Easter Thanks

Brothers and sisters, 
I am sitting here amazed (after a 2 hour “power nap” 🙂 ) at all of the wonderful work accomplished here today and in our revival services. I am trying to think of everyone to thank. 
Thank you to:
  • The men who came early to set up chairs for the sunrise service (about 120 people!)
  • Sis Debbie, Sis Musi and all the teachers and nursery workers who made our guests feel safe and taught their kids
  • The musicians who brought us such beautiful and powerful music (especially the AMBC Angels Girls’ Choir)
  • The food teams who made a wonderful breakfast
  • The Ostroms for going and buying more food because I drastically underestimated the number of people God would send
  • Sis Angela and the egg-cellent egg hunt she put together, and the massive team who showed up to stuff eggs, hide them and direct the kids
  • Those who knocked on doors to hand out flyers (we had about 275 in our main service this morning, plus teachers and kids in the nursery and other buildings – thanks to you inviting!)
  • Those who invited friends and family personally and through social media
  • Brother Bradley for helping with my sermon 
  • The media and audio teams, who did an awesome job (and Bro Todd, Bro Tom and Bro Scott for training them)
  • The greeters and valet parkers (my computer says that is not a word) who received people as they came, directed them and made them feel welcome
  • The small army of ushers to receive the offering
  • The prayer warriors who paved the way for the revival and the resurrection celebration
  • Our great evangelists, Bro Darrel Owens and Bro Bobby Bryant for the revival week (and the generous offerings for them!)
  • Sister Colleen for calming me down, praying for me, supporting me and keeping things in perspective
  • Sister Julie for being my brain outside of my brain here in the office
  • Jesus for dying, rising again and showing up this week.
If I left you out, I am sorry. I do appreciate all of you! 1 Corinthians 12:27 says “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” Thank you for showing up as Christ’s body this week. We are having at least 3 baptisms next Sunday as the fruit of your labor. It is amazing to see all of the pieces come together and I look forward to seeing what God does next. 
To God alone be the glory, for He is Risen!

Request for Schedules

If your kids are involved in sports or other extracurricular activities, would you mind e-mailing those calendars to me at justin@alvinmbc.com? I would love to support them and get to know all of you better. Although I can’t make it to every game, I would really like to try and hit one or two for each kid.
I appreciate your help and patience.
– Brother Justin

The God We Can Know

This picture is 9 months old, but I still like it a lot. The little bald baby is my daughter Anastasia and the fluffy white dog is my loyal companion Zorro (right and left, respectively). The story of why our dog’s name is Spanish for “fox” will have to wait until another day.
These two are best friends, and they have an awful lot in common. They both love to play with balls and other brightly colored objects. They both love to lay down on us. They both love to eat things off the floor and try to snatch things from each other. 
But there are also some big differences. Ana knows me now and learns more about me all the time. As she gets older, her capacity to understand me grows, and as we spend more time together, our intimacy deepens. Zorro, on the other hand, knows about me, but can never really know me.  How could he? He is a dog, and I am a human. He loves me and I love him, but there is a gulf between us which can never really be overcome. 
Still, the chasm between Zorro and me is a hairbreadth compared to the gap between God and me. While I have left my chewing-on-things-I-found-on-the-floor phase several years in the past, I am still prone to make foolish decisions. I cook my food and he receives it in a bowl (or from Anastasia), we are both dependent on others outside of ourselves. Although I am the owner and he is the dog, we are both creatures who owe our entire existence to something Other. 

Meeting God

So if Zorro could never truly know me, how could I dare to believe that I could ever truly know God? How could a holy, eternal, infinite Creator ever be truly known by a sinful, mortal, finite creation? It feels like something both pious and thoroughly millennial: “I’m spiritual, but not religious. I don’t think we could ever really understand God anyway, these are all just people’s opinions.”
It sounds like a big view of God, but it is actually a very small view. It also sounds humble, but the person who is saying you can’t know anything about God is claiming to know that God is unknowable. The person who says this is really confessing that they believe God is unable to make Himself known. Christians do not think God is knowable because He is small enough for us to comprehend (Isaiah 40:18), but Christians do think that God is great and powerful enough to introduce Himself (1 John 5:20). Here is a theological principle worth learning: we can know God truly, but not fully. It is not really so strange. My daughter is still a toddler; fully thinking adult thoughts and understanding adult motivations are beyond her capacity. But the Daddy she knows is the real Daddy, even though that knowledge is incomplete. She wants to think like I think and act like I act (Psalm 139:17).
Psalm 145:3 is helpful: 

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;

And his greatness is unsearchable.
We know that God is great. We understand that fully enough to praise Him; yet one of the things we must praise about Him is that we can never know him exhaustively. Like my daughter knows me better all the time, we come to know God better all the time. But unlike one human being getting to know another, God is a never-ending staircase where the higher we climb, the higher we can go. People ask what we could do forever in Heaven; coming to know God more and more fully is certainly one of the answers.

Soon, I hope to write a little more on the different ways that God has made Himself known, but this post is already a little long, so let me major on this: We can know God, and that is something to celebrate. Jeremiah 9:23–24 says:

23  Thus saith the Lord,

Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,

Neither let the mighty man glory in his might,

Let not the rich man glory in his riches:

24  But let him that glorieth glory in this,

That he understandeth and knoweth me,

That I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth:

For in these things I delight, saith the Lord.

When We Gather

Sunday School and Bible Study: 9 AM
Sunday Morning Worship: 10:15 AM
Sunday Evening Worship: 6 PM
Wednesday Evening Prayer Meeting: 7 PM

Jan 7, 2018
The Extraordinary Ordinary Christian Worships
  • Jan 7, 2018The Extraordinary Ordinary Christian Worships
    Jan 7, 2018
    The Extraordinary Ordinary Christian Worships
  • Jan 6, 2018January 6
    Jan 6, 2018
    January 6
    Mark 4:21-41
  • Jan 5, 2018January 5
    Jan 5, 2018
    January 5
    Mark 3:20-4:20 
  • Jan 4, 2018January 4
    Jan 4, 2018
    January 4
    I ask your forgiveness for running behind as I try and figure out how to handle some problems we have had. I will, God willing, be caught up this week. Pray for me as I try to balance production quality (sound, outside noises on the recording), material quality (study, notes) and the need to produce something every day. I will continue to date them like they ought to have been posted, for the sake of future reference.
  • Jan 3, 2018January 3
    Jan 3, 2018
    January 3
  • Jan 2, 2018January 2
    Jan 2, 2018
    January 2
    By: (All)
  • Dec 31, 2017Thou Shalt Well Remember
    Dec 31, 2017
    Thou Shalt Well Remember
    Series: (All)
    We are a forgetful people. Deuteronomy 7:17-26 teaches us, from the perspective of the Israelites just outside Canaan, how to remember the things God has done for us in the past as we press forward into the future. Begin 2018 right, by remembering what God has done for you in the past, and blazing forward in His power into the future. 
  • Nov 19, 2017Preparing for the Holidays
    Nov 19, 2017
    Preparing for the Holidays
    Series: (All)
  • Jul 16, 20171 Corinthians – Conclusion
    Jul 16, 2017
    1 Corinthians – Conclusion
  • Jul 9, 20171 Corinthians – Life from Death
    Jul 9, 2017
    1 Corinthians – Life from Death

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