Hannah’s Vow, Spurgeon & Self-Denial

It is a great privilege to walk with my church through the book of 1 Samuel on Wednesday evenings.  Last night we spent some time considering Hannah, whom we meet in chapter 1.  This godly woman was barren, unable to conceive a child.  In the midst of her great longing to be a mother, she prays one of the most shocking prayers in the Bible:

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She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” (1 Samuel 1:10–11)

It is shocking, because the thing that she desperately wants is the thing she offers to give away.  She vows that her son will be under a lifelong Nazarite vow and that this son will grow up not with her, but in God’s sanctuary/temple in Shiloh.  As a Nazarite, her son would be set apart not for her exclusive enjoyment and pleasure, but for special service to God and His priorities and pleasure.  Hannah’s desire for a child, strong as it is, has become eclipsed by her desire for God’s greater glory and purposes.  Charles Spurgeon notes that:

“Hannah had learned self-denial. This is clear, since the very prayer by which she hoped to escape out of her great grief was a self-denying one. She desired a son, so that her reproach might be removed; but if her eyes might be blessed with such a sight she would cheerfully resign her darling to be the Lord’s as long as he lived. Mothers wish to keep their children around them. It is natural that they should wish to see them often. But Hannah, when most eager for a son, asking, for only one, and that one as the special gift of God, yet does not seek him for herself, but for her God…

Her heart does not long to see her boy at home, his father’s daily pride, and her own hourly solace, but to see him serving as a Levite in the house of the Lord. By this she proved that she had learned self-denial. Brothers and sisters, this is one of our hardest lessons: to learn to give up what we most prize at the command of God, and to do so cheerfully. This is real self-denial, when we ourselves make the proposition, and offer the sacrifice freely, as she did. To desire a blessing so that we may have the opportunity of parting with it, this is self-conquest: have we reached it? Oh you of a sorrowful spirit, if you have learned to crucify the flesh, if you have learned to subdue the body, if you have learned to cast all your desires and wills at his feet, you have gained what a thousand times repays you for all the losses and crosses you have suffered.”

Hannah is truly an inspiration in this sense.  True life is not found in holding on tightly to the things we treasure, but in being willing to release any other treasure in order that we can better lay hold of God, His glory, and His purposes above all else, because He is our true and highest treasure.  Oh may the Lord help me to live in this way!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Demer

HCBC Community Groups Coming Soon!

Dear Harbins Family,

I hope you had a wonderful and worshipful holiday season.  As the dust settles from all of the hustle and bustle of the past month, it’s never too long before I start getting questions about our Community Groups, when we will launch them, what they will be, etc.

Community Groups launch the week of February 5th.  Please let us know as soon as possible which group you’d like to be in as this helps our teachers and hosts. Sign up sheets will be in the back of the Sanctuary this Sunday!

I am pleased to let you know about the three great study options you have this semester.

#1. James: A 12 Week Study

Led by Jeff Thomas at the Thomas home.  2700 Angel Oak Circle, Dacula. Launch Date: Tuesday, February 6th, 7pm.

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The book of James has a well-deserved reputation for providing practical advice, yet it also contains challenging teachings on wealth, anointing with oil, prayer, healing, and the relationship between faith and works.

Through clear exposition of the biblical text and thoughtful application questions, Greg Gilbert helps us rightly understand James as a stirring exhortation to fruitfulness—ultimately reminding us of the necessary connection between genuine faith and heartfelt obedience.

Order The Study Guide Here!  

View the trailer here:

 #2. Faith – What Are You Hoping For?images

Led by Mark Pierce, Warren Goldsmith, and Matt Pritchett.  Location will rotate between the Pierce home (624 Clarke Trail, Dacula) and the Goldsmith home (150 Sweet Auburn Lane, Dacula)  Launch Date: Wednesday, February 7th, 7pm.

What is faith?

We all know that the Bible defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen” – but do we know how to live by faith in the street-level situations and relationships of our daily Christianity?  Join pastor and best-selling author Paul David Tripp on a powerful 9 session journey through Hebrews 11 to discover how to live a hope-filled life of faith in Jesus Christ.

