Church Newsletter 2018-12-12

Saints,

Blessings to you and yours. I want to remind you to pray for everyone who receives this email – for their vocations, relationships, households, childrearing and above all – their faith.

God has graciously provided you with co-belligerents in your war on sin and so we are not without comrades, friends and confidants. Lift one another up. Remember we are made members of Christ’s BODY. And when one part of the body is working well, none of us are.

Blessings! See you Friday!!

Filling up the edges

Mark 3:7-19

Jesus was intent upon fundamentally reshaping the people of God, and when that reshaping proved to be impossible within the existing structures of Judaism, Jesus created new ones.

The appointment of the Twelve follows Jesus’ rejection of the synagogues and precedes the description of the enormous crowds that came from all the surrounding areas, some of which were outside the historical boundaries of Israel and Judah.

Their appointment symbolizes a fundamental reshaping of the people of God. Mark has crafted this material to cast Jesus’ death against the backdrop of the formation of a new nation. He implies a connection between Jesus’ death and the formation of a new nation without specifying yet what the connection is. At this point Mark is content to imply that the death of Jesus is connected to the formation of a new people.

Jesus treated religious institutions not only as centers of spiritual life, but also as centers of power. When it became clear that the synagogues would not embrace the gospel, he turned away from them and created a new center of power: he appointed twelve people to be with him and share his authority. His standard of judgment was not the success or vitality of the institution. It was whether the synagogues would embrace the good news of the kingdom of God.

In v. 14 Jesus “appoints,” the twelve. This is the form of a verb that could also mean “to create.” God did not appoint the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1:1. He created them. Jesus is the one in whom and through whom and for whom all things are made.

Jesus called 12 men to follow Him, not because of what they were in themselves when He met them for the first time, but because of what, under His direction and by His power they would become. Like a sculptor, Jesus could see the form buried in the marble and proceeds doing the difficult work of a sculptor of granite.

The whole world came to know what the example and leadership of Jesus made these 12 men – twelve of the strongest, noblest, and most fearless and serviceable men who have appeared in human history.

The transformation of the twelve was not the least, it was almost the greatest of Christ’s miracles though – look at Peter.

The application for our hearts in all this is that it is not what we are, in ourselves, when we hear and respond to Christ’s call, but what by His grace and power He can make us as we accompany him.

Jesus said in Mark 1:17, “Follow me, and I will make you…” so there are no self-made Christians in His service; they are all christ-made. Self made men are usually not made of good material, and they can be wrapped up in a very small parcel.

But those whom the Lord wants and wins, are those He is able to fashion into human books to tells the story of His love and grace.

As did those He gathered around Him in the days of His flesh, disciples today begin their apprenticeship by following Christ, daily learning of, and from, Him (Matt. 11:29). Then, as they grow in grace and knowledge, they become more fitted to represent the savior in a world of sin and need.

You are all gentiles. Born under the OT system it would have taken generations after you first believed, for your descendants, to enter the temple. And you, sons of Adam are made sons of Abraham. You, Sons of Adam, are made sons of God.

1 Peter 2:10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

What identity – your surname, your nation, your profession, your beauty, your prestige, your wealth, your knowledge – could compare to being made one with God?

Why do you hang back? Why are you afraid to draw near to throne of grace? What other treasure can a man possibly possess that is of greater worth?

Hebrews 12:18–24 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Repent and believe.

Around the worldwide web

Try not to sing along….

Devotional

A Prayer to My Redeemer ROMANS 8:33

Almighty, Eternal God of Truth,

I confess, and I am deeply sorry, that I am sinful and have so often sinned against you. I implore you to forgive me all my sins, be gracious to me, and justify me for the sake of your beloved Son, whom you have made my Redeemer. With your Holy Spirit purify my heart and guide my soul that I may truly know, adore, and be obedient you, O God of Truth, Eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Church Calendar

Service 12-16-18

Keith, Call

Nate, Prayer

ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARTY

Friday, December 14, 7PM at the church. Dinner and drinks included. Bring a white elephant gift – one per couple.

PARENT CHRISTMAS SHOPPING EVENT

Saturday, December 15, from 10AM-2PM at the church. Volunteers welcome; Lunch provided.

TRINITY CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE: LESSONS AND CAROLS

Monday, December 24, 7-8PM at Trinity Church; 6400 108th Ave NE, Kirkland.

When a Man Loves a Woman

Ephesians 5:22–33 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Paul teaches that men must love their wives and wives respect their husbands. Few forms of behavior are less respectable than not standing up to disrespect. Few forms of behavior are less respectable than that of demanding to be respected.

