The Continued Battle for Truth & NC HB2

The battle over NC HB2 (“Bathroom Bill”) continues.

There is a continued push within our state to repeal HB2. The latest attempt is with the introduction of HB186 which would repeal HB2 and replace it.

(Click here to read HB186 for yourself. It includes comments that I included for our NC Representative, Scott Stone, to consider.)

I have encouraged both, State Representative Scott Stone and State Senator Jeff Jackson, to stand firm on HB2 and not allow it to be repealed, replaced, or changed. I would encourage you to contact your state representatives as well. (Note: Representative Scott Stone is in favor of replacing HB2 with HB186. While I have not heard back from Senator Jackson, I do know that he has long held a position in opposition to HB2 and would like to see it repealed.)

I am including links to two articles that have been prepared by former NC Representative, Paul “Skip” Stam, one of the co-sponsors of HB2.

One of the key arguments that opponents of HB2 continue to use is the supposed economic impact that HB2 is having upon the state of NC. However, in spite of HB2, North Carolina is continuing to add jobs – even in the Charlotte Region! (Concord energy storage firm to add 200 jobs, invest $251 million in plant…Click here to read more!)

 

Stress, Anxiety, Worry…

Stress, Worry, Anxiety…

These are all words that many people seem to be dealing with in our society today. In fact, Time magazine went so far as to recent prepare an article that highlighted the stress that many living within the United States are experiencing right now.

Entitled, “Emotional Divide,” it speaks of the stress, worry, anxiety, and a host of other emotions that have been created as a result of the 2016 presidential election.

“‘I would wake up in the morning feeling as though I had a rock in my stomach,’ says Carol McGuire, 66, of Columbus, Ohio, about the days following the election. ‘The word dread would apply.'”

“In the 2016 presidential campaign and its aftermath, the APA poll found the first statistically significant increase in stress levels since it started asking 10 years ago.”

“‘Everyone is expressing, as one client put it, a constant ‘hum’ of anxiety,'” says Gildea, 73. Sleeplessness, overeating due to anxiety or depression, short-tempered irritation with co-workers are all common. “What I’m hearing a lot is, ‘I’m afraid of what’s coming next.'”

“It appears, collectively, that there is a level of stress about what’s happening in the country and what’s going to happen to the future of our nation.”

Stressa specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiologicalequilibrium of an organism.

Anxietydistress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune:

Worryto torment with cares, anxieties, etc.; trouble; plague.

All of these are emotions which we all face. How do we handle them? How do we deal with them?

The opposite to stress, anxiety, and worry is “peace.” Peace, in our world today, seems to be that ever elusive object which we all desire to grasp but which seems to always be just beyond our reach.

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

  • True peace only comes from God.

We will never find complete peace in a government, a politician, a certain set of circumstances, or in ourselves. We cannot manufacture peace. We cannot purchase peace. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace…” is a promise that God has given to us. A promise which we often neglect because we are too busy seeking peace in things which cannot and will never be able to satisfy our desire for peace.

  • True peace comes as we allow our thoughts to be consumed, not with our circumstances, but with God.

“…Whose mind is stayed on thee…” Where does stress, anxiety and worry begin? In our minds and in our thoughts. Some people become so overwhelmed with their thoughts that they cannot function properly or live a “normal” life. Not to downplay the seriousness of the circumstances which we sometimes must face but we often are our own worst enemies as we allow our thoughts to be consumed with situations which we often have no control over! Instead, allow your thoughts to be consumed with the One Who is ultimately in control!

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

  • True peace is only possible when we have put our trust in God.

“…Because he trusteth in Thee…” The foundation for peace in our lives is laid when we recognize Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. (Click here to watch a brief video about “God’s Plan of Salvation.”) Has there ever been a time in your life when 1) you recognized the fact that you are a sinner; 2) that God loved you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for your sins on the cross; and 3) that “…whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved…?”

  • True peace can be sustained because it is dependent upon God, Who is our everlasting strength.

“…For in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” Suppose you were able to arrange the circumstances of life in such a way as to give you the peace that you desired? How long do you suppose the circumstances would stay that way? Not long! Again this points us back to the fact that peace cannot be manufactured or attained in any other way than through God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

Joseph Scriven penned the following words:

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

If you are struggling to find peace please do not simply dismiss what has been written here as “religious nonsense.” Countless thousands of people can attest to the fact that they found peace – the peace which passes all understanding – when they found Jesus Christ!

If we can be of help to you in any way, please contact us here! We’d love to hear from you!

 

Prayer Request for Beacon of Truth Baptist Ministries

We recently received the following email asking for prayer for these requests.

“Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.”  Jeremiah 29:12
We ask you to join with us in prayer for the following requests:
  1. We encountered some problems when we tried to print the English Romans booklets this week.  Please pray we can get the problem fixed and the press running again.
  2. Our Scripture Assembly Team will begin a meeting on Fridayat the Pleasant Plains Bible Church with Pastor Tim Batten and his people.  Join with us in prayer for God’s blessing on the assembly.
  3. We have taken on a project to provide 10,000 Samoan Bibles for Missionary Jim Civale.  We can produce the Bible for $2.00 each.  That means we need to raise $20,000 for this project.  Please pray with us for this urgent need.
We appreciate your wiliness to stand with us in reaching out to the world with the precious Word of God.  Thanks also for your notes of encouragement and response from our Prayer Alert. May God richly bless you.

Gideon’s Church: “What Kind of Church Member Are You?”

Gideon has never been one of my favorite Old Testament characters. Why? Because of his seeming lack of faith.

Take a moment to read Judges 7:1-7.

After God, in Judges chapter 6, appoints Gideon to be the earthly leader that God would use to bring Israel out of bondage, Gideon wanted some assurance. So, we read in Judges 6:36-40, the account of Gideon putting out the fleece. He wanted assurance that truly God was going to use him to save Israel. We often look at that as a lack of faith. And yet, Gideon ended up in the Great Hall of Faith in Hebrews chapter 11:

“And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

“Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

“Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:” Hebrews 11:32-35

However, the longer that I am pastor, the more I feel like Gideon. I find myself, at times, desiring God to give me some assurance that I am leading South Charlotte Baptist Church in the correct direction and that I am making the correct decisions. For that reason, I can now begin to empathize with Gideon for I see myself in him!

Besides, as we’ve seen time and time again it’s not necessarily the amount of faith that we have; it’s whether we actually exercise the faith that we do have!

You need a pastor.

Some people don’t like to hear that. Some people would not necessarily readily agree to that. Now, I won’t go into the reasons why you need a pastor but I will simply say that the story of Gideon is a wonderful Old Testament example of the New Testament truth that Christians need a pastor. Could God not have delivered Israel from the clutches of the Midianites without Gideon? Sure He could. God even told Gideon, in Judges 7:7, that He would be the one to save Israel. Even history proves that God has provided His people with earthly leadership:

  • Moses led the nation of Israel out Egypt and brought them through the desert.
  • Joshua led the nation of Israel to take possession of the promised land.
  • Nehemiah and Ezra lead the people in the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem and the walls around Jerusalem.
  • Those are just a few examples.

“For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:” Titus 1:5

The story of Gideon is a wonderful reminder of the truth that the church needs to be on the offensive.

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18

God wanted Gideon to “take it to” the Midianites. He didn’t want Gideon to simply wait around until the Midianites attacked him. I believe that Christ desires that we be on the offensive.

“Go ye therefore…” Matthew 28:19

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

 “And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Luke 14:23

The church has been silent while the world raised its voice; In loud and angry tones they took the lead

But all across Creation there’s a rumbling in the hills; As the chosen ones of God stand up and make His message known

I’m gonna shout it from the housetops; proclaim it from the mountaintops;Tell the world around me Jesus saves

I have made my choice; I’m gonna make a joyful noise

The world will hear my voice, Jesus saves

The Church must depend completely upon God.

Gideon gathered 32,000 Israelite men to do battle with the Midianites. However, this was too many. Judges 7:2 gives us the reason:

“And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.”

One of the temptations that we all face is pride. We must be constantly reminded that it is all about God!

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:

“But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:23-24

 “That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

“And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.” 1 Corinthians 1:31-2:3

God also wanted the Israelites to learn to completely depend upon Him; not their military might! I also believe God wanted Gideon to be able to know who he could count on; who it was that truly was willing to follow Gideon into battle.

Even Paul found himself in situations where he wasn’t sure who it was that he could count on.

“But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

“And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:

“But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.

“Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.” Acts 9:22-25

 Who’s holding the rope?

“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

“Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:10-11

What Kind of Church Member are You?

Gideon started with 32,000…

  • The Scared. “…Whosoever is fearful and afraid…” (Judges 7:3)

These were those individuals who were not only fearful but who were also “afraid.” That word carries the idea of being “troubled, anxious, or worried.” Of the three different groups in this passage of Scripture, this was the largest group.

These individuals, when confronted with the task at hand, have a lot of questions:

  • “How are we….”
  • “What if….”
  • “I don’t think…”

Gideon, at this point, didn’t know what the battle plan was to be. God hadn’t revealed it yet. (Not until vs. 16.) Therefore, Gideon didn’t have a lot of answers.

Questions are necessary. Questions can be a good thing. However, questions can also keep you from stepping out in faith. Sometimes questions can be used to tear down.

