The Navigator: 8.26.21

SUNDAY SCHOOL LEADERSHIP APPRECIATION BANQUET – Oct. 3rd; 6pm

***Cindy Andrews is heading up our meal and has requested your RSVP no later than Sunday, Sep. 19th.  Spouses are invited!

Many have already told us they’re coming.  Some have RSVP’d to me.  Others have RSVP’d to Cindy.  Cindy and I are working closely together to make sure we don’t miss anyone.

This is BHBC’s opportunity to say thank you, lift you up, allow you an opportunity to meet teachers you may not know, and exalt & magnify the risen Christ together.

 

 

Join us on Sunday, September 12th, for something very special.

  • No Sunday School/Small Groups that day.  Everyone (youth through adults) will meet in the Worship Center both hours – 9:15 and 10:45.
  • As with all Sunday mornings, we’ll have a break between the services and enjoy snacks and fellowship in the Commons together.
  • Important:  the two services will not be the same.  Jerry Joplin will be preaching at 9:15.  D.L. Lowery will be preaching at 10:45.  Additionally, the music will be different in both services as well.
  • The following Sunday, Sammy will unpack his/our vision for BHBC.  Very exciting days ahead.

 

The question is not only, “Was there strong Bible teaching?”, but also, “Was there strong Bible learning?”  This week’s tip: Sabbath

The word “sabbath” can bring different images to mind.  Here, I am using the term to represent rest.

The pace of life in North America is on the level of insanity.  A friend told me once, “My life has finally slowed down to a blur.”

Just this week I was counseling a person who was exhausted by his relentless schedule. I gently reminded them, “You can’t give what you don’t have.” (It’s the old adage, “What’s in the well comes up in the bucket.”  If the well is dry, so will be our attempts to serve Jesus, love our family, sustain a strong work ethic, etc.)

In 2006, Mark Buchanan wrote a wonderful book titled, The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath.  He begins by establishing the fact that before we merely “take a break from life” we must first make a conscious decision to make sabbath rest a necessary and regular component of our lives.  He wrote,

“Before we keep a Sabbath day, we must cultivate a Sabbath heart.  A Sabbath heart sanctifies time.”

His point is that making room for the “daily renewing of our mind” begins with a conviction (sometimes requiring repentance) that rest – and work – are holy activities.  I’ve often told people, “Sabbath rest does not necessarily mean inactivity.  You can have Sabbath rest while working.”

I heard a preacher say a long time ago, “Being precedes doing.”  In other words, before we rush off to teach on Sunday morning, we make first be certain we’ve been still long enough during the week to allow the Holy Spirit to teach us.

You can’t give what you don’t have.  Jesus put it this way:

“Apart from me you can do nothing.”

 

WEDNESDAY EVENING OPPORTUNITIES FOR LEARNING

All classes are enjoying strong attendance.

To view my class on Daniel 2, titled “Nightmares,” click here.

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

And,…

“Have I now become your enemy,” Paul asked, “by telling you the truth?”

Be fearless…

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

My grandfather always used to say, “When one door closes another one opens.”

Amazing man.

Terrible cabinet maker.

 

SOUL FOOD:  The Daily Grind of Faith

Even in the mundane, God is powerfully present.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 8.19.21

THIS SUNDAY, 8/22

  • Sammy will be bringing a powerful message from God’s Word about stewardship.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR SUNDAY, 9/12

Wow – what a day the Lord is preparing for us.  Every day is “the day the Lord has made,” but, on Sep. 12th, we’re kicking off a major emphasis and vision for BHBC.  I’ll elaborate more in next week’s Navigator.  For now, note the following:

  • No Sunday School/Small Groups that day.  Everyone (youth through adults) will meet in the Worship Center both hours – 9:15 and 10:45.
  • As with all Sunday mornings, we’ll have a break between the services and enjoy snacks and fellowship in the Commons together.
  • Important:  the two services will not be the same.  Jerry Joplin will be preaching at 9:15.  D.L. Lowery will be preaching at 10:45.  Additionally, the music will be different in both services as well.
  • The following Sunday, Sammy will unpack his/our vision for BHBC.  Very exciting days ahead.

