Taproot Church Twin Falls

Preparing for Advent-Part 2

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By Mike Littleton

I can remember Christmas as a child like it was yesterday. My two younger sisters and I would wake up around 3:00 a.m. to go see the large pile of presents under the tree, and in the dark stillness of the night, we’d open our stockings. I guess this was our own little tradition. We’d then go back to sleep until about 5:30 a.m. at which time we’d do our best to gently nudge (not really though) our parents out of bed so we could open up everything else.

There was no day throughout the year so eagerly anticipated like the coming of like Christmas Day.

Though my experience misses the point of Christmas entirely, and the Advent season, in particular, it does get to the heart of what the Advent is about–anticipation

What is Advent?

The word “advent” is derived from the latin adventus, and it simply means coming.

The advent season was not one originally associated with Christmas however. Scholars believe the earliest observances of advent were for a season of preparation before the baptism of new Christians. By the 6th century, it was a season observed primarily in light of Christ’s second coming, not his first. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that advent was specifically associated with Christmas.

Advent today continues to be tied to the Christmas season. The Advent season itself starts four Sundays before Christmas and can fall as soon as November 27th and as late as December 3rd. This year, Advent will start on Sunday, December 3rd.

The Advent season today is intended to cause us to look forward to Christ’s second coming, and also backward at his first coming. During the first two Sundays of Advent, we look forward to his Second coming, while the last two Sundays before Christmas we look back to and remember his first coming.

The whole season is intended to be one of reflection, remembrance, confession, and repentance. In many ways, Advent is intended to be observed similarly to Lent.

The Themes Of Advent

There are numerous themes one can find attached to the Advent season today. Traditionally, the themes of love, joy, peace, and hope are the most common themes. But I’ve also observed the Advent season with the themes of waiting, mystery, redemption, and incarnation. (These themes are found in an Advent devotional with the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

In some Advent traditions, candles and wreaths are used to represent various components of the Advent observance. The wreath is intended to symbolize the eternal nature of God, while the candles represent a myriad of different things depending on the historical tradition you’re reading.

Why you should consider observing Advent.

There’s a lot of differentiation with the Advent season, and different traditions observe it in their unique ways.

There are numerous ways you and your family can celebrate the Advent season. There are no hard and fast rules. You may even choose not to observe Advent. However, there is indeed great value in doing something to observe Advent–both in your home and in the local church.

The Christmas season in our culture is dominated by anything but stillness and meditation. Many of us dread this season because of the madness that comes along with it. Put simply, it’s easy for us to miss the point–the coming of Christ. Intentionally observing Advent, in whatever way you may choose to do so, may just be the thing that helps you, your family, and your church to slow down enough to see and treasure Jesus above anything else. And that is a good gift.

If you’ve never observed the full Advent season, I encourage you to do so this year. It’ll be awkward and perhaps difficult. But the reward will be great as you set your heart on the humble coming of Jesus thousands of years ago, as well as his future coming in power and glory.

Simply put, the reason we should observe Advent is that it helps to fix our attention where it ought to be fixed–on the Savior of the world.

In my next post, I’m going to share some of the things my family has done and what we’re hoping to do this year.

Preparing for Advent - Part 1

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 By Mike Littleton

The observance of Advent is still a relatively new practice for me and my family.

I grew up in a home that didn’t observe Advent. It wasn’t that we intentionally avoided it, we just didn’t really know about it.

I didn’t experience an emphasis on the Advent season in a local church until after I’d been a Christian for nearly 12 years. The churches I grew up in placed a lot of emphasis on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but Advent was never mentioned.

My first real exposure to Advent was when Abby and I moved to the south end of Seattle. We were members of Taproot Church Burien and our pastor took the church through a legitimate Advent series. We didn’t do any of the more traditional wreathe and candle-lighting stuff (more on that in the next post), but we did work through the traditional topics of love, joy, hope, and peace.

But I didn’t know how to emphasize the Advent season in my home–or even that I should possibly consider doing such a thing–until my wife and I saw our pastor and his family emphasize it in their home. I can’t remember the exact circumstances, but we were at their house and they told us about how they gathered the whole family together every night to sing a song or two, talk about the coming of Jesus, and light candles they had placed in their front window. They would light the number of candles which corresponded with the day of the month.

