Remember when Bill Maher, the political satirist and comedian, accused former Vice President Dick Cheney of lying? Coinciding with his attack on Cheney’s character was Tiger Woods’ confession of adultery. Both Maher and Woods are atheists. All atheists believe that we are nothing more than chemicals wrapped in skin. We do what we do based on chemical reactions driven by random electrical stimuli.
So if I understand these men correctly, the human race is made up of six and half billion bags of fertilizer. My question is this: If one bag of fertilizer thinks that lying is wrong, what right does that bag have to impose its moral standards on another bag that can’t help but lie because its chemical makeup dictates that it do so? And why would another bag publicly confess to having numerous affairs with other bags? Is not such a confession implying that it is wrong to behave in such a manner?
And are there not other “God-denying” bags that think killing and stealing is wrong? Seven out of the Ten Commandments have to do with moral values. Tiger, Bill, and like-minded bags seem to be pushing their moral values on the rest of us sad sacks. Strangely, when we try to return the favor with the same set of values we are called self-righteous, right winged fanatics. Do I detect a double-standard in which one set of bags has the right to inflict its moral standard on all other bags? Since Christian bags hold to the same value as atheistic bags , why are we marginalized and seen as judgmental?
Well, I must bring this to a close because the chemicals in this bag tell me that it is time to fertilize my lawn. As an aside, here is a helpful hint to have a great-looking lawn. Always buy the fertilizer with the highest moral standards – unless your chemical makeup tells you otherwise. The standards are written on the sides of each bag. The highest standards guarantee a thick, green, weedless lawn and that is the kind of lawn I like. So do atheists.
The retreat this year with John Lynch was fantastic! It was such a clear declaration of God’s Grace and presented in such a living and dramatic fashion. Trusting God for who He says I am is the only way to live this life. On my worst day, I am “Christ in Dave” and clothed in His righteousness all because He led me to Himself.
My desire is to see all the men at RBC – or everyone for that matter – live from these truths. What a wonderful fellowship we would have. Knowing the Truth sets me free, and free to really love others from the strength of God’s grace on and through me.
Many thanks to all those who prepared for and ran the 2010 RBC Men’s Retreat. It was fabulous!
The older I get, the more aware I become that life is all about Jesus Christ and not about me. The older I get, the sharper my focus on eternity becomes. The older I get, the more I see life as it really is. We should all grow wiser with age because the Scriptures tell us to do so “Teach us to number our days that we may apply our heart unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). This prayer by the Psalmist should be ours as well. He sees every day as a learning experience and does not want to lose one moment of instruction from the guiding eye of Jehovah.
Instruction is all around us, but we must be wise and understanding students. We must be attentive to the details for nothing happens without a sovereign purpose, from the falling of the sparrow to the devastation of a hurricane. The sons of Adam see everything as fate, good luck, bad luck, happenstance, coincidence, or “that’s just life.” How sad not to be able to properly interpret what is being written or said. But is this not the nature of those who are blind and deaf to spiritual maters?
As sons of God, we must not fall into such a narrow way of thinking, trapped by human reason, which in essence is atheistic at worst and agnostic at best. Remember that it is all about Him. We are not central to the purposes of God. His glory is central. This is what I am learning, the older I get.
“Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
As I prefaced in my message last weekend, the topic of suffering and pain is too massive to cover in a single teaching. I recognize, as well, that even the subject of suffering can be a painful one. Though all people generally suffer, no one suffers in general. That is to say, most of us are acutely aware of exactly what causes pain in our lives. Discussion of the subject of pain in general can bring up very specific hurts.
As we deal with pain in our lives, remember that God is gracious in walking with us through the pain, despite our desire to circumvent it. And although in seasons of suffering we often feel alone and that no one hurts as badly as we do, this simply (and gloriously) is not true. Jesus willingly suffered the greatest pain history will ever know – it is no wonder He cried from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) before committing His spirit into the hands of a faithful Father. Many of us have cried the same cry from our crosses, but we too must follow His lead and commit our spirits into those same hands.
Thank God that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses… Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:15,16) Jesus has felt our pain and more, and He is with us always.
I believe much of suffering is a battle for belief. Below are some resources I hope will help you and help you to help others in seasons of suffering. Again, there are no formulas for dealing with suffering – but my hope is that as you develop your theology on this topic, your faith, hope and trust in Jesus would be strengthened. Each of these books is available in the RBC bookstore – stop by and pick up a copy or two sometime.
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“The problem with the way many Christians treat suffering is that they simply attempt to put a happy face on trials. A little personal suffering, however, goes a long way in revealing how vacuous careless platitudes can be. The issue of suffering is not to be treated in a cold and pedantic manner. Suffering is real and not something to be handled several steps removed. Yet if we address suffering merely subjectively, without focusing on the objective truths of the Bible, then there is all the reason in the world to despair.”