 

The question is not only, “Was there strong Bible teaching?”, but also, “Was there strong Bible learning?”  This week’s tip: prayer

What does prayer have to do with teaching and learning?  Everything.

Erwin McManus rightly stated,

“Some claim that it was on June 17, 1963 that the end began – when prayer was legally removed from public schools.  The crisis did not begin when prayer was removed from public schools, but when we stopped praying.”

I read a poll a while back asking pastors what the hardest spiritual discipline to maintain was in their ministry.  The No. 1 answer? Prayer.

Why would the enemy make prayer the most difficult to maintain spiritual discipline?

Because, as Spurgeon once preached, “Prayer moves the hands that move the world.”

The halls of hell quake and Satan trembles when even the weakest Christian is on their knees in prayer.

Most Christians simply don’t know how to pray.  Indeed, even Jesus’ own disciples asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

For decades, as I’ve helped people learn how to pray, I’ve encouraged them to simply begin by praying prayers already written for us by God, himself.  These prayers are found throughout the Bible, the Psalms containing 150 of them.

Then, there are prayers collected over time and published.  One that I own and use from time to time is The Valley of Vision.  In way of example, one of the prayers included records a Christian pleading with God,

“Enlarge my heart, warm my affections, supply words that proclaim that ‘love abounds at Calvary.’”

What must make certain when discipling someone about prayer that we begin by teaching them what the Bible says about it.

Jesus left no doubt, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.”

He could have said, “a house a teaching,” or “a house of singing,” or “a house of fellowship/meetings/etc.”  But, he chose his words carefully:  “My house shall be called a house of prayer.”

But, when I was first learning to pray, the only example I had of someone praying was my granddad.  And he prayed in King James English!

Fortunately, while still a teenager, a man who was discipling me showed me Exodus 33:11:

The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.

This was a breakthrough for me.  “God, are you telling me I can talk to you just like I talk to my friends at school?”  “Yep,” he lovingly replied.

Over the years, having read the Bible through numerous times, I have benefited greatly from the prayers recorded in scripture.

My favorite prayer in the Bible is in Daniel 9.  The longest prayer recorded in scripture is in Nehemiah 9.  The Bible is full of his people communing with God in prayer.

One author describes prayer this way:

“That mysterious intersection where God and humanity meet.”

Then, for those who have just about given up on prayer, convinced it doesn’t do any good (I’ve been there), I lovingly remind them of a principle I learned while reading Philip Yancey’s powerful book, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?,

“We pray because Jesus prayed.  And he prayed as though it made a difference.”

Usually, those who are just beginning to learn to pray feel a little embarrassed because they run out of things to say to God within one minute’s time.  I tell them what I heard a preacher say a long time ago:  “Prayer is as much listening as it is talking.” 

Indeed, when visiting with a friend or colleague both parties talk and both parties listen.  Listening is important.  Silence.  The spiritual discipline of solitude – just being still and listening to God.  “Deep calls to deep,” wrote the psalmist.

I’ll close this section with one last quote from Yancey:

“Jesus taught a model prayer but otherwise gave us few rules [regarding how to pray]. His teaching [on prayer] reduces down to three general principles: keep it honest, keep it simple, and keep it up.”

 

LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP NOTES

Thank you, my friends.  Including those who contacted me, letting me know they were unable to attend, we were just about at 100% attendance.  You can never know what that means to me.  I love you all.  As promised, here are the notes from our workshop last Sunday.

Link to our Workshop notes from 8/15 can be found here.

 

We had a wonderful crowd this past Wed. evening!  Encourage your “flock” to join us each week.  Then, lead by example.

  • Mid-week opportunities for learning & discipleship are set!  Click here to see this Fall’s line-up.  Meal – 5:30 (must make a reservation by noon on Monday); classes – 6:30-7:30.
  • You can view my class on Daniel 1 here.  Standing up for your faith is risky business.  And this is what we see in chapter one.

 

HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND:  “I don’t believe in God. I believe in science.”

