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Olympic Champions in Christ

August 18, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I enjoy watching the Olympics. I marvel at the athletic prowess of the competitors and the feats they accomplish, which I could never imagine doing. I love rooting for Team USA and watching the medal counts. Part of being created in the image of God is an inner longing to be excellent or associated with excellence. The Olympics appeal to that inner longing. While I know I could never be an Olympic competitor, I long for that sort of discipline to mark and shape my pursuit of excellence in other areas. My relationship with God. My ministry. My marriage. My parenting. How can we develop that sort of discipline?... Keep Reading

Early in the life of Abraham, when he was still ‘Abram,’ and Sarah was still ‘Sarai,’ we read about Abram’s call by God to “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1) In the great “Hall of Faith” chapter of the New Testament, we read that, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise…” (Hebrews 11:8-9a). Elsewhere in the New Testament, we read how Abraham is the Father of the Faithful. Paul puts it famously: “In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God. What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles to be righteous because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.” (Gal. 3:6-8 NLT) One of the things I love about the Bible, especially the Old Testament, is how the characters of the great men and women of the Bible are real, living people like us. ... Keep Reading

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What I Think About While Cleaning the Church

August 4, 2016 | by: Bill Burns | 0 Comments

Every other week, usually on a Friday or Saturday evening, Mrs. B & I and often my mom, and Cody, and even Kacey, trek down to the church to get the place spiffed up for Sunday morning worship. Everyone gets to work as soon as the doors are opened. We flick on the lights, one of us sets up some tunes, or tunes in the Royals game, and we all grab a mop, or a broom, or vacuum, and head to our respective ‘areas.’ When we first come in, it’s usually pretty dark. But even after the lights are mostly all on there are still a few dark corners, especially the hall behind the pulpit. There just aren’t many lights there. Funny thing is, the vacuum’s always the noisiest when you go over the carpet in those areas. You can tell debris collects here because it’s hard to see unless you turn on a light, or shine one there, or run a vacuum. That got me thinking a few weeks back while working in one of those places. How many ‘dark corners’ do we have in our little worlds that we inhabit? You know the places. It’s all that stuff we’re talking about when we get to the section of the Sunday morning service where we confess our sins.... Keep Reading

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I have always come back to Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians as an example and inspiration for faithful gospel ministry. One of my first sermons I preached at Oak Hills as pastor was a prayer for our church based upon 1 Thessalonians. During this month we are looking again at this personal, pastoral letter, seeking to reaffirm the gospel and the ministry of the gospel. God worked a miracle among the people of Thessalonica. He does anytime someone turns from idols to receive the Word of Christ. The brevity of Paul's stay in Thessalonica (about a month, see Acts 17:2, 10) makes their conversion all the more remarkable. What tools does God use to bring about gospel fruit among a group of people? I believe Paul gives us a hint in 2:8...... Keep Reading

The Word at Work, 1 Thessalonians 2:13

July 21, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I have always come back to Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians as an example and inspiration for faithful gospel ministry. One of my first sermons I preached at Oak Hills as pastor was a prayer for our church based upon 1 Thessalonians. During this month we are looking again at this personal, pastoral letter, seeking to reaffirm on the gospel and the ministry of the gospel. I believe that the things for which Paul thanks God are things for which Paul has prayed. The past two weeks we have been considering Paul’s thanksgiving in 1 Thessalonians 1:3, “we give thanks to God for…your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope…” Paul was concerned about their faith, love, and hope; he certainly would have been praying for this type of gospel fruit to be manifest in their lives. I have invited you to be praying for Oak Hills and the ministry of the gospel among us to produce such fruit. Let’s consider another word of thanks from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.... Keep Reading

Gospel Fruit, 1 Thessalonians 1:3

July 14, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I have always come back to Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians as an example and inspiration of faithful gospel ministry. One of my first sermons I preached at Oak Hills as pastor was a prayer for our church based upon 1 Thessalonians. Over the next few weeks, let’s look again at this personal, pastoral letter, and reaffirm our focus on the gospel and the ministry of the gospel. Paul’s opening thanksgiving of 1 Thessalonians reveals that his primary concern for the church at Thessalonica was their spiritual well-being. He praises God for their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes. 1:3). I invited you last week to pray with me that the gospel would bear this kind of fruit among us and through us at Oak Hills. Let’s take a closer look at these three fruits Paul celebrates.... Keep Reading

I have always come back to Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians as an example and inspiration of faithful gospel ministry. One of my first sermons I preached at Oak Hills as pastor was a prayer for our church based upon 1 Thessalonians. Over the next few weeks, let’s look again at this personal, pastoral letter, and reaffirm our focus on the gospel and the ministry of the gospel.... Keep Reading

God's Multi-Ethnic Redemption Plan

June 30, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This past Sunday we welcomed home another team that had served with Sacred Road Ministries in Warm Springs, Oregon. While celebrating what God continues to do among the Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest, we took some time to be reminded of God's plan for the nations and our role in that plan. Isaiah tells us that God's plan centers on his choice servant, Jesus. God says through his prophet, "I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth" (49:6).... Keep Reading

I Am a Bruised Reed

June 23, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

The latter third of Isaiah contains some sweeping prophecies of global justice and peace. Justice and peace that seem to be absent from our daily lives in this broken world. Justice and peace that legislators in multiple nations clamor to secure and provide. Justice and peace that we long for on an individual basis when we suffer from the oppression of sin.... Keep Reading

It’s another week of disheartening headlines for our nation. Unfortunately, this may be the “new” norm for life in this war-torn, politically-divisive, terror-riddled, hate-filled, futility-subjected world. The Christian blogosphere “blows up” every time there is a tragedy with commentary about why bad things happen and how Christians should respond. But is the darkness all that new? Do we live in a unique period of history where Christians need to brainstorm “new” ways to live?... Keep Reading

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