Pastors' Notes

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From Awesomeness to Flourishing

We are a polar people. On the one pole, we love to be exceptional, to be special. You see this sweet narcissism on social media; we post our best and brightest moments, but often the purpose is to demonstrate the singularity of ourselves. But a funny thing happens on the road to awesomeness: we find that being awesome doesn't result in being loved. Therefore, on the other...

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Notetaking During the Sermon

As you settle back into a routine from the summer, it might be a good time to consider how you take notes during the sermon. We like notetaking, and our style of preaching invites it (thinking here about the main points, which often require more than one pass to digest). But notetaking has its pitfalls: - While recording some information that is intriguing, one can easily...

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Prayer Triads

Our aim is to be a joy-filled community, that treasures God in Christ supremely, obeys the Bible completely, loves one another selflessly, and spreads the gospel intentionally. To that end, we structure our church life around three different spheres: the Sunday Worship Celebration, Community Groups, and Discipleship Groups. I want to focus in here on Discipleship Groups, a...

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The Power to Change

1 Corinthians 5 is a hard chapter; Paul is abrading the Corinthian church for allowing a man to hang around who took his father's wife. Paul's larger point is clear - don't tolerate what even non-Christians don't tolerate (v. 1). But in verses 6-8 Paul pictures crucial truths for us, for growth, change and sanity: First, that grave danger underlies all boasting. Verse 6 -...

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Endurance by Shared Suffering

There are twin ditches in preaching: saying everything, and saying not enough. As I reflected on the sermon last week, I think I would have included this, or said it in a following sermon: our sufferings are meant to be shared, that we would endure them in hope. Gloryifying God in this fallen world, in a life stained everywhere by sin, involves much suffering - Paul says ...

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Please Consider "Listening" to This Sermon

On behalf of the elders, I would like to invite you to consider volunteering to serve in children's ministry this fall, particularly for Children's Church - the time when kids up to third grade step out for separate instruction during the sermon. "What? And miss the sermon?! I'm not a 'kid person'. I've been there and done that, when I had kids." I've heard these and oth...

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God's Sovereign Use of Sin for Holiness

We do not grow in certain sins because we pursue change with a "corrupt principle", said John Owen - that being self-love, not love of God: "It is evident that you contend against sin merely because of your own trouble by it. Would your conscience be quiet under it, you would let it alone. Did it not disquiet you, it should not be disquieted by you. Now, can you think tha...

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Be Killing Sin, or It Will Be Killing You

The only time the word "mortified" comes up in common language today is in this context: "What he did was so embarrassing; I was just mortified" - as in, I was so embarrassed, I felt like dying, or like I was dying. But the word literally means to bring about mortality - to be killing. No one was actually strangling this imaginary person; the word has become only a euphemi...

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How the Spirit Produces Fruit

To understand growth in Jesus-likeness, look to your garden. Growth results in fruit, the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-24). "of the Spirit." This little phrase first means that it is NOT the fruit of our hard work, or discipline, or our increasing spirituality or contrition. The Spirit produces fruit in us, not us. Therefore growth, sanctification, is first a work of fai...

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Abortion and Grace

How can God justly forgive you? The theological answer: it’s not the relative badness of one’s sins that matters, but the worth of the sacrifice given by God, for the forgiveness of sins. Leave in place the badness of what Bundy, Duch and you have done. Do not minimize it for a moment. But Jesus, the perfect Son of God, God in flesh, was an even greater, infinitely mor...

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