Sunday Recap March 31, 2019

FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR

Words For Reflection:
I will charge my soul to believe and wait for Him, and will follow His providence, and not go before it, nor stay behind it. – Samuel Rutherford
 
When I am tempted and feel the power of sin and its tug on my affections, the gospel gives me something to say: 'Christ bled and died for this sin—I will therefore have nothing to do with it. I am now united to Christ by the indwelling of the Spirit—how can I drag him into my sin? – Sinclair Ferguson

Suggested Resource:
Check this out for a thoughtful reflection on the tendency for adults towhy we shouldn't ask children what they want to do when they grow up.

For next Sunday:

Sermon Text:  Genesis 32

Praise to the Lord - Adoration
Jesus, Cast a Look on Me - Confession
Before the Throne of God Above - Grace
The Lord’s Prayer
Abide with Me - Response
My Helper is Forever Near - Communion
Doxology Old 100th

The Bible Project:

As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos.

This week check out The Way of Exile.

If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful. 

Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)

God Of My Life To Thee I Call

God of my life to Thee I call;
Afflicted at Thy feet I fall;
When the great water floods prevail,
Leave not my trembling heart to fail.
Poor thou I am, despised, forgot,
Yet God, my God forgets me not;
And he is safe, and must succeed,
For whom, the Lord is sure to plead.

Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)

Prayer of Confession
God of mercy, we humbly confess our need of your pardoning grace. We shelter arrogance and pride in our hearts, believing that our efforts will secure what only you can give us. We are quick to judge and grumble when our plans, pleasures, and preferences are threatened. We are slow to offer mercy, both inwardly and outwardly, towards those you have placed in our lives and called us to love. Forgive our self-righteousness and our self-absorption. Fix our eyes on our savior, Jesus Christ, that we may become enraptured with Him, for it’s in his name we pray. Amen.
 
Words of Grace
[B]ut God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
 
Romans 5:8

Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)

Sunday's Sermon: Jacob Flees Laban

Sermon Text - Genesis 31

Sermon Outline:

  1. The human drama

  2. The divine drama

The Heart of the Message

Chapter 31 is the last act in the drama between Jacob and Laban which began back in chapter 29. It has been 20 years since Jacob left home, a season marked by disappointment and delay. And yet running throughout the story is God’s commitment to fulfill his word in Jacob’s life (28:13-15; 31:3,5,7,9,12,13,24). Therefore, chapter 31 highlights the intermingling of the human drama and the divine drama. The human drama is marked by deception, favoritism, competition, injustice and scheming. The divine drama is marked by God’s continued faithfulness to Jacob in, through or against the human drama and the decisions and actions of any given human character. At no point does the narrator vindicate or justify or explain away the actions of Jacob, Laban, Rachel, or Leah. Instead we are left with the discomfort of flawed human beings experiencing the unmerited grace and faithfulness of God. In fact, the end of the Jacob-Laban narrative leaves much to be desired. After all they’ve been through, the best they can come up with is essentially a covenant of separation (31:43-55). In other words, they agree to leave each other alone and go their separate ways never to bother each other again. Their covenant of separation stands in stark contrast to God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15, which serves as THE paradigm for God’s relationship with his people throughout all of scripture. God’s covenant is not a covenant of separation but of blessing at infinite cost to himself. In other words, the story of scripture is how the divine drama and the human drama come together ultimately in Jesus Christ. In Jesus we see God enter into the human drama in order to reconcile and redeem by getting right what we get wrong and enduring the consequences we deserve. While God is clearly at work throughout the Jacob-Laban story, it cries out for so much more! It cries out for the good news of Jesus.

Reflection Questions

  1. What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?

  2. How would you describe the human drama in this story…in your life?

  3. How would you describe the divine drama in this story…in your life?

  4. What’s your reaction to the conclusion of the Jacob-Laban story (v. 43-55)?

  5. How can the story of Jesus become a permanent reminder to you that God is committed to fulfilling his word in your life? (re: Rom. 5:10 & 8:38-39) How do you wish this truth would change your week this week? Ask God to do it!

Confession of Faith: The Westminster Shorter Catechism, c. 1648

Q. 14: What is sin? 

A. Sin is any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God.

Sunday Recap | March 24, 2019

FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR

Words For Reflection:Lament is missional because it keeps the world before God, and it draws God into the world – with the longing that God should act, and the faith that he ultimately will. – Christopher J.H. Wright

For next Sunday:

Sermon Text:  Genesis 31:1-55

Come, Christians Join to Sing - Adoration
God of My Life, to Thee I Call - Confession
There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy - Grace
The Lord’s Prayer
The Church’s One Foundation - Response
Fountain of Grace - Communion
Doxology - Tallis Canon

The Bible Project:

As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos.

