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evbc | gilbert


always in awe of grace

I came across this wonderful quote over at the Desiring God blog:

People don't earn God's approval or receive life and salvation because of anything they've done. Rather, the only reason they receive life and salvation is because of God's kindness through Christ. There is no other way.

Many Christians are tired of hearing this teaching over and over. They think that they learned it all long ago. However, they barely understand how important it really is. If it continues to be taught as truth, the Christian church will remain united and pure — free from decay. This truth alone makes and sustains Christianity. You might hear an immature Christian brag about how well he knows that we receive God's approval through God's kindness and not because of anything we do to earn it. But if he goes on to say that this is easy to put into practice, then have no doubt he doesn't know what he's talking about, and he probably never will. We can never learn this truth completely or brag that we understand it fully. Learning this truth is an art. We will always remain students of it, and it will always be our teacher.

The people who truly understand that they receive God's approval by faith and put this into practice don't brag that they have fully mastered it. Rather, they think of it as a pleasant taste or aroma that they are always pursuing. These people are astonished that they can't comprehend it as fully as they would like. They hunger and thirst for it. They yearn for it more and more. They never get tired of hearing about this truth.

-Martin Luther, Quoted in Faith Alone, James C. Galvin


gilbert baptisms

On May, 5 we will be celebrating God's work in the lives of people in our community through baptism. Baptism is an outward symbol of an inward reality where we identify ourselves with Jesus and his people. I hope that you'll join us and celebrate this work of God with us.

Saturday, May 5 @ 6:30pm
Chuck & Kathi Bishop's house
1776 E. Palo Verde

If you'd like to be baptized, email Patti Zerr at pattizerr@evbc.org.

If you'd like to read more about baptism and what it means, click here.


sermon jams

I am so excited to find out about Sermon Jams. Check it out.


virginia tech shootings

It's been a little while since I posted, due in part to the Area Pastors' retreat we had this past week. We had a good time away and got some good work done. But, like the rest of the nation, we were heartbroken by the Virginia Tech tragedy. No matter how you slice it or what your worldview is, this incident is awful. What is God's role in these kinds of events? Below, I've posted some articles and resources that help answer that question.

John MacArthur on VT Shootings
John Piper on What to Say About Virginia Tech
John Piper's NPR Tsunami Interview (this relates to the question about how a good God can allow great suffering)
Tabletalk on Grief

In conclusion, I think about what I've heard one pastor say (I can't remember who): "Today 10,000 airplanes will take off and land and no one will stop to thank God for the grace that it took to make it safely. But as soon as anything bad happens, we are quick to call God's love and goodness into question."


Jesus, the true and better daniel

I had a great time leading this week at Men's Fellowship, where we're studying the decisive moments of God's men. Each week, we look at a man from the Old Testament and we study a key moment that he experienced, how it impacts our key moments, and how it points ahead to Jesus. This week we looked at Daniel in the lion's den and we saw that, "Jesus is the true and better Daniel who was sealed in a den of death, but emerged alive and victorious over those who falsely accused him."

If you read Daniel 6, you'll see that--like Jesus--Daniel was blameless and no fault was found against him, he was conspired against by those who were jealous of him, he remained obedient in the midst of great opposition, he was sealed in the den with a rock and a seal, and he came out alive.

The key difference is that unlike Daniel, Jesus actually died. But that's the great news! Jesus died the death that Daniel and you and I deserved to die so that one day death will have no hold over us and we will live in eternal victory. Happy Easter!


men, spiritually protect your family

One of my passions as the Gilbert Area Pastor is to invest in a meaningful, eternal way into the lives of men. That's why I spend a lot of my time with men and that's why I lead two Men's Fellowships on a weekly basis. It's not that I don't care about women, it's just that as the man goes, so goes the family. This video excerpt from one of John Piper's recent sermons should be an encouragement to men to spiritually protect their families.