Making the Most of Life: Come Sailing

TITLE: Making the Most of Life: Come Sailing
PREACHER: Gregg McAlpine
DATE: 3 FEBRUARY 2012 – Friday AM

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Revelation 12

TITLE: Revelation 12
PREACHER: Marcus Herbert
DATE: 22 JANUARY 2012 – Sunday AM

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Why Lead Worship? – Part 2 – Looking at David

Written by Jonno Warmington

It’s nearly seven months later and here finally is the long overdue second part of my “Why Lead Worship?” series of posts (read part one here).

As a brief aside, my previous post was followed by some good discussion around the use of the phrase “leading worship”. I’ll continue to use the phrase for now but with this caveat: For various reasons, it’s actually not my favourite common use phrase for what musicians do while serving the church in the area of the musical expression of worship. I would actually like to cover this point properly at some point – but that will be in a different post.

Getting back on-topic, I think it’s fairly obvious that I was referring to David at the end of my previous post. David is a good character to look at with this topic for a couple of reasons, one of which is simply because there’s just so much to see in scripture about this guy. We can learn a lot about and from him in 1 and 2 Samuel, Chronicles and in other parts of the Bible.

Not only can we see his heart as displayed through the story of his life, we can also see it in great detail in the things that he wrote. The Psalms are a big collection of songs and poems that essentially made up Israel’s “worship song file” and David wrote many of them.

What’s also interesting is how scripture doesn’t rose-tint the story of David’s life and yet speaks very highly of him. The Biblical narrative shows a man who was a polygamist, adulterer and ultimately a scheming murderer who ruled over a nation and yet left his own family in a complete mess. Yet despite all this, David is used by the Apostles and New Testament writers Peter, in Acts 2, and Paul, in Acts 13, as a prophetic picture or type of Jesus Christ Himself. The Messiah is often referred to in the Old Testament prophetic books and in the gospels as “the Son of David”.

And then there’s this big one, especially within the scope of this series of posts: In his Acts 13 sermon, Paul talks about David as a person whom God calls “a man after my heart” (v22).

Until fairly recently I had always interpreted this phrase to mean a person who is in pursuit of God’s heart – a worshiper. While this kind of statement may be true of David, it isn’t what this text is actually saying. The word translated “after” is the Greek word kata which means “according to” and not “in pursuit of”. So, it uses “after” as in, “a son takes after his father” and not, “grown men chasing after a ball.” I had always understood the phrase incorrectly as “David… a man who pursues God’s heart” whereas the correct understanding would actually be, “David… a man who has the same characteristics or qualities as God’s heart.”

Coming to understand this, I have to say that this must be one of scripture’s highest commendations of any man – God saying that this man, David, had some of the same characteristics as Himself. As far as I know, David is the only person in the Bible that God directly describes this way. Surely this is something we would love be true about us and so it is this statement that we must investigate further.

Why does scripture make such high commendations of a person who’s life story would make a serious R-rated movie? You could argue that there must be better characters in the Bible to choose for this honour.

This contrast beautifully illustrates the triumph of God’s grace over sinful human messiness in the achievement of His sovereign will. But even with this in mind, we still have to ask what it was that David had or did that caused God to call him a man after His heart in both the Old (through Samuel in 1 Sam 13:14) and New Testaments (through Paul in Acts 13)?

To answer this we have to examine what it was about David that was after or “according to” God’s heart. More on that in part 3 which hopefully won’t take another seven months to post.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts? What kind of similarities between David and the heart of God can you see?

Click here for part 3 of this article.

Water Baptism: Why?

Water Baptism

As has been announced, this weekend we’ll be having water baptisms. If you haven’t been baptised before and you’d like to get baptised, please chat to one of the Cornerstone elders. You can call them at 011-616-4073 during office hours if you want to chat to them today.

But what is water baptism? Why do we do it? Is it some weird, religious ceremony that bears no meaning? What exactly is it about?

Here’s a brief little outline. The first thing to remember is that water baptism is a very simple matter – you don’t need to go through some hectic course before you can do it; you don’t need to learn Latin so you can chant some strange spiritual phrase; and, if you get baptised, you don’t have to wonder for the rest of your life what exactly it all meant.

If you’ve accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, given Jesus your life, believed that He is the Son of God, put your faith in Jesus (these are just different phrases for the same thing, the act of believing in Jesus) then you can be baptised. And you should. Here’s why.

1) Water Baptism is a symbol, and an important one

Scripture says that when we begin to trust (have faith) in Jesus something real, but miraculous, happens to us. We are ‘born again’, ‘given life’ and ‘regenerated’. Romans 6: 1-14 specifically talks about being ‘dead to sin’ and ‘made alive to Christ’. Essentially, everything about our old way of life and our old desires are changed, made ‘dead’. Perhaps, before, you used to partake in some activity that you knew was wrong but you didn’t care. Now you find you care – and you care very much indeed. Maybe you used to do one or two shady deals at the office, now you find you just can’t do that anymore. Something inside you has changed.

This change has been done by God Himself, through the Holy Spirit. If that sounds spooky to you it’s not. But we can’t go into too much detail on that here as we’re talking about water baptism. The short of it is that God now fellowships and abides with you. He is nudging you in a life of true happiness and joy – a life of less and less sin.You have died to your old way of life – sin – and you are now alive to your new way of life – Jesus. It’s not just your acts that change but also your very nature.

And there’s no limit to what God does in terms of change. You could have been involved in some of the ugliest sinful stuff out there, but God still forgives and He both has and will deliver you from your sin. That’s the end of it.

Going under the water symbolises the reality of this event – you ‘die’ when you go under, you are ‘alive’ when you come back up. Metaphorically, of course. It’s done publicly so that everyone can see your personal commitment to living in Jesus Christ.

It’s also true that the act not only symbolises a past event (when you accepted Jesus) but also a future one – when you will physically die and be raised up to live forever, now with a glorified and sinless body. Just like Jesus who rose up on the third day. Except now God would have made a new heavens and earth (Rev 21:1) where we will live forever in His joyful presence. As can be seen, even all of creation – heaven and earth – will undergo a kind of death and resurrection. What baptism represents goes incredibly deep when you study it.

2) Jesus got baptised, so should we

As we follow Christ we do what Jesus did and even He got baptised. Read Mat 3: 13 – 17. Jesus also commanded that as we make disciples of all men, bringing them to Him, we also baptise them. Read Matt 28:19-20 for more on that.

In obedience to God’s command it’s good that we get baptised as quickly as possible after we make a commitment to Jesus. This is to help encourage us to go all the way, as it were, with our new commitment.

Baptism, as a physical act, also helps us to deal with doubt in the future. This is because it was an actual event, something that others saw as well, not an abstract or emotional choice that we might question later in life – wondering to ourselves if we really made a commitment to Jesus or not. (Unfortunately, a lot of teaching out there can put these sorts of doubts into our heads.) Now we can look back at a physical, not abstract, event and be sure of the reality of our commitment in our own minds.

In the Old Testament we see God regularly command the Israelites to remember certain days with festivals or altars and that sort of thing. He instructs them to do this so that they won’t forget what He did for them. Baptism is a moment in our lives we can always look back on when the going gets tough to remind us of what Jesus did – he made us dead to sin and alive to Christ. So we can live it!

3) The early church did it, so we do too

There are a number of places in Scripture where it shows the early church baptised. See Acts 2:37 – 41; Acts 8: 12 – 13; Acts 8: 36 – 38; Acts 9: 17; Acts 22: 16; Acts 10: 33 – 48; Acts 16: 13 – 15; Acts 16: 31 – 34. This isn’t holding to a tradition, this is holding to Scripture which commands we be baptised.

4) What about infant baptism; christening; sprinkling etc.

If you were christened; sprinkled; baptised as an infant you still need to get baptised as an adult (or, rather, at an appropriate age of understanding). This is because, as a baby, you can’t make a commitment to Jesus. You don’t even know you have hands and feet yet! Never mind deciding to turn away from your sins and making a commitment to Jesus. This is also why (amongst other reasons) at Cornerstone we don’t do infant baptisms.

5) Still not sure about this? No problem 🙂

You can chat to any of the elders, your Life Group leader, or get a copy of our Foundations manual for more. We’re also going to be starting a Foundations Bible Study soon (keep your eye open for details) that Andrew and Kirsten Marsterton (Deacons in Cornerstone) will be running. You can chat to them – if you don’t know what they look like, though, just call the church office at 011-616-4073 and ask to speak to an elder about baptism.

6) Want to get baptised? Awesome 🙂

Chat to any of the elders or your Life Group leader. If you’re not that integrated yet into Cornerstone, give any of the elders a call at 011-616-4073.

How Can We Trust God Enough to Step Out?

TITLE: How Can We Trust God Enough to Step Out?
PREACHER: Greig Garratt
DATE: 22 JANUARY 2012 – Sunday PM

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Orientation 2012

TITLE: Orientation 2012
PREACHER: Marcus Herbert
DATE: 22 JANUARY 2012 – Sunday AM

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inVISION 2012 – Where We’re At and Where We’re Going

TITLE: inVISION 2012 – Where We’re At and Where We’re Going
PREACHER: Marcus Herbert
DATE: 21 JANUARY 2012 – Saturday AM

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inVISION 2012 – We’re Going Sailing Again

TITLE: inVISION 2012 – We’re Going Sailing Again
PREACHER: Marcus Herbert
DATE: 20 JANUARY 2012 – Friday PM

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A Call to Prayer

TITLE: A Call to Prayer
PREACHER: Marcus Herbert
DATE: 15 JANUARY 2012 – Sunday AM

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What is Your Hope for 2012?

TITLE: What is Your Hope for 2012?
PREACHER: Lance de Ruig
DATE: 8 JANUARY 2012 – Sunday AM

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