There are different kinds of challenges you might do in November. A couple personal ones I take on each year are never saying no to pumpkin anything and downing as much Thanksgiving Blend coffee from Starbucks as possible while it’s around. It’s a month of food and feasting, and that is certainly something I can give thanks for with a full heart (and stomach)! Beyond that, I’ve also found it a month worth focusing on the gospel-posture of giving thanks. Thanksgiving, the act and habit, is meant to retune our hearts towards gratitude to God, worship of God, and joy in God. I need more of this in my life and I need it to become a regular rhythm rather than an occasional add-on. For that reason, I’m hoping to not only eat pumpkin pie and drink my favorite blend of coffee to the glory of God this November but to also build giving thanks into my mind, heart, and habits.
I know, repentance isn’t your favorite word. It’s not mine either. No doubt it conjures up something like an angry turn-or-burn “preacher” (either pounding the pulpit or screaming in the streets) letting people have it or an ultra-fundamentalist family member unhappy with your choices of what’s right or wrong. Despite the bad taste that might be lingering in your mouth for words like “repent” and “repentance”, let’s together seek to move past those barriers and rediscover what God actually says about repentance. It might never be for your favorite word or your favorite part of being a Christian, but as we look into God’s Word I think we’ll see that repentance is meant to be a life-giving, sin-replacing, gospel-rooted posture of the Christian life. Easy? No. Good? Yes.
Week 5: Sunday 10/16/16
1 Peter 1:14-16
Be A Holy People
Last week at College Park Church we worked through 1 Peter 1:10-13, which seems to break down into two parts: loving the gospel and living in light of the gospel. As God’s people we need to remember the gospel and how God’s grace came to us in our sin and rescued us. We should be stunned by a holy God who redeems sinners to himself. And then we should be awed that this same gospel is the reality we live in every day of our lives.
Week 3: Sunday, 9/25/16
1 Peter 1:6-9
“Rejoicing in Difficult Days”
Last Sunday, College Park preached on 1 Peter 1:3-5 and it was crammed full of powerful, hope-giving truths. Pastor Joe Bartemus raised these excellent questions. They’re questions that not only lead us into the text but questions that can be asked today. They are meant to bring us back to what is true, firm, and unchanging. Who is in charge? Who am I? What does my future look like? A fourth one Joe threw in that I found helpful was, what is my hope? Similar to how a new swimmer can return to and hold onto the side of the pool for safety, security, and to regain their breath before diving back in, these questions point us to biblical truth about God and our relationship with him that steadies us on many days when we feel like we can barely tread water. God is in charge. I am a child of God. My future is certain, it is guaranteed and kept by God, and it includes an imperishable inheritance beyond what we can imagine.
Discipleship is essentially following Christ for the purpose of maturing in Christ-likeness. Disciples rediscover and then faithfully live in light of their identity in Christ. Or to say it differently, discipleship is the process whereby we’re remade and we regain who we were created to be as image-bearers of God by being transformed into the image of Christ.
If believers have a new identity in Christ why don’t we live it out? Obviously layers of answers could be offered here related to doctrines of sin, sanctification, and glorification so let me narrow the question. What are a few identity issues that keep Christians from understanding and living out the reality of who we are as a new creation in Christ?
This Exiled Life, Week 2: A Living Hope
1 Peter 1:3-5
College Park Church opened their 1 Peter series by looking at 1 Peter1:1-2. Whether at Fishers or North Indy, both sermons introduced the book’s context (author, recipients, background) as well as the importance of the theme of exile. We are exiles in this world, but the comforting and encouraging truth in 1:1-2 is that we are God’s exiles, or elect exiles. We might be strangers in the world, aware of the fact that at times we simply don’t belong. But we are not strangers to God or to Christ’s Church as God takes us as his own and we belong to Him. We are foreknown and loved by the Father, set apart (sanctified) by the Spirit, and cleansed by the blood of Jesus. In our God we are therefore equipped to endure whatever we face and we’re given the opportunity to engage our world as light in the midst of darkness.
Looking Ahead Continue reading “Looking Ahead to 1 Peter 1:3-5”
As a church, does our culture match our doctrine? As an individual or as a family, does our culture match our doctrine?
“Gospel doctrine – gospel culture = hypocrisy
Gospel culture – gospel doctrine = fragility
Gospel doctrine + gospel culture = power”
“To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion…according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood.” (I Peter 1:2)
Throughout his first letter, Peter regularly reminds his readers that their suffering, their rejection, and the way they stand out as exiles is normal. The kingdom of light is no more welcome to a kingdom of darkness than the bedroom light being turned on first thing in the morning is welcomed when I’ve been sleeping. And yet, as elect exiles they are God’s people. Though kicked to the curb by the world we are called into a new family and given a sense of belonging by our Triune God. We are now his people, and even as we struggle in a world that is not for us we are equipped and empowered by a God that is for us. Continue reading “Fresh Air in the Atmosphere of Trinitarian Grace”
This Sunday at College Park Church we’ll start a new sermon series on 1 Peter. During LIVE16 many of you studied the Sunday text in advance and shared how valuable that was for you. By thinking about the Scripture beforehand you were better prepared to hear, process, understand, and apply what was preached on Sunday. While our small groups are now being encouraged to use the 1 Peter Study Guide, which is designed for groups to discuss and apply the text after the sermon, I’d encourage you to continue reading, praying over, and meditating on the passage on your own or as a family beforehand. For that reason, I’ll attempt to provide each week a blog post that can act as a starter for getting into the text.