Biblically Rooted, Part II of the RRC Values Sermon Series by John H. Talley III

The great evangelist George Whitfield was known as a mighty preacher in his day. Many great expositors look to him as a model for faithful preaching. Steve Lawson, in his book The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield, writes, “Whitefield and Edwards became the twin instruments God used so mightily during the American Great Awakening.” This was a time in history in which people were being saved by the masses under their gospel-centered preaching and by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is also known as a revival in church history.

Is it too far fetched for us to witness a revival in the city of Phoenix today? Do we have faith that this could actually happen? Is it possible we could testify to thousands of people who are then saved by the good news of the gospel?

Oh, how I long to see that day! Do you? I’d submit to you that if we were going to tell our children and grandchildren about this “Great Awakening” in Phoenix, it’s going to be by the uncompromising preaching of the Word of God! To the degree that we are biblically rooted, relying on the Spirit of God to change the hearts of men and women, I believe we could see this happen.

God has gifted many servants of Christ with various spiritual gifts. Some have the gift of preaching and teaching. Some have the gift of prophecy and speaking in tongues. All gifts are for the edification of the church (1 Cor. 12:4-5). Nevertheless, one gift that Christians universally have is the gift of faith! However, preaching is an art and a gift that only some have—and it’s powerfully unique to bring people to faith in Christ because of the authoritative nature of the Bible. Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. Since God is authoritative, His words carry that same authority.

The Spirit-powered proclamation comes from being biblically rooted in the Scriptures. This is the second value at Roosevelt Community Church because we desire to be directed by the Word of God!




Jesus Devoted by John H. Talley III

Recently, I heard a sermon by David Platt, President of the International Mission Board. Platt’s message was titled "The Characteristics of God.” In his introduction, he asked, “How is your heart before the Lord?” The silence in the room was gut-wrenching.

But this is a very important question, isn’t it?

At Roosevelt, as we start our “RCC Values” sermon series to bring home to our congregation what we are about as a local church. In fact, while you’re reading this blog, in the words of David Platt, I want you to stop and ask yourself the same question: “How is your heart before the Lord?” I believe this encompasses what we mean by Jesus Devoted. The reality is if we are not devoted and committed to Jesus in our Christian journey, then how can we expect our spouses, our children, our friends, our neighbors, or anyone we come in contact with to experience Christ in a real, deep, and meaningful way?

Living in Phoenix, especially in the summer, we experience a lot of “dry heat.” I’m originally from the East Coast where humidity adds another layer of hotness that’s unbearable! Trust me, dry heat is much better; nevertheless, heat is heat! I believe our spiritual journey can be described as “dry heat” or even worse, heat with humidity at times!

The Bible has language for this. John 15:4-5 says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” Abiding in Jesus is synonymous with resting in Jesus, which implies that we are devoted to him.

But what does this devotion look like?  I submit to you here ways to be devoted to Jesus:

·      Praying for and with the people of God

·      Going deep into the Word of God

·      Living in Authentic Community

·      Finding ways to serve in the church and beyond

·      Worshipping the Lord in all that we do

Granted, there are more ways to be devoted (such as fasting, evangelism, giving), but here is a start. As we commune and spend quality time with Jesus, our relationship is real and vibrant.

My prayer is that Roosevelt Community Church would be a people who reflects the example we have in scripture by being Jesus devoted!

Shout-out! By Pastor Vermon Pierre

Shout out to:

1. John Piper and his poem, “The Calvinist.” Trust me, it’s not what you think it is, i.e. a dry ode to Calvnistic theology. I initially was just going to skim the poem, but I found myself drawn in and have since read it several times. It could really just be called “The Christian,” as it is an engaging poetic narrative about someone seeking to follow the Lord, along with all the joys, pains, struggles, and hopes that go along with that journey.


2. Jared Wilson and his “Thoughts on the Restoration of Fallen Pastors.” Sadly, pastors fall and they will continue to fall. But what happens next? While a pastor can always be restored to church fellowship, can a fallen pastor also ever be restored to vocational ministry? Wilson says, “probably,” but based on the following points:


1. Discerning godly grief is necessary

2. Restoration to the fellowship is not the same as restoration to the pastorate

3. [A fallen pastor] cannot restore himself, i.e. the church where the pastor has been at determines if and when a fallen pastor should be restored

Wilson goes on to offer this helpful quote from John Piper:

"Forgiveness comes quickly, expensively, and immediately, on repentance. But trust doesn’t, cannot.

"If a pastor has betrayed his people, and it has wounded a church grievously and wounded his wife grievously, he can be forgiven just like that. Wiped away. The blood of Jesus covers it. But as far as reestablishing trust, which is essential to a shepherd/sheep and wife/husband relationship, how long does that take? A decade? It takes a long time, a long time, until memories are healed.

"And very practically I think this is what I would say: A man who commits adultery, say, in the ministry, should immediately resign and look for other work. And he should make no claim on the church at all. He should get another kind of job and go about his life humbly receiving the discipline and sitting and receiving ministry, whether in that church or in another church. And then the church should turn that around if it believes it should, not him."

Lots of other good insights in blog post. Wilson finishes with this:

"The gospel is not expendable. But our ministries are. If you are a fallen pastor eager for restoration to ministry, I urge you not to see your time away or the discipline involved in the meantime as graceless. It in fact may be your next lesson in just how big God’s grace really is. You may cheapen grace rushing back into that pulpit, assuming you can only be validated by a return to platform, if only because you remain unwilling to see just how greatly grace can sustain you and satisfy you outside of the spotlight. He is good enough to supply your every need."



GETTING TO KNOW RCC! A.J. Silva Speaks to Us!

Your Name: Abraham (A.J.) Silva

Why are you at Roosevelt: Roosevelt Community Church wasn’t my first choice after moving to the Phoenix area nearly a year ago. I was desirous of a church that upheld my reformed faith, a church that was doxologically driven and committed to work Christ has given all believers: to make disciples of all the nations. After attending Roosevelt for the first time, I saw an extremely diversified community of people who came together to worship God together. This was a group of people who despite their socio-economic, political, and ethnic backgrounds, cherished and uplifted the unity of our faith.

Second, a church should never sacrifice truth for the sake of conformity or relevance. A church must defend the truth of God when contemporary ideology and criticism objects to these truths. A pro-active church is one that is constantly analyzing culture, world events, news, etc. and offering a rational, biblical solution or explanation. In this sense, Roosevelt is a relevant church—challenging and equipping its congregants to give a reason for the hope that lies within them and to never shy away from cultural confrontation.

After a couple months of observing these aspects of RCC, and after speaking with leadership, I believed God had called me to serve and attend this local body.

How long have you been here? I think I’m coming up on a year, this July.

How long have you been a Christian? Though raised a Christian my whole life, I think I truly began to understand what it all meant around age 13. I’d say roughly 6 years.

Tell us something interesting we should know about your life as a Christian: My life as a Christian has come with little persecution or resistance from others, unlike many of the believers I know. I’m young, and I know persecution is coming, so my goal is to be as prepared and ready as possible.

Where are you from? The quiet mountain town of Payson, AZ.

What's your job? I work as a cinematographer and editor at a media production company in Scottsdale, AZ.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy filmmaking, playing guitar and recording music, traveling, and eating good food.

Name two things on your bucket list: write a book and live in New York City.

Your favorite book: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Your favorite movie: Cléo from 5 to 7 by Agnès Varda

Something that you're really praying for: For Christ to show me how I might use the talents and skills He’s given me to further the work of His kingdom.


Shout-out! By Pastor Vermon Pierre

I am dedicating this entire shout-out to this post by Adriel Sanchez on the difference between a “friendship community” and a “gospel community.” As a pastor of a church that wants to engage all people with all of Jesus, I find that what Sanchez is talking about here is essential--if we really want an “all people”-type of community that is truly in relationship with each other.

Here’s the main point of the post: “Our friends are great, but as Christians, our primary commitment should be to a local church that is created by the gospel. This type of community displays God’s power to bring together diverse people, crushes rather than cultivates our idolatries, and affords us the true oversight Scripture prescribes.” 

