To Tithe or not to Tithe? That is the question!

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What does the Bible say about giving? 

By Robert Krumrey

A couple of weeks ago Austin Kopack preached on a section of Deuteronomy that addressed tithing.  Tithing is the giving of 10% of one's resources as an offering to God.  It's a way to acknowledge that God is the source of everything one has and it's the way that God resources the ongoing ministry that facilitates the spiritual life of his people.  In the Old Testament (OT), the money and food that was collected was used to support the Levites.  Levites were the tribe that God assigned to work in temple ministry which included both teaching and the making of sacrifices.  The Levites were allowed to live in cities and own homes but were not given any land to cultivate for food and clothing.

The Levitical priests, all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel. They shall eat the Lord’s food offerings as their inheritance.
— Deuteronomy 18:1

Is tithing commanded to the New Testament believer? 

There is some debate as to whether New Testament believers should follow this command of giving 10% of their income to the church.  There is only one place in the New Testament where tithing seems to get the nod.  It's in some comments that Jesus makes to some of the religious leaders of his day who are ardent tithers.  He says this:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
— Matthew 23:23

Jesus is confronting the Pharisees about faithfully tithing yet neglecting things like justice and mercy.  That said, he does say "These you ought to have done" which seems to support tithing.  While this is a bit vague, there are many other New Testament commands in scripture to be generous.  For example:  

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
— Matthew 6:20,21

Jesus indicates that hoarding wealth on earth is not something that kingdom citizens are supposed to be doing.  They instead are to be "laying up" treasures for themselves in heaven.  What that means is that kingdom citizens leverage as much money as they are able for things that result in an eternal outcome.   While homes and food and cars are all important for our daily lives, we won't be seeing these post mortem.  They are a lousy investment when it comes to lasting, say, a hundred thousand years.  Investments with that kind of return are dollars spent and possessions used on gospel ministry.  

The OT framework of offerings given to support ministry is still in place.  There is no special tribe of people who are assigned to these duties, but there are men and women that are called by God to serve in the church.  These people provide the week in and week out ministry that facilitates the ongoing spiritual health of God's people.  You see the Apostle Paul pointing to the continuity between the OT and NT model for supporting ministers of the gospel here: 

Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
— 1 Corinthians 9:13,14

Now that Jesus has come and died for our sin, there is no need for animal sacrifices to be made, but there is a need to pay some gospel proclaimers so they can commit concentrated time to the ministry of preaching and teaching.  We, in our church structure, also pay some to do logistics needed to increase the effectiveness of the ministry of the word.  Paul is encouraging the Corinthian congregation to allow their pastors to get their living “by the gospel”. 

MERCYhouse and Money

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If you've been keeping up with our financial updates, you know that we are currently in the red to the tune of about $31,000 7 months into our fiscal year which ends in April.  This is a deficit almost equal to one month of expenses.  While our "in house" giving goal is about $20,000 per month, we spend $35,000 per month.  This means that we already expect to raise about $15,000 every month to cover expenses.  This "extra" money comes from alumni, parents of students, and other friends of MERCYhouse.

This has been an 18 year miracle.  God pouring this kind of money into our ministry is truly a blessing and a testimony to his divine power.  We are grateful for this and in awe of his care for us as a church.  We also want to strive to take more of the financial responsibility for our church.  This is not going to happen if working people are giving a few hundred dollars every year.  If you divide our budget by average attendance, each person requires about $1800 per year.  A family of four, $7200 per year.  

So should we all be tithing?  YES!  Whether we working people can find a verse in the Bible to back it up or not, we should all be working toward giving at least 10% of our income because it's the only way for us to pay the bills.  The average giving in America by evangelical Christians is 2.43 percent.  This kind of giving is not going to work for us.  We are never going to meet our budget if we don't give at a much higher rate than average.  If you are a working person and you are a member at MERCYhouse, you are called to give much more than the average American Christian.  This is, in part, because we serve a population that does not have a lot of money to give. 

There is something beautiful about this.  Giving sacrificially to benefit people other than me and my family.  Sounds a lot like Jesus.  The call on our lives is to look like God in every area of our lives including giving.  Paul draws this comparison in 2 Corinthians.  Chapters 8 and 9 are all about generous giving.  He ends the section on giving with this phrase: 

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
— 2 Corinthians 9:15

 It's obvious that Paul wants the reader to be motivated by God's generosity toward us in the gospel.  This is the most powerful motivator of all!  There is nothing that can free us more to give than the realization of what God has done for us in Christ.  As Paul says, it’s “inexpressible”. 

