Thursday, February 25, 2010

Strategies against Sexual Sin

The seventh commandment says, "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). When Jesus applied this command He told us that "anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). For all of us, adultery is a matter not merely of our bodies but about our hearts.

Here are some practical suggestions I made in my message last week that I hope will help you combat sexual temptation and avoid sexual sin:

  • Consider your future self.
What will you wish you had done in a year? In ten years? What will your family wish you had done? Almost no one looks ahead and consciously says, "Hey, I think I'll blow up my life." Consider what you wish you would have done. . . then do it.
  • Capture every thought.
One key to spiritual warfare is to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Be Ruthless with your thoughts. It is very easy to be lazy with your thoughts, to linger on questionable ideas, to doubt what you know to be true. If you stick to Philippians 4:8, you'll be on safe ground.
  • Cultivate the presence of God.
Act as though you believe in God's omniscience and God's omnipresence. He is everywhere and He does see everything (Psalm 33:13-15). Don't kid yourself that he doesn't. David understood that his horrific sin with Bathsheba, and all the collateral damage, was against God (Psalm 51:4). Joseph fled from Potiphar's wife because he understood the same thing (Genesis 39:9).
  • Contemplate the Practical and Eternal Consequences of Adultery.
If your thoughts were to play out, or you were to get caught in your sin, what would happened in both the short term and the long term. Spend time imagining the shame you and your family would experience. Consider the devastation it would cause for those who think of you as an example of a Christian person. Consider how it will destroy trust with your spouse and family, if they even chose to stay with you. And, of course, there is more. Consider explaining your actions to God on judgment day. Jesus tells us to consider hell (Matthew 5:27-29).
  • Conquer your body.
Thomas Watson, a puritan pastor wrote, "The flesh pampered is apt to rebel." He reminds us of Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 9:27 warning us that our body can disqualify us if we don't make it our slave. We can't fall of the other side, though. It is possible to workout and get in shape for the admiration of the opposite sex, gaining mastery over your body for the wrong reasons.
  • Cut off opportunities.
Jesus took very seriously the need to be ruthless with the things that cause us to fall. He said, "Cut off out your eye... cut off your hand" (Matthew 5:29). This is hyperbole to remind us not to go places where we will be tempted. Get rid of the TV. Don’t be around people who tempt you. Get accountability for your computer.
  • Cultivate Faith.
Fight fire with fire. The power of lust is its promise of pleasure. We fight it with the promise of God. Linger long on the joy-producing, sin-dulling promises of the scripture!
2 Peter 1:3-4 tells us we escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires by the "great and precious promises" of God!

John Piper says it this way:
"It is this superior satisfaction in future grace that breaks the power of lust. With all eternity hanging in the balance, we fight the fight of faith. Our chief enemy is the lie that says sin will make our future happier. Our chief weapon is the Truth that says God will make our future happier. . . We must fight with a massive promise of superior happiness."
I hope this helps. I would love a world where lust and sexual sin didn't ruin marriages.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

re:Generātion Launch

After much preparation and prayer, re:Generātion is finally poised to launch. You can read more about our preview service—this Sunday @ 7pm—and our official launch—next Sunday, March 7th @ 7pm—over at the re:Generātion blog:

Preparing to Launch - One Week to Go (Part 1)
Preparing to Launch - One Week to Go (Part 2)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

From Donna Wilson

Dear Friends:
I want to thank you for your prayers, bouquets, visits, cards, and letters of encouragement. What a treasure to have Christian friends.
I think in a couple of weeks I will be getting back more strength.
Love, Donna and Harold

Books Added to the Library

The following books have been added to the main library at the Riverfalls campus:

Remember by Karen Kingsbury
Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury
The Braxtons of Miracle Springs by Michael Phillips
A New Beginning by Michael Phillips
Arrow of the Almighty by Gilbert Morris
Unafraid by Francine Rivers

Teen Fiction:
A Heart Full of Hope by Robin Jones Gunn

Psalms by Eugene H. Peterson (223)
Psalm 23 by David Roper (223)
Immanuel (Reflections on the Life of Christ) by Michael Card (232.9)
The Parables (Understanding What Jesus Meant) by Gary Inrig (226.8)
Out of the Ordinary (God's Hand at Work in Everyday Lives) by David Roper (242)
Same Kind of Different as Me. by Ron Hall & Denver Moore (204)
A Walk Across Holy Ground (A young couple treks across Europe to the Holy Land on a 4,000 mile pilgrimage of faith) by Karen Whitehill (263)
I Kissed Dating Goodbye (A new attitude toward romance and relationships) by Joshua Harris (306.73)
Boy Meets Girl (Say hello to courtship) by Joshua Harris (241)
When God Writes Your Love Story (the ultimate approach to guy/girl relationships)by Eric & Leslie Ludy (248.4)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Middle School Retreat

We had a great retreat and each of the students responded to the challenge given from God's word to be of one heart, mind and body and to seek God with all their heart.

We appreciate the opportunity to love and serve your families! We appreciate your support!

Click here to see the pictures and a couple videos...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Guatemala Team Departs

Early Saturday morning the Guatemala Mission Team gathered at PDX to catch their first flight in route to Guatemala. All was going well until the team discovered that one of the team members (a late addition to the team) did not have an airplane ticket. Initial conversations with the ticket agent were not going well. The team began to pray. Eventually, the man at the counter discovered that we could add this team member to the group by switching her name with a previous team member who could not go on the trip. However, we would have to wait until another agent came into work just 45 minutes before flight departure. The team gathered to pray, and then most of the team went on to the departure gate. At 7:15, the second ticket agent appeared, the ticket was changed (at no additional cost), and the team was reunited just before boarding time.

The team saw this as the first in what would likely be a trip full of stretching experiences. They knew they would have to "walk by faith" the whole way. They saw the hand of God at work!

Please pray for this team as they spend this week ministering to children, the sick, and people in need of the gospel. Pray that the team would be unified, walking in step with the Spirit, and used of God to help build His church in Pampache and Wachob, Guatemala.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Baptism at New Life Church

Sunday, January 31st, we enjoyed the baptism of three gloriously saved men who love Jesus and wanted everyone to know. Gary Beck, Wyatt Bender and Kevin Cook told the group about how God was changing their lives and how Jesus had saved them. I hope you are encouraged again.

Friday, February 05, 2010

What's in a Name?

A message from Exodus 20:1-2, 7 on January 31, 2010 by Pastor Aaron Orendorff.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Sabbath and the “Lord’s Day”

By far the most helpful thing I’ve read this week in connection with the Fourth Commandment—“Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy.”—was A. T. Lincoln’s essay, “From Sabbath to Lord’s Day: A Biblical and Theological Perspective,” from D. A. Caron’s edited volume From Sabbath to Lord’s Day: A Biblical Historical and Theological Investigation.

You can read a great review of the book here at or take a look at the book itself here at Amazon.

In the text’s introduction, Carson summaries the basic conclusions worked out by the various authors in the rest of the book:

First, we are not persuaded that the New Testament unambiguously develops a “transfer theology,” according to which the Sabbath moves from the seventh day to the first day of the week. We are not persuaded that Sabbath keeping is presented in the Old Testament as the norm from the time of creation onward. Nor are we persuaded that the New Testament develops patterns of continuity and discontinuity on the basis of moral/civil/ceremonial distinctions. However useful and accurate such categories may be, it is anachronistic to think that any New Testament writer adopted them as the basis for his distinctions between the Old Testament and the gospel of Christ. We are also not persuaded that Sunday observance arose only in the second century A.D. We think, however, that although Sunday worship arose in New Testament times, it was not perceived as a Christian Sabbath. We disagree profoundly with historical reconstructions of the patristic period that read out from isolated and ambiguous expressions massive theological schemes that in reality developed only much later.

