Entries tagged with “Bethlehem Baptist Church”.

One of the benefits of living in the Twin Cities is living in close proximity to John Piper and his Bethlehem Baptist Church. Many of my friends have been very excited for us to go see him. We did some research and found one of the 3 campuses is very close to where we are staying. It was in a high school auditorium, so that was a different atmosphere from what we expected. Because of the three campuses, Piper rotates and speaks live at a different one each week while the others receive a live video feed. We were pleased to actually attend a service he was speaking at in person!

It was a little interesting that we had a conversation on the way to church about Calvinism and Armenianism. We both grew up in Armenian background churches and the message we heard from Piper was quite strongly Calvinistic. I am by no means a theologian so I sometimes miss the subtle nuances, but this was pretty clear about pre-destination and the new birth. You can hear the podcast version or see the full text.

The main text of the message was 1 Peter 1:13-25. I won’t go through the whole sermon but here are some of the highlights:

Imperishable was a big word that Piper spent some time unpacking. It is used three times in the text and refers to our inheritance, value, and seed.
Inheritance – We are “born again to a living hope.” So the emphasis falls on the hope of our new life. It lives—and will not die. It inherits an imperishable inheritance. That’s the emphasis. Our new life in the new birth is forever. We will never die.
Value – The blood of Christ is of infinite value, and therefore its value never runs out. It is an imperishable value. That is how we are ransomed. That’s the price of the new life we receive in new birth. And Jesus paid it for us.
Seed – The seed that comes through the word of God is imperishable, and therefore the life that it generates and sustains is imperishable.

Piper also spent some time unpacking his thoughts about salvation. He says that the Holy Spirit calls us to salvation. We can reject or accept this salvation, but ultimately if God has called us into heaven He will make Himself so irresistible that we can’t reject salvation. This is where Calvin really shines through. It lead to some interesting discussions afterwards!!

I really liked what Piper had to say about the Living Christ is our Living Hope to carry us through each day.

Finally Piper talked about the role God plays and we play in our new birth. He focused only a little time as these are topics for future sermons. Here is the excerpt:

1) He ransomed us from sin and wrath by the blood of Christ and paid the debt for sinners to have eternal life. 2) He raised Jesus from the dead so that union with Jesus gives eternal life that never fades away. 3) And He called us from darkness to light and from death to life through the gospel and gave us eyes to see and hears to hear. He made the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ shine in our hearts through the gospel. And we believed. We embraced Christ for the treasure that he is.

We like much of Piper’s writings so we are going to check out the downtown church to see what the atmosphere is like and see how it compares to other churches we’ve experienced in the Twin Cities. We’ll keep you posted!

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It was a very busy first week of our new adventure in Minneapolis.

I posted earlier on the first part of the week.  The rest of the week was just as busy and fun-filled.

Wednesday was another training day.  The morning was spent learning basics of volunteer management and then the afternoon was spent with the state Americorps people learning about poverty.  We watched a video, People Like Us, which had some interesting information and perspectives.  I’ve learned a lot about the poverty perspective, but this video also included interviews with the “elite rich.” We then did a poverty simulation, during which my “family” ran out of money a couple of times.  In the discussion period we talked about the safety supports we the “middle class” have and how the poor often don’t.

Thursday was the the first day at my new school.  Sanford is a small middle school in the system but has a high percentage of immigrants and free lunch kids. I got to meet the principal who will be my site supervisor and some of the other support staff.  Most of the teachers were teaching! I got to meet a few of the kids during a Lunch with the Principal.

Friday was a regular VISTA meeting day to check-in and debrief about the past few weeks and what is coming up.  This was the first time I got to meet the rest of the VISTA’s serving in the Minneapolis Public Schools. It seems like a pretty good group of 20 something’s.

It wasn’t all work! We did manage to have some fun. Thursday night I went to Lake Calhoun to run, after stopping by our house and picking up mail. We spent those nights at the hotel, just relaxing.  Friday night we went with Kristofer and Amy to IKEA.  We had planned on going to the Mall of America, but spent too much time at IKEA.  But we got a really good deal on a wardrobe segment.  Originally $70 we got it from the As Is section for $15.  The box was a little torn up, but were told that everything should still be inside.  That was very exciting!

Saturday we went to explore Minneapolis and went to Minnehaha Falls Park.  It was very beautiful, and frozen over!  We were able to walk around on the ice covered creek.  I’ll post some pictures later, but here is the album (if you can’t wait).  We saw American Gangster at a very cool looking 1940’s style Riverview Theater.

To top the weekend off we got to hear John Piper speak, live at Bethlehem Baptist Church.  He rotates between the 3 sites, his sermons are played live via video links, so it was quite cool to actually attend the right site to hear him speak.

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