Final TD Mtg. of the Year Tonight!

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Hey TD!

It’s going to be a night full of fun and faith tonight, as we wrap up the year on a strong note! Make sure you come tonight and join in the festivities!

And keep working on memorizing Romans 12:1-15:

1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

      3For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.4For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

      9Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

      14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 

TD Fri. – A Chance to Help Change a Young Girl’s Life

Hey TD!

Well, we’re down to the final month of the year. Can you believe it? This Friday at TD we’ll be sharing about how you at TD can play a real part in changing a young girl’s life. I hope you’re up for it.

We’ll also be working on our Romans 12 memorization, as well as discussing it, AND we will have our TD Pre-Party at 7:15 p.m.!

In the meanwhile, please be working on memorizing Romans 12, up to where we should be, below. It is a great passage to have sown in your mind and soul:

1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

      3For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

      9Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

      14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

TD Fri. – TD Pre-Party @7:15, Msg. & SG Discussion

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Hey TD!

We have a fun and full TD in store for us this Friday, starting with the TD Pre-Party @ 7:15 p.m. We’ll also have time in our small groups, as well as a short message on “Blessing Those Who Persecute You” from Rom. 12:14, as we continue our series, “Renew: Transforming Our Life in Christ”.

Please work on trying to have Romans 12:1-14 memorized by this Friday:

1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

      3For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

      9Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

      14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Let’s finish the year strong, TD!

TD Fri. – Guess Who’s Speaking?

Sandra head shot

Hey TD!

We are in for a treat this Friday as my beloved Sandra continues our theme from Romans 12, Renew: Transforming Our Life in Christ!  Did you know that Sandra was a professional teacher for 17 years, having taught math full-time at Pasadena City College and prior to that, Long Beach City College (back when we were dating!) prior to her retirement from teaching to help raise our young family?

Sandra is an excellent teacher (as so many former students, both at church and at school have attested to) who likes to help simplify complex subjects by using memorable associations, analogies, and devices to make the abstract more concrete and understandable.

Here’s the very insightful message that she gave last year on our conscious and sub-conscious thoughts:

“The Power of Sub-Conscious Liturgies” (mp3) – Sandra

She will be teaching very practically on verses 10-13:

10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;12rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

Please meditate on these verses this week and continue to memorize Romans 12.  By the end of this month, you should have memorized verses 1-13:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 

so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;

if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 

or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.

10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 

11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 

12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 

13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

See you on Friday! – Arthur

How to Train Your Dragons

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Hey TD!

Here’s a good article that Rebecca sent me last month that is quite pertinent to our lives and to our discussion in TD this month on dying to self and living for God.  Slay your dragons, friends.

How to Train Your Dragons

KILLING PET SINS BEFORE THEY KILL YOU

by Greg Morse

“Excuse me, can you repeat what you just said?”

I was certain I heard him wrong.

“ . . . ”

“So you’re saying that if we are struggling consistently with sexual sin, we should wean ourselves off of it by sinning in moderation? If we do said sin six times a week, you’re telling us to limit it to five per week for a time, then to four, three, two, until zero?”

The leader of a highly recommended program for male Christian purity reiterated the sentiment as everyone around me nodded at the sage’s words. After all, we just heard Jimmy’s video testimony about how he went from sinning several times a day to only sinning, well, several times a month. The strategy must work.

The friend who brought me braced himself.

“With all due respect, you can’t be serious. Do you know what sin is?

As he continued to talk, it was evident that he did not.

To him, making provision for the flesh several times a week was, in the end, beneficial to our holiness. To him, a couple of slices of forbidden fruit wasn’t really that bad. To him, sin was manageable, tamable, controllable. To him, cutting off one’s members seemed like an overreaction — just gently wean yourself off of the sin.

To him, sin was not:

  • The glory of God not honored.
  • The holiness of God not reverenced.
  • The greatness of God not admired.
  • The power of God not praised.
  • The truth of God not sought.
  • The wisdom of God not esteemed.
  • The beauty of God not treasured.
  • The goodness of God not savored.
  • The faithfulness of God not trusted.
  • The promises of God not believed.
  • The commandments of God not obeyed.
  • The justice of God not respected.
  • The wrath of God not feared.
  • The grace of God not cherished.
  • The presence of God not prized.
  • The person of God not loved.

Nor was it,

The dare of God’s justice, the rape of his mercy, the jeer of his patience, the slight of his power, and the contempt of his love. (John Bunyan)

To him, sin was like breaking the speed limit — nothing personal.

It was not an injury to our greatest Lover, a betrayal of our truest Friend, a dishonoring of our heavenly Father, an act of war against our mighty King, the creature spitting towards his Almighty Creator.

One of these was enough to curse the entire world. But allowing for several per week was apparently fine. Sin was a pet that we should eventually get rid of, but in the meantime, you could scratch its belly and teach it to play dead.

Sin Is Not a Pet

Sin is not a pet to be walked several times a week. It is a lion, a wolf, a bear. It bites and hunts at will. It attacks as a piranha. It is a restless evil lit ablaze by the fires of hell. Sin cannot be trained, bridled, or domesticated. Cannot be rescued, rehabilitated, or redeemed. Sin will never wear a collar, stick to its kennel, or cease clawing at your throat.

