You Have To Close One Chapter To Start Writing Another!

THE PASTOR’s PEN March 3, 2019
ThePastorsPen
Dear Church Family and Friends,
Remember the Calvin & Hobbes cartoons that used to run in the newspaper? In one that appeared around New Year, Hobbes, Calvin’s stuffed tiger, asks, “Did you make any resolutions for the New Year?”

Calvin comes unglued and shouts, “NO! I’m fine just the way I am! Why should I change? In fact, I think it’s high time the world started to change to suit ME! I don’t see why I should do all the changing around here. If the New Year requires resolutions, I say it’s up to everybody else, not me! I don’t need to improve! Everyone ELSE does!” Calvin then takes a breath and asks, “How about you? Did you make any resolutions?”

Hobbes has this flabbergasted look on his face and says, “Well, I had resolved to be less offended by human nature, but I think I blew it already.”

One of the things I have loved learning and doing thru the 43+ years of ministry is writing. I am not very good at it, but I love to share good information, experiences and spiritual thought with those who follow and read what I write. One of the things I have learned through these years is that you can’t start writing a new chapter until you have finished the previous one. God can’t start a new a work in and through you until He has finished the previous or last work within you. God has new and great things ahead in the next chapters of your life and my life lived for Him. Sometimes, we have to understand and accept, God is wanting to close out the last chapter so He can do a new thing in a new chapter of life in you, with you and through you. Isaiah 43:18-19 (KJV) 18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

One sermon is preached, and another can be started. Sometimes when I start putting a sermon or a Pastor’s Pen or even a Bible study together and I open up the computer and there is that blank page I find it hard to start. I will often think about what has been on this screen last. And at times, the blank screen can be a bit intimidating. It is almost as if the unknown of what might come to the page is terrifying. So, how do we close one chapter and allow God to start writing a new one in our lives? Well, that is what I want t share with us in this Pastor’s Pen.

I would like to first off remind you that our Lord is faithful in making the new reveal itself in your life. He is the author and giver of a renewed spirit and can put a song of praise on our lips. Psalm 40:3 (KJV) 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. The Lord also makes new ways where there seems to be no way, even in the wilderness. But allow God to close one chapter and start a new one in our lives is our privilege and responsibility. The Lord is still creating new unseen opportunities and giving fresh starts every day.

I read an article online the other day, http://www.marcandangel.com/2016/04/17/10-quotes-for-turning-an-ending-into-a-new-beginning/ That shared 10 quotes to help one start a new chapter with strength, conviction and a mindful peace. Here are those 10 quotes.

1. When life does not go as planned, breathe and remember that life’s richness often comes from its unpredictability.
2. Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that things will never go back to how they used to be, and that this ending is really a new beginning.
3. One of the most peaceful mindsets ever begins the moment you finally find the courage to let go of what you can’t change. It is what it is. Accept it, learn from it and move on. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done; what matters is what you choose to do from here. (Read Loving What Is.)
4. The secret to getting ahead is to focus your energy not on fixing and fighting yesterday, but on building and growing something new right now.
5. Even if you have a good reason to be angry and resentful about what happened, don’t. Channel your energy into thoughts and actions that actually benefit your life today. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
6. Your world can be an entirely different place than the world you lived in just a few moments ago, once your attitude toward it changes.
7. The situation does not determine your response. YOU determine your response. Take a moment now to pause and remember who you truly are. Take time to reflect on the things that have real and lasting meaning in your life.
8. Life doesn’t owe you anything else, because you already have everything you need. But you do owe yourself the courtesy of making the best of it.
9. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t waste your time wishing for a “better” starting point. Instead, make use of the real and present starting point you have, and get going. (Angel and I build proven, “procrastination-busting” rituals with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy.)
10. Be humble. Be teachable. The world is bigger than your view of the world. There’s always room for a new idea, a new step… a new beginning.

And remember, there are three little words that can release you from your past struggles and guide you forward. These words are: “From now on…” You can write that page or chapter to completion in many ways. Here is some godly suggestions…

CHANGE YOUR FOCUS — QUIT LOOKING BEHIND START LOOKING HEAD v.18 So, first, forget the former things.

If you are continually looking behind, you can’t see where you are going. If you are ever going to move on to new things in Christ, you must learn that;

First, You Cannot Depend Upon Past Victories To Sustain You

The question isn’t what has God done –the question must be: What is God doing in your life right now?

What is it that you want Him to do in your life right now?

Secondly, in order to Close the old chapter and start a new one in Christ you must know that; You Cannot Allow Your Past Failures to Possess You…. do not dwell on the past.

The children of Israel had failed God miserably. Every time He blessed them with good things, they returned to Him evil things:

God gave them the Temple – they gave Him idol worship
God gave them truth – they lived and proclaimed a lie
God gave them His commands – they lived like they were suggestions.
God gave them wealth – they used it to abuse the poor
God gave them Himself – they gave Him nothing except rejection.
The children of Israel did not deserve to receive anything from God. Yet He still loved them and He earnestly wanted to help them change. Notice God’s Message:
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
God was not condemning them for their past, they couldn’t do anything to change it. Instead God was holding out the hand of hope. He is in effect saying: Forget about your past — I am giving you an opportunity to start over.

Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

If you are going to get anywhere in your spiritual new chapter of life you must understand that… You Cannot Live on Yesterday’s Faith

The children of Israel had experienced great spiritual blessings throughout their history. From the first Passover, to the crossing of the Red Sea, to the conquering of the Land of Canaan, to the building of the temple, the children of Israel had seen the hand of God at work in and through their lives. Yet their faith in what God had done was doing nothing to deliver them from their present situation. Their old faith was not sufficient enough to deliver them from their present problems. They needed new faith, a new vision for what God could do. They needed a new portion of the faith that had brought to pass all the victories from before.

Psalm 85:6-8a Will You not revive us again, That Your people may re-joice in You? Show us Your mercy, Lord, And grant us Your salvation. I will hear what God the Lord will speak,

II. The 2nd step to starting a new chapter is realizing that what God wants to do in your life is to; CLARIFY YOUR FOCUS — DISCOVER WHAT GOD WANTS FOR YOU. Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

Perceive means to know by seeing; care, recognition, acknowledge, aware of, understand.

What do you see when the Lord turns the page to start a new chapter in your life? Do you see possibilities or problems? Notice what God said:

I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
The children of Israel had a choice. They could view their past and the problems of their present, or they could focus upon what God wanted to do in their lives.
In order to discover what God wants next for you, … You Must See Yourself as God Sees You.
This very day, you may feel like your past has made your life a wasteland but in God, your life can become a stream of life.

Romans 8:1,2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Colossians 1:21,22 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight

In order to discover what God wants next for you, … you Must See Your Possibilities as God Sees Them
“I” am making a way in the desert …

God is able to transform the desert areas of your life into fields of blessing and abundance. God can take a dried-up useless life, group of people or even a church and transform it into one of purpose and grace:

Ok now, the greatest step to embracing the new Chapter God wants to write in your life is to

III. COMMIT YOURSELF TO GOD’S PLAN

God had already set into motion the events and people who would lead Israel out of captivity and back into the land of blessing. But it was still up to them to decide if they wanted what God was offering. If they refused God’s plan, if they refused to follow God’s man and where God was leading, then they would be doomed to remain in their captivity.

The text says: “I” am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

God has already set into motion a new direction and a new purpose for your life — will you follow Him?

Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Psalms 95:7,8 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, …

What about it? Are you excited even a LITTLE BIT THAT God, the creator of the universe is interested in doing a new thing in and through you? Some adults and churches have given up on finding Gods plan for them. Some may say, “Pastor Rick, I have messed up in my; life and God can’t use me anymore.” Others may just feel like they are chasing the wrong dream in their life. Why not seek Gods direction for your life and when He points to you and says, “I want to write a new chapter, GO WITH IT!

As I have resigned from Henards Chapel Missionary Church after these just over eleven and a half years, I remember all the good times, the many souls saved, the spiritual services we have had, the many, many baptisms, and the work done in this community and I am encouraged. And, I am extremely excited to see what God does in the new chapter of mine and my family’s life as well as the life and ministry of Henards Chapel Missionary Baptist church.

What’s one of the best times for figuring out who you are and what you truly want?
Right after a chapter of your life comes to an end.

And every chapter in life has to come to an end sometime. It’s important to acknowledge and accept this – to walk away and carry onward sensibly when something has reached its conclusion.

Closing the door, turning the page, moving on, etc. It doesn’t matter what you call it – what matters is that you leave the past where it belongs so you can make the best of the life that’s still available to be lived. This ending you’ve experienced is not THE END, it’s just your life beginning again in a new way. It’s a point in your story where one chapter transitions into the next.

Until next week, Love and prayers,

Pastor Rick Signature

Bible Quest

BibleQuest

 

Since I have resigned from Henards Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, and this is a ministry I was doing there, I will not be including any further Bible Quest Questions.

 

Church Phone: 423-272-7676
Church Email: hcbcoffice@bellsouth.com
Let us know if you have questions or if you made a decision for Christ.

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Building Blocks Of The Home, Who Is Building You Family Home?