This week check out The Prophets.

If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful. 

Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)

Come Ye Souls By Sin Afflicted

Sweet as home to, pilgrims weary,
 
Light to newly, opened eyes,
 
Like full springs in, deserts dreary,
 
Is the rest, the cross supplies;
 
All who taste it, All who taste it, All who taste it 
Shall to rest immortal rise.

Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)

Prayer of Confession
Merciful Father, forgive us the sins of our tongues—for deception and untruthfulness in our dealings with others; for resentment, coldness, impatience, and ill temper. Forgive us for the sins of our eyes—for impurity in our glances and imagination; for pining after more beauty, comfort, status, and wealth than you have given us. Forgive us the sins of our hearts—for hard-heartedness toward you and our neighbors; for pride, self-absorption, self-pity; and above all for rebelling against you and doubting your love. Father, transform us by your grace to live wholly for your glory, for it is in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
 
Words of Grace
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
 
1 John 2:1-2

Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)

Sunday's Sermon: Jacob's Prosperity

Sermon Text - Genesis 30:25-43

Sermon Outline:

  1. A just plea (v. 25-36)

  2. A resilient faith (v. 27-43)

The Heart of the Message

The central issue raised by this passage is how can we live under an unjust master? How do we put one foot in front of the other when in God’s providence we are called to live under the authority and power of someone who is unjust and unfair? Having completed 14 years of service to Laban as a bride price for Leah and Rachel, Jacob asks Laban to let him return to his own home and country (v. 25-26). In response Laban acknowledges how valuable Jacob has been to his prosperity and doesn’t want him to leave. He tells Jacob to name his price. But Jacob wants out. He wants to provide for his family. He wants to go home. So, he agrees to tend Laban’s flock again in exchange for the colored sheep and goats. Laban agrees but makes it next to impossible for Jacob to secure any of the rarer animals of the flock (v. 35-36). Over the next six years Jacob shrewdly takes care of Laban’s flock in a such a way that he secures a large flock for himself. Verse 25 and 43 are crucial to orienting ourselves in the midst of an unjust situation. Both verse 25 and 43 reflect God’s covenant promise to Jacob back in 28:13-15. We are watching God fulfill his word in Jacob’s life in the midst of trial and injustice. God has provided Jacob with offspring (29:31-30:24) and resources (30:43). All that remains is the promise of land, which is why Jacob wants to go home. Jacob’s resilient faith is evident in the echo of God’s promise to him when he said, “I am with you, I will keep you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this place.” (28:15) What about us who live on other side of the resurrection. How big is your gospel? Do you see in the gospel not only forgiveness, justification, and sanctification but also an innocent, silent sufferer who knows the hurt and helplessness of being sinned against? The gospel is not only good news for the guilty but also for the wronged. The cross proves that no amount of wrong endured can undermine God’s commitment to bless and restore in Christ. Jacob’s story teaches us that wrapped up in God’s promises is the gift of a resilient faith ministered to us by a faithful savior!

Reflection Questions

  1. What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?

  2. If you feel comfortable sharing, share an experience when you’ve been unfairly treated and how you responded?

  3. What do you think sustains Jacob for twenty years living a long way from home under an unjust boss?

  4. The gospel not only covers sin it also sustains those unfairly treated by others. How does the unjust suffering of Jesus at the hands of wicked men (Acts 2:23) help us who are wounded by the choices and sin of others?

Confession of Faith: The Westminster Shorter Catechism, c. 1648

Q. 13: Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created? 

A. Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God.

Sunday Recap | March 10, 2019

FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR

Words For Reflection:
Whatsoever is good for God's children they shall have it; for all is theirs to help them towards heaven; therefore if poverty be good they shall have it; if disgrace or crosses be good they shall have them; for all is ours to promote our greatest prosperity. - Richard Sibbes

For next Sunday:

Sermon Text:  Genesis 29:31-30:24

Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder - Adoration
Depth of Mercy - Confession
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross - Grace
O Love that Will Not Let Me Go - Response
Thy Mercy, My God - Communion
Doxology - Tallis Canon

The Bible Project:

As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos.

This week check out Metaphor in Biblical  Poetry.

If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful. 

A Personal Word:
I want to take a brief moment to offer an apology for how I spoke about Leah and Rachel this past Sunday in retelling the story. I fear my language came across as damaging and degrading about women as image bearers of God. That was certainly not my intention and I apologize if my words were hurtful or unhelpful to you. If they were, please know I would welcome the opportunity to talk with you should you want to.

Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)

How Sweet To Wait

How sweet to wait upon the Lord, 
While he fulfills his gracious word; 
To seek his face, and not in vain, 
To be beloved, and love again! 

Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)

Prayer of Confession
Father, the more we delve into the depths of our sin, the uglier and more heinous it becomes. If we promise to do better, we lie. If we try to clean ourselves up, we are frauds. If we give because we feel guilty, we are schemers. If we serve to feel good about ourselves, we are self-righteous. If we pray only to get what we want, we are self-serving. If we read your Word so you will be pleased with us, we are manipulators. The selfish motivations of even our best actions condemn us. Please forgive us and help us to look only to the life-saving, life-giving, life-changing power of Your Son Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
 
Words of Grace
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
 
Ephesians 1:3-4

Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)

Sunday's Sermon: The Good & The Bad of Providence

Sermon Text - Genesis 29:1-30

Sermon Outline:

  1. The blessing of providence (v. 1-14)

  2. The discipline of providence (v. 15-30)

The Heart of the Message

Jacob emerges as the central character in Genesis from chapter 28-35. His story is full of ups and downs and good and bad. He sins. He repents. But what holds this whole story together? It is God’s word to Jacob in 28:13-15 in which God reiterates his covenant promises to Jacob and then says, “I am with you and I will keep you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Therefore, the next 7 chapters tell the story of how God will fulfill his word in Jacob’s life. We begin to see God’s promise unfold in chapter 29. God goes with Jacob and blesses him with a successful journey to Haran, his uncle Laban’s house, where he hopes to find a wife per his parents’ directions (Gen. 27:43 & 28:1-5). Upon arriving he meets his cousin Rachel and eventually enters into an agreement with his uncle to work seven years in exchange for Rachel’s hand in marriage. However, Laban has different plans and deceives Jacob. Instead of giving Jacob Rachel, he gives Jacob Leah. Leah, the older sister takes the place of Rachel, the younger sister. The irony is Jacob, the younger brother took the place of Esau, the older brother. Jacob’s experience in Laban’s house serves as God’s instruction and discipline to help Jacob see his sin and wrongdoing, which is obviously still a work in progress based on how he treats Leah compared to Rachel. There is so much about this story that goes against the grain of God’s original design and intention for his people. Yet what we also see is human sin is no match for God’s promise to fulfill his word in your life. In fact, the same dynamics at work in this story are at work in Jesus’ story. Despite the actions and deception of evil and wicked men that led to Jesus’ death, God overrules it all (Acts 2:23). Despite the best efforts of those men to get rid of Jesus, God uses it to show the lengths to which he was willing to go to fulfill his word. The good news of the story for us is that in Jesus we are given all the blessings of God and in Jesus we are spared all the punishment we deserve. As a result, the discipline we experience is nothing but a Father’s love working in our lives the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Heb. 12:7-11).

Reflection Questions

  1. What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?

  2. Why is it so important to look for how God is present and active in the stories of scripture?

  3. What happens to Jacob when God shows up?

  4. How does v. 12 and v. 17 anticipate the coming of Jesus?

  5. How is God changing what you see in the midst of your in between life? (see v. 16)

  6. How is God changing the loyalties of your heart in the midst of your in between life? (v. 18-22)

Confession of Faith: The Westminster Shorter Catechism, c. 1648

Q. 11. What are God's works of providence?

A. God's works of providence are his most holy, wise and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.

Sunday Recap | February 24, 2019

FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR

Words For Reflection:
When I observe the families where parents seem to be doing a good job of living the Christian faith in relation to their children, it is readily apparent that actual practices vary widely. Particular rules, techniques of discipline, variations in strictness and permissiveness—they run the gamut. One thing stands out: parents, seriously, honestly, joyfully follow the way of Christ themselves. They don’t define adolescence as a problem and try to solve it. They are engaged in vigorous Christian growth on their own and permit their children to look over their shoulder while they do it. – Eugene Peterson

For next Sunday:

Sermon Text:  Genesis 28:10-22

Alleluia! Sing to Jesus! - Adoration
Jesus, the Lord, My Shepherd Is - Adoration 
He Leadeth Me - Grace
We Will Feast in the House of Zion - Response
Jesus, Lead Us with Why Power - Communion

The Bible Project:

As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos.

