Five Points Blog

Living Simply to Receive More

I read a blog post this morning from Randy Alcorn, who seems to always have insightful and helpful things to say about how to view money and the things of this world. In his post, he gives six motivators for living more simply, essentially laying out the logic of why it is more blessed to give than to receive—we freely and joyfully give of what the Lord has entrusted to us in the sure hope of receiving the blessing in the New Heavens and Earth.

Here are Alcorn's six reasons:

1. We should live more simply—and give more generously—because Heaven is our home.
2. We should live more simply—and give more generously—because it frees us up and shifts our center of gravity.
3. We should live more simply—and give more generously—because we’re God’s pipeline.
4. We should live more simply—and give more generously—because of the reward we’ll receive in Heaven and the joy it will bring us.
5. We should live more simply—and give more generously—because of the dire spiritual needs of the world.
6. We should live more simply—and give more generously—because of the world’s urgent physical needs.

For Whom Would You Endure Persecution?

The apostle Paul was in a Roman jail for proclaiming the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Particularly, he sat in a jail cell because the Jews were jealous of his ministry to the Gentiles. He rightly corrected the Jewish self-serving read on the promises of God and extended those promise to the nations, including the Ephesians and us. Paul was literally in jail “on behalf of you Gentiles” (Ephesians 3:1).

Are there any unbelieving pagans you have never met for whom you would endure squalid prison conditions? Pause for a moment and envision Paul’s imprisonment. Does it not take your breath away that some mysterious impulse drove him to endure horrific, Roman, first-century incarceration for strangers he once would have murdered as “gentile dogs”?

What is the impulse that is so powerful that it could spark such enemy love in Paul and in us? The answer comes in his new title, “I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles” (Ephesians 3:1). He is a prisoner for Jesus Christ. That means his willingness to be imprisoned is worship to his beloved Lord. It is joyful obedience of faith for Paul. It is not Christian heroism but Christian hedonism. In the prison cell, he finds himself at the right hand of Christ enjoying pleasures forevermore!

Paul longed to know Christ in the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings (Philippians 3:10). Being in prison on behalf of the Gentiles drew him closer to Christ. 

This is why Christians suffering persecution in Iraq as we speak do not say, “Rescue us quickly.” But rather say, “Pray that God’s Spirit would be near for grace to be faithful to Jesus Christ and that he would protect our lives, our families, and our witness.”

Join us this Sunday for Bible Study Hour at 9:30am and for our morning worship service at 10:45am.

The Cup of Divine Love Never Empties

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. Psalm 16:4-5

The cruelties and hardships which men endure for their false gods is wonderful to contemplate; our missionary reports are a noteworthy comment on this passage; but perhaps our own experience is an equally vivid exposition; for when we have given our heart to idols, sooner or later we have had to smart for it. Near the roots of our self-love all our sorrows lie, and when that idol is overthrown, the sting is gone from grief. Moses broke the golden calf and ground it to powder, and cast it into the water of which he made Israel to drink, and so shall our cherished idols become bitter portions for us, unless we at once forsake them. Our Lord had no selfishness; he served but one Lord, and served him only. As for those who turn aside from Jehovah, he was separate from them, bearing their reproach without the camp. Sin and the Saviour had no communion. 

We, too, can make our boast in the Lord; he is the meat and the drink of our souls. He is our portion, supplying all our necessities, and our cup yielding royal luxuries; our cup in this life, and our inheritance in the life to come. As children of the Father who is in heaven, we inherit, by virtue of our joint heirship with Jesus, all the riches of the covenant of grace; and the portion which falls to us sets upon our table the bread of heaven and the new wine of the kingdom. Who would not be satisfied with such dainty diet? Our shallow cup of sorrow we may well drain with resignation, since the deep cup of love stands side by side with it, and will never be empty.

Charles Spurgeon, Psalm 16

The Nicene Creed

The historic, orthodox, apostolic church rests upon doctrine accurately discerned from Holy Scripture. These doctrinal statements do not have inherent authority, as Scripture does, but derived authority. That means in so far as they declare biblical truth, they carry authority to establish, sustain, guide, and correct Christ’s church till he returns.

In 325 AD, in the city of Nicea, Christians agreed upon this statement of apostolic teaching as they understood Holy Scripture. It’s called the Nicene Creed. As you read it, meditate on its truth-laden phrases. Notice its clarity. And feel its power to remind you of the verses of life-giving Scripture from which it comes.  Let this creed send you to exult in the triune God of its origin.

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost the Lord, and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the Prophets.

And I believe in one holy catholic and Apostolic Church; I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. 


Join us this Sunday for Bible Study Hour at 9:30am and for our morning worship service at 10:45am.

Where Does God Live?

Paul’s answer to the question, “Where does God live?” is surprising; God lives in us, his elect bride, the global and unified Church of Jesus Christ. The Apostle said, “In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22). Mind stretching as it is, we are the household of God. He lives in us and among us.

Surely God dwells in Heaven. “Thus says the LORD: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest?’” (Isaiah 66:1). 

And God dwells above and beyond the heavens, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27).

For a time, God also dwelt in the temples built for him, “As the glory of the LORD entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple” (Ezekiel 43:4-5).

And now that Christ has come, died, and risen to reign, God’s Spirit dwells in each believer, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

Almighty God, who is spirit, dwells in all these spaces. But we often overlook how he dwells in our unity. He dwells in our collected presence. When the local church gathers, God is there in a way that is different than the ways he meets with us privately or universally. 

How does our blood-bought life together as the dwelling place of God shape you and your daily decisions?

Join us this Sunday for Bible Study Hour at 9:30am and for our morning worship service at 10:45am.

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