Monthly Archives: June 2016

ARE WE FOR REAL? (PART 2)

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Church Family,

I am afraid the world is looking at us, as Christians, and asking a very hard and pointed question, “Are they for real?” And the sad part is, I fear we are failing horribly.  Last week I started this Pen and I wish to continue it this week with part 2. Here is a brief highlight of last week in case you missed it. You can also go to the Web Site and click on the Pastors Pen tab and read the entire post there.

“Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord and see how they do.” (Acts 15:36).

The text which heads this page contains a proposal which the Apostle Paul made to Barnabas after their first missionary journey. He proposed to revisit the churches they had been the means of founding, and to see how they were getting on. Were their members continuing steadfast in the faith? Were they growing in grace? Were they going forward—or standing still? Were they prospering, or falling away? “Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord—and see how they do.”

This was a wise and useful proposal.

We live in an age of particular spiritual danger. Never perhaps since the world began, was there such an immense amount of mere outward profession of religion as there is in the present day.

The life of many religious people, I fear, in this age, is nothing better than a continual course of chasing after novelties.

In handling this question, I think the shortest plan will be to suggest a list of subjects for self-inquiry—and to get them in order. By so doing I shall hope to meet the case of every one into whose hands this Pastor’s Pen may fall. I invite every reader of this to join me in calm, searching self-examination, for a few short minutes. I desire to speak to myself as well as to you. I approach you not as an enemy—but as a friend. “My heart’s desire and prayer to God is that you may be saved” (Romans 10:1). Bear with me if I say things which at first sight look harsh and severe. Believe me—he is your best friend, who tells you the most truth.

  1. Do we ever think about our souls at all?
  2. Do we ever do anything about our souls?
  3. Are we trying to satisfy our consciences with mere “formal” religion?

So Now let’s start Part 2

  1. Have we received the forgiveness of our sins?

Few reasonable people would think of denying that they are sinners. Many perhaps would say that they are not as bad as others, and that they have not been so very wicked, and so forth. But few, I repeat, would pretend to say that they had always lived like angels, and never done, or said, or thought a wrong thing all their days. In short, all of us must confess that we are more or less “sinners,” and, as sinners, are guilty before God; and, as guilty, we must be forgiven—or be lost and condemned forever at the last day. Now it is the glory of the Christian relationship that it provides for us the very forgiveness that we need—full, free, perfect, eternal, and complete. We would, as Christians, say, “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.” This forgiveness of sins has been purchased for us by the eternal Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. He has purchased it for us by coming into the world to be our Savior, and by living, dying, and rising again, as our Substitute, in our behalf. He has bought it for us at the price of His own most precious blood, by suffering in our place on the cross, and making satisfaction for our sins.

But this forgiveness, as great, and full, and glorious as it is — does not become the property of every man and woman as a right. It is not a privilege which every member of a Church possesses, merely because he is a church member. It is a thing which each individual must receive for himself by his own personal faith, lay hold on by faith, appropriate by faith, and make his own by faith; or else, so far as he is concerned, Christ will have died in vain. “He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who believes not the Son shall not see life — but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). No terms can be imagined more simple, and more suitable to man. As good old Latimer said in speaking of the matter of justification, “It is but believe — and have.” It is only faith that is required; and faith is nothing more than the humble, heartfelt trust of the soul which desires to be saved. Jesus is able and willing to save; but man must come to Jesus and believe. All that believe are at once justified and forgiven: but without believing there is no forgiveness at all.

Now here is exactly the point, I am afraid, where multitudes of church people fail, and are in imminent danger of being lost forever. They know that there is no forgiveness of sin excepting in Christ Jesus. They can tell you that there is no Savior for sinners, no Redeemer, no Mediator, excepting Him who was born of the Virgin Mary, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate, dead, and buried. But here they stop, and get no further! They never come to the point of actually laying hold of Christ by faith, and becoming one with Christ and Christ in them. They can say, He is a Savior — but not my Savior, as Brother Shane so beautifully put it last Sunday Night; a Redeemer — but not my Redeemer; a Priest — but not my Priest; an Advocate — but not my Advocate. So they live and die unforgiven! No wonder that Martin Luther said, “Many are lost because they cannot use possessive pronouns.”