This week check out Design Patterns in Biblical Narrative.

If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful. 

Suggested Resources:
Next Wednesday marks the start of Lent for many churches. In anticipation of which, I wanted to pass on a number of resources that some of you may find useful.

1. Redeemer Lenten Devotional
2. Death on a Friday Afternoon by Richard John Neuhaus
3. Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter

Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)

Streams of Living Water Flow

He left His Father's throne above, 
So free, so infinite His grace! 
Emptied Himself of all but love, 
And bled for Adam's helpless race. 
'Tis mercy all, immense and free, 
For O my God, it found out me!
Amazing love! How can it be 
That Thou, my God, should die for me! 
Amazing love! How can it be 
That Thou, my God, should die for me!

Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)

Prayer of Confession
Heavenly Father, your love brings life to dead souls, light to darkened minds, and strength to weak wills.  Depending on our own strength we stumble; proclaiming our own goodness we sin; glorying in our own righteousness we corrupt everything we touch; indulging in self-pity we blind ourselves to the needs of those around us. Please forgive us and help us to believe that no wrong we have done, and no good we have failed to do, is too great for you to forgive through the merits of Jesus Christ your Son. Amen.
 
Words of Grace
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
 
Romans 3:21-22

Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)

Sunday's Sermon: Family Dynamics

Sermon Text - Genesis 26:34-28:9

Sermon Outline:
1. Family dynamics
2. The God who brings life out of death

The Heart of the Message

Genesis 27 is about a family: a mom and a dad with two boys. It’s a dark chapter about sibling rivalry, marital dysfunction, and parental favoritism. Each member of the family exhibits behavior that contributes to the disintegration and breakdown of this family. And yet, this is the story of a family living under the promises of God to bless them and through them the world (re: Gen. 26:24). The times are different, the circumstances are different, but the family dynamics are no different than we live with today. Every one of us lives within certain family dynamics, some beautiful, some terrible. Either way we are in danger of losing our bearings. What led to the dynamics we see in Isaac’s family? On a horizontal level we might answer fear, favoritism, greed, indifference, passivity, deception, etc. However, on a vertical level this family is at best struggling to believe God’s promises and at worst has decided to take matters into their own hands. What hope is there for a family like this? What hope is there for a family like yours? Genesis 27 is a dark chapter, but it is located within a larger story in which God is working out his good purposes to bless his people and the world. Despite what we see in this family, God is continuing to work out his good purposes (Gen. 25:23 & 27:33). In other words, God brings life out of death. Taken in isolation Genesis 27 is hopeless. Taken in isolation the life and ministry of Jesus ends in hopelessness and death. No one expected anything on the other side of Jesus’ death. The only thing that changes Jesus story and gives hope to our story is the resurrection. The good news is God raised Jesus from the dead because death could not keep him. To be connected to Jesus by faith means the same power over death is working in your life and the life of your family. The story of Jesus shines light into our lives from one who knows our darkness and can do something about it in his timing and in his ways!

Reflection Questions

  1. What features of these passages stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?

  2. What stands out to you most about this family?

  3. How do you see your family reflected in this story?

  4. How do you tend to cope with the dynamics of your family?

  5. How do you need God to bring life out of death in your family? Can you turn your answer into a prayer for this week?

Confession of Faith: The Westminster Shorter Catechism, c. 1648

Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?
 
A. The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.

Sunday Recap | February 17, 2019

FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR



---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Will Spokes <will@redmountainchurch.org>
Date: Tue, Feb 19, 2019 at 8:23 PM
Subject: Red Mountain Sunday Recap - February 17, 2019 - Genesis 26:1-33
To: MaggieParsley <maggie.p.parsley@gmail.com>



Red Mountain Sunday Recap - February 17, 2019 - Genesis 26:1-33View this email in your browserRed Mountain Church - Sunday Recap
February 17, 2019Welcome to the Red Mountain Sunday Recap! The Sunday Recap includes an assortment of items to help keep the Gospel in front of you throughout the week. Most are from the previous Sunday while a couple look ahead to next Sunday. As you read consider these questions:

  • Did anything land with you during worship?

  • What did it make you think? How did it make you feel?

  • What did you find especially sweet or challenging from God's word?

  • What did we sing, read, or pray that left an impression on you?

  • Did you hear any good news? If so, when and where?