As we look ahead, specifically to the task of building a Family Life Center, while I don’t expect you to simply place all of your questions on the shelf, please bring those questions with a sweet spirit. Be willing to pray that God would give me the wisdom to be able to answer the questions and that God would enable me to receive and to respond to the questions with the right spirit.

So, we’ve gone from 32,000 to 10,000 but that still is too many…

  • The Self-Interested. “…all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.” (vs. 6)

These individuals were so thirsty that, when they got to the water’s edge, they threw aside their weapons (if they had one), got down on all fours, and stuck their face into the water to get a drink. These were the individuals who were more concerned with meeting their own needs than preparing for the battle. Didn’t they remember that the Midianites were just on the other side of the valley- ready to strike at any moment?

The reason that some church members don’t go #AllIn or won’t get behind the pastor when he seeks to lead in a certain direction is because they don’t feel that it is going to benefit them.

Take any ministry of the church…

  1. Some don’t fully support the bus ministry because it doesn’t benefit them.
  2. Some don’t fully support ministry of the Academy because they don’t have school age children.
  3. Some don’t fully support building a Family Life Center because they don’t believe they will benefit from it.

However, what we must understand and realize is that any victory is enjoyed by all! Any victory that South Charlotte Baptist Church is able to realize is a victory for the entire church not just for the pastor or for a small group of people. All of Israel would benefit from being victorious over the Midianites, not only the ones who actually fought in the battle!

So not we’ve gone from 10,000 to 300…

  • The Steadfast.

“And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.” Judges 7:7

These were the individuals who had just seen their army go from 32,000 to 300. These were the individuals who had exercised vigilance and awareness even while getting a drink of water. These were the individuals who were knew that the battle could erupt at any moment. They didn’t want to be caught off guard.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” 1 Peter 5:8

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41

How is it that these 300 stayed steadfast even as they saw a majority of the others walk away? While Scripture doesn’t say, I believe it is because they knew that there was a job that needed to be done and they believed that God was going to use them as they followed Gideon’s lead. In fact, these 300 had confidence that Gideon was following God!

“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1

I want you to notice that nowhere in this story did either God or Gideon speak ill of those who left. They were simply allowed to go home. However, I believe that in any church this will always be the smallest group. Those who are fully committed and ready to go to battle.

Now, there is one of two ways that we can look at this.

  • We can either get discouraged as we watch others walk away or…
  • We can be encouraged because it means that the victory for God will be that much greater and that our faith, in the process, will be strengthened that much more!

The Significance of the Church

While I do not know the exact number – and I’m not sure if anyone does – there are a lot of churches in the Charlotte region.

Thousands of people make their way to various places around this city to participate in “religious services.” But do they – do we – really understand the significance of the church? Besides that, there are countless individuals, who say that they are Christians, yet they are not in any church this morning or any other morning for that matter. Do they really understand the significance of the church?

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” Matthew 16:13

Was there any significance to the fact that this conversation took place in Caesarea Philippi?

I believe there was.

This is the only time that Christ travelled to the area. It was not a Jewish city. It was a Roman city. It had originally been established by the Greeks with the name of Panius. It was associated with the worship of the Greek god, Pan. It was a very wicked city known for its idolatrous worship. It was not the type of place that any good Jew would visit.

  • Mark 8:22 records the fact that prior to coming to Caesarea Philippi, Christ healed a blind man in Bethsaida.
  • I’ll point out that, after this conversation, I believe Jesus stayed in the area for a week. Matthew chapter 17 records for us the Transfiguration of Jesus which, I believe, happened upon Mt. Hermon which is just to the north of Caesarea Philippi.
  • After the Transfiguration, Matthew 17:22-24 records for us the fact that Christ then travelled back to Capernaum.

So, why did Jesus Christ make a 40+ mile round trip simply to announce, “…upon this rock I will build my church…?”

Could He not have made this announcement just as well in Capernaum along the Sea of Galilee where a majority of His earthly ministry took place? I believe that we will begin to see the significance as we go through this passage of Scripture.

“And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” Matthew 16:14-15

As you’ll recall, in vs. 13, Christ asked His disciples the question, “…Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” The disciples responded in vs. 14. Then Jesus asks them a very pointed question in vs. 15, “…But whom say ye that I am?

In seeking to understand the significance of the church, you must first answer that question for yourself. Who do you believe that Jesus is? He is either the Son of God – God in the flesh, or He is a crazy man?

“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 16:16-17

Peter is the disciple who answered. (vs. 16) “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Christ responded, “That is the correct answer. Just as truly as you are the son of Jon, I am the Son of God! And, do you know Who revealed that truth to you? God the Father did!” (Turn to and read Matthew 14:25-33 to learn of when Peter had this truth revealed to him.) Just like Peter, if you really desire to know Who Jesus is, cry out in faith. God always responds to faith!

