Discipleship

A Matter Of Perspective

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A blog post by Vicki Graff

Recently a daughter was reading Romeo and Juliet.  There was a good deal of giggling. Strange, as that particular story is known as a tragedy.  Why was she laughing?  She chose to read it as a comedy.  Seeing Romeo as a pathetic teen boy and his ‘whining’ as laughable.  Her sister said, “It’s a matter of perspective.”

Perspective is a powerful lens that shapes your attitude and behavior.  I lived much of my life as a pessimist. A firmly embedded habit, it was an unconscious defense against disappointment and sorrow.  I expected and saw the negative side of plans and people. Now, maturing in the Word and faith, I am practicing putting on the lens of the scripture to view life.  

Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

I’m not talking about thinking positive, name it and claim it, or putting on a Pollyanna perspective.  Rather, living within the Bible's promises.  Believing and applying the truths of Scripture to the events and experiences that we react to all day long.  Criticism that crushes. Trials that feel overwhelming. Grief that consumes. Accusing guilt. Struggles and doubts that discourage and weaken. Sin that separates.  Bitterness to bind us.  Pain and anger to prevent forgiving. A world full of lies and distractions. 

I’m not talking about thinking positive, name it and claim it, or putting on a Pollyanna perspective. Rather, living within the Bible’s promises.

Grasping firmly to the Biblical truth that, as a beloved and treasured child of God, I am forgiven and embraced for a purpose, known and held by Him. Empowered with strength to stand before enemies and temptation. Enabled to love and forgive through His mercy and grace applied.  Living in hope that overcomes all trials, failures, sickness and grief by holding onto the promise of eternal life and a heavenly dwelling that is a blink away through Him. Believing He acts from love and knows best.

This only happens with deliberate devotion to God’s truth through study, prayer and fellowship.  Being saturated in His influence to overcome all others. Nothing good will come from a casual faith.  An acquaintance with Christ and His church results in an ineffectual anemic Christian defined by hypocrisy. The Biblical promises need to be a part of you, believed and applied. A conscious effort on your part, but what joy when you find that the hope and joy within has become a part of your thoughts, coping skills and reactions. A new lens to see the world in the light of Christ and His Word.

Nothing good will come from a casual faith. An acquaintance with Christ and His church results in an ineffectual anemic Christian defined by hypocrisy.

1st Peter 1: 3-7 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Study the Word. His truth cannot come out if it does not dwell within. Pray to know Him and understand His Word because this is not something you can do alone.  The depth of His riches are deeper than a passing glance but the Holy Spirit is a willing guide.  Fellowship for edification and encouragement because the Lord uses us for each other. 

Recently, a longstanding misunderstanding of myself and my motives was immediately overturned by one sentence spoken to me.  She had no idea that her words brought revelation and repentance.  I thanked the Lord in prayer for her faithfulness to nurture her faith which in turn, strengthened mine.  I hope the Lord will use me in the same way for another.

 Titus 3: 4-7 “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

How Should We Study the Bible?

By Mike Littleton

I can still vividly remember one of the first bible studies I was part of as a young Christian. A small group of us would get together once a week, read through a particular text of scripture and then spend the rest of the time trying to decipher what exactly the particular text meant.

We were all well-meaning, but we had no idea what we were doing. 

We didn’t know what questions to ask. We didn’t have any guidelines to follow. We didn’t even know that scripture was something that had to be “interpreted” or what that even meant. 

The primary questions we asked revolved around what the text meant to us personally, and this was dictated primarily by how a particular text made us feel. Furthermore, we spent much of our time searching for and discussing the potential “deeper meanings” of a particular text.

There is a right way to read the bible

God is gracious and I don’t think much damage was done back in those early days of bible study. I’m thankful I wasn’t the leader, but I also wish I had a leader who was taught how to teach others that there is a right way to read the bible. 

It’s not like other books

I understand why people approach bible reading this way. We believe the bible is the word of God, and as such, we expect it to be different than “ordinary” books. We expect it to speak into our lives differently than ordinary literature. We want it to. We want it to reveal something beyond us and greater than us–and indeed it does. The bible is the only book, to use the words of John Piper, that reveals the peculiar glory of God. This is in fact its purpose.

