The story not the new set of rules.

Photo by Jodi, rainbow in winter, Fremont, Ne 12/29/11

Parenting with grace is not another set of rules for you to follow. It’s a story that you’re rejoicing in. Share the story with your children. Show them the savior. Show them Jesus. Dazzle them with his love.

Elyse Fitzpatrick, “Give Them Grace”, Crossway books, 2011, p62


Parenting is hard work! Is it leading us to good news or just good obedience?

“Rising good kids is utterly impossible unless they are drawn by the holy spirit to put their faith in the goodness of another. You cannot raise good kids, because you’re not a good parent. There is only one good Parent, and he had one good Son. Together, this Father and Son accomplished everything that needed to be done to rescue us and our children from certain destruction. When we put our faith in him, he bestows the benediction upon us: “these are my believed children, with whom I am well pleased” (see Matt 3:17). [This, by the way, is also the only true cure for the never measuring up of perfectionism – lowering expectations is only a piece of it – this is a freebie from Eric 🙂 ].

Give this grace to your children: tell them who they really are [not full of goodness after the fall], tell them what they need to do [i.e. Gods entire law], and then tell them to taste and see that the Lord is good [i.e. Christ, full of goodness, obeyed the law perfectly out of joy and gladness on my behalf and then died for me]. Give this grace to yourself, too.”

Elyse Fitzpatrick, “Give Them Grace”, Crossway books, 2011, p50

I Boast No More – Justine’s Video Project

Justine and I went and took some quick FREMONT video footage the other day. Very fun father / daughter / art / take in some beauty time with Justine!

This is an old hymn that Sandra McCracken and team have put back to music with guitars – it’s becoming one of our favorites. God is doing some great things in this town – its fun to see it, privileged to be apart of it, and inspiring to catch glimpses of the future glory that is in store for all of creation being restored to Christ!

Check out this video on YouTube:

JC Ryle has a great quote about the God-man…a great reminder on why Christmas is so key! Why did Jesus have to be both God AND man?

Photo by Sr. Blick, the May Museum, Fremont, NE. 2011

“Had my Savior been God only, I might perhaps have trusted Him, but I never could have come near to Him without fear. Had my Savior been Man only, I might have loved Him, but I never could have felt sure that He was able to take away my sins. But, blessed be God, my Savior is God as well as Man, and Man as well as God—God, and so able to deliver me—Man, and so able to feel with me. Almighty power and deepest sympathy are met together in one glorious Person, Jesus Christ, my Lord. Surely a believer in Christ has a strong consolation. He may well trust, and not be afraid.”

Click on this link to our blog where this whole public domain book is in a Word document. Go to page two, the table of contents, and click on chapter 12 from where this quote comes.

What does the phrase, “in the fullness of time” mean? Pastor Tobey Brockman reminds us that all of scripture is really one long, love story of being pursued!

Photo emailed from dad Blick, 2011

IX. The Sermon: In the fullness of time. Gal 4 – Rev. Tobey Brockman, Senior Minister, Redeemer Church, Lincoln, NE

The Big Idea: God restores our broken relationship with him by sending his son in the fullness of time!

I. The eternal relationship that is shared by God shared in eternity past.

The Bible is a love story – His exclusive love for himself and for His people to share exclusive love with.

In John 17 before Jesus is arrested, Jesus prays to the father for his disciples to hear. He is praying about relationship – His with his father as the source of the creation itself. We exist because God created the world as overflow of joy in ther trinity and not to get something he lacked.

The three members of the godhead lack nothing. Rather, they delight to defer to one another and make the other look majestic. They delighted to glorify one another and this love was so deep that God was moved to create the world and share this intimacy with us, those who bear his image in creation.

The passing of the peace is not just something we do in our service, but what we were created for.

II. The lost relationship that God suffers with us.

However, we don’t love him as was intended in creation. Even though God made us to be in perfect fellowship with him, he lost us because of our sin. But because he loves us, he comes back to get us. Our old testament reading from Genesis 3 shows how sin killed this perfect relationship.

BUT, in the fullnes of time, God sent his own son into our lost world and our lost relationship to bring us peace with God.

What marks the lostness of our relationship?

A. As you and I think about God, we get scared.
If we were to actually stand before a holy God, we would be in trouble and could never do it. In a street interview of a lady in Vancouver in a church plant video, she said that she does not believe in God the way that we do. She says it is safer and the pressure is taken off of her to believe that she is safe here on earth away from a holy God, if there is one. However, we have a sense, though we have succeeded at so many things in life, that we have failed and could not stand before the perfect, holy God.

