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Transformed by Jolting Grace

June 22, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Hosea’s tumultuous marriage to Gomer provides a jolting picture of God’s relationship with his people. It is meant to be unsettling. God desires it to raise questions in our minds. Gomer’s unfaithfulness, used as a mirror to uncover our own spiritual unfaithfulness, is meant to break us and humble us before God. Hosea’s, and God’s, tender, gracious, and forgiving care for his bride is meant to be just as jolting. This jolting grace has the power to transform us. How does that work? Hosea 2 is one of the most important chapters in the Bible to help us understand our relationship with God. It addresses sin, the consequences of sin, God’s gracious movements to protect and rescue us from sin, God’s covenant commitment to redeem his people, and our future hope in communion with God. Verses 16-20, using the language of renewing marriage vows, give us a glimpse into how God’s jolting grace changes us. Look at these verses and then let me highlight how this works.... Keep Reading

Sin Exposed For Our Good

June 15, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Understanding our sin (how it works, how it captures the imaginations of our hearts, how to repent of it, etc.) is vital to a healthy relationship with God. Ignoring our sin, downplaying our sin, or denying our sin are all recipes for bringing decay into our relationship with God. The Old Testament prophet Hosea wrote to a people who grew complacent with their sin. Their relationship with God eroding much like a marriage relationship when one spouse is unfaithful. God called Hosea to use some vivid imagery to shake his people awake to the reality of their sin. Nearly 2,800 years later, we get to listen to this jarring message. Let this prophet open the eyes of your heart to new dimensions of your sin so that you can go deeper in your relationship with God.... Keep Reading

Longing to Know and Make Known

June 2, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

We have a packed week ahead for Oak Hills. Supporting our missions team. Joining with brothers and sisters in prayer and worship. Deepening relationships with one another through great fellowship. And ministering to kids with the love of Christ. I’m excited for each of these opportunities and how they fulfill our mission to know and make known the astonishing grace of God. I hope you are able to join us in one or more of these gatherings. Let me highlight how we pray they serve the Gospel ministry.... Keep Reading

Learn To Pray by Praying with Others

May 25, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This is part five in a multipart series about prayer. The elders of Oak Hills recently have been reading a book on prayer during their session meetings called Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer in our Homes, Communities, and Churches, by Megan Hill. This little book explores the biblical foundations, fruits, and practices of praying together. The elders have found it to be very encouraging and challenging. I want to share some gleanings from Hill’s book while adding some of my own observations about prayer. Who taught you to pray?... Keep Reading

Grow Community By Praying Together

May 18, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This is part four in a multipart series about prayer. The elders of Oak Hills recently have been reading a book on prayer during their session meetings called Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer in our Homes, Communities, and Churches, by Megan Hill. This little book explores the biblical foundations, fruits, and practices of praying together. The elders have found it to be very encouraging and challenging. I want to share some gleanings from Hill’s book while adding some of my own observations about prayer. What happens to a group of people that prays together? Megan Hill contends that praying together “stirs up our love for other Christians” (p. 58). In fact, she says, “Love flourishes when we come together to carry one another’s burdens to the Lord” (p. 58).... Keep Reading

Incentives to Prayer

May 11, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This is part three in a multipart series about prayer. The elders of Oak Hills recently have been reading a book on prayer during their session meetings called Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer in our Homes, Communities, and Churches, by Megan Hill. This little book explores the biblical foundations, fruits, and practices of praying together. The elders have found it to be very encouraging and challenging. I want to share some gleanings from Hill’s book while adding some of my own observations about prayer. Why pray? We live in a culture that typically is not motivated by a sense of duty. We are motivated by incentives, privileges, and promises. Therefore, a sense of duty to pray does not always compel Christians to pray. Thankfully, our God is gracious and merciful, abounding in steadfast love. He desires us to pray and promises blessings for our prayers. Megan Hill writes:... Keep Reading

DO. NOT. SEEK. THE TREASURE!

May 4, 2017 | by: Bill Burns | 0 Comments

In Sunday School the past few weeks, Pastor Dale and I have making our way through the Book of Job. Talking with a couple of folks from class, we all agreed; Job is a book we don’t tend to read very often. To be honest, it’s a bit depressing, and if you’ve read even the first two or three chapters, you know it starts out grim and just goes downhill from there…until the end, of course. In between the ‘bookend’ chapters recounting the troubling circumstances (to say the least!) of Job’s predicament and its resolution at the very end of last chapter, there are about 39 chapters of poetry to wade through. Poetry! Ugh! The Book of Job raises some of the “Big Questions™;” ‘Why do we suffer?’ ‘Is God in control of all things in our lives?’ ‘Why do wicked people seem to prosper and good people go about as paupers?’... Keep Reading

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God Helps Our Prayers

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

This is part two in a multipart series about prayer. The elders of Oak Hills recently have been reading a book on prayer during their session meetings called Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer in our Homes, Communities, and Churches, by Megan Hill. This little book explores the biblical foundations, fruits, and practices of praying together. The elders have found it to be very encouraging and challenging. I want to share some gleanings from Hill’s book while adding some of my own observations about prayer. Megan Hill highlights early in her book that the three members of the Trinity are intimately involved in our prayers. “In prayer, we approach a loving, listening Father, and we are helped by the intercession of the Son and the groaning of the Spirit” (p. 22-23). Hill later concludes that this knowledge of Trinitarian participation in our prayers “frees us from trusting in our prayers themselves. Prayer is not a magic incantation, dependent on us getting our abracadabras pronounced correctly, asking for exactly the right thing in exactly the right way at exactly the right time. The God who is love is not bound by faulty prayers, nor does he ignore the imperfect prayers of his beloved children. Instead, the one-in-three in whom we trust lovingly takes all our prayers, cleanses them of sin, and reorients them to match his holy will” (p. 25).... Keep Reading

Compelled to Pray

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

This is part one in a multipart series about prayer. The elders of Oak Hills recently have been reading a book on prayer during their session meetings called Prayer Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer in our Homes, Communities, and Churches, by Megan Hill. This little book explores the biblical foundations, fruits, and practices of praying together. The elders have found it to be very encouraging and challenging. I want to share some gleanings from Hill’s book while adding some of my own observations about prayer. Megan Hills starts her book on prayer by digging into the Scriptural foundations for praying together. One of her early chapters surveys the entire Bible to demonstrate that the people of God, from the very beginning, have been people of prayer. Let me share some highlights just from the early church in the book of Acts:... Keep Reading

Conceit and Life in the Spirit

April 13, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

In the last verse of Galatians 5 Paul gives the command: “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” This command comes after the lofty commands of “walk by the Spirit” (v. 16) and “keep in step with the Spirit” (v. 25). Often when we think of life in the Spirit, we entertain some sort of “other-worldly,” “spiritual escapism” concept. The apostle Paul, however, immediately grounds the life in the Spirit into the nitty-gritty realities of life. Life in the Spirit changes our relationships with people, the real people we interact with on an everyday basis. So, what is conceit, how does it reveal itself, and how does the Spirit help us overcome conceit?... Keep Reading

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