Throughout Substance as whole, starting in the very first chapter, I wrote that much of the confusion in our thinking comes from the structures of our thought and life and not from the ideas themselves. This is true when we talk about worldliness; it may be even more true when we talk about joy. We don’t really talk about joy, do we? We talk about happiness. Even when we say the word “fulfillment,” we don’t mean the fulfillment of some grand philosophical purpose for our being, we just mean that we feel full inside. We just mean “I’m happy.”
However, happiness is notoriously unpredictable in the human heart. It’s a little like seeing birds in the winter. It is extraordinarily difficult to capture a bunch of songbirds so that you can see them during the winter. But it’s not that hard to put seed in a bird feeder and watch them come. Happiness is the birds. Virtue is the feeder. This is one of the differences between “joy” in its comprehensive definition, and “happiness” as we commonly mean it.
Continue reading Escaping Worldliness through the Pursuit of Joy
Over the summer, we looked at the lives of the first kings of Israel: Saul and David. There were many differences between them. Saul was large and looked like a massive warrior. David was smaller, younger, and taught himself to fight as a shepherd in the country. Ultimately, they were both warriors and both kings. And in one way or another, they both believed in the God of Israel. But though they both believed in God, it would be wrong to say that they both put their faith in him.
In fact, the most fundamental difference between the two was a difference of the heart. This is what God explicitly says to Saul in 1 Samuel 13:14:
But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.
God made clear that David would be different in two ways. First, his heart would be for God rather than for himself, his own power, and his own survival. Second, David would obey the Lord, and if he ever failed, his repentance would be real.
Continue reading The Virtue of Humility
By Dietrich Gruen
This blog post is based on the annual ministry report written by Lee Wanak, the leader of the Global Missions Team, with the goal to link you to specific missions activities and outcomes. It’s exciting to see God’s providence as we both look back and ahead to how he is using High Point Church to reach the world with the gospel.
Continue reading Mission of the Month: Yes to Mission
Offering Is Worship
The offering is a specific part of worship that is not like any other act of corporate worship. This is the main reason we haven’t taken it out of the worship service in order to communicate “we are not about money” to skeptics who would presume that. I believe it would diminish our worship not to make financial giving part of it. Giving is one of the most worshipful things we do, because when we give money, the opportunity cost is not just a few minutes of singing, it is the very life, labor and future that our liquid capital represents. It is a “show me don’t tell me” moment of worship, where we let go of the security or pleasure our money can purchase in order to demonstrate our worship of God and our love of his mission. And so I believe giving belongs in the worship service as much as any other component.
And yet there are many skeptics and nominally religious people who believe that the church, and especially larger churches like ours in nice buildings, are all about money. Therefore the way we approach the offering is of particular importance.
Continue reading Leading Worship: The Offering
A recent, intense elder discussion has led me to seek to clarify what I think it means to be a “nondenominational” evangelical church.
Why were “non-denom” churches created?
Independent nondenominational churches—or as the young people say, “Non-denom”—tend to be those that are not connected to a denominational superstructure and that cannot be easily identified by denominational criteria.
Continue reading What is the Non-Denominational Evangelical Church?
We have two teams going to our partner community, El Amirante, in the Dominican Republic this summer – an adult team and a student team. Here’s what the adult team has been up to! Check back here for updates throughout the week.
Day 1 Blog about our arrival in Santo Domingo, June 25, 2016
Day 2 Blog about worship and community reception, June 26, 2016
Day 3 Blog about foot-washing, Physical Therapy, laying the proper foundation, June 27, 2016
Day 4 Blog about home visits, VBS, construction progress, concert June 28, 2016
Day 5, Blog about construction, home visits, VBS, Teen BS, June 29, 2016
Day 6 Blog about marriage proposal, baseball, library and more