Lake Shore Church family,

We come together for the glory of God.

Our common bond is the desire for the glory of God to fill our lives, church, city, nations, and world.

The glory of God is God on display in his majesty, works, and wisdom. There is nothing more beautiful or awesome. There is nothing more wonderful and delightful. If life ever bores you, if you are ever world-weary, what your soul craves is the glory of God.

Worship

This is why we do not rush worship.

Some church-growth experts recommend brief worship services. Or they recommend turning worship into a musical performance.

Nothing wrong with a concert, but our church comes together on Sunday mornings to participate in worship, to express deep worship orchestrated by the Holy Spirit.

That usually does not happen in 5–10 minutes with the richness it can in 20–30 minutes.

We do this because we love the glory of God.

Bible

This desire also explains why my preaching focuses intensively on the Word of God. In this world, God’s glory is revealed in the Bible more than in any other place, even more than the glory revealed in nature.

That is because words convey a level of information, meaning, and clarity that nature’s display of God’s glory cannot achieve. You cannot find the gospel in a sunset, for example, but you can in the Bible.

So our hunger for the Bible is actually a hunger for God and his glory.

The glory of man, technology, sports, architecture, engineering, and science is on display all around us. But none of it can satisfy and delight like a true encounter with the glory of God.

Let’s dedicate our church every day to be a center for the display of God’s glory.

Much love,

Pastor Brian

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Lake Shore family,

We are for Christ. What brings us together is Christ.

If we are for Christ, we are for whatever Jesus is for. Jesus is for you and every other Christian, but he is not only for individuals; he is for his church. He said, “I will build my church.”

Jesus is for the collected people of God, for the assemblies of his people. Jesus likes his people together. He said, “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20).

When we love the church, we are actually loving Jesus. When Saul persecuted the church, Jesus appeared to him in a vision and said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4) What we do to the church, we do to Jesus.

I love and serve the church because it is the visible manifestation of Jesus on earth. The church really is the body of Jesus, and he its head. I love Jesus, so I love the church. Although the church is not perfect as Jesus is, nevertheless she is the closest thing to Jesus on earth.

According to Scripture, the church is the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, God’s building, God’s temple, the pillar and buttress of the truth, God’s field, God’s vineyard, God’s family, God’s household, God’s covenant people, spiritual Israel, the saints.

In Christ’s church we love and are loved through the power of the Holy Spirit.

In Christ’s church we truly belong in a way that transcends understanding. In Christ’s church we are in union with Christ and in a true union with other believers. This is a union greater than blood family. We are one.

O church, tremble when we assemble.

For Christ and his people,

Pastor Brian

Lake Shore family,

I wrote last week that what brings us together is Christ and his kingdom. There is a person who is great beyond anything we now know, a person worthy of our full devotion, and that is Jesus Christ.

The reason Christ and his kingdom mean much to us is we believe the gospel. We would not value Christ apart from the gospel.

He would be just another religious figure, another god, another teacher—if we believed he was not God’s Son, not the only Savior, not the way and the truth and the life, not the light of the world, not the bread of life and living water, not the atoning sacrifice for our sins, not coming again.

Why care about Jesus if his body rotted in the tomb and his dust is still buried somewhere today? Why care about Jesus if his real father was Joseph? Why care about Jesus if he died for no purpose at all? If his blood on the cross was nothing more than one life dripping away.

No, if you did not believe the gospel, you would have “more important” things to spend your time on: earning money, building your network, getting needed sleep, hanging out with friends and family, relaxing.

If you don’t believe, there is always something more important. Believing the gospel made Jesus priceless to you.

By sincerely believing that message you are saved.

What brings us together is we believe the gospel. We want to be saved.

Because we really believe that message, we know this gospel is not something to keep to ourselves. It is the only hope of the world, of every breathing soul.

Together we can advance this message in ways we cannot alone. The church is a gospel multiplier.

So together we are for Christ, for his kingdom—and for his gospel.

Much love,

Pastor Brian

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My Lake Shore Church family,

What brings us together? What do we have in common? Why do we give time and energy to attending church worship gatherings?

1. Because we value Jesus Christ above anything in this world.

We believe in Jesus, that he is truly God’s unique Son, who alone can redeem us and others. We believe he rose from the dead.

And this changes everything. Everything! Jesus does not take a small place in a true believer’s life. He will be Lord. He will be first love.

Jesus unites with us and lives in us, and he moves our soul in the direction it should go. He moves us toward other Christians.

He gives us true unity. He gives a oneness that no other group can have. We care about other Christians and Christ’s church because we care supremely about Jesus Christ.

The purpose of our church is to follow Jesus Christ together. We long to be with God’s people because we long to be with Jesus and follow him.

2. Because we value the kingdom of Christ.

Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33). The kingdom of God is the rule of God.

The kingdom of Christ is Christ’s exerting his rule in a person’s life in any way, whether in bringing about repentance and conversion, or healing, or deliverance from Satan’s work and rule, or bringing about obedience to God’s will, or producing the character traits called the fruits of the Spirit.

Jesus commands us to seek his kingdom. We seek his rule in our lives and other’s. His rule is what we need more than anything.

For when Jesus rules, there is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Light dawns, and darkness flees. Love and faith come, and wickedness goes.

This is what our church is all about: Jesus and his kingdom! This is what is most important, not the passing things of this world that try to take first place in our hearts, a place that only Jesus and his kingdom deserves.

Much love,

Pastor Brian

My Lakeshore Church Family,

I was proud of everyone in our church yesterday on Friend Day. Our church is great at welcoming people. We don’t let strangers sit by themselves. As I looked around yesterday, all the guests seemed to be enjoying themselves.

And what a great job you did bringing and gathering. We had 13 visitors yesterday, which is the most we’ve ever had to any event we’ve sponsored. So I commend you for the way you are in daily life introducing yourself to strangers, finding out people’s names, writing them down, praying for them, inviting them to our events, including them in your lives. This is where all outreach begins.

It takes courage to reach out, to risk rejection. The Christian life always requires courage. Fear of people is a snare.

In short, what we had in the room yesterday was a lot of love and therefore an abundance of God’s presence. First John 4:12 says, “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”

 

Much love,

Pastor Brian

My church family,

O, what sweet, sweet worship we enjoyed yesterday. O, how worship is enhanced by prophetic revelations (the word yesterday about God being our rock, and the spontaneous chorus we then sang on that theme). We’re in the River!

The Word of the Lord says, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

As always, we have valuable opportunities this week to “abound in the work of the Lord.” And as promised we know this work will not be in vain.

First, let’s plan when to invite friends to Friend Day. It takes deliberate action to make a call or venture out to see people. Use your invitation flyer. This is the work of the Lord.

You are a fisher of men and women. Pray and trust in Jesus who said, “I will make you fishers of men.” Pray for favor for everyone in church this week as we invite others and fruit this Sunday as Tom preaches the gospel.

Second, I want to give order to setup on Sunday mornings. We need a volunteer who will serve for 4–8 weeks as the point person for setup. At the end of that 4–8 weeks, your stint ends.

The point person needs to arrive by 8:45 a.m. and does not do the work alone but rather recruits one or more helpers beforehand and does setup as a team. Who will be strong and volunteer to lead beginning this Sunday?

It’s good for Chicago that we are here. Let’s build a church where Scripture is fulfilled: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts” (Zech. 4:6).

Much love,

Pastor Brian

Friday, June 9th

Title: Seeking God on the Path of Joy

Scripture: Psalm 70:4 says,

“May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, ‘God is great!’”

Main Idea: One way we seek the Lord is to rejoice in him.

More: Rejoicing in God brings us closer to him. It brings his presence. The Spirit of God is a Spirit of joy.

Faith and Worship Declarations: I rejoice in the Lord, and I experience his presence.