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Baptism Q & A with Jackson – Sacraments

This past weekend Jackson taught on the importance of baptism, why it is scriptural, and answered some of your other questions that have been asked regarding baptism. In an effort to answer as many questions as possible in a way that is easy for you to share with friends, family members, or others who are questioning, we wanted to answer some questions here on the blog.

I have heard that Baptism is a sacrament.  What is a sacrament?

The word sacrament like the word ‘Trinity’ is an extra-biblical term. It entered theology by means of the Latin Vulgate, where it is customarily used to render the Greek word mysterion. It designates those ordinances (practices) to which the Lord himself gave special significance.

Catholic, Anglican & Episcopal Churches have 7 sacraments:

  1. Baptism
  2. Eucharist (communion)
  3. Reconciliation or Penance
  4. Confirmation
  5. Marriage
  6. Ordination
  7. Anointing of sick (formerly called Last Rites)

We have 2 sacraments:

  1. Baptism
  2. Communion

To hear Jackson’s entire sermon on baptism, and have more of your questions answered visit our website.

Also, if you are ready to go public with your faith, a baptism class is your first step. Click here to learn more.

Lent – Day 1

Lent stands as one of the oldest observations on the Christian calendar. Although it has changed a bit over the years, its purpose has remained the same: self-examination and repentance, demonstrated by self-denial, in preparation for Easter. We find this tradition beginning very early in the Church with the church father Irenaus of Lyons (130-200AD). At the Council of Nicea in 325AD, leaders discussed a 40-day Lenten season of fasting. While it’s a bit unclear whether its original intent was solely for new Christians preparing for Baptism, it soon encompassed the whole Church. And although the tradition has varied over the years in how exactly the 40 days are counted, the observance was both strict and serious.

Click here to find today’s Reading: Matthew 1-3. Want to have the daily reading sent straight to your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our Daily Lent readings.

Continue reading to learn about why you might want to consider practicing Lent.

Why Practice Lent?

A note from Jackson Crum:

Will you be celebrating Lent this year? Should you? I’d like to take a moment and share with you why I practice Lent and the significant role I think it can play in our lives.

Lent lasts for 40 days and begins on what is called Ash Wednesday. It continues to Maundy Thursday or the Saturday before Easter. Traditionally Lent calls for the observer to fast from something for those 40 days. This is what I have been doing the past few years. I choose to give something up that I enjoy, something I look forward to in daily life. I use this fasting as a way to remind me of what is coming – Good Friday and Easter. I don’t want to casually stroll into these days. I don’t want to allow these days to catch me off-guard because I have been too busy to prepare myself.

Whatever it is I am fasting from I use the craving for that desire to prompt me to pray. In the past I gave up diet soda one year and deserts another – NO EASY FEAT for me! I like to use that time to remind myself of what took place that bitter Friday and that glorious Sunday – what it means to me as a follower of Jesus – how my life is different because of the work of Jesus. I have found that the bitterness of Good Friday and victory in Easter have meant more to me when I have fasted. Those events taste all the more bitter and sweet through consistent reflection and prayer. I invite you to join me this year to fast together! The particular thing we’re fasting from isn’t as important as what we actually do with our cravings.

Lastly, we’d like to encourage you over the next several weeks to join us in reading through the gospels for this Lenten season – to pour over the gospel story of our Savior that it might stir all of us to deeper affection and devotion to him. I pray God will use these 40 days to point us to our crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

Click here to find today’s Reading: Matthew 1-3.

Want to have the daily reading sent straight to your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our Daily Lent readings.

Why Practice Lent?

Lent stands as one of the oldest observations on the Christian calendar. Although it has changed a bit over the years, its purpose has remained the same: self-examination and repentance, demonstrated by self-denial, in preparation for Easter. We find this tradition beginning very early in the Church with the church father Irenaus of Lyons (130-200AD). At the Council of Nicea in 325AD, leaders discussed a 40-day Lenten season of fasting. While it’s a bit unclear whether its original intent was solely for new Christians preparing for Baptism, it soon encompassed the whole Church. And although the tradition has varied over the years in how exactly the 40 days are counted, the observance was both strict and serious.

