This Sunday: Man on the Run
Pastor Dennis Brown
We launched a new series last Sunday titled “Meeting Jesus in the Old Testament.” Rather than a specific book of the Bible, we will be exploring Old Testament narratives that point to Jesus. This week, we are looking at Jonah. It’s a rather unflattering picture of the prophet. What is more surprising is that he must have written it or at the least provided the information for it. It is a massive loss of face.
Why do people in the Bible who either write or give testimony to their failures not seek to gloss it over? That’s what most secular histories do. That’s what we do. Their “supreme leaders” are made to look better than they are. The reason is because the Bible is about grace and a God of grace. In short, we can fail. We can lose face because our ultimate dignity and security is not in our performance, our ability to save face, but to be redeemed by his grace.
Jonah is also a story about compassion—God’s compassion, and how Jonah runs from compassion. We also run from compassion. God spoke to Jonah one time and Jonah ran the other way. He spoke to him again and Jonah obeyed. Do you think He can still speak to you today? Do you think His Word can make you into a person of compassion? The Bible and the experience of multitudes is that does.
Engagements, conversions and the growth of the gospel at FPC
Right now, I am involved in pre-marital counseling with four couples. Another couple, Josh Lee and Tina are to be married in Taipei in early June. As I have reflected on their stories, several of them came to Christ slowly by hearing the gospel again and again in worship, small groups and interactions with other believers until they heard God speak in their lives until they responded.
And then recently, one of our young students asked to meet with me. We had talked in the fall and he was not a Christian, and found the Bible difficult to read. He sometimes got lost in the Old Testament. I encouraged him to read the Gospels first. He asked to see me recently and said that by reading the Gospels and interacting and observing the lives of several Christians here that his doubts had vanished, and he was professing faith in Christ. It reminded me of another young man in our midst who told me not so long ago that essentially the same thing had happened to him. In C.S. Lewis Narnia tales you have this frequent line, “Aslan is on the move.” Aslan is the lion-like figure of Jesus. He is definitely “on the move.”
Dr. Vern and Diane Poythress Summer Ministry
Sometimes, we say that if you are looking for an answer to a difficult question check out the Frame-Poythress website: http://frame-poythress.org. Together, Frame & Poythress represent brilliant, Biblically and theologically solid commentary on almost any subject. Dr. Poythress teaches at Westminster Seminary, has degrees in mathematics and theology, has written many books (most of which you can read on the website), and comes to Taiwan every year to teach a couple of classes at Reformed Seminary. His wife, Diane is equally formidable and loves Taiwan. Recently, they e-mailed to say they would be available to minister in our church from around June 10 to July 10. We are working on their schedule to maximize their time with us. Along with Dr. Poythress preaching, we hope some special informal gatherings in a home where he can discuss matters of science and faith.
Taipei Family Counseling Center
Taipei Family Counseling Center is a ministry connected with Reformed Theological Seminary where Dr. Tim Yates is the dean. It is difficult to get qualified, Biblical counseling in the city. We need to support this ministry. A small fund-raiser is taking place that can benefit the center as well as raise its profile. Every year the center participates in the Bethany Flea Market. This year it is being held on Saturday, May 7, from 9:00 to 1:00 pm at Bethany School. If you have any good condition used items to donate, please bring them to FPC on Sunday, May 1 or e-mail Tim Yates for home pick-up for larger or multiple boxes of items. Just e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0912578984.
Long Story Short: Companion Devotional to Sunday school curriculum.
The children are currently using the Gospel Story Bible curriculum in all three classes. They are systematically working through the Bible starting from Genesis. Recently they finished the story of Joseph and have moved on to Moses. We have recently purchased the companion devotional to this curriculum for the Old Testament called Long Story Short. The readings follow along with what the children are learning on Sundays, but because it’s a complete look at the Old Testament it can be used indefinitely. Broken down into short sections, family devotions become easy to manage. Long Story Short can help busy parents share with their children how every story in the Old Testament points forward to God’s story of salvation through Jesus Christ. It’s a wonderfully focused family devotional that coincides with the learning the children receive during their Sunday school lessons.
“Clever stories and good moral lessons may entertain and even help children, but the gospel will transform children. The gospel is deep enough to keep the oldest and wisest parents learning and growing all their lives, yet simple enough to transform the heart of the first grader who has just begun to read. Ten minutes a day, five days a week is enough time to pass on the most valuable treasure the world has ever known.”
This devotional is suitable for preschoolers through to high school and we highly recommend it. It is available for purchase in the church office. Please come see Anna if you would like to pick one up.
Membership and Baptism Class - Sunday, May 15 and 22
We encourage anyone who has been attending the church for some time to consider becoming a member. It’s Biblical and will help you to feel like you are part of a real family all growing in Christ together. Two sessions will be offered on Sunday, May 15 and 22 from 1:15 to 3:15 pm in room 501. Also if you haven’t been baptized, this is a good preparatory step for baptism. Get your lunch and join us.