Saturday, June 29, 2019

“You Cannot Do It Alone!” Why Every Church Needs Multiple Shepherds

“You Cannot Do It Alone!” 
Why Every Church Needs Multiple Shepherds: 

Exodus 18:13-27; 1 Peter 5:1-4 








“Now these things happened as examples for us. They were written down for our instruction.”

(1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrew 13:7; Romans 15:4) 



Ex. 18:13-27- what was true back then, is true now. This narrative illustrates two important lessons


1)


2)


Sermon Outline of 1 Peter 5:1-4 


I) The _______________________ Shepherding Mandate.

(1 Peter 5:1-3) 

II) The Eternally Glorious ____________________.


(1 Peter 5:4) 


As a humble, battle-tested leader the Apostle Peter empathizes with the lesser known church elders from Asia Minor (1 Peter 1:1-2) which is now Turkey.



The Three-fold Basis of Peter’s Shepherding Mandate 
We have:

A) A ______________________ Calling

(1 Peter 5:1a) 


B) A ________________________ Witness

(1 Peter 5:1b) 


C) A _______________________ Reward


(1 Peter 5:1; 1:6-7) 

Friday, May 24, 2019

What's Next at Lake Country Bible Church?

Over the past two years it has been my joy and privilege to feed the people of God that make up Lake Country Bible Church. I am truly blessed to minister to such a humble (Isaiah 66:2) and hungry congregation (1 Peter 2:2-3). We believe that, by God’s design, the expository pulpit is the rudder of the church and we covet your faithful prayer partnership!

Here is a summary of where we have been and what we believe is on the preaching horizon:

After 18 years of faithful ministry our founding pastor, Pastor Sal Massa, retired in May of 2017. Pastor Sal had begun a verse-by-verse study of Revelation but was unable to complete this great prophecy before he retired. In order to enhance shepherding/preaching continuity between my predecessor and I, and in effort to not leave the sheep hanging (the end of the story is the very best part), I committed to finishing this expository study.

Sunday morning (5/19/19) marks the end of a long and rewarding journey. My prayer is that we will not forget the many lessons that the Holy Spirit has taught us along the way. By Divine design, the prophesied future is intended to impact the here and now. The Christian life does not make sense without this future hope. God calls His saints to live each day in the light of Christ’s imminent return. That is the heart and soul of biblical “eschatology;” (studies related to the end times).

As we transition into our summer schedule, we are going to begin a new sermon series. I have attached a tentative schedule of what will be covered over the next few months. This new series will highlight what King Jesus expects from those who shepherd and lead His flock. It will also address the primacy of the local church, the need for meaningful membership, and what the Lord expects from “the people of his pasture” in terms of their relationship with local church pastors and elders. The current plan is to begin a new book study after the busy summer season end.

In addition to what has been taught during our worship service a number of men have been teaching the Psalms on Wednesday night. Before his retirement Pastor Ray worked through the Minor and Major Prophets.

Our Women Teaching Women ministry has enjoyed two studies through the book of James and Habakkuk. The College and Career group has worked their way through 1 Peter and the book of Acts. In addition to these offerings, during the Sunday School hour we have recently worked through Galatians, the Spiritual Disciplines, and an Old and New Testament study on biblical manhood and womanhood.

As a reminder we do not offer Sunday School during the summer months and our worship service begins at 9:30 AM. Our summer schedule begins May 26th and ends September 1st.

Together for the gospel,

Pastor Caleb Kolstad


Forthcoming Sermon Series 
Summer 2019 at Lake Country Bible Church

How Jesus Governs the Universe; Rom. 13; Eph. 6; Heb. 13:17

How Jesus Runs His Church- Selected Scriptures. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Why These 66 Books and No More? How We Received the Bible

Have you ever looked at your Bible and wondered, “How do we know that these 66 books, and no others, comprise the inspired Word of God?”

That is a critically important question, since there are many today who would deny that these 66 books truly make up the complete canon of Scripture.

The Roman Catholic Church, for example, claims that the Apocryphal books which were written during the inter-testamental period (between the Old and New Testaments) ought to be included in the Bible. Cult groups like the Mormons want to add their own books to the Bible—like the Book of Mormon, The Doctrines and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. And then there are popular books and movies, like The Da Vinci Code, that claim centuries after these books were written Christians (like Constantine) determined what was in the Bible.

So, how do we know that “all Scripture” consists of these 66 books? How do we know that the Bible we hold in our hands is the complete Word of God?

There are a number of ways we could answer such questions; in fact, we could spend weeks studying the doctrine of canonicity, carefully walking through the relevant biblical and historical details. And there are many helpful books that can guide you through that wealth of information.

But in this article, I would like to offer a simple answer that I hope will be helpful – because it gets to the heart of the matter.

It is this: We believe in the 39 books of the Old Testament, because the Lord Jesus Christ affirmed the Old Testament. And we believe in the 27 books of the New Testament, because the Lord Jesus Christ authorized His apostles to write the New Testament.

The doctrine of canonicity is grounded in the lordship of Jesus Christ. If we believe in Him and submit to His authority, then we will simultaneously believe in and submit to His Word. Because Jesus affirmed the Old Testament canon, we affirm it with Him. Because He authorized His apostles to write the New Testament, we also embrace it.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Prepared to Stand Alone- The Faithful Example of J.C. Ryle

"John Charles Ryle was born of well-to-do parents at Macclesfield on 10 May 1816. After a period of private schooling, he entered Eton in February 1828, where he excelled at rowing and cricket. Going up to Christ Church, Oxford in October 1834, he continued his sporting prowess, and captained the First Eleven in his second and third years, achieving a personal 10-wicket bowling triumph in the 1836 Varsity match at Lords (which Oxford won by 121 runs).

Various circumstances and incidents in his own and others’ lives had awakened Ryle to the knowledge that all was not well with his soul, but matters came to a head not long before he took his Finals in 1837. He was struck down with a serious chest infection, and for the first time in fourteen years he turned to his Bible and prayer. Then one Sunday, arriving late to church he was in time to hear the reading of Ephesians chapter two. As he listened, he felt that the Lord was speaking directly to his soul. His eyes were opened when he heard verse 8, ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.’ He was converted through hearing the Word of God, without comment or sermon.

Ryle took a first in Classics, but turned down the college fellowship which was offered. His intention was a career in politics, and he went to London to study law, thinking this would be a help to him. However, he had to give this up after six months due to a recurrence of his chest problems, caused by the London smog. When his father’s bank crashed in 1841, Ryle had to give up all hope of a political career, as he now had no money behind him.

With his Oxford degree, Ryle could enter the ministry of the Church of England, and it was to this he turned, being ordained by Charles Sumner, Bishop of Winchester on 21st December 1841. Long afterwards Ryle wrote, ‘I have not the least doubt, it was all for the best. If I had not been ruined, I should never have been a clergyman, never have preached a sermon, or written a tract or book.’

Friday, May 17, 2019

8 Marks of Authentic Worship

How shall we formulate a biblical definition of worship for our time?

A bewildering array of definitions has already been proposed in the ever-expanding literature on the topic. Neither the First [the Old] nor the New Testament tried to capture the concept with a single word. We may characterize constituent parts of worship as mystery, celebration, life, dialogue, offering, or eschatological fulfillment, but to define biblical worship is to confine it.

At best we may try to describe the phenomena.

Pagan worship focuses on corporate and individual cultic efforts seeking to mollify the gods and secure their blessing. Today many Christians’ understanding of worship differs little from that of pagans, except perhaps that God is singular and the forms of worship come from traditions more or less rooted in the Scriptures. Largely divorced from life, such worship represents a pattern of religious activities driven by a deep-seated sense of obligation to God and a concern to win His favor. But this understanding is unbiblical; it separates worship from daily life and compartmentalizes human existence into the sacred and the secular.

To account for the dimensions of worship reflected in the Scriptures, we need a much more comprehensive explanation. In simplest terms, worship is ‘the human response to God.’ However, to reflect the complexity of the biblical picture, I propose the following:

True worship involves reverential human acts of submission and homage before the divine Sovereign in response to His gracious revelation of Himself and in accord with His will.

This is not so much a definition of worship as a description of the phenomena. Let me lay the groundwork with some brief commentary.

FIRST, THE SCRIPTURES CALL FOR WORSHIP THAT IS TRUE AS OPPOSED TO FALSE.

Everyone worships. The problem is that not everyone worships truly.

Those who direct their worship to gods other than the God revealed in Scripture or who worship the living God in ways contrary to His revealed will worship falsely. Whether we interpret obedience ‘before YHWH’ in everyday conduct cultically or ethically (Deut. 6:25), to walk before Him in truth and faithfulness with our whole heart, mind, and being (1 Kings 2:4) demands integrity: consistency between confession and practice and consistency between what God seeks and what we present.

SECOND, TRUE WORSHIP INVOLVES REVERENT AWE.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

What I Value Most in Preaching

"A sermon is very much a jar of clay; even the best are far from perfect. Even though they bear the flaws of the preacher, God is still pleased to graciously work through humble servants and their earthly efforts (1 Cor. 1:21; Col. 1:28; 2 Tim. 4:1-5).

The more I preach, the more I witness confirmation that the Spirit must supernaturally illuminate the Word of God in the hearts of people in spite of my feeble attempt to explain and apply it. I don’t think there’s a formula or process that can guarantee this, other than actually preaching from the Scriptures.

I’ve recently been asked what I value in a sermon. The more I thought about it, I figured I should put these values down on paper if only for the purposes of accountability. So, upon reflection, here are 6 values I hope are reflected in my preaching.  It is my goal that my sermons would be:

1) Expositional– An expositional sermon is one in which the main idea of a text of Scripture is the primary point of the sermon, and ideally the sermon would show the congregation how (here’s a nice summary by Mike Bullmore on expositional preaching). This is where all the original language, grammar, history, genre awareness, and literary analysis pay off in studying a passage.

2) Informed by Biblical Theology– The sermon’s content and main idea should be nuanced in light of the whole of the Scriptures. It’s easy to become so focused on the passage in question that the forest of Scripture is lost. In this I want to be aware of NT/OT connections, as well as the way certain themes are developed in the whole of the canon.

3) Saturated with Pastoral Exhortations– Local Church pastors are commended to "reprove, rebuke, and exhort" the flock with "great patience and careful instruction" (2 Tim. 4:1-5).  One will benefit from listening to the likes of John MacArthur.  Just realize that as a local church pastor he is preaching a specific message to his congregation.  A sermon should be infused with examples of how the passage should be believed, applied, and/or obeyed. Shepherds are called to pastor the flock through the pulpit ministry of the church.  As a sheep you want to come to worship with this expectation.  You should expect your toes will be stepped on and should be grateful for such correction (see Proverbs 9:8).

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Is “Missions” Undermining the Great Commission?

"The final marching orders of Jesus to his church in Matthew 28:18–20 and Acts 1:8 are where we derive the term “Great Commission” from. Here is that specific task, given to Christ’s church, with the expectation of fulfillment:

“All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:18–20)

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

For our times, though, the clarity of that task seems to have been replaced by a degree of fuzziness, usually encapsulated in the word “missions.” Missions has become a catch-all that can mean whatever we want it to mean. Missional churches, missional communities, missional living, people on mission, my neighborhood is my mission field, short-term missions, long-term missions; the list is never ending as to what qualifies as mission or missions. What once was commonly understood to mean taking the gospel to the unreached people groups, while having to cross significant obstacles (new languages and cultures, severe climates and countries, governments hostile to Christianity, etc.), has now been swept up into the kaleidoscope of “missions.”

An Eye-Opening Comment