Words For Reflection:
The moment the word God is uttered, the world’s towering falsehood is exposed—we see the truth. The truth about me is that God made and loves me. The truth about those sitting beside me is that God made and loves them, and each one is therefore my neighbor. The truth about the world is that God rules and provides for it. The truth about what is wrong with the world is that I and the neighbor sitting beside me have sinned to refusing to let God be for us, over us, and in us. The truth about what is at the center of our lives and of our history is that Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross for our sins and raised from the tomb for our salvation and that we can participate in new life as we believe in him, accept his mercy, respond to his love, attend to his commands. – Eugene Peterson

For next Sunday:

Sermon Text:  Genesis 26:34-27:46

Holy, Holy, Holy - Adoration
Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior - Confession
And Can It Be - Grace
Come, O Come thou Quickening Spirit - Response
Sanctus
Friend of Sinners - Communion
Doxology - Old 100th

The Bible Project:

As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos.

This week check out Setting In Biblical Narrative.

If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful. 

Feedback:
For several weeks we've been experimenting with setting up the theater lengthwise. If you have any thoughts or feedback on setting up the theater sideways vs. lengthwise please send me your thoughts at will@redmountainchurch.org. We greatly appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)

Streams of Living Water Flow

Through ten thousand channels flowing,
Streams of mercy find their way.
Life and health and joy bestowing
Making all around unstained.

O believer, O believer
All thy sins are washed away.

Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)

Prayer of Confession
Gracious God, we confess that we daily sin against you and our neighbors in our thoughts, in our words, and in our actions. Our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment. Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more into the likeness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
 
Words of Grace
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. - Romans 8:1

Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)

Sunday's Sermon: Like Father, Like Son

Sermon Text - Genesis 26:1-33

Sermon Outline:
1. The blessing of God
2. The journey of a son

The Heart of the Message

Do you ever feel like your life is a mixture of faith and fear? Or perhaps even more likely, do you ever feel like fear will drown out any faith you have in God and his promises? If so, the story of Isaac in Genesis 26 is your story. It’s a chapter that begins in famine (v. 1) and ends in peace and flourishing (v. 33). But the glue that holds the whole chapter together is God’s promise to bless Isaac just as he promised to bless his father Abraham (v. 3-5, 24). The point to notice is that God’s promises are what keep Isaac’s life together. The story begins in famine and Isaac listens to God and doesn’t go down to Egypt. Isaac shows a great act of faith in v. 2 & 6, but no sooner does he settle in Gerar than his fear and timidity get the better of him. Like his father before him (Gen. 12 & 20), he is prepared to lie and put his wife’s life in danger in order to save his own (v. 7-11). And yet, despite Isaac’s weaknesses and failings, God causes him to thrive and to successfully navigate conflict and confrontation with the Philistines (v.12-33). Faith, fear, and flourishing are all parts of the life of faith under God’s blessing. How can you find your place in Isaac’s story? You must remember Isaac’s story is part of a larger story that finds its conclusion in the journey of another son, who also knew famine and fear and the struggle to believe God’s promises. Jesus begins his public ministry in famine (Mt. 4:3-4). He is faced with the struggle to believe in the face of fear the night he was betrayed (Mt. 26:39). And most remarkably, instead of pleasing himself he gave himself up for his bride that she might truly live. The story of Isaac shows us God’s blessing is for people like us…a complicated mix-up of fear and faith. The story of Jesus shows us God’s blessing will never fail for all who call upon his name!

Reflection Questions

  1. What features of these passages stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?

  2. Put yourself in Isaac’s shoes in verses 1-6. What would be an analogous situation in your life?

  3. What does Isaac’s story teach you about the life of faith?

  4. Why do we need to read Isaac’s journey in light of Jesus’ journey?

  5. What are various types of glue in your life that need to be replaced with the blessing of God?

Confession of Faith: The Westminster Shorter Catechism, c. 1648

Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?
 
A. The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.

Sunday Recap | February 10, 2019

FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR

Words For Reflection:

But the blessing Christ promised, the blessing of great reward, is a reward of grace. The blessing is promised even though it is not earned. Augustine said it this way: Our rewards in heaven are a result of God’s crowning His own gifts.”

R.C. Sproul 

For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

1 Cor.15:9-10

For next Sunday:

Sermon Text:  Genesis 26:1-33

Christ the Solid Rock - Adoration
Come, Holy Ghost - Adoration
Amazing Grace - Grace
Streams of Living Water - Response
Sanctus
Jesus, Refuge of the Weary - Communion (new)
Doxology - Old 100th

The Bible Project:

As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos.

This week check out Character in Biblical Narrative.

If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful. 

Feedback:
For several weeks we've been experimenting with setting up the theater lengthwise. We will set up sideways this week. If you have any thoughts or feedback on setting up the theater sideways vs. lengthwise please send me your thoughts at will@redmountainchurch.org. We greatly appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)

Jesus! What A Friend For Sinners

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! lover of my soul;
friends may fail me, foes assail me,
he, my Savior, makes me whole.
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah, what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
he is with me to the end.

Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)

Prayer of Confession
Merciful Father, forgive us the sins of our tongues—for deception and untruthfulness in our dealings with others; for resentment, coldness, impatience, and ill temper. Forgive us for the sins of our eyes—for impurity in our glances and imagination; for pining after more beauty, comfort, status, and wealth than you have given us. Forgive us the sins of our hearts—for hard-heartedness toward you and our neighbors; for pride, self-absorption, self-pity; and above all for rebelling against you and doubting your love. Father, transform us by your grace to live wholly for your glory, for it is in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
 
Words of Grace
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
 
1 John 2:1-2

Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)

Sunday's Sermon: The Dense and the Desperate

Sermon Text - Genesis 25:19-34

Sermon Outline:
1. How People Undermine God's Blessing
2. How God's Mercy Undermines Peoples' Undermining of God's Blessing

The Heart of the Message

The story of Jacob and Esau portrays a crisis point in the history of God’s people. With so much conflict and family dysfunction, would this people survive, or would they kill each other off, and God’s blessing with them? How could God possibly bless all nations with a family like this? Many of us may feel similarly about the church today. With so many dysfunctional people within it, and so much bad history of using the Bible to promote selfish ends, how can the church possibly bless anyone? Jacob and Esau’s story allows us to wrestle with this question by showing two agendas going on at the same time. First, the characters in this story go about undermining God’s blessing in a variety of ways. Esau values God’s blessing only as long as it doesn’t get in the way of his immediate desires. Jacob is afraid of being insignificant and lets his fears dictate his behavior. And the family culture makes these issues worse with its favoritism. What a mess! Yet a mess that likely seems all too familiar in our own time. However, the book of Genesis as a whole, as well as Romans chapter 9, show us that there is another agenda at work behind the scenes: A God using all this dysfunction to display His mercy. In His divine wisdom, God chose to give Jacob His blessing not because of his maturity, but in order to show that His blessing is a gift and not something to be achieved. It is Jacob, the fearful and reactionary man, through whom God would bring His full blessing to all nations in Jesus Christ. Now, because of Christ, fearful and reactionary people like you and me can also share in God’s blessing. In other words, God’s peoples’ undermining of His blessing is in turn undermined by God as it becomes the occasion though which God showcases His true blessing: His mercy.

Reflection Questions

  1. What features of these passages stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?

  2. What discourages you most about God’s people? Where are you most afraid that God’s blessing is being undermined?

  3. How do you relate to either Jacob or Esau in your own life?

  4. If you were to view your life as a showcase of God’s mercy, what would it change about you? What would it free you from? What new obligations would it give you?

  5. How would God’s mercy impact how you relate to others inside the church? What about those outside the church?

Confession of Faith: The Westminster Shorter Catechism, c. 1648

Q. 5. How many persons are there in the Godhead?
 
A. There are three persons in the Godhead; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.

Sunday Recap | January 27, 2019

FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR

Words For Reflection:

Gen. 1:27     
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
 
1Cor. 11:11-12        
11In the Lord,…, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

For next Sunday:

Sermon Text:  Hebrews 13:7,17

How Firm a Foundation - Adoration
Psalm 130 - Confession
My Jesus has Done All Things Well - Grace
The Lord’s Prayer
In Christ Alone - Response
Sanctus
Take My Life and Let it Be - Communion
Doxology - Old 100th

The Bible Project:

As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos.

This week check out The Bible As Jewish Meditation Literature.

If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful. 

Suggested Resource:

Here is a recent blog Meg and I came across and found very helpful and encouraging entitled Cares & Consolations.

Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)

The Christian's Hope Can Never Fail

Sometimes we’re tempted to despair,
But Jesus makes us then His care;
Though numerous foes our souls assail;
O, The Christian’s hope can never fail.

Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)

Prayer of Confession
Gracious God, we confess that we daily sin against you and our neighbors in our thoughts, in our words, and in our actions. Our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment. Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more into the likeness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
 
Words of Grace
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
 
Romans 8:1

Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)

Sunday's Sermon: The Gender Question

Sermon Text - 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Romans 16:1; Acts 6:1-6

Sermon Outline:
1. A Gender Framework (Gen. 1:27; 3:16-19; 1 Cor. 11:11-12; 1 Tim. 2:12; 1 Cor. 11:3)
2. One Interpretive Question (1 Tim. 3:11; Rom. 16:1; Acts 6:1-6)
3. Keeping The Main Thing The Main Thing (Matt. 28:18; Phil 2:6-8)

The Heart of the Message

Authority and submission. Two seemingly incompatible ideas. And yet Jesus Christ embodies both at the same time. In doing so he teaches us that the job of a person in authority is to sacrificially serve to meet the needs of others (Rom. 15:2-3; Eph. 5:25). At the same time, he teaches us that to submit doesn’t mean inferiority or inequality (1 Cor. 11:3; Phil. 2:6-7). Therefore, the New Testament teaching on submission and authority is derived from Jesus and is intended to be another means by which we experience the life and power of Jesus at work in the midst of marriage and in the Christian Community. Perhaps this is why Paul uses the metaphor of a household to describe God’s people in community (1 Tim. 3:15; Eph. 2:19). Admittedly the teaching of the New Testament that church office is open to qualified men only grates against many of our modern sensibilities. And it is understandable that for some this teaching by definition comes across as antiquated and oppressive. At the same time, Jesus appointed 12 men to be his Apostles and treated women in radically dignifying and respectful ways contrary to common cultural norms and expectations (John 4). How should we navigate this difficult and challenging question of gender and the church? One approach is to look for help and answers outside the bible. But if we were to do that we would be moving away from Jesus and how gospel-centered authority and submission can thrive in God’s household. In other words, we would be missing out on all that Jesus has done and what he intends for us.

Reflection Questions

  1. What features of these passages stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?

  2. If you could change what the Bible seems to say about gender and church office how would you change it and why?

  3. Do you think it’s possible for submission and equality to be mutually compatible ideas? Why or why not?

  4. What do you think of the following statement: “In the church, women should be free to do anything any non-ordained man is free to do.” How can RMC get better at honoring and dignifying women as a way of following after Jesus?

  5. Why is it so important to start with Jesus and his authority and submission for wrestling with the issue of women and men and church leadership?

Confession of Faith: The Westminster Shorter Catechism, c. 1648

Q. 4. What is God?
 
A. God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His wisdom, power, holiness, goodness, justice, and truth.

Sunday Recap | January 20, 2019

FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR

Words For Reflection:

…the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. – Mark 10:45

For next Sunday:

Sermon Text:  Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:8-13; Romans 16:1

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing - Adoration
Arise, My Soul Arise - Adoration
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us - Grace
The Lord’s Prayer
Jesus, I Come - Response
Sanctus
The Christian’s Hope Can Never Fail - Communion
Doxology - Tallis Canon

The Bible Project:

As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos.

This week check out the Literary Styles in the Bible.

If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful. 

Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)

Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken

 Soul, then know thy full salvation 
Rise o’er sin and fear and care 
Joy to find in every station, 
Something still to do or bear. 
Think what Spirit dwells within thee, 
Think what Father’s smiles are thine, 
Think that Jesus died to win thee, 
Child of heaven, canst thou repine.

Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)

Prayer of Confession
Father, we confess that we do not live up to the family name. We are more ready to resent than to forgive, more ready to manipulate than to serve, more ready to fear than to love, more ready to keep our distance than to welcome, more ready to compete than to help. At the root of this behavior is mistrust and self-love. We do not love one another as we should, because we do not believe that you love us as you do. Forgive us our cold unbelief. Show us what it cost you to give up your Son that we might become your sons and daughters. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our only righteousness. Amen.
 
