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Meadows Messenger

Spring Meadows Presbyterian Church publishes a monthly newsletter, which we make available to the public. You may browse recent newsletters below.

  • Anger – Part 2 October 2019 -

    Anger is a great universal of human existence.  All of us know what it feels like to be in anger’s grip.  It can be overpowering and sometimes it feels good and at other times it leaves one feeling guilty.  All of us have said and done things in anger that we regret and wish we [...]

  • Anger: Part 1 September 2019 -

    Years ago I did a sermon series on the seven deadly sins.  The sermon that got the most feedback was a two-part message on anger.  Everybody gets angry!  Not everybody realizes it or admits it; fewer still may show it but everybody gets angry.  In a fallen world often filled with disappointment, imperfection, misery and [...]

  • The Danger of Virtue – August 1, 2019 -

    The Danger of Virtue   

    Your initial impression on reading the title of this article might have been, “Has he lost it?”, “How could virtue ever be considered dangerous?”  Isn’t that what religion is all about? Isn’t morality and being good the whole point of religion?  Religion yes, Christianity no!  Let us look at the [...]

  • Some of Luther’s “Theses” on the Gospel -

    Some of Luther’s “Theses” on the Gospel
    by Tim Posey

    Thesis – Christ did not only die in our place but lived a Perfect life in our place. Therefore we do not simply get forgiveness for sins, but also complete acceptance, when His perfect past and record now (in God’s sight) becomes ours.

    Luther: [...]

  • The Gospel and An Outward Face -

    Through a continuous belief and appropriation of the Gospel, Jesus makes us a people for others.  As we grow in our grasp of the good news, we no longer exist in a survival mode or with a maintenance mindset.  We become missional, a church that exists not for ourselves but for others.  Because of the [...]

  • March 2019 – On Being Gospel Centered -

    On Being Gospel Centered     

    Being Gospel centered is all the rage in evangelical circles, which in my judgment is a good thing, though often misunderstood in its application.  So what does it look like to be a Gospel centered person?  If I center my life on the good news of Christ’s death for my [...]

  • The Vision of Spring Meadows -

    The Vision of SMPC   

    A vision is a clear and challenging picture of the future of a ministry as its leadership believes it can and must be.  Let’s unpack this definition in order to better understand it.

    A vision must be clear. A vision is like a guiding star. People need to [...]
  • Confessing Your Sins – December 2018 -

    Confessing Your Sins

    “This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to  you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.  If we say  we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie  and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as He [...]

  • The Sovereignty of God – November, 2018 -

    The Sovereignty of God

    If we examine the Bible we see that it clearly teaches that God is sovereign.  God is a great King and He rules in and over all that He has made.  God has foreordained all that comes to pass.  Everything that comes to pass is according to God’s decree.  And all [...]

  • October 2018 – Weekly Communion -

    The elders of Spring Meadows have decided to have the Lord’s Supper every Sunday.  We believe the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is a means of grace, as much as the Word of God and prayer.  We don’t worship, pray and preach the word twice a month but every Lord’s Day.  The Session believes that [...]

  • Losing the Gospel September 2018 -

    Losing the Gospel

    The heartbeat of the Apostle Paul was the Gospel of grace.  Whenever he sensed that the Gospel was being domesticated, tamed, diluted, distorted, lost or perverted his passions were aroused.  A case in point is the letter to the Galatians.  Some have said Galatians is a ticked-off version of Romans.  In Galatians 1:6 Paul says, [...]

  • Creating a Gospel Culture August 2018 -

    Creating a Gospel Culture       

    One of the core values of SMPC is to create a Gospel culture.  The purpose of this article is to clarify what a Gospel culture is, what a Gospel culture looks like, and how a Gospel culture can be created.

    To begin, let’s see what it means to be faithful [...]

  • Eschatology – The Home Stretch -

    Eschatology – The Home Stretch             

    Scripture employs stunning and fantastic imagery to illumine our understanding regarding end times.  To interpret these images is quite trying and demanding and taxes our theological categories and imaginations.  Visionary symbols, word pictures and prophetic/apocalyptic literature all require skillful engagement with God’s word by His Spirit.  The end times [...]

  • The Good News about Weakness -

    The Good News about Weakness
    By: Kevin Park

    A little while ago, I received a remark at church about my being overweight from a visitor. While I’ve always have had struggles in maintaining a healthy weight, being in seminary has not helped my waistline in the least. In response to the comment, I stated, [...]

  • The Relentless, Persevering, Conquering Love of God -

    The Relentless, Persevering, Conquering Love of God Rom. 8:35-39

    One of the leading causes of spiritual coldness, apathy, indifference and inertia is a lack of assurance of God’s amazing love for us.  Like the Laodicean church of Revelation 3:14ff we are neither cold nor hot.  If we are not daily living in the light of the truth that,  “I [...]

  • A Better Abraham: Our Father’s Love Story by Kevin Park -

    A better Abraham: Our Father’s Love Story
    by Kevin Park

    The resurrection conveys to us images. Images of the cross, of the empty tomb, and of Christ in resurrected glory, standing as victor. But while we do well on the morning of Resurrection Day (Easter) to recall such momentous acts contained in Christ’s passion, we [...]

  • Evangelical Penance? by Tim Posey -

    Evangelical Penance?
    by Tim Posey

    One of the most disturbing facts I see both in my own heart and in the church is the almost knee jerk response of doing penance rather than repentance in the face of my sin.  You don’t have to be Roman Catholic to observe the sacrament of penance.  Most [...]

  • The Line of Addiction by Kevin Park -

    The Line of Addiction

     

    PETA a few years ago came out with a billboard campaign. It said on top of the billboard in big bold letters, All animals want to live, then it had a lineup of animals. On the left-hand side, there were pictures of a few cats and dogs, then there was [...]

  • Learning to Practice Humility by Tim Posey -

    Learning to Practice Humility (James 4:1-8) by Tim Posey

    In this article I would like to look at how deep character change happens to us.  Jonathan Edwards had a lot to say about this kind of  change, especially in his work “The Nature of True Virtue.”  In this book he distinguishes between common virtue and [...]

