Straight to the Heart

 
 
 

What does High Pointe believe?

At this year’s Southern Baptist Convention, I had the privilege of serving on a panel about maintaining unity while disagreeing on certain doctrines. If all of God’s Word is true, and if we’re to obey all that Jesus has commanded, does that mean that we are to hold all doctrines with equal weight? The short answer is no. Jesus spoke about the weightier matters of the Law (Matthew 23:23-24). And Paul spoke about personal convictions and Christian freedoms (Romans 14). Based on these distinctions, it is helpful to understand the different levels of doctrine because there are some beliefs for which we would die, and there are other beliefs that we will just agree to disagree. So, how can we tell the difference? Allow me to remind us how we approach doctrine at High Pointe.
 

We Are a Confessional Church.  

High Pointe is a confessional church. We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, having dedicated themselves to the apostles’ teaching (Acts 2:42). In fact, the early Christians confessed certain doctrinal truths together, as seen in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and Colossians 1:15-20. Today, High Pointe simply follows their example. So then, to be a “confessional church” means that, together as a body, we “confess” or “hold to” specific truths of the Christian faith.

As confessional Christians, the 1853 New Hampshire Confessionserves as our statement of faith. Although this confession does not explain all that our members believe, it is a summary of the basic beliefs required for membership at High Pointe. In addition, we understand the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 to reflect a fuller explication of our Statement of Faith and a faithful application of it to contemporary issues related to the life and discipline of our church. 
 
 
 
 

The Way We Distinguish Doctrines

At High Pointe, we believe that all that the Bible teaches (doctrine) is important, but for the glory of Christ, the unity of the church, and our mission, we understand that we must distinguish between those doctrines that are essential to Christianity, those that distinguish us as a church, and those that Christians are free to differ on. We distinguish these doctrines by three categories: core, characteristic, and charity beliefs

 
  • CORE beliefs are those doctrines that represent historic and evangelical Christianity. In other words, they are beliefs that are required for someone to be a Christian. CORE beliefs include the deity of Christ, salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, the Trinity, etc.
 
  • CHARACTERISTIC beliefs are those doctrines that characterize HPBC. In other words, there are other true churches filled with true Christians who might believe differently than we do on these beliefs. CHARACTERISTIC beliefs include believer’s baptism, congregational government, etc.
 
*Required for membership at HPBC is believing the CORE and CHARACTERISTIC beliefs summarized in our Confession of Faith. 
 
  • CHARITY beliefs are those beliefs that Christians can agree to disagree on. In other words, we will seek to be charitable with one another on these particular beliefs. CHARITY beliefs include alcohol consumption, details on the timing of the second coming of Christ, the Sabbath vs. the Lord’s day, etc. First Corinthians 8 and Romans 14 teach us how we should relate to one another regarding charity beliefs.
 
By distinguishing between core, characteristic, and charity beliefs, we can eagerly maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. May the Lord grant us the grace to fight for unity as we together seek to display the manifold wisdom of God to the cosmic powers and the world.
 
 
Love,
 


Ask, and It will be Given to You.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

(James 1:5, ESV)
 

Charles Spurgeon was one of the most confident prayer warriors I know of.  Reflecting on prayer, he said: “Oh, that every Christian enterprise were commenced with prayer, continued with prayer, and crowned with prayer!  Then might we also, expect to see it crowned with God’s blessing.  So once again I remind you that our Saviour’s example teaches us that, for seasons of special service, we need not only prayers of a brief character, excellent as they are for ordinary occasions, but special protracted wrestling with God like that of Jacob at the brook Jabbok, so that each one of us can say to the Lord, with holy determination, ‘With thee all night I mean to stay, And wrestle till the break of day.’ 

                  When such sacred persistence in prayer as this becomes common throughout the whole Church of Christ, Satan’s long usurpation will be coming to an end, and we shall be able to say to our Lord, as the seventy disciples did when they returned to him with joy, ‘Even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.’”

            How could Spurgeon be so confident in prayer?  Such confidence in prayer flows from an understanding of what the Lord Himself teaches us about prayer in Scripture.  Therefore, allow me to remind you of a few Scriptures for your consideration and contemplation. 

            We are His children (Matthew 7:7-11):  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

            Jesus glorifies the Father by answering prayers offered in His name (John 14:13-14).  “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

            When we are living in God’s will, our prayers will be answered. John 15:7 (ESV) – “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”  1 John 3:21-22 (ESV)– “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;  and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” 

            If we ask according to God’s will, He hears us (1 John 5:14). “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” (So, it is not as if God gives us a blank check!)

            If He hears us, then we have what we ask for (1 John 5:15).  “And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 

 These are not all the Scriptures that should give us confidence in prayer, but they are sufficient for our consideration and contemplation.  It is amazing to consider that we are children of the living God who came to the Father through the Son.  Since the Father delights in His one and only Son, He also delights in we who have been adopted through the Son.  And if He does not withhold any good thing from His Son, He will not withhold any good thing from us.  After all, He has already given us the greatest treasure—Jesus Christ, the beloved. Why would He withhold anything else?

 
Love,
 


It Is More Blessed to Give . . .

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of our Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

(Acts 20:35, ESV)
 
High Pointe, I thank God for your generous and faithful giving! Your generosity has allowed us to increase ministry and missions work to advance the gospel. Unfortunately, though, because of vacations and travel schedules, giving tends to decrease during the summer. So, would you join the elders in praying that the Lord would continue to allow us to be generous during the summer months? Also, would you remain faithful in your regular financial contributions during this time? Let me encourage us with three realities that our generous giving expresses.
 
Generous giving expresses our love for Christ.We don’t give to gain favor with God-that would amount to justification by works and would give us reason to boast. All our giving is an expression of a love for God that flows from a genuine trust in His promises to provide for our basic needs. All the blessings we enjoy are gifts from God: our homes, cars, families, employment, even our time (James 1:17). Our giving of such gifts to Christ is a recognition that these things have no eternal value in comparison to “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord” (Phil 3:8). Our giving expresses that we love Christ more than “stuff.”
 
Generous giving expresses our love for the church.We may say that we love High Pointe Baptist Church; however, the true test of our love for Christ’s body at High Pointe is that we willingly, cheerfully and sacrificially give of our time, talents, gifts and earthly treasures so that the body might build itself up in love (Eph 4:16). I am continually humbled by the testimony of the church in Acts. Luke says, “and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need” (Acts 2:45). What a humbling example.
 

Generous giving expresses our love and concern to see all peoples become whole-hearted followers of Jesus Christ.Giving expresses our concern to advance the mission of our Lord Jesus Christ as given to High Pointe Baptist Church. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” (Matt 9:37). Rarely does a day pass that I do not meet someone in our city who needs Christ.  According to recent statistics, only 37% of the 218,000 people who live within 5 miles of our building are strongly involved in a church. Just stop and think of the enormity of our mission field!  If we are to reach the unbelieving people of Austin and the world, we will need workers, hard workers. We will need men, women, and children of great faith and maturity who will give willingly, cheerfully and sacrificially of their time, talents, gifts and treasures to reach our community with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. How, then, should we give at High Pointe? In growing as whole-hearted followers of Jesus Christ, we seek to be obedient to God’s leading in giving:

  • We want to give ourselves first to the Lord:“We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints — and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (ESV).
 
  • We want to give with hearts full of joy, for God loves a cheerful giver:“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthian 9:6-8 (ESV).
 
  • We want to be good stewards of God’s grace:“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10 (ESV).
 
So, as we begin another summer together, let me encourage you to give cheerfully, generously, and faithfully to the many ministries of High Pointe Baptist Church through our general budget. This budget has been carefully put together to help us fulfill our mission in the most strategic manner possible. If you don’t know how to give at High Pointe, hopefully, these giving options will help:
 

1) You may place your gifts in the offering plates during the worship service:

Giving is an important part of our worship gatherings, as we honor God with the first portions of all our wealth (Proverbs 3:9). To that end, we provide offering envelopes to any regular contributor who chooses to use them. Or, you may simply place a check or cash in the offering plate as it goes by you during our offering.
 

2) Give online:

If you would like to give online via a debit card, follow this link on any computer, tablet, or mobile device.

 

3) Text to 84321 to give:

Give to the High Pointe general fund by sending a simple text message! You may text any amount to 84321. Please note: The first time you do this you will be asked to enter a few pieces of information, including your payment method and email address for receipt. After this brief setup, you will simply text the amount you want to give in the future.

 

4) You may mail your contribution to the church office:

If mailing your contribution is more convenient, send it to our church office in care of our Financial Administrator at the address below:

Attn: Financial Administrator
High Pointe Baptist Church
12030 Dessau Rd
Austin, TX 78754

 

5) You may give via online bill paying services at your bank:

You may set up High Pointe Baptist Church as a Payee on your online bill paying service with your bank. Follow the instructions on your bill pay and be sure to use the address as shown under item 4.

 

6) You may donate assets (like stock):

Giving stocks or assets that have appreciated is a good way to store up treasure in heaven, while also maximizing the resources entrusted to us while on the earth. Such gifts to a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization, like High Pointe, may provide potential tax benefits not available to you when you simply give cash. To donate stock to High Pointe Baptist Church, please contact Kay Null, High Pointe’s Financial Administrator, at 512.837.7725 or by email. Consult with your financial planner or tax adviser before donating to High Pointe to determine how/if the potential tax advantages described here might apply to your specific situation.

 

7) You may donate material items, such as automobiles, appliances, and furniture:

From time to time High Pointe Baptist Church has been blessed with vehicle, appliance, and furniture donations. If you desire to donate an automobile, please contact the office, and print the following two forms:

 
Title Application http://www.txdmv.gov/forms
 

If donating appliances and furniture please call the benevolence phone line at 512.837.7725 ext. 223 and leave a message as to what it is you are seeking to donate, your name and phone number.

 
For your benefit, we provide the following resources in order that you may see what the Bible has to say regarding money, wealth, possessions and giving:
 
 

Nineteen Questions to Ask Before You Give to Any Organization

 
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. Juan and his wife, Jeanine, have five daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren.
 
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