“Enjoying the Pleasures; Avoiding the Potholes”
“Enjoying the Pleasures; Avoiding the Potholes”
One the blessings of our journey to Africa was the opportunity to keep up my journal entries. These writings are very dear to me. They recount my walk with Christ, my relationship with Denise, the grace blessings of every life as well as many, many other things that my mind would not recall.
Here’s a partial entry from Sunday, July 9
What a glorious day!! Sunday worship at Charity Baptist Church was a huge blessing.
From a pastor’s heart,
This week, I have been writing primarily to the congregation of Boones Creek Bible Church. One of the most blessed aspects of this ministry is joining God in His work through missions! Every Sunday we are brought up to date about two of our supported missionaries through our Adopt-A-Missionary Ministry. Each missionary family is “adopted” by one of our church families. How stirring to hear what God is up around the world as these families give their reports via pictures, videos, praise notes, and prayer requests. Friend, the most exciting event on the planet happens every time a lost soul repents and receives Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. (If you have never been born again, please take time to watch this: Five Questions)
This Sunday is Grace Giving Missions Sunday. This is a special day as look to the Lord for His direction in how He will provide for His mission’s work through His people. BCBC Family, would you consider the questions below after reading the following passages: Matthew 6:25-33; 28:18-20; Mark 12:41-44; Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 8 & 9 and Philippians 4:16-19.
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:7-8)
“God directs his people not simply to worship but to sing his praises before the nations. We are called not simply to communicate the gospel to nonbelievers; we must also intentionally celebrate the gospel before them.” (Tim Keller)
One of the many ways we can “celebrate the gospel” before nonbelievers is for them hear how God meets our needs for His work and His glory! How sad that the unbelieving world sees us storing up treasures here, even going into debt for temporal things that have no eternal value, and they never heard the stories of how our great God supplied our needs and especially provided so we could get in on the blessing of giving!! God wants you to celebrate not grumble or be a Mr. Scrooge.
The following passage describes one of the many celebration activities in a believer’s life:
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
One of the most joyful events that occurs in any church service is when the offering is received! Think about it. Look at the following based upon the above passage:
Indeed, it is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35), even when you do not think you have to give. God is able! So, when it comes time to give, do not look at your wallet, look at your God Who is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work (2 Cor. 9:8).
Therefore, people of BCBC, preparing to give and then giving to missions in 2017 should really make you celebrate when you consider 2 Corinthians 9:15!!
I am looking for much celebration in the days to come! God is able!
Being Content with Saying No to Truly Good Opportunities –Here is an excellent read from Randy Alcorn that would help all of us who struggle with saying “no” to good things in our lives, especially those of us who are perpetual “doers.”
Four Stewardship Habits to Teach Your Children – Parents, please read and apply! In a “give me, give me, take, take, entitlement world,” your children need to know God’s plans and priorities.
A Word About Men & Marriage – “Gentlemen: You are not boys. Women are not objects. Christ is most assuredly King.”
One of the Reasons I Have Always Loved Coming Home for Over 33 Years – My wife’s blog post from yesterday.
The Wilds – One of the best ministries on the planet since 1969!!
It happens almost every Sunday night. After a very full day of ministry, at some point between leaving church or an after-church fellowship and getting into bed for a good night of rest, I find myself looking back over the day with a sense of amazement and awe. So very much happened!! I can still hear the voices of people sharing their burdens, singing their hearts out, asking life questions, telling me of answers to prayer, sharing a testimony; the chatter, the children, the laughter, the tears, the “Pastor, what about . . .?”, etc. Then I go back over Sunday School class, the AM Service and the PM Service as well as replay my preaching over and over wishing I had said that or left out that.
Somewhere in those thoughts comes to mind ALL the people involved in ministry throughout the day at BCBC that serve upfront and behind the scenes. They are those who set up the gym for SS and then put away the tables and chairs, those who come to early prayer meeting, sound room workers doing a multitude of things for sight and sound, greeters ready to welcome and be hospitable, one who gets an umbrella and walks people from their car to the carport in the pouring rain or parks the cars for some of our ladies, nursery workers dealing with precious and sometimes not so precious babies, janitors, deacons who are all over the place doing seven things at once, coffee makers providing that ever-needed java jolt, secretary work that didn’t end on Friday, teachers leading their classes, musicians playing and singing, people being intentional to reach other people with a hand-shake and a smile or the gospel, and on and on it goes throughout a typical Sunday. The purpose of this blog today is to say to all who serve at BCBC on Sundays as well as Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, THANK YOU!
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:3-6).
Yesterday I had the privilege of hearing about God’s provision for a missionary project near Monterrey, Mexico. For several years, a local camp has been rented by a missionary for various kinds of camping ministries. The camp, owned by the Presbyterian Church of America, was ready to sell their property. This dear missionary brother had heard the land was already sold, so he went to inquire concerning the facts. He quickly found out that the camp was still up for sale for $150,000. They said, “We want you to buy it.” The missionary drew up an offer for $120,000 with some time stipulations so he could pray the money down. The PCA accepted his proposal.
Shortly thereafter, the missionary visited a church in Louisiana that gave him $1,000. From there he headed to Idaho where he presented his camp need to a local congregation on a Sunday night. Afterwards, a gentlemen walked up to him and said, “I want to help with this camp purchase. I have to go home and dig up the money.” With that he turned around and walked away. His wife said, “You may think he was being funny, but he doesn’t trust the banks. He is going home to literally dig up the money.” That night the church gave this dear brother an offering of $1,000 for the purchase.
The following Wednesday, this missionary brother traveled further north to a very small town where his faith was further stretched. He admitted when he read the town’s welcome sign that announced a population of just over 600 that “I won’t be getting much here tonight for the camp.” While he was preaching that evening, a man walked into the back of the church, waved at the missionary and placed an envelope in an offering plate near the backdoor. With that, he departed. After the service, the missionary retrieved the envelope and opened it up to find $10,000 in large bills. The gift was from the man who had “dug it up” and travelled to the church that night to give it to the missionary. Later on that evening, another man came up to the missionary and said, “I own a million dollar bull. I tithe off that bull, and I have an offering above my tithe for you that will help you with the camp.” That bull produced $68,000 in a love gift for the missionary!! As of today, this dear servant of the Lord has seen the Lord provide $92,000 of the needed $120,000. As he said yesterday, “I am not begging. I’m just presenting the need and watching the Lord provide.”
Indeed, it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35)! That church in Louisiana, the two in Idaho, that man who dug up his offering, and the farmer with his bull (as well as others who have given) are blessed people today!! They are joyful people (2 Corinthians 9:7-8). They gave to the Lord, and His work by sufficient grace! Hoarders of what belongs to God never have giving joy. If you won’t give, God may use a bull to get it done!! Is there anything too hard for our God?