Can a Christian intelligently respond to this statement? Of course! (whenever I hear this I always think of Nacho Libre’s sidekick who didn’t want to be baptized because, as he told Nacho, “I believe in science.”) :))

The best way to respond – if they’re truly interested in civil and intelligent dialogue – is to ask them, “Where exactly does the Bible contradict science?”

If they fire back with comments dealing with miracles, or the afterlife, etc., simply remind them that science can neither prove nor disprove those types of things since they are, by nature, metaphysical – beyond the purview of science. If they truly believe in science they will happily agree with you. So let’s stick to science.

As they try to think of where the Bible contradicts science you can offer, for example, the following ways to demonstrate how science actually affirms what the Bible says.

Science has determined:

1) The universe had a beginning.  The Bible teaches this in Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

2) The universe is expanding. Isaiah 45:12: “I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.” (emphasis mine)

3) The laws of physics established at the moment of singularly are constant throughout the universe. Astrophysicist, Neil Tyson DeGrasse, asserted that if you were able to travel to the other side of the universe you would find the very same physical laws that govern us to be governing there as well. Jeremiah 33:25 – “this is what the LORD says: I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws that govern night and day, earth and sky.”

Think deeply, nw

 

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MAGNUM P.I.

When Michelle and I got married in 1985 we had a discussion as to who got to choose what we watched on Thursday evenings.  I wanted to watch The Cosby Show and she wanted to watch Magnum P.I.  (We watched Magnum P.I.)

I’ve always liked Tom Sellek.  He’s a class act.  I knew he was a veteran, but was unaware of his devotion to Christ.  You will be uplifted and encouraged as you read his story.  Click here.

 

NOSTALGIA: FIELD OF DREAMS

For fans of the beloved movie, can you believe it’s been over 30 years?  It’s the moment we were introduced to the line, “If you build it, they will come.”

Recently, Kevin Costner walked out onto that baseball field we saw being built in the movie.  It’s an emotional moment.  But it doesn’t end there.

Read the article about the event here.  The video clip of the event is embedded in the article.  Enjoy!

 

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.” – Spurgeon

And,…

Adversity has the effect in eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant. – Horace, 1st century BC

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD: Messy Spirituality (It’s all of us)

Truth be told, we’re all just different levels of dysfunction.  And, according to Jesus, that’s perfectly ok.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

 

The Navigator: 8.13.21

THIS SUNDAY, 8/15

  • 4pm – Sunday School Leadership Workshop
  • 5pm – Corporate prayer for administration, teachers & students

 

I need you there!  Why?  Because, even if you know every single thing I have to share, others will need to hear what you have to share.

  • Who?  All Adult Sunday School Leadership
  • When?  Sunday, Aug 15th; 4-5pm
  • Where? Rm. 108
  • What are we doing?  Sharpening our shepherding & teaching skills, as well as unveiling BHBC’s Fall emphasis.

 

The question is not only, “Was there strong Bible teaching?”, but also, “Was there strong Bible learning?”  This week’s tip: environmental context

Do you remember being a child in school?  At that age we had no clue how much work our teachers put in to help us learn.

There’s a reason, even during the pandemic, people still flock to Disney World & Disneyland.  Years ago I read a book titled, The Disney Way.  The author writes,

“It is no easy matter to convey a dream.  Dreams are, by nature, deeply personal experiences.  But, true to his imaginative genius, Walt Disney was able to transform his dreams into stories that effectively articulated his vision to others.”

I like to remind anyone who teaches/preaches of James’ (the half-brother of Jesus) warning to teachers:

“Not many [of you] should become teachers [serving in an official teaching capacity], my brothers and sisters, for you know that we [who are teachers] will be judged by a higher standard.” – Amplified

Is your idea of helping people learn solely lecturing?  Or, is it bigger than that?  Now, let’s change a few words in the quote above from The Disney Way and translate it to biblical teaching:

“It is no easy matter to convey [biblical truth – Satan will make sure of it].  [Convictions] are, by nature, deeply personal experiences.  But, true to his [masterful skill in teaching, using parables, imagery and object lessons to appeal to the God-given gift of human imagination], [Jesus] was able to [teach biblical truth] in a way that effectively articulated [truth] to [his listeners].”

