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Peruse Bible teachings and church happenings

Peruse Bible teachings and church happenings

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He's Still On the Throne

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up…” (Is. 6:1)

There is a clear and simple truth that we can take away from that opening line of Isaiah’s story: the king might be dead, but THE King still sits on his throne.

And that point resonates loud and clear to the hearts of God’s faithful ones throughout all time: No matter who’s on the throne (or in the White House), God is king of Heaven and Earth. It’s a worthwhile truth to remember all the time; especially in an election year.

But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.” (Ps. 9:7)

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!” (Ps. 123:1)

 

- Dan Lankford, minister

Measured By Comparison

Sunday, March 10, 2024

I once heard a man tell about an early experience he’d had in construction work. He was cutting rafters for a house, so he measured the first rafter by a tape measure, and then proceeded to measure the next one by the one that he had just cut—not using his tape measure again. Of course, that practice didn’t make much difference on the first handful of cuts. A careful check would have showed a difference of only small fractions of an inch. But after 100 rafters each cut in comparison to the one before, the difference from the first to the hundredth was over a foot. They weren’t even close to the original.

Don’t we often do the same thing spiritually?

In church life, we compare ourselves with a previous generation and see that we’re just a little different from them. But then, when two thousand years of church history have gone by, we may find that we’re a great distance from Christ’s original intent for his people.

In our personal lives, we sometimes compare ourselves with a previous generation and are satisfied that we measure close enough to them. But then, after generations, we may realize that our standards of right and wrong are far from God’s original intent for his people.

What’s the solution to this problem? Do we find a better generation to compare to? Do we try to just do better than them by comparison?

The solution is to stop comparing ourselves to other people, and just compare who we are to the standard of God’s word and Jesus’ way.

When they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” (2 Cor. 10:12)

- Dan Lankford, minister

Faith-Building Fridays | The Fossil Problem

Friday, March 08, 2024

Did you know that Darwin had reservations about his own theory of evolution? Did you know that there is one piece of data that gave him fits and cast doubt on everything he’d theorized? That piece of data is the fossil record. Last week, we discussed on Evolutionary Theory has a life problem, but it also has a fossil problem. Rather than offering support for Darwin’s theory, fossil evidence unravels everything.

Darwin’s theory proposes that all life evolved from a common ancestor: an alleged single-cell organism that crawled out of a primordial chemical soup. The theory goes on to claim that over the course of billions of years, all life forms gradually evolved from basic and simple to diverse and complex. If that were true, then we should see two things in the fossil record:

First, we should expect the fossil record to be arranged in a certain way. We should find only simple, basic creatures in the lowest layers of dirt, and we should find that the creatures become more diverse and complex as we go up. Second, we should also find millions of fossils of transitional life forms that demonstrate the gradual evolution from one type of creature to another. To offer an example, if we believe that fish eventually evolved into dogs, then we should be able to find many fossils that illustrate how the fish-to-dog transition took place.

Of course, that is not at all what we find in the earth.

The fossil record doesn’t show a gradual progression from simple life to complex life. Instead, there is an explosion of life—both simple and complex—that happens all at once. It’s even called the Cambrian Explosion. Neither does it show millions of transitional forms that catalog the gradual progression of evolution. Instead, we find that lifeforms have remained surprisingly static throughout the layers of sediment. To be fair, we do occasionally find that natural selection has led to some changes within species, but nothing that demonstrates the transition from one type of animal to another.

The fossil record looks nothing like Darwin and exactly like Genesis (Genesis 1:20-27).

- Jonathan Banning

A Healthy Relationship With the News

Wednesday, March 06, 2024

People have said for a long time that the news is only bad news; only telling us about the bad things that happen in the world. But modern news is much more than information. For better or worse, it’s rife with commentary, ideologies, philosophies, and worldview. Some news outlets do their best to dial back most of that, preferring to just focus on information. But others are blatant and open about it, treating what used to be called editorial content as the core of their business model.

So how can Christians have a spiritually healthy relationship with the news? Whether you tend toward conservative or moderate or liberal outlets, whether you watch it on TV or social media or wherever… How can we keep our minds and spirits from being dominated by the constant flow of bad news? How can we keep ourselves centered rather than letting an outsider ideology encroach?

Ultimately, it comes down to which voices we listen to the most. Jesus said that his sheep hear his voice and follow it. They do not listen to the other voices that call them out of his fold (John 10:4-5). Even if we hear a voice that we think would agree with Jesus, the key is that we turn and listen to Jesus as the supreme guiding voice. That takes commitment and constant practice (cf. Hb. 5:14). And it’s essential that Christians do this, because while the world is full of voices, only one voice speaks the words of eternal life (John 6:68).

