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What a great assurance we find in the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God! How encouraging it is for me to know that my salvation is the result of God's willing and working, and not dependent on the quality of my own efforts to will and to work (Phil 2:12-13)!
 
As we approach the Lord's Day, let us remember the important decision that we will be making together about the possibility of adding to the leadership of DRBC. Let's make sure that we are clean before the Lord through confession and repentance of sin. Let's pursue His glory through killing sin in the flesh, that is, by crowding out the wrong things in our hearts and minds by pursuing the right things (Rom 6:12-14; 7:12-13). This is an appropriate time for prayer and fasting as we seek the will of the Lord.
 
We plan to continue in Romans 9. I suggest that as we move through Romans 9 - 11, you not only read the verses we are about to consider in the sermon, but all of these three chapters, to get the truth explained here firmly lodged in your heart and mind. The reality of God's Sovereignty and exactly what that means used to be a very difficult doctrine for me. It has helped me to get right into the truth! To see what God is saying through Paul in this passage. To deal with the meaning of the words, submitting my preferences to His Truth! And so, the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God as revealed in Romans 9 - 11 moved out of the shadows of my ignorance all the way to become a banner of strength in my life! What was once a matter of ignorance for me, and then troubled me greatly, has become a sweet source of confidence and encouragement to me! My prayer is that all of us will see the Truth of God's Sovereignty as a source of security, to be celebrated! 
 
Start with the claim that Paul makes in Romans 9:6, "But it is not as though the Word of God has failed." He is referring to the unbelief of ethnic Israel. He is making an enormous claim here! He is saying that Israel's (or anyone's) unbelief is not a threat to the plan of God! He is saying that their unbelief is a part of God's plan! God is Sovereign!
 
Focus on Paul's argument as he gives examples from the life of Abraham and Sarah (Gen 21:12; 18:10, 14; 17:21), and Isaac and Rebekah/Jacob and Esau (Gen 25:23). Consider the implications of God's declaration, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated" (read Malachi 1:1-5 and consider what God says He will do to Esau's descendants, Edom). Consider what Paul means when he says that this was declared before they were born in order that God's purpose of election might continue (Rom 9:11). And ask yourself if there is any rebellion in your heart toward God's Sovereign right to do as he pleases with His creatures. One book written about the subject is titled, The Potter's Freedom, from Paul's argument in Romans 9:19-24. Does your heart rejoice or rebel at the idea of the Potter's Freedom? May the Lord grant us grace to rejoice in His Rule over every aspect and detail of His creation!
 
Soli Deo Gloria!

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We have come to a an important moment in the life of DRBC! This coming Lord's Day, we will make a decision together, namely whether to affirm the call of David Bernstein to serve as an Elder at DRBC. Our Constitution calls for DRBC to be led by a plurality of Elders, according to the pattern in Scripture which identifies the service of multiple Elders in single church (see Acts 20:17; Titus 1:5; James 5:14).
 
The DRBC Constitution also places the responsibility for the final decision with the congregation in 4 areas: membership, leadership, the budget/financial indebtedness, and church discipline. This coming Lord's Day, the DRBC congregation will make a decision together regarding the call of David to Eldership at DRBC. I am attaching our Constitution, the list of church distinctives from our study of the Pastoral Epistles in 2011-12, and the letter of recommendation for David from the Pastors of CCBA churches who assisted us with an Ordination Council to examine David.
 
Let us all pray for the Lord's will to be done, asking the Lord to guide us to unity. I ask all of the Friends of DRBC to please petition our Lord for the same. Praise the Lord! May all of this bring glory and honor to God alone!
 
On June 7, we have scheduled a DRBC Membership meeting at 2 pm for a finance report, affirming messengers to the SBC meeting June 16-17 in Columbus, OH, and for voting on prospective members! What a blessing to see the Lord granting growth! As DRBC grows, we have an increasing number of gospel witnesses to our community. May the Lord grant boldness that we might make the gospel clear (Eph 6:20; Col 4:4)!
 
On June 14, I plan to be away for the SBC meeting. I have asked Scott Miller, formerly of FBC Cedar City, to preach at DRBC that Sunday. Please be in prayer, both that the Southern Baptist Convention would, as a fellowship of gospel churches, remain true to the Lord and His Word, and that Brother Scott would be granted wisdom and discernment as he ministers to the DRBC family on that Sunday.
 
Please continue to pray as we attempt to set up a solid plan for Sunday morning children and youth ministry, as well as adult studies. There are important safety, leadership, curriculum, and logistics issues at play. May the Lord help us to get a good plan in place that will edify His people at DRBC. Remember, concerning children/youth, the church cannot possibly take the place of the home as the primary location for instruction in the Word of God (Deuteronomy 6:7). But DRBC can be a rich resource for instruction and fellowship around the Truth. Rodger and Lynn Tracy, Jay and Amanda Taylor, Hope Waldrop, and David Bernstein have been working on this. May the Lord grant wisdom!
 
I want to strongly encourage you to be active in one of our small groups. Our small groups are where we have fellowship, accountability, and prayer on a more intimate level than is possible when the entire congregation is assembled. It is my conviction that the Lord is pleased with this kind of close-up fellowship in living the Christian life together. The dynamics at the small groups are different than that of the corporate worship meeting, a Sunday School class, a Bible study, or even fellowship between two believers. I write this after a wonderful, challenging, edifying meeting of the Wednesday evening "Encouragers" small group last night. David Bernstein does a wonderful job leading this group. The fellowship with the other group members, particularly the prayer time, was a great blessing. I've experienced the same thing when I have visited the other groups! Brothers and sisters, I don't want you to miss out on this kind of fellowship! So, please consider getting plugged in to one of our groups: Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm at the DRBC building, every other Tuesday at 6:30 pm at the Rodger Tracy home (meeting next on June 2), and every other Thursday at 6:30 pm at the Michael Klos home (meeting next on May 28--tonight!). Email the leaders . . . David Bernstein ChosenbyGodinChrist@gmail.com , Rodger TracyRodger.Tracy@nwi.net, Michael Klos Michael@Klos.com .
 
Offering Report:
Undesignated Offering on May 24, 2015           $1379.25  
Need Weekly Undesig. to meet 2015 Budget    $1748.94
 
May 2015 Undesignated Receipts through May 24      $7938.95
Needed Monthly Undesig. to meet 2015 Budget         $7578.74
 
Praise the Lord! May the Lord continue to bless us, and lead us into His plans for DRBC in the future!
 
Let us pray for one another. Some of us in the DRBC family are experiencing difficult challenges. And there are wonderful experiences going on as well. Let us "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep" (Rom 12:15). Let us love one another (John 13:34).
 
Soli Deo Gloria!

This coming weekend is Memorial Day weekend. As our nation remembers those who died in service to our country, let us remember how important it is to make the gospel clear to everyone, since every human is accountable to Him who claims, "I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades" (Revelation 17b-18). It is right that we remember those who died in service of our well-being. It is essential that we worship and obey our King Jesus, who is the Sovereign Lord Who decides who lives and who dies. It is crucial that we remember that the Lord Jesus has conquered death, hell, and the grave! 

As we continue our journey through Romans in the Sunday Morning sermons, let us learn the lessons given to us in Romans 9 - 11. The first 8 verses of chapter 9 give us structure to understand the topic in these three chapters: Paul's Heart (vv 1-3); Israel's Status (4-5, 6b-8); and God's Sovereignty (6a). In preparation for this coming Sunday, reread the post below for preparing for May 17. But especially review the following passages in which the covenants and promises that belong to Israel are found . . . 

Genesis 12:1-3

Deuteronomy 30:5-6

Jeremiah 31:31-40

Jeremiah 32:37-41

Jeremiah 33:4-8

Ezekiel 11:17-20

Ezekiel 36:24-36

There are many, many other passages in which God makes promises to Israel, but in these that are listed, note exactly what He says He will do.

Note the entire list of what Paul says belongs to the Israelites in Rom 9:4-5.

And certainly note the identification of Christ the Messiah as God over all, blessed forever at the end of verse 5! Jesus is Lord!

I look forward to worship with my brothers and sisters at DRBC this coming Lord's Day!

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

 

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"It is not as though the Word of God has failed" (Rom 9:6)! Praise the Lord! Everything He has promised to do, He will do! Let us take great comfort in that, no matter how trying our circumstances.
 
Just some reminders . . . 
 
May 31 is the day scheduled for the Congregational Vote on regarding David Bernstein as an Elder at DRBC. I encourage all of us to be praying over this as we consider the question of God's Call on David. It is my conviction, after months of prayer, research, and conversations with David, that God is pleased for David to serve us in this particular way. But, I do not consider myself infallible! I would never encourage anyone to violate his/her conscience merely to agree with or support me. So, may we all prayerfully seek the Lord's will. The question we are seeking to answer together is, "What is the Lord's will concerning the matter of David's service as an elder?" May the Lord help us to answer that question accurately!
 
June 7 is the date for our next business meeting. We will have a finance report, affirm messengers to the SBC meeting in Columbus, OH on June 14-17 (Hope and I are available), and vote on potential new members. I plan to announce the time of that meeting by this coming Lord's Day.
 
Sword School this week will cover questions 44 and 45. Here is the link . . .  
 
Please be in prayer for children and youth ministry at DRBC, as well as future Sunday morning Bible study. We do plan to resume the Bible study classes soon. We are working to get the proper childcare policy in place, both for the service time, and for the Bible study time. This includes how DRBC can encourage and supplement Deuteronomy 6:4-7 in our households. Let's ask the Lord to guide us into ministry to all of our households (whether there are 1 or 11 in the home), families, youth, children, senior adults, young adults, middle age adults . . . and everybody else! Remember, our small groups are our primary effort toward this. I encourage everyone to be involved in a small group. But we want to use the hour before our service on Sunday morning well, including Bible study to minister to everyone. May the Lord's will be done.
 
Offering Report:
May 17 Undesignated Receipts   $2214.39
 
Weekly Undesignated Receipts needed for 2015 Budget  $1748.94
 
 
 
Total Undesignated Receipts May 2015 (May 3, 10, 17) $6569.70
 
Monthly Undesignated Receipts needed for 2015 Budget  $7578.74
 
 
Soli Deo Gloria!

 

As we head into the weekend, let us anticipate with joy our Sunday morning worship service! I pray that the Lord will pour out grace into our hearts and minds so that we see His glory and the great privilege it is to meet for His honor, to sing praises to Him, and offer our corporate prayers and worship as His people, and to hear from Him through the preaching of His Word.
 
So, as we think about this coming Lord's Day, I want to remind us that we examine our hearts in preparation; that we evaluate our thoughts, words, and deeds according to the reality of the grace of the gospel that is to produce holiness in us. What we think, say, and do matters just as much on Friday night (or any other time) as it does on Sunday morning at 10:30 am! Let us demonstrate our love for our Lord Jesus through knowing and obeying His Word (John 14:15, 21, 23)!
 
As we have been commanded to love the Lord with our minds ( see Luke 10:27 for one example), it is good that we reflect on the objective Truth of the Word of God in order to do this. This coming Lord's Day, I plan to preach from Romans 9:1-8. Romans chapters 9 - 11 are often read as a unit, and rightfully so. So, in preparation, I encourage you to read these chapters before the Lord's Day if you can. Read them regularly as we work through them in our Sunday morning services. 
 
The following is meant to help you prepare for all of Rom 9 - 11, not just for this coming Sunday! But as we go through this glorious passage over the next few weeks (Lord willing), you can use what follows to help with some background for thinking about the significance of Israel's current unbelief, both during Paul's days and now.
 
The issue that Paul brings up is Israel's unbelief: the rejection of Jesus the Messiah facilitated through the unbelief of their religious (and civil) leadership. The logic of bringing up this topic is easy to follow: how can any follower of Jesus be certain of future glory if the ancient people of God have managed to remove themselves from salvation available only through faith in Christ? Have the promises of God failed? Can the same thing happen to followers of Jesus?
 
Paul answers these questions with the assertion of the sovereignty of God. He basically declares that God's promises have not failed (Rom 9:6), that God has not cast off His people (Rom 11:1), that God is and always has been working everything according to His own purpose and plan (Rom 9:14-18; basically all of Rom 9 - 11 affirms this!).
 
I invite you to consider several passages from the Old Testament in which God makes promises to claims about Israel. My heart is thrilled to see the correspondence of God's prophetic Word to the outworking of history:
 
Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-21; 17:1-21; 22:15-19;
 
Deuteronomy 28; 30:1-10
 
Jeremiah 31:31-40
 
Ezekiel 36:16-36
 
Hosea 3:4-5
 
Hebrews 8:1-13
 
Note particularly how Paul cites Hosea 1:10 and 2:23 in Rom 9:25-26 and Isaiah 10:22-23 in Rom 9:28. If you have a reference  or study Bible, you can look up all of the OT citations to which Paul appeals in Rom 9 - 11. I recommend doing this as we study this passage.
 
It is obvious that Paul is broken-hearted over the unbelief of Israel, and his missionary pattern of going first to the synagogue to preach the gospel there on his arrival in a new place demonstrates his commitment to evangelizing his countrymen according to the flesh. Paul loved his fellow Jews, even in their unbelief. But he took heart that their current state of unbelief was according to God's plan and that eventually, "all Israel will be saved" (Rom 11:26). Surely this is an example for us, in that we should have a desire that our fellow countrymen according to the flesh would be saved, and also that we should see how the salvation of the Jews will be a blessing to the Gentiles (Rom 11:11-15).
 
One other theme that is repeated and, I believe, is crucial to understanding the relationship of ethnic Israel and the Church is the pattern of "not only, but also." I plan for us to read Isaiah 49:5-6 this coming Lord's Day. This pattern is clear in Is 49:6: not only "the tribes of Jacob" and "the preserved of Israel," but also "the nations" are to be recipients of God's salvation. Praise the Lord! This is reflected in the book of Romans in Paul's stated theme of the letter with the phrase "to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Rom 1:16). The same phrase is used in explaining punishment for the evil ones and salvation for those who do good (who are born again and justified) -- "the Jew first and also the Greek" (Rom 2:9, 10). This theme is seen in the Lord Jesus sending of the twelve to the house of Israel and not the Gentiles (Matt 10:5-6) and later commissioning the discipling of the nations (Matt 28:19-20). This is reflected in Paul's declaration of one new man in Christ from the Jews and Gentiles as it is the Gentiles who were far off strangers who needed to be brought near (Eph 2:11-22).
 
Finally, it is needful to note  that Romans 9 - 11 involves doctrine that has been the subject of controversy and contention. Two issues especially have been involved: the sovereignty of God in salvation, and the place of ethnic Israel in God's prophetic plan.
 
Personally, I experienced a huge crisis in my spiritual life over the first of those issues. For the first 10 years or more of my life after professing faith in Christ, I did not believe in "the doctrines of grace." I believed that God is sovereign, but that it is ultimately up to man whether or not he will agree for God to save him. I see now how inconsistent such a view was! I fought for weeks if not months when I first was confronted with the truth of Romans 9 - 11 concerning God's sovereign grace in salvation. Ultimately, I yielded to Scripture, because I did indeed have more loyalty to the Word of God than to my own preferences (and that, of course, is due to the grace of God--not my decision!). So, as the Lord grants me strength, I hope to make the truth of God's sovereignty clear in my preaching of Romans 9 - 11. Still, I hope to speak the truth in love! And as I was shown patience by the Lord and others, I want to show patience. 
 
The second issue, the place of ethnic Israel in God's plan, has not previously been much of a source of controversy in my life. Most of the Christians with whom I interacted held the basic view that God was not finished with Israel and that they would one day come to the Messiah, Jesus. I rejoice that we seem to have very little controversy among us over the doctrines of grace. Yet, it is clear to me that we have a spectrum of beliefs among us concerning the place of Israel in God's future plan, at least in terms of how that future is worked out on God's calendar.
 
The DRBC Statement of Faith does not include a specific description of the doctrine of the end times (eschatology). So, it is not required that everyone agree with me in order to be a member, of course!. However, that doesn't mean that I don't have a position on the topic. I certainly do. I believe in a literal 1,000 year earthly reign of the Lord Jesus Christ on the earth. I believe that ethnic Israel will one day come as a people to faith in Jesus the Messiah as God applies grace through the New Covenant to them. I have no desire to be loyal to a theological "camp" or position, but I have identified lots within Historic Premillennialism and Progressive Dispenationalism that I affirm. 
 
I believe that God sent me to plant DRBC here in St. George. I feel the weight of responsibility for preaching and teaching in such a formal setting as our church (James 3:1). I can do nothing but preach what I believe is true. I am aware that many preachers and many Christians who have produced much fruit in the kingdom do not share my view. I am aware that I am not infallible. So, I want to have patience with anyone who does not agree with me. At the same time, I ask that you pray for me to preach the Word! And to preach it with conviction. To the glory of God, this is what I have set my heart and my mind to do!
 
Let us love one another! Let us pray for one another! And let us join with the Apostle John in the last recorded prayer in Scripture: "Come, Lord Jesus!"

 

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It was a blessing to meet together for worship and to hear the Lord's Word on the topic of motherhood, womanhood, marriage, and family. We must remember that, as the Lord's purchased people, our responsibility is not to find a way to fit with the ever-changing ideas of the fallen culture around us, but simply to hear what God has said in His Word and to demonstrate our love for Him through our obedience, no matter the consequences! And we need to be always ready to help and support one another as this becomes more and more difficult. Our church must truly be a family. Whatever challenges we face, let us face them together. Let us encourage each other to love the Lord in obedience to His Word and in caring for His people.
 
This coming Lord's Day we have a membership class scheduled for 2 pm. We plan to cover the DRBC Constitution concerning how we make decisions together, and also to review the Statement of Faith to make sure everyone knows what we believe. Everyone who is interested in membership at DRBC is encouraged to attend.
 
Sword School this coming Lord's Day will be questions 40 - 43. Remember the Scripture references that go with each question/answer. Sword Schoolers are encouraged to memorize at least one of the verses that go along with the questions and answers. You can see the catechism here.
 
I encourage you to continue to be in prayer for our congregation as we seek the Lord's will together concerning David Bernstein's potential service to our congregation as an Elder. May the Lord guide us to His will for His glory and for the blessing of His people! May the Lord call men according to His purposes to serve His people. Remember that the date for the congregational vote on this matter (by secret ballot, though I am planning to sign my ballot) is Sunday, May 31 during the service.
 
We also have a business meeting scheduled for June 7 for a budget report, the affirmation of messengers to the SBC meeting in Columbus, OH, and the consideration of those interested in becoming members.
 
I praise the Lord for the opportunity to serve as Pastor-Teacher at DRBC! Thank you for your fellowship in the gospel! May the Lord give us boldness to make the gospel clear!
 
Soli Deo Gloria!
Here are key points from 1 Timothy 2:8-15 . . . 
 
1. Men should lift up holy hands in prayer (v 8). Holiness and unity should characterize our prayer.
2. Male headship at home and in the church; means that ladies are to be submissive (v 9-15)
--Priority of good works over outward appearance for the ladies (v 9-10); see Titus 2:3-5. Major spiritual warfare.
--Position of submission (v 11-14); This is a role, not a value assessment or assignment. Paul cites creation and Eve's role in the Fall to support his argument. See 1 Cor 11:3--if Christ submits to God, certainly it is appropriate that men and women also be submissive (husbands to Christ, wives to husbands).
--Value of womanhood exemplified (but not exhausted) in motherhood (v 15); motherhood is obviously crucial for the continuation of humanity! In 1 Cor 7:8, Paul indicates that it is a good thing for a widow or unmarried person to remain unattached in order to give undivided attention to serving the Lord. However, marriage is instituted by God and according to Gen 2:18 and Gen 2:24 (cited by the Lord Jesus in Matt 19:4-5; Mark 10:6-9), marriage is by definition a union of a male and a female. This cannot be redefined--it is inherent. We must determine that we will yield to God's revealed purposes for gender roles rather than to defy God based on sinful passion or to compromise for perceived safety. 
--Verse 15 connects the general redemption of womanhood through childbirth to the specific redemption that involves faith, love (agape), holiness (sanctification) with self-control. It is crucial that we keep every moral issue connected to sinful man's need for the gospel in order to be saved.
 
Application Questions
1. When did you last pray?
2. Was your posture and attitude characterized by holiness and unity with other believers?
3. Are you offended by the idea of male headship at home and in the church?
4. Eve was created to be a helper/companion suitable for Adam. What does this imply about heterosexual relationships in comparison with homosexual relationships? Can a homosexual relationship provide what God intended for Adam when He created Eve?
5. Can people get to heaven by being good people who support "traditional marriage," or must they trust Christ for salvation?
6. Was homosexuality an issue in Paul's lifetime? After Christ claimed him on the Damascus Road, how did Paul spend his remaining years? What are the implications for our priorities as a church?
7. Are you willing to suffer persecution because of allegiance to God and His Word? If so, who should get the ultimate credit for that?
 
Everyone is invited to participate in small groups at DRBC, where discussion over these and other gospel issues occur!
 
Soli Deo Gloria!

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What a blessing to be encouraged by the Word of God as we go through Paul's Epistle to the Romans together! No condemnation in Christ! No separation from the love of God in Christ! Our path to future glory is a path of suffering in this sin-fallen world, but the suffering here is not worth comparing to the glory to come! Soli Deo Gloria!
 
I look forward to moving ahead in Romans to see how Paul answers the question, "What about unbelieving Israel?" The answer is utterly encouraging, as Paul demonstrates that God is sovereign over belief and unbelief--an amazing, God-centered, Christ-exalting Truth, that grants wonderul assurance to believers! 
 
But first, this coming Sunday is Mother's Day. Happy Mother's Day! It is a great opportunity to look at what God says about motherhood and the family. Our culture is arrogantly attempting to redefine marriage, an institution created directly by God, and inherently foundational to society. Sinners may try to live as if it possible to redefine something that God has defined, but in reality this is impossible. Let the church of God be unwavering in our commitment to know God's will as revealed in His Word, and to live it out, no matter the cost. This is true for marriage, motherhood, manhood, womanhood, the family, and everything else! Good passages to reflect on as we move into the weekend would include Genesis 1:26-28; 2:18-25; Exodus 20:12; Proverbs 31:10-31; Matthew 19:1-15; Ephesians 5:22-6:4; and 1 Peter 3:1-7. Lord willing, I plan to preach from 1 Timothy 2:9-15, on the inherent role/value of motherhood within the family.
 
I was recently reminded in conversation of a general truth regarding preparation for worship, which is stated in Ecclesiastes 5:1-2:
 
[1] Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. [2]  Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.
 
This is wonderful and appropriate instruction as we redeemed creatures assemble to worship our Mighty Creator, Who is Holy, Holy, Holy! Let us assemble with our hearts ready and reverent to celebrate Who our God is, and Who we are before Him because of His grace!
 
For those interested in becoming members, we are holding another membership class on Sunday, May 17, 2:00 - 3:30. We will cover the DRBC Constitution and review the highlights of the SOF. I have tried to email everyone who needs one an attachment with this document. Let me know if you need a copy of it. It is best if everyone prints and brings a copy of the DRBC Constitution to that meeting.
 
Also, we plan to have a business meeting on Sunday, June 7, which would include affirmation of new members, budget report, and election of messengers to the SBC meeting on June 16-17 in Columbus, OH. Stay tuned for the time of that meeting.
 
If you haven't already done so, please make sure Michael Klos has your contact info for our DRBC Directory
 
Let's be in prayer for our congregation as we continue in the process of adding an elder to help lead DRBC. Pray for David and Aurora Bernstein, particularly David as he has the responsibility of examining his own heart and life in this matter. And pray for me as I have the responsibility of leading our church to affirm him in leadership, if he is indeed called and qualified. Remember, our vote on May 31 is not a general election, determining how many people think they would like David to serve our church in this way. What we are doing is answering the question, "Is this man biblically qualified and demonstrating the call of God on his life to this service?"
 
Forgive me for not getting this info out earlier this week, but our Sword School questions this week are scheduled to be questions 37-39. I praise the Lord for the worship and instruction going on in homes in our congregation!
 
I look forward to our worship together on this coming Lord's Day!
 
Soli Deo Gloria!

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I hope you are rejoicing in the certainty of your sanctification--that your future is that you will be finally conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus, God the Son! The truth found in Romans 8:28-30 provides encouragement that is fundamental for believers! No matter what is happening in this fallen world, we know that God is sovereign! He is in control! He will accomplish all of purpose (Isaiah 49:10)! And that includes that all of His people be conformed to the image of His Son for eternity in future glory!
 
Yet, we still find ourselves living in this sin-fallen world. It is full of God-haters. It is full of sinners in rebellion against their Creator just like all of us would be if not for the saving grace of God. This is exemplified in our society as our Supreme Court has heard arguments today regarding the constitutional right to marry for same-sex couples. If the Supreme Court decides against the definition of marriage from the beginning of human history, and rules that the US Constitution bestows the right to marry on same-sex couples, then the followers of Christ will find ourselves in a position that we are already familiar with: the law of the land is in direct conflict with the Word of God--the Bible. This is already the case regarding abortion. A redefinition of marriage regarding constitutional rights will make our convictions more distinct from what is becoming a societal norm.
 
We are gathering tonight at 7pm at the church building to pray over this issue. We need to pray for our leaders, particularly the Justices of the Supreme Court, that God would grant wisdom and mercy so that they don't lead us into institutionalized wickedness with all of the negative consequences--both temporal and eternal--that is entailed. But we also need to praise God for the opportunity to speak Truth against an increasingly distinct cultural backdrop. No matter what happens in this Supreme Court decision, God is still God, we are still His people, and the Great Commandment and the Great Commission are still intact! The history of Christianity is a history of our brothers and sisters obeying the Lord, boldly making the gospel clear among hostile unbelievers. Let us be true to our calling regardless of how we are received in our culture! And I must join the Apostle John's prayer, "Come quickly, Lord!"
 
I want to say "thank you" once again to Julie and Jimmy D'Anella and all of you who worked at the Relay for Life event this past weekend. It was good exposure for our church, and I got to share a gospel witness with one young man. May the Lord take our labor and use it for His glory!
 
Let's remember to pray for Collin Day as he prepares for his move to St. George to serve as a pastoral ministry/church planting intern for the churches of the CCBA. He and his fiancee, Kallie Francis, are to be married in June, go on their honeymoon, and then join us here in St. George! May the Lord use this time in their lives for His glory and for their blessing! Also, pray for Kallie as she will be in town next week for an interview for a nursing residency at Dixie Regional. May the Lord grant her favor during this interview, and may His will be done.
 
This Saturday, May 2 at 2 pm there will be a baby shower at the DRBC building for Whitley and Zack Wilson, as we await Matthew's arrival! May the Lord bless this family and use them for His glory!
 
