Cross Talk

 

DENNIS’ BLOG

10.22.2017

People seem to be confused and angry about the seemingly random acts of violence that take place, not just in this country, but around the globe. As one person shakes their head in disgust, another nods in comprehension. The nod reflects an understanding that this world is under the influence of the evil one, but not without hope. The person who turns to Christ in sincere and authentic faith has been released from the bondage of the evil one. The heart breaker in all of this is that most (see Matthew 7:13-14) don’t know the difference between the influence of evil and the freedom that is in Christ. Instead they follow their own ideas or the ideas of false prophets. When life falls apart, they can’t even discern the reasons for the problems, and continue in the folly of their ways. As long as we live in a world that rejects the message of Christ en masse, we will experience pain and loss.

Those of us who follow Christ, should be those who nod in comprehension. Because of that we live lives that reflect a growing experience with the ethic and values of Christ. We understand the world in its evil, but we don’t have to compromise or join with them. (That is what the nation Israel consistently did).

As disciples of Jesus we have a role in the minimizing of the violence in our world. It stems from our own conduct as we interact with individuals in the places of life that we occupy. We have a unique perspective because of our status. This is described in Psalm 112:1-10. We are described as

righteous

by the Psalmist. Because we have been elevated to this status by the blood of Christ, we are uniquely qualified to be ambassadors of peace. We interact differently with people. We will have a positive point of view. We will have a ministry to the poor and our deeds will be remembered. Whatever injustice we perceive, in the end, all will be made right.

Don’t worry about things you cannot change. Give your heart fully to the things you can.

-Dennis

 



10.15.2017

Topical and Expository – You may have heard these words before when ministers talk about the type of lessons they give. Both types have value but both have a downside.

 

Topical lessons usually start with a biblical topic, like prayer. The teacher then compiles several passages or verses that deal with the topic and teaches them in a way that is practical and logical. A topical lesson may be titled, 4 Truths About Prayer and the truths are developed from four different verses. This is useful because the lesson teaches one big idea and breaks it down into four parts. The lesson stays on track and is easy to follow. The downside of topical lessons is a teacher may grab a verse that mentions prayer but is not really talking about prayer. The teacher is forcing an idea on the text that isn’t there. In other words, the teacher is reading ideas into the text that aren’t really there. This can be harmful to hearers because they accept the views of the teacher as authoritative, and may not fact-check the study. For this type of lesson to be successful, there must be quality scholarship on both sides of the podium.

 

Expository lessons are lessons that start with a passage of Scripture. The goal is to teach what is in the passage. The teacher and class discussion have the objective of drawing out the lesson that is there. The lesson that God intended to convey in the passage. Both the teacher and student must have an open mind to guard against resisting the teaching of the passage. Especially when it goes against a belief already held or seems to contradict another passage. The value of this type of teaching is that it’s always an opportunity to learn something new. Also, as already mentioned, it seeks to draw out the message that God intended us to hear. The downside is that this study will also create confusion because of preconceived beliefs. This happened Wednesday night in the Auditorium Class. The story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 is not a lesson about the two types of people. That is human logic but not the point of that story. The point was that Martha was distracted by the things she felt she needed to do. She needed to learn to do what Mary was doing. For this type of lesson to be successful, students and teachers need to open their hearts and minds to the Word of God and seek to draw out the message that is there.

 

At Lakeview there is a mix of both with an emphasis on Expository.  A good topical lesson is also expository.  Let me know if there are any topics or specific books of the Bible that are of special interest to you, or that you think would help us grow as a Church Family.

-Dennis

 



10.01.2017

When Jesus initially said, Follow Me, He meant it literally as an invitation for people to physically follow Him. Come and See, is a first step and is tracked by the invitation to follow Jesus. The first followers of Jesus followed Him everywhere. Their relationship with Jesus was framed by the extended periods of time they spent with Him. Their understanding of their role as disciples was formed by what they observed. They understood that their role was to do what Jesus was doing. After His ministry, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, they carried on the mission of Christ just as they had experienced. Taking the last words of Jesus, as their marching orders, they led people on the path they followed. Jesus’ last words. 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 (Matthew 28:19-20). This was what they practiced. Even Paul, who had a different encounter with Jesus, practiced this approach to the mission. In 2 Timothy 2:1-2, Paul wrote, “You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

 

This verse gives us insight into a character trait we should be looking for in seekers but it also teaches us that the Gospel is passed on through faithful ministry; teaching others what Jesus taught.