So, how do we stand up for respect without ruining it by demanding to be respected? Paul also commands husbands to love their wives and wash them with the word. When a man loves his wife as Christ loves the church, one of the blessings that flow is respect. A man who loves, obtains respect.

But love is not a quarter we insert into the respect soda machine. Love is a way of life. Marriage is not the exchange of commodities. What does it mean that a man loves a woman?

To begin, Jesus’ love was a particular love. Jesus is monogamous. He gives Himself for His bride. He isn’t out chasing Muslims around, or flirting with the worshipers down at the Buddhist temple or sneaking illicit peaks inside Mormon temples.

He has one wife, the church. He is a one-woman man. Jesus does not love other religions or worldviews redemptively. To imitate Jesus means we must be a one-woman man. We ought not be chasing, flirting or eyeing any other woman.

Husbands are a walking talking, incarnational typology of the Gospel and when they waver in their sexual dedication to their wives, they have begun to model a religious relativism.

The particularity of the atonement is very important, but a man’s confession of the atonement is rot if He is unfaithful to his wife. Devotion to the particular atonement of Christ without the same devotion to his wife, makes a man a joke, a lie, a heretic.

Next, Jesus loved His wife sacrificially, unto death. When a man lays his life down for his wife, it isn’t sporadic, varying from what has gone before. It’s not an event. It’s a way of life. A sacrificial death on behalf of one’s wife cannot be outside the context of a sacrificial life on behalf of his wife.

When Christ laid His life down for His wife, it was the next logical step in His life. It was characteristic of His entire life. It began in a manger, continued throughout a lifelong ministry and culminated on the Cross.

Too many of us want all the perks of headship – dominion, glory, prestige, respect and a kingdom that wife, boys, girls, cat and the tv controller serve without backchat– forgetting that headship is based on sacrifice and service.

Jesus’ exaltation is a result of His humiliation (Philippians 2:5-11). Jesus’ authority is based on service. The man desiring to be the boss of his family without self-sacrifice fueling his day-to-day actions is secretly desiring to be a Muslim.

Christian men honor their wives by imitating the kind of self-sacrificing authority that Jesus modeled, which comes from a servant’s heart.

Furthermore, a man loves his bride sacramentally. Adam said, “this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” A marriage is consummated on the wedding night but is renewed through regular intimacy. A lot of contemporary marriage problems, in Christian homes, stems from a faulty view of the Church’s sacraments. We partake in communion weekly because regularly renewing the covenant is crucial to LIFE. Communion is more than JUST a memorial. It signifies deep spiritual bonds, promises, fidelity, sustenance and joy.

A man loves a woman by maintaining his relations with her and those relations are about more than a few short breathless moments with the lights off. Good marital intimacy really does begin in the kitchen. Marital intimacy begins with public devotion to one woman and her children. Something really is renewed, something really receives nourishment and it can be starved or well fed.

Lastly, this is a love story. Men are loving their wives with an end in mind. Men are commanded by Paul to nourish, cherish, cleanse, and present their wives. Its vibrant, dynamic and growing toward a harvest. The story has a beginning, a plot, development, characters, etc. Men must see themselves in the story correctly.

Ask the right questions. If your household were a story, who would you, the husband, be in that story? The antagonist? The protagonist? The sidekick? The comedic relief? The villain? The buffoon? Is the story going to end the way Paul describes in Ephesians 5 – “in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing… holy and without blemish?”

If not, which character in the home is preventing the right kind of fruitfulness? The right ending?

Church Newsletter 2018-11-7

Saints,

I pray that your week is going well and that the joy and grace of Jesus is as obvious in your life as it is abundant. May His face shine upon you and give you peace.

Filling up the edges

They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God. For they offer the LORD’s food offerings, the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy. – Leviticus 21:6

The priests of Yahweh were to be holy for they were His table servants. They offered God His bread. And what was that bread? The sacrifices of the people of Israel. The table of the Lord was about fellowship, forgiveness and fruit; food.

The Lord ate with sinners who slew lambs and birds as propitiation for their sins and shared that meal with God. But there aren’t enough birds and lambs in all of creation to cleanse our filth, so Jesus came in the flesh to be our final and forever propitiation. So we sit at His table and feast on Him.

This is what God’s mission to the world is all about. A sacrificial meal of God, signifying peace and fellowship between God and man, eaten in God’s presence with God’s family.