Will you consider joining us as we journey through the gospels during the season of Lent? Get the readings delivered straight to your inbox each day by clicking here.

Why Practice Lent?

A note from Jackson Crum:

Will you be celebrating Lent this year? Should you? I’d like to take a moment and share with you why I practice Lent and the significant role I think it can play in our lives.

Lent lasts for 40 days and begins on what is called Ash Wednesday. It continues to Maundy Thursday or the Saturday before Easter. Traditionally Lent calls for the observer to fast from something for those 40 days. This is what I have been doing the past few years. I choose to give something up that I enjoy, something I look forward to in daily life. I use this fasting as a way to remind me of what is coming – Good Friday and Easter. I don’t want to casually stroll into these days. I don’t want to allow these days to catch me off-guard because I have been too busy to prepare myself.

Whatever it is I am fasting from I use the craving for that desire to prompt me to pray. In the past I gave up diet soda one year and deserts another – NO EASY FEAT for me! I like to use that time to remind myself of what took place that bitter Friday and that glorious Sunday – what it means to me as a follower of Jesus – how my life is different because of the work of Jesus. I have found that the bitterness of Good Friday and victory in Easter have meant more to me when I have fasted. Those events taste all the more bitter and sweet through consistent reflection and prayer. I invite you to join me this year to fast together! The particular thing we’re fasting from isn’t as important as what we actually do with our cravings.

Lastly, we’d like to encourage you over the next several weeks to join us in reading through the gospels for this Lenten season – to pour over the gospel story of our Savior that it might stir all of us to deeper affection and devotion to him. I pray God will use these 40 days to point us to our crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

Will you consider joining us as we journey through the gospels during the season of Lent? Have the readings delivered straight to your inbox each day by clicking here.

Originality or Remix?

Solomon got it wrong! Solomon got it wrong!!  There ARE new things under the sun” – so said the Conference speaker.

I thought about that idea.  Is there really anything new under the sun?  I mean, Solomon said it, right? “…there is nothing new under the sun.  Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new’?  It has been already in the ages before us.”  Interesting.  So how does artistic creation fit into that assessment?  What about creativity?  Is creativity even the right word to use?  Is it such a bad thing to say there’s nothing new under the sun?  I mean, consider movies…

74 out of 100 movies are either sequels or remakes of earlier films or adaptations of comics or books.  Most box office hits take something that’s old and transform it into something ‘new.’  For example,

- Pirates of Caribbean: 3 sequels from a film adapted from a theme park.
- Transformers: Two sequels to a film that was adapted from an animated TV show based on a line of toys.
- Julie and Julia: a movie based on two books, one of which was based on a blog, which was inspired by the other book, that was adapted into a film.
- 11 Star Trek films, 12 Friday the 13th’s, and 23 James Bonds…TWENTY THREE!  That’s a lot of ‘shaken, not stirred’s.’

A buddy of mine sent me a short documentary referencing this very thing called “Everything is Remix.”  The author rightly claims that stories have been told, retold, transformed, referenced, subverted since the dawn of music, cinema, etc.  Everything is a remix.  Take the film, Avatar.  It’s not a sequel, remake or adaptation.  It’s science fiction, and as this author points out, falls within the sub-genre thread called, “feeling bad about Colonialism.”  It’s reminiscent of films like “Dances with Wolves,” “The Last Samurai,” “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Dune,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “A Man Called Horse” and of course, “Pocahontas.”

Consider music.  The great English rock band of the 60′s & 70′s, Led Zeppelin.  They have often been called ‘ripoffs’ for tunes such as “Dazed and Confused,” a song previously written by Jake Holmes.  “Stairway to Heaven,” pulling the opener from Spirit’s “Taurus.”  Copying and remixing is a normal practice in the arts; and some artists are more subtle that others.  Niccolo Rachmaninoff is known to have taken a line from one of Paganini’s pieces, reworked it and transformed it into something entirely different.  But original?  New??  I mean, this very piece I’m writing is bits and pieces taken from handfuls of people before me!

