Taproot Church Twin Falls

"In Christ" – Series through Ephesians begins this Sunday

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This Sunday we begin a new series through the book of Ephesians. This little letter has been considered one of the greatest treasures of the New Testament for thousands of years. Some have considered it to be the “crown and climax of Pauline theology.” And there is no doubt about it, Ephesians is deep and rich with gospel truth.

At the heart of this letter is the phrase “in Christ.” This is one of Paul’s favorite terms in all of his writings, but especially so in Ephesians. What he means for us to see and understand is that to be a Christian is not merely an intellectual idea, but rather a positional reality. That is, being made a follower of Jesus by grace through faith, we are actually “in Christ” or one with him. This is absolutely incredible! Pastor and commentator Kent Hughes says, “Ephesians reveals the position and job description of the Church in effecting God’s new order. It answers the question, what does it mean to be in Christ, and what does this demand of us?” (Emphasis mine).

It is this amazing theme that we’ll be delving deeply into over the next 30 weeks or so. It is our hope and prayer that this study will help us to know Jesus more intimately than ever before and also compel us to make him known in the every day details of our lives.

We hope you’ll join us this Sunday as we kick of this sermon series by publicly reading the entire letter together during our gathering.

Christ is all!

Pastor Mike

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. 

Sermon Recap

This past Sunday we worked our way through Acts 15. The big question we tackled through our text was, is grace alone enough? It was an obviously fitting text and question in light of that day being Reformation Sunday.

The great news we concluded with is that yes indeed, the grace of Jesus is enough! 

"We believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will." (Acts 15:11)

In case you missed it, you can listen here.

You can also find my preaching notes here.

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. 

Pray First

Pray First is tonight! 

We’ve gathered to pray on the first Wednesday of every month since just about the beginning of Taproot’s existence. By God’s grace, we’ll continue to do so until He sees fit to lay her to rest or until Christ returns. 

If you haven’t joined us before, I encourage you to do so. 

Yes, I know the experience of most is that “corporate” prayer “meetings” are dull, mindless, and unfruitful. But not ours. (Yes. A little boasting in Christ). God is full of grace and mercy. Furthermore, Satan hates it when we pray. He especially hates it when we pray together. One pastor says, “If I were the devil, I’d do everything I could to keep the people from praying together.” I’m sure you can think of an experience that illustrates this reality.   

As much as God has met us in our Pray First gatherings, I believe He wants to meet us more. He wants us to seek His face and be filled with all His fullness (Ephesians 3:19). No, I don’t know what all this entails but I’m excited to find out. I hope you are too. 

Christ is all! 

Pastor Mike 

Back At The Club

The past four Sundays, we've had the joy of gathering with "the church" at the Twin Falls city park. It was a wonderful opportunity to see two local churches in one city gather as one under the Good Shepherd, Jesus. We anticipate seeing what God will continue to do in and through this. 

This Sunday, September 18th, we'll be back to our regular gathering time and place: 10:00 a.m. at The Boys and Girls Club of the Magic Valley. If you've never gathered with Taproot before, and you've been wondering what we're all about, the next two weeks will be a great opportunity for you to join us. We'll be looking at why we exist as a church, what our vision for the city of Twin Falls is, and how this practically works out in day to day life and in the context of Gospel Communities. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to Contact Us. 

Christ is all! 

Pastor Mike

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

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!  

  

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!