The Navigator: 8.27.2020

THIS SUNDAY, 8/30

Preacher:  DL Lowrie

 

God is already blessing greatly.  (See next item immediately below.)

This Sunday I will make my final presentation in regard to exhorting and encouraging our people to prayerfully consider being a part of the retirement of our present debt incurred from our new construction.

Our “ingathering” day will be Sunday, 9/13.  That is the day we will be asking everyone to bring and present their gifts and/or pledges before the Lord.  This Sunday, 8/30, I will provide the biblical history associated with the Jewish ingathering.  What the Bible records is extremely exciting.

 

These are strange days that can often be discouraging.  So a good word is always timely.  Allow me to share a few here:

  1. This past Sunday we welcomed back our youth & children’s ministries.  And the attendance was almost overflowing!
  2. Monday morning I poked my head into the room where our money-counters gather to say hello (I do this every week).  Gaylon Kerr turned around and, with a huge smile on his face, said, “Our building receipts are strong!”
  3. I was thrilled to be able to welcome our people back on Wednesday evenings.  And, like our youth & children on Sunday, our attendance was strong.  It was personally rewarding to see so many of our precious people.  Further, after I finished teaching, two people walked up to me and asked if they could join BHBC!  I’ll present them in the early service this Sunday.
  4. Dana, Mike & I met with all of our Youth Workers this past Sunday to visit about ‘next steps’ in light of Jordan Morales’ recent resignation.  My heart was filled with joy as we engaged in solid, spirited discussion and, as a result, were able to create what I believe is a wise and effective strategy for leadership in the coming weeks.  The Lord has blessed us with wonderful youth ministry leadership.

My friends, there is so much good happening within our midst.  It’s good for you to know that.

 

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

Each week, I hope to share with you here just one nugget from the previous Wed. evening’s study.  Since this was the first time we gathered to learn since March 11th, we reviewed the first three chapters of John’s gospel. John 3:16-18 reads as follows:

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

We are familiar with vs. 16, but note vss. 17-18.  Because vss. 17-18 are precisely why vs. 16 is called “good news.”

We’ve deserved hell ever since Eden (Genesis 3).  But, God, slow to anger and abounding in love, immediately revealed his plan known to redeem us from the enemy’s hand.  God so loved us too much to let us remain under eternal condemnation.

When we, as Christians, stand before a holy, just God, we will hear from his throne the verdict, “Not guilty!”  Why?  Because of the Cross and the Empty Tomb.  Author, Neil Anderson, describes it this way:

“Many Christians live as, if they mess up, the hammer of God will fall on them. But the hammer has already fallen. It fell on Christ, who died “once for all” our sins. (Rom. 6:10) We are no longer ‘sinners in the hands of an angry God.’ We are saints in the hands of a loving God who has called us to ‘draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith….(cf. Heb. 10:22).” – Neil Anderson

Hallelujah!

 

THE EPIDEMIC OF BIBLICAL ILLITERACY

A recent article cited that over half of U.S. Christians believe good works will get them into heaven – over half.  (Read the article here.)

C.S. Lewis once said about philosophy, “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.”

Translated to biblical teaching: “Teaching of sound, biblical doctrine must exist, if for no other reason, because bad biblical teaching needs to be corrected.”

One of my overarching passions in ministry is to eradicate biblical illiteracy through the teaching and preaching of responsible, sound doctrine.  And, this was one of Paul’s passions as well:

[Pastors and teachers are given the responsibility to equip God’s people with sound doctrine.] “Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.” – Ephesians 4:11-14

This kind of teaching requires great focus and dedication because it carries with it eternal implications.  This is precisely why James warned, Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Never, ever forget:  what you’re doing matters.  Always.

 

WHEN WE INVITE SOMEONE TO CONSIDER TRUSTING CHRIST, WHAT IS IT, EXACTLY, WE’RE ASKING THEM TO DO? (I’m glad you asked.)

I just finished a book by one of my professors.  A former ardent atheist, the answer she gave to this question is, in my opinion, brilliant.
“When we invite people [to consider faith in Christ] we are inviting them to come home and, in so doing, also to explore a glorious new country, where there is always more to discover.”
“We are inviting them to be made truly whole, as unique individuals, and also to discover the joyous ‘fellowship of the [resurrection.]’”
[We are inviting them to see] “that the universe is profoundly meaningful, that all things are interconnected in and through Christ, and that to be a Christian is to be fully alive, now and eternally.
“God is the ultimate Artist, and Author, and Composer: in his work, all creation sings, and each of us is called to join in the cosmic harmony.” – Dr. Holly Ordway; Imaginative Apologetics: An Integrated Approach to Defending the Faith

 

For a list of Search Team members, or to know the steps for communicating with the Team, please see click herePray for them!

 

QUOTES of the WEEK

G.K. Chesterton was a towering figure, both in physical and societal stature.  A brilliant literary scholar and defender of the Christian faith, the man possessed a rare wit that could slice an opposing argument in half.  Should you be interested in reading him further I would humbly suggest to begin with his book, Orthodoxy.  This week, enjoy two of his quotes here.

“Men do not differ much on what things they call evil; rather, they differ on what evils they will call excusable.” – GK Chesterton

And…,

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

Call it the Youth Pastor in me.  But, every now and then, when I sense people need a respite of laughter and joy in their lives, I like to do what I can in order to help bring a little sunshine into their otherwise cloudy day.

Background:  I’m not certain exactly when it began.  Perhaps, it was birthed while I served in a church puppet ministry when I was a teenager.  Regardless, at some point decades ago, I imitated Kermit the Frog for the very first time.  And it ended up being a staple through the next 30 years of ministry.  More than that, each time I’ve spoken to public school elementary classes (usually during “Red Ribbon” week) I am almost always asked to “bring Kermit.”

I recorded this in just a few minutes last week posted it on my Facebook page. It’s been viewed almost 2.5 thousand times with many commenting, “Thank you! I needed to laugh.”  Mission accomplished.

So, for those who may need a laugh, here you go…

SOUL FOOD:  America & the Supernatural

We actually live in a nation ripe for discussion about something beyond the physical realm.   Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 8.20.2020

THIS SUNDAY, 8/23

Preacher: DL Lowrie

Primary Text:  Zechariah 4:6

 

FOR THE KINGDOM:  HIS KINGDOM, HIS POWER, HIS GLORY

  • I met with our Deacon Body this past Sunday evening and explained in more detail the theological framework behind our For the Kingdom debt-retirement campaign.  This Sunday in both worship services I will share part of what I shared with them.  I share this with you here so you can share it with your class.  Clear communication is paramount.
  • Prayer – God forbid that we proceed with any endeavor without calling on God for wisdom, strength and courage.  I am asking you to do one of two things:  either dedicate a portion of your Sunday morning class time to prayer dedicated to ‘For the Kingdom’, or develop a strategy for some other outside-of-class effort to pray together (or both).  My friends, I cannot convey to you how important this is.  We will be dedicating time in our worship services to pray for this as well.

 

IS YOUR BHBC WEB SITE INFO CORRECT?

Last week, I had asked you to let me know if your information on our church web site was current.  For those who were unable to reply, Dormye Halbrooks graciously contacted you on my behalf.  Please check the site to make certain all is accurate.  The present generation clicks on a web site to gather information. As such, it is critical our information is succinct and accurate.  Click here to make certain all information is correct and current.

 

Michael Dain, Chairman of our Search Team, will give the team’s monthly report this Sunday in both worship services.

For a list of Search Team members, or to know the steps for communicating with the Team, please see click herePray for them!

