Highland Park Baptist Church
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Loving Forward

November 15th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Pat - (Comments Off on Loving Forward)

Heavenly Father,

Please use these words to edify. I pray that we, myself included, would be encouraged and motivated by Your Spirit to respond in a manner that glorifies You and points to Your Son.

In Christ’s matchless name,

Amen.

A few months back my wife and I purchased a couple of solar powered mason jar lanterns. The romance of having some cool looking lamps that shaved even a few small dollars off our utility bill was just too grand to ignore. When they arrived in the mail we immediately put them to use.

Of course for anything solar powered to work the way it’s meant to, it must be exposed to the sun…regularly. Oddly enough it became increasingly hard to keep them regularly charged. After a while I just wasn’t exposing them to the sun. The fact is I simply had a lack of intention. I would either forget or I would tell myself I would get to it later.

I feel sometimes we tend to do the same thing when it comes to loving people.

If we truly believe that through Jesus we are to be lights in this world, we need to acknowledge that we’re strategically placed beacons in a land of darkness. However I think we tend to limit this role to that of a stationary beacon, like a lighthouse, waiting for the lost or hurting to come into proximity. The risk here is a lack of awareness that can lead to a forgotten purpose. Without intention we begin to forget how to even recognize the need. We become dim and dull. But imagine if we unhinged ourselves from our “stations” and moved forward. What if we ditched the notion of being lighthouses and started thinking of ourselves as a search party? Christ’s love would overflow in a way that can only change lives.

Scripture defines love for us in 1 Corinthians 13 and gives us ways in which to love in Colossians 3:12-17. It even tells us why we should love in 1 John 4:7-21. As if that weren’t enough we’re told in Galatians 5:22 that one of the fruits of the Spirit is love. Needless to say we are more than equipped to love the people around us. So let’s just do it. Let’s share the gospel (the MOST loving thing we can do), and disciple younger believers. Let’s share the resources we’ve been given and serve the hurting and broken hearted. Let’s be rich in mercy and full of grace. Let’s be on the lookout for ways to point people to Jesus.

I know that we’re all at different stages, but regardless of who is currently loving more or less, lets all push forward; allowing the Spirit to compel us into action.

1 John 3:18 “…let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth”

1 John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us”

1 Corinthians 16:14 “Let all that you do be done in love”

 

Pat Nagle

Graphic Arts Director

 

A Disciple Growing Church

November 8th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Brent - (3 Comments)

We are committed to growing disciples at HPBC. Why? Well, Jesus ministry model was all about making disciples. I have often used Mark 3:14 as a pattern for ministry. “And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach.”

There were two primary aspects to Jesus’ discipling. First, he called his followers
to be with him. They must leave their homes, occupations, and dreams in order
to be in his presence. Disciple making requires relationships and commitment.
Relationships demand time and personal vulnerability. While they were with him,
they observed Jesus model compassion, preaching and teaching, care for the needy,
and personal sacrifice.

Secondly, he sent them out to preach. A disciple learns and then practices.
Discipleship is learning through teaching and modeling, and then practicing while
the teacher observes, corrects and encourages.

How much time do we spend in His presence? Are we putting into practice what He
teaches us, or are we just absorbing for ourselves?

Then we must ask ourselves, “Are we making disciples of Jesus?” Jesus commanded
us to to go and make disciples. (Mt 28:18-20) Who are we teaching? Are we
teaching them to obey all that Jesus has commanded us? If so, they will learn by
watching our example. Are we obeying Jesus ourselves? Are we growing? Are
we helping others to follow Jesus even as we follow Jesus? Can they watch us as a
model of what it means to obediently follow?

We are not a seeker church. We are a disciple making church. So are you a disciple?
Are you spending time with Jesus? Are you obeying everything He has commanded
us? Then, who are you discipling by building a transparent relationship that models
and teaches obedience to Christ in all things.

Growing disciples. It takes everything we are and have, given to Jesus, and poured
out for others.

-Brent Slater

 

A Cheap and False Gospel

November 6th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Student Ministries - (Comments Off on A Cheap and False Gospel)

1 Corinthians 1:18

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

1 Corinthians 1:27-28

“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”

Scripture is so often backwards and almost nonsensical at first glance. It’s so awesome though because these types of truths are so often the most freeing ones. And if fully understood, they can be the most life changing and action inspiring.

The truth in verse 18 that the cross is the power of God is the best example of this I can think of. The world does not even have categories for beginning to explain this. A cross? A piece of blood soaked wood that is a torture device designed to put to death the worlds worst people? Thats hardly the glamorous symbol that the world would expect to represent God’s love. At best the world would call this ironic. But that is not even the beginning.

The next part is ten times as crazy. Jesus, fully God and fully man, died on it after being betrayed and tortured alongside two criminals after living a perfect and sinless life.

As much as the purpose of this blog is to remind us of the Gospel message I want to focus on those of us that have heard this message all of our lives.

After a while, if we aren’t consistently coming back and remembering the absurdity and beauty of the cross it becomes cheaper and cheaper over time. The cross becomes a forgotten symbol of yet another world religion that is obsessed with morals, a happy and comfortable life, and making it to heaven. And if a cheap cross that costs next to nothing is the center of our life than Satan has us right where he wants us.

He is telling us a lie that if believed, takes away the very power of God in our life.

Don’t believe that lie! The cross in all its horror is meant to humble us to the point where we say back to God after hearing His great message of love to us, “Here, take my life, have everything you want and use me for your glory.” Let this be our prayer everyday!

I’ll end with a genius quote from David Platt (who partly inspired much of this blog) that I believe sums up this backwards message of the Gospel that we should be proclaiming to the ends of the earth.

“Tell them that following Christ costs them everything they have got. And then tell them that He is worth it.”

Brantley Vosler

Student Ministries Worship Director