It is like other books

At the same time, however, the bible is like other books. What I mean by this is that the bible is, like any other book, a work of literature. And what this means is that there are certain rules to follow. When we begin to read a book or an article or any other type of writing, the first thing we do is ask questions that will help us better understand what the author is trying to convey to his or her particular readers. It may not feel like this is something we do because it comes somewhat intuitively with more modern literature. But with ancient literature, like the bible, there’s a little (a lot) more work that needs to be done.  

In order for us to read the bible correctly, we need to understand certain realities. For example, the bible isn’t just one book, but a library of books. It is one book that contains 66 books–39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. Not only do we need to know that the bible consists of many books, we also need to understand that these 66 books fall into various genres of literature which greatly effect the way we read and interpret them. The bible contains genres such as: historical narrative, prophecy, poetry, wisdom literature, gospels, and letters.

So where do we begin?

Sadly, it’s assumed that people (Christians in particular) just know how to read the bible. But they don’t. Abby made this clear to me a while ago when we were having a discussion about bible reading. She said, “I was always told by my pastor that I need to read my bible, but I was never taught how to.” 

That was a revelatory thought for me, as well as a reality I’m guilty of. As a preacher, I’ve admonished Christians on countless occasions of the importance and necessity of reading the bible, but often without putting the tools in their hands to do it well.  

The bible is something we need to learn to read. We need to do the hard work and study of learning how to read the bible so that we can read and study it well. This is a process that takes time (a lifetime in fact) and this is okay.

However, regardless of where you’re at in your understanding of how to read the bible, the best thing you can do is simply begin.

A method

Over the next couple of months, with blog posts like this and a sermon series we started on January 29th, we’re going to be working through a particular method of bible reading. One of our hopes in this is that you’ll be encouraged and helped in the process of learning how to read and study it yourself. 

As we do this, it’s important to understand that this is a method among many. If you have a method you already use and prefer, that’s fine. But don't tune out what you can learn here. 

The method we’ve chosen to adopt comes out of Jen Wilkin’s book Women Of The Word. Don’t let the title deter you men, this isn’t a bible reading method decorated with flowers and soaked in rose-smelling essential oils. This method is anything but a method for women only. The reason the book is titled what it is has only to do with the fact that Wilkin’s target audience was and is women. But the content and method is among the best and most accessible I’ve ever read. I’ve adopted this method myself and have noticed a dramatic difference in the way I comprehend and teach biblical texts.

The Five “P’s"

Wilkin has labeled this method the five “P’s.” I am only going to list and briefly summarize them here. Each of these headings will be a specific sermon in our sermon series Knowing Jesus In His Word. 

Study with Purpose –– Understand where your text fits into the Big Story of creation-fall-redemption-restoration. 

Study with Perspective –– Understand the “archeology” of your texts (its historical and cultural context).

Study with Patience –– Resolve not to hurry; set a realistic expectation for your pace of study, focusing on the long term. 

Study with Process –– Begin methodically reading for comprehension, interpretation, and application.

Study with Prayer –– Ask the Father to help you before, during, and after you study time.

The Goal

Our hope and prayer in laying out this method is that we’ll have a consistent way in which we’re able to approach the study of Scripture in Taproot. Furthermore, this will give us consistency in discipleship. Part of knowing Jesus and making him known involves knowing how to read the bible and also being able to teach (discipleship) others how to as well. With this “adopted” method, we’ll also have a consistent approach to discipleship when it comes to reading and studying Scripture. 

Our prayer is that we would ultimately be maturing as followers of Jesus. We cannot do this apart from knowing the glorious God of the bible. 

May we know him more, Taproot.         

Baptism...should you, and why?

 

This Sunday is Easter. There is no bigger celebration for the Christian family. It is on this day of course that we pay special attention to the fact that Jesus resurrected from the grave thus defeating Satan, sin, death, and Hell. The good news of the gospel is that those who believe in this finished work are participants in this victory with Christ and his people. One specific way we get to celebrate this is by baptizing new believers.

This post is for those of you wondering if you too should be baptized.

What is baptism?

The simplest way to define baptism is this: Baptism is a public way for a new Christian to say, “I’m with Jesus.” 

