Category

Uncategorized

What This Is and What It Means to You

By Ministry, Uncategorized

Easter (Resurrection Sunday) is a holiday when church pews are filled to the brim – and wonderfully so because the Easter story is Christianity 101.1. We have all sinned.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.Romans 3:23


2. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16

God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God.II Corinthians 5:21

3. He was buried and rose again on the 3rd day.

“…In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a livinghope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,” I Peter 1:3-4

God…In His great mercy has given us 

• new birth (we were first born as human beings, we can now be born again as new creations in Christ)

• into a living hope

• through (by) the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

• into (and the result is) an inheritance* that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you (who believe)

*And this inheritance is as sure and eternal as Jesus’ own resurrection life – which is why and what we will celebrate on Resurrection Sunday!

Do you want the living hope of eternal life?

If so, please contact anyone at the church office and they will pray with you and help with any questions you may have.

(405) 720-1449

Who Will Roll Away the Stone? (Pt.1)

By Ministry, Uncategorized

““Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?Mark 16:3b (ESV)

On what was quite possibly the darkest morning of their lives, the day they thought their dream was dead, several ladies wrestled with what looked like an impossible situation. If they got any sleep it was with tears in their eyes and the question, “How could this have happened?” running laps in their minds.

In those early morning hours, when the sky was dark and their hope was darker, they put one foot in front of the other and faced their disappointment.

The tear stained cheeks.

Tired, red eyes.

The hope…

Dreams of purpose and freedom.

They laid everything on the line to follow this man. And now it was over…

Have You Been There?

What now?

How are we going to?

It may be circumstances beyond your control that led you there. When my Father-In-Law died suddenly we were spinning and somehow crushed all at the same time. It felt like we couldn’t breathe, or think, or feel anything but pain… For weeks and months.

Sin may have brought you there. The unfaithfulness of our heart that had its way with our will until we willingly followed wherever our lusts led.

You may be feeling, even right now, the stone is blocking the rest of your life.

Your heart may be crushed, your hopes and dreams may appear long gone. Like these ladies, your cheeks may be salty from the tears. Your world may be spinning and you too are wondering how life goes on.

Who will roll away the stone for us …”

In their worry and grief, weeping and aching God had already dealt with the stone and so much more.

Listen to the beautiful words of Scripture and let them wash over you, wherever you find your heart.

And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large.” (Mark 16:4)

Maybe You Need to Look up

May you see the hope in the resurrection. Today, fight to look up from your hurt and troubles to see this great God who is mighty to save, already at work, and merciful beyond our wildest imaginations.

Because, everyone looks better in circles

By Ministry, Uncategorized

 

Our guess is you probably could not name all the Elders… Am I right? Well, we want to reintroduce them to you while bringing a new candidate for your consideration.

JermalHEAD

Meet Jermal Bridges.

Jermal is being brought before the church as an Elder Candidate. You will have the opportunity to confirm him at the Annual Meeting on March 6. Please get to know Jermal and his family.

He was born on an Air Force base in Japan.  Besides living in Hawaii and a couple of other states, his family moved to several different places outside the United States.  After graduating at Kadena High School in Okinawa, he attended San Diego State University before transferring to the University of Oklahoma.  He has lived in Oklahoma since then, and considers Oklahoma home.

While attending the University of Oklahoma, he began attending Everlasting Life Baptist Church in Norman.

Jermal and his precious family

Jermal and his precious family

He realized that for a long time he knew ABOUT GOD, but he did not KNOW GOD.  God was gracious and gave Jermal the faith to KNOW Him.  Jermal came to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior during his sophomore year in college.

He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with three degrees: Accounting, Management, and MIS. He now works as a Database Administrator for a consulting company.   Jermal enjoys video games, superhero shows/comics, eating out, and hanging out with the family.

Jermal married his high school sweetheart Ceretta, while both of them were attending the University of Oklahoma.  Ceretta was born in North Carolina, graduated from Kadena High School, and then earned her degree in early childhood education from the University of Oklahoma. She currently teaches at an elementary school.  She loves to teach, sing, and work on big home improvement projects. The Lord has blessed Jermal and Ceretta with three wonderful children.

Jermal is currently serving as a co-teacher in the Next Steps class during Adult Bible Fellowship.

And now for the rest of these guys…

And some of the areas they are serving.

