BCBC . . . Gone!

In October 2018, the pastor of one of China’s best-known underground churches asked this of his congregation: had they successfully spread the gospel throughout their city? “If tomorrow morning [our church] suddenly disappeared from the city . . . , if each of us vanished into thin air, would this city be any different? Would anyone miss us?” Leaning over his pulpit and pausing to let the question weigh on his audience. he said, “I don’t know.” (The Guardian, January 13, 2019)

The persecution in China continues and the faith of our brothers and sisters in Christ is being tested. So much so, that the aforementioned pastor is now in detention with his wife.

My heart in writing this post is not to just simply move on in reference to these believer’s plight, but I too was challenged by this pastor’s question. If tomorrow morning Boones Creek Bible Church no longer existed, its doors were closed by the authorities, would the Tri-Cities be any different? Have we spread the gospel around our four county area?

Only God knows the full influence of Christ we have made upon our area in sixty plus years. Nevertheless, what affect am I, are we, having on our neighborhoods for the cause of Christ? At our work? In our schools? How are we using our homes for discipleship? Are we living out the gospel as well as sharing the gospel? Are we making a difference for eternity?

For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. 3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 ESV)

Would we be missed?

Incredible Grace

2019 VBS

As the last of the children got off the van and headed to their apartment homes, I got back into our church van with tears in my eyes.  Vacation Bible School is over for 2019.

God, in His incredible grace, gave us an awesome week! Grace enabled a young boy to be born again.  Grace gave tired, faithful workers the ability to love, serve, and be energized every night.  Grace overcame the flesh and led our workers to be unified around the gospel.  Grace overwhelmed us with answers to prayer.  Grace provided wisdom for the workers to overcome obstacles.  Grace produced compassion for all kids of every race. God’s incredible grace was on display every night!

My tears, though, were mostly for these kids who rode the van.  Their world is one of drugs, sin, selfishness, abuse, alcohol, and no hope. They will not be under the sound of biblical teaching every night next week.  They will be allowed to roam in the night.  They will have to fight to survive.

We will seek to follow up with these kids in the days to come.  We will pray for a miracle of God’s grace to break the chains of sin in the hearts of their parents and in that apartment complex.  We will trust in God’s incredible grace to do the miraculous for His glory!

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

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 9:8).

Praying with tears that soon they will be tears of rejoicing because of God’s incredible grace!

Helping Children Understand Easter

 

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Golgatha

This is an awesome time of the year!  The apex of history is the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ and His bodily resurrection from the tomb (Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Matthew 26:57-28:10; 1 Corinthians 15).  This event sets Jesus Christ and Christianity apart from ALL other religions around the world.

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Outside the Empty Tomb, January 19, 2017

How important that our children understand the truth about Christ and Easter.  There is no problem with enjoying eggs, candy, bunnies, and baskets, but our younger generation must know the truth, and Christ, Who is Truth.

My wife’s blog will help you accomplish this.  Be sure to take take to read and watch, Helping Children Understand Easter

The Gospel Family

 

AFrica 7

Different languages and accents.  Various colors of skin.  Diverse worship styles. Different college backgrounds.  Varied cultural differences.

Africa 4

That’s what I saw in South Africa and Malawi among the natives, the missionaries, the transplants and the travelers.

Africa 5

Whether it was on a plane, in a mission compound, in a Sunday morning service, at a café for breakfast, in the middle of a bunch of teens, or gathered at a camp, I saw something that touched my heart in some very special ways.  It was a foretaste of Revelation 5:8-9 which reads,

Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll,

And to open its seals;

For You were slain,

And have redeemed us to God by Your blood

Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

For sixteen days I had the blessed privilege to experience the multi-faceted family of God all radically changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ; people from varying tribes and tongues and people and nations.

Africa 6  Africa 3

The family of God needs no introductions; our spirit bears witness with each other (Romans 8:16).

The family of God doesn’t see race but grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The family of God loves one another (John 13:35).

The family of God honors one another (Romans 12:10).

The family of God rejoices and weeps together (Romans 12:15).

The family of God serves one another in love (Galatians 5:13).

The family of God encourages each other (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Why? Because of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!! (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Peter 3:9).  What an awesome family around the world from every tribe, tongue, people and nation that will one day gather around the Throne in Heaven!!

From a Pastor’s Heart,

dale

Let Them Come to Me

kids salvation

This week my wife has written some extremely insightful, practical and helpful posts about the issue of children coming to Christ for salvation at an early age.  These writings would be extremely helpful for parents and anyone who works in children’s ministries.

Having received Christ as my personal Lord and Savior at the age of five, this is a subject very dear to my heart.

As a pastor, I have had the joy of seeing many children born again over the years.  How precious is a tender heart coming to Christ in simple faith, taking God at His Word.

Here are the links:

How to Tell If a Child Is Ready to Be Saved

What’s Wrong with Waiting Until a Child Is Older to be Saved

What if Your Child Doubts Their Salvation

Preparing a Child’s Heart to Know Christ

The Message of Good Friday

 

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Golgotha, the Place of the Skull
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (Romans 5:6-11)

It’s About the Cross

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Want to know more about Christ’s death for you?

To the People in the Pews

As a follow up to yesterday’s messages from Philippians 2:3-4, consider and answer the following:

Quick Review

SS: Unless we live in Christ-centered unity, our gospel testimony is of no effect.

  1. The gospel is effective when we are not selfish (2:3a)
  2. The gospel is effective when we are not conceited (2:3b)
  3. The gospel is effective when we are humble (2:3c)
  4. The gospel is effective when we are focused on others (2:3d-4)

Questions for Application:

  1. List 25 ways you are selfish. How do these areas you listed hinder your gospel witness?  How do they hinder the gospel witness at BCBC?  At work?  At school?  In recreation?

 

  1. As you prepare for your day, what is uppermost in your mind as you choose your clothes, your activities, your goals, your plans—what people think of you or what they learn of Christ from you?

 

  1. How have your pursued Christ this morning? What did He say to you through His Word?  Remember, we do not pursue humility.  We pursue Christ is the definition of humility in bodily form and character.  As we pursue knowing Him, meditating on Him, and learning His Word, humility becomes a part of our life.

 

  1. What individuals will be the focus for prayer and witness today? Will you be ready for a complete stranger that God may send your way?  Remember the word, “look.”

 

  1. What did God say to you at the end of the sermon? What did you put into sentence form?  How will that truth be fleshed out in your life today?

 

Let’s keeping growing and changing!  Be intentional for the gospel today!  And remember, Love Works!!

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?”

Friday’s Findings

Once again, here are a few links that I believe will be worth looking into.  As we move to the end of this week, and begin the new week on Sunday, prepare your heart through meeting with God in prayer and Bible reading to worship Him in a powerful way on the Lord’s Day!!

Jesus GeniePaul Tripp asks, “When you receive blessing, how do you define blessing? Be honest – what do you want from God? Or maybe this is a more provocative way of saying it: what kind of Messiah do you want Jesus to be?”

My Prayer Journal – My wife has said on numerous occasions, “If the house were on fire, besides my Bible, this is the one item that I would not want to leave behind!”  Here’s a great post on a way to lift the level of your prayer life, your relationship with God!

Earth’s Largest Water Reservoir Found Hidden Under the US  and Water Deep in Earth’s MantleGood information in reference to the Flood (Genesis 7:11).

The Joy of Running a 5K – How much I have missed running due to surgery recovery.  I understand this post completely!  Wearing my running shoes in the house even if I can’t hit the country roads yet!

I Will RiseWhat joy to know that Christ came to be born, to die, and rise from the tomb that we might live!!!  Watch, listen and give thanks with a grateful heart to our Awesome God!!  The best, indeed, is yet to come!!

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. 🙂