When this is the state of many in this day, no one need wonder that I ask men whether they have received the forgiveness of sins. An Christian lady once said, in her old age, “The beginning of eternal life in my soul, was a conversation I had with an old gentleman who came to visit my father when I was only a little girl. He took me by the hand one day and said, ‘My dear child, my life is nearly over, and you will probably live many years after I am gone. But never forget two things. One is, that there is such a thing as having our sins forgiven while we live. The other is, that there is such a thing as knowing and feeling that we are forgiven.’ I thank God I have never forgotten his words.”

How is it with us? Let us not rest until we “know and feel”, that we are forgiven. Once more let us ask, in the matter of forgiveness of sins, “How do we  Are we real?”

  1. Do we know anything by experience of conversion to God?

Without conversion there is no salvation. “Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall never enter the kingdom of Heaven.” “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” (Matthew 18:3, John 3:3, Romans 8:9, 2 Corinthians 5:17)

We are all by nature so weak, so worldly, so earthly-minded, so inclined to sin that without a thorough change, we cannot serve God in life and could not enjoy Him after death. Just as ducks, as soon as they are hatched, take naturally to water, so do children, as soon as they can do anything, take to selfishness, lying, and deceit; and none pray or love God, unless they are taught. High or low, rich or poor, gentle or simple, we all need a complete change—a change which is the special office of the Holy Spirit to give us. Call it what you please—new birth, regeneration, renewal, new creation, quickening, repentance—the thing must be had if we are to be saved; and if we have the thing, it will be seen.

  1. Sense of sin and deep hatred of it
  2. Faith in Christ and love to Him
  3. Delight in holiness and longing after more of it
  4. Love for God’s people
  5. Distaste for the things of the world

These, these are the signs and evidences which always accompany conversion. Myriads around us, it may be feared, know nothing about it. They are, in Scripture language, dead, and asleep, and blind, and unfit for the kingdom of God. Year after year, perhaps, they go on repeating the words of the creed, “I believe in the Holy Spirit;” but they are utterly ignorant of His changing operations on the inward man. Sometimes they flatter themselves they are born again, because they have been baptized, and go to church, and receive the Lord’s Supper; while they are totally destitute of the marks of the new birth, as described by John in his first Epistle. And all this time the words of Scripture are clear and plain — “Except you be converted, you shall in no case enter the kingdom.” (Matthew 18:3).

In times like these, no reader ought to wonder that I press the subject of conversion on men’s souls. No doubt there are plenty of sham conversions in such a day of religious excitement as this. But a bad coin, or counterfeit, is no proof that there is no good money: no, rather it is a sign that there is some money current which is valuable, and is worth imitation. Hypocrites and sham Christians are indirect evidence that there is such a thing as real grace among men. Let us search our own hearts then, and see how it is with ourselves. Once more let us ask, in the matter of conversion, “Are we real?”

  1. Do we know anything of practical Christian holiness?

It is as certain as anything in the Bible, that “without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). It is equally certain that holiness is . . . .

  1. The invariable fruit of saving faith
  2. The real test of regeneration
  3. The only sound evidence of indwelling grace
  4. The certain consequence of vital union with Christ

Holiness is not absolute perfection and freedom from all faults. Nothing of the kind! The wild words of some who talk of enjoying “unbroken communion with God for many months,” are greatly to be heard in great caution, because they raise unscriptural expectations in the minds of young believers, and so do harm. Absolute perfection is for Heaven, and not for earth, where we have a weak body, a wicked world, and a busy devil continually near our souls. Nor is real Christian holiness ever attained, or maintained without a constant fight and struggle. The great Apostle, who said “I fight; I labor; I keep under my body and bring it into subjection” (1 Corinthians 9:27), would have been amazed to hear of sanctification without personal exertion, and to be told that believers only need to sit still, and everything will be done for them!

Yet, as weak and imperfect as the holiness of the best saints may be, it is a real true thing, and has a character about it as unmistakable as light and salt. It is not a thing which begins and ends with noisy profession; it will be seen much more than heard. Genuine Scriptural holiness will make a man do his duty at home and by the fireside, and adorn his doctrine in the little trials of daily life. It will exhibit itself in passive graces—as well as in active. It will make a man humble, kind, gentle, unselfish, good-tempered, considerate of others, loving, meek, and forgiving. It will not constrain him to go out of the world, and shut himself up in a cave, like a hermit. But it will make him do his duty in that state to which God has called him, on Christian principles, and after the pattern of Christ.

Such holiness, I know, is not common. It is a style of practical Christianity which is painfully rare in these days. But I can find no other standard of holiness in the Word of God—no other which comes up to the pictures drawn by our Lord and His Apostles. In an age like this, no reader can wonder if I press this subject also on men’s attention. Once more let us ask: In the matter of holiness, how is it with our souls? “Are we for real?”

