July 19, 2018

Dear Friends,

Which of the following has had a bigger impact on how you think about God, life, sin and holiness (Check one of the following)?

________________ The Bible
________________ The Culture

If you’re not sure how to answer that, here’s another question that may help you. Which of the following have you spent more time reading, responding to or thinking about this week (Check one of the following)?

________________ The Bible
________________ Social Media, blogs, Buzzfeed, etc.

What we meditate on shapes our thinking. That’s why if we want the mind of Christ, we have to renew our minds with God’s word.

Twenty-five years ago, Professor David Wells wrote a book called No Place for Truth. His thesis was ominous. Wells suggested back then that Evangelicalism as a religious force in American life was dead or in the process of dying because it had abandoned any serious commitment to truth.

Wells wasn’t suggesting that evangelicalism was fading off the cultural scene. What he was suggesting was that in spite of numerical growth, the salt was beginning to lose its savor.

The reason for what Dr. Wells saw as the declining impact of evangelicalism in his day was, he said, evangelicals losing faith the centrality and sufficiency of God’s word to accomplish His work in our world.

Not long after Dr. Wells wrote his book, he was asked what changes he had noticed in seminary students in recent years. He responded with four observations:

First, each entering class was more biblically illiterate than the last.

Second, each class seemed to be filled with more individuals who were swamped with their own personal problems and thus were thinking mostly about themselves rather than about their studies or how they might help others.

Third, they had a greater sense of their own personal rights or entitlements; they expected everything to be done for them.

And fourth, they were sold out to and mostly uncritical of the surrounding secular culture.

That was more than two decades ago. Where do you think we are today?

Friends, what is shaping your life? If you’re spiritual diet is snack size devotions with no substantial time in God’s word apart from a weekly Sundaysermon, I would expect your salt to start to lose its taste.

If you find yourself thinking that scripture has to be repackaged or understood in a new way in our day in order to be effective or relevant, I would expect that your thinking is being more shaped by what you’re reading on line than by what you’re reading in your quiet time.

On Sunday, I shared with you some of the theological errors being embraced by a huge number of professing evangelicals (“People are basically good,” “people of all faiths will be in heaven,” etc.). It seems Dr. Wells was prescient with what he predicted 25 years ago about where evangelicalism was headed.

I also shared with you how grateful I am that as a church, you are people who have a high regard for God’s word and are “full of knowledge,” just as the church at Rome was. I reminded you of the danger of pursuing knowledge for knowledge’s sake. “Knowledge puffeth up” Paul wrote to the Corinthians. Being full of knowledge can foster a spirit of pride, self-righteousness and judgmentalism. Be careful.

But there is a clear and present danger of not pursuing the knowledge that comes from being regularly in God’s word. It’s the danger of spiritual drift. It leads to being tossed to and fro by every cultural wind. And it drains the savor from your salt.

This week, make sure you spend some time renewing your mind. Keep your life anchored in the word of God which lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:23).

Today, we received the final bid from a local contractor outlining what it will cost us to build the building we want to build on our property on David O Dodd Road.

After a lot of work and a lot of adjustments (three cheers for Tom Arnold) we have a plan that we believe will give us a very functional, comfortable, useful home for years to come. A place where we can grow together. A place where we can invite others to join us on our journey. And a place from which we can reach out more effectively to our neighbors, our city and our world.

The elders will be meeting this week to go over the bid, maker adjustments, pray, and ultimately, to come to the members of the church with a recommendation on whether we proceed with the building or not.

If you are a member of our church, you should be receiving an email in the next few days with more details. We’ll be asking you to either affirm the elder’s recommendation. This Sunday, we’ll make ourselves available after church to answer any questions you might have about the project.

This is an exciting and significant next step for our church. Please be in prayer for us and for this decision. If you’re a church member, please keep checking your inbox for an email. And when you receive the email, please take just a minute to respond.

Next Wednesday morning, July 25 from 9:00 – 11:00 AM – it’s the final Summer Kids Fest for 2018. If you’d like to help out or if you have any questions, contact Jen Gurney at jengiles1@yahoo.com.

And there are two more Sundays for you to bring school supplies for David O Dodd Elementary School to church.

July is a five Sunday month. That means that on Sunday, July 29, we’ll have a Sunday evening prayer and praise service starting at 6:30 and ending by 8:00. We’ll sing together and have lots of time to pray together as well. We will pray for one another. We’ll pray for issues in our city and in our country – for our leaders, our freedoms, and struggles as a society. We will pray for our missionaries and for the Gospel to bear fruit all over the world.

Prayer meetings are often a low priority for church members. I hope that in our case, all who are in town and available will make this time a priority.

If you have prayer requests that you would like to have included in our time you can email Matt at mattgurney77@gmail.com.

As many of you know, our pool party was washed out this week. We’re hoping for a make up date. This time, it would be a big end of summer, back to school swim party on Tuesday night, August 21. Pizza again.

More details soon.

The Apostle Paul ended his letter to the Romans with shout outs to a number of people who were part of the church. But how did he know the names and stories of so many people who were in a church Paul had never visited before?

We’ll dig into Romans 16 this Sunday.

See you in church.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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