Pastor John gives a short message today wrapping up our first series on church membership, Our Family. Today's service served as a milestone for all three of the pastors, in that they all had their spiritual fathers and several other pastors in Dallas come and pray for them, ordaining them for ministry. John explains what ordination is, gives some examples found in the scriptures of seeking God's blessing, and communicates the heart behind gathering spiritual fathers to pray over and send out their spiritual sons to be ministers of the Gospel. Some of those examples can be found in 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6-7 as well as 1 Chronicles 29:10-13 and 2 Chronicles 6:40-42.
Pastor Joshua Sorrows talks about the biblical roles, requirements and expectations of elders. He draws primarily from Titus 1:5-9 to define and expound on the calling of elders within the church. In the Bible, elders are synonymous with pastors, rulers, and overseers called by the Holy Spirit to govern, teach, unify, and care for the local church. At Normandy, we support a plurality of elders to govern the church, all equal in authority, and tested over a period of time to determine their faithfulness and obedience to the call of God on their lives to lead. Joshua emphasizes that before elders are given any measure of authority to lead, they must, like all Christians, first go downward in submission and humility towards God and others in order to grow up into greater spiritual maturity. A leader's heart must be first and foremost submitted to God. Other passages that speak to the role of elders within the church are 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and 1 Peter 5:1-3. Additionally, Joshua uses 1 Samuel 16: 1-7 as a reminder that God is not looking for leaders with an impressive resume to lead His church, but "looks at the heart."
This message on the spiritual gifts is aimed at bringing clarity to some of our theological distinctives. This teaching was given in a home with a gathering of several Community Groups. Just like the sovereignty of God, the spiritual gifts is a topic that has been studied and discussed at great lengths, especially in recent history. John draws from three specific passages throughout this teaching. Romans 12:3-8 lists the gifts of God the Father. Ephesians 4:7-8 lists the gifts of Christ. And 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 lists the gifts of the Spirit. God has graciously and sovereignly distributed gifts throughout His church so that we can edify and build one another up in our faith, further bringing glory and praise to Him.
This is the third message in our series on church membership, Our Family. Pastor John shares on a topic that has been studied, debated, and discussed throughout church history, the sovereignty of God. This in part means discussing the extent of God's rule, power, and control over all things, including our lives. John draws from one of his favorite verses to begin the sermon today, 1 Chronicles 29:11-12. "Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything. Riches and honor come from you alone, and you are the Ruler of all mankind; your hand controls power and might and it is at your discretion that men are made great and given strength." He goes on to share his own story of discovering the sovereignty of God in relation to his own life, and throughout the process discovering the Lord's consistent faithfulness to us in a deeper way than ever before. When we entrust ourselves to the sovereignty of God, we are set free from anxiety and striving, finding rest in His unceasing goodness and love towards us. Truly, He is God, and there is none like Him.
This is the second part of our first series on church membership titled Our Family. The second message of our series is on covenant membership. What is a covenant and why does a covenant make sense for the church today? And what does a covenant have to do with church membership? We most clearly see that God is a covenant make and a covenant keeper through His Son, Jesus Christ. Covenants were established by God as a means of displaying His unwavering commitment to His people in spite of their wavering commitment to Him. The covenant is the means through which every promise of God for His people is made possible every day. Lamentations 3:22-24 says, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.” In the same way that the Lord is covenantally committed to us, we are to imitate, demonstrate, and display that sort of commitment to one another to show the world and one another the love and unchanging character of God.
This week we begin a six part series on church membership titled Our Family. The first message of our series is on The Church. What is the church? What is the purpose of the church? What is the historical evidence for church membership? And what was the process for Normandy becoming a church? All of these questions are important to answer as move torward becoming a church family. May the Lord unify and strengthen us so "that He might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish."