Our church is ‘chewing’ on 2 Timothy right now. We are re-discovering the beauty and benefits of an expositional ministry; that is, a Bible-centered life as a local church such that Jesus is continually meditated upon and worshiped through God’s revelation of Him through the Scriptures.
Next to Bible reading itself, I highly commend books that are themselves expositions of important Biblical themes. I have been reading The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance – Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters, written by Scottish theologian Sinclair Ferguson. Like expository sermons, expository books can be used by the Holy Spirit in magnificent ways. This morning, as I was finishing the third chapter, I was slayed by this closing paragraph: Speaking of the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15, Ferguson writes, “After all, how can an elder brother be comfortable at a party when he still wonders if his once-prodigal brother has been sorry enough for his sin and sufficiently ashamed of his faults?”
Oh, how conditional I can be with grace, which dis-graces grace. How often I hold back forgiveness and active love because I don’t see enough external contrition! Woe is me! Please join me in this prayer:
Father, I confess that I am too often like the older brother in Jesus’ parable. I am not comfortable with how lavish you are with grace. I would rather see more tested and approved contrition. I want to see groveling. I want to see punishment. I ask for your forgiveness. That is not what grace is. Your grace is UNconditional. It is only conditioned upon Christ and his work for me. Please transform me by the power of your Spirit to believe that kind of grace for myself, the chief of sinners, so I can grow as a conduit of that grace toward others, especially those closest to me. I ask this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.
This was compiled from Tim Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters.
“Life only has meaning/I only have worth if…
- I have power and influence over others.” (Power Idolatry)
- I am loved and respected by _____.” (Approval Idolatry)
- I have this kind of pleasure experience, a particular quality of life.” (Comfort idolatry)
- I am able to get mastery over my life in the area of _____.” (Control idolatry)
- people are dependent on me and need me.” (Helping Idolatry)
- someone is there to protect me and keep me safe.” (Dependence idolatry)
- I am completely free from obligations or responsibilities to take care of someone.” (Independence idolatry)
- I am highly productive and getting a lot done.” (Work idolatry)
- I am being recognized for my accomplishments, and I am excelling in my work.” (Achievement idolatry)
- I have a certain level of wealth, financial freedom, and very nice possessions.” (Materialism idolatry)
- I am adhering to my religion’s moral codes and accomplished in its activities.” (Religion idolatry)
- This one person is in my life and happy to be there, and/or happy with me.” (Individual person idolatry)
- I feel I am totally independent of organized religion and am living by a self-made morality.” (Irreligion idolatry)
- My race and culture is ascendant and recognized as superior.” (Racial/cultural idolatry)
- A particular social grouping or professional grouping or other group lets me in.” (Inner ring idolatry)
- My children and/or my parents are happy and happy with me.” (Family idolatry)
- or Ms. “Right” is in love with me.” (Relationship Idolatry)
- I am hurting, in a problem; only then do I feel worthy of love or able to deal with guilt.” (Suffering idolatry)
- my political or social cause is making progress and ascending in influence or power.” (Ideology idolatry)
- I have a particular kind of look or body image.” (Image idolatry)
Friends, a friendly reminder that if you are a member of the Chapel Hill Bible Church please make it a priority to attend and participate with us at our annual meeting this Sunday, June 5th, starting at 3:30 PM with a dessert social, the meeting to start officially at 4PM.
Our annual meeting is primarily a time to celebrate what God has done in the past year in and through our church, as well as to prayerfully anticipate what He has for us in the year ahead. While affirming our budget through a vote is part of that endeavor, we want to frame all of it in worship, prayer, and unity. The budget before us is significant, in that our next few years will be committed to see our mission and value for the next generation significantly grown as we invest in an expanded facility and the ministry it will enable us to have. If you are passionate about that future and are all-in with serving Jesus with us, please come and make your partnership known this Sunday! If you have children, we will be providing childcare.
Finally, let’s be praying and lifting up our annual meeting to the Lord, that it would be worshipful, prayerful, unifying, and that it build great Gospel-driven expectancy in all of us!