  • From Some More, to No More by Kevin Park -

    From Some More, to No More…

    by Kevin Park

    This time of year can often be hard for individuals and it’s common for our unresolved hurts and pains to be amplified during this Advent period. It’s not that we don’t know the truer meaning behind the seasons emphasis: Christ has come, and He truly is [...]

  • October 2017 – Our Doubts -

    Our Doubts by Kevin Park

    While growing up Roman Catholic I remember being entirely unimpressed with the apostle Thomas. He seemed like such a coward and backslider. I remember in Roman Catholic schools it was open season every time his name was mentioned. He was a pinnacle cautionary tale for those who esteem themselves as [...]

  • September 2017 – Gospel Identity -

    Gospel Identity by Tim Posey

    The Gospel is that God treats us not as our sin deserves but that He treats Jesus as our sin deserves and that He treats us as Jesus’ righteousness deserves.  If we could really grasp this it would most certainly revolutionize our lives.  One key to Christian maturity is to [...]

  • August 2017 How Can You Worship Here? by Kevin Park -

    How can you worship here?
    By Kevin Park

    When we were blessed to have Bridget baptized into the covenant community of Spring Meadows there were family members of mine from the ‘Roman Catholic wing’ who came from out of town in order to be there. I remember one of my nephews, upon entering the [...]

  • The Psalms Singing to Us -

    The Psalms Singing to Us
    By Kevin Park

    Something about the human condition is uniquely connected to hearing from others. Just think of how often we fill moments of silence in our lives with hearing from someone else – from music, to our phones, to the radio, to our computers, to our TVs each [...]

  • June 2017 – The Poison of Moralism -

    The Poison of Moralism

    The devil is an equal-opportunity deceiver.  He kneads the Pharisaic yeast of moralism in the bread of all theological traditions.  The very Protestantism that recovered the teaching of justification by faith alone which was designed to release people from bondage to the law produced its own version of Pharisaic moralism.  The [...]

  • May 2017 – What’s in it for Me? Looking to Communion -

    What in it for me? Looking to communion.
    by Kevin Park

    When I was still dating my now wife, we had made plans about a week in advance for her to cook dinner on an upcoming Thursday. This was to be the first time she ever made me dinner, so she made sure to [...]

  • April 2017 – The Day Death Died -

    The Day Death Died

    George Bernard Shaw, a philosopher and an atheist, once said, “The statistics on death are quite impressive, one out of every one person dies”.  To follow up with some recent statistics on death: three people die every second, 180 every minute, almost 11,000 every hour, about 260,000 every day and around 95 million a [...]

  • The Promise to You and Your Children -

    The promise for you and your children
    by Kevin Park

    I want to give a disclaimer right at the beginning of this article. Spring Meadows has members within the congregation that will disagree with the conclusion this article makes, and that’s okay. You might be one of them, and that’s fine. All of our [...]

  • The Gospel and Worldliness -

    The Gospel and Worldliness
    The three great enemies of the Christian, the unholy trinity as it were, are the world, the flesh and the devil.  The only power that can overcome these enemies is the Gospel, the power of God for salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16).  Drawn by a vision of a [...]

  • January 2017 But With Gentleness and Respect -

    But with Gentleness and Respect by Kevin Park

    I enjoy debates. Which on occasion can be a good quality, but if being honest, more often than not, it just means I can excel at being obnoxious. It also seems I’m not alone with this condition. It turns out many Americans seem to share in appreciating [...]

  • December 2016 We Have Been Given Missions -

    We Have Been Given Missions

    By Kevin Park

    When we think upon scripture there are few themes more touched upon than the marital union we share with our God through Christ Jesus. Not only is this theme common, it’s actually the final metaphor God’s word uses to discuss the covenant relationship between Him and His [...]

  • November 2016 Waiting on God -

    Waiting on God     Mark 5:21-43

     

    Some wise wag once said they call it golf because all of the other four-letter words were already taken.  Well, I can think of another four-letter word I detest and the word is wait.  I have a sneakingsuspicion that I am not alone.  The undertone of my life is [...]

  • October 2016 Newsletter – Thoughts on Pride -

    THOUGHTS ON PRIDE

     

    What can possibly be said about pride that has not already been said?  We all know that from a biblical perspective pride is not a virtue but a vice.  It is something God resists and hates (James 4:6).  We know that pride is ugly and humility is beautiful.  We also have [...]

  • September 2016 Our New Pastoral Intern -

    Our New Pastoral Intern

               

    In one sense it may seem a little odd that I’m introducing myself to the Spring Meadows Community, as I’ve been a member for a little over four years now, but it seemed like an appropriate thing to do for my first submission to the newsletter.

    I grew up in [...]

  • August 2016 The Cruciality of Faith -

    The Cruciality of Faith – Galatians 3:1-5

    Drawn as we are by a vision of a God-centered life but confronted by such formidable obstacles as the world, the flesh and the devil, we are most likely in our human nature to turn first to works for spiritual growth.  We are convinced that being spiritual is [...]

  • July 2016 – A Personal Goodbye by Mark Russell -

    A Personal Goodby

    By Mark Russell

    Dear Spring Meadows,

    As a church family, you have provided me and Zaira our closest friendships, a church community in which we have been discipled in the faith, and a teaching ministry that has affirmed Christ and his gospel at every point.

    Spring Meadows is the church where as [...]

  • June 2016 A Brief Overview of Covenant Theology -  

    A Brief Overview of Covenant Theology

    Since we have been focusing on the sacraments as signs and seals of the Covenant of Grace, perhaps an overview of Covenant Theology is in order.  Ligon Duncan states, “Covenant Theology is the Gospel set in the context of God’s eternal plan of communion with His people and its [...]

  • May 2016 – Wanted Laborers in the Vineyard: No previous experience necessary -

    Wanted: Laborers in the vineyard. No previous experience required.
    By Mark Russell
    (This article reflects a revision to my 2012 SMPC newsletter article entitled, ” Plan of Discipleship.”)