THE PASTOR’s PEN February 24, 2019
ThePastorsPen
Dear Church Family and Friends,
THERE IS A WORD THAT IS USED TO DESCRIBE THE BROKEN AND SHATTERED HOMES OF TODAY. THAT WORD IS DYSFUNCTIONAL. IF YOU LISTEN CLOSELY YOU WILL HEAR PEOPLE TALK ABOUT DYSFUNCTIONAL HOMES OR DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILIES. THIS LEAVE THE IMPRESSION THAT THERE ARE HOMES THAT ARE FULLY FUNCTIONAL. THERE HAS ONLY BEEN ONE FULLY FUNCTIONAL HOME IN THE HISTORY OF MAN KIND. THAT HOME WAS ADAM AND EVE’S HOME PRIOR TO THEIR SINFUL DISOBEDIENCE. THEY WERE CREATED AND PLACED IN A PERFECT ENVIRONMENT. EVERYTHING ABOUT THEM WAS PERFECT IN THE BEGINNING. THEN SIN CAME AND IT HAS NEVER BEEN THE SAME SINCE. TO SAY THAT OUR HOMES NEED SOME IMPROVEMENT IS TO SAY THAT EVERYTHING IS NOT WHAT IT SHOULD BE. WHEN IT COME TO REMODELING A HOUSE THERE ARE FOUR THINGS WE NEED TO REMEMBER.
1. IT TAKES LONGER THAN YOU PLANNED.
2. IT COST MORE THAN YOU FIGURED.
3. IT IS MESSIER THAN YOU ANTICIPATED.
4. IT REQUIRES GREATER DETERMINATION AND MORE PATIENTS THAN YOU EXPECTED.
THIS IS TRUE OF YOUR HOME LIFE AND FAMILY AS WELL. YOU MAKE PLANS TO IMPROVE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR SPOUSE AND CHILDREN. IN THE BEGINNING EVERYTHING GOES WELL, BUT THEN SOMEWHERE IN THE PROCESS, YOU REALIZE:
1. IT TAKES LONGER THAN YOU PLANNED.
2. IT COST MORE THAN YOU FIGURED.
3. IT IS MESSIER THAN YOU ANTICIPATED.
4. IT REQUIRES GREATER DETERMINATION AND MORE PATIENTS THAN YOU EXPECTED.
IT’S NOT EASY, BUT WITH THE HELP OF GOD IT CAN BE DONE AND IT WILL BE WORTH IT.
A STRONG HOME LIFE BEGINS WITH A STRONG MARRIED LIFE.
HOW MANY OF YOU HAD A SHOT GUN WEDDING? IN OTHER WORDS, YOU WERE FORCED TO MARRY THE PERSON YOU MARRIED. FACT IS MARRIAGE IS A FREEDOM OF CHOICE. IF YOU ARE MARRIED YOU FREELY CHOSE TO MARRY THE PERSON YOU MARRIED. YOU KNEW OR SHOULD HAVE KNOWN WHAT YOU WERE GETTING INTO WHEN YOU MARRIED THAT PERSON. IF YOU ARE NOT MARRIED BUT YOU ARE MAKING PLANS TO GET MARRIED, KNOW THIS, WHO YOU MARRY IS YOUR CHOICE. YOU NEED TO KNOW THE PERSON YOU ARE MARRYING. YOU SHOULD NEVER MARRY SOMEONE HOPING TO CHANGE WHO THEY ARE. I HEARD RECENTLY, “MARRIAGE IS LIKE TAKING A HOT BATH, WHEN YOU FIRST GET IN IT IS SO WONDERFUL, BUT IT SOON BECOMES LUKEWARM AT BEST.” THAT IS A SAD COMMENTARY ON MARRIAGE AND HOME LIFE. ONLY GOD CAN CHANGE A PERSON. HOME IMPROVEMENT WILL NEVER OCCUR APART FROM GOD. THERE IS MORE TO A HOME THAN THE HOUSE YOU LIVE IN OR THE CAR YOU DRIVE OR THE AMOUNT OF MONEY YOU MAKE. YOU CAN HAVE ALL THIS WORLDS GOODS AND NEVER REALLY HAVE A HOME. A HOME IS A PLACE WERE A FAMILY LIVES TOGETHER IN FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD AND EACH OTHER. HOME IMPROVEMENT BEGINS WITH US IMPROVING OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. HOME IMPROVEMENT BEGINS WITH GOD. THE BIBLE SAYS THAT, ” EXCEPT THE LORD BUILD THE HOUSE, ( HOME ) THEY LABOR IN VAIN THAT BUILD IT. THIS SCRIPTURE REVEALS THAT WE ARE DEPENDENT ON GOD TO BUILD STRONG HOMES. ALL OF US MAKE MISTAKES IN OUR HOME LIVES. WHEN WE DO WE NEED TO GO TO GOD FOR OUR GUIDANCE AND DIRECTIONS. WE NEED HIM TO HELP US TO CLEAN UP THE MESS THAT WE MADE.
Allow God to build your home and then it will stand the storms that come against it.
GOD IS ACTIVE IN HELPING US TO BUILD STRONGER AND BETTER HOMES. LET’S LOOK AT FOUR ACTIVITIES IN WHICH GOD IS INVOLVED IN.
I. BUILDING THE HOUSE.
Psalm 127:1 Except the Lord Build the House, they labor in vain that build it.
YOU NEED A FOUNDATION, WALLS AND A ROOF.
LUKE 6:47-49
A. STABILITY
B. SECURITY
C. SERENITY
All around us we see the results of the breakdown of the family. From the drive-by shootings to moral collapse of the White House. Many of the problems stem from moms and dads that do not take their roles as parents seriously.
Warren Wiersbe writes, “It seems no matter where we look in modern society, we see antagonism, division, and rebellion. Husbands and wives are divorcing each other; children are rebelling against their parents, and employers and employees are seeking for new ways to avoid strikes and keep the machinery of industry running productively. We have tried education, legislation, and every other approach, but nothing seems to work. Paul’s solution to antagonisms in the home and in society was REGENERATION, a new heart from God and a new submission to Christ and to one another. God’s great program is to ’gather together in one all things in Christ.’ Paul indicated that this spiritual harmony begins in the lives of Christians who are submitted to the Lordship of Christ” (Be Wise, p.149).
Christian families are to be different, “set apart” from the world. What unbelievers want to know is “Does Christianity work?” If our faith won’t work at home it won’t work anywhere. Parents, you may not be able to do anything about our national dilemmas, but you can do something about your family, your children.
Marriages and families in our time tend to be war zones and disaster areas. Homes aren’t havens. There is no peace and joy and contentment and bliss. Rather conflict, intimidation, and separation.
II. GUARDING THE HOUSE
Psalm 127:1b Except the Lord keep (guard) the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. (Ps. 62:1-2)
A. ATTACKS FROM THE OUT SIDE.
B. ATTACKS FROM THE INSIDE.
III. PROVIDES FOR THE HOUSE.
Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so giveth His Beloved sleep.
This scripture does not promote laziness. It is a rebuke to the workaholic.
“Daddy, how much do you make an hour?” With a timid voice and idolizing eyes, the little boy greeted his father as he returned from work.
Greatly surprised, but giving his boy a glaring look, the father said, “Look, Sonny, not even your mother knows that. Don’t bother me now. I’m tired.”
“But Daddy, just tell me please! How much do you make an hour,” the boy insisted?
The father, finally giving up, replied: “Ten dollars per hour.”
“Okay, Daddy. Could you lend me two dollars?” the boy asked.
Angry with his son’s constant pestering, he said, “Go to sleep and don’t bother me anymore.”
It was already dark, and the father was feeling guilty for what he said. Maybe, he thought, his son needed to buy something for school. Finally, trying to ease his mind. The father went to his son’s room. “Are you asleep, son?” asked the father.
“No, Daddy. Why?” replied the boy, partially a sleep. “Here’s the money you asked for earlier,” the father said.
“Thanks, Daddy!” rejoiced the son, while putting his hand under his pillow and removing some money. “Now I have enough! Now I have ten dollars!” The father gazed at his son, confused by the meaning of what he had just said, when the boy continued, “Daddy, could you sell me one hour of your time, please?”
To often today the parents are so busy trying to make a living for the family that they forget about the family as a whole. There are times that we need to push our busy schedule aside and make time to spend with each other. I know parents that work 6 to 7 days a week, anywhere from 8 – 12 hours a day. They never have time for the other members of the family. We may work ourselves to death in order to buy our family all the earthly goods this world has to offer. There are some things that money can’t buy. Let’s look at some of the things that money can’t buy.
A. Money Can’t Buy Love
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we where yet sinners, Christ died for us.
I want you to look at the word sinners. The word sin means to miss the mark, therefore a sinner is anyone who misses the mark. There will be times that some of us will miss the mark in our home. We may not all ways do what our spouse or children want or like. Nor will they always do the things that I like or please me. As I said in last weeks message. There will be times that we say things and do things that we don’t mean. Things that hurt and wound. Love says I will keep on loving you anyway. Nothing you say or do will ever keep me from loving you.
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Love is more than a feeling. Love is a choice and action. There will be time when you will feel like you don’t love your spouse and sometime even your children. But we do.
Our families need love. We need to spend time nurturing unconditional love. I have been told more than once by children that they have everything that money can by. They told me that they would trade all of it just to be loved.
B. Money Can’t Buy Acceptance
Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.
All of us want to be accepted. When we feel that we are being rejected and pushed to the side it hurts. We feel unwanted and unloved. We feel like no one cares for us. When we are accepted, we since of belonging. I am a part of something that accepts me, loves me and cares for me.
C. Money Can’t Buy Support or Encouragement
John 14:16&18 And I will pray the Father, and He shall Give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever. 18. I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.
All of us at some time or another need the loving support of family member. Someone that we can go to with our problems. Someone I can share my pain with, without being criticized. Someone that will lend us a shoulder to lean on or cry on if necessary.
D. Money Can’t Buy Forgiveness
Ephesian 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tender- hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Forgiveness is something that we all need. If we stay together long enough we will do something that will hurt or offend one another at times.
God gives us all of these things. God gives us love, acceptance, support, encouragement, and forgiveness. If we will trust God and rely upon Him, He will give us the strength and courage to give all of this to our families. When we give and receive love, acceptance, support, encouragement, and forgiveness, our homes will have stability, Security and serenity.
IV. HERITAGE FOR THE HOUSE.
Psalm 127:3-4 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate
God give us children to bring joy, happiness and laughter into our lives. I remember when my child were born, It was a day of great joy. Over the years she has brought a lot of happiness and laughter to our home. However, over the years as children begin to grow they can be the source of great pain and heartache. Many times, it is because we as parents have failed to raise and train our children properly. We were either to strict or to easy on them. When one parent tries to discipline the child the other parent steps in and takes up for the child. If you disagree with the way your spouse is disciplining the child take it up with him/her in private, not in front of the children. Some parents however refuse to discipline their children at all. I believe that we as parents are mostly responsible for how our children turn out in life. We need to nuttier and develop our children in a Godly and biblical manner.
Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and Man.
This scripture reveals four areas in which children need to develop. Luke 2:52, “Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, favor with God and man.”
Wisdom, that’s mentally.Stature, that’s physically.
Favor with God, that’s spiritually.
And man, that’s socially.
Mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially, these are the four areas in which children need development. When they come into the world they are undeveloped. It is up to you and I as parents to develop our children in these four areas. If we don’t they will never reach their full potential.
A. In order to grow mentally our children need instructions and guidelines on how to live their lives.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
B. In order for our children to grow in stature, They Need to know that their bodies are the Temple of God.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
C. For our children to grow in Spiritually They need to learn to live in a way that is pleasing to God.
Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
They are not going to do this if they are not developing a relationship with God through Worship, Prayer and bible study.
D. For our children to grow Socially They need to learn to respect others.
Eph. 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
If our children don’t honor and respect their parents, they will not honor and respect anyone else.
Conclusion:
Who is building your Home? Is it you or God? If God is not building your home then all of your work is in vain. We cannot properly care For and provide for our home without God being in it.
Let me tell you a story in closing: An extra-large man stepped onto a public scale. He did not know that the scale was out of order. He put in his money and the indicator went up to 75 pounds. As he stood there on the scale a little boy and his mother walked by. The young boy seeing the scale looked up at his mom and said, ” Look, mom! That man is hollow or as we would say is empty. ”
Hollow is a word that unfortunately describes many homes in our world today. Maybe that is the way you fill your home is. Is your home hollow? Is it empty? Well today God can build and fill your empty home if you will ask Him to.
Until next week, Love and prayers,

Pastor Rick Signature

BibleQuestBible Quest
I hope you are participating this year. You will have fun and learn a lot of interesting things about the Bible. The reward this year will be a $100 gift card from Lifeway Stores again.
To qualify for the prize, you must write the question, give the correct answer and provide the scripture reference which supports your answer.
32. What was Daniel’s Babylonian name?
33. To what did Naomi want to change her name?
34. Who is described in Hebrews as the “author and finisher of our faith”?
35. When Solomon built the temple, what did he name Jachin and Boaz?
36. What judge’s other name was Jerubbaal?
Church Phone: 423-272-7676
Church Email: hcbcoffice@bellsouth.com
Email: rev_rick_7@hotmail.com
Let us know if you have questions or if you made a decision for Christ.

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VALENTINE’S DAY – Love It / Hate It?

THE PASTOR’s PEN February 17, 2019
ThePastorsPen
Dear Church Family and Friends,

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God loves us so much and because He first loved us, we love Him. We had a great time this past Wednesday night during our Who’s Your One Valentine’s Day Fellowship. I saw several folks I had not seen for a while and several were missing we usually see.

