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New Men’s Study: Hide or Seek

New Men’s Study: Hide or Seek

Men, you are invited to the Men’s Study that begins February 7. God’s gift of sexuality is beautiful and powerful. In His Word God gives commands, blessings, warnings, and judgments about sexual activity. Sex is one of the strongest areas of temptation and sin for us. Over and over again, God warns us about worshiping the idol of sexual fulfillment rather than worshiping Him. But He also reveals that He is the God who rescues and transforms men and women snared in sexual sin. Our men’s spring study will focus on the joy of walking in light and purity. Over six weeks we’ll work through a book, Hide and Seek by John Freeman, spend time meditating on Psalm 103, hear testimonies from brothers just like us, and pray for one another.

Make your plans to join us on Thursday mornings at 6:15 a.m. or Thursday evenings at 7:00 p.m. in The Cave, February 7–March 14. Sign up and purchase your book for $10 in the North Lobby or email Abe Stratton by February 3.

Getting to Know God in the First Chapter of Genesis

Getting to Know God in the First Chapter of Genesis

If we had to put it in a word, what is the subject of the Bible? The Bible’s first sentence gives it away: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). God is the subject of Scripture, its main character, and the chief actor behind its unfolding story.

What is he like? There’s more to God than what we learn in Genesis 1, but Genesis 1 gets us off to a good start. Here’s as helpful reflection on the Bible’s first chapter by D.A. Carson from his devotional commentary, For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word, Volume 1.

On the face of it, this chapter, and the lines of thought it develops, establish that God is different from the universe that he creates, and therefore pantheism is ruled out; that the original creation was entirely good, and therefore dualism is ruled out; that human beings, male and female together, are alone declared to be made in the image of God, and therefore forms of reductionism that claim we are part of the animal kingdom and no more must be ruled out; that God is a talking God, and therefore all notions of an impersonal God must be ruled out; that this God has sovereignly made all things, including all people, and therefore conceptions of merely tribal deities must be ruled out.

Some of these and other matters are put positively by later writers of Scripture who, reflecting on the doctrine of creation, offer a host of invaluable conclusions. The sheer glory of the created order bears telling witness to the glory of its Maker (Ps. 19). The universe came into being by the will of God, and for this, God is incessantly worshipped (Rev. 4:11). That God has made everything speaks of his transcendence, i.e., he is above this created order, above time and space, and therefore cannot be domesticated by anything in it (Acts 17:24-25). That he made all things and continues to rule over all, means that both racism and tribalism are to be rejected (Acts 17:26). Further, if we ourselves have been made in his image, it is preposterous to think that God can properly be pictured by some image that we can concoct (Acts 17:29). These notions and more are teased out by later Scriptures.

One of the most important entailments of the doctrine of creation is this: it grounds all human responsibility. The theme repeatedly recurs in the Bible, sometimes explicitly, sometimes by implication. To take but one example, John’s gospel opens by declaring that everything that was created came into being by the agency of God’s “Word,” the Word that became flesh in Jesus Christ (John 1:2-3, 14). But this observation sets the stage for a devastating indictment: when this Word came into the world, and even though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him (John 1:10). God made us to “image” himself; he made us for his own glory. For us to imagine ourselves autonomous is, far from being a measure of our maturity, the supreme mark of our rebellion, the flag of our suppression of the truth (Rom. 1).

Carson provides succinct commentary along these lines for just about every page of the Bible. For the Love of God is a two volume set available on Amazon (Volume 1, Volume 2) or at D.A. Carson’s Blog at The Gospel Coalition. I highly commend it. Both volumes offer commentary on two of the four daily readings based on a Bible reading plan by Robert Murray Mchene.

 

2019 Ladies’ Retreat: February 22-23

2019 Ladies’ Retreat: February 22-23

All That’s Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment

HBC Ladies–you are invited to enjoy worship and fellowship together as we welcome our guest speaker, Hannah Anderson, for our 2019 retreat. Join us as we learn the lost art of discernment.

Looking out over the world today, it seems a far cry from God’s original declaration. Pain, conflict, and uncertainty dominate the headlines. Our daily lives are noisy and chaotic—filled with too much information and too little wisdom. No wonder we often find it easier to retreat into safe spaces, hunker down in likeminded tribes, and just do our best to survive life.

But what if God wants you to do more than simply survive? What if he wants you to thrive in this world, and be part of its redemption? What if you could rediscover the beauty and goodness God established in the beginning?

By learning the lost art of discernment, you can. Discernment is more than simply avoiding bad things; discernment actually frees you to navigate the world with confidence and joy by teaching you how to recognize and choose good things. When you learn discernment and develop a taste for all that’s good, you will encounter God in remarkable new ways. Come, discover the God who not only made all things, but who will also make all things good once again.

HANNAH R. ANDERSON lives in the haunting Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She spends her days working beside her husband in rural ministry, caring for their three children, and scratching out odd moments to write. In those in-between moments, she contributes to a variety of Christian publications and is the author of Made for More (Moody, 2014), Humble Roots (Moody, 2016), and All That’s Good (Moody, 2018). You can connect with her at her blog and on Twitter @sometimesalight.

 

Retreat Schedule

Friday evening, February 22
Heritage Bible Church, Fellowship Hall

6:30-7:30 Dinner
7:30-8:35 Session I
8:40 Hannah Anderson Book Signing/Dessert Fellowship

Saturday, February 23
Look Up Lodge, Travelers Rest, SC

8:30-9:15 Breakfast
9:20-10:35 Session II
10:35-10:50 Break
10:50-12:00 Session III
12:15-1:15 Lunch
1:30 Q&A with Hannah Anderson
2:15-4:00 Free Time Activities at Look Up Lodge

If you have questions prior to registration, please contact Liz Stratton at [email protected]

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: February 7, 2019

 

Dates & Times

  • Feb 22, 2019

    6:00pm – 9:30pm
  • Feb 23, 2019

    8:30am – 4:00pm

Attendee Types

  • Full Retreat
    $60
  • Friday Only (Guests Welcome)
    $25
  • Saturday Only
    $35
New Series through Genesis: The Blessing

New Series through Genesis: The Blessing

Where do we turn when the world seems dark and our lives seem like chaos? To the first page of the Bible where we read the words, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Those words were written for a generation that was rescued out of the darkness and chaos of Egyptian slavery, to convince them of the sovereignty of God and his powerful Word. We need convincing just the same.

In Sunday’s sermon, “In the beginning,” we toured the book to discover its central theme, the blessing of God. That is, the favor and smile of God on his people. The theme of blessing bookends the book and recurs some 90 times in-between. Blessing captures the joy and fulness of life with God before sin, what was lost in our rebellion, and the force that drives the book across its fifty chapters. It’s everything we need, even if the word has become cheap. Let’s recover it.

For those interested in studying alongside the series, consider these resources:

  • Genesis, by Derek Kidner. This is a classic little tome, readable, and a best short-volume on Genesis you could pick up.
  • Genesis: A 12-Week Study, by Mitchell Kim. If you’re wanting to meet up with a friend from church or work one-to-one, here’s a Bible study that asks perceptive questions and includes a bit of instruction along the way.
  • The Genesis Factor: Probing Life’s Big Questions, by David Helm and Jon Dennis. Here’s a great volume for reading Genesis with worldview questions in mind—mingling biblical theology and philosophy and insightful observations from the text.
  • Genesis: Beginning and Blessing, by Kent Hughes. Hughes is a famously faithful, straightforward, and perceptive preacher. This is his expositional commentary.

Whether you pick up a resource to study along or not, be sure to read along in your Bibles. In fact, that’s the best way to spend your time either way.

I’m eager for this journey of ours and pray for us to know the fullness of “every spiritual blessing” that is ours in Christ (Eph. 1:3).

On Scripture Memory, Part 1: Some Observations and Benefits

On Scripture Memory, Part 1: Some Observations and Benefits

On January 6, Pastor Abe Stratton delivered the book of Hebrews from memory, in a sermon titled, “Looking to Jesus.” In this first of a two-part guest-post, Abe shares with us some observations and benefits of Scripture memory. 

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From the middle of 2016 until the end of 2018 I worked to memorize the book of Hebrews. The following thoughts are observations on and benefits of memorizing large portions of God’s Word. In a future post I plan to offer some encouragements and exhortations. My prayer is that the Word of Christ would dwell richly in the hearts and minds of his followers so that individual believers will be sanctified, the church will be built up, and ultimately our God will be glorified.

Here are some observations and benefits of Scripture memory.

1. A well-organized plan is not mandatory in order to memorize.

Your plan can change as you go along. Mine did as I realized how I needed to memorize a growing portion of Scripture, how I needed to review, etc. Here are some personal examples of how my plan developed and adapted over time.

Because of my office schedule at Heritage, I decided to spend time memorizing 4 days a week (Monday-Thursday). At the beginning of the book I spent about 10-15 minutes a day working on a new verse and going over the previous verses I had memorized. Memorizing out loud was helpful for me to internalize the words and message. Not only was I seeing and reading the words, but I was also hearing them. Aural emphasis is helpful for me in memorization.

As the number of memorized verses grew I had to change plans a bit because the time to review was getting longer. The best method seemed to be to review the previous chapter to the one I was memorizing. But around the time I passed the half-way point of the book, I began reviewing 3 chapters a day in addition to memorizing one new verse. This review was rotational. So, I would review chapters 1-3 while memorizing 10:12; the next day I would review chapters 4-6 while memorizing 10:13; the next day I would review chapters 7-9 while memorizing 10:14.

When reviewing 3 chapters a day and memorizing a new verse, the time commitment was probably 20-30 minutes a day. Note, this may sound like a lot of time, and it is in one sense. We are busy people. But think about your time spent in car line, time spent watching TV, time spent on your work commute. What could be more important than thinking on and treasuring the eternal Word of the living God which will remain forever? We tend to spend a lot of our time on things which are transitory and much less important. Now that I have finished the whole book, I will review 2-4 chapters a day to keep the book fresh in my mind and to keep the connections between chapters.

Your routine can be flexible as you progress. Some days I wouldn’t memorize a new verse if I felt like I had not gotten a good hold on the verse from the day before. Sometimes I would just review the chapters that I had memorized to that point.

2. You begin to see connections in lengthy passages of Scripture when you are in them for long amounts of time.

Not until I was in the final chapters of the book did I see a repeated pattern that the author uses. There are a number of “therefores” in the book; look out for them. Following a number of these “therefores” the author says, “Let us…” The author is making the point that because of a significant truth we must respond in a particular way. Once I saw this pattern, I went back through the book and marked each one. These triggers then became points of emphasis for me in my recitation of the book.

3. Scripture comes naturally and unbidden to your mind in everyday life.

I have found that in writing a note to a person or in reading a book or in fighting my own temptations, some passage from Hebrews will rise to my thoughts. This is a wonderful blessing and a work of grace.