Today was Justin Irving's ordination service at Immanuel Baptist Church in South Minneapolis. I have served this past year as Justin's teaching assistant at Bethel Theological Seminary in the Transformational Leadership department. Immanuel Baptist Church is located on the corner of 26th Street and 36th Ave in South Minneapolis.

The address is:

3620 East 26th Street Minneapolis, MN 55406 612-724-2004

I was asked by Justin to participate in this service and read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 to open the service. This is a beautiful passage, and contains one of my favorite segments of scripture in 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Dr. Mark McCloskey gave a charge to Justin from Ezra 7:10 and Romans 1:16 that was outstanding. His four main points were:

1) Set your heart to study God's word

2) Practice it – Practice what you study – do it – live it out (2 Tim 4:2)

3) Teach it – Defend it

4) Spread God's Word – Missional Evangelist (Acts 13)

Pastor Brent Nelson also gave a charge to Justin from 2 Timothy 4:1-5. Reprove, Rebuke, and Exhort. His four key points were:

1) Preach to yourself first.

2) Preach to your family second.

3) Preach to the church third.

4) Preach to the world fourth.

He included a good quote from Richard Baxter.

We arrived to the church later than I had hoped to this morning because the directions given by Google Maps are wrong unless you drive a flying car. There is a set of train tracks that run between 27th and 26th Streets that is not indicated on Google Maps. So I had to drive around the neighborhood looking for a way over or under the tracks. Of course I chose the wrong direction and went West first. After circling around a few blocks and seeing no way across we headed back East. When we Got to West Mississippi River Road we went North and were able to drive under the tracks. A bit more stress than I wanted before having to get up in front of an unfamiliar church and read God's Word. I also didn't want to add any stress to Justin's day by being late (we were still 10 minutes early, but that is when people start sweating if you are showing up or not).

It was clear early on that the influence of John Piper was deep and wide in this church. It oozed out of all who were there in their language, especially in prayer. After the service I discovered that the church is a daughter church of Bethlehem Baptist Church. Brent Nelson worked with Bethlehem before getting Immanuel off the ground. Many in the congregation shared the vision and joined in on starting this neighborhood church. Justin Irving has also served at Bethlehem Baptist in various capacities in the past. I dug around the Desiring God site and found a message from Dr. John Piper where he even mentions Pastor Brent Nelson and the starting of this church.

If you are in South Minneapolis, or anywhere near Minneapolis for that matter and are looking for a church home, this is an excellent choice. The theology is going to be the same as that of Bethlehem Baptist Church, but the church is much (MUCH!) smaller. They are doing great things and are reaching their neighborhood. I pray that God richly blesses this congregation and this neighborhood through its ministry.

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