Taproot Church Twin Falls

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. 
 

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. 
 

Join Us For Church In The Park


For the past two years now, we’ve taken the final month of the summer to shift our Sunday gatherings from the morning to evening, and from the Boys and Girls Club to a park. This is year number three of church in the park, but things will be a little bit different.

Ever since we started church in the park, we've wanted to do this with another local church. This year, we’re excited to say that, by God's grace, it's going to happen. For the next four weeks, Taproot Church is gathering together with the Church for our month long church in the park gatherings!

Our prayer and hope is that these gatherings will lay a tangible foundation for unity among the churches in Twin Falls for years to come.

If you’re interested in gathering with us, take a look at the information below.

Time: We’ll start serving food at 5:00 p.m. Hamburgers, hot dogs, and water will be provided. You can bring a potluck style dish to share. Worship begins at 6:00 p.m.

Place: All four church in the park gatherings will be at the Twin Falls City Park.

Dates: Church in the park gatherings are: August 21st, August 28th, September 4th, and September 11th.

For more information, check out our Facebook page.

Finally, Taproot Church will not be gathering on Sunday mornings during church in the park, but the Church will be. Their gatherings start at 10:00 a.m. For more information about the Church, check out their Facebook page or their website.  

We hope to see you there! 

Christ is all!

Pastor Mike

Why Is Your Face Sad?

There is, within the world of Christianity, an unwritten rule that says we're always to be happy. "Life is good," we're expected to say–even when it's anything but good. The realities of sadness, anger, depression, and uncertainty are not allowed for the Christ follower, and if you feel them creeping in, well then you must not have enough faith.

But what do you do when sadness is the only reality you can muster? 

When depression makes sense

In Nehemiah's story, the nation of Israel is a wreck. Their sin has led to trouble, shame, and exile. Nehemiah himself is a wreck. When he learns of the deplorable reality of his people, he can't help but mourn and weep for days (Nehemiah 1:4).

The story continues, and after months of patiently praying, Nehemiah's moment finally comes for his prayers to be answered, but this doesn't change the fact that he's still deeply depressed over the exiled condition of his people. Nehemiah is in fact so overwhelmed with sadness that his face can't help but show anything else. King Artaxerxes asks, "Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick?" (Nehemiah 2:2) 

Nehemiah responds, "Why should not my face be sad..."

The reality of life is that sometimes deep sadness, depression, and anger is all you have to give–and it's okay. Sometimes sin (your own or someone else's) has wrecked your world so bad that depression is the only response which makes sense. This was certainly the case for Nehemiah.

Hear me on this: your sadness, depression, anger, and uncertainty with life doesn't make you a mediocre Christian, and it doesn't make you any less a child of God.

Hope For Joy

Jesus was a man of sorrows and well acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). When he witnessed the death (the ultimate sting of sin) of his friend Lazarus, he wept (John 11:35). Before his crucifixion he was so overcome with agony that he was sweating drops of blood from his forehead (Luke 22:44).

"It is good" was not Jesus's cry from the cross. 

His cry from the cross was, "it is finished." The work Christ came to fulfill is done, and by faith in this work, everlasting joy is yours.

In his finished work, your joy is solidified. It's no longer dictated by the circumstances you face, but by the circumstances he faced. This doesn't mean you won't ever again face difficult circumstances. It also doesn't mean that all the rest of your days will be lived with a smile on your face and a skip in your step. It does mean, however, that you have hope for a future joy.

The life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus means you have a future day of unimaginable eternal joy awaiting you. That eternal joy, though still marred by sin, begins now, and it will be fulfilled when you finally stand before King Jesus face to face. Standing before him, you will not be asked questions about a sad face. Instead, your King will look at you and say, "Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into my rest."  

Because of his work, tears, sorrow, and ultimate victory, it will be good once again!