What are your services like?
- Our worship service is structured in the form of a conversation between God and the people: God greets us, we respond with praise.
- God’s Word shows us our sin, we confess that sin, and God assures us of his pardon.
- We praise him in song. This completes the worship portion of the service which will last for about 20 minutes. Our music is typically a blend of contemporary Christian music and traditional hymns.
- Following the praise and worship time, we come to God in congregational prayer… and this prayer time may take many forms.
- After which we open the Bible to hear God’s instruction for us that day… and the Pastor then will spend the next 20-30 minutes expounding on the text.
- Following the message, the Pastor will give God’s blessing to the people, and we will once again respond to God with a closing praise song.
- Typically our services are over in about 60 minutes.
What style of preaching does the Pastor use?
- If you were to try and define his preaching style, exegetical preaching would probably best describe it.
- Exegetical preaching takes the passage and pulls from the passage the meaning of that text to the original hearers… and then makes the application of that truth to our lives today.
- Most of the time the Pastor opens God’s Word and preaches from the text often using other Biblical texts to further explain or enhance the message.
- Typically he will preach in series but the length of the series can vary from 3 or 4 weeks to much longer… for example when he preached through the book of Romans he was in that series for 26 weeks.
- Usually he will alternate between preaching on a book of the Bible to preaching more topically… but regardless his preaching will be exegetical.
- For this reason we encourage everyone to bring their own Bibles.
Is Sunday school available for my children?
- The Reformed churches have historically been very strong proponents of children’s education.
- We too take that responsibility very seriously.
- Sunday school is age dependent and the length of the class is modified also for each particular age.
- Sunday school happens during the church service so that those parents who prefer may have their children in Sunday school while they are in the service.
- However for those parents who prefer, children are always welcome in the church service regardless of age.
- We also have nursery for children up to 4 years old.
Does the church offer Catechism Classes and for what ages?
- Catechism is a lost discipline in too many churches today.
- Catechism does not replace Biblical studies but it is a critical supplement to one’s spiritual growth.
- In years past the catechism we used was the Heidelberg Catechism, one of the oldest and most recognized catechisms among Protestant churches and classes were taught by age or grade level.
What are your churches’ views regarding baptism?
- The question of when to baptize has split churches over the years and needlessly so in our opinion.
- When we apply the water should not be the issue… what God promises to our children and what we promise to God about the raising of our children should be what matters most.
- In our congregation we have people who believe in what is frequently referred to as “believer’s” baptism; that is they wait until the child is ready to make a decision for Christ on their own, and then the child is baptized. In this case those parents would have their children dedicated as infants.
- As a church however we typically baptize our children as infants. We do so for several reasons: historically the church has always baptized infants going all the way back to the New Testament time; we also believe that infant baptism symbolically replaces the Old Testament practice of circumcision in which God put his mark of promise upon a people, and as in Old Testament times it was the parents who presented their child for circumcision to God thereby promising to raise that child to know and love their God, the same with infant baptism.
- Finally in infant baptism we celebrate not what the child has promised to God, but what God has promised to the child of believing parents…we believe that as children of believing parents the covenant promises of God are available to them.
- However we do not believe that baptism saves anyone, for at some point in that child’s life they must make a decision to serve God… and at that time we require that they make a public profession of their faith before the congregation.
- Regardless of which baptism style you prefer, rest assured it will not be an issue for us… for us the issue is what has God promised to us and our children, and what do we then promise to God. That is what is important about baptism.
Why did the congregation adopt their new vision statement?
- Where we welcome you to discover the life-changing love of God…
- This statement came about after our vision team wrestled for a full year over the question; what is God’s vision for this church? Our goal was to seek GOD’S direction for how he wanted us to carry-out ministry. We believe this vision statement answers that question. We break the vision statement down into three parts:
- Where we welcome you… we believe that a Christian who does not witness and welcome others is a contradiction in terms. Given what God has done for us, how can we not share his love with others? And we do that by welcoming them to join us at NVCC where together we experience our God in a very personal and real way.
- To discover… spiritual discovery and growth define our walk as children of God. A believer who is not growing in the grace and knowledge of God is simply not living out his faith. For this reason in addition to corporate worship and personal devotions, we encourage everyone to take advantage of bible studies, catechism classes, grow groups, evangelism and discipleship classes that we offer because they help us grow in our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. In addition every summer we offer a course specifically developed to help you become more familiar with your Bible.
- The life-changing love of God… A Christian is not a perfect person, he is not a sinless person, but he is a transformed person. If you want to be different, changed even, then we invite you to experience what God can do for you. At NVCC we celebrate the life-changing love of God every day. For through the redemptive work of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, God changes us from those who were dead in sin, to those who are alive in Christ. Now that is something to celebrate!
What is your practice regarding Holy Communion/Lord’s Supper?
- Scripture gives very clear guidelines regarding who should and who should-not participate in the Lord’s Supper.
- We at NVCC follow scripture’s guidelines.
- Specifically there are three questions we each must answer before God: am I truly sorry for my sins, do I believe in Jesus Christ as my ONLY savior, and do I desire to live for him.
- If I can answer in the affirmative all three questions, then we believe you should join us in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
- However if all three of those criteria are not true of you, then we ask you to refrain from taking the Lord’s Supper. T
- Typically we observe the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of every month and at the Good Friday service.
What does it mean that NVCC is a “Reformed” Church?
- Reformed is a much mis-understood term, especially it seems among Protestant churches today.
- But simply put, there are three aspects to our being Reformed:
- First, we are part of the Christian Reformed Denomination. This is one of the oldest denominations in the United States and includes just over one thousand congregations across the United States and Canada with about 300,000 members.
- Second, we trace our history back to the Reformation of the 16th century. The Reformation saw men like Martin Luther and John Calvin, and many others, who called the church back to the Bible as the only foundation for faith and life. Pilgrims came to America because they discovered God anew in the Reformation and desired to serve him as they saw fit. And in coming to American they brought with them the Geneva Bible which contained the commentary of John Calvin, one of Europe’s leading Reformers. Being Reformed means that we share in this rich heritage.
- Third, being Reformed means that the sovereignty of God and the grace of God are two biblical teachings that define our ministry:
- First, we believe that God is sovereign over all things and all people. We serve a God who was never caught off guard, and who is always in control.
- Second, we celebrate the grace of God in our lives. The goodness of God is poured out on his people not because they deserve it, but because God in his grace chose to bless them.
- Being Reformed then means that we rest assured that God is in control of all things, and that he loved us so much that he pours out his grace on us every day.
- Finally, being Reformed means that we place the highest priority on the study of God’s Word both privately and corporately. It is only through the study of the Word of God that the Holy Spirit can transform the heart of sinful man and guide us to grow to be more and more like our Savior Jesus Christ. For that reason we offer several Bible study groups throughout the week, and we come together each Sunday to study the Word of God.
Why does God allow suffering?
- We live in a world of suffering. Jesus told his disciples in John 16 that in this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.
- But suffering is difficult for us to understand and accept.
- God allows suffering in this world but we must always remember that it is not what he wanted for us in the beginning.
- God created man free from suffering and suffering came as the result of our fall into sin.
- Suffering is man-inflicted in that sense, not God inflicted.
- What is important however when we suffer, is that God has promised us two things:
- First, his power will overcome our suffering. The day will come when we suffer no more so all suffering is temporary.
- Second, in Romans 8 God promises to use our suffering for our ultimate blessing. There is no such thing as wasted suffering for the people of God.
- God will work in and through our suffering for his glory and our blessing. He promises it.
Is the Resurrection a believable historical event?
- It better be because Christianity stands or falls on the historical fact of the resurrection. So it is a very important question. Here are five reasons that together prove the resurrection:
- The early church from the very beginning believed in the resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15 we find one of the earliest of all Christian creeds, written only 7-10 years after the resurrection, and in that creed we see that clearly the church at that time was convinced of the truth of the resurrection…they believed it because they knew it to be true.
- The location of the tomb of Jesus was well known. In fact the Jewish Sanhedrin posted guards in front of the tomb the scriptures tell us. So if any one, especially the Jewish Sanhedrin, wanted to disprove the resurrection story all they had to do was to roll away the stone.
- The third reason to believe in the resurrection is because of the story-line of the resurrection. All four gospels make the point that it was a group of women who first discovered the empty tomb. They would not have done so if they were simply trying to convince the people of that day that Jesus was alive. You see in Jesus’ day the testimony of a woman was deemed to be completely unreliable. In fact, women were not allowed to testify in court because they were believed to be so unreliable. The gospel writers wrote that the women discovered the empty tomb only because that was a historical fact.
- The fourth reason to believe in the resurrection is because even the enemies of Jesus did not dispute the fact of the resurrection. They could not deny the resurrection because they knew the fact of the empty tomb, so they simply created a story to try and explain it away.
- The fifth and perhaps best reason to believe that the resurrection is a historical fact is because of all the people that saw Jesus after his resurrection. In fact, if you dragged into court all the people who were eye witnesses to Jesus after the resurrection, and you gave each one of them 15 minutes to describe what they saw… you would have to set through 129 hours of testimony with every one of those people testifying to the exact same thing; namely that Jesus was crucified, died, was buried, and was raised to new life. The empty tomb and the resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact.
What is this Open Forum @ 11:25a Sunday all about?
- Our open forum is a special time for us at NVCC.
- About 20 minutes after the service those who desire can return to the sanctuary and for the next 40 minutes participate in an open discussion about the message that day.
- People get to ask questions about what they perhaps did not understand or maybe dig deeper into a particular point.
- In the open forum, the pastor is not the answer-man, but just one of the people in the discussion… everyone is free to share as they want.
- In the open forum, we welcome and even cherish different viewpoints; our only rule is that we agree to use the Bible only as our proof-source.
- Open Forum is a great tool to stimulate us all to study the Bible more.
- Join us; I think you will really enjoy it. In fact for many of us at NVCC it is the best part of the service.
Q: As a church you seem to emphasize theology; but doesn’t theology divide churches and denominations, not unify them?
A: The sad truth is that over the years theology has divided churches, but it shouldn’t as much as it does. We view all doctrines in one of three ways: they are either fundamental, supplemental or incidental doctrines.
The fundamental tenets of our faith are what Christ clearly taught and what the early church died for. They are summarized best in the Apostles Creed. These doctrines are what define us as Christians; take one of them away and we can’t really claim to be Christians. In these fundamental doctrines we adhere most fiercely and in them there is no compromise.
Supplemental doctrines were also taught by Christ but not with the same detail as the essential doctrines that he taught. Supplemental doctrines are important to the church, but in them we can have different interpretations and still be the body of Christ. Examples would be baptism or communion… we may disagree as to how and when we conduct these sacraments, but these disagreements do not change our identity as believers.
Incidental doctrines are minor doctrines and should never be a source of disputes among believers; but unfortunately it is in the incidental doctrines that most churches separate. The problem over the years is that too many people have taken incidental doctrines and given them authority that Scriptures themselves do not give them. Speaking in tongues is a good example. Clearly the Scriptures address the matter of speaking in tongues but some would argue that they are essential to being a Christian… a belief that cannot be supported in scripture. These kinds of doctrines should never be the source of disunity among believers because in them we are to exercise grace instead.
John 1:17: The law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Truth is found in the fundamental doctrines. However in all other doctrines the believer must respect the Christian liberty of others and offer grace in all matters non-essential.
Perhaps our position here is best summarized by a statement that came out of the 16th century Reformation: IN ESSENTIALS UNITY, IN NON-ESSENTIALS LIBERTY, IN ALL THINGS CHARITY.
Q: Is the Bible Believable?
A. Yes. " I choose to believe the Bible because it is a reliable collection of historical documents written down by eye-witnesses during the life-time of other eye-witnesses. They report to us supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies and claim that their writings are devine rather than human in origin." by Voddie Baucham.
The Bible was written by eyewitnesses. Many of the documents of the New Testament were written during the lifetime of eyewitnesses to the resurrection.
It is impossible to understand Voddie's approach to the Bible without first understanding the path he has walked. Raised in a non-Christian, single-parent home, Voddie did not hear the gospel until he was in college. His journey to faith was a very unusual and intellectual one. Consequently, he understands what it means to be a skeptic, and knows what it's like to try to figure out the Christian life without relying on the traditions of men.
Dr. Voddie Baucham is the Dean of the Seminary at African Christian University (ACU) in Lusaka, Zambia. Previously he served as the Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas and an adjunct professor at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Houston. He has authored numerous books including Family Shepherds and Joseph and the Gospel of Many Colors. He graduated from Houston Baptist University with a B.A. in Christianity and Sociology, a master's degree from Southwestern Seminary, and a Doctorate from Southeastern Seminary, plus he has done additional Post-graduate study at the University of Oxford, England. Voddie and his wife, Bridget, have nine children.
Q. Some laws in the Bible seem out of date/non-applicable for today. How do I know which laws in the Old and New Testaments to follow?
A. By understanding there are three different kinds of laws found in the first 5 books (Pentateuch) of the Bible… here they are.
Civil Law: God gave Israel the civil law to teach them how to live together as his people. The civil law included civil/governance/day to day regulations that taught Israel how to live as a people. Remember Israel had been slaves for 400 years and they always were told what to do and how to behave…so God gave Israel laws by which to live now that she was no longer in Egypt. These included food restriction laws as well… like don’t eat shellfish… and the like. The Civil Law was given specifically to Israel and for Israel… as such we are not obligated to follow it today… for example Israel did not have the cooking technology we have today which makes eating things like shellfish safe… so we are free to eat shellfish while Israel was not.
Moral Law: The moral law was given to Israel to govern her behavior. A good example of this would be the 10 Commandments, and in Leviticus 19 where we are told to love our neighbor as our self. We are obligated to the moral law still today and are required to obey it. Jesus himself said he came to fulfill the Law, not to do away with it… So yes we must obey the moral law.
Ceremonial law: These laws were given to Israel to show them three things: How to worship a holy God, how to be distinctive from other nations, and most importantly they always pointed to the saving work of Jesus Christ who was to come. The ceremonial law was really an object lesson for Israel…These laws covered the Religious Festivals like Passover, and also the sacrificial laws that governed the various sacrifices.
As New Testament believers we are prohibited from observing the Ceremonial laws. Think about it this way… if we were to do an animal sacrifice on Sunday, what would that say about the sufficiency of Christ’s death to take away our sins? In the same way if we were to observe and celebrate the Passover that too would say that we do not believe Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient to save us from our sins. That is why we are not to observe the ceremonial laws today.
In that case, should we even be reading them if we are forbidden from following them? Yes we should. The ceremonial laws more than anything else reveal to us the heart of God, and the plan of God, to save his people from their sins. When you understand how the sacrificial system was so ineffective in dealing with our sinfulness… it makes what Christ even more amazing and helps us understand his sacrifice more… and helps us to understand the depth of his love all the more. So yes these are good to read and study…understanding that Christ did away with the ceremonial law through his one death and resurrection.