Though I still didn’t really grasp what Advent was all about, what Abby and I learned that Advent season has made a lasting impact on our family. Every year since we’ve made some sort of an attempt to emphasize and observe the entire Advent season in anticipation of Christmas Day. It’s become such a part of what we do as a family that our kiddos look forward to observing Advent just as much as Christmas Day itself.

The Advent season is now just under a month away. Over the next week or two, I’m going to write a couple posts about what Advent is, some of the things my family has done, and what our plans are for Advent this year.

In the meantime, what has your experience with Advent been? Does your family observe Advent and if so how? I’d love to hear some feedback.

Why We Sing In Spanish

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For about six months now, we’ve been singing some songs in Spanish during our worship sets. We don’t typically sing a whole song in Spanish, but we’ll mix certain songs with Spanish and English.

It’s beautiful.

Just about every time a song transitions from English to Spanish, my eyes fill with tears. This isn’t because it’s difficult or uncomfortable, but because for the most part, our church doesn’t miss a beat. We sing loudly in English and Spanish. And as our voices are lifted high in a language other than our own, we’re getting a little bit more of a glimpse of what the church ought to look like.

So why do we do this?

The kingdom of God
I could list off several reasons why we sing songs in Spanish, but what it ultimately comes down to is our understanding of God’s kingdom.

In Revelation 7:9-12, the Apostle John sees this vision:

9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

What does John see? He sees people coming together from every tribe, people, and language to worship God. Now I don’t know if everyone was worshiping in the same language or if they were worshiping in their own native tongue? Are they worshiping in English? Spanish? Arabic? Hebrew? I don’t think it really matters. What matters is that people from all over the world are together worshiping God with one voice.  

This is what the gospel of Jesus does. The beauty of this picture is the people of God are finally and fully united in the finished work of Jesus Christ. There’s no more bickering. No more division. No more fear of people who are not like ourselves in color and language. No. Just the people of God together as one worshiping the God who made each of them, uniquely and diversely, in His image.

When we sing in Spanish, we’re getting just a small taste of this. It’s okay for us to be uncomfortable for a little bit while we sing in a language we’re not familiar with. In fact, it’s more than okay. It’s good because, as we do this, we're physically reminded that the kingdom isn’t about us. We’re reminded that God doesn’t favor one race or people group over another. We’re reminded that He has called people to himself from all over this globe–and He will be until Christ returns.  

As we sing songs in Spanish, I think we’re embracing a reality we’ll be experiencing for eternity. We’re happy to start preparing our hearts for it now.

A Dios sea la gloria!

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.         

Theology of Scripture

By Will Bossert

Why should you read your Bible? Is it because God says so, or because it is good for us? Many of us might think off the top of our head it is a simple answer, but unless we traverse the depths of this important question we might never connect our hearts to an answer to this question that brings about an understanding, respect, appreciation and dedication the Bible deserves. What we know and believe about scripture affects us on a grand scale. The Bible is polarizing, there is no middle ground with it. It is either God’s written Word that should impact every area of my current life, or it is just interesting literature that I should give no more care in the world as I do my daughters Dr. Suess books (of which I do enjoy reading during bedtime, but have never allowed Fox In Socks to impact my life in a significant way). The Bible is such a big deal that it is important for us to know why it is a big deal and decide why and how it should impact our lives. This is called a Theology of Scripture.

In the book Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem, these four characteristics of Scripture are listed: Authority, Clarity, Necessity, and Sufficiency. I wish I had the time to explain each of these more thoroughly, but since I don’t, I will do my best to summarize what they mean to us. If you wish to gain a more exhaustive understanding of these characteristics please read chapters 4-8 of Grudem’s book.

  1. The Authority of Scripture:

“The authority of Scripture means that all the words in Scripture are God’s words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.”

When we believe the Bible is actually God’s Word it changes us. We can no longer just read it with a sense of, “Oh that’s really nice, what Jesus did for us”. Instead, it should jar us into a realization that Scripture is literally God’s words. And just think, we have access to it,to the literary work of the almighty God! This is the God who created the entire universe.Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” He literally SPOKE things into existence. And He gave us His Words. This adds a unique level of gravity to the Bible and what it is trying to communicate to its readers. This is ultimately, who God is and how he has rescued humanity through His son Jesus. How awesome is that!

2.  The Clarity of Scripture:

    “The clarity of Scripture means that the Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who will read it seeking God’s help and being willing to follow it.”

