Highland Park Baptist Church

The Value of Spiritual Disciplines

June 12th, 2013 | Posted by bvosler in Jimmy - (Comments Off on The Value of Spiritual Disciplines)

Many would agree the topic of discipline is never hugely popular in any area of discussion. However, the loathing of discipline often reaches an entirely new level when it comes to spiritual matters. I believe we often react this way because of our tendency to quickly marry spiritual discipline and legalism. And while there’s no question destructive results do occur when spiritual discipline is motivated by legalism, we should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Why? Because many times we use the excuse of legalism to avoid the practice of any discipline at all, when in reality we’re just too lazy. Instead, we ignore the opportunity for growth that such discipline creates, because to quote Thomas Edison, “opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

However, we must remember the exercise of spiritual disciplines is never to earn greater favor with God. Children of God already receive such favor and grace from God’s unmerited love in Christ.  But, what the practice of discipline does provide is a method to respond to the calling on our lives to walk in His ways and pursue a life worthy of our calling. Therefore, spiritual disciplines alone should never be the goal, but instead should assist us in striving towards the goal of Christlikeness and glorifying God. In fact, the more disciplined we become, the greater our awareness should be of our own sinfulness, thus magnifying our great need for Christ.

Jimmy Smith

Young Adults

The Enjoyment of Creation

May 30th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Jimmy - (Comments Off on The Enjoyment of Creation)

I believe it’s safe to assume many of us can eventually feel programed by the routine
of everyday life. For example, when traveling to and from regular destinations,
we’re often devoted to a standard route, and outside slight deviations to avoid
traffic, it’s as if an autopilot mechanism is launched at the start of our commute.
There are also those days in which we consider all of life’s happenings during our
voyage, until lo and behold a half an hour jaunt only felt like a matter of minutes.

While having days such as these aren’t wrong, If we’re not careful too many of
these moments will lead to missing out on observing God’s continual presence in
the wonderful creation that surrounds us. For example, we may miss the gradual
opening of flowers, or may not consider the patience of God and the beauty of our Creator’s
designs. If we’re careful we might just observe the setting sun, which prompts us to
unload our burdens and transgressions to a provident and forgiving God.

It’s so easy for us to unintentionally wear blinders and miss the powerfully dynamic
works of God in the creation among us. In fact, observing and enjoying God’s work
of creation is an important element for understanding our relationship with Him.
David understood his place in the universe after reflecting on Creation: “When I
consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you
have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you
care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him
with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:3-5).

Our relationship with God truly benefits when we take time to study His general
revelation. At the end of June, many involved with our Young Adult Ministry will be
retreating from the hubbub of everyday life to intentionally enjoy the magnificent
creation of God. We will be heading north to Oscoda, Michigan for a weekend to
study both the general (Creation) and special (His Word) revelation of God. If you’re
a college student, young professional or young married couple, I personally invite
you to consider joining us for special weekend.

Jimmy Smith
Young Adults

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