Archive for January, 2011
We rejoice in the Lord in the opportunity to announce that after a two year preparation process, High Pointe planted its first English-speaking, multi-ethnic church in Elgin, Texas. Covenant Life Fellowship (CLF) in Elgin, Texas is under the leadership of Todd Terry (preaching pastor) and Floyd Vanderstoep (elder).
We brought Todd Terry on our staff two years ago to begin a church planting residency that culminated in the church’s first corporate gathering on January 16, 2011. This Sunday will mark their third public gathering together, though the group has been meeting in community groups in Elgin for about a year. This entire process has been like birthing a child (so, I’m told-I don’t have any direct experience in having a baby). By God’s grace, the Lord allowed us to send over 50 people from our fellowship to join in this kingdom-advancing, gospel-spreading effort.
Please join me in praying for CLF Elgin, and if you live in Elgin or the surrounding areas, be sure to visit with them.
As for why we have adopted a church planting strategy in general, and why Elgin in particular, watch Todd Terry explain our heart:
I am honored to have been asked to speak at this year’s Together for Adoption conference to be held in Phoenix, October 21-22 at Redemption Church. Also speaking at the conference will be Darrin Patrick, Tullian Tchividjian, and Bryan Loritts. Please be sure to check out the conference information, and join us if you are able.
I just reviewed John Dickson’s, The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission. You can check it out at Jonathan Dodson’s blog, Creation Project.
In spending some time working through thoughts on the Sabbath, in particular, and the Christian’s relation to the Mosaic Law, in general, I have found two resources particularly helpful.
On the Sabbath/Lord’s Day question:
From Sabbath to Lord’s Day, edited by D. A. Carson
This book is not for the faint of heart. The various authors work through all the biblical texts pertinent to the discussion, providing thorough exegesis, historical study and theological synthesis. It is a very helpful work for those willing to work through it.
On the Christian’s Relation to the Law:
40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law by Thomas R. Schreiner
This book is extremely accessible to all who have questions about the Law and how it applies to Christians. It is formatted helpfully, and Dr. Schreiner answers each question in 2 to 4 pages. I highly recommend this as an excellent starting point in your personal study.
The question of the Sabbath has been answered in various ways throughout church history. I have concluded that new covenant Christians are not required to keep the Sabbath, for we are no longer under the Law (Galatians 3-4); nevertheless, Christians are free place one day above the rest so long as we do not impose our convictions on others (Romans 14; Colossians 2:16-23). Last Sunday I sought to show from Scripture that the Sabbath played a specific role in the Mosaic covenant. It served to highlight God’s plan for mankind to participate in His Sabbath rest (Genesis 2:1-3). In other words, the point of Sabbath observance under the Law was to remind Israel that God has prepared a rest for His people.
Thus rooted in God’s seventh-day rest (Exodus 20:11), the Sabbath became a memorial for God’s deliverance of Israel FROM Egyptian slavery (Deuteronomy 5:15) and TO the promised land where God would give them rest from their enemies. Consequently, the land itself became equated with rest (Deuteronomy 12:8-11). In fact, even more specifically, Zion/Jerusalem came to be identified as the dwelling place of God (Psalm 132:7-8, 12), God’s resting place forever (Psalm 132:13). So, as God promised to bring Israel from slavery to the place of His rest, Sabbath observance served as the sign of God’s promise/covenant with Moses that God’s people would enter God’s rest (Exodus 31:12-18).
When that first generation was at the threshold of the promised land and refused to enter because of the bad report of ten spies (Numbers 13-14), the Bible states that because of their unbelief God swore in His wrath that that particular generation would not enter His rest (Psalm 95). After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the second generation entered the land but was unfaithful, so God did not give them rest. Instead they were repeatedly enslaved to the nations around them and their gods (Judges). Eventually, God gave them a faithful king who gave Israel rest from his enemies (1 & 2 Samuel). However, they too eventually rebelled against God’s word, so God removed them from the land/rest.
Though all hope seemed lost, God promised a new day in which He would rule His people with a new king who would lead His people to His rest under a new covenant (Isaiah 7, 9; Jeremiah 31; Ezekiel 36). The New Testament presents Christ as the second Adam and as faithful Israel who fulfills God’s promise of a new king who would inaugurate this new covenant. Unlike the first Adam and unlike faithless Israel who both failed to enter God’s Sabbath rest because of their sinful rebellion, Jesus is the faithful son who obeys God’s voice, keeping all the Law of the Mosaic covenant and receiving all the curses of Deuteronomy for those who transgress the Law (Galatians 3:10-14). Thus, by His own work of salvation, Jesus fulfills all the demands of Law, rescuing God’s people from the bondage of sin and death, as well as the bondage of the curse of the Law, in order to deliver God’s people to the place of God’s Sabbath rest. It is with this background in mind that Jesus invites all who are weary and heavy laden to come and rest in Him and the work He has done (Matthew 11:25-30); we come to Jesus by faith.
Thus, on the basis of Jesus’ superiority to Moses because of His person and work, the writer of Hebrews urges Christians to persevere in faith and not turn back like that first generation did (Hebrews 3:7-19). Not only did that generation fail to enter God’s rest, but now we see that even Joshua did not lead God’s people into God’s rest (Hebrews 4:8). For this reason, the Bible declares that “there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:9). God’s plan is to lead His people to the place of His Sabbath rest, Zion (Hebrews 12:18-24). We enter God’s rest by faith in Christ. See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking (Hebrews 12:25).
It is a new year, and with it come many new things. One of the first things you will notice this year at High Pointe is our new logo (see above). Hopefully, the first thing you notice is the cross, and for very good reason. We are a cross-centered church, meaning that our desire is to preach Jesus Christ crucified, not ourselves.
When you break it down, you will notice that the logo is really quite simple. The new logo is made up of four lines with arrows at each end. The arrows pointing inward make up the cross. You will also notice that as the line progresses toward the center, the cross, it grows slightly thicker. The reason for that is because, as I stated above, our main focus and priority is the cross, Jesus Christ crucified – that is our message. The line also has arrows pointing outward-that is because as we exalt Christ and make Him the focus of who we are, we also understand that the message of the cross must be taken out to the ends of the earth – that is our mission.
Finally, you will notice that the color of our new logo is green, the color that represents life. We have eternal life only through the crucified and resurrected Christ. We hope this logo communicates who we are and what we are about. We exist to see all peoples become whole-hearted followers of Jesus Christ by reaching unbelievers (with the gospel of the crucified Christ), gathering worshipers (into the body of Christ), and making disciples to the glory of God.