December 6, 2013 by
Categories: Articles | Weekly roundup
We are so grateful for all the moms who sacrifically serve their families. This video captures the beauty, joy, and sacrifice wrapped up in motherhood.
December 4, 2013 by
Categories: Articles | Church planting
Jon Payne is the lead pastor of Redemption Hill Church, which was just recently planted in Round Rock, Texas. We asked Jon to share what God is teaching him as a church planter. These lessons Jon shares are wise words for anyone in leadership, not just church planters.
Church planting is going to school under the wise instruction of God. Every day, every week, every month he is teaching and training and helping me, helping me grow in my understanding of him in the schoolhouse of planting a church. Here are a few of the lessons I have received so far.
Know what to build before you start building. The temptation to craft messages and structures to create numerical success or to appease the widest audience is never greater than in the first, vulnerable days of a church plant. Building on Biblical values and gospel centrality means accepting in advance that not all interested guests will want to stay.
Don't let your heart rise and fall with attendance and the bank account. Security and impact seem to be tied up with enough money and enough people - yet unless the Lord builds this house we will be laboring in vain.
Beware of success that tempts you to neglect prayer. Seeing immediate fruit can lead to complacency in prayer, long before there is complacency in study or leadership.
Beware of disappointments that lead to anxiety and micromanagement. Godly effort and leadership is marked by peace. Pride causes worry and demands perfection.
Delegation is an act of worshiping God. Trusting God means trusting his grace at work in others - each fulfilling their own role in the body in their own God-given way.
Encouragement and thankfulness is a constant priority. Team members quickly feel the burden of the church planting task and need the strength communicated by a leader constantly pointing out how God is using them. Also, be much more concerned about preserving your team's joy and faith than upholding your ministry's appearance for guests.
Don't underestimate the familiar moments that happen every week. Anticipate God using this particular sermon, song choice, counsel, comfort to the suffering, spontaneous ministry moment, public humility, display of faith, repeated emphasis on the gospel. Church defining moments don't always advertise themselves.
Build for 100 years from now, or until Jesus returns. Your first week, month, year, sermon series, failures, successes, and new members classes, will not define the final testimony of your church. You're building for the long run. The Word, the Gospel, and the Holy Spirit will bear fruit. Don't get dismayed by the little hills and valleys in the various decades along the way.
Highlight partnership for your church. Celebrate your partnership with the theologically orthodox church of history past and a family of supportive churches in the present. Prepare your church for the potential of your own serious failure by recommending the wisdom of leaders that they can trust if you fall. Make sure they know who to call if if you die or dare to turn away from the Lord. Don't build the church's ultimate confidence into your faithfulness.
Enjoy true fellowship and friendship with your team, whoever they are. Receive correction, advice, encouragement, and accountability and enjoy moments of fun when you are not making church decisions or leading a meeting. You need Biblical community.
Enjoy your wife and children. Give time to your family, even in the earliest days of church planting. Even when you'd love a little more sermon prep. Even when you have phone calls to return. There will always be more to do, but prioritizing the family requires a constant choice to leave the "more" in the hands of the Lord.
Pursue joy in the Lord as your strength. The gospel is good news. You're going to heaven even after the end of the worst day. The worst and best emails don't define your identity. You always have hope to give people. You always have hope for yourself.
If I really had it all together, this would be a list of seven or ten lessons. But I don't have it all together, and I'm not sure which lessons to leave out. I'm grateful for all of them, as I am for the church planters that have gone before me and passed them on to me. I'm most grateful for the Lord's gracious patience to keep teaching me as I go to school each day.
Teach us, Lord, we are listening.
December 2, 2013 by
Categories: Articles | Worship
Today and today only ALL Sovereign Grace Music digital albums are only $5. Five dollars! You can't even purchase a Value Meal at McDonald's for five dollars any more. Some of the albums available are:
And many more. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL LIST.
What are you waiting for?
November 26, 2013 by
Categories: eBook | Resources
Today only, Amazon is offering an free Kindle eBook version of Marty Machowski's Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God.
Marty is a pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church and authored The Gospel Story for Kids curriculum. Long Story Short is a family devotional program designed to explain God’s plan of salvation through the Old Testament and is suitable for children from preschool through high school.