I can remember a time when I would tell my Youth Minister, “I can’t read my Bible because I can’t understand it.” The truth, in my case, was that I was lazy and wanted an excuse to avoid reading it, and I was afraid I wouldn’t understand what I was reading . Once I decided to take seriously, the charge to be in the Word, my eyes were opened to the reality of this great book. One of the beautiful aspects of the Bible is that you do not have to be a scholar in order to read it and at least have a general understanding of it. What a loving God we have, that He would design it this way! This is not to say that we won’t have questions, but that as a whole this book is written to be understood. God wants the message to be comprehended in a way that it can be shared! Mark 16:15, “And He said to them,’Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature’.”  So please, don’t let fear keep you from reading your Bible, but instead, be encouraged and dig in!

When questions arise, a few things I have found helpful are: 1. Genuinely ask God for help. 2. Go to the scriptures and see if you can find an answer. 3. Use reliable commentaries (I’m sure Mike could direct you to a few great ones). 4. Be patient! We are not going to understand all of the things all at once. Some things will take maturity and time, and some will not be understood until God calls us home.

3. The Necessity of Scripture:

“The Bible is necessary for knowing the Gospel, for maintaining a spiritual life, and for knowing God’s will, but is not necessary for knowing that God exists or for knowing something about God’s character and moral laws.”

The reality is the Bible is a necessary component in the process of knowing the Gospel. Knowing the Gospel is not just a one time thing, we have to continually hear the Gospel work itself out in our lives and there is nowhere better to seek and search all of the facets of The Gospel than the Bible. Then beyond being necessary to know the Gospel, the Bible is where we must go in order to live a life that is transformed by God. We cannot just will ourselves into a new way of living, we need God’s good Word to teach, demonstrate, support, and convict us into a new way of living. Finally, comes the aspect of knowing God’s will. We often make this so complicated by thinking we have to discover God’s secret plan for our lives, but the truth is we can seek scripture in order to discover God’s will. Of course it doesn’t have specific specs for how your’s or my life should be played out, but with a disciplined depth of study one gets to know God more and more intimately and can distinguish between what is in God’s will and what is not and therefore be able to apply that to one's own life.

4. The Sufficiency of Scripture:

“The Sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contains all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly.”

We can be confident that the Bible and it’s 66 books are the complete, sufficient Words of God. We do not have to go searching for anything more. There are only two halves of Redemptive history, pre-Jesus and post-Jesus or Old Covenant and New Covenant. It contains everything we need for that which is necessary to be a Christian. Our salvation is in it completely, i.e. The Gospel. It contains all that God has chosen to reveal about who He is to us and what it reveals is a perfect God who has brought us into His story through Jesus. Now the reality is that God has not revealed all that there is, but it does contain all that God intended to give us.

Hopefully these characteristics of scripture inspire you to look at God’s word in a new light. That you would read it often and intentionally. Read it with a sense of it’s true value as God’s actual word that He has delivered in a way we can understand. We can be confident that it is complete and that it contains information that is necessary for our salvation, life and mission. Most countries in the world have easy access to the Bible and with the technology of Smartphones that is becoming even more true. The reality is that the accessibility of the Bible is such a wonderful thing, because it means more than ever, most people can read God’s word easily and for the most part affordably. Adversely, the accessibility of the Bible means that we generally do not give the Bible the respect and awe it deserves. The Bible truly is a treasure and it is my hope that as we look at all it is as we craft a proper theology of Scripture we will understand how valuable it is and devote ourselves to it.

 

How A Bacon Wrapped Cross Defiles Christianity

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This is not Christian

Two weeks ago, someone, or some people, in our city wrapped a four-foot cross with bacon and pounded it into the ground in front of the one and only Mosque in town. I hesitate to draw more attention to the hatred and foolishness of such an act, but because a cross has been brought into this, something has to be said.

It must be understood that what these people did is by no means Christian. It’s not the biblical church. It’s not the biblical Jesus. It is in fact anti-Christian. It is anti-gospel. It is anti-Jesus. It goes against everything the cross of Christ actually stands for. You will not find such an act anywhere in the Bible.

My plea to whoever may be reading this is for you to understand that Jesus in no way condones or encourages this deplorable action. If you are a Christian understand that such an act does nothing but drag the name of Jesus and his church through the mud. It is not an act that furthers the gospel but hinders it and thus it must be condemned.

