Indelible Grace Church

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Indelible Grace Church Blog

Retreat 2011

alt

Our first retreat was at Mission Springs from August 19-21, with IGC joining New Hope Church in San Jose.  The theme of the retreat was “Encountering God” – that our greatest need is not a good life, or a job, or even health, but to know God and experience his grace.   Undoubtedly, the best moment of the retreat was the campfire on Saturday night when Pastor SooSang led New Hope in praying for IGC’s work as a church plant. It was a powerful experience to know the love and support of our new Christian friends, and to be reminded of the important work of the gospel in the East Bay. We come back refreshed and with renewed commitment for gospel life together.

More images from the retreat:

alt

You can also listen to the four retreat messages here.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 15:04
 

Reflections on the Second Commandment

alt

The second commandment says that we are not to make images of God.  Most Christians breezily believe this is one of the easier commandments to keep.  Just go through your home – no weird idols statues laying around? – check, I’m keeping the second commandment.

The story of Jeroboam tells us otherwise.  Jeroboam was the first king of the northern kingdom after Israel split in two.  He was anxious about the people going down to Jerusalem to worship God, so he built two alternative temple sites centered around these huge statues of pure gold, each depicting a bull calf.  Now you would think Jeroboam was introducing a new religion.  After all, the people were bowing down to a golden calf!

But here’s the kicker.  Jeroboam did not say these were pagan gods, but that the golden calves was the God of the Bible.  He said, “behold your God*, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” (1 Kings 12:28)  Jeroboam believed the golden calves were an accurate picture of God.  This might seem ridiculous to us modern people, but in the culture of the day, it made enormous sense.  A bull calf was the most valuable animal in a farming society, signifying great worth and strength.  And rendered in glittering gold, it must have made an overwhelming impression on the worshippers – surely here is the glory and majesty of God!

The sad truth is that Jeroboam was woefully ignorant of Scripture and thus let his imagination and the culture of his day shape his understanding of God.  The question for us is this – how do we know we’re not doing the same thing?  How do we know that the God we worship is the true God, and not a golden calf?  The answer is that unless we’re immersed in Scripture, we don’t.  If we’re not constantly seeking to understand God as he has revealed himself in Scripture, then we will simply depend on our own imagination and the images popular culture gives us.  In other words, we will create a god of our own convenience and a god who serves our interests – just like Jeroboam.  And just like Jeroboam, we won’t even know.  We’ll just think the Bible is too much of a hassle to read, and besides, it won’t tell us anything we don’t already know about God – again, just like Jeroboam.  This is a sobering reality.

Here’s what this tells us about how to keep the second commandment.  Unless you’re constantly battling the false images our modern culture tells us about God, by soaking yourself in Scripture, you are breaking the second commandment.  For, as you read the Bible seriously, you will find yourself constantly surprised and stunned at who the real God is, the God who acts in Scripture and whose final revelation is Christ crucified.

"Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth." (Hosea 6:3)

* Most translations render the verse in the plural, “behold your gods, O Israel.” The original Hebrew word is “Elohim.” The problem here for translators is that this word is both singular and plural – so it can be either “gods” or “God,” depending on the context. Some translators look at the fact that there were two golden calves and so render it “gods.” But if you look at what Jeroboam says, he clearly has the God of Exodus in mind (“who brought you out of Egypt”), and so the better translation is the singular “God.” We also know Jeroboam was not creating a new pagan religion because he establishes identical feast days and priestly responsibilities as what was done in Jerusalem. (1 Kings 12:32)

Last Updated on Monday, 08 August 2011 11:16
 

Church at the Park 2

This past Sunday, we held our second "Church at the Park" at Palomares Hills Park. It was a beautiful day to worship God, grill meat and hang out.

You can see images from our first "Church at the Park" by clicking here.

alt alt alt alt alt alt

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 July 2011 22:06
 

Skeptics Night

alt

On July 9th, Indelible Grace Church hosted our first "Seminar for Skeptics." We rented a bar, bought everyone a drink, and held a discussion on the question – "How can a good God allow for evil and suffering?" Some might raise an eyebrow at the fact that a church event involves buying people alcoholic drinks. Our response is: first, the Bible actually has an incredibly positive view of alcohol (the heavenly banquet feast includes copious amounts of wine – see Isaiah 25:6), second, the Bible condemns the abuse of alcohol (drunkenness) not alcohol itself (this applies to all good things like sex, money, etc.), and third (and most important), we deliberately chose the venue because of its attractiveness for those who are otherwise allergic to church.

The talk began with the story of Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, a 13-year-old Syrian boy who was brutally tortured and killed by security forces for tagging along with his parents on a democracy march. He sustained three gunshot wounds, multiple broken bones, including both his kneecaps, multiple burn marks, and his genitals were cut off. Where was God in all of this? The talk presented three answers:

(1) It is self-defeating to disbelieve in God because the world is full of evil, since it is only because of God that we can know there is evil.

(2) The fact that we don’t know of a reason why God would allow for evil and suffering does not mean there isn’t one.

(3) Evil and suffering is not something God hovers over and remains aloof from. But astonishingly, God enters into our suffering in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. We may not know the answer to problem of evil and suffering, but seeing Jesus dying on the cross shows us that the reason can’t be because God doesn’t love us. This is a unique resource Christianity gives us and what distinguishes Christianity from all religions – a portrait of a suffering God.

alt

We also had a follow-up question and answer time. The questions ranged from the morality of homosexuality, the fairness of hell, the challenge of science, among other issues. These are all important questions for which Christianity has a response. However, it is important to remember that what you believe about homosexuality or evolution is not what makes you a Christian. What makes you a Christian is whether you believe and trust in Christ. That’s the core question – do you believe Jesus is who he says he is? Everything else is peripheral. We make the mistake of wanting to settle first these peripheral questions before we can believe in Jesus. But that is to go about it entirely in the wrong way. First, we ought to determine if Jesus is worthy of our adoration and worship, and only then ask what Jesus teaches us about sexuality and science and so forth.

The evening created some good discussions and we hope to host another event in the coming months, addressing the question – "How can Christianity claim to be the only true religion?"

You can listen to the audio of the evening here.

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 August 2011 12:17
 

Redwood Bowl BBQ Picnic

Some photos from our church barbeque picnic:

alt alt alt alt alt alt

 


Page 14 of 19