Remember that we are trying to get our church directory finished up. See Michael Klos at our Sunday meeting to make sure your info is in the directory, and also to have your picture taken.
 
Our offering on April 26 was $1220.04, making our undesignated receipts for April $7650.65. We need $7578.74 monthly ($1748.94 weekly) to meet our 2015 budget. Praise the Lord!
 
Sword School this week will be questions 34-36. Find those questions here. Each of the questions is followed with Scripture references. Let's memorize one of those verses so that we are hiding His Word in our hearts!
 
Soli Deo Gloria!

 

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We will hold a special prayer meeting at the DRBC building on Tuesday evening, April 28 at 7 pm. We will seek the Lord together for His leadership of Supreme Court Justices, as they will be issuing a decision soon that will have a great impact on our nation.

On April 28, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments regarding the states' rights to define marriage. The underlying issue, of course, is same-sex "marriage," and one of the questions at hand is whether or not same-sex "marriage" is a constitutional right. It is appropriate for us to gather and pray, since this issue is affecting our society so heavily.
 
I want to share some convictions that I have as I prepare to lead this prayer meeting:
 
1. Our prayer must be grounded in our trust in the sovereign and good purposes of God, no matter what government does/says.
2. Our prayer must be gospel-centered. We need the Lord to help us to articulate  A. the perfect standard of God's Law (biblical marriage as the example at hand); B. the inability of fallen man to meet that standard; and C. the gospel (not politics) as the eternal and absolute solution to the problem of sin and rebellion against the Law of God. 
3. Our prayer must reflect our spiritual unity with the majority of our Christian brothers and sisters throughout the history of the Church, who are already very experienced in dealing with hostile governments/cultures.
 
It would be wonderful (and easier for God's people) if our government continued to define marriage according to the Bible. It is good to ask the Lord for this mercy. And He certainly holds the kings' (and the Supreme Court justices') hearts in His hand to turn it like a river of water wherever He wishes! But in general, I have very low expectations that unbelievers will function according to the standards of the Word of God. So, while we ask that God grant us the mercy of living in a society that defines marriage according to biblical principles, let us prepare ourselves to do what we say we do . . . rely completely and totally on God for our life and health, as well as our justification, sanctification, and glorification! We are His people regardless of our government. We are gospel people! So let's encourage one another to be prepared to be faithful unto death, if it pleases the Lord for it to come to that for any of us.
 
It is right to be concerned over the rapid decline of morality in our society, but it should not surprise us that sinful man will sin (Romans 1:18-32). And it should not cause us to fret. We are instructed in God's Word, "[6] do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. [7] And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV).
 
So, join us as we seek the Lord together. Soli Deo Gloria!

 

I am looking forward to our worship together as we celebrate the glory of God in praise, in the reading and proclamation of the Word, in giving, in prayer, in fellowship!
 
As you anticipate the Lord's Day, I encourage you to read Romans 8:28-30. This passage describes the process of sanctification from its beginning in eternity past to its completion in eternity, yet future. Note the connection between the Holy Spirit's intercession for the believer and the promise that all things work together to make the believer more like Jesus! This means that all things, i.e., all the circumstances of life, are used by God in our lives according to the prayer of Spirit praying with us and for us! Note that "good" is defined as being conformed to the image of God's Son--not pleasant experiences in this life. Note that God's plan for believers has been set from eternity past and is so sure that God can refer to our future glorification in past tense! Our God is sovereign!
 
 
Also, remember that Sword School this week is #s 32-33. Sword Schoolers should work to memorize a verse that goes along with the questions and answers. Here they are . . . 
 
32. What does every sin deserve? The anger and judgment of God.
(Deuteronomy 27:26; Romans 1:18; 2:2; Galatians 3:10; Ephesians 5:6).
 
33. Do we know what God requires of us?
Yes. He has given us his law both in our hearts and in writing.
(Romans 2:14-15)
 
 
Soli Deo Gloria!

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I praise the Lord for the Truth of His Word! The Truth contained in Romans 8 is extremely encouraging. It is a great comfort to me that the Holy Spirit prays with me and for me! Thank you, Lord. I plan to preach from Romans 8:28-30 next Sunday, Lord willing, and we will see how the Spirit's intercession relates to all the things that happen in our lives.
 
Info/Reminders . . . 
 
We want pics for the DRBC Directory. Michael Klos is in charge of that. See him for your church directory picture.
 
This past Lord's Day, our offering was $1757. 
 
Relay for Life is this Friday-Saturday. For info, contact Hope or Julie.
 
This week's Sword School will cover questions, 32-33.
 
We have a baby shower scheduled for Whitley Wilson (and Zack, and more importantly, for Matthew)! It's set for Saturday, May 2, at 2 pm. Thank you, Lord, for church growth!
 
This coming Lord's Day, April 26th, we will have a special meeting at 9:30 am in main meeting room, in which the Waldrop family will model a family worship time. So, every household is welcome to participate, from 1 to however many! We will try to simply do what we do when we have family worship in our home. This will take about 15-20 minutes. After that, we will have a discussion time.
 
Let's love one another. Let's serve one another. Let's pray for one another. 
 
Soli Deo Gloria!

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It is an exciting time at DRBC! The announcement that David Bernstein is now under consideration for Eldership represents many hours of research, work, prayer, along with serious, probing discussion between David and myself. I am convinced that the Lord is pleased with this step. The members of DRBC now have the opportunity to affirm this decision as pleasing to God, or to reject it as in error. DRBC members can expect an email soon with some encouragement and instruction regarding the weighty responsibility invested in them to seek God's will in this matter. Soli Deo Gloria!
 
We are also moving forward in other ways. I have asked several folks to provide leadership in specific areas within our church . . . 
Music--Will Rhoden
Tellers--Greg Cardwell
Ushers--Jimmy D'Anella
Building clean-up/maintenance--Joseph Howson
Others coming soon.
 
This coming Lord's Day, Michael Klos is planning to have camera in hand for pics for our church directory. The directory has been worked on by several folks, and is close to completion. If you haven't submitted contact info for the directory and you want to be included, please submit that to Michael K. And come ready for a picture!
 
In an effort to keep everyone informed on the finances of the church, I plan to begin including in these emails an offering report from the previous Sunday. So far in April, our offering receipts:
April 5   $7488.62 (includes our last $2500 check from NAMB support; and $1400 from FBC Keller)
April 12 $1285.00
 
Relay for Life is coming up April 24-25. Contact Hope Waldrop or Julie D'Anella for more info.
 
Life Concerts are coming up in St. George on April 21 and 29. Click here for information. Info flyers are available at the church building or you can talk to JP and Sue Solstad for more info.
 
