Wednesday, December 31, 2014

DPC, please pray for your missionaries.



The following is a note that DPC members & missionaries Sean & Amber DeMars have sent out to their supporters.  It's also a wonderful call to prayer for missionaries as one year ends & another begins.

The Lord Jesus can make all things new, according to his promise.  So, let us pray that we might all share in that renewal—through the fullness of the gospel, which is for the fullness of this world.
 


End of Year Thankfulness

by Sean & Amber DeMars

The year is coming to a close, which means that your inboxes have been filling up with any number of emails from various ministries and non-profits, reaching out in hopes of grabbing a peace of the end-of-year giving pie. 

Thankfully, we don't have to do that. The Lord has been kind to us. He has worked in and through the lives of so many people to provide for the DeMars family. There have been some shaky times for sure, but not a day has gone by where we haven't had a roof over our head, clothes on our backs, and enough food on the table to put us to bed with full stomachs. 

Not only so, but we have even had the luxury of being able to have some of our wants met, too...not just our needs. For all this and more we give thanks to God, but also to you. 

If you're receiving this email, you have given to our family and taken part in the harvest by providing for us financially. We are honored that you would even consider sharing a dime of your hard earned money with our family for the sake of the mission. 

So, as the year closes and the entire non-profit world scrambles to meet their financial deadlines, we are going to drop to our knees and pray a prayer of thankfulness to our God for people just like you. Then we will get on our nice, comfy couch and watch a movie (popcorn in hand, of course) with the fan set on full blast!

Finally, we want to close out the year by asking for your continued prayers. As we read Acts chapter six and see the Apostles devotion to the preaching and teaching of God's Word, we feel good about ourselves and let out a sigh of relief. "Shew...I'm good on that!" But, when we see the EQUAL importance placed on prayer by the Apostles, we pause and hold our breath as the hot knife of conviction cuts into our souls like soft butter. 

With our own prayer issues in mind, we turn to you all and ask "Please don't forget to pray for us."  Money comes and money goes. We've been very, very poor before, and we've been in positions of great abundance, too. We might revisit both of those places at some point throughout the remainder of our lives, and we're ok with that. But we're not ok with being spiritually bankrupt.

We need to pray. And we need you to pray. We need you to petition God on our behalf. For our safety. For our finances. For our ministry. But also for our personal holiness and relationship with King Jesus. 

Pray that we would remain steadfast in hope. Pray that we don't despair or succumb to sin in our moments of spiritual weakness. Pray for our marriage. Pray that we would be wise in our dealings with a foreign people. Pray for our language. Pray for our loneliness. Pray for us as we try to remember that all is vain if we have not love. Pray for us, please. It's all too easy to write a check or transfer money and completely forget about our greatest needs, which are not material, but spiritual. 

2014 has been great. We're excited to see what the Lord has for us in 2015. We know that whatever it is, it will be for our good and His glory. 

Sean, Amber, Patience, and baby Isabella. 



Monday, December 29, 2014

Improving Your Baptism



Recently gave thanks for the 33rd anniversary of my baptism into the visible church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The terminology will probably sound funny to most of us today, but at one point in Christian history it was a profoundly meaningful matter to give thought to the "improvement" of your baptism.

Consider this question from the Westminster Large Catechism: "How is our baptism to be improved by us?"

How would you answer that question?  Or does the question even make sense to us?

The wonderfully rich answer that the pastors and theologians of the mid-1600's gave us was this:
The needful but much neglected duty of improving our Baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long, especially in the time of temptation, and when we are present at the administration of it to others; by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for which Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and sealed thereby, and our solemn vow made therein; by being humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of baptism, and our engagements; by growing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all other blessings sealed to us in that sacrament; by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized, for the mortifying of sin, and quickening of grace; and by endeavoring to live by faith, to have our conversation in holiness and righteousness, as those that have therein given up their names to Christ; and to walk in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body.
Wonderfully rich.  So rich, in fact, that you'll have to read through it slowly & carefully, reflecting on each phrase, to grasp the fullness of it.

Those same pastors & theologians offer you this guidance in understanding the gracious gift of baptism:

I. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church, but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, or his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life: which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in his Church until the end of the world.
II. The outward element to be used in the sacrament is water, wherewith the party is to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a minister of the gospel, lawfully called thereunto.
III. Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person.
IV. Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one or both believing parents are to be baptized.
V. Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it as that no person can be regenerated or saved without it, or that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.
VI. The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in his appointed time.
VII. The sacrament of Baptism is but once to be administered to any person.



Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Fight For Christmas, Part III

This Sunday...