Here’s a little lengthier and robust definition: "Baptism is a church’s act of affirming and portraying a believer’s union with Christ by immersing him or her in water, and a believer’s act of publicly committing him or herself to Christ and his people, thereby uniting a believer to the church and marking off him or her from the world.”* 

Why get baptized?

With a definition of what baptism is, the next question is, “why to get baptized?” This is a good question and an important one. There are some religions that teach that baptism is necessary for salvation. I'll address this more specifically in a bit, but for now, I’ll just say that we wholeheartedly disagree with this. The only necessary work for salvation is the work of Christ. It is our response to his finished work by faith and repentance that saves us. 

However, though we believe baptism isn’t necessary for your salvation, we believe it is essential to your faith. 

So why get baptized?

First, Jesus said to. This is the clearest reason for getting baptized. If Jesus says to do something, his followers should do it. This is seen most clearly in what we know as the Great Commission. Jesus said, "“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20; emphasis mine). Simply put, baptism is an essential part of what it means to be a disciple and a disciple-maker.

Second, we see the disciples of Jesus obeying Jesus’ command through the book of Acts. After Peter preaches his Pentecost sermon, the crowd responds. The gospel message cut deep into their hearts, and they wanted to know what to do. Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every single one of you for the forgiveness of your sins.” A few chapters later, a disciple named Philip is given the opportunity to share the gospel with an Ethiopian man. After hearing and believing the gospel the man replies, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:36-39)

We see in these texts that baptism wasn’t an option for disciples of Jesus. In fact, there is no such thing as an unbaptized disciple of Jesus in Scripture. 

What does baptism do?**

Baptism is often looked at as some sort of “super-spiritual” or “magical” act. But it isn’t. The physical act of baptism is simply being dunked under water, but this act has great significance. 

First, baptism is a public confession, and public confessions strengthen your faith. Baptism can be a little intimidating. You’re standing before a crowd of people, professing before them that you believe in Jesus’ finished work and that your life is wholeheartedly his for the rest of your days. That’s a big deal and a big commitment. But this is one of the most faith strengthening and affirming things a Christian can do. 

Second, baptism is an opportunity for evangelism. When you get baptized, it’s possible that people who don’t know Jesus are watching. In this case, baptism acts as a visual portrayal of what has taken place in a new believer. When you go under the water and are brought back up, you are visually displaying for people what Christ has done on the cross, and also what Christ has done in you. Specifically, you’re publicly displaying that your sins are washed away because of your faith in Christ.

Third, baptism confirms your new identity and commitment as a follower of Christ. By getting baptized you’re saying that you belong to Jesus, and by belonging to Jesus, you belong to his people too. Baptism is a public way of proclaiming that your life has been made new, and you’re going to live it in connection with your new family, the church. 

Does baptism save me?

This question was addressed briefly above, but I want to be clear in saying that baptism is not a work that saves you. It is not baptism that guarantees your place in God’s kingdom. Only the finished work of Jesus does that.  

How do we baptize?  

In Taproot, we practice baptism by immersion. This means we set up a portable tank of water and fully immerse the person being baptized under that water. 

Who should get baptized?

If you’re a Christian and you haven’t been baptized, then you should get baptized. You may only be a few minutes, days, or weeks old in your faith, but you should get baptized. You may also be someone who's been a Christian for 20 years who, for whatever reason, has never been baptized. You too should get baptized.

Baptism is for all people who believe that God has saved them by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone, and have never been baptized. 

It is a joy and privilege to celebrate new life in God’s family. We hope you’ll join us in the celebration this Sunday. 

If you have any question at all, please click on the link to email us and we’ll get back to you ASAP. 

Christ is all!

Pastor Mike

 

*This quote is taken from the booklet Understanding Baptism, by Bobby Jamieson. 

**These points are my own paraphrase of sections taken from Understanding Baptism.  

Jesus Is The Better Man


Titus 2 is a rather difficult text to preach. It’s a very pointed chapter in regards to how the Christian life is supposed to be lived. The danger through this chapter is that we could easily miss the finished work of Jesus (the gospel) and swerve into various forms of legalism that wouldn’t be helpful for anyone. 

Last Sunday, we looked at knowing what’s good for men. In order for men to “live the good life,” we need sound doctrine, we need to know we’re men, and we need a clear vision for what manhood is. Culturally, all these are difficult to come by. But not by any means impossible. 

Helpful Resources
On Sunday, I said I would create a list of resources that I’ve found helpful. Here are some of my favorite:

Preachers:
I don’t listen to other preachers like I used to, but on occasion, I still like to listen to a few of these guys. Recently, I’ve been listening to Ray Ortlund. He’s a father figure in the Acts 29 network who’s incredibly wise. One of the important things with listening to preachers online is not to allow them to replace your local pastor. These are incredibly gifted men who are speaking into their specific contexts. They won’t cover things I might cover, and I won’t cover things they might cover. On another note, I’m not trying to preach like any of these guys, so don’t expect me to. 
  
Tim Keller
Matt Chandler
Ray Ortlund
Harvey Turner
John Piper

Books:
I think I could list out hundreds of books that I’ve found helpful over the years. I won’t do that though. There are books for just about everything you could imagine, and you need to be careful. Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes said: “Of making many books there is not end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Solomon isn’t saying, “don’t study.” He is saying that endless study will not ultimately satisfy us. Only Jesus can do this. So here are some books I’ve found influential:
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem: This book is HUGE. But don’t let it overwhelm you. It’s made so you can search a specific topic you want to research. 
The Cross of Christ by John Stott: This book will make make you cry. Just saying. 
Prodigal God by Tim Keller: This is one of the most clear presentation of the gospel I’ve ever read! (And anything you read by Tim Keller is gold!)
What Did You Expect by Paul Tripp: I just read this book a couple months ago. I wish I would have read it years ago. If we can put the things this book talks about into practice, our marriages will change!
Tender Warrior by Stu Webber: Just an all around good book on what it looks like to be a godly man. 
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis: This book will challenge your mind, but it will also shape your thoughts about being a Christian in a profound way. 

I’ve also found books by Martyn Lloyd Jones to be helpful. The Puritans are challenging, but great. Read men like John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, John Owen, Richard Sibbes, and so on. Charles Spurgeon was known as the Prince of Preachers in the mid 1800’s. His stuff is great too.

I could go on for days. If you want a good book recommendation for a specific topic, just let me know. And if I don’t have one off the top of my head, I’ll do so research for you. 

Other Podcasts:
If you’re interested in free online classes, iTunes university offers some great ones. Reformed Theological Seminary, and Covenant Theological Seminary have great free courses. Again, if you have more questions about this stuff, just ask. 

Jesus Is The Better Man
Ultimately men, we must continually be reminded that Jesus is the better man. We could listen to sermons, read books, and take classes all day long. We could do everything to live a better life, and honestly be all around “good guys,” but without Jesus we are still lost and without hope. He is the image of what it looks like to be a man, and he was the man in our place that we cannot be. By faith in Christ, God looks upon you and sees you as he sees Christ. This is the good news that begins to deeply change us. When we fail, we can turn to Jesus because he was successful. Where we’re successful, we can glorify Jesus because he has made our success possible. He is our risen hope for what it looks like to be new men. Trust him.   
 

Will You Continue To Learn?

Knowing Jesus. Making Him Known.

On Sunday, we took the time to delve into why we exist as a church. The big idea was that we exist to Know Jesus and Make Him Known. This statement has at its heart the obeying of Jesus’ commission to the church to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:16-20). Simply put, the main point for us Taproot, is to be disciples of Jesus who make disciples of Jesus. As we said, this is both loving and glorifying to God.

There are, however, some roadblocks when it comes to discipling and being discipled. Primarily: it’s hard. 

Discipleship Is Hard

It’s very hard. If we’re going to effectively make disciples, we need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Being a disciple and making disciples is messy. It involves blood, sweat, tears, long conversations, and sometimes sleepless nights. It’s no wonder Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). In other words, following Jesus isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires that we die to the comforts of this world. It requires humility.

In light of this, one question we need to continually keep before us is: Will we continue to learn? Our pride tells us we have nothing–or at least very little–to learn. Our pride tells us that having received Christ is enough. And indeed it is. But the life of a disciple doesn’t end once our faith is placed in Jesus. It’s just the beginning of a lifetime learning process.   

