Dear Woodside… We’re Family!

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”” (Romans 8:14–15, ESV)

In our culture today the church has been moved from the center to the fringes of life. We’ve placed a higher emphasis on biological family, work, social communities and the like so much that the church has become just an event that we attend once a week. It’s like watching a sports game that starts, you cheer, and it ends, and you go home. There is nothing to connect with beyond the event itself.

Yet, the Bible never envisions the church in this way. The gathering of the people of God isn’t just an event we attend, receive some spiritual insights, and go home. The church is constantly spoken of as a family, a body, a household.

Paul in Romans 8 anchors the reality of our justification before God with the identity we have as children of God. Having been gifted the Holy Spirit at our conversion we now reidentified as family — children! We have the full rights and promises of true children because Jesus has died in our place to adopt us into his family. Not only does that mean we are children of God, but we belong to one another. We spiritual siblings in Christ.

Really, the challenge for us isn’t so much about who we are as family. The challenge is are we living, and acting as family together? The question really becomes are we living towards one another as family? Do we just see each other across the room once a week (or less) and say “that’s enough?” Are we investing in each other’s lives? Are we with one another during the week? Are we bearing one another’s burdens? Are we serving, forgiving, loving, encouraging, confessing to, praying for, showing hospitality, and so on to one another?

I want to encourage you not to allow yourself to just be a person who attends a church. I want you grow in the identity God has given you as a member of his family and to enact and live out that identity within the church family. Connect with a Missional Community (or “family on mission”) as we like to call them. Invest yourself in the lives of others in the church. Let those far from God know you are Jesus’ disciple by seeing your love for other brothers and sisters in the faith. Let’s continue to grow as a family on mission together and see God glorified, and the gospel advanced!

We are family. Let’s live like the most compassionate and best of families.

Gathering Sunday

Sunday is a great time to be together as family as well so you don’t want to miss our gatherings for worship this weekend. As we hear from God’s Word this weekend we will be in Jeremiah 38:1-13 seeking another Kadima movement of growth from mere competency to compassion. Together we will sing the following songs which you can find on our Spotify playlist to listen to before Sunday morning. Here’s what we are singing:

  • Only King Forever
  • Jesus I Come
  • Good Good Father
  • Presence
  • Jesus Paid It All

I look forward to gathering with you on Sunday and want to encourage you to invite and invest in others who are not yet part of God’s family so that they too will know the joy and grace of God. Let’s keep pushing forward on mission together. If there is anyway we can serve and pray for you this week, please let us know!

Kadima!

Jeremy

Dear Woodside... You're Free!

“Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:34–36, ESV)

Sin is no easy task master. It dominates and directs every step of our lives. No matter how much we like to believe we are independent and free to make our own choices, still our slavery in sin is overbearing and dominating. Unless we are freed!

Romans 6 came up again in my daily Bible reading this week and I find such encouragement and power there to help us be free from the dominating, overpowering slavery to sin. Romans 6 gives us a new identity that enables us to live in freedom from sin. Listen to what God’s Word declares about those who are in Christ:

“We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:9–11, emphasis mine)

“For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14, ESV)

“and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:18, ESV)

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” (Romans 6:22, ESV, emphasis mine)

Do you see the identity there? Christ has died and was raised to life again. We, by faith, have been unified with him in his death and resurrection and therefore are now dead to sin! Sin has no dominion over us who are in Christ. We are free from sin! Sin has no authority or dominion over every child of God.

Experientially, however, we know that we still struggle with sin. We aren’t perfect and completely free of sin in the here-and-now, but the dominating power of sin over us is gone. Today, those who are in Christ, are free from the shackles and power of sin. I tell you these things to encourage you not to become weary or to give up in your daily life in pursuing holiness. Many times we can be confident that we aren’t growing, that we aren’t moving forward, and so the tendency is to just stop and give up. No! Keep struggling, fighting, aspiring, pressing on towards Christ.

Ray Ortlund describes it this way,

”What marks a Christian is not sinlessness but aspiration. When God’s grace opens a window into the sin-darkened prison of your soul, a shaft of pure light falls on your uplifted face. You see everything in a new way, and you can never be the same again. Before God came, you just tried to make the best of your prison, pretty much the way everyone else does. You bought your pleasures there. You built your life there. You even cultivated your religion there. But when the life of God enters your soul through the Holy Spirit, you come to realize that there is more for you than anything this world can offer. Your soul opens up to a whole new world.”

Friends, today, in Christ, we are free from sin - so let’s continue to move forward and pursue the life of holiness. If so we will see “the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (Romans 6:22). We’re free, kadima on to life!