MartyBALL

 

Marty Brown*

Teaching pastor/elder; Mission Oversight Team; co-teaches the “Next Steps” ABF class

 

 

 

Howard Geis

Music pastor/elder; teaches Senior Adult 65 & Better ABF class

 

 

RockyBALL

 

Rocky Hails*

Ministries pastor/elder; Adult Bible Fellowship; co-teaches Hope from the Scriptures class; 4Men

 

DavidHEAD

 

David Holmes

Lay-elder; teaches in the student ministry (grades 7-12)

 

 

 

Todd Jackson

Lay-elder; co-teacher in “The Potter’s Clay” ABF class

 

 

JimBALL

 

Jim Jackson

Family pastor/elder; preaching; teaches 5/6th grade Sunday school

 

 

JebaHEAD

 

Asir (Jeba) Jebaraj*

Lay-elder; co-teaches “The Potter’s Clay” ABF class

 

 

KickerBALL

 

Chad “Kicker” Kositzky

Pastor/elder working with Student (7-12 grades) & Children; occasionally helps lead music worship

 

 

WayneHEAD

 

Wayne Marley

Lay-elder; small group leader (previous)

 

 

ChipMcWHEAD

 

Chip McWilliams

Lay-elder; serves in the “Salt and Light” ABF class

 

 

JeffHEADJeff Plangman*

Lay-elder; teaches the 3 year old Sunday school class

 

 

 

ChadBALL

 

Chad Puckett

Pastor/elder working with  College; communications; Mission Oversight Team; preaching

 

 

MicahHEAD

 

Micah Rigdon*

Lay-elder; teaches in the student ministry (grades 7-12)

 

 

EricBALL

 

Eric Schrock*

Administration & Facilities pastor/elder; Finance Team; 4Men

 

 

JohnHEAD

 

Jon Sikes

Lay-elder; co-teacher in “Abundant Family Living” ABF class

 

 

RichHEADRich Smith*

Lay-elder; co-teacher in “The Launch” ABF class

 

 

 

MarvinHEAD

 

Marvin Starkey

Lay-elder; Finance Team

 

 

TEDHEAD

 

Ted Webb*

Lay-elder; teaches the 4 year old Sunday school class

 

 

*Current Governing Elders

Hello. My name is, Baader-Meinhof

By Ministry, Uncategorized

Have you ever had one of those moments where you were talking about something, or learned something new, then suddenly you start seeing it everywhere? Maybe you started researching a new car, and now you are seeing them all over the place. Bet you didn’t know there was a name for this…

Baader-Meinhof is the phenomenon where one happens upon some obscure piece of information—often an unfamiliar word or name—and soon afterwards encounters the same subject again, often repeatedly. Anytime the phrase “That’s crazy, I just heard about that the other day” would be appropriate, you have met our good friend, Baader-Meinhof.
This happened to me with the Bible in at least three distinct ways. When I first started reading the Bible, I thought the whole story was about me. I would read it like a yearbook, looking for myself on every page. Then, someone told me it was really all about God and it was as If I were reading an entirely new book. Suddenly, every page was like running into Baader-Meinhof.

Later on, it happened again. I was told God’s story wasn’t just about God, but God as the foundation piece of everything. What? This took a long time to come to grips with. I remember going to the man who so patiently discipled me and literally saying, “Why have you never told me this?” My mind was blown and it is still in recovery.

I once again stumbled up a biblical Nader-meinhof when God made it clear that His love was for more than people who looked just like me. I was looking to love on some Americans in a far away place and God grabbed my heart with this truth: The Bible is all about God,He is the first cause of all things, AND His love extends to people of all tribes and tongues and nations.

The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, at work again and again as I have read the bible. Today, if you were to see my bible you would find it marked up with these truths on almost every page.

Matthew 20 gives us a glimpse of two guys in a situation which illustrates this for us. These two guys are blind. They could just gripe or wallow, but instead are begging Jesus for help. There is no way they could have possibly understood all the nuances of the Gospel or even faith. All we really know is that they thought Jesus could help.

“Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him. Matthew 20:31a-34 (ESV)

My prayer this morning, and by extension for you, is to ask the Lord to be merciful to us, to open our eyes, and to help us follow Him.

I hope you have a run in with Baader-Meinhof today, but even more than this, I pray your eyes are opened to this great God and what He is doing all around you.

Friends

By Ministry, Uncategorized

“ I don’t know anyone, I don’t have any friends at church…”

  Have you ever said those words – or thought them? Friends are valuable, maybe essential to our well-being. Below are some ways ‘friends’ have been described:
• God’s ‘salve’ on your hurts and fears

• Know your ups and downs and still chose to hang out with you

• Someone I can call upon in the middle of the night with a need

• You can tell them anything and they will not repeat it

• They have the loving courage to offer correction when the other is walking outside God’s will

• Faithful in wanting to spend time together

• They make life so much sweeter

• Transparent

• They have taken the time to get to know you

• Shares openly about their own bad days

• Will pray for you NOW

These are the people we all need in our lives, but how do we get them?​

One Sunday as I sat on my back-row pew and watched the people fill the auditorium, I was surprised at how many I actually knew and could call friends. Now I’m just an ordinary ‘Jane’ at church – I have no great and wonderful talents or church position. So how did I acquire these friends? I met them while I scrubbed potatoes (surely hundreds!!) for a church dinner, while I worked as a temporary greeter, and while I helped make snacks for VBS. I also made new friends while doing data entry, making phone calls, and hemming quilts for various church ministries. Currently I’m part of a group of women who color (yes, color – like with fabric pens) labels for the Quilting Ministry. I’ve taken Bible study courses. I attend a Sunday School class (tried several until I found my niche.)

All of these jobs required only limited skills – the only real requirement was someone willing to say, “I can help. I’ll volunteer.” With each new job, each new Bible study, I have met new women who have become my friends. Say, “yes” and you may eventually end up with a church-full of friends and you’ll be able to sit on your pew and watch all your friends come in!

Every church has multiple opportunities to volunteer and make new friends. Take that first step and ask, “How can I help?”

For those days…

By Ministry, Uncategorized

Sometimes I come to these soaring chapters and, I have to tell you, I don’t feel much like soaring. Sometimes it’s easy to recognize the triumph while other times it’s hard to see past the war. Today I am thinking about Psalm 40. The glorious passage of God in His sustaining and rescuing love. This may have been the first bit of bible I memorized.

 Don’t think for a second I memorized it as some sort of plan or discipleship group. I wasn’t raised in the church. I knew this passage because I knew good music and U2 sang it, and let’s be honest, U2 ruled my world at the time.
This Song, I mean Psalm is filled with words like “sacrifice” and “wonderous”, “lifted” and “set”. Those words of rescue and past tense… But we don’t always find ourselves there and we are not always feeling the past tense of His rescue.
This morning, after countless readings, listening, and recitings of this passage I am moved by the most meek aspects of this passage, the last verse.

As for me, I am poor and needy,

but the Lord takes thought for me.

You are my help and my deliverer;

do not delay, O my God!

Psalm 40:17

Please allow me to rearrange some things in this verse…

I am poor and needy

Lord, do not delay. 

BUT THE LORD TAKES THOUGHT FOR ME

YOU are my HELP and my DELIVERER.

Whether you are praying the prayers of victory this morning or struggling even to lift your head, may you remember, not the words of Bono, but of our great God. May you take comfort in the knowledge that He who is able, He who is loving. And He who conquered death, the Lord Himself takes thought for you.

Why you should care about this weekend…

By Ministry, Uncategorized

This Sunday will be different. It will look and sound a bit different. And this is a good thing, not just for the students, but for all of us.
Every year there is a three day assault on Heritage called “Deep Impact“. It becomes a construction zone for a week. There has been a house built in the sanctuary. One year we built a 60ft pirate ship, then took chainsaws to it to make it look “wrecked“. There was a Roman coliseum, a big top tent, Dr Seus’ World, and of course, the grass…    

    
  What may be lost in all of this is how the decorations are not just for show. They are intentional and important. The Student Ministry wants each and every student to walk in and immediately think, “That is not what I was expecting.” As the weekend unfolds we want students to continue to think, “That is not what I was expecting.” And as they are confronted with the truths of who Jesus is and what He has done we want them to think, “That is not THE JESUS I was expecting.”  

Most of you will only experience Sunday morning, but know it will have been going on for 36 hours by the time the service rolls around. Students will have been through two main sessions, three other bible studies (in homes scattered throughout the city), an Amazing Race style scavenger hunt, and way too much sugar for their own good. By 10:30 on Sunday morning they will be sleep deprived, over caffeinated, and overloaded with information. And they are teenagers… They will probably be attempting to be on their best behavior, but that may not count for much by Sunday morning. Some will fall asleep in service. Some will not be listening, and still some can’t sit still and listen under the best of circumstances. 

For years the student ministry has put on this event designed to challenge young people wherever they are with the Lord.  

Construction / discipleship in years gone by

It was originally called “Disciple Now Weekend”, but we realized this was for far more than just discipleship.  

the hippie van from back in the day

 Students are encouraged to invite people who may have never heard the Gospel, who are not involved in church, or who are not walking with the Lord. We were praying for big things and asking for more than just “our kids” to be nice. We were asking God to change us in DEEP, meaningful, life-altering ways. Maybe for some, for the first time. And “Deep Impact” was born. 

As always, there will be a good number of students who have not heard the Gospel before this weekend. There will be at least one who has never attended a church service. There will be more who have no relationship with Jesus. This means: OUR ATTITUDES MATTER. 

They will hear you complaining…

They will see you walking out…

The reverse is true as well. 

They will respond to genuine-ness. Maybe not how you would like, but they will notice. 

These students are hungry to be accepted and have people who care. When they see this they will notice. 

These students will know if they are loved or just tolerated, welcomed or withdrawn from. 

