Commissioning the Martins: Grace2Japan
One recurring theme in our study of Acts is the concept of shared ministry. The apostle Paul travels and ministers with a team on his missionary journeys. He doesn’t even begin those journeys without the support and commissioning of local churches to whom he maintains accountability (Acts 14:26-28).
TFC has a strong commitment to missions, partnering with a number of very talented missionaries and organizations to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and plant and serve His church globally. If you recall at our annual missions week earlier this year we introduced Tim and Jenny Martin as the newest gifted servants among our stable of missionaries. And this Sunday we have the special privilege of formally commissioning them as we have seen modeled in our ongoing study of the book of Acts.
God began shaping the hearts and experiences of Tim and Jenny towards Japan before they met, married, studied at DTS together, and were blessed with Hudson and Annalise. They are serving with TEAM, and will be joining a team of veteran missionaries and Japanese leaders already involved in church planting in Tokyo. The ministries supporting the church planting efforts are varied, ranging from cafe ministry, connecting ex-pats with missionary efforts in local churches, English conversation classes, university outreaches, ministries to moms and children (VBS, Mommy & Me classes, etc.), as well as working with orphans, victims of human trafficking, and those still recovering from the 2011 tsunami and earthquakes. With 98% of their support raised, they are hopeful to keep their plans to depart for Japan in early November.
Tim and Jenny will be sharing briefly about their ministry as part of the commissioning in our worship service this Sunday. They will also be available to visit with folks during the connection hour in the Fellowship Hall. Please take some time to visit with them personally, sign-up for their prayer and newsletter lists, and even now check out their ministry blog and Facebook page for more information about their ministry and the work of Christ’s church in Japan.
Ministry site/blog: grace2japan.org
Facebook page: Martin Family Mission to Japan
Ministry profile on TEAM’s website: https://team.org/about/profile/308
Jenny’s Family Blog: http://martinabode.blogspot.com
What a privilege we have to partner with the Martin’s, commission them this Sunday, and share the Real Life of Jesus Christ together – here and in Japan.
PART 3: Spirit, restoration, growing in grace
Question #38: What is Prayer?
Answer: Prayer is pouring out our hearts to God in praise, petition, confession of sin, and thanksgiving.
Verse: “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8
Prayer: “Let us pray daily, ‘Lord, increase my faith.’ Let us not doubt, then, that when God says a thing, that thing will be fulfilled.”
John Charles Ryle (1816–1900). The first Anglican bishop of Liverpool, Ryle’s appointment was at the recommendation of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. As well as being a writer and pastor, Ryle was an athlete who rowed and played cricket for Oxford University. He also was responsible for the building of over forty churches.
From Luke by J. C. Ryle, series editor Alister E. McGrath (Wheaton: Crossway, 1997), 24.
PART 3: Spirit, restoration, growing in grace
Question #37: How does the Holy Spirit help us?
Answer: The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, comforts us, guides us, gives us spiritual gifts and the desire to obey God; and he enables us to pray and to understand God’s Word.
Verse: “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Eph. 6:17-18
Prayer: “AND now, O Holy Spirit, love of God, who proceedest from the Almighty Father and his most blessed Son, powerful advocate, and sweetest comforter, infuse thy grace, and descend plentifully into my heart; enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling, and scatter there thy cheerful beams! dwell in that soul which longs to be thy temple; water that barren soil, over-run with weeds and briars, and lost for want of cultivating, and make it fruitful with thy dew from heaven…. O that it may please thee to come to me, thou kindest comforter of mourning souls, thou mighty defence in distresses, and ready help in time of need. O come thou purger of all inward pollutions, and healer of spiritual wounds and diseases. Come, thou strength of the feeble, and raiser of them that fall. Come, thou putter down of the proud, and teacher of the meek and humble…. Come, come, thou hope of the poor, and refreshment of them that languish and faint…. Come, Holy Spirit, in much mercy, come, make me lit to receive thee, and condescend to my infirmities, that my meanness may not be disdained by thy greatness, nor my weakness by thy strength: all which I beg for the sake of Jesus Christ, my only Saviour, who in the unity of thee, O Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth with the Father, one God, world without end.”
Augustine of Hippo (354–430). Bishop of Hippo in Roman North Africa, philosopher, and theologian, Augustine is considered a saint and Doctor of the Church by both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. He wrote an account of his conversion in his Confessions, his most known work, but he is also one of the most prolific Latin authors in terms of surviving works with hundreds of separate titles (including apologetic works, texts on Christian doctrine, and commentaries) and more than 350 preserved sermons.
From Pious Breathings: Being the Meditations of St Augustine, his Treatise of the Love of God, Soliloquies and Manual, translated by Geo. Stanhope (London: J. Nunn & Co., 1818), 29–31.