Order Study Guide Here!  

View the trailer here:

#3. The Holiness of God. 

Led by Demer Webb at the Siso home.  2523 Fair Hill Pointe
Bethlehem, Georgia.  Launch Date: Wednesday, February 7th, 7pm.

In the wake of the recent passing of Dr. R.C. Sproul, we will visit what many say is his Christ_teaching_in_the_Templemost powerful and life-changing study ever. In this video and book study, The Holiness of God examines the meaning of holiness and why people are both fascinated and terrified by a holy God. This series closely explores God’s character, leading to new insights on sin, justice, and grace. The result is a new awareness of our dependence upon God’s mercy and a discovery of the awesomeness of His majestic holiness. Dr. R.C. Sproul said, “The holiness of God affects every aspect of our lives—economics, politics, athletics, romance—everything with which we are involved.”

John Macarthur said, “When I first heard R.C. Sproul teaching on the holiness of God, it brought me face-to-face with the awful splendor of God’s majestic holiness in a new and fresh way.”

John Piper says, “The holiness of God is my favorite of his books because it most central.  It is who God is.”

Join us for this powerful 14 week study!  Study guide is mandatory.  To go deeper, purchase the book and participate in the readings you will be assigned.

Order The Study Guide Here!  Order the book (optional) here!  

Get a taste an appetizer of Dr. Sproul’s teaching on this topic:

Please let us know as early as you can which group you’d like to participate in.  Sign up  sheets will be in the back of the sanctuary this Sunday.

I’m thrilled that HCBC is able to offer such amazing studies that will draw you closer to God, facilitate transformation in your life, and sink your roots deeper into the precious Word and gospel of God, through which we are able to more clearly see and savor our Lord Jesus Christ!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Demer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Discipleship Opportunities!

Brothers and Sisters,

In 2018 there will be many discipleship opportunities available to you at HCBC including Community Groups, Men & Women’s Discipleship, and more. You’ll hear more about those soon, but for now, I’d just like to focus on some very significant opportunities for you that are right around the corner!

For several years at HCBC, Biblical Counseling has been an increasingly significant partimages of our emphasis and ministry.  At its core, Biblical Counseling is simply a form of discipleship as it aims to bring the all-sufficient Scriptures to bear (2 Tim 3:16) on our personal and corporate growth as Christians as well as letting the Scriptures inform how we navigate the common challenges of life.  Biblical Counseling impacts marriage, fear, anxiety, friendships, spiritual disciplines, parenting, anger, practical theology, depression, evangelism, addictions/besetting sins, church unity, and much more.

imagesWhile recognizing that not everyone in the church is called to be a full-time, formal biblical counselor, and that some will be more trained in Biblical Counseling than others, we believe that everyone at HCBC is called to have a basic, fundamental understanding and responsibility to know how to use the truths of Scripture in such a way that it will facilitate spiritual growth, maturity, and strength in our congregation.  The apostle Paul looked back on the growth of the church in Rome with grateful thanksgiving and satisfaction because they themselves were “filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14)

Here we see that the instruction isn’t just limited to a handful of formally trained imagespastors.  Instead, Paul rejoices that the whole church is able to instruct one another in the Scriptures.  We see elsewhere in the Scriptures that the church membership is expected to be an instrument in the Redeemer’s hands through loving discipleship, through the bearing of one another’s burdens, and through speaking loving truth to one another that builds up the Body. (Gal 6:1-2, Eph 4:29)  As your pastors, our heart’s desire is for Harbins Church to be like the church in Rome, “filled with all knowledge and able to instruct (counsel) one another.”

With that said, we are excited to bring to your attention a few ways that you can begin to receive basic training in Biblical Counseling.  I would love to see all of our members involved in one (or more) of these opportunities.

