Straight to the Heart

 
 
 

Why We Are a Church Devoted to the Apostles’ Teaching

“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:41-42, ESV)

 

Some churches are known for their music programs, others for their children or youth ministries, while yet others for some sort of “niche” that appeals to a large audience. While striving for excellence to the glory of God in all areas of ministry, at High Pointe Baptist Church we want to be known as a church devoted to the apostles’ teaching. As we learned in Acts 2:42 this past Sunday, after Peter’s Jewish audience heard the gospel proclaimed, they responded with repentance and faith, were incorporated into the church through baptism, and they devoted themselves to a common faith, a common life, and a common worship.
 
It’s no accident that the first devotion mentioned was to the apostles’ teaching. I take that to mean that this where our priority should be. But what is the apostles’ teaching? In Acts 2:22-26, Peter preaches the good news concerning Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and exaltation as Lord and King. In Acts 4, Peter and John annoy the Jewish leaders because they were “teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (v.2). Then the Jewish leaders charged them not “to teach at all in the name of Jesus” (v.18). Then in Acts 5, the apostles’ teaching is referred to as “the words of life” (v.20-21). But again, the Jewish leaders “strictly charged them not to teach in this name” (v.28). Nevertheless, after they are released, Luke says of the apostles: “And every day in the temple and from house to house they did not cease teaching and preaching that Jesus is the Christ” (v.42).
 
I think we get the picture. The apostles’ teaching is the teaching concerning Jesus. But there’s more going on here than at first meets the eye. Faithful Jews are to be devoted to Moses’ teaching. Now that the Spirit has been poured out, the new age of salvation has dawned, and Jesus is king, the authority for the new covenant people of God is no longer Moses, but Jesus – the new prophet who is better than Moses and the new king who is better than David. This is what the apostles are teaching. That now, all Scripture must be read through the lens of Jesus Christ. So, this is what we should be devoted to as well – the teaching of the apostles’ concerning Christ from all of Scripture.
 

For this reason, we want everything we do together as a church to be Word-saturated and gospel-centered. We want this gospel-centered Word ministry to be the basis for what we do in every area of church life. Therefore, EVERYTHING takes a back seat to the Word of God. Why? Because God created by His Word (Genesis 1). He gave His Word in the law so that His people would know how to live in the land (Exodus 19-20). He spoke His Word through the prophets, and in these last days He has spoken through His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2) who is Himself the Word made flesh (John 1:14). God has brought us forth by the Word (James 1:18), and we are to receive the Word that has been implanted in us (James 1:21). It is no accident, then, that the leadership of the church is to preach the Word regardless of how it is received (2 Timothy 4:1-4). In light of these truths, I want to encourage all of us to be Word-saturated, gospel-centered people and take advantage of the following Word ministries at High Pointe.

Personal Devotions

Daily Bible reading plans have been prepared for your personal study of the Word of God. You may pick one up at the information desk in the foyer, our church office, or call 837-7725. We’ll even be glad to mail one to you. Of course, if you have a Bible reading plan already, great! We simply want to encourage all of us to be reading our Bibles regularly. And be sure you are also reading the Bible with others, one or two or three others.

Life Groups

 We seek to be an Acts 2 church: a church that shares a common faith, a common life, a common worship and a common witness. In the New Testament, the church gathered both corporately on the Lord’s Day and in smaller groups in people’s homes during the week. Life groups are not a place where you go to sit and listen to a lecture. They are a place where we apply the gospel Word to one another’s lives. Because we strive to be a Word-saturated, gospel-centered church, the foundation for discussion in our weekly Life Group meetings is the previous Sunday morning sermon. We want all of High Pointe to reverberate the Word of God throughout the life of the church. Life Groups are one of the ways in which we encourage one another to follow Jesus. To sign up for a group, contact Colby Wilkins via email (colby@highpointeaustin.org) or by phone at the church office (512-837-7725).

Lord’s Day Worship Gatherings

10:00 a.m. & 5:00 p.m.

It is a great joy when God’s people gather to declare joint allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ and to participate in the Lord’s Supper and witness baptism. Corporate worship is a weekly reminder that we are God’s people on God’s mission. It is also a time when we are reminded of the graciousness of a God who has communicated to His people by His Word. Therefore, when we gather together for corporate worship, it too is a time saturated by God’s Word now read through the lens of Jesus Christ. For this reason, we’re committed to expositional preaching: preaching that takes a passage of Scripture, explains it in its biblical, historical and theological context, then applies it to the lives of those gathered with the expectation that God’s Word, along with God’s Spirit, will expose our sins and the glory and marvel of the God who has dealt with our sins in Christ. If you desire to be a part of a Word-saturated, gospel-centered church and grow in your understanding of what God has declared to His people through His Word, then I invite you to walk with us on this journey of faith.

 

Love,

 



Auditorium Chairs Fast Facts

We continue to praise God for His faithfulness to High Pointe. As a result of the sale of the Jourdan Crossing building, the Lord allowed us to be generous and provide over $180,000.00 in financial support to some of our most strategic missions partners. In addition, we set aside $70,000.00 to address some deferred maintenance needs in our building. The first services were held in our present building on April 15, 2001. Since that time, there has been very little upkeep on the building itself, so, we wanted to begin to address some of the most glaring needs with this financial blessing.

