6.13.2024

Love



"Devotion to God finds its outward expression in loving one another."  (The Fruitful Life, p. 47)  Another way to state this is our devotion to God, the creator, shows itself in how we love people, who are created in God's image.

This past Sunday, Mike Guest taught on...



In the study notes for Galatians 5:22, 23, the MacArthur study Bible states, “One of the several Greek words for love, AGAPE, is the love of choice, referring not to an emotional affection, physical attraction, or a familial bond, but to the respect, devotion, and affection that leads to willing, self-sacrificial service.”

Each week during this summer study, we want to ask some questions to get us thinking about the mark for that week.  

Here are some LOVE-related questions.

  • How does the world you live in today define and use the word LOVE?
  • How does the Bible, God's Word, define and use the word LOVE?
  • What are ways you have seen love exhibited in a wrong way?
  • What are ways you have seen love exhibited in the right way?
  • In what ways could you improve how you show love to others?
  • In what ways could our church improve in how we show love to others?
John 3:16, a verse many people know, is often used to show how great God's love is for us.
First John 3:16 is a great verse that shows God's love and our response to that love.
"By this we know love, that he laid his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers." (emphasis mine)

Jesus showed us what love is.
Because of this, we ought to do something.

This kind of love, spiritual love, comes from God.  We are able to love HIM and OTHERS because He first loved us.  This love comes from a heart that has been changed by God, the Holy Spirit.

First Corinthians 13:4-7, tells us what love is.
Here is that list along with a brief explanation of each attribute.

PATIENT - VERY slow to anger. Long tempered.
KIND - Gives benefit to others. Grace-filled.
NOT JEALOUS - Not after “showy gifts”. All one body.
NOT BOASTUL - “Wind Bag” Elevates others over self.
NOT ARROGANT - “Puff like a bellows”. Listens vs. talking.
NOT RUDE - Not Immoral. Yields personal rights.
NOT SEEKING ITS OWN - Others first. Self-lessness.
NOT PROVOKED - Controls sudden outbursts.
NOT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT WRONGS - Holds no record of wrongs.
NOT REJOICING IN SIN - Takes no pleasure in the sin of others.
REJOICES IN TRUTH - Love is honest and hates lies.
BEARS ALL THINGS - Covers and protects.
BELIEVES ALL THINGS - Optimistic, looking for the good.
HOPES ALL THINGS - Never gives up. Grace again.
ENDURES ALL THINGS - Will not quit. Can’t be killed.


Jesus' prayer in John 17 is filled with love language for God and his disciples.

20 “I am not asking on behalf of these alone, but also for those who believe in Me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

22 The glory which You have given Me I also have given to them, so that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and You loved them, just as You loved Me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

 

Some Additional Resources:


For all the Marks of Christian posts, click HERE

6.08.2024

Humility


BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO OUR SUMMER STUDY:

The Marks of a Christian and the Fruit of the Spirit are not just for private experience.
As the sermons on Romans 12 have reminded us, gifts are meant for the body of Christ.
The same is true for the gifts of the Spirit and Christian character
They are God-focused.   Remember, they come from God and show His glory.
They are also outward-focused.  They are to help us show God's love to others and help the church grow.

THIS WEEK'S MARK: HUMILITY

Definition:

"Pursuing humility means choosing to accept the fact that your knowledge and abilities are limited. In light of that, you regularly seek help and graciously receive advice and correction." (Time for the Talk) 

In thinking about the above definition, there are a couple of points to remember.  All of us limited and need help.  This help is sometimes found when it is sought after.  Other times, it may be given with no after being offered.  Each of us need to consider what is being said and what can be learned.  

Questions to consider:

What is the difference between pride and humility?  
  • Pride is when the focus in on oneself.  "Proud people believe that life is all about them - their happiness, their accomplishments, and their worth."  (Pride to Humility, p. 5) 
  • "Humble people are focused on God and then others, not on self." (Pride to Humility, p. 16)
What does humility have to do with the Gospel? 
Why is it hard to be humble?

Verses

"Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness."

This verse is a very simple, repeated message.  This life is not about us.  It is about our loving, faithful God and His glory. 

God, grow in me an ever-growing desire to glorify you and not myself.  Remind me over again of your steadfast love nd faithfulness.

"And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."

While the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness because of their disobedience, God humbled them, even in how He provided food - an unknown food, manna.  Their forty years of wandering in the wilderness served God's purpose.