Words of Grace
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
 
1 John 3:2-3

Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)

Sunday's Sermon: The Office of Deacon

Sermon Text - Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:8-13

Sermon Outline:
1. The origin of the office of Deacon (Acts 6:1-6)
2. The qualifications for the office of Deacon (1 Tim. 3:8-13)

The Heart of the Message

Jesus is the true Deacon! (see Mk. 10:45; Luke 22:27; Phil. 2:4-5,7) In contrast to the office of Elder, the origin of the office of Deacon is less explicit than the office of Elder. However, a careful reading of the Old Testament and the life and ministry of Jesus coupled with the book of Acts, the office of Deacon emerges quite clearly. Acts 6:1-6 gives us a picture of what we might call the prototype for the office of Deacon, which Paul then explicitly speaks to in 1 Timothy 3 and Phil. 1:1. However, one of the more striking features of 1 Tim. 3:1-13 is the similarity of qualifications for the office of Elder and Deacon. Why is that? The answer takes us back into the story of Jesus. He is the true shepherd and the true deacon. Both offices derive from Jesus and therefore both offices require similar qualifications though their functions are distinct (see Acts 6:2,4). In other words, the offices of Elder and Deacon are Jesus’ way of being physically present in the lives of his people by the power of His Holy Spirit through His chosen officers (see Acts 6:3). Taken together Jesus’ gift of these two offices reveals His design and intention for the preaching of the Word and the care of the most vulnerable and needy among His people. These two offices are a constant echo of His life and ministry and sacrificial death for sinners.

Reflection Questions

  1. What features of these two passages stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?

  2. Why do we need two offices when their qualifications seem so similar?

  3. Based on Acts 6:1-6 and the qualifications of 1 Tim. 3:8-13 how would you describe the basic function of the office of Deacon?

  4. What does the office of Deacon teach you about Jesus and his love for his people?

  5. What further questions do you have about the office of Deacon and your role in choosing elders?

Confession of Faith: The Westminster Shorter Catechism, c. 1648

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
 
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.


Sunday Recap | January 6, 2019

FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR

Words For Reflection:

The core message of the gospel is that God invades us with new life, but the setting for this is most often in the ordinariness of our lives. The new life takes place in the place and person of our present. It is not a means by which God solves problems. God creates new life. He is not a problem solver but a person creator. – Eugene Peterson

For next Sunday:

Sermon Text:  1 Timothy 3:1-7 & Titus 1:5-9

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name - Adoration
God of My Life, to Thee I Call - Confession
Jesus, Lover of My Soul - Grace
The King of Love My Shepherd Is - Response
Sanctus
God is My Refuge and Strength  - Communion
Doxology - Tallis Canon

The Bible Project:

As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos.

This week check out What is the Bible?

If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful. 

Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)

The Church's One Foundation

The church's one Foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is His new creation,
by water and the Word;
from heav'n He came and sought her
to be His holy bride;
with His own blood He bought her,
and for her life He died.

Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)

Prayer of Confession
God of mercy, we humbly confess our need of your pardoning grace. We shelter arrogance and pride in our hearts, believing that our efforts will secure what only you can give us. We are quick to judge and grumble when our plans, pleasures, and preferences are threatened. We are slow to offer mercy, both inwardly and outwardly, towards those you have placed in our lives and called us to love. Forgive our self-righteousness and our self-absorption. Fix our eyes on our savior, Jesus Christ, that we may become enraptured with Him, for it’s in his name we pray. Amen.
 
Words of Grace
[B]ut God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)

Sunday's Sermon: He Gave Gifts

Sermon Text - Ephesians 4:1-16

Sermon Outline:
1. The giver of gifts (v. 7-12)
2. The goal of His gifts (v. 13-14)
3. The community of gifts (v. 15-16)

The Heart of the Message

Few passages in scripture present a more comprehensive and gospel centered framework for understanding God’s design and intention for the church. At the heart of this passage is the giver of gifts, Jesus Christ (v. 7, 8, 11). In other words, the church, its leaders (v. 11), its members (v. 12-13), and its growth are fruits of the finished work of Jesus (v. 9-10). Therefore, when we explore what the scriptures teach about church leadership, we are exploring the gracious gifts of Jesus to take care of us this side of heaven (v. 11). Why should we care about this? First, because God wants you to grow up and experience what it’s like to live a truly human life (v. 13-14). Second, we can’t enjoy God’s gifts to us in Christ on our own. We need the community of gifts rooted in love for one another because of Christ’s love for us (v. 2, 15, 16). Third and finally, we should care because Jesus gave his life in order that we might have his gifts.

Reflection Questions

  1. What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?

  2. What are your most persistent questions about the church or church leadership?

  3. Why is it important, actually necessary, to start with the gospel when we’re talking about church leadership?

  4. In vs. 1-16 Paul uses the metaphor of the body to describe the church. How many different ways can you describe the way this body works?

  5. In v. 16 Paul says the body grows and is built up in love when each part is working properly. How would you describe your part in the growing and building up of the body?

Confession of Faith: The Westminster Shorter Catechism, c. 1648

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
 
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.