Henry Ford said, “I invented nothing new.  I simply assembled the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work.  Had I worked fifty or ten or even five years before, I would have failed.  So it is with every new thing.  Progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready and then it is inevitable.  To teach that a comparatively few men are responsible for the greatest forward steps of mankind is the worst sort of nonsense.”

Johannes Gutenburg’s printing press was invented around 1440, but all of it’s components like ink, paper, screw press had been around for centuries.  Even Henry Ford’s Model-T came about from combining various processes each of which were not new to his time.  Not original ideas, but as one author says, “tipping points in a continuous line of invention by many people.”

So perhaps “creativity” isn’t the best word we should use.

Jeremy Begbie, a scholar and musician at Duke Divinity School finds the word “recreation” helpful.  I agree.  That’s essentially what we’re all doing, isn’t it?  Discovering material, copying material, combining material that already exists.  We’re dealing with existing material.  We’re always taking something that exists and turning it into something.  Taking an idea and creating variations.  Edison may not have invented the light bulb, but he did however make the first commercially viable one after trying six thousand different materials.  SIX THOUSAND!

In considering this process of ‘recreation,’ I think it’s important for us to see that the arts actually help us better understand the great truths of the Christian gospel.  The idea of taking something broken and crooked – and recreating it to be whole and straight.  Sound familiar?  Isn’t that what God has done with each of us?  He uses broken-finite-fallen-sinful people to turn to other broken-finite-fallen-sinful people and preach the gospel news of Jesus Christ.  God can strike a straight line with a crooked stick.  The arts teach us to see potential in the most unfavorable and unpropitious places.

I was emailing with a friend about this very topic, who’s actually in the movie biz, and I appreciated his response.  He said, “It’s all derivative.  Ultimately ‘remix’ is revelation; a moment or process of discovering who God is and what our relationship to Him is.”  Isn’t that so true!  It’s in that process of recreating that we sense the all-creative God with us in the process, moving us to a sincere place of gratitude and astonishment.  As my friend further commented, the creative process is oftentimes stunning.  Not so much for what we create, but for the real sense of God’s presence in the process.

So, was Solomon right?  Is there such a thing as an original work?

What’s more, what are some other ways through which the arts inform our theology?

Leave a comment below…

Also, we’re are hosting a night of Film and Theology with special guest David McFadzean, and we’d love for you to join us to continue this conversation. Click here for more details.

We Love Artists

We Love Artists!

Maybe that is an obvious statement. At least I hope it is. But for those of you who don’t know, we love artists! Are you interested in stories, love to act, want to make films or just interested in the arts. We are seeking to put together an artistic team to help tell stories that capture and convey the love of God around us. We are seeking to push each other creatively and spiritually while making the ideas that come into our minds a reality. If you are at all interested in helping, please contact Josh Stunkel at jstunkel@parkcommunitychurch.org for more information.

Confessional Prayer

Leader: Holy and righteous God, we confess that like Isaiah, we are a people of unclean lips. But it is not only unclean lips we possess. We are people with unclean hands and unclean hearts. We have broken your law times without number, and are guilty of pride, unbelief, self-centeredness and idolatry. Affect our hearts with the severity of our sin and the glory of your righteousness as we now acknowledge our sins in your holy presence.

Leader: We have had other gods before you.

People: We have worshipped and served the creature rather than the creator.

We have sought satisfaction in this world’s pleasures rather than in You.

We have loved to praise our own glory more than yours.

Leader: We have taken your name in vain.

People: We have prayed religious prayers to impress others.

We have uttered your name countless times without reverence or love.

We have listened to others use your name in vain without grieving.

Leader: We have murdered in our hearts.

People: We have often destroyed our neighbor with our tongues.

We have been quick to uncharitably judge others.

We have considered revenge when we were sinned against.

Leader: We have committed adultery with our eyes.

People: We have loved temptation rather than fighting it.

We have lusted after unlawful and immoral pleasures.

We have justified our lusts by using the world as our standard.

Leader: We have stolen what is not ours and coveted what belongs to others.

People: Our lives overflow with discontent, ungratefulness, and envy.

We have complained in the midst of Your abundant provision.

We have sought to exalt ourselves through owning more.

Leader: We have lied to you and to others.

People: We have told distorted truths, half-truths, and untruths.

We have despised the truth to make ourselves look better.

Even in our confession, we look for ways to hide our guilt.

Leader: O God, we have sinned against your mercy times without number. We are ashamed to lift up our faces before you, for our iniquities have gone over our heads. If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? How shall we answer you? We lay our hands on our mouths. We have no answer to your righteous wrath and just judgment.

People: We have no answer. But God Himself has mercifully provided one for us.

Leader: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

#OnePark Celebration, Pt. 3 :: Churchwide BBQ

This is part 3 of a 3 part series on the different ways we are celebrating this weekend for our One Park Celebration (#OnePark). We have already covered the first half of the day – Baptism at the lake, and our move to One Service for this Sunday only. If you missed those posts go read them here (Pt. 1 & Pt. 2). Now it’s onto the churchwide BBQ at 12 PM, in Seward Park.

Tweet if you’re planning on celebrating with us!

If you haven’t picked up on it yet, this upcoming Sunday is all about celebrating and connecting. From celebrating through baptism, to connecting through our One Service being held simultaneously across all of our campuses, so it would only be appropriate to complete our day with an opportunity for our whole church to connect in community around food, games, and some human foosball.

Yes you heard me right…human foosball!


As I mentioned yesterday, there is rarely a time when our whole church gathers in one place to connect. At 10 AM this Sunday we will be worshiping in a simultaneous service through a live video cast to all of our campuses, but the churchwide BBQ will truly give us an opportunity to meet and connect with those from our other Park campuses.

And if you need an extra nudge, think about this: when will you ever have the opportunity to go up against others at Park in human foosball or tug-of-war? And of course there’s the annual egg toss competition to get in on. Only at the churchwide BBQ!

Games are, well…fun and games, but on a serious note, I think many times we actually underestimate the importance of connecting as a whole community. I know for myself it is easy to get comfortable at my campus in my neighborhood. I know the people I am interacting with and we have a context to our relationship. But think about how cool it is to know that there are hundreds of other people around the city worshiping God at a Park campus and throughout the week!

Wouldn’t you like to meet these people? Whether it is just to connect in a conversation about your favorite food spot in University Village, or a good coffee shop in Lincoln Park. We are ultimately brought together by the fact that we worship the same God and share the same hope that he offers through His Son, Jesus Christ.

So I hope you’ll join us this Sunday as we conclude our #OnePark Celebration with a great time at the churchwide BBQ. If you need to purchase tickets, you can still get them at discounted rate online through midnight on Saturday by clicking here. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the BBQ.

Here is some of the fun stuff to look forward to at the BBQ…

  • Human Foosball
  • Bouncehouse for the kids
  • Tug o’ war
  • Egg toss competition
  • Smoque BBQ
  • Ice cream cart
  • Sno cones

and more…

As I mentioned in the last post, we love to see your pictures, and see the fun your having through Facebook and Twitter. If you’re tweeting anything about our #OnePark Celebration please include the hashtag #OnePark.

We also love to see your pictures on Facebook. Post your pics from #OnePark on our Facebook wall.

Click here to get more info on the BBQ as well as the rest of the events happening throughout the day. We hope you’ll join us for the entire day.

Will you be celebrating with us this Sunday?

Are you coming to the baptism, our One Service, the BBQ, or everything?

Retweet this post if you’ll be celebrating with us!

#OnePark Celebration, Pt. 2 :: One Service

This is part 2 of a 3 part series on the different ways we are celebrating this weekend for our One Park Celebration. Yesterday we talked about baptism, the purpose, and the celebration behind it. Today we are talking about our one service that is being held this Sunday at 10 AM across each campus.

Depending on which campus you attend we hold services at different times throughout any given weekend. We hold services on Saturday evening, Sunday morning, and Sunday evening. In total there are 7 services being held each weekend throughout all of our campuses. Many of you have friends that attend the same service so this is a good time of engaging in God’s Word as well as in community.

But do you ever think about our other campuses? Sometimes we have events happening at our other campuses that are a good reminder that we are one church, no matter which campus you attend, but how often are we reminded that we are all worshiping, and engaging in community at the same time?

This weekend we have this special opportunity to worship as one church simultaneously across each of our campuses at 10 AM.

As we worship through song, and engage in community at each campus we can now be reminded that there are many other people across the city who call Park home who will be participating in the same worship to our God.

What about teaching?

Our Lead Pastor, Jackson Crum will be teaching and continuing our series in the heart of David. This will be simulcasted over a high quality live video stream to each of our campuses.

This simulcast teaching experience will allow us all to hear and engage in the same teaching at the same time. This experience will bring together our community in a way we have never seen before, and will give us momentum as we enter into the third part of our celebration (more on this to come).

Enhancement

Some more opportunities we are offering to enhance your experience throughout this service are some things we are doing through Twitter, Facebook, and the YouVersion mobile app.

Throughout the entire day, and especially in the service at 10 AM we know that you love to share pictures, quotes, and experiences with your friends on Twitter. As you are sharing these things it would be great if you included the hashtag #OnePark when tweeting about this day. By doing a simple Twitter search for #OnePark will then show you all of the tweets from other people throughout the day allowing you to follow our One Park Celebration.

On Facebook we would also love it if you posted pictures on our wall from the baptism, service, or BBQ. At the end of the day we would love to have a collection of pictures, quotes, conversations and experiences taken in collaboration with you throughout the day.

Thirdly, Jackson’s teaching notes will be made available for you to follow along on your phone through the YouVersion mobile app. If you haven’t yet used this you can watch this video to get started.

These are some things we are offering to enhance your experience during our One Park Celebration and we hope you’ll take advantage of them.

We’re looking forward to gathering with you in community this weekend during our one service at 10 AM, on Sunday. Click here for more info, and look forward to part 3 of this series tomorrow.

How are you going to be engaging in community this weekend?

Are you going to be celebrating with us this weekend?

Let us know below…

One Park Celebration, Pt. 1 :: Baptism at the Lake

Baptism is a special time in the life of one who has crossed the line of faith. It is a time where one takes the opportunity to publicly say, “I have committed my life to Christ and following his will for my life.” It is a time where one takes the opportunity to not only inwardly confess Christ, but to outwardly confess that Jesus Christ is their Lord.

Why water?

Can’t I just publicly confess with my mouth that I am a follower of Jesus Christ? What is the significance of being dipped in some water?

Yes, you can and are actually commanded to publicly confess with your mouth to be a follower of Jesus, Romans 10:8-10 “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

So we see here in Romans that if we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts then we will be saved. But baptism is not only a public confession of what we believe, but there is also much imagery in being baptized.

Baptism is a picture of what Jesus did for us.

Colossians 2:9-10 & 12-13, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority…having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses…”

As you can see from this Scripture, baptism is a picture of what Jesus did for us in order to save us from our sins. When one is baptized it is a picture of them being buried with Christ, raised from the dead, and cleansed from our sin.

This weekend we are celebrating with those in our community who have crossed the line of faith, and in obedience are being baptized. This is such an exciting time in the life of our community. This is not only a public proclamation of the decisions that have been made, but it is also a beautiful picture of the Gospel. God sent His only Son to this earth as a human being to make the ultimate sacrifice, and take upon himself the sin of us all so we could be saved from ourselves. Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, this is the Gospel, and this is what we are celebrating this weekend!

So join us this weekend as we kickoff our Celebration Sunday on Lake Michigan as those in our community are proclaiming the Gospel through baptism. Our baptism service is happening at 7 AM, at North Ave Beach. Click here if you need more information. Look forward to more posts in this series throughout this week leading up to our Celebration Sunday.

Have you been baptized?

We would love to hear your story…

Failure & Grace

By Jackson Crum, Lead Pastor

I have found over the years that most of us either struggle with knowing
grace when we fail, thinking that God lives in constant disappointment with
us…or thinking we have a license to rebel with no consideration for how
we have offended God or anyone else for that matter.

This weekend we look at the life of David and one of his greatest moments
of failure.

Do you struggle with God’s grace in your life?

If so, how?

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…

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