in understanding what is going on as the Old Testament unfolds. These are some of those on-ramps for getting the fuller picture, the deeper insight, into all God’s word holds for us.

Considering the Rights of My Neighbor

At our home groups, and in our large group meetings, we’re slowly studying our way through the book of Exodus. Everybody knows about the amazing stories of Egypt and the Red Sea and Moses and the Miracles, and those are indeed amazing things to study, but we been slowing down in the second half of the book to think deeply about the laws in the book of Exodus. Beginning with what we typically call the Ten Commandments, God gave Moses a series of detailed laws and directions that are recorded for us to read. A few weeks ago we took two weeks to discuss the Ten Commandments in chapter 20 in particular. I shared this quote from Daniel Block’s commentary on Deuteronomy as a way to help us think about this most familiar passage of sculpture. In case any of you wanted it, here it is:

This document functions as an Israelite bill of rights. However, unlike modern bills of rights, the document does not protect one’s own rights, but the rights of the next person. Each of the terms may be recast as a statement of another person’s rights and the adult males’ responsibility to guard the rights, first, of the covenant Lord, and second, of fellow Israelites. 

 The Divine Rights

    1. The Supreme Command: Yahweh has the right to exclusive allegiance. (Deut 5:7-10, Ex 20:1-4)
    2. Yahweh has the right to proper representation. (Deut 5:11, Ex 20:7)

 The Human Rights

    1. All in the household have the right to human treatment by the household head. (Dt 5:12-15, Ex 20:8-11)
    2. One’s parents have the right to respect. (Deut 5:16, Ex 20:12)
    3. One’s neighbor has the right to life. (Deut 5:17, Ex 20:13)
    4. One’s neighbor has the right to purity and fidelity in marriage. (Deut 5:18, Ex 20:14).
    5. One’s neighbor has the right to his property. (Deut 5:19, Ex 20:15).
    6. One’s neighbor has the right to honest and truthful testimony in court. (Deut 5:20, Ex 20:16).
    7. One’s neighbor has the right to security in marriage. (Deut 5:21a, Ex 20:17a).
    8. One’s neighbor has the right to his own household property. (Deut 5:21b, Ex 20:17b).

I noted this in our discussion directions, but…Block’s language about “adult males” might throw someone off. I would just offer two thoughts about this: First, his is reading of the text is accurate. This is what it says. Second, maybe this is a way to think our way in to what God was doing by speaking this way to Israel: How would our society, and many individual lives be much better off, if the adult males in their lives had always thought and lived the way Block is reading the ten commandments? What would our country be like if every man kept the ten commandments? Of course Israel understood that woman and children were also bound by the ten commandments, and that their lives were important–but this language calls the men to account in a specific way, and sets the tone for society with a certain strong clarity.

In general though, isn’t it amazing to think about what a society would be like if everyone saw things this way? And, doesn’t it make you realize how wise God’s commands really are?

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