This grace quickly becomes the basis for an inner circle. Inner circles are what we all want so desperately. A seat at the adult table, the cool kid table, the table of exclusivity that reveals how awesome, intelligent and “with it,” we are.

C.S Lewis on how you get “in,” to the inner circle. “Obviously bad men, obviously threatening or bribing, will almost certainly not appear. Over a drink or a cup of coffee, disguised as a triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better still-just at the moment when you are most anxious not to appear crude, or naif, or a prig-the hint will come. It will be the hint of something which is not quite in accordance with the technical rules of fair play: something which the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand: something which even the outsiders in your own profession are apt to make a fuss about: but something, says your new friend, which “we”-and at the word “we” you try not to blush for mere pleasure-something “we always do.” And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot bear to be thrust back again into the cold outer world. It would be so terrible to see the other man’s face-that genial, confidential, delightfully sophisticated face-turn suddenly cold and contemptuous, to know that you had been tried for the Inner Ring and rejected. And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still, but all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit. It may end in a crash, a scandal, and penal servitude: it may end in millions, a peerage and giving the prizes at your old school. But you will be a scoundrel.”

Couple this with Gerard’s assertion that man desires a scapegoat, as much as he desires an inner circle, and you get an inner circle based on berating the “forces,” of darkness outside the circle who must be destroyed in order to restore peace and prosperity. But the problem isn’t “out there.” The problem is inside each one of us and its called our heart; the source of our will, affections and actions.

Mankind needs a scapegoat (Lev. 16:6-10). John the Baptizer recognized that this sacrifice, which takes the sin of the world away, is Jesus (John 1:29).

God never promised peace and prosperity this side of heaven. He made peace with you and is your ally in an all out war on sin. The Lord’s table is set amidst His enemies (Psalm 23:5). Jesus’ overflowing goodness, mercy and life will overflow our cup as we sit with Him at His feast table, even as the raging plotting nations nash their teeth and revile us.

Jesus offers us a seat at the table of His forgiveness. A table for the sick. The broken. The degenerate. The soulless. Everyone is sick, but not everyone knows it. Those who do, turn their hearts to heaven and find there, a command to sit, take and eat. Take and drink.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! – Psalm 34:8

Around the worldwide web

A seven minute video on sacrifice and atonement for the whole family. These are good. Very, very good teaching tools.

https://thebibleproject.com/all-videos/biblical-themes/

Devotional

For steadfast faith JOHN 12: 35

O God, what would I be if you were to forsake me? What can I do if you withdraw your hand? What can I know if you do not enlighten me? How quickly the educated become infants; the prudent, simple; the wise, fools! How awesome you are in all your works and judgments! Let me walk in the light while I have light, so that I may not be caught in darkness. Many renounce their faith and become careless and weary in your grace. They are deceived into thinking they know everything and have no need. They feel satisfied and become slothful and ungrateful and are soon ruined. Therefore help me to remain in the fervor of faith, that I may daily increase in it through Jesus Christ, my real and only helper.

Amen.

Church Calendar

Service 11-11-18

Erik, Call

Nate, Prayer

DISCIPLESHIP CLASS: A SURVEY OF THE GOSPELS

Sunday mornings 9AM, through 11/18/18. Childcare provided for children 2-6. Kids aged 7 and up are encouraged to join the adult class.

LADIES’ FELLOWSHIP GATHERING

Wednesday, Nov 28, 7pm at Lannie Brown’s home. Tami will email out details

Church Newsletter 2018-10-31

Saints,

I pray that, as the fall gets going, the Lord grants us all good health. As a family we need to pray for one another as often as we can. We are scattered around the Puget Sound so, instead of a prayer meeting, I think it is important to hold a designated day of prayer as a church. So, on Thursday Mornings from 7am to 9am, we will hold a weekly prayer vigil. As often as life and work allow, between 7am and 9am, concentrate on praying for our community; both Redeemer and the city in which you live.

Pray for the Worship service, marriages, vocations, childrearing, health, stewardship and gratitude of Redeemer Church and your city. Write this list on a sticky and put up somewhere you can see it.

As we do this together, separately, we will actually be drawing closer to one another and the Father as a body. Prayer is the key to a healthy spiritual life and a healthy church. Praise and petition God. We are all sufferers and sinners, so together we need to grow stronger in this key spiritual discipline.

