Moving into the Christmas season, I’m almost ready to start listening to the Christmas carols. Popular radio stations jump the gun in my opinion. December 1st is when I’m ready.
When it comes to Christmas carols, I like the ones that can (and should) be studied as well as sung. Their content is so rich that you need to really take time and reflect on them. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is that kind of song.
Robert Morgan said it perfectly in his book, Then Sings My Soul. Telling the story behind “Hark! The Herald,” he described the hymns of Charles Wesley like this: “Each one packed with doctrine, all of them exhibit strength and sensitivity, both beauty and theological brawn.”
Amen to that. For that reason, I can’t wait to begin a new December sermon series at Bethel Grace Baptist Church. The series is titled “Glory to the Newborn King.” It is drawn from “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” as we explore the all the titles used of Jesus Christ in that biblically rich song. It will be a great way to learn about the One born in the stable and placed in the manger.
Here is an overview of the series and some amazing history behind the song. Its original form was quite different from what we sing today. Either way, it’s a treasured hymn of the Christian faith. Not only is it my favorite Christmas carol, but one of my favorite songs ever. I hope this blog will increase your appreciation for it.
This Sunday we begin a new sermon series, “Timeless Truths from the Early Church.” It will include five core principles from Scripture that apply to every church of every age. I will list those principles as sermon titles at the end of this post.
As we embark, I pray that two realities will under-gird us as we apply each of the messages. One of these thoughts came from Pastor Ray Ortlund Jr. as he opened last week’s Gospel Coalition West Coast Conference (October 16-18, 2018). The other came from Pastor Mark Dever on his “Pastor’s Talk” podcast with Jonathan Leeman (Episode 59: On Teaching the Church about the Church). Both stirred my heart. I’ll share them briefly with you and then lay out the five “timeless truths” we will receive together.
Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
In Acts 2:42-47, we see a picture of corporate spiritual vitality in the early church. Over and over again it is described how the church was together: together in the temple courts, together in one another’s homes, and together with glad and sincere hearts. From the start, there has been a strong emphasis of togetherness in our life with Christ.
The Bible speaks of being saved as being added to the number of the local church. There are no “Lone Ranger” Christians. God intends each of you in Christ to be vitally connected to a local gathering of believers.
Here are several reasons why membership is encouraged at Bethel Grace:
“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Luke 24:27
What a walk that must of have been! Two disciples strolling along the Emmaus Road with the risen Messiah. Jesus took them through the Old Testament explaining how all along, the Scriptures were pointing to Him.
This Fall, we at Bethel Grace want to go on comparable journey with the Lord. During our Sunday 9 a.m. hour, we are organizing communities to take part in “The Gospel Project.” This is a three year journey through the Bible from beginning to end with a focus on the story of redemption in Christ.
According to Lifeway Christian Publishers, “The Gospel Project exists to point kids, students, and adults to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through weekly group Bible studies and additional resources, all ages discover how God’s plan of redemption unfolds throughout Scripture and still today, compelling them to join the mission of God.”
This opportunity is all about learning the Gospel Story while engaging in Gospel Community and inspiring Gospel Mission.
Here are several reasons why we are encouraging this at Bethel Grace…
It’s Valentine’s Day 2018, and love is in the air. As the couples enjoy their chocolates, cards and dinner dates, let’s also remember the kind of biblical love that should fill the life of each follower of Christ.
Here is a passage of the Bible that teaches several different ways that love takes shape in the Christian life. It’s from Romans 12, a section of the Scripture teaching the transformation of life by the renewing of the mind. It’s a word to the Christian community. From it we can learn three ways to love…
While sleeping late can be nice, have you considered the benefits of Sunday School attendance for your child? Here are 10 reasons to make it a priority in your family.
1. Age Targeted Teaching: Where else can your kids get Biblical instruction that’s focused toward their developmental abilities?
2. Friends: In Sunday School, your child will build positive friendships with their peers by discovering God’s Word together. Continue reading
As 2018 begins, it’s fun to start new habits. Many of us at Bethel Grace are reading through the Bible together and it got me thinking about the children of our church and how they can grow in grace and truth. Continue reading