The Life of a Disciple

What is a disciple?

A disciple is a Christian who is growing in conformity to Christ, is achieving fruit in evangelism, and is working in follow-up to conserve his fruit.

According to that definition, are you a disciple? Are you growing in conformity to Christ? Are you being fruitful – are you bringing others to Christ? Are you seeking, through discipleship, to make sure that your fruit remains? We must fully understand that being a disciple and discipleship is not merely going through a 12-lesson Bible study – it is a way of life. We can see that clearly in the passage Luke 14:26-27, 33

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

“And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:25-27, 33

So, what does the life of a disciple look like?

A Disciple is Fully Surrendered to God.

Full surrender to God is the beginning point of true discipleship.

  • It is motivated by God’s mercy to us: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God…”
  • It is complete: “…that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God…”
  • It is reasonable: “…which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

Jesus made full surrender a clear condition of discipleship. Jesus gave His life for us. Giving ours back to Him is the least we could do.

A Disciple Battles Sin and the Flesh

One of the most discouraging realizations for a new Christian is that they still sin. But, as long as we are on this earth, we will battle sin.

Read Romans 7:14-25.

Sin begins in the form of a temptation – a desire that draws us away from God.  (James 1:13-15There are three main sources of temptation that we must be aware of:

The world – the world’s systems, philosophies, and practices are directed against God.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” John 2:15-16

The flesh – Before you were saved, your mind, will, and emotions were trained to live apart from God. The old patterns of your mind, will, and emotions are at odds with the new patterns God wants to create in your life. Read Galatians 5:17-24.

The devil – Satan actively and persistently targets the child of God with temptation – so much so, that one of his names is even “the tempter.”

“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Matthew 4:3

God, though,  has given us the power – the ability – to overcome temptation.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

What is the “way of escape” that God has given us? Notice these ways God has given to us to overcome temptations.

Use the Word of God.

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11

Remember you don’t have to sin.

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” Titus 2:11-12

Avoid temptation when possible.

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:14

Avoid ungodly friends.

“…neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.” 1 Timothy 5:22

Ask for help.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16

Keep short accounts with God.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Yield to the Holy Spirit.

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16

A Disciple Lives a Sanctified Life

The word sanctified means “set apart.” Sanctification is a process that begins at salvation and one which will not be complete until we are in Heaven! God instructs us to keep our lives pure of sin and to live in a way that is set apart to God. As we live sanctified life, God can use us in His service.

“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

“Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16

To live the life of a disciple we must make a definite decision to fully surrender to God. Then, we must allow God to daily search our hearts and then, as He convicts us of sin, we must quickly confess and seek God’s forgiveness. Finally, each of us must examine our own lives. Can other people see that we are living a life that is distinct from the world? The life of a disciple, while it is not always easy, is a life that is truly blessed by God. Determine to live the life of a disciple!

Revelation Chapter 5 – The Title Deed to Earth

To help us fully appreciate and understand the scene that unfolds before us here in Revelation chapter 5, it is necessary for us to go back to the Old Testament – to the Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah.

One of Jeremiah’s main prophecies was that of the fall of Jerusalem. He also prophesied, though, of the eventual restoration of the nation of Israel in the Promised Land. For his prophesies, Jeremiah was imprisoned. During his imprisonment, God commands Jeremiah to do something that – to most – would have seemed ridiculous especially given the circumstances. Read Jeremiah 32:6-15.

God instructs Jeremiah to redeem property from his cousin – property that was currently under the control of Babylon. This was to serve as a sign – a picture – that, even though the nation of Israel was being destroyed and the Israelites taken into captivity, that one day, God would restore them in the Promised Land.

While the nation of Israel is, once again a nation, their full restoration has yet to be experienced. Their full restoration, as God spoke of to Jeremiah, will not take place until the time of the Tribulation which now brings us to Revelation chapter 5.

The Title Deed to Earth is Produced

The book which God holds in His hand (5:1) is the title deed to earth. This book is really a scroll that, as it was rolled up, was sealed at various intervals with a total of seven seals. The earth is permanently God’s possession by right of creation. Nothing can ever alter that fact. But, just as an Israelite could sell or lose his land for a time – as in the case of the Israelites when they were taken captive by the Babylonians – so apparently Adam lost his God-given dominion over the earth. Satan became the “god of this world.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) But this is only a temporary situation. As we see in Revelation chapter 5, The time has come for the Rightful Owner to take possession of that which is rightfully His!