Blessings.  Continue reading “Church Newsletter 2018-10-31”

Being and Doing

Comment on Mark 1:35-39

Amid a whirlwind of activity, Jesus seeks a still point in prayer with the Father. There is a suggestive parallel in wording between Jesus going out to pray (v. 35) and his going out to preach and expel demons (v. 39). The work of the Son of God is both an inward and an outward work. Jesus cannot extend himself outward in compassion without first attending to the source of his mission and purpose with the Father; and, conversely, his oneness with the Father compels him outward in mission. The significance of Jesus’ ministry consists not simply in what he does for humanity, but equally in who he is in relation to the Father. Jesus is, according to Mark’s narrative, neither contemplative ascetic nor social activist. He does not promote an agenda but derives a ministry from a relationship with the Father. He is the Son, one in being with the Father; and the Servant, one in purpose with his will.

 Edwards, J. R. (2002). The Gospel according to Mark (p. 66). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos.

Serving Like the Servant King

Mark 1:30–31 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

There is no other remedy like this one. Without a doubt, in emergencies the means God has provided should be pursued; doctors in times of sickness, lawyers in legal disputes, the help of friends and family. But the first thing and throughout, we should be crying out to the Lord. No one can heal us as effectually as Jesus can. None are as compassionate or ready to aid and relieve us.

Philippians 4:4–6 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

When Jacob was in need, he first turned to his God (Genesis 32:11). Hezekiah knew the only one capable to aid Israel, so he spread the letter of Sennacherib before the Lord (2 Kings 19:19). As soon as Lazarus fell ill, his sisters sent immediately to Jesus (John 11:2). This is the response of faith. When troubling circumstances befall us or our loved ones, turn to the one who has the compassion and authority to respond.

1 Peter 5:6–9 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

We are sinners and sufferers. The days of darkness are many and the valley of the shadow of death is long. Its no prophesying to say that our tears and doubts will be many before we die. But we are armed against despair before the day of trouble comes. Remember that in sickness, bereavement, loss or disappointment oppresses us that the deliver is at hand. Before the crown is the cross and we follow the Lord of Life, the nourishment of heaven; our daily bread.

Let us respond as the believers in Simon’s house at Capernaum, let us tell Jesus at once. Continue reading “Serving Like the Servant King”

We Wrestle with God Himself

And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. – Genesis 32:24

John Calvin says…

Although this vision was particularly useful to Jacob himself, to teach him beforehand that many conflicts awaited him, and that he might certainly conclude that he should be the conqueror in them all; there is yet not the least doubt that the Lord exhibited, in his person, a specimen of the temptations — common to all his people — which await them, and must be constantly submitted to, in this transitory life. Wherefore it is right to keep in view this designs of the vision, which is to represent all the servants of God in this world as wrestlers; because the Lord exercises them with various kinds of conflicts. Moreover, it is not said that Satan, or any mortal man, wrestled with Jacob, but God himself: to teach us that our faith is tried by him; and whenever we are tempted, our business is truly with him, not only because we fight under his auspices, but because he, as an antagonist, descends into the arena to try our strength. This, though at first sight it seems absurd, experience and reason teaches us to be true. For as all prosperity flows from his goodness, so adversity is either the rod with which he corrects our sins, or the test of our faith and patience. And since there is no kind of temptations by which God does not try his faithful people, the similitude is very suitable, which represents him as coming, hand to hand, to combat with them. Therefore, what was once exhibited under a visible form to our father Jacob, is daily fulfilled in the individual members of the Church; namely, that, in their temptations, it is necessary for them to wrestle with God… For since God appeared under the form of a man, the name is thence assumed; just as, because of the visible symbol, the Spirit is called a dove; and, in turn, the name of the Spirit is transferred to the dove. That this disclosure was not sooner made to the holy man, I understand to be for this reason, because God had resolved to call him, as a soldier, robust and skillful in war, to more severe contests. For as raw recruits are spared, and young oxen are not immediately yoked to the plough; so the Lord more gently exercises his own people, until, having gathered strength, they become more inured to toil. Jacob, therefore, having been accustomed to bear sufferings, is now led forth to real war. Perhaps also, the Lord had reference to the conflict which was then approaching. But I think Jacob was admonished, at his very entrance on the promised land, that he was not there to expect a tranquil life for himself. For his return to his own country might seem to be a kind of release; and thus Jacob, like a soldier who had kept his term of service, would have given himself up to repose. Wherefore it was highly necessary for him to be taught what his future conditions should be. We, also, are to learn from him, that we must fight during the whole course of our life; lest any one, promising himself rest, should wilfully deceive himself. And this admonition is very needful for us; for we see how prone we are to sloth. Whence it arises, that we shall not only be thinking of a truce in perpetual war; but also of peace in the heat of the conflict, unless the Lord rouse us.