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Student Ministry - October 2022

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Dear Church Family,

One thing that has been on the forefront of my mind lately is the reality of evil in the world. We all know evil exists, but sometimes I think we are tempted to believe that evil is not a very prevalent or pressing issue. It almost seems like evil is something you see in TV shows, but it can’t really be all that bad in the real world, can it? People don’t really do evil like that intentionally, do they? But the sad and disorienting reality is that when you look at the real world and real people, evil is much more prevalent and problematic than we sometimes give credit. When you read stories of decapitations in broad daylight, parents murdering children, and corrupt people in leadership, it can make you wonder if we are the ones living in a TV show. But reality is stranger than fiction. And the point I’m really pushing is that people are evil. 

As soon as you say that people are evil, you can imagine someone automatically jumping up to say “no, people aren’t evil… they just do bad things sometimes. And let’s consider the circumstances. Maybe there is a reason for the bad thing they did. And if you think about that, maybe the bad thing they did wasn’t really that bad after all.” These are all excuses. A phrase I’ve been using for some years now is that there might be reasons for our sin, but they aren’t necessarily excuses. This means that just because we can understand why someone might do something when we put ourselves in their shoes, that doesn’t always mean that what they did was ok. We all have reasons for speeding on the highway, but extremely rarely do any of those reasons justify what we are doing. The same goes for the evil actions done by people in the world. The Bible makes it clear in Romans 3:10 that “There is none righteous, not even one.” We know that all people are sinful and capable of great evil. But until we really accept that fact, we won’t be able to make a bit of difference in the world.

Honestly, we see the world trying to make a difference to no avail all the time. Secular entities in the world (and even some non-secular entities) try to combat evil with all sorts of ideologies and philosophies, systems and services that ultimately fall flat. They may provide some sort of stay on the effect of man’s evil, but they do not solve it. Sometimes they even increase the amount of evil actions done by man. One need only look at the effects of socialism everywhere it has been attempted. No, these “solutions” do not work, and there is one major reason why… they ignore the real problem, the sinfulness of the human heart. And because they ignore the real problem, they also ignore the true solution, the gospel.

If the gospel is not the center of whatever ideology, philosophy, system, or service you provide, then you do not have a solution that will make a lasting difference. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can truly curb evil, because only the gospel changes the human heart. Consider how the gospel is the reality of the Son of God becoming man, living a perfectly holy life, dying for the punishment of our sin, raising to life on the third day, and giving the Holy Spirit and eternal life to those who believe in Him… it is that radical cleansing of a sinful heart and presence of the Holy Spirit that makes the evil man into a saint. No, not a perfect man, but a man with holy desires and a holy standing before God. That is what we need! We need new hearts that want to love God and live for Him! No system or service provides that unless it centers around the gospel. Likewise, no single person can make a change without the gospel being center to his life.

So, if you see evil in the world and it dismays you, remember the solution has been given. What we need to do is center ourselves around the life changing gospel of Jesus Christ and do all we can to bring it to bear on our own sinful hearts and the sinful hearts of those living around us. When we do that, God will change our hearts and theirs, and an everlasting impact will be made on the amount of evil in the world. And thankfully we can trust that one day, when Jesus returns, evil will be done away with for good. But until then, let’s be thankful He transformed our evil hearts before that day, and let’s shine the light of the gospel into our present darkness.

Posted by Brian Van Doren with

Worship Ministry - October 2022

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Thank you!
On behalf of Sarah and I, I would like to thank all of you for welcoming us to Oakhill Baptist! The love and kindness we have felt from this congregation have made us feel right at home, and we are incredibly thankful to be invested in God’s work here in Evansville. It is never easy moving to a new town, finding a new house, and making new friends, but we are extremely excited to build relationships with you and put some roots down in this community. God is doing great things here at Oakhill; let us praise Him for His good works and pray that He would draw more people to Himself.

Behold
One of the things that you will quickly learn about me is that I am a nerd. I love history. I love to learn random, most of the time useless, information. I love using google to find said useless information. I am also fascinated with the etymology, the origin, of words and love that it can help you have a fuller understanding of what you are reading. Take the word “behold”, a common word that means “to observe; look at; see.” That’s easy enough to understand when we place it in the context of worship, and we see it throughout scripture. (i.e. Isaiah 7:14, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Psalm 27:4)

When we worship our God, we are to “behold” Him. We have our eyes, heart, and mind focused on Him and Him alone, recognizing that Christ is worthy of our focus. We show that focus through praise and adoration. We sing songs that declare His goodness and might. We lift our prayers to the Father, seeking wisdom or healing. We fellowship with other believers, encouraging each other in our faith. These are all good things and the Lord delights in them!

When we look at the etymology of the word “behold”, I believe it paints a more complete picture of how we are to “focus” on God. Our use of the word “behold” derives from an old Saxon word “behaltan” meaning “to hold, keep”. Keep! We often in our normal flow of life forget that our worship of God isn’t confined to the church building or to a certain time of day. Even our musical worship isn’t confined to a Sunday morning time with a praise band and singers leading us. Rather, we are to “keep” God in our view, our hearts, and our minds ALWAYS. We are to hold our gaze on the one true God no matter what is going on around us, no matter the storm we are in, and no matter what the world is doing. We will behold our God, our King! Yes, we will fail at this because we are sinful men and women, but we can press into the grace and mercy of God with great assurance that when we fail, he will forgive and redeem us. So, let us strive to behold, to keep, our God in all things…for He is worthy! 

Lyric of the Month
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Posted by Evan Gray with

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