Enjoy a free download of the eBook today!
HT: Gospel eBooks
November 22, 2013 by
Relate is a conference that Sovereign Grace Church of Gilbert, Arizona began in 2012 with a desire to create lasting, Christ-centered friendships among Christian young adults from various cities and churches through biblical teaching and intentional fellowship.
What You'll Learn at Relate
Relate 2014: A Godly Life will explore the biblical calling of godliness. If you are a Christian, the Bible calls you to live a godly life. Yet, between the influences of our sinful hearts and godless culture, our vision can easily go blurry. The Bible, however, is not blurry when it comes to describing godliness. We want to explore the depths of God’s Word and remind ourselves what it means to yearn for and seek after this wonderful yet difficult calling.
The messages from C.J. Mahaney, Bob Kauflin, Rich Richardson, and Jason Hansen will each touch on a different aspect of this biblical reality:
A Godly Life is a Gospel-Centered Life
A Godly Life is a Life of Worship
A Godly Life is a Life of Discipline
A Godly Life is a Life of a Sojourner and Pilgrim
A Godly Life is a Life of Suffering
We hope you walk away more encouraged and excited to live your life for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ as you seek to grow in godliness.
Registration is now open, so sign up now to join us for Relate 2014!
When: January 9–11, 2014
Where: Sovereign Grace Church of Gilbert, Arizona
Who: For singles age 18+
November 11, 2013 by
Categories: Articles | Disaster relief
On Friday as massive typhoon hit the Philippines, causing enormous amounts of damage. According to CBS News, "Authorities said at least 2 million people in 41 provinces had been affected by Friday's disaster and at least 23,000 houses had been damaged or destroyed. Large areas along the coast had been transformed into twisted piles of debris, blocking roads and trapping decomposing bodies underneath. Ships were tossed inland, cars and trucks swept out to sea and bridges and ports washed away."
Sovereign Grace has had a long and fruitful partnership with Nilo Ebo and Pete Valdez, both of whom are pastors in the Philippines. Nilo attended the Sovereign Grace Pastor's College in 2011-2012. Tony Walsh and Lynn Baird have traveled to the Philippines many times to minister. Just a few weeks ago Bob Kauflin and a team of folks traveled to the Philippines to lead a worship conference.
We have been in close communication with both Nilo and Pete over the past several days, asking how we might pray for them and help them. Pete emailed us and said:
Entire Bohol have no water and power. Water is dependent on electricity. We heard that it will take four days or more before it will be back. We will run out drinking water. Heavy rain made many areas unpassable and many dangerous landslides.
We came home from giving relief last Monday meeting heavy rains and lightning and the bridge we passed collapsed after 30 minutes. Matthew's vehicle was almost washed away by the current with our children in. We are dependent on Leyte for power which was badly hit.
Would you please allocate help for a generator and for basics. There are a lots of people needing blankets, mosquito nets, food is still in demand and water, I have posted photos in Facebook for our trips.
I visited and gave relief for the Bajaos this morning because they have no food, no water and they were almost in peril during the typhoon. They have no jobs because it's dangerous to catch fish now.
So many are calling for help from different towns and barangay. All of these are by God's grace opportunities to exalt the gospel and serve. For now I need to look over my family because of the typhoon then we will resume to dist
ribute as God provides and as roads are passable.
Thanks for all your care and help and prayers!
Nilo emailed us and said:
The typhoon that hit us was the strongest in the world this year, 330 kph. It battered the churches in Leyte, Masbate, Tuburan, and Bonbon. I believe it also caused great damaged to the churches in Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Bukidnon and the rest there. Communication is not possible since cell sights were shattered, and no electrical power yet in these places.
The northern part of Cebu was directly hit by super strong typhoon code name "yolanda." But it affected us here also, with trees uprooted, housed demolished, roofs of certain houses ripped apart, landslides, blocking roads, making it impassable for commuters, and flooding in some areas. and knocking down electrical post. But Thank God it's over!
Church members here had to evacuate to safer grounds, there houses made of light materials have been demolished by the strong winds. We still don't have electrical power here, although in some areas in the city power has been restored. I want to visit church members and give whatever help I can provide. These people need water and relief goods. I also want to visit the churches in the provinces to distribute goods from donors to the pastors and their families.
Thank you for your prayers! We will appreciate whatever help or assistance you can extend. Do continue to keep us in your prayer.
Please be praying for Pete, Nilo, and the Philippines. The recovery and relief effort there is massive. Pete, Nilo, and the other Christians on the islands have many opportunities to serve those affected by the typhoon.
Our church in Pasadena is spearheading an effort to collect money for relief. Would you consider giving to the effort? Donations can be sent to Sovereign Grace Church, Pasadena, via their online giving (marked Disaster Relief).
November 8, 2013 by
Categories: Weekly roundup
Here are some things that caught our eye this week:
Live in or near Indianapolis, Indiana? Bob Kauflin is hosting The Gathering Midwest there on December 7. HT: Worship Matters
Sovereign Grace churches love expository preaching. Read an article from Don Carson sharing 6 reasons not to abandon this value.
Hear from John Piper on reaching the peoples with the gospel and the new student missions conference, Cross.
Ray Ortlund shared some thoughts on Christ as our substitute and example.
John Frame's new Systematic Theology is available for 50% off for a limited time. HT: Justin Taylor
At our recent Pastors Conference we noticed a lot of guys sporting serious beards. Which got us to wondering: did Duck Dynasty invade the conference?
Judge for yourself from these photos:
November 8, 2013 by
We're big fans of the newly released Gospel Transformation Bible. In fact, we gave away a bunch of copies at our recent Pastors Conference. Today we want to give away three more copies.
Use form at the end of this post to enter, and we'll pick three winners next week.
Watch a video introduction to the Gospel Transformation Bible:
November 7, 2013 by
Categories: Church planting
Last night was a night 15 years in the making. I had the privilege of participating in the first official public meeting of Redeeming Grace Church, Nashville!
Celebrating the Faithfulness of God
God has been so kind to us. A year ago this fall, my family and I relocated to Franklin, Tennessee with the desire to help Dave Odom plant a gospel-centered church in the greater Nashville area. The Lord provided an incredible job for me, and I’ve been working with the Provisions Group in downtown Franklin for a year.
In many ways, this church plant is something that my wife and I have committed to the Lord in prayer for over 15 years. So last night was a very special night for us. A year ago, I would have never dreamed we would have 103 people attend our first meeting, but God has been very gracious to us.
Dave Odom, the lead pastor, is a gift from God to us and an answer to prayer. It was such a joy to hear him preach on the person and work of Jesus as we launched Redeeming Grace Church. For the first few months, Dave is going to continue to preach on the person and work of Jesus. May our focus always be on Christ!
Standing next to my long-time, close friend Howard Varnedoe and worshipping the Lord together on this plant is simply a dream come true for me and my family (and another answer to my prayers). I continually thank God for my rich friendship with Howard and his Christ-saturated influence on my life.
Our good friend, Seth Rosen, led us in worship, and we sang about the faithfulness of God. Seth is a very gifted song writer and worship leader, and the acoustics in this small venue are really incredible; it was so wonderful to sing together in praise to our faithful God!
Together on Mission
“As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight” (Psalm 16:3)
I love these people, and I love our mission together:
We exist to exalt, enjoy, and extend the grace of God in Christ.
May Jesus Christ be exalted through Redeeming Grace Church, and may many sinners come to find refuge in the Savior as they walk through our doors!
If you are in the Franklin / South Nashville area, we would love for you to join us. We are currently meeting on Saturday evenings at 6pm at Hillview Baptist Church (1642 Lewisburg Pike, Franklin, TN 37064).
Craig Cooper is an associate pastor of Redeeming Grace Church. Craig graduated from the Sovereign Grace Pastors College in 1999. He then served as a pastor with Cornerstone Church of Knoxville for nearly 8 years. He was ordained in 2011 and relocated to the greater Nashville area in 2012 where he currently works as a Senior Recruiter with the Provisions Group in downtown Franklin, as well as serving to assist Dave Odom in planting Redeeming Grace Church. Craig and his wife, Laura, live in Franklin, Tennessee and have four children.