March 2017

TruthTalks Sermons

TruthTalks (Sermon) God is Able!

“Able” = an expansion of the Greek word ‘dunamis’ = miraculous power.

In this sermon Dr. Christopher Peppler, drawing from the book of Jude, talks about our everyday lives and the troubles we face, how we feel we fall short of being better disciples, etc. But he explains that God is ABLE. He is able to…

  • Speak to us when He needs to
  • Intervene in our lives when He chooses to
  • Heal and even create something out of nothing when He decides to
  • Keep us from falling
  • And more
There are no restraints or limits on His ability and His miraculous power.
This is a particularly good message to hear if you are feeling “unable” as we are given insight into all that God is able to do for us when we can’t. We all stumble through our lives as disciples of Jesus – over sinful behaviours, bad attitudes, and life circumstances,but God is able to keep us from falling away from faith in Him. ROM 8:39 nothing is ‘able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

GOD IS ABLE!

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen’. (Jude 24-25)
Listen to this truth talk below and feel free to comment on www.truthistheword.com.

 

 

 

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The importance of staying true to Core Values

Core values top image

We all have core values, even if we cannot express them easily.

Core values are the guiding principles that determine our behaviours and priorities. As individuals, we absorb these as our parents embed them into us from an early age.
In the case of organisations, the founders entrench them in the constitution and corporate mission statement. The observable evidence of core values is the way we live, what we say and do, and how we prioritise our time and resources. Whether consciously adopted or unconsciously inherited, core values flow out of an appreciation of who we are. If you define yourself primarily as a parent then your core values will reflect this in a focus on such things as nurture, education, protection, and so on. If you see yourself primarily as a Christian, in the true sense of that word, then your core values will flow from that source of identity, e.g. “I am a child of God, a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a Christian brother/sister in God’s household, the church.”

Core Values ImageHere is a diagram that should help to clarify the relationships between identity, core values, and behaviours. Identity yields core values, which in turn yield behaviours and priorities. At an organisational or community level, the relationships between these three are usually intentionally formulated and set out in documents such as mission statements. Once again, the sense of identity is the primary determinant of core values and the subsequent behaviours that flow out of these key principles. I understand the identity of a local church as ‘an extended family of God in a specific location, centred on Jesus, prescribed by the Word of God, and dependent on the Holy Spirit.’

I had the privilege of establishing a local church nearly three decades ago and in its formative years we set out our core values under the acronym ROADS – Relationship, Outreach, Anointing, Doctrine, and Structure. Under each of these headings, we developed a compact statement of the core beliefs. For instance, under the heading of Relationship we wrote; ‘We are a church family in relationship with God and each other within an environment of order, participation and accountability. We value and seek to practice love and acceptance and see our church as a ‘city of refuge’. We are principle, value and relationship based rather than rules or results based. Ministries are motivated from within rather than imposed from without; leadership’s primary roles are serving, equipping and facilitating rather than initiating programmes.’ From this statement flowed the following clear core values:

  1. Principle, value, and relationship, rather than rules or results.
  2. Church family rather than family church.
  3. Order, participation, and accountability.
  4. Love and acceptance in Truth.
  5. Ministries motivated from within rather than imposed from on top.
  6. Leadership as serving, equipping, and facilitating, rather than initiating programmes.
  7. Discipleship.

It is easy to see the role these core values play in decision-making, priority setting, and behaviour regulation. The maxim when evaluating options is:

‘Does this strengthen and promote these values or does it undermine them?’
The two main challenges to this simple yet effective model are (i) Keeping the values pyramid the right way up, and (ii) Resolving perceived tension between different values.

(i) Keeping the value pyramid the right way up.

If the organisation or community, in this case the local church, loses sight of its core values, then its behaviours and priorities will erode or even change over time. New members and leaders come into the church bringing with them often divergent or contradictory values. These folk will evidence their values through their behaviour. If there are enough ‘new’ people in a church who have not been properly inducted into the value system, then the church as a community will start to adopt these different behaviour patterns. If this is left unchecked then some of the existing core values will be effectively replaced even though the official statements of the church still enshrine them. When this happens, tension increases in the church and can result in a church split or a church community that says one thing but lives a lie.

The solution to this potential polar shift in church life is to ensure that new members are inducted into the value system of the church as early as possible. Well-established leaders need to disciple new leaders, and preachers need to regularly teach the core values. Ultimately, actions speak louder than words, so they say, and the way the church operates and prioritises will be the best ‘teacher’ of values.

(ii) Resolving perceived tension between different values.

