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Book Spotlight: November 2019

The weather’s cold now. Darkness falls before dinner. No one’s too happy about that, but it does leave more time in the evenings to settle in with a good book. Here are recommendations from some of our church leaders. All of these books are available in The Scroll Resource Center.

 

The Spirit-Filled Life

Beloved pastor and author Charles F. Stanley turns his attention to the power, joy and meaning brought by the Holy Spirit. He also answers tough questions: who the Spirit is (and isn’t), how being filled with the Spirit works, and what the Bible teaches about spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues.

From Chapter One: “For too many believers the Christian life boils down to simply doing the best they can. There is no power or distinction that sets them apart from the way everyone else in the world exists. The good they do can be attributed to their own discipline, determination, and devotion to God, rather than His activity in their lives. … The real tragedy is that we have lost our ability to function in our society the way God originally intended.”Stanley then unpacks what the Spirit-filled life looks like, how to have it … and why so many Christians don’t.

This book is recommended as a complement to our current sermon series on the book of Acts.

Pastor Luke Uran says:

“This is the book that the Executive Elder Board is currently reading and discussing. This book was recommended to me by our church chairman, Paul Geddes. I appreciate the way in which Charles Stanley honestly and biblically assesses the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church.”

Aaron Biby (one of our elders) says:

The Spirit-Filled Life is an easy read, but a challenge to process. Identifying the Holy Spirit as the person through which we are able to bear the fruit of the Spirit is a life-altering idea that can take some time to wrap your head around. The freedom comes in discovering that no matter how hard we try, we cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit out of our own strength. Rather, if we focus on nurturing our relationship with God, the Holy Spirit can and will begin to produce that fruit in us naturally.”

 

Acts 1-12 For You; Acts 13-28 For You

By R. Albert Mohler. Part of the God’s Word For You series, these guides are intended to help regular people, as the introduction states: to read, to feed and to lead. If you want to go deeper into Acts and apply the book’s truth to your life, or if you’re leading a Life Group, these books are a great resource. And you don’t need a theology degree to keep up.

Pastor Luke Uran says:

 “I found these easy-to-read commentaries as I was preparing to preach through the series in Acts. I appreciate the way that these commentaries help the reader delve deeper into the passages and make some of the understanding and application a little bit more practical in nature.”

 

Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church

Keith and Kristyn Getty  are noted hymn writers, worship leaders and they host the annual Getty Worship Conference, which several of our church staff members attended this past summer in Nashville. From the book description, here are their five key goals for readers:

  • To discover why we sing and the overwhelming joy and holy privilege that comes with singing;
  • To consider how singing impacts our hearts and minds and all of our lives;
  • To cultivate a culture of family singing in our daily home life;
  • To equip our churches for wholeheartedly singing to the Lord and one another as an expression of unity; and
  • To inspire us to see congregational singing as a radical witness to the world.

Renee Cooper, Director of Classic Worship, says:

“First of all – throughout the Bible we are commanded to sing. This book is about the importance of the congregation singing, based on Biblical principles. Worship is not a passive, spectator sport. It requires active participation. That means everyone – not just the leaders on the platform.

As a worship leader, I want to do just that: lead in worship. When we come together as God’s children, and we lift our voices in praise and worship of him, there is not a sweeter sound that can be heard! I want to hear the congregation singing!

Often we will leave a service humming one of the songs we have sung that morning. That music stays with us. So, we need to be careful to choose songs that are theologically sound. Those songs help us to remember what we believe, and to learn more about Who we are worshipping.”

 

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

From the book description: Peter Scazzero learned the hard way: You can’t be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature. Even though he was pastor of a growing church, he did what most people do:

  • Avoid conflict in the name of Christianity
  • Ignore his anger, sadness, and fear
  • Use God to run from God
  • Live without boundaries

Eventually God awakened him to a biblical integration of emotional health, a relationship with Jesus, and the classic practices of contemplative spirituality. It created nothing short of a spiritual revolution, utterly transforming him and his church.

Pastor Josh Pardee says:

“In Christ we are new creations, freed captives, but the author explains that our history stays with us and impacts us unless we learn about it and learn to operate from a place of biblical awareness, in love with God and with compassion toward ourselves. This allows us to be real with our sin and actually deal with it as opposed to sweeping it under the rug.”

 

The Best Gift Ever Given

By Ronnie Martin, illustrated by Nathan Schroeder. This is a great Christmastime devotional guide for families: “A 25-day journey through Advent, from God’s good gifts to God’s great Son.” These are short, family devotionals for Dec. 1-25, and are aimed at families with kids from kindergarten to about grade four. Each day’s entry begins with a Scripture, then a short piece about the day’s topic, one or two discussion questions and a prayer.

Pastor Luke Uran says:

“We bought this book for our daughter for Advent and we are looking forward to going through it together as a family. I appreciate the way Ronnie Martin brings forth the message of Jesus on every page in a way that is understandable for young readers and listeners, and the book’s great illustrations back it up.”

 

Let’s Go Out: Week 2

 

letsgoout

Element High School Ministry is in a series called “Let’s Go Out.” We looked at the topic of love the first week, and this past week, we looked at the topic of sex. We looked at 4 questions and compared culture’s answer to God’s.

What is Sex?
1. Culture says that sex is just PHYSICAL.

God says that sex is becoming ONE.

Here we looked at Genesis 2:21-25 and the beauty of marriage. In this passage, the key theme is “Unity.” Not only was Eve created with Adam’s rib, but they “became one flesh” through sex. Sex is not just a physical act or entertainment. It is bringing two people together to become one. Thus, God created sex to be in marriage and to reveal commitment to one another.

2. What’s at Stake?
Culture says that sex is just for FUN.
God says that sex affects YOU and your future SPOUSE.

Culture says sex is just fun and has no consequences. But God shows us in 1 Corinthians 6:18 that any type of sexual sin damages ourselves. When we sin sexually, we are sinning against God, our future spouse, and ourselves. A little decision can have big effects

3.What do I do now?
Students are years away from marriage and thus years away from God’s design for sex in marriage. So what do they do now? We gave them 3 action steps.

RUN AWAY from all that encourages sex.
PRAY for yourself and your future relationships
-Determine what STORY I want to tell.
This last action step came from Andy Stanley. Here is an excerpt of his thoughts:
one day you will have to share your past with your future spouse and you can share 1 of the following 3 stories with them.

  1. When I was a teenager I messed up sexually. I got carried away with someone I was dating. I figured that since I did it once, it didn’t matter if I did it again. So I slept with several people along the way to meeting you.
  2. When I was a teenager I messed up sexually. But when I was in high school, I learned what God’s design was for sex and purity. So I committed to following those standards and have stuck with them. I saved myself from high school on for you.
  3. When I was a teenager I realized that God knows more about sex than anyone. Since he created sex for marriage, I decided to wait. I have saved myself for you. Determine what story you will tell your future spouse. And commit to it.

4. What if I mess up?

God is full of GRACE and His PEOPLE are too.

Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that as sin reigned in death, grace might also reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:20

 Grace abounds when shame and mistakes and sin rise. Thankfully, no matter where we mess up, we have a God who forgives.

 

Let’s Go Out: Week 1

We started a new series last night in Element called Let’s Go Out. In this series we are going to talk about what God’s Word says about love, sex, and dating. Over the next three weeks, I want to summarize each lesson here on this blog.

This past Wednesday, we looked at the topic of love. If we don’t get love right, we definitely won’t get dating and sex right. So we want to lay the foundation of what love looks like. And love defined in Scripture will impact not just our dating relationships, but all of our social interactions. So we first defined what love is and then we spent the last half of our time talking about how our culture has twisted God’s definition of love. So here are our points from last night:

What Love Should Be…

Love is DISPLAYING and IMITATING God to others.

If we want to truly love someone, we will treat them as God has treated us. We know that God is love (1 John 4:8) but we also have been given a description of true love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says this:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 True love is acting like that description. If you truly love your friend or sibling or boyfriend, you will act like 1 Corinthians 13. And each one of those characteristics is a description of how God has acted towards you. Love in its essence is acting godly.

What Love is Today…

  1. Love is something to excite us TEMPORARILY rather than something to COMMIT to.

Our culture has made “love” out to be something that is just a “fling.” But this is the opposite of a love that always perseveres.

  1. Love is something to GET rather than something to GIVE.

Love in our culture is all about me. It is all about what I can get from this relationship. But this is opposite of a love that is not self-seeking.

  1. Love is something to make us FEEL GOOD rather than something to PROTECT.

Love in our culture is all about crossing physical boundaries and feelings. But this is the opposite of a love that is honoring and a love that rejoices in truth.

If we have a right view of love, we will have the right views of relationships. Love is about showing the other person(s) who God is. So this changes everything when it comes to dating and romance.  Next Wednesday we will cover the topic of sex.
Troy Solava
Director of Student Ministries

Did You Hear That?

In our High School Ministry, Element, we just finished a 4 week teaching series called Did You Hear That? Each week, we would look at one saying of Jesus that is really hard for us to believe and follow. Jesus is not an easy person to follow or believe in. He says some very radical and confusing things. At times we can forget that there is a true cost to following Jesus. We had the opportunity to encourage our students to value obedience over comfort. Here is a little summary of each week:

Week 1: Matthew 7:21-23
 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven…”
In this passage, Jesus reminds us that just because we know the right things to believe about Jesus does not mean we truly know him as Lord and Savior. Our church attendance and our good deeds do not earn us salvation. But those who do enter the kingdom of heaven are those whose lives are full of confession and dependence upon Jesus. The ones who inherit heaven are those who know that they cant get there without the work of Jesus.

Week 2: John 9:1-7
“Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
This story in John 9 is a wonderful story of Jesus healing a blind man. But if we look in more detail at this story, we will come across a difficult truth. In verse 3, Jesus says that this man was born blind so that “God might be displayed in him.” This man suffered for years for the sole purpose of God being glorified in Him. So we had the opportunity to talk about how our own suffering can lead to glorifying God. And one truth that we focused on was this: In times of suffering, don’t focus on the “Why” but focus on the “Who.” In times of difficulty, look to God who can be displayed in you.

Week 3: Matthew 5:29-30
If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.
This statement of Jesus is difficult because sin is so attractive to us. Sin promises us happiness and excitement and fulfillment. But as we discussed, sin actually separates us from God. In this talk, we focused on the practicality of how to “gouge” sin out of our lives. We may need to take radical steps to avoid our sin. We may need to find new friends, give up our phones, or even change schools. If we desire obedience to God above all else, we will do whatever it takes to reject sin.

Week 4: Matthew 5:10
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Sharing the gospel with our friends is hard enough. But now Jesus says that when we share the Gospel, we may be persecuted. If we desire to share the good news of Jesus, we will suffer. We know this because of Jesus Christ and his suffering. He paid the penalty for our sins and suffered upon the cross. When we accept that gift, we then have the opportunity to share it with others. It may bring suffering, but it also brings blessing. We have the privilege to follow Christ in this way.

This was a difficult series but it was a necessary one. I am so excited to see our students continue to follow Jesus, no matter the cost.

Troy Solava
Director of Student Ministries.