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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
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.
Sunday 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.
- 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!
What 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
Posted in Transformative Stories: Jesus' Parables in Luke
Tagged Approval, Celebration, Comfort, Control, Drinking, Eating, Gospel, Greed, Jesus, Joy, Pornography, Power, Rest, Sex, Tim Keller, Wealth
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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
- the Holy Spirit