Community

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.
 
 

Thoughts On Orlando

Good morning, Taproot. 

It’s been a couple of days since the shooting in Orlando. By now you’ve likely read numerous articles, opinions, and arguments–some wise and some foolish–about this tragedy. Having had some time to think through it myself, I wanted to share some thoughts in an effort to guide our hearts and minds as a local church. 

We ought to mourn
We cycle through information in our culture at a pace no human has the ability to handle. News that ought to be before our eyes for an extensive period of time is often pushed to the bottom of a webpage–out of sight and out of mind–far too quickly. Part of the consequences of this is that we’ve forgotten how to mourn.  

Let me encourage you to not move on from this too quickly. There is reason for us to mourn as a church and a community, and we should do so.

Russell Moore wrote a more extensive piece about mourning together. You can read it here.

The LGBT community DID NOT deserve this
I’m sickened, and my heart breaks, any and every time I see someone declare that this was an act of God’s judgment on the LGBT community. “They deserved it,” or “they had it coming to them,” are thoughts that we should vehemently guard our hearts and minds against, and are words which should never be uttered from our mouths.
 
No, we don’t condone the sin of homosexuality. But let me be clear…we also don’t condone anger, pride, malice, gossip, and the like. Furthermore, we don’t condone any type of sexuality that is outside of God’s design. Apart from the context of a heterosexual marriage, sex is sin. (Much more can be said about this that this article won’t address).

A person is a person. And regardless of lifestyle choices, all people are image bearers of God. I pray this is how we would view the LGBT community. I pray this is how we would view the Muslim community. Before we find ourselves disgusted by their sin, looking for a stone to throw, we need to see them as someone fearfully and wonderfully made by our gracious God.

The good news of the gospel is that Jesus was judged in our place. He, though he didn’t deserve it, bore that wrath (judgment) of God that we all deserve. So before we attempt to think, “they deserved it,” stop for a minute to praise the God who hasn’t given us what we deserve.    

Think about what you read and hear
Anyone and everyone who has a platform to write or say something about a tragedy like this does. My voice is only one among millions. But I want my voice to be specific to our church and the context of our city.

The tragedy beneath the tragedy of this event is that it’s been missed for what it really is and has been used as a political platform. As a church, I want us to be so very careful about turning this into a political “he said, she said,” type of fight. At the end of the day, this tragedy is not about ISIS, Islam, the LGBT community, gun rights, or Republican versus Democrat. It’s about sin. This shooting was a show of human depravity that should drive us to our knees. The next President is not going to fix any of this. Only King Jesus can.  

Pray
Finally, Taproot, I encourage you to pray. Pray for the LGBT community. Pray for the Muslim community. Pray for the leaders of our country. Pray for the churches. Pray for the kingdom of Jesus to come. Let your feelings of hopelessness, despair, fear, doubt, and anger drive you to your knees.

Some day, these things will be no more. Bullets won’t fly. Terror won’t exist. Tears will not be shed. Hate will be gone. We’ll be with Jesus face to face. Until then, we pray for the redemption and renewal of our cities and nations. We faithfully follow Jesus even in the midst of great fears. And we pray he comes quickly. 

Christ is all!
Pastor Mike
 

Christmas Eve

This is an exciting week for Taproot! Not only do we get to celebrate the birth of our King Jesus, but we're also having our first ever Christmas Eve Gathering! Below are some details about this special evening. 

Time and Location

We will be meeting at Twin Beans Coffee Co. located at 144 Main Ave S. The gathering begins at 5:30 p.m. and will end around 6:15.

Parking

We ask that you park around back and enter through the back door of the coffee shop. The staging area will be located at the front end of the shop, therefore, the front doors will be closed.

What To Expect

This special gathering will be family style. We love your kiddos, and we thoroughly enjoy their laughter and noises. We also believe there's no better way to celebrate the birth of Jesus than with our little kiddos joining us.

You can expect a lot of good Christmas music, and you can also expect to hear the Christmas story read from various passages of Scripture. 

Finally, there will be coffee, Hot Cocoa, and Hot Apple Cider provided. If you'd like to bring cookies to share, feel free. 

We're looking forward to this fun evening and hope you can join us. 

Merry Christmas! 

 

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!