B. We want to be our own God. Gen 3, Satan’s lie in eating of the tree was to believe we could be like God. After eating, they saw they were naked – exposure and shame and guilt – to stand before another person’s watching eyes and know you are guilty. That is what it feels like to be lost.

III. The restored relationship.

Galatians 4 is the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15 that the seed would come and restore and buy back this relationship. Ironically, back to the Vancouver interview, this IS how the pressure is taken off of us before this holy God – not in a lie that there is no God, but in that Jesus was born UNDER the law and for sin. He bears this weight of our justice before the all-seeing God.

1 John 4:10. This is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and pursued us!

Why do people go to church? One person has said that it is mainly for those over age 60 who want the magic Willie-wonka golden card to get into heaven for free. Tobey grew up believing that he would take his kids to church when he was 30 and they were under 10 years of age to learn right and wrong so as not to get arrested.

Galatians says that we go to church rather because we have been adopted as sons and daughters of God! In that relationship of adoption, Jesus prays in John 17 that God would love us THE EXACT SAME WAY that he loves his son. That is how God views you! Do you believe THAT Christian? Do you believe that God’s heart leaps with joy the same way that it does when he beholds his son Jesus? We are now his sons!

What does this mean for us?

A. We are safe with our heavenly father. John 10 says, no one will snatch them out of God’s hand – because no one is greater than the father and we are held by him! Tobey was adopted at 5 weeks old with his twin brother. In high school he was arrested and brought home to his parents. He was sure that his dad would disown him. Instead, with arm around him, he said, Tobey, I love you, and whatever you have to go through, I will go through with you. He got the message he was safe with his father.

Many of us feel that God will reject us when we fail. But that is just not true.

B. We can have real intimacy with our heavenly father. Verse 6 says that because of the Spirit in us, we can cry out to him as Abba father, or DEAREST father – not distant ruler or king but loving dad.

What will judgement day be like for believers? God will say, You remind me of my son, welcome home!

“The incarnation, Jesus tabernacling among us, has corporate implications for both mission and architecture.”

Photo emailed from dad Blick, 2011

IX. The Sermon: Tabernacling – Rev. Kyle McClellan, Senior Minister, Grace Presbyterian Church

The Big Idea: the incarnation, Jesus tabernacling among us, has corporate implications for both mission and architecture.

I. Get the pronouns correct (John 1:14)

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

God has tabernacled through his son among US. WE have seen his glory. It is not just about what God is doing for me. There is a corporate nature to it as well. There is a corporate sense of witness – what is it that we are sharing in word and deed in Fremont corporatly? When people in Fremont think of Grace, what is it that they say and think?

Is is about you and I and me? Yes, but it is also corporate.

II. Missional versus attractional (John 1:14, 20,21)

Jesus wore shoes. He slept. He cried. He was not a kind of human – he WAS human. The tabernacle was the place of meeting where God met with his people. It was Gods idea. Religion says we figure out ways to get to God. But Christianity is where God comes and tabernacles among us.

Jesus is the sent one. This has lists of implications on how we do missions. Do they come to us? Or do we go to them? A missional church does ministry among and out in the tribe that they are called to. The ‘Attractional model’ is the church building is where you will come and see God. Instead, we want to go to them as Jesus came to us.

III. Our architecture ought to reflect our missional values.

The Old Testament passage read today from Exodus 31 noted the great concern that God has for beauty in His temple.

What was cheap about the incarnation? Nothing. It was immensely costly to Christ for leaving his throne of majesty and come to earth.

Three classic models:
A. Cave. Early Christians were kicked out of the synagogues and had to meet secretly underground, in house churches, caves, and secretly. This is common where the gospel is not welcomed in society.

B. Fortress. After 300AD when Christianity became the main religion in society and through the middle ages, we see massive cathedrals like St. Peters Cathedral.

C. Tent. Modest, not overpowering, it enters into a neighborhood without dominating it. It fits the archecture of the buildings around it. We want to be neighbors in the neighborhood, even if some of the neighbors profess to be atheists.

More modern models:

D. Theatre. It is geared for people to come and watch the show, listen to the music, hear the word and then have things to act upon.

E. Mall. The building considers that you are a potential consumer of the religious goods and services that God has in this building, including food court, concourses for each program like youth, nursery, college, etc.

The wonderful thing about Christ’s incarnation is that it has implications for all our lives and how we do ministry.

In an old building restored, we take something broken and leaking and make it new. That is just what the picture of the gospel is to our broken lives. We broken sinners are made new.