Gospel

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!

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 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. 

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.  

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

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.
 
 

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!    

Nehemiah

Yesterday, we started our series through Nehemiah. As it looks right now, this is going to be a 16 part series. For our time together, we looked at two points: Nehemiah's Context, and Nehemiah's Call. If you missed it, you can head over to our sermon page and give it a listen.

In this blog post, I want to list some of Nehemiah's key themes, as well as look at why this is an important book for us in our current context.  

Nehemiah's Key Themes

There are four main themes that we'll see over and over through Nehemiah. They are:

  • Nehemiah's doctrine of God.
  • Nehemiah's passion for Scripture.
  • Nehemiah's experience of prayer.
  • Nehemiah's experience in leadership.

There are certainly many more sub-themes that we'll see throughout the book, but these are the key themes which drive everything else. As you read through Nehemiah, watch for these themes. Nehemiah was a man with an incredibly high view of God which the church today can certainly learn from. He was a man devoted to God's word–it is clear that the whole of his life was informed by Scripture. He was a man who prayed–on just about every page of this story is some mention of prayer. He was a strong leader–there are few people today who can rally people behind a vision the way we'll see Nehemiah do it. 

Nehemiah's importance

One of the questions many have asked is, why Nehemiah? On one level the answer is simply, why not? We believe all of Scripture to be God's word and profitable for our maturing and health as followers of Jesus. The other reason to study Nehemiah, is that it is incredibly relevant to our time as a church, and culture. For example:

  • Nehemiah had to deal with the discomforts of change. God called him to a task 800 miles from where he had likely lived his whole life, and the task was going to be anything but easy.
  • Nehemiah had to deal with fierce individualism.
  • Nehemiah lived in a culture where the social injustices were extreme because many favored their own materialistic possessions over caring for the community at large.
  • Nehemiah lived in a pluralistic society. God's Word, commands, and people were marginalized.
  • Nehemiah's people, the Jews, though steeped in the religion of Judaism, knew very little of God's actual word. The same holds true for much of the church today.

As you can see, many of the issues Nehemiah dealt with are the same issues we deal with. Raymond Brown, in his commentary on Nehemiah, summarizes it well saying,

"Nehemiah lived heroically on the frontier between two worlds: human life as God intended it to be and as people have chosen to make it."

The gospel in Nehemiah

All of Scripture is ultimately about Jesus. Nehemiah is certainly no different. As we study Nehemiah, we need to always keep the reality before us that, though Nehemiah is the heroic figure of this story, he's simply a shadow of the Great Hero to come about 400 years later. Jesus would be born into human history and he alone would have perfect passion for God's holiness, the perfect view of Scripture, the perfect experience of prayer, and be the perfect leader. Jesus alone is our great intercessor and he alone can fully redeem and restore us back into a right relationship with God because he alone lived a life free of sin. He died the death we deserve, rose victoriously from the grave, and is continuing to make a people for himself.

I'm praying we learn much as we work through the book of Nehemiah, and I'm praying you are served well as we learn together about a people redeemed to redeem the nations!  

  

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