Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,
Missionary Jim Elliott once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Christ has called us to deny ourselves and to follow him. What does this look like in your life? May we as individual Christians and as a church pray for the Spirit to give us a heart of service and devotion to our Lord. How are you serving your Savior this week? How are we serving our King today? How are you serving the body of Christ? Our Savior gave his all for us; may we give our all for him. And what a blessed joy this is … to serve the one who loves us and gave himself for us.
- TONIGHT we will meet at the VanTubergen’s home at 7:00 to continue our study in Galatians. Their address is 8803 Catawissa Drive, Houston, 77095.
- Please contact Roxanne Thompson or Abbey Touchette if you are willing to help serve in the nursery.
- The Ladies will meet this Thursday at Romero’s Las Brazas (15703 Longenbaugh Dr Ste A, Houston, TX 77095) at 7:00 for dinner and fellowship. Please RSVP to Christy Arendale if you can make it (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- The Men will meet THIS SATURDAY at the Egg and I at 8:30AM for good food, fellowship, and to begin looking at our new book study.
- Our Spring retreat with Providence OPC will be April 23-25. See here for info and to register: http://providencepres.com/retreat/.
- Note the dates for the OPC summer youth camp: June 22-27. See here for more info: http://www.opcsouthwest.org/summer-youth-camp/.
- Finally, this week’s devotion (attached) is a reflection from the book of Acts on Christ’s call to the church.
God bless and I look forward to worshipping with you this Lord’s Day!
From the Pastor’s Desk
“The Power of the Spirit”
Acts 1:8, “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.”
Just before our Lord ascended to the right hand of the Father, the disciples asked him an important question: “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6). The disciples were still focused on the kingdom of God as an earthly, temporal, and ethnic reality. And in his response to them, Jesus both corrects their misunderstanding of the kingdom and gives the church a glorious promise with which to move forward.
Jesus answers the disciples’ question as follows: “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 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 1:7-8). There are several things we should take from these verses. First, the disciples were focused on timing – “will you … at this time.” But Jesus tells them their focus should not be on timing. The Lord has not given us the specific time of the consummation of his kingdom. Rather we are called to faithfulness – to stay awake and not to be deceived by false teachers (cf. Mark 13:32-36).
Second, the disciples were focused on earthly and temporal matters – “… ‘restore’ the kingdom …” The disciples were looking back to the glories of Israel under the monarchy. And it is this glory for which they longed. But Jesus tells them his kingdom is a kingdom advanced through the power of the Spirit, not through military and political might. His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you (cf. John 18:33-38).” The outpouring of the Spirit is coming – and the effect will be power. In fact, we see the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise in the very next chapter in Acts when the Spirit is poured out on the church on the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2:13 and Peter’s accompanying sermon in vv. 14-41; also John 1:33; 7:37-39; 14:15-18; 15:26; 16:6-15; Acts 1:4-5; 1 Cor 15:45; 2 Cor 3:17). Moreover, what kind of power does the church receive when the Spirit was poured out? Is it power in earthly and temporal matters? No. It is the power to be a witness: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses.” It is the power to live unto the glory of God and to bear witness for the glory of God. It is the power of the Spirit conforming believers more into the image of Christ (Rom 8:28-29; 2 Cor 3:18).
And third, the disciples were focused on geography – on the borders of Israel: “… restore the kingdom to Israel.” But Jesus tells them – and us today – that the gospel is to go to the every corner of the globe. He tells us that the gospel of the kingdom is to be preached throughout the world: “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The church is to be a blessing to all nations (Gen 12:1-3). And this reality – hinted at under the Old Covenant – comes to full flower in the New Covenant (Matt 28:18-20; Gal 3:29).
Brothers and sisters, this same power to witness – to serve – to live unto the glory of God – that was given to the church at Pentecost is given to everyone who trust in the person and work of Christ (1 Cor 12:13). We are indwelt by the same Spirit. Thus, may we bear witness to our Savior! May we wield the Sword of the Spirit! May we pray for the advance of the gospel and the kingdom! May we live in the power of the Spirit of our King!