Being the Church

How to Change

The Puritan Gospel Brings Change

  The English Puritans have much to offer regarding the sanctifying power of the gospel. Puritan piety, theology, and gospel preaching are urgently needed in the life of the church and individuals who want to see any effective and lasting transformation. The secular contemporary agents of change have conspicuously left out the very source of what the Puritans so heavily relied upon. For this reason, the Puritan gospel can identify and promote true faith and repentance. In one aspect, the Puritan gospel for change is reflected well and certainly inspired by the writer of Hebrews.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne

of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Heb. 12:1-4)

  The writer of this Hebrews passage is clearly stating that sinners ought to struggle against sin. The struggle of the Christian is constant and unrelenting against the sinful motives of the heart that result in destructive behaviors. Though emotional and psychological factors are significant, the source of the struggle is at the level of heart motivations. Lasting change is found when the power of the Puritan gospel sinks deep inside and Christ is seen as the all-glorious greatest affection of the heart.

   You might be asking, "What is this Puritan gospel?" To quote the one who was considered the last living puritan, J. I. Packer said, "Puritan gospel preaching was concerned above all things to honour Christ: to show his glory to needy men and women."  Every preacher worth his salt wants to convey this above all else!  And every Christian worth his or her salt will want this Puritan gospel preached!  Fixing, often with a wide-eyed, upon the gospel to see its beauty and all-satisfying worth because of Christ is the way the Christian grows toward loving Jesus more than anything. Central to this is seeing Christ's great struggle for us in shedding his own blood as the Hebrews writer tells us. "In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood." This strengthens us for our struggle in the battle against every besetting sin. Seeing this emphasis of the Puritan Gospel gives the Christian enduring hope and strength in the battle for sanctification. As you see your neediness in Christ, you will change and honor Him.  Honor Christ all you who are needy!  (Adapted from M. Avato, The Transforming Power of the Gospel, p.53)

The Sermon this Sunday


Trusting God in Troubled Times

  Habakkuk was a prophet who lived in Judah during the reign of Josiah. Growing up he would have seen the reforms of this good king. But now he is witnessing the moral and spiritual depravity of his people and wonders why God has not intervened. 

  We said last time that it is a book which has great relevance for us today. How often do we see great injustice and ask, "If there is an all powerful God, then why doesn't he do something about this?" If we are honest Christians, we will admit that we have often asked a similar question, even through our prayers to God.

  Praying is not the practice whereby we seek to change God's mind. It is the practice of aligning our will to God's! Christians therefore are to come to God in prayer for answers and realignment to the heart of God. Jesus said, "And I tell you, 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" (Lk 11:9–10). If you want to know the heart of God then you must learn to pray. Jesus ends that passage with, "how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”(v.13). The gift of the Holy Spirit given to the believer is the very heart of God given to the believer. To say it another way, every believer is given the Spirit and renewed by the Spirit when he or she is saved. The Spirit Himself drives you to prayer through burdens of the heart, as it did Habakkuk.

  Habakkuk had a deep burden for the spiritual wellbeing of the people of God. He wrote during a period when, for the most part, Israel had forsaken their covenant with God and injustice prevailed. I cannot think of a more relevant concern for today. When only 5% of the people of our town are attending church on any given Sunday. Have we not as a people forsaken the covenant with God?  Habakkuk takes his concerns to God in prayer out of a deep concern for the circumstances of his day. And so should we.

  This Sunday I want us to look and learn the value of watching and waiting for the Lord. Habakkuk has prayed and God responded and then he prays again and he is waiting for God’s second response. During this pause…or interlude, Habakkuk is watching and waiting by faith. This is our path to becoming Christian's who are unflappable in our faith! 

Weekly Events



TEEN/YOUNG ADULT CLASS week three!  This week we'll be watching Francis Chan's "GREATER THAN" video followed by a discussion centered on "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  Francis walks us through his own difficult childhood to help us understand that God is greater than any pain, sin or hardship that we might encounter in this life. God is greater than any obstacle standing in your way. 


WOMEN'S ADULT CLASS Again this week the ladies will be watching Nancy Guthrie teach on the Book of Revelation in her series called "BLESSED." Look forward to rich biblical teaching and genuine conversation.

Meets in the Fellowship Hall at 10:30am

See Susan Avato if you have questions. 727 599-4555


RISEN KIDS (K-5TH) CHILDREN'S CLASSES will resume this Sunday. 



As we fill the prayer room...God will fill our church!

Please join some of the other regular folk for 15 minutes of prayer. Located in the library.


  • Praise Report! Sonya (Ellen Rourke's daughter) is cancer free!
  • A NEW YOUTH DIRECTOR to minister to our teens. Pray that God leads the right person to our church. 
  • Pray for those sick with COVID & common cold symptoms. 
  • Pray for THAT ONE FRIEND to trust Christ this new year.
  • Pray for pastor Heiko & Kay Burklin.  Kay's ALS is progressing, pray for God's merciful healing.
  • So many other prayer needs! Below is a list of people that you may not know but God knows each by name: Pray for Neiko, Katie, John, Honey, Lori, Jesse, Blake, Rick, Evelyn, John, Brittany, Megan, Ellen, Sofia, Billy, Louise, Mike M., Jason, Michele, Tito, Danielle, Aaron, Jane, Darrell, Dave, Marty, Dan, Bob, Cole, Ian, Damin, Jeff, John, Stacie, Ann Marie, Tom, Josh, Marc, Daniel, Max, Jared, Devin, Scott, Mike, Sarah, Mark, Bill, Amanda, Jack, Terri, Josh, Amanda, Bobby, Johnny, Jane, Tim, Lori, Mike, Amy, Anthony, Sam, Taylor, Mikani, Rick, Mike, Sarah, and others who need Jesus and a church like ours. Father, please increase our faith.
  • Pray and Invite someone to Church.
  • Pray for the people floating around without a Christ-centered family! MAYBE YOUR NEIGHBOR IS ONE!
  • The Lord's blessing! Pray for God's mercy in SALVATIONS!
Read the Bible

Click on "Read the Bible" this will take you to "Today's Reading" where you will see D. A. Carson's commentary, then four selections from the Bible. Really solid stuff for you to feed upon!

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