A Theology of Sunday
This week Pastor Duane took the opportunity to teach about why Sunday is so important for the life of the church and of the individual believer. We have an interesting phenomenon happening in our church, with having a lot of members, but also a lot of them irregular in attendance on Sunday's. Thus, as we are in a season of our church where we are being unified in a new way by God's Spirit, the important aspect of regular meeting together on Sunday's is just another topic to be unified In.
We emailed out to you at the end of last week Duane's article, A Theology of Sunday, for you to review and to discuss with your Community Group this week. We would love to have a robust discussion in our Community Groups about why we attend church on Sunday, and why it is so important to our souls.
A. What is Sabbath? Why is Sunday called the Sabbath Day?
1. What do the Scriptures say about the regular gathering of God's people for worship, for encouragement, for teaching, and for giving?
2. What are the different parts of the church service, and why do we have them as part of ours?
3. What is the benefit to being regular on Sunday's?
4. What is the negative impact of only irregular attendance?
5. How is God glorified in our resting with His family?
6. What are some challenges to you coming on Sunday? What are barriers that our culture has that make regular attendance on Sunday's difficult?
Pray for each other and for the church!
The Accidental Feminist
This past Sunday we discus the crucial role women play in Jesus's story of redemption for the world. We took a look at the modern concept of feminism and how it plays into the Christian life. Here is the excerpt from Courtney Reissig's book The Accidental Feminist
“Although many Christians wouldn’t identify themselves as feminists, the reality is that the feminist movement has influenced us all in profound ways. We unconsciously reflect our culture’s ideas related to womanhood rather than what’s found in the Bible.
I’m an accidental feminist. For many years I unwittingly possessed some heart attitudes that made me a classic feminist.
I believe many women today find themselves confused, just like I was as an early Christian. Part of my rebellion against things that I deemed too domestic or feminine was rooted in my misunderstanding of what it means to be a Christian woman. What exactly does it look like to be a Christian wife? Is it baking cookies, keeping an immaculate home, and being a mom to five kids? What about the woman who is a baking novice or, like me, a baking failure? Is womanhood only about the quiet and sensitive types? What about the woman who has a career? The woman who can’t have kids or simply doesn’t want a 'quiverful'? What about the woman who doesn’t feel gifted to teach in her local church? Is there a place for her? What about the woman who does? Does she? What about the vast number of single women in our churches today? Is there room for these sisters?
Caricatures of womanhood are what get us into trouble. When we reduce womanhood to the tasks we accomplish, or cultural expectations, or talents and personality traits, we are doing a disservice to women everywhere. Recovering from feminism and embracing God’s idea of womanhood is far more than a throwback to a 1950s television show.
What I failed to understand was that true freedom cannot be found in independence from authority at all. True freedom is found in understanding our Creator and how he wants us to live. True freedom is knowing that this world has
A Jesus for Women
We continued our deep dive into Dr. Luke's account of Jesus life. This week we find Jesus on the road, touring around Galilee. Jesus has just healed a Centurion's servant from miles away and brought a poor widow's son back from the dead. Having done that, a local religious leader hosts a sort of dinner party for Jesus so that people may come and discuss these things. This week Luke told us about Jesus' inclusion of women in His ministry, which was pretty radical at the time. Pastor Duane wanted to spend some time looking at that to get a peek at how God views women.
This week Luke told us about Jesus' inclusion of women in His ministry, which was pretty radical at the time. Pastor Duane wanted to spend some time looking at that to get a peek at how God views women.
What do you think are some things culture believes about Christianity's view and treatment of women
Pastor Duane picked it up Dr. Luke's report in chapter 7, verse 36.
Pastor Duane wanted to highlight Luke's reporting of women's involvement with Jesus' ministry. There are three women called out in chapter 8 and an emotional story in chapter 7 about a broken woman and Jesus. Duane had three points:
I. Feminists for Jesus
II. Forgiveness from Jesus
III. Friends of Jesus
I. Feminists for Jesus
Duane hopped to the end of this passage and wanted to point out the 3 women mentioned here and their
What are some ways these women don't fit with what could be called a traditional (1950s-ish) view of womenWould you describe these women as feminists? Why or why not?
Would you describe these women as feminists? Why or why not? Duane defined the term feminism as a movement to give women equal rights and standing. Like many movements it's aim is good, though some proponents can take it too far to a place where gender is no longer acknowledged, sacrificing a big special component of who God made each of us
Duane defined the term feminism as a movement to give women equal rights and standing. Like many movements it's aim is good, though some proponents can take it too far to a place where gender is no longer acknowledged, sacrificing a big special component of who God made each of us
What do you think of this idea? What does it mean? Do you agree with it?
