Thursday, September 29, 2011

October 2, 2011 at Dakota

...we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience... (Colossians 1:9-13) 

Many of you who have been consistently attending DCC in recent times will be able to attest to the fact that your pastor is fired-up about grace! I have always been enthusiastic where the gospel is concerned but lately something new has happened in me, I believe God has opened my eyes and given me a greater understanding of His merciful grace - the result has been revolutionary, exhilarating and oh so liberating! I can’t stop thinking about what Jesus has done for me and this obsession is invading every area of my life. In the shadow of the cross; everything comes into proper perspective, narcissistic ideals collapse, selfish ambitions fade, eternal treasures loom large; in the words of Tim McGraw: “I like it, I love it, I want some more of it!

Please join me this Sunday at Dakota for “more of it” and by “it” - I mean GRACE!

In “Grace Transforms 4” we will continue to look at just how grace becomes an agent of real change in the Christians life. Grace transforms: (a) When the gospel remains central. (b) When the gospel is not turned back into law. And (c) When we understand the great exchange - substitutionary atonement. More on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

If God is For Us

The Christian life is not first dependent on what's in our heart for God but what's in God's heart for us.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:38-39)

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Making Peace

Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

There is a difference between making peace and avoiding conflict.
My natural tendency is toward “playing nice” over enduring strife.
The avoidance of conflict, the ignoring of divisive issues; these do not result in peace.
A cold war stand-off is not peace.
Real peacemakers sometimes have to stir up trouble before peace can be reached.
I am not saying the other end of the spectrum is right either, some people are not looking for peace they just want a fight, but consider this:
Even in our own salvation before we have peace with God we have conviction of sin, repentance, and bowing to Lordship at the cross of Christ.

If we were there in the temple that day, when Jesus was flipping over the money-changers tables, would we have thought this behavior suitable for the Son of God?
Jesus is showing us here His passion for all things sacred, he is showing us his justice on behalf of the victims of this world especially victims of religious systems, and he is showing His ability to carry out judgment and penalty for sin.

What did these temple service providers do to so enrage the passion of Jesus?

a)     They took sacred things and treated them as common.
It wasn’t that they were selling animals for the sacrifice, those services were needed, it wasn’t that they were exchanging money, money had to be exchanged, the problem Jesus had with it was that they were doing it inside the temple.
Do we do this?
Our bodies, our words, our treatment of each other, marriage, worship, sacraments – Just asking

b)    They caused the people to despise the temple sacrifice.
They charged a temple tax that was the equivalent of 2 days pay.
The tax had to be paid in “shekels of the sanctuary” because Jewish coins were acceptable to God, foreign coins were not acceptable. The exchange rate was about 1 days pay.
The animals were for sale for temple sacrifices to the Lord.
The animals offered to the Lord are required by law to be without spot or blemish. A fee was charged to have a temple official inspect your animal.
Animals brought from outside the temple were almost always rejected as unfit for the Lord.

The thing set up by God to make closeness to Him possible (substitutionary atonement) is turned into a source of resentment toward God because of the actions of His ministers.
Do we do this?
(You need Jesus AND… fill in pet behavior ,,, to really be saved) Membership, tithing, covenants, legalism, performance based approval – Just asking

c)     They were motivated by profit and not service to God or the people.
Jesus made this point clearly to the disciples as we later learn in Peter’s writing.

1 Peter 5:1-3
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
Do we do this?
Mansions, private jets, entourages, limos, multi site, special treatment – Just asking

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday September 25, 2011

Welcome to Dakota Community Church

Grace, Freedom, Laughter

We are a Christ centred, cross focused body of believers gathered to celebrate our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This meeting is about Him and His great victory and it is most definitely not about us!

This mornings sermon entitled “Grace Transforms” is about the life altering power of grace in the life of a believer, please follow along by making use of the links below.

Scripture for today’s sermon:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Heavenly Minded

Read history & you find that Christians who did most for the present world were those who thought most of the next 
 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

September 25, 2011 at Dakota

...we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. (Colossians 1:9-13)

Paul is clearly fired up as he tells the Colossian Church that He has been praying for them and asking God on their behalf for what all believers long for – changed lives!

He wants them living worthily, pleasing God with their lifestyles, bearing fruit, growing, becoming stronger, more tenacious, patient, joyful and thankful to God. Paul wants the Colossians; and all subsequent believers down through the ages, to know the life transforming power of the gospel.

After the summer break we are now returning to our trek through the Book of Ephesians by picking up where we left off in the “Grace Transforms” sermon series. To date we have looked at the origins and the definition of biblical grace. I hope you will join me this Sunday morning as we turn our attention to just how exactly “grace” becomes an agent of actual life change. See you Sunday.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge— because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Because of the grace given to us in Christ we lack no spiritual gift and He keeps us strong to the end.

