This is where you will find out what's going on at our church. The Monthly News, Weekly Sermons, Calendar of Events and Special Notices. For more information about location, staffing and services, visit OUR WEBSITE. Also, go to that website to view the older sermons - they are available there as links and there are about 200 to choose from!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

From the Pastor...


What Does Jesus Want for Christmas?
                       
 by John  Piper

           
What does Jesus want this Christmas? We can see the answer in his prayers. What does he ask God for? His longest prayer is John 17. Here is the climax of his desire: "Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am" (v. 24).

Among all the undeserving sinners in the world, there are those whom God has "given to Jesus." These are those whom God has drawn to the Son (John 6:44, 65). These are Christians - people who have "received" Jesus as the crucified and risen Savior and Lord and Treasure of their lives (John 1:12; 10:11, 17-18; 20:28; 6:35; 3:17). Jesus says he wants them to be with him.

Sometimes we hear people say that God created man because he was lonely. So they say, "God created us so that we would be with him." Does Jesus agree with this? Well, he does say that he really wants us to be with him! Yes, but why? Consider the rest of the verse. Why does Jesus want us to be with him?
. . . to see my glory that you [Father] have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 

That would be a strange way of expressing his loneliness. "I want them with me so they can see my glory." In fact it doesn't express his loneliness. It expresses his concern for the satisfaction of our longing, not his loneliness. Jesus is not lonely. He and the Father and the Spirit are profoundly satisfied in the fellowship of the Trinity. We, not he, are starving for something. And what Jesus wants for Christmas is for us to experience what we were really made for - seeing and savoring his glory.

Oh, that God would make this sink in to our souls! Jesus made us (John 1:3) to see his glory. Just before he goes to the cross he pleads his deepest desires with the Father: "Father, I desire - I desire! - that they . . . may be with me where I am, to see my glory." 
But that is only half of what Jesus wants in these final, climactic verses of his prayer. I just said we were really made for seeing and savoring his glory. Is that what he wants - that we not only see his glory but savor it, relish it, delight in it, treasure it, love it? Consider verse 26, the very last verse:
I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them. 

That is the end of the prayer. What is Jesus' final goal for us? Not that we simply see his glory, but that we love him with the same love that the Father has for him: "that the love with which you [Father] have loved me may be in them." Jesus' longing and goal is that we see his glory and then that we be able to love what we see with the same love that the Father has for the Son. And he doesn't mean that we merely imitate the love of the Father for the Son. He means the Father's very love becomes our love for the Son - that we love the Son with the love of the Father for the Son. This is what the Spirit becomes and bestows in our lives: Love for the Son by the Father through the Spirit.

What Jesus wants most for Christmas is that his elect be gathered in and then get what they want most - to see his glory and then savor it with the very savoring of the Father for the Son.

What I want most for Christmas this year is to join you (and many others) in seeing Christ in all his fullness and that we together be able to love what we see with a love far beyond our own half-hearted human capacities.

This is what Jesus prays for us this Christmas: "Father, show them my glory and give them the very delight in me that you have in me." Oh, may we see Christ with the eyes of God and savor Christ with the heart of God. That is the essence of heaven. That is the gift Christ came to purchase for sinners at the cost of his death in our place. 

 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

From the Pastor...

What is Christmas?

Is it just a day at the end of the year?
A holiday filled with merry good cheer?
A season for presents - both taking and giving?
A time to indulge in the pleasures of living?
Are we lost in a meaningless, much-muddled haze?
Have we closed our eyes to God and His love?
And turned our eyes from "The Bright Star Above?"
Oh, Father in Heaven, renew and restore
The real, true meaning of Christmas once more.
So we can feel in our hearts again that
"Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men"
Is still a promise that man can claim 
if he but seeks it in Thy name.

Helen Steiner Rice

♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰

FIVE POINTS for the growing Christian

1. READ YOUR BIBLE DAILY (1 Peter 2:2)
Read your Bible daily, if you would be strong
To witness for Jesus and overcome wrong;
"I'm busy" you say, as you lay it aside
But when you neglect it you'll surely backslide.

2. KEEP LOOKING TO JESUS (Colossians 3:17)
Keep looking to Jesus, He never can fail
And walk in His footsteps in every detail;
The world's bright attractions will fade from sight
When you look to Jesus, your Saviour and Light.

3. PRAY WITHOUT CEASING (Luke 11:9)
Pray without ceasing, you can count  on Him
Who cleanses and keeps you a victor o'er sin:
There's nothing so great that our God cannot do,
And nothing so small that He won't do for you.