Please be praying for Collin Day as he will be in town next Thursday and Friday looking for a place for he and Callie to live when they get to St. George in July. They are getting married in June, going on their honeymoon, and then moving here where Collin will serve as a ministry intern with the CCBA from FBC Keller, TX for at least 6 months. Also, pray for Callie, as she has an interview with Dixie Regional Hospital for a possible residency here. May the Lord's will be done!
 
Stand by for more info about classes offered during the hour before our worship service on Sundays.
 
Finally, I've taken my cell phone into the store a couple of times, because I think I may have missed some calls and text messages. If you have texted me or left me a message and have not heard from me, then please try again, or better yet, email me and let me know. Thanks.
 
Soli Deo Gloria!
 
In Christ,
Michael W.

Key thoughts on Titus 1 . . .

1. Paul's Identity: servant/slave of God; apostle of Jesus Christ (vs 1a)

2. Paul's Task: evangelism, edification, encouragment (vss 1b-3)

3. Titus: Paul's true spiritual son; at work in the field--Crete (4)

4. Priority Need for Titus: Elders in every town/place

DRBC DISTINCTIVE: PLURALITY OF ELDERS

5. Qualification of Elders (5-9; also see 1 Timothy 3:1-7). Note the interchangeable use of the word "overseer" with "elder" in verse 7. The terms "pastor," bishop," and "elder" all refer to the same office, each emphasizing a different aspect of leadership. Verses 6-8 focus on his character; verse 9 focuses on what he must be able to do.

6. The Need for Elders, So Qualified (10-16). Many false teachers who must be silenced by the instruction and correction of the sound doctrine of the Word of God (10-11). Note that faithful ministry as elders will lead to opposition of the enemies of God (circumcision party, Judaizers, legalists, prevailing cultural context, those attracted to Jewish myths and commands of men). Note also the gospel implications of verses 15-16: the issue is whether or not sinners have had their hearts changed by the truth of the gospel! Works can never earn salvation, but they can certainly expose those who have never been saved.

 

Application Questions . . . 

1. Paul's first instruction to Titus in the body of his letter is to establish elders in every place. What does this imply about the importance of solid leadership? 

2. Does your regard for solid leadership reflect this priority? 

3. According to the list of qualifications in vss 5-9, is the priority in the selection of elders on character and faithfulness or popularity and personality? 

4. How do you reflect this biblical priority in the way you interact with elders and leaders? 

5. Should an elder expect that sound doctrine will bring about conflict and contrast? 

6. If we note that a particular culture is full of sinners and characterized by sinful behavior, do we have the right to be prejudiced against the people of that culture? 

7. Can a sinner (defiled and unbelieving) earn his way into God's favor through good works? 

8. Is a redeemed sinner regarded as pure on the basis of the purity of his works? 

 

DRBC Small groups meet regularly. These groups are excellent sources for conversation about these issues and more. All are invited to participate. Contact DRBC for info.

Soli Deo Gloria!

As we consider the Resurrection of Christ, and the promise of the resurrection of all who are His, here are key points from 1 Corinthians 15:50-58, the sermon text from this past Lord's Day:
 
Key Points Related to God's Promise that "we shall all be changed" . . . 
1. Necessity--We must be changed (50, 53, 56). We are not currently fit for glory.
2. Scope--We must all be be changed, whether we are living or dead at the last trumpet (51-52).
3. Result--The fact that all of God's people will be changed has robbed death of its power (54-56).
4. Means--The glorious change is by way of the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ (57).
5. Response--Therefore, let's live out our victory now in service to the Lord (58).
 
Application Questions 
1. What is the implication for Christ's people that His resurrection is characterized as "firstfruits" in vss 20, 23? 
2. As followers of Christ, we should be the most moral, ethical people on earth. Is our improved behavior in this life the ultimate goal in the redemptive work of Christ? 
3. How is the aging process a grace shown to us by God? 
4. How has death lost its victory and its sting in light of the truth that we shall all be changed whether we are alive or dead when Christ returns?.
5. Would an observer of your life characterize you as "always abounding in the work of the Lord?"
 
Remember that the small groups are a great opportunity for fellowship and discussion about this and other relevant topics for followers of Christ!
 
Soli Deo Gloria!

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Happy Resurrection Day!

Everything that New Testament Christianity teaches depends on the resurrection of Jesus the Christ! In 1 Corinthians 15:19, Paul wrote (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit), "If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied." In other words, if there is no afterlife, no heaven, no relationship with God as our Father after this life, then Christianity does not deliver on its promises. He had just explained the reason for this conclusion in his previous statements. 1 Corinthians 15:14 says, "And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain." Even more pointedly, he wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:17, "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins."

These verses bring us to the heart of Christianity: that Christ has paid the just penalty for the sins of His people, having taken their sins upon Himself, and that His righteousness, as the One Who has conquered death and hell, has been counted for His people. This legal transaction allows sinners to be justly forgiven for their sins, and makes them worthy to be in the presence of God, because Jesus is worthy!

Don't be mistaken into thinking that the value of Christianity is simply how sincere a believer's faith might be or how ethical (relatively) a believer's faith might cause him/her to be. New Testament Christianity is about the objective reality of Christ's death, burial, resurrection, and perfect righteousness provided so that the people of God might be saved, sanctified, and ultimately glorified! Paul himself has told us that if Christ did not truly and objectively rise from the dead, then our faith is futile. So, let us sincerely believe in the resurrection of Christ, and let us see the value of that in the Truth of the Resurrection!

In John 11:25-26, Jesus explained this Truth to Martha (the sister of Lazarus), "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

Do you?

He is Risen! Soli Deo Gloria!

It is always helpful to me to see the continuity that runs through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Brother David Bernstein's teaching yesterday demonstrated that well. Praise the Lord! 
 
God's purpose of redemption is seen in the Passover commemorating the Lord's promise to the Israelites, "when I see the blood, I will pass over you" (Ex 12:13), leaving the obedient Israelites free from the righteous judgment of God, the terrible 10th plague in which the firstborn of every household (even including both man and beast) was killed. This plague led to Pharaoh's decision to let the Israelites go free, setting the stage for the miracle of deliverance at the Red Sea. 
 
In the New Covenant (Testament), Christ is referred to as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29). In 1 Corinthians 5:7, Paul identified Christ as "our passover" who "is sacrificed for us." Clearly, the Passover Seder as it continues even to this day among the Jews, points to the ultimate Passover Lamb of God--our Lord Jesus! When the blood of Jesus is applied to a sinner, the judgment of God passes over us! Praise the Lord!
 
As we approach Palm Sunday and Good Friday and Resurrection Day, let us truly contemplate Christ our passover. 
 
This coming Lord's Day is Palm Sunday, commemorating our Lord's "triumphant entry" into Jerusalem. Lynn Tracy will be supervising the children as they demonstrate the way the people used branches of palm trees to welcome the Lord. This will take place instead of our usual Sword School. See Lynn on Sunday morning if you would like your children to participate.
 