While this weekend is a “student weekend” it involves all of us.  

This weekend is important because it is a dramatic change of pace and a call to follow Jesus for these students. But it is important for all of us as well. We have the opportunity to welcome these young people, to model Christ’ love for them. We, as adults, can live in front of them in a way that leads them to say, “That is not what I was expecting from grown ups.

See you Sunday…

To the Hurting in the Room…

By Ministry, Uncategorized

I am so thankful to be a part of a church that stands for truth, for life, and God. Abortion is a horrific event each and every time it takes place, regardless of the circumstances. Like most of you, I was challenged by Pastor Marty’s sermon to stand boldly for life, I was moved to take action, and I was made aware of information new to me on the subject. 
To the people in the room hurting from this issue in ways I can not fully understand, please know you are LOVED, there is GRACE, and we as the church want to point you to real HOPE. 
I was also broken for those in the room who know first hand, the pain and the shame associated with these decisions. Too often, those who feel the most passionate about the issue of life can be the least compassionate to the people walking this road.  Immediately after washing His disciples feet, as He is giving them their marching orders, Jesus makes clear, 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” 

John 13:34-35

Jesus who embraced the afflicted, the shamed, the cast-offs , and the scoundrels, sends His followers out with an entirely radical weapon: love in life-altering ways. 

It is not enough for us to love the unborn. We have to love those who are making these decisions and the ones dealing with the consequences. 

You may be wrestling with the decision of abortion this very moment, or as Marty brought up, it may be something you have carried with you for years. Maybe it was your decision, someone else’s, or you felt it was pressed upon you. You need to know the Lord Jesus Christ loves us, not because we are good enough, but because His love is extravagant. And this church loves you. We are far from perfect. We will let you down. But we want to show you the Love of Christ in our lives, as well as, our words. 
Many of us know people who have experienced this issue first hand, and the shame associated with it (especially in church culture). Please know there is grace to be found in Jesus. 1 John 1:9 states, 

”If we CONFESS our sins, 

he is FAITHFUL

and JUST 

to FORGIVE us our sins 

and to CLEANSE us 

from ALL unrighteousness.”

Let me repeat a familiar refrain: God rescues sinners. 

Praise God that He does not just condemn, though all of us deserve judgment. Grace and mercy are found in Christ alone. If you are here and are struggling with the guilt and shame of past decisions, afraid of what others might think, I pray you will hear me when I say, all of us are undeserving and grace is found here. May Heritage be a place of healing for you and not a place of condemnation. 

There is also hope to be found in the Scriptures.  

 This is not the story of a sinking ship where we hold hands and tell each other of our love as we drown. This is more than just having the prison doors opened to us only to find we are miles from help and even further from a future. No, this is a story of a great God who loves more than we can comprehend. 

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 5:1-5

This is the story of a righteous King who sits on a throne of grace.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

And this is the story of THE Magnificent Redeemer, who makes beauty from ashes. 

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

Titus 2:11-14

To the hurting in the room… To those who have or are experiencing these pains… To those who may be wrestling with these issues even right now… My prayer is for you to see in our lives what is written in God’s Word: We love and stand with life, those precious babies and yours. You are loved, not because of our agreements, but because of grace and because we too are sinners in desperate need of a Savior. 

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were WASHED, but you were SANCTIFIED, but you were JUSTIFIED in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11


Glorifi-What?

By Ministry, Uncategorized

  
We Christians often use words that can make non-Christians think we are speaking in a foreign language. One of those words is “Glorify.” – It’s used throughout the Bible and in many of our praise songs. Isaiah 43:7 says that God created us for His glory. And in I Cor. 10:31, we are told, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.” Our purpose is to glorify Him. But do you know what it means? 

Could you define what “glorify” means to someone who may not be familiar with churchy talk?

In his book “Don’t Waste Your Life,” John Piper helps the reader have a clearer understanding of what ‘glorify’ means, how it applies to each of us. He compares lives that glorify God to the action of the Hubble telescope. 

“With the Hubble, pinprick galaxies in the sky are revealed for the billion-star giants they are.”

 The Hubble allows us to see the truth about the sheer magnitude of these galaxies – and so our lives should reveal the truth of how awesome our God is. That’s how we “glorify” God – as we eat or drink or whatever we do…

Why Would Heritage Give a Whole Sunday to One Family?

By Ministry, Uncategorized

IMG_2828-2.jpeg
Some of you are asking this very question. It may be formed in other ways but the basic, nuts and bolts of it, are the same.

 

 

Why would we give an entire service to one family?