Learning from football players

Football season is among us again! For some of you, this brings great joy. For others, not so much. Whatever your view of this beloved season, I’ve learned over the years that we can learn a lot from athletes (both in terms of what to do and what not to do).
If you were to spend the afternoon watching a football game, you will quickly notice that these guys aren’t merely athletes. They’re also students. I particularly love watching great quarterbacks. Guys like Russell Wilson, and formerly Payton Manning. What is it that made/makes them great? Yes, they’re good athletes on the field, but what we often miss is that they’re great students on and off the field. A great professional athlete, no matter what sport, is never done learning.

And so it should be with Jesus’ disciples. Yes, Sunday morning is important, but our discipleship process is intended to go well beyond those two hours a week. 

Will you continue to learn?

So ask yourself this question: Will you continue to learn? We have more resources at our fingertips than ever before. Will you pick them up? Great bible teaching is easily accessible 24/7. Will you listen? The God we worship is infinite. Will you spend your lifetime learning about his plan to love humanity and bring glory to himself?

Taproot, let’s continue learning about our great God and Savior Jesus Christ and in turn joyfully make him known. 
 

Am I My Brother's Keeper?

There is a famous line in Genesis 4. It says, “Am I my brothers keeper?” The line comes after Cain brutally murders his brother Abel. God asks, “Where is your brother?” The only way Cain can think of answering is by “minding his own business,” and pointing the finger at the brother he just killed.

Most of us are familiar with this section of scripture and this verse in particular. What we’re not familiar with is how to handle it. It’s easy to take the side of Cain. In a culture of hyper-individualism we shake our heads in agreement that we are not our brothers keeper. We think to ourselves, “their business is their business. I don’t need to worry about what they’re doing or not doing.” And when we do poke into someone’s business, we’re often told, “mind your own business!” Maybe there are scenarios where we ought to mind our own business, but more times than not we’re simply abdicating a responsibility that is ours to keep. We are our brother’s (and sister’s) keeper.

The church is the family of God (Mark 3:31-35). This means that if we are a Christian, our brothers and sisters are not only those who are related to us by blood, but are also those related to us by the blood of Christ spilled on the cross. To be a member of this family means that we care for one another. It means that we are in one another’s business–not for the sake of gossip, slander, shame, ridicule, or scorn– but for the sake of building up. It means that we care whether or not our brothers and sisters are representing Christ in their day to day lives. 

Jonathan Leeman, in writing about church membership, puts it like this: “Church membership is not about additional requirements. It’s about a church taking specific responsibility for a Christian, and a Christian for a church."*

“Church membership is not about additional requirements. It’s about a church taking specific responsibility for a Christian, and a Christian for a church."

The gospel of Jesus frees us to love one another in ways that we would not have previously. It frees us to celebrate with our brothers and sisters in their victories, and weep with them in their failures. It frees us to ask questions, and to have questions asked of ourselves. The church is to be a family like none other on this earth. It is God’s grace that we get to care for one another in such a way that doesn’t promote our individualism, but exemplifies his kingdom instead.

*Quoted from Leeman's book: Church Discipline.
 
 

Laboring, Equipping, and Maturing

Yesterday was our first Sunday Gathering of 2016. We took the opportunity to address where we are and where we're going as a church family. In case you missed it, below is a brief recap. Sorry, there is no recording of this sermon.

Why we exist

Knowing Jesus. Making Him Known. Taproot Church exists to know Jesus and make him known. This will remain the constant mission and vision for us because it is the commission that Jesus gave (Matthew 28:16-20). Knowing Jesus and making him known is what making disciples is. 

Maturing Saints. We don't, however, stop at simply making disciples. We labor together to present the saints as mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28-29). When the body of Christ is enabled to function in her gifting to the fullest, we're able to disciple one another to the point of being mature disciples. The result of this will inevitably be healthy disciples making healthy disciples making healthy disciples and so on. It is a maturing church submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit that will enable us to see this city saturated with the good news of Jesus Christ. 