Pastor Scott Miller, formerly the pastor at FBC Cedar City, UT, will be preaching for us. Please welcome Scott and Rebecca and their family. My family and I will be gone, as I've been asked to give a report on the work here to the Calhoun Baptist Association, where I served prior to moving to St. George. This will also give us the opportunity to see my parents and Hope's parents. Please pray for my Dad, as he is not in good health due to a leaking heart valve. We will miss you, but love the opportunity to tell folk who have contributed financially and prayerfully to the work of planting DRBC.
 
On this coming Sunday evening at 6pm, there will be a Connect 180 Youth Ministry meeting at JT Snow Park. After a time of devotion and prayer, the group plans to walk across the street to Fiesta Fun Park for some bowling. Contact Jimmy D'Anella for more info.
 
On Thursday evening, April 2 at 7 pm, we will hold a brief service of Scripture and prayer, and come to the Lord's Table to proclaim His death as we observe the Lord's Supper together. There is a proper reverence that accompanies this observance, but let us not forget the joy that comes from the result of Christ's suffering--our salvation! So, let's focus on the Lord's terrible payment on our behalf, demonstrating appropriate reverence for the weightiness of the atonement, but let us celebrate the joy that is ours because of our Lord's death, burial, and resurrection!
 
On Friday evening, April 3, we have the opportunity to attend the drama, "Victory at the Cross" presented by FSBC St. George at the Dixie Center.There are 2 presentations, one at 5 pm and the other at 7 pm. This is a free event. May the Lord use this effort to make the gospel clear for the salvation of sinners and ultimately for His glory!
 
On Resurrection Sunday, April 5, we will celebrate our Lord's victory over death, hell, and the grave! We will also celebrate the 2nd Anniversary of the formal constitution of Desert Ridge Baptist Church! Soli Deo Gloria! We will have our worship service at the regular time of 10:30 am, and afterwards, we will enjoy fellowship and lunch together. DRBC will provide the meat, and we will fill in the side dishes, desserts, and beverages. There will be a sign-up sheet this coming Lord's Day so we don't all bring the same thing. I look forward to this great day of celebration!
 
Remember that we have the opportunity to represent DRBC at the Relay for Life event on April 24 and 25, both on a relay team, and in the luminaria ceremony. This is an opportunity for our gospel community to have an impact on the wider community in which we live. Relay for Life is an event sponsored by the American Cancer Society. See Julie D'Anella or Hope Waldrop for more info.
 
Soli Deo Gloria!
I write this in an effort to help us think seriously about the importance of preparing our hearts and our homes for the high point of each week, the worship assembly of the saints on the Lord's Day!
 
What a blessing it is each week to gather with you, to experience fellowship around and under the authority of the Word of God. I want to encourage you in Family/Household Worship and in Corporate Worship when we gather together on the Lord's Day.
 
For this coming Sunday, the Sword School questions will be #s 21-22 (click here for the entire catechism):
 
21. In what condition did God make Adam and Eve? He made them holy and happy.
(Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8:4-8)
 
22. Did Adam and Eve stay holy and happy? No. They sinned against God.
(Genesis 3:1-7; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Hosea 6:7)
 
One way we can improve our sword school is for us to make sure we are teaching the students that the answers to the questions are summaries of what we find in the Bible, not just the opinion of some pastor or theologian somewhere! So, I suggest that we get in the habit of memorizing one of the verses each week. I won't put anyone on the spot, but will soon ask if any of our students have memorized any of the verses and then let them quote the verse. Let's teach our children the Word of God!
 
Concerning this week's sermon text, it will again be Romans 8:1-17. While last week we looked at the "means" of a Spirit-controlled life in Christ, this week we will look at the "marks" of a Spirit-controlled life in Christ. We will look at what, according to this passage, is the result of God's work to save us--results that are true for every believer right now!
 
Here are some truths about born again believers: You have been given freedom instead of bondage (8:2, 12, 15). You have been granted a position of righteousness rather than condemnation (8:1, 4, 8). You have been given life instead of death (8:6, 10, 13). You now enjoy peace with God instead of warfare or hostility (8:6-8). You are God's children rather than being none of His (8:15-17). Read this passage, chew on it, pray for understanding of it, teach it in your household (to yourself if single, to your wife, children, roommates, whoever is there!), and get ready to hear it and celebrate it this coming Lord's Day! Let's get ready for a supernatural encounter with the Lord of heaven and earth in which we praise Him and we hear from Him through the preaching of His Word! Pray for the service, that God will be pleased with our assembly. Use the group meetings this week as an opportunity to move forward to the high point of the week--the assembly of the saints on the Lord's Day for His glory and our blessing! Soli Deo Gloria!
 
 
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS
I got an email a bit earlier that had good suggestions in it. So, I asked if I could pass it along. . .
 
 
 
"One of the activities that helps me to "till up the soil of my heart" is to read the chapter / section of whatever I'm studying in a number of translations.


It works great as you can:

1.) Read off your phone while waiting in line at the store
2.) Read first thing in the morning and last thing at night - IF you keep your phone near your book like I do :-)
3.) Allows different family members to read the different translations from their phones as you sit together. This is great because some of the different ways that verses get translated provide a springboard to deeper investigation, conversation and if need be - it makes the father have to go hit the books so to speak, to get a clearer answer when he doesn't know why one group translated a certain way vs. another translator or group of translators.

In other words - it helps to see different ways a verse has been and POSSIBLY can be translated.

An example is the way the ending of Hebrews 1:2 is translated by different committees or groups.

It says - "and through whom He made...
(1) the world - NASB
(2) the worlds - KJV
(3) the universe - NIV
(4) the ages - YLT

There are some presuppositions that one has to have - and cautions to have in place when doing this - but I won't elaborate on that in this email.

Anyway, all one has to do is to go to their phone and:

1.) On their phone Internet browser, type in PASSAGE and TRANSLATION abbreviation (as an example - Romans 8:1-17 ESV)
Note - for some reason it doesn't come up with the complete cha
2.) Click on the first occurrence of a result from www.biblegateway.com
3.) You should get the section that is in the translation you wanted.
4.) THEN - after you've read the passage in whatever translation you started with, there's a little box you can click to change the translation to another one - and up it pops - then you read that one - and then pick another one.

I do this repeatedly during the day - and it is GREAT!"

 

Soli Deo Gloria!

On Feb 26-28, I was able to participate in the Soli Deo Gloria Conference at FBC, Provo, UT. It was a great conference! David and Aurora Bernstein and Will Rhoden were also representing DRBC at this meeting. It was great to think seriously about what the Bible says about the greatness of our God, and how worthy He is of our praise and worship, in our attitudes as individuals, in family worship, and in corporate worship in local churches. May our hearts, homes, and our congregation at DRBC pursue God's glory as the highest ambition possible! Thank you, David, Aurora, and Will for your fellowship in attending this event!
 