#1. Adult Bible Study.  We just recently launched a great study called Instruments in the imagesRedeemer’s Hands and it’s not too late to join in.  After our holiday break, Pastor Jeff will resume this study on Sunday, January 7th, at 9:30am in the sanctuary.  This is an outstanding study designed to release HCBC from the popular notion in our culture that the church’s sanctification and growth is in the hands of a small group of trained pastoral professionals.  Instead, every one of us at Harbins is called to minister to the Body and and become an effective tool of change in the lives of others.  We’ve gotten excellent feedback on this study so far and we are hoping to see more of our members there every week, resuming on the 7th.

#2. Faith Community Church 2018 Biblical Counseling and Discipleship Training imagesConference.  For the past several years members of HCBC have gone to this conference and it has been nothing short of outstanding.  This will certainly be a time of personal growth and excellent training in God’s Word for all who attend.  Myself, Pastor Jeff, and our wives, along with others from our church, have been among those who have greatly benefited from this time.  The training will be broken up over the course of four Saturdays at Northside Church in Roswell on January 27, February 24, March 24, and April 21st.  Jeff and I would really love to see more of our members make it an annual tradition to attend.  The registration deadline is January 12th.  For more information visit here.  If you need financial assistance to help pay for the conference let us know and we’ll see if we can help.  Also, groups can carpool to help with travel expenses.

#3. Biblical Counseling Training at Providence Church in Duluth.  Our friends at imagesProvidence Church will be providing FREE training in Biblical Counseling as they launch a 10 week course starting Tuesday evening, January 9th.  If you are interested in deeper and more intensive training, or if you are interested in going through the certification process with the ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors), this is for you!  Led by Pastor Jess Arnds, who is an ACBC certified counselor from the Master’s Seminary, you will go deep through weekly reading assignments, observing counseling sessions through video, group discussions, and more.  There will be dinner provided at 5:30pm for a small fee, and the training begins at 6pm.  You’ll wrap up by 9pm.  There will be FREE CHILDCARE!  Sign up here! For more information, contact Pastor Jess at jarnds@providenceduluth.org

Please prayerfully consider taking advantage of one or more of these terrific opportunities that will help you in your own personal growth as a Christian, and help you to powerfully minister to others in our church, building up the Body at HCBC.  We pray that 2018 will be an incredible year of growth in the Lord for you and for our church.

Grace and Peace,

Pastors Demer and Jeff

Spring 2017 Community Groups Coming Soon!

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One of the things I love about HCBC is how eager our folks are to study the Bible.  Many people have been coming up to me lately asking when our next round of Community Groups will be launching.  I’m happy to say we’ll be relaunching the week of February 5th.  As usual we’ve got a terrific lineup of studies.  Here’s what we’re offering this time around:

1 Peter: Maintaining Our Hope in a World That’s Not Our Home

imagesLed by Steve Doyle at Barbara Coleman’s home.  1830 Jessica Way, Winder.
Launch Date: Tuesday, February 7th, 7pm.

Do you ever feel like an alien and a stranger in a land that is increasingly distant and even hostile to Jesus Christ?  That’s normal.  The Apostle Peter begins his letter by saying he is writing to “To those who are elect exiles…” (1 Pe 1:1).  To be a believer is to be an exile longing for their true home in heaven.  But in the meantime, how now shall we live?  This Bible study will equip and encourage all pilgrims who are passing through this difficult world in route to their ultimate destination, the New Heavens and the New Earth.  No study guide necessary, just your Bible!  Sign up here!

Lessons from the Upper Room

 Led by Jeff Thomas at Karen Lindsey’s home.  2515 Harbins Mill Drive, Dacula.
Launch Date: Wednesday, February 8th, 7pm.

Knowing the time was fast approaching for Him to imagesdepart this world, Jesus spent His final hours with His closest friends. As the disciples sat with their master, unaware of what would soon take place, Jesus served them, taught them, and prayed for them.  In this 12-part teaching series, Dr. Sinclair Ferguson paints a vivid picture of the disciples’ final moments with their Savior. Carefully walking through John 13-17, Dr.
Ferguson reminds us of the centrality of Christ in all of life.   No study guide necessary, just your Bible!  Sign up here!  For more information, view the trailer below:

 

God in our midst: The Tabernacle and our relationship to God.  