So for some of us, the healthiest relationship with modern news is a completely distant one. Some of us need to practice more moderation in the relationship; spending less time hearing and thinking about news. Some of us need to change the outlets that we listen to in order to decrease our exposure to bad ideas and bad behavior. And all of us need to make sure that how we think about the world is entirely learned from God, with the news media taking second place (at best) in our consideration of ourselves and reality.

- Dan Lankford, minister

We're A Bible Church

Sunday, March 03, 2024

If you ever find yourself describing this church to a friend who attends a different kind of church, you’ll soon realize that one thing which makes us distinct is the high level of attention given to Bible teaching. It’s been my limited experience that many of my friends’ churches only offer Bible teaching in sermons. Their special events feature famous motivational speakers and authors; not Bible teaching. Kids’ programs have a lot of activities, and not much Bible. The Sunday school classes for adults tend to be poorly publicized and poorly attended; increasingly, they’re not even offered. These are generalizations, and there are exceptions, but this is the average.

But here at Northside, things are different.

We have Bible classes offered twice every week for kids and grown-ups. Sermons are based in the Bible every single time. Special events are focused on Bible teaching. Scripture is read publicly often. There’s a devotional talk based in the Bible every Wednesday night. There are articles published twice weekly that reflect on the Scriptures’ teachings for our lives. And we have a daily Bible reading program that we encourage everyone to participate in.

Why so much emphasis on the Bible?

Because it’s the message that God speaks to mankind, and there is no better word that we can hear. Peter once asked Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn. 6:68). There’s nothing more life-giving for us than to hear the Spirit speak in this way. It’s a blessing the defies valuation, so we continue to seek it day after day, week after week, and year after year.

Now, please don’t hear this as self-congratulatory or condescending toward others, because neither of those is helpful, and Jesus warned against them both (cf. Lk. 18:1 & Mt. 7:1-5). Rather, this is spoken as a statement of conviction and as a commitment to our high view of Scripture. We want to be committed to being a Bible church, and ready to share that with others. We want to have the humility to realize that while we are a very Bible-forward group of people, we still have so much room to grow in our own level of Biblical discernment. We ought to be increasingly engaged in the opportunities we currently have to connect with the Bible (classes, daily readings, home studies, etc). We want to be hear the Spirit of God speak more and more through the written word.

We’re a Bible church, and we’re going to stay committed to that, because there is no-one else we can turn to but God to hear the words of eternal life.

- Dan Lankford, minister

Faith-Building Fridays | The 'Life' Problem

Friday, March 01, 2024

There are several laws of nature and physics that you’ve likely heard of. The Law of Gravity is fairly well known, and you’ve probably also learned about Newton’s Three Laws of Motion. These laws are called “laws” and not theories because they are never broken in the natural world.  One such law is “The Law of Biogenesis,” which is a science-y way of saying that life can only be generated from living things. Rocks don’t generate plants, glass doesn’t generate animals, and dead bodies do not conceive and give birth. Life never comes from lifeless things. 

I hope you can see that there is a fundamental contradiction between the Theory of Evolution and the Law of Biogenesis. The law states that life never comes from lifeless things, but evolution hinges on the belief that the first life form came from something lifeless. Evolution begins with some simple single-celled organism crawling out of some lukewarm, lifeless, prehistoric chemical pond. Scientists have tried for decades (most famously in the Miller-Urey experiment) to prove that it’s possible for non-living things to generate something alive and have had no success. The idea that non-living things are capable of generating even a single living cell is just as fictional as Frankenstein’s Monster. 

It is incredible to me that so many experts, so many academics, and so many regular people have come to believe in a theory that has yet to prove or explain the very first step. It turns out that the Christian worldview perfectly aligns with “The Law of Biogenesis.” Our natural world teaches us that all life comes from a living source, and we believe that all life on Earth was created by a living, all-powerful, supernatural source that we call, “God.” We believe that life comes from life. As we read in Genesis 2:7, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

- Jonathan Banning

Faith-Building Fridays | Evolution Theory's Fatal Flaws

Thursday, February 29, 2024

It’s so tempting to follow the crowd. It’s so tempting to be swayed by popular opinion. People find great comfort in knowing that they’ve aligned themselves with “The Consensus,” or that they’ve agreed with, “The Experts.” Truly, more often than not, public opinion is accurate, and the experts are correct. However, this is not always the case—there was a time when the public believed the Earth was flat and the experts believed the sun was the center of the universe. 

You shouldn’t always follow the crowd, nor should you always trust the experts.  

We bring this up because Darwin’s evolutionary theory has become the preferred explanation for the origin of the universe among the experts and the masses. The notion that all of life on Earth evolved from a single-celled organism over billions of years is pretty much “The Consensus.” We want you to appreciate that, despite the overwhelming support of the public and the gatekeepers in academia, evolutionary theory has some tremendous flaws. So, we’ll spend the next three weeks highlighting some of those flaws.

