This Sunday, January 5, at OGC


Just a few thoughts about this Sunday, January 5, at OGC:

One, back to the regular schedule. Prayer at 8:30 AM, Equipping Hour for adults and Sunday School for kids at 9:30 AM, and worship service at 10:45 AM.

Two, three new EH adult discipleship classes start including Reformed Theology (W1), New Testament (W5), and Biblical Finance (F4). Praise Factory and Big Questions and Answers for kids resume as well. Nursery care as usual.

Three, worship service starts with a John Piper sermon jam at about 10:41 AM. Yes, you read that right.  A video sermon jam. You won’t want to miss that. Be on time! Don’t know what a sermon jam is? Come and find out.

Four, I will preach my first of two New Year’s messages from Mark 12:18-27. The title of the message is “What Would Jesus Ask?” My apologies to our friends with the WWJD movement. Pray with me for the Lord to show up with power. Every message from God’s word matters, but these pacesetting messages at the beginning of every year have the potential to influence us in unusual ways as we set priorities anew and afresh.

Five, the Lord’s Supper will follow the message. Be sure to prepare your heart.

Should be a great day by God’s grace.

On a different note, our year end giving was strong! God is good through the faithfulness of His people. We made up the shortfall on actual expenses and a bit of the overall budget. Specific numbers will come later. Thank you for your generosity.

This morning I began my day reviewing one of the most powerful promises in the Bible (Romans 8:31-32, ESV). I commend it to you for shaping your thoughts as another year begins: 

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 

God has already done the harder thing. He has given you His Son. What can you possibly imagine does not fall under the comprehensive promise umbrella of His “all things” for you in 2014?

Piper Passion 2013 Disclaimer & OGC Equipping Hour

Wondering how those two things connect?

Let me explain. Pastor John Piper spoke in Atlanta this week at Passion 2013 just as he always does. His message was vintage Piper – a call to Christian hedonism from Hebrews 10, 11, & 12.

The next day, Louie Giglio, Passion’s host, gave a Piper disclaimer during the announcement time. He recalled at the first Passion so many years ago how Piper spoke on the deep things of God in that unique and challenging way he typically does. He told us after that first message somebody came to him and said something to the effect of “All that stuff Piper said last night went right over our heads.” To which Giglio replied, “Isn’t that great!” He then went on to exhort the 60,000 plus of us in the Georgia Dome not to settle for the trend today in some teaching to dumb down the great mysteries of the sovereign God by putting them on the lower shelf. Rather he would have us reach high for those same things with careful, rigorous thought through teaching like Piper’s that fosters it. It was a good, solid word for all to hear.

Now for my connection to our equipping hour. Tomorrow we start a new quarter in our discipleship scope and sequence during the 9:30 hour with three offerings that will challenge us to reach high for the mysteries of God and His word. Scott Devor will teach Systematic Theology Two – Spirit, Church, and Last Things. Will Powell will tackle Old Testament 1 – Creation to United Kingdom. And Ted Herrbach will lead an extremely practical class called How to Study the Bible. I guarantee you, without apology, that these offerings will stimulate us with careful, rigorous thought as we pursue the deep mysteries of God, His Word, and His church.

Here’s one very practical way that we get to love God with all our mind (Luke 10:27).

Hope to see you in one of these classes tomorrow morning as we go deeper by reaching higher.

Another New Beginning?

“The victorious Christian life,” said 19th century Scottish preacher Alexander Whyte, “is a series of new beginnings.” He got that right. We start over a lot in the gospel journey of faith. God in His grace always picks us up where we left off and continues His sanctifying work through various means.

This Sunday, as we gear up in our new facility, for the regular full agenda of Sunday ministry activities affords another opportunity for new beginnings. I am referring to the resumption of our adult equipping hour classes. Some of us may have fallen off in our participation after a strong start. Still others may never have joined one of the four offerings in the first place.

With the resumption of the Church History, Evangelism and Mercy Ministry, Parenting, and and Discover OGC classes in our new building, why not consider getting back into one of those offerings or joining in for the first time? Whatever one might have missed in previous sessions in no way diminishes what might be gained in the content yet to come. Furthermore, if you are new to Orlando Grace at this season, the Equipping Hour affords an opportunity to connect on a more personal level with folks in the church in ways the large group worship celebration does not.

Please consult the section in this week’s edition of the enews that describes each class and its location for more information. Maps for the various locations will be available this Sunday for your convenience.

Let’s make the opening of OGC’s new building an occasion for a new beginning in our spiritual lives.