Highland Park Baptist Church
Header

The Next Chapter

October 30th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Dave K - (1 Comments)

In 1957, HPBC bought a piece of property on Lahser Rd for $100,000 with the vision to establish a strong evangelical presence in the northwest Detroit metro area. In 1960, the first service of the Southfield Chapel was held at Birney Middle School in and in 1963 the first building on our current location was dedicated.  Through the years, additional property was purchased, more buildings were erected and Southfield Christian School was formed.  The buildings are simply a means, however, to allow for ministry. They help us to as we seek to fulfill our vision of being “…..growing disciples of Jesus Christ committed to worshipping God and transforming our world.”

As we have now been at this location for almost 50 years, our Elders have affirmed that we intend to stay and continue to reach out locally and across the globe – right here from Southfield, MI. With that in mind, we have begun to explore capital improvements to our buildings that we believe will help us.

We recently held informational meetings to review this upcoming potential project and we have also created a document that describes the details. You can find that document as well as a video from the informational meetings at our website or by clicking on the picture below.

Below is a conceptual drawing of what the traditional service might look like in the future:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we move forward in this process, we’d love to hear from you.  We will soon be making surveys available to the entire church family and we’d encourage you to complete one in the coming weeks.  We are excited about this possible “next chapter” in the life of HPBC and we are praying that we will only bring glory to Christ in all that we do!

 

Dave Kuntzman

Missions and Business Administration

 

Please… Get Out Of My Face

October 29th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Dave - (1 Comments)

Anyone else getting a bit weary of the public accusations and character assassinations going on these days?  It is not just among politicians, even though they could certainly be more helpful in setting an example for a more productive attitude in dealing with conflict. Healthy disagreement and communicating differences of opinion so quickly become heated, and opposing viewpoints often lead to division between even the nicest of people.

It’s even worse when you have strong Biblical values, definitive convictions on moral issues, and proclaim the Gospel as the truth.  We might as well prepare for a struggle.  Although not the exact struggles the early Believers faced as the Gospel message multiplied and was changing the world, but it does seem easier to relate to the ridicule, accusations, alienation, and genuine anticipation of heaven that many of those early Believers experienced.

The driving passion of Paul in his anti-Christian culture can be ours as well.  It was simply this – live to please Jesus, no matter what.  Because, in the long run of life, nothing else really matters.  If the singular goal of our life is to please the Lord, then we’ll take ourselves less seriously, and align our lives to Him more intentionally.  We will do our best to persuade men of their need for a Savior.  We will be compelled to obey because of his unconditional, sacrificial love for us.  We will live with a clear conscience before God.  We will see others for who they really are – loved by God, and this will affect our attitudes and actions toward them.  We will never quite get over the reality that because of Christ we are the righteousness of God.

I have been reading, studying, teaching II Corinthians lately with the men of Tuesday morning.  Paul’s reality was one of being abused and maligned and slandered all the time for his faith in Jesus.  He confidently defended himself and his ministry and never wavered from the truth of the gospel.  Nothing mattered more to him than pleasing Jesus with his life.  His suffering became for him a kind of affirmation that he was on the right track of his calling in life.  He welcomed the opportunity to identify in some way with the suffering of Jesus.

Others will disagree with us –and even get in our face.  Some will consider us ill informed.  They will say we are out of touch, and may even try to pick a verbal fight with us.   The more we speak up, the more they are likely to be opposed.   Stand firm, even when things get heated.  Be gracious, even when not reciprocated.  Please Jesus no matter what – it really is all that matters.  Just ask Paul.

You will find the fullness of his perspective in II Corinthians chapter 5.

 

David Borror

Ministry Administration

Suffering for Righteousness Sake

October 23rd, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Missions - (Comments Off on Suffering for Righteousness Sake)

The book of I Peter is directed at first century believers scattered throughout modern day Turkey. These people are among the first generation of believers who never saw Jesus and yet still believe. They are also facing widespread persecution. It is in light of this persecution that Peter writes this letter. He gives specific directions to the believers as to how they are to interact with each other in 3:8-12 (the passage of study for which I am preparing):

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:8-12 ESV)

The Psalm in this passage is an excerpt from Psalm 34. The context of this Psalm is also important to note, as it was during a time of great danger in David’s life, having just escaped from King Abimelech.

However, it is not the persecution on which I would like to focus, but our call in persecution. Peter here addresses the state of our heart and our mind. This is important because persecution and pain affect both our thinking and our feelings. As someone who has experienced significant amounts of physical pain, I can understand this. The natural response in pain is “There’s something wrong.” While this is true at times, when that pain is a result of persecution, the opposite is true. While the goal of those who persecute is to silence and destroy the church it in fact does the opposite. It proves true the words of Jesus (Matt 10:22, John 15:18-25). I believe that it is in light of this reversal of logic that our minds are to be unified and humble. We must be unified in mind with Jesus and with each other. When we set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2), we are not concerned with earthly logic. This unifies us together AS we are unified to Christ. As we humble ourselves, having a correct view of ourselves as lower than God, we will not be persecuted for our sake but because we are like Jesus.

The pain also affects our hearts; our emotions and feelings. Every follower of Jesus that faces pain is someones son or daughter. Many are fathers and mothers. Brothers and sisters. Leaders. Teachers. The people we love. Our hearts are to be sympathetic, tender, loving as brothers to these people. This comes as a result of setting our minds on the things above. When I understand the reason behind someone’s pain, it keeps me from minimizing it. This
minimization, this brushing aside, is one of the most hurtful things to do to a brother in pain.

When I reached this part of my study and preparation, part of me wanted to stop because I know that these words (unified, humble, sympathetic, loving, tender) are not the words that best describe my attitude towards my persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. Do you sense that hesitation to stop reading? That if we keep going, we will find pain? This is in fact what we will find. If we stop here, however, we hold ourselves back from obedience to God. As a church, we have been created in a community. To clarify, when I say “as a church”, I mean
as the body of Jesus across the whole earth. Not just the “American churches” or the “protestant churches” or the “underground churches” or the “good churches” but every single person on this planet that is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the community in which we have been created.

The reality of this church is pain. Let me share with you some recent headlines I received in the news:

Syria’s Christians Drawn Into Conflict
Christian Boy Tortured and Killed in Pakistan
Jailed Iranian Pastor Facing Death, Denied Medical Care
Muslim Rioters Attack Five Churches, Kill Two in Kenya
Ugandan Pastor Speaks Up After Acid Attack By Muslim Radicals

And the list goes on. These are not “Syrian churches” or “Iranian churches” or “African churches”. This is THE church. We live in a time where we can no longer claim ignorance to what is happening to the church around the world. These are our brothers and sisters. The elders and pastors of our church. Fellow ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As I read these stories, I feel for these people. I can feel growing inside of me that brotherly love and that sense of unification with them. Yet even in this, there is a resistance. “They’re so far away, I could never do anything to  help them. They’ll never know that I didn’t do anything.  Really, though, what can I do?  I’ve never met them and probably never will, so why does it matter?”  The answer to “What can I do?” begins simply with 1 Peter 3.

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” (I Peter 3:8, ESV)

As we pursue these things with our local community, we must pursue them with the church as a whole. What does this look like in practicality? Although that is largely up to how the Holy Spirit directs your heart as you step forward in obedience, I think it begins with prayer. The power of God working through the prayers of his people reaches across oceans, into the thickest cell walls, and breaks the hardest hearts.

You are now faced with a choice. Do we carry on, pretending we never knew? Or do we step forward, not knowing what we may face? I believe the persecution of our church is that which we can no longer ignore.

Brad McCarthy

Missions Associate

_____________________________________

For more information, here are some ways you can keep informed about the church around the world as well as make a difference in the lives of our brothers and sisters.

International Christian Concern – www.persecution.org

Christian Freedom International (based in northern Michigan) – www.christianfreedom.org

Release International – www.releaseinternational.org

Favoritism Dishonors God…. Seriously

October 22nd, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Derrick - (1 Comments)

I wonder why it is we choose to show favoritism to some? In my study time this
past week I stumbled upon the realization (something that I kind of knew) that favoritism
really upsets God. I was reading James 2:1-13 and was blasted with a new understanding
that this is a really BIG deal. Don’t believe me? Go take a read…
After studying this passage something else came to me. Treating people
differently based on our preferences dishonors God and it is also selfish. Ask yourself
these questions:
– Why do we look down on people who have less than we do?
– Why do we focus on the flaws of those around us?
– Why do we gossip about people who are having troubles?
– Why do we highlight negative things about each other?
– Why do we sometimes cut, and bite, and tear at each other?

The overwhelming answer…….. to exalt ourselves. An easy way to look tall is to
squash everyone around you. Think about the conversations you had this week. Did you
spend more time exalting God or exalting yourself? God is not exalted by words that
despise, words that oppress, words that exalt you. God is exalted as we honor all of our
brothers and sisters equally for who they are in Christ.

So this IS a really big deal when we show preference to people. When we choose to not
talk to Believers in the Body of Christ. We must understand that without God’s gift of
salvation, we are every bit as offensive in God’s eyes as anyone else. As the person(s)
who sits across the aisle from you that you chose not to speak too, or as the people who
sit in front of you but dress differently than you, worship differently than you, and look
differently than you.

James calls us, in light of God’s mercy shown to us, to show NO partiality and honor
them. I don’t know about you but I am amazed at how Christ continues to make new
those who belong to Him. In light of Calvary and the very Words of Scripture let’s be
completely united in Spirit and purpose as we magnify the name of Jesus together and
show honor for one another.

Derrick Jackson
Music & Worship

The Best

October 8th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Brent - (2 Comments)

Since returning from Uganda, many people have asked me, “What was the best part of the trip?”  It was a wonderful trip and I could share so many blessings; like watching my boys reconnect with the place where they grew up.  Or, seeing our team work with a servant spirit alongside our Ugandan brethren.  Or, seeing the majesty of wild elephants and the creative genius of God in zebra.

But, by far the greatest thrill, was watching people put their faith in Jesus!  The first Sunday I was in Uganda, I preached at a service where hundreds of people gathered under tarpaulins and the shade of trees to celebrate the spread of the Gospel in Uganda over the past 50 years.  After reminding the crowd of the simple unchanging truth of the gospel, I challenged the believers present to recommit themselves to shine the light of Jesus in the days and years to come.  Then the Spirit of God began to move as only He can and 11 people came forward to put their faith in Christ for the very first time.  The first to walk forward was an elderly woman.  As I watched her make her way to the front, publically declaring that she was putting her faith in Jesus, my heart began to quiver.  Still today, God is calling people to Himself, even those we may consider wizened and calloused with age, whose hearts are softened and whose knees bend at the name of Jesus.

The next week we were able to care for 1897 patients in the capital city of Kampala, as Kampala Baptist Church morphed itself into a five day free clinic for the community.  During that week, 43 individuals trusted Christ.  But the moment above all others was when another elderly lady, probably in her eighties, stepped out of one of the counseling rooms and, with her arms reaching to the sky declared, “I have just been saved!”

And it isn’t just in Uganda that people are trusting in Jesus.  One of the first stories I heard upon my return to HPBC was of someone that one of our ministry team here had just led to Christ.  The Father is at work drawing people across the globe to the Son.  There is nothing in all of life as satisfying and fulfilling as introducing someone to Jesus.  I hope that you are sharing the story of Jesus with those you meet each day.  Let’s be bold.  People need to hear.  People want to hear.  And the Spirit is regenerating many as they put their faith in Jesus!  Don’t miss out!  It’s the best part of life.

-Brent