II. Forgiveness from Jesus
The beginning of the passage starts with a prostitute crashing a dinner party to dramatically serve Jesus because she loved Him. It was a huge faux pas for her and put Jesus in a potentially awkward situation. Instead of
Duane mentioned that when reading a passage is good to look at the characters and see if you can see yourself in any of them? In this
Do you see think you have more in common with the unbroken Simon or the broken woman?
Jesus points out that If you feel a lack of love towards people it’s likely because you have not really experienced the grace and forgiveness of Christ in your own heart and life.
Where are some places you find it hard to love people? How can you use God's grace to you to help you love those people better?
III. Friends of Jesus
In the story, Simon was a bit appalled that Jesus was not rebuking or at least trying to distance himself from the woman. He though "a man of God should not associate with sinners." Jesus did associate though, early and often. He was consistently reaching out and befriending sinners, it's what he came to do and calls us to do. Duane read a quote from Philip Ryken that
How are you building relationships with sinners?
How can the love of Christ help you move towards building those relationships?
Pray for One Another
Thank God for making us all in His image, loving us all, forgiving us all. And ask that we might be moved by His love to start engaging enthusiastically with fellow sinners around us.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
God is a compassionate God. This means, first of all, that he is a God who has chosen to be God-with-us. To be able to know and feel better this divine solidarity, let us explore the experience of someone being
When do we receive real comfort and consolation? Is it when someone teaches us how to think or act? Is it when we receive advice about where to go or what to do? Is it when we hear words of reassurance and hope? Sometimes, perhaps. But what really counts is that in moments of pain and suffering someone stays with us. More important than any particular action or word of advice is the simple presence of someone who cares. When someone says to us in the midst of a crisis, “I do not know what to say or what to do, but I want you to realize that I am with you, that I will not leave you alone,” we have a friend through whom we can find consolation and comfort. In a time so filled with methods and techniques designed to change people, to influence their behavior, and to make them do new things and think new thoughts, we have lost the simple but difficult gift of being present to each other. We have lost this gift because we have been led to believe that presence must be useful. We say, “Why should I visit this person? I can’t do anything anyway. I don’t even have anything to say. Of what use can I be?” Meanwhile, we have forgotten that it is often in “useless,” unpretentious, humble presence to each other that we feel consolation and comfort. Simply being with someone is difficult because it asks of us that we share in the other’s vulnerability, enter with him or her into the experience of weakness and powerlessness, become part of uncertainty, and give up control and self-determination. And still, whenever this happens, new strength and new hope
These reflections offer only a glimpse of what we mean when we say that God is a God-with-us, a God who came to share our lives in solidarity. It does not mean that God solves our problems, shows us the way out of our confusion, or offers answers for our many questions. He might do all of that, but his solidarity consists in the fact that he is willing to enter with us into our problems, confusions, and questions.
That is the good news of God’s taking on human flesh. The Evangelist Matthew, after describing the birth of Jesus, writes: “Now all this took place to fulfill the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘The Virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel,’ a name which means ‘God-is-with-us’” (Mt 1:22-23).
As soon as we call God, “God-with-us,” we enter into a new relationship of intimacy with him. By calling him Immanuel, we recognize that he has committed himself to live in solidarity with us, to share our joys and pains, to defend and protect us, and to suffer all of life with us. The God-with-us is a close God, a God whom we call our refuge, our stronghold, our wisdom and even, more intimately, our helper, our shepherd, our love.
This was an excerpt from Compassion by Henri J.M. Nouwen, Donald P. McNeill, and Douglas A. Morrison.
Starving, Excruciating, and Fair
Pastor James Martin
On October 28, 2014, Deputy Jeremy Martin, brother of our Pastor James Martin, was shot multiple times and murdered by his partner in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Since then, the Martin family has been enduring a criminal trial with a jury unsure of how to prosecute and charge his killer. Pastor James wrote this blog and graciously allowed us to share it with you, our church family. If you'd like to learn about the case, you may read more here.
Please commit to praying for the Martin family in this difficult time.
Tracy and I have banned a few words from use by our three kids (12, 9, & 7) when describing their personal situation or present difficulty. In our household starving, excruciating, and the phrase “it is not fair” are not permitted.
Here is our thinking.
Starving — I’ve been around the world, and I have slept on a dirt floor of an orphanage with a group of beautiful children — looking into their eyes, I’ve seen starving. And while my little ones might find themselves hungry and we may eat a little later than usual sometimes, these fair skinned American kids do not know starving. And for that I’m grateful. But let us not forget those who are starving for real and reserve that word for them. And furthermore, let us give to a well-managed charity on behalf of children who are in need both in this country and abroad. They are precious, and it is our responsibility as a community to make sure they too are not starving.
Excruciating — A word literally created to describe the agony of crucifixion on the cross. Again, I know my kids have never suffered such pain. And while I understand falling into a cactus hurts and it is most certainly painful when you go down hard on a bicycle, I contend that in measure to the cross, it is nothing. For one, they will never find themselves in agony alone having been rejected by their father — I wouldn’t dream of it (although they usually just ask for their mother). And second, the pain — it just doesn’t come close.
And “it is not fair…” — Ah, this little phrase — it has plagued kids and narcissistic business associates alike. Most of the time when we say this we are starting with the presupposition that we are the center of the universe and anything that happens to us against our will or standard is therefore out of balance, and thus not fair. But in reality, we are not at the center and life is not fair. And I’ll tell you what else is not fair — a guy named Jesus, who is the center of the universe, literally starving himself in the desert as he began his ministry headed straight for a truly excruciating experience on the cross for something he didn’t do. That’s not fair.
Look, I get it. I know what you might be thinking… and I’ll give you a quick tip I’ve learned before I go any further… Don’t start here with the kids (or anyone for that matter). Show a little empathy first and let them be heard — but with loving parenting and a gentle well-timed reminder, these simple truths can actually help bring about healing and perspective. The message here starts and ends with love and grace.
Life is not fair. Period. In fact, it is anything but fair. M. Scott Peck said it best in the opening chapter of his book The Road Less Traveled, published in 1978 when he said: “Life is difficult.” Dr. Peck goes on to explain “This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult once we truly understand and accept it then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
So true. And being more clearly realized as my hair turns distinctively grayer.
The fact is we are not at the center of the universe. And bad things happen to really good people. And it is not fair. Or right. But it is what it is.
A rich life is well worth the cost of living.
In my personal journey, I know I did not fully appreciate a warm and vivid sunrise until I experienced extremely dark cold nights. And I only began to obtain and enjoy true love and togetherness after suffering real loneliness and detachment. And I only received God’s grace and mercy after having been crushed by His law and my inability to keep it.
For truly we only experience the richness of love and the sweetness of life when we have also moaned the agony of death. That is life and actually living — and honestly, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Life is hard. Life is good.
The State of The Resolved
This week we departed from the regular sermon series in Luke to discuss the current state of The Resolved Church, particularly the critical financial situation we find ourselves in now.
Take some time to discuss people’s reactions to the news we received this week regarding the church’s financial crisis. How did you respond when you first received the news about our church’s financial situation?
What are your thoughts/feelings/frustrations about our financial state?
I. Our Church Story
The Resolved Church began as a response to a vision Duane had to reach the people of San Diego for Jesus Christ. Have you ever felt a particular calling from God for ministry? Do you feel like you share the vision of The Resolved? Why or why not?
Do you think it’s important for the people of a church to share a common vision? Why would this be important?
This is the first financial crisis our church has ever been in (which is actually great news)! It is a normal part of church life (and family life) to go through seasons of financial hardship. What are some things we can learn together as a church family in the midst of a financial crisis? Is there anything of value we can take away from this season?
James 1:2-4 teaches us the joy and value we can find in trials. Read
II. Our Generous God
Read through Acts 4:34-35 and Philippians 4:15-20. What do you notice in these passages about the church’s attitude toward giving financially? Do you see this mirrored in the modern church? Why or why not?
What are some obstacles we face both personally and corporately to financial giving in today’s society? What is our culture's view of financial giving?
Duane expressed great hope for this season, believing that God is being good to us in this crisis. How can God be both good and allow us to be in crisis at the same time?
God’s Word makes it very clear that God is both rich and generous to all (He owns everything! See 1 Chronicles 29:11-13). How has God been generous to you?
We tend to overlook the generosity of God because His blessings are so prevalent and common. We take things for granted far too often. How can we reorient our hearts to view the everyday blessings of God (like life, health, family, and above all Jesus Christ) as things to be truly grateful for? How can this lead us to be generous people in turn?