PART 2: Christ, redemption, grace.
Question #35: Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, where does this faith come from?
Answer: All the gifts we receive from Christ we receive through the Holy Spirit, including faith itself.
Verse: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Titus 3:4-6
Prayer: “May God have mercy upon us all, and by his Spirit open our eyes to see the glory of the cross.”
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899–1981). A Welsh medical doctor and Protestant minister, Lloyd-Jones is best known for preaching and teaching at Westminster Chapel in London for thirty years. He would take many months, even years, to expound a chapter of the Bible verse by verse. Perhaps his most famous publication is a 14 volume series of commentaries on Romans.
From The Cross (Wheaton: Crossway, 1986), 83.
PART 2: Christ, redemption, grace.
Question #34: Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through Christ alone, must we still do good works and obey God’s Word?
Answer: Yes, because Christ, having redeemed us by his blood, also renews us by his Spirit; so that our lives may show love and gratitude to God; so that we may be assured of our faith by the fruits; and so that by our godly behavior others may be won to Christ.
Verse: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” I Peter 2:9-12
Prayer: “There is so much mercy in the heart of God for his people, and…Jesus his Son has by his blood made so living a way for us that we might enjoy it, and the benefit of it for ever…. To that end is this goodness revealed: “Let Israel hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.” Hope! who would not hope to enjoy life eternal?… Did but the people of God see to what they are born, and how true the God of truth will be to what by his word they look for at his hands, they would…groan earnestly under all their enjoyments to be with him, who is their life, their portion, and their glory for ever. But we profess, and yet…long not for the coming of the day of God; we profess the faith, and yet by our whole life show to them that can see, how little a measure of it we have in our hearts. The Lord lead us more into the power of things; then shall the virtues of him that has saved us, and called us out of darkness into his marvelous light, and the favour of his good knowledge, be made known to others far otherwise than it is. Amen.”
John Bunyan (1628–1688). Known as the tinker of Elstow, Bunyan underwent a dramatic conversion experience and became a leading Puritan preacher. As his popularity grew, Bunyan increasingly became a target for slander and libel and was eventually imprisoned. It was during his time in prison that he commenced his best known work The Pilgrim’s Progress, first printed in 1678.
From “Israel’s Hope Encouraged” in The Works of that Eminent Servant of Christ Mr. John Bunyan, Volume 3 (Edinburgh: Sands, Murray & Cochran, 1769), 416–417.
We are more than half way through our Catechism program for this year. Have you given it a try yet? It’s amazing what all ages can and will pick up from our actions and words….take a look at the video below of one of our very youngest who, after hearing her family recite and work on Week 2 of the Catechism, could almost say it perfectly!
For a refresher, the video is referring to the Catechism question, “What is God?” And the answer to the question is “God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. Nothing happens except through him and by his will.”
The scripture to accompany this is Psalm 86:8–10 and 15: “Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God…. You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”
Take a look!
NewCity Catechism – Week 2
Dr. Darrell Bock hosts a weekly podcast called “The Table” from the Howard Hendricks Center for Spiritual Leadership at Dallas Seminary. This week, he looks at the recent Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage. Darrell and DTS President Mark Bailey interviewed the Honorable Retired Federal Judge Rollin Van Broekhoven about the legal issues while considering what the church should do in a shifting culture. Check it out here.
Sometimes a conversation surprises…and one walks away in awe. This happened to me this past Sunday in our TFC hallway following a wonderful worship service. We had just witnessed a very special ceremony as a part of our worship service. And our Church Body, including our children, observed it. Sometimes we are prone to think of the Church as adults only. However, our elders cast the vision several years ago for intentional multi-generational reach and worship. If you are 80, 38, 18 or 8 years old, you are welcome to worship and grow with one another. So, all ages were present as we watched this very special ceremony during our worship service…a Pastoral Ordination.
Have you ever witnessed a man being ordained as a pastor? In my experience, it is somewhat rare. Therefore, it holds a certain unique feeling for me. Inviting children to be part of the moment is what spurred that conversation in the hall on Sunday. A mom of a young boy was sharing with me her concern that she is teaching her child enough to prepare him for life. I asked her if she felt equipped by our Family Ministries Team and by the church as a whole? She thoughtfully replied, “yes,” and shared what she thought would be helpful. Then, the surprise. As we reflected on the pastoral ordination part of the service, she said these words:
“I am so grateful my son was present to see Chad ordained as a pastor today… When does a child ever see a man on his knees? When do we ever see a man on his knees at church? When do we ever see a man on his knees with his wife by his side while the Elders pray over them? When do we ever see a man publicly declare his love and devotion to God…on his knees?
Chad Cowan Ordination – May 19, 2013
As we both wiped away tears, we rejoiced that our church, all of us, were with Chad and Melissa Cowan as they stepped out in faith and obedience…on their knees.
Kari Jane Smith
TFC Children’s Minister
TFC Final Wednesday Evening Dinner for 2012
Wednesday Evening, Dec. 5, 2012, 5:30-6:00 pm in Fellowship Hall
Dear TFC Body,
Tomorrow evening is our final Wednesday Evening of Programs & Dinner for the 2012 year. Even if you are not part of our Wednesday studies or connection groups, please consider stopping by at 5:30 pm for a great meal, great fellowship, and a reasonably priced dinner for only $3 per plate! Tomorrow evenings menu includes:
Spaghetti w/meat sauce
Our Wednesday evening programs resume on January 9, 2013, and we are going to try something new with our Wednesday evening dinners. Our Kitchen Ladies love serving the body with dinner each Wed. night, but the price of food has escalated. In order to be good stewards in planning, beginning January 9 we will take reservations for our Wednesday evening dinner. The cost will remain at $3 for those with reservations, and will be $4 for those who just show up to eat Wednesday night. Reservations can be made each Wednesday evening for the next Wednesday evening, or by email through the TFC Office.
932 S. Greenville Ave.
Richardson, TX 75081
Dear TFC Body,
For kingship belongs to the LORD, and He rules over the nations. Ps. 22:28
What a week. Tuesday’s election has been the focus and source of bitter division and lofty expectations for well over a year. With the election behind us and challenges before us, it’s time to take a deep breath. Whether you are deeply disappointed, elated, worn-out, or overly cynical, it is good to remember that political divisions need not divide God’s people. After all, He reigns supreme over all creation, including the rise and fall of kings, nations, and cultures. Christ’s kingdom is a reality. And whatever fears you may have about our nation’s future, Jesus exhorted prayer according to His will that His kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven (Mt. 6:10). Even if Christianity in America may not have the influence it once had (“no religious affiliation” is the fastest growing religious category in our country), Christ remains head of His church (Col. 1:18).
Dr. Sam Storms, founder of Enjoying God Ministries and former minister on staff at Believer’s Chapel after his studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, began a thoughtful article “Thinking about the Election from a Biblical Point of View” with this quote:
“Sinful humans with all our quirks will decide who controls the White House and Congress. But under a sovereign God, the election is no crapshoot.”
The article is lengthy but a worthwhile read, presenting eight biblically supported theses on the reign of God and the role of government. Click here for the full article with numerous Biblical references. Here are the eight theses for your consideration:
(1) Human government is not inherently evil, nor any particular political system wicked per se. Government is used for evil because people are sinful, not because the authority of the ruling party is wicked or should be abolished. (Rom. 13:1; John 8:44)
(2) God is absolutely sovereign and authoritative over who rules, where they exercise their power (its boundaries and extent), over whom they have authority, and for how long. (Isaiah 40:23-24)
(3) God is not only sovereign in delegating authority, He also can exert omnipotent and irresistible influence over the hearts and minds of kings and rulers and presidents to do what He wants done. (“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He will.” Proverbs 21:1)
(4) Although we are ultimately citizens of a heavenly kingdom and only secondarily citizens of an earthly state, we are not for that reason exempt from submitting to the laws of the land where we live (1 Peter 2:13-17).
(5) Although we are submissive to the authority of government, Christians have a responsibility as citizens of both heaven and earth to influence for good the government under which they live.
(6) The local church’s authority is unique. Nowhere in the NT do we see that Elders in the local church, by virtue of their being Elders, have authority in or responsibility over local, state, or national government decision-making. Elders can certainly hold public office, but they do so as private citizens and not because of their office in the local church. Likewise, nowhere in the NT do we see governmental officials exerting authority over the local church or selecting its officers or dictating what it must believe or how its people must behave.
(7) No government or earthly authority or political party platform ever sent anyone to hell or saved a single human soul. Politics has no such power. On the other hand, unrepentant pride and immorality and rebellion and unbelief do send people to hell. Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone has the power of salvation.
(8) The confession that “Jesus is Lord” is not simply a declaration of faith and an acknowledgement that He is the Master of our lives individually and as a church. It is also a political statement.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me” (Matthew 28:18) who is still king of kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16; 17:14).
One very specific and powerful application is the importance of prayer that God would be pleased to show His glory, justice, mercy, and salvation through those entrusted to political service. And so Paul encouraged churches to pray: First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
When we gather together in worship this Sunday we will be looking at Paul’s instructions concerning the celebration of the Lord’s Table (1Cor. 11:17-34). What a clear reminder and gift for the worshipping church that all manner of human divisions are brought together in unity through Jesus Christ.
Trinity Fellowship Church