Cross Talk

 

DENNIS’ BLOG

04.01.2018

1 Peter 1:3-6 – “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”  You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

 

This passage is so encouraging and insightful.  It reminds us that this life is going somewhere.  It teaches us that what awaits us is “more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire”.  The people and the things that we love in this life are significant, but not by comparison.  The Resurrection of Christ is what gives us this living hope.  It is a living hope because it fills us with animation and vitality.  It is a gift that is ours by because of God’s mercy.  While we live this life, we are protected.

 

So many things are uncertain today.  Even this morning, our joy is threatened by struggle and doubt, but do not fear.  Confusion is conquered by truth and hate is conquered by love.

 

-Dennis

 



03.25.2018

A profound piece of evidence for the Christian faith is found
in this fact: The Old Testament announced that the Messiah
is coming. The New Testament states that the Messiah has
come. This is a powerful truth. Below is a way to outline
Isaiah 53 that brings out the significance of what Jesus did:
1. Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm
of the Lord been revealed?
2. He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root
out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us
to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire
Him.
3. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of
suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people
hide their faces He was despised, and we held Him in low
esteem.
4. Surely, He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we
considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and
afflicted.
5. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was
crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us
peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.
6. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has
turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the
iniquity of us all.
7. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His
mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a
sheep before its shearers is silent, so He did not open His
mouth.
8. By oppression and judgment He was taken away. Yet
who of His generation protested? For He was cut off from
the land of the living; for the transgression of My people He
was punished.
9. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the
rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was
any deceit in His mouth.
10. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to
suffer, and though the Lord makes His life an offering for
sin, He will see His offspring and prolong His days and the
will of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
11. After He has suffered, He will see the light of life and be
satisfied; by His knowledge my righteous servant will justify
many, and He will bear their iniquities.
12. Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great, and
He will divide the spoils with the strong, because He poured
out His life unto death, and was numbered with the
transgressors. For He bore the sin of many and made
intercession for the transgressors (Isaiah 53 NIV).
-Dennis Baker



03.11.2018

And remember, I am with you always…
These words of Jesus inspire us to take up the mission of
the Body of Christ. What words of comfort and strength.
What an amazing reality. What a confidence booster for us
when we feel like we are not up to the challenge. As we
move toward bringing our Life Groups on line, what we have
to remember is; we don’t walk this path alone (see John
14:15-18.) I want us to think deeply of the implications of
this statement.
As we meet in small groups, we get a unique opportunity for
the Holy Spirit to be active in a personal way. As we walk
with the Spirit, things happen that we do not expect. That’s
the experience of the first Christians we read about in the
book of Acts. People met and interacted and the Spirit was
creating an atmosphere that was characterized by love,
gentleness, kindness, humility and other character traits that
are the result of the Spirit living in believers. As we meet,
the Holy Spirit is present and prompting and guiding. What I
say and what I do is what the Spirit would say and do.
When I enter the room, the Spirit is there.
Small groups are a place of discovery. As we are led by the
Spirit and follow the Spirit, what we discover is the truth of
the Spirit. This is what we need for daily life. The
application of truth gives the Spirit more control over our
lives and more freedom to move among us.
Small groups can become a place of division, if we interact
in such a way that quenches the Spirit or grieves the Holy
Spirit. Paul mentions in Galatians 5 that things like conceit,
provoking, and envying are not of the Spirit. Simply put, if
we are argumentative or arrogant as we interact, the Spirit
will have no room to work. If we are negative and
insensitive to the situations and feelings of others, we will
create strife.
I am with you, means, I am there among you; Emmanuel;
God with us. God the Father wants to do something
profound, powerful, and important through the Spirit as we
meet in small groups to talk about life. When people are
loved, accepted, comforted, served and prayed for,
transformation takes place. We see the love of God take
root, develop and grow in all of us. We are able to maintain
the unity of the Spirt through the bond of peace. May we
have this vision as we learn how to have effective Life
Groups.
Life Groups Change Life



01.21.2018

2018 marks some significant changes for Lakeview.  Our new ministry wing will be completed and we are moving toward becoming a Small Group Church.  Two habits that will help us connect with these changes are being available and missional prayer.  Being available means I seek to make my calendar available to God, to be used by Him.  Missional prayer means my prayers are directed to God and the work He wants to do in me and around me.

 

A couple of specific opportunities to grow or serve include:

Joining a Men’s Focus Group – these are small group studies where men study and discuss spiritual truths that speak to the things men deal with.  There’s one that currently meets at the Canyon and 176th Starbucks at 6:00 am, every other Thursday.  Our next focus group is February 1st.  Talk to Jonathan Karkosky if you would like to participate in a focus group at a different time and location.

 

Ladies Prayer Group – Every second Saturday at 10:00 am, several ladies meet at the Church building in Room 2 to pray about personal, family, social and spiritual matters that concern all of us.

 

We need someone to maintain the Reader Board on our sign.  Talk to Jim or Dennis if you’d like to serve in this task of a communication ministry.

 

Helping feed homeless people in our neighborhood.  You may have noticed  there are many more homeless people in Parkland and Spanaway.  Giving warm food and a kind word can help.  Talk to Dennis if you can help with this or need more information.

 



01.14.2018

“But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men.  The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had murdered by hanging Him on a tree.  God exalted this man to His right hand as ruler and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.  We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”  Acts 5:29-32

 

As Peter is explaining why they are doing what they are doing, after they have been told not to, he teaches us three important facts that should motivate every believer when they feel doubt or attack.  The First Fact is, God Raise Jesus from the dead.  In doing this he gave us an option that confirms the value of life and God’s power to direct it.  The Second Fact is, Jesus was raised to be King and Savior.  He has established His right to rule and those who follow Him are victorious.  The Third Fact is, Jesus offers the final solution to the human problem.  The guilt and baggage we carry is the result of sin.  As subjects of the King, we have forgiveness and can offer forgiveness. 

 

This freedom from fear, oppression and guilt pushes us to live in a way that brings our King honor and motivates us to share this freedom with others.  Peter explains that they are obligated to teach to truth of Jesus.  Even after being warned not to, because of the compelling way God honored their obedience, they had no choice.  May we capture that boldness and sense of purpose.  We are on the winning team.  Run to win the prize.

-Dennis

 



11.05.2017

Spiritual growth of believers is the goal of the New Testament Church. The church as a whole should be fulfilling the Great Commission of making disciples by baptizing and teaching. That means that individual activity should contribute to the goal. If we are Christians, we are already saved. What follows is the process that enfolds in the life of the growing disciple. As we grow as individuals, we should keep these four truths in mind:

 

Growth is possible.

Every believer has an opportunity and potential to experience spiritual growth. God wants to mature all believers. No one is left out of that plan. If someone is not growing spiritually, there is a reason.

 

People are responsible for their spiritual growth.

Individuals may accomplish different functions of leadership and teaching in the Body of Christ, but ultimately the believer holds the responsibility of their own growth. The responsibility of the leadership and teachers is to create an atmosphere where growth can occur.

 

Growth occurs best in community.

Many have expressed that significant spiritual growth happened in the context where people are engaged in committed, healthy and intentional relationships with other believers wanting to mature. Iron does sharpen iron. Disciples make disciples. If you want to grow spiritually, consider who should be on your team or group committed to making disciples.

 

Having a personal desire for spiritual growth is the key.

When a person gets excited about his or her personal walk with Christ, they will want to get to know Christ better. The more they know Christ the more they will want to be like Him. Jesus said the person who hungers and thirsts for righteousness will be filled. Be ready to share your story to inspire others.

 

While these principles reflect biblical truth, they are not a magic formula, but simply a guide that sets out a strategy to follow. If we aim high, we will certainly be close to this goal which for many is far off, but definitely preferable.

 

-Dennis

 



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)