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Anxious and Troubled About Many Things

February 16, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

My first public sermon? November 15, 1998. I was 21 years old (nearly 22). I was about to graduate from Bible college. And I was candidating for a youth pastor position at a small church in Northern Wisconsin. The pastor and elders wanted me to be available to preach on occasion, so they had me preach before the congregation as part of the interview process. I chose as my text Luke 10:38-42, the passage about when Jesus visited Martha and Mary’s home. Right before I was to preach, one of my newly acquired friends from that church said to me, “Go easy on Martha.”... Keep Reading

The Painful Truth of the Gospel

February 9, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

We return to Paul’s letter to the Galatians this Sunday at Oak Hills. The heart of this letter is a defense of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as centered in the doctrine of justification by faith. In his Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, Martin Luther writes, “The article of justification must be sounded in our ears incessantly because the frailty of our flesh will not permit us to take hold of it perfectly and to believe it with all our heart.” Why is the Good News, the freedom found in justification by faith alone, so difficult to believe with all our heart? Why does Paul speak about “the offense of the cross” (Gal. 5:11) when the cross brings us salvation and restores us to a right relationship with God? Why do we need a letter like Galatians?... Keep Reading

Devoted to Fellowship

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

This last Sunday at Oak Hills we looked closely at the habits formed by the early church as revealed in Acts 2:42. “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Being cautious to not make a descriptive passage purely prescriptive, we considered the nature of their “devotion” and to what they were devoted. Devotion involves three aspects: sacrifice, consistency, and endurance. To be devoted to one thing means that other things must be sacrificed. If I am devoted to my job, I sacrifice the search and longing for another job. Consistency is vital to devotion because repeated actions reveal what is most valuable to us. We can hardly be “devoted” to something if we don’t return to it on a regular basis. Endurance plays into devotion as other things compete for our attention. Our devotion wanes if we easily become distracted.... Keep Reading

Some Concerns About Weekly Communion

January 26, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

The elders of Oak Hills have decided to transition our observance of the Lord’s Supper from a monthly occurrence to a weekly occurrence. The ultimate reason behind this decision is our understanding of the meaning and significance of this meal. I used the Touchpoint articles in the past two weeks to unpack what Scripture and our doctrinal confession says about the significance of communion (you can read those here and here). It is a means of God’s grace to feed us spiritually on Christ. Let me use this space today to address some commonly expressed questions and concerns related to weekly communion. If you have a question in mind that is not addressed here, please do not hesitate to let us know. We will also allow for interaction at our congregational meeting this Sunday, January 29.... Keep Reading

Christ as Spiritual Food Offered in Communion

January 19, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

The elders of Oak Hills have decided to transition our observance of the Lord’s Supper from a monthly occurrence to a weekly occurrence. The ultimate reason behind this decision is our understanding of the meaning and significance of this meal. We understand that some may have questions and even concerns about this change. I am using these few weeks of Touchpoint articles to unpack our reasoning behind the switch and try to address some of the common questions. We will also provide a time to ask questions at our annual congregational meeting on January 29.... Keep Reading

Looking for Grace in Communion

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

The elders of Oak Hills have decided to transition our observance of the Lord’s Supper from a monthly occurrence to a weekly occurrence. The ultimate reason behind this decision is our understanding of the meaning and significance of this meal. We understand that some may have questions and even concerns about this change. I plan to use the next few weeks of Touchpoint articles to unpack our reasoning behind the switch and try to address some of the common questions. We will also provide a time to ask questions at our annual congregational meeting on January 29. Most conservative Bible students and scholars would agree that the New Testament is silent about how frequent the Church ought to observe communion. Jesus never commands “do this” weekly, or monthly, or quarterly, or annually. So how are we to decide how frequent to partake in communion? We believe the meaning and significance of the meal would encourage a regular and frequent observance.... Keep Reading

Spiritual Stability

January 5, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

It's amazing how a little snow can create so much instability for driving. If you attempt to stop in a hurry, that little snow creates a slick surface so that your tires have no traction to slow your vehicle. This leads to a loss of control of the vehicle, even fish-tailing or spin outs. Unless you’re a thrill seeker, no driver likes that instability. The apostle Peter speaks about stability as well; not in driving, of course, but in one’s spiritual life. He commands he readers to “take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability” (2Pe 3:17). What is our “own stability”? How can we lose it? How can we create and deepen it?... Keep Reading

How Is the Word Active in Your Life?

December 29, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

For Christmas 2010 my family and I celebrated one of our most unique Christmases. I was teaching at the Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary for the school year. While in Africa, we did not have access to all of the normal Christmas amenities we enjoy in America. No Christmas lights. No evergreens for a tree (we did have a Christmas tree, but it wasn't an evergreen). No shopping malls or Amazon Prime. Considering gifts for the boys, we had to be creative with what was available at the weekly market. Since one of our favorite activities had become exploring the woods near our home and finding sticks to carve and whittle, we decided to get knives for our older boys (ages 9, 7, and 5 at the time). Of course, we taught our boys knife safety. Knives can be useful for many things, but they also come with an inherent danger.... Keep Reading

The Great Gift Giver

December 22, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Do you like gift giving? I really enjoy giving gifts, but it comes with a side of stress. I like giving surprise gifts. I like giving thoughtful gifts. I like giving frivolous gifts. These gift parameters, though, require some planning and work. And then there are deadlines. Therein lies the stress. But when I find the right gift and have the opportunity to watch the excitement of the gift receiver, I know it is worth all of the effort.... Keep Reading

Who Is Your Redeemer?

December 15, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

The story of Ruth has one of the most heart-warming and fascinating endings of all the stories of the Bible. Ruth is married to Boaz and they have a son. But the story does not end by focusing on Ruth or Boaz or even the son; it concludes with attention on Naomi. You may recall that chapter 1 focused on Naomi and her devastating losses… in a foreign land, husband dies, sons marry foreign women, barrenness for ten years, then her sons die. One tragedy after another leaving Naomi to exclaim, “I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty… the Almighty has brought calamity upon me” (1:21).... Keep Reading

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