“The God of the gospel is free, the gospel of God is free and the nature of true worship, the right response to the impact of the gospel, is the freedom to respond appropriately in freedom…”
Recently my friend Dr. Tim Johnson (pastor of Rock Valley Chapel) was asked to speak at Beloit College on the topic of the exclusive claims of Christianity as seen in verses like John 14:6. If you know anything about Beloit College, you would know this would not have been what we would call “home field advantage.” The lecture was just posted and thought I would share it with you all.
This message was given at the end of a chapel service at Rock County Christian School on December 12, 2012. It was preceded by a skit about Jesus being better that a super hero. I wasn’t actually scheduled to speak during this service, but the skit took a lot less time than planned and I wasn’t about to give up a chance to preach! So, like my Christmas shopping, this message was thrown together literally at the last minute. You can see the entire chapel service here.
As we seek to reach out further into our community and even reaching out more effectively to our own congregation, several of my fellow church members were able to attend Desiring God’s conference on disability ministry earlier this month. I was quite jealous as I received their live tweets and heard their reports when they came back. Now, you can download both the video and audio of this conference from the Desiring God website. As someone who grew up in a family that struggled with disabilities and attended churches that struggled with helping families struggling with these disabilities, it is such a joy to see this topic being grappled with! So, I would encourage you to listen to each of these messages and develop a heart for the disabled in your community and within your congregation (trust me, they are there!).
Thinking Like Jesus About Disability
John Piper, Nancy Guthrie, Greg Lucas, Mark Talbot
Testimony of God’s Good Design
Recently, I moderated a series of panel discussions explaining why we do what we do in our chapel services at Rock County Christian School. In this last panel, we talked about why we preach. The pastors featured in the panel were Dr. Tim Johnson (Rock Valley Chapel- Beloit, WI), Dr. Phil Allen (Daystar Christian Fellowship – South Beloit, IL) and Jeremy Scott (Morning Star Church – Rockford, IL). Among the questions they answered were why do we use preaching instead of other means of communication and what responsibility does the listener have during the sermon?
Each year Rock County Christian School begins the year with a small retreat – a chance for students to escape the classroom and get to know each other in a different setting, thus promoting some school unity. This year’s Middle School/High School retreat focused on the topic of “Preparing Together for Action.” In this morning message, Mr. Thompson showed us Ephesians chapter two how true unity can only be found in Christ through His atoning work on Calvary. The retreat took place at Big Hills Park in Beloit, WI. I preached twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
School is officially back in session at Rock County Christian! Today was our first chapel of the year. Following a presentation from our leadership class, I preached a message from our theme passage for the year – I Peter 1:13-15. My message begins at about the 12 minute mark.
For the past four years it has been by delight to organize a National Day of Prayer event at Rock County Christian School. For the past three years we have opened it up for the public to come. The past two years I’ve made it a point to invite local politicians to come and speak, asking them to tell all of us how we can be better praying for them. The best part is knowing that all of these politicians will be sitting through a very thorough and hard-hitting gospel presentation.
Pastor Ken Hereford is the pastor of the Grace and Truth Church in Beloit, WI. Ken has a firm gospel foundation and a love of sound doctrine. He is warrior for the truth and has taken costly stands for the Lord complete with battle scars to prove it. He has more than earned my respect. I consider Him a friend and fellow-laborer. I say all of that to say this, you’ve got to listen to his sermon at this National Day of Prayer. It is excellent. Keep in mind that he not only speaking to Christian School students, but people from the community and local politicians including our own Wisconsin Attorney General.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes:
“Many of our country’s leaders conveniently become Christians during election season.”
“What difference does it make if we can implement every policy that we can, but the foundation is crumbled? I am not referring to the Founding Fathers some of whom may have promoted an idea of moral virtue and spirituality by recognizing there is only one God… but I am referring to I Corinthians 3:11 which says, ‘For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.’ “
“What is the problem with America? I can emphatically tell you, it’s not the economy, stupid. It’s not the lack of jobs or even the lack prayer or anything else.. We ave always had to deal with an ideology that wants to do away with the true God. It doesn’t matter what aspect of society we are talking about. The real issue is not whether a bunch of non-believers are following the ways of God or not. The over-arching issues are within the walls of the church.”
“Love America, but never put the Founding Fathers ahead of the Heavenly Father. Love America, but never think that social help is a substitute for the Holy Spirit. Love America, but never consider jobs before Jesus. “
And it gets even better than this. You can watch the video below. His message begins at about the 41 minute mark.
This is my latest chapel message at Rock County Christian School dealing with the issue of remembering the poor and needy around us. The basic idea is that these are oftentimes forgotten people. Its not that we don’t care – we don’t even think about them as strive to serve Christ and grow in grace. Yet, this an issue that reflects the very gospel we all hold dear.