Again, let us beware of making shipwreck on the very lighthouse which helps to show the channel into the harbor! Once more I ask, “Are we for real?”

There is much more to this question, but I will have to take it up next time. In the meantime, THINK ABOUT IT! “Are We For Real?”

With Many Prayers and Christian Love,

Pastor Rick Signature

Church Phone: 423-272-7676

Church Email: hcbcoffice@bellsouth.com

Rick Dinkins phone: 423-754-0750

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 FOR REAL? (PART 1)

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Church Family,

I am afraid the world is looking at us, as Christians, and asking a very hard and pointed question, “Are they for real?” And the sad part is, I fear we are failing horribly.

“Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord and see how they do.” (Acts 15:36).

The text which heads this page contains a proposal which the Apostle Paul made to Barnabas after their first missionary journey. He proposed to revisit the churches they had been the means of founding, and to see how they were getting on. Were their members continuing steadfast in the faith? Were they growing in grace? Were they going forward—or standing still? Were they prospering, or falling away? “Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord—and see how they do.”

This was a wise and useful proposal. Let us lay it to heart, and apply it to ourselves. Let us search our ways, and find out how matters stand between ourselves and God. Let us “are we for real.” I ask every reader of this Pastor’s Pen to begin its perusal by joining me in self-inquiry. If ever self-inquiry about religion was needed—it is needed at the present day in our church, in our life.

We live in an age of particular spiritual danger. Never perhaps since the world began, was there such an immense amount of mere outward profession of religion as there is in the present day. A painfully large proportion of all the congregations in the land consists of unconverted people, who know nothing of heart-religion, never come to the Lord’s Table and never confess Christ in their daily lives. Myriads of those who are always running after preachers, and crowding to hear special sermons—are nothing better than empty tubs, and tinkling cymbals—without a bit of real vital Christianity at home. The parable of the sower is continually receiving most vivid and painful illustrations. The way-side hearers, the stony-ground hearers, the thorny-ground hearers—abound on every side!

The life of many religious people, I fear, in this age, is nothing better than a continual course of chasing after novelties. They are always morbidly craving fresh excitement; and they seem to care little what it is—if they only get it. All preaching seems to be the same to them; and they appear unable to “see differences” so long as they hear what is clever, have their ears tickled and sit in a crowd. Worst of all, there are hundreds of young unestablished believers who are so infected with the same love of excitement, that they actually think it a duty to be always seeking it. Insensibly almost to themselves, they take up a kind of hysterical, sensational, sentimental Christianity—until they are never content with the “old paths;” and, like the Athenians, are always running after something new!

To see a calm-minded young believer, who is not stuck up, self-confident, self-conceited, and more ready to teach than learn—but content with a daily steady effort to grow up into Christ’s likeness, and to do Christ’s work quietly and unostentatiously, at home—is really becoming almost a rarity!

In handling this question, I think the shortest plan will be to suggest a list of subjects for self-inquiry—and to get them in order. By so doing I shall hope to meet the case of every one into whose hands this Pastor’s Pen may fall. I invite every reader of this to join me in calm, searching self-examination, for a few short minutes. I desire to speak to myself as well as to you. I approach you not as an enemy—but as a friend. “My heart’s desire and prayer to God is that you may be saved” (Romans 10:1). Bear with me if I say things which at first sight look harsh and severe. Believe me—he is your best friend, who tells you the most truth.

  1. Do we ever think about our souls at all?

Thousands of people, I fear, cannot answer that question satisfactorily. They never give the subject of real relationship with Christ any place in their thoughts. From the beginning of the year to the end—they are absorbed in the pursuit of business, pleasure, politics, money, or self-indulgence of some kind or another. Death, and judgment, and eternity, and Heaven, and Hell, and the world to come—are never calmly looked at and considered. They live on as if they were never going to die, or rise again, or stand at the bar of God, or receive an eternal sentence! They do not openly oppose religion, for they have not sufficient reflection about it to do so; but they eat and drink, and sleep, and get money, and spend money—as if religion was a mere fiction, and not a reality.

A more senseless and unreasonable way of living cannot be conceived; but they do not pretend to reason about it. They simply never think about God—unless frightened for a few minutes by sickness, death in their families, or an accident. Barring such interruptions, they appear to ignore a real relationship with Christ altogether, and hold on to their way cool and undisturbed, as if there were nothing worth thinking of, except this poor world and their own self desire and satisfaction.

