The Next Chapter for Redeemed South Bay

The Next Chapter for Redeemed South Bay

A Time for Change.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that there is a time for everything under heaven. I am certainly reminded of that truth as our church relocates and relaunches this week. Undoubtedly, many things are changing and will change as Redeemed settles into a new city (Torrance), a new facility (2545 W. 237th Street Suite A), and a new Sunday worship service time (9:30am). With all these changes and more, it is all too easy to become overwhelmed with the intricacies of a new facility. What should the color scheme be? How many chairs should be in the sanctuary? What color should the chairs be? How should the furniture be arranged? What should the sound system include? Where should the display screens be mounted? What should the various rooms be used for? The questions and answers go on and on. All of these questions must be answered and, in all honesty, a lot of the answers are neither right or wrong. But there is a possible problem in all of this. The potential issue begins when our hearts are not aligned with our Lord. In the midst of all these adjustments it is only natural to assert one's preferences and one's own opinions on how changes should take place. The danger is that it is easy to seek our own interests above all others, which directly opposes the commands we receive in Philippians 2. Moreover, being overly focused on one's wishes for the new facility can burglarize God's glory in the midst of the great work He is doing.  

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Assessment of the Athanasian Creed

Assessment of the Athanasian Creed

If you are anything like me, then you like to geek out on history. Particularly you enjoy reaching back into the centuries to discover the fascinating facts of church antiquity. One simple way to study church history is through the ancient creeds of the Christian faith. For individuals, friends,  and families alike, an engaging and edifying activity is reading a creed and searching the Scriptures to find out the biblical basis for the statements of the creed. The following paragraphs serves as a brief introduction to ancient creeds; followed by a biblical analysis (with proof-passages) of the Athanasian Creed, which is one of the least known ancient creeds in contemporary Christianity. This creed asserts the doctrine of the Trinity, the humanity of Christ, the divinity of Christ, and the person and work of Christ. Enjoy the exploration...

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Is There a Difference Between an Exegetical Lecture and a Sermon?

Is There a Difference Between an Exegetical Lecture and a Sermon?

Is there a difference between an exegetical lecture and a sermon?

The short answer is... YES. Which begs the question: What is the difference between an exegetical lecture (for our purpose an exegetical lecture is an address that offers critical interpretation of a Scripture passages) and a sermon? Both an exegetical lecture and a sermon must display the proper implementation of interpretational principles (hermeneutics) in order to convey the truthfulness of God’s word. That being said, a sermon is much more than an exegetical lecture, therefore the differences between the two are vast. The application of hermeneutics is critical in the construction of a sermon, but it is only the launching pad for a biblical exposition. To some extent, an exegetical lecture is part of a sermon, but a sermon is not an exegetical lecture. The following paragraphs will convey the differences of an exegetical lecture and a biblical exposition or sermon.

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Walking in Wisdom: An Overview of Proverbs

Walking in Wisdom: An Overview of Proverbs

The book of Proverbs is wisdom literature that offers experiential wisdom to its hearers. Although some equate much this book to common sense, it is much more than that; in reality the proverbs provide godly wisdom regarding common life. This book cannot be observed as a collection of phrases and sayings committed to portraying universal truths or promises but it is best understood as a collection of foundational and fundamental phrases that convey general truths and principles. While books such as Job and Ecclesiastes bestow non-conventional wisdom for the peculiarities of life, Proverbs is a book of conventional wisdom for everyday normality. The entirety of the wisdom literature in Scripture makes it clear that there is always an exception to the rules set forth in Proverbs.

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The Humility of Calvin: An Encouragement to "Calvinists"

The Humility of Calvin: An Encouragement to "Calvinists"

