Five Points Blog

The Unseen Love of Christ


It takes the power of God to know the unknowable. In Ephesians 3:18-19, Paul prays that we would “have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” Only by the Holy Spirit illuminating Holy Scripture will we see the unseen. To know the love all humans yearn for is itself a gift from God.

Its cost is high above our reckoning. Paul writes to the Romans, “One will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8).

Its benefits are beyond counting. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God” (1 John 3:1). He and the Son were of one heart in this matter. 

Its bounty is beyond calculating. “All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Corinthians 3:21–23).

Its freedom puts it beyond question. Jesus didn’t have to love us. No cosmic force in the universe pressed him into dying on the cross. He embraced the suffering willingly. “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:17-18).


Join us Sunday as we press in to seek to grasp the love of God in Christ during Bible Study Hour at 9:30am and our morning worship service at 10:45am.


Theological Famine Relief


The Famine

This past summer I had the opportunity to travel to Cameroon again to teach at a seminary. I walked away with an increased burden to see pastors better equipped to faithfully teach and preach the Word. That’s the main reason I feel compelled to have an ongoing partnership with friends in Cameroon and why we have started a new fund at Five Points called “Theological Famine Relief.”

The name (unashamedly) comes from the International Outreach branch of The Gospel Coalition (TGC). They have identified that 85% of the world’s estimated 2.2 million evangelical churches are led by pastors with little or no training. This constitutes a famine. Consider by comparison, the staff pastors here at Five Points have a combined total of six theological degrees from institutions of higher education.

Coming back from Cameroon, I felt burdened to see that we use what we have to pursue the joy of our brothers and sisters in the severely under-resourced Global South. That certainly could be done by partnering with TGC’s existing work, but we are particularly looking at doing something that neither TGC nor any other ministry I’ve found is doing.

The Relief 

What we will be particularly focused on doing is working to provide not just individual resources to pastors in the Global South but an entire library. Using Amazon.com’s Kindle and Whispersync technology, a library’s worth of resources can be loaded onto a Kindle and remotely managed, allowing for additional resources to automatically be distributed as they become available.

However, we want to make this technology available in a culturally appropriate way that serves the long-term, on-the-ground work of missionaries and nationals. We will be looking to distribute these electronic resources in coordination with trusted and vetted ministry partners.

Partner With Us

You can partner with this global cause in a few ways. Most importantly, you can pray that God might be pleased to graciously blow on this spark-of-an-effort to equip the church and advance the gospel. You can pray that funds, distribution partners, publishers, and other logistics would all be provided that this effort would have an exponential impact.

You can also engage in this effort with us by connecting us with potential distribution partners in the Global South. Do you know missionaries, professors, pastors, or community development workers who know their context well and share our vision and values? If so, please get them in touch with me.

Last, you can give. It is looking like each fully-loaded Kindle will cost around $150. Tax-deductible contributions can be made online here (after logging in, select “Missions – General” in the first menu and “Theological Famine Relief” in the second menu). Or you can make a contribution in cash or check to Five Points. 

I am eager to see what the Lord will do through this new endeavor, and, if he wills, how it will expand to make a significant impact in bringing relief to the theological famine that exists.


Missions Team Update


I'm often asked about the life of missions here, especially mission conferences.  "Do we have them any more?" "When is our opportunity to meet our missionaries?"  I'm happy to report that the answer is yes and no!  Under the guidance of the elders, we have have endeavored to bring missions before our congregation throughout the year, not just at a week long conference. Last year alone we were able to have 10 missionaries visiting us at different times!  It is our prayer that our congregation would have ample opportunities to interact with our missionaries, yet realizing it is also beneficial to have  concentrated times of missions awareness for what God is accomplishing in our world.  We are looking to provide those opportunities as well different areas of possible outreach to our community.  We appreciate your prayers as we strive to move forward,  ever advancing his name where it is not known.  
 
Coming in November, we will have a special time of mission emphasis with the McKenney and R families. Look for details on the website and in our worship folder. 
 
For the sake of His name,
    Debby Schmitt on behalf of the Missions Team

The Spirit Gives Power


The Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesians (which reveals how Christ prays for us), “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:16).

What power comes to our inner being through the Spirit of God himself? You can’t miss this grand theme in Scripture.

The prophet Micah spoke in the Spirit’s power, “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin” (Micah 3:8).

Jesus ministered in the power the Spirit gives, “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country” (Luke 4:14).

And he told us that we would have the same spiritual power, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

We all have been given a Spirit of power, love, and self-control, and not a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7).

What does this power look like in your life? The Spirit’s power supplies strength to resist temptation, to gain victory over habitual sin, to give thanks in the most unpleasant of circumstances, to love the unlovely, to deny one’s self for greater joy, to risk much for the sake of gospel advance, and to grow in real strides toward Christ-like maturity. 

These achievements, and much more, come by the Spirit’s strength alone. So, “whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).


Being Strong By Faith


Have you ever realized just how strong the Lord means for you to be in the strength he supplies? Scripture is replete with texts that both command God’s strength and supply it at the same time.

Colossians 1:11, “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.”

1 Corinthians 16:13, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

This is plain from today’s passage in Ephesians 3:16, “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”

Where does such strength come from? It comes from the riches of God’s glory. How does God’s glory give us strength? It works like this: when we treasure and rely upon God and his promises in Scripture, God enables our spirit to be strengthened at the sight of his glory. As we draw strength from him, he is seen to be glorious.

Paul gives us Abraham as an example, “No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God” (Romans 4:20). Abraham admitted his weakness, but in unwavering faith he held fast to God’s promises. At this moment strength surges into his soul, and he presses on giving glory to God.  

Together with Abraham and believers everywhere, you and I will grow strong in faith as we give glory to God. This is exactly what God intends for his people always. 


Join us this Sunday for Bible Study Hour at 9:30am and for our morning worship service at 10:45am.

 


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