4. CONFESS HIM TO OTHERS (Matthew 10:32)
Confess Him to others, be bold for your King
To those who are living in darkness and sin;
What help can you better to all recommend,
Than this blessed Jesus - the needy one's Friend?

5. DO SOMETHING FOR JESUS (James 1:22)
Do something for Jesus, He did all for you,
Your joy is complete when His will you do;
So seeking to please Him through each new day
His presence shall gladden each step of your way.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

From our Region Minister...

 "Glory to God in the highest . . . . and on earth peace to all in whom he delights.” (REB) 

        The ultimate correction of the human heart occurs in the receiving of Christ.   The heart left to its own devices can sometimes reach heights of visible good, but also drift into evil places.   These last few months I have been struck by how easily it is for the human heart to drift into hatred.   How much fear is spawned in people, and how from fear hatred grows against those who cause that fear.  And in a great chaotic circular motion fear and anger both produce each other and run together.   If we as fallen human beings did not fear so quickly, would our hatred of each other grow so much?   To paraphrase Dallas Willard, when we cannot force our will on another person, we turn to frustration, and then to anger.    I would add that anger then solidifies itself into hatred and we begin to believe others are not created in God’s image as much as we ourselves.   Frustration, plus hatred, destroys both internal peace within the individual and external peace among people and peoples.   And hopefully at this point, we beg God to intervene. 
        The Gospel, the good news is that God in the person of His son, intervened and is intervening in the tragedy of human experience and actions.   The Incarnation, and a Triune love, breaking into human history is the remedy and redemption for our propensity toward evil.   Jesus’ birth is an invitation to grace and transformation, here and now, looking forward to the ultimate peace of being eternally in God’s presence.    I believe if the human heart can be consumed by hatred, in Jesus name how much more it can be consumed by grace.   If the more we who live within the borders of Christ kingdom allow a heavenly authority to mold our hearts, there will be less room for fear, anger and hatred.
        Jesus is born into a very messy complicated world where sin abounds.   But Jesus’ birth sets the  boundary on evil's affect and sin’s fruit.    The good news is God has not left us in bondage to our baser nature, but has sent His son to restore in us the full Image of God, in the likeness of his Son, as we work to live out Christ’s character within human history.     Peace, salvation, transformation, wholeness is all there when we receive the same Christ the shepherds greeted.  If we can just live out the way of Christ, how different would our world be?  
        All glory to God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, for you haven’t left us alone, or to our own devices.   

Merry Christmas, in Jesus name, 

Dale

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

From the Pastor...

Consider the condition of the church today, with all its worldly influences, its worldly entertainment, its lightness and frivolity, its focus on success and money. And think of the absence of godly sorrow over sin, the lack of self-denial and devotion to Christ. It’s clear that the church today has lost its authority, drained of its spiritual power long ago.

Christ isn’t coming for a church that has become a den of robbers. He’s not coming for a church that’s led by CEOs but by the Holy Ghost. The church he’s coming for has rejected all foolishness and every false gospel. It’s a church where pulpits are filled with fearless prophets and watchmen who preach as oracles of God and not from borrowed messages. And it is filled with sanctified saints who shun the love of this world and have not let it take hold of their hearts.
From - The Great and Final Separation by David Wilkerson. November 14, 2016

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WILL YOU FINISH AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR REVIVAL?