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (vs. 18)

Peter, just because you got the answer right, don’t get a big head. You are only just a small pebble. The church is not built upon Peter! Instead the church is built upon the bedrock of truth that I am God – I will build my church!

This is where you can begin to see the significance of the choice of Caesarea Philippi.

Caesarea Philippi was built in the shadow of a stone wall. The Romans referred to it as “The Rock of the gods” because of niches that were carved into the face of this stone wall where images of the various false gods – including Pan – were placed.

But God is a greater rock than any other false god. (Turn to and read Deuteronomy chapter 32 to learn about the Rock!)

Things were beginning to change. The Jews – as a nation – were near to the point of collectively rejecting the Messiah. God’s work would continue through the church. The disciples had never heard of such a thing! This is the first time that word, “church,” is used in the Bible.

The church is a local body of baptized believers who have voluntarily joined themselves together for the purpose of fulfilling the Great Commission!

In vs. 18, Christ goes on to say that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church.

Again, we see the significance of Caesarea Philippi. The Grotto of Pan was located next to the “Rock of the gods.” It was a cave which the pagans believed to be the entrance to the underworld. It was known as the Gates of Hades (Hell).

Christ was emphasizing the fact that the church was to be on the offensive. The church would be powerful. Why? It would be empowered by the Holy Spirit.

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8

There is much more that could be said about this whole event – including what Christ said in vs. 19 and then Christ’s transfiguration in chapter 17 which was really confirmation, by God, of what Peter confessed and Christ testified – He was the Son of God!

“While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Matthew 17:5

Is the church significant?

Yes. The significance of the church is derived from the truth that it is built upon Jesus Christ, the Son of God! Many people in our society today have a very low regard for church. In fact, even many Christians have a low regard for church. And yet, Jesus Christ Himself attested to the fact the church was very significant to Him.

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” Ephesians 5:25

Could it be that the church doesn’t mean much to you today because Christ means very little to you? This goes back to the question which Christ asked Peter, “Who do you think that I am?”

What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be;

Some day your heart will be asking, “What will He do with me?”

Will you accept Him as the Son of God? Will you accept Him as your Lord and Savior?

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 2:21

Because the church is significant, the work of the church likewise demands significance!

Christ gave the church its commission in Matthew 28:19-20…

“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.”

The work of the church is significant; we need to take it seriously! We need to be proclaiming the Good news that Jesus Christ is God. We need to be pointing others to Jesus Christ as the only hope for salvation.

Jesus Christ is significant. The church is significant. The work of the church is significant. We need to be #AllIn!

The Test of Discipleship

At South Charlotte Baptist Academy, there are times when we will “test” a student in order to determine whether or not they are ready to move to the next grade level. The reason for this is that we desire for a child to be successful in the next grade.

In Luke 9:57-62, three individuals were confronted with the test of discipleship. They were being tested to see if they were ready/prepared to go from being a disciple of Jesus Christ to being a follower of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, we are not told whether any of them passed the test but we are left to assume that they probably did not!

There is a difference between a disciple and a follower.

While it would be easy to assume that they are one in the same, they are not.

  • A disciple is someone who is a pupil; a student; a learner.
  • A follower is someone who is not only learning but is also seeking to imitate, copy, or pattern their lives after the one whom they are following.

A school teacher has a number of “disciples.” Every day young people gather in their classroom attempting to learn the material that the teacher is seeking to teach them. However, typically, those “disciples” have any desire to be his “followers.” The students don’t  so desire to be like him that they are willing to leave their own families to live with the teacher, to eat all of their meals with the teacher, to dress like the teacher…I think you get the picture.

Are you a follower of Jesus Christ or simply a disciple. Do you desire simply to learn God’s Word and learn how to live a better life or is it your desire to be more like Him?

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29

Christ’s desire is that we not merely be a disciple of Christ but to go further and be a follower of Christ.

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” Luke 9:23-24

“O to be like Him…,” the words of an old hymn, is the heart cry of every believer who is desiring to follow Christ. I believe, though, that many who occupy seats within churches such as ours are not true followers of Christ. Some Christians, when they realize the true cost of being a follower of Christ, are instead content to merely remain a disciple of Christ.

“Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” John 6:60, 66

What’s the difference between a disciple of Jesus Christ and a follower of Jesus Christ? The difference can be summed up in 2 little words – “All In!”

“…but whosoever will lose [destroy] his life…” Luke 9:24

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

Disciple #1 (Luke 9:57-58)

This first disciple volunteered to move from being a disciple to being a follower of Christ.

In Matthew 8:19, we are told that this individual was a scribe. This means that he was an educated individual. It would be accurate to say that he knew the Bible. He would have been qualified to teach in the synagogues.

Just because you know God’s Word; have memorized large portions of Scripture; have been a Sunday school teacher, have been a deacon…doesn’t mean that you are a true follower of Jesus Christ. Those things do not make you “more qualified” than someone else to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

Again, notice that this first “volunteered.” He said, “I will follow thee…” He wasn’t called. For those of you who are waiting for the “call of God” before going all in; stop waiting and volunteer! This individual was willing, at least to begin with. “I will follow thee withersoever thou goest…” But had this man really thought through the implications of what he was saying?

Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus! Anywhere, everywhere, I would follow on!

Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus! Everywhere He leads me I would follow on!

While we often sing songs such as this, do we really men it when we sing it or are we being a hypocrite? Parents, are you being a hypocrite? You may “talk a good game” but your children know what you are really like. We are losing our young people to the world, not because the church has failed, but often because parents have failed. They talk about being fully committed to Christ but when it comes right down to it their children really know!

Christ’s response in vs. 58 show us that Christ wanted this individual to understand the commitment, the sacrifice, the self-denial necessary to be a follower of Christ.

“And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Luke 9:58

 “And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

“And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.” Luke 9:2-3

 “No man 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.

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” Matthew 6:24-25

 “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

“(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:)…” Matthew 6:31-32a

Disciple #2 (Luke 9:59-60)

This second individual was “called” by Jesus Christ to follow Him however, this individual’s response showed that there was a problem. This individual did not come right out and say, “No, I will not follow you.” However, he said, “…suffer [allow] me first…” “I have important responsibilities that I must tend to first; then I will follow you.”

Jesus responded, “…Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” In His response, it wasn’t that Christ was saying that taking care of His family wasn’t important. What he was saying was that there are some things that are even more important – preaching the kingdom of God!

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

“(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:31-33

“Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.

“And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake,

“Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” Luke 18:28-30

This man’s response was more like, “Christ, would you mind coming back around to me later? Give me some time to think about it.” He didn’t like being put on the spot but Christ was demanding a response – are you going to follow or not!

What “responsibilities” are keeping you from fully committing and fully following God? Could it be that we are not doing a better job with the Great Commission – preaching the kingdom of God – because we are not truly following Christ?

“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

Disciple #3 (Luke 9:61-62)

This third individual was also willing and volunteered to follow Christ. However, being willing only goes so far…that willingness must be followed by action. In fact, here’s food for thought. If an individual declares that they are willing to follow Christ, but they don’t follow that willingness with action and obedience, was that individual really willing to begin with? Instead of action, this third individual, similar to the second, said, “…let me first go…”

Based upon Christ’s response – and the fact that Christi knew the true condition of this man’s heart – we understand that there was more to it than simply the fact that he wanted to tell his family goodbye.

This man wanted to follow Christ but he wanted to do it under his own terms. He wanted to do it “his way.” He had a place for Christ but not first place! Following Christ leaves no place for self!

“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.” Luke 11:2

 “…Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Luke 22:42

Christ’s response to this third disciple may seem harsh but simply put, Christ responded, “You’ll be of no use to me!”

“Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.” Proverbs 25:19

Wrapping It All Up

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” 2 Timothy 3:1

  • I believe our world is headed into such troubling times that Christ deserves to know, “Are you going to follow?”
  • I believe our church is headed into such a time that this pastor deserves to know, “Are you going to follow Christ?”

You may say, “The decision to follow Christ is a person decision; a private decision. It’s nobody’s business what my decision is!” You may even get a little resentful toward me for even suggesting that I, as the pastor church, deserve to know what your choice is. However, the text in Luke 9 tells us “…as they went in the way…” The circumstances reveal that Christ put these three men on the spot! In front of the multitudes they were called upon to make a decision, “Are you going to follow?” Even though you may be “put on the spot,” are you willing to be more than a disciple? Are you willing to go #AllIn and be a follower of Jesus Christ?

The Importance of South Charlotte Baptist Academy

Pastor Scott, when he first came to South Charlotte Baptist Church in 1989, had a desire to begin a Christian school.

Well, in 2003, God allowed Pastor Scott to see the realization of that desire when South Charlotte Baptist Academy opened its doors to 30 students. As we are getting ready to begin our 14th year (2017-2018), let’s be reminded of the importance of and need for South Charlotte Baptist Academy

While there is no Biblical mandate [command] for Christian schools, there is a mandate for children to receive a Biblical education.

We see this found in Deuteronomy 6:4-7. We also see, in Scripture, that any education should have its foundation in Jesus Christ and upon His Word.

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2

 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7

 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

 “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;” 2 Peter 1:3-5

There is a mandate (command), that children in the United States receive an Academic education.

The state of Massachusetts, in 1852, was the first state to enact “compulsory attendance” laws requiring children to attend school. By 1918 all states had passed a compulsory attendance law. Both North and South Carolina have compulsory education laws.