It may not come as a surprise to those who adhere to Calvin's theology of salvation; the all-to-familiar notion that Calvinistic Christians tend to be arrogant and antagonistic. It was in the Fall of 2010 when I was first exposed to Calvin’s soteriology (the doctrine of salvation); more specifically I was introduced to Calvin’s view of God’s sovereignty in salvation. At first, I was opposed to such views, but as I continued to study, I became overwhelmingly persuaded that Calvin’s theology of salvation was nothing more than the Apostle Paul’s theology of salvation, which was therefore Jesus' theology of salvation. As I grew more attracted to this theology, I began reading blogs, forums, articles, etc. and that is when I noticed the continuous complaint that Calvinists are haughty and prideful. Unfortunately, I am afraid that this critique is altogether too close to reality. After studying John Calvin’s life apart from his theology I realized that there was a great irony in contemporary Calvinistic boasting. Although John Calvin most certainly held unswervingly to the "doctrines of grace" (a.k.a. the five points of Calvinism) and the sovereignty of God in all things, the irony is that he did it with a much meekness, mildness, and humility.  Today, "Calvinists" must acknowledge the sovereignty of God in the fact that they were led to and believe in such a God-honoring, Christ-exalting, Spirit-adoring doctrine. This truth ought to make us among the most humble of all people. I believe a few details from Calvin’s life will encourage us so called “Calvinists” to humble ourselves before our great God and to offer Him thanks and praise for raising up godly men to trumpet the truths of Scripture throughout the ages.

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A Dead Goose Still Honks: A Synopsis of John Huss

A Dead Goose Still Honks: A Synopsis of John Huss

Many in the evangelical church today have little knowledge, appreciation, or understanding in the realm of church history. The average church-going person’s witness to church history goes something like this, “The apostles were great! The early church fathers were fairly decent. The middle ages were a terrible period of time when the church had no one championing the truths of Scripture, that’s why they were called the ‘dark ages’. The Reformation is when Martin Luther combatted the heresy of the Roman Catholic Church and exclaimed to all professing believers that Scripture alone should have the authoritative word for the church, I think a couple other guys are called ‘reformers’ too. And now I attend a church down the road that holds to some of these truths that were rediscovered in the Reformation.” If this is your version of church history, then you are not alone!

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Am I Saved by Grace through Faith in Christ or by Works?

Am I Saved by Grace through Faith in Christ or by Works?

At Redeemed South Bay we are preaching an expository sermon series through Acts and we have arrived at chapter 15. In Acts 15 the essence of the gospel is being attacked; the stakes couldn't be any higher... is faith in Christ alone sufficient for salvation or must works of the law be added in order to be saved? This is indeed a monumental moment in the book of Acts as the church met in Jerusalem to settle the enormous issue. 

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The Best Part of Waking Up Is...?

The Best Part of Waking Up Is...?

The best part of waking up is Folger's in your cup!? Or perhaps, the snooze button, a hot shower, a roof over your head, a good breakfast, the stillness of the early morning, the sight of your spouse, the sound of your children? It is possible that any one or more of these could be the answer for some, for others it would depend on the day, and still for others it would depend on their age, perspectives, and interests on any given morning. I remember as a young boy the best part of waking up on Christmas day was the gifts around the tree and the amazing breakfast my mother would always make. As I matured and phased into the teenage years the best part of waking up on Saturday mornings was collegiate football. As I continued to grow into a young adult and college student myself, the best part of waking up was the all-you-can-eat breakfast at the dining hall. When I look back through the various stages of my life I can vividly remember precise details that, for me, made it worthwhile to rise out of bed and get going! Each of us wakes up everyday for something, the question is; What is that something?

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10 Truths from Romans that Cause The Church to Give Thanks

10 Truths from Romans that Cause The Church to Give Thanks

Thanksgiving

It is that time of year again... The beloved gorgefest that is the thanksgiving holiday. This is a time when families are coming together, a time when the football season is getting exciting, a time when festive memories are being made, and a time when many people are recounting what they are thankful for. I can recount many things that I have been thankful for over the years, my wife, my daughter, my family, my apartment, my car, and so on, yet in all these things I only have one person to whom I am thankful to. As a Christian I always think about James 1:17 during the thanksgiving season which reads, " Every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." As I ponder this verse I am again reminded that I am most thankful for Jesus Christ and that I am also most thankful to Jesus Christ! So, this year as we are all mindful of what we are thankful for, let us be encouraged by ten truths from the book of Romans and give thanks to The LORD! 

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Where Else Can We Go?

Where Else Can We Go?

Life typically doesn't come with a cruise control option. There are many obstacles that arise in this short time that we are given here on this earth and if we were to merely just "cruise along" the outcome would undoubtedly be unsatisfactory. As life's situations do come up there are various options and choices that surface along the way as well. When life does throw all it has at us there tends to be a series of questions that come across our minds: What am I to do? Who am I to turn to? Where am I to go? I submit to you that we should take a cue from Simon Peter as I believe he virtually answers this series of questions in John 6.

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Seeing 20/10: Blindness to Blurriness to Clarity

Seeing 20/10: Blindness to Blurriness to Clarity

"And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly." -Mark 8:23-25

I remember when I first thoroughly read the story of Jesus healing a blind man in Mark 8. Out of all the accounts of Jesus' miracles this was the most peculiar to me. At first glance, it is almost as if Jesus made a mistake in His healing of the blind man.

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Coffee... Gospel... So What?

Coffee... Gospel... So What?

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine who started attending a new church, and I asked him what had impacted him the most in regard to his new church. His response was that the lead pastor invited him out for a cup of coffee. This was not at all what I had expected his answer to be, but nonetheless this was his answer. The more I thought about it, I became convinced that this was quite a remarkable answer. I actually believe that coffee and the gospel are more correlated than most might think. Let me explain.

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Isolation and The Church

Isolation and The Church

"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." Hebrews 10:24-25

 We have all encountered people who "love" Jesus but just don't love His church. Perhaps they view the church to be a bunch of hypocrites, who exist to judge others and accept only their own kind or maybe the were hurt by or had a terrible experience at church in the past. Regardless of the line of reasoning, the outcome of this logic turns into the notion of, "Jesus and I against all!"

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The Road West

The Road West

This past week marked the fifth anniversary of my move to California from Ohio. A lot has happened over the past five years; I came to California as a single nomad with a car full of clothes, a few hundred dollars to my name, and not much else. Now, I am married with a child, I have planted and am pastoring a church with a team of men that are some of the best mentors, friends, and brothers I could ever ask for, and I couldn't be more excited about what God has in store for the future. As I was reflecting over the past five years of my life I have certainly seen God's hand upon my life in numerous ways. The more I reflected and recalled there were two things from the early days of my move that stood out...

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I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

We have all heard the phrase; whether it be the punch line of a corny joke, the dramatic scene of a movie when a person is caught in some sort of an abyss, or even the latest version of a Life Alert commercial in which the line is exclaimed, "I have fallen and I can't get up!" Although I hear it on a regular basis, I was reminded this week that I have fallen and I cannot get up. The fact of the matter is... we've all fallen and we can't up.

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The Neighbor Your Neighbors Love?

The Neighbor Your Neighbors Love?

Well I must admit... over the past 4 years or so I haven't been a good neighbor. I guess "good" is somewhat of a relative term, so let me explain. I am not the type of neighbor who blares music, or has parties 'til the break of dawn, or piles trash up in front of their house, or any of those other annoying things that we all would dislike if our neighbors were to do them. Historically, at least over the past few years, I have been the neighbor who stays to himself. I will throw a smile at my neighbors when I see them, or a wave, or a "How ya doing?!" without any regard to how they are actually doing. 

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Reborn Identity

Reborn Identity

The "Bourne" movies are a series of films that I have thoroughly enjoyed (at least the first three, I did not bother to see the fourth motion picture). Without ruining the plot for those of you who have not seen any of the films, the first flick "The Bourne Identity" centers around the character Jason Bourne. Mr. Bourne wakes up and cannot remember a thing about his past; he has no idea who he is, where he is from, or what he has done. From this point forward the movie goes about piecing together this guy's "identity". As I was thinking about this film the thought of identity itself crept into my mind. What is identity? What is my identity? What would others say their identity is? What is our "born" identity?

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Starbucks, Sermon Writing, and Salvation

Starbucks, Sermon Writing, and Salvation

Recently, I have been spending quite a bit of my "office hours" in my spacious, heavily-trafficked, and (at times) noisy office... Starbucks. It is true, my actual office is a mere stone's throw away from this so-called office that I so graciously share with all who open the door. It is also true that I do not have to wait for a table or the restroom, that it is quiet, and that the draft from a constantly opening door does't bother me when I am at my office, yet I am drawn to this location more often than not. 

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