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Archive for March, 2009

I picked up Tim Keller’s “The Prodigal God” last night and finished it this afternoon. It was a quick but powerful read. The book has its own website which promises study notes in the summer.

I highly recommend reading “The Prodigal God.” It will re-orient your understanding of Christianity versus religion and a true love for the Father who is extravagant in His love.

We will be recommending this book to High Pointe in April, and we will have a discussion group in early May.

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I am often asked how we can help the homeless. As Christians we should have a genuine desire to help the downcast and oppressed. Consequently, whenever we pass by those people at stop lights holding out signs asking for help, we are driven to guilt. Yet, if we do give them money, we are pretty sure where that money will go. Some homeless have actually stopped beating around the bush and hold up signs which say things like, “I need beer!”

My friend Jonathan Dodson has posted a list of Ten ways you can help the homeless that was originally posted by the folks at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Here is the list for your consideration.

1. Never give cash to a homeless person
Too often, well intended gifts are converted to drugs or alcohol – even when the “hard luck” stories they tell are true. If the person is hungry, buy them a sandwich and a beverage.

2. Talk to the person with respect.
Taking time to talk to a homeless person in a friendly, respectful manner can give them a wonderful sense of civility and dignity. And besides being just neighborly, it gives the person a weapon to fight the isolation, depression and paranoia that many homeless people face.

3. Recognize that homeless people (and their problems) are not all the same.
The homeless are as diverse as the colors of a rainbow. The person you meet may be a battered women, an addicted veteran, someone who is lacking job skills…the list goes on.

4. Share God’s love whenever you can.
If Jesus were walking the earth today, He would certainly spend time with the homeless. He would speak with them, heal them, and help them. Today, Jesus chooses to work through those who believe and follow Him.

5. Pray for the homeless.
Exposure to the elements, dirt, occasional violence, and lack of purpose all drain years from a person’s life. God can use your prayers and the brutality and the futility of life of the street to bring many of the broken to Himself.

6. Take precautions for your own safety.
Some living on the streets are criminals and fugitives running from the law. Always be prudent while talking with street people. Stay in areas where other people can see you. Don’t take unnecessary chances.

7. Encourage the homeless to get help through your local gospel-centered homeless ministry.
Gospel-centered homeless ministries seek to care for both the body and the soul. Some may provide emergency housing and meals, while others may provide long-term housing or specialized programs that seek to address the deeper causes of homelessness. Many offer spiritual mentoring and Bible study so that those who are homeless can build a strong foundation in Jesus. Others offer may offer day services that include mail services, luggage storage or laundry options.

8. Financially Support your local gospel-centered homeless ministry.
Many gospel-centered homeless ministries receive little or no government funding. They are primarily supported by caring individuals, churches, businesses, and civic groups who see the value of sharing their resources with the less fortunate.

9. Volunteer with your local gospel-centered homeless ministry.
Serving alongside your local ministry is a great way to build relationships with the homeless. Here, the collective wisdom of the ministry’s community will aid you as you take steps further and further in to the lives of the homeless. Ministries can rarely afford to hire enough staff, so they are dependent on volunteers to make deep impact in the lives of the homeless.

10. Pray for the leadership and staff of your local gospel-centered homeless ministry.
The demands placed on the leadership and staff of homeless ministries is extensive. The situations these people confront on a daily basis or complex and confusing. Pray that Jesus would continue to give the staff hope, strength and wisdom.

Local Ministries with which High Pointe Partners:

1. The Storehouse of Austin

2. Grace Fellowship Baptist Outreach Ministry (Arthur Anderson)

Grace Fellowship Baptist Church Outreach Ministry, located in East Austin off of 12th Street is a place where dedicated volunteers are putting into action God’s commission by preaching the gospel on Sunday mornings to everyone that attends – feeding the homeless, and giving comfort to the feeble-minded through expressions of love and kindness. For more information contact the High Pointe Missions Team.

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Mar
27

How to Pray for Your Pastor

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As I have been studying, praying over and meditating on 1 Corinthians 4:1-7, for this Sunday morning, I have been reminded of the grave task appointed to me as a steward of they mysteries of God: i.e., His gospel. This has reminded me of the necessity to ask for prayer.

Please pray for your pastor! Here are two resources that you may find helpful.

1. A 31 Day Guide to Praying for Your Pastor by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

2. How to Pray for Your Pastor by Ligon Duncan

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Mar
23

Pastor Juan, a.k.a., Spider Man

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Yep, that’s me thinking I’m Spiderman after jumping off of a 50ft tower on a zip line. We had a wonderful time at the Spring Retreat. I’m back in the office today, and it has been pretty ho, hum after spending last week with our jr and sr high students.

Thanks to our students and adult volunteers for a blessed retreat!

Grace and peace,

Pastor Juan
Acts 20:24

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John Frame pens some thoughts on the current economy, shedding some light on socialism, capitalism and the Bible.

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Mar
18

HPBC Student Spring Retreat 2009

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I have had a wonderful time with our jr and sr high students at our annual spring retreat. We have studied the book of James together, and I pray that we have done so with much fruitfulness. Last night, I shared with them a definition of biblical wisdom that helped us understand James 3:13-18. The part in quotes comes from Douglas Moo’s commentary on James.

Biblical wisdom is a divine grace “that involves biblical insight into God’s purposes and ways” which provides a biblical outlook on life that leads to righteous living.

In other words, biblical wisdom is not merely knowledge, for knowledge puffs up. Further, biblical wisdom is not merely orthodox theology, for the demons believe and they shudder (James 2:19). Biblical wisdom is a gift from God (that is why we must ask Him for it – James 1:5). This wisdom from above opens our eyes to God’s purposes and ways and promises, so that we are able to see the world through Christian eyes. When we rightly see the world, we are empowered by God’s grace in wisdom to do what is pleasing in His eyes.

Thus, this is righteousness that emerges from divine grace – first from a new heart (James 1:18). But continually as we seek to grow and understand the word implanted in us so that we would become doers of the word and not hearers only. With divine wisdom, we can see the world with Christian eyes, rejecting the partiality of the world, its hateful speech, its materialism, and practice pure and undefiled religion – to care for the oppressed and outcast.

May the Lord be gracious to move among our students to grant new hearts to those who presently have hearts of stone and to move those who have new hearts to continually ask for wisdom in order that they may become doers of the word and not hearers only.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Juan
Acts 20:24

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Mar
16

Spring Break & the Book of James

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This week I have the privilege of being with our jr and high school students on their spring retreat. We are at Camp Tejas just outside of Giddings, Texas. Our theme is “Living in the Real World,” and we are studying James’ epistle.

One special treat is that I get to be with my three oldest daughters on this retreat. Please pray for me as I speak and our students as they listen. We are having a wonderful time in God’s Word and enjoying God’s creation.

Meanwhile, Jeanine and our two youngest find themselves in sunny Florida shopping. What can I say?

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Mar
14

This Lord's Day at High Pointe

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Currently, I am preaching through 1 Corinthians on Sunday mornings. It is a joy to study this Pauline letter and expound it before our congregation. So as of yesterday, I was planning on preaching through 1 Corinthians 3:18-23. At least that is what I had been studying all week.

Yesterday, as I was in my study working through Genesis 38, I was greatly moved to see the sovereignty of God in the midst of deception and sexual sin. God is doing a great work at High Pointe right now. It is evident in various areas in the life of our church. What is also evident is that the enemy is also busy at work attacking families and marriages and individuals at High Pointe.

As I have been working through and praying through the account of Judah and Tamar in Genesis 38, the Spirit of God has impressed upon me that I should preach this text this Sunday morning. Therefore, I am foregoing the exposition of 1 Corinthians this Sunday morning for Genesis 38. Please pray for me as I continue meditating on Genesis 38 throughout the day.

On Sunday evening, I will press on to Genesis 39: the account of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. This is the other side of deception and sexual sin. Please pray for me as I attempt to put together this sermon today as well for Sunday evening.

Our Lord is a gracious God. He is doing a great work, and Satan is seeking to destroy it through deception, sexual temptation and confusion just as he did in the garden. Satan will fail; Satan has already failed; He is a desperate, defeated foe. Let us remember that and cling to the promises of the gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ our redeemer!

Grace and peace,

Pastor Juan
Acts 20:24

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A Wake county judge issued an order for three homeschooled children who are caught in the middle of their parents’ divorce into the public classroom.

Though the children have excelled in homeschooling, the father objects to the religious influence in the children’s science curriculum. It will be interesting to see how this ruling develops. The judge has yet to issue a written ruling. Read the entire story.

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Mar
11

Men's Ministry at High Pointe

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I praise the Lord our God for the outpouring of His blessings at High Pointe. One of those blessings is Bob Perez, who is diligently working to place our ministries on the web. At our last men’s meeting, Bob introduced the men to our Men’s ministry site. I hope you will take some time and visit.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Juan
Acts 20:24

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