A Word about Fruitfulness


image courtesy of claitors

The age in which we live is obsessed with data. Statisticians have created elegant formulae to analyze everything from the economy to sports. So it is only natural for believers to carry that same thinking into the church. Are there metrics by which we can analyze whether we’re doing a good job? Some would say absolutely yes. The measurement of whether a church is doing well is found in outward success: growing attendance, increased membership, more baptisms, bigger giving. After all, numbers mean souls.

But what about churches in rural communities? What about Jeremiah? Bigger numbers alone cannot be the ultimate goal, so other Christians conclude that the measurement of whether a church is doing well is not found in outward success but in persistent faithfulness. We are to look instead to see whether we’re being faithful. Are we doing the right things? Preaching the Bible? Evangelizing? Then we’re all right, regardless of outward success.

But while there is a lot to like about this view, there’s still something lacking. Most of us have encountered churches that might be described by the phrase dead orthodoxy: the doctrine is sound, the programs are traditional, they’re doing the right things—and yet they are lifeless. And in those cases, faithfulness can actually become a justification for that very lifelessness: “we’re just sticking by the stuff.” In other words faithfulness can become the mirror opposite idol of success, just another way to justify ourselves before God.

Is there then a way to evaluate what we’re doing as a church? Is there any indication as to what we’re doing is right? Jesus answers this question in today’s passage.

Title: A Word about Fruitfulness (sermon preached March 19, 2017)

Text: Luke 13.6–21


  • cataclysm
  • tension
  • people


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A Word about Expectations

022716ciojacobstein1_1280x720.jpgA report in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal predicted that the rise of artificial intelligence will likely disturb job markets quite extensively in the very near future. And it’s not just blue collar work, like factory jobs or drivers, that will be replaced. One expert noted the development of an AI in London that predicts pulmonary hypertension better than cardiologists. The status quo is changing, a new order is coming, so people have to be ready.

Whether their prediction that such a world will arrive in the next ten to fifteen years (or at all) is not certain. But Jesus notes in today’s passage that in a much more profound way, the status quo we currently experience is not eternal and a new order is on the way—and it might not be at all what we expect.

Title: A Word about Expectations

Text: Luke 12.35–48


  • two analogies
  • two advents
  • the bad news and the good


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This Weekend at First (3/3/17)

We’re looking forward to a great weekend at First Baptist. And it all starts tonight.

Tonight at 6pm: Prayer Meeting and Dinner

Join us for a time of prayer for our flock beginning at 6pm in Gano. Please come when you are able to make it, even if the prayer time is halfway over. It is powerful to pray together in community. Around 7pm we’ll enjoy dinner together. There is no charge, and all are welcome.

Sunday at 9.45am: Danny and Kristen Brooks’ ministry presentation

During the Sunday school hour, our guests will present their plans to start a church in one of the gospel-poorest areas in our country: Salt Lake City, Utah. Coffee and a light breakfast will be provided. Please make your plans to attend.

Note: The New Members Class will meet at the same time in the Conference Room. If you are in that class but would like to hear the Brooks’ presentation, Nick Peterson will arrange a separate time to cover the material you miss.

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 2.32.17 PM.pngSunday at 11am: Worship Service, the Life of Martin Luther, and the Lord’s Table

Our worship service will be particularly rich as we celebrate the Triune God and His grace to us. Danny Brooks will deliver the message, a biographical sketch on the life of Martin Luther, a flawed but powerful instrument whose work radically reshaped the Christian Church. After the message, we’ll celebrate communion and members will reaffirm our covenant to one another. It will be a wonderful day to sing our Lord’s praises.

Upcoming events

  • Saturday, March 11 at 6pm — Geneva Conservatory Faculty Concert
  • Monday, April 3 at 7pm — Safe Families for Children Training Event
  • Saturday, April 8 at 7pm — An Evening of Bach and Brahms: Violin and Piano Sonatas
  • Sunday, April 9 at 11am — Palm Sunday Worship Service
  • Thursday, April 13 at 6.30pm —Maundy Thursday: Messiah in the Passover
  • Sunday, April 16 at 10am — Easter Brunch
  • Sunday, April 16 at 11am — Resurrection Celebration

Come with anticipation of all that the Spirit will do!

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A Word about Wealth

Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 9.41.43 AM.pngWhat does the good life look like to you? The image that comes to my mind is a sunny day at a sandy beach with the crystal-clear ocean beckoning me to wade in. For you the good life looks like graduation, or perhaps marriage and children, or maybe retirement.

Our text is a passage about the good life—what it is and how we can have it. But Jesus warns us, the path to the good life might not be what we think.

Title: A Word about Wealth

Text: Luke 12.13–21


  • the good life
  • paths to the good life
  • the good Life


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A Word about Prayer

source of image unknown

This parable tells a story of need. That’s fitting, since the disciples have just asked Jesus, “Teach us to pray.” They sensed their need—not just for inadequacies generally, but even for the inadequacies of their praying—and Jesus met them where they were.

And in the process of telling this story, Jesus identifies two reasons we don’t pray, and points us to the only hope we have.

Title: A Word about Prayer

Text: Luke 11.5–13


  • need
  • disposition
  • the Holy Spirit


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