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Touching Lives

What a joy this week the past two weeks to see the excitement on the faces of the Hispanic believers in Lancaster, SC, at Iglesia Bautista El Faro as they brough new co-workers who just arrived in Lancaster. These new co-workers are Ethiopian men who had been in Atlanta, GA, for one year, and their sponsoring organization helped them with the move to South Carolina. God in His providence allowed one of them to be assigned to a new believer who was thrilled at the opportunity to share her newfound faith, language barrier notwithstanding!

Services at “El Faro” have now become bi-lingual, and God is working in hearts and lives. The Hispanic believers are thrilled to see others hear the liberating message of the gospel, and the Ethiopian men are simply taking it all in, much like Nicodemus; “How can a man be born when he is old?”

The power of the gospel is best shared “heart to heart.” It has often been said that we cannot take the gospel to the wrong address, and that is certainly true. Interestingly enough, the first contacts at Iglesia Bautista El Faro were reached through a “cold call.” But let’s be careful not miss those opportunities to reach friends, family, co-workers and neighbors as well!

Generation to Generation

God’s Word has many references to the concept of passing our faith from generation to generation. What a blessing it is to see three and four generations of one family walking in the fear of the Lord. And, surely nothing validates the authenticity of our faith quite as well as seeing our children embrace the Word of God and its teaching. III John 4 says it best, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  It could also be said that there is no greater disappointment than to hear/see your children reject the truth.

Sadly, many churches and families have backed away from the clear teachings of God’s Word in an attempt to keep their children “in the church.” What our children need to see is parents and pastors who are committed to the truth and are passionate about passing it on. If God’s Word is preached, taught, and lived; if the truth is spoken in love, and if we will pay the price to have the presence and power of God in our lives, homes, and churches; we will see many of our young people choose to seek after God.

In a day of compromise; our children need to see Biblical convictions lived consistently from the heart. In a day when entertainment is substituted for worship; our children need to see the power and holiness of God. And in a day when for many families Christian devotion is a Sunday affair; our children need to see meditation on the things of God day and night. (Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1)

If our faith is successfully passed on to the next generation, it will not be by accident. It will because of an intentional, passionate desire inspired by our love for God, and it will be fueled, energized, and enabled by prayer and the Spirit of God. Parents; let’s pay the price and trust God to do a great work in the hearts and lives of our children!

Wanted: FATHERS!

God was so good to include both the good and the “not so good” words and actions of those men and women we commonly refer to as Bible characters. The truth is; some were real characters!

Look for example at Hezekiah.  Verse 5 of chapter 18 in the second book of Kings states: So that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. What a testimony! Yet, sadly we find that he didn’t end his reign as well as he could have or should have.

The tragedy of this king’s ending, and his apparent lack of judgment is most clearly seen in the statement recorded in verse 19 of chapter 20 (II Kings). Isaiah the prophet had pronounced the word of the Lord (judgment) against Hezekiah after the king had shown all of his house and treasures to the Babylonians. Part of the judgment was that the king’s sons would be taken away and made eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. After hearing this sentence of judgment, Hezekiah made this statement: Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?

How sad to see a man think only of his own generation, and his own time on this earth! But the awful truth is, today our society is filled with “fathers” who think only of themselves with little or NO regard for the children coming along behind them.

May God give us true men with a heart for Him who will strive to lead their families in the way of truth. Because it is God’s way and His truth that will bring blessing from generation to generation.

The Power of ONE

David wrote in Psam 27, “ONE thing have I desired of the LORD,” and Paul wrote in Philippians 3:13, “ONE thing I do.” What a blessing it is to be focused on one thing! Satan, the great deceiver, is masterful when it comes to distracting us from the most important thing in life. For the sinner, the temptation is to put off salvation until a more convenient season. For the saved, the problem is sacrificing the best on the altar of the good.

If we are spending more time serving Him than we are worshipping Him, we have fallen into the “Martha trap” of being consumed with “much serving” when ONE thing is needful; sitting at His feet. Our service would be so much more productive and meaningful if we would first sit at His feet and adore Him for Who He is.

It is interesting to see how harried we have become in our American culture. Think of all the inventions and gadgets that were supposed to give us more time! Our grandparents and great-grandparents never had all of these conveniences, yet they had time to sit on the porch and visit with friends! Most parents in this generation spend little to no quality time with our own children, not to mention friends or extended family. Quality, quiet time with the Lord? Who has time for that?

Jesus said in Matthew 5:30, “If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off.” In 2011, He is probably saying to His children, “If thy computer, Ipod, Ipad, cell phone, etc., offend thee: CUT IT OFF!” What our family, friends, and fellow church members need are prayer warriors who are in touch with God, not someone who is accessible 24/7. May God help us focus on ONE thing.

The Influence of a Godly Mother

A couple of months ago I was at a Christian radio station’s Share-a-Thon (WGCR – Pisgah Forest, NC) and heard Bro. Lee Davis, pastor of Georgetown Baptist in Leicester, NC, preach. He made reference to a bumper sticker you may have seen. It says, “Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History.” Brother Davis used this quote early in the message, and then followed quickly with one of his own, “No, but their children often do!”

While meditating on the influence of a Godly mother and just how much the Bible has to say about women/mothers, my mind went to a short devotion, borrowed from Our Daily Bread, that was used in the May newsletter at our church. While the church family has seen it, my prayer is that it will be an encouragement to visitors to our website as well. May God richly bless those mothers who are prayerfully striving to influence their children for God and His glory!

Many Godly men of the past have been richly blessed by what they learned from their mothers. Consider the Biblical characters Moses, Samuel, and Timothy. The maternal influence experienced by these spiritual leaders bore rich fruit in their lives. Think too of men like Augustine, John Newton, and the zealous Wesley brothers. Their names would probably never have lighted the pages of history if it hadn’t been for the Godly women who raised them in homes where the law of love and a Christian witness were their daily guide and inspiration.

Susannah Wesley, for example, spent one hour each day praying for her 17 children. In addition, she took each child aside for a full hour every week to discuss spiritual matters. No wonder two of her sons, Charles and John, were used of God to bring blessing to all of England, and much of America. Here are a few rules she followed in training her children:

(1) Subdue self-will in a child and thus work together with God to save his soul (emphasis added). (2) Teach him to pray as soon as he can speak. (3) Give him nothing he cries for and only what is good for him if he asks for it politely. (4) To prevent lying, punish no fault which is freely confessed, but never allow a rebellious, sinful act to go unnoticed. (5) Commend and reward good behavior. (6) Strictly observe all promises you have made to your child.

Let us honor our Godly mothers today, not only with words of praise, but with lives that reflect the impact of their holy influence!

The Law of Kindness

Proverbs 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

Of all the wonderful attributes ascribed to the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31, none are as powerful as this one described in verse twenty-six. Compare it to I Corinthians chapter 13 where Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declares that all of our good works and sacrificial living are to no avail if we, “have not charity.”

It would be impossible to overestimate the power of a mother’s words. How many children have conquered obstacles in their lives because of mom’s encouragement? How many husbands have said, “I’ll give it one more try!” just because a wife believed in him and told him, “I know you can do it!”? How many of her friends have mustered the strength to go another day simply because of the kindness of a friend?

In a society that increasingly prides itself on crudeness and crassness, may God give us more virtuous women who will demonstrate, “The Law of Kindness” in their speech.

 

Disaster Relief

Just a reminder to the church family that we will collect our “Disaster Relief Boxes” on Sunday, May 8. As you collect your items, please pray that God will use the gift to touch the hearts of those who receive them. It is a blessing to be able to reach out to those who have suffered such catastrophic losses. Our main concern, however, is for their souls. So let’s pray that the gifts will soften their hearts, and that the tract and Bible in each box will point them to the Saviour!

UPDATE

On Friday and Saturday, May 27-28, a team of twelve folks from our church family returned to the GA/TN/AL area affected by the devastating tornadoes during the month of April. They were able to help a missionary family as well as many others. Tired and sore, they returned late Saturday evening with full hearts! Their hearts were full of praise to God for: the opportunity to go and serve, the sweet testimony and spirits of many who had lost everything, and the wonderful fellowship they enjoyed laboring together!

Continue to pray for those who have suffered such great loss. God is able to bring beauty from the ashes.

 

From One Beggar to Another!

Praise the Lord for the good turnout this afternoon as the Progress Baptist family reached out into the community with the “Good News” that Jesus saves! Because of the power of the printed page, hundreds of homes received a clear presentation of the gospel along with an invitation to visit with us at Progress Baptist. In addition, God gave ample opportunity for great conversations with others.

Too often, we make sharing our faith a difficult task. Certainly, Satan opposes us, and our flesh will get in the way, but just think about the privilege of telling someone that Jesus has the answer to the empty life they are living. And if they are without Christ, their life IS empty. If we’ll take enough time to listen (instead of doing all the talking!), most will even admit it.

Jesus REALLY is the “bread of life”, and we have the opportunity  of telling other starving beggars where and how we received the Bread that satisfies! What a shame it would be to hoard the tremendous blessings God has poured out on us, His children! Let’s keep telling other beggars where they can find some bread. There is more where that came from!

The Power of the Gospel!

Isaiah 55:11 “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

What an amazing privilege to see the Word of God and the gospel story touch the heart of an eleven-year-old boy tonight at the Hispanic ministry in Walland, TN. For the first seven weeks of Friday night services, we would have anywhere from eight to thirteen children and young people from a local trailer park, along with a family from an apartment complex 20 minutes away. This week due to family events, this young fellow, Saul, came by himself on the bus that went through his trailer park. When the van came from the apartments, the service started with some good songs about Calvary and the cross.

Tonight’s message was from I Corinthians 15 on the “point, person, and power” of the gospel. God’s presence and the convicting power of the Holy Ghost were evident! The two adults who have been so faithful to attend were visibly moved, and it seemed that one may come forward to receive Christ. Neither one moved, but after the service, Saul remained seated. When approached, he said he was “replaying the message in his mind!” After just a few minutes of counsel from the Word of God, this young boy stated that God was dealing with his heart and he wanted to know exactly what it meant to be saved. Then after a careful presentation of God’s plan of redemption, Saul bowed his head, confessed his need of Saviour, and trusted Jesus Christ to cleanse him and save his soul!

It is a joy to co-labor with the dear folks at Ridgeview Baptist, and I want to encourage our folks at Progress to continue to pray for this ministry. Also, please continue to pray for God to prepare hearts in our own county to receive the gospel as we prepare to launch a Hispanic outreach and begin services on Saturday, May 7.

Praise God for the Power of the Gospel!

21 Days of Prayer

On Sunday, April 10, the Progress Baptist Church family began twenty-one days of special prayer in preparation for our April evangelistic outreach. On Saturday, April 30, we will target the area in and around our church, primarily focusing on our specific zip code. While it is impossible to take the gospel to the wrong address, it is vital that we go in the power of the Holy Ghost.

Jude verse 20 commands us to pray, “in the Holy Ghost” before we begin “making a difference” or “pulling them out of the fire.” If the church family will saturate our area with prayer, we can see God go before us and prepare hearts to receive the gospel. What a blessing to see the 25-year-old young man walk the aisle and trust Christ at our Wednesday night service! That should be an appetizer, encouraging us to pray for more sinners to be saved! Let’s ask God to allow us to see more souls added daily to His church.

Surely God sent us a tremendous message last Tuesday night when Brother Wells preached on enlarging our coast! Let’s trust God to do that for Progress Baptist Church this spring!

A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. (Washington)