New Original Music @ LifePoint

Check out the video for the title track of our new original music being released through LifePoint by Clarensau, the band led by our music pastor, Tyler. “Death Met Grace” is the title track to the 6 song album being released Easter Sunday. The entire album was written, recorded, and produced by the people of LifePoint Church. You can share the video through Facebook through Clarensau’s page: https://www.facebook.com/clarensau

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Life Groups @ LifePoint – GET CONNECTED!

We have entered another open enrollment period for our Life Groups @ LPC. It’s super easy- click here and get connected!

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Northwest Conference @ LifePoint

NWMN conferenceIn a few weeks LifePoint will host the Northwest Ministry Network Annual Conference. As a part of the Northwest Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God, Annual Conference is a yearly event where we gather with pastors and representatives from the other 350+ AG churches from Washington and Northern Idaho. It rotates around the region, and periodically LifePoint gets the opportunity to host. We’ll be welcoming in probably around 700 pastors and leaders from others churches in our network, for the 3-day event. You can find the schedule and other info for the event here.

If you would like to volunteer to help out at the conference, you can email Kristie Saccenti at kristies@lpcvan.com.

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Politics, Christians, and the Bible

One of the more hotly debated topics in American culture today is the marriage of faith and politics. Christians are all over the spectrum on this issue. What role should we play in politics? What does the Bible teach concerning governments, economies, and political systems? How should we interact with the government in our specific nation?

I’m preparing to preach a message on 1 Peter 2:13-17 this coming Sunday. This text is one of two primary texts in the New Testament that deal with the subject of the Christian approach and response to civil government (the other being Romans 13:1-7).

A source I refer to often on this subject is one I would like to recommend to you. It is called Politics According to the Bible by Wayne Grudem.

Grudem politicsIn true Grudem fashion, this book is a comprehensive encyclopedic treatment of the subject. At over 600 pages and equipped with Scripture, subject and name indices, it is a tremendously helpful tool. The text I’m preaching this week was referred to on 24 different pages spanning the entire volume.

If you are given to thinking often concerning such things, this book is a good resource for your reference.

 

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LifePoint Church…For Our City

Amazing story here of the impact LifePoint Church is making through strategic partnerships with community organizations in Vancouver. God has called us out of the world to be the church in the world. For more videos, or to give and get updates on To Be The Church, check out tobethechurch.com.

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A Crazy King and a Beautiful Psalm

Psalm 34 is one of the more celebrated and beautiful anthems of praise to God in all of Scripture. It begins:

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.  2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.  3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!  4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.  5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.  6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.  7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.  8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!  9 Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!  10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

The circumstances that developed this Spirit-inspired song in David’s heart are pretty amazing. Personally, I think it is one of the more hilarious stories in the Old Testament. Psalm 34 begins: “Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.”

The story unfolds in 1 Samuel 21, when David was fleeing from Saul.

1 Samuel 21:10 – 22:1

And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath.  11 And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?”  12 And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath.  13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard.  14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me?  15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him.

At first glance there seems to be a discrepancy in the 1 Samuel account and the introduction to the Psalm. In 1 Samuel David flees from “Achish,” whereas the Psalm says he was fleeing from “Abimelech.” This is easily explainable. “Abimelech” was actually a royal title for kings in the area of Philistia, similar to the term “Pharaoh” in reference to kings of Egypt. “Achish” was the personal name of the king at the time of David’s 1 Samuel 21 encounter. In the writing of the Psalm it was obviously decided that the more common term “Abimelech” should be used rather than the personal name of a king for whom the readers had less of a reference.

I love the down-to-earth nature of this story. David praised God for his provision and amazing deliverance, recognizing that although he went to great lengths to escape the Philistines, God’s sovereignty was still at work. The details of our lives, though at times they may seem random or even a bit crazy, can certainly lead to anthems of praise for God’s continual deliverance, protection, and provision. God is working on and behind the scenes, whether we realize it or not.

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Sin is Like a Donut Hole + Death

There is this grocery store near my house that shall remain nameless. They produce these little packages of donut holes periodically. They first list these boxes of glazed and powdered goodness at $2.99. After a day or two (or nine) they will lower the price to the “they’re about to get moldy” discount of 99 cents. This is when I strike. They think they can trick me by requiring me to have their special “rewards card,” which is really just a piece of plastic that you must scan in order to escape their exorbitant prices. Once you scan your card the reward you receive is that their prices are only slightly higher than the big box store down the street, rather than immorally higher.

The crazy thing about these donut holes is that after I eat them I usually feel like garbage. They’re super good for about 5 minutes (especially after a brief trip through the microwave), but after consuming more than 3 or 4, I get a stomach ache. The donut holes assassinate my insides and leave me with that “I just ate several little donuts that added up to at least 3 or 4 regular sized donuts and now I hurt” feeling.

These donut holes remind me of sin. Last week I posted a blog entitled “sin is pleasurable.” That claim is only half true. Sin is enjoyable for a moment, but what it leaves in its wake is anything but pleasurable.

Genesis 3:6 is the verse in the Bible that details the moment when sin broke into the human experience through the willful disobedience of our first parents. Satan tempted Eve by questioning God’s word, and this is what happened next:

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

As we saw last week, there are 3 ways this verse describes sin:

1) It was good for food
2) It was a delight to the eyes
3) It was “desired to make one wise”

All three of these are a mirage. These claims about sin are all a lie. That forbidden fruit wasn’t good for food. God said, “Eat whatever you want, just don’t eat that.”[1] When God looked at all of creation (before Adam and Eve fell) he saw that “it was good.” God blessed them and gave them to each other and said “be fruitful and multiply.” What that tree offered was not good for sustaining life or for fulfilling the cravings of their souls. It wasn’t good for food. That was a lie Eve believed.

The forbidden fruit was also described as “a delight to the eyes.” It looked good. But was it good? Was it delightful? No. That was also a lie. Eve believed the lies Satan was telling her and her perception of sin changed. Instead of seeing it for what it was, sin appeared delightful. But it wasn’t delightful. It was a pathway to death and separation from God.

The third and final description of sin here is that it was “desired to make one wise.” Biblically speaking, wisdom is something that God owns. It is an attribute of God, and something he distributes:

Proverbs 2:6-7
For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity…

Was the tree Eve pondered really a source of wisdom? No. This too was a lie. This tree that Satan convinced her would lead to knowledge and wisdom actually drove them from her.

Sin is like a donut hole plus death. It seems like a good idea in the moment. But the pleasure it brings does not truly satisfy, and the path it leads us down ends only in death.

[1] (paraphrase of Genesis 2:16-17)

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