God, help never forget that you are working the circumstances of our lives for your glory and our good, even the lowest of times.

Thus says the Lord:
"Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.

God is awesome - so much bigger than the heavens and the earth and he looks for those are humble, broken, and tremble at His word. 

God, you are over heaven and earth.  You have made everything.  God, make me into one you desire, one who is humbe, is broken over my sin, and trembles at Your word.  Make me yours because I am yours.

"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love," 

Paul urges the Ephesians to live out the life the Christian life.  And this is humble, gentle, patient, and loving.   

God, thank you for saving and sanctifying me.  Help me and our church to live out your work in our lives.  God, help me grow in humility, gentleness, patience, and love for others.  Amen.

"Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."

Once again, a clear reminder that we must humble ourselves before God in this life.  This not merely a message for "super" Christians.  This is a message for every Christian.  Clothe yourselves with humility. An observation someone in class made was they had never considered the "casting all your anxieties on him" in the context of humbling oneselves before our mighty God.   

God, you have clearly told us that you oppose the proud but give grace to the humble.  Help me to see who I am light of who you are.  Grow in me a patient, hopeful, humble trust in You, the one who works things out according to your sovereign plans and in your sovereign timing. 

Moving from Pride to Humility (Pride to Humility, p. 26)

  1. Humble yourself with the Gospel and a cross-centered perspective (James 4:7)
  2. Pray for God to search your heart (by His Spirit with His Word) and to help you repent of pride and grow in humility (Psalm 139).
  3. Study Jesus (His earthly example, especially in the Gospels, Matthew 11:28-30). Focus on His humility.
  4. Ask others if you come across as prideful in any way.  You would do well to have a few people close to you look over your self-evaluations of pride and humility and give their thoughts on your assessment. Remember, pride can be blinding.
  5. Spend as much focused time as possible worshiping God (e.g., praising, praying, reading, and meditating). Be sure to center on the love of God demonstrated at the Cross.
  6. Practice the "one-another" principles.
  7. Work to put off pride and put on humility at the level of your thoughts and motives.
  8. Work to put off pride and put on humility at the level of your communication.
  9. Work to put off pride and put on humility at the level of your deeds.
  10. Have the mindset that humility must be a way of life (Philippians 2:3).
The next mark is JOY!

Additional Humility Resources:

5.30.2024

Biblical Counseling MIndset



Biblical Counseling Mindset  - ATMOSPHERE OF GRACE / CULTURE OF DISCIPLESHIP

Pray that God's Word will be faithfully preached and God's people will lovingly care for one another.

Biblical counseling in a local church setting allows the church to offer real hope to church members, regular attendees, and the surrounding community.
The Sunday preaching and teaching are foundational in helping people understand and live out this hope. The BIBLICAL DOCTRINE taught and the ATMOSPHERE OF GRACE experienced during the church meeting time is essential because this is a standard meeting time for everyone. Throughout the Pastoral, Epistles reminds Timothy and Titus to teach and live the truth before people. Specifically, in 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul tells Timothy to share what he has learned with faithful men who will share it with others. The preaching and teaching prepare a congregation of "mini-preachers" to proclaim the Gospel to their families, neighborhoods, and workplaces. The church's ministry on Sunday is so much more than just the pulpit ministry. It is also a "pew" ministry. Each member is a minister.
The ATMOSPHERE OF GRACE goes beyond Sunday meeting times. A church body with a growing biblical counseling mindset also has a CULTURE OF DISCIPLESHIP and SOUL CARE that is marked by a love for one another (John 13:14, 34, 35; 15:12, 17; Romans 12:10; 15:14; 16:16; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 5:21; Hebrews 3:13). This CULTURE OF DISCIPLESHIP is Spirit-led, relationship-driven, not program-directed.
This ATMOSPHERE OF GRACE, CULTURE OF DISCIPLESHIP, and DIRECTIVE COUNSELING is an every-member church ministry.
Biblical Counseling Mindset – DIRECTIVE COUNSEL
Pray that EACH MEMBER OF TRINITY BAPTIST CHURCH would be a biblical counselor/disciple-maker by speaking biblical truth into one another's lives.
"The body of Christ is built up because the men and women in a church family openly acknowledge their pain, hurts, and struggles. There is mutual edification. This is biblical counseling." Biblical counseling is not a silo ministry. It is not a ministry that is isolated from other ministries. The counseling ministry and discipleship ministry are two separate areas of ministry. The biblical counseling ministry of a church is interwoven throughout its disciple-making mandate.
A church will never have enough highly trained, certified counselors to meet all its counseling needs. If we genuinely believe in biblical community and the priesthood of believers, then EVERY MEMBER of the church needs to be equipped to "speak the truth in love to one another at every level in the body of believers." Every disciple is a disciple maker.
Every growing Trinity Baptist Church member needs to be involved in DIRECTIVE COUNSELING. This is counseling that is life-on-life. It happens through friendship, Sunday School classes, small groups, conversations before church, after church, and throughout the week. DIRECTIVE COUNSELING aims to encourage and obey by speaking the truth in love. Each member is a counselor. The question is, "What kind of counselor are you?"
The quotes and the basic idea of this post have been taken from Biblical Counseling and the Church.