The reasoning is very simple: We didn’t. I want to share three specific ways in whichever this is true.
Every week we look to do the same basic thing: Bring glory and praise to God and lead others to do the same. Several months ago, I stepped up to the pulpit and spoke on “work“. At least that was the hook, or what most people would say it was about. But let’s be clear, it is always focused on God being lifted up and God being at the center. This is important because too often we think it is about us. We can think coming to church is about us. We can think reading the bible is about us. But the focus is not on us. It is always focused on God because it is in Him alone we find the proper perspective for life.
In just over a month we will be having our annual meeting, something of a “State of the Heritage Union“. Look for it. Start paying attention. This will be entirely about God, even as we speak about some specific things around Heritage.
This past Sunday was about one family in the same sense that Genesis is about one family. There are hundreds of lines given to the patriarchs, but if you think the story is about Abraham you are missing the point. Genesis is a God story. Looking at the life of Abraham is looking at a story of what God has done.
Every story is a God story and our God is a missional God.

If you take missions out of the Bible, you won’t have anything left but the covers” — Nina Gunter

We like to compartmentalize our lives into neat categories which insulate us from things that may be uncomfortable. As pastors, our job is to lead you to the throne of grace, to the only one who can heal and redeem. This Lord Jesus has called us to take His Good News to the world. Marty quoted Hudson Taylor on Sunday, but let me throw one more in for good measure.

The Great Commission is NOT AN OPTION to be considered; it is a COMMAND to be obeyed” — Hudson Taylor

Finally, we, the people of Heritage, are a family. We weep together as our people hurt. Over the past few years we have done this with specific stories of sickness, death, and loss. There are times we celebrate as a family. Recently we rejoiced with a family over their adoption. Let us always be a body who praises God for the great things He has done and is doing in lives around us. Let us be people who rally to the hurting and gather to send out those beautiful feet of those of this larger family going to the uttermost.

Why do we gather?

By Ministry, Uncategorized

Saying “Preach the gospel at all times, use words if necessary” is similar to saying “Feed the hungry at all times, use food if necessary.” — Burk Parsons

This morning, the church gathers. Around the world, in large buildings and in small groups, people will come together to praise the name of Jesus. There will be singing, prayer, and in most places, a reading of the word of God.
Have you ever asked yourself why you go? Why are you getting yourself out of bed to go to something that can be awkward and sometimes uncomfortable?

 People give all kinds of answers to this question. There are “traditionalists” and “futurists“, “Gaitherists” and “hipsters“, but all these categories miss the point and the purpose for why we go and gather.

Recently I came across a young man sharing his thoughts on these things:

“As I’ve grown up, what I hope for in church is less about a change in values or hearing statements that I 100% believe. What matters most to me and what I see in those around me is a desire for the church to be inclusive. But when I think of the church the last thing I think of is “inclusive.” And when friends talk about church, there is usually more hard feelings than warm ones.”  —name withheld

The above quote is a response to this article.

While I have a hundred questions for this young man and the vagueness of his wish list, I recognize I can do the same thing. What this man wants is valid. What he is looking for sounds great and generally what I want as well. It is just insufficient

One Pastor put it this way,

Worship is to be a reality check which re-calibrates our minds so that we might live as aliens in a foreign land.” — Carl Trueman

Another Pastor reminds us of this,

Making worship about a preferred style is overly simplistic and unhelpful. Worship is about spirit and truth-passion and doctrine.” — Jay Risner

This morning, as you gather, remember this is not about you, or me, or our desired preference. This “church thing” is not about feeling better or feeling welcomed. The church comes together to proclaim the Good News to a lost and broken world. Our “inclusive” is not through style, but through the reality of our guilt. The full story that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

We are not gathering to make people feel better, but to make them feel God. And Jesus does more than just make us feel better. He makes us new. He makes us whole. He gives us hope. He raises our gaze. He sends us with a purpose. He heals the broken. He rescues sinners.
So, if your church does not cater to all your morning, what will you do?
I hope you will praise God, because that is what you most need.

Ask the Holy Spirit to continue to refine you into more and more of an image bearer of Christ.

Hunt down those sneaky preferences that blind us.

We need the Word of God preached. No sugar coating. Nothing half way. We need God’s Word applied to our lives. Even when we don’t want to hear it or like what it has to say. May you, and I, gather this morning to DELIGHT in the Lord, to be convicted by the Word, and challenged by the Holy Spirit to DECLARE His grace to the world around us because they desperately need it.

Wondrously show your steadfast love

By Ministry, Uncategorized

”Wondrously show your steadfast love,” Psalm 17:7a
At a time when things look rough in in this world, let our hope and praise ring out to this world. 

It is too easy to read the headlines and want to run. From bombings in far off places to shootings on city streets, the news is not encouraging. And yet, God’s Word is our encouragement, our nourishment, and, at the very same time a challenge for us to live beyond this place. 

My prayer this morning comes from Psalm 17

”Wondrously show your steadfast love,” Psalm 17:7a

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States and race relations seem to be boiling over in many parts of this country. There is much division and seemingly little progress. Too often we fill our thoughts and time with people who are just like us while griping about things not getting better. We, as Believers, have to be a part of things getting better for race relations. 

This morning we read of another attack, more death, and again involving children. As Believers, our first reaction cannot be formed by FOX News, but by God in His Word. Fighting all my feelings I want to respond in prayer. 

”Wondrously show your steadfast love,” Psalm 17:7a
Of course we want the Lord to return soon and set all things right. We, as Believers, know God will come. David prayed to the Lord in difficult days saying, 

“Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry!

Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!

From your presence let my vindication come!

Let your eyes behold the right! (Psalm 17:1-2

But It is a huge temptation to beg for Christ’s return out of selfish motives. My motives are rarely about the Lord being glorified, but something else, something lesser.  This morning my prayer is simply this, “Lord, Wondrously show your steadfast love,” Psalm 17:7a
Today, I will work to set my heart to the same beat as that of David, who closed this chapter with these words, 

”As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;

when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.”

When you feel your life has just exploded

By Uncategorized

There are those days, sometimes seasons, when everything around you seems to be in flames. It may be family, work, relationships, finances, or something all together different.

And we know it’s not true. Don’t we?

We know our life isn’t exploding in a million pieces all around us.

We know things can’t possibly be THAT bad.

Then you wake up and see the news that a house has literally exploded! Rational thought leaves at this point as I process the fact that a house has exploded! It turns out this is not as uncommon as you might think. Apparently houses explode for various reasons on a semi-regular basis and this is troubling and confirming of our deepest fears, that maybe, just maybe, our world really can explode all around us, leading me to worry, to fret, and to write run-on sentences.

And even in this… Even in this most extreme of irrational fears, I am comforted by God’s Word.

2 Corinthians 5 gives us this great reminder and hope.  I am emphasizing some things that stood out to me.

For WE KNOW that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, WE HAVE A BUILDING FROM GOD, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 

For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 

3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 

4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life

He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 

7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 

8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”



May you be reminded today of how great God is.

Remember this is NOT our home.

We live in a fallen world and there will be trouble, and things sometimes explode.

But we have a God with a perfect plan beyond anything life throws at us.

We are NOT Perfect

By Uncategorized

Heritage is a group of people KNIT TOGETHER as one body to delight in God and declare His glory. Whether you are here for the first time or have been a part for many years, we hope this website will be a blessing to your soul. We are convinced life-change only happens by God’s amazing work and this is why He is the focus of everything we do in this service.

We are NOT PERFECT. No one who attends Heritage has it all together. We are in constant need of more of God, more of Jesus. And this is something to celebrate. We are able to worship God, to approach The Throne of Grace without pretense or polish. God is faithful and true to meet us as we are. God, through Jesus Christ, rescues sinners and we celebrate this fact.

Since it is God alone who changes lives, we are in a NEVER ENDING SEARCH for more of Him. And while there are nice things in this world, there is no better, more perfect place to learn of Him than in His Holy Scriptures. At a typical gathering we will pray God’s Word, sing God’s Word, preach God’s Word, and hopefully be living examples of changed lives because of His Word.

Our sincere HOPE is for you to worship God, perhaps for the first time. We want to be a place of connecting with God, worshipping Him in community, and connecting with others in ways that not only bring joy, but also bring glory to God.

Prayer – a path to change anyone can be a part of…

By Uncategorized

If there was ever a time when the world needed to know more about Jesus, that time is now.  And that’s happening without many of us even being aware of or involved.  I’m referring to the Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) study on the book of Revelation which is being taught around the globe – on every continent from Heritage to even Viet Nam and Taiwan.

The topic of “end times” has enticed many who are simply curious – (making this the most popular BSF study.)  A friend’s son is one of those curious.  He grew up in church and was active in all the youth functions, but he gradually drifted away.  Today at 40-something he hasn’t been involved in a church for many years.  But then the BSF Revelation came along and he signed up.  His Mom says, “It is a wonderful miracle of God that he is doing Revelation – and so actively.”

But the book of Revelation is about more than end times – Jesus is on nearly every page.  The gospels tell of Jesus in human form; Revelation reveals His divine nature.  And knowing Jesus changes lives!  Even longtime Christ followers are discovering a new, deeper worshipful awe of Jesus.

As the study changes lives and awakens hearts, the students can’t help but tell others – imagine the ripple effect if they tell and the rest of us pray… I encourage all of you to be a part of this change by adding BSF leaders and students to your prayer list.

J.I. Packer on the Meaning and Significance of The Lord’s Supper

By Uncategorized

THE LORD’S SUPPER
THIS RITE EXHIBITS COMMUNION WITH CHRIST 

by J.I. Packer

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 CORINTHIANS 11:23-26

The Lord’s Supper is an act of worship taking the form of a ceremonial meal, in which Christ’s servants share bread and wine in memory of their crucified Lord and in celebration of the new covenant relationship with God through Christ’s death.

Our Lord Jesus, in the night wherein he was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of his body and blood, called the Lord’s Supper, to be observed in his church, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of himself in his death; the sealing of all benefits thereof unto true believers, their spiritual nourishment and growth in him, their further encouragement in and to all duties which they owe unto him; and, to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other, as members of his mystical body. (Westminster Confession XXIX.1)

The passages dealing with the Supper on which the above statement is based are the four institution narratives (Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-25) and 1 Corinthians 10:16-21; 11:17-34. Jesus’ sermon (John 6:35-58) about himself as the Bread of Life, and the need to feed on him by eating his flesh and drinking his blood, was preached before the Supper existed and is better understood as being about what the Supper signifies (i.e., communion with Christ by faith) than about the Supper itself.

At the time of the Reformation, questions about the nature of Christ’s presence in the Supper and the relation of the rite to his atoning death were centers of stormy controversy. On the first question, the Roman Catholic church affirmed (as it still affirms) transubstantiation, defined by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. Transubstantiation means that the substance of the bread and wine are miraculously transformed into the substance of Christ’s body and blood so that they are no longer bread and wine, though they appear to be. Luther modified this, affirming what was later called “consubstantiation” (a term that Luther did not favor), namely, that Christ’s body and blood come to be present in, with, and under the form of the bread and wine, which thus become more than bread and wine though not less. The Eastern Orthodox churches and some Anglicans say much the same. Zwingli denied that the glorified Christ, now in heaven, is present in any way that the words bodily, physically, or locally would fit. Calvin held that though the bread and wine remained unchanged (he agreed with Zwingli that the is of “this is my body… my blood” means “represents,” not “constitutes”), Christ through the Spirit grants worshippers true enjoyment of his personal presence, drawing them into fellowship with himself in heaven (Heb. 12:22-24) in a way that is glorious and very real, though indescribable.

On the second question, all the Reformers insisted that at the table we give thanks to Christ for his finished and accepted work of atonement, rather than repeat, renew, reoffer, re-present, or reactivate it, as the Roman Catholic doctrine of the mass affirms.

The prescribed ritual of the Supper has three levels of meaning for participants. First, it has a past reference to Christ’s death which we remember. Second, it has a present reference to our corporate feeding on him by faith, with implications for how we treat our fellow believers (1 Cor. 11:20-22). Third, it has a future reference as we look ahead to Christ’s return and are encouraged by the thought of it. Preliminary self-examination, to make sure one’s frame of mind is as it should be, is advised (1 Cor. 11:28), and the wisdom of the advice is obvious.

 

From: Concise Theology: A Guide To Historic Christian Beliefs

Lay Aside the Weight of Irritability

By Uncategorized

This post was written by Jon Bloom for What the what www.desiringgod.org and can be seen here.

Lay Aside the Weight of Irritability

Sunday morning. The Bloom family is bustling to the van for church and a debate arises between two or three about who’s going to sit where. We’re cutting it close for time as it is. Out of my mouth come firm words in a sharp tone, “Stop the bickering! Get in and sit down!”

Saturday, early afternoon. The Saturday family chore list is still long and my anxiety rises when I think that we won’t get done what needs to get done. I move into sergeant mode and start barking brusque orders. Things get done but the family tone has turned surly.

Weekday night, about 9pm. I enter the children’s bedroom to give the occupants their bedtime blessing and find clothes and toys still on the floor. With a clap of my hands I tersely say, “Get up and get these things put away—now! You were told to do this earlier!” Nothing like a peaceful bedtime blessing.

Irritability. I give into it too often. It’s time to take this sin more seriously and lay it aside (Hebrews 12:1). Every time I’m irritable I burden myself with the detrimental weights of prideful selfishness and relational conflict. And as my irritation overflows on others, it burdens them too because my harsh words stir up anger in them (Proverbs 15:1).

Does God Get Irritated?

We like to blame our irritability on someone or something else. We try to convince ourselves (and them) that they make us irritated. If they were different, wewouldn’t be irritated. Or we blame it on being tired, ill, or stressed. But Paul diagnoses irritability as a heart disease; a failure to love: “Love… is not irritable” (1 Corinthians 13:5).

But we need to press on this a bit, because the Greek word that Paul uses here, paroxynō, which the ESV translates as “irritable,” can also be translated as “provoked” or “kindled,” or “incited.” It’s the same Greek word (paroxynō) that the Greek Old Testament uses in Isaiah 5:25 when the prophet said that God was provoked or kindled to anger by Israel. So if love (agape) is not provoked (1 Corinthians 13:5), and God is love (agape) (1 John 4:7), how can it be okay for God to be provoked to anger?

The answer is that being provoked to anger in general isn’t the issue Paul is addressing. He (and we) knows there are just, righteous, loving, and therefore necessary reasons to be provoked to anger. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:5 is addressing the short fuse, our becoming too quickly or too easily provoked to anger. That’s why the ESV chose “irritable” and why the KJV translators chose “easily provoked.”

When God gets angry, he takes a remarkably slow time to get there (Exodus 34:6). God is provoked to anger, but he is never irritable. He only gets angry for very good reasons, when the glory of his holy righteousness and justice is despised and violated. And his anger, though when unleashed is the most devastating and terrifying thing any conscious being can experience, is always thoughtful, faultlessly appropriate, and perfectly measured. And like God, we too are to be “slow to anger” (James 1:19). We are to be angry, but not sin (Ephesians 4:26).

The Selfishness of Irritation

Our irritability never has its roots in the soils of righteousness. It springs out of the soil of selfishness and springs up fast, like the sin-weed that it is. We get irritated or easily provoked, not when God’s righteousness or justice is scorned, but when something we want is being denied, delayed, or disrupted. It works like this:

  • When I’m weary I want rest, but if it’s denied/delayed/disrupted I get irritated.
  • When I’m sick or in pain I want relief, but if it’s denied/delayed/disrupted I get irritated.
  • When I’m preoccupied I want uninterrupted focus, but if it’s denied/delayed/disrupted I get irritated.
  • When I’m running late I want to avoid appearing negligent, but if it’s denied/delayed/disrupted I get irritated.
  • When I’m disappointed I want my desire fulfilled, but if it’s denied/delayed/disrupted I get irritated.
  • When I’m fearful I want escape from a threat, but if it’s denied/delayed/disrupted I get irritated.
  • When I’m uncertain I want certainty, preferably reassuring, but if it’s denied/delayed/disrupted I get irritated.
  • When I’m enjoying something I want to continue until I wish to be done, but if it’s denied/delayed/disrupted I get irritated.

The reason irritability is unloving, unrighteous anger is that it is a selfish response to an obstacle to our desire. What we desire may not be sinful, but a selfish response to its denial, delay, or disruption is a failure to trust God at all times (Psalm 62:8) — and often a failure to value, love, and serve another human soul.

Jesus didn’t die for our punctuality, earthly reputation, convenience, or our leisure. But he did die for souls. It is likely that the worth of the soul(s) we’re irritable with is infinitely more precious to God than the thing we desire. We must not dishonor God, whose image that person bears, by being irritable with them. There are necessary times for considered, thoughtful, measured, righteous, loving anger at priceless but sinful souls. But there is never a right time for irritability. Love is not irritable.

S.T.O.P. Being Irritable

If you’re like me and have cultivated over the course of your life a habitual indulgence in selfish irritation, it’s going to take some hard work to retrain ourselves in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). We need something simple to call to mind when the oft-pulled irritation trigger is squeezed. This might be helpful:

  • S. — Stop, repent, and ask. We must awkwardly stop immediately — even mid-rant — to repent of our sin, and ask, “What am I desiring that is being denied, delayed or disrupted?”
  • T. — Trust a promise. Collect promises like 2 Corinthians 9:8Philippians 4:19, and Philippians 4:11–13 to trust that combat your areas of temptation to irritation.
  • O. — Obey. Remember that your emotions are gauges, not guides. Don’t let irritation reign in you (Romans 6:12). As you obey 1 Corinthians 13:5 in faith you will find that your emotions will, however reluctantly at first, follow. Love obeys (John 14:15).
  • P. — Plan. Yes, plan. More forethought and intention can be a spiritual discipline, an act of love, and a weapon against sin by avoiding temptations to irritability. Ask yourself, “When am I frequently irritable?” To test your self-understanding, ask this question of those who know you best (and often may be the recipients of your irritation). And based on the answers, seek to put into place some systems and habits that will remove irritable stumbling blocks from your path. Pursue the escape from temptation offered by the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:13) by taking advantage of the grace of planning.

Don’t be discouraged by the fact that this is hard going at first. Changing ingrained habits is hard work. But it is possible through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). Keep working at it. Faithful effort to lay aside this weight will result in lighter, more loving, and more joyful faith-running down the road.


Related resources:

Purity (Parent Video)

By Uncategorized

This video is for the parents to watch in preparation for the conversations to follow. How often have you been overwhelmed by this topic and the awkwardness of what is to come? Well, good news – bad news… This video won’t take the awkwardness away, it won’t make it suddenly easy to talk about. BUT. It will help you embrace the awkwardness.