Led by Mark Pierce at the Pritchett home, 2290 Marshland Ct, Suwanee.
Launch Date: Wednesday,  February 8th, 7pm.

How does an ancient tent in the wilderness of Sinai relate to our relationship with God? The description of the tabernacle, God’s Old Testament dwelling place, spans sixteen chapters of the Bible. Yet many of us pass over this extended description without understanding its significance. In this series, Daniel R. Hyde encourages us to consider this “tent of meeting” (Ex. 27:21). By studying the particulars of this first tabernacle, we will better understand Jesus, the One who dwelt, or “tabernacled,” among us (John 1:14).  No study guide necessary!  Just bring your Bible!  Sign up here!  For more information, view the trailer below:

 

What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage

Led by Demer Webb at the Sims’ home, 3605 Wynter Frost Walk.
Launch Date: Wednesday,  February 8th, 7pm

imagesIt won’t take long for you to be disappointed in marriage. It won’t take long for your dreams to be dashed. The reality is that you can’t escape the brokenness of this
world. You won’t be able to avoid the sin of your spouse.

The Bible teaches that we all bring something destructive into our relationships – sin. But as Paul David Tripp explains, we buy into the delusion that our biggest problem is outside of us. We blame our spouse. We blame our circumstances. We rarely take seriously the nature of our own sin.

‘What Did You Expect?’ challenges you to look into the mirror of God’s Word and see yourself with clarity. Maybe it’s you. Maybe you love yourself more than your spouse. Maybe you love your little kingdom more than God’s big Kingdom. When you reach that level of honesty, you’re at the edge of real good things for your marriage.

Sign up here!  

After you sign up, get your FREE study guide here! (required)  

To go even deeper, click here and order the book! (optional but recommended)

For more information, view the trailer below:

 

Behold Your God

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A CONTINUATION OF THE STUDY THAT BEGAN LAST SEMESTER.  

Led by Todd Harrison at the Harrison home. 1480 Bradley Gin Road, Monroe.
Study resumes Thursday, February 9th,  7pm.  

Are we sure that the God we serve is the imagesGod described in Scripture? Is rethinking Him biblically really necessary? How do we do it? How would it affect our views of Christ, the gospel, holiness, worship, evangelism, service, and revival?

Behold Your God is a study that focuses on God’s self-revelation in the Bible, helping the believer to apply the descriptions of God to all of life. Each week features a short biographical sketch of the life of a significant figure from Christian history whose ministry illustrates the truths that you will be studying weekly.  They include A. W. TozerGeorge MullerRobert Murray M’CheyneCharles Spurgeon,  Jonathan Edwards, and more.

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In addition, each week’s lesson will reinforce what you have been studying in the Bible on your own time throughout that week.  Finally, you will be able to listen to highlights from interviews with contemporary ministers whose lives and labors reflect these same truths.

This study is written with the conviction that our fundamental need in Western Christianity is to repent of our low and unworthy views of God, to return to the biblical descriptions of the true God, and to risk it all in order to live upon Who He is. Nothing in this study is new truth.  Instead, everything is meant only to help you to take the biblical descriptions of God seriously and to see how they form the foundation of Christian living.

***Because this is a study that began in the Fall, you are encouraged to consider another one of our study options.  However, if you are still interested in joining this study midstream,  order the required daily devotional and then sign up here!***

For more information, view the trailer below:

To preserve strong group dynamics and intimacy, Pastor Steve and I are trying to keep the groups from becoming too large.  Therefore, our preference is to have a maximum of 12 participants per group.  (This does not of course, include babies and other children who won’t really be participating in the study!) With that said, we want to make sure everyone is in a group, so if there is only one that you desire to participate in due to day of the week, location, interest, etc, then we will of course increase the size of any group to make sure that everyone is included.  With that said, please let us know as early as you can which group you’d like to participate in.

I’m thrilled that HCBC is able to offer such amazing studies that will draw you closer to God, facilitate transformation in your life, and sink your roots deeper into the precious Word of God, through which we are able to more clearly see and savor our Lord Jesus Christ!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Demer