(South Carolina) “A parent or guardian shall require his child to attend regularly a public or private school or kindergarten of this State which has been approved by the State Board of Education, a member school of the South Carolina Independent Schools’ Association, a member school of the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools, or some similar organization, or a parochial, denominational, or church-related school, or other programs which have been approved by the State Board of Education from the school year in which the child is five years of age before September first until the child attains his seventeenth birthday or graduates from high school.” http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t59c065.php

(North Carolina) “Every parent, guardian or custodian in this State having charge or control of a child between the ages of seven and 16 years shall cause the child to attend school continuously for a period equal to the time which the public school to which the child is assigned shall be in session. Every parent, guardian, or custodian in this State having charge or control of a child under age seven who is enrolled in a public school in grades kindergarten through two shall also cause the child to attend school continuously for a period equal to the time which the public school to which the child is assigned shall be in session unless the child has withdrawn from school.” http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_115c/GS_115c-378.html

While you may not agree with these laws, I don’t believe that you can find anything in them that is inherently evil or wicked about them. In fact, I believe it is a good thing for children to receive an academic education – to learn to read and write and to learn about this world in which they live which was created by God. Therefore, as parents, we are Biblically bound to obey these laws. The education of children must be directed by their parents. This truth is implicit in Deuteronomy chapter 6. Parents should never abdicate their responsibility – whether the responsibility to Biblically educate or academically educate their children – to someone or something else. Parents may enlist the help of others and delegate some of their authority to others to fulfill this responsibility but they must never fully seek to rid themselves of the responsibility to educate their children.

 

As such, parents have four options by which to educate their children.

  • Public School This is not just a “brick and mortar” option anymore. This option can be accomplished online as well thus making it a choice for homeschoolers. However, most of these online options are promoted as “public schools.”

www.k12.com – “Free online public schools, powered by k12 and available in more than 33 states…”

  • Private School
  • Christian School
  • Homeschool

It is not me desire to speak negatively about any of the choices that parents have for the education of their children. Rather, it is my desire to promote the value and importance of South Charlotte Baptist Church in the education of the children of our church. Many times, though, it is difficult to get Christian parents to see the need of a Christian education and the need of the Christian school.

Note: I have been studying for a series of messages from the book of Genesis. However, in my study, I have not yet gotten beyond Genesis 1:1. Anyone who questions the need for South Charlotte Baptist Academy should consider how the public schools look at Genesis 1:1 and how SCBA looks at Genesis 1:1. I am planning to point some things out when I preach on that passage.

Personal testimony: I am an advocate for Christian education. I make no apology for that. I am a product of Christian education. I attended a Christian school my entire life. I then attended a Christian college. I have served in churches that had Christian schools. I am now the pastor of a church that has a Christian school. I am very thankful for the fact that I am a product of Christian education. I am thankful that my children have the opportunity to attend a Christian school. I would encourage every parent of South Charlotte Baptist Church to send their children to South Charlotte Baptist Academy.

Allow me to share some reasons given for not sending children to a Christian school:

  • “I’m not going to send my child to the Christian school because all they are going to do is study the Bible, learn about Jesus, and as a result will be completely sheltered from the world. How will they adjust to the ‘real world?’ Once they get out of that Christian school, they will probably go straight to the devil!” In the day and age we live in it is nearly next to impossible to shelter a child from the world. Instead, we should praise the Lord for as much shelter our children have from the world that we can possibly give them.

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

At SCBA, we teach all the core subjects that a child would receive at a public school but we teach them from the foundation of the authority of God’s Word.

  • “I can’t afford to send my child to a Christian school.”

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Psalm 127:3

Children are a gift from God and it should be our desire to steward that gift. So, I would like to say, instead, you can’t afford NOT to send your children to the Christian school. We live at a time when parents can afford almost anything that they want to afford. Often it is not a matter of being able to afford it but merely a matter of getting their priorities straightened out.

Yes, sending a child or children to South Charlotte Baptist Academy is a sacrifice. But, it is also an investment. It is an investment in something that will last for all eternity – our children. And, it is an investment in someone that will make a difference for all eternity! For some, there are now opportunities available to help parents to be able to send their children to South Charlotte Baptist Academy – like the NC Opportunity Scholarship and the Children’s Scholarship Fund. Beyond that, I have never turned someone away strictly due to finances. I have worked with many families to give them the opportunity to have their children at South Charlotte Baptist Academy.

  • “My child won’t have the benefits of public school facilities and programs.” You are absolutely right. There are many “benefits” which we do not have that public schools can offer and that many private schools can offer. However, there are also many other things which we do not have.
    • We don’t have God-denying teachers.
    • We don’t have textbooks that teach a humanistic, socialistic, communistic philosophy.

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” Romans 1:21, 25

  • “My child doesn’t want to attend the Christian school.” The response to this should be self-evident. God has commanded parents, “Train up a child in the way he should go…” (Proverbs 22:6) It’s not the child’s decision; it is the parent’s decision.
  • “My child has a Christian teacher in the public school.” Yes, there are some Christian teachers in the public schools. There are some godly teachers in the public schools. But can they give your child a Christian education? No! The reason frankly, is because it is against the law. A Christian teacher you may have, but a Christian education you will not receive. The public schools – regardless of the teachers – can offer only one brand of education, and that is their own godless, humanistic approach to life.
  • “Public school was good enough for me – it will be good enough for my child.” To that I will simply say that public schools have changed. Some of you who attended public school can remember having your teacher lead in prayer at the beginning of the school day and reading the Bible in class. That is no longer the case! And, it’s not been that way for a very long time!
  • “We as Christians shouldn’t abandon the public schools.” Some reason that if we take our Christian young people out of the public schools, we will no longer have missionaries in the public schools. After all, they reason, aren’t we supposed to be “the salt of the earth?” The Bible tells me that I am to train up my children in the way they should go. The public school is not helping me train my children. Actually, they are tearing down almost everything that I am trying to build up in my home and my church. I also don’t buy into this idea of having our children in the public schools as missionaries. You wouldn’t take a third or fourth grade child and send him to Africa or South America?!?! You must first train that child even as you would train a missionary. How can they become an effective missionary when they are being trained in a worldly atmosphere, in the world’s philosophy, using the world’s textbooks, taught by the world’s teachers?

While not all of you are in a position to enroll children in South Charlotte Baptist Academy, I would ask that you do several things:

  • Pray daily for full enrollments in each of our classes for the 2017-2018 school year.
  • Pray daily for our teachers.
  • Tell others about South Charlotte Baptist Academy. Use the information contained in this article to be able to answer their questions and possible opposition to placing their children in SCBA.

 

Build Below the Baseline

Join us at 10 AM on Sunday mornings, beginning on March 5, for a new teen/adult Bible study…

Although a structure’s foundation remains mostly unseen, serious builders never overlook its importance. And they never feel that resources invested in it are wasted.

Many Christians, however, neglect the unseen areas of their Christian walk. We have a tendency to place greater importance on outward service than inner character. We do before we are. We look for the approval of people while becoming careless in our walk with God.

The danger in this is that, just as a building can look good, even impressive, if its foundation is cracked or deteriorating, it will eventually crumble. Even so, a Christian may portray an image of spiritual success when there is no real substance underneath.

Build below the Baseline is a challenge to develop the part of your life that only God sees. Each study in this ten-lesson series explores a Scripture passage that provides encouragement and specific instruction on investing in the most vital and foundational aspects of your Christian life.

Click here for more information about the teen & adult Bible study classes at South Charlotte Baptist Church!

The Fear of the Lord

In Proverbs 14:26-27 we come across the phrase, “the fear of the Lord.”

That phrase, “the fear of the Lord,” is used 30 times in the Bible (almost half of those – 14 – are used in the book of Proverbs) while the phrase, “fear the Lord,” is used 42 times in the Bible.

The fear of the Lord is an important concept for us to understand. Committed Christians used to be known as “God-fearing” people.” That was meant to be worn as a badge of honor. You don’t hear that phrase much anymore. Partly, I believe, because Christians have somewhat lost the fear of the Lord.

However, the fear of the Lord can be a misunderstood concept. Fear is not generally something that, in today’s society, is held in high regard. In fact, in the late 80’s a sports apparel company was started using the phrase “No Fear” as their label.

To add to the confusion, on several occasions in the Bible, we are told, “Fear Not” or “Be not afraid!”

With all of this, it is easy to understand why Christians could be a little confused when discussing the fear of the Lord!

What is the “fear of the Lord?”

In Exodus 9:30, Moses makes the statement that, in spite of the plagues to that point that had been brought upon Egypt, Pharaoh would not “fear the Lord God.”

In Exodus 14:29-31, we are told that the Israelites, because of what they had seen happen to the Egyptians, “feared the Lord, and believed the Lord.

The fear of the Lord is an attitude of profound reverence and respect that we have toward God. But it doesn’t stop there…The fear of the Lord leads one to trust God, obey God, and avoid evil.

The Israelites, in Exodus 14, feared God and believed (trusted) God. Pharaoh, in Exodus 9, did not fear God and therefore felt no compulsion to obey Him. In Job chapter 1, Job is described, by God himself, as “…one that feareth God, and escheweth [avoids] evil…” (Job 1:8)

“Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:7[2]

Now, what is important for us to understand is that the proper fear of the Lord is based upon our relationship with and knowledge of God. We see this truth, negatively portrayed in Matthew 25:

“Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

“And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.” Matthew 25:24-25 [3]

If this servant had truly known his master, he would have, just as the first two servants, trusted the master and been obedient to do as the master had directed.

Why should we have the “fear of the Lord?”

“Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways.

“For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.” Psalm 128:1[4]

The fear of the Lord is positive! It is not a negative thing.

“Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!” Psalm 31:19[5]

Quite simply, we should all have the fear of the Lord because the fear of the Lord leads us to trust & obey, and to avoid evil, the fear of the Lord will lead us to God’s blessings upon our lives.

Why should we teach our children the “fear of the Lord?”

In Deuteronomy 6:4-13, we have been commanded to teach our children the fear of the Lord. But even more than that, we should desire for our children to be blessed of God and enjoy the blessings of God!

“In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence [trust]: and his children shall have a place of refuge.

“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:26-27[6]

Turn to and read Exodus 2:1-3.

Turn to and read Hebrews 11:23-29.

As you read about Moses, it is clear to see that he “feared God.” Where did Moses learn to fear the Lord? From his parents! (Exodus 2:1-3; Hebrews 11:23-29) Moses’ parents, because they feared the Lord, placed their trust in God, obeyed God instead of the Pharaoh, and taught their children to fear the Lord as well.

How do we teach our children the “fear of the Lord?”

“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I teach you the fear of the Lord.” Psalm 34:1[7]

  • Teach them to respect all authority. If children are going to learn the fear of the Lord, it begins by learning to respect the authority of their parents. This must begin at an early age. They must learn a proper attitude toward their parents which leads them to trust and obey. It continues as children are taught to respect all authority – teachers, police officers, etc. I am so thankful that my parents, at a young age, taught me to respect authority. And they did it very simply, they taught me to say “Yes, ma’am” No, ma’am” and “Yes, sir” “No, sir.” That is not old-fashioned. Also, going back to the first point, we, as parents, must respect all authority that is in our lives as well.
  • Teach by example. We cannot and should not expect our children to do anything that we ourselves are not doing. We must have a proper attitude toward God. We must be God-fearing parents if we expect our children to become God-fearing adults. It follows, then that, if we have the fear of the Lord in our lives, that it will be evident to our children as we trust God in every aspect of our lives and as they see us surrender to and be obedient to the leading of God in our lives.
  • Deal with sin Biblically. Sin is serious business. It is so serious that God sent His Son to make the ultimate sacrifice for sin! Sin is not something that laugh about!

“Fools make a mock at sin…” Proverbs 14:9a[8]

Too many parents simply say their children are “cute” when instead they should be dealing with the sin – even at a young age – that is in their children. Teach your children what sin is and then Biblically and appropriately deal with sin in their lives.

  • Lead them to know God. Dealing properly with sin in the lives of your children is the first step in leading them to Christ. Once they have accepted Christ as their Savior, then we must lead them to grow in their relationship with God.

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18[10]

Read the Bible to them when they are too young to read it for themselves. When they are old enough, lead them to read the Bible for themselves.

  • Make much of the word of God, the house of God and the people of God. Should it be any wonder that our children do not have the fear of the Lord when they are taught that the word of God is no better than an old, dusty history book?

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8 [11]

Or, when they are taught there are others things that are so important – such as the Super Bowl – that they should stay home from church?

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25[12]

Or, when our children develop friendships with those who have no fear of the Lord?

 “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 [13]

Let’s remind ourselves of the words of King Solomon from Ecclesiastes chapter 12…

“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;” [14]

 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (vs. 13) [15]

[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Mk 5:35–36). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Pr 3:7). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[3] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Mt 25:24–25). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ps 128:1–2). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ps 31:19). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[6] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Pr 14:26–27). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[7] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ps 34:11). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[8] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Pr 14:9). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[9] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ga 3:24). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[10] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., 2 Pe 3:18). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[11] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Jos 1:8). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[12] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Heb 10:24–25). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[13] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., 1 Co 15:33). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[14] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ec 12:1). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[15] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ec 12:13). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

2017 Open House Sunday @ South Charlotte Baptist Church & Academy!

On Sunday, February 19, 2017 South Charlotte Baptist Church will have its “Open House Sunday!” We would love to invite you to join us and learn more about South Charlotte Baptist Church & Academy.

  • Pastor Campbell will greet guests and visitors in the Fellowship Hall at 10:30 AM with coffee and donuts.
  • At 11:00 AM our guests are invited to join us for our morning worship service as Pastor Campbell challenges us with truth from God’s Word!
  • From 12:30-2:00 PM, the doors of South Charlotte Baptist Academy will be open for current and prospective families to tour our campus and to have their questions answered about SCBA.

Click here for information regarding enrollment at South Charlotte Baptist Academy! Open enrollment begins February 1, 2017. Class sizes are limited.