Be sure no time is so well spent as that which a man spends on his knees. (J.C. Ryle)
When reading the book of Acts, one of the first things you notice is the priority of prayer! Is it any wonder God did such great and mighty things for His church during this time period! They totally relied on HIm, and when He worked, the gave Him all the glory!
Starting Thursday, March 8 through Sunday April 1, our church family is putting special emphasis on prayer. We are asking God to manifest His presence during our Jubilee services, April 1-3, and to let His Word go forth in power during these days. The old song says, “All us vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down!” We are acknowledging to our Father that, “Without (Him) we can do nothing,” and we are seeking His face.
In addition to those who have signed up to spend extra time in prayer, let’s all set aside time to ask God to work in our midst. What a blessing it would be to see souls saved, families restored, and God’s people truly revived! God has left us here for a purpose, and we need His power if we are going to reach a lost world. Let’s cry out to God, asking that His Word and His presence be magnified during these days. More than a “stirring,” we need to be changed by a face-to-face encounter with a Holy God!
On February 1, Brother Jerry Sexton (Bearing Precious Seed) called to give our church an invitation to participate in National Bible Publishing Month during the month of February. This year, four specific doors had been opened to the folks at BPS; Southern Sudan, Zambia, Philippines, and Mexico. We were familiar with the ministry and definitely sensed that God was leading us to be a part of spreading His Word in this way.
The church family immediately began praying about a special offering that would be received on Sunday, February 26 for this cause. In addition, a coin offering that had been received for the past year was also designated for the Bible-publishing offering. During the last week of February the coin offering was totaled and came to right at $1,100! We were excited about this great start!
On Sunday morning, February 26, Brother Sexton preached a challenging message from Esther about the urgency of getting the message out to a lost world. God continued to work and move in the service, and soon it was offering time! God had touched hearts, and His people were obedient, and when the total was given, $4,250 had come in for this year’s Bible-publishing offering! In addition to the blessing of being able to give, God has has blessed our church with a spirit of sensitivity to the Word, and we are seeing Him honor simple obedience. When God’s people respond to the Light of His Word, He always responds by giving them MORE Light to walk in!
To God be the glory, great things He hath done! We are praying and expecting God to continue to work mightily at Progress Baptist!
One thing you can count on in today’s American culture; your marriage will be attacked by the winds, rain, and floods of our perverted, sin-sick society. Praise the Lord, we have the Word of God as our foundation. At Progress Baptist Church, the first weekend in March has been devoted to taking a Biblical look at marriage.
Evangelist Randy Sutherland and his family will be with us the entire weekend, and we are praying for God to give Brother Sutherland the very messages we need to help us build strong marriages and homes for His glory. Satan, the enemy of God and everything that is pure and holy is relentless in his attacks on the home, and the sad truth is; many young couples today have never seen a Bible-based marriage. God’s Word is still true, however, and the truths we find in its pages will work in every culture.
The weekend will begin with a relaxing time of fellowship, meal, and short message on Saturday evening. Then on Sunday, Brother Sutherland will be preaching in both the morning and evening services. Pray with us for this special weekend, and to those who are looking for a strong, Bible-believing church for your home and family, why not come and spend the weekend with us on March 3 and 4? We’d love to have you as our guests!
Peter witnessed the glory of Christ and heard the voice of God on the Mount of Transfiguration. Yet, inspired by the Holy Ghost, he wrote; We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.
While studying to preach during the month of December, the Lord directed my thoughts to all of the heavenly visions, dreams, and visits by angels that accompanied the birth of our Saviour. How special those times must have been in the lives of Mary, Joseph, Zacharia, and those we refer to as “the wise men”! Yet, as born-again believers, we hold in our hands something far greater! The written Word of God! Peter, who witnessed first-hand His glory, said that God’s Word was more sure than what he heard and saw on the holy mount. If we would be honest, we are so moved and guided by temporal things, and by our senses, that most of us would choose the opportunity of seeing/hearing such an event over reading about in God’s Word. Not Peter! Because we know that “all Scripture if given by inspiration of God,” we realize that this is not simply Peter’s opinion. His statement that the written word is more sure is also a part of God’s divine revelation to man about Himself. God used the inspiration of the Holy Ghost to tell us that HIs Word is more sure than what He allowed Peter to see and hear! The critics would call this “circular reasoning.” I call it powerful, life-changing truth from a sovereign God!
During 2012, the church family at Progress Baptist will enjoy a fresh focus on the Word of God as the Sure Foundation for everything we do. Every service, every special meeting, every activity, every outreach…everything will be based on God’s Word! If we can’t do it on the foundation of the Bible, then we don’t need to be wasting our time, money, and energy. As pastor, my prayer is that our commitment to God’s Word will be deeper and more meaningful as a result of looking at everything we do and say in the light of His revealed truth. I also believe the effect will carry over into our homes and individual lives. Too many professing believers check their Christianity at the door when leaving church on Sunday! What America, and the world, need today is to see real Christians in the workplace, marketplace, and at home who are sincerely attempting to follow God’s Word in every aspect of their lives.
May God’s grace and truth guide us as we build on our Sure Foundation!
What an awesome privilege it is to be a child of God and to serve Him! As I approach my 50th birthday this coming October, it is amazing to see the hand of God working and moving in my behalf. An amazing chapter of my life began one year ago, when God brought me to Progress Baptist Church! This month, our church family is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the founding of Progress Baptist. What an amazing story of the work of God! From his teenage years, Bro. Joe Cox had a desire in his heart to plant a church for the glory of God. God’s hand on this ministry for the past ten years has proven that this burden was from the Lord.
A few months after the Lord moved me here as pastor, Brother Joe and I enjoyed a good time of fellowship over the phone. As we shared with each other how God had worked in each of our lives during the previous two years (as well as before), it was increasingly obvious that our Great God had orchestrated the events long before anyone knew or understood what the Potter had in mind! These events were not always easily understood at the time, but the “fruit” has given witness to the fact that the “root” was holy as described in Romans 11:16. God does all things well. It is comforting to read in the Scriptures how God used frail human beings, with the same issues and sin nature we struggle with today, to accomplish His will. We do have a great treasure in earthen vessels! Praise God that the foundation “standeth sure!” and we can do what He has called us to do!
As we pause to look back over the past ten years since God allowed a faithful group of folks and their young pastor to plant this church in the will of God, let’s be careful to give HIM all of the glory. Jesus said, “Without me, ye can do nothing.” God raised up this ministry, and only He can sustain it! After we look back, let’s look forward with great anticipation. Let’s pray and ask Him to do great things! He is longing to do great and mighty things for and through His people in this sin-cursed world we live in. Let’s allow Him to use us to shine His light in this society that is stumbling in the darkness of sin, looking for answers and peace in their soul.
“To God be the glory, great things He hath done!” I’m so glad He’s not through!!
Recently I read an article about thankfulness. The author used the story of the ten lepers who were healed, but only one returned to give thanks. He pointed out that this one noticed what Jesus had done. It seems that too often we receive God’s blessings, and use them for their intended purpose or enjoyment, without really noticing just how good He’s been. As I reflect on the past year, and in particular the past couple of months, my prayer is that our church family will notice what God has done in our midst.
He has consistently met with us in a very real way in our services. Sweet testimonies, anointed singing, and great liberty to preach, teach, and receive the Word have been the “norm.” We cannot take that for granted. Let’s continue to be obedient to the Holy Spirit and watch what God will do at Progress Baptist.
The “Fall Revival” in October with Pastor Johnny Jones was life-changing. God used Brother Jones to feed our souls that week! Then the “Family Revival” held for three days in the middle of November were some tremendous days of help and encouragement from God’s Word. We’ve had a spiritual feast this fall! We’ve also enjoyed our share of good food and fellowship along the way!
He has honored the obedience of the church family in sowing the seed of the gospel; He always does! The organized events have been well-attended and supported by the church family. Others whose work and school schedules kept them from coming on appointed days have joined in by taking invitation cards and tracts to friends, family, and business acquaintances. While we haven’t seen very many of the folks we invited in our services, God has honored the faithfulness and obedience with a steady stream of visitors in nearly every service for several months. I hope we noticed!
Last, changed lives are all around us! There are countenances all around the church that have visibly changed as a result of the presence of God, the work of the Holy Spirit, and the transforming power of the Word of God. Folks that were heavy on my heart two to three months ago are singing, testifying, worshipping, responding to the Word, and growing in grace! What a blessing!! Several families have experienced deep trials in recent weeks and months. God’s faithfulness has brought them through, and each family has demonstrated a deep love for God and confidence in the knowledge that, “He does all things well.” Spiritual growth and maturity in our brothers and sisters in Christ is a blessing to all of us, becuase we are one body in Christ.
While we thank God for what He is doing for our church family, be careful to look at your individual life and your family and notice what He is doing there as well. Then, take the time to say, “Thank You!” The Samaritan who returned to give thanks received extra help from the Lord that the others never received! God noticed his thankfulness and he was rewarded. I’ve learned the best way to allow God to continue working in your life, is to thank Him for what He is already doing!
Most folks will tell you they came to church, heard the gospel, and were saved because someone – usually a friend or family member – cared enough to invite them. The local church, a body of baptized believers, lives with the continual opportunity, blessing, and command to, “go ye!” So, while we need no other incentive to obey this command, the truth remains that our unsaved friends and family may respond to a special invitation.
On Sunday, November 20, we have an opportunity to bring them in! As our hearts turn toward those who mean the most to us during the upcoming holiday season, let’s put forth a special effort to invite them to receive the greatest gift ever given; eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We’re calling November 20, “Friend and Family Day,” and we’re praying for God to allow us to share the love of Christ and the good news that Jesus saves with a great number of guests in our services that day! We will follow our regular service schedule: 10:00 A.M. – Sunday School, 11:00 A.M. Worship/Preaching Service, and 6:00 Evening Service.
Hosea wrote in chapter 4 and verse 6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,” and II Timothy 3:16 records, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable…” What a treasure we have in our Bible! Sadly, too few professing believers know very much about it.
At Progress Baptist Church, God has given me the privilege of pastoring a group of folks who love God’s Word, enjoy learning more about it, and are seriously interested in incorporating its truth into their lives and families. I am very thankful! Recently, we completed a series in Romans 12 on the spiritual gifts. God has now directed me to begin a Bible survey that will take us from Genesis to Revelation. In each message, my heart’s desire is to “feed the flock of God.” In addition to providing knowledge about each book, its author, its original recipients, and an overview of the content, my overriding desire will be for us to glean and profit from each book. Far more than a book of Jewish history (OT) and Church history (NT), these things were written for our admonition!
In the early 20s, our country built Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles, the first road in the U.S. Highway System to cross the country. God has given us a treasure in the sixty-six books of Scripture, and we are looking forward to this journey from beginning to end!
In October, Lord willing, Progress Baptist Church will enjoy four nights of special services with Bro. Johnny Jones doing the preaching. More than just a series of meetings, it is our prayer that God will move us deeper and higher in our walk with Him. This past Sunday night, the message God gave me for our people was from Ezra regarding the importance of the house of God. In the typical modern-day “church”, the sanctuary has been reduced to little more than a gymnasium or night-club. In the detention center ministry God has brought into my life, more than one inmate has described the atmosphere in area “churches” as reminding them of the clubs they were involved in prior to their incarceration. As God’s children, I believe our heart and attitude toward God’s house is a very clear reflection of our heart for God. I believe that is why the first message God placed on my heart in preparation for our revival services dealt with this very important topic.
Over the next few weeks, it is my desire to read, study, and pray for direction from the Lord in preparing our hearts for what He has in store for us. What a tragedy it would be for God’s man to come with a message and for us to be unprepared to receive it. In my reading, I recently came across an article that I will give excerpts from below. The title is, “Thoughts on Church Renewal” by Jay Wegter and Massimo Lorenzini, and it can be found in its complete form at: frontlinemin.org.
The Need for a Grace Awakening
Without a grace awakening, they (church members) will be unable to give back to God, their pastor, or one another. They are operating upon reflected glory, similar to those who gazed at Moses’ glowing face after he descended the holy mountain with the law of God (Ex 34:29-35). But they themselves are not in the habit of regularly beholding the glory of Christ in the gospel. They are not daily drawing their spiritual life directly from Christ in personal communion with Him.
In a grace awakening the congregation will begin to fix their sight on Christ and what He has done for them in redeeming them by grace. As they grow in their personal knowledge of the Son of God by the Spirit of God through the Word of God, they will be eager to follow Christ in discipleship and ministry. They will become team players alongside the pastor rather than being mere spectators sitting on the sidelines watching the ministry of the pastor. They will no longer be content to accept the ministry of their pastor as a substitute for their own ministry within and through the body.
The Lost Spiritual Discipline of Meditation
The majority of church members today have not learned to go to their Savior directly by meditation, worship, and adoration. Lest we forget, meditation is a godly discipline that is resisted by our natural faculties. Our cognitive faculties are dialed into sensual stimuli. As our media-saturated culture becomes more and more visually stimulated by man-made fantasies, it becomes increasingly difficult to tune our hearts into the invisible truths of the gospel. It is work to have the eyes of the heart opened fully wide to behold by faith unseen spiritual certainties. But the labor of meditation is necessary if our souls are to be ravished by the sight of our wealth in the Son of God.
The eyes of our hearts must be enlightened in order for us to be constrained and animated by God’s love in Christ. In considering the concentration and labor necessary to meditate on the Word of God, an illustration may be helpful. By way of example, consider the fact that 37 tons of metal, crew, fuel, and payload in the shape of a Tomcat fighter jet can only remain airborne at mach 2.0 if multiple physical laws are strictly obeyed. Friction, gravity, and heat all seek to bring the craft back to earth in a jumble of disorder. So also, nature fights against our attempts to meditate upon invisible spiritual realities. The Word, the Spirit, and the mind must all come together in order to gaze continually with the eyes of faith upon invisible spiritual realities. We must individually and collectively as the people of God discipline ourselves to meditate upon the Word of God as a crucial step toward church renewal.
It takes meditation in order for spiritual truth to come alive so as to renew the mind and transform the life. But teaching biblical meditation will of necessity require detailed, step by step instruction and examples. This is because our media culture is characterized by a mind numbing busy-ness, but paradoxically, also by a mental laziness. Most people slow down by entering a “veg-out” mode of passively watching television. The enemy, however, has virtually complete control over television programming which has become a conduit for postmodern thought (i.e., no absolute truth, moral relativism, erroneous view of tolerance, moral and intellectual autonomy, etc.) Viewers who attempt to “relax, refresh, and recharge” by hours of television are unwittingly imbibing postmodern values in the process of devoting themselves to mindless amusement.
Believers need to be “unplugged” from the deadening effects of postmodern culture. If Christians refuse to stir themselves so as to dedicate their minds to love God’s truth, they will of necessity find themselves conformed to the world (Rom 12:1-2). They will be unable to mourn and grieve over the sins of this generation. Their zeal for soul-winning will fade into apathy toward the lost as their attention turns to maintaining their personal comfort and entertainment. By contrast, biblical meditation requires mental discipline and concentration, and even self-confrontation. It’s impossible to be passive and meditate on Scripture at the same time.
It is my prayer that over the next several weeks, the the Holy Spirit will guide our church family into a sincere hunger and preparation for true spiritual renewal.
Thanks to the church family for ALL of your hard work! Thanks to all those who came. It was an HONOR to have you stop by and be with us. Some stayed all day, others for part, others could only come by for a little while, but we were glad to meet you.
Praying God will bless and honor the seed of the Gospel that was sown today. “Jesus is still the answer for a world that’s longing for peace!”
On Saturday, September 10, 2011, the church family at Progress Baptist will host a “Patriot Day Family Picnic” in honor of those who serve our community and country. We are inviting: law enforcement, firefighters, EMS, and veterans from the greater Hendersonville area. Please join us for this special event for the entire family and allow us to say “thank you” for all you do!
Place: Etowah Park (near the Etowah Elementary School on Etowah School Road)
Time: Activities begin at 10:00 A.M. Lunch will be served at 12:30 P.M., and a patriotic service, lasting approximately one hour, will begin at 1:30 P.M.
There will be games and activites especially for the children twelve and under. We will also have softball, horseshoes, volleyball, and flag football for the young people and adults. And there will also be time to just sit and relax!
There is absolutely no charge for anything! We simply want you to come, enjoy some time with your family, and let us serve you!
Please bring your lawn chairs!
NOTE: For planning purposes, please let us know if you plan on coming. You can write us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. RSVP is not required, however! If you find out at the last minute that you can come, we’d LOVE to have you!