“He just didn’t end well” is a common phrase. Sadly, how a man finishes his life may dramatically define him.
Most men I know want to go out with a bang, not a whimper. So how can our latter days be even more significant than our former?
Take a lesson from David in Psalm 71, which is subtitled by David, “Prayer of an Old Man for Deliverance.”
Keep COMING
Be to me a rock of habitation
to which I may continually come (v. 3 NASB).
David, the shepherd-leader, often used the picture of a rock or fortress to describe his relationship with the Lord. But here he described the constant nature of this protection.
He asked the Lord to be a rock of “habitation.” This means a dwelling place, a permanent place. And, David promised that he would “continually come.”
When we are not careful, we begin to look to other things as the source of our life and enabling. David reminds us to make our dependence so consistent that it looks like our permanent location.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people were saying of us in the closing chapters of our life, “He lives in the presence of Christ!”
Keep PRAISING
You are my hope;
O Lord GOD, You are my confidence from my youth.
By You I have been sustained from my birth;
You are He who took me from my mother’s womb;
my praise is continually of You (vv. 5-6).
David understood God’s contribution to every stage of his life. And he reminded his soul often of what God had done. “Bless the LORD, O my soul,” he said in Psalm 103:1, “and all that is within me, bless His holy name.”
This looking back made him grateful, and his gratitude erupted in not momentary, but sustained praise. In fact, he said in v. 14 that he would “praise You yet more and more.”
The oldest believers shouldn’t be the grumpiest, but the greatest. They should be well educated in a lifestyle of praise.
Keep TELLING
Even when I am old and gray,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to all who are to come (v. 18).
David knew that his highest and best use as an older man was to give those behind him a perspective they could not possibly have on their own. He felt responsible to declare to them the glories of trusting in God and experiencing His power.
He wanted them to learn how to come to the Father, letting Him be their strength and trust, so that increased praise would swell to the One to whom it rightfully belongs. The older he became, the more he longed for God to be famous among the next generation.
Keep SEEKING
You who have shown me
many troubles and distresses
will revive me again (v. 20).
David knew that God alone was the source of continuous reviving, not only for his life but for everyone. He kept asking for and seeking greater measures of revival in his own life and nation right up until his last breath.
Can I tell you a tale of two men?
One of the finest pastors and leaders I know in Arkansas, Don Moore, is 80 or so, and it seems to me he is at the pinnacle of his passion … and his joy. Before the recent illness of his wife curtailed his traveling, he was speaking across the state, calling people to cry out for revival and awakening in our day. At last count, he had mobilized 1700 senior adults to pray every day for revival!
Sid Carswell was a former missionary/pastor who was in our church. For the last 18 months of his life until he died, he came every single day at noon to the church to pray, with any who would join him, for revival and awakening in our day.
Sid’s knees and hips were so bad it was excruciating even to walk. He fell while leaving from this prayer time and broke his hip, but when I visited him at his home before his death, he was still coming, still praising, still telling, and still seeking!
Dear Sustainer of my soul, give me the grace and strength to keep coming, keep praising, keep telling, and keep seeking more and more, all the way to the end. May increasing days give You increasing praise. Squeeze from my meager life every ounce of usefulness available, and may my last breath declare Your glory!

Monday, October 31, 2016

From the Pastor...

Since we've been talking about prayer so much lately, and always... here's a good book from a Pastor who has based his years of ministry solidly on the foundation of prayer. It's a wonderful reminder to us of our responsibility and the benefits we reap through prayer. (The church library has a copy)


Prayer, the Ultimate Conversation

by Charles F. Stanley


Perhaps there are questions you desperately need answered. Maybe you are facing a trial that is too large or difficult to face on your own and you yearn for divine direction. Or it could be you are simply curious about what He would say to you.

In Prayer, The Ultimate Conversation, which is based on a lifetime of walking with the Father and fifty-five years of ministry founded on prayer, Dr. Charles Stanley not only teaches the disciplines of intercession but also explains how to fight life’s battles through intimate communion with the Lord. Dr. Stanley discusses how to truly know God through communication with Him. He explores topics such as:

Learning to recognize the sound of the Father’s voice 
Recognizing how your perception of God shapes your prayer life 
Winning your battles through prayer. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

From the Pastor...



It's almost time to vote for the next leader of the United States of America. Are you holding your nose and trying to decide which candidate stinks less? Then consider this - each candidate represents a party platform that they are committed to. Take a look at the comparison guide to see what each party believes. Please read them prayerfully and vote for the party that most closely represents your own Christian convictions. Ask God to show you what He wants for our nation this year.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

From the Pastor...