Sending Out Laborers. In Matthew 9, Jesus told his disciples to pray for laborers to be sent into the harvest. This is because the harvest is huge, while the laborers are few (Matthew 9:35-38). It seems to be an age old problem in the life of the church–never enough people to do all the work that can possibly done. But by God's grace, we will continue laboring to equip the saints for the purpose of being sent out day by day into everyday mission fields such as our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, etc.

When it comes to sending out laborers, our ultimate prayer is that God would enable us to equip church planters and church plant teams. A preliminary goal and prayer for us is to equip and send out five (5) church planters (with teams) in the next ten (10) years. The cities we're praying to see churches planted in right now are: Twin Falls, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Boise, and Sun Valley. In this, our prayer is that God would do above and beyond all that we can imagine or even think to ask him. 

Needs in the family

As our family continues to grow, there are several areas in which we need to structure.

Set up and teardown. By God's grace, we're a mobile church and will be for the foreseeable future. There is nothing wrong or bad about this. The church is not (or at least should not) be confined to a building. However, being mobile means that there is a little more effort required for the Sunday Gathering event. We're looking to build out our set up and teardown team. Specifically, we're looking for eight (8) people to be split into two teams of four (4) and put on a volunteer rotation. 

Hospitality. It's a blessing to walk into the gathering on Sunday and have a fresh cup of hot coffee with a homemade treat of some sort. This doesn't just happen though. There are people working behind the scenes to provide these things for us. We need about four more people to fill out our Sunday morning hospitality team. 

Greeters. There's something about being greeted that makes things more welcoming. We've yet to have greeters, but it seems it's about time to start. We need 4-6 people to help out here. 

Sound and Media. It's a blessing to have amplified music and words projected on a screen that allows everyone to sing in worship to King Jesus. We're in need of a few more volunteers here. One more volunteer for media and one more volunteer for sound would be great. 

Taproot Kids. Finally, one of the greatest ways we can serve families in Taproot, and families who are visiting Taproot, is by discipling their kiddos well. This year, we want to see our children's ministry grow in a healthy way. We want to see the kids discipled well in the gospel of Jesus while at the same time learning if a fun and safe environment. We need a lot of help to do this though. Right now, we're looking for 16 people to work in teams of four on a monthly rotation on Sunday mornings. 

it is finished

The amount of work that needs to be done is often overwhelming. When it comes to a call for laborers in the life of the church, the tendency is to guilt people into doing a job or to tell them that serving more will cause God to be more pleased with them. But this is a lie. 

The truth is that God is already perfectly pleased with those whose faith is placed in the finished work of Jesus even if we don't lift up a finger or fill another volunteer spot for the rest of our existence! This is because the work that ultimately needed to be done has already been done. Jesus came and lived the perfect life we couldn't, died the death we deserve, and rose victoriously from the grave! In this, he has defeated Satan, sin, Hell, and the ultimate enemy death (Colossians 2:14-15). Before he breathed his last breath, he proclaimed from that cross, "It is finished!" 

This good news is what changes our lives, and this good news is what motivates our labor, church. It is in light of the reality that we will not be loved any less and are already loved as much as we possibly could be that motivates us to labor until Christ returns.  

I'm excited about what lies ahead, Taproot. The details are unknown to us, but our plans and dreams are submitted to the God who knows every detail down to the second. He will establish our steps as he sees fit.

If you have questions, please ask at the next Sunday gathering or head over to our connect page and fill out the form at the bottom. 

Christ is all!

Pastor Mike      

 

Responding To Muslims

How does the gospel motivate us to respond to Muslims? This is an extremely important question, and we're excited to have Samy Tanagho join us to help answer it. 

Samy was born and raised in Egypt, and has ministered to Muslim people groups for over 30 years. It's his love for Jesus that has motivated him to spend his life serving Muslims, and equipping the church to do the same. Samy is the founder of Glad News Ministries, and has also written the book, Glad News! God Loves You My Muslim Friend. Through his years of ministry, he has seen Jesus change lives in remarkable ways. 

We're happy to have partnered with Calvary Chapel Buhl in bringing this seminar to Twin Falls. Our prayer is that Samy's teaching and experience will serve to equip the church in loving and serving Muslims as God continues to afford us the opportunity to have them as our neighbors. Samy's teaching will help to dispel the many fears that people in our city have, teach us to see Muslim people as image bearers of God, and equip us to speak the good news of Jesus with wisdom and care. 

We hope you will join us.

The seminar is Sunday November 8th, at 5:30 p.m., at The Boys and Girls Club of the Magic Valley. Coffee will be provided by Twin Beans Coffee Co. and desserts will be served as well. 

If you have any questions, please visit our Connect page. You can also check us out on Facebook

Christ is all!   

The Value Of The Church Gathered

In Taproot Church, we gather every Sunday morning to worship Jesus, sit under the preaching of God's word, and be equipped for the work of ministry in everyday life.

We also gather in Gospel Communities (GC's). GC's are small groups of people, joined by the gospel, pursuing the renewal and redemption of their community together for the purpose of being discipled and making disciples of Jesus.

The Sunday Gathering and Gospel Communities are invaluable pieces to the ministry and mission of Taproot Church. These are two of the primary ways in which we're able to press into the reason for our existence, which is to know Jesus and make him known.

Below are some reasons why we value these gatherings the way we do.

1. It's biblical. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." The early church valued the gathering of the saints to the point that correction was necessary if there was a neglecting of it. It was in the context of the church gathered that people were encouraged in the midst of all that is difficult in this life. 

2. It reflects God. The God of the bible is Triune. This means that he has existed in perfect community for all eternity. Being his image bearers, we long for this kind of community, but sin has distorted it. Now, instead of enjoying the presence of God and others, we would rather hide (Genesis 1:8). In the finished work of Jesus, the type of community we see in God is restored to his church, and we reflect that to the world. "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).

3. Discipleship. The commission of Jesus to his disciples is to make disciples. A disciple is a follower of Jesus. Discipleship is the process of learning how to follow Jesus. This does not happen alone. It also doesn't happen in the context of a one and a half hour service on Sunday mornings (though this is vital). Discipleship is the process of a lifetime and it's greatest value comes when we are gathered with others who are learning how to follow Jesus along with us. It's in the context of the gathered saints where our weaknesses and sins are revealed, and it's in these gatherings where we are most likely to be pointed to Jesus. Proverbs says, "Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgement" (Proverbs 18:1). Living life in this type of community is often not easy, but it's always worth it.

4. Equipping and maturity. Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, saying, "And God gave the apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood" (Ephesians 4:11-13). Paul is not talking about offices in the church, but gifting. In other words, there are those in the church who still operate in this APEST model of gifting, and they've been given these gifts for the equipping of the saints. (We'll talk more about APEST another time). Furthermore, the hope in this is that the saints would reach maturity in Christ, that is, that all followers of Jesus would know Jesus more fully, and realize their value in the gathering of the church. If left to a small group of people or one "dynamic" preaching pastor, the local church is sure to never see real maturity. This isn't always the case, but often it is. We are equipped and we mature when we gather and are equipped through the gifting of many. 

5. Whole body ministry. The church is referred to as a body (1 Corinthians 12), which requires all parts in order to function well. Often, there are several parts of the body which are neglected or not used at all, but when the church places value in the gathering of the church, the whole body is included in ministry. This is why our Sunday gatherings are not referred to as services. The goal of the Sunday morning gathering is not simply to serve you, but to serve you by equipping you, helping you to see that you are a vital part of the ministry of the church. You are then equipped to go out and serve not only in the local church, but in your city, neighborhood, workplace, schools, etc. In this, you are doing the work of ministry in your everyday life.

6. To be sent. When saints are equipped, saints are sure to be sent. This is a difficult but beautiful part of being the church. The work we do is in hopes that more would come to know, follow Jesus, and be gathered with Jesus' Church. This happens as people are sent.

7. Worship. The final thing I want to say about the gathering of the church is that it's an act of worship to King Jesus. He paid the price for our sins on the cross, rose victoriously from the grave, and is alive and well, ruling and reigning at the right hand of God today! All this is for the church. Jesus loves his church. We are his bride, and no matter how messed up we tend to be, he sees us as perfect, beautiful, and holy! When we gather, we do so because of the love and finished work of Jesus. 

Christ is all!

Pastor Mike