Author Archives: Vince

Creation of Humanity

This is the third piece of art for our series “We Believe.” You can see the explanation to the entire series here.

3.) CREATION OF HUMANITY:
We believe that God created human beings, male and female, in his own image. Men and women are made equal in the image of God and enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus.  Both men and women are called to significant engagement in family, church, and civic life.

Children have an immense capacity for creativity in communication through art. The elementary aged students (5 years old through 5th grade) worked for two Sundays on family portraits. They were instructed to draw their families enjoying one another, serving or participating in the community at large, or their family in the context of church life. Their 36 separate images create one large piece of artwork conveying that we all are made IN HIS IMAGE!

Artists: The Town Kids and Melody Shaddix, Cassy Reeves, Renee Rillo

Revelation

This is the second piece of art for our series “We Believe.” You can see the explanation to the entire series here.

2.) REVELATION

We believe that God has inspired the words of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments. These writings alone constitute the Word of God, which is utterly authoritative, without error in the original writings, complete in its revelation of his will for salvation, and sufficient for all that God requires us to believe and do.  

Psalm 12:6 says: “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” This scripture is the basis for my artwork. In the center of the quilt are 66 blocks representing the 66 books of the Bible. This segment of the quilt is quilted in a freeform wave pattern to illustrate that all scripture is God-breathed. The blocks are arranged in a triangular layout because we believe in a triune God. Additionally, they are various shades of gray, with a silver tulle quilted as an overlay, to convey pure silver. The surrounding background in vibrant blues, oranges and reds conjure up the idea of a refining fire. There are seven flames embroidered in the quilting to represent the seven purifications. I’ve been quilting since early 2012 and I love creating works of art with fabric. 

Artist: Melody Shaddix 

The Triune God

On April 28 we began a 13-week study of our doctrinal statement. Each week we will cover one point of this statement in an attempt to grow in our affections for the God of the Bible. You can follow along and listen to each of these sermons here.

Several months ago we gathered the artists of The Town Church to ask them to consider representing each of these doctrines in a work of art. Each week we will present the work as well as an artist’s statement about the work. Below is the art for week 1.

1.) THE TRIUNE GOD

We believe in one God, who eternally exists in three equally divine Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—who know, love, and glorify one another. This one true and living God is worthy to receive all glory and adoration.


This piece is an imperfect attempt to represent the triune nature of God. The triangle shown is a variation of the Penrose triangle, an optical illusion that pushes and plays with our limits of human understanding. This felt appropriate because it is impossible for our finite selves to fully comprehend the infinite nature and being of God. Each equal section of the shape represents 1 person of the triune God:

  1. God the Father (YHWH)
  2. God the Son (The hand of Jesus)
  3. God the Spirit (Dove wing as a representation the Spirit at Jesus’ baptism)

Each section of the shape folds back into itself as a representation of the 3 persons of the Trinity knowing, loving, and glorifying each while each being part of the whole. 

The primary colors represent the Triune God being the foundation and author of creation and beauty.

Artist: Andrew Steger

Parenting in the Pews with Sensitive Topics

At The Town Church we value the church family being together as we worship God. Each week we offer children’s ministry for children up through age 5. Twice a month we offer children’s ministry classes for children through 5th grade during the teaching time of the service. While we do offer some children’s ministry, our corporate gatherings are often full of children. That is the church.

Since we often have children of all ages in our services, the roll of the preacher in preaching through specific texts is, at times, challenging. For instance, we have been working through the book of Exodus over the last several months. We are now into the middle section (Covenant Code) of Exodus where we see law after law after law from God. Many of these laws will go over the heads of children (honestly, some of the laws go over my head). However, some of the laws may spark curiosity and cause children to ask questions. We could choose to skip those passages to try to protect parents from the awkward conversations on the drive home, but we believe the Word of God (all of it) has been given to us so that we can know God. 

This Sunday (2.25.18) we will discuss a few laws that may be interesting to navigate with children. In my preparation this week I thought it may be appropriate to send a message to our church family. Below is the message I sent. Parents, are you discussing these sensitive issues with your children? In our overly sexualized and provocative culture and time in history, your children need to be hearing about these things from you so that they know the home is a safe place to ask questions and hear the truth. Here is our reminder – Parenting/discipleship/the Christian life is a long game. Endure and enjoy.

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Good afternoon church family, 

As I’ve been studying this week I’ve come across a few passages where God gives commands to his people about sexual relations outside of marriage as well as sexual relations with animals. These can often be tricky topics to talk through when there are a variety of ages represented in the pews. However, these things are in the Bible for a reason so I don’t want to skip over them. I want to face them head-on and allow God’s Word to teach us. 

For those of you who are parents, I want to reassure you that I will try as much as I am able to use words that are as appropriate for all audiences as I can manage. Often I will try to be vague enough in my speech that children may not understand what I am talking about – but adults will. I will often say things like “appropriate relations” or “relations appropriate for marriages.” I think most adults will understand what I am trying to communicate with those types of words. You have probably noticed that the words I often choose to use are more sanitized than what is actually in the Bible. This is intentional. I want to be careful that I am not going beyond how Scripture speaks of sexual relationships. 

That being said, however, I also want to give you notice when I am going to talk about things that may be explicit so that you can begin to prayerfully consider how you could have conversations with your children about these topics. If you sense that your children understand what is being discussed on Sunday mornings or from your family reading of God’s Word, you have a beautiful opportunity to talk to them about what God desires for our bodies and relationships. That instruction needs to be coming from God, trickling down through you as the parents. 

I would encourage you to assume your children are picking up on some of the things we are discussing. Ask them questions. Invite them into open discussion about these things. Introduce them to some of these topics in ways that seem appropriate for their understanding. This is God’s Word and we’re told that God’s Word is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). 

This Sunday as we read, study and hear from God’s Word, we will see that God cares about sexual relationships between a married man and a woman. While I won’t be explicit in my choice of words, the passage we will walk through (especially Exodus 22:16-17 and 22:19) is quite straightforward. Be prepared for questions and conversations with your children.

If ever you would like to talk about how to have these conversations with your children, please let me know. I don’t have all of the answers but I would be happy to help you in your ongoing pursuit of pointing your children more and more to the truth of God’s Word and our collective need for a Savior. 

We’re in this together and I thank God for it!

Vince

A weekend of celebration!

We have an exciting weekend ahead of us (at least 2 things).

1.) Tomorrow we will be celebrating 7 years of God’s gracious hand at work in and through us as a church. We will gather together at 4pm at Library Park. The Goodness (food truck) will be ready to serve food. You can also bring a picnic. We will provide Kona Ice (snow cones) and cupcakes for everyone! Please make every effort to join us. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and a lawn game if you have one, and come prepared to enjoy the family!

2.) Sunday morning we will be commissioning Sergei and Sarah Yepishin to continue the work of planting The Town Church / Greeley. This will be their last Sunday with us at The Town Church / Fort Collins. We will be sending them and their team out with prayer and the celebratory cupcake between services. This has been 4 years in the making. God is at work transforming lives with His gospel and we are grateful beneficiaries!

This weekend is a weekend of celebrating the fact that God is able to do far more abundantly than anything we can ask or think!! You won’t want to miss our gathering together as a family. Be there!

Day 2: The Transformative Power of Jesus

When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. John 2:22

Read John 2

The wedding in Cana looks like Jesus’ warm-up miracle—winning everyone over by improving the wine supply. It had an immediate effect. John tells us it manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in Him. But much like the rest of Jesus’ life, the meaning comes most clearly into focus by remembering that everything Jesus did leads us to the cross.

Jesus told the servants to fill the water jars used for “rites of purification,” and what did they find? The water that they hoped in vain would make them clean before God had been replaced with wine. Later in Matthew 26, when Jesus took a cup of wine and called it “my blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins,” the disciples likely remembered this moment at the wedding. In His death, Jesus took all of the futile ways we try to make ourselves clean and replaced them with Himself.

Exposing all these self-help ways to clean up our lives was such a consistent theme of Jesus’ ministry that it’s no surprise His next stop is the temple. On this day prior to Passover, the celebration of their redemption from slavery in Egypt, Jesus found people trying to sell redemption through sacrificial animals. Even today, thousands of years later when the things we buy and sacrifice have changed, our pursuit of ways to be redeemed and accepted has not. We may not all identify with the profiteers Jesus drove out of the temple, but we are all in line to buy oxen, sheep, and pigeons, just as we are all trying to wash ourselves clean with water.

How does Jesus respond to those in the temple? He does not tell them how to temple more effectively. Nor does he tell them that they have no need of redemption. Instead, as with the water jars in Cana, He plants a seed that will bring forth life at the foot of the cross. He tells the Jews, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” By rising from the grave, Jesus took all of the futile ways we try to be acceptable before God and man—or at least look the part—and replaces them with Himself.

Water to wine isn’t the only thing He loves to change.

Consider your response:  

What do you turn to when you want to be made clean? In Jesus’ death and resurrection, you are accepted and redeemed. Turn to Him.

 – Written by Thom Bullock

Day 1: Away from Home to Take Us Home

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. – John 1:10

Read John 1

John’s account of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection doesn’t begin with a birth story. We don’t meet Joseph and his fiancée, Mary, on the road to Bethlehem. No shepherds, angels, or wise men stumble into the scene. There’s no great and lengthy, earthly lineage pointing to Jesus. Instead, John introduces us to Jesus by way of eternity past. In the beginning was . . . Jesus. There begins our journey home.

Over the next several days we will walk a journey with John that leads to an eternal destination. We pack our bags with stories of Jesus’ life and ministry, traveling with Him into death, joining Him in new, resurrected life.

Our journey home begins with a God who left His.

John 1 introduces us to several men who first realize Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, and begin their journey home with Him. Early on we meet John the Baptist, the one divinely destined to “make straight the way of the Lord.”1 Then we meet up with two brothers, Andrew and Peter2 who would spend their next three years walking beside Jesus to the cross and the rest of their lives following Him home. And then we encounter Philip and Nathanael, two men who came to know Jesus because He knew them first.3

Jesus came to a world that did not know Him4, but John is helping to fix that. John, Jesus’ best friend, the one who witnessed His life up close, the one who the Spirit whispered insight that became the inerrant Word, this John gives us name after name after name just in this first chapter of his gospel to help us know Jesus.

He is the Word.5 He is God.6 He is the Light.7 He is the only Son from the Father.8 He is Jesus Christ.9 He is the Lord.10 He is the Lamb of God.11 He is the Son of God.12 He is Rabbi/Teacher.13 He is the Messiah.14 He is Jesus of Nazareth.15 He is the son of Joseph.16 He is the King of Israel.17 He is the Son of Man.18 This is Jesus, our Lord and Savior—the One who was sent into the world, the very world who did not know Him —so that we could know Him.

Think of it—Jesus, who is God, who has no beginning and no end, left His home.19 The very One who was at home with the Father, left that home to be with us. Jesus left His rightful place with God the Father to travel to a place that He spoke into existence—traveling to a people who He created.

Because there was no other way that we could be at home with the Father apart from Jesus, Jesus left His home for us. To be with us. To live for us. To die instead of us. And to be raised for us. He’s home now—seated in glory beside the Father and one day, we will be with Him in all His glory.

Our journey home begins with a God who left His. Come and see Jesus for yourself. Meet Him along the way—the way to the cross, the way to the grave, the way to new life, and ultimately, the way home.

11:23, 21:35-42, 31:43-51, 41:10, 5,6 1:1, 71:8-9, 81:14, 91:17, 101:23, 111:29,36, 121:34, 49, 131:38, 49, 141:41, 15, 161:45, 171:49, 181:51, 191:1

Consider your response:  Consider the names and titles of Jesus in John 1. Write a sentence describing the importance of each. How do these statements point forward to the cross? Which one is most meaningful to you today? Why? Ask God to give you greater affections for Jesus as you come to know more of Him.

 – Written by Vince Black

 

21 Days to the Cross

On Sunday morning, we heard an introduction to our Easter Devotional – The Way Home. We imagined John sitting down in his old age to write his account and what he so earnestly wanted to tell his readers.

In preparation for our celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are encouraging the body to read through one chapter of John each day (March 27 – April 17). In an effort to help us focus on a specific element of each chapter of John, a brief devotion has been written for each of the 21 days by 16 different people from The Town Church.

Would you like to join us on this journey? CLICK HERE and enter your email address. You will receive one devotion a day for each of these 21 days.

We look forward to reading through John with you and as we follow Jesus along the way as he leads us home.