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Oasis: Refreshing the spirit

February 29th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Brent - (20,697 Comments)

Most of our lives are too busy already. We work hard every day and then run from one event to another. Many of us are desperately busy and when we do find a few moments to relax, we just don’t feel very refreshed. The TV may temporarily numb us, or the restaurant may fill us, but very few places or activities honestly refresh us. We need an oasis; a place where the inner soul in refreshed.

It was about 1992 when I first learned where my Oasis was. I was a missionary in Uganda and loved the ministry, but was constantly away from home and with people. I started taking one morning every other week to be alone with the Lord. I would read scripture, and maybe a book, and then just talk to Jesus. I worshiped Him as I looked at the starkly beautiful Rwenzori Mountains where we lived. I thought about His amazing qualities and praised Him. I remembered His goodness towards my family and thanked Him. I poured out my dreams before Him and found Him giving me His own dreams in exchange. Those mornings were my Oasis. It wasn’t just the change of pace, or the books I read. It was the time alone in His presence that refreshed me. I walked away from each of those mornings with a renewed and invigorated joy and purpose.

I still maintain personal extended prayer times. I find them invaluable. But I’ve learned as well the spiritual Oasis that comes when brothers and sisters pray together. This community Oasis is so powerful that I find it is almost as if I’ve been on a quick recharge cycle. Each Wednesday evening, at 7:00pm, we have an Oasis here at HPBC. We spend 90 minutes in prayer together, in the North Atrium. Interspersed with songs, our prayers are focused around a different passage of scripture each week. The richness of this hour renews my strength every time. From young adults to mature saints, we bow together before our Father. The time flies by, but the refreshment endures.

Do you need an Oasis? More than a break and more than relaxing, do you long for deep spiritual refreshment? I would challenge you give Oasis on Wednesday night a try.

-Brent Slater

Defining Moments

February 9th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Jimmy - (Comments Off on Defining Moments)

There are moments in every believer’s life when we must step towards the
unknown or unfamiliar in order to carry out obedience to God. During these times
its customary and even biblical for us to lean upon the Lord with much prayer and
supplication (Isaiah 26:3-4, Phil.4:6-7). However for many of us, once the end is in
sight and our deliverance is apparent, we often fail to take the time to personally
reflect and learn from those defining moments.

Personally, for my wife (Amber) and I, it was just about eight months ago, we
encountered one of our own defining moments. Our move to Metro Detroit and
decision to answer the ministerial call at HPBC continues to serve as a personal
vehicle for spiritual growth. Everyday we understand our relocation was less about
the time we changed the physical place we call home, and more and more about the
opportunity God gave us to experience His faithfulness on a new level.

Many young adults are facing similar decisions in their own lives. For some it may
be where to attend college or what to study. For others it may be pulling the trigger
on a career move or even whether deciding it’s time to tie the knot or start a family.
Whatever it may be, defining moments are waiting at our doorstep. The key is to
understand how God will use those for our spiritual growth.

As many of you know, the Old Testament is loaded with individuals who faced their
own defining moments with God. Studying these accounts teaches us how He used
people just like you and me to play important roles in His rescue mission to save
all people through His Son Jesus Christ. Therefore, the Young Adult Ministry has
recently embarked on a yearlong journey at the beginning of 2012 to study through
the entire Old Testament and exploring these accounts together.

If you’re a college student, young professional or young married couple, I personally
invite you to join us as we learn more about these Divine encounters in the Old
Testament and how to apply them to our own defining moments with God. We meet
every Sunday morning at 10:15 in the Student Center.

-Jimmy Smith, Young Adults Ministry

Tradition

February 6th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Dave K - (16,520 Comments)

My times with the Lord recently have led me to contemplate the traditions we have. Some of us loathe tradition and are constantly looking to break-out and experience God in new & fresh ways. Others of us are drawn to reflect upon the character of God more intimately through the same traditions that some despise. Are traditions right or wrong? When should we hold on to them and when should we let them go? As I was reading one morning, I found D.A. Carson’s thoughts to be helpful in this area.  Dr. Carson points out that the word tradition or traditions can be used in either a positive or negative way:

“The word tradition simply refers to what is handed on. If what is handed on is apostolic teaching, then traditions are a very good thing (e.g., 1 Cor. 11:2); if what is handed on conflicts with what God says, then traditions are unhelpful and dangerous (See Mark 7: 1-13).

{In today’s world we often}make distinctions on the basis of the social effect of traditions, not on the basis of whether or not they are true. But in the New Testament, traditions are praised or criticized not on the basis of their social function but in the light of their conformity to or departure from the Word of God.  In Mark 7:1-13, the traditions that Jesus condemns are those that allow people to sidestep what the Scripture clearly says.

Dr. Carson further points out that we:

“sometimes embrace traditions that effectively domesticate the Word of God. These may be traditional interpretations of Scripture, or traditional ecclesiastical practices, or traditional forms of conduct that are “allowed” in our circles but that are a long way from holy Scripture. In every case, fidelity to Christ mandates reformation by the Word of God.

My prayer for the family of HPBC is that we will be in the Word daily and that we will allow ourselves to be reformed by the truth of Scripture.  Let’s hand on to the next generation those traditions & practices that are solely based upon God’s Word.

David Kuntzman – Business Administrator

On Purpose & With Passion

February 2nd, 2012 | Posted by admin in Dave - (21,828 Comments)

It was recently recommended that I read a pamphlet written by Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, applicable principles directed toward those who lead in the “social sector”.   I was struck in particular by one of the key people-resource values.  Focus on getting the right people . . . who are productively neurotic, those who are self motivated and self disciplined, who wake up everyday compulsively driven to the best they can because it is simply a part of their DNA.  Lack of resources is not an excuse for lack of rigor. I guess we all wish we had things a little bit better.

This principle from his laboratory of the business world prompted me to acknowledge once again that the choicest servants of God that I know of are those who do life with passion and purpose from the inside out – motivated and disciplined because it is a part of who they are as servants of the King.

What is particularly notable is that I have the privilege of observing and experiencing this with others who live with this kind of compulsion every day.  Rarely does a day go by that I am not in awe of the men and women, young people to senior citizens, who show up as volunteers or paid staff, on both Sundays and/or weekdays, and do with energy and passion what it is that God has called and gifted them to do in His kingdom ministry.  And they do it, fully resourced or not.  It is obvious to me that the motivation and discipline they have comes from a passion to work for, and to put on display, the glory of God.  I can’t help but believe that same passion to do their best for Christ sake, is the same heartbeat they have in the workplace and in the home.

So I’m thinking –  what would happen among those that we are called to impact for Christ, if each day out of the intensity of our love for Christ, we acknowledged His passion for people, and get engaged with a compulsive  and energetic desire to glorify Him in whatever we do – in word or deed  (cf.  II Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 6:7; I Corinthians 10:31 Romans 12:1, 2).

It seems that as a new creation in Christ with a transformed DNA, having this kind of purpose and passion would be normative for Believers.

-Dave Borror, Ministry Administration