The picture, no doubt, is horrible, distressing, and revolting—but, unhappily, it is only too true. Like the Jews of old they do not “consider their ways,” they do not “consider their latter end;” they do not “consider that they do evil” (Isaiah 1:3; Haggai 1:7; Deuteronomy 32:29; Ecclesiastes 5:1). Like Gallio they “care for none of these things” (Acts 18:17).

If they prosper in the world, and get rich, and succeed in their line of life—they are praised, and admired by their contemporaries. But for all this, they cannot live forever. They will have to die and appear before the bar of God, and be judged; and then what will the end be?

  1. Do we ever do anything about our souls?

There are multitudes who think occasionally about a real relationship with Christ —but unhappily never get beyond thinking. After a stirring sermon—or after a funeral—or under the pressure of illness—or on Sunday evening—or when things are going on badly in their families—or when they meet some bright example of a Christian—or when they fall in with some striking religious book or tract—they will at the time, think a good deal, and even talk a little about a real relationship with Christ in a vague way. But they stop short, as if thinking and talking were enough to save them. They are always meaning, and intending, and purposing, and resolving, and wishing, and telling us that they “know” what is right, and “hope” to be found right in the end—but they never attain to any action. There is no actual separation from the service of the world and sin—no real taking up the cross and following Christ—no positive doing in their Christianity. Their life is spent in playing the part of the son in our Lord’s parable, to whom the father said, “‘Go and work today in the vineyard:’ and he answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go” (Matthew 21:30).

They are like those whom Ezekiel describes, who liked his preaching—but never practiced what he preached: “They come unto you as the people comes, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear your words—but they will not do them…And lo, you are unto them as a very lovely song of one that has a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear your words—but they do them not.” (Ezekiel 33:31-32). In a day like this, when hearing and thinking without doing, is so common—no one can justly wonder that I press upon men the absolute need of self-examination. Once more, then, I ask you to consider the question of my text—“Are you for real?”

  1. Are we trying to satisfy our consciences with mere “formal” religion?

There are myriads at this moment who are making shipwreck on this rock. Like the Pharisees of old, they make much ado about the outward part of Christianity, while the inward and spiritual part is totally neglected. They are often strong members of their own Church, or congregation, and ready to contend with anyone who does not agree with them.

Yet all this time there is no heart in their religion. Anyone who knows them intimately can see with half an eye—that their affections are set on things below, and not on things above; and that they are trying to make up for the lack of inward Christianity—by an excessive quantity of outward form. And this formal religion does them no real good. They are not satisfied. Beginning at the wrong end, by making the outward things first—they know nothing of inward joy and peace, and pass their days in a constant struggle, secretly conscious that there is something wrong, and yet not knowing why.

When professing Christians of this kind are so painfully numerous, no one need wonder if I press upon him the paramount importance of close self-examination. If you love life, do not be content with the husk, and shell, and scaffolding of religion. Remember our Savior’s words about the Jewish formalists of His day: “These people draws near with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips — but their heart is far from Me. In vain do they worship.” (Matthew 15:8-9). It needs something more than going diligently to church, and receiving the Lord’s Supper—to take our souls to Heaven. Means of grace, and forms of religion, are useful in their way—and God seldom does anything for His church without them. But let us beware of making shipwreck on the very lighthouse which helps to show the channel into the harbor! Once more I ask, “Are we for real?”

There is much more to this question, but I will have to take it up next time. In the mean time, THINK ABOUT IT! “Are We For Real?”

With Many Prayers and Christian Love,

Pastor Rick Signature

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Do You Love Your Church?

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Church Family,

Even pastors and preachers can struggle to really love their church. But if we don’t love it, how will we teach our people to love it? How will we invite others to attend it? How will we be faithful to it?

Part of loving your church is studying why the church is so important in God’s plan for redemption.

Let me just share some reasons why we should love the church and then maybe we can join hearts in prayer that God will renew our hearts in passionate love for His church, this church, our church.

