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Archive for September, 2007

As you prepare for our Lord’s Day gathering, I encourage you to pray for Pastor Daniel Franz, as he will be delivering the morning message from 1 Samuel 17. I will be traveling to Minneapolis this weekend for the Desiring God National Conference. I am particularly looking forward to it because Jeanine will be with me.

On Sunday evening, Pastor Robert Baldwin will be leading us in our quarterly prayer service. I encourage you to come and plead with our gracious God in the name of Jesus Christ for lost family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, city-state-federal officials . . . .

I will miss you all greatly!

Pastor Juan
Acts 20:24

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Sep
24

Monday's Reflections on Sunday

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Sunday AM
I hope that our study of James is as encouraging and convicting to you as it has been for me. As we saw on Sunday, the tongue is a small but powerful instrument. Left uncontrolled by the Holy Spirit, the tongue sets itself against God, against you, against everything and everyone because it is for Satan.

However, James is concerned to show us that true Christianity is marked by an obedience of faith that flows from a new heart and expresses itself in love; therefore, true Christianity expresses itself in loving words.

May God grant us the grace to control our tongues and use them for building up instead of tearing down.

Sunday PM
Sunday evening was a real encouragement as we were reminded of the Lord’s sovereign providential grace in preserving His people. As we studied Esther, we were reminded that the sovereign Lord works all things together toward His ends and for the good of His people. Mordecai did not look to Esther for the hope of the Jewish people, for he knew that if Esther refused to approach the king that help would arise from somewhere. He knew His God would be faithful to His covenant promises and would preserve His people (chapter 4).

May we find our hope in the God who has kept His promises and revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. To Him be all glory and honor and praise!

Grace and peace,

Pastor Juan
Acts 20:24
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I read this article about Florida Gator quarterback Tim Tebow, and I had to laugh out loud. Though Tebow is a professing Christian, this article is written from a sportswriter’s perspective. Needless to say, they paint Tebow as larger than life – a sort of superman:

“In high school, with his team holding a precarious 7-point lead in the state championship game, Tebow, an elite quarterback recruit, ran on the field and played nose tackle — nose tackle — without telling his coaches. The other team didn’t score again.
He has been recognized by Gators fans in airports in the Philippines and Japan working as — of course — a missionary. He’s larger than life, this comic book hero of college football.”

I hope and pray Tim Tebow will continue to remember and acknowledge from where all his giftedness has come and remain humble in the almost impossible world of sports.
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Sep
21

Dr. Albert Mohler on Reading Books

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Dr. Al Mohler shares some wise counsel and helpful suggestions on the discipline of reading books.

“I cannot really remember when I did not love to read books. I do know that I was very eager to learn to read, and that I quickly found myself immersed in the world of books and literature. It may have been a seduction of sorts, and the Christian disciple must always be on guard to guide the eyes to books worthy of a disciple’s attention — and there are so many.”

Click here to read the entire article.

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Sep
20

Preparing for Sunday

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Sunday AM: James 3:1-12, The Power of Words and Final Judgment
I’ve been looking at James 3:1-12, all day today, and I have been overwhelmed by the power of God’s word and challenged to consider the way I use my tongue!

In an effort to help you prepare for this Sunday morning, I would encourage you to look at the following Scriptures:
1. Proverbs 10:19-20; 11:9; 12:22; 13:3; 16:23-24; 18:6-8

2. Matthew 12:33-37; 15:1-20

Ask yourself: “At the final judgment, will my words justify me or condemn me?”

Sunday PM: Route 66, The Book of Esther
If you have time, read through Esther before Sunday evening.

Ask yourself: “Am I a person who acts for God in faith, or am I full of excuses?”

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There is much discussion nowadays about whether or not age appropriate ministries are legitimate. At one end of the spectrum, there are those who argue that the only way children learn is when they are taught at their level in age appropriate contexts, while
at the other end of the spectrum, there are those who say is it unbiblical for someone other than the parents, particularly dad, to teach the children.

For a helpful and enlightening interview on family integrated churches (FIC) see Jim Hamilton’s interview.

For a helpful and balanced look at children’s ministry see Expository Thoughts.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Juan
Acts 20:24

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Sep
17

Monday's Reflections on Sunday

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Sunday Morning – James 2:14-26
The Lord was gracious to us again yesterday as we gathered together for corporate worship. We had a wonderful day exalting Christ and His glorious salvation as we looked at a living faith which expresses itself in love through works of faith (James 2:14-26). The Bible teaches that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone; however, a faith that is alone is dead, useless, unable to save according to James.