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Pastor's Kids

"One of the reasons pastors' kids have the reputation they do is due to their fathers' constant public exploitation of them." - Burke Parsons

It is difficult not to abuse the steady supply of illustrations from family life and I fear that I am guilty in this department for sure. I do have a great relationship with all three of my sons though so I guess they have forgiven me. 

Any thoughts?

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday September 18, 2011

Welcome to Dakota Community Church

Grace, Freedom, Laughter

We are a Christ centred Church coming togeather to worship the One who has paid the ultimate price to redeem us for Himself.

This morning we are looking at our gospel proclamation. Has the message of the church changed? Have men evolved beyond superstitious notions like sin and repentance? Has the mystery of the ages been re-hidden? Has the commanded way of salvation been modified, revoked, or expanded in any way?

Scripture for today’s sermon:

Friday, September 16, 2011

September 18, 2011

Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. (Acts 17:22-23)

The Apostle Paul is very bold in his declaration to the men of Athens. In the past God overlooked the religious ignorance of men - but no longer. At one time offering worship to a false or unknown deity went largely unchallenged by the one true and living God of heaven. Where once he worked primarily in and through one covenant nation; now He commands ALL men EVERYWHERE to repent! Now the mystery of the ages is being revealed! Now the day of judgement is declared appointed and proven

Fast forward 2000 years.
What about our day? What about the modern men of Athens, or New York City, or Winnipeg?

Has the message changed? Have men evolved beyond superstitious notions like sin and repentance? Has the mystery of the ages been re-hidden? Has the commanded way of salvation been modified, revoked, or expanded in any way?

I hope you will join me this Sunday as we examine this message that has been handed down to us. The good news! This same gospel that we have received; we are now boldly commissioned to proclaim.

Monday, September 12, 2011

After a Hard Sunday

I stood in the pulpit to preach three times yesterday, small crowds, some clearly exhausted from hard weeks or late Saturday nights. Fidgety bottoms and restless hands, to many hasty parades to the restroom; are they thinking about the last gasps of summer going on just a few short steps - or perhaps one, now regretful, decision away?
I am the dungeon master in some twisted new version of the inquisition, forcing my captives to sit through a gruelling ninety minutes of torture, first the singing and then the sermon; droning on and on about this God they cannot see and who seems to be drifting further and further from cultural relevance. (Foolishness I know but this is where I go in my obsession with self.)
The anger rises like bile in the back of my throat - vomit is beyond holding down. My legalistic heritage longs to be turned loose:
“Where is everybody, it’s back to school time, what about back to church?” 
“What of sacrificial love, of duty, of commitment to body and ministry?”
“How can they treat me like this, why don’t they get it?”
I struggle to stay on task... to remember the gospel - “It’s not about me, it’s not about me, it is NOT about ME!” 
Soon enough the job is done. 
Anger gives way - about 18 hours early this time - to my old friend; despair. My wife can see it; hanging on me like a heavy winter coat on this hot September afternoon, there is compassion in her sad eyes but somehow that only makes it worse. I long for solitude, if only the earth would open up and swallow me like Korah and his fellow rebels, where is that hiding place, that “cleft for me” in the rock of ages; please, please Lord Jesus... make it stop. 
It doesn’t stop.
There are wounds that need healing salve, heartaches that need compassionate ears, tired legs that only need a drive, lonely souls in want of company; and desperate situations in need of prayer and answers. It’s all too much for me; I must have gotten it wrong. If God called me to this shouldn’t I be better at it and if He didn’t call me... then why - even now - do I love it so much?
Gently, gently the turning comes. I am reminded of the point; it always seems to return to this with me. Martin Luther said that sin is: “homo incurvatus in se”, humanity curved in on itself - this certainly rings true of me. 
A parishioner skipping church, a sullen family member, that idiot in traffic, my phone ringing now of all times, the Bombers losing... back to back... to Saskatchewan; it’s all about me. I am hopelessly, endlessly, selfishly, curved in on myself - a sinner.
Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord! 
The gospel penetrates and sets me free from myself one more time! Oh - how many times will I need to be reminded?
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness ...for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1-3)
He leads me, He guides me, He puts me back on the path, He grants me rest, and He restores my soul all the while reminding me that it’s not about me. It’s for His Name’s sake!
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday September 11, 2011

Welcome to Dakota Community Church

Grace, Freedom, Laughter

We are a Christ centred, cross focused community of believers united by the good news of salvation by grace through faith!

This morning we are wrapping up the “God’s Incommunicable Attributes” sermon series with a look at another of the characteristics of God that we do not share - “Eternity” - God has no beginning and is without end!

Scripture for today’s sermon: