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

 

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.

Dear Apex Baptist Church,

At the beginning of every year, it is important to take a few moments to remember who you are and where you are going. My family has done this personally, and I hope over the next few weeks, we can do this as a church family.

Our vision at Apex Baptist is to fulfill the great commission found in Matthew 28:18-20:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

We like to say it like this:

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 simply want to make disciples as Jesus commanded EVERYWHERE we go, EVERYDAY we live, and EVERYWHERE we go.

This mission guides us. From this mission, we have developed five values that define us.

Our Values
1. Intimacy with Christ
2. Missional Lives
3. Ministry Excellence
4. Disciple Making Community
5. Generosity

From our mission and values, each ministry of our church develops a ministry plan snd works to fulfill the vision of the church.

Check back over the next few weeks as we unpack each of our values…

Some Thoughts on Corporate Worship

I am so excited about all that God has been doing in the corporate worship services at Apex Baptist Church. Each week, people gather to worship and God is transforming lives in front of our eyes. After some reflection, three themes seem to be emerging about our worship experiences.

1. It’s Vertical.
Our worship services are God focused. We’re less concerned about our stylistic preferences and more concerned about offering God acceptable worship. We’re a multi-generational church on a mission to tell everyone about Christ. We worship with modern worship songs, Scripture readings, hymns, and choir specials. We’re pursuing God, not a style. We do it ALL for the glory of God.

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

2. It’s a Celebration.
People are responding throughout the worship service. We are learning to celebrate the life we have in Jesus. We are learning to clap. We are learning to be authentic in our response to God. We’re learning to worry less about what our neighbor thinks and more about what God thinks of our worship.

Psalm 71:23 – “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.

3. It’s Exciting.
In December, we watched 16 people baptized, over 20 families join the church, and 8 babies be dedicated to the Lord. It does not get more exciting that that! GOD IS MOVING. As a church, he is stirring our hearts and transforming our lives. We’ve watched families be reconciled, discouraged and depressed people find hope, teenagers repent, and broken relationships be restored.

Psalm 122:1 – “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go unto the house of the Lord.'”

I am looking forward to worship on Sunday. Come ready! God is moving!!

New

New beginnings are exciting, fun, challenging, emotional and sometimes frustrating.  The Harrison family is on a new journey with God these days as we transition from Biltmore Baptist Church in Asheville, NC to Apex Baptist Church in Apex, NC. We are very excited about God allow us to be the Lead Pastor of a church, but we will greatly miss the wonderful people of Biltmore Baptist Church.  So with all of this new, why not try a new blog? We’ll see 🙂