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Why Did Luther Nail Those 95 Theses?

September 21, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

October 31st will be the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. Most of us are familiar with a little history behind the Theses: Luther wanted to debate the abuses of indulgences. But are we familiar with Luther himself? His background? What led him to dispute the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church? What impact his ministry has on our church today? In what ways might we disagree with Luther? Over these few weeks leading up to the 500th anniversary, let’s consider Luther and his teaching. I will use primarily Carl Trueman’s book, Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom, as a resource. This is part one of a multi-part series. Martin Luther was born in 1483 in a poor mining family. His father sent him to university to study law so that Martin would not share the same financial strain. While traveling back to school in 1505, Luther was caught in a thunderstorm. When lightning struck near him, he cried out for rescue, promising to become a monk if he survived. Much to his father’s disappointment, Martin kept the promise, leaving behind law school to study theology. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1507.... Keep Reading

I love Jesus… I Don’t Need Theology

September 14, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

October 31st will mark the 500th year anniversary of Martin Luther nailing 95 Theses (points of contention to discuss with the leaders of the Catholic Church) to the church door of Wittenberg (the public bulletin board). This event commonly is held as the beginning of the Reformation. Many Protestant churches will celebrate this anniversary. At Oak Hills, we are recognizing this momentous event by studying some of the theology recovered and championed during the Reformation. These theological convictions have served Protestant and Reformed churches for the last 500 years as a solid foundation. Over the next five Sundays, Tony Layzell is teaching an Adult Christian Education class on what has come to be known as the five points of Calvinism (acronym TULIP). While TULIP is a modern construct, the summary is helpful in understanding how the Reformers thought about the gospel as taught in Scripture. The Reformers were responding to false teaching in the church and desired to recover and preserve the purity of the gospel message.... Keep Reading

To Ignore or Not to Ignore the Next Hurricane

September 7, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Hurricanes have been on my mind lately. No surprise with the devastation of Harvey in Texas and Louisiana and with Irma bearing down on the Caribbean and Florida, not to mention Jose and Katia. Hurricane season comes every year and we have witnessed in recent history some horrific destruction by hurricanes. How do we, as believers in a sovereign and gracious God, respond to such devastating natural disasters?... Keep Reading

Was Hosea Successful? How About Me?

August 31, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I have often wondered how the prophets of the Old Testament understood “success.” How did they define success? How did they measure success? How could they know if they were successful or not? Take Hosea as an example. His ministry spanned a period of 20-30 years in the middle of the 8th century BC. We have 14 chapters recorded of his message to the northern kingdom of Israel. The center of his message was a call to repentance from spiritual idolatry. We know from biblical history that Israel, as a nation, never repented. The warnings of Hosea came to fruition. The Assyrian Empire destroyed the nation and scattered the people in exile.... Keep Reading

Grace Through Relationships

August 24, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I have asked the men of Oak Hills to read a book with me this summer, Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray. I’m drawn to this book because I want to see the grace of God lived out more and more in my life, in my thinking, in my feeling, in my marriage, in my family, in my relationships, and in my work. I hope you are able to pick up a copy and read with me. It will be the launching pad for discussion at our Men’s Breakfast this Saturday. In the meantime, I want to use these Touchpoint articles to share some of my reflections as I work through Murray’s book. This is part five. I have enjoyed reading and reflecting on Murray’s book, Reset. This book has been highly practical while rooted in deep Scriptural principles. In each chapter, Murray focuses on a different area of our lives where the grace of Christ needs to be applied and practiced. This discipline of living a “grace-paced” life leads to healthy routines in our families, our marriages, our mental processes, our emotions, our churches, etc. I highly recommend this book (Murray’ wife also wrote a counterpart, specifically for women: Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands, coming out in October).... Keep Reading

Guest Article by Stephen Sprague

August 17, 2017 | by: Stephen Sprague | 0 Comments

Praying the Psalms of David Lately I've been thinking a lot about prayer and the examples of prayer we have in the Psalms. More specifically, the Psalms attributed to David. They are a great example of what a good prayer life can look like. David voices it all in these Psalms. He confesses sin, shows frustration, begs for mercy, cries out in the midst of suffering, and praises God in both victory and defeat. In all of this he provides for us a great example of what it looks like to place one's faith in God. ... Keep Reading

Guest article by AJ Harbison

August 10, 2017 | by: AJ Harbison | 0 Comments

Pastor Dale is on vacation this week, and he asked me to write a Touchpoint article regarding some of the "what"s and the "why"s of worship at Oak Hills. He and I have been reading a book together, Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice by Bryan Chapell, former president of Covenant Theological Seminary. In the book, Chapell lays out a number of ways that the story of redemption impacts and shapes the way we structure our worship services, and our worship at Oak Hills follows many of these principles. ... Keep Reading

Grace in Silence & Solitude

August 3, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I have asked the men of Oak Hills to read a book with me this summer, Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray. I’m drawn to this book because I want to see the grace of God lived out more and more in my life, in my thinking, in my feeling, in my marriage, in my family, in my relationships, and in my work. I hope you are able to pick up a copy and read with me. It will be the launching pad for discussion at our Men’s Breakfast on August 26. In the meantime, I want to use these Touchpoint articles to share some of my reflections as I work through Murray’s book. This is part four. Last week we considered Murray’s chapter on the “grace of sleep” and how it contributes to a “grace-paced” life. Our sleep habits reveal certain beliefs about God from which we operate. Physical rest is not the only rest that is called for by the Bible. Mental and soul rest are just as vital, as Psalm 46:10 states, “Be still, and know that I am God.” How do we give our minds and souls rest? Murray makes the case for silence and solitude.... Keep Reading

The Grace Of Sleep

July 27, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I have asked the men of Oak Hills to read a book with me this summer, Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray. I’m drawn to this book because I want to see the grace of God lived out more and more in my life, in my thinking, in my feeling, in my marriage, in my family, in my relationships, and in my work. I hope you are able to pick up a copy and read with me. It will be the launching pad for discussion at our Men’s Breakfast on August 26. In the meantime, I want to use these Touchpoint articles to share some of my reflections as I work through Murray’s book. This is part three. Have you ever read a chapter in a book about sleep (much less than an entire book on sleep)? I don't recall ever reading much about sleep. But sleep is where David Murray starts in guiding his readers to recover and/or develop a grace-paced life. He began his book by helping us diagnose grace deficiencies in our lives, but the majority of his book focuses on ways to cultivate more grace in our daily activities. Sleep is step one.... Keep Reading

Detecting Grace Deficiencies

July 20, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I have asked the men of Oak Hills to read a book with me this summer, Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray. I’m drawn to this book because I want to see the grace of God lived out more and more in my life, in my thinking, in my feeling, in my marriage, in my family, in my relationships, and in my work. I hope you are able to pick up a copy and read with me. It will be the launching pad for discussion at our Men’s Breakfast on August 26. In the meantime, I want to use these Touchpoint articles to share some of my reflections as I work through Murray’s book. This is part two. Last week we began by looking at what David Murray calls "grace deficiencies." These are areas in our lives where grace is not making a difference, even though we may have great knowledge of God's grace. Before Murray dives into the ways we can cultivate the transforming power of grace into our lives, he spends time helping us detect and analyze grace deficiencies. The aim in this process is to prevent total burn out and to begin to make progress in a grace-paced life.... Keep Reading

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