The Christian life is about growth and change. Grace takes ordinary people just as they are and begins to bring about hopeful change. How does that happen? Change happens through our union with Christ, which Jesus explains through the metaphor of the vine and branches in John 15. If you ever feel stuck, read on. Learning to abide in Christ will give you fresh hope.
Welcome to the Summer edition of Back Story! Twice each year we look back and highlight stories of God at work in the lives of the people of Lake Baldwin Church. This is a great chance for you to catch up on the big picture. Look around for people you know. We hope these stories will encourage you
The sermon this Sunday will be from Daniel 9:1-19, which contains Daniel's intercessory prayer for his people. This prayer is characterized by confession and repentance. The prophet begins: "O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments. . ."
What is the "covenant and steadfast love" to which Daniel refers? What is the nature of this covenant relationship between God and his people? Let’s take a look at Covenant Theology in three parts: What is a covenant? What covenants did God make with his people? How can a covenant be fulfilled?
This week I'm joining with pastors in Europe to pray for the advance of the gospel in the "prodigal continent." This is one way that LBC partners with front-line churches in Europe, in line with our vision to bring good news to the nations.
We have a big event coming up this Sunday. Of course, there’s the Super Bowl. But there’s also the LBC 11th Anniversary. My heart is full today, and I wanted to take a few moments to express my heart as we look forward to our 11th birthday.
We begin the New Year with a new sermon series on the book of Daniel. I’ve been waiting a long time for this one! The stories of the Old Testament have a way of engaging our interest, capturing our hearts, and changing our lives. The story of Daniel has a unique way of doing that.
From time to time we mail a newsletter that tells the story of what God has been doing in and through LBC in recent months. If you didn't receive a copy in the mail or if you'd like to share the latest edition of Back Story with a friend, click the button below to download the digital version.
"Dear LBC Family,
By now you may have heard that Michelle Crouse will be making a transition out of the role she has held for 5 years, as our SPLASH Kids Director. I’m writing to express my appreciation for Michelle and her whole family, for her years of partnership with us..."
God’s grace transforms our hearts as it flows to us through the means of grace. In the past two days of blog posts we have seen how prayer and the Word of God are channels of God’s grace and power. Now we see from 1 Peter 4:10 that grace flows to us in community. What do we learn from this passage about the community of grace?
In Paul’s farewell words to the Ephesian church in Acts 20, he knew of the demands that would surely press in upon them, to wear down their faith and steal their joy. So he commended them to God, and to the “word of his grace,” which would be able to build them up and strengthen them. The word of grace is one of the means by which God floods our hearts with his favor.
The same King who answers our prayers for the advance of the gospel is also attentive to our personal needs. Even today we are all in a “time of need.” How encouraging that we can receive mercy and grace from the throne of grace!
When Jesus says in Revelation 21:5, “Behold I am making all things new,” He’s not talking about the kind of "new" that replaces the old. Bible scholars have pointed out that every time the writer of Revelation, John, uses that word "new", he’s not referring to something fundamentally different, but to the restoration of something that has fallen apart.
So our belief in God’s sovereignty actually invigorates our evangelism as we cling to God’s promises: He has sheep from other pastures and his sheep will know his voice and will follow Him (John 10). God is the giver of Life! He has promised that there will be a great multitude from every tribe and tongue and people (Revelation 7). Trusting in these promises, we, his disciples, can step into seemingly hopeless lands with bold hope and with confidence that our labor is not in vain.
I think Jesus is talking about more than geography in this final charge to his disciples. In the book of Acts we read about Jesus’ followers living as witnesses—not only across geographic boundaries, but across social and cultural boundaries. When you read this verse in that light, it becomes incredibly relevant.
Lawyers argue. Witnesses testify. They testify to what they have seen, what they have experienced. Certainly good arguments have their place (see 1 Peter 3:15); we need to be ready to defend what we believe. But the job title Jesus gives us before he ascends to Heaven is that of Witness.
God’s blessing was never meant to be only for a few. In His promise to Abraham in Genesis 12, God said, “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” God did not intend his message of salvation to be only for Israel or Judea. He intended His salvation to reach the ends of the earth: to Spain, to England, even to the “New World.”
So what will make the nations glad? The scriptures are clear that the nations (all people) will be joyful and fulfilled when we worship the creator. It is for our good that God wants us to delight in the One who can bring us true joy. We were created for his glory, and when we reject the idols around us and embrace him, we will be glad.
This gospel story would be “preached among the nations” and Jesus would be “believed on in the world.” Our lives in Orlando might feel small, and we might even feel helpless in a chaotic world. But our story has a meaningful place in God’s plan.
As followers of Christ, we believe that it is only the Great Physician that can bring ultimate healing to the people of Orlando and to our great city. Let’s pray to that end.