When it comes to Valentine’s Day there seems to be two camps of people who express their feelings. There are those who love it, and those who hate it. Where do you fall on the spectrum?

Some are in love and the thoughts of having a special day to renew their expression of their love for someone or something is a grand opportunity. The merchants sure like it, they make a fortune on cards, candy and flowers. People are uplifted and encourage to be reminded of the continuing and growing love someone has for them. Other however, do not share the enthusiasm of Valentine’s Day. It maybe because of being single, the recent loss of a spouse through death, maybe divorce or a bad breakup of a budding relationship. But have you ever thought of the benefits of being single?

There are actually some exceptional benefit or value to being single. When Paul was writing to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 7:25-40, he addressed a burning question in the minds of some of the people there, “Should I get married?”

Singleness can be a frustrating experience, especially as you get older.

One contemporary American Philosopher and poet named Beyoncé expressed this frustration when she said: “Cause if you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it. If you liked it, then you shoulda put a ring on it. All the Single ladies. All the single ladies oh oh oh oh oh oh…” If you don’t know who Beyoncé is, that is a good thing. I’m happy for you! But there is much to say about the experience of being single.

As you grow up You see some friends get married right out of high school and you say ”good for them! Not for me quite yet!” Then you graduate a university, where dating is thoroughly engrained in the culture. You don’t give or receive that ”ring by spring” of your final semester and you watch as more of your friends get married in their early twenties right out of college.

For some this is a deplorable experience Yet still you are young. You don’t want to be burdened with a husband or a wife. You want to travel!!

As time goes on you get a job, you work for a number of years and you see more of your friends getting married, having kids buying homes. You’re even surprised when you hear of certain people getting married- ” you mean so and so married him???? I thought for sure I would be married before her!” And you begin to feel this frustration. Maybe it’s loneliness. Or maybe you feel that you haven’t really started your adult life yet because you are maintaining this awkward stage of transition. As you get older it seems that all of your acquaintances your own age are married. The single peers you have are much younger than you and you may find it difficult to find your place among work associates, community and yes, even church. Where do singles fit it in this biblical and ecclesiological context of the church and the family??

Thankfully, the Bible is not silent in this matter. Jesus himself was a single man. The apostle Paul was a single man and he writes to a church in Corinth who had asked him a number of questions about marriage and sexuality and one of those questions was, should I get married? And Paul gives them an answer in the passage we mentioned at the beginning. And the answer is not no you shouldn’t or yes you should. The answer is really more of a question: In what state can I better serve Christ?

Which brings us to this theological and Christian thought, “Whether married or single, Christ must be my greatest priority.”

Now we know that marriage has some great benefits:
Marriage is not merely a cure for loneliness, but it is the closest and most profound human relationship there is. In Christian marriage it is a demonstration of the Gospel as a husband sacrificially loves his wife and the wife submits to the husband. And it is a significant means of sanctification. Marriage is a powerful vehicle by which God refines us and makes us more holy.

And in speaking so highly of this holy and wonderful institution we don’t want to forget about single men and women. Some are called to be single for our entire lives. Some of you are bachelors till the Rapture. Some are called to be single for different seasons in our lives. Some of you have never been married and some have become unexpectedly single because your spouse has passed away. Perhaps you feel deficient, that you are incomplete without a spouse, that you can’t live for Christ to the fullest without being married, as if singles were second class Christians. Certainly, people are pushing marriage, sometimes too hard. People seem to live to get married. That’s their main goal in life.

But let me suggest that if you are not satisfied in your singleness you will not be satisfied in your marriage. Marriage is not a cure to singleness. Marriage is just a different state of being. And as Paul says, “In whatever state I am in I have learned to be content.”

And, there is exceptional value in singleness. You are not second-rate Christians. There are things singles can do and risks they can take that married people never can do. There are 3 reasons why you should value your time as a single person and use it for the glory of Christ. (Incidentally, I’m not just talking about the supposed gift of singleness. This is for anyone who is single)

First Paul gives us an introduction (v.25): ”Now concerning the betrothed. ” What does he mean by betrothed? We’re not in this Elizabethan era where we have arranged marriages and betrothals, so this sounds very unusual to us. Betrothal was Jewish custom like our engagement. But it was binding. People get engaged and disengaged all the time, but betrothal was not like this. It was binding thing, often arranged by the parents.

So, Paul is speaking of pure unmarried people. And his question is, is it best for them to get married? And before he answers this question, he says that it’s his opinion. Jesus never talked about it. He has no command from the Lord. This is his best judgment as far as he interprets the scripture. And because 1 Corinthians is scripture, his words are true. So, he answers this question by saying that sometimes singleness is best, there is exceptional value to it.

Why is singleness valuable?

I. Singleness is less troublesome (vv. 25-28)
There are these tensions that exist between the material and the spiritual world. He’s basically saying there is difficulty in life for a Christian. Here, he’s talking about the great persecution that Christians faced. And the persecution he’s talking about is not that people will ruin your business if you do not bake a gay wedding cake. He’s talking about violent persecution and torture- the daily threat of being killed for one’s faith.

If you have a family during a time of persecution your sense of constant fear is exponentially greater. Because you are not just worrying about your own safety. You have even greater concern for your family.

Can you imagine if we had to worry about our kids or spouses being violently taken from us- or worse- during a time of persecution. One’s sense of sorrow, anxiety, and loss would be so much greater with a family.

That’s what Paul is saying. If you are single during this present distress it is better for you to stay that way.

Now let’s say you are a married Corinthian believer, you receive this letter from Paul, maybe your marriage isn’t going so well. You say well, maybe I should get divorced! This could be a solution to my problem. Maybe you are sitting there right now thinking, my husband doesn’t care about spiritual things. Maybe I should leave him. I can serve God better as a single person. But Paul sees this coming and he answers it in v 27.

America may not always be so peaceful for Christians. The bible predicts massive persecution as the coming of Christ draws near. This generation has been blessed, but it may not always be this way.

Paul is simply making this point: Singleness is not bad. In fact, it’s a really good thing in light of the coming persecution. If you like a warzone. Get married.

The point is though that not getting married would spare you a lot of trouble and pain. That’s why Paul says in v 28…if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. SO, if you want to get married, Go ahead! There’s no command not to get married.

II. Singleness encourages an eternal Focus (marriage is temporary (vv. 29-31)

There are a couple phrases in here that I would like to point out.

1. The time has grown very short. Life is a vapor. Christ will be returning.
So, time becomes a factor in many of our decisions and so it is in the decision of marriage. There is a crisis and time is short.

2 The present form (schema- the fickle, changing, outward shape) of the world is passing away.

The world it temporary. It is folly for us to act as if the world is permanent.
Marriage is part of a system that will pass away. Marriage is not eternal. Paul is just saying marriage, weeping, earthly rejoicing, buying, worldly pleasure, all a part of the passing scene. It doesn’t mean we should not value these things.

III. Singleness enables an undivided devotion (vv. 32-35)
The key word here is anxious or concerned. It occurs 6 times in this paragraph. So, the married man is anxious or concerned about his wife.

He says I say this for your own benefit. A married person has divided interests. He is rightfully concerned about his wife and he must also be concerned about his walk with Christ. Unmarried people have one set of cares. Married people are concerned about pleasing their spouse, raising their kids, and everything that goes with it. But if you are singe you are free to pursue undistracted devotion to the Lord.

Paul has told us what he wanted to say. Singleness is less troublesome and burdensome than marriage, it encourages an eternal focus, and it enables undivided devotion and now he’s going to apply what he just said. What does it actually look like in two particular situations? And ultimately, his main point is that you need to do is to be adaptable.

