Highland Park Baptist Church
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“I Will Give You Rest”

August 20th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Student Ministries - (2 Comments)

I turned on my television a few weeks ago to watch some of the Olympics.
When I turned it on the men’s water polo semi-final match was on. These men are
treading water and not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool, while trying to
throw a ball into a net. On top of those difficult obstacles, the players around are
constantly pushing one another underwater. As I sat there watching these men I
couldn’t help but think how fast I would die if I had to play in a match. I even fancy
myself to be a pretty good swimmer!
I can just imagine myself just barely keeping my lips out of the water so I
can catch a breath of air. Too often life feels the same way. We all reach those times
where the tread on our tires seems to be getting thin. Maybe our attention and
energy are being given to schoolwork, sports, or picking the kids up from those
things. Or those leaves always seem to end up in your yard no matter how many
times you rake them. Maybe work seems to really be putting a lot of pressure on
you right now, or maybe you’re just scraping by financially. And then in your “free
time” there is always something that needs to be cleaned or fixed. Those times are
overwhelming, and those nights are often restless. You feel like you are in a pool
gasping for air.
What you need is rest. Not a rest, where you will be thrown back in the pool
as soon as you gain your breath, but true rest. The type of deep, holistic rest that can
only be found in God. Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He says, “I will give you rest.” That is a
promise. Nothing sounds more relaxing than finding rest in the warm, loving arms
of God. And all we have to do is come to Him. We just need to spend time with Him,
in His presence.
Is there anything more peaceful and rejuvenating than sitting in the presence
of God? He promises to give us true, deep, fulfilling rest. Yet so often we try to
figure everything out on our own. We try to continue treading that water as long as
we possibly can. All the while, God is sitting on the edge of the pool with His hand
reaching down to pull us out to find true rest in his presence.
“Come to me… and I will give you rest.”

-Jeremy Einem

Fullness of Faith

August 15th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Dave - (Comments Off on Fullness of Faith)

Most of the Believers I have known throughout my life have confidently expressed their belief that God
has the power to do anything – even raise the dead. The power of God over death was definitively on
display at the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11) and convincingly so with the resurrection of Jesus.

And then, most also affirmed that they have faith in God’s promises to be secure in the fact that there
is eternal life after death, and that it has been promised that Believers will spend eternal life in Heaven
with God. By faith they acknowledge that this is made possible because of the sacrificial work of Christ
on the cross.

Is God all powerful – and can even raise the dead? Yes. There is convincing proof so we believe.

Has God promised eternal life for all who believe? Yes. We take Him by faith at His Word.

But faith in its fullness is also embracing the amazing power of God and affirming our belief in Him
during those times when His powerful presence and His work do not meet up with our expectations.
Fullness of faith believes even when His ways are perplexing, and after we have desperately asked Him
to “change things”. Fullness of faith trusts Him – no matter what. After all, we believe that Jesus is
alive; we affirm the promise of eternal life; so why do we falter or even hesitate when life does not go as
planned?

There are several in our church community these days who are living through some of the most difficult
experiences that life could ever offer; significant loss, life-threatening cancer, soured relationships,
family feuds, and seemingly impossible circumstances. We pray for them consistently.

Here is what is blows me away. Most of these faith-filled children of God are living out their faith in
all its fullness. They are trusting God – no matter what. Their level of trust has only deepened. The
Enemy that tries to infuse doubt, deception, and desperation is experiencing defeat. Faith is being
expressed in all its fullness.

I am reminded that Mary, Martha, and Jesus were all in tears over Lazarus death (John 11). Certainly
death and separation bring strong emotion – totally understandable and right. But this was more than
grief over physical loss. It was spiritual grief related to lack of full faith.

Mary and Martha thought Jesus should do it their way. They openly acknowledged that He had the
power. The resurrection, they believed, would take place – eventually. But what deeply troubled Jesus
was their obvious struggle with their disbelief that His ways and timing were as He planned, so that the
glory of God would be on display and that many would come to that place of fullness in belief.

To those who consistently stand strong in their faith in all its fullness, we say thank you for setting the
example for many others of us who want also to demonstrate that kind of enduring faithfulness. God is
being glorified as we see in you – the fullness of your faith.

-David Borror

Sacred Time

August 13th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Student Ministries - (3 Comments)

I find myself constantly evaluating and re-evaluating the way in which I spend
my time. Recognizing that every breath I am allowed to breathe is a gift from
above adds incredible weight and perspective to every moment I spend on this
earth. As a believer, I have been given the mission to make God known and to
declare His glory. This is where evaluation (and never ending struggle) comes
in. We all have so many things constantly fighting for our attention. And in an
age when everything is so accessible, it becomes even harder to focus in on
what is really important and how to spend our time wisely. Often times, it is a lot
easier to kick back and just watch some TV, surf Facebook, or check twitter and
instagram, then it is to call a friend in need, spend some intentional time studying
the Word and in prayer, serving others, or talking to your neighbor about Jesus.
Granted, sometimes we need that down time, and that’s probably okay. But are
we sacrificing a better way to use our time for selfish reasons? What does God
want to do through us that we are missing because we aren’t viewing our time
through a kingdom mindset?

God doesn’t give us two moments at the same time (which I am really thankful
for because that would get immediately overwhelming!). This allows us to take
each moment captive, and use our time intentionally for the mission God wants
to fulfill through each one of us. My prayer for the use of my time is the same
as David’s in Psalm 39:4-5, “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of
my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere
handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is
but a breath.” Our time is precious; it is sacred, and we may never fully grasp that
until we no longer have it. I don’t want to look back and regret moments (or large
spans of time) where I chose to be lazy, apathetic, selfish, or complacent. Those
are definitely not characteristics that the Bible speaks of fondly!

I once heard that as we make decisions about how we use our time, we
reflect the character of God (because we spend time on what is important to
Him). That’s a pretty big deal! God has moved from the beginning of time with
INCREDIBLE intentionality, and always moves with purpose, directing the course
of human history towards his ultimate goal. We are to do the same – and it’s
definitely easier said than done. May we remember how fleeting our time is. May
we be good stewards of the time that we have been given. May we evaluate the
use of our time through a kingdom mindset, and may we be intentional to take
each moment captive for the sake of Christ.

-Katie Williams

All Things New

August 6th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Student Ministries - (1 Comments)

Revelation 21:5

“And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold I make all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

This might not come as a huge shock to most of you, but HPBC is getting old. Soon we will turn 100! We have experienced highs and lows of every kind in the life of our church. It might be expected that with age comes sickness and aches and pains that we didn’t have when we were young.  It might be expected that we could get a little crabbier or a little less thankful.  It might even be expected that life could be coming to its end.

HPBC is also a place that has trusted in the Word of God and hoped for the coming of His kingdom. And we know that in His kingdom, expectations are blown away and things might even be a little bit backwards.  It is in His kingdom that the weak are made strong, suffering causes joy, and sometimes even a penny is the greatest offering. We could go on and on with the ways that God flips things upside down – in His kingdom.

I have had so many conversations in the past few months within the walls of our ”old building” about how God is making things new here. The truth is that He is always making things new as He draws us closer to Himself.  It’s what He does and it’s what He is doing now.

God is calling us to know Him, and to worship Him, and to serve Him. The amazing thing is that even as we turn 100 years old, there are people of every age at our church that are doing these things each day. We have seen international students come to know Him for the first time and be baptized. Every Sunday we see His Name being lifted high through beautiful music and the opening of Scripture. And we constantly see people being the hands and feet of Jesus. Whether it be middle school students raking our neighbors leaves or one of our missionaries translating the Bible, His purpose is being carried out.

Just a couple verses earlier in Revelation 21 God says this, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”

The only way that God will make things new is if He dwells with us. Our charge is still the same as 100 years ago. We are to love Him, love others and take His Name to the ends of the earth. As long as we continue to rely and trust in His faithfulness, we will be renewed each day.

-Brantley Vosler