Sojourners: Book Recommendations

For the past few weeks at Apex Baptist Church we have been studying how to live as a sojourner. A sojourner is an outsider, a foreigner, or a temporary resident. We have realized that true believers in Jesus Christ are sojourners in this world and the Kingdom of God becomes their permanent, eternal home. This  creates many challenges as we live alongside those who do not have a “Kingdom first” worldview.

If you have missed a Sunday in this series, check out the archived video sermons.

Throughout the series, we have been giving away different resources for further study. If you were not able to grab one on Sunday, here are some links to the resources.

  1. ONWARD – by Russell Moore.
  2. CULTURE SHOCK – by Chip Ingram
  3. GOOD FAITH – by David Kinsman and Gabe Lyons
  4. COUNTER CULTURE – by David Platt
  5. THE GOSPEL AND RACIAL RECONCILIATION (The Gospel for Life Series)  – edited by Russell Moore and Andrew Walker
  6. UNDER OUR SKIN – by Benjamin Watson
  7. One Nation Under God – by Bruce Ashford

 

Other recommended books relating to these subjects would be:

  1. ONENESS EMBRACED – by Tony Evans
  2. WE CANNOT BE SILENT – Albert Mohler
  3. GOD AND POLITICS – Mark Dever
  4. THE GOSPEL AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY (The Gospel for Life Series) – edited by Russell Moore and Andrew Walker
  5. THE GOSPEL AND SAME-SEX MARRIAGE (The Gospel for Life Series) – edited by Russell Moore and Andrew Walker

 

Staying Connected At Church All Summer Long

Baseball camp. Football camp. Basketball camp. Travel ball. All-stars. Cheerleading camp. Band camp. Family vacation. Traveling to see family. Business trip. Campouts. Weekend get-a-ways. Beach house. Mountain home. 

What do all these things have in common? They pull us away from the consistent interaction with the community of believers we call the “church.” We live in highly mobile society. People are traveling more than ever before. How can a person stay connected to the local church during a busy summer of travel?

Here are a few thoughts:


Be fierce about your personal time with the Lord.

1 John 1:7 –  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

No one will ever be able to feed you the Word like you ultimately need. You must feed yourself. When traveling we face temptations that you are able to stay away from at home. The only way to survive is through intentional, uninterrupted time with the Lord.

Study the Word and Pray.

Recommended devotional book: New Morning Mercies

Here are some Bible Reading Plans

Here is a great book I use to help me pray: Valley of Vision


Stay connected to your local church.

Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

At Apex Baptist, we use an online tool to help us stay connected even when we are physically away from the church. This tool is called Apex Connected and it facilitates community so you can learn more about ministries, register for events, connect with others, and so much more.

Apex Connected will help you stay in the loop of everything happening in your Life Group (bible study class). You may miss a few Sundays over the next few months, but you can still stay in touch with group members, see prayer needs, be informed about group functions, etc. You will also be able to see all the activities for your children so they can be involved when your family is home.

By registering for Apex Connected you will receive the E-Newsletter which will share all the upcoming events and activities church-wide.


Continue to give.

Malachi 3:8 – Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.

All of us feel more connected to things that we are investing in. By continuing to give, you are being obedient to God and faithful in your church.

To give to Apex Baptist, click here.


Find a rhythm for worship.

Psalm 29:2 – Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

We need to worship the Lord. There are many opportunities to worship when you are away.

> If you are in the same place for an extended period of time, find a local church to worship.

> If you are in different places on Sunday, grab some worship music, sing to the Lord, and watch a sermon online.

We post the songs we are singing each week at Apex Baptist on Spotify.

Here is a link to past sermons preached at Apex Baptist.


Maybe these steps and resources will help you take the next step in your walk with Christ this summer!

Value: Generosity

Our church mission statement is: Apex Baptist Church is an authentic community of believers worshipping God EVERYWHERE we go, becoming more like Him EVERYDAY, and serving EVERYONE we meet.

We believe our mission statement comes directly from the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20.

Our Mission Guides us. Our values define us.

Our values:

  1. Intimacy with Christ
  2. Missional Living
  3. Ministry Excellence
  4. Disciple-making community
  5. Generosity

These values help us fulfill our mission of being a New Testament church.

When we think about generosity, most of us immediately think about money. We should be generous with our money, but generosity is not only limited to our cash. We should be generous with our time, our talents, our homes, our possessions, and our money.

The church functions because of generous people. People volunteer their time. People use their talents. People are hospitable to others at their homes. People invest their possessions in things that make an eternal difference. People support the church with their money.

The church gets its resources from the generosity of people. This is a gift that is held in high esteem and a responsibility that is not taken lightly. Financially speaking, the church budget is met through the faithful tithes and offerings of the people attending Apex Baptist.

Becoming generous with your money is the first step towards a lifestyle of generosity.

1. Generosity reveals what is important to you.

“Where your treasure is, there your heart is also.” Matthew 6:21

2. Generosity prevents materialism.

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” 1 Timothy 6:17-18

3. Generosity strengthens your faith.

“Honor the Lord with your wealth… then your barns will be filled to overflowing…” Proverbs 3:9-10

4. Generosity demonstrates your obedience

“Will a person rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings.” Malachi 3:8

Value: Disciple Making Community

Our church mission statement is: Apex Baptist Church is an authentic community of believers worshipping God EVERYWHERE we go, becoming more like Him EVERYDAY, and serving EVERYONE we meet.

We believe our mission statement comes directly from the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20.

Our Mission Guides us. Our values define us.

Our values:

  1. Intimacy with Christ
  2. Missional Living
  3. Ministry Excellence
  4. Disciple-making Community
  5. Generosity

These values help us fulfill our mission of being a New Testament church.

A few days ago I received a letter encouraging me to join the alumni association at one of the universities I attended. One of the perks of membership was the privilege to audit a class for free. When you audit, you attend the class but do not have to do any of the work and it does not become part of your permanent academic record. You are exposed to the thought, but do not have to work like the rest of the students in the course to get a passing grade and continue toward graduation.

It may be a perk of an alumni association to audit a course on campus, but it is a travesty for people to simply audit the Christian faith. BUT IT HAPPENS! The solution is a community of believers built upon disciple-making.

A disciple-making community is a family on mission. It is a group of believers who desire to live centered on the Gospel of Christ and encourage each other as they pursue Him together.

In 2 Timothy 2:1-6, the Apostle Paul, writes to Timothy instructing him about making disciples.

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.  An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.

Four pillars we are trying to build a disciple-making community upon are found in this passage.

1. Developing Leaders.

Having just shared his disappointment over the growing apostasy spreading through Asia, Paul turned to Timothy and wrote, You then, my child, be strong. Sometimes difficult circumstances, our own weaknesses and fears, and the negative attitudes or unfaithfulness of others determine our course in life. Developing leaders takes intentionality, effort and encouragement and it helps us understand what God sees in us, not what we see in ourselves. It, always, happens best in community.

2. Focus on the Main Thing.

A disciple-making community is marked by holiness and perseverance. This is only possible if we stay focused on the main thing. The main thing being glorifying God with our lives. The main thing being living centered on the Gospel. Paul used the analogy of a soldier. A soldier expected hard times. They trained for hard times. They met hard times face to face and persevered through them. A good soldier does not try to escape hard times or look for the path of least resistance. He carries out his mission through the difficulties by staying focused on the main objective instead of the obstacles to accomplishing the main thing.

3. Discipline.

Paul uses the example of an athlete to show us the discipline it takes to excel in a disciple-making community. Like a relay team, each member of a disciple making community is valuable and important to the team. There are rules and there are requirements by which every competition is governed. We are to be disciplined by the Word of God to develop into a disciple-making community.

4. Faithful Service.

Finally, Paul uses the example of a farmer to teach Timothy about the priority of faithful work. A disciple-making community does not spring up overnight. It takes time, care, energy and effort. This is a worthwhile effort because the church will grow more and more healthy as a disciple-making community is established. Just like farmers have to do more than plant, water, and harvest, A disciple-making community must go through daily battles to produce fully devoted followers of Christ.

These four pillars will not be easy to establish, but through the faithful efforts of many men and women, we can establish a biblical community consistently making disciples at Apex Baptist Church

Value: Ministry Excellence

Our church mission statement is: Apex Baptist Church is an authentic community of believers worshipping God EVERYWHERE we go, becoming more like Him EVERYDAY, and serving EVERYONE we meet.

We believe our mission statement comes directly from the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20.

Our Mission Guides us. Our values define us.

Our values:

  1. Intimacy with Christ
  2. Missional Living
  3. Ministry Excellence
  4. Disciple-making community
  5. Generosity

These values help us fulfill our mission of being a New Testament church.

Dr. Andreas Kostenberger wrote, “God is the grounds of all true excellence. He is the one who fills any definition of excellence with meaning and He is the reason we cannot be content with lackluster mediocrity…. Excellence starts and ends with God and is first and for most a hallmark and attribute of God…. Everything God is and does is marked by excellence.”

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Doing all we do for the glory of God is the pathway to excellence.

So what does a value of ministry excellence look like?

Jesus described it in Matthew 5:38-42:

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

1. An attitude of mercy.

Jesus is urging us not to return evil for evil. Life is not about evening out the score or taking what is ours. We must recognize that God is our avenger. We show mercy because of the mercy we have been shown through Christ’s redeeming work on the cross.

If we want to value ministry excellence, we must minister with an attitude of mercy.

2. An attitude of service.

Chick-Fil-A has created an attitude of service in their employees. They urge employees to go the second mile as they serve people. If a business recognizes the blessings of the second mile, how much more should a church set the pace in this biblical principle of serving others. A Tunic, cloak, time invested, energy spent, or additional miles walked show value and love for others.

One theologian wrote, “The first mile is where the burden is, the second mile is where the blessing lives.”

3. An attitude of sacrifice.

Jesus encouraged his followers to meet the real needs of others. He desired generous followers. Not men and women hoarding material possessions, but men and women living open handed to meet the needs of others. This lifestyle involves sacrifice.

Sacrifice includes the things we think we need or like, not our extra items. Sacrifice means we are generous even when it is not particularly comfortable. Jesus was a willing sacrifice and laid his life down for us. His sufficient sacrifice shows us what excellence looks like and how we can possess an attitude of sacrifice.

Value: Missional Living

Our church mission statement is: Apex Baptist Church is an authentic community of believers worshipping God EVERYWHERE we go, becoming more like Him EVERYDAY, and serving EVERYONE we meet.

We believe our mission statement comes directly from the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20

Our Missions Guides us. Our values define us.

Our values:

  1. Intimacy with Christ
  2. Missional Living
  3. Ministry Excellence
  4. Disciple-making community
  5. Generosity

These values help us fulfill our mission of being a New Testament church.

In this post, we will look at our second value: Missional Living

Missions is often the term used for going overseas for the cause of Christ – hence the word missionary. Sadly, it has led some to feel that missions is something that happens “over there,” creating a dulled sense of the needs on our doorstep.

One author wrote, “When the church is at its best, mission is not something we do; it is something we are.”

This describes our desire. We want to live every day on mission for Christ.

The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:1-7:

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

In this passage, we can learn five keys for missional living.

1. Be Authentic

Paul admitted he was having to renounce certain things. There were desires that did not honor God, but he was not allowing those desires to control him. He refused to lose heart. He saw that as cowardly. He honestly desired to honor God above all things. He was not trying to trick anyone. He was not superficially religious, but transparent, humble and real.

If we want to make a difference in our world, we must be authentic each and every day. We should strive to be the same person on Monday that we were on Sunday. We should love God and serve others because this is the model we see for daily living in Scripture.

2. Stand on the Word of God

Paul saw no other option. He believed in a straightforward presentation of the Word of God. Over and over again, he simply presented the Word of God.

Often, we want to do anything but simply present the Word of God. Paul would urge us to stand on the Word. Present Christ as the solution to all of life’s difficulties because He is the only one who can ultimately do anything about it.

3. Expect Opposition

Paul, in this passage, determines that the Gospel is veiled to those hearing his message. When they did not understand, they easily dismissed, discounted or persecuted Paul because of the message. This was nothing new or unexpected for Paul.

So many times, when we encounter opposition the first thing we do is RUN! Paul would encourage us to expect opposition and preach the gospel in the face of opposition.

4. Speak of Jesus

When we are living missional lives, it is easy to speak of Jesus. No transformation can take place a part from Him. Jesus was often on Paul’s lips and he should also be on ours.

5. Serve

Paul saw himself as a servant to the people. Serving them Jesus. He was not looking for position or power. He simply desired for people to know Jesus.

If we want to live Missional Lives, we will recognize these five keys and be certain they work their way into the fabric of our lives.

Value: Intimacy With Christ

Our church mission statement is: Apex Baptist Church is an authentic community of believers worshipping God EVERYWHERE we go, becoming more like Him EVERYDAY, and serving EVERYONE we meet.

We believe our mission statement comes directly from the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20

Our Missions Guides us. Our values define us.

Our values:

  1. Intimacy with Christ
  2. Missional Living
  3. Ministry Excellence
  4. Disciple-making community
  5. Generosity

These values help us fulfill our mission of being a New Testament church.

Intimacy with Christ is an imperative for every Christ follower and the first value of our church. Intimacy means closeness, togetherness, affection, confidence. If we do not walk in intimacy with Christ, we’ll never be able to join Him in the mission.

The key to intimacy with Christ can be summed up in one simple word: ABIDE.

To abide is to remain. It seems to suggest an effortless resting in the Lord.

In John 15, the Scripture says:

 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

If we want intimacy with Christ, this passage shows us that we must abide in Christ. Our heavenly Father will fashion us into who He wants us to be as we abide in Him. It will not always be easy or painless, but the resulting intimacy with Christ will be worth it.

All who desire to be used of God, must walk closely with Him. If we want God to use Apex Baptist Church in 2015, then we MUST intentionally focus on living intimately with Christ.

I can’t wait to see all God does in us and through us in 2015. We’re off to a great start. So lets continue to walk with Christ!!