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Indelible Grace Church Blog

Valentine's Mercy Project

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This post was written by David Um.

Hi everybody! This past Sunday, February 12, 2012, I had the pleasure of overseeing the Mercy Ministry project (aka "Operation V-Day") for the Parkview Health Care Center. The event started with many artistic and creative people creating some pretty awesome cards during the catered lunch. Marianne graciously made plenty of stencils and pre-cut cards using her fancy-smancy card making contraption. I would list each person that helped make and decorate cards, but I honestly cannot remember for there were some many people that helped.

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We made a total of 103 cards in roughly 1.5 hrs and then we caravanned over to Parkview Health Care Center and went to the community room where we performed a few worship songs and then passed out the AWESOME Valentine’s Day cards that were made by the fantastic people of IGC. We gave cards to the residents in the community room and spent time with them, while others went around the center giving cards to residents who stayed in their rooms.

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To be completely honest, I thought this event was going to be a failure since I didn't have any confirmed responses from people for making cards or going to the center. In the end though, everything worked out thanks to God's grace and the kindness and flexibility of those who helped. We had a really successful event with some good takeaway lessons in communication and planning and I feel future events will be much more organized. It was great spreading some joy and love and spending time with the residents of Parkview. They genuinely enjoyed our company and the cards!

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Thank you everyone that helped make and decorate cards and thank you to those of you who came to Parkview Health Care Center. You all rock. God rocks. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! xoxo.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 February 2012 16:25
 

Book Table

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We have recently started a book table at Indelible Grace Church. The purpose of the book table is to encourage people to read these great books for their spiritual benefit (and at a price discount!). Here’s a brief description of each book:

ESV Study Bible
This is hands down the best study bible out there. The notes are plentiful, the maps and charts are beautifully arranged, and there are a series of excellent articles on the Christian faith in the back. The scholarship is top notch and the joint work of Reformed Baptists and Presbyterians.

The Prodigal God (Tim Keller)
This book explains the heart of the gospel – that we can run away from God by both breaking all the rules and by keeping all the rules (profound!). The essence of sin is self-salvation. The essence of saving faith is to realize this and turn to Christ alone for salvation.

Mere Christianity (CS Lewis)
This is the classic book on the Christian faith. CS Lewis has a unique gift in explaining what Christianity is, giving memorable illustrations, and addressing so many of the objections modern people have.

Knowing God (JI Packer)
If you want a sustained meditation on who God is – this is your book. Discover the true God of the Bible and how radically different he is from what our culture tells us. You will find yourself on your knees in worship as you read through this book.

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart)
We often forget that the Bible was written over the course of 1,500 years, by numerous authors, with a dozen different genres – history, poetry, letters, etc. And so we often get frustrated when we try to read the Bible like it’s People Magazine. This book will teach you how different genres affect the way you read the text, how to bridge the enormous historical gap of the Bible’s original context, and how to apply the original meaning to the modern world.

Let the Nations be Glad (John Piper)
“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.” This is the famous opening paragraph to John Piper’s book in which he lays out for us the awesome missionary heart of God that loves every tribe, tongue and nation.

The Unfolding Mystery (Edmund Clowney)
The master Bible teacher, Jesus, once walked with his disciples on the road to Emmaus and taught that all Scripture points to himself (Luke 24). What an amazing Bible study that must have been! Jesus teaches us to read the entire Bible through the lens of the gospel and to see the Old Testament as a foreshadowing of the truths in the New Testament.

Last Updated on Monday, 30 January 2012 12:49
 

J. Edgar Hoover, Sexuality, and the Gospel

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There are few figures in American history that loom as large and as menacingly as J. Edgar Hoover.  The first and long-standing director of the FBI, Hoover abused his position to harass political enemies and amassed secret dossiers on civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr.  The newly released biopic, J. Edgar, directed by Clint Eastwood and staring Leonardo DiCaprio, explores what might have been the driving psychosis behind Hoover's abuse of power.  The reason, according to the screenplay writer, Dustin Lance Black, who recently gave an interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, is sexual repression.  The narrative thesis is that Hoover, as a gay man in the constricted 1940s and 1950s, was not "allowed to love."  And because he found no societally permitted outlet for his sexuality, he channeled his angst and anger by terrorizing his political opponents.  The lesson, Black opines, is that denying sexual desires will only create pathological and destructive behaviors.   Hoover's story resonances because so many of us feel that same sense of longing and frustration.

What is Christianity's answer to this?  The Bible uncompromisingly maintains that sexuality is only for marriage: total abstinence before marriage and life-long fidelity after marriage.  This seems laughably impractical and perhaps even unhealthy in our modern culture.  Isn’t it wrong to deny our natural sexual desires? 

But the Bible tells us that sexuality and marriage are only shadows of the true and ultimate reality.  That our sexual yearnings are really a search for meaning and oneness with God.  And that we are so desperate for that sense of connection and completion, that we will abuse sex as a way to fill up the inner emptiness.  

This is why Jesus, when speaking to the woman at the well in John 4, turned to her sex life when she asked for the water of life.  Jesus was pointing her to himself as the one true love she had been looking for all her life.  This is why Paul speaks of marriage as "a profound mystery; and I am speaking of Christ and the church." (Ephesians 5:31-32)  Behind sex and marriage lies the deeper truth of Christ as the ultimate bridegroom.  And when you have that, there will be a profound freedom, so that sex and romance now become good things, but not the ultimate thing.  The gospel tells us we can practice abstinence because we already have the reality to which sexuality points – union with Christ.

This blog is based on our recent sermon, "The Meaning of Sex."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 December 2011 19:50
 

Softball Match

A few Sundays back, we had a friendly softball match with San Jose New Hope Church. We each won a game a piece and a rematch is in the works. Here is a collage of images from the games:

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Trick-or-Can

This past Halloween, Indelible Grace Church did a mercy project collecting canned foods to donate to the Alameda County Food Bank. This is the second year we have done this. Below is a picture of the total take - nearly 850 food items!

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 November 2011 15:03
 


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