One way to accomplish this is to prepare you environmental context, helping it accomplish your goal of articulating your passion for instilling within your class biblical truth.

The best example of this is my wife, Michelle.  Like Belle, in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, she loves books.  We even have a library in our home.  She instilled within me a passion to read and study – to dare to venture through Lewis’ wardrobe, so to speak.

In her classroom stands the book-arch pictured for you below.  Was it hard work drilling holes in those old books and erecting that steel arch?  I can promise you it was.  But, when her students (and fellow teachers) enter the room they are struck with an image that helps articulate Michelle’s passion for instilling within them a discipline and passion for reading, learning how to enter the world of the author.

And that’s what we’re doing every week (at least it should be) – helping our listeners enter to the world of the Author.  Not just learn about Christ, but to appropriate him into our very lives.

You are all volunteers.  You don’t have time to erect book-arches.  But, you can ask God, “What can I do for my learning environment to help my class ‘pick up what I’m putting down?”  The old saying is that “what is always taught by the teacher is not always caught by the students.”  Hard work?  Yes.  But, as James, in essence, wrote, “if you’re not willing to cook, get out of the kitchen.”

 

Mid-week opportunities for learning & discipleship are set!  Click here to see this Fall’s line-up.  Meal – 5:30 (must make a reservation by noon on Monday); classes – 6:30-7:30.

 

ANOTHER ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERY AFFIRMS SCRIPTURE

To date, not one archaeological discovery has contradicted the testimony of scripture.  (And it never will.) Every find only supports and strengthens the Bible’s credibility.

Case in point:  this recent article from Smithsonian MagazineRead the article here.

 

HOW TO HAVE DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS

Do you know people who avoid conflict at all costs?  (The result is interpersonal decay.) Do you know people who enjoy conflict? (Those people need professional counseling.)

You can be assertive without being aggressive.  Jesus demonstrated this over and over again.  Then Paul later summed up one of the axioms of having tough conversations: “Speak the truth in love.”  Sure, sometimes even speaking the truth in love can go sideways – which is why Paul asked the Galatians, “Have I now become your enemy while telling you the truth?  But, the goal is to remove misunderstanding and/or respectfully agree to disagree.

By the way, this article is secular, not taken from a Christian web site.  But, I want you to notice something:  the word “respect” is used in some form ten different times.  Even a lost world knows what’s important when having difficult conversations.

Read the article here.

 

Friendly reminder: Please mark your calendar for Sunday evening, October 3rd; 6pm, in our FLC.  Spouses are invited.   Guest speaker:  Dr. Jim Hardwicke.  (More about Jim in the coming weeks.)

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

And,…

“It is true that every person who has believed in Jesus is perfectly pardoned. There is against them no sin in God’s book.” – Spurgeon

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD:  Christian Theology: What is it, exactly?

If helpful, always feel free to pass along these blogs to your class members.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

 

The Navigator: 8.5.21

THIS SUNDAY, 8/8

  • Sammy finishes up his sermon series on 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and the victory we have in Jesus Christ.
  • On Sunday, 8/15, join us at 5pm in the Worship Center for a special, intentional time of prayer.

 

WELCOME, LUKE, KAYLA & LEVI KILMARTIN!

Luke was called by BHBC this past Sunday, 8/1, to be our new Youth Pastor.  And I am thrilled!  Luke will be in attendance, but only as a “guest” this Sunday, the 8th.  He, Kayla & Levi will make the move from Corpus Christi the following week and officially begin on Sunday, the 15th.

 

  • Who?  All Adult Sunday School Leadership
  • When?  Sunday, Aug 15th; 4-5pm
  • Where? Rm. 108
  • What are we doing?  Sharpening our shepherding & teaching skills, as well as unveiling BHBC’s Fall emphasis.

 

The question is not only, “Was there strong Bible teaching?”, but also, “Was there strong Bible learning?”  This week’s tip: “culture”

It’s been said that a preacher should have a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.  Jesus was keenly aware of the political and societal culture in which he lived.  When people asked him questions he was always prepared to give an informed response.