This is Christian

Our church, Taproot Church, has been working together through the book of Acts–the New Testament historical record of the early church. One of the themes that come up repeatedly is the very humanness of every single person and the offer of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone to every human regardless of their race, ethnicity, or social status.

In Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas are worshiped by the people of Lystra as Greek gods. Their response is, “People! Why are you doing these things? We are people also, just like you” (Acts 14:15; emphasis mine). What Paul is saying here is that the gospel (good news) of Jesus levels the playing field. All humans, regardless of what or whom they may rightly or falsely worship are just that–humans. Humans in need of the one true and living God.

In Acts 16, the author records the conversion of three different people. Each of them are from entirely different worlds. They couldn’t be more different. They are opposites in race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status. Yet the conclusion of the story is that they all–as human beings–were in need of the same Jesus.

Our common humanness

“From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live” (Acts 17:26).

This verse is a reminder of our common humanity. That from one man every other man has come into existence. It’s also a reminder that we’re all a lot more alike than we tend to believe or realize.

Ken Wytsma talks about this in his book, The Myth Of Equality: “Beneath the skin we are all basically the same––and this is especially true at the genetic level. Genetically speaking, I (with my rather unmixed Dutch heritage) am more similar to a male Maori than I am to any female, including my own mother and daughters. Whatever genetic differences the Maori man and I might have throughout the rest of our twenty-three pairs of chromosomes, they are fewer than the number of gene differences between men (with one X – and one Y – chromosome) and women (who have two X- chromosomes), even when a man and woman are closely related…Indeed, the most remarkable thing about the genetics of humanity is how little diversity it contains in comparison to other populations of creatures, including other primates.”

In other words, scientifically speaking, I’m not that different than any other man on the face of this earth. And neither are you.

Track with me. This is important.

The Truth Of The Cross

You see, the actual good news of Christianity is that Jesus entered into this world in order to reconcile all types of people from every corner of this globe back to God. He finished the work that you and I could not. He did this by living a sinless life and dying a sinners death at the hands of people like…

You.

And me.

The sins of the conservative, the sins of the liberal. The sins of the Christian, the sins of the Muslim. Your sin and my sin put Jesus on the cross.

The cross is a symbol of suffering and shame. It’s a symbol of sacrifice and ought never to be associated with some sort of elite homogenous ideology. Americans (American Christians in particular) are not inherently better people than Muslims. This is what the true message of the cross tells us. It levels all humanity and says we’re all in need of the same thing. It declares that salvation is not for those who prove themselves most righteous before God. Rather, it declares that all are unrighteous, and the religious moralist who stands against planned parenthood is just as much a candidate for God’s saving grace (and needs it) as much as the Islamic man–even an avowed terrorist.

This is what the true message of the cross tells us. It levels all humanity and says we’re all in need of the same thing.

This cross is the way of the Christian life.

The cross declares God’s love for people like me, and also unlike me. There is no symbol that declares God’s desire for creating a diverse people like the cross. The Christian life should always reflect this desire.

It’s in light of all this that hateful actions like wrapping a cross in bacon and placing it in front of a Muslim Mosque must be condemned.

The truth of the Christian gospel is what enables us to see people the way God intended. In an increasingly diverse culture, may the cross remind us that we’re a lot more alike than we realize and at the end of the day our greatest need is the same–a crucified, but risen, Savior!

This post was originally published on Mike Littleton's personal blog. 

Family Church In August

During the month of August, our gatherings will be “family-style.” I don’t like calling it that because realistically every Sunday is "family-style", but what we mean by this is that Taproot Kids will be taking a break during the month of August, and therefore children of all ages will be with us for the entirety of our Sunday Gatherings. 

This is something we do on occasion in Taproot, and when we do it, it’s intentional. In other words, family church gatherings aren’t because of a lack of volunteers, a lack of organization or anything of the sort. (Though a great benefit is that our amazing Taproot Kids team gets a break!) 

Family church gatherings are done with the intention of discipling families. 

Why We Exist

Taproot exists to know Jesus and make him known. This is what it means to be a disciple and a disciple maker. Therefore, we structure our Sunday Gatherings and Gospel Communities around this mission and vision given to us by Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20). 