 

Learning resumes next Wednesday, 8/25!  6:30pm

The Gospel of John – Nick Watts – worship center

GriefShare – Tom & Diane Heath – 209

DivorceCare – Isaias & Sonya Martinez – 215

Strength to Love – Cam Johnston – 109

***Youth & Childrens Ministries resume this Sunday, 8/23, but they will NOT host mid-week activities until data can be observed from local school districts as they resume face-to-face classes.

 

THANK YOU, JORDAN MORALES

For those who were unable to attend this past Sunday, our Youth Pastor, Jordan Morales, submitted her resignation to take a full-time teaching job at Southcrest Christian School.   Her last day of full-time responsibilities at BHBC will be Sunday, Aug. 30th.  Then, to help with the transition, the Personnel Team has asked her to help on Sundays only throughout September (she agreed), making her final day associated with BHBC employment September 27th.

Next Steps:  Mike Lewis, Dana Kluzek, and I, along with two representatives from Personnel, Clint Hutcheson and Brad Whitaker, met with Jordan last Sunday.  Mike, Dana and I will meet with all of the Youth Worker Volunteers, as well as Tina Findley, the Youth Ministry Admin. Asst., this Sunday during lunch to get our bearings and begin developing a plan for a continued strong and healthy ministry.  Having 25 years experience in full-time youth ministry, and still having a great love for teens, Personnel has asked that I serve as Tina Findley’s immediate supervisor so as to do all I can to set her and that ministry up for success during the interim.  Our Youth Ministry is blessed with wonderful, capable volunteers who love the Lord and teenagers deeply.  We are in good hands.

It is the consensus that we not pursue a new Youth Pastor until we first call our next Lead Pastor.  I strongly support this decision.

 

A ‘SHORTER SUMMA’

I’m currently reading Thomas Aquinas’ ’Shorter Summa’ which is his own concise version of his tome, ‘Summa Theologica.’  Aquinas was a brilliant 13th century theologian.

He writes incisively:

“To restore man, who had been laid low by sin, to the heights of divine glory, the Word of the eternal Father, though containing all things within his immensity, willed to become small.” (“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” John 1:14) “This he did, not by putting aside his greatness, but by taking to himself our littleness.”

This is unique to the Christian faith.  No other religious worldview holds to a God who becomes man, taking on their guilt so that they may be set free. That’s the gospel.

 

RAVI ZACHARIAS on ATHEISTIC EVOLUTION

Zacharias’ five-minute story here is brilliant.  May you be, both, encouraged in your faith as well as better equipped to defend it.

 

ENCOURAGEMENT

To watch Pastor Lowrie’s most recent sermon click here.

To watch my most recent Table Talk click hereWhat the Bible Says About Hell, Part 2

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

“[When we] fight the Lord’s battles with the devil’s weapons, if we cut our own fingers we must not be surprised.” – Charles Spurgeon

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD:  Consequences

Just because we ignore consequences doesn’t make them go away.  Read the blog here.

 

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 8.13.2020

THIS SUNDAY, 8/16

Preacher:  DL Lowrie

Other:  At the conclusion of both worship services, I will be presenting a brief explanation regarding our campaign to retire the debt incurred from our new construction.  Based on the conclusion of Jesus’ model prayer in Matthew 6, our slogan is summed up in three words: “For the Kingdom.”  This is not merely a ‘slogan.’ Rather, it is a biblical mandate, an axiom of theology.  And I am thrilled to elaborate on its implications this Sunday morning.  Could it be that an emphasis on retiring debt can also serve as a period of widespread spiritual growth – even revival?  According to God, it can.

 

Would you do me an enormous favor and make certain to have someone in your class take roll every Sunday?

Many of you already faithfully do this.  But, COVID has upset the norm in many ways.  As such, I simply wanted to remind you that we need this weekly data to monitor the health of our Sunday School attendance.

Why is this data important?  (Glad you asked.)

Small Groups/Sunday School is the backbone of any church.  This is where ‘community’ takes place and takes root.  It’s where, due to the more intimate context, people can openly engage in dialogue and human connection.  People get lost in a ‘crowd’ (corporate worship), but they connect in a ‘community’ (small groups).

I am so very grateful for you.  Continue to faithfully shepherd your sheep, loving them, teaching them, and caring for them.  Every single thing you do matters, because it’s done for Christ.

 

What are you presently teaching?

All of you are faithful to let me know when you are completing one series and beginning another, but COVID has affected my memory.

Would you be so kind as to reply to this email and update me on what you are presently teaching?  I would like to update our Small Group page on our church’s web site.

 

Dana Kluzek (children), Janyth Brannon (preschool) & Jordan Morales (youth) have put together a thorough list of guidelines that will be implemented on 8/23 (when those ministries resume) to help protect both children and volunteers from COVID.  I will resist listing all those guidelines here since, together, they comprise nine pages of material. That said, below are some general policies:

Re-Opening Protocols for the Family Ministry Team

When you enter each Family Ministry Area:           

*Everyone will have their temperature checked before entering.

*There will be someone at the check in stations ready to sign you in.

*Chairs will be spread out for social distancing.

*Masks are required, but once teachers are in their classroom they are free to remove it if they choose.

*No food or drink will be served.

*Only parents and children are allowed in the Family Ministry areas (those who are not teaching or dropping off/picking up will not be allowed in).

*Please read and observe all signs in the Family Ministry Areas.

 

BUILDING THE THIRD JEWISH TEMPLE

The Bible strongly indicates the Jews will build a third and final temple in the end times.  DanielJesus, Paul and John in the book of Revelation describe events that could only occur if the temple were rebuilt.  Additionally, as you will find in the article linked here, it appears God is stirring the hearts of the Jews toward that goal.

God is moving the chess pieces into place before he calls “checkmate.”

From the article:

“Although Kallner implied that the group won’t outright lobby to build the Third Temple, he did say that building it is the “dream of the Jewish people.”

Read the article here.

Maranatha – Come, Lord Jesus. nw

 

EVIDENCE

Have you ever been chosen to sit on a jury?  I have.  Twice.

I distinctly remember sorting through evidence as we inched toward a verdict.

Linked here for your critical thinking is an outstanding blog written by physicist, Michael Strauss, for those skeptics who are truly honest in desiring to know if the Christian faith is reasonable.

I found this blog especially interesting because Strauss appeals to one’s understanding of courtroom-related evidence and its relation to scientific/empirical evidence.  Read the brief blog here.

 

FROM THE ODD SIDE OF LIFE

I’m hoping (strongly) this article was written tongue-in-cheek.  Otherwise, the article would be hard to bear.

The following is from the article. Should you and a friend be attacked by a bear the National Park Service states:

“Do NOT push down a slower friend (even if you think the friendship has run its course),”

Like you, I’m shaking my head that this story even needs to be written (clearly, this has happened before and necessitated the article.)  But, just in case you need to be reminded, here are instructions telling you that if you and a friend are being chased by a bear don’t push your friend down so that the bear will attack them while you make it to safety.  Read the article here.

 

ENCOURAGEMENT

Pastor Lowrie’s most recent sermon can be viewed here.

My most recent Table Talk can be viewed hereWhat does the Bible say about Hell? Part 1 of 2

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

And,…

“At the cross, Christ has taken your story of misery upon Himself and He has given you His story of resurrection and hope.” – Edward Welch; Depression: A Stubborn Darkness

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

So true…

 

SOUL FOOD:  Does God Hear Every Single Word We Say? (You bet he does)

“By your words you will be acquitted, by your words you will be condemned.”  – Jesus Christ

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 8.6.2020

THIS SUNDAY, 8/9

Preacher:  D.L. Lowrie

 

A MESSAGE FROM NICK

 

The following mid-week opportunities for learning will begin Aug. 26th, 6:30pm

The Gospel of John – Nick Watts; worship center

GriefShare – Tom & Diane Heath; 209

Strength to Love – Camille Johnston; 109

***Youth & Childrens Ministries resume on Sunday, 8/23, but they will NOT host mid-week activities until data can be observed from local school districts as they resume face-to-face classes.  Should COVID cases not break out among students in area schools our teen and childrens ministries will resume quickly.

 

DEADLINE IS THIS SUNDAY, 8/9 Partner with our Missions Team in blessing both Wester and Williams Elementary Schools.  Bring one or more items from the list below to the large hallway just off the Commons.

  • Kleenex
  • Gallon-sized Ziploc Bags
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Paper Towels
  • Crayons
  • Glue Sticks
  • Disinfectant Wipes
  • Coffee & Creamer (for the teachers)

 

THE CHRISTIAN FAITH IS AN INTELLIGENT FAITH

I would like to elaborate on No’s 2 and 4:

No. 2 – Clearly, there’s a great deal of biblical history archaeology has not yet discoverd (and there’s a great deal they have).  But know this:  not a single biblically-related discovery has contradicted the biblical record.  Not one.

No. 4 – The ‘Embarrassment Argument’ is rarely used for the reliability of scripture because far too few even know about it.  Consider the following: the fact that the Bible elevates women to equal status with men (and Samaritans equal to Jews – John 4:9) was unheard of and would have angered to the Jewish male population.  Also: that Mary became pregnant during her betrothal (the Jewish period of engagement) to Joseph  was scandalous (Matthew 1:18), as well as, according to Hebrew law, deserving of death (cf. Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22; John 8:4-5); that Jesus’ own family accused him of being crazy (Mark 3:21); that the ‘hero’ of the story was executed like a criminal (Luke 23:32); I could go on – these parts of the gospel story would have been of great embarrassment to the Jewish people.  And, as such, examples such as these make it completely unlikely that Jews who were followers of Jesus would have invented the gospel story.

 

NEW LANDSCAPING

We have been so disconnected due to COVID that one of my desires in this weekly publication (as with the video clip above) is to keep you as updated as possible on just about everything.

Just so you know – we are in the process of redesigning our landscaping.  For years, we’ve had feather grass adorning our campus.  But what most people don’t know is that “feather grass + West Texas = bad combination”.   For years, just about every day, we pick up a good deal of trash that has blown in and gotten stuck in that grass.

Deacons and other volunteers helped remove all the feather grass and prepare the soil for Bermuda grass, which you know is drought tolerant, making it easy to maintain in this part of the state.

In the foreground of this photo is that little strip of ground that is exposed around the perimeter of most buildings and homes.  Presently, it’s a mess with weeds taking over where the feather grass once was.  Fear not.  These strips of ground are next on the list and will be filled in with decorative rock.

 

ENCOURAGEMENT

Pastor Lowrie’s Shepherd’s Heart:

When I read in a church paper last week a statement by their pastor, It shocked me. He wrote, THE MORE YOU MISS WORSHIP, THE LESS YOU MISS IT. I can’t get this out of my mind. Our loss of our faithfulness in our worship worries me more than the loss of our health to the virus.
Our bodies will go back to dust, virus or no virus, but our souls must be prepared to transition out of this world into the realm of the eternal. Worship is absolutely essential for our spiritual well-being.
In just two more weeks, we will take the BIG STEP of bringing the whole family back to church. I will be praying for you as you prepare your family for this. If there is something we can do to make this happen, let us know.
Blessings! D. L.

**Pastor Lowrie was gone this past Sunday but will return to the pulpit this Sunday.  I preached in his absence. You can view that sermon here.

My most recent Table Talk can be viewed hereHow I Forgave my Dad

 

QUOTES of the WEEK

And…

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD:  Bad News Argues for the Good News

Did you know that bad news actually argues for the biblical worldview?  Read the blog here.

 

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick