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Indelible Grace Church Blog

Objecting to Predestination

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In the movie, The Adjustment Bureau, Matt Damon plays a character who has a chance encounter with a woman played by Emily Blunt. They're immediately attracted to one another and fall in love. But then mysterious agents in fedora hats appear – they work for the all-powerful "Chairman" (read: God). According to the Chairman's "Plan," Matt Damon and Emily Blunt were never supposed to meet. And so the mysterious agents attempt to rewrite history – rearranging memories and separating the two star-crossed lovers. In the movie, there’s a scene where Matt Damon confronts the agents: "if I'm not supposed to be with her, how come I feel this way?" The agent responds coldly, "it doesn’t matter how you feel; what matters is what’s in the Plan."

In the tagline of the movie, it says, "do you believe in the power of free will?" And as we see Matt Damon and Emily Blunt running from the agents, the movie invites us to cheer on the characters as they resist the fate pre-determined by the ominous Chairman.

While the movie is a bit ham-fisted in its protest against the idea of predestination, it nevertheless captures our modern culture's objections against a God who foreordains all things. Starting March 15, Pastor Michael will teach a three-part Sunday school series looking at the biblical teaching on predestination and addressing the following questions:

(1) What about free will? (Class 1)
(2) How can God blame us then? (Class 2)
(3) Doesn't this make God the author of evil? (Class 2)
(4) Doesn't the Bible say God wants all people to be saved? (Class 2)
(5) Isn't predestination is unfair? (Class 3)
(6) What about John 3:16? (Class 3)
(7) What about faith? (Class 3)
(8) So then does God choose randomly? (Class 3)
(9) What about evangelism? (Class 3)

You can also catch the recordings of the lessons here.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 March 2015 14:50
 

How can we know the Bible is from God?

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One of the most difficult questions Christians grapple with is how do we know the Bible is from God and not the product of man? This is not a peripheral issue but goes to the heart of Christianity since the gospel is not a set of timeless moral principles but good news of something that happened in history.

The answer is that Jesus himself establishes the authority and truth of the Bible. First, he commissioned the writing of the New Testament through his apostles. Jesus appointed twelve apostles so that they might be with him and learn from him, and then to go out and proclaim his teaching (Mark 3:14-15). Jesus equipped the apostles with the Spirit, so that "he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (John 14:26). Acts speaks of the apostles as those "chosen by God as witnesses" of Christ (Acts 10:41).

And then second, Jesus everywhere affirms the Old Testament. So, for example, when Jesus cites Genesis that "man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh," he states that this is from God (Matthew 19:4-6). Or when quoting from Psalm 110, Jesus identifies the Holy Spirit as the ultimate source (Mark 12:36). Thus everywhere, Jesus positively affirmed the divine authorship of the Old Testament.

Ultimately, Scripture rests on the authority of Jesus.  He is at the center of the story and the one who establishes its veracity.

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Last Updated on Friday, 06 February 2015 16:00
 

2014 Year-in-review

Our year in photos:

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January – Two new community groups have began this year

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February – Serving our neighbors at Marshall Elementary School

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March – Third "Skeptics Night" held at Bodi’s Java

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July – Church picnic at San Felipe Park

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July – Five church members went to Haiti through Mission of Hope

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August – Thinking about suffering in Job at our annual retreat

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September – 22 women gathered for the Women’s Mentorship kickoff

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October – The men of IGC spending time together at Castro Village Bowl

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November – Packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child

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December – IGC Christmas Party held at the Castro Valley Community Center

Last Updated on Monday, 12 January 2015 19:53
 

A Thanksgiving devotional

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It is remarkable how often the Bible speaks about giving thanks. There is one verse that has always impressed me – "give thanks always and for everything to God." (Ephesians 5:20) The Christian life is to be marked by ceaseless thanksgiving. I think this is profound for three reasons. First, it shows that thanksgiving is an orientation of the heart. Rather than complain or grumble about circumstances, which is to give into our self-absorption, we are to continually look upward to God and see his abiding goodness. Second, since we are to give thanks for all things, it means that we see, in faith, the wise and good providence of God, even in our tragedies and suffering. And third, a heart filled with gratitude will produce a life overflowing in praise and adoration, which is the very purpose of our existence. "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

 

Harry Chan: reflections on seminary

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I recently graduated with a MABTS (Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies) from Western Seminary. My time there was overall a good experience. I often found myself in class thanking God for the opportunity to even be immersed in a school dedicated to teaching and learning about the Bible and theology and practical ministry. But while Western has given me a much more in-depth knowledge in these various areas, what made my experience most rewarding was having the opportunity to serve as an intern at Indelible Grace Church during my entire 3-year seminary stint. Serving in the local church while learning from and being mentored by Pastor Michael during my time in seminary has been invaluable and a huge blessing.

Seminary should not replace the local church in teaching and raising up godly men and women to do kingdom work, but it is a great supplemental ministry that works alongside the church. My experience was exactly that, and I am so blessed to have gone through my seminary experience in this way.

Seminary was also a very humbling experience. After graduating, I didn't and still don't feel as equipped as I thought I would be. There is so much more to learn, and most things were only touched upon in seminary, but the beauty of this is that there is much more knowledge to be gained and much more growth to be had. I still feel inadequate to be doing ministry work, but this is ultimately a good thing because it keeps me relying on God to sustain and empower me, and it keeps me hungry to learn and grow in understanding and continually work towards excellence in ministry.

But even more than just growing in biblical knowledge and practical application, the combination of my time in seminary while serving and being served at IGC has helped me to truly develop a greater longing for God and his glory and a deeper love and appreciation for Jesus Christ and the church that he loves and died to redeem. I am thankful for faithful churches and seminaries that boldly proclaim the gospel!

Last Updated on Friday, 31 October 2014 10:38
 


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