    A Common Problem in the church

    “There are so many new people here.”

    “I feel like I don’t know anyone.”

    “I don’t know where to [...]

  • April 2016 – Imputed Righteousness -

    Imputed Righteousness

    For a long time in my life and ministry I was very aware of the Biblical/theological benefits of the reformed doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith in Christ alone.  However, I was woefully ignorant about the therapeutic and relational benefits of the blood and righteousness of Christ.  Francis Schaeffer often asked [...]

  • March 2016 Bringing Stranger Danger Home -

    Bringing Stranger Danger Home
    By Mark Russell

    Last week while Zaira attended the PCA women’s conference, I took Joanna to the nearby park down the street. (I was coming down with a bad case of cabin-fever that day and just had to get outside.) Strollering the baby around the concrete walking path of the [...]

  • February 2016: The Vision of SMPC -

    The Vision of Spring Meadows Church

    A vision is a clear and challenging picture of the future of a ministry as its leadership believes it can and  must be.  Let’s unpack this definition in order to better understand it.

    A vision must be clear. A vision is like a guiding star. People need to know wherewe [...]
  • January 2016 – Processing Criticism -

    Processing Criticism

    How well do you take criticism?  Are you defensive and reactionary or do you listen, sift and ferret out what may be helpful?  You cannot live life without being criticized by family, friends, coworkers, bosses, the church and your enemies.  So how do we process criticism with a Gospel paradigm?  What would that [...]

  • December 2015 – Musings on the Incarnation -

    Musings on the Incarnation

    Every year the world–and the church—experience Christmas, that curious amalgam of paganism, consumerism, and Christianity which western civilization has invented to tide it over the darkest days of the winter.  It would be easy to be critical, offended and condescending to the culture.  However, this festive season has one advantage, it reminds the public of at [...]

  • November 2015 – Galatians and Legalism -

    Galatians and Legalism

    Our first priority as believers is to get to know the book of Galatians well.  This is not easy because the devil hates the Gospel and Galatians is saturated with it.  Therefore he will use all of his devices—laziness, busy-ness, self satisfaction, pride, etc. to prevent you from understanding this book.  The book [...]

  • October 2015 – Some of Luther’s Theses on the Gospel -

    Some of Luther’s “Theses” on the Gospel

    Thesis – Christ did not only die in our place but lived a Perfect life in our place.  Therefore we do not simply get forgiveness for sins, but also complete acceptance, with His perfect past and record now (in God’s sight) becomes ours.

    Luther: “It is an absolutely unique teaching in the [...]

  • August 2015 – The Goal of Sanctification -

    The Goal of Sanctification

    The following quote of Archibald Alexander has always challenged me: “It seems desirable to ascertain, as precisely as we can, the reasons why Christians  commonly are of so diminutive a stature and of such feeble strength in their  religion…First, there is a  defect in our belief in the freeness of divine [...]

  • July 2015 – A Refresher on Infant Baptism by Mark Russell -

    On Sunday the 28th, my daughter Joanna was baptized at SMPC. Baptism is strange and puzzling to many persons (inside and outside the church), so I want to briefly share the importance of this sign.  I will look at its significance in three realms: as individuals, as families, and as a church.

    It should be [...]

  • May 2015 – Compassion -

    Compassion

    Even a cursory reading of the Gospels would lead one to the conclusion that Jesus was filled with compassion.  It is also clear that His followers are to be characterized by compassion.  In Matthew 5:7 Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy”.  The ones who receive God’s mercy both now and forever are [...]

  • April, 2015 – A Living Hope -

    A Living Hope     1 Peter 1:3-12

    In 1 Peter 1:3-12 the apostle gives us a set of Christological affirmations regarding a living hope.  He begins by blessing God, not a generic god, but the God who has revealed Himself distinctively as the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    The specific act for which Peter blesses [...]

  • March 2015 – God Is for Us -

    God Is For Us     Rom. 8:31-34

    “What shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge [...]

  • February 2015 – Faith, Doubt and the Game of Scrabble -

    Faith, Doubt, and the Game of Scrabble

    By Mark Russell

     

    Over the Christmas holiday, my wife and I enjoy staying in with family

    and playing board games all day long.  We play all sorts of games.  There

    are the six-hour-long and intensely rule-laden board games and the quick,

    20 minute Uno sort of games.  This article will [...]

  • December 2014 – The Incarnation of Jesus Christ -

    The Incarnation of Jesus Christ

     

    Some would argue that the five most important words ever written or read are found in John 1:14, “and the Word became flesh”.  We know from John 1:1-13 the true identity of the Word is the second person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He took upon Himself [...]

  • November 2014 – Indulging in False Futures - Indulging in False Futures
    Mark Russell

    There is a small bakery I visit to grab cups of coffee with friends.  Their baked treats and sweets are beautifully aligned in the display refrigerator at the front of the store.  Now, if I were to walk up to the cashier and say, “I feel like indulging [...]

  • October 2014 – Thoughts on Pride -

    THOUGHTS ON PRIDE

    What can possibly be said about pride that has not already been said?  We all know that from a biblical perspective pride is not a virtue but a vice.  It is something God resists and hates (James 4:6).  We know that pride is ugly and humility is beautiful.  We also have an [...]

  • September 2014 – On Being Gospel Driven -

    On Being Gospel Driven

    What are you driven by?  What motivates you to get out of bed each morning?  What do you look forward to, dream about and hope for?  If you were to immerse yourself in the media, in particular television, infomercials, you would see what is driving the culture at large.  You would [...]

  • August 2014 – The Problem of Shame -

    The Problem of Shame

    Mark Twain was reported to have said, “Man is the only creature who blushes or needs to.”  But in postmodern, post-Christian western culture, where relativism and pluralism reign guilt has fallen on hard times.  In the minds of many there is no transcendent ethic i.e. there is no overarching standard of right and [...]

  • July 2014 – Relational Legalism -

    Relational Legalism

    We are all recovering legalists unless we are totally blind to it.  It is the sin almost no one admits to committing.  We are often unaware of how deep it goes.  We are so addicted to a law centered way of relating to God, ourselves and others and are deceived about it.  We [...]

  • June 2014 – The Scandal of the Gospel -

    The Scandal of the Gospel

    Often, we miss the counterintuitive nature of the Gospel of grace because of historical, cultural, theological and social distance from first-century Judaism.  For example, when Saul of Tarsus became Paul the Apostle the shock waves of that conversion experience resonated throughout the known world.

    In Galatians 2:15-16 Paul says, “we [...]

  • May 2014 – Losing Your Life to Save it -

    Losing Your Life to Save It

    And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.  For what does it profit [...]

  • February 2014 – How Far His Love Goes -

    How Far His Love Goes (John 21:15-17)

    Breakfast on the beach is over.  Fellowship has been restored and a sense of relief is beginning.  But there is some unfinished business that needs to be dealt with more completely.  The Gospel is that Jesus loves us with such a deep love that He meets us right [...]

  • January 2014 – Discipleship: To Be an Apprentice of Jesus -

    Discipleship: To be an apprentice of Jesus
    by Mark Russell

    Have you ever been on a sports team?  What happens when you don’t run the patterns or plays according to the team’s playbook?

    Have you ever worked on a group project in school?  What happens when you miss the initial meeting [...]

  • December 2014 – Receiving Gifts -

    Receiving Gifts – Luke 2:1-14

    Many of us have had the experience of receiving an unexpected gift right out of the blue.  The gift came from a person that we really didn’t know all that well but to our chagrin the gift turned out to be great.  We didn’t ask for it, nor expected to [...]

  • November 2013 – Gratitude -

    Gratitude

    How’s your gratitude doing?  Is it growing and thriving or is it being swallowed up and stifled by life?  Is your response to God one of ever increasing gratefulness or murmuring, complaining, moaning and groaning?  Are you counting your blessings one by one or reciting your curses under your breath?  So, is this going [...]

  • October 2013 – The Cruciality of Faith: Galatians 3:1-5 -

    The Cruciality of Faith – Galatians 3:1-5

    Drawn as we are by a vision of a God-centered life but confronted by such formidable obstacles as the world, the flesh and the devil, we are most likely in our human nature to turn first to works for spiritual growth.  We are convinced that being spiritual is going [...]

  • September 2013 – The Relentless, Persevering, Conquering Love of God -

     

    The Relentless, Persevering, Conquering Love of God Rom. 8:35-39

    Tne of the leading causes of spiritual coldness, apathy, indifference and inertia is a lack of assurance of God’s amazing love for us.  Like the Laodicean church of Revelation 3:14ff, we are neither cold nor hot.  If we are not daily living in the light [...]

  • August 2013 – Faith and Effort -

    Faith and Effort

     

    One of the theological challenges of thinking about sanctification (growth in grace) is the relationship between faith and effort.  There seems to be an irresolvable tension between activity (effort) and passivity (faith).  Without recognizing this tension we can easily succumb to the dangers of on the one hand self-generated

    effort or [...]

  • August 2013 – Faith and Effort -

    Faith and Effort

     

    One of the theological challenges of thinking about sanctification (growth in grace) is the relationship between faith and effort.  There seems to be an irresolvable tension between activity (effort) and passivity (faith).  Without recognizing this tension we can easily succumb to the dangers of on the one hand self-generated effort or [...]

  • July 2013: Anger; Part 2 -

    Anger is a great universal of human existence.  All of us know what it feels like to be in anger’s grip.  It can be overpowering and sometimes it feels good and at other times it leaves one feeling guilty.  All of us have said and done things in anger that we regret and wish we [...]

  • June 2013 – A Fresh Look at Shepherding -

    A Fresh Look at Shcpherding at SMPC

    by Mark Russell

     

    Consider this fictional story: Cathy Williams, affectionately known to many as “Kate,” was born on September 22, 1953. In 1986, Cathy became a member of Covenant Church on the basis of her profession of faith and remained a member until her death on July [...]

  • May 2013 – Anger -

    Anger

     Years ago I did a sermon series on the seven deadly sins.  The sermon that got the most feedback was a two-part message on anger.  Everybody gets angry!  Not everybody realizes it or admits it; fewer still may show it but everybody gets angry.  In a fallen world often filled with disappointment, [...]

  • Marc 2013 – Some Really Good News: The “So What” of the Resurrection -

    Some Really Good News: The “So What” of the Resurrection

    Think of the best news you have ever heard.  It is not malignant!  It’s a boy!  It’s a girl!  Will you marry me?  You are receiving a 20% raise and a promotion, you got the job, you are receiving a refund, etc.  We [...]

  • February 2013 – Operation Fig Leaves -

    Operation Fig Leaves

     Mark Twain was reported to have said, “Man is the only creature who blushes or needs to.”  But in postmodern, post-Christian western culture, where relativism and pluralism reign guilt has fallen on hard times.  In the minds of many there is no transcendent ethic i.e. there is no overarching standard [...]

  • January 2013 – Tithing? -

    Tithing?

     Well, January has arrived and the new year is with us and normal routines are on the horizon. School will begin again and schedules will be return to normal.  As you begin to adjust I want to challenge you to think about your giving.  How is it going with your giving to [...]

  • December 2012 – Musings on the Incarnation -

    Musings on the Incarnation

    Every year the world–and the church—experience Christmas, that curious amalgam of paganism, consumerism, and Christianity which western civilization has invented to tide it over the darkest days of the winter.  It would be easy to be critical, offended and condescending to the culture.  However, this festive season has one advantage, it [...]

  • November 2012 – Vision of the Church + Practical Reality = Plan of Discipleship -

    Vision of the Church + Practical Reality =Plan of Discipleship

    By Mark Russell

    In a conversation with a friend earlier this week centering on the question of what the practical discipleship plan of Spring Meadows looks like, I was brainstorming on all sorts of different ideas which flowed from the February Session retreat. After becoming [...]

  • October 2012 – Community Groups -

    If you have lived in Las Vegas for some time you may have paid a visit to the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Depending on the season you may see swatches of bright-colored flowers planted around the walk ways, heaps of oversized pumpkins, lily pads floating over the surface of a pond, or vines climbing [...]

  • September 2012 – Community Groups at Spring Meadows -

    Community Groups at Spring Meadows

    In preparation for our retooling of Community Groups and your involvement in them, we would encourage you to read this article that provides a biblical foundation for the emphasis we place on them. While some congregations may have Community Groups, our congregation is Community Groups. They are the [...]

  • A Brief Overview of Covenant Theology -

    A Brief Overview of Covenant Theology  – August 2012

     

    Since we have been focusing on the sacraments as signs and seals of the Covenant of Grace, perhaps an overview of Covenant Theology isin order.  Ligon Duncan states, “Covenant Theology is the Gospel set in the context of God’s eternal plan of communion with His [...]

  • The Gospel and Christian Experience -

    Gospel and Christian Experience

  • Elders and Deacons: Biblical Qualifications and Roles -

    The biblical role of elders is to shepherd the flock.  This means that, serving in humility, they are to guide, direct, guard and protect the members of the body, seeking to meet their spiritual needs and assist in any way possible, warning against harmful influences and guarding against false teachers.  They are to provide a [...]

  • Believers Build The Body -

    Since I am now settled and moved into the church offices, I want to fill in
    more of the story which explains how I came to be here – working on staff
    at SMPC and what this means to our local church.

    Here is the sketch: In July 2011, the Session determined to [...]

  • Some Really Good News -

    Think of the best news you have ever heard. It is not malignant! It’s a
    boy! It’s a girl! Will you marry me? You are receiving a 20% raise and
    a promotion, you got the job, you are receiving a refund, etc. We all love
    good news. But the ultimate good news [...]

  • The Day Death Died -

    George Bernard Shaw, a philosopher and an atheist, once said, “The statistics
    on death are quite impressive, one out of every one person dies”. To follow
    up with some recent statistics on death: three people die every second, 180
    every minute, almost 11,000 every hour, about 260,000 every day and around 95 [...]

  • Christian Identity -

    The Gospel is that God treats us not as our sin deserves but that He treats
    Jesus as our sin deserves and that He treats us as Jesus’ righteousness
    deserves. If we could really grasp this it would most certainly revolu-
    tionize our lives. One key to Christian maturity is to consistently [...]

  • On Being A Missional Church -

    The immediate cause of all aspects of church life, growth and d is
    the Gospel (Romans 1:16). Paul, in a prayer of thanksgiving fian
    church (Colossians 1:3-6) expresses gratitude to God for the the
    Gospel had come to them bearing fruit and growing among the
    Gospel produced was “faith in Jesus [...]

  • The Story That Makes Our Story -

    Almost everyone has reflective moments in which certain questions arise,
    questions like: Who am I? Why am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?
    Where is history going? Why is there evil and where did it come from? Why
    do we die? Why are things the way they are and [...]

  • On Being Gospel Centered -

    Every person has a “personal center.” Whatever is at the center of our life will
    be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom and power. Security represents
    your sense of worth, your identity, your sense of being somebody. Guidance
    means your source for moment-by-moment decision making and doing. Wisdom
    is your [...]

  • Gospel Preaching -

    The immediate cause of all aspects of church life, growth and development is
    the Gospel (Romans 1:16). Paul, in a prayer of thanksgiving for the Colossian
    church (Colossians 1:3-6) expresses gratitude to God for the way in which the
    Gospel had come to them bearing fruit and growing among them. The fruit [...]

  • The Fear Of Failure -

    The Bible is filled with exhortations addressing the motive of fear.
    The reason the exhortations abound is that we are all afraid, just of
    different stuff. We are afraid of so many things: love, honesty,
    humility, caring, etc. It all began in the Garden when Adam and Eve
    after their disobedience, [...]

  • The Poison Of Moralism -

    The devil is an equal-opportunity deceiver. He kneads the Pharisaic yeast of
    moralism in the bread of all theological traditions. The very Protestantism that
    recovered the teaching of justification by faith alone which was designed to
    release people from bondage to the law produced its own version of Pharisaic
    moralism. The [...]

  • Freedom And Love -

    One of the most important issues in the Christian life is learning to
    understand the relationship between justification and sanctification.
    They are both inseparable and yet distinguishable. Justification is
    an act of God by which He declares a believer to be right with Him
    and forever under His favor upon the [...]

  • Eschatology The Home Stretch -

    Scripture employs stunning and fantastic imagery to illumine our under-
    standing regarding end times. To interpret these images is quite trying
    and demanding and taxes our theological categories and imaginations.
    Visionary symbols, word pictures and prophetic/apocalyptic literature all
    require skillful engagement with God’s word by His Spirit. The end
    times [...]

  • The Gospel In An Outward Face -

    Through a continuous belief and appropriation of the Gospel, Jesus
    makes us a people for others. As we grow in our grasp of the good
    news, we no longer exist in a survival mode or with a maintenance
    mindset. We become missional, a church that exists not for ourselves
    but for [...]

  • The Structure Of The Book Of Revelation -

    Since we are beginning a series of sermons on the book of Revelation, I thought
    it would be helpful to discuss the structure of the book in writing rather than in a
    sermon. I hope it will be helpful as we go through the book. Looking in a “big
    picture” at the [...]

  • The Gospel And An Outward Face Part 2 -

    Through a continuous belief and appropriation of the Gospel, Jesus
    makes us a people for others. As we grow in our grasp of the good
    news, we no longer exist in a survival mode or with a maintenance
    mindset. We become missional, a church that exists not for ourselves
    but for [...]

  • Danger Of Losing The Gospel -

    Hebrews 2:1 “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what
    we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”

    You may have heard the story of the Mennonite Brethren movement. It
    goes something like this…The first generation believed and proclaimed
    the Gospel and from the Gospel drew certain social implications. [...]

