We Are Clean

Baptism Sundays are some of my favorite days. They are always filled with stories of Christ's redemption. This story from Meredith is a perfect example. There is a reoccurring theme in each of our stories: the sacrificial love of Jesus is sufficient to cover our sin against God and the sins that have been committed against us. No matter what evil horror you have engaged in or evil horror that has been done to you, Jesus can make you clean. This past Sunday, we used a song to follow up our baptisms that captures this truth perfectly called "Clean." The song was written by Natalie Grant and was inspired by a friend of Mrs. Grant. Her friend, a woman who endured terrible abuse, could not speak of the incident because of how dirty she felt. Natalie Grant composed the song to help her see that nothing is too dirty for Jesus to clean. You can listen to the song below. 

Guest Post: Tyler Giesel

Tyler Giesel is our pastoral assistant at The Creek. I also count him as a friend. I asked Tyler to write about what he has learned since coming to The Creek. Initially, I was concerned that it may be a really short blog post. However, I think you will find his insights enjoyable. You can check out his other writing here.

My wife and I have been attending The Creek for just over a year and half and we have never looked back. There are so many things that people search for in a church. Music, Lighting, Small Groups, among other things. What gets left out most of the time is searching for God’s Word.

People tend to deny the affect that culture has on them when they are looking for a church. What I mean by that is that we live in culture that is completely inundated with shopping. Completely consumed with the next best thing.  This isn’t always a bad thing, the newest thing tends to make life easier. Whether it be the new Kitchen Maid Mixer Deluxe 5000 or the new Samsung iGalaxy 7s (see what I did there…), life tends to be more convenient with the latest thing.

The negative thing is that the relationship between you and God isn’t always convenient. In fact, our sanctification (when we become more like Christ) is hardly ever convenient or comfy. God works in ways that are contrary to what the world would think he would work (1 Corinthians 2). And one of the ways that God can work in a way that may seem to be counterintuitively is through pain and suffering.

The Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). It pierces. It hurts. When God confronts our sin through the Bible then many times we run. We think that God is going to punish us and if you haven’t placed your faith in the sacrificial work of Christ on the cross as he bore your sins for free then that is true. However, God confronts those who  are his children not to punish them, but rather to bring them near to himself. The punishment is gone for those who have trusted Christ to absolve their sins.

So to bring it back to The Creek and the Word of God. When my wife and I visited the church we decided that it was going to be based on God’s Word and not preferences. When we came we noticed that Scripture was intertwined into everything. The singing, the preaching, the counseling. It was all centered around God’s infallible, inerrant Word. And that’s the way it should be. You want God to speak to you? He has! The bible is a collection of God’s Words preserved for you and me today.

What's in a name?

Being a pastor, I have the privilege to meet a lot of people, and I love it! I love hearing the unique stories each person has and investing in the lives of other people. However, one aspect I struggle with is quickly remembering the name of someone I have just met. Remembering a person's name is typically the last piece of the puzzle for me. I will remember a lot about a person before I remember their name. In fact, I will remember so much about a person that I feel like I know the person well before I consistently connect the name with the face.  It's quirky!

I like to blame my lack of naming skills on the generic way our society names people. (I know, poor excuse!). Our names don't typically identify any uniqueness about a person or reflect the character of a person. Names, in our culture, for the most part are simply identifiers, identifiers that parents quickly find out get used over and over and over with their children. 

However, names have not always been regarded as only identifiers. In the ancient near east, names were viewed as very powerful and the changing of a name was often the change of the person's status. The name of Jesus is definitely no exception. His name is the most powerful name. Jesus is known by many titles, and each of those titles give us information about the very nature of the God man. 

This Sunday at The Creek we will sing a song that uses the title Lion of Judah. It is contrasted with another title for Christ, the Lamb who was slain. Jesus is the Lamb because his blood was shed in our stead. He given the title The Lion of Judah because He is from the tribe of Judah, risen and coming again, to set all things right. Saying the names of Jesus is a great exercise to remember the character of Christ. Check out some of the names and titles of Jesus in the list below.  

Titles relating to Jesus Christ’s identity

  • The exact image of God - Heb 1:3
  • The first and last, the Alpha and Omega - Rev 22:13
  • The Word of God - Jn 1:1 
  • The last Adam 1Co 15:45 
  • The bright Morning Star -  Rev 22:16 
  • The rising sun -  Mal 4:2;
  • The Living One -  Rev 1:18 
  • The Amen - Rev 3:14 
  • The true light - Jn 1:3-9 
  • The Righteous One - Acts 3:14 
  • The Lion of Judah - Rev 5:5
  • The king of the Jews -  Mt 2:1-2; 27:37

The “I am” sayings of John’s Gospel 

  • The light of the world, the gate, the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life, the way, the truth and the life, the true vine

Titles relating to Jesus Christ’s ministry

  • The seed of Abraham Gal 3:16 See also Ge 12:7; 13:15; 24:7
  • The Root and Offspring of David Rev 22:16
  • The faithful witness - Rev 1:5
  • Immanuel - Mt 1:23
  • The capstone - Mt 21:42
  • The rock - 1 Co 10:4 
  • The bridegroom - Jn 3:29 
  • The firstborn among many brothers - Ro 8:29
  • The first fruits - 1 Co 15:23
  • The firstborn from the dead - Rev 1:5
  • The heir of all things - Heb 1:2

Titles relating to Jesus Christ’s authority

  • Lord - Acts 2:25 
  • The head of the church - Eph 1:22-23
  • The Chief Shepherd - 1 Pe 5:4 
  • Prince - Ac 5:31
  • Rabbi - Jn 1:38

Titles emphasizing Jesus Christ’s saving work

  • Jesus:  the Lord saves -  Mt 1:21
  • Man of sorrows Isa 53:3
  • The Passover lamb - 1 Co 5:7
  • A horn of salvation -  Lk 1:69
  • The consolation of Israel - Lk 1:68
  • The deliverer and Redeemer - Ro 11:26
  • The author and perfecter of salvation - Heb 2:10

Titles stressing Jesus Christ’s mediatory status

  • The Mediator - 1 Ti 2:5
  • The high priest - Heb 3:1 
  • The Son of Man -  Lk 19:10