What if my finances are tight? 

For many of us, the thought of giving generously to our church seems like a pipe dream.  We are living in an age when most of us are living on 110% of our income and not 90%.  What I suggest is that you take a “next step” in your giving.  If you gave nothing in 2017, make a goal to give 2% of your income in 2018.  If you gave less than 10% then increase by one or two percent in 2018.  This will feel scary at first, but it can be a very concrete way to see God’s activity in your life.  We can see God’s challenge to his OT people to trust him financially such that they see his care for them:

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
— Malachi 3:10

I’ve never known anyone who gave generously to God and regretted it.  I’m serious.  I’ve been in ministry for 26 years and I’ve pastored countless people.  Not one person has ever said to me, “I wish I would have kept my money instead of giving it away generously.”  Anyone who has tested God in giving has experienced the joy of seeing those dollars count for eternity and has entered into deeper intimacy with him because they experience God as their provider and protector.  So let’s respond to his inexpressible gift by generously giving for the glory of God and the benefit of his ministry!

 

  

    

  

 

Join us for our December Church Summit!

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Church Summit

Sunday, December 10th, 2017 - 4:00pm

What's a church summit?  

Twice a year MERCYhouse gathers its members for a meeting that includes celebrating what God has done in the congregation, praying for the church and its mission, and voting on items as mandated by our church constitution.  In general, the December Summit is for voting on leadership and the June Summit is for voting on the financial report and church spending plan.  Church votes include the calling of pastors, confirming of elders & deacons, confirming of officers of the church, and confirming of use of funds through financial reports and budget proposals.  

Here is the official agenda for our winter church summit:

When:  Sunday, December 10th, @ 4:00pm

Where:  Downstairs cafe of main building

What:  See Agenda below

  • Call Meeting to Order - Moderator Patrick Grafton-Cardwell

  • Vote on approval of meeting minutes from June 2017 meeting - Read by Clerk, see complete minutes HERE

  • Vote on confirmation of church officers for 2018

Moderator - Patrick Grafton-Cardwell

Clerk - Maddison Erbabian

Treasurer - Steve Harrington

President - Robert Krumrey

  • Vote on confirmation of elders for 2018

Dan Moylan

Steve Harrington

Chris Blount

Robert Krumrey

  • Vote to Adjourn Business Portion of the Meeting - Moderator 

 


In addition to voting on the above leaders, we will be recognizing our servant team leaders for 2018.  According to our new constitution, these don't need a congregational vote. 

Sunday Logistics:

New leader: Rick Carbonaro  & Continuing leader: Kimberly Johnson

Prayer:

New Leaders: Vi Tran & Hapshiba  Kwon

A/V:

New Leaders: Matt Dahl and Mihaela Sousa  

Greeting:

New Leader:  Elias Ghantous & Continuing Leader: Jay Sullivan

Kitchen:

New leader: Laura Looman

Building:

New Leader:  John Looman & Continuing Leader: Will Tan

Women’s Ministry:

Continuing Leaders: Laura Tan & Melanie Krumrey

MH Kids:

New Leader: Ashleigh Murphy

Events:

New Leaders: Maddison Erbabian & Lois Grandmaison

Hospitality:

New Leaders: Brandon & Amanda Prickett and Mike & Olivia Fitzpatrick

Snow Shoveling Team: 

New Leaders: Elliot Kuan and Jeff Lancaster

Three Front War

Three 

Front 

War

By Robert Krumrey

I was incredibly blessed today by Tommy Moore's preaching (listen to sermon here).  So grateful to have a number of people in our church who can skillfully explain God's word so that we can all be built up and encouraged.  I was especially struck by the passage in Deuteronomy 20 that encourages God's warriors to take care of business in their homes and in their hearts before waging war on their enemies.  Here's an excerpt:

Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Is there any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it. 6 And is there any man who has planted a vineyard and has not enjoyed its fruit? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man enjoy its fruit. 7 And is there any man who has betrothed a wife and has not taken her? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man take her.’ 8 And the officers shall speak further to the people, and say, ‘Is there any man who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go back to his house, lest he make the heart of his fellows melt like his own.’  Deuteronomy 20:5-8

While God is certainly concerned with waging war against the people groups who are a threat to the establishment of his new redemptive community, he is also just as concerned with the establishing of homes and families that will be the lifeblood of this community once founded.  This establishment of the rule and reign of God in the home is also a kind of war. 