III. Our Opportunity
Our church has many exciting things on the horizon, and we want to continue to faithfully pursue what God has put on our hearts to do.
In Philippians, Paul views the giving of the local church as a partnership in ministry. Money is simply a vehicle that makes the mission happen. Money helps us move the mission forward.
How do you view giving financially? Is it like participating in ministry or is it more like paying taxes?
Duane laid out the leadership’s plan to address this financial crisis:
- Publicly address the situation.
- Call members directly to discuss.
- Call our church to pray for the leadership to have wisdom in what to do.
- Ask members to evaluate their own finances to see how they give or give more.
- 90-Day Challenge of generous giving.
What are your thoughts about the way forward for our church?
What part can we play as a group and as individuals in helping to support our church?
Pray For One Another
Pray for wisdom for the leadership with financial decisions
Pray for the hearts of people to see God’s generosity, and for the desire to be generous in response.
Pray for unity, growth, and maturity through this very difficult season.
As we consider what it means to give as a church, we must look to Jesus as an example of what true godly giving looks like. Here is an excerpt from Tim Keller's book Generous Justice where he uses a quote from 19th-century pastor Robert M’Cheyne to paint a picture of the type of giving to which Jesus calls us:
“Dear Christians…we must be like Jesus in giving. “Though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor”… Objection 1. “My money is my own.” Answer: Christ might have said, “my blood is my own, my life is my own”… then where should we have been? Objection 2: “The poor are undeserving.” Answer: Christ might have said, “They are wicked rebels… shall I lay down my life for these? I will give to the good angels.” But no, He left the ninety-nine and came for the lost. He gave His blood for the undeserving. Objection 3. “The poor may abuse it.”Answer: Christ might have said the same; yea, with far greater truth. Christ knew that thousands would trample His blood under their feet; that most would despise it; that many would make it an excuse for sinning more; yet He gave His own blood. Oh, my dear Christians! If you would be like Christ, give much, give often, give freely, to the vile and the poor, the thankless and the undeserving. Christ is glorious and happy and so will you be. It is not your money I want, but your happiness. Remember His own word, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Excerpt from Generous Justice by Timothy Keller
Dear Resolved Church family,
As many of you already know, in our desire to love and care for our pastors well, we have started to implement regular sabbaticals for our leadership team. We started with Pastor Duane, and this year Pastor Dan and his family are receiving this gift. They are currently beginning their four-month sabbatical as of this month. We want to encourage you all to give them the space they need for their souls to be able to fully engage in the sabbatical process; to rest, recalibrate, and re-enter back into ministry healthier and with a desire to serve you all for many more years to come.
The ways that we are asking you to love and serve them well are to give them space by disengaging from communicating with them via email, phone, or social media. Doing this will enable them to be able to be fully present in their sabbatical, and to allow the Lord to minister to the deep places of their soul without distraction, which is a powerful act of love toward them. As a church, we care deeply for this wonderful family and are eager to see how Jesus will minister to them during this time. We believe that this sabbatical process is not only a God-given blessing to His ministers but also necessary for the continued well-being and care for His people. Thus, we want to give Pastor Dan and his family all the support and love we can in this
It goes without saying that Pastor Dan has some big shoes to fill during his sabbatical, and we wanted to give you a couple of people to contact when you have questions or concerns that normally Dan would be involved with.
1. For most general questions Dan's assistant, Molly, will be the person to go to. Her email address is
2. If you have questions regarding building care, LampPost Warehouse events, or ministry questions, please contact Dave Christman,
3. If you have any other pastoral concerns or questions please contact me,
If you would like to give them a special financial love gift during this time of healing, please use the designation "Staff Calvert". We would love to bless them with special meals, or vacations, or gift cards as another tangible expression of our love and support for them.
We are so glad to be able to give the Calverts this sabbatical, and are very excited
On behalf of the elders of the Resolved Church,
Pastor Ryan Buss
Trusting God Even When Life Hurts
After Pastor Dave's powerful sermon on God's purpose for trials in our lives, you might be looking for some more material on what it looks like to lean on God in tumultuous times. Jerry Bridges explores this in-depth in his book Trusting God. Here is an excerpt:
The letter did not bring good news. A close relative, very dear to me, had just learned she had bone cancer. Malignant cells from a previous bout with cancer had lain dormant for eight years before invading the skeletal parts of her body. One hip was already almost destroyed; the doctor was amazed she was still able to walk. Such incidents are all too common these days. In fact, during the writing of this chapter I had seven friends, all with cancer, listed on my “urgent” prayer page.
But cancer or other physical ailments are obviously not the only sources of anxiety. Over lunch a few weeks ago a businessman friend confided that his company is perilously close to bankruptcy; another experiences heartache over a spiritually rebellious teenager. The truth is, all of us face adversity in various forms and at different times. A recent best-selling book by a secular psychiatrist put it very well with this simple opening statement: “Life is difficult.”
Adversity and its accompanying emotional pain come in many forms. There may be the heartache of an unhappy marriage, or the disappointment of a miscarried pregnancy, or grief over a spiritually indifferent or rebellious child. There is the anxiety of the family breadwinner who has just lost his job and the despair of the young mother who has learned she has a terminal illness.
Others experience the frustration of dashed hopes and unfulfilled dreams; a business that turned sour, or a career that never developed. Still, others experience the sting of injustice, the dull ache of loneliness, and the stabbing pain of unexpected grief. There is the humiliation of rejection by others, of demotion at work and, worst of all, of failure that is one’s own fault. Finally, there is the despair of realizing that some difficult circumstances-- a physical infirmity of your own or perhaps a severely handicapped child—will never change.
All of these circumstances and scores more contribute to the anxiety and emotional pain we all experience at various times and in varying degrees. Some pain is sudden, traumatic, and devastating. Other adversities are chronic, persistent, and seemingly designed to wear down our spirits over time.
God’s people are not immune from such pain. In fact, it often seems as if theirs is more severe, more frequent, more unexplainable, and more deeply felt than that of the unbeliever. The problem of pain is as old as the history of man and just as universal. Even creation itself, Paul tells us, has been subjected to frustration and groans as in the pain of childbirth. (Romans 8:20-22)
So the question naturally arises “Where is God in all of this?” Can you really trust God, i.e, is He dependable in times of adversity? But the second meaning is also critical, can you, trust God? DO you have such a relationship with God and such a confidence in Him that you believe He is with you in your adversity even though you do not see any evidence of His presence and His power?
It is not easy to trust God in times of adversity. NO one enjoys pain, and when it comes, we want it relieved as quickly as possible. Even the Apostle Paul pleaded with God three times to take away the thorn in his flesh before he finally found God’s grace to be sufficient. Joseph pleaded with Pharoh’s cupbearer to “get me out of this prison” (Genesis 40:14). And the writer of Hebrews very honestly states, “no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.”
In order to trust God, we must always view our adverse circumstances through the eyes of faith, not of sense. And just as the faith of salvation comes through hearing the message of the gospel (Romans 10:17), so the faith to trust God in adversity comes through the Word of God alone. It is only in the Scriptures that we find an adequate view of God’s relationship to and involvement in our painful circumstances. It is only from the Scriptures, applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, that we receive the grace to trust God in adversity.
In the arena of adversity, the Scriptures teach us three essential truths about God—truths we must believe if we are to trust Him in adversity. They are:
- God is completely sovereign.
- God is infinite in wisdom.
- God is perfect in love.
Someone has expressed these three truths as they relate to us in this way: “God in his love always wills what is best for us. In His wisdom, He always knows what is best, and in His sovereignty, He has the power to bring it about.”
In order to trust God, we must know Him in an intimate, personal way. David said in Psalm 9:10, “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” To know God’s name is to know him in an intimate personal way. It is more than just knowing facts about God. It is coming into a deeper personal relationship with Him as a result of seeking Him in the midst of our personal pain and discovering Him to be trustworthy. It is only as we know God in this personal way that we come to trust Him.
How Good People Should Respond When Bad Things Happen
I. Look In
Trial Definition: "Depravation or absence of a God intended blessing."
Do you agree with this definition? Why or why not?
How might you be experiencing this kind of trial in your life now?
What does James say is the purpose for our trials?
What are some temptations for us in how we respond to trials? How does God address these in our life?
How do trials expose what we really believe?
II. Look Up
God is the Master of all circumstances in our lives. He either sends it, or He allows it, to touch us. God is doing it for a reason!
Why ought we to look up to God in the midst of trials?
Why does God send or allow trials? Because it is the best for us and our faith at that time. Do you believe this? Why or why not? How might this view change how we respond to trials?
III. Look Out
When we experience trials in our life, often we can be tempted to focus on ourselves. What happens when we turn our eyes to look at others and seek and serve others in the midst of our trials?
How do we cultivate this kind of looking out while we are under trials?