 

What they saw that we can’t see is how Jesus taught what He taught. This is where we have to be intentional in our approach and in our own study. We often teach the standard of Christ without conveying the compassion of Christ. Since we can’t observe how Jesus interacted with people, we have to look for that in the stories we read about Christ and His interactions with people. For example, Jesus was firm when He talked with the woman at the well (John 4). He was firm in what He said, but He respected her. The fact that He did not insult her because of her lifestyle shows several character traits that we can emulate. Those you have to discover for yourself.

 

Following Jesus today is no less demanding. It is a personal spiritual revolution, that requires us to shift our center and rework every aspect of our lives. We are called to engage in a cause. It is a cause worthy of your time and effort.

 

-Dennis

 



09.24.2017

VETERANS OF THE FAITH

 

Dennis’ lesson was on the

large cloud of witnesses found in Hebrews 11 & 12.  He called them, Veterans of the Faith

.  At the end of services, Robert told us that Esme’s sister in Mexico had recently been diagnosed with a grave illness.  Her husband had just died, and she has two small children.  They were asking for our prayers for God’s intervention on their behalf.  Immediately, I noticed one of our Christian widows opening her purse to find some money.  So I wrote a check.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw another Christian widow opening her purse too.  At the conclusion of our worship service, these two white-haired widows walked straight to Esme with their gifts.  Others brought gifts, too.  Afterwards, I thanked one of them for her godly example.  She said, “It is the end of the month (before her next pension check).  I wish that I could have given more.”

 

I remembered the story of Jesus watching a poor widow dropping two coins into the temple treasury (Lk 21:1-4).  He said,

“This poor widow has put in more than all of them.  For all these people have put in gifts out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.” 

 

In Hebrews 13:5-7, the writer spoke about loving money and being satisfied with what we have.  He quoted Psalms 118:6:

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?” and then said, “Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you.  As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith.”

 

Thank you, dear sisters, for being Veterans of the Faith and demonstrating the outcome of your lives by your generous actions.  I want to imitate your faith.

DLM (8/28/2017)

 



08.20.2017

In a few weeks, Esther Bryson, the representative for Great Nations Investment Company (You will meet her this morning) will help us kick off a bond issue to borrow the funding needed to build our new ministry facility.

A Bond is an investment product. The word Issue is a banking term that means making available. Churches often Issue Bonds as a way to finance expansion and new construction. It is a reliable method for obtaining long-term financing where the church’s interest rate and mortgage payment do not change.

The Lakeview Congregation is asking individuals to purchase a bond. The amount of the purchase then goes to Lakeview as a loan, which the congregation agrees to pay back over an established period of time, with an established rate of interest. When you purchase a bond, you are making an investment that will increase over the established period of time. It is an investment into the Lakeview church of Christ and in your personal finances. When the period of time is completed, you will receive your initial investment back, with interest. The amount of interest is between two and six percent. When you purchase a bond, the agent and you will determine the best interest and time frame for your goals (Esther and her team will assist you with this).

Bonds may be purchased by Lakeview members and non-members. Those purchased by Lakeview members are loaned to Lakeview at a reduced fee. So, the more bonds purchased by Lakeview members the greater benefit to the congregation.

After the congregation borrows the money that is raised from the Bond Issue, it will begin the long-term process of paying back the loan. We will have a mortgage payment. This amount, $1087.00 per week, will become a part of our regular budget. This means that all of us will need to consider how we can help ensure that the Congregation will be able to meet its financial obligation. This has been a very challenging step for the elders to take. However, the new addition will give us new opportunities to minister to our community. This increased opportunity does mean increased responsibility. As members of the Lakeview Family, we all share this responsibility. Please ask if you have any questions. Prayerfully consider how you will help Lakeview take this crucial step towards our future.

