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Archive for July, 2007

I’ve decided that I will devote Mondays to reflecting on the previous days corporate worship and helping us prepare for our next gathering.

Since I am on vacation, I want first to say thank you for receiving Samuel Clintoc from Romania yesterday. He is a great brother, and I know the Lord spoke through him. Remember to pray for him as he plants a Romanian church here in Austin.

Second, I want to let you know that we were greatly blessed yesterday as we attended Sovereign Grace Church in Port Orange. This was our first experience in a Sovereign Grace Church, and I pray that the Lord allows us to return there next Sunday. Our singing time was focused on Christ and the cross, as is characteristic of Sovereign Grace under the leadership of C. J. Mahaney, and the message was a gospel-centered reminder of delighting in God and His Word through personal quiet time.

The fellowship was sweet and friendly; nevertheless, we greatly missed our High Pointe family!!!!!

As you go through your week, remember to pray for Daniel Franz as he prepares for preaching at High Pointe this coming Lord’s day.

May God continue to grant us all much grace as we seek to grow in Christ in order to run hard, run well and finish the race.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Juan
Acts 20:24

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Jul
28

Pray for Me

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As of Thursday, we have been in Daytona Beach Shores – our usual vacation spot. This is one of my favorite get-a-way places because it allows me to spend much needed time with my family. One of the other things it allows me to do is spend time in the Word without thinking about sermon preparation. During our vacation I have been reading in the New Testament book of Hebrews, and though I’m only in chapter 5, my time in Hebrews has been wonderful. Actually, I have to confess that though I’m not preaching through Hebrews, the Lord has brought my thoughts back to perseverance and the book of James, which I am preaching.

Today, as I read Hebrews 5, I was reading about the high priest who is chosen among men and is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God to offer sacrifices (5:1). The context for this verse is Hebrews 4:14-16, which speaks of Jesus being the ultimate High Priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses because He was tempted in every way that we are, yet He was without sin (4:15).

The writer suggests that Jesus is sympathetic because the high priest was to “deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he (the human high priest) himself is beset with weakness” (5:2). The writer goes on to say that because of his weakness he had to offer sacrifices for his own sins, unlike Jesus.

What struck me this morning was Hebrews 5:2 – “He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness.” Oh, how the Word of God strikes us down (in a good and necesary way), corrects our thinking and sets us right (see Hebrews 4:12).

I ask that you pray for me because this morning I was once again reminded of my weaknesses and of the need to be sympathetic with the weaknesses of the ignorant and the wayward. I was reminded of my need to be wise and gentle in all my dealings with God’s sheep, beginning with my own family.

Pray for me:

  • That I would continually be reminded of my weaknesses that I may walk humbly with Christ.
  • That I would be gentle with the flock of God beginning with my family. I need continual grace to deal with the ignorant and wayward in my family and wisdom to encourage my girls to see the beauty and glory of Christ and that they would see my love for Christ.
  • That I would deal gently with the flock of God who are ignorant and wayward. We are all in need of grace and God has been most patient with me and my weaknesses, so I desire to be patient with the weaknesses of others.
  • That I would deal gently with God’s flock, especially those among God’s flock that are most difficult to love.

I thank my God for High Pointe and for her faithfulness to pray for me. May God grant you much grace. Also, pray for Samuel Clintoc as he will be in the pulpit on Sunday morning. He is a wonderful brother from Romania, and I know he will bless you!

Grace and peace,

Pastor Juan
Acts 20:24

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Jul
24

We're In Florida!

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By God’s grace we were able drive straight through from Austin, Texas to Gainesville, Florida! Our trip was great; the girls traveled well, and we are getting ready for our day. Please pray for us while we are away! We miss our church family and cannot wait to return, but we are looking forward to spending some much needed family time at the beach.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Juan
Acts 20:24

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Jul
23

Cuba Missions Video

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We had a wonderful visit with our Cuban brethren on Sunday! Please continue praying for them and their visit here in the US. Pray also for the amazing work God is doing in Santa Clara. For a ten minute video of our mission trip in May, click here.

Special thanks to Jeff Jones, our media director, for putting the video together.
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Jul
23

On Vacation

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Beginning Monday, July 23, the Sanchez crew will be driving to Florida for a time of rest. We will miss our church family and look forward to our return. Pray for us as we travel and that we might actually have a time of rest while we visit family and friends.

As we are away, I want to remind you to continue praying for Esther Boyalapalli as she is recovering from the surgery in which they removed a brain tumor. You can read updates on Esther’s condition here.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Juan
Acts 20:24

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Jul
16

On Race and Ethnicity

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about issues of race and ethnicity, and during this time I read a book that challenged and encouraged me. I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in this topic. For those who are not interested, you should be. The book is From Every People and Nation: A Biblical Theology of Race by J. Daniel Hays. In it, Hays travels through Scripture from the Old Testament books to the New, showing how God’s redemptive plan has always included a multi-ethnic congregation. Here are his seven summary conclusions (201-205):

1. The biblical world was multi-ethnic, and Blacks were involved in God’s unfolding plan of redemption from the beginning.

