Straight Talk

Straight Talk

More was broken in The Fall than we even begin to imagine.   The first external effect of The Fall shows up in the brokenness of intimate fellowship and communication between a man and his wife.  Almost immediately concealment takes the place of clarity.  Any man who loves a wife or daughter recognizes that this effect of the fall is still in play.  Men struggle with subtlety in language.  We are often incapable of setting the words spoken by our beloved in the proper emotional context necessary to decipher what seems to us to be coded messages.

Perhaps you’ve seen the YouTube video that parodies this through a mythical product called the “Manslater.”   The Manslater is a device that translates what a woman says in “simple man words.” When a woman says, “I’ll be ready in 5 minutes,” the Manslater translates it into: “Me ready 30 minutes.” Using “emotion and female logic deciphering technology,” this device can also work on men. When a man says to a woman: “Wow,” the Manslater translates it to: “Your beauty is stunning!”  As much as this resonates with us, the reality is that only the gospel can reconcile the brokenness sin brings to our relationships and communication.

But it is no secret that men need straight talk.  Though we don’t often like it, we need bluntness — iron that sharpens iron and the wounds of a friend.  The Letter of James in the New Testament fits this bill.  James speaks forcefully and bluntly to the matters that men struggle with: anger, speaking when we should be listening, unguarded speech, failure to pay attention to God’s Word, favoritism, and faith that talks but does not walk, just to name a few.  In the short space of five chapters, James issues a radical call to a faith in Christ that is expressed, not merely professed.

Join us, Friday mornings in May from 7:00 – 8:00 am at Blue Sail Coffee, downtown in Technology Park, 417 Main St., Little Rock for fellowship, prayer and discussion, as we gather with other men to learn from The Letter of James and consider some straight talk about walking the walk.

New Members Q & A

During the month of May, we will host a series of three gatherings on Thursday evenings to discuss membership in River City Reformed Church.  We will meet May 3, 17, and 24 from 6:30 – 7:30 pm in the Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church where we meet each Lord’s Day evening for worship.  For directions click here.

These gatherings will include discussion from to the book, “Don’t Swear in Church: Unless You Really Mean It” as well as conversation about what it means to be a Christian, why church membership matters and what it looks like, what it means to be an Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and what is distinct about the vision and ministry philosophy of River City Reformed Church.

These meetings are not required to pursue membership, but are meant to be a helpful introduction to it.  Childcare will be provided for those who want to utilize it.  Following these gatherings we will schedule time for families to meet with our Provisional Session to share their profession of faith and take vows of membership.

I pray that you will be able to join us as we take this next step together.

Deciphering the Enigma

Long before the dawn of the computer age and concern over the alleged influence of Russian hacking, the fate of nations and the tides of war lay in the power of cryptography.   During World War II, the best and the brightest were pressed into service as cryptographers seeking to create and break unbreakable codes.   The stories of these unsung men and women have been recounted in recent movies such as Windtalkers and The Imitation Game.

One of the most significant of these crypto-analysts was British mathematician, Alan Turing.  Turing led a team of researchers at Britain’s infamous Bletchley Park lab to build a machine capable of decoding messages encrypted by Hitler’s famed Enigma machines.  Turing’s machine, or Automated Computing Engine, was the earliest electro-mechanical computer, a machine which revolutionized the modern age.

Despite Turing’s brilliance and achievement in cracking the world’s foremost cryptographical enigma, however, he could not decode the ultimate enigma, the meaning of life.  His untimely death by cyanide poisoning in 1954 was ruled a suicide.  Turing was not the first notable man in history to grapple with the enigma of meaning and meaninglessness.   Solomon, in the Bible, had done it all.  He had unparalleled wisdom, wealth and experience, but he still wrestled with the same ultimate questions of meaning and meaningless that create existential angst for each of us today.

Solomon, directed by the Holy Spirit, recorded his reflections for us in the book of Ecclesiastes.  Join us, Friday mornings from 7:00 – 8:00 am at Blue Sail Coffee, downtown in Technology Park, 417 Main St., Little Rock for fellowship, prayer and discussion, as we gather with other men to learn from Ecclesiastes what makes the difference between meaningful and meaningless life so we can decipher our own enigma.

Post Tenebras Lux

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.   2 Cor. 4:6

Despite the appearance of brightness and joy cast by the lights of the season adorning every tree and structure, this time of the year can be very dark for many.  Grief, loneliness and spiritual emptiness are often magnified as the outward expectation of joy places artificial demands on us to put on a good face.  For many, the season of light is the darkest time of the year.  Perhaps your soul resonates with words of the Psalmist who cried ‘“Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night.”  But recall the rest of the verse, “even the darkness is not dark to you, [O Lord];  the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.’ Psalm 139:11-12

Sinclair Ferguson, commenting on the conception of Christ in the womb of the virgin Mary, noted, “God does His best work in the dark.”  He created the world out of nothing in the dark. He finished the work of redemption on the cross in the dark. And he prepared the body of the Lord Jesus Christ in the darkness of the womb of the virgin.  Though things seem dark, the Lord is at work.  He is not absent. Though our eyes cannot see all that he is preparing for us in the dark, he will reveal it in due time and we will see hope, shining out of darkness.   Post Tenebras Lux, “after darkness, light,”  — this great Reformation motto is also the power of the gospel operating in our lives.  For,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.   John 1:1-4

River City Reformed Church in Little Rock is a confessionally Reformed Church committed to reaching Little Rock with the light of the Gospel through authentic community, faithful teaching and preaching, biblical worship and meaningful ministry.   Here is how you can pray for us as we continue this work.

  • For the Lord to bring additional families and individuals who share our vision of planting a Reformed Church committed to ordinary means evangelism, confessionally Reformed worship and family-integrated ministry, worship and discipleship.
  • For our ”Lessons and Carols” service planned for December 17, 2017 – that through this service the Lord would edify our current group and expand connections to our community.
  • For spiritual impact among the unbelievers, disbelievers, and disconnected believers in Little Rock as our families exercise their spiritual gifts in their various spheres of influence.
  • For wisdom and discernment regarding the timeline for transition from our Lord’s Day Gatherings to Lord’s Day Worship.
  • Thanksgiving for several new families and individuals who have connected with our group during November.
  • Thanksgiving for the Mississippi Valley Presbytery’s approval of River City Reformed Church as a mission congregation effective January 2018 and for its ongoing financial and prayer support.
  • Thanksgiving  for the ONA Board’s conditional approval of our church plant proposal.
  • Thanksgiving for the continued generosity of St. Andrews Anglican Church, Little Rock to let us use their facilities for our gatherings for the foreseeable future and for their prayer support for the work.