- Jonathan Banning

Stand In the Gap | One Voice To Teach Masculinity

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

There’s some serious confusion around manhood in our culture. If you turn to any number of different outlets, you’ll receive any number of conflicting views about how to become a man, what’s wrong with men, and what makes a good man. So how can we know which one is right? How can we know what masculinity is really supposed to be like?

The key is to block out all the noise and listen only to one voice. A voice that will tell us the truth. The voice of God.

The word of God has many glimpses of the same things we see wrong with men in the modern world. In the Bible, we see weakness in places where men should have been strong. We see oppression and abuse where men should have been kind and accommodating. We see men who oppress women and children, who are unfaithful to their wives and families, whose foolishness ruins the lives of others around them, and whose godless arrogance destroys them.

And yet… There are examples of godly masculinity that repeatedly shine as bright lights out of that darkness. There are men who embody gentleness, wisdom, strength, meekness, care, and righteousness… all at the same time. Are they perfect? No. All of them, except for One, fail in some way. And yet they showed us how to strive for the ideal.

This coming Sunday’s sermon will be for men. We’ll talk about the way that godly men should be characterized by humility. We’ll talk about how humility drives both tenderness and toughness, how it helps us know when to speak and when to keep quiet, how it helps us to step up for those who need us, and how it manifests in our habits of self-control and self-discipline.

God told Ezekiel that he was seeking “for a man to stand in the gap” (Ez. 22:30) to do the right thing before God and others. We want to be the godly men who can do that when God calls upon us. So this Sunday’s lesson will give us a little bit of guidance toward doing that better than we ever have before.

- Dan Lankford, minister

Awed by Jesus

Sunday, February 25, 2024

In this past week’s daily Bible reading schedule, we read through Luke chapter 8 and its collection of powerful moments from the life of Jesus. The chapter tells us about Jesus as a powerful teacher (vv. 1-18), a powerful unifier (vv. 19-21), a powerful God (vv. 22-39), and a powerful healer (vv. 40-56). Individually, each event is the kind of thing that we come to expect from the Lord when we’ve been around religious settings and the Bible for awhile. But when viewed all together, they show us just how truly great he is, and they remind us to occasionally stop and be wowed by Jesus.

It’s easy to get a little desensitized to how fearful and awe-inspiring the presence of Jesus could be at times. The occasions of his kindness and compassion are sometimes difficult to align with the occasions of his great miracles and hard sayings. We readily hear the sweetness in his voice as he tells the adulteress woman, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace” (Lk. 8:48), but we sometimes forget that it’s the same voice who simply rebuked an intense storm and caused it to retreat from him (Lk. 8:24). Neither his softness nor his firmness nor his fearsomeness is everything that we need to know about him. We must understand and appreciate the whole picture of Jesus.

And so, let’s allow our hearts the requisite amount of breathing room to be properly awed by Jesus sometimes. Let’s be awed at his power as a teacher, as a unifier, as a healer, and as God. Let’s appreciate the fact that people who knew him well still feared him, even as they loved him. And let’s appreciate the fact that even in all of his greatness, splendor, and power; he loves us and calls us to himself.

- Dan Lankford, minister

Faith-Building Fridays | Purposeful Design & Our Life Purpose

Friday, February 23, 2024

The work of Christian apologetics largely comes down to arguments for and against certain things. But the necessity of those arguments stems from our responsibility to love and serve the one true God. Creation-versus-evolution is more than an argument to be won; it’s ultimately a discussion of whether we must obey God or not.  This is especially true of the teleological argument: it’s not just about finding the fingerprints of God in his created universe. It’s a demonstration that the universe is not just a meaningless churning of matter and energy; it’s the design of a Creator. And that Creator creates with purpose. And that means that he has created us with a purpose. 

God’s seven-day work of creation reaches its climax in the creation of mankind. The account of man’s creation says these familiar words: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gn. 1:28) There is a broad and deep purpose in those commands; a purpose that God gave to no other creature. Man is unlike all of God’s other creatures. There is a kind of nobility—what Francis Schaeffer called “mannishness”—that is unique to us. Man has a telos—a purpose, a responsibility to labor in God’s world to bring it into full alignment that glorifies Him.

No other earthly creature has such a grand purpose. No other creatures fills a role so important. No other creature has received the favor of God in such a special way. And no other creature has such responsibility put upon them.

This is where the implications of apologetics come into full view. If our arguments for God’s presence are true, then we must ask, “What does believing in God mean that I’m supposed to do?” The answer is that we are supposed to fulfill the purpose for which he made us. We are supposed to live in faithful service to him.

The universe is declaring that you were made on purpose, with a purpose. Go live that today, for the glory of God.

- Dan Lankford, minister

 

 

 

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