“If we are being honest, we will have to admit that every one of us, in a hundred different ways and for a thousand different reasons, has been guilty of murmuring “It’s not fair!” when things don’t go as we would like them to. So how do we respond when we, or others who come to us for counsel, are in such a state of despair? In a simple, compassionate, and eminently biblical way, Wayne Mack drives home the point that our only pathway to hope, when times are tough, is in apprehending the character of the just and sovereign God as he has revealed himself in the scriptures.”
“How differently would we live if we believed that every dimension of our lives – from the happy to the tragic to the mundane – were part of a beautiful and purposeful design in which no thread were wrongly woven? As Christians, we believe that great events such as a death or a birth are guided by the hand of God. Yet we drift into feeling that our daily lives are the product of our own efforts. This book brims with penetrating stories and insights that show us otherwise. Our backgrounds, our disappointments, our triumphs, and our beliefs are all part of the intentional and perfect work of the Grand Weaver.”
“How hard it is to see God’s goodness in the face of tragedy and suffering! Feeling abandoned, we cry out to him, question him, turn away from him, perhaps even curse him. It may seem like he’s cheated us – we’ve done our part following him, but he’s let us down. Hurting people must see their circumstances from an eternal perspective.”
“This clear and accessible treatment of key biblical themes related to human suffering and evil is written by one of the most respected evangelical biblical scholars alive today. Carson brings together a close, careful exposition of key biblical passages with helpful pastoral applications.”
“In the last few years, 9/11, a tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and many other tragedies have shown us that the vision of God in today’s churches in relation to evil and suffering is often frivolous. Against the overwhelming weight and seriousness of the Bible, many Christians are choosing to become more shallow, more entertainment-oriented, and therefore irrelevant in the face of massive suffering. In Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, contributors John Piper, Joni Eareckson Tada, Steve Saint, Carl Ellis, David Powlison, Dustin Shramek, and Mark Talbot explore the many categories of God’s sovereignty as evidenced in his Word. They urge you to look to Christ, even in suffering, to find the greatest confidence, deepest comfort, and sweetest fellowship you have ever known.”
Starting September 12, we will be adding a third service here at Reston Bible Church. New service times will be 8:15am, 10:00am, and 11:45am. If you have attended RBC since our move to Dulles, you know we are experiencing church growth. We believe healthy things grow, and we praise God for His blessings. The challenges we are facing in these “growing pains” are the kind of challenges many churches dream of having. In the video above, Pastor Ed Nalle revisits several of the major goals we had in relocating to this new campus and gives thanks to God for the blessings He has given us. He also outlines the plan for adding a third service, offers ways we can help alleviate parking congestion, and encourages us to engage in worshipful service here at RBC.
Our Youth Ministries – Jr. High (BreakThru) & Sr. High (Gap) – will meet 9:45 – 11:10am.
The Bereans Adult Bible Fellowship will meet at 10:00am in Room 250 (upstairs in the main building).
The Young Adults gathering LINK will meet at 11:30am in Room 240 (upstairs, main building).
QUEST children’s church and nursery programs will continue to be available during all three services. Different content will be offered for those children who are there for two blocks.
For general information on our weekend services, click here.
In our worship services on the 29th of September, I read a prayer and asked you to pray it with me. I’ve had a number of people ask for the text, so here it is. It is adapted from D.A. Carson’s wonderful book on the prayers of Paul, A Call to Spiritual Reformation.
Lord God, I ask your blessing on all who call Reston Bible Church their home, for without your blessing there will be no real benefit. We may have education, but not compassion; we may have forms of praying, but not fruitful adoration and intercession; we may have oratory, but be lacking in unction; we may thrill your people, but not transform them; we may expand their minds, but display too little wisdom and understanding; we may amuse many, but find few who are solidly regenerated by your blessed Holy Spirit.
So we ask you for your blessing, for the power of the Spirit, that we may know you better and grow in our grasp of your incalculable love for us. Bless us, Lord God, not with ease or endless triumph, but with faithfulness. Bless us with the right number of tears, and with minds and hearts that hunger both to know and to do your Word. Bless us with a profound hunger and thirst for righteousness, a zeal for truth, a love of people.
Bless us with the perspective that weighs all things from the vantage point of eternity. Bless us with a transparent love of holiness. Grant to us strength in weakness, joy in sorrow, calmness in conflict, patience when opposed or attacked, trustworthiness under temptation, love when we are hated, firmness and farsightedness when the climate prefers faddishness and drift.
We beg of you, holy and merciful God, that we may be used by you to extend your kingdom widely, to bring many to know and love you truly.
Grant above all that our lives will increasingly bring glory to your dear Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip us with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
As RBC settles in to our new campus in Dulles, VA, several things have changed in the Jr. High Ministry (6th- 8th graders). Now that there are separate Jr. High and Sr. High rooms, both can meet during the 11 am service. With the new location and time also comes a new name – BreakThru.
While the Jr. High years are a key transition time in a teen’s life where they are starting the process of “BreakingThru” from a child to an adult, they are also foundational years in their walks with the Lord. In Jr. High, teens have the capacity to understand the truths of God, but for the most part are not yet being challenged by all the trials of the world. This is why the vision for the Jr. High ministry comes from Matthew 7:24-27. In this passage, Jesus says that anyone who Listens to His words and Acts upon them is like a man who Builds his house upon the rock. That house stands firm even when the winds and the rain come and slam against the house, because it has a solid foundation.
But just like laying the foundation for RBC’s new facility was hard work, laying a solid foundation in our lives is no easy task. You have to cut down all the trees and brush. You have to dig down through the loose topsoil. You have to BreakThru rocks and boulders in the way, till you can lay a level foundation on solid ground. In the same way, we want our teens to Listen to the Word and begin to Act upon it, and in this process they are building a solid foundation for their lives on God’s Word and His wisdom.
If you are a parent of a Jr. Higher (6th-8th graders), we would love for you to join us on September 5th during the 11am service in Classroom 3 in the Youth Building, for a meeting where you will meet other parents, get a clear overview of what we do and why we do it, and experience a little of what your Jr. Higher does each week at BreakThru.
We look forward to helping your teen lay a solid foundation for their lives on the rock of Jesus Christ, so they can be prepared for lives of knowing Christ and making Him known.
Thank you so much to the many who faithfully prayed for the Croatia team this year. God definitely used your prayers in and through our lives. Personally, I saw more prayers answered in our two weeks there than I have seen during any period in my life, and each of you were a part of that. There were impending storms that threatened to cancel the baseball camp that never dropped more than a sprinkle. There were times when we were exhausted, but suddenly got another wave of energy to continue ministering. Our plans were constantly changing, but God was constantly providing. We thought we would just be planting seeds, but got to reap a harvest. Whatever number of kids we prayed to come to our camps, we got double.
God was incredibly gracious to us, and we thank you for partnering with us for the advancement of God’s kingdom. Thank you for your prayers. If you have any questions about the trip, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
~ Romans 12:9-13
In Romans 9:13, God instructs us through the words of the apostle Paul to practice hospitality. It is worth noting that Scripture is not tossing out a suggestion here. “Consider practicing hospitality when it is convenient or if you feel you might be particularly gifted in that area.” No. Practice hospitality. Paul’s word choice here is specific. He is not saying “practice” in the sense of “try this out to see if you’re any good at it” but rather “do this over and over and over so often that you get good at it.” Therefore, we are commanded to eagerly pursue, seek, and run after hospitality. Furthermore, Paul indicates from verse nine that the pursuit of hospitality is a fruit of sincere love.
In 1 Peter 4:8-9, Peter, like Paul frames hospitality in the context of a loving command:
8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
It would stand to reason that the call to pursue hospitality is not merely a call to practice a certain set of actions (thought it is not less than this), but a call to be a certain type of person. You know this type of person immediately when you encounter them. They love sincerely and deeply; they are hospitable with no strings attached. They are the type of person who is willing to undergo personal sacrifice for the glory of God and for the good of His people. In God’s call to practice and pursue hospitality, this is the type of person He is asking us to be.
Hospitality by its nature is inconvenient, and the practice of hospitality requires some level of personal sacrifice. There have been many times when my family and I have been the recipients of others’ hospitality. I remember a specific time earlier this year when some friends invited us to their house for brunch. It was evident that an amount of foresight and preparation had gone into our being there. Their house was clean, a meal had been prepared, and their demeanor and interactions with us were warm and engaging. They broke from their normal routines, bought extra food and invested extra time and effort to invite us into their home, though we had no inherent right to be there. The command to pursue hospitality is a command to be that type of person, willing to sacrifice, not grumbling at the inconvenience or resentful at whatever personal cost has to be made to pursue someone through hospitality.
It is not difficult to see how hospitality is intrinsic to the gospel of Jesus Christ. A great price has been paid by a gracious Host to invite many in to a place we have no inherent right to be. We are here by loving and gracious invitation. If we understand the gospel, hospitality is simply a natural overflow of Jesus’ grace in our life to others’. Only through Him can we be the type of person God calls to be.
During our relocation process, I have been using and thinking about the phrase “our new church home” to refer to our new facility here in Dulles, VA. “Home” has certain implications for most; for me, home is an intersection of duty and delight. There is duty in that my home requires constant maintenance and upkeep, and there is delight in extending the benefits of my home with others – family, friends or otherwise. Particularly in this age of visual learners, the practice of hospitality is a poignant and tangible reminder of God’s gracious hospitality though Christ. Hospitality should be a hallmark of our homes and our church. God grants us the grace to pursue this virtue through Christ, and to steward this well, we must find that sweet spot where duty and delight intersect – obeying the command to practice hospitality, but delighting in it because it glorifies Him as our greatest treasure.
Pray that God would mature and bless our families and our church as we seek to reflect the glory of the gospel of Christ through the practice and pursuit of hospitality.
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Let me also offer a practical & specific next step for you: consider joining our Host Team here at RBC. The Host Team is comprised of volunteers who serve during weekend services in various capacities. This team is an incredibly important part of church life at RBC and is the first point of contact for many guests and our own congregation. We currently desire to raise up over 100 men and women to serve as ushers and parking lot attendants during our Sunday services. You can find more information here: www.restonbible.org/resources/volunteer
I trust that many of you were able to attend a service this past Sunday at the new RBC location. It was a special day and one in which was the fulfillment of many prayers. I praise the Lord for what He has done and look forward to what He will continue to do in and through His RBC body. During the summer, we usually average 1065 adults and 220 children in three services. Our first Sunday at the new location we had 1700 adults and 390 children in two services. To God be the glory!
As many of you noticed, this blessing was accompanied with a few parking challenges. I trust that this Sunday you will notice a vast improvement in parking and traffic flow. I know that each of us would like to assure that all elderly, expectant mothers, families with small children, those with special needs and guests have the opportunity to park in the church parking lot. In addition, we desire the traffic to flow in a safe and timely fashion. Therefore, I want to introduce two new opportunities to serve.
OVERFLOW PARKING MINISTRY
Would you be willing to serve by occasionally parking in the overflow lot (first left off of Oakbrook as you enter from Cascades Parkway)? We have access to 120 parking spaces in this lot and would like able-bodied volunteers to choose to park in the overflow lot to make room in the RBC lot. For now, we would like to utilize all 120 spaces on August 15 and 22, not knowing the exact need. You may drop off passengers in the drop off circle, located in front of the church, prior to entering the overflow lot. Parking attendants and signs will direct you to this lot as you arrive on Sunday. It is a 10-minute leisurely walk from the overflow lot to the church, so plan accordingly.
To volunteer, please register online by clicking here.
PARKING ATTENDANT MINISTRY
We have an immediate need for volunteers to help direct the flow of traffic. We are looking for 50-60 volunteers (men and women), who can commit to serve once every 4 to 6 weeks as a parking attendant. We will have three parking teams serving each week during these times:
TEAM 1: Before first service 8:45-9:20AM
TEAM 2: In between services 10:15- 11:05AM
TEAM 3: After second service 12:15-12:40PM
Training will be provided this Sunday (August 15) at 8AM and 11:10AM in classroom 250A. To volunteer, please click here to register.
God has truly blessed us with these facilities and may we use them to impact lives for His glory. Thank you in advance for serving and impacting a life in this way. Keep keeping on!
~ Tony Pedroni (on behalf of the Elders)
Where and in whom do you find your identity? Jobs, family, friends? Join us September 17-19, 2010 at the Reston Bible Church Men’s Retreat. John Lynch, the teaching pastor at Open Door Fellowship in Phoenix, AZ, joins us this year as our keynote speaker. More information and online registration can be found at www.restonbible.org/identity
On August 8, 2010, after over ten years of faithful giving, planning and praying, Reston Bible Church held our first services in our new church home in Dulles, VA.
How does a pastor express his thanks to so many people who have made all this a reality? We had six hundred more adults than we normally have. We went through 32 gallons of coffee. (Is it any wonder the toilets were clogged?)
We have many challenges ahead of us and we will need your patient cooperation over these next few months. As your pastor, I just wanted to say how thrilled I am to help shepherd such a wonderful group of people who truly want to see the kingdom advanced throughout the world. You have blessed my life and family more than you could ever know.
To God be the glory.
This slideshow contains photos of construction on the original Reston Bible Church facility in 1983-84. This clip was shown as part of our final service in this building on August 1, 2010.
I never cease to be amazed at the strength of my flesh. Its natural affinity for the world offers no resistance but yields so easily. This fallen man, referred to by Paul as “wretched,” is so hopelessly entangled with pleasing itself it becomes drowned in its own selfish pursuits.
Thus, we must see ourselves through the lens of Scripture that penetrates the heart where self-examination fails to reach. Scripture affords us the great privilege of looking beyond our natural horizons. We can see with the eye of faith that which the natural eye will never comprehend. We can hear the voice of God that our natural ears are deaf to.
We are foreigners to a life of rest, but very familiar with frustration, angst, fear, restlessness and unnecessary busyness. This should not be. If God is our central pursuit, then all that satisfies us will be found in Him. We are not to be discouraged by our fallen nature but are to rejoice in the power of our new nature, which is born again and takes us out of the kingdom of darkness and places us into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.