Series: The Fight For Christmas
III. From Heaven He Came And Sought Her
Revelation 19.6-9

Outline:
We Haven't Taken Fairy Tales Seriously Enough
The Marriage of the Lamb
Blessed Are Those Who Are Invited



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

He Came Down.




Join us at DPC on Christmas Eve at 5:00 for a Candlelight Service to celebrate the end of advent and the birth of our Savior!
"God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made - who, for us and for our salvation... came down from heaven..."
~The Nicene Creed
He came down.




Friday, December 19, 2014

The Fight For Christmas, Part II

We continue this Sunday... 

Series:  The Fight For Christmas
II.  Very God.
Romans 9.4,5


Outline:
God Over All
A Church Family Story
The Glory of Christmas





Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DPC Online Makeover!



Visit the newly remodeled DPC website by clicking HERE.

Deep and great thanks to Larry & Christine R. for their long efforts & wonderful work!




Friday, December 12, 2014

The Fight For Christmas

A new 3-part sermon series begins this Sunday at DPC...


Series:  The Fight For Christmas
I.  "Long Live the King!"
Revelation 12:1-5a


Outline:
Cosby vs. Seinfeld
The Dragon, The Woman, & The Child
v.10... & v.17


Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Mystery of Earth's Water



Story in the news today:


WASHINGTON (AP) — The mystery of where Earth's water came from got murkier Wednesday when some astronomers essentially eliminated one of the chief suspects: comets.
Over the past few months, the European Space Agency's Rosetta space probe closely examined the type of comet that some scientists theorized could have brought water to our planet 4 billion years ago. It found water, but the wrong kind.
It was too heavy. One of the first scientific studies from the Rosetta mission found that the comet's water contains more of a hydrogen isotope called deuterium than water on Earth does.
"The question is who brought this water: Was it comets or was it something else?" asked Kathrin Altwegg of the University of Bern in Switzerland, lead author of a study published in the journal Science.
Something else, probably asteroids, Altwegg concluded. But others disagree.
Many scientists have long believed that Earth had water when it first formed, but that it boiled off, so that the water on the planet now had to have come from an outside source.
The findings from Rosetta's mission to the duck-shaped comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko complicate not just the question of the origin of Earth's water but our understanding of comets.
Until now, scientists pretty much sorted comets into two types: near and far. The near ones, sometimes called the Jupiter family, originally come from the Kuiper Belt outside Neptune and Pluto. The far ones hail from the Oort Cloud, which is much farther out.
In 1986, a spacecraft came within about 400 miles of Halley's comet, an Oort Cloud comet, and analyzed its water. It proved to be heavier than Earth's. But three years ago, scientists examined the water in a Kuiper Belt comet, Hartley 2, and it was a perfect match for Earth's, so the comet theory was back, stronger than ever, Altwegg said.
The comet visited by Rosetta is a Kuiper Belt comet, but its water was even heavier than Halley's, Altwegg said. That shows that Kuiper Belt comets aren't as uniform as thought, and it once again complicates the issue of Earth's water.
"That probably rules out Kuiper Belt comets from bringing water to Earth," she said.
University of Maryland astronomer Michael A'Hearn, who wasn't part of the research, called the results startling but said they don't eliminate comets altogether. The water could have come from other types of Kuiper Belt comets, he said.
NASA Near Earth Object program manager Donald Yeomans, however, said the study does pretty much rule out comets.
While asteroids are a good suspect — they probably had more water on them 4 billion years ago than they do now — another possibility is that Earth kept some of its original water in its crust or in ice at the poles, Altwegg said.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Healthy Relationship With Information



Here are the first three paragraphs of an article that might go a long, long way toward helping us re-think what we center our life and attention and affections around:
There is one version of the history of the forward march of modern media that is a story primarily about a drug, developed to make its users feel anger with delightful intensity. Refinement of this drug has made some great leaps in a very short time -- it used to be you had to wait until a certain time of day to get it. Then you had to deal with having it mixed in with a lot of filler material. Now you can go straight to the social media site of your choice, where you and your fellow junkies can trade images of victims overlayed with condemning quotes, or infographics which expose injustice in striking bar and pie charts. And now the shared experience of other people’s outrage has become part of the concoction, and it is immeasurably more potent as a result.
Like actual chemically-induced pleasures, in excess this anger is a sickness. It consumes your waking thoughts, and takes your vitality with you when it leaves. When the dose is administered, an extreme form of tunnel vision sets in. You get sucked into a monomaniacal focus on the object of some injustice, far away from you or anyone you know, and are temporarily unable to see anything that is actually a part of your life. You lose sight of vulgar morality, the stuff that really matters, and succumb to the siren song of telescopic morality. You rage at things you cannot control at the expense of time you could be investing improving the state of affairs around you, for your family, your community. The long term effect of mainlining telescopic morality is utter hollowness; ethical triviality. A life spent desperately grasping at fractured and filtered pieces of other people’s stories, a life hardly lived.
The problem of overcoming telescopic morality involves one of the central questions of our times: how to develop a healthy relationship with information. Given the sheer magnitude of the fresh information generated every hour of every day, this is no small challenge.

The whole of the article can be found by clicking HERE.

Mr. Gurri (the author) poses some great questions and splashes some rich common-grace wisdom on those who take the time to consider and reflect.

I would go a few steps further than he in answering the "what kind of life do I want to live" question.  Here's the life for which we were made: a life centered on the love of Christ, calling us to a love for Christ.

If Christ is the center of our affections, all our other loves and affections will find themselves being put in the proper order... including our love for information.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

About Batman


clicking on the comic strip will hopefully enlarge

if not, go purchase a magnifying glass




Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What trumps worship?



The Ten Commandments are given to us twice, and the slight differences between the two accounts are beautifully enlightening.

Take the 4th command for example.  Here it is from Exodus 20:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
And here it is from Deuteronomy 5:

Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
Note that the first reason given for practicing Sabbath is creation—that for which you were made; a fundamental, God-given structure of human life.

And the second reason given for practicing Sabbath is redemption—you are not your own; you've been bought at a very dear and precious price.

********

And yet, overlooking both creation and redemption, Christians so often let just about anything trump our commitment to gather with other saints to worship our God on the Lord's Day (which is now Sunday, the day of Christ's resurrection, the day the New Testament sets apart as holy, the day the New World broke into this Old World, which in theology is sometimes called the "Christian Sabbath").

But back to this point: what trumps worship?  Chores, sports, travel, general busyness, neglected school projects, a unique opportunity to do something special, getting ahead on an upcoming project, vacation, checking off something on a to do list, a hobby, an entertainment, an amusement, etc., etc., etc.

I'm not referring to works of necessity; that's a different topic.

I'm simply referring to opportunities to do something else that are offered to us (not forced on us), and we willingly surrender, forsake, jettison, disown, forego, & set aside that which God commanded to be "remembered" and "observed."

But the deal is... what God commands to be remembered and observed is not just "more busyness for Jesus' sake"—some stale religious to do list.  Practicing sabbath is a gift.  You see that in the very command itself.

It's a gift given from the father to the son and daughter.  From the master to the male servant and female servant.  From the farmer to the ox and donkey and any other livestock.  From the native-born to the sojourning guest.

From God to you.

And when we think we don't need that gift, we're badly mistaken.

Feeling dry, used up, spent, lonely?  Remember creation.  Observe redemption.  Worship.

********

Perhaps it's the fear of missing out on something "better" than being in God's Presence with his people that pulls us in these other directions.


Consider God's promise in Isaiah 58: “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” 

There is surely no scarcity in worshipping Christ with the assembled saints.  There is only abundance and grace.  There is the Promised Presence of God.  Do not fear.

********

Practicing Sabbath makes us different from many of our neighbors.  It makes us different, first of all, because we're living a life of trust, faith, and belief in God's Word.  We are consciously saying, "He made me, he redeemed me, he knows what I most need.  I trust him more than I trust myself.  It's not what I do that gives my life meaning; it's what God has done for me."

And in this way practicing Sabbath becomes a powerful sign and mark of living in covenant with God.  See Exodus 31.12-17.

And again, like all signs and marks of living in covenant with God, it's a gift.  It's the grace-and-peace-filled rhythm of work and rest, creation and redemption.

********

A final related thought: some of my greatest joys in worship have come when providential circumstances have kept my family and me from worshipping with our normal church family.

On vacation?  Traveling?  Out of town on business?

No matter!  Find a faithful church and worship!  I've delighted at times to intentionally take my family to a faithful church that is as far different from "our" church as possible on those occasions:  a 4,000 member African-American church... a hip, inner-city church... a Psalms-only, no musical instruments church... a ginormous mega-church... a tiny rural church...

Stretch yourself.  Remember that not all Jesus-followers are like you, and that's a good thing.  Explore the kingdom.

Or... have some work of necessity that prevents Sunday morning worship at your regular time?  Find a church that holds an evening worship service.  Or find a church that holds a much earlier Sunday morning worship.  It's all great joy if it's Christ.

But come to Christ, answer his call.  He will give you rest.  Remember creation.  Observe redemption.