Initially, we sought to address the need for new carpet in the auditorium. In addition, we hoped to reupholster the pews and add racks for pew Bibles so that when visitors come, they would have a Bible before them, and all we would need to do is ask them to turn to a certain page to follow along. We also hope to get hymnals, but that will be an expenditure for another day.

Unfortunately, we learned that reupholstering our pews and adding pew racks would cost about $70,000.00. That’s our entire budget. Though initially not considering chairs, we have come to the conclusion that chairs will serve us better now and in the future. Here are some of the reasons that convinced us. Most of the data used to compile these facts comes from Church Plaza:

Cost (approximate costs)

  • Reupholstering pews and adding racks for Bibles and hymnals: $70,000.00
  • Purchasing quality, comfortable chairs: $30,000.00.
  • If an individual chair gets damaged, they are easily replaceable. Pews are expensive to replace and repair.
  • With chairs, we can reconfigure the room in a variety of ways to make more room for additional seating without incurring construction costs to expand our current worship space as we grow.
  • It’s possible that we may be able to donate some pews to churches affected by hurricane Harvey, saving those churches significant cost to return their auditoriums to usable capacity.
  • In addition, there appears to be a market for used church pews for personal use. If true, this would allow us to recuperate some of the cost for chairs.

Seating Capacity

  • Architectural figures say we can seat 900 persons on the floor in pews.
  • Actual capacity, according to consultants is more like 650 on the floor.
  • Chairs allow us to increase our seating capacity by approximately 20%.
  • We already have chairs in the balcony – estimated balcony seating: 300.

Comfort

  • Quality worship seating contains 3 inches or more of virgin foam with the back pitch generally more relaxed than most pew backs making for overall superior chair comfort.
  • Pews may only have up to 2 inches of foam support on the back making chairs the more comfortable option.

Multi-Use Flexibility

  • Because we can easily reconfigure them, chairs allow us the flexibility to utilize the auditorium for multiple uses: smaller gatherings, special events, church-wide fellowships, weddings, funerals, conferences.

Aesthetics – The Look of the Room

  • Quality chairs will not detract from the look of our auditorium. Quality chairs provide, not only comfortable seating for those attending, they also provide a clean, classic look.
  • According to Church Plaza.com, younger families and people new to church appreciate the appearance, comfort and flexibility of chair seating over pews.
  • Below is a photo of Austin Baptist Church – a brand new traditional building that utilizes chairs.
 
Love, 


Life Classes Begin This Sunday at 9:00 AM

As I mentioned last week, discipleship is helping one another follow Jesus by speaking this same gospel to one another in love. The very gospel word that is ministered by the church’s pastors from the pulpit each Sunday is to reverberate throughout the congregation as each member speaks it to one another, applying it to one another in love as appropriate (Ephesians 4:11-16). At High Pointe, one of the ways we seek to help one another follow Jesus is by equipping the church to apply the gospel to various areas of life in our Life Classes. Our next semester begins this Sunday at 9:00 am. Here are your choices:

THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD

(Fellowship Hall, 1st Floor)

The Bible presents a view of God that is incomprehensible.  God is greater than we can imagine.  It is vital for the nourishment of our souls to explore the all-important question: “Who is God?”  We will do that together in this Life Class as we consider the implications for us of some of God’s attributes: his love, holiness, wrath, eternality, and more.  Join us as we marvel at our God, who is, indeed, greater than we can imagine. Register for the class here

GENESIS

(Family Overflow Room, 1st Floor, Near Nursery)

Who is God? Who are we? How did things go wrong? What is God’s plan for restoring his creation? The book of Genesis answers more than these questions and sets the stage for understanding the whole Bible. If we are to understand how God intends to bring his blessing to the world and reverse the curse, we must study this book. Join us as we journey through the story of how it all began and bask in God’s covenantal blessings! Register for the class here

iPOINTE: Rewiring the Christian’s Perspective on Technology

(The Livingston Room, 2nd Floor)

In our increasingly digital age, new technologies present unique challenges and opportunities for Christians. In this class, we want to examine the formative, shaping influence that technology has on our daily lives. If a central goal of the Christian life is to be conformed to the image of Christ, then our engagement with technology should reflect that pursuit. Rather than advocate for uncritical adoption or outright rejection, we hope to offer instead a biblical and theological framework for understanding and using technology. Topics will include: social media, smartphones, scientific advancements, and more. Register for the class here

We also offer a Spanish life class and a kids class (K-6th grade) during the same hour. Nursery is provided for infants through 4 years old. 

As you can see, this is an hour of equipping for the entire family. Let me encourage you to make every effort to join us for a brand new semester of Life Classes this Sunday at 9:00 am.

Love,



Juan Sanchez

Juan Sanchez (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the senior pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. In addition, Juan serves as a council member of The Gospel Coalition, co-founder and president of Coalición, assistant professor of Christian theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. He has authored numerous books, including 1 Peter for You and Seven Dangers Facing your Church (forthcoming March 2018). Juan and his wife, Jeanine, have five daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren.
 
    

Juan’s Publications

    

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