Up to Jerusalem

It’s hard to believe that it has been four years since I visited Israel. If my memory is correct, then my trip was March 13-23, 2013.  Like anyone else who visits the Holy Land, this was a life-changing and unforgettable experience.  For ten days, I visited places that I had read about hundreds of times in the pages of the Bible.  I rode (and danced!) on a small boat out on the Sea of Galilee.  I

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Reflections on Shepherds’ Conference 2017

We preach Christ. This was the grand theme of Shepherds’ Conference 2017, the 44th such conference, as I understand it, to be held at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, February 28 through March 2.  This was a fitting theme for such a conference marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.  The apostle Paul notably said, “…but we preach Christ crucified, a
stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the

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Therefore Welcome One Another

Understanding the gospel leads to living out the gospel. That is, truly believing the Good News (i.e. placing one’s trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation) results in one’s behavior coming to gradually and consistently reflect the essence of Jesus’ teaching and mission.
The apostle Paul understood and wanted to hammer home this principle to the various churches that God had led him to plant. In one passage, in particular, the relationship between belief and behavior comes shining through. In
Romans 15:5-7, we read, “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” For Paul, good theology always resulted in godly doxology. In other words, thinking right thoughts about God—and, in the New Testament especially, thinking right thoughts about God’s Son Jesus—results in putting these “vertical thoughts” (man to God) in to practice “horizontally” (man to man). And, consequently, these together inevitably and irresistibly leads to glorifying God.

When we peel back the cultural layers of first century Jew-Gentile hostility, we see that not only did the Christian gospel uniquely provide for divine reconciliation (God to sinner), but it also provided the only possible context for radical human reconciliation (Jew to non-Jew; or man to man). In the Book of Romans, after Paul had laid out the convicting argument that “all are condemned” under God’s holy and just wrath (see Romans 1-3), and provided the compelling argument that “all (who will be justified; i.e. “declared innocent”) are justified by faith in Christ alone” (see Romans 4-5), he closes out this doctrinal masterpiece with four chapters of practical application (see Romans 12-15). And, much of Paul’s practical exhortation had to do with displaying one’s devotion to God through loving one’s fellow man.

We at Trinity are amazed by God’s wonderful grace and deeply desire to live out God’s word here to “Welcome one another.” Having experienced the goodness and mercy of God personally, our aim is to glorify God the Father by sharing the love of God the Son through the enabling presence of God the Holy Spirit to everyone around us. It is the gospel which makes our church a place of warmth and openness. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we have been given new affections and new words in order that “…together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And, while most of our differences aren’t quite as stark as those between Jews and Gentiles some 2,000 years ago, we are certainly thankful for the Spirit of Christ which enables us to welcome and worship with one another. God’s love is truly wonderful!

So, if you’re looking for a place to believe and belong, then let me invite you to visit us some Sunday morning. It would be our tremendous joy to encourage and help you in your spiritual walk with Jesus.

Blessings in the Savior,

Pastor Dan

 

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