We were reminded that Paul and James do not contradict but that they use the same terms (works, justification, faith) to address different issues and mean different things by them. For Paul, justification is a legal declaration which communicates the present condition of those who trust Christ for their salvation. James, on the other hand, is concerned to warn people in his congregation against self-deception or counterfeit faith. He want all to know that the same faith which justifies in the sense of Paul, will also prove that it is genuine by expressing itself in love through works of faith. Paul agrees with this when he states that faith works through love (Galatians 5:6).

If you desire to pursue further reading on the doctrine of justification by faith, I would recommend reading John Piper’s Counted Righteous in Christ. You can view the free online version here.

Sunday Evening – Song of Solomon
I enjoyed reflecting on the Song of Solomon on Sunday night. It was a blessed reminder of our Lord’s goodness to His people. The topic of biblical sexuality can be uncomfortable for some, but your encouraging comments made me believe that we addressed the issue in a manner that was honoring to the Lord and respectful of all who heard.

If you would like to pursue a better understanding of biblical sexuality, I can think of no better place to begin than by listening to the 2004 Desiring God Conference audios on Sex and the Supremacy of Christ. There is something there for everyone.

Also, for those who are yet to be married I recommend becoming familiar with the concept of courtship by reading the following books: Her Hand in Marriage by Douglas Wilson; I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meets Girl, both by Joshua Harris.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Juan
Acts 20:24

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Sep
13

Preparing for Sunday

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As you consider how to prepare for this Lord’s Day worship gathering, allow me to give you some direction. This Sunday morning we will look at James 2:14-26. James argues that a faith that lacks works is dead and useless for salvation. Questions:

1. Is this so? Doesn’t this contradict Paul’s teaching about justification?
2. Is one saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone? Or is one saved by faith plus works?
3. Is James teaching that works must be added to faith for salvation?
Read Romans 3-4, to remind yourself what Paul teaches regarding justification.
Read Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3. Do these passages help clarify the issues between James and Paul?
Also, you may want to read the sermon by John Piper: Does James contradict Paul?
H412 – Sunday Evenings

Last week we began our new Sunday evening meetings called H412 (Hebrews 4:12). Check out our new website (http://austin412.com/). Our desire is to open our Sunday evening gathering to the entire city of Austin since many churches do not meet on Sunday nights. We had a great response last Sunday night, and we want to encourage everyone especially to bring their unchurched friends. This Sunday evening we will be looking at the Song of Solomon. During our study time the children will be in AWANA; however, I want to remind moms and dads that we will be talking about biblical sexuality – parental discretion is advised.
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Sep
11

Monday's Reflections on Sunday

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O.K., so it’s Tuesday, but I still wanted to share some reflections from Sunday. The Lord was gracious to us again!!! Thanks again for all your feedback on the last two messages on race and the gospel. The Lord has allowed me to think seriously and deeply about these issues for the last several months. I pray that as we think through racial harmony together that the Lord would grow in us a deeper love and appreciation for one another.

I wanted to make available to you the nine points of application that I shared Sunday morning, so I will provide them below.

Living Faith: Fulfilling the Royal Law, Part 2
James 2:8

Application: How do we begin cultivating an environment where people of all walks of life and all cultures and ethnicities are loved and express the love of Christ with one another?

1. Value all human life as created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27; 5:1-3; 9:6; James 3:9).

2. Embrace the mission of God to save a multi-ethnic assembly through Christ (Revelation 5:9).

3. Embrace and fight for the unity for which Christ prayed and died (John 17:20-21; Ephesians 2:11-22).

4. Repent of any sins or attitudes that keep you from loving your neighbor as yourself (Acts 3:19; 26:20).

5. Submit to one another, giving each other the benefit of the doubt and forgiving one another (Ephesians 5:21).

6. Honor one another (Romans 13:7; 1 Peter 2:17).

7. Teach your children these wonderful biblical truths (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

8. Teach your children about your own culture and ethnicity in a way that does not dishonor or degrade other cultures or ethnicities.

9. Strive to learn about and teach your children about other cultures and ethnicities in a way that does not dishonor or degrade that culture or ethnicity.

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Sep
08

Go Gator!

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Having graduated from the University of Florida, I always look forward to cheering our Gators on during football season. It makes it even more sweet this year knowing that starting quaterback Tim Tebow has more important things on his mind than football. Tebow grew up in a Christian home, professes Christ and is seeking to live out his faith on and off the field. To that I say, “Go Gator!”

Read the Baptist Press story here.
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