  1. It glorifies God!  -1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whatever, then, you eat or drink or whatever your do, do all to the glory of God.”  It is clear that God loves His Church and when we love the things that He loves, it brings honor and glory to Him.
  2. It shows faithfulness to the Scripture! -The two greatest commandments in Scripture are: “Love the Lord our God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31).”  Loving God and loving one another are not optional for believers, but rather, they are commands.  When God’s people obey these commands, it simply reveals their desire to be faithful to His Word!
  3. It is a great witness to the world! -One of the greatest things the Church can do is love one another.  John 13:35 says, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  We must remember that the world is watching the church!  In all that the church does, in its advertising, programming, business meetings, fellowshipping, etc., there should be genuine Christian love!
  4. It unifies the Body of Christ! -Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!”  The members of God’s Church should love and submit to one another for the sake of unity.  When selfless love is present, unity is sure to follow!
  5. It creates an atmosphere of vibrant and meaningful worship! -When love and unity are present in the Body of Christ, it definitely makes the corporate worship environment more powerful and substantial.  Notice all the times the word “us” is used in the following verses: “O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, let usshout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.  Let uscome before His presence with thanksgiving, let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms…come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our God our Maker.  For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand (Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7).  The “us” in those verses is the Body of Christ coming together to truly praise and worship the Lord.
  6. It brings proper and rightful edification! The church in Thessalonica was clearly one of Paul’s favorite churches.  He loved them dearly and it was clear that they loved one another.  The love that was felt and expressed in 1stand 2ndThessalonians always seemed to lead to such powerful words of encouragement.  2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 says, “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows even greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God…”  As we see here, Christian love will lead to a rightful edification and a certain amount of “healthy” pride for the church.
  7. It promotes genuine care and concern among the Body of Christ! -When you genuinely love someone, you take the time to care for them and minister to them.  When true Christian love is present in the church, the Body of Christ will do a good job taking care of one another.  Paul loved the church so much in Thessalonica that he wrote, “Therefore, when we could endure it no longer…we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:1-2), and a little later Paul went on to say, “For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account” (1 Thessalonians 3:9).  What we see here is that proper love leads to proper care and concern in the Body!
  8. It fosters church growth! -People want to be in a place where they are loved!  They want to know that no matter what, someone will be present to listen to them, care for them and share the truth of God’s Word with them.  When true, biblical love is present, there is a difference in the air of your church.  There will be a sense of warmth, grace and Christ’s love that will be attractive to those who visit your church.  Love, of course, must be rooted in the truth of the Gospel, for when it is, it will truly display the beautiful aroma of Christ.  Ephesians 5:2 says, “And walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
  9. It breeds excitement! -People should long to come to church!  No one wants to attend a church that is lifeless and cold.  When love and a healthy sense of pride are present in the church, people will want to be there!  Love will breed excitement and joy in the Body of Christ and will encourage people not to miss out on the great things God is doing!  After all, the Scripture says, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’”.  Without a doubt, there should be a certain amount gladness that comes to mind when one thinks about attending their church!
  10. It puts the focus where it belongs! -Without a question, the focus of the church should be on the Lord and other people, not on ourselves!  Churches that split, fight and divide, usually can trace one thing to the core of all of their problems…SELFISHNESS!  Just like in a marriage, the goal everyday should be to put your spouse above yourself, so in the church, the members should put the Lord first and others second!  It is way too easy in the church to focus on all the wrong things: selfish agendas, personal preferences, prideful ideas, etc., when the true focus needs to be on the Lord and His people!  A church that loves biblically will be a church that put the focus right where it is needed.  The Scripture says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.  Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:3-5).”

Finally, remember this, the church should be a place marked by grace and truth…a place where you we accept people as they are, but tell them like it is!  Love never waters down the truth, but rather embraces the truth and genuinely flows from it!  Biblical love goes beyond human sentiment and mere emotionalism, and is rather seeped and immersed in the person and work of Jesus Christ!  Love is sacrifice…love is grace…love is truth…love is Jesus!  My prayer for you and your church is exactly what Paul prayed for the church in Thessalonica, “Now as the love of the brethren…we urge you to excel still more (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10).”  Each church should make it their ambition to excel still more in their faith and in their love, as they seek to truly be the Body of Christ God intends for them to be!

And a personal note: I know you face giants in your life … So do I! The emotional giants of fear, worry, resentment, and anger can be overwhelming sometimes.

But you and I also have the power to slay those giants — we can stand up for truth and live victoriously — as we hold on to practical biblical truths.

I hope you will help our church continue ministering the life-changing power of God’s Word, and share these truths with our community in various ministries, by giving a generous tithe and offering so we can meet budget and ministries don’t suffer.

