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Blog Archives: January 2015 — December 2015

The New Year Journey

December 30, 2015
Chris Castaldo
How shall we proceed into the New Year? Timothy Jones (1955 – ), author of A Place for God, provides a helpful insight. In the following excerpt he describes the radical commitment of early Celtic saints who embarked on a life of missionary service without worldly assurances or visible supports. Their faithful embrace of “peregrinatio”provides an inspiring example for us to follow: The Celtic saints of earlier centuries made much of the idea of peregrinatio, a difficult-to-translate word that suggests an open-ended journey. It was not ...

Lighting a Missional Candle

December 21, 2015
Chris Castaldo
Pastor Pierre-Charles Toureille (1900 – 1976) risked his life during World War II to keep Jews out of Nazi death camps. At the beginning of the war, before many people could fathom Hitler’s true intentions, he served under the Protestant Federation of France (FPF) as chaplain for refugees in southern France. His job was to make living conditions in the internment camps as comfortable as possible. When it became clear the Jews were not being merely relocated but killed, Toureille pushed his colleagues to adopt a more aggressive stance. They ...

Finding Salvation This Advent

December 15, 2015
Chris Castaldo
I was working in the mall during Christmas time at age seventeen. Part of my job involved obtaining various products in the warehouse for store clerks. The size of this room was astounding. Nearly a football field in length, not only was the room cavernous; it was filled wall-to-wall with boxes. On one occasion, I found myself at the rear of the warehouse opposite the door when someone turned off the lights. There I was, with 9000 boxes between me and the light switch. Did I mention that there were no windows in the warehouse? Indeed, I ...

Time to Reflect on Advent

December 09, 2015
Chris Castaldo
In American culture, the weeks of Advent are teeming with parties, shopping, family gatherings, and the like. Men and women often work overtime to earn a little extra money to afford gifts. And when we finally drop into a chair to enjoy a moment of relaxation, the television unleashes upon us an onslaught of holiday-themed advertisements. What is the message? For the most part, it is anything but the news of Advent. Therefore, it is important to carve out time to consider the significance of the coming of Christ. Following are a few ...

Open Position at New Covenant Church, Naperville

December 04, 2015
Chris Castaldo
Do you believe the gospel message has power to transform? If so, the following position may be for you. New Covenant Church, Naperville (corner of Washington and 75th St) is looking for an Office Administrator. NCC is a congregation dedicated to preaching Christ, extending love, and seeing lives deeply transformed. Having just celebrated our fifty-year anniversary, we are actively pursuing a dynamic vision for the glory of God. Qualifications for the Office Administrator position include a ministry-minded individual with previous ...

Special Event: Lessons and Carols

December 01, 2015
Chris Castaldo
Your are cordially invited to join us at New Covenant Church on Sunday, December 13 at 3:00 PM for our annual Lessons and Carols service under the direction of Greg Wheatley. This year we are delighted to have soprano, Robin Wiper, along with our adult and children’s choirs. The Festival of Lessons and Carols is a worship service celebrating the birth of Christ. The nine lessons, readings of Scripture, are interspersed with the singing of carols, hymns and choir music. Traditionally, the lessons span the fall of humanity, words from the ...

The Challenge Facing Traditional Marriage

November 12, 2015
Chris Castaldo
It is widely recognized that the recent judicial ruling on same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges poses a pressing challenge for traditional marriage. In particular, its invocation of the idioms of the civil rights movement have put Christians on their heels, leaving them flummoxed and effectively repressing intelligent discussion of the subject, at least in public. Why is the current state of the conversation so challenging for proponents of traditional marriage? Well, it is one thing for society to consider you intellectually dull or ...

Peter Martyr Vermigli on Reformation Sunday

November 04, 2015
Chris Castaldo
Many Christians of the sixteenth century desired Church renewal. Their return to sacred Scripture and writings of the early church led to what some have described as “another Pentecost” or “Light after darkness.” Nearly five centuries later, we call it the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther sounded the opening salvo of the Reformation. The nailing of his Ninety-Five Theses (1517) and his famous “Stand” at the Diet of Worms (1521) symbolize the daring spirit of the movement. What began as opposition to the sale of indulgences (a ...

The Future of Marriage

October 28, 2015
Chris Castaldo
Join us at New Covenant Church in Naperville on Sunday, November 15 from  3-5pm for this free lecture and discussion on marriage. It is widely recognized that culture has reduced marriage to a superficial form. Today the secondary aspects such as the financial benefits of marriage have become the pillars upon which the institution rests. Tragically, however, the current view of marriage has flattened its depth and texture, and has eviscerated its religious heart, leading us to ask, “What is the future of marriage?” In response to this ...

Seven Questions to Ask Ourselves on Reformation Sunday

October 21, 2015
Chris Castaldo
As we approach Reformation Sunday, here are some practical questions to ask ourselves and our loved ones. 1. Ad Fontes. Do we read the Bible as often as we read books about the Bible? 2. Sola Scriptura. Is Scripture the supreme authority to which we direct thoughtful attention each day? 3. Priesthood of Believers. Do our neighbors and friends see in us a commitment to gospel ministry worked out in a regular routine of service? 4. Sola Gratia. Do we recognize that our salvation was freely initiated by God, apart from anything we might ...

Our Polemical Posture

October 14, 2015
Chris Castaldo
Concerning our rhetorical engagement with the Roman Catholic Church, we who are heirs of the Protestant Reformation must recognize that we live in a different time period from Luther and Calvin. In the twenty-first century we don’t typically link Christian faith to armed combat (thankfully). However, it was far different in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when religious solidarity and national destiny went hand-in-hand. In such a society, the idea of religious pluralism was new and frightening. With what church does one identify? Even ...

Celebrating the Father of Grace

October 07, 2015
Chris Castaldo
In the opening of his classic book, The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer declared the memorable line: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” In other words, our thoughts about God inform everything level of our being–our hopes, dreams, fears, aspirations, what we despise and what we celebrate. “For as [a person] thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7, NASB). In this post, I would like to consider a pernicious misconception about God. It is the view that sees God as a perpetually ...

Why I Am Disappointed with Pope Francis

September 30, 2015
Chris Castaldo
Each morning last week, while Pope Francis was visiting the U.S., the Castaldo family prayed for him. Around the breakfast table our five little nippers folded their hands, while four-year-old Aliza asked God to “help Mr. Pope tell them about Jesus.” Why would an evangelical pastor and his family do this? Not because we recognize the pope as the Vicar of Christ or embrace his magisterial authority. But, as I’ve written elsewhere (and as we observed last week in Washington, New York, and Philadelphia), there is no single Christian voice that ...

Embracing and Exalting Life

September 23, 2015
Chris Castaldo
As our preaching series, Why Jesus?, reaches a conclusion, we have already considered our Lord as the "way" and "truth." On Sunday we will examine Jesus as the "life." It is the famous exchange with a Jewish leader, Nicodemus (John 3:1-15), that provides illumination to the question of where humanity realizes such life. In addition to revealing the place where it is encountered, our passage indicates indicates how Christ's life finds expression through his people. One illustration of how Christians can embody and proclaim divine life is ...

Seeing and Savoring God

September 17, 2015
Chris Castaldo
During our current preaching series at New Covenant Church, Why Jesus?, we are seeking to acquire a deeper understanding of the person and work of Christ. We are praying for this insight to drive us deeper in worship, deeper in prayer, deeper in our capacity to recognize the glory of God. It is the last of these I would like to highlight by suggesting ways we should not think about God. Toward this end, here are some popular misconceptions from J.B. Phillips’ classic book, Your God is too Small: 1. The Grand Old Man God is thought to be ...

The Original Jesus

September 10, 2015
Chris Castaldo
As we begin our three week series on Sunday, Why Jesus?, I am reflecting upon the myriad of ways humanity answers the question. Sometimes our view of Jesus emerges from ignorance. It may also grow out of fear or confusion. Increasingly, our culture answers the question with a bit of “Christophobia,” an embarrassment at our Christian past and desire to exclude Jesus from our future (as Joseph Weiler coined the term in his book A Christian Europe: An Exploratory Essay). And there are of course the many ways that we Christians also think ...

Repentance as a Precursor to Renewal

September 02, 2015
Chris Castaldo
Evangelist, church planter, and founder of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) had a passion to proclaim the gospel to the masses. Often preaching in the slums, Moody stressed faithfully the need for repentance and the hope of salvation in Christ Jesus. Ever looking forward to the Second Advent, his life’s desire was to see revival—revival that, he believed, had to begin in the Church of God. I firmly believe that the Church of God will have to confess her own sins, before there can be any great work of grace....

Liberating Prostitutes in Italy with the Gospel

August 26, 2015
Chris Castaldo
Vite Trasformate (transformed lives) is a gospel-centered ministry to reach those trapped in prostitution in Italy. Many thousands of women are on the sidewalks each night. Most of them are victims of human trafficking and exploitation, and they are all without hope. The primary objective of Vite Trasformate, which operates under the leadership and partnership of local churches, is to see lives transformed by Jesus Christ to the glory of God. During a visit to Italy, I had the privilege of filming the following interview with my friend, ...

The Ongoing Pursuit

August 19, 2015
Chris Castaldo
Despite our weakness and sin, we have the audacity to approach a God who abides in unapproachable light. Audacity, that is, apart from redemptive grace which lifts us from the miry clay to make us his children. The road to deliverance and the pathway to holiness begin here. Our pursuit of God, however, is not limited to the initial steps of faith—what we commonly call “conversion.” It includes ongoing encounters with the living God. Fresh, disturbing, inspiring, inconvenient—these are some words that may describe such moments. Here is how ...

We Are as We Love

August 05, 2015
Chris Castaldo
Richard Sibbes (1577 – 1635) was an influential English Puritan leader during the early years of the seventeenth century. Above all, he was known as a great preacher. The following excerpt comes from his exposition of Philippians 3:18. Sibbes encourages his hearers to realize that affections, or passions, are necessary for God’s children. He goes on to expound one particular affection, compassion, which is an outgrowth of a redeemed life. Affections therefore are lawful, yea, necessary in God’s children. All actions in God’s worship are ...

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