Singleness and marriage is not a one size fits all situation. it’s a personal choice that depends on many different things- one of which is the historical context of persecution.

It also depends on who you are as a person,
The main point is that we need to be adaptable.

Very simple. Marriage is for life. If you spouse dies you can marry again in the Lord. if you’re convinced that person would help u bring glory to god then do it. god gives us choices. But he says again, singleness might be better.

Ultimately though it’s up to us. There is not a right and wrong answer for everyone. His point is to be adaptable.

The other situation is in v36-38 This one is much more difficult to interpret.

At surface value seems pretty straightforward, right? You have a single man. He’s having difficulty controlling his desires towards his betrothed, let him marry. However, if he can control his desires, in light of the present context, abstaining from marriage is better.
There were fathers who so valued the gift of singleness that some would devote their daughters to the Lord but when they came to a marriageable age, some of the daughters would have a great desire to be married. So, the fathers were in a difficult position.

Paul’s counsel here was if she wants to marry, let her marry, but if you’re convinced that you want to do this, then you will do well.

So, which one is it? Are we talking about a father keeping his virgin daughter or a finance’  and his betrothed? It’s one of the most difficult passages of Scripture to translate. it really gets into the nitty gritty of the Greek.

A couple things to keep in mind

The word translated ”betrothed” by the ESV and ”Virgin daughter” in the NASB is the word Parthenon, which literally means virgin or young unmarried woman. The word daughter does not occur in the original text. If you have a NASB or a KJV it will be italicized, meaning that the translators thought it was implied in the Greek and should, therefore, be written out in the English. Same goes for betrothed. The ESV translators thought that the world betrothed is implied behind the word virgin because we’re talking about a woman engaged to be married.

Secondly, the word uperakmos v 36. It is the only time this word is recorded in the NT. In the NASB, it is translated ”past her youth” speaking of the virgin daughter. ESV- ”strong passioned.” speaking of the man’s feelings towards his betrothed. Literally, it means ”over the top”. Either it’s the finance or the virgin daughter. So, we don’t know who the subject of this adjective is.

in verse 38, the translation of the verb ”marry” or gives in marriage” is significant. it says in The NASB he who gives his own daughter in marriage does well. ESV He who marries his betrothed does well. This verb occurs 7 times in the NT and every other time it is interpreted as ”given in marriage:

At the end of v 36. ESV ”Let them marry” NASB ”let her marry.” In Greek the verb is plural so literally it is ”Let them marry.”

So, what do we conclude? I conclude that we need to be adaptable, whether it’s a dad or a fiancé, we need to be adaptable. there will be times where singleness is best, but if they choose to get married, they don’t sin, so let them get married. We are not talking one size fits all kind of situation. It depends on the historical situation and your conscience.

So what’s the point of this text? If you want to be single, be single. If you can control your desires and you want to devote more energy to the lord, you will glorify Christ. This life is merely a vapor. It’s short like the steam that comes off your cup of coffee. We need to place all of our energy and efforts into living for Christ. If you are satisfied to remain single and can live in purity, do it and serve Christ.

All that said, marriage is a wonderful thing and singleness isn’t for everyone. Marriage is a means by which God grows us, sanctifies us. It’s a gift from God. Yet we realize that it has some liabilities. It divides our interests, it can burden us (not in a bad way), and it is a temporal thing.

So, if you are a Christian and you are single, you have the gift of singleness right now.
What are you going to do with it? Instead of spending you time on entertainment, playing video games, excessively socializing, or building your bank account, use your time to serve Christ.

Until next week, Love and prayers,

Pastor Rick Signature

BibleQuestBible Quest
I hope you are participating this year. You will have fun and learn a lot of interesting things about the Bible. The reward this year will be a $100 gift card from Lifeway Stores again.
To qualify for the prize, you must write the question, give the correct answer and provide the scripture reference which supports your answer.
27. Who was the first recorded Christian martyr?
28. What relative of the late King Saul cursed King David—even throwing dirt on him during Absalom’s rebellion?
29. Whom did the people of Lystra insist that Paul and Barnabas were?
30. To whom were the elders referring when, to Boaz, they said Ruth should be as fertile as the two who built the house of Israel?
31. Who stole treasure from the devastated city of Jericho—and paid for his sin with his life?

Church Phone: 423-272-7676
Church Email: hcbcoffice@bellsouth.com
Email: rev_rick_7@hotmail.com
Let us know if you have questions or if you made a decision for Christ.

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Are We Simply A Church On A Hill or Are We A Church On Mission?

THE PASTOR’s PEN February 10, 2019

ThePastorsPen

Dear Church Family and Friends,

I am firmly convinced that we are a church with the greatest potential, resources and opportunity in this entire association of churches. But there is a question that keeps coming to my mind. Are We Simply A Church On A Hill or Are We A Church On Mission?

I guess to answer that question we need to understand what a missional church is. Missional represents a significant shift in the way one thinks about the church. Being missional means we should engage the world the same way Jesus did—by going out rather than just reaching out. Missional means that when a church is on mission, it is then the true church. “Missional” or “missional living” is a Christian term that in essence describes a missionary lifestyle. Being missional includes embracing the posture, the thinking, behaviors, and practices of a missionary in order to reach others with the message of the gospel. The term “missional” gained its popularity towards the end of the 20th century with the influence of Tim Keller, Alan Hirsch, and others, as well as the Gospel and Our Culture Network. Their basic premise is that all Christians should be involved in the Great Commission of Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20).

Essentially, the idea of being missional teaches that the church has a mission because Jesus had a mission. We call ourselves a “Missionary Baptist Church.” Does that mean we only give money to help support missionaries or does it mean we are a church made up of missionaries?

Being on mission is more than social justice. Engaging the poor and correcting inequalities is part of being God’s agent in the world but should not be confused with the whole. We like many churches have a mission statement and talk about the importance of having a mission, where churches on mission differ is in their attitude toward the world. A church on mission sees the mission as both its originating impulse and its organizing principle. It is patterned after what God has done in Jesus Christ, that is, to be missional means to be sent into the world; not to expect people to come to us.

According to Dave DeVries, author of “Missional Transformation: Fueling Missionary Movements that Transform America,” there are five biblical distinctives that form the foundation of a missional perspective and a church on mission:

• The Church is sent by Jesus Christ (John 17:18; 20:21, Luke 9:2; Matthew 28: 19–20; Acts 1:8)
• The Church is sent with the Cross (1 Corinthians 1:18, Ephesians 2:16, Colossians 2:14, 1 Peter 2:24, 2 Corinthians 5:17–24)
• The Church is sent in Community (Acts 2:42–47; 5:42; John 13:34–35; 1 John 3:16–17)
• The Church is sent to every Culture (John 1:14; Matthew 20:28; Acts 17:22–34; Luke 5:29)
• The Church is sent for the King and His Kingdom (Matthew 10:7; 25:34; Luke 4:43; Revelation 11:15–17; Jeremiah 10:7; John 18:36)

Churches that are on mission are going not just waiting to attract people to them. In fact, churches that are just waiting to attract people to them are loosing people. For example, I read an article this week. It stated “Church pews may be full of teenagers, but a new study says college students might be a much rarer sight on Sunday mornings.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of American young adults who attended a Protestant church regularly for at least a year as a teenager say they also dropped out for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research. Thirty-four percent say they continued to attend twice a month or more.
While the 66 percent may be troubling for many church leaders, the numbers may appear more hopeful when compared to a 2007 study from LifeWay Research.

Previously, 70 percent of 18- to 22-year-olds left church for at least one year.”
The dropout rate for young adults accelerates with age, the study found. While 69 percent say they were attending at age 17, that fell to 58 percent at age 18 and 40 percent at age 19. Once they reach their 20s, around 1 in 3 say they were attending church regularly.