  • Conscience And The Gospel -

    One of the key issues in our relationship with God is learning how to apply the
    Gospel of grace to our consciences. Martin Luther once wrote that “there is no
    greater pain than the gnawing pangs of conscience.” This explains why we
    make such strenuous efforts to justify ourselves. The key to [...]

  • Incarnation Of Jesus Christ -

    Some would argue that the five most important words
    ever written or read are found in John 1:14, “and the
    Word became flesh”. We know from John 1:1-13 the true identity of the Word is the second person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ. He took upon Himself flesh – that is, [...]

  • Compassionate Christianity -

    Even a cursory reading of the Gospels would lead one to the conclusion
    that Jesus was filled with compassion. It is also clear that His followers
    are to be characterized by compassion. In Matthew 5:7 Jesus says,
    “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy”. The ones who
    receive God’s [...]

  • The Problem Of Shame -

    Mark Twain was reported to have said, “Man is the only creature who blushes or needs
    to.” But in postmodern, post-Christian western culture, where relativism and pluralism
    reign guilt has fallen on hard times. In the minds of many there is no transcendent ethic
    i.e. there is no overarching standard of right [...]

  • The Dance We Do -

    In recent weeks I have been thinking about covenant renewal and the dangers of both
    self effort and cheap grace. We need to repent of both. Self-generated effort is the
    number one cause of legalism, pharisaism and moralism. It is Avis theology, i.e. “try
    harder or Nike theology, “just do it”. It [...]

  • Ministering In Modern Day Ninevah -

    Ministering in Modern Day Ninevah

    (Note to congregation: the following article was written in response to a request by
    Macau Bible Institute.) As a pastor who serves in the gambling mecca of the Western
    culture I am often asked, “What is it like living and pastoring in Las Vegas? In a city

  • God Is At Work -

    As we face a new year, it is helpful to look back and take inventory
    as we plan for the future. Setting realistic goals and effective
    strategies are wise things to do: what do we hope to accomplish?
    What is God up to in our lives? How are we going to measure

  • Musings On The Incarnation -

    Every year the world–and the church—experience Christmas,
    that curious amalgam of paganism, consumerism, and
    Christianity which western civilization has invented to tide it
    over the darkest days of the winter. It would be easy to be
    critical, offended and condescending to the culture. However,
    this festive season has one advantage, [...]

  • The Intolerance Of Grace -

    One of the indisputable truths of the Gospel is that God meets
    us right where we are, just as we are, but He doesn’t leave us
    there. He loves us just as we are, but too much to leave
    us that way. Put another way, grace is not merely a dispo-
    [...]

  • Why The Sovereignty Of God Matters -

    If we examine the Bible we see that it clearly teaches that God is
    sovereign. God is a great King and He rules in and over all that He
    has made. God has foreordained all that comes to pass. Everything
    that comes to pass is according to God’s decree. And all that [...]

  • God Is For Us -

    “What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be
    against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for
    us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?
    Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? [...]

  • Relentless Love Of God -

    One of the leading causes of spiritual coldness, apathy, indifference and
    inertia is a lack of assurance of God’s amazing love for us. Like the
    Laodicean church of Revelation 3:14ff we are neither cold nor hot. If we
    are not daily living in the light of the truth that, “I am His [...]

  • Waiting On God -

    Mark 5:21-43

    Some wise wag once said they call it golf because all of the other four-
    letter words were already taken. Well, I can think of another four-
    letter word I detest and the word is wait. I have a sneaking suspicion
    that I am not alone. The undertone of [...]

  • Growth In Grace -

    Philippians 2:12-16

    In my study of the Christian life over the past twenty five years I have
    been trying to resolve an irresolvable tension. Who does the work in
    sanctification? The Westminster Shorter Catechism Q. 33 answers the
    question “What is sanctification?” as follows: “Sanctification is the work
    of God’s free [...]

  • The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ And Creation -

    1 Corinthians 15:22 ff.

    The meaning of the resurrection as Paul presents it is God’s final and
    decisive word on the life of His creature, Adam. It is in the first place
    God’s reversal of Adam’s choice of sin and death (1 Cor. 15:22). In the
    second place, the resurrection of Christ [...]

  • Operation Fig Leaves -

    Mark Twain was reported to have said, “Man is the only creature who
    blushes or needs to.” But in postmodern, post-Christian western culture,
    where relativism and pluralism reign guilt has fallen on hard times. In the
    minds of many there is no transcendent ethic i.e. there is no overarching
    standard of [...]

  • Galatians And Legalism -

    As we have been journeying through Galatians together one thing is
    perfectly clear. Galatians is an expose of the subtle seduction and
    hidden snare of legalism. Our flesh loves legalism and it is the fallen
    nature’s default mode. We must be proactive in dealing with it.
    Legalism stifles our joy and [...]

  • Galatians Thus Far -

    Our first priority as believers is to get to know the book of Galatians
    well. This is not easy because the devil hates the Gospel and
    Galatians is saturated with it. Therefore he will use all of his devices—
    laziness, busy-ness, self satisfaction, pride, etc. to prevent you from
    understanding this [...]

  • Tidings For Comfort And Joy -

    With the celebration of Christ’s birth in the rear view mirror,
    the lights, Christmas trees and decorations stored until next
    year, I find myself waking with the familiar chorus on my lips,
    of the age old Christmas Carol God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,. “O tidings of
    comfort and joy, comfort and [...]

  • Four Portraits Of Humanity -

    One of my most vivid memories of Christmas as a child was
    the live nativity scene sponsored by the Methodist church in
    my hometown. I remember the live animals, the child and
    the Magi or wise men and their gifts. At that time I had no clue as to the
    significance [...]

  • Some Of Luther’s Theses -

    Thesis – Christ did not only die in our place but lived a
    Perfect life in our place. Therefore we do not simply
    get forgiveness for sins, but also complete acceptance,
    with His perfect past and record now (in God’s sight)
    becomes ours.

    Luther: “It is an absolutely unique teaching in [...]

  • Relational Legalism -

    We are all recovering legalists unless we are totally blind to
    it. It is the sin almost no one admits to committing. We are
    often unaware of how deep it goes. We are so addicted to a
    law centered way of relating to God, ourselves and others
    and are deceived about [...]

  • Confessing Your Sins -

    “This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to
    you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say
    we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie
    and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the [...]

  • Tithing? -

    Well, August has arrived and summer is much with us but
    normal routines are on the horizon. School will begin again
    and schedules will be made. As you begin to adjust I want to
    challenge you to think about your giving. How is it going with
    your giving to Spring Meadows? [...]

  • Gratitude -

    How’s your gratitude doing? Is it growing and thriving or is it being
    swallowed up and stifled by life? Is your response to God one of ever
    increasing gratefulness or murmuring, complaining, moaning and
    groaning? Are you counting your blessings one by one or reciting your
    curses under your breath? So, [...]

  • Tension Of Understanding The Grace Of God -

    Philippians 3:8-9, 12

    The gift of grace is central to the story through which Christians under-
    stand themselves and how they are to live before the face of God.
    Human beings, sinful human beings, are also justified sinners. But how
    best to understand this truth about the grace of God and how [...]

  • The Bible And Alcoholic Beverages -

    It would be a gross understatement to say that the Church of Jesus Christ
    is seriously divided over the use of alcoholic beverages. This is certainly
    not new or even recent. This issue stirs deep-seated feelings and gen-
    erates more heated debate than helpful light. This is understandable due
    to the [...]

  • Resurrection And Creation -

    1 Corinthians 15:22 ff.

    The meaning of the resurrection as Paul presents it is God’s final and
    decisive word on the life of His creature, Adam. It is in the first place
    God’s reversal of Adam’s choice of sin and death (1 Cor. 15:22). In the
    second place, the resurrection of Christ [...]

  • Gospel Preaching -

    The immediate cause of all aspects of church life, growth and development is the
    Gospel (Romans 1:16). Paul, in a prayer of thanksgiving for the Colossian church
    (Colossians 1:3-6) expresses gratitude to God for the way in which the Gospel had
    come to them bearing fruit and growing among them. The fruit [...]

  • Gospel And Christian Experience -

    One of the reasons why we believers live beneath our privileges is that we are
    confused about the relationship between justification and sanctification. We often
    live as if one is conditioned upon the other. One key theological point to remember
    is that though justification and sanctification are distinguishable they are absolutely
    [...]

  • Conscience And The Gospel -

    One of the key issues in our relationship with God is learning how to apply the
    Gospel of grace to our consciences. Martin Luther once wrote that “there is no
    greater pain than the gnawing pangs of conscience.” This explains why we
    make such strenuous efforts to justify ourselves. The key to [...]

  • Scandal Of The Gospel -

    Often, we miss the counterintuitive nature of the Gospel of grace because
    of historical, cultural, theological and social distance from first-century
    Judaism. For example, when Saul of Tarsus became Paul the Apostle the
    shock waves of that conversion experience resonated throughout the
    known world.

    In Galatians 2:15-16 Paul says, “we ourselves [...]

  • The Missional Church -

    One of our core values at Spring Meadows Church is to be a
    “Missional Church”. The goal of this article is to “flesh out” what
    that is and what it looks like. To do so will require a little historical
    background regarding the church in North America. I will paint with
    [...]

  • Sanctifying Grace -

    One of the indisputable truths of the Gospel is that God
    meets us right where we are, just as we are, but He
    doesn’t leave us there. He loves us just as we are, but
    too much to leave us that way. Put another way, grace
    is not merely a disposition [...]

  • Freedom And Love -

    One of the most important issues in the Christian life is learning to
    understand the relationship between justification and sanctification.
    They are both inseparable and yet distinguishable. Justification is
    an act of God by which He declares a believer to be right with Him
    and forever under His favor upon the [...]

  • Thoughts On Pride -

    What can possibly be said about pride that has not already been
    said? We all know that from a biblical perspective pride is not a
    virtue but a vice. It is something God resists and hates (James
    4:6). We know that pride is ugly and humility is beautiful. We
    also have [...]

  • The Danger Of Virtue -

    Your initial impression on reading the title of this article might
    have been, “Has he lost it?”, “How could virtue ever be
    considered dangerous?” Isn’t that what religion is all about?
    Isn’t morality and being good the whole point of religion? Religion yes, Christianity no! Let us look at the Apostle Paul [...]

  • Evangelism Through Networking -

    .;;.;;.;;.;;.;;.;;.;;.;;.;;;);;.;;.;;.;;.;;.;;.;;.;;.;;;by Tim Keller, July 1992

    Philosophy of Networking

    “Networking” was originally a modern marketplace-jargon word, which refers to deliberate relationship building to meet business goals. I use it to mean a whole philosophy of ministry based on friendship evangelism.

    For years, Christians have talked about “friendship evangelism” as opposed to methods such as “cold contact” [...]

  • Evangelical Penance? -

    One of the most disturbing facts I see both in my own heart and in
    the church is the almost knee jerk response of doing penance
    rather than repentance in the face of my sin. You don’t have to be
    Roman Catholic to observe the sacrament of penance. Most
    evangelicals do [...]

  • Our Vision For The Future -

    As we begin a new year, it is time to look forward to our vision for the
    future. Looking ahead, here’s what we’ll be working toward:

    The Vision

    Spring Meadows Presbyterian Church exists to bring the resources of the historic Christian faith to bear on the city so that Christ may be known, [...]

  • Receiving Gifts -

    Many of us have had the experience of receiving an unexpected
    gift right out of the blue. The gift came from a person that we
    really didn’t know all that well but to our chagrin the gift turned
    out to be great. We didn’t ask for it, nor expected to receive it, [...]

  • The Cruciality Of Faith -

    Galatians 3:1-5

    Drawn as we are by a vision of a God-centered life but confronted
    by such formidable obstacles as the world, the flesh and the devil,
    we are most likely in our human nature to turn first to works for spiritual growth. We are convinced that being spiritual is going to be [...]

