Straight to the Heart

 
 
 

Help Provide a Welcoming Environment for Our Guests

Greet every saint in Christ Jesus.  The brethren who are with me greet you.  All the saints greet you, . . .
(Philippians 4:21-22)
On Sunday, April 21, we will welcome many visitors to our worship gathering for the very first time. I thank God that High Pointe welcomes visitors with kindness and love each Lord’s Day. Guests notice and usually comment on how loving a fellowship is (or is not) by their willingness to welcome newcomers. Let us praise God for His work among us. Yet, sometimes we get caught up in fellowship with those we know that we may not notice visitors, so let us continue to remind ourselves about the preciousness of others. The following are just some ways we can help our guests feel welcome and at home each Sunday, but especially this coming Easter Sunday.
 
Leave the parking spaces closest to the entrances for our guests and senior adults. We have clearly marked our guest parking area. We ask that our members honor our guests by leaving these spaces open for visitors. For those who are able, we ask that you utilize the farther parking spaces so our senior adults will not have as far to walk. Also, please note that if our parking lot should happen to be wet, then it may be slick, so help one another to the building.
 
Greet everyone you see with a smile whether you know them or not. From the time you step out of your vehicle greet everyone with a friendly smile and tell them how glad you are to see them. Use the time from the parking lot to the pew to get to know one another.
 
Introduce yourself to those you dont know. If you don’t know someone, take the time to greet them and introduce yourself. Make an effort to meet a new person or family each Sunday.
 
Assist those who dont seem to know where they are going. Remember, you may know where everything is, but our guests are not familiar with our facilities. Take time to show them around, and offer to take them to where they need to go.
 
Fill the seats at the front of the sanctuary first when you enter to worship. We all run behind schedule at times for various reasons. Late comers and guests do not like to parade before the entire congregation on their way to find a seat. If we fill the seats up front (and scoot toward the middle), then visitors and late comers can slip in without having to walk in front of the entire congregation.
 
Dont rush off after the service. Instead, take a few minutes to greet visitors. Thank them for attending our services and invite them to come again.
 
Bring your guests to the welcome table in the foyer for a free gift. We have prepared gift bags for our guests, which contain information about our church, a free ESV New Testament, and other free materials. Gift bags are also available in the nursery.
 
Invite visitors to your home for a meal. One of the best ways to get to know someone is to share a meal together. Practice Christian hospitality by inviting someone to eat lunch with you after worship.
 
Invite first time visitors to worship with us again. You will be amazed how much weight a personal invitation carries. Encourage visitors to return and worship with us on a regular Sunday. I thank God for High Pointe and the love and fellowship we share with one another. Right or wrong, visitors will form an opinion about our church within the first few minutes after they arrive. Join me in making every effort to make our guests feel welcome through genuine, Christian hospitality.
 
Love,
 


Why the Doctrine of Election is So Precious to Me

All that the Father gives me will come to me, . . .

(John 6:37, ESV)
 
This spring break, I was privileged to spend a few days with some of our high school students during their spring retreat. The retreat theme was the sovereignty of God. I was encouraged by the sincerity of our students’ questions and the depth of their understanding. We all have questions when it comes to the sovereignty of God and human responsibility, especially as it relates to salvation. For some, the doctrine of election (God’s free and sovereign decision to choose a people for salvation from the foundation of the world—Ephesians 1:3-6) is a frightening idea, and for others, it’s an abominable thought. Still, we find this truth taught throughout Scripture. So, rather than avoid it, let’s reflect on this precious doctrine because I am convinced that a clear understanding of the doctrine of election should produce hope and assurance, rather than fear and contempt. Allow me to share some of the reasons why the doctrine of election is so precious to me.
 
The doctrine of election is precious to me because it is biblical.In a display of the Father’s love for the Son, He gives a specific people to the Son (John 6:37). This truth is evident in the testimony of the book of Revelation when it declares that the only ones entering the eternal heaven are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:27). John further testifies in Revelation 13:8, that these names were written in this book before the foundation of the world.  In other words, one fruit of the Father’s love for Jesus is our salvation. The Father made a free and sovereign decision to save a people as a gift for the Son and for His own glory from the foundation of the world (see also John 8:47; John 10:26-29; Romans 9:10-16).
 
The doctrine of election is precious to me because it secures my salvation.
Jesus declared that all that the Father gave Him would come to Him and that He would never cast out any who came to Him (John 6:37). Jesus delights in receiving and keeping those whom the Father gives Him because He came to do the Father’s will (John 6:38-40), and the Father’s will is for Jesus not to lose any of the ones that the Father has given Him but that He raise them all up on the last day (John 6:39).
 
The doctrine of election is precious to me because it encourages me to pursue holiness.
Paul reminded the Thessalonians that “God chose you as the first fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13, ESV). The Bible assures us that even though now we are only gradually being conformed to the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18), we will at glorification be wholly conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29).
 
The doctrine of election is precious to me because it is the basis for the assurance of my salvation.
Because God gives a people to the Son, and because the Son receives that people and keeps them, I am assured that I will never be cast out (John 6:37), nor perish, nor be snatched out of Jesus’ hand (John 10:28). Can you imagine such assurance?  The God who predestines for salvation (election) will ensure that all whom He calls to salvation will ultimately be glorified (Romans 8:30).
 
The doctrine of election is precious to me because it encourages me to share the gospel and gives me hope for fruit in evangelism and missions.
Not only does the Father give a people to the Son (John 6:37), and not only does the Son receive these people and keep them (John 6:37-39), but the Father also assures that those whom He gives to the Son will come to the Son. It is the Father’s will that everyone believing in the Son have eternal life (John 6:40), and the ones who believe can only come at the Father’s drawing (John 6:44, 65).  Therefore, if the Father gives a people to the Son, and He assures these people come to the Son, then we can be assured that evangelism and missions will bear fruit (Acts 13:48). That truth allows us to find encouragement in our Lord’s words to Paul, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent,  for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” (Acts 18:9-10, ESV).
 
Finally, the doctrine of election is precious to me because it moves me to make much of God through Christ (true worship) and little of myself (humility).
May we understand election, and may it strip us of personal pride and move us to worship the Sovereign Lord in all His glory and grace.
 

Love,



High Pointe Baptist Church | Regional Fellowships Sunday, March 31 | 5:00 PM

Mark Sunday, March 31 on your calendars now., because it is the fifth Sunday. On fifth Sundays, we participate in the Lord’s Supper in the morning service and meet throughout the Austin Metro area on Sunday evening for regional fellowships.
 
As we continue to grow in number, it adds to the challenge of staying connected as a church. And because we want to continue to grow, not just numerically but, in our love and care for one another, the elders have a burden to make sure all our members are involved in gospel community. Many of you already experience gospel community by meeting together in various ways throughout the week. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, too many of our members still aren’t able to take advantage of the opportunities we offer to experience rich gospel relationships.
 
To live together as a church, speaking the truth in love to one another so that we may encourage one another to grow to be more like Jesus, requiresall our members to be living in gospel community.There are many hurdles to this kind of gospel community, but the most significant is geography. So, to help you connect with other members who live near you, we have established regional fellowships that happen only on fifth Sunday.
 
As mentioned before, our next regional fellowship is Sunday, March 31, at 5:00 pm. Instead, of all of us gathering at High Pointe on this Sunday night, we encourage you to attend the regional group closest to where you live:
  • North Austin – High Pointe Baptist Church (12030 Dessau RoadAustin, TX 78754)
  • South Austin – Home of Bill and Toni Fox (*)
  • Pflugerville / Wells Branch – Falcon Pointe Clubhouse (19015 Falcon Pointe Blvd, Pflugerville, TX 78660)
  • Round Rock / Georgetown / Hutto– Olson Meadows Park (4200 Brushy Creek Rd, Round Rock, TX 78681)
  • Manor / Elgin / Bastrop – Presidential Meadows Amenities Center (12220 Dwight Eisenhower St, Manor, TX 78653)
 
Mark your calendars now, and make every effort to attend your regional fellowship! We pray that this will help you continue to make lasting relationships that will encourage you in your Christian walk.

 

Grace and peace,
 



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.
 
    

Juan’s Publications

    

Contributor