“As those teenagers reach their late teen years, even those with a history of regular church attendance are pulled away as they get increased independence, a driver’s license or a job. The question becomes: Will they become like older adults who have all those things and still attend or will students choose to stay away?”

Virtually all of those who dropped out (96 percent) listed a change in their life situation as a reason for their dropping out. The five most frequently chosen specific reasons for dropping out were: moving to college and no longer attending (34 percent); church members seeming judgmental or hypocritical (32 percent); no longer feeling connected to people in their church (29 percent); disagreeing with the church’s stance on political or social issues (25 percent); and work responsibilities (24 percent).

Not all teenagers leave church as a young adult. A third (34 percent) say they consistently attended twice a month or more through the age of 22.

Those who stayed saw the church as an important part of their entire life. When asked why they stayed in church, more than half say the church was a vital part of their relationship with God (56 percent) and that they wanted the church to help guide their decisions in everyday life (54 percent). They do however want to be part of a church that is involved and on mission.

Let’s pray that the Lord give us a heart for missions like Jesus has. Let’s pray that the Lord give us a love for the lost like He has for the lost. And let’s get on mission!
BibleQuestBible Quest
I hope you are participating this year. You will have fun, and learn a lot of interesting things about the Bible. The reward this year will be a $100 gift card from Lifeway Stores again.

To qualify for the prize, you must write the question, give the correct answer and provide the scripture reference which supports your answer.

22. In Matthew 5, what did Jesus say He came to do to the law and prophets?
23. What does Numbers 32 say will happen if you sin?
24. What does Jesus say keeping God’s commandments is proof of?
25. What did God, through His prophet Samuel, say is “better than sacrifice”?
26. On what two commandments did Jesus say hang all the law and the prophets?

Until next week, Love and prayers,

Pastor Rick Signature

Church Phone: 423-272-7676
Church Email: hcbcoffice@bellsouth.com
Email: rev_rick_7@hotmail.com
Let us know if you have questions or if you made a decision for Christ.

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God Made Us To Be Different!

THE PASTOR’s PEN February 03, 2019
ThePastorsPen
Dear Church Family and Friends,

I am truly excited about the next few Sundays. Over the next few weeks, I will be bringing a series of messages based on the January 2019 Bible Study: Letters To The Seven Churches; Revelation 1-3 You don’t want to miss a single message. These messages will be shared in both the Sunday Morning and Sunday Evening worship services.

You can get your copy of the study guide for the cost of $7.99. Just pay sister Donna Trent and let me know and I will pick up your book.
You can also find a companion Study on Right Now Media entitled Seven Letters To Seven Churches by Michael Fletcher.

https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Content/Series/256364

I hope this series of messages will continue our focus on Being The Church Christ wants us to Be for His Glory! Why not commit to attending and supporting your church more faithfully and invite a friend. You and they will be different as you let God fulfill His plan in you.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)

The first year I attended public school. All I wanted to do was fit in.

Within the first week of school, I started eating lunch with a group who all bought their lunches — pizza and fries from the school cafeteria. I, on the other hand, brought my lunch — a sandwich, apples, and my grandmother’s homemade cookies. They all had girlfriends. I was completely inexperienced in that department. Their language was pretty salty, and the worst words to ever pass my lips until that time were “shut up.” (Sorry Maggie, I hadn’t met you yet to have your help in stopping that.) Despite our differences, I wanted desperately to belong.

Part of the problem was I felt self-conscious about being labeled a “goodie two shoes.” Because so many other students weren’t interested in academic achievements, I didn’t want the not-so-sought-after-label of the “geeky guy.” Did I still want to achieve? Yeah, I did. But did I want to stand out among my peers? Nope. Not for being one of the “smart kids.”

One day I sat down at lunch and opened my lunch box. The others were busy yapping about some teacher they didn’t like. I wanted them to know I thought that teacher was horrible, too. I wanted to join the conversation and figured it would be easier if I sounded like I belonged.

“I know, right?” I agreed. Then I continued to express my disapproval with a string of completely inappropriate expletives.

The table fell silent as six pairs of eyes stared at me, shocked at the foul words that had just fallen out of my mouth. Honestly, I was shocked, too.

Finally, one guy broke the silence.

“Boy, don’t even. You’re not doing it right. Just … don’t.” I felt my face flush with warmth. I had been trying to be someone I wasn’t, and I’d been called out. He was essentially saying: Be you, man. Stop wasting energy trying to be someone you’re not. Focus on being yourself.

Embarrassed as I was, that hard lesson had a lasting impact. It was better to be me than try and be someone else. It was OK to be different.

Often, we ignore, play down or dismiss our own value because we want to belong. We underestimate our worth, completely forgetting that there has never been, nor will there ever be, another person on this earth like us. But by failing to honor what makes us unique, we deny the gift of life God has entrusted us with and the distinctly beautiful person He’s made us to be.

You are more than the 37.2 trillion cells composing what you see in the mirror. You exist beyond the physical. You are an invisible, immaterial essence that’s more wonderfully woven together than anyone will ever know.

According to Genesis 1:26-28, you’re not an accident or an afterthought. You are a divinely created soul, made in the image of a living God.

Embracing the beauty of my differences has honestly been something I’ve had to learn. (Big ears and all.) While I don’t do it perfectly, I’m definitely better at accepting my unique God-given design than I was in school, elementary, high school or even college.
But many struggle to keep their special design in mind. They get ditched by the boy or girl of their dreams, fail the test, get yelled at by adults, snubbed by friends or disgusted by acne. Then these boys and girls become men and women — ashamed of their bulges, discouraged by hard marriages, bored with unfulfilling careers or afraid of being alone. And these boys & girls-turned-men & women are left wondering if they actually matter.
Well, you do matter. We matter because we have the gift of life given by a God who set us apart before we were born. Jeremiah 1:5 tells us God intentionally made us to be different. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

However, we must each choose to embrace our unique design and live serving the God who made us.

Be you! Stop wasting energy trying to be someone you’re not. Focus on being yourself. God made you to be different.

Dear God, I want to live my life in a way that honors You. Forgive me for working hard to blend in when You created me to be different. Show me what You had in mind for my life when You created me. I want to live fully for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Quest

BibleQuest

I hope you are participating this year. You will have fun, and learn a lot of interesting things about the Bible. The reward this year will be a $100 gift card from Lifeway Stores again.
To qualify for the prize, you must write the question, give the correct answer and provide the scripture reference which supports your answer.
17. Who was described as having found grace in the eyes of the Lord?
18. By what other names do we know Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah?
19. What was the potter’s field also known as?
20. What two descriptions of Satan appear in Revelation 12:9?
21. What ruler in Egypt was called Zaphnathpaaneah?

Until next week, Love and prayers,
Pastor Rick Signature
Church Phone: 423-272-7676
Church Email: hcbcoffice@bellsouth.com
Email: rev_rick_7@hotmail.com
Let us know if you have questions or if you made a decision for Christ.

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The Church, Oh Yes Christian You Need The Church!

THE PASTOR’s PEN January 27, 2019
ThePastorsPen
Dear Church Family and Friends,

I have been enjoying preaching on the Church That Jesus Is Building throughout the month of January. It is my prayer that we allow Jesus through the Holy Spirit to develop us into the church He wants us to be. It saddens me as I look around not only our church but churches throughout our association, our state and even our convention and I see declining attendance and a lack of faithful support for the ministries of the church.