Biblical Counseling Mindset - CORRECTIVE COUNSEL
Pray people would seek help when needed, and pray members of Trinity Baptist Church would seek training to become even more equipped biblical counselors.
There are times when more intentional, focused help is needed. Someone may need specific help with parenting, communication, finances, or other ongoing issues. If a church member has been doing DIRECTIVE COUNSEL, he or she may notice the same problems in a person's life. CORRECTIVE COUNSEL is meant to help those "stuck in sin." At this level, the counselor has more specific education and training to help those struggling. Individuals giving DIRECTIVE COUNSEL can come alongside the individual as a helper/advocate at the CORRECTIVE COUNSEL level.

Biblical Counseling Mindset – INTENSIVE COUNSEL
Intensive Counsel - Pray that counselors speak God's truth and have Godly wisdom while helping those struggling with complex, intense situations. Also, pray that those working with intense problems will seek the help they need.

INTENSIVE COUNSEL is focused on issues that have become life-dominating or tragic. Some examples include addictions, significant fear, and potential divorce.
Because of the nature of the problems, INTENSIVE COUNSEL takes more time and requires a counselor with more in-depth training. Most people think of The level of counseling when they hear the word "counseling." The challenge in the local church setting is helping the congregation understand that if people sought and gave more counsel at the DIRECTIVE COUNSEL and CORRECTIVE COUNSEL levels, it would help with how much INTENSIVE COUNSEL needs to be given.

5.22.2024

Marks of a Christian Summer Study



This Summer's Combined Study is "Marks of a Christian."
We will study 13 marks/characteristics of a Christian - the Fruit of the Spirit and several other Christ-like qualities.

There are 13 marks/characteristics we will go through this summer. 
They are the Fruit of the Spirit from  Galatians 5:22-23 and several key virtues from a book entitled Time for the Talk.  This book is very helpful in leading sons into manhood, but the 6 virtues are good ones for parents to teach and model for their boys and girls. They are also great virtues for all of us to live out.  You can read the link for a better understanding of the book.  During the July combined parents/children time, the focus will be on using those four virtues in parenting.
If you want to read more about this book go to drodgersjr.blogspot.com/2014/09/time-for-talk-leading-your-son-into.html.

Each class will be designed to 
  • help you understand a mark better
  • know how to pray regarding that mark
  • equip the church to live that mark out.


Here is the schedule
    June 2... Humility 
    June 9... Love
    June 16... Joy 
    June 23... Peace
    June 30... Patience  

JULY WILL BE FAMILY COMBINED  CLASS
    July 7... Courage
    July 14... Purity
    July 21... Faithfulness
    July 28... Selflessness

    August 4... Kindness
    August 11... Goodness
    August 18... Gentleness 
    August 25... Self-Control

Additional "Marks of a Christian" resources
The Fruitful Life by Jerry Bridges Hoopla  |  Amazon
The Character of Christ  Amazon


For all the Marks of Christian posts, click HERE

5.20.2024

Senior Breakfast 2024

At the end of this post, I included two great songs, "Promises" and "His Glory and My Good," that tie this all together.

I want to begin this devotional with a harsh truth.

Seniors, this day is not about you.
Parents, this day is not about your child or you.
This day is about God and his love and faithfulness.



Hello!  My name is Dave Rodgers.

I attended Penn State for my first two years as an undergrad. 

This is my wife, Krista, a lifelong Ohio State fan who was born and raised in Ohio.
Attended Cedarville University in Ohio.

When we moved to Toledo, I learned I needed to pick a team to root for in THE GAME; for family peace, I chose Ohio State over Michigan.

This is our then eighth-grade son, Josiah, a hardcore Ohio State fan who is now...

I am planning to attend the University of Michigan this fall. 

Some things don’t go as you expected.  BUT WE ARE EXCITED FOR JOSIAH!

I want to share another one of those “Some things don’t go as you expected” stories.

In 2017, we moved here so I could take a pastoral position.  Things didn’t go as planned.  In the summer of 2018, I was no longer in that ministry role and was trying to figure out what God had next for me and my family.
Northpointe Christian families and teachers were a blessing and help at that time. 

I want to share one example; some graduating senior guys might remember this. 

Mr. Molda was coaching the middle school boys' soccer team, and he knew the Rodgers family was going through a challenging time, so at practice, he wanted to pray for the Rodgers family.  I am very thankful for the people who pray for me and my family. 

Mr. Molda called Nick Rogers up to pray for his dad, who recently lost his job. 

THE PROBLEM:  Nick is not my son, and Nick’s dad didn’t lose his job. 

This is a picture of Dave Rogers, R-O-G-E-R-S, and 
me, Dave Rodgers, R-O-D-G-E-R-S.

The kids and Mr. Molda recognized the mistake. Mr. Molda called Josiah up and prayed for our family, and I know many teachers and Northpointe families, including some in this room, and others who prayed for our family during that time.

Some things don’t go as you expected.

Whether that is a planned prayer time with a middle school boys' soccer team  OR
Moving your family to a new state only makes things work out differently than you thought.

But remember this: God needs to be trusted and lived for no matter what!!

I don’t want to spend the rest of my time telling family stories. 
I want each of you, SENIORS, PARENTS, TEACHERS, and ANYONE ELSE in this room to remember ETERNAL, ESSENTIAL life-changing truth.

Follow your heart is NOT THAT TRUTH. 
But you will hear it and similar messages in movies, songs, graduation cards, and many other places.

This world will tell you over and over again...

  • Do what you want to do.
  • You be you.
  • Follow Your heart.
  • There is nothing better than celebrating all you’ve accomplished.
  • What lies behind and before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
  • Your future is bright & your possibilities are endless. Best wishes as you follow your own path.

This morning, I want to tell you not to listen to Disney, romance novels, social media influencers, or self-help speakers and preachers.
Don’t listen to the world.

Listen to God and His Word.



Remember Biblical truths like Psalm 115:1

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory for the sake of your steadfast love & your faithfulness.


Don’t follow your heart.

Let’s pray and submit our plans to the God of the Universe. 
The one who created you.
The one who sent his son to die for you while you were his enemy.
The one who sent the Holy Spirit to help you live for God’s Glory, God’s way.

But you may be wondering, “What do I pray?”  “How do I pray?”

Pray the truth of Scripture.  Pray verses like Psalm 115:1

Not to us, O LORD, not to us,
but to your name, give glory for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.

This morning and every day of your life, pray.

Not to us, O LORD, not to us,
but to your name, give glory for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.

Remember, life may seem reasonable and okay when you live for yourself. It may seem fun fulfilling,
However, it can only be truly and eternally good when lived for God’s glory in Christ Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

So, on your graduation day, what is your next step? College, work, a gap year, or something else?

The best next step is to trust in God more.  It is to hope in Christ more.  It is to lean upon the power of the Holy Spirit more.  It is to remember a great Bible verse.

Psalm 115:1

Not to us, O LORD, not to us,
but to your name, give glory for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.

Now, parents, on this proud day, whether it is your first child graduating or your last child, after 35 years at Northpointe.  If you desire to live out the Christian faith, and I pray that it is, but I know that might not be the case for everyone, I want to remind you what your God-given goal has always been and will continue to be.  I remember a quote from years ago that I keep returning to as a parent and pastor of children and family ministry.


“Our goal in parenting is not ultimately for our kids to get a great education, be great athletes, or find a great husband, a great spouse.  OUR GOAL IS FOR THEM TO LOVE A GREAT GOD.”

Parents, may that be our goal, and may Psalm 115:1 be our prayer for our children and us.

Not to us, O LORD, not to us,

but to your name, give glory for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.

As we move to a time of prayer, NO, as we move forward in a life of prayer,
 let’s also remember Philippians 1:9-11 and how it ends.

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.


Promises



His Glory and My Good