What sometimes happens is that two values appear to be in tension with each other. For instance, one Core Value might be Church as Family while another value is Numeric Growth. How can a church family grow bigger without compromising its values of family participation and accountability? A church family must grow in maturity but, if it is to endure, it must also grow numerically. But, are these two principles in conflict?
If they are both regarded as equally ‘core’ then the leaders need to find a way of expressing both without compromising either. Building a much bigger auditorium in order to allow for numeric growth could seriously compromise the ‘family’ value and ultimately destroy it. I believe that the resolution of this perceived problem is to consider how the church community can reproduce itself. It could plant another congregation; it could establish a network of independent but co-dependant churches in the area; it could meet regularly in small groups and occasionally in large congregations, and so on. Church leaders all over the world, and in every generation, have tried these, and more, with varying degrees of success or failure. Some others have settled for numeric growth limited to the natural attrition in their church family. But others have abandoned the family value and established mega churches with top-down organisational-type leadership and programmes.

The big issue for me is intentionality. As an individual, family, or organisation, we will behave and prioritise according to our core values. If we are not intentional about establishing and preserving these values then we, our families and our churches, will default to something that may no longer express who we believe we are. Identity yields values and values yield behaviours and priorities, but it also works in reverse I am afraid.
If you feel adrift in this life and find decision making painfully confusing then perhaps you need to re-examine your core values. When your children grow into their teenage years I strongly suggest that you as parents spend time and effort in inculcating core values into them, primarily through example and discussion. If there are new leaders in your church, and you are the leader-among-leaders, then I recommend that you ensure that all on the leadership team understand and buy into the core values of the church. If there appears to be tension between different values then I suggest that you schedule a workshop to carefully evaluate the core values and find ways of resolving the tension.

Jesus knew His identity and thus was committed to the core values that expressed this identity. The wonderful foot-washing scene recorded in John’s Gospel starts with the words; ‘Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him’ (John 13:3-5). Jesus knew that He was the Son of God, and so a core value of His was self-giving service. Just so with we who are His disciples, for Jesus concluded His demonstration of love in action with the words;

‘Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you’ (John 13:14-15).
Identity yielding core values, yielding behaviour and priorities.

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TruthTalks Sermons

TruthTalks (Sermon) The touch of the Masters Hand

This sermon is all about how we interpret things demonstrated with music, and it’s role in the bible and how the music in OUR lives sounds.

In this sermon Dr. Christopher Peppler reads from Psalm 139, using this as an example of showing us the difference between how when we internalise this, or any other verse and how we can interpret verses in either a major or minor key. He also demonstrates, using his “beater to better” guitar project, how something that other’s can’t see any value in, can be raised to be a thing of beauty and great music.

Some of us come into our lives:

  • with imperfections,
  • great but we get beaten up by life

But, for all of us…

…when Jesus breathes new life into us, we are in the hands of a Master Craftsman and He will transform us.
Listen to the sermon (under the images of the “beater to better” project). Incidentally, the guitar found a new owner who cherishes it, even knowing it’s former condition… like Jesus does with us.
TruthTalk Beater
The $50.00 “Beater” guitar as purchased
The better guitar
The “Better” version, after lots of loving attention

 

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TruthTalk for “Ai-sh, can it be true?” (AI)

TruthTalk on AI

 

Ai-sh, can it be true? Yes, yes it can! Maybe even in our lifetime!

Last week we posted a sobering article on Artificial Intelligence and how it could impact us on many different levels. If you missed that post don’t worry, you will get a summary of sorts at the beginning of this audio file, otherwise,  you can find it HERE or simply navigate to https://truthistheword.com/ai-sh-can-it-be-true/.  In this follow-up audio TruthTalk, Dr. Christopher Peppler talks about the post and goes over some of the details he didn’t include. After that, there is a question and answer session by his daughter (yours truly) where I try to ask the kind of questions I hope I’m not the only one asking. I try to catch him off-balance and often ask incredibly stupid questions (I realise in hindsight after he’s answered them), but it helps me understand some of these bigger concepts and I do hope it assists you too.

So, if you like your food for thought taken aurally (and not orally) then simply click on the link below to listen now. We love getting your comments, so if you do have one, please comment at the bottom of this post, email us HERE, or post on our Facebook page which is https://www.facebook.com/truthistheword/.

 

Here is the TruthTalk:

 

 

 

 

 

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TruthTalks Sermons

TruthTalk Sermon: In the World Trials and Sorrows. In Jesus: Peace

But why did this have to happen? Where was God?

Dr Christopher Peppler talks about the distressing events we face in everyday life and how to handle them. Chris looks at questions like “why do bad things happen to good people?” and “why didn’t God intervene?” Listen to this sermon preached at the Village Church on the 26th of June 2016 to hear answers to these, and other important questions that we may, on occasions, ask ourselves. Jesus answers these questions in John 13-16 and we are taken through those verses as well as how we are expected to cope with suffering and evil in this world and how to find peace in it all.

You can listen to this TruthTalk Sermon  here:

 

To listen to other sermons by Dr Christopher Peppler, go to https://truthistheword.com/my-sermons/

God Bless you!

 

 

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.