Saturday, January 23, 2016

N.T. Wright on humanity being an image-bearer of God

What does it mean to be an image-bearer of God (Genesis 1:27)?

We have been addressing this, in various ways, throughout our current teaching series, CREED: 2016 on the Doctrine of Man.

Here's is N.T. Wright's wonderful answer to this question:
In the early stories, the point was that the Creator loved the world he had made, and wanted to look after it in the best possible way.  To that end, he placed within his world a looking-after creature, a creature who would demonstrate to the creation who he, the Creator, really was, and who would set to work developing the creation and making it flourish and fulfill its purpose.  This looking-after creature (or rather, this family of creatures: the human race) would model and embody that interrelatedness, that mutual fruitful knowing, trusting and loving, which was the Creator’s intention. ~ N.T. Wright, Simply Christian 

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Gay Conversation

In society today, the orthodox Christian belief that the practice of homosexuality is a sin is out of step with the times. This tension is unavoidable.

In a moment where the cultural consensus has completely flipped, many who hold to the historic belief avoid the depth of this conversation at all costs. The risk of saying the wrong thing, offending a new friend, being extreme or worse yet—unloving, quiets the dialogue. Yet privately, Christians are desperate to address this important topic with love, clarity and biblical conviction. Is there really a way forward that demonstrates both truth and grace? We 
believe there is.

Here's a great resource (podcasts) to help you wrestle through the gay issue...

As our culture’s affirmation of gay sexuality grows, what does this mean for Christians and the Church? In this episode, we address why we created this series and the tensions that exist around the Church’s posture towards this conversation. David Kinnaman, President of the Barna Group and co-author of the forthcoming book, Good Faith, is one of several contributors giving insight on the latest research on Christians and extremism. 
Key Contributors: Debra Hirsch, David Kinnaman, Caleb Kaltenbach, Tim Keller, Julie Rodgers
One’s theology will determine everything about how they engage the gay conversation. In this episode, the Christian view of identity, sexual ethics and historic belief about human flourishing comes under the microscope. We define terms and consider how historic Christian arguments interact with the newer, gay-affirming points of view. From Leviticus to Paul, we address Jesus’ words around this topic and explore the Christian perspective on sexual design, gender difference and marriage.
Key Contributors to this podcast: David Gushee, Wesley Hill, Tim Keller, Scot McKnight, Preston Sprinkle

About Q:
Q was birthed out of Gabe Lyons’ vision to see Christians, especially leaders, recover a vision for their historic responsibility to renew and restore cultures. Inspired by Chuck Colson’s statement, “Christians are called to redeem entire cultures, not just individuals,” Gabe set out to reintroduce Christians to what had seemed missing in recent decades from an American expression of Christian faithfulness; valuing both personal and cultural renewal, not one over the other. Re-educating Christians to this orthodox and unifying concept has become central to the vision of Q.

Find out more about Q here.

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 Bible Reading Plans

Happy New Year Grace Church family and friends! It's 2016!

Many Christians take the beginning of a new year to evaluate their Bible reading habits, and then change or begin a Bible reading plan. We would like to encourage you to consider reading and listening to the Word of God more throughout 2016.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 
Psalm 119:105

For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of Bible reading plans for you to choose from. Maybe in 2016 you will read more of the Bible each day. Perhaps you’ll slow down your reading/listening and, instead, spend more time considering what you read. Whatever it is you’re looking for in a reading plan, you should find it below:

Grace Church Reading Plan
This reading plan is something I (Pastor Heath) continue to come back to. It has helped me grow in my biblical comprehension of the whole storyline of the Bible. The Old Testament reading plan is designed for you read through the entire Old Testament in year. For your benefit, it is (somewhat) set up in historical order and that is why you will find books interrupted in the middle with the reading of another book (example – Job will be read in the middle of Genesis). The New Testament study plans are designed to guide you in uniquely studying the New Testament by reading and rereading one book (sometimes two or three books) per month.
Duration: Two years 
Download: PDF

52 Week Bible Reading Plan
Read through the Bible in a year, with each day of the week dedicated to a different genre: Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy, and Gospels.
Duration: One year 
Download: PDF

5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan
Read through the New Testament in a year, reading Monday to Friday. Weekends are set aside for reflection and other reading. Especially beneficial if you’re new to a daily discipline of Bible reading.
Duration: One year 
Download: PDF

Chronological Bible Reading Plan
Read through the Bible in the order the events occurred chronologically.
Duration: One year 
Download: PDF

The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan
Four daily readings beginning in Genesis, Psalms, Matthew and Acts.
Duration: One year 
Download: PDF

ESV Daily Bible Reading Plan
Four daily readings taken from four lists: Psalms and Wisdom Literature, Pentateuch and History of Israel, Chronicles and Prophets, and Gospels and Epistles.
Duration: One year 
Download: PDF

Historical Bible Reading Plan
The Old Testament readings are similar to Israel’s Hebrew Bible, and the New Testament readings are an attempt to follow the order in which the books were authored.
Duration: One year 
Download: PDF