  • Gospel Transformation -

    Can people ever change, I mean really change? Can I
    change? Am I and everyone else forever hard-wired to be
    the way we are? Can we really experience change, not
    of the superficial variety but in deep, gut level, heart stuff? The hope of the Gospel is yes—not all at once but [...]

  • Christian Identity Part 1 -

    The Gospel is that God treats us not as our sin deserves but that He treats
    Jesus as our sin deserves and that He treats us as Jesus’ righteousness
    deserves. If we could really grasp this it would most certainly revolu-
    tionize our lives. One key to Christian maturity is to consistently [...]

  • The End Of Struggle -

    by Stanley Voke

    ‘Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
    My beauty are, my glorious dress.’

    A small boy came home one day from Sunday school and said, ‘Mum, we had
    a new hymn today. It said that Jesus knows all about our struggles.’ Then pensively he added, ‘You know, that isn’t right. We [...]

  • Judaizing Revisited -

    The heartbeat of the Apostle Paul was the Gospel of grace. Whenever he
    sensed that the Gospel was being domesticated, tamed, diluted, distorted,
    lost or perverted his passions were aroused. A case in point is the letter to the Galatians.
    Some have said Galatians is a ticked-off version of Romans. In Galatians [...]

  • Imputed Righteousness -

    A question I often ask when talking about spiritual experience is, “What
    is the present value of the imputed righteousness of Christ to your life?”
    How much do you talk about it, relish it, rely upon it and experience gratitude for it? Is this something you apply to yourself in relation to God, [...]

  • The Fear Of Failure -

    The Bible is filled with exhortations addressing the motive of fear. The
    reason the exhortations abound is that we are all afraid, just of different
    stuff. We are afraid of so many things: love, honesty, humility, caring, etc. It all began in the Garden when Adam and Eve after their disobedience, realizing they [...]

  • The Shape Of Worship -

    In most traditions of corporate worship, there are three parts. Each part
    seeks to encourage a particular act of worship. The first act is to recognize
    the presence and greatness of God (Presence). The second act is to pull our hearts’ affections off of things we adore besides God and then to adore [...]

  • The Purpose Of Worship At SMPC -

    One of the distinctives of Spring Meadows is a particular kind of worship. You
    could say that our goal is “worship that connects.” The purpose of our worship
    services is (1) to connect Christians with God, but also (2) to connect non-Christians to God.
    Worship at Spring Meadows connects Christians to God.

    [...]
  • On Being Gospel Driven -

    What are you driven by? What motivates you to get out of
    bed each morning? What do you look forward to, dream
    about and hope for? If you were to immerse yourself in the media, in particular television, infomercials, you would see what is driving the culture at large. You would see exercise [...]

  • Praying Part 3 -

    The last two months we looked at how and for whom we can pray in seeking
    God’s glory in Las Vegas. What sorts of things might we see when God
    brings renewal and displays His glory in a city?

    A Vision for the City of Las Vegas: What it will Look Like

    Family [...]

  • Praying For The Mission Of SMPC Part 2 -

    Last month we laid the groundwork for praying for the mission at SMPC.
    This month we will continue our look at how to pray.

    Praying specifically for people
    Pray for people by name (pick 3-5 people you know who are unchurched,
    either those not meaningfully attached to or involved in a [...]

  • Praying For The Mission Of SMPC Part 1 -

    The last two months we looked at how and for whom we can pray in seeking
    God’s glory in Las Vegas. What sorts of things might we see when God
    brings renewal and displays His glory in a city?

    A Vision for the City of Las Vegas: What it will Look Like

    Family [...]

  • The Gospel Makes Us One -

    One of our Core Values states that the Gospel makes us one. The Gospel
    breaks down all barriers (race, class, gender, age) and makes all who claim
    Jesus as Lord and Savior one in Him (Gal. 3:28). Unity cannot be overem-
    phasized. The Father chose in eternity not merely to save a [...]

  • The Church As Community -

    When we look at the new covenant images of the church, “the body of
    Christ”, “a living sacrifice”, “a temple of living stones”, “a holy nation”,
    “the family of God”, “the new humanity”, we see that the New Testament
    authors conceived of themselves primarily as a community, rather than
    individuals. They [...]

  • The Vision Of Smpc -

    A vision is a clear and challenging picture of the future of a ministry as its leadership
    believes it can and must be. Let’s unpack this definition in order to better understand
    it.
    A vision must be clear. A vision is like a guiding star. People need to know where
    we [...]

  • On Being Gospel Centered -

    Every person has a “personal center.” Whatever is at the center of our life will
    be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom and power. Security represents
    your sense of worth, your identity, your sense of being somebody. Guidance
    means your source for moment-by-moment decision making and doing. Wisdom
    is your [...]

  • Community Groups -

    While some congregations may have Community Groups, our congregation is
    Community Groups. They are the primary place for pastoral care at Spring
    Meadows. They are also the chief means by which the following are accom-
    plished: assimilation of new members, accountability and discipleship, leadership
    development, gift identification, evangelism and outreach, service [...]

  • The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ And Creation -

    1 Corinthians 15:22 ff.

    The meaning of the resurrection as Paul presents it is God’s final and
    decisive word on the life of His creature, Adam. It is in the first place
    God’s reversal of Adam’s choice of sin and death (1 Cor. 15:22). In the
    second place, the resurrection of Christ [...]

  • Love -

    February is the “love” month. With Valentine’s Day at the center, love is in
    the air, and spring fever is not far behind. Hallmark loves it, flower shops
    love it and candy stores bank on it. It’s fun and great and I am all for it. Yet
    there is a love that [...]

  • Our Vision For The Future -

    As we begin a new year, it is time to look forward to our vision for the
    future. Looking ahead, here’s what we’ll be working toward:

    The Vision

    Spring Meadows Presbyterian Church exists to bring the resources of the historic Christian faith to bear on the city so that Christ may be known, [...]

  • Incarnation Of Jesus Christ -

    Some would argue that the five most important words ever written or
    read are found in John 1:14, “and the Word became flesh”. We know from
    John 1:1-13 the true identity of the Word is the second person of the
    Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ. He took upon Himself flesh – that [...]