N-Sider Blog


We are a Gospel-centered community on mission. Our blog is a place to stay connected with our faith family, engage deeper with Sunday's sermons and music, and learn more about what Northside is doing in our community and in the world.

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From Dustin

Creation

Creation


“Dad, do I look pretty?"
“Dad, do I have big muscles?”


My kids ask me often about their appearance. They compare themselves to their friends and think about how they look. Adults aren’t much different. We try out diet fads, imagine life with more money, and compare ourselves to neighbors and co-workers. Why is it that we seem to universally wrestle with both pride and self-doubt? Why do some of us think too much of ourselves while others feel insignificant?


Our circumstances quickly arise as the likely culprit to our pride or pity. However, our upbringing, health, financial status, and outward appearance are only symptoms of what lies beneath the surface. You can make more money, lose weight, and develop new friendships and still hang on to your inner struggle with self-perception. 


The only true solution to our struggle is the gospel. God the Father, our Creator, sent a rescue team of His Son and Spirit to ransom us for His glory. He loves us not based on how we look, act, or compare to others. He loves us not because of who we are, but because of whose we are. We are created in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27). We bear a resemblance to our Maker, and no circumstantial struggle can deny us of that.


When the feelings of pride and self-pity and insignificance surface, let’s remember that our value does not rise and fall with our behavior, bank account, or beauty. Everyday we are God’s workmanship created for good deeds (Ephesians 2:8-9). While this side of heaven we may never fully embrace and realize our magnificent worth, someday those in Christ will see our Father in all His glory. On that day, we’ll look fully on the one who made us for His glory - and know just how valuable we truly are. 
 

Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Glory

Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Glory


CFRG.
I have those four letters in my sermon notes every week. Each time I share a message from the Bible, I want to remind us of the grand story that God is unfolding over the course of time.

C - Creation
God created the world, and made us in His image. As His image bearers, we are valuable and significant because of whose we are. God has a design for the world that leads to our joy and His glory. We were created in live in peace with ourselves, others, the created world, and with God Himself.

F - Fall
This world is broken. It’s beautiful, but broken. Although we were created to live in peace and joy, sin breaks our relationship with ourselves, others, the created world, and with God. We all go on a search to find a way out of that brokenness. We chase the idols of comfort, control, power, and acceptance in order to feel that peace and significance that we were designed for.

R - Redemption
In an act of love and for His own glory, God the Father sent His Son Jesus into the brokenness. Jesus came to save sinners. He lived a perfect life on our behalf, and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. We deserve the judgment and wrath of God, but Jesus died in our place. Jesus rose from the grave victorious over sin, sickness, and death. This entire redemptive work of Jesus is the act and message that can transform individuals, families, communities, cities, and nations. The greatest problem in this world is separation from God and the brokenness that results. In the gospel work, Jesus is the answer to our ultimate challenge. We are called to respond to the gospel in repentance and faith. 

G - Glory
This world is not all that there is. Jesus spoke a message of the Kingdom of God - a people and a place with no sin or separation from God. As we believe together the gospel, and press into the brokenness of the world with the message of the gospel in the power of the Spirit, we grow the Kingdom here on earth. But this Kingdom is not yet complete. It’s “already here but not yet.” When Jesus returns, the dead will raise to be judged once and for all, and those who are in Christ co-inherit the eternal Kingdom with Christ.


This may seem like deep truths. Perhaps you’ve relegated theological thought to the margins of your perspective. However, this CFRG story forms the biblical perspective for the believer. We’ll write more about this CFRG perspective in the weeks to come. 
 

Let Go and Let God

Let Go and Let God


    [5] Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
        and do not lean on your own understanding.
    [6] In all your ways acknowledge him,
        and he will make straight your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)


Babylonbee.com has quickly become one of my favorite sites. One of the satirical headlines read, "Mountain Climber Recovering After Decision To Let Go And Let God.” The article told of the fictional climber: "Releasing his safety line and relinquishing his grip on the handholds, Jespers immediately dropped like a stone down the steep precipice."

Sadly, I see the exact thing happening among many believers. A decision to let go and let God often leads to less obedience, trust, and action.

At Northside Church, we talk often of the Lord’s use of difficult circumstances in our lives. In His wisdom, we’re often led not around, but through challenge in order that God may be glorified in our making much of Him in our struggle. In our weakness, we see the strength of the Lord shine even brighter. Ultimately, it’s those who embrace the often challenging mission of God who experience more of Him.

Let go and let God is useless if we use the statement as a excuse to do nothing and shirk the responsibility of faithfulness. Giving our circumstances over to the Lord can give us freedom from worry, doubt, and instability. However, “letting God” must mean that we press into the primary means by which we experience His goodness and grace. Here are three ways you can effectively let go and let God.

First, let go and let God speak to you in His word. God wrote a book, and we have the treasure of over a thousand pages of wisdom, strength, and hope. I love Desiring God’s video highlighting the beauty of God’s Word. Get consistent, think and pray about what you read, and sit steady in the words of our Lord.

Second, let go and let God use the biblical community around you. We can and do have an individual relationship with God that is personal. However, God also uses the people around us to sharpen and shape us to the image of Christ. It wasn’t good that Adam was alone. David needed Nathan. Barnabas was a tremendous encouragement to Timothy. People have to know you, and you have to know others in the church family. Seek wisdom BEFORE you make decisions, and press into those who display a godly lifestyle. 

Third, let go and let God do something through you. The grace of Christ was never meant to lead us to inaction. Rather, as a response to God’s love in the gospel, we’re moved to obedience to God’s commands. Whether it be faithfulness in sharing your faith, power against the evil of pornography, or defense against long-standing bitterness, a grace-driven resolve to action can power through our sinful urges. Trust God enough that He and His ways are good.
People often forget what comes right after Proverbs 3:5-6. 


    [7] Be not wise in your own eyes;
        fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
    [8] It will be healing to your flesh
        and refreshment to your bones.
(Proverbs 3:7-8 ESV)

Turn away from evil, and run toward a good, gracious, and loving Father who wants the very best for you.