Here are reminders of things that are coming up:
 
This coming Lord's Day, March 8, we will hear a brief report from George Hjorth with the Gideons International ministry, a group devoted to Bible distribution. It is likely that you have seen a Gideon Bible in a hotel/motel room or hospital. We are planning to receive a love offering for the Gideons at the end of our service this Sunday. 
 
In the coming weeks, we will have some meetings during the hour before our Sunday worship service. On March 15, we will offer the Membership class at 9:15 AM, with plans to go over the DRBC Statement of Faith. If you are interested in becoming a member of DRBC, please plan to attend this session. As always, everyone is welcome, including current members!
 
On March 22, we will have another meeting for parents/youth/children. This meeting will have 3 purposes: (1) To provide instruction for family worship; (2) To discuss plans for a Baby/Child Dedication Sunday (very exciting!). A Baby/Child Dedication involves a commitment on the part of the parents to bring up the child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord AND a commitment on the part of the congregation to make sure that DRBC is a resource for Christian parenting; and (3) To discuss further plans for DRBC ministry/activity to supplement the parents efforts to instruct their children. 
 
On April 5, we will celebrate both Resurrection Sunday and the DRBC 2nd Anniversary! The actual anniversary date is March 31, but we actually constituted as a church on Resurrection Day, 2013, so close enough. Since we started on a Resurrection Sunday, it is awesome when the calendar lines up so that it is appropriate to celebrate our anniversary on the same. Stay tuned for more info on details of our celebration. Praise the Lord! Stay tuned for more info regarding the days leading up to Resurrection Day.
 
On April 12 at 9:15 am, we have scheduled the 2nd session of the Membership class to cover our Constitution/By-laws. Everyone interested in becoming a member should mark this date. Of course, everyone is welcome to attend, even if you are already a member! It helps me to remind myself of how we have agreed to make decisions together.
 
Jimmy and Julie D'Anella are organizing a team from DRBC to walk in the Relay for Life event April 24-25 at DSU's Hansen Stadium. This event raises support for the fight against cancer. Also, we have the opportunity to lead in the luminaria ceremony, giving us an opportunity to choose songs, singers, prayers, and pray-ers that are gospel-focused. Contact Jimmy and Julie for more info.
 
If you aren't in one of our small groups . . . get in one! Contact David and Aurora Bernstein for information regarding the groups, or you can contact the leaders of the other groups directly: Michael Klos and Joe Howson; and Rodger Tracy and Jay Taylor.
 
I have been greatly blessed by participating in the men's group that meets on Tuesdays at 6:30 am at the building. It's true that I've not been particularly "blessed" by the alarm going off so early on Tuesday mornings, but I've always been edified and challenged by being at the meeting! Hope also informs me that the Ladies's group meetings have been very helpful as well. This group meets at 10:30 am on Tuesdays at the building. Plug in and be challenged and blessed! Thank you David and Aurora for your leadership in these respective groups!
 
If you are interested in ministry at the Dixie Area Detention Center, you need to fill out the background check form (available at DRBC) and contact me. We have opportunities on Thursdays and Sundays for this ministry.
 
A word about the material on the tables at the building: Please check with me before placing any materials on the table. There are Acts & Facts, Voice of the Martyrs, and Table Talk magazinces there generally. Please note that not everything in those magazines would line up with our Statement of Faith perfectly, but those resources do provide generally good, gospel-based, Christ-exalting information. Please remember to refer to the DRBC Statement of Faith for questions about our doctrinal positions.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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I am increasingly convinced of the importance of preparing ourselves for worship before we meet together on the Lord's Day. This preparation can make a huge difference in the fruit of the Sunday meeting. Parents, you are teaching your children about the significance of worship and of gathering with fellow believers. And I did mean that as it reads: "you are teaching your children." This is especially true if we have given no thought to preparation for the worship meeting. I must confess that my responsibilities as the primary preacher at our meetings can tempt me to overlook the most crucial flock that I serve: my own home.
 
With that in mind, I want to provide in this email a some thoughts to help you prepare for our next corporate worship meeting. First, a quote from Richard Baxter, 17th century English Puritan churchman, from his work, Christian Directory, in the section titled, "Directions for Profitably Hearing the Word Preached," 1. III. and 3. VI. :
 
"Come not to hear with careless heart, as if you were to hear a matter that little concerned you, but come with a sense of the unspeakable weight, necessity, and consequence of the holy Word which you are to hear; and when you understand how much you are concerned in it, it will greatly help your understanding of every particular truth . . . Make it our work with diligence to apply the Word as you are hearing it . . . Cast not all upon the minister, as those that will go no further than they are carried as by force . . . You have work to do as well as the preacher, and should all the time by as busy as he . . .you must open your mouths, and digest it, and digest it, for another cannot digest it for you . . . therefore be all the while at work, and abhor an idle heart in hearing, as well as an idle minister." *I don't endorse every theological position of Baxter, but this is helpful!
 
 
Let us anticipate instruction from the Lord when we gather to hear His Word proclaimed on the Lord's Day. Parents, let's take the responsibility to anticipate the divine appointment of meeting with the saints to worship the Great I Am. Let us not treat it as another appointment to be kept among many. Let us not lead our children that way, the way that devalues the Way of Salvation. Talk about Sunday on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday! Especially as the Lord's Day draws near. 
 
Consider Ecclesiastes 5:1-2: "1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. 2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few."
We don't have to go to a location such as the temple in Jerusalem to enter God's presence, because by God's grace we are the temple (1 Cor 3:16). However, as we assemble for worship, we do well to heed this warning. Let us draw near to listen!
 
With preparing to listen to the Word of God in mind, I want to give you the sermon text for this coming Lord's Day. Read it. Meditate on it. And prepare yourself for the supernatural event of the people of God hearing the Word of God preached by a man of God by the power of God for the glory of God!
 
This coming Lord's Day (and the next one as well), I plan to preach from Romans 8:1-17 on the topic of the Means of a Spirit-Controlled Life in Christ. Lord-willing, next Sunday I plan to preach from the same text on the Marks of a Spirit-Controlled Life in Christ. This distinction will help us to see the grace of God in our righteous standing before God in Christ, and in our practical growth in sanctification as we glorify God in our lives in the practical pursuit of and growth in holiness.
 
As you prepare for Sunday then, look at Romans 8:1-17 to discover all that God has done for you in the process of saving you. Note that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are involved. Note the particular role of the Holy Spirit in applying the work of the Son and the will of the Father to the believer such that the believer's life is characterized by obedient submission to God. Note that God has condemned sin in the flesh rather than His people in the flesh (praise God!). Note that the purpose of God as expressed in 8:4 connects to Paul's claim that the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel (1:17).
 
Let's prayerfully prepare to meet God in corporate worship this coming Lord's Day!