onecry_destruction_1


It was a vote heard in heaven. At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, an amendment was raised to exclude God from the Democratic platform. After three attempts at passing this by voice vote, the Convention Chairman ruled that the amendment passed, regardless of the large group of delegates who objected. Had God just been voted out of a major national party?
Don’t take this as an attack on Democrats. That vote was just a visible expression of the rapid secularization of America in virtually every aspect of our national life. What began slowly in the 1960s with the removal of prayer from public schools has picked up speed through the decades and has now accelerated beyond what most thought possible.
  • Same-sex marriage is now the law of the land. Disagreement is not allowed. What God says in His Word is not in the equation.
  • A mother’s womb is still one of the most dangerous places for a child since the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 (Roe v. Wade) that women have the right to an abortion. Since then, more than 58 million children have been denied the right to birth. And now the Affordable Care Act is beginning to use government powers to force companies to provide the finances for abortions.
  • Terrorism touched our nation deeply on September 11, 2001. The resulting war in Iraq cost thousands of American lives, and we still face the growing threat of ISIS at home and abroad. This, combined with the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, has created an environment of fear and uncertainty in our country.
  • Racial division has been a problem for many years, but it seems to have re-emerged as a flashpoint for violence and hatred.
  • The war on poverty and the war on drugs are wars we have lost. Wars cannot be won when we don’t know who the enemy is.
The point is made. We are living in tough times. It’s hard to know who to trust or turn to for help. Political candidates and parties make promises and break them before the end of an election cycle.
The great danger for us now is that we will lose hope. Many Christians are pretty much convinced that we’re living in the last days and we can’t do anything about what is happening. No hope for change.
I should say in all honesty that I too believe we are living in the last days. But I also have great hope. Not just for the coming of Jesus but for His followers bringing about change in this nation.
Christian author and speaker Dutch Sheets shares that optimism in a recent blog post:
Some Christian leaders teach that America will not awaken, turn back to God and recapture her spiritual destiny. Their eschatology doesn’t allow for a “comeback”; for them, the apostasy must continue to worsen.
Many secular leaders also contend that this rebirth will never occur. “America has progressed too far,” they assert with smug satisfaction, “having left behind its antiquated, Puritanistic ideals and outdated beliefs.”
With such a dire diagnosis, why, then, am I not hopeless? To the contrary, I have great hope for America, because the depth of a fall never determines God’s ability to restore.
I’m not afraid of the powerful strongholds, because size and strength are completely irrelevant when measuring His ability to deliver. And I’m not intimidated, because statistical odds cease to be relevant when God is involved. His limitless ability negates the very concept of odds and trumps all other winning hands.
Don’t embrace any theology or creed that allows God to lose!
I have hope. I dream of a reborn America that is once again a shining light to the rest of the world. I believe this dream was born in God’s heart, embedded in a small group of emigrant pilgrims, and I am confident He still maintains it.
Join me as I dream. Partner with the “superintending providence” that was active in our founding, is involved with our present, and has great plans for our future.
Let it be said of our generation that when a nation teetered on the edge of destruction, having lost the ancient path of truth, we answered the divine call to war for its restoration.
Let it be said of us, as it was of our forefathers, that in the face of overwhelming odds, we took our stand in the celestial courtroom, appealing to the Judge of all the earth for His saving grace, mercy, and sustaining power (Dutch Sheets, blog, June 16, 2015).
Thank you, Dutch, for igniting a fire in many Christians regarding hope for the future. Without that hope we will never give ourselves to prayer for our nation. The defeatist mentality, that says the best days of the United States are in the past, will not have the courage to pick up the weapon of intense intercession needed to face the challenges of our day.

From OneCry.com

SaveSave

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

4 Rejoice in the Lord Always. And again I say—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Because of all that we get through walking with and following Jesus, take Joy with you everywhere you go. Now here is where it gets really good and practical:

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

Everytime you worry about anything, instead pray about everything. That’s it. There is no worry too large or small. There is nothing we can’t pray about. Find a way to remind yourself...sticky note, write an “X” on your wrist, reminder on your phone, rubberband around your wrist, whatever. Just find something that will be your reminder then write them down. Tell someone that you are doing this and invite them to do it with you. I guarantee that you will not be the same on the other end if you lean into this!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Mom, do you believe in God?




I was in the hospital waiting room waiting to be admitted when a family walked in and sat next to me. The little boy, who was about 7, was anything but quiet or subtle. This kid had a serious drop the mic moment with his mom.

Boy: Mom do you believe in God?
Mom: What? Well, I don’t know. I don’t really think about it.
Boy: You didn’t answer my question. Not “thinking about it” doesn’t answer the question…
Mom: Uh, well I guess yeah. We’re Christians…

Case and point. So many “Christians” but so little life transformation.
Jesus never invited us to be in a part of a religion, but simply invited us to follow Him. AND because of what He did for us, we now have the same Spirit, Power and Authority that raised Him from the grave! So, who cares if we think these things about Jesus and then about ourselves. If we don’t live as though they’re true all week long, it doesn’t matter.

If we believe it, are we living it out?  Grace, Power, Patience, Kindness, Service, Joy, Kindness, Generosity, Forgiveness, true Humility...all of these things come from walking with Jesus and His Spirit IN US all day long! Remember, today, you cannot make these things happen, nor conjure them up. Let’s just practice today being aware of where we look like Jesus and where we don’t. Don’t try to fix it, just be on the lookout.

If we believe it, are we living it out?

From Tim Timmon's 10,000 minutes blog

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

From the Pastor...

In Suffering Preserve Your Love for Him

If a man love me, he will keep my words -  John 14:23

The Church on earth must exist and fight in