It happens to be one of the more popular traps along the journey of faith—the idea that somewhere along the path of righteousness we somehow outgrow our need for the church. Perhaps you’ve met someone who was too busy for the church. Maybe you’ve encouraged someone who thought they were too important for the church. What was once the central aspect of their life has now turned into an occasional hobby. We all need a healthy reminder from time to time that we need the church in all seasons and successes of life.

We Need the Church for Worship—Not Entertainment or Performance

When the early church is pictured in the early pages of Acts (Acts 2:42-47), we see the picture of a worshipping church. Centered around the Word of God, the people responded to God in a life that reverberated with the rhythm of worship. You don’t see people searching for their type of music. You don’t see people using the church for a performance outlet to satisfy their narcissistic appetite to be seen, heard and to perform. You see a people who are gathered to worship the sovereign God who spoke the universe into existence from nothing and rescued them through the blood of Christ. Oftentimes in my experience of church life and ministry I’ve found that less is more. More focus on God and less pragmatism is always a much healthier diet for a church.

We Need the Church for Spiritual Development

In the first letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul explains the calling of the church to live holy and God-exalting lives (1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:12) and to hold one another accountable. Certainly, it must be said that spiritual development in the church also requires a people who are committed to church discipline (see Matthew 18). The Word of God points out that God’s will is never for the Christian to develop spiritually in a vacuum or on a lonely island. Through the community of a local church, God’s people exercise their spiritual giftedness together and it results in spiritual development. Everyone in the church matters! The church is not a building, it’s a people who are called out for God’s glory. It’s impossible to be a part of God’s church without immersing yourself into a local body of Christ followers.

We Need the Church for Christ-Centered Friendship

As we read through Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, we see the need for companionship along the journey of faith. We are not intended to hike our way to the Celestial City alone. Christ has graciously given us fellow pilgrims, and it would be a soul damaging decision to attempt life without Christ-centered friendship. This is true for all members of the church—including the pastors who lead the church. Christian friendship enables us to seek advice, receive accountability, stay grounded in the faith, and spur one another onward to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25). If the people in your church don’t know you, you’re not really a member of the church.

We Need the Church for Biblical Leadership

The self-guided tour of Christianity doesn’t exist. It’s not an option for the true believer. God has sovereignly designed His church with leaders who are called to faithfully shepherd the church (see 1 Peter 5:1-11). Just as it would be utterly foolish for the inexperienced data analyst to leave his cubicle in New York and set out on a self-guided summit of Mount Everest, so it is with those who think they can navigate through this harsh and fallen world without submitting to their pastors. In a day where YouTube and Google serve up whatever recipe or how-to video we can imagine, we must be reminded that God has not called Google or YouTube to serve as your pastors.

We Need the Church for Missions

As Christ was leaving the sod of this earth, He provided some extremely important words to His followers. He said: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).
The Great Commission is not a great suggestion. It’s a command given to us by Christ, but we must likewise remember that it cannot be accomplished alone. Even a lone ranger Christian (which is an oxymoron) cannot accomplish the Great Commission by merely utilizing para-church organizations. If a single Christian is to engage properly in the Great Commission, it must be through the context of a local, tangible, New Testament church.
The church is not an option for some Christians, it’s a mandate for all Christians. To be a Christian involves participation in the local church. Charles Spurgeon once remarked, “Nobody can do as much damage to the church of God as the man who is within its walls, but not within its life.” As we pass through various seasons of life, we must avoid the arrogant and self-dependent ideology of spiritual autonomy. It doesn’t end well. We all need the church. Your friends and family need the church.

Leaving the church because your life is not what it should be should never be the choice nor the option for a true believer. We need to bring our lives in line with God’s Word and be part of His church and the local body of believers.

Over the next few week, Pastor Rick will be bringing a series of messages based on the January 2019 Bible Study: Letters To The Seven Churches; Revelation 1-3 You don’t want to miss a single message.

You can get your copy of the study guide for the cost of $7.99. Just pay sister Donna Trent and let me know and I will pick up your book.

You can also find a companion Study on Right Now Media entitled Seven Letters To Seven Churches by Michael Fletcher.

https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Content/Series/256364

What do we do when the seas of culture become stormy? Sixty years after Jesus’ resurrection, the young Church feared it would founder in the rising waves: idol worship, false teachers, immorality, persecution, and more. In the midst of the storm, Jesus speaks through the pen of the apostle John, with urgent and practical words-words that remain full of application for us today. This seven-session small group study takes us on a voyage into the Book of Revelation, and the Seven Letters to Seven Churches.

I hope this series of messages will continue our focus on Being The Church Christ wants us to Be for His Glory! Why not commit to attending and supporting your church more faithfully and invite a friend.

BibleQuestBible Quest

I hope you are participating this year. You will have fun, and learn a lot of interesting things about the Bible. The reward this year will be a $100 gift card from Lifeway Stores again.
To qualify for the prize, you must write the question, give the correct answer and provide the scripture reference which supports your answer.

13. Who were the “sons of thunder”?
14. By what other name is Passover known?
15. Who was referred to as a skilled player on the harp?
16. Whose description included the fact that he ate locusts and honey?

Until next week, Love and prayers,
Pastor Rick Signature
Church Phone: 423-272-7676
Church Email: hcbcoffice@bellsouth.com
Email: rev_rick_7@hotmail.com
Let us know if you have questions or if you made a decision for Christ.

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The Church, The Body of Christ! & How To Kill It?

THE PASTOR’s PEN January 20, 2019
ThePastorsPen
Dear Church Family and Friends,
The Holy Spirit inspired the scriptural writers to use many different images, metaphors, and figures of speech to communicate divine truths to readers’ hearts and minds. One of the most variegated figures of speech used to describe the nature and function of the church is the body of Christ. In this figure of speech, the inspired writer is declaring that the church is a living organism in which Jesus Christ lives and through which he continues his ministry.

Look at Romans 12:4-5 (KJV) 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. And 1 Corinthians 12:27 (KJV) 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

The church of the New Testament is not a building made of brick, steel, stone, wood, or glass. We have already determined that in last few weeks of our sermon series on The Church Jesus Is Building. The church of the New Testament is not a place or a street address. By using the figure “the body of Christ,” the inspired writer declared that the church is more than an organization made up of people. It is a living organism that was brought into existence by Jesus Christ, and it continues to be such because of the power of his purpose.

In Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, he declared that God “has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22—23 RSV). It is comforting and challenging to recognize that Christ as the head of the church relates himself to and acts in a variety of ways toward the church.

I. Christ is Lord of the church.
Christ exercises lordship and authority over the church (Eph. 5:23). Some churches have a democratic form of church government. Because of this, some think of the church as a democracy. It is not. We would be closer to the Scriptures if we thought of the church as a Christocracy in which Christ rules and his will is followed.

II. Christ loves the church.
Christ loves the church and gives himself for it (Eph. 5:25). Christ not only loved the church and gave himself for it by dying on the cross, but he continues to love the church and gives himself to it and for it day by day.

III. Christ cleanses the church.
Christ sanctifies and washes the church so that it may become glorious and holy (Eph. 5:26). Christ continually works to bring about the full dedication of his people to the purposes of God so we can display the beauty of holiness in our lives and in the ministries we render.

IV. Christ nourishes the church.
Christ nourishes and cherishes the church (Eph. 5:29). Our Lord did all that he could to build up and nourish the infant church made up first of the apostles and later increased to more than three thousand on the day of Pentecost. He continues this ministry of nourishing and cherishing his body, which is in reality the people of God.