 



08.13.2017

The signing of contracts with the construction companies mark the beginning of the end of a very long process. Perhaps this is the timing that will work best for Lakeview in the long run. I have been here for 22 years and for 18 of those, we have dreamed and talked about this building. It is now upon us and there is one more piece to put in place. That is the Bond Purchasing project that will begin in September. This is something we all could have a role in, if we chose. Bonds are long-term investment products that will enable the Congregation to borrow money from those who purchase the bonds. That is, you and me and people we know; members of Lakeview and our extended Church Family.

In order to effectively do this, Lakeview needs to create a team of people who will help Esther Lou and her team from Great Nation Investment Corporation to facilitate the Bond Purchasing Project. There are 4 task forces that we need to assemble. I need to start by asking four individuals to lead each one of the task forces. This is my request to you:

      1.APPOINTMENTS TASK FORCE- Schedules appointments with members to arrange purchase of bonds.

  1. HOSPITALITY TASK FORCE- Provides food/snacks for Great Nation representatives.
  2. PUBLICITY TASK FORCE- Creatively gets the word out to Lakeview and the extended Lakeview family about our bond issue.
  3. SPECIAL PURCHASE TASK FORCE- Arranges meetings and presentations for special purchase. (Special purchase refers to those who might be able to make a larger purchase of the Bonds)

 

It is urgent that we begin work on these task forces. If you have any of the above skills that will help us get this word out to the Lakeview family, please talk to me (Dennis) today! I have more detailed information regarding the work of these task forces. It is hard to believe we have come to this point. The new building will open up many new possibilities and help Lakeview do the work of the Kingdom more effectively. Please pray about your role in this very positive step we are taking for Lakeview’s future.  -Dennis

 



07.30.2017

30-Day Challenge

 

The month of August marks our next 30-Day Challenge. These challenges are important because they have the ability to help us build good habits of Bible reading. This next challenge covers the section beginning with the book of Ezra and ending with the Song of Solomon. Some may think that summer is too busy to take on a Bible reading challenge, but this is the best time, because the habits of genuine faith should occur during times of busyness and times of calm.

 

Yes, it’s going to be a busy season, but how much more refreshing and uplifting shall we feel when at the beginning of our day, we can find the Psalmist inspiring us to stay fresh, or in the middle of our pursuits, Nehemiah’s attitude instructs us to not give in to distractions and distractors but stay focused. Or yet still, at the end of the day, we come home weary but still take note that our Promise Keeper who has never failed a promise leaves wise King Solomon to admonish “Fear God and keep his commandment,” of which Nehemiah said “one who does them shall live by them!” hmm, that’s exciting! Gives me the shivers!

 

The challenge begins on August 1st and continues through August 31st. It will include reading between 9/10 chapters a day for 31 days. It’s daunting and challenging to stay faithful to the task, but I believe we can do it and be successful. Please join Brother Dennis and I as we undertake this challenge. There are audio resources and other study aides available to help with this quest. Please let Dennis or I know if you have any questions. As you read, in addition to any new insights you glean, keep track of the references to Jesus and His messianic mission. We will get together for a fellowship in September to share a meal and discuss what we have learned.

 

Thanks, Christopher…

 



07.16.2017

Join Ironmen for a Hiking trip to Denny Creek  Saturday, July 22

This is a popular trail, thanks to its gentle, family friendly grade with amazing destinations. Some of the features of this hike include a natural water slide area, Keekwulee Falls, and Snowshoe Falls.  This is a kid friendly hike so we are inviting all the men and boys that are able to come.  Below are some details to note:

The date of the hike is Saturday, July 22.

 

We will meet at the Main Building at 8:00 AM for donuts, coffee and vehicle coordination.

 

We will leave for the trip at 9:00 AM. It is an hour and a half drive to the trail head.

 

Bring a sack lunch to eat for when we get the top of the trail. (Don’t forget water).  After lunch, we will stop at the natural waterslide for fun break before heading home.  For questions and special situations, please talk to Jonathan Karkosky.

 

Hey Lakeview Family!!

You are invited to attend the First Annual Lakeview All-Church BBQ.  It will be hosted in the home of Gary and Katie Calkins.  You don’t need to bring anything except a heart for fellowship and a hankering for some BBQ.  The hope for deeper fellowship inspired a few folks to create this event for the Lakeview Family to spend some quality time together.  

 

Don’t miss out!!

Date of the Event:  August 5th , 2017

Times:  11:00 AM to ????

-Dennis

 



06.25.2017

So many good things coming up for the Lakeview Family to get involved in.  Senior Teen Session at Delano began yesterday, with several camp sessions to follow.  One event that I would like to underline today is the Spiritual Growth Conference for Churches in the Northwest.  Most have heard of Faithbuilders Northwest.  It is sponsored by several different churches, including Lakeview.  It’s intended to be a meeting place and a time for instruction for churches in the Northwest. 

There will be congregations there from Washington, Oregon and Idaho, and perhaps a few other places.  It is a retreat and a time to get a shot in the arm, the way that camp does for the young people.  Get a schedule and plan to take advantage of the program.  The dates are July 6-9th at the Eastvold Auditorium at PLU. One speaker I would like to highlight is Wissam Al-Aethawi.  His bio is below. 

 

I am Wissam, 37, an associate minister at Sunset church of Christ and a gospel preacher in Metro Detroit, MI. I was born and raised to a Sunni Muslim family in Baghdad, Iraq. I rejected Islam into atheism in the mid-1990’s, found a copy of the Bible in ’97, believed in ’98 and it took me another 12 years before I could find someone to baptize me in May 2010.

A graduate of the University of Baghdad, I worked as a civil engineer for 8 years after finishing my service as a Republican Guard. Then a Christian woman in the Amish country of Pennsylvania invited me to come to the U.S. I came in April 2011. Nine months later, I went to Sunset International Bible Institute in Lubbock, TX. I finished school and moved to Michigan by early 2014. I like reading, writing, and doing Bible studies. I teach in our church, at my house and other places on a regular basis. I dream of starting an Arab-speaking congregation of the Lord’s church in Dearborn.

Wissam will be speaking at Lakeview on Sunday, July 9th during the morning assembly.

-Dennis

 

 



06.18.2017

The term 
Image Bearer 
resonates with me as an accurate description of the ultimate purpose for men and women.  Both genders were created in the image of God.  Both reflect a unique expression of who God is.  Eric Mason, in his book Manhood Restored writes, “As an image bearer, (humanity) was to reflect God’s heavenly reign on earth.”  In representing God, humanity was to glorify the God who created (them).

Prior to the arrival of the woman, Adam was given work to do, as an expression of God’s image in Him.  Genesis 2:15 states, “The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it.”  This work gave a man his purpose.  To exercise care and stewardship over the things that God has created.  These two words, care and stewardship, are words that define how men are to exercise dominion.  For some men, dominion means ruling with an iron fist, wrongfully assuming that he is the king over his dominion.  These are men who abuse their role, who abuse their wives and children, who distort the intent of God for the relationship of a man and the things he has dominion over.

A man should work for the good of, and care for the things in his sphere of influence.  This is a challenge because it takes more than the abilities of a man to be successful.  What is often missing with the man who abuses his role, is a relationship with God.  Even if his life includes some of the things of God, if it does not intersect with God, then how he fulfills his responsibility is going to be twisted.

If a father relates to his children only based on the chores they are supposed to do, that child would grow up with a warped sense of love accomplishment and self-worth.

This chart illustrates that a man cannot maintain integrity in their faith just by doing some things.  When a man’s life intersects with the life of God, he becomes able to faithfully represent God in the things that he does.  In the Sermon tonight, as we consider the things that make a godly father, the things that make a godly man, our goal will be to reach toward maturity as Image Bearers.

-Dennis