The Navigator: 11.19.2020

THIS SUNDAY, 11/22

Preacher:  D.L. Lowrie

 

As of Tuesday morning’s Staff Meeting, decisions were made by staff to cancel all mid-week activities effective next week.  What this means is that we will not meet again for mid-week activities until further notice – hopefully, when we resume in January.

Due to the spike in COVID (we have church members as well as staff contracting the virus) in Lubbock and surrounding communities (Lubbock has set up tents outside hospitals and Amarillo has brought in mobile morgues) we are choosing to err on the side of caution.   Additionally, we have cancelled both the Adult & Children’s Christmas musicals due to shrinking attendance in both choirs (due to COVID).  Attendance, church-wide, was our lowest so far this past Sunday, with many choosing to stay away for health concerns.  We suspect this trend will continue throughout the remainder of the year.

Finally, we will not be offering the Lottie Moon Post Office this year to help prevent the spread of the virus due to different people handling the mail. (We will still be promoting the Lottie Moon offering in the worship services.)

Sunday worship services, as well as Sunday School, have not changed and will continue to meet.  Masks are strongly encouraged in the hallways and Commons.  If you have been in contact with someone suspected of infection, or you don’t feel well, please stay home.

More information as it becomes available.  Be wise, and keep praying for a cure.

 

FOSTERING HOPE (with modifications due to COVID)

This is an FYI to share with your class.

 

LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF

“And a second [greatest commandment] is like [the first]: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

I am presently reading Eric Mataxas‘ outstanding biography on the 16th century German reformer, Martin Luther(While doing mission work in Germany, Michelle and I toured the castle in Eisenach where Luther translated the Greek New Testament into German.)

Hate and vitriol are in strong supple today (it actually always is, but the media/social media reports little else.)

Luther once wrote,

“A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none (i.e. a Christian is subject to no spiritual authority other than Christ). And a Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.”

He continues,

[Therefore,] “I will give myself as a sort of Christ to my neighbor as Christ gave himself for me.”

That’s powerful.

 

A PRAYER FOR WEARING A MASK

I thought this was so poignant and powerful. I hate wearing a mask but this man’s prayer is a paradigm-shift. It’s like one of those pictures where some people see the young lady and some see the old hag. It all depends on perspective. The Lord used this man’s prayer to alter my perspective. Love to you all, nw

 

TTU TO RECEIVE $275,000 FEDERAL GRANT FOR MENTAL HEALTH & SUICIDE PREVENTION

When I present my talk on Suicide Awareness & Intervention I tell the audience that the topic of suicide is no longer taboo, but now widely covered by the mainstream media with cover articles by Newsweek and headlines in the New York Times.  So, it should be no surprise to find this article yesterday on the KCBD web site.

All praise to Christ for TTU’s efforts to help people choose to live.

99% of those who attempt to take their life don’t want to die, they just want the pain to stop.

Read the brief article here.

 

A Nugget from Wed’s time of learning in John 8:31-46:  True or False:  Choose. There is no Middle Way.

Have you ever noticed that telling someone the truth may actually destroy unity rather than promote it?  It was Paul who asked the Galatians: “Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?”

In John 8, Jesus continues to undress the self-righteousness of the Jews, finally arriving at the root cause of their sin by saying,

I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”  …You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires… (emphasis mine)

Even as born-again Christians, we are quite capable of sliding back into the patterns of behavior we demonstrated when our “father was the devil” i.e. gossip, lying (a half-truth is still a whole lie), lust, anger, hatred, slander, selfishness, etc.

Years ago, while reading an outstanding book by theologian/counselor, Neil Anderson, I came across this powerful statement:

“Freedom from spiritual conflicts and bondage (lying, sexual sin, gossip, unforgiveness, anger, greed, etc.) is not a power encounter; it’s a truth encounter. Satan is a deceiver, and he will work undercover at all costs. But the truth of God’s Word exposes him and his lies. His demons are like little cockroaches that scurry for the shadows when the Light comes on. Satan’s power is in the lie, and when his lie is exposed by the truth, his plans are foiled.”

The passage we unpacked Wed. evening began with Jesus’ familiar words, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

We can’t will-power our way out of bondage to ingrained habits of sin.  Only the application of biblical truth can set us free.  And how do we become aware of truth?  By holding tightly to the teaching of Christ.  Read his Word, memorize his Word, apply his word.  The truth (his truth) will set you free.

Watch the the lesson in its entirety here.

 

THE HISTORICAL RELIABILITY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

I post these kinds of videos and quotes weekly on my Facebook page.  Here’s a short video clip that will continue to strengthen your faith, as well as equip you to have intelligent dialogue where Christianity is concerned.

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

Once we embrace Christ, we are instantly made righteous because of his righteousness, and not because of anything we have done or could do. (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21)

An argument for a Creator from a non-Christian physicist:

“There is powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all…It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe…The impression of design is overwhelming” ⁠— Physicist, Paul Davies (not a Christian), Cosmic Blueprint

And, one more from the great thinker, C.S. Lewis…

“Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is finding his place in it, while really it is finding its place in him.”-C.S. Lewis  (There’s nothing wrong with owning stuff.  The decay to our fellowship with God comes when our stuff begins owning us.  nw)

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD: The Danger of Good Leaders Becoming Proud When They Are Older And Successful

This is a guest-blog written by my dear friend, Dr. Jim Hardwicke.  It is applicable not only to pastors, but to those who serve on any level of local church leadership i.e. Sunday School teachers, deacons, committee personnel, etc.  Heed the Bible’s warning in this blog.  Read the blog here.

 

For a list of Search Team members, or to know the steps for communicating with the Team, please click here and scroll down. Pray for them!

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 11.12.2020

THIS SUNDAY, 11/15

Preacher:  DL Lowrie

Text:  Luke 15

 

Boxes are due this Sunday, 11/15.

Note: I shared the following with our Missions Team

  • Don’t be discouraged by the number of OCC boxes that have not been taken.  It’s simple math.  We set out the same number of boxes we’ve always set out and have shown videos each Sunday as we always have. But, due to COVID, we are only averaging a little over 200 on Sundays, at best.  So, proportionately, people have taken the same number of boxes as in the past.

 

A Nugget from Wed’s time of learning in John 8:21-30:  Knowing vs. Believing (There’s a dangerous difference.)

The only unpardonable sin is unbelief.  Mental assent (knowing about God without placing one’s faith in Christ) is, according to the Bible, not enough.

Anyone can – and often do – say they’re a Christian without any devotion to the biblical Christ whatsoever.   Paul described this to Timothy as “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” 

As James, the half-brother of Jesus, warned, even the demons’ theology is orthodox. Satan can quote the entire Bible (he demonstrated this in the wilderness temptation) although he doesn’t believe it.

To translate ‘mental assent’ into North American church culture, Jesus warned that anyone can quote Bible verses, sing the songs, give money, even talk to others about God – and still be lost and headed for a devil’s hell.

An indicting statement about the term ‘Christian’ comes from the renowned, late British atheist philosopher, Bertrand Russell.  In his treatise, Why I Am Not a Christian, he writes:

Perhaps it would be as well, first of all, to try to make out what one means by the word Christian.  It is used these days in a very loose sense by a great many people.  Some people mean no more by it than a person who attempts to live a good life… The word does not have quite such a full-blooded meaning now as it had in the times of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas.  In those days, if a man said that he was a Christian it was known what he meant.  [You read and studied the Bible, accepted and obeyed its teaching,] and believed every single syllable with the whole strength of your convictions.

Jesus warned,

I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior of the World].

You can watch the entire lesson here.

MID-WEEK CLASSES & ACTIVITIES END FOR HOLIDAY BREAK

Except for Youth & Children, all Wed. evening activities conclude next week, 11/18, for the holiday season.  They will resume on Wed., 1/13.

 

I found this encouraging.

There is progress being made both here in the U.S., as well as around the world.  Here is a brief article from The Jerusalem Post regarding progress being made to find a cure.

 

THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY SCHEDULE

There will be no change to our regular Sunday schedule for the Thanksgiving holidays.   Sunday School and Worship Services will proceed as normal.

The church office will be closed Nov. 26-27.

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

From Gary Larson’s beloved Far Side:

 

SOUL FOOD: How Do You Know You’re Not Wrong?

“Jesus Christ is my favorite philosopher.”  Does that statement sound strange?  It shouldn’t.  Read the blog here.

 

For a list of Search Team members, or to know the steps for communicating with the Team, please click here and scroll down. Pray for them!

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 11.5.2020

THIS SUNDAY, 11/8

Preacher:  D.L. Lowrie

 

Boxes are available in the Commons! 

Nov. 15 – Boxes, filled with supplies, are due at BHBC.

 

WHY ARE THERE SO MANY BIBLE TRANSLATIONS?

I get asked that from time to time.  The answer? So we can read the Bible. (The truth is, since the autographs (originals) of the Bible do not exist, every single Bible that’s ever been printed is, by definition, a translation.)

But, it may be surprising that getting a Bible in the language we understand came at great cost.  John Wycliffe and William Tyndale were merely two of the pioneers of Bible translation burned at the stake for the “crime” of translating the Bible into the language of the common people.   One historian describes Tyndale’s final moments:

On Friday, October 6, 1536, after local officials took their seats, Tyndale was brought to the cross in the middle of the town square and given a chance to recant. That refused, he was given a moment to pray. English historian John Foxe said he cried out, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes!”

Why would the religious leadership consider the translation of the Bible from Latin into English, German, or other languages a crime worthy of death?  Because, as Wycliffe, Tyndale, and other martyrs rightly believed, all Christians should be able to learn the Christian faith for themselves.  This conviction necessitated the Scriptures needing to be translated into languages the people understood.  However, this was a courageous, nay dangerous, endeavor.  For when the masses were able to read the Bible for themselves, the corrupt church leadership of the day would no longer be able to manipulate the people by manipulating the scriptures.

The brave Wycliffe, hailed as the morning star of the Reformation, went so far as to call out the church leadership publicly,

England belongs to no pope. The pope is but a man, subject to sin, but Christ is the Lord of Lords and this kingdom is to be held directly and solely of Christ alone.

Wycliffe would also say to church leadership,

“If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy who drives a plough to know more of the scriptures than you do.”

This did not sit well with the power-hungry pastors of days.

The blood of many men paved the way for us to have the Bible translated into languages people can understand.

I have a number of books in my library describing how we got our English Bible. I am deeply moved every time I refer to them.  May we never take the scriptures we hold in our hand for granted.

Click here to read a solid article on the value of multiple English translations. 

 

What is the Definition of Christianity?

Have you ever been asked that question?  If not, how would you answer it?  How about beginning with letting God answer the question:

For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received—that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures. – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. – Romans 10:9-10

 

 

A Nugget from Wed’s time of learning in John 812-21:  Willful Ignorance

Unbelief never has enough proof; willful ignorance never has enough truth.

Willful ignorance is demonstrated by that person who says, “Don’t bother me with facts. My mind is already made up.”

Jesus said,

If anyone wants (is willing to; desires) to do God’s will, he will know about my teaching, whether it is from God or whether I speak from my own authority.

In short, if you’re willing to know the truth, you’ll know the truth.

Ignorance is cheap; ignorance is common; and ignorance in the face of evidence for truth is terminal.

The author of Hebrews lamented,

So we see that [Israel] could not enter [the Promised Land] because of unbelief.

The only unpardonable sin is unbelief.

And a willing unbeliefa refusal to to honestly investigate the claims of Christ – is a death sentence.

To watch the lesson in its entirety click here.

 

BHBC UNIVERSITY MINISTRY IS GROWING!

If you’ve never had a chance to meet Shawn Coleman you are missing out on a blessing.  God brought Shawn to us a few years ago to shepherd a fledgling university ministry.  What God has done through him is nothing short of amazing.

God has given Shawn favor in our community.  For example, last year he was asked by the coaching staff at LCU to lead weekly Bible Studies for them.

Now, due to outgrowing their mid-week meeting room on the second floor, they’ve been forced to find a larger place to meet.  So, last night, for the first time they met in our Student Ministry assembly room, and will continue to do so until further notice.

Pray for Shawn, his wife (Kimberly), and their two precious daughters.

 

QUOTES of the WEEK

And…,

 

LAUGHTER IS  GOOD MEDICINE

Personally, I stand behind this statement.

 

SOUL FOOD:  Paranormal Activity – Can we communicate with our deceased loved ones?

Seasonally, we’re a week late on this topic.  But, doctrinely, for Christians it’s always relevant.  Read the blog here.

 

For a list of Search Team members, or to know the steps for communicating with the Team, please click here and scroll down. Pray for them!

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick