The Navigator: 10.22.2020

 

THIS SUNDAY, 10/25

Preacher:  DL Lowrie

 

It’s that time of year again!

This Sunday, 10/25, we will begin promoting this endearing ministry.  The schedule is as follows:

Nov. 1 – Boxes will be available for pick up

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

 

PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST?

I am truly astounded that this wasn’t headline news on every news outlet known to mankind.  2020 has been a painful year.  But, there are signs all around us that remind us that God is mightily at work.

Below are social media posts from two Middle Eastern media outlets regarding the, previously unthinkable, improvement in relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Why do I include this for you?  Because Israel is, according to the Bible, still God’s chosen nation.  As tiny as it is on our globe, it remains the world’s geo-political center.  When something this momentous takes place, Christians should take note.

The Arabs hate Israel.  This is a miracle of biblical proportions.

Read more about the story here and here.

 

A Brief Biblical Principle from this Past Wed. Evening’s Time of Learning:

Amidst the scene of “the woman caught in adultery”, John records,

“They made her stand in front of [the crowd].” 8:3

The religious leaders caught the woman “in the very act” of adultery but conveniently excused the man (some scholars speculate the man was a fellow Pharisee.)  Nevertheless, they had already violated the very Old Testament law with which they were using to attempt to trap Jesus.  But I digress.

My point is this:  Who shamed and humiliated the woman?

The church people.

Chuck Swindoll once lamented,

If I were not a Christian, the reason I would choose not to become a Christian is because of the words and actions of Christians toward one another.

The 19th century philosopher and professed atheist, Friedrich Nietzsche, offered this stinging indictment:

I would believe in their Savior if they acted more like they have been saved.

Paul warned,

“Therefore you are without excuse, whoever you are, when you judge someone else. For on whatever grounds you judge another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge practice the same things”

I have long lost count of how many people I have counseled who’ve been hurt by the church.

Author, Philip Yancey, wrote,

Sadly, to a world desperate for this grace the church sometimes presents one more form of un-grace.

Did Jesus’ grace and mercy for the woman excuse her sin?  As Paul wrote, “May it never be!”  I covered that in my session.  My point in this brief devotional thought is simple:

Too often we more resemble the Pharisees than Jesus.

 

ENCOURAGEMENT

Pastor Lowrie’s most recent sermon, as of this posting, has not yet been posted on our web site.  Check our web site for updates.

To view this Wed’s exposition of John 7:53-8:11, click 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!

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD:  Availability over Ability

Read the very brief blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 10.15.2020

THIS SUNDAY, 10/18

Preacher: DL Lowrie

 

It’s that time of year again!

On Oct. 25th, we will begin promoting this endearing ministry.  The schedule is as follows:

Nov. 1 – Boxes will be available for pick up

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

 

A Brief Biblical Principle from this Past Wed. Evening’s Time of Learning:

John 7:45-47 tells us…

45 Then the officers returned to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why didn’t you bring him back with you?” 46 The officers replied, “No one ever spoke like this man!” 47 Then the Pharisees answered, “You haven’t been deceived too, have you?

Previously, the religious leaders had sent the Temple police to go and arrest Jesus.  Above, you can see how that went.

What I want to draw your attention to here is the condescending, judgmental, pompous treatment of the Temple police by the religious leaders.  They are saying, in essence, “Are you that stupid?  Has this psychopath fooled you too? You’re an uneducated dimwit!”

Culture changes, but people never do.  This type of bullying is just as present today as it was then.  Just try expressing your conservative opinion on social media.  See how that goes for you.

But, Jesus didn’t shrink back from the bullies.  When the truth is on your side there is nothing – and no one – to fear.

Mark Twain once said,

All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure. – Mark Twain –

Use big words, sound academic, attack their character, insinuate they are stupid, use intimidation tactics, and, by all means, don’t lower yourself to having intelligent, civil discourse with someone with whom you disagree.  (You might actually learn something.) This is defined as “confident ignorance.”  This is called bullying.

Richard Dawkins, the brilliant biologist, atheist and author of the best-selling, The God Delusion, opined,

“Religion is a fairy-tale dreamt up by people afraid of the dark.”

In response, the brilliant scientist and Oxford professor, John Lennox, countered,

Atheism is a fairy-tale dreamt up by people afraid of the light.”

 

SOCIAL JUSTICE?

13 Principles for Addressing the Present Social Unrest

Dr. Douglass Groothuis is a brilliant theologian, philosopher, critical thinker and defender of the Christian faith.  Last month, he posted a very brief, simple food-for-thought blog on the topic of responding to the present social unrest.  I thought it was solid enough to pass along.  NOTE:  No’s 12 & 13 can appear confusing as he is referring to ideologies.  Read the article here.

 

ENCOURAGEMENT

Pastor Lowrie was out of town last week.  For my message, ‘Hell: a truth discovered too late,” click here.

To view this Wed’s exposition of John 7:37-52, click 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!

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

When life seems too gnarled to be unraveled, remember that God is able to untie the biggest knot.

And…

Obedience is easy when God’s Word fits into our plans. But our love for him is tested when his plans are contrary to ours.

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD:  Bitter or Better?  (It’s up to you.)

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

 

 

The Navigator: 10.8.2020

THIS SUNDAY, 10/11

Preacher:  Nick Watts; John 7:25-36

First Grade Bible Presentation:  During this Sunday’s 10:45 worship service, Dana Kluzek will present our 1st graders with the most precious gift: the Word of God.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” – Isaiah 40:8

 

CHRIST AT WORK

News from 2020 is not all bad.  Jesus said he is always at work.

  1. This past Saturday, our deacon body cleaned up two of our church-owned homes as well as winterized the cars of 14 single moms & widows.
  2. My dear friend, Jerry Ramirez, at FBC, Lubbock, spear-headed an effort to feed some 3000 people at UMC this past week.  Several people from BHBC were able to join the effort.

 

HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN CHRIST’S RESURRECTION?

When responsibly investigating historical events, historians commonly assert, “anything is possible, but we look closely at the evidence for what is most plausible.”

The resurrection of Christ is the epicenter of the Christian faith.  Without the resurrection there is no Christianity.  Therefore, every believer should be able to engage in intelligent dialogue on this topic.

The facts presented in this 6-minute video don’t prove Jesus’ resurrection (no one can disprove it either).  What these facts do is present evidence that makes any explanation other than Jesus bodily rose from the dead implausible.

 

CHRISTIAN HISTORY – OUR ENGLISH BIBLE

The vast majority of Christians have no clue as to the price that was paid (by many) for us to have a Bible translated into English (as well as other “languages of the people.”)  I have a number of books on this topic.  I would highly recommend reading  A Visual History of the English Bible: The Tumultuous Tale of the World’s Best-Selling Book.

This past Tuesday, October 6, I was mindful of the anniversary of what took place in 1536, when William Tyndale was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into the English language. His last words: “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” For Tyndale, the Bible “for the people” meant that all could drink from the truth itself, without pressure or pretext. Two years after Tyndale’s death, King Henry authorized the distribution of the Matthew bible, much of it Tyndale’s work.

 

ENCOURAGEMENT

For Pastor Lowrie’s most recent sermon, click here.

NOTE:  Pastor Lowrie is doing extremely well after being taken to the ER last Sunday.  In fact, he was back at our offices on Monday morning as good as new.

 

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!

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

This is absolutely profound:

And,…

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD:  Moving at the Pace of God

Ever try to hurry God up?  That’s always a bad decision.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 10.1.2020

THIS SUNDAY, 10/4

Preacher:  DL Lowrie

 

THIS SATURDAY, 10/3: Winterizing Cars & Annex Clean-up

After a brief meeting at 8am, our Deacon Body will be winterizing cars from 9am-Noon in our parking lot. Additionally, we will be cleaning out garages in our church-owned homes that perimeter our church.

 

Don’t ever forget these 6 fundamentals:

  1. You can’t give what you don’t have. Be faithful and disciplined in your own spiritual growth via daily devotional time involving biblical study and prayer – even if it’s just for a few minutes. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Additionally, if your “well is ever dry” and you need a break/sabbath, let your pastor know.
  2. Be a disciplined and responsible student of scripture.  And, know why you believe what you believe. Study context. Take time to think and work through hard passages. When you stop learning, you stop leading. Think deeply. 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.” (cf. 2 Timothy 2:15; 1 Peter 3:15)
  3. Lead with love. Jesus said, “By this all will know if you follow me, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) 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.” (Matthew 23:11) Sheep are led, not driven.  Be on time to class.  Always show up prepared.  Our listeners can smell “winging it” a mile away.
  5. 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.” (James 3:1) Prepare well, and leave the results to God.
  6. 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.

 

This Sunday, 10/4, in both worship services, our former pastor, Jerry Joplin, will be giving us a testimony as to how BHBC’s monetary investment in the furtherance of God’s Kingdom through the Lubbock Baptist Association is making a difference.

 

A Brief Biblical Principle from this Past Wed. Evening’s Time of Learning:

In chapter 7, as all Jews were preparing to attend the Festival of Shelters in Jerusalem, Jesus informed his brothers he was not going to Jerusalem with them.  They countered, quite strongly, that he should not only go with them, but also put his miracles on display for all to see.

John records:

So Jesus replied, “My time has not yet arrived, but you are ready at any opportunity!

What we see here is Jesus’ avoidance of the wrong time in God’s sovereign plan, and Jesus’ perfect obedience to the right time in God’s sovereign plan.

The scene hearkens back to John 2, where, at a wedding in Cana, Jesus’ mother appealed to him to help (miraculously) with the depleted wine.  Jesus replied to her,

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

Mankind hurries about life often forgetting that God’s Timetable is not random.  Search the gospels and you will find that Jesus was never in a hurry, nor was he ever late.  God’s timing is always impeccable.

Jesus’ brothers were thinking in terms of mere human logic.  Jesus knew better.

Don’t rush God.  That’s never a good idea.  Wait for him.  His timing is always best.

 

THREE SWIVEL STOOLS AVAILABLE

Should you like to have a swivel stool to sit on while teaching simply let me know.  We have three that are available.  See pic below.

 

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!

 

ENCOURAGEMENT

For Pastor Lowrie’s most recent sermon, click here.

For Pastor Lowrie’s online leading in the Lord’s Supper, click here.

For my lesson on John 7:1-24 this past Wed evening, click here.

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD: Life Is Short, Don’t Miss It

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 9.24.2020

THIS SUNDAY, 9/27

Preacher:  DL Lowrie

Lord’s Supper Online:  Sunday evening, Pastor Lowrie will be leading us, virtually, in the Lord’s Supper, as he did in April when we were not meeting due to COVID.  You will be able to access the video of him leading sometime Sunday afternoon or evening, and, as such, will be able to observe the Lord’s Supper at your convenience in your own home with family and/or friends.

 

THIS SUNDAY, let’s say thank you to Jordan Morales

As I mentioned a few weeks back, our Youth Pastor, Jordan Morales, resigned to take a teaching position at Southcrest Christian School here in Lubbock.  Her last Sunday is this coming Sunday, Sep. 27th.  Let’s say thank you  in between, and after, our morning worship services by bringing thank you notes and/or gift cards.  The reception will be in the Commons.

 

A Brief Biblical Principle from this Past Wed. Evening’s Time of Learning:

Following Jesus’ “Bloodiest Sermon”, he offers an invitation to appropriate his message to embrace him not merely as a good teacher or miracle worker, but as Messiah, Lord and Savior.  Far from the responses we’ve witnessed at a Billy Graham Crusade, John records:

“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” (John 6:66)

The Greek word for disciple literally means student or learner, and hundreds of these disciples hung out and around Jesus – but for all the wrong reasons.

These were false disciples.  They had no personal faith in Jesus.  They wanted sizzle, but not substance.  They wanted an A on the test without having to study.  German pastor/martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, sums up the attitude of a false disciple best in his book, The Cost of Discipleship (my copy is well-worn), where he describes what he calls Cheap Grace.

“Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. Grace without cost!  The grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Cheap grace means the justification of the sin without the justification of the sinner.  Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.  Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, communion without confession.  It is grace without discipleship, grace without the Cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”

Apparently, there will be many false disciples on Judgment Day learning for the first time that their decision not to embrace Christ by faith was a death sentence for all eternity.  Jesus offers this haunting warning:

“On that day [of judgment] many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ – Matthew  7:22-23

Which disciple are you?

 

Our Children’s Pastor, Dana Kluzek, shared the following story this past week in Staff Meeting.  I asked her permission to share it here.  It will warm your heart and remind you all Jesus is doing in our midst:

This past Sunday we started a program in the Children’s Ministry called Bible Buddies.  The kids adopt a Bible Buddy (stuffed animal) that they will read their Bible to.  They also receive a book that contains 30 different age-specific Bible readings for them to read to their buddy and a place to journal about what they read.  Once they complete those readings, they can return the book for a prize and another book.  The purpose of this program is to get kids into the habit of reading their Bibles daily.  The kids were all very excited about this program, and couldn’t wait to adopt!  One of our kids was supposed to go to their grandparent’s house last weekend, and she refused to go until her mom assured her that she would pick up a Bible Buddy and study book for her.  We had another kid who was going to be out the Sunday of the adoptions, and she also came to me and wanted to be sure that she didn’t miss out on adopting a Bible Buddy.  I let her choose one and set it aside for her so that she would have the one she wanted.  On Sunday, all of our Buddies were adopted except for 6 and we ran out of the 1st-3rd Grade Bible Read-Along books.  We also provided each family with a book for the parent or guardian titled “5 Things To Pray for Your Kids.” 

 

 

And, speaking of our Children’s Ministry…

Fall Fest! Sort of…

Due to COVID (it seems like I’ve begun most of my statements with that phrase this year), we will not be hosting our traditional Fall Fest in late October.  However, Dana and her brilliant team will be putting together “Fall Fest Bags” for children.  These bags will contain resources for knowing Jesus, info about BHBC and, of course, candy.  Dana has let informed us to let folks know that we can begin collecting candy now.

 

IN DEFENSE of the CHRISTIAN FAITH: Human Consciousness

Dr. John Lennox is a renowned scientist from Oxford University, as well as a towering figure within the discipline of Christian Apologetics. Allow your faith to be strengthened as you listen to Dr. Lennox use human consciousness as a powerful defense for our faith.  The clip is under 4 minutes in length:

 

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

 

ENCOURAGEMENT

For Pastor Lowrie’s most recent sermon, click here.

For my lesson on the conclusion of John 6 this past Wed evening, click here.

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

“We may be, in part, products of our past: but if the gospel is true, we do not need to be prisoners of it.” – Andy Bannister

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD: My Least Favorite Book in the Bible

Click here to see why.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 9.11.2020

THIS SUNDAY, 9/13

Preacher:  D.L. Lowrie

***Ingathering Day – both morning worship services

The Offering: Two Sundays ago I presented the biblical framework behind the “special offering” to inaugurate our new giving campaign to retire the debt incurred from our most recent construction.  This Sunday, just prior to the sermon, we will ask the people to leave their seats and make their way to the front (this will be an organized procedure) and place their Pledge Card and/or special offering in a basket located on the Communion Table.

To ensure no one feels awkward for not choosing to participate, we will communicate to the people they should remain seated if (1) they have already turned in their Pledge Card, (2) are not physically able to join the procession, or (3) they are still praying about what God would have them give.  This will be a celebration.

Concert of Prayer:  Sunday evening, 6pm – We are asking our people to return to the Worship Center Sunday evening at 6pm for a time of celebration and intentional prayer.  There will be music, testimony, scripture, and, of course, prayer.  Afterward, we will move to the FLC for fellowship and a light snack.  It will be good to restore more fellowship among our people.

Between Now and Sunday morning – I am asking you – the shepherds of our small group flocks – to enter into intentional periods of prayer with your class as we quickly approach Ingathering Day this coming Sunday.  “If my people,…will pray…”

 

THANK YOU, JORDAN MORALES

As I mentioned a few weeks back, our Youth Pastor, Jordan Morales, resigned to take a teaching position at Southcrest Christian School here in Lubbock.  Her last Sunday is Sep. 27th.  Let’s say thank you that morning in between, and after, our morning worship services by bringing thank you notes and/or gift cards.  The reception will be in the Commons.

 

One principle from this past Wed’s time of learning:

Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” – John 5:8

Brief context: Jesus is in Jerusalem and sees a number of people lame, blind and otherwise ill and incapacitated.  He walks up to one man who, the scriptures tell us, had been in his crippled state for 38 years.  Let that sink in:  thirty. eight. years.  Jesus simply looks at him and says, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”  This man hasn’t walked in 38 years.  His ligaments are non-existent.  His muscles are all atrophied.  He must be thinking, “That’s impossible.”

Biblical Principle:  God often asks us to do the seeming impossible.  He whispers to us, “I want you to forgive (that person who hurt or betrayed you.)”  “I want you to attempt to reconcile your relationship (with your estranged friend/relative.)”  “I want you to trust me with (your devastating disappointment.)”  “I want you to share your faith (with an acquaintance you suspect is resistant, or even hostile, toward the Christian faith.)” And so on.

A frightened and very young Mary replied to the angel, Gabriel, “How can this be, [how can I be pregnant], since I am a virgin?”  Gabriel replied, “Nothing is impossible with God.”

Paul wrote,

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13

By the way, the crippled man got up, rolled up his mat, and, for the first time in almost 4 decades, walked away.  We get up each morning like every other morning, but we never know what a day may bring.

In way of celebration & excitement – you know my heart so, hopefully, I don’t need to qualify the following with making certain you understand I don’t share this in way of boasting. (There’s no one less impressed with themselves than me.)  Further, I will not mention this often.  I simply want you to know how Christ is working in our midst.  In addition to the crowd we are having on Wed. evenings, this past message was viewed Wed evening by over 300 people on Facebook Live.  Soli Deo Gloria

 

PARKRIDGE ANNUAL BANQUET: Can you join me?

The annual Parkridge Pregnancy Center Banquet is Thursday evening, 9/17, at the Lubbock Civic Center.  BHBC has reserved a table for 8.  I am still looking for four people who might like to attend with me, Michelle, and D.L. & Alice Lowrie.  The meal is wonderful and the guest speaker, Bob Goff, is outstanding.  The only cost for the evening is your time.  Help me fill up our table!

 

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

 

ENCOURAGEMENT

View Pastor Lowrie’s most recent message here.

 

QUOTES of the WEEK

And…

Sometimes Satan’s strongest attacks come after a victory. ‘So let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall.’ 1 Cor 10:12

One more…

“The gospel is complex enough to keep theologians and philosophers busy writing learned tomes for years, and yet simple enough for a child to grasp the essentials.” – Francis Schaeffer

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD: Is Christianity Anti-Science?

Read the blog here.

Solus Christus, Nick

The Navigator: 9.3.2020

THIS SUNDAY, 9/6

Preacher:  DL Lowrie

NOTE: OFFICES CLOSED for Labor Day

INGATHERING DAY:  9/13 – both morning worship services

The Offering:

This past Sunday I presented the biblical framework behind the “special offering” to inaugurate our new giving campaign to retire the debt incurred from our most recent construction.  On Sunday morning, 9/13, just prior to the sermon, we will ask the people to leave their seats and make their way to the front (this will be an organized procedure) and place their Pledge Card and/or special offering in a basket located on the Communion Table.

To ensure no one feels awkward for not choosing to participate, we will communicate to the people they should remain seated if (1) they have already turned in their Pledge Card, (2) are not physically able to join the procession, or (3) they are still praying about what God would have them give.

I can promise you this will be extremely exciting and celebratory.  Personally, I cannot wait to be a part of it.

Concert of Prayer:  Sunday evening, 9/13; 6pm

We are asking our people to return to the Worship Center that evening at 6pm for a time of celebration and intentional prayer.  There will be music, testimony, scripture, and, of course, prayer.  Afterward, we will move to the FLC for fellowship and a light snack.  It will be good to restore more fellowship among our people.

Between Now and 9/13

As I stated this past Sunday morning, I am asking you – the shepherds of our small group flocks – to enter into intentional periods of prayer with your class as we quickly approach Ingathering Day on the 13th.  “If my people,…will pray…”

 

SPEAKING OF PRAYER…

I have a few books of centuries-old prayers that I read through from time to time.  The Bible is replete with recorded prayers.  The Psalms, alone, contain 150 of them.  You’ll find the longest recorded prayer in Nehemiah 9. When people ask me to help them learn how to pray I encourage them to begin by reading through prayers already given to us by God in His Word.  Below is a prayer from a book of prayer I have titled, The Valley of Vision.  From the 18th century.

Lord, your departure (ascension following your resurrection) was not a token of separation, but a pledge of your return.

On that day, this corruptible shall put on incorruption. This mortal, immortality. This natural body, a glorious body. This weak body, a body of power.

Beyond the grave is resurrection, judgment, acquittal, dominion. Every event and circumstance of my life will be dealt with – the sins of my youth, my secret sins, the sins of abusing your name, of disobeying your Word – all will be judged.

Yet, that day is not a horror to me. For your death has redeemed me, your Spirit fills me, your love animates me, your Word governs me.

I have trusted you and you have not betrayed my trust. O God, keep me in this faith, and ever looking for Christ’s return.

Amen

 

KCBD WEEKEND METEOROLOGIST, KELLY PLASKER

By now, many of you have read or watched the story of Kelly Plasker’s taking of her own life this past Sunday.  Her story has not only been widely covered locally, but also covered nationally by the Today Show and Fox News.

About two years ago, Kelly’s son, Thomas, took his own life.  He was 19.  Due to my own history with my son, Jordan, a mutual friend connected me to Kelly.  And, over the past two years, we have had a number of visits as I counseled and encouraged her how to survive the suicide of a child.  Alas, Kelly lost that psychological battle last Sunday.

Kelly leaves behind two teenage children.  Her daughter called me on Monday and asked me to preach her mom’s funeral.  (I met with Kelly’s children today.) The service is Saturday morning, 10am, at Lake Ridge Chapel, and will be broadcast all over.  You can read details regarding the service here.

Would you please lift this precious family to Jesus?  Would you please pray for me as I prepare to offer them, and all those watching, hope in the Cross of Christ?

 

PARKRIDGE ANNUAL BANQUET

The annual Parkridge Pregnancy Center Banquet is Thursday evening, 9/17, at the Lubbock Civic Center.  BHBC has reserved a table for 8.  I am looking for four people who might like to attend with me, Michelle, and D.L. & Alice Lowrie.

 

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

Our mid-week times of learning have been strongly attended and heavily viewed on BHBC’s Facebook page.  To God be all glory.

Here’s a nugget of truth from this past Wed. evening from John 4.  Jesus has kept his divine appointment with an outcast, immoral Samaritan women at the site of Jacob’s Well near Sychar, en route with his disciples to Galilee from Judah.

Unlike Nicodemus in chapter 3, the woman immediately believes in and puts her faith in Jesus.  What happened next in this woman can only be described as a rhapsodical eruption of joy and freedom.  Let’s pick up the story with vss 28 and following:

Then the woman left her water jar, and went into the city and began telling the people, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done! Can this be the Christ?” So the people left the city and were coming to Him…  Now many Samaritans from that city believed in Him and trusted Him [as Savior] because of what the woman said

She was so excited she forgot to take her water jar back to town with her!  The one evangelized immediately becomes the evangelist!  And she does this without any concern about what people knew of her former way of life. Why should she?  In a matter of seconds her spirit was quickened/awakened to the Holy Spirit of Almighty God.  She no longer was carrying the crippling weight of shame and guilt.  She was a new creation! All the old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  In a nutshell, she leaves behind the water jar as she now carries in herself the Living Water.

O God, ignite this kind of passion in us that we might boldly and lovingly share our faith.  Amen

 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN THE BIBLE SAYS GOD IS JEALOUS?

It’s a part of the 2nd of the 10 Commandments.  And Moses makes it clear later on:

“Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Ex. 34:14)

I heard a celebrity once say condescendingly, “I just can’t respect a God who says he’s jealous.”

At face value, I would agree with the celebrity.

But that is the mistake we make when we are irresponsible in our study of scripture.

God’s jealousy is nothing like human jealousy.

I could go on.  But this brief quote from philosophy professor, Paul Copan, Ph.D., from his book Is God a Moral Monster? is a solid, concise explanation.  Peace, nw

 

 

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

 

ENCOURAGEMENT

View Pastor Lowrie’s most recent message here.

To view my message on John 4 from this past Wed. evening simply go to Bacon Heights’ Facebook page, scroll down and click on the video.

 

QUOTES of the WEEK

“For too long, we’ve called unbelievers to ‘invite Jesus into your life.’ Jesus doesn’t want to be in your life.  Your life’s a wreck.  Jesus calls you into His life.  And His life isn’t boring or purposeless or static.  It’s wild and exhilarating and unpredictable.” – Russell Moore

And…

Very good to remember:  [Jesus said], “Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. (Matthew 18:7)

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

Also… Deep Thoughts:

1) When one door closes and another door opens, you are probably in prison.

2) Cop: Please step out of the car.  Driver:  I’m too drunk.  You get in.

3) If you’re sitting in a public place and a stranger takes the seat next to you, just stare straight ahead and whisper, “Did you bring the money?”

 

SOUL FOOD: American Idol

Idols come in all shapes, sizes and forms.  And many of us – even Christians – can still be guilty of worshiping them.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 8.27.2020

THIS SUNDAY, 8/30

Preacher:  DL Lowrie

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hallelujah!

 

THE EPIDEMIC OF BIBLICAL ILLITERACY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

QUOTES of the WEEK

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

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

And…,

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

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

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

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

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

SOUL FOOD:  America & the Supernatural

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

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 8.20.2020

THIS SUNDAY, 8/23

Preacher: DL Lowrie

Primary Text:  Zechariah 4:6

 

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

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

 

IS YOUR BHBC WEB SITE INFO CORRECT?

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

 

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

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

 

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

The Gospel of John – Nick Watts – worship center

GriefShare – Tom & Diane Heath – 209

DivorceCare – Isaias & Sonya Martinez – 215

Strength to Love – Cam Johnston – 109

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

 

THANK YOU, JORDAN MORALES

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

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

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

 

A ‘SHORTER SUMMA’

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

He writes incisively:

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

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

 

RAVI ZACHARIAS on ATHEISTIC EVOLUTION

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

 

ENCOURAGEMENT

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

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

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

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

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD:  Consequences

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

 

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 8.13.2020

THIS SUNDAY, 8/16

Preacher:  DL Lowrie

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

What are you presently teaching?

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

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

 

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

Re-Opening Protocols for the Family Ministry Team

When you enter each Family Ministry Area:           

*Everyone will have their temperature checked before entering.

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

*Chairs will be spread out for social distancing.

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

*No food or drink will be served.

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

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

 

BUILDING THE THIRD JEWISH TEMPLE

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

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

From the article:

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

Read the article here.

Maranatha – Come, Lord Jesus. nw

 

EVIDENCE

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

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

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

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

 

FROM THE ODD SIDE OF LIFE

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

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

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

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

 

ENCOURAGEMENT

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

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

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

And,…

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

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

So true…

 

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

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

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick