To the People in the Pews: Love Works

LWBN

There are so many things to praise God for in looking back over yesterday at Boones Creek Bible Church!  One of which was the official beginning of the Love Works initiative!  Through loving God with all our heart and our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39), we want to reach the world around us for the cause of Christ.  With the Great Commission as our authority (Matthew 28:18-20) and Jesus Christ our example (Mark 10:45), we desire to accomplish the following goals:

  • Express the love of God through works of kindness and compassion (Matthew 9: 36-38; 25:40; James 1:27; Jude 22)
  • Share the Gospel of Christ with as many people as possible (Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8)
  • Impact our community as a body of Christ (Matthew 5:16)

In the days and months to come, we will be fulfilling these goals in feeding the poor, serving others in the public schools, public offices, restaurants, and college campuses, going door-to-door, serving through our Sunday School classes, basketball tournament, community clean-up,  etc.   The response of our people was so very encouraging today!! Thanks for all your suggestions as well!

A great illustration from Scripture as to how love works is found in the account of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).  We as a body of believers will do as Jesus said, “Go and do likewise” (10:37). Love works, and it all begins in earnest next Sunday in the community around our church!!

To the People in the Pews

What an awesome day the Lord gave us yesterday as we gathered to worship our great God!  There are many things to mention, but three things stand out in context.  Our 2015 theme at Boones Creek Bible Church is “Love Works.”  The whole goal is doing more than talking about reaching people for Christ.  We are being intentional about investing our lives in tangible ways to reach a lost world for Jesus Christ through every ministry, home, and person connected with BCBC. Through a conference I attended last summer in California and the subsequent study by all of our adult Sunday School classes of the book Out of Commission, the Lord has so challenged us to “hit the streets.”  Like a song I heard years ago that asks some penetrating questions,

“How can we reach a world we never touch?

How can we show them Christ if we never show them love?

Just to say we care will never be enough . . .

How can we reach a world we never touch?”

So, our goal yesterday was to begin laying the groundwork for where we are headed this year.  I preached from Philippians 2:1 and 1 John 3:16-18 used a quote from the book in both sermons found on page 215, “We are surrounded by needs.  We live in neighborhoods and communities desperate to see the love of God. And what is our response?”  Then I asked the congregation to personally answer the question, “What is my response?”

Here’s the three things that happened yesterday with all of this as a backdrop:

  1. When I gave the invitation at the end of the morning sermon, several came forward to pray for lost souls, to respond to the Holy Spirit’s leading in their lives, and for anyone who needed to receive Christ. Out steps this lady that I had met for the first time before the service began.  As she came forward, two of our ladies were walking with her.  Betty had stepped out at the invitation to make a public profession of her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  You see, during the Christmas break, these same two ladies had visited with her, gave her the plan of salvation, and she trusted Christ alone as her Savior and Lord!  What was the response of these two ladies?—Go and tell others about Jesus.  “How can we reach a world we never touch?”
  2. For years, I have prayed on and off that the Lord would raise up someone in our church who had a burden to use our church van to bring folks to hear about Christ. The Lord has heard my cry and my heart’s desire.  Words cannot express the joy in my heart to see that van leave the parking lot today and see young and old being brought to church.  By the way, one of those was Betty, mentioned above.  What was the response of this dear man who drove that van?—Go into the streets of our town and compel them to come.  “How can we reach a world we never touch?”
  3. At the conclusion of my message last night from 1 John, I put the quote and question on the power point one more time. The focus was on them thinking through what is their honest response.  After small groups met to pray for the lost and for boldness to reach people this week, I said, “When you witness for Christ this week, let me know about it that I may rejoice with you.  Send me an email, call me, or shoot me a text; just let me know!”  Around 7:45 p.m., I received a text from a church member that said, “Gave a tract to the self-serve cashier at the grocery store” and then a smiley face was added to her text!  Wow!  What was the response of this dear lady who handed out a gospel tract?—I must obey.  “How can we reach a world we never touch?”

I wonder, what will your response be this week, each day, to reach a world desperate to know the love of God?  May I offer a few suggestions?

  • Take a loaf of bread to your next door neighbor as an act of love and kindness.
  • Invite folks to your house for coffee and dessert.
  • Take a baby gift to the folks down the street celebrating the birth of their child.
  • Walk through the ICU waiting room, introduce yourself, and ask if you can pray with them as a gift of love and compassion.
  • Do some project for someone that lives near you or works with you as an act of genuine love.
  • Fix a meal and deliver it as a gift of love.

“How can we reach a world we never touch?”

Friday’s Findings

MTR11 Spain Deck View

Usually on Fridays, I share some links that I have found in the past days that I believe would be of some interest to you.  Today, I want to share some different findings. The Lord graciously and unexpectantly provided for Denise and me to travel to Spain on December 2nd to be the guest speakers at the Missionary Teen Retreat 11, Aierdi Farmhouse near Zegama.

While we were in the Basque country of Spain, we found . . .

  • Faithful servant missionaries who have given their lives to reach the Basque people for Christ. They labor for the Lord day and night at the 300 plus year old farmhouse, at Lighthouse Baptist Church, in Bible studies, so often entertaining folks in their homes, teaching English, leading intensive discipleship seminars, living in community among the Basque folk, lodging and providing for mission teams and retreats, creating ministry opportunities through the week, and all by the grace of God.  Not once did I hear them grumble or gripe . . .    (Philippians 1:3-5, 27; 2:13-14)
  • The next generation of missionary kids taking up the mantle from grandparents and parents to reach these dear Basque people, to carry on the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 2:1-2)
  • The Lord relocating one missionary family back to the States that has served in the Basque country for several years and providing another family to take their place before any of them knew this would take place. As we heard from Andy Bonikowsky, “God likes to surprise us” (Jeremiah 33:3, which you do not know).
  • Nearly 30 young people who want to be used for the Lord today and in the future. If their hearts were not already tender to the Lord, they all certainly became that way as the retreat ended.  They are normal believers looking for answers from the Lord through His Word for life and want to finish well in preparation for the Bema (2 Corinthians 5:9-11)
  • Once again that the Word works! (Hebrews 4:12)
  • Teens who love to sing! (Psalm 98:1; Colossians 3:16)
  • Many villages that need a gospel witness. (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; 16:6-10)
  • That preaching through a translator (“interrupter”) has its challenges!
  • Coffee to be super strong stuff!! (I really liked it.)
  • Few stop signs and many, many roundabouts.
  • Narrow roads and fast drivers.
  • Sheep everywhere, even being herded up the road you’re travelling in, so you just wait.
  • Beautiful waterfalls, steep mountains, narrow canyons, and the fingerprint of God everywhere!
  • Quaint little villages steeped in tradition.
  • Thousands of people who need the Lord!
  • God has warmed our hearts more and more for these people and this region of the country.

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Tidings of Great Joy To All People!

Irun Town Square (2)

Christmas is a glorious time of the year here in the States to hear the celebrated proclamation of Christ’s coming to earth to be born to die and to rise again (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Philippians 2:6-8).  How interesting and blessed to enter into a secular arena (store, restaurant) and hear the songs of Christ’s incarnation and redemption as well as in local churches throughout our land.  Even though, sadly, America becomes more and more pagan and agnostic, the message of great joy which shall be to all people (Luke 2:10) is given during this season.

While in Spain, I met Iñaki,  who doesn’t wait for just the yuletide season to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ.  Every first and third Saturday, he, along with others, sets up a booth (pictured above) in the town square of Irun, a city of the Bidasoaldea region in the province of Gipuzkoa in the Basque Community.  Without shame or fear, Iñaki hands out tracts and booklets as well as personally shares the liberating, reconciling truth of salvation for sinful men through Christ alone.  His enthusiasm and commitment to announce the Good News is “off the charts” and contagious (Mark 16:15; Romans 1:16). Obviously, I could not understand him, but communicated with him through a faithful translator. I say that to say this, that if I had never understood a word, I would have fully grasped his passion via his countenance, tears, gestures, and pointing to the picture on the wall.  To say Iñaki was animated about it would be an understatement.  The disappointment was all over him because the Saturday before, rain prohibited him from his passion, but the anticipation of the next Saturday had already eclipsed the regret knowing that it is all in God’s hands anyway.

Inaki Moreno

In the spirit of this season, let’s unwrap the gift that is in us, this treasure in earthen vessels (2 Corinthians 4:5-7), and let our light so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in Heaven (Matthew 5:16).  Perhaps the Lord has not led you to set up a booth in the town square, but the whole world is out there for you to proclaim the tidings of great joy!   Just as you sing without fear “Joy to the World” or “O, Come All Ye Faithful,” speak to others about this marvelous gift of grace, a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

Fighting for the Forgotten

Basque Shepherd

Upon receiving my latest edition of WORLD magazine, I read the following front-page headline:  DANIEL OF THE YEAR, Frank Wolf, “A career in Congress spent fighting for the forgotten.”  Virginian Congressman Wolf has given the past thirty years plus of his life to travelling to some of the most dangerous places in the world to do something about suffering in seemingly forgotten areas.  As the WORLD article reported, “As part of his work in the House of Representatives, he traveled to hot spots like Cold War-era Romania, oppressed Tibet, communist China, beleaguered Sudan, and war-ravaged Iraq, often focused on the plight of religious minorities persecuted by government officials and extremists.”  Congressman Wolf retires this month, but his work will continue.  When he visited Ethiopia in 1984, he said, “What I saw and experienced in Ethiopia . . . fully awakened me to the suffering of other people.  And as both a U.S. c congressman and a Christian, I knew I had to do something about it.”

December 2-11, my wife and I spent time with other “Daniel’s” like Congressman Frank Wolf.   These are missionaries located in the Basque region of Spain who have given their lives “fighting for the forgotten.” This northern region of Spain bordering the Bay of Biscayne and the Pyrenees Mountains is unique unto itself.  The Basque people are a very proud people holding onto their national traditions and guarded in their approach to other Spaniards and outsiders.

What causes me to consider them “forgotten” is the impact of cold, lifeless religion that has left them suffering in their agnostic, sinful condition in these small mountain villages or large cities.  Many, many Basque people have never heard the gospel, never read a Bible or heard the name “Jesus.”  This land is virgin territory for the Good News.

How my heart was moved by a lone shepherd leaning on his staff as he tended his sheep near the small village of Zegama. He stood all alone, seemingly forgotten, quiet and forlorn. I waved at him as we passed by on our way up the mountain to the Aierdi Farmhouse.  On the third pass, he finally acknowledged my wave.  Here is a man, most likely unsaved, a shepherd in need of hearing the gospel of the Good Shepherd (John 10:10-11).  My heart ached as I realized that I could not speak to him in his own language. Just as quickly, though, I rejoiced because of the dear missionaries who have given their lives to learn his language and “fight for the forgotten;” who live near him and have a burden for him as well.

Truth is, you do not need to travel 5,000 miles to Spain to “fight for the forgotten.”  They live next door to you, work alongside you, ride on the bus with you, attend your school, etc.  They are gripped in the cold clutches of their sin and have never heard the gospel. Many of their children have never heard John 3:16 or the simple children’s Christmas song, “Away in a Manger.”  God has not forgotten those around you in your community, and He has not forgotten these Basque people, and therefore, neither should we.  We must fight for the forgotten.  We must do something about it.  What sacrifices will you make this Christmas?  Where will you go to reach the “forgotten?”

Trick or Truth

The first time I can remember observing Halloween, I was five years old. How excited I was to wear my Yogi Bear costume, knock on our neighbor’s doors, receive candy, and then go eat candy! To me it was a simple evening of clean enjoyment. My parents made it that way. Instead of making an issue out of it, they just made sure it was an evening given to what was right.

Much has changed in 50 years. That’s why I am sharing two very well-written articles on the subject of Halloween. The balanced approach of John MacArthur’s writing is informative, practical, and spot on. David Mathis’ article adds to the first, but turns our thoughts in a direction that will make us think and hopefully understand, “The gospel changes everything!” Please be sure to read each article in its entirety.

Christians and Halloween – John MacArthur

Sent Into the Harvest – Halloween On Mission – David Mathis

I’m sure you will handle Halloween as you believe is right before the Lord. These two articles say what is in my heart, give the basic reasons for what we do at Boones Creek Bible Church, and why, if I am able (due to recent surgery) will be going door-to-door to GIVE out GOSPEL tracts and a GIFT to my neighbors. Oh, by the way, if you are wondering, I’ve grown out of my Yogi Bear costume. 🙂

 

Friday’s Findings

7 Things Your Church Needs From YouTim Challies writes one of those, “Man, I wish I had written this one!” blog posts. This is spot on.

Practical Evangelism HelpWhat if faithful evangelism didn’t involve anything extra but simply intentionally doing what you already do?

Making Time for Romance When Life Is Too BusyThis is one of my favorite marriage blogs. Here’s some practical tips that will help you add what is often missing in so many marriages today!

The Importance of Family Mealtime“Our family table can never be replaced by a restaurant table!” This was a good follow up comment to this blog post written by my precious wife who went to great lengths to provide wonderful food and great memories around the table! Thanks, Hon!

It’s All in the Presentation – One of my favorite moments from the Cosby Show.

 

Three-Hundred-Million Years From Now

Monday, I began reading a book entitled One Thing You Can’t Do in Heaven by Mark Cahill.  The introduction contains a compelling question:  “Three-hundred-million years from now, what will be the only thing that will matter?”  Before you read on, please consider this question and give an answer.  (I’m waiting to type any further while you formulate your answer . . . . . . .)
The author goes on to say, “Will it matter what kind of car you drove?  Will it matter who won the NCAA football and basketball titles this year?  Will it matter who you took to the homecoming dance?
Cahill gives his answer in the next paragraph.  “Three-hundred-million years from now, the only thing that will matter is who is in heaven and who is in hell. And if that is the only thing that will matter then, that should be one of the greatest concerns now.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:11, The Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. If is of the utmost importance for Jesus to reach the lost, shouldn’t it be a major priority for you?”
What was your answer?
The author goes on to say, “The real question then is:  What are you doing of significance today that will matter three-hundred-million years from now?”
As I was typing this, I received a phone call from a dear man that attended our church a long time ago. We have kept up with him here and there. His life had recently spiraled out of control due to alcohol and drugs. The call was this dear man sharing the good news that he had just trusted in Christ as his personal Lord and Savior!  Three-hundred-million years from now, this dear brother will be in Heaven as will the man who cared for his soul!

Romans 10:9-15  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Outreach Opportunity Month

As I watch the farmers around my house cut hay and prepare for winter, my thoughts have drifted to harvest time and colder temps.  These are great days to look on the fields (Luke 10:2) and pray for harvesters and a harvest.  But, we do not just pray, we get involved.  For the dear congregation of Boones Creek Bible Church, I offer on this the first day of October, some outreach ideas for you to exercise the heart and compassion of Christ and be a laborer in the harvest field of opportunity!  Start or continue to build relationships that point to Jesus Christ.

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:35-38)

  • Invite a group of folks to your backyard, build a fire, and make s’mores. Play a game.
  • Bring someone to the Community Caring Closet at church, October 18-29, that could use some clothes and some gospel care.
  • Prepare your car trunk with goodies for Trunk or Treat night, October 28, at church. Have a theme for your and bring some other kids.  After the service, all the children will walk through the parking lot receiving your goodies.  Great opportunity for you to connect with the kids and be a blessing to them!
  • Reverse Halloween: It’s the one night of the year when most folks are at home and eager to answer the door. Of course, residents will be surprised when they get treats instead of having to give them out. Go door-to-door to distribute bags of goodies containing candy, Christian DVDs or CDs, a gospel tract, a book, a card, etc.
  • Help a neighbor rake leaves and/or take in their summer furniture; just offer to help in some way.
  • Family Free Car Wash: Make up signs saying “FREE Car Wash” and “No Tricks, Just Treats”. People will stop and ask, “What’s the gimmick?” Tell them, “We’re Christians, and doing something for you, at no charge, is one way of letting you know that Jesus loves you and so do we. We want to treat you today by washing your car for you.” Most people will stand outside while their car is being washed. This is a good time for friendly talk, to invite them to church, and if possible to ask them about their relationship with the Lord Jesus. As they leave, give them a tract and information about our church.
  • Prepare a harvest basket of fruit, cookies, etc and deliver it to a policemen or fireman as way to say thanks. Be sure to include a gospel tract, a personal note of thanks with your address, and church information.
  • Lead a church service at the local nursing home by singing, reading Scripture and prayer.
  • Distribute donuts, hot chocolate, and a gospel tract at a local bus stop.
  • Bring in breakfast for all the teachers at a local school near you.
  • Go door-to-door in your neighborhood and ask how you can pray for them. Write it down and go back in a week or two to find out how God answered.  If possible, have prayer with them at the door.
  • Offer an evening or Saturday to help a single parent. That may include babysitting, fixing things, helping maintain a car, help cleaning the house, etc. Ask questions and be a good listener. Perhaps offer to pray.

Opportunities are everywhere because people are everywhere!  See the harvest?

Friday’s Findings

As we close out this week, I’m sharing some links/blogs that have impacted me this week.  I believe they will be of encouragement to you.

 

Christ’s Body: The Mission of the Church —Watch as Jason Ormiston delivers a message that all believers need to hear.  (Bob Jones University Chapel, September 24, 2014)

  • You would also be greatly edified by listening to Dr. Steve Pettit’s messages on Walking in the Spirit.

How I Learned to Win Souls — You will find this practical post by a dear man of God, Dr. Don Sisk, to be a rich blessing in obedience to the Great Commission.  One other feather in his cap is the fact that he is a UK Wildcat fan! 😉

Parenting – Have We Lost Our Way?— How grateful that we have the blessed opportunity to support this family on the mission field.  Here are some very timely questions that need to be answered in regards to modern-day parenting.  If you are a parent, please read and answer with genuine honesty and transparency.  Here is hope for you.

Are You Leeching the Local Church? — Enough said.

Eliminating and Concentrating — Help for busy ladies!