Block Party

I love our Student Ministries Team here at Palm Valley Church!  Earlier this year they came to me with an idea.  They had been rethinking the programs they put on each year through the lens of their Biblical Purpose.  (In case you are wondering, there are 5 taken from the words of Christ in the Great Commandment and Great Commission – Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, and Evangelism).

Each summer they have two big events – a week long mission trip and summer camp.  Both are amazing events that fulfill different purposes for our students.

The mission trip is a discipleship event.  To go on the trip, one must participate in the equipping that starts months ahead of the trip,  It involves daily Bible reading, verse memorization, prayer, accountability, etc.  Every year this is one of the greatest catalysts for spiritual growth among our students.  Because of this, it is available to each student at no charge.  The church body covers the expense of the trip and these students prepare and then serve for a week putting on church for kids at many of our partner churches throughout the Phoenix metro area.

Summer camp has traditionally been about evangelism.  Its a fun week where students will hear the gospel message clearly away from the distractions of daily life in an incredible environment.

Here is the dilemma; the same students were attending both events.  You see summer camp is expensive.  Upwards of $400 per student.  Because of this, only our most committed students would save throughout the year to participate.  The students we wanted to experience camp…the friends of our committed students, the students who attend church infrequently, the students form our community, were not making it to this incredible evangelistic camp opportunity.  Our teams proposal was crazy: since camp was not fulfilling the purpose it was intended to meet…they wanted to cancel it and try something else.

That’s where Block Party comes in.  What if we brought a camp experience to our community?  We keep the fun levels high, the energy off the charts, and communicate the gospel clearly.  What we got rid of were some food, lodging and transportation costs and brought the price down to $50 for four – four hour days.  Even better…we gave our students who registered early, a free ticket to invite their unchurched friend.

It is a risk.  I love camp.  I grew up going to camp.  I worked at a camp.  But I am willing to let our team try something new because they are trying to fulfill the purposes that God sets out for the church.

You can check out the details of Block Party HERE.

Foundations of the Faith – The Trinity

Foundations_Website_ScaledOver the next three weeks, we will be exploring the Trinity, a foundational doctrine. The approach will be to take one week on each member of the Trinity and reveal the doctrine through the scriptures as we go. This past weekend we focused on God the Son, Jesus Christ. You can check out the full message [HERE].

One of the points I promised to further expand on was the fact that God the Son is eternal, He has always existed. A common misunderstanding is that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came into existence that first Christmas. John, in his gospel, takes us all the way back to the creation account and places Him already there. We also see evidence of God taking human or visible form and appearing throughout the Old Testament.

The first two examples were shared in my message, but the rest (not an exhaustive list) have been provided for those who were curious and wanted to study this further.

Genesis 18:1-2, 13-14

The Lord appeared again to Abraham near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. One day Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up and noticed three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them, bowing low to the ground.”…”13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

15 Sarah was afraid, so she denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh.”

But the Lord said, “No, you did laugh.”

 

Genesis 32: 28-30

“Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”

29 “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said.

“Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there.

30 Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.”

 

Take some time and read the following passages to see evidence of God making Himself known visibly.

 

Exodus 24:9-11

Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel climbed up the mountain. 10 There they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. 11 And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence!

 

Judges 13:21-22

The angel did not appear again to Manoah and his wife. Manoah finally realized it was the angel of the Lord, 22 and he said to his wife, “We will certainly die, for we have seen God!”

Many passages refer to a visit from “the” angel of the Lord. These typically are referring to God. One can tell by the declaration in this passage specifically, that this is what the term is referring to.

Daniel 3:25 

“Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”

 

The point of this study is to show that God the Son is eternal. He has always existed. Specifically, the scriptures show that He existed before the account of his birth to Mary.