2. All people are created in the image of God, and therefore all races and ethnic groups have the same status and unique value that results from the image of God.

3. Genesis 10 and the Abrahamic promise combine to form a theme that runs throughout Scripture, constantly pointing to the global and multi-ethnic elements inherent in the overarching plan of God.

4. Racial intermarriage is sanctioned by God.

5. The gospel demands that we carry compassion and the message of Christ across ethnic lines.

6. The New Testament demands active unity in the Church, a unity that explicitly joins differing ethnic groups together because of their common identity in Christ.

7. The picture of God’s people at the climax of history portrays a multi-ethnic congregation from every tribe, language, people, and nation, all gathered together in worship around God’s throne.
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The clarification and reminder come from “Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church,” which was just released on June 29, 2007.

  • FIFTH QUESTION
    Why do the texts of the Council and those of the Magisterium since the Council not use the title of “Church” with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?
  • RESPONSE
    According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery[19] cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called “Churches” in the proper sense[20].
    The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ratified and confirmed these Responses, adopted in the Plenary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their publication.
    Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 29, 2007, the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

Dr. Albert Mohler has an insighful commentary regarding this statement here.

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As I have been meditating on James 1:12, this week for Sunday, I have been striving to get a grasp on the reality of the Bible’s call to endurance. Along with meditating in Scripture, Jeanine and I began reading last night the biographical sketch of John Newton by John Piper in his book, The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon and William Wilbeforce. It was a refreshing reminder that the Christian life is hard and that we can be greatly encouraged by the stories of those who have gone before us and endured to the end.

Along with Piper’s biographical sketches, I would recommend reading his: Brothers, Read Christian Biography.

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Jul
11

Lady Bird Johnson, 1912-2007

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Lady Bird Johnson died on Wednesday, July 11, at the age of 94. Read the local story here.

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As I was driving around town this morning my interest was peeked by an interview on talk radio. Laura Ingraham was interviewing Wendy Shalit about her latest book, Girls Gone Mild:Youn Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find It’s Not Bad to Be Good. For those of you who don’t know me, the reason this interview interested me is because I am the father of five daughters ranging from 15 to 4 years old.

One of the toughest issues we deal with in a home of six women (including my wife), is the issue of modest clothing. It is not so much a battle with our girls as it is a battle with the world. The battlefield, of course, is the mall or whatever women’s clothing store we may happen to be in. It is so difficult to find modest clothing, and I have grown increasingly frustated at our culture’s apparent push to make even my four year old dress like Britney Spears or Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan or whomever happens to be the latest “hot ticket.”

This is where Wendy Shalit comes in:

  • At twenty-three, Wendy Shalit punctured conventional wisdom with her 1999 book A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue, prompting James P. Pinkerton to write in Newsday that her book was “strong evidence that the backlash against Monica Lewinsky will come, not from her elders, but from her youngers.” His prediction, it seems, has come true.
  • Despite the fact that porn is mainstream, and despite the fact that those who to choose to delay sex are labeled “prudes,” a youth-led rebellion is challenging the status quo. Why?
    For the first time, in GIRLS GONE MILD: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find It’s Not Bad to Be Good (Random House; On-sale: June 26, 2007), we hear the voices at the frontlines of this emerging new movement, from someone who has been talking to these “rebellious good girls” for almost ten years. Some of them, Shalit reports, are pressured by their own mothers to lose their virginity, and come to resent it; others just don’t think they need to be “bad” to be liberated in the first place.
    Drawing on numerous studies and interviews around the nation, Shalit’s findings are at once shocking and encouraging. Nowadays, as even the youngest teenage girls feel the pressure to become cold sex sirens, put their bodies on public display, and suppress their feelings in order to feel accepted and (temporarily) loved, many young women are realizing that “friends with benefits” are often anything but. And as these girls speak for themselves, we see that what is expected of them turns out to be very different from what is in their own hearts.
  • Written with sincerity and upbeat humor, Girls Gone Mild rescues the good girl from the realm of mythology and dated manners guides to show that today’s version is the real rebel: She is not “people pleasing” or repressed; she is simply reclaiming her individuality. And it’s about time.

It is heartening that this discussion is taking place. I hope it truly becomes a revolution; however, modesty for modesty’s sake is simply legalism. What I mean to say is that a modesty (or any morality for that matter) that does not flow out of the gospel of Christ is merely moralism and will not last. For that reason, I am compelled to take this discussion one step farther and point you to those ladies who are having such discussions from a Christian worldview.

Ladies, let me encourage you to let discussions about womanhood and modesty flow naturally from the gospel. And let me also encourage you to carry the torch for a revolution for biblical womanhood, not just modesty. Here are some sites you can visit to enter into the discussion:

Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Girl Talk (Carolyn Mahaney and Daughters)

Revive Our Hearts (Nancy Leigh DeMoss)

Solo Femeninity (Carolyn McCulley – for singles)

The Purple Cellar (Lydia Brownback and Jennifer Redman)

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