Tuesday, March 24, 2015

God doesn't "fix" us, He transforms us.

A Bush Devotional Thought
Sno-go mechanics were not a prerequisite for the Masters of Divinity program at NOBTS, but there are times when I wish it had been. I took Shell on a beautiful Sno-go (Snowmobile for my southern readers) ride out to a place called Muller mountain a couple months ago. About 35 miles round trip. Half way there, my sno-go starts to sputter like it's getting bad gas. I gun it to try to blow through it and it seems like it cleans up and gets us there and back with no problems. About a week later while hauling some light freight down our road, it just dies on me. I mess with it and am able to limp it home. Start it up next day and runs great. This pattern of running not running goes for about a week then, nothing. Order this part...wait a week...that's not it...order that part...wait two weeks...that's not it. Finally I discover the above plug will not make a good connection. What's my "bush" solution. Put a big zip tie around the whole thing and cinch that bad boy up! Did I fix the problem? No, I fixed the symptom. The problem is going to cost me a whole lot more than I'm willing to pay right now.
Aren't you glad that's not how God works in us? Almost every government program in existence functions this way. It's reactionary. Something is already broken and we need to put structure in place to hold it together. The Gospel however is different from every other man made construct. Jesus doesn't "fix" us by His death, burial, and resurrection. He replaces us with himself! He makes all things new. He removes the "old dead man" and makes us to be "alive in Christ". It's been an incredible thing to watch God do this work in the lives of my church. We are a broken people, and I watch as God transforms what is broken and makes it new. What have you been trying to "bush fix" in your life that you need to let Christ replace?

What are we up to?
Last semester we started a mid week Bible study at our house. Every Wednesday we'll have anywhere from 3 to 12 attend. This semester we're going through the book of Philippians and have had some great discussion and open moments.

Sunday connection and outreach has been going very well. This past Sunday there were two van loads of students that came from the dorms. There's a consistent group of students that make it almost every Sunday. I'm always encouraged by these teens, because no one makes them come. They have to get themselves up, dressed, eat breakfast and be down to catch the van in time before it leaves. They come because they want to!

I had the privilege to speak at ChangePoint Church in Anchorage following SEND North's Annual Conference. ChangePoint is the largest church in the 60/70 window globally and has been a ministry partner of ours for the past 4 years. I shared the vision for church planting in the bush and the evangelistic approach to transition from the physical to the spiritual in all four of their Sunday services. It was a great privilege.

Most of our Interior Team, representing church planting in Galena, Huslia, Alakaket, and (hopefully) a down river village soon!
Our SEND North partners have been busy connecting both down river and up river. We're praying for the Casey family as they look to move down river to begin planting in a village with no evangelical church. This past month we spent half a week at the SEND North Annual Conference and reconnected with our extended team members and those in the other teams around Alaska and Canada.

Shell and I have had a lot of discipling, counseling, and coaching that we've had the privilege to walk in. Above is a dear sister who just had her first baby. We were privileged to be her pastor while she lived in Galena and have continued to try to be an encouragement from afar. It was great to get to see her and her baby boy when we visited town. In Galena God has been providing opportunities to walk with individuals and couples through growth in God's Word and in their relationships and situations.

Things you can be praying for:
  • Easter outreach - We are planning an outdoor church service for Easter and BBQ to follow. Pray for warm weather, and positive community response.
  • Men's/Women's Conference - This year we are hosting a Men's and Women's conference in the middle of April. Pray for our speakers, Don and Brenda Ernst, that they would be led by the Holy Spirit in what they bring to teach.
  • Spring Suicides - Spring always has a high suicide rate in our state. Pray that the enemy would be pushed back and that the message of the Gospel would transform lives.
  • Local village connections - We are finding open doors to come and serve in several villages. Pray that the Lord would raise up people who have a heart to move here and serve.
  • Pray for us as we labor to get seasonal needs met such as firewood and pre-river breakup preparations.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Jesus Questions: Do you want to be healed?

John 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?" 

Jesus asks a very sick man a simple yes/no question: "Do you want to be healed?" The man's answer is: "I'm hopeless". Far to many people are paralyzed by the hopelessness that comes from living in a fallen world, and in incredibly painful, challenging circumstance. Many people live with with a misplaced hope that will never satisfy. To those people Jesus resolutely speaks hope. "Get up, take up your mat, and walk." What is paralyzing your hope today?

Sermon delivered by Pastor Chris Kopp to the Galena Bible Church, Sunday March 22nd, 2015. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Jesus Questions: Where can we by buy bread that these people may eat?

“Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” John 6:5

Jesus often chose to teach deep truths by asking questions. In this series we'll explore a number of the questions Jesus asked, and mine the riches that He has to teach us today. Why would Jesus ask such an illogical, irrational question like "Where will we buy bread to feed these 5000 plus people?" It was humanly impossible. But Jesus wasn't asking a question about food. He was calling for faith. He was offering "WE". It's an incredible offer that the crowds didn't receive, but the disciples did. Jesus may very well be asking you the same question today.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Doctrine to Doxology: The Story of man in the Story of God

Luke 24:25-26  And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?"

There are two predominant lies that our culture teaches today. The first is that you are the star in your own story. This is a man-centric view of our existence. The second lie is that your story has no eternal significance. This could be called a matter-centric view of our existence where the only thing that has significance is matter itself, and not what happens with that matter. These are polar opposites, and pull at our affections, purpose, and values. Yet the Gospel intersects our story in such a way as to answer the problems with both of these lies. It's that our story is not THE Story: The story of God. And the incredible claim of the Gospel, is that God invites us into His story. This sermon is a narrative teaching on the Doctrine of man, and the Doctrine of Sin.

Delivered by pastor Chris Kopp, Sunday March 1st 2015 at the Galena Bible Church. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Doctrine to Doxology: Special Revelation

2Timothy 3:16-17  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

The reality of God's revelation is that all humanity knows just enough about God to condemn them (Romans 1). Yet there is an incredible access to the knowledge of who God is and what God is about because of what is called the doctrine of revelation. God has given us His Word through the Bible and allowed us a clear understanding of His redemptive work. In this sermon we look at a basic understanding of revelation (general vs special) and how God uses His revelation to bring us from immaturity to maturity.
Delivered to the Galena Bible Church, Sunday February 22nd, 2015 by pastor Chris Kopp.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Doctrine to Doxology: Saved by Grace

Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
How does God save us? Is it through our own striving to find the right way? Lead the kind of life that we are supposed to? Be "good people"? Thank God no! It's by grace. Undeserved, unearned, unmerited, long suffering, patient, grace. And to see salvation as anything else is to claim we saved ourselves. In this sermon we'll see how Romans 8:28-32 teach that the means of salvation is grace, the vehicle of salvation is faith, the object of salvation is us, and the end of salvation is Jesus.
Delivered to the Galena Bible Church, Sunday February 15th, 2015. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Doctrine to Doxology: How do we worship the Holy Spirit

John 16:7  Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

There has not been as divisive a doctrinal disagreement over the last 100 years than the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Therefore many have failed to teach on Him, and there fore compounded the confusion. Who is the Holy Spirit? What does He do? And how are we to worship Him? John 16 teaches us more about the Holy Spirit than any other text in scripture. Join us as we walk through this passage and learn to love the Holy Spirit.
Delivered to the Galena Bible Church, Sunday February 1st 2015, by Pastor Chris Kopp.