Included in this vision are the children of Taproot Church. In our current season, we’re thankful to have a growing Taproot Kids ministry that currently disciples children who are walking and up to six years of age. We know that this component of our gathering serves parents in their discipleship process and we hope to see it continue to do so. But one thing we want to be crystal clear about is that Taproot Kids is NOT the primary discipleship venue for our children. Rather, the purpose of Taproot Kids is to come alongside parents and help them to be the primary disciple makers of their children as God intended it to be.

This means that just as we believe the Sunday Gathering alone is not sufficient for any Christian to mature, so too Taproot Kids alone is not sufficient for the discipleship of our children.

Beyond The Gathering

Our Sunday Gatherings are geared toward the equipping of the saints. We open the bible every week and work through entire books of the Bible because we believe that Scripture is sufficient for our maturing as Christians. This, however, is not just a Sunday thing. Sunday’s are the sending out point for our mission of making disciples in the context of our every day lives. Furthermore, we connect our Sunday Gatherings with our Gospel Communities to continue making disciples and being discipled. 

So how does this relate to Taproot Kids? By proclaiming the finished work of Jesus week in and week out we are equipping you, the parents, to disciple your children. Yes, we seek to make disciples wherever we are, but the easiest and primary disciple making venue for most of us is in our homes and with our own families.  

Why Family Church?

So how does family church serve us in this? 

We believe that the occasional family church gathering helps all of us in the overall discipleship process. There is something beautiful about watching a little child raise his or her hands in worship to our Loving Father simply because he or she is watching mommy and daddy do the same thing. There’s something profound about watching a child fumble through the pages of a bible to follow along even though they might not be able to read yet. There’s something humbling about watching a child engage in the worship gathering with joy and laughter that “grown ups” have all too often and easily left behind.

Our children are learning from us as a collective family, and we are learning from them too.  

I’m looking forward to our month of family church gatherings, and I hope you are as well. I admonish you to not view this as an inconvenience but an opportunity to allow the little children to come to Jesus alongside their parents. 

Praying for His kingdom to come in Twin Falls as it is in Heaven.

Pastor Mike 

End Of Summer Schedule

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The final full month of summer is almost here and with that, we wanted to let you know what’s going on. Below is a quick look at what’s happening over the next six weeks.  

August 2nd - Pray First. 6:00-7:30 at the Taproot offices. Our offices are located at 140 Hansen Ave. E. Suite 2. 

August 6th - Sunday Gathering - We’ll gather as usual. 10:00 a.m. at the Boys and Girls Club. Quin Marlow will be preaching through Acts 9:32-43. 

August 13th - Sunday Gathering - Baptism Sunday! Outside on the front lawn of the Boys and Girls Club. If you would like to be baptized, please contact Pastor Mike or Pastor John. 

August 18th - 20th - Family Camp! Join us at Cathedral Pines. 

August 20th - NO SUNDAY GATHERING - There will be no Sunday Gathering at the Boys and Girls Club, but we’d love to have you join us at Cathedral Pines. 

August 27th - Sunday Gathering - Sunday Gatherings will return back to our regular rhythm. Boys and Girls Club at 10:00 a.m. 

September 3rd - Labor Day Weekend

September 10th - Taproot’s 3rd birthday! God has done much over that last three years, and we're excited to celebrate it. There will be more information about this celebration soon. 

If you have any more questions, please head on over to our contact page and we'll get back to ASAP. 

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.  

Clean The Club Night

Taproot Church is privileged to partner with the Boys and Girls Club of the Magic Valley. Every Sunday, we get to use their space for our church gatherings. But we don’t simply want to use the space. We want to steward it well for the glory of God. 

The Boys and Girls Club is a well used building. Every week, it’s filled with hundreds of kids from around our city and valley. One of the ways we can serve this great organization, is by helping maintain and clean the facility. 

Next Wednesday, January 25th, Taproot Church is hosting a Clean The Club Night. We’re going to work hard to clean the floors, scrub the bathrooms, wipe down walls, wash windows, and anything else we can do to help create a space where the people who use this facility every day can flourish. 

We’ll have cleaning supplies on hand, but you can bring your own too. The work will start at 6:30 p.m., and we’ll work for a couple of hours. If you can only make it for 30 minutes, that's great too. Anyone is welcome who wants to help. 
Childcare will not be provided, but your kiddos are more than welcome to join us. 
For more information, please email: info@taprootchurch.org.