The axiom of biblical preaching and teaching is to, first, help the listener to understand the meaning of the text in its original cultural context i.e. how would have the original listener(s) understood it.  The next step is obvious:  responsibly translate the text’s truth and principles into early 21st century life.

I could offer numerous cultural topics here.  But, let’s look at just two:  the rapidly growing disinterest with organized religion, and CRT (Critical Race Theory).

The “Nones:”

  • Why should I care about people who have no interest in God?  Because Jesus did.  The interview linked here is intriguing for two particular reasons.  The gentleman giving the interview is an avowed atheist.  Yet, the man being interviewed is not only a Christian, but also a Baptist pastor.  His name is Ryan Burge.  What gives Burge credibility on this topic is his profession.  He is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Graduate Coordinator at Eastern Illinois University.  I will tell you Burge speaks in the interview more as a professor than a pastor.  But, I get this.  He is trying to connect with his atheist host who, no doubt, has a primarily atheist audience.  Great nuggets of insight.  Click here for the link.

Critical Race Theory (CRT):

Why should I care about CRT?  My answer is simple:

  1. Racism is repeatedly condemned in scripture and the topic is white-hot in North American culture.
  2. As such, it is likely the topic might arise during discussion at some point.
  3. Consequentely, it’s possible someone asks about CRT.  And I want to make certain you are informed and equipped to dialogue intelligently about this combustible topic.

So, what does does CRT really mean?  Why is it so divisive?

The original meaning of the seminal ideology is clear:  CRT is reverse-racism. It’s goal is for an individual’s identity to be determined by race.  Further, CRT teaches that all white people are inherently racist, whether we want to be or not.  CRT is the anthesis of Martin Luther King’s famous statement from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

But, what’s happened is that the meaning of CRT now means different things to different people.  And that’s where the vitriol and division is rooted.

Below are some resources that will, if you aren’t already, help give insight into this combustible current issue.  Both talks are from African-American pastors.  Tony Evans does an outstanding job of explaining why CRT is so divisive.  And Voddie Baucham does an equally outstanding job of elucidating CRT.

 

 

Mid-week opportunities for learning & discipleship are set!  Click here to see this Fall’s line-up.  Meal – 5:30; classes – 6:30.

 

OLYMPIAN CONVICTION: A Gold Medal Attitude

Two things you cannot miss about Olympic Champion Caeleb Dressel are the Five Gold Medals around his neck from his performances in Tokyo and the mega-sized eagle tattoo on his left shoulder. It’s not surprising that NBC wouldn’t report the backstory on the eagle.

Caeleb says the tattoo was inspired by one of his favorite Bible verses, Isaiah 40:31, which says,

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.”

Dressel is a committed follower of Jesus Christ.  He was raised in a Christian home but grew in his faith during college at the University of Florida.

After a rough patch in his life, Dressel says, “I started swimming again and really just put all my trust in God and knowing that He’s going to take care of everything for me, good or bad.” Sometimes for a race Caeleb writes Scripture references on his face. A recent tweet is typical of his attitude: “When you avail yourself of God’s grace and power, your comeback is always greater than your setback.”

 

THE BIBLE: God’s revelation of Himself to us

“So many are looking for special revelation from God while it sits on their shelf gathering dust.” – Burk Parsons

 

Friendly reminder: Please mark your calendar for Sunday evening, October 3rd; 6pm, in our FLC.  Spouses are invited.   Guest speaker:  Dr. Jim Hardwicke.  (More about Jim in the coming weeks.)

 

QUOTE(s)

“God’s plan A for your life is that you will go through regular periods of suffering. And there is no plan B.” (cf. 2 Timothy 2:3) – Clay Jones

“Your accumulated offenses do not surpass the multitude of God’s mercies: your wounds do not surpass the Great Physician’s skill.” – Cyril of Jerusalem, 4th century AD

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

And,… do you know anyone like this? 

 

SOUL FOOD:  The Ministry of Presence

Sometimes, it’s better to just be quiet.  That’s all they need.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick