The Navigator: 10.7.2021

THIS SUNDAY, 10/10

  • Sammy unpacks the third of four pillars related to his vision for BHBC.  This week’s topic is, in the word’s of the rock group, Queen: “a crazy little thing called love.”

 

I simply wanted to tell you how grateful I am for you, your devotion to Christ, your love for people, and for being a part of our Appreciation Banquet this past Sunday evening.  Additionally, thank you for your continued notes and texts I continue to receive regarding the evening.

A huge thank you goes out to Cindy Andrews, the Men in Black, and the rest of her team who did everything I envisioned to help say “thank you” to all of you.

I have already invited a potential guest speaker for next year’s banquet.  I have no idea if their schedule would even allow for them to come.  All I can tell you is that I “reached for the stars” with this one.

Every time I bring a guest in for a ministry event I tell them the same thing:  “I know God is use you to minister to us; but I am praying God uses us to minister to you, as well.”  I want you to know Jim and Michelle Hardwicke were lifted up by your love and joy.

As I was reflecting what God had convicted Jim to present to us, the Holy Spirit brought to mind Jim’s thesis:  “A call from God = a profound impression that God wants you to do something for Him.”

May we never fall into Satan’s trap of thinking “this is what God’s called me to do forever.  I’m comfortable here.”  A study of the scriptures reveals two clear principles regarding his activity in our life: 

  1. God calls us by assignment.   Every person God used throughout scripture was “interrupted” from their otherwise normal life and given an assignment.  Just look at Abraham, Moses, David, Gideon, the prophets, the apostles, the list goes on and on.  David was a shepherd, a musician, a king, and a poet.  Samuel served as a prophet, priest, judge and anything else God wanted him to do.
  2. God is not concerned with how comfortable we are in life. In fact, scripture testifies that God quite likes making us uncomfortable.  I often quote C.S. Lewis here:  “If you’re looking for a religion that will make you feel comfortable, I would certainly not recommend Christianity.”

Is God’s still, small voice “interrupting” your life?  Be still.  Listen.  And then, ask God for the courage to step out of your comfort zone and follow him.  Or, to quote the title of a book of mine by John Ortberg, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.

 

The question is not only, “Was there strong Bible teaching?”, but also, “Was there strong Bible learning?”  This week’s tip:  Is your class “closed” or “open?”

During a Staff Meeting today, I found out that in 2013, after our entire church completed a survey, the answers regarding Sunday School told a heart-breaking story: our Sunday School groups felt “closed” to guests.  Ouch.

What is a “closed group” vs. an “open group?”

  • Some groups are designed to be closed.  For instance, a women’s study is for women only.   A military veterans’ group is for veterans only.  You get the idea.
  • However, “closed groups” should never be a part of the DNA of our BHBC small group ministry. Closed groups have the feel of a “holy huddle” – a club, of sorts.  A closed group places little to no emphasis on reaching new people for their class.  “Why rock the boat with ‘new blood?'” They’re comfortable with who already attend.  And, should a new person visit the class, the new person tends to feel like they’re “on the outside looking in,” like the proverbial “fifth wheel.” That new person will never be back.  I can promise you that.  Would you come back?
  • Just as I covered back in April when we addressed “The Art of Welcoming,” I honestly don’t think our leadership at BHBC would ever intentionally exclude new guests.  Our leaders are wonderful. It’s easy to become comfortable with those who’ve been attending for a while.  (Satan will make sure of it.) As in “The Art of Welcoming,” we simply have to make certain we are intentional in our efforts to help people feel welcome, being careful not to introduce ourselves and then immediately return to visiting and sitting with our long-time friends, leaving the guests out of the conversations.
  • When someone brand new walks into your class, how do you think they feel?  Like your class is closed, or open? Our goal is to make them feel more loved than they’ve ever felt by a church, warmly welcomed, as we show them genuine interest and joy.
  • By the way, never – ever – forget the war that is playing out spiritually at the moment a guest (or someone who hasn’t been in a while) walks through your classroom door.  It’s stressful enough just mustering the courage to visit (or return to) a church.  Satan attaches himself to their anxiety and fear.  All they need is one reason to turn around and go home.  We just never want that reason to be us.

 

Sunday, 10/17

  • The exhibit will be in the Commons all morning.
  • One table will represent our small group ministry (Sunday School & Wed. evenings).
  • Should you have anything specific you would like for me to include let me know.

 

IS “ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED” BIBLICAL?

I post a lot of theology and food-for-thought on social media, and receive some great responses that have led to solid conversations (I’m involved in one now regarding this topic).

Every now and then, I am surprised by how much response a particular post receives.  Printed for you here is one such post that I wrote just a couple of days ago.  As of today it’s been shared 55 times.   It’s a basic doctrine of scripture sometimes referred to as “the perseverance of the saints.”  Hopefully, it is elementary theology to you.  But, apparently, there are many out there who are very curious as to what the Bible has to say about whether or not we can lose our salvation.  nw

Can a person who’s sincerely professed their faith in Christ lose their salvation?

First of all, what a miserable, not to mention terrifying, way to live – always wondering if you’ve been good enough to merit being saved.  Always wondering if you’re headed for heaven or hell.

Second, over and over again, the Bible teaches that the possibility of losing one’s salvation is a lie from the father of lies to keep a person in bondage to “salvation by works” i.e. “If I work hard enough to be good… If I can check off all the boxes on my ‘good’ list, then God will love me.”

The problem with this is obvious. Do your best to keep checking off those boxes. Then, tomorrow – start all over again. Insanity. This is a weight no human being can carry, much less accomplish.

On the Cross, Jesus both bore that weight for us and accomplished what was necessary for our redemption. This is what he meant when, from the Cross, he said, “It is finished.”

Jesus always chose his words carefully. When he visited with Nicodemus about being saved, Jesus used the words “born again.”  Why did he do this? To convey truth. You and I can call our parents awful names and say mean things to them. But, the truth remains: we’re still their child. We can’t be “un-born” from them.

The same applies, as Jesus told Nicodemus, to our being “born of the Spirit.”  We can’t be “un-born again” spiritually any more than we can be “un-born” from our parents physically.

To put it another way, our fellowship may be broken. But the relationship never changes. (The younger son in Luke 15:11-24, although hatefully rebellious, never ceased to be his father’s son – the father representing God.)

Different faith-worldviews abound promoting a “work your way to heaven” theology. In other words, “if my good works outweigh my bad works when I die, I get into heaven.”

You won’t find that lie in the Bible. What you’ll find is just the opposite.

Paul wrote, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

In short, we can’t un-earn what we didn’t earn in the first place. 

Author, Philip Yancey, rightly said, “There’s nothing we can do to make God love us any more; and there’s nothing we can do to make God love us any less.”

God’s love for us – and our eternal salvation – is fixed, inexorably, not on what we’ve done, but on what Jesus did on the Cross.

Paul wrote, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

This is why, when the Philippian jailer asked Paul what he needed to do to be saved, Paul replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”

Good works are not required for our salvation; rather they are evidence of our salvation. Jesus said, “If you love me you will obey my commandments.”

Can a person who’s professed their faith in Christ lose their salvation?

To quote author/pastor, Nate Pickowicz:

“The question is not: Can a person lose their salvation? Rather, the real question is: Can God lose a Christian?”

Impossible.

Nick

 

What an adventure.

In his teens, Daniel is taken prisoner and taken to a foreign country he’s never seen before – a country that is hostile to his faith.  He will never again return to his home land.

At almost 90 years of age, Daniel is given a death sentence as he stands in a den of hungry and terrifying lions.

Daniel had been through so much in his life, and it just never seemed to stop. (Ever felt like that?)  One author described Daniel’s life as “a long obedience in the right direction.”

The overriding theme of Daniel is thisDespite how hopeless and weary we may feel, God is there – in the furnace, in the lion’s den – sovereignly and mightily working in the lives of his people. 

We just finished Ch. 8.  To view any of our sessions, simply click here.  nw

 

“Biographies written about subjects who lived in the recent past, relative to the time of writing (e.g. those by Tacitus and Suetonius), especially those penned in the early Roman Empire, were generally marked by a *greater* concern for factual accuracy.  In such cases, biographers were expected to reject implausibilities and to seek to write what was *true*.  The Gospels, penned within fifty or so years after Jesus’ ministry, fall into this category.”

“That the Gospel writers were determined to produce an accurate account of Jesus’ life is especially clear in the opening of one of them, the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:1-4).  This prologue is very much in the mold of Thucydides, Polybius, and Josephus.  Luke clearly claims to be writing history conforming to the highest standards of Greco-Roman historiography.”

Colin R. Nicholl; Ph. D., University of Cambridge

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

“When God delivers you from evil, don’t keep in touch.”

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

From the incomparable Bob Hope:

  • On Presidents:  “I have performed for twelve presidents and entertained only six.”
  • On his six brothers:  “That’s how I learned to dance.  Waiting for the bathroom.”
  • On his family’s early poverty:  “Four of us slept in the one bed.  When it got cold, mother threw in another brother.”

 

SOUL FOOD:  How I Forgave My Dad

I don’t know that I’ve ever posted my story for you.  I tell people all the time, next to my profession of faith in Christ, no other decision has so changed my life than forgiving my dad.  Church pews are packed with people who’ve been hurt deeply, yet have never been able to forgive the one(s) who’ve hurt them.  Forgiveness and trust are two separate things.  There is no pressure or expectation to trust again someone who’s hurt you.  But, forgiving them will set you free.  Maybe you know a person who’s never been able to forgive someone.  Maybe you’ve never been able to forgive someone.  Read my story here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 9.30.21

THIS SUNDAY: Grow

  • Sammy will unpack the second of four pillars of his current series.

 

Our inaugural Small Group Leadership Appreciation Banquet is finally here.

  • Final attendance count is just under 80.  Get ready for a wonderful dinner, a ton of fun, and to be lifted up & encouraged.
  • The banquet begins at 6pm in the FLC.  See you all there.

 

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

I played football, baseball, and took piano lessons for years.  All three activities had something in common.  At the beginning of every practice and rehearsal, my coaches/instructors always began with the fundamentals.  Every. Single. Time.

As Small Group Leaders who teach God’s Word and shepherd his sheep, based on scripture such James 3:1, we should take the fundamentals seriously.

Don’t ever forget these 7 fundamentals:

  1. You can’t give what you don’t have. Being precedes doing. Be faithful and disciplined in your own spiritual growth via daily devotional time involving biblical study and prayer – even if its just for a few minutes. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.”  Additionally, if your “well is ever dry” and you need a break/sabbath, never hesitate to let me know.
  2. Be a responsible student of scripture.  Pray fervently for understanding. Study context. Take time to think and work through hard passages. All of these disciplines will help you to be able to “correctly handle the word of truth.”  One theologian wisely wrote in regard to studying a passage of scripture:  “If we can know the author, the audience, and the purpose the author had in mind, this goes a long way in understanding what God is saying to us in that passage.”  When you stop learning, you stop leading.
  3. Lead with love. Jesus said, “By this all will know if you follow me, if you love one another.” Not “if you are a skilled teacher,” but “if you love one another.” Your class may not always remember what you taught them, but they will always remember how you treated them.
  4. Lead by example. Jesus said – and modeled – “The greatest among you shall be your servant.” Sheep are led, not driven.  Be on time to class.  Always show up prepared.  Our listeners can smell “winging it” a mile away.
  5. Know why you believe what you believe.  Learn to think deeply, and critically.  One writer wrote, “When we can’t even engage in elementary dialogue with someone who asks a tough question about the Christian worldview, it serves as one more reason for that person to move on to a worldview is more respected by its adherents.”  Peter didn’t mince words.  He said to “always be prepared to give an answer [a logical defense] to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
  6. Approach teaching as seriously as God does. James wrote, “Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly [because we have assumed greater accountability and more condemnation if we teach incorrectly]. Prepare well, and leave the results to God.
  7. Regularly share the gospel with your class for two reasons. (1) Never assume everyone who attends is a Christian, and (2) it will remind and equip your class to share their faith as well.

 

MORE OF THE SIDE OF PRO SPORTS YOU NEVER SEE

 

WINTERIZING CARS: DEACON MINISTRY

This Saturday, from 9-noon, here at BHBC, deacons will be winterizing cars for all single ladies (all ages.)  This includes checking belts, hoses, fluid levels, tire pressure & tread, and windshield wipers.  Should you know someone who might enjoy this free service please pass the info along.

 

WOW

This is Olympus Mons on the Martian surface. It’s the tallest mountain/volcano in the solar system at 16 miles above the surface. To help put this in perspective, Mt. Everest is 5 1/2 miles tall.

Olympus Mons is 374 miles in diameter (the distance from Lubbock to Austin.)  It’s what’s known as a shield volcano because of its distinctive shield shape.

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Most of you know I grew up in a horrifically violent home.  Had I not been home on a particular Sunday night in 1980, I am certain my dad would have murdered my mom.

So, when I saw this article recently on Everything Lubbock, I took notice.  Do we really have a domestic violence issue in Lubbock? From the article:

According to statistics cited by Lubbock Area United Way, Lubbock’s domestic violence rate was twice the state average as of 2018. The Lubbock Police Department reports family violence was the leading cause of homicides in 2020, with 11 local residents losing their life to the crime.

The article also offered resources for help.  My heart hurts for those who exist in this private terror.  Should you know someone caught in this nightmare, let them know there is hope and help.  Read the article here.

 

MISSION/MINISTRY FAIR: October 17th

I’ll include more info on this in next week’s Navigator.  Briefly,…

  • The exhibit will be in the Commons all morning.
  • One table will represent our small group ministry (Sunday School & Wed. evenings).  Should you have anything specific you would like for me to include let me know.

 

The historicity of Jesus.

Bart Ehrman is a New Testament scholar and professor at UNC Chapel Hill.  He’s also an “agnostic with atheistic leanings.”  I read his book, Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.  (An odd book written by an atheist, right?) Here’s what he said in his opening comments:

“The reality is that whatever else you may think about Jesus, he certainly did exist.”

Ehrman then spent over 300 pages supporting his argument.  Don’t let anyone tell you Jesus never existed.   One of my professors rightly said, “There is more evidence for the existence of Jesus than for any other figure in human history.”

 

QUOTE(s)

I’m often asked, “Do you take the Bible literally.” My answer is, “Yes, where it is meant to be taken literally. Everything in the Bible is literally true but not all of it is expressed in a literal way.” – Frank Turek

On politics:  Bono,  the lead singer of U2, once said, “The Left mocks the Right.  The Right knows it’s right.  Two ugly traits.  How far should we go to try to  understand each other’s point of view?  Maybe the distance grace covered on the cross is a clue.” – Jim Wallace, God’s Politics

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD:  That Peculiar Planet Known as Uranus

When God spoke the cosmos into existence he could’ve made everything look the same.  But, God is an artist.  Read the article here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 9.16.21

THIS SUNDAY, 9/19

After last Sunday’s service (9/12), I walked to my car and just sat there in silence, overwhelmed with God’s grace and mercy.  Jerry Joplin and D.L. Lowrie were used mightily by Christ.

This Sunday, Sammy begins unpacking the vision God has given him for the next season of BHBC.

 

We’ve arrived at the deadline, this Sunday 9/19, to confirm your reservation for our inaugural Appreciation Banquet.

**My heart rejoices at the fact that we are at near 100% attendance for all leadership.  Present attendance stands at fifty-four!

About our speaker, Jim Hardwicke: Jim and his wife, Michelle, live in Springfield, MO., and have three grown children.  My youth pastor when I began going to church in high school, it was under Jim’s compassionate leadership and influence that I gave my life to Jesus in way of full-time, vocational ministry.  Jim went on to pastor in Missouri, eventually earning his Ph.D.

I’ve visited at length with Jim and am thrilled at what the Lord has laid on his heart to tell us.

 

New Adult Classes begin this Sunday, Sep 19th!

  • 9:15am – Young Professionals – taught by Shawn Coleman; Rm. 218
  • 9:15am – Cornerstone (all ages) – taught by Mike & Kristen Lewis; Rm. 215

 

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

I remember as a kid in school, when I didn’t understand what the teacher was saying I was always embarrassed to raise my hand and ask a question.  Little did I know, no one else in the class had a clue either and were equally embarrassed, or just didn’t care.

Recently, I came across the following post on Twitter.

If you think about the scenes the biblical writers describe as Jesus taught, you’ll remember numerous examples of intelligent people asking him questions:  Nicodemus is a perfect example, as well as Jesus’ own disciples.

Asking questions actually demonstrates diligence and a mature and aggressive desire to learn.  For, there is so much to learn that we do not know.  And, how are we going to learn if we don’t ask hard questions?

 

THE SIDE of SPORTS WE RARELY GET to SEE

Almost everything we’re fed by the media is the side of sports that embodies scandal, controversy,  and anything else that happens to fit their narrative.  However, there is so much more going on than meets the public eye.  Below are a bunch of big, strong men on their knees before the King of Kings.

 

  1. Is the Bible a fairy tale based on legend? Scholars agree that legends grow over time i.e. more embellishment, not less. The earliest gospel, Mark, was written around 65 AD. The latest gospel, John, was written some 30 years later. Yet, John records less of Jesus’ miracles than Mark. Skeptics fail to mention this.
  2. Evidence for God: A collection of up quarks, down quarks, and electrons is reading this sentence.” – Steve Robinson, professor of physics, Belmont University

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

This first quote is actually a prayer.

“I thank You, my Creator, that You have given me joys in Your creation and ecstasy over the work of Your hands. I have known the glory of Your works as far as my finite spirit was able to comprehend Your infinity.  If have said anything wholly unworthy of You, or have aspired after my own glory, graciously forgive me.” – Johannes Kepler, “An Astronomer’s Prayer”; Kepler was a key figure of the 17th century Scientific Revolution, and formulator of the three laws of planetary motion.

And,…

God’s patience with our sin does not suggest his approval. Never confuse the two.

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE (Prov. 17:22)

 

SOUL FOOD: Revenge

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 9.9.21

THIS SUNDAY, 9/12

This is it!  The kick-off for our Fall emphasis.  Once again, here are the details:

  • No Sunday School/Small Groups that day.  Everyone (youth through adults) will meet in the Worship Center both hours9:15 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.
  • On 9/19, Sammy will unpack his/our vision for BHBC.  Very exciting days ahead.

 

BE. OUR. GUEST!

Sunday School Leadership Appreciation Banquet; Sunday evening, 10/3; 6pm

I am THRILLED at your response to this wonderful evening we’re going to have together!  You’ll never know how grateful I am for your consistent love for Jesus and for people.

***Deadline to RSVP is Sunday, 9/19.

 

Two New Adult Classes begin on Sep 19th!

  • Young Professionals – taught by Shawn Coleman; Rm. 218
  • Cornerstone (all ages) – taught by Mike & Kristen Lewis; Rm. 215

Check out our full list of learning opportunities here.

 

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

For several weeks, I’ve been focusing more on our heart rather than our skill-set.  This is because being precedes doing. (It’s the reason Jesus said our distinguishing characteristic is love and not skills in teaching.)

This past Wed. evening I journeyed with my class through Daniel 4. (Internet speed has been painfully slow here at the office.  I will try and link this week’s study as soon as it is able to upload.)

Daniel 4 is an intriguing story on several levels.  But, I only want to focus on one aspect here.

Pride is a poison.  And, like all sin, pride enslaves.

Both biblical and secular history is littered with stories of people who’ve succumbed to pride and its sad consequences.

Nebuchadnezzar was an extremely gifted leader.  Secular history records his genius as a king and military general.

God had given Nebuchadnezzar numerous chances to humble himself and turn from his pride and temper.  But Nebuchadnezzar chose to learn the hard way.

What ensued was a seven-year vacation living like a wild animal in the woods barking at the moon.  (That should humble just about anyone.)

But, even after this harrowing experience of insanity, Nebuchadnezzar still had a choice to make:  would he dig in his heels, or will he finally, in essence, confess, “There is one God, and I’m not him.”  Fortunately, he chose the latter.

It’s easy to focus on the fact that we are all loved by God, but a lesser remembered fact is that we’re all expendable, as well. 

I often remind my daughters, both professional performers,

“Every last ounce of talent and skill with which God has entrusted to you is on loan.  As quickly as God gave it to you, he can take it away.  Use it wisely, and humbly.”

This goes for those of us who teach, too.

I’ve seen too many teachers/preachers act as though God should feel lucky to have them on his team.  We’re told repeatedly how good our teaching is and, if we’re not careful, we begin believing our own press.

Paul asked the proud Corinthians,

For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

In Proverbs 6, using a poetic device, Solomon records that God hates pride:

“One of the things God hates is a proud look.” [the attitude that makes one overestimate oneself]. Amplified

Every time we stand before God’s people we should stand humbled that God would even consider using us to play a small role in the furthering of his Kingdom.

One final warning.  And who better to give it than Nebuchadnezzar, himself:

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble. (emphasis mine)

 

PAUL HARVEY: “If I were the Devil.”

With my dad being a news journalist and TV anchor for the NBC affiliate, KRBC, in Abilene, TX, I was introduced early on to Paul Harvey.  Only 3 minutes long, this is one of his classics.

Originally aired in 1964, it’s a relevant now as it was then.

 

A TRIBUTE TO THE THIRTEEN U.S. SOLDIERS KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN

This past Saturday, the NC State Band paid tribute to our fallen military.  I didn’t last 30 seconds before my eyes welled up with tears.

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

Do you know people who enjoy dominating a conversation so that neither you nor anyone else can get a word in edgewise?  They love to hear themselves talk.  I have found this quote to be true on many occasions.

“The less men think, the more they talk.”— Montesquieu

And,…

God’s patience with our sin does not suggest his approval. Never confuse the two.

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

And, how about a bonus…

I’ve always been told English is the most difficult language to learn.  Based on the following, I believe it.

  1. The bandage was wound around the wound.
  2. The farm was used to produce produce.
  3. The dump was so full it was to refuse refuse.
  4. The man decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
  5. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
  6. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  7. Their things need to be returned to their house so see if they’re there.

 

SOUL FOOD:  Lambs and Dragons

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

 

The Navigator: 9.2.21

THIS SUNDAY, 9/5

Sammy & Anita are taking some well-deserved time away.  In his absence, I will be preaching a message I’ve titled:  The Hope-Giving, All-Sufficient, Indestructible Word of God.  My objective and hope is that all who listen would fall in love with their Bibles again, or perhaps for the very first time.

 

Sunday School Leadership Appreciation Banquet; Sunday evening, 10/3; 6pm

“Elegance” may be a little over the top.  But, I chose the graphic because I want you to understand this is not a “chicken strips buffet.”  We will be enjoying steak dinners in your honor.  Cindy Andrews is making certain the decor in the FLC will be beautiful.

Please, if you’ve not already, make your RSVP’s.  Deadline is Sunday, 9/19.

 

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.
  • NEW:  Inside this week’s bulletin you will find a QR Code that takes you to a digital invitation to send to friends.
  • 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: Meditation

When I was a kid, whenever I heard the word “meditation” I always associated it with eastern religions and transcendental meditation. Then, as I began to read the Bible, I came across multiple passages about the spiritual discipline of meditating on God’s word.

After Moses died, God instructed Joshua,

“Study [My Word] continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” – Joshua 1:8

Many people will say, “I don’t know how to meditate.”

Oh, yes you do.

Have you ever worried? Worry is negative meditation. And we all know how to worry. Sometimes for days on end.

While we often set a goal to “read the Bible through in a year” (quantity), meditation accomplishes a different goal (quality.)

Author, Nancy Leigh Demoss, wrote about this topic,

“Absorb the Word into your system by dwelling on it, pondering it, going over it again and again in your mind, considering it from many different angles, until it becomes part of you.”

Try this: think of your favorite Bible verse or passage and meditate on that passage for a few days in a row.  Turn it over again and again in your heart and mind. Who was the author? What do you think he was thinking and feeling at the time? How might that passage translate to life in 2021?  Are there objections and/or hard questions you have for God about the passage? Memorize it. Look at it in different translations. Then, just listen. And you will hear the whisper of a still, small voice as God begins to illuminate the depth of His Word.

Can you hear the Lion’s roar? “Aslan is on the move,” Lewis encourages us in his Narnia Chronicles.  Listen.  The adventure awaits.  nw

 

YOUR GLORY IS HIGHER THAN THE HEAVENS!

“I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.” – Abraham Lincoln

This is NGC 2623, a pair of spiral galaxies in the late stage of collision. This is called a titanic galaxy merger. It is 253 million light years from earth, and traveling away from us at 3400 miles per second. – Per. Second.

“When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place—… O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!” – Psalm 8:3, 9

 

FOR THOSE WHO ARE BOTHERED BY DOUBTS

**I’ve chosen to include this post from my Facebook page because I was taken back by how many times it was shared on social media.  Apparently, there are many who deal with doubts concerning their salvation.  Should you encounter someone in your flock dealing with doubt, perhaps what I shared with my friend can help.

I met with a friend at their request this past week.  They wanted to make certain they had been saved (“saved” is the word the Bible often uses to represent one’s decision to place their faith in Christ.)

After sharing a warm beverage and reflecting on the truth of scripture my friend was reassured that their name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (cf. Revelation 20:11-15)

Many – especially when the fragility of life becomes all too real due to serious illness, or age – begin to be bothered by doubt and fear as to what they’ll wake up to after their final breath on earth.

The Bible says you neither have to doubt nor fear.

Paul wrote, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:9

And when the jailer asked Paul, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul calmly replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” – Acts 16:29-31

Can this decision ever be undone?  According to the testimony of scripture itself – never.  Paul wrote, “In [Christ], …when you heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation, and [as a result] believed in Him, were stamped with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit [the One promised by Christ] as owned and protected [by God]. The Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance…” – Ephesians 1:13-14, Amplified

Your salvation – your decision to place your faith in Christ – is sealed with the Holy Spirit.  And no power on earth or in heaven can break that seal.

nw

 

COVID CONCERNS

The church staff recently discussed the rise of COVID cases and what that means for our church.  At this time, we are not going to make any modifications to our schedule or ministries.  However, we do ask that we all help stop the spread of illness by taking any precautions you feel are necessary.  We encourage you to do the following:

  1. Stay home if you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19.
  2. Wash your hands often.  Hand sanitizer is wall-mounted inside doors 1-3.
  3. Practice social distancing.

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

“The devil’s boots don’t creak.” (Scottish proverb)

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8

And,…

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God. – Aeschylus

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD:  Mind Games

If we’re not careful, our mind can become Satan’s basecamp.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

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

The Navigator: 7.15.21

NOTE:  Next Navigator will be published on August 5th.

 

THIS SUNDAY, 7/18

  • Sammy concludes his series from the Psalms, using chapter 51 as his text.  This is David’s cry for mercy and forgiveness after being confronted by Nathan about his sin of adultery and murder.

 

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

Much damage and misinformation can occur as a result of lazy preparation.  If you were preparing for an important interview or public debate you would make certain you knew your stuff.  The same level of responsibility applies to teaching the Bible.

After prayer (the most critical aspect of biblical teaching), historical, cultural and literary context play a vital role in helping your listeners better understand what the text meant to its original audience.  You are then given tremendous insight into how to translate the text into modern culture.

In his book, The Mystery of the Holy Spirit, R.C. Sproul counseled,

“If we can identify the author, his chief purpose, as well as his intended audience, this goes a long way in helping us understand their teaching with greater accuracy.”

And, one theologian offered insight into the commitment one must have when preparing to teach:

Working in a text means discerning its literary structure, intelligently created by the original authors, to communicate to an audience that would have seen what they were doing. If that sounds like work, it is.

Providing context helps a 21st century audience use their imagination to, for example, hear the bleating of the sheep David is shepherding, to feel the dust of those 1st century Palestinian roads, to hear the march of Roman soldiers, and to look over the shoulder of Jesus visiting with Nicodemus.

 

PRAY FOR OUR FIRST-RESPONDERS

Some of you may not know that our University Pastor, Shawn Coleman, is also a Federal Fire Fighter. As such, he spends the summers in Arizona fighting fires. You’ve no doubt read in the news about the historic heat wave/drought plaguing the western part of the U.S. which is fueling the spread of these infernos.

Below is a photo Shawn sent of one fire they’ve been fighting.  This will give you insight into the earthly hell these brave men are fighting.

A few days ago, Shawn sent the following message. It made national news. He gave me permission to share it. My heart breaks for the families. Please lift them all to Jesus.

From Shawn:

“Two of my guys died yesterday when their plane crashed on a fire outside of Wickieup, AZ. We are dealing with their loss and the NTSB investigation today. We are also clearing out their personal items from the base. Not an easy day. Matt Miller was the pilot and Jeff Piechura was the Air Attack.”

 

GOT QUESTIONS?

I can’t remember if I’ve recommended to you a solid web site called Got QuestionsYou can access it here, and type in almost any conceivable question about the Christian worldview to find good food-for-thought.  Great resource for your studies and preparation.

Recently, they posted, ‘What are the most famous/questions in the Bible?’  Not questions about the Bible, but in the Bible.  Thought you might enjoy reading it.  Click here to read the article.

 

APPROACHING A KING

The ancient rule of approaching a king is demonstrated for us in the story of Esther: to approach without being invited likely incurred a death sentence.  This was serious business.

Through Jeremiah, God warns,

“I will invite him to approach me.  For who would dare to come unless invited?”

Given this historical context, the quote below by Tim Keller is awe-inspiring:

Because of the Cross, the veil that separated us from God was removed.

Indeed, Paul celebrated,

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

This is why the author of Hebrews could write,

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,…

 

THE IMAGINATION OF GOD

The atlas moth has wings that mimic two cobras watching her back.

 

SEEN ON TWITTER

Atheists: There is no magical man in the sky

Christians: What a coincidence! We don’t believe that either.

 

BIBLICAL KARMA

Even non-Christians are familiar with Paul’s warning to the Galatians: “you reap what you sow.”

But, many don’t fully understand that the scriptures are replete with this principle.  For example:

“I will bring on them the evil they have done to others, and they will receive the punishment they so richly deserve.”

 

JUST SO YOU KNOW

Personally, I have no problem with the cost of this suit.  Want me to stand on the moon?  My suit better not be purchased at JC Penney.

 

Friendly reminder: Please mark your calendar for Sunday evening, October 3rd; 6pm, in our FLC.  Spouses are invited. 

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

I heard a preacher one time say, “A lot of Christians say ‘I’m being attacked by the devil’ when in reality they’re under God’s judgment.”  I’ve never forgotten that.

“People swear they’re fighting demons, when they’re actually fighting the consequences of their own choices.”

And,…

“There would be no sense in saying you trusted Jesus if you would not take his advice.” – C.S. Lewis

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

This is soooo true…

 

SOUL FOOD:  Nowhere to Run to – Nowhere to Hide

Just typing out this blog gave me chills.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick