Highland Park Baptist Church
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On the Cusp of Something New

July 27th, 2013 | Posted by bvosler in Missions - (Comments Off on On the Cusp of Something New)

When I was younger, I loved snow skiing.  There was this gripping blend of the thrill of downhill speed and the tranquility of nature.  I can remember, as I was first learning to ski, pushing myself towards higher, faster, unexplored, unknown, more difficult terrain.   Standing at the top of my first black diamond run, my heart racing, I slowly inched towards the edge.  I stop sharply.  I wait a second more.  I take a deep breath, grab hold of my ski poles, and dive in.  That brief moment of anticipation, which simultaneously seems to last forever and no time at all, is so vivid.

All of those emotions, the excitement and trepidation, the unknown, the coming challenges, the new places to explore, are welling up in my soul these weeks.  In two weeks, I marry Sarah White, the most beautiful woman in the world, and we begin a new adventure together.  We not only know that God has called us together as husband and wife, but that he has called as husband and wife to go where he sends us to build the kingdom.  There are so few fitting words to describe how we feel.  We have so many questions!  Where will we go?  What will God call us to do?  When will he call us?  What will life be like there?  What are the people like?  What will be the fruit of our work?  Will we suffer for the cause of Christ?  What would it be like to raise a family there?  As we ruminate over all these things, seeking the Lord for wisdom, there are a number of verses that remind us of God’s role in our call.

First, I think of Proverbs 16:9, which says “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”  We have peace that we can make plans, all the while knowing that God himself will establish our steps.  Those steps may or may not be what we had planned, but we can rest in certainty that they are established and rooted by him.  Secondly, (and for me, even more exhilarating) is Ephesians 2:10.  Immediately after explaining that we are not saved by our works, Paul says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we may walk in them.”  Right now, Sarah and I are asking those questions I mentioned above.  I was reminded this week, however, that God has already prepared good works for us to do!  There is a job somewhere that God has prepared for us to do and He allows us to be involved in discovering what he has prepared for us.  We stand at the cusp a new, unexplored, and exciting chapter of life.  We await, with great anticipation, running the race that He has marked out for us.

Brad McCarthy

Missions

Dead to Alive

July 25th, 2013 | Posted by bvosler in Student Ministries - (Comments Off on Dead to Alive)

There is a good chance that you have heard a story or two about people who claim to have been to heaven and back. Television news and book publishers always seem to latch on to anyone who claims they have seen “the great white light” as they were pronounced dead and then miraculously brought back to life.

While I really don’t have much to say about the validity of these claims, I do know that it is an absolutely captivating story. Of course people flock to anyone with a story of what its like to be dead and then alive again! Its what the whole world is asking!

What’s amazing is that if you are a Christian, this is part of your story. You get to tell people about what its like to go from dead to alive. This happened to you.

The scripture that talks about this is overwhelmingly beautiful and powerful! So much so, that I am just going to get out of the way and let you read it for yourself and let the Spirit speak this truth to you. But before I do, can I challenge you to not just let this encourage you (although I hope it does), but also allow it to encourage those around you? Your testimony is one of the most captivating stories of all time. You went from dead to alive. That is a miracle.

Romans 6:1-6 ” What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”

Luke 15:24 (Parable of the prodigal son) “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.”

Ephesians 2:1-7 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience -among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Colossians 2:13-15 “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”

-Brantley Vosler

Stumin Worship Director

Following the Call

July 14th, 2013 | Posted by bvosler in Dave K - (Comments Off on Following the Call)
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The call to follow Christ is not an easy one. It requires sacrifice and often an abandonment of our own agenda.  To truly follow Jesus, we must fully submit ourselves to His plans & purposes, regardless of the outcome.  When we do that, we experience a joy and peace that is transforming… but also very difficult for a watching world to understand.

Chris Norman had an opportunity to pursue a career in the NFL.  As Co-Captain of the MSU Football team and after a successful college career, the next natural step would be the NFL.  During his college days, however, the Lord grabbed hold of Chris and his plans changed. Chris fully surrendered His life to Christ and began to seek the Lord’s guidance & direction. Chris came to the conclusion that God was calling him to ministry and today – he joins the staff at HPBC.  Chris will work in the youth ministry as a Student Connections Coordinator and will also be attending Moody Theological Seminary full-time.  He will work with students at HPBC, Southfield Christian, and Westside Christian Academy – where several people from HPBC serve.

It is a joy for us to welcome Chris to the HPBC staff and we are grateful for his commitment to follow Christ – regardless of the cost and regardless of what the world may think.

Dave Kuntzman

Missions & Business

Note: for read more about Chris’ decision…. see:

http://www.mlive.com/spartans/index.ssf/2013/05/former_michigan_state_lineback_1.html

http://www.mlive.com/spartans/index.ssf/2013/02/michigan_state_linebacker_chri.html

 

Rooted

July 13th, 2013 | Posted by bvosler in Brent - (Comments Off on Rooted)

She did it again!  My wife has a way of pulling me out of my routine and splashing my life with wonder and joy.  This past week, it happened along the pictured rocks of Lake Superior.  Inell arranged for us to kayak along these splendid colored cliffs.  She also managed to pick a perfect day, with temps in the upper seventies and a sky that was cloudless and blue.

Many images captured my attention as we skimmed along: crystal clear water, majestic cliffs, waves crashing, waterfalls pouring over the edge and plunging into the vastness of Superior.  But one picture stays with me.

It was a tree that had grown tall and green right along the edge of the cliff, over one hundred feet above the water.  If that tree could speak, I imagine it would have felt that it had chosen the best of all possible locations.  For years it had delighted in the sun filled skies, cool breezes, and the vast expanse of water before it.  There was only air on its north side, so it had full sun and no competition for space or light.  But what caught my attention was that it was hanging upside down on the cliff face, clinging to a bit of soil and rock with a single root or two.  We had just watched another tree tumble over the cliff and into the water a few hours earlier.  I wandered how long this one could hold on.

Sometimes we think we have it made.  Our fortunes, our lot, our hard work have landed us in the best of places.  Some of us feel envy, wondering why we are hidden back further in the forest, never noticed and never feeling we have the chance of seeing limitless space and opportunity before us.  Yet the Psalmist reminds us:

“See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!”  But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.  I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.” (Psalm 52:7-8, ESV)

I would rather grow in the house of God, with roots sunken deep into the solid foundation of His Word, than to experience the thrill of living on the edge on my own, only to fall into the destruction I have prepared for myself.  I thrill in His vastness.  He is enough.  Let me live in Him.

Brent Slater

Senior Pastor