Sin marks us as targets for the great artillery of God’s wrath (Colossians 3:5–6). Sin makes us worthy of death (Romans 1:32). Sin will be found out and hated (Psalm 36:1–2). We never make peace with it, never make provision for it, never mark it in our calendars. Sin must be destroyed by the Spirit if we want to live (Romans 8:13).

Safer to have a pet male tiger than a pet sin.

The Lizard Upon the Shoulder

But many have tried. C.S. Lewis depicts this philosophy pictured above in The Great Divorce. In the book, a Ghost who has been kept out of heaven tries to keep his pet sin, a red lizard. In the scene, the Ghost constantly scolds the pet upon his shoulder. An angel asks the Ghost if he would like the lizard silenced.

“Of course I would,” said the Ghost.

“Then I will kill him,” said the Angel, taking a step forward.

“Oh — ah — look out! You’re burning me. Keep away,” said the Ghost retreating.

“Don’t you want him killed?”

“You didn’t say anything about killing him at first. I hardly meant to bother you with anything so drastic as that.”

“It’s the only way,” said the Angel, whose burning hands were now very close to the Lizard. “Shall I kill it?”

“ . . . ”

“Well, there’s time to discuss that later.”

“There is no time. May I kill it.”

“Please, I never meant to be such a nuisance. Please — really — don’t bother. Look! It’s gone to sleep of its own accord. I’m sure it’ll be all right now. Thanks ever so much.”

“May I kill it?”

“Honestly, I don’t think there’s the slightest necessity for that. I’m sure I shall be able to keep it in order now. I think the gradual process would be far better than killing it.”

The gradual process is of no use at all.

More excuses are given, but now we overhear the lizard whispering in his ear,

“Be careful,” it said. “He can do what he says. He can kill me. One fatal word from you and he will! Then you’ll be without me for ever and ever. It’s not natural. How could you live? You’d be only a sort of ghost, not a real man as you are now. He doesn’t understand. He’s only a cold, bloodless abstract thing. It may be natural for him, but it isn’t for us. Yes, yes. I know there are no real pleasures now, only dreams. But aren’t they better than nothing? And I’ll be so good. I admit I’ve sometimes gone too far in the past, but I promise I won’t do it again. I’ll give you nothing but really nice dreams — all sweet and fresh and almost innocent. You might say, quite innocent . . . ”

It is easy to fall into patterns of training our sin rather than killing it.

If your biggest reason to fight sin is that you don’t want to confess it again to an accountability group, you’re training your sin. If you only pray about the sin after you’ve “done it again,” you’re training your sin. If you do not seek Christ’s presence, if you do not commune with him in prayer and his word, if you do not invite believers into your life to stick daggers into your sin, you are training your sin to play dead without killing it.

Go and Sin No More

If you have a pet sin, you must renounce it at once. Your salvation depends on it.

Only those who have a string of sin’s carcasses behind them will enter into heaven. Only those who “work out [their] own salvation with fear and trembling” knowing that God is working in them “to will and to work for his good pleasure” will be saved (Philippians 2:12–13).

But what about being saved by faith alone? You’re not. You’re justifiedthrough faith alone. Final salvation comes through justification andsanctification — both initiated and sustained by God’s grace.

There is a holiness that, if you do not have it, will keep you from seeing the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

Do not be deceived. If you sow to the flesh, you will reap ruin (Galatians 6:8). The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Many will say on that day that they knew him, but he will cast them out into darkness because they were “workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21–23). Warnings are active for the Christian, and the Spirit uses them to keep us fearing God and turning from sin.

The Christian doesn’t train his dragons. We do not plan on sinning five times per week, then four, then three, until infrequent times of rebellion. After he pardons the sinner, Jesus does not say go and sin less; he says, go and sin no more. Be killing your pets, or your pets will end up killing you.

 

TD Fri. – Frumpy Friday/Opening Message – Look Inside!

A throwback “classic” audio podcast from our first Frumpy Friday 4 years ago. Have a listen!

Hi TD,

Prolific social critic, Os Guinness, author of A Free People’s Suicide, has insightfully called America a “cut-flower civilization,” a term he uses to describe a nation that has been cut from its roots and foundations.  While a bouquet of cut flowers may appear vibrant and exquisite for a season, it isn’t long before it deteriorates and becomes ugly.

As a nation persistent in keeping God out of education and out of the public, over and over we are alarmed at the results.  TD, let us respond to the growing cacophony of what’s evil and wrong in our nation by passionately resolving to highlight the One who is Good and Right-eous, and who can bring true life and salvation to rotting and broken souls.  That’s done one person at a time through one genuine, authentic Christian at a time.

Transformed societies come from transformed people, not from those playing at or pretending to be transformed.  TD, we can’t change the world (yet), but we can change our worlds, and that’s where it starts.

Please join us on Friday as I give the opening message of our new theme, Renew: Transforming Our Lives in Christ.  

This Friday, we need you to come … frumpy.  Yep, frumpy.   Please come in ugly, frumpy clothes.  Don’t do your hair, don’t gel it, no hairspray, don’t blow dry it, don’t shave, don’t put makeup, no bows, no hair clips, no jewelry.  Wear your glasses, not your contacts.  Wear flip flops or old shoes you’d normally only wear around the house when nobody’s around.  We’ll explain at TD!

See you there! – Arthur