Thank You!

Thank you to so many of you who came and served at our Work Day last Saturday. We got so much accomplished around our facility and have taken another step forward in making sure we care for the physical location that God has entrusted to us so that we can be effective in our mission to make disciples.

Also - thank you to the folks to served and helped make our Family Feast on Sunday a success and a time for community and relationships to be built. It was a great weekend together last week and I am grateful for the many hands that helped cook, clean, prepare, organize, and lead us for that day!

This Sunday

Sunday we are going to be looking at how we move forward in our faith from duty to desire. We will be looking closely at Hebrews 12:2 and seek to "kadima" together. As we praise God together in song we will be singing:

  • Open Up The Heavens
  • Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)
  • Jesus, I Come
  • How Great Thou Art
  • Great Are You Lord

The worship songs are posted on Spotify for you to hear and become familiar with before we sing together on Sunday. Also this Sunday we will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper together as church family.

I look forward to continuing to grow with you and am keeping you in my heart and prayers. You’re free in Christ to pursue righteousness - so let’s move forward “upward and onward” in Christ together.

Kadima!
Jeremy

P.S. Go Broncos!

Dear Woodside... Kadima!

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12, ESV)

”KADIMA!”

You’re going to hear that phrase a lot over the next seven weeks. It’s going to be a battle cry and anthem at Woodside. Kadima! “Come on, let’s go!” Kadima is a Hebrew word which means “forward.” The word has a sense of action, impulse, progress, and movement. For us we’re not talking about just getting off the couch and getting busy with life — we’re looking at making progress in the Christian faith and in our pursuit of Christ.

Often times we can look at the Christian life, and our spiritual growth, as a some what passive action. God works on us, God works in us, God works for us. We are the recipients of God’s grace. That can make us feel comfortable and secure. It should! God is the one who has done everything to reconcile us to himself. Jesus is the one who paid the penalty of our sins and died on the cross so that we are forgiven in him. We receive those gifts by faith.

But the Christian life isn’t merely one of sitting back and letting God work and somehow we amazingly end up in his presence forever at the end of our lives. No, the Bible speaks about God’s people moving forward in their faith. The Scriptures are clear that as a result of God’s work for us first we become people who move forward in our growth. This is what Paul was getting at with Timothy.

All throughout 1 & 2 Timothy, Paul is speaking to spur on Timothy to action. He tells him things like, “do your best to present yourself to God as one approved” (2 Timothy 2:15) and “train yourself for godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7) and “practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress” (1 Timothy 4:15). Even the passage I mention above “fight the good fight! Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called” speaks of the pursuit and ambition forward of godliness. The Scriptures resound with the cry of a general saying “Kadima! Forward!”

Jerry Bridges in his book The Practice of Godliness summarizes it in this way when he says “godliness is no optional spiritual luxury for a few quaint Christians of a bygone era or for some group of super-saints of today. It is the privilege and duty of every Christian to pursue godliness.” Over the next seven weeks at Woodside we are going to be challenged in several ways. Through the Holy Spirit applying God’s Word to our lives I am hopeful that you will be spurred on in your growth and pursuit of godliness more and more. Let’s not be a church that just sits back and enjoys the fruits of what God has already done in the past through us. Let’s kadima! and “take hold of the eternal life to which we were called.” Let’s move forward in grace and godliness together this year!

Gathering for Worship

Our first Kadmia movement is entitled “From Looking Back to Moving Forward” and we will be in Philippians 2:12-14 this Sunday morning. As we gather we will be singing together:

  • Open the Heavens
  • Great Are You Lord
  • Grace So Glorious
  • Blessed Assurance
  • Lord, I Need You

We’ve posted the songs as a playlist at Spotify so you can listen (or sing along) beforehand.

Work and Feasting

Towards the end of this month, Saturday January 30th, we will be having a campus work day to clean, update, beautiful and finish some projects around the campus. We would love to have your help that day as we spruce up and work to maintain the building well. These workdays are always a good opportunity to spend some time with others at the campus and build relationships.

Additionally, the 31st we will be celebrating a Family Feast together after the 11am service. We want the church to get together and join us in celebrating the last year of God’s mercy at Woodside Plymouth. We’ll have a sign up and more information for you on Sunday morning to be able to participate in bringing dishes to share with the church.

I am looking forward to being with you again on Sunday and worshipping our Lord and God together. Please let me know if there is anyway I can be in prayer for or serve you. Let’s grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord together!

Kadima!

Jeremy