With Many Prayers and Christian Love,

Pastor Rick Signature

Church Phone: 423-272-7676

Church Email: hcbcoffice@bellsouth.com

Rick Dinkins phone: 423-754-0750

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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PRAYING FOR VBS

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Church Family,

Over the next several weeks, 25,000 Southern Baptist churches will be opening their doors to their communities and inviting thousands of unchurched families — spiritual orphans — to experience the Gospel through the time-tested ministry of Vacation Bible School.

Churches will collectively enroll 3 million kids, students and adults during this short time, for an average of 120 people per church. This is an amazing number in itself, but a closer look at the statistics reveals even more exciting news that should call each of us to prayer every time we see a sign or banner announcing a VBS.

History tells us that 10 percent of everyone attending VBS this summer will be unchurched. This is a staggering 300,000 individuals and does not include the child who puts his grandmother’s church name on the registration card but in reality doesn’t attend except for Mother’s Day. Nor does 300,000 tell the complete story of the actual number represented by these unchurched kids.

Think about it for a moment. Most of these 300,000 individuals are kids. To this number we must add parents, younger and older siblings and possibly a grandparent or two who also lives in the home. When everyone is factored in, we estimate that 1,050,000 unchurched individuals will be identified this summer.

The average VBS of 120 (which includes both kids and workers) will result in 12 unchurched individuals actually attending VBS and an additional 30 unchurched family members at home.

Another statistic that should call all of us to prayer is the number of professions of faith recorded as a result of VBS. Again, based on history, there will be 80,000 professions of faith made during the weeks of VBS alone. This does not account for the thousands of people who are exposed to the Gospel during VBS and make a profession of faith during the following weeks, or the thousands of family members who make professions of faith as a result of follow-up contacts at the homes of children attending VBS.

After 115 years, VBS continues to be one of the strongest evangelistic ministries in Southern Baptist life. Millions upon millions of lives have been transformed as a result of a weeklong ministry first envisioned in 1898 by Virginia Sinclair Hawes, a transplanted Southern Baptist living in New York City.

As we conduct our VBS this week, will you pray for the Bible school, thank God for the life and ministry of Henards Chapel Missionary Baptist Church and her willingness to listen to God’s whisper to minister to children here in Rogersville and Hawkins County. Thank God for the members of Henards Chapel Baptist Church who, will be teaching and working with these children.

As you drive by or think of the church, take time to thank God for the congregation’s willingness to listen to God’s whisper to reach out to the spiritual orphans of the community. Ask God to give every worker a driving desire to clearly share the Gospel message with every kid, teenager and adult who attends.

The number one issue most VBS leaders express is the need for more workers.

Pray that God will provide workers for the harvest. Ask God how you personally might respond to the need for workers not only in your own church, but the church down the street.

Pray that workers will understand that their greatest contribution to VBS will not be how well they present a Bible story, sing a song or make a snack, but how well they build relationships with the kids, teens and adults attending VBS.

Pray that VBS leaders will see that the true evangelistic potential of VBS is not just the week of VBS but the weeks that follow as relationships are built through continued connections.

Ask God to give VBS leaders a vision for intentional follow-up that goes beyond a “thanks for attending” postcard.

Thank God for the 1,050,000 unchurched individuals. Ask God to give congregations, us specifically, the ability to see the unchurched families participating in VBS as a precious gift that must be cherished and cared for not only during the week of VBS but every day and week afterwards.

Thank God for 80,000 professions of faith that will be made during VBS. Ask Him to help church leaders disciple these new believers well, that they in turn will be used by God to transform the world.

Thank God for 2,200 individuals who will publically accept a call to vocational ministry as a result of participating in VBS. Thank Him for millions of people around the world who will be impacted by the lives and ministries of these individuals giving themselves to full-time service.

Henards Chapel Missionary Baptist Church is dedicated to Vacation Bible School.  Already, we are hard at work preparing for this special week and excited about sharing the message of Christ and His love with the kids!

We know, however, that no matter how great our efforts, it takes prayer to make a real difference in the children’s lives–prayer for God’s blessings, for His Holy Spirit to move, and for Christ’s love to be shown completely and unconditionally to the kids and their families. Let’s join together and persevere in prayer for HCBC’s VBS!

VBS doesn’t just happen. It requires enormous work and resources. But most of all it requires enormous prayer. The results are worth it!

With Many Prayers and Christian Love,

Pastor Rick Signature

Church Phone: 423-272-7676

Church Email: hcbcoffice@bellsouth.com

Rick Dinkins phone: 423-754-0750

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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