Here is a video that will explain where we believe the Lord is leading us as a church. I hope you find it informative, but more than that I hope it inspires your hearts in light of what God has for us as a church.
I like to listen/watch sermons from other preachers. The other day I decided to watch a sermon by the Senior Pastor of Colonial Baptist Church in Cary. I have heard he is a gifted expositor. He is. I believe Colonial was planted by Pastor Davey in the 80’s. It is a large church and has experienced significant growth through the years, which has entailed several building projects. I have driven by their campus once, and it is indeed beautiful. Clearly, many have been quite generous to establish that kind of brick and mortar presence as a post for the gospel in the Triangle.
Back to that sermon. There was a moment in the sermon I watched where Pastor Davey was recollecting the early years. He recalled how that much smaller group of people had a vision for a church in the future, and they sacrificially gave because they had the people in the current church in mind. I believe Pastor Davey looked at the people in front of him and said: they had you in mind and they were generous for you.
I love that. I love the picture of a group of Christians who are willing to dig down and give generously for people they have not even met yet. I imagine savings were liquidated, vacations were simplified, used cars were purchased instead of new ones, niceties were forgone for a year or two, and/or people who did not give began to give even though it initially felt alien. Why? To glorify God, I hope, but in that vein to bless future generations who would be impacted by the Gospel in that church.
I pray that would be our heart here at CHBC, too. As we consider expanding our facilities, it is our desire not to use the Triangle to make us a great church; but for our church to be useful to the Triangle, for Christ’s sake. Imagine with me a church five, ten, fifteen years down the road. Imagine people impacted by the Gospel who will be part of our community and mission in large part because we enabled our facilities to impact and bless them.
May we love forward.
I am not sure we are going to officially call the season ahead of us as a church a Re-Vision campaign. One, that word can be confusing and ‘they’ say a brand should not need much explaining. But, for the sake of this blog I thought it would be quaint to call our upcoming campaign a Re-Vision campaign as a combination of the two words Revival and Vision. Those two words are what I am asking God for as we proceed to follow him into a season of increased ministry impact. This impact, we believe, will involve us addressing additional space needs for our church. But, the point of even addressing those needs is the greater purpose of becoming a church more equipped, more passionate about, more committed to, more anchored in, more depended upon the Holy Spirit, in order to be used of God in greater ways here in the Triangle and even in the world. I hope to begin a series of blogs as we approach this re-vision campaign. So, I certainly don’t mean revision in terms of changing our theology or our mission, or that things are broken and need to be fixed. What I mean is that God likes to send fresh vision to his people in order to lead them into deeper relationship with Him. We believe he is doing that for us now.
I want to begin by simply putting before you a list of prayer requests for this campaign. In these requests, I hope you see your pastor’s heart, I desire for you to see your leaders’ hearts, I want you to see the realities behind a potential brick and mortar project, and I long that we all hunger for revival in deeper ways. Here you go:
Please pray that…
We seek God’s face together
Our desire to invest in our church would be driven by kingdom vision
Our leadership will lead with utmost integrity, earnestness, transparency, and wisdom
We all grow not just in a willingness to give generously to this campaign but that we become more generous in general
Principled givers would become influencers in other people’s lives out of their experience of joyful giving
Irregular givers become regular
Non-givers become so taken by the Gospel that the idea of giving away lots of money as a lifestyle would be seen as a joy producing and grace bestowing life
People would receive Christ during our campaign
Those who feel distant and indifferent about our church would become connected and inspired
Money would not be the only gift we give, but many would become generous with time and talent, too
Some who will not or cannot be inspired by our church would make the hard but wise decision to consider what kind of church would inspire them to taste and see the goodness of God, if not this one
God would lead all of us in a unified sense of his will concerning a building and increased ministry impact and that we would believe he will provide
We ask boldly of God, trusting he can absolutely astonish us at how he will provide
We would all grow in sanctification in general during this campaign
If we end up with a beautiful building addition and other resources for ministry, we will be good stewards of such things
Most of all, God would receive great glory!!!!