Home Front

I was struck by this as I studied the Proverbs 31 woman last week.  She is said to be an "excellent" wife (vs10).  The Hebrew word "chayil" that's translated here is usually used to describe valiant warriors.   Later in Proverbs 31, we see that the woman "dresses herself with strength" (vs17) or more specifically she "girds her loins" with strength.  This is another military term that was used to describe soldiers who were going from "at ease" to "standing fast" in order to engage in combat.  What you'll also notice about the Proverbs 31 woman is that she is managing a home and tending to her business dealings.  There are no swords to sharpen or blood to shed.  

What Deuteronomy 20 and Proverbs 31 are getting at is that the home front is a war front too and is just as important as what's going on outside the home, which we sometimes think of as the "front lines".  God is making sure that his people know (both men and women) that taking care of homes and cultivating fields and getting married are just as important as defeating God's enemies.  From Genesis 1 & 2, God has been clear that the daily work of managing home and family is an incredibly important endeavor for the glory of God and the advancement of his Kingdom.

I say all of this to encourage those who are spending most of their time on the home front.  I was just in the house of a young mother with three children who is exhausted and struggling.  What she is doing everyday from sunup to way after sundown is anything but glamorous.  There are no raises, no bonuses, no employee of the month plaques.  There aren't even days off!  I've lived alongside my own wife through this season of life and there is NO doubt that it is an all out war.  Honestly, it make's occasional hand to hand combat look like a vacation some days. 

I'm also saying this to encourage those who work outside the home not to glamorize what they are doing over and against the domestic.  Make sure you are appropriately prioritizing that domain and those who have been called to focus on it.  I didn't always do this and it has caused my wife to have to bear up under more weight because she wasn't being sufficiently encouraged by me.  Just as the soldiers were in need of encouragement by the priests before battle (see Deut 20:1-4), so do the warriors back home.  

Heart Front

Part of what makes either of these fronts a war is the third front which is the heart.  I think it's so interesting that God says to his soldiers, "Is there any man who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go back to his house, lest he make the heart of his fellows melt like his own."  As Tommy said this morning, this isn't some ploy to create a bunch of macho tough guys who never show fear.  It's pointing to the most important war of all - the war within our own hearts.  It is here that we are called to cling to grace and depend on the Spirit in order to experience a reformation of our hearts such that we go from being fearful to full of faith.  This heart level transformation is what God ultimately wants in his people.  A heart that's needed in both the war front warrior and the home front warrior.  

Jesus knew this as well as he encouraged his own disciples who were going to be given the task of establishing his church in the face of life threatening hostility.  He says to them:

 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (Jn 16:33)

Just as the Israelites had to plunge headlong into some really scary scenarios, so do we.  Jesus even promises that we WILL have tribulation.  But he also says "take heart" because he has done the fighting for us.  

So whether you are fighting on the home front or the war front, take heart.  Your God has fought and will fight for you! 

Reformation Resources

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Reformation Resources

by Robert Krumrey

Yesterday we took a break from our Remembrance Sermon Series and heard a brief overview of an important event in church history known as the Reformation.  If you missed this sermon/lecture, you can check it out here.  If this has peaked your interest and you want to explore further, check out these resources on the reformation.    

1.  Here We Stand Podcast - Desiring God Ministries has been releasing a short podcast on the reformation every day this October.  They describe a different man or woman who played a significant role in this period of church history.  Each podcast is about 8 minutes.    

2.  Five Sola Book from Zondervan - This free PDF gives a very brief explanation of the Five Solas of the Reformation.  

3.  Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther - This book has been around for a while and is a very accessible read about the life and theology of Martin Luther.  The author weaves in a lot of his original writing in the telling of his story which can give you a taste of Luther that could lead to you reading some of Luther's own writing.  

4.  The Gospel Coalition - This group is made up of men and women from many different denominations who are working hard to preserve the centrality of the gospel in the life of the church around the world.  They do this by providing lots of helpful resources.  They draw heavily from the Reformers and are currently pumping out a LOT of great articles about the reformation.  Some of those resources are the recordings from their spring conference which was in large part about the reformation.     

5.  Seminary Class on The Reformation - If you really want to take a deep dive into reformation history and theology, watch this seminary course by Carl Trueman who is the Chair of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.  He is an expert on the reformation, especially Luther.  

Three Reasons to Dig into Deuteronomy

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Three Reasons 

to Dig 

into Deuteronomy

By Robert Krumrey

Sermon Podcast/Reading Plan

Over the past few weeks, I've been asked this question several times -  "What are you preaching on this Fall?"  It's hard to know how to make small talk with the pastor, but this question seems as good as any.  When I say, "Deuteronomy", they usually respond with a bewildered look or blurt out "Why".  While I don't recommend Deuteronomy as a first sermon series to launch your preaching career, I can think of several reasons why we, as a church, should be digging into Deuteronomy.  

Here are three:

#1 - It's in the Bible

Christians like to say a lot of glowing things about the Bible.  It's God's word.  It's inspired.  It's the ultimate authority that we turn to for understanding our faith and the practice of that faith.   When they say those things, I'm pretty sure they're including books like Deuteronomy and Leviticus.  If we believe that every word of the Bible is important and placed there by God for the building up of his church, then I'd say at some point we need to get around to Deuteronomy.  

Here's what the Apostle Paul says about the Bible in his letter to Timothy:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16,17) 

When Paul is writing this, the New Testament books have yet to be gathered up by the church and officially sanctioned.  When Paul says here that scripture is useful and can equip the Christian, he's talking about the Old Testament.  He's talking about Deuteronomy!

#2 - It reveals Jesus 

One of the startling things about our experience so far, is that we've met Jesus in the text every week.  Actually I've not been startled because I know that Jesus is the interpretive key for every scripture in the Bible, both Old Testament and New.  Jesus himself teaches his disciples to study the Bible this way after he rises from the dead. 

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, (Luke 24:44,45)

Jesus teaches the disciples that the Law (first five books of Old Testament) and the Prophets (minor and major Prophetic books) and the Psalms (sometimes known as the "writings" which also include books like Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon) are all about him.  This is Jesus' way of saying that the Old Testament should be interpreted through a Christ centered lens to get the ultimate meaning out of each passage.  This means that the more we study Deuteronomy, the more we see Jesus and that leads us to a deeper knowledge of Him!

#3 - You'll learn how to talk to your friends about Jesus

We are dealing with some tough passages in these sermons.  The annihilation of whole groups of people is no laughing matter.  Topics like God's unconditional election of Israel and his temporal punishment of people for their sin are not usual Sunday morning fare in America.  Honestly, in our academic context, these tough passages are the first place that many people go to try and undermine the authority of the Bible.  We can ignore these, or we can dig in and try to think well about these passages in light of their context and God's larger plan for redemption.  These "crazy" passages that people bring up, as if they are a silver bullet that undermines all of Christianity, can become a jumping off place for talking about God's love and justice displayed most evidently at the cross.  

So don't give up.  Dig in!  And we'll see you on Sunday for Deuteronomy Chapter 5.  

3 Tough Questions From Deuteronomy!

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3 Tough Questions

From Deuteronomy chapter 2

by Robert Krumrey

Sunday's Sermon got more feedback (positive & negative) than any sermon I've ever preached.  By the way, what I'm calling "negative" was very gracious disagreement and not mean spirited at all.  Several questions came out of the experience.  Here are three that have been reoccurring:

1.  Why is Israel given permission to kill the Canaanites if everyone is a sinner and deserves to die?  

I'm actually going to answer this question in a future sermon (OCT 15th), but I will give you a hint where to find the answer.  Read Deuteronomy 7 and see if that helps.  You may not necessarily like the answer, but God is very direct about why it's Israel and not another people group. 


2.  You said God is consistent with his character.  How is God being consistent if he's wiping people out in the Old Testament and forgiving them in the New Testament? 

I think this is an excellent question.  I also think a more in-depth look at scripture shows that he is forgiving people in the Old Testament (as well as wiping them out) and wiping people out in the New Testament (as well as forgiving them).  We all have biases that we need to watch out for.  Some of us seem to gravitate toward God's holiness and truth telling.  Others of us gravitate toward his love and tenderness.  There is so much that is wrapped up in that - temperament, spiritual gifts, past wounds, experiences with our parents . . .  We must keep going back to scripture again and again to help us see more clearly who God really is and reject the God of our own making which is a false idol.  This includes our personal reading and reflection and discussion with others.

Here is an example of God forgiving in the Old Testament:

Jonah 3:10
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.  

God sends the prophet Jonah to declare judgment on a people group that is not Israel (Ninevites) and when they hear the words of the prophet, they repent and God holds back the judgment.  He gives mercy to them.  One might say this is inconsistent with God's character in the Old Testament, but that's not what Jonah thinks:  

Jonah 4:2
And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. 

Sounds like Jonah is talking about the New Testament God - gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in love.  The truth is he is talking about God. The same God we read about in the Old AND New Testaments.  He is merciful and he expresses that mercy to Israel and to those who are not Israel. 

He's also just. There is an end to his mercy if humans are not willing to respond with repentance and faith.  This is true in the New Testament too - mostly in the descriptions of the final judgment in Revelation.  These verses come to mind: 

Revelation 16:1
Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”

It's the beginning of the wrath section in the description of end times.  Do realize that God has been holding back for the entire book of Rev.; releasing partial judgment (much like ONLY judging the 2 cities of Sodom and Gomorrah on the Canaanite plain in Abraham's day).  There does come a time when mercy runs out and full on judgment is delivered.  You see the end of this wrath section here:

Revelation 18:21-24
21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,
“So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence,
    and will be found no more;
22 and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters,
    will be heard in you no more,
and a craftsman of any craft
    will be found in you no more,
and the sound of the mill
    will be heard in you no more,
23 and the light of a lamp
    will shine in you no more,
and the voice of bridegroom and bride
    will be heard in you no more,
for your merchants were the great ones of the earth,
    and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.
24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints,
    and of all who have been slain on earth.”

God's mercy is over.  Judgment against Babylon (representing all that is opposed to God) is final and complete.  

He's the same God in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.  Loving, gracious, full of mercy, AND holy, just, and delivers judgment.  This is what we see at the cross.  Love and justice.  

Remember these verses from Sunday's sermon that show how the cross demonstrates the justice or righteousness of God: 

Romans 3:25-26
God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (NIV)

Only two chapters later, Paul points to how the cross points to the love of God:

Romans 5:8
 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NIV)

Many of you reading this know Romans 5:8 really well, but couldn't have found that Romans 3:26 verse to save your life.  We are biased toward the love of God for all sorts of reasons as I mentioned before.  God is revealed consistently throughout all of scripture as both loving and righteous.  Look at Paul's command to his readers toward the end of the book of Romans:

Romans 11:22a
Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God . . . (NIV)

They are both characteristics of God and are incredibly valuable for us to consider!

 


3. Why does God use the Israelites to deliver the judgment of the Canaanites?  Why doesn't he just do it himself?  I'm thinking this was very traumatic for the men who had to carry this out.    

One thing about God's relationship to humans that is consistent throughout the creation, fall, redemption, and restoration is that he is always inviting human beings to co-labor with him. Part of our image bearing is to use our mind, will, and emotions to help move ahead the agenda of our Creator. This is true in the garden of Eden when God asks Adam to name the animals (see Genesis 2:19). Surely God could have come up with some awesome animal names, but he wants Adam to work in his Father's business. This is true in Redemption as well. At EVERY phase of the plan, humans are invited to participate in the reintegration of the universe. At the point in redemptive history represented by Deuteronomy (and really no other) the way in which humans were called to co-labor with God was to annihilate those who lived on the Canaanite plain. It was hard and emotional and risky and and and .  . . and it always is. Whatever God is inviting us into is a stretch for us and requires dependence on him. He is sustaining the OT people throughout this conquest as he does for us in this current season of making disciples of all nations - which can include being beheaded, having family members imprisoned, being ostracized, etc.

Also, we must remember that the people of the OT lived in a culture of bloodshed. Killing people that were not in your people group was a cultural norm. It's partly why God is telling the Israelites "an eye for an eye". It wasn't harsh, it was to dial them down so that they wouldn't seek retribution that was x 100. When reading both OT and NT, we have to try to put ourselves into the mindset of the original hearers. I think their hesitation regarding the conquest was more about fear of getting their butts kicked rather than fear of killing someone with their bare hands.

I liken it to growing up on a farm vs. growing up in the city. I grew up around animals and helped my family slaughter them. It was normal. We treated the animals humanely, but I never thought twice about wringing a chicken's neck or slitting the throat of a calf. I actually thought it was kind of cool. I tell those stories around here and people wince. Even though they just ate a chicken sandwich for lunch.  

The mess we made in allowing sin into the universe was a huge one and required an incredibly complex plan of redemption that was carried out over thousands of years.  What we are looking at in Deuteronomy is one small part of that plan.  The goal was to set up a kingdom from which God could bring about a King who would save the world and he did just that in Jesus.  

More Questions?  Q&A this Sunday (9/24) in the sanctuary after second service.  Grab a plate at lunch on the lawn and join Pastor Robert.   Want to give him a heads up?   Tweet your question to @rkrumrey

  

How Am I To Understand Old Testament Violence?

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Join us this Sunday!

Deuteronomy 2:26-37

If you've ever read much of the Old Testament, you've probably come up against verses like this: 

And we captured all his cities at that time and devoted to destruction every city, men, women, and children. We left no survivors.   Deuteronomy 2:34

This is a tough passage for modern readers and is something that detractors of the Bible like to bring up to show it to be a ridiculous book or at least to encourage a pick and choose approach to the study of the Christian Scriptures.  

Join us this Sunday (9/17/17) as we dive into a portion of Deuteronomy (2:26-37) and hear more about what these kinds of passages say about the nature of God and his overarching plan for redeeming a very messed up world.  

Listen to Sermons HERE

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How Small Groups Save You From Suffocation

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article by 

Robert Krumrey

It's that time of year again!  Church announcements are filled with info. about Small Groups and why everyone should join one.  This past Sunday we had about 300 adults attend our services and they all heard about this opportunity to connect with others around scripture, prayer, fellowship, and mission.  Yet, through the years, we've found that about 1/3 of Sunday attendees actually heed the call to engage in this more intimate experience of Christian growth known as the small group.  

And I get it!  We are all busy.  We've got schedules that are filled with REALLY important stuff.  Most of us are tired by the end of the day and don't think we can squeeze in one more thing.  It could be that this fatigue (physical, emotional, spiritual) we feel is actually a lack of oxygen for our shriveling souls.  I'd like to propose that gathering with a smaller group of Christians on a regular basis is something that could save our faith from suffocating from lack of spiritual oxygen. 

If you've spent any time reading the New Testament, you've read about the necessity of being in fellowship with other believers.  Some of these are expressed in commands sometimes called "one another" verses.  For example:

welcome one another (Romans 15:7)
love one another (John 13:34)
through love serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
confess your sins to one another (James 5:16)
pray for one another (James 5:16)

These kinds of things are hard to do when sitting in a room full of people on Sunday singing songs and listening to a sermon.  God has designed the Christian life in such a way that in order to mature, one must link their lives with at least a few other Christ followers.  We encourage people at MERCYhouse to "devote themselves to a few like family".  

Doing the Christian life alone is a lot like trying to scuba dive without adequate oxygen.  God insists that we require more air than what is coming from our individual tank.  Hard as we might try to survive listening to sermons, reading a few scripture verses, and going it alone, it will never be enough.  The small group environment creates an experience of sharing some of our oxygen with others and they with us.  As we do so, we (and they), end up being spiritually oxygenated.  This is the work of the Holy Spirit (the breath of God) among us when we join together as family.  

The ancient church understood this well and devoted themselves to joining together on a regular basis.  We learn in the second chapter of Acts that they met in the temple courts (larger group to hear the teaching of God's truth) and in homes (smaller groups to grow in fellowship).

"And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts"  (Acts 2:46)

As they did this God breathed air into their spiritual lungs and they went forth in boldness to demonstrate and proclaim the gospel.  So this semester commit yourself to joining with others to grow together in the fresh air of fellowship.  

Small groups start next week (week of Sept. 17th).  See this link for details!

 

Welcome to MERCYhouse!

Many of you are hitting our site for the very first time this week.  We are excited that you are considering being a part of the local church that is MERCYhouse.  This is our 19th year as a church and we are grateful to have seen God at work in our congregation through our entire history.  Not a year has passed that we weren't witness to a number of people deciding to become Christ followers and many others growing in their faith.  We hope you'll come join us for one of our Sunday worship services (9:15am & 11:15am) this semester and that you'll stay around for coffee and conversation so we can get to know you better.  

Welcome logo.jpg

While Sundays are an important part of our life as a church, we also hope you'll consider joining one of our Servant Teams and/or one of our Small Groups.  These are designed to help you connect more deeply with God and others and work out what it means to walk with Jesus.  

If you are a student and want to know more about what we are doing on your individual campus, please reach out to the CAMPUS CONTACT for your campus.  They'd be more than happy to tell you more about our ministry to students and how you can connect with others in our church.  

If you have any questions, please contact our church office at contact(at)knowmercy.org.  

We hope to see you soon!

Pastor Robert