V. Christ and the church are inseparable.
Christ as the head of the church is incomplete and unproductive without the body. I say this reverently and without any desire at all to take away from the importance of the head. This image, the body of Christ, shows the absolute necessity of the body functioning if the work of the head of the church is to proceed according to the divine plan. The poet has put it appropriately:

Christ has no hands but our hands
To do His work today;
He has no feet but out feet
To lead men in His way;
He has no tongue but our tongue
To tell men how He died; He has no help but our help
To bring them to His side.  Annie Johnson Flint

The good news of God ‘s Word is that the Christ who came to communicate God’s love has conquered death and the grave and, as the living Lord, wants to come and take up residency in your heart. To let Jesus come into your life is to experience the forgiveness of sin. It is to receive the gift of new life that God has for you. You can become a part of the body of Christ.

I know we want to be part of the church Jesus is building! I know we want our church to grow! But we must also realize that we can intentionally and even unintentionally be par of what is killing the church. In a brief article I read this week I found ways we may be killing the church we love, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Here is the article.
Church Members, Here Are 10 Ways to KILL Your Church By Tejado Hanchell

I have the awesome privilege of serving a church that has been around for over 80 years. In those 80 years, the church has only had four senior pastors. While our congregation has had its share of struggles over the years, we are pleased that we have survived!
Considering the staggering statistics on church mortality in America, we are grateful to God for still standing strong. Some researchers suggest that between 3,500-4,500 churches close their doors (or die) each year. That means that in the time since our congregation was founded over 80 years ago, over 300,000 churches have died!

I suspect that most church “deaths” occur for a few simple (and oftentimes avoidable) reasons.

Recently, one of the senior members of our congregation—who has been there for all 80 plus years—handed me a church newsletter that was written in 1959. As I delicately flipped through the tattered pages of this precious document, one article in the newsletter pricked my attention. The title, which I have borrowed for this blog post, was simply “10 Ways to Kill a Church.”

The thing that interested me the most is how this list of “church killers” written in 1959 looks so much like the usual suspects in many church deaths today.

Here is my slightly paraphrased version of the 1959 list of “10 Ways to Kill a Church”:

1. Don’t come.
One of the biggest church killers is waning attendance. Many people simply can’t find the time to spend an hour or two in the Lord’s house. We find excuse after excuse as to why we can’t come to church.

I wonder what our lives would look like if God only showed up at our house as often as we showed up at His. The Bible is clear about the importance of assembling or coming together (Hebrews 10:25).

I believe in the importance of going to church, which is why I do a weekly Twitter hashtag called #Go2Church. If we don’t go to church, we just might be playing a part in killing the church.

2. If you do come, make sure it’s late.
So many of today’s worshipers (and apparently those of 1959) have a lackadaisical attitude toward worship. We have an “I’ll get there when I get there” attitude when it comes to church attendance.

I wonder, however, if we showed up to our job the way we show up to our church…how many of us would still be employed?

We say that God is an “on time” God, but can He say the same about us? A lack of punctuality when it comes to worship is a microcosm of our overall view of God. It says that whatever else we are doing is more important, and God can just wait until we get there. This type of attitude is a major church killer.

3. Only show up when the weather is good.
Ever been to church in a driving rainstorm? Neither have most of the other people in your church! Some people only go to church when the sun is out and there are no clouds in the sky.

We have produced a culture of “fair-weather” Christians, who only attend church when everything is going right in their lives. The moment a storm hits their life, they get mad at God, the pastor and the church.

There are some people who you can tell exactly what’s going on in their lives based upon their church attendance. When things are great and they have a little money in their pockets, they’re on the front row singing “Amazing Grace,” but as soon as they get laid off or deal with some sort of difficulty, they’re ready to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). The only thing that dies with that kind of attitude is the church.

4. Find fault with everything (and/or everyone).
Most homicide investigations begin by researching those who had something negative to say about the victim. Similarly, when a church dies, you can be sure that the fault finders are prime suspects. These are the folks who sit “in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:1).

Fault finders can always SPOT a problem, but they never SOLVE a problem. They are definitely church killers.

5. Never accept a leadership role or responsibility.
Many people have a “renters” mentality when it comes to church; they take no ownership.

When you rent an apartment, if something breaks, you call the landlord to fix it. Since you don’t own it, you have no obligation to fix it. There are too many people renting pews (and some pulpits).

It’s far easier to criticize than to mobilize. As Seth Godin says, “No one has ever built a statue to a critic.” If we want to make a difference, we have to accept the responsibility to lead—whether formally or informally.

Leadership is not about position; it’s about productivity. A congregation full of followers is on life support and is getting ready to die.

6. Get mad if you’re not appointed to a leadership position.
So many people in church are focused on titles. They want to be directors, deacons and dignitaries, and when they are not appointed to a position, they begin to stir up trouble.
This is a manifestation of deep-seated pride, and pride is one of the most dangerous killers of all.

7. Never give your opinion in a meeting…wait until AFTER the meeting.
A surefire sign of a church that is on its deathbed is one that has major “meetings-after-the-meeting.” You know, where no one voices their honest opinion or offers useful insight during the official meeting, but are quick to huddle in a corner or the church parking lot after the meeting to harp on how “it ought to be done.”

There are chalk lines all over church parking lots outlining exactly where the murder took place.

8. Do nothing more than absolutely necessary.
Show up, go home, but don’t be an active, engaged member of the church.
It’s hard to reach “the least of these” when we’re only doing the least we can do.
The sad reality, however, is that most people who only want to do the least, love to criticize those who are doing the most! They howl about how the church is being run by a clique, when they never offered or took initiative to get any work done.

They just stand on the sideline and watch the church die. At the very least, they are an accessory to the murder.

9. Hold back on your giving to the Lord.
It takes money to do ministry—especially to do mercy ministry for the underserved in our communities. Tim Keller says that “mercy ministry is expensive.” When we hold back on our giving to the Lord and His work, we are limiting the work that can be done through the local church.

Additionally, since there are operational costs associated with a church or ministry, a lack of giving can lead to the church being foreclosed, laying off staff and other adverse results.

Some people say, “Well, all the church wants is money.” The same can be said of Walmart, yet they keep taking their money there! While I do not discount that there have been those who have abused and misused the church for financial gain, there are thousands of churches serving in their communities who are dying because of a lack of finances. When we stop giving, we are killing those churches…and the countless lives they touch each day.

10. Don’t reach out to the unchurched.
The primary purpose of the church is to introduce people to Jesus. The people in the pews must take ownership of that responsibility and become “minichurches” that reach out to the unchurched every day of the week and bring them to the house of the Lord to be discipled.

Churches need regular and consistent “transfusions.” When new people are brought into the church, they bring new life and vibrancy. They ensure that the church doesn’t get stuck in the old way of doing things. They bring fresh perspective, and they help keep the church alive. Don’t kill your church! Go and bring in some new people today.

WOW! That is some powerful and thought provoking stuff! Let’s decide together right now to be part of the solution, working to be part of the Church Jesus Is Building and not part of those who are killing the church.

Bible Quest

BibleQuest

I hope you will participate this year. You will have fun, and learn a lot of interesting things about the Bible. The reward this year will be a $100 gift card from Lifeway Stores again.

To qualify for the prize, you must write the question, give the correct answer and provide the scripture reference which supports your answer.

9. Who held discarded coats while Stephen was being stoned?
10. What were the Bereans famous for?
11. Who was the thirteenth apostle?
12. What name did the following people have in common: son of Alphaeus, brother of the apostle Judas (not Iscariot), brother of Jesus?

Until next week, Love and prayers,
Pastor Rick Signature
Church Phone: 423-272-7676
Church Email: hcbcoffice@bellsouth.com
Email: rev_rick_7@hotmail.com
Let us know if you have questions or if you made a decision for Christ.

Comments Off on The Church, The Body of Christ! & How To Kill It?

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