Yet to say so many negative things is to run the risk of giving a false impression. We have not written in order to demolish the theories of others. Indeed, as a matter of policy we have focused attention on primary sources; we refute opposing positions only when it is necessary to do so in order to establish our own position. Our final chapter takes considerable pains to be as positive and synthetic as possible. We want to provide a comprehensive guide to the interpretation of the sources for Christian readers (16).
Somewhat heady stuff, but profoundly insightful and helpful. Definitely worth the work.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Battle is the Lord's

Our prayer emphasis this week is spiritual warfare. I ran across this hymn by John Newton in the Olney Hymnal. I thought it was a good reminder of why we depend on the Lord and not other support.

Saul's Armor
1 Sam 17:38-40

When first my soul enlisted
My Savior’s foes to fight;
Mistaken friends insisted
I was not armed aright:

So Saul advised David
He certainly would fail;
Nor could his life be saved
Without a coat of mail.

But David, though he yielded
To put the armor on,
Soon found he could not wield it,
And ventured forth with none.

With only sling and pebble
He fought the fight of faith;
The weapons seemed but feeble,
Yet proved Goliath’s death.

Had I by him been guided,
And quickly thrown away
The armor men provided,
I might have gained the day;

But armed as they advised me,
My expectations failed;
My enemy surprised me,
And had almost prevailed.

Furnished with books and notions,
And arguments and pride
I practised all my motions,
And Satan’s pow’r defied

But soon perceived with trouble,
That these would do no good;
Iron to him is stubble,
And brass like rotten wood.

I triumphed at a distance
While he was out of sight;
But faint was my resistance
When forced to join in fight:

He broke my sword in shivers,
And pierced my boasted shield;
Laughed at my vain endeavors,
And drove me from the field.

Satan will not be braved
By such a worm as I;
Then let me learn with David,
To trust in the Most High;

To plead the name of Jesus,
And use the sling of prayer;
Thus armed, when Satan sees us
He’ll tremble and despair.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Murder

A message from Exodus 20:13 on January 24, 2010 by Pastor Travis Tadema.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Preliminary Thoughts on the Sabbath

Earlier this afternoon, I began working on this week’s sermon from Exodus 20:8—“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”—by rereading a small part of Eugene Peterson’s wonderful book Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places. There’s too much here to quote in a single sermon (although I’m sure some of it will show up on Sunday); but it’s also too good to just leave it on the shelf. I hope you enjoy:

The most striking thing about keeping the Sabbath is that it begins by not doing anything (109). [We’re so used to “religion” being a matter of action that to have God command inaction, to have him say, “Stop! Quit! Silence!” is arresting to say the least.]

Sabbath is a deliberate act of interference, an interruption of our work each week, a decree of no-works so that we are able to notice, to attend, to listen, to assimilate this comprehensive and majestic work of God, to orient our work in the work of God (110).

Sabbath and work are not in opposition; Sabbath and work are integrated parts of an organic whole. Either apart from the other is crippled (115).

[W]ithout Sabbath . . . the workplace is soon emptied of any sense of the presence of God and the work becomes an end in itself. It is this “end in itself” that makes an un-sabbathed workplace a breeding ground for idols. We make idols of our workplaces when we reduce all relationships to functions that we can manage. We make idols in our workplaces when we reduce work to the dimensions of our egos and control (116).

If there is no Sabbath—no regular and commanded not-working, not-talking—we soon become totally absorbed in what we are doing and saying, and God’s work is either forgotten or marginalized. When we work we are most god-like, which means that it is in our work that it is easiest to develop god-pretensions. Un-sabbathed, our work becomes the entire context in which we define our lives. We lose God-consciousness, God-awareness, sightings of resurrection. We lose the capacity to sing “This is my Father’s world” and end up chirping little self-centered ditties about what we are doing and feeling (117).