The whole post is worth the read but for those short on time, here are some highlights from the blog post:

“In your friendship community, the community is created out of shared interests. Your friendship community looks a lot like you and likes all the same things you like. That’s normal and natural (we all gravitate toward people who are like us), but the community that God creates is supernatural…Gospel communities aren’t based on life stages or personal preference but on a common Savior. When this Savior brings people together who are very different and unites them in love, it displays the power of the gospel in a way that your friendship community doesn’t.”


“It isn’t surprising when a group of friends who enjoy one another’s company love each other (the world has that). Sadly, your friendship community doesn’t end up saying much about the gospel’s power to reconcile enemies (Eph. 2:14–16), not to mention the fact that since this community is based primarily on your shared interests, you spend more time talking about those things than the gospel. If you commit yourself to a gospel community, however, you’ll find yourself attached to a group of people with whom you might not share anything in common except Jesus! It will be hard and sometimes frustrating, but the gospel is able to sustain this community and therefore gets credit for its existence.”


“Second, your friendship community contributes to the thriving of your various idols in a way that a gospel community wouldn’t. I know you hate your sin and want to find ways to root it out of your life, but have you considered that since you and your friendship community have many of the same likes, you might also have many of the same struggles?... Think about how much more sanctifying a gospel community would be. In a gospel community, our shared affinity toward Jesus should drive us to speak the truth in love to each other in such a way that it brings our individual sins into the light and suffocates them with God’s grace.” 


“Your friendship community alone cannot provide the type of ecclesiastical oversight the Bible presupposes. Remember all those verses about, “submitting to your leaders and elders” (Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:5)? What do you think those verses mean? Who are the elders currently “watching over your soul” who will one day “give an account” for their oversight? Were they ordained like Paul talked about in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1? If you ever fell into some horrible sin, who are the people God has placed over you who can restore you to the church (Gal. 6:1; Matt. 18:15–20)? The Bible seems to assume that Christians are so attached to a gospel community that this oversight actually occurs. Unfortunately, since your friendship community has replaced a genuine gospel community, it can’t. Because you’re not a member of any local church, there’s no one to whom you’re accountable besides yourself and your friendship community.”




GETTING TO KNOW RCC! Ashley Chaney Speaks To Us . . .


Why are you at Roosevelt (and if you are volunteering/serving somewhere at Roosevelt, where are you serving)?: I am at Roosevelt because from the first couple visits, I could tell that Jesus is central to everything that is done here, Scripture is highly prized, and the community is diverse and friendly. I sing on the Music Team, and Gabe (my husband) and I host a community group in our home. 

How long have you been here?: I've been here right around 4 years. 

How long have you been a Christian?: I have been a Christian since I was in Kindergarten. There have been different points during which there was a fresher understanding or a clearer picture of grace, but I first knew that I needed Jesus when I was about six-years-old. 

Tell us something interesting we should know about your life as a Christian: I grew up in a Mennonite church. Some of my relatives are Amish. 

Where are you from?: I was born and raised in Phoenix. Right after I got married, we moved to Gaithersburg, Maryland for Gabe's work, and we lived there for six years. Many of our family's firsts were in Maryland, so it holds a special place in my heart--but Phoenix is my home. 

What's your job?: I am currently staying at home with the kids. 

What are your hobbies?: I enjoy reading, decorating, building things, and learning new skills. 

Name two things on your bucket list: 1) Travel to the UK. 2) I would love to have a second home in the mountains that I could use as a retreat for people who need refreshment and rest. 

Your favorite book: I love fiction, and anything by Jane Austen. I also love C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. I really enjoy biographies, though, too. Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas is my current favorite, with Let Justice Roll Down by John M. Perkins as a phenomenal second. 

Your favorite movie: Emma (BBC version) and Die Hard

Something that you're really praying for: I pray for wisdom and patience, which I always feel I lack. I pray that my kids know and love God with their whole hearts. I pray that I can see that the small things God sets in front of me every day are not just for a small plan, but that God's plan is so big that it shapes my home, our city, and our world. Mostly, I want to see God's glory reflected in every area that I am able to have even a little bit of influence in.