Where Are You Going?

September 17, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Do you have a destination in mind for your life? I’m not talking about a physical location, necessarily, but an objective that you are striving after. Some may call these life goals. What are you aiming for? As followers of Christ who believe the Bible is God’s inerrant and authoritative word, we believe that God is leading our lives. Paul says that God “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11) and “all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28). This is affirmed throughout the Bible (cf. Is. 55:11; Ps. 139:16). So, where is God leading you? Does your life goal match God’s life goal for you? ... Keep Reading

To Love is to Serve

September 10, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This past Sunday I mentioned my first missions trip. It was to Jamaica to help build a school for deaf children. I was fifteen years old. The long-term missionary led our devotions each morning and he repeated the phrase, “To love is to serve.” If we are going to love people, we must serve people. That phrase was cemented into my mind and has shaped my life and ministry since. In 1 Peter 4:8-10, the apostle calls the church to “keep loving one another,” “show hospitality to one another,” and “serve one another.” As I learned so many years ago, there is a link between loving someone and serving that person. I have also learned there is another link between love and serving. To serve together increases our love for one another. That trip to Jamaica was not my last missions trip. I returned to Jamaica three more times to work at the school for the deaf. I have been to Mexico a dozen times to help build homes and churches for migrant native Mexicans. I have been to Warm Springs twice to serve with Sacred Road. I have traveled to Athens, Haiti, and Cameroon to serve in the education of indigenous ministers. In all these missions trips, this principle has been reaffirmed every time: To serve together increases our love for one another. The teams I traveled with always came home with a greater love and affection for one another.... Keep Reading

The Cardinal Virtue of Self-Control

September 3, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

In my Scripture reading and sermon study over the past few months, a particular word has been catching my attention. The word is “self-control,” a single word in the Greek. In my recollection, “self-control” does not receive much attention in Christian circles. Other virtues and character qualities are often highlighted before self-control, like love, joy, peace, humility, patience, mercy, etc. Such underemphasis can lead to a lack of appreciation and understanding of this core virtue. Consider how essential “self-control” is to the Christian life: In Acts 24:25, when Paul is explaining faith in Christ to governor Felix, “he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment.” Self-control came up in an introduction to Christianity. In Galatians 5:23, Paul lists “self-control” as one of the nine fruit of the Spirit. ... Keep Reading

Revel in Being Rooted

August 27, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Part of our vision for Oak Hills is that we would be Rooted in the Gospel. That’s God’s desire and design for his people. I would argue that we would not be a church unless we were rooted in the Gospel; it is that essential to our existence. I explained in Sunday’s sermon that we are passive in the activity of being rooted in Christ. Paul commands in Colossians 2:6 that we are to “walk in Christ,” and then he explains the supporting strength for obeying such a command in verse 7: “having been rooted in him.” We are able to walk in Christ because God has rooted us in Christ. The relationship has already been established. Paul speaks about us being rooted in one other passage, Ephesians 3:17. In this paragraph, Paul is offering prayer for the church at Ephesus. Paul’s prayers are highly instructional regarding our relationship with God. Let me break down this prayer and demonstrate the place our rootedness has in our lives. ... Keep Reading

Christ, Our Example

August 20, 2020 | by: Stephen Sprague | 0 Comments

This touchpoint article is the third in a series of articles drawn from some of our devotions at SummerLink. I encourage you to consider reading these with someone else ... Keep Reading

Pray for all People

August 13, 2020 | by: Stephen Sprague | 0 Comments

The Touchpoint articles from this week and last week are drawn from some of our devotions at SummerLink this past year. I encourage you to consider reading and discussing these with someone else ... Keep Reading

Because of the Great Love with which He Loved Us

August 6, 2020 | by: Stephen Sprague | 0 Comments

The Touchpoint articles for this week and next week are drawn from some of our devotions at SummerLink this past year. I encourage you to consider reading and discussing these with someone else ... Keep Reading

The Big Picture of John's Gospel

July 30, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Ever hear the saying “Missing the forest for the trees”? It speaks about getting caught up in details, minutiae, and losing sight of the bigger picture. This is a very real danger in many situations, even in our study of Scripture. That’s why I was taught in seminary to study a passage in light of its immediate context, the context of the book, and the context of all Scripture. The Bible is a unity; while it has many human authors, Scripture has one divine author. As we work our way through the Gospel of John, it is easy to get caught up in the details of individual miracles and teaching sections and miss the bigger picture of the Gospel itself. And every week, I’m wrestling with the clock: what do I include and what do I pass over in my sermon. I want to use this opportunity to highlight some of the wonders of the bigger picture of John’s Gospel. ... Keep Reading

What is the Miracle?

July 23, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This Sunday at Oak Hills we are coming to a familiar Bible story, the feeding of the 5,000. It is one of two miracles from Jesus’ earthly ministry that is recorded in all four gospels (walking on water is the other one). It is a favorite story for children’s Bibles and Sunday School lessons. Most of the details and circumstances surrounding this miracle are well-known and undisputed. Jesus, with his disciples, retreat to a desolate place for a restful break from the crowds. Because of his fame, the people still sought Jesus. The gospels are clear that 5,000 men are present. With women and children, most agree that upwards of 20,000 people have gathered to Jesus. Since the place is desolate, a crisis of food arises. Jesus prods his disciples, who are weary and looking for a break from people, to meet the needs of the large crowd. They are skeptical and find only a boy with five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus proceeds to feed the crowd with this small provision. The disciples collect the leftovers in twelve baskets. While so much of the story is agreed upon, there is one detail that is debated among Bible scholars… what is the miracle? ... Keep Reading

Living by the Spirit, Part 4

July 16, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

“Walk by the Spirit.” So far, we have analyzed this command by asking why, what, and how. Why should we obey? Because this command is essential for holy and fruitful living for God. What is the work of the Spirit? All of the work of the Spirit revolves around the truth of Christ. How do we walk by the Spirit? By being in the Word of God, the truth-realm of the Spirit, on a regular basis (i.e. be filled with the Word of Christ). I have one more question related to this command from Galatians 5:16. What is the fruit of obedience to this command? You might be thinking that should be a no-brainer. If you are familiar with Galatians 5, you know that Paul continues the discussion about the flesh and the Spirit by highlighting the “works of the flesh” and the “fruit of the Spirit.” The fruit of obeying the command “walk by the Spirit” is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (5:22-23). ... Keep Reading

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