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Was Hosea Successful? How About Me?

August 31, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I have often wondered how the prophets of the Old Testament understood “success.” How did they define success? How did they measure success? How could they know if they were successful or not? Take Hosea as an example. His ministry spanned a period of 20-30 years in the middle of the 8th century BC. We have 14 chapters recorded of his message to the northern kingdom of Israel. The center of his message was a call to repentance from spiritual idolatry. We know from biblical history that Israel, as a nation, never repented. The warnings of Hosea came to fruition. The Assyrian Empire destroyed the nation and scattered the people in exile.... Keep Reading

Grace Through Relationships

August 24, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I have asked the men of Oak Hills to read a book with me this summer, Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray. I’m drawn to this book because I want to see the grace of God lived out more and more in my life, in my thinking, in my feeling, in my marriage, in my family, in my relationships, and in my work. I hope you are able to pick up a copy and read with me. It will be the launching pad for discussion at our Men’s Breakfast this Saturday. In the meantime, I want to use these Touchpoint articles to share some of my reflections as I work through Murray’s book. This is part five. I have enjoyed reading and reflecting on Murray’s book, Reset. This book has been highly practical while rooted in deep Scriptural principles. In each chapter, Murray focuses on a different area of our lives where the grace of Christ needs to be applied and practiced. This discipline of living a “grace-paced” life leads to healthy routines in our families, our marriages, our mental processes, our emotions, our churches, etc. I highly recommend this book (Murray’ wife also wrote a counterpart, specifically for women: Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands, coming out in October).... Keep Reading

Guest Article by Stephen Sprague

August 17, 2017 | by: Stephen Sprague | 0 Comments

Praying the Psalms of David Lately I've been thinking a lot about prayer and the examples of prayer we have in the Psalms. More specifically, the Psalms attributed to David. They are a great example of what a good prayer life can look like. David voices it all in these Psalms. He confesses sin, shows frustration, begs for mercy, cries out in the midst of suffering, and praises God in both victory and defeat. In all of this he provides for us a great example of what it looks like to place one's faith in God. ... Keep Reading

Guest article by AJ Harbison

August 10, 2017 | by: AJ Harbison | 0 Comments

Pastor Dale is on vacation this week, and he asked me to write a Touchpoint article regarding some of the "what"s and the "why"s of worship at Oak Hills. He and I have been reading a book together, Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice by Bryan Chapell, former president of Covenant Theological Seminary. In the book, Chapell lays out a number of ways that the story of redemption impacts and shapes the way we structure our worship services, and our worship at Oak Hills follows many of these principles. ... Keep Reading

Grace in Silence & Solitude

August 3, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I have asked the men of Oak Hills to read a book with me this summer, Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray. I’m drawn to this book because I want to see the grace of God lived out more and more in my life, in my thinking, in my feeling, in my marriage, in my family, in my relationships, and in my work. I hope you are able to pick up a copy and read with me. It will be the launching pad for discussion at our Men’s Breakfast on August 26. In the meantime, I want to use these Touchpoint articles to share some of my reflections as I work through Murray’s book. This is part four. Last week we considered Murray’s chapter on the “grace of sleep” and how it contributes to a “grace-paced” life. Our sleep habits reveal certain beliefs about God from which we operate. Physical rest is not the only rest that is called for by the Bible. Mental and soul rest are just as vital, as Psalm 46:10 states, “Be still, and know that I am God.” How do we give our minds and souls rest? Murray makes the case for silence and solitude.... Keep Reading

The Grace Of Sleep

July 27, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I have asked the men of Oak Hills to read a book with me this summer, Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray. I’m drawn to this book because I want to see the grace of God lived out more and more in my life, in my thinking, in my feeling, in my marriage, in my family, in my relationships, and in my work. I hope you are able to pick up a copy and read with me. It will be the launching pad for discussion at our Men’s Breakfast on August 26. In the meantime, I want to use these Touchpoint articles to share some of my reflections as I work through Murray’s book. This is part three. Have you ever read a chapter in a book about sleep (much less than an entire book on sleep)? I don't recall ever reading much about sleep. But sleep is where David Murray starts in guiding his readers to recover and/or develop a grace-paced life. He began his book by helping us diagnose grace deficiencies in our lives, but the majority of his book focuses on ways to cultivate more grace in our daily activities. Sleep is step one.... Keep Reading

Detecting Grace Deficiencies

July 20, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I have asked the men of Oak Hills to read a book with me this summer, Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray. I’m drawn to this book because I want to see the grace of God lived out more and more in my life, in my thinking, in my feeling, in my marriage, in my family, in my relationships, and in my work. I hope you are able to pick up a copy and read with me. It will be the launching pad for discussion at our Men’s Breakfast on August 26. In the meantime, I want to use these Touchpoint articles to share some of my reflections as I work through Murray’s book. This is part two. Last week we began by looking at what David Murray calls "grace deficiencies." These are areas in our lives where grace is not making a difference, even though we may have great knowledge of God's grace. Before Murray dives into the ways we can cultivate the transforming power of grace into our lives, he spends time helping us detect and analyze grace deficiencies. The aim in this process is to prevent total burn out and to begin to make progress in a grace-paced life.... Keep Reading

Grace Deficiencies

July 13, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I have asked the men of Oak Hills to read a book with me this summer, Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray. I’m drawn to this book because I want to see the grace of God lived out more and more in my life, in my thinking, in my feeling, in my marriage, in my family, in my relationships, and in my work. I hope you are able to pick up a copy and read with me. It will be the launching pad for discussion at our Men’s Breakfast on August 26. In the meantime, I want to use these Touchpoint articles to share some of my reflections as I work through Murray’s book. This is part one. At Oak Hills our mission is longing to know and make known the astonishing grace of God. Within this mission we aim to center everything we do on the grace of God offered through Jesus Christ. This “longing to know and make known” encompasses all areas of our life and ministry together: worship, Bible study, fellowship, outreach, missions, discipleship, etc. In fact, we can boil down our mission to four action words:... Keep Reading

Deeds Prohibit Repentance?

July 6, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This summer at Oak Hills we have been studying the Old Testament prophet Hosea. He is best known for his illustrative marriage to Gomer, an eye-opening lesson for the people of God about spiritual adultery. On the flip side of their (our) spiritual adultery is the faithfulness, steadfast love, redemption, and restoration of God. This story proves to be a beautiful and powerful depiction of what it means to be in a relationship with God. Take sin seriously. Delight yourself in your loving, kind, forgiving, heavenly Father. Like a multi-faceted jewel, which you can spin around and see new marvelous angles of beauty, Hosea unfolds with new angles of beauty into our relationship with God. One of those facets is how sin affects our relationship with God. We have seen that sin is rooted in the lack of knowledge of God (2:8) and that sin takes the place of God in our hearts (2:5). In chapter 5 we learn that sin actually can be a roadblock to repentance.... Keep Reading

To Forsake or Not to Forsake

June 29, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Perhaps you have a plaque or a framed picture in your home with Joshua’s words: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” It is a good mission or goal to keep for your home and family. The context of these words comes at the end of Joshua’s life and leadership of Israel. They had conquered the Promised Land (with God’s help). Now the twelve tribes of Israel are to settle in their new land allotments. Joshua gives them a final exhortation to follow the Lord as their King. He lays out the choice before them: “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).... Keep Reading

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