The question is asked, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” (5:2) In other words, “Who has the legal authority to claim possession of the earth?

John wept when the rightful owner was not found.

The Rightful Owner is Found

Do you know which king of Judah had Jeremiah imprisoned? Read 2 Chronicles 36:11-21.

Zedekiah was the last king to sit upon the throne of David. There has not been a king to sit upon the throne and rule the nation of Israel since that time. The throne of David has been empty since that time. Now, here in Revelation chapter 5, Jesus Christ, “the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David,” has stepped up as the rightful owner and taken hold of the title deed to earth!

Proof that the Rightful Owner has been Found.

What gives Christ the right to take possession of the earth? Read Revelation 5:8-10. Christ was slain and has redeemed mankind by His blood.

Daniel saw this same event that we have recorded for us in Revelation chapter 5…

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

“And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14

Read Revelation 5:13-14. Jesus Christ is worthy to claim the title deed to earth and He is worthy of our worship now. With our whole lives we should worship him.

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

 

 

2018 SCBC Game Plan – Each One Reach One!

Our Game plan?

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20

This year we must… Bring Them In, Build Them Up, Send Them Out.

Bring Them In

This deals with our outreach. We must continue to keep the main thing the main thing and the main thing is soul-winning! Paul stated, in Philippians 1:27, “…for the faith of the Gospel…”

“And [Christ] said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

In the outworking of the Christian life, there is nothing more basic than the Gospel ministry. This was the whole reason Christ came!

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10

In Ephesians 2:10, Paul says…

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

That “good work” that Paul is referring to is the work of the Gospel ministry. Paul was in the Gospel ministry. He was simply following the example of Jesus Christ. Most of you already know the opportunities that SCBC takes  to get the Gospel out. However, there is something very specific that I, want to challenge each of us with. (Wait till the end!)

Build Them Up

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” Ephesians 4:12

Building people up is some of the most difficult, labor intensive, time consuming work you will ever be involved in. And that is exactly why more individuals are not actively involved in this aspect of ministry. (As kindly as I can say this, people are lazy!) However, building people up is the most rewarding. This encompasses just about every ministry that SCBC has because, while we are seeking to bring them in, we want to build up those who have been brought in!

With that thought in mind I want to challenge everyone to be an active part in a Connection Group and challenge others to be an active part in a Connection Group.

  • Mr. Ron Faulk – The Bereans (Adults 50 and over)
  • Pastor Campbell – HD: His Design (married couples)
  • Miss Meichel Adams – Ladies of Purpose
  • Mr. Mark Dixson – (College & Career Age)

While, for years, we have called the hour before the Sunday morning church service, “Sunday School,” that term merely implies, “I’m going to sit down for 45 minutes and listen to a Bible lesson prepared by someone else. Nothing will be required of me during that time other than simply sitting still and being quiet!” If that is all that “Sunday school” is should there be any wonder why more people don’t come?

The term, “Connection Groups,” conveys so much more. Connection Groups should be an opportunity to…

  • Reach people.
  • Teach people.
  • Minster to people.
  • Involve people.
  • Assimilate people.
  • Build relationships with people.

Allow me to put the importance of Connection Groups – Sunday school – into a different perspective: “Big church” is designed to build vertical relationships: man to God. Connection Groups are designed to build horizontal relationships: man to man. We need both.

Send Them Out

“…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13

“Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:38

This brings to completion the whole of the Great Commission as we see individuals who have been brought in – they’ve accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior; they’ve been built up; and now we see them going out and doing for someone else what has been done for them. As Matthew 9:38 states, we need to pray that God would burden others within our church to begin serving. Another way of saying this is that people need to get involved; they need to get involved in the ministry of the Gospel.

“The secret to success is the involvement of people.”

The success of South Charlotte Baptist Church hinges upon the involvement of its members. A church is a local group of baptized believers who have gathered together to fulfill the Great Commission. That definition demands involvement.

With all of that in mind I want to ask you…

  • Forget about paying off the Kirk Building debt.
  • Forget about building a new family life center.
  • Forget about purchasing a new bus.
  • Forget about planting another church.

I want each of us to narrow our focus. I want each of us to focus on this one thing this year. I want each of us to commit to bring one person to the Lord during 2018. The Great Commission begins with “bringing them in.” Let’s go “Back to Basics” and keep the main thing the main thing and the main thing is winning souls. We can’t build them up and we can’t send them out until we first of all have brought them in through the Gospel!

Press On

The goal for a runner is to win the race. However, practically speaking, most runners, especially in a marathon, simply have the goal of completing the race. The Jewish believers, to whom the book of Hebrews was written, needed encouragement to continue and finish their race.

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Hebrews 3:12

“…let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16

“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” Hebrews 5:12

There is always a danger of dropping out of the race. Paul, in fact, as he neared the end of his race, was concerned enough about Timothy that he encouraged him to continue.

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;” 2 Timothy 3:14

Are you about to drop out of the race? Have you become discouraged? Have you gotten knocked down so often this past year that you don’t think you have the strength to get back up again?

As we close out 2017 and get ready to step into 2018, let us each re-evaluate, reset, and then restart!

Re-evaluate

Whether we realize it or not, we are all constantly evaluating and re-evaluating just about every aspect of our lives. We must take the time to determine what is of value and importance in our lives. The reason that we must re-evaluate things in our lives is to remind ourselves of that which is most important and most valuable in our lives.

May I ask you,

  • “What is most important and most valuable to you?”
  • “In this past year what has been most important and most valuable to you?”
  • “In this coming year what should be most important and most valuable to you?”

Hebrews 12:1 reminds us of what, as a believer in Jesus Christ, should be important and valuable in our lives, “…let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8

The “race” is our Christian life and all that that includes. We are called to stay the course and remain faithful to the end. How important is your Christian life, your testimony, your walk with the Lord? How valuable is your Christian life, your testimony and your walk with the Lord?

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you re-evaluate your Christian life:

  • Where are you at – in your Christian life – today as compared to where you were on December 31, 2016?
  • Am I becoming more like Christ?
  • Are you growing, have you become stagnant, or have you begun to slip?
  • Is your Christian life as vibrant and exciting today as it was when you first accepted Christ?

Once you have re-evaluated your Christian life, it’s time for a reset…

Reset

Hebrews 12:1 tells us very clearly how to do a “reset.”

“…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us…”

Most of us, if we were honest, would have to say that, in our Christian life, we are “easily beset.” We are easily distracted from what is truly valuable and important. Not only are we easily distracted but we can also be easily frustrated to the point of pulling out of the race and giving up. We are told to lay aside those things which do “so easily beset us!”

We must lay aside sin. What sin or sins have you allowed to creep into your life this past year which has begun to distract you and frustrate you?

We must lay aside every weight. These are things – activities, relationships, objects, thoughts, etc. – which may not inherently be wicked or evil but which can be distracting to us as we seek to run the race.

However, I don’t want to focus on the sin and the weight. Most of us, without too much prompting, can probably readily point out the sin and the weights that we have accumulated in our lives that are keeping us from running the race.

The question really is, though, what are you going to do about it? The Bible says, “…let us lay aside…” Take those things off and put them away – cast them off – get rid of them!

“That ye put off concerning the former conversation [behavior] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24

“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” Colossians 3:8-10

Restart

Once we have taken the time to re-evaluate our Christian life and have taken the necessary steps to reset, it’s then time to restart. Hebrews 12:1 says, “…let us run…” I understand that it would be easy, as we look back on 2017, to say something like this, “Man, I really messed up in my Christian life this past year. I’ve failed and I’ve been unfaithful to the Lord. What’s the point of even trying in 2018? I’ll just mess up again!” Ladies and gentlemen, let me challenge you to get back up, dust off the dirt, and get back in the race!

“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” Proverbs 24:16

It is not a matter of whether you fall down or not – we all fall down. What matters is that we get back up again!

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

“I know that whatever knocks me down won’t keep me down. I will continue to get back up again.” – Sarah Clark Monagle, brain cancer survivor

Often, in a race, those who finish the race will stay near the finish line to cheer on and encourage those still in the race. That’s the picture that the writer paints for us: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.” That great cloud of witnesses includes those mentioned in the Great Hall of Faith.” We can keep going! We must, for the cause of Christ, keep going!

Two runners in the women’s 5,000 meter race in the 2016 Olympics were New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin and the United States’ Abbey D’Agostino. During the race, Nikki Hamblin stumbled and fell. Abbey D’Agostino was right behind her and could not help but trip and fall over her. In the fall, D’Agostino injured her ACL and meniscus. Initially, though, D’Agostino got back up and helped Hamblin get back up saying, “Get up. Get up. We have to finish this.” They both continued but further on in the race, D’Agostino faltered, stopped, and then fell to the ground in pain from her torn ACL. This time, it was Hamblin who stopped and went back to D’Agostino to help her up and encourage her to continue the race. D’Agostino was the last runner to finish the race – in visible pain. The first one to greet her? Nikki Hamblin.

Christian, “Get up. Get up. We have to finish this!”

#GivingTuesday

Since 2012, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving has been known as #GivingTuesday. It’s the “official” start of the holiday giving season.

This year, on November 28, we want to encourage you to participate in #GivingTuesday.

Since 2003, South Charlotte Baptist Academy has been serving families in the South Charlotte area by providing a quality, Christian education in a safe and nurturing environment!

During the course of the school year, our students take a variety of different trips – field trips, retreats, etc. We praise the Lord for the safety which our students, faculty, staff, and families have experienced on these trips, it is our desire to purchase a “new to us” school bus that can be used to transport our students, faculty & staff on these trips. It is our desire to purchase a gently used school bus that is less than 10 years old and has less than 100,000 miles on it. For such a bus, we are budgeting $50,000. Currently, $17,000 has been given toward that goal. Would you please consider giving to help us reach this goal?

 

Are You Tolerating Sin?

Have you ever considered the life of an individual – a Christian – who you once knew to be “on fire for God” but who now very seldom even darkens the door of church? Have you ever wondered how that happened? Maybe you are that Christian who finds themselves in just such a condition. How did you get there? What can be done about it? We can find some of the answer as we consider the church in Thyatira.

Take a few moments to read Revelation 2:18-29.

The Condition of the Church

As you read through these seven letters and become familiar with the condition of each of these churches, I believe that you can see a dangerous, downward trend.

  • The Church of Ephesus had left its first love. (2:4)
  • The Church in Smyrna – while never chastised by God – did face tribulation. They were faced with the blasphemy of those who were of the synagogue of Satan. (2:9)
  • The Church in Pergamos had begun to compromise. The wall of separation had begun to come down and worldliness was slowly creeping in. (2:2:14-15)
  • The Church in Thyatira takes things a step further.

While vs. 19 tells us that there were those within this church who had some wonderful qualities…

“I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.”

“Notwithstanding” They were not only allowing worldliness in the church, they were now allowing worldliness to take control of the church. (2:20)

“Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.”

I don’t believe that it’s a stretch to say that this same downward progression can happen in the life of a Christian.

  • The Christian leaves their first love.
  • Tribulation comes. It always comes. Yet, without that steadfast love for their Savior, that tribulation begins to wear them down.
  • The next step leads this Christian to begin to compromise. They begin to “dabble” in things they never would have dreamed of before.
  • Next, this Christian begins to tolerate sin in their life while at the same time trying to maintain some veneer of a Christian testimony.

This progression takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Often it happens so gradually that the Christian is completely unaware of the changes taking place within their heart and within their lives until it is too late.

Where did it all begin? When they left their first love! Can the trend be reversed? I believe we find the answer in the character of Christ.

The Character of Christ

There is so much within this passage of Scripture that tells us of Christ’s character but we will simply focus on vs. 18…

“And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;” (2:18)

The description of Christ gradually has become more antagonistic toward each church.

As you were growing up, did you ever find yourself a little fearful to stand before your father because of something that you had done. No longer was it your “loving father.” It was now Dad, the disciplinarian! As you stood before him with your head down, afraid to look at him, you could feel his eyes going right through you. You knew what was coming – punishment – and you knew that you had no one to blame but yourself!

That’s exactly how Christ describes himself to the church in Thyatira.

Remember Who He is! He is the Son of God.

This is the only church to whom Christ explicitly identifies Himself in this way – the Son of God.

“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” John 20:31

Thyatira was known for its indigo trade – their ability to dye cloth purple. Purple was associated with royalty!

“No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Luke 16:13

When you begin to tolerate sin in your life it means that you have removed God from the throne of your heart! Jesus Christ is Lord and He deserves to be Lord of your life. He will not share His glory with anyone or anything!

“I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Isaiah 42:8

Remember what He knows – Everything!

He has eyes like unto a flame of fire.

“Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:13

We stand completely exposed and vulnerable before the sight of an all-knowing God.

Christian, you may tolerate sin in your life and be able to hide it from others but you can never hide it from God. He knows. He always knows!

Remember what He must do – Judge sin!

He has feet like fine brass.

Brass, in God’s Word, is always associated with judgment. God is holy. God is righteous. God must judge sin! God will judge sin!

Take a moment to read Revelation 19:11-16.

The Challenge to the Church

We must remember who He is – He is God? We must remember what He knows – He knows everything. We must remember what He must do – He must judge sin. So, what must we do? Well, A church that finds itself in this condition – a Christian that finds themselves in this condition – has but one option – REPENT!

And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. Revelation 2:21-23

Christ gave these in the church in Thyatira the opportunity to repent and the time to repent but they did not repent!

  • Repentance is not only “feeling sorry” for what one has done or is doing.
  • Repentance is a “change of mind” coupled with a “change in direction.”

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief. Proverbs 28:13-14

Christ’s only option – if they did not repent – was judgement! Ladies and gentlemen, we must either love the Lord so much that we “fear” to displease Him and thus will not tolerate any sin in our lives or we will tolerate sin and then one day “fear” Him when judgement comes.

The story is told of a man who sold his house for an incredible bargain with just one stipulation: he would retain ownership of one small nail protruding over the door.

After several years, he wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell it. So the first owner went out, found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the single nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail.

If we leave even one small sin in our life Satan will hang his rotting garbage on it. Christian, don’t tolerate even the smallest of sins in your life. Remember who He is – He is the Son of God. Remember what He knows – everything! Remember what He must do – judge sin. Repent and turn from your sin today!

“In God We Trust” or Do We?

“O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand, Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation. Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’ And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!” were the words of the last stanza of a poem written by Francis Scott Key, an amateur poet and attorney at law. At the time, the United States once again found itself at odds with Great Britain and were engaged in a war that has come to be known as The War of 1812. Mr. Key and Mr. John Stuart Skinner had been commissioned by then president, James Madison, to negotiate with the British for the release of some US citizens who had been captured by the British. The negotiations took place in the Baltimore Harbor on board the British flagship. During the negotiations, Key and Skinner learned of the British plans to attack the city of Baltimore. Because of that, the British held Key and Skinner until after the attack was over. Throughout the night of September 13, 1814, Key could do nothing but watch helplessly as the British ships attacked Fort McHenry. Finally, on the morning of September 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key was able to see that the flag of the United States of America was still flying!

In that last verse, Francis Scott Key wrote, “And this be our motto, in God is our trust!” As a young nation, the United States of America, in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, found itself outnumbered by a much superior British force that was better equipped and better trained than they were. In those early years our country could not rely upon its superior military. They could only relay upon one thing – Almighty God!

Even though Francis Scott Key said that “In God is our trust” was “our motto,” it was not until July 30, 1956, that President Dwight Eisenhower signed a law officially declaring “In God We Trust” to be the national motto of the United States of America. Dwight Eisenhower also signed a law adding the words, “under God,” to our Pledge of Allegiance. In 1954, in speaking about the adding of those words to our pledge, President Eisenhower said…

“In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.”

In 1861, during the Civil War, the United States Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Salmon Chase, instructed the director of the Philadelphia mint to prepare a motto to be placed upon the country’s currency. Secretary Chase wrote,

“No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.”

The words, “In God We Trust,” were first stamped upon the two-cent coin in 1864.

However, if you were to walk into a bank today, to cash a check, you will find a sign with the initials, “FDIC,” printed on it. “FDIC” stands for “Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.” You will also, on that sign, read, “Backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government.” The FDIC was created in 1933 during the Great Depression to restore trust in the American banking system. In the years leading up to the creation of the FDIC, nearly one third of US banks failed – people lost their money!

So, even though our money says, “In God We Trust,” we are told to trust the United States Government for the worth of that money!

So, can we really say, “In God We Trust?”

If we are truly trusting God, it will show!

“Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey!”

  • Noah trusted God…He built the Ark!
  • Abraham trusted God…He offered up Isaac!
  • Moses trusted God…He chose to “suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season!”
  • Joshua trusted God…He marched around the city of Jericho!

If you and I truly trust God it will not only be seen in our obedience to Him but it will also be seen in two areas of our lives:

“Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, [whose] mind [is] stayed [on thee]: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH [is] everlasting strength:” Isaiah 26:3-4

Our trust in God will be seen through the peace in our lives. (vs. 3)

A mind “stayed” upon God will result in a mind trusting in God. A mind trusting in God will result in a mind at peace.

“Like a river, glorious is God’s perfect peace,

Over all victorious in its bright increase;

Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day,

Perfect, yet it growth deeper all the way.

Stayed upon Christ Jesus, hearts are fully blest;

Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.”

 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly bin all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16

Ladies and Gentlemen, what is your mind “stayed” upon? What do you find your mind constantly dwelling upon? Is it the Word of God or the things of this World? It should be no wonder that you are unable to enjoy the peace of God when you find yourself constantly consumed with the cares and worries of this world!

“And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,

“And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” Mark 4:18-19

Our trust in God will be seen through the stability of our lives. (vs. 4)

Isaiah goes on to challenge his readers to trust God for in Him – and Him alone – is found everlasting strength. Literally, He is the Rock!

The Lord’s our rock, in Him we hide, A shelter in the time of storm;

Secure whatever ill betide, A shelter in the time of storm.

 Oh, Jesus is a rock in a weary land, A weary land, a weary land;

Oh, Jesus is a rock in a weary land, A shelter in the time of storm.

 A shade by day, defense by night, A shelter in the time of storm;

No fears alarm, no foes afright, A shelter in the time of storm.

The raging storms may round us beat, A shelter in the time of storm

We’ll never leave our safe retreat, A Shelter in the time of storm.

O rock divine, O refuge dear, A shelter in the time of storm;

Be Thou our helper ever near, A Shelter in the time of storm.

In a world that is only one news cycle away from utter chaos, we need stability.

  • Your pastor cannot give you stability.
  • Your spouse cannot give you stability.
  • Your employer cannot give you stability.
  • Your government cannot give you stability.
  • Your family cannot give you stability.
  • Wall Street cannot give you stability.

Recently, I received a phone call from my mother. My father, who is 79 years old, was diagnosed with bladder cancer. When I asked my mother how she was doing she responded, “God’s in control.” My father is at peace; he hasn’t gone all to pieces. Why? Because in 1969 my father accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. My mother and father are trusting God with what is a very uncertain future because they know that their eternity has been secured by Jesus Christ! How about you? – Pastor Joseph Campbell

5 GOALS FOR A CHURCH MISSIONS CONFERENCE

Each year, South Charlotte Baptist Church reaffirms its commitment to world-wide evangelism and missions by way of our Faith Promise Missions Conference. This coming year, our Faith Promise Missions Conference will be held from Wednesday, February 21 through Sunday, February 25. We currently have 3 missionaries scheduled to be with us – One who is going to Uganda, Africa; one who is going to Seattle Washington; one who is going to Japan!

Below, is an article, written by Pastor Paul Chappell, “5 Goals For a Church Missions Conference.” As you take the time to read it, I trust that it will stir your heart to be more involved in world-wide missions!

5 GOALS FOR A CHURCH MISSIONS CONFERENCE

The fall season here in the States is a visual reminder of Jesus’ words to His disciples: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37–38).

One of the ways that our church, as well as many other unaffiliated Baptist churches, reaffirms and renews our commitment to praying for harvest laborers and participating in the work of those on the field is through our annual missions conference.

World Impact Conference, as we’re calling it this year, is not something we do just to fill a few days on the church calendar. It is one of the most important weeks for our church in the calendar year and is an event we approach with clear purposes in mind.

What are the goals for our church, or any other church, for hosting a missions conference?

1. TO SEE THE GREAT COMMISSION COME ALIVE

During a missions conference, a church has the chance to see the Great Commission come alive as missionaries from around the world gather to give testimonies and present their mission fields. Newer Christians are able to understand the big picture of the Great Commission and their church’s far-reaching impact through missions. Seasoned Christians, reminded of the need, develop a stronger burden for the lost.

2. TO DEVELOP RELATIONSHIPS WITH MISSIONARIES

One of the great advantages and defining characteristics of independent Baptists is its local church-based, rather than denomination-based, missions program. Following the Acts 13 model in this way, allows churches to have direct relationships with even more missionaries than are sent from within their own congregation.

At missions conference, there are even greater opportunities to meet the missionaries present, seek to understand the unique challenges and needs of their fields, and learn how to pray for them.

3. TO DEVELOP A HEART FOR MISSIONS AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE

For young people to get to hear first-hand accounts of the power of the gospel in other countries and cultures is faith-building for them. During this time, we have missionaries speaking in our Christian school chapels and in West Coast Baptist College chapel. Additionally, the missionaries have displays at church where children are encouraged to meet them personally.

Many teenagers and Bible college students—including some who are now adult missionaries sent out from Lancaster Baptist Church—have sensed God’s call to missions during missions conference.

4. TO ENCOURAGE MISSIONARIES

Although the missionaries who will participate in World Impact Conference this week are certainly not on vacation as they serve among our church family, we do want to be a blessing to them as a church. By better understanding their needs through time with them, we’re able to renew our prayers for them. And we pray that the conference itself and the preaching and fellowship through it will be an encouragement to them.

5. TO RENEW OUR GIVING COMMITMENTS FOR WORLD EVANGELISM

Because our church pledges direct support to missionaries, we need to be faithful in our commitments to them. By having a designated week each year when we, as a church family, look to the fields white unto harvest and prayerfully ask the Lord to guide us in grace-filled giving commitments, our church office is able to make financial commitments based on a budget.

God’s plan for giving to missions through the local church not only enables His work to flourish around the world, but it gives Christians an opportunity to invest in the eternal and to have fruit that will abound to their account (Philippians 4:17).

This original article can be found here.

Lasik Eye Surgery

Pretty intense picture, huh?!?

I know that some of you have a difficult time even considering having Lasik Eye surgery. Just the thought of anything coming near to touching your eyes, no matter how painless, is enough to make some of you pass out!

I appreciate all of the prayers regarding my recent Lasik eye surgery. I wanted to give you an update as to how I am recovering from the surgery which I had this past Thursday afternoon.

Thursday – The surgery went very well. It was quick and literally painless. The worst part of the process was the number of eye drops that they put into my eyes before and during the surgery. After the surgery I went home and went to sleep. I did not wake up until Friday morning. I literally slept for 14 straight hours! Because the laser surgery creates an open wound on the surface of your eye, the best way for your eyes to recover is to keep them closed as much as possible. (They also put a clear contact lens on each eye which act as a band aid.) Aside from my vision being blurry, I really didn’t feel any pain or discomfort after the surgery.

Friday – On Friday morning, I had to go back to the Lasik surgeon simply so that he could check to make sure everything looked good! After examining by eyes, the surgeon said that everything seemed to be healing nicely. He said that the cells on the surface of the eye had begun to grow back covering “the wound.” I was told that the first few days after surgery would be the most uncomfortable, however, even on Friday I did not notice any pain or discomfort.

Note: I have a regiment of eye drops and medicine that I have been taking/administering on a constant basis. I will continue with the medicinal eye drops for the next week. I will continue with OTC eye drops for the next several months simply to promote a healthy environment for my eyes.

Saturday – I was told that my eye sight would fluctuate during the first few days after surgery and then would gradually get better over the next several months. “Full recovery” usually takes at least six months! So far (It’s only mid-morning on Saturday) my eyes have been the most uncomfortable today. They have been itchy and watery more than they were yesterday. I will visit an actual eye doctor on Monday as part of the usual post-operative recovery simply to make sure that everything is healing properly. The eye doctor will take off the contact lenses some time this coming week. I have not yet been cleared to drive. I appreciate my wife and daughter who have chauffeured  me around. (I also must thank Mr. Litchfield who drove me home after surgery.)

I plan to be in church on Sunday and teach my Sunday school class and lead the choir in the AM service. Mr Rideout and Mr. Myers, though, will be preaching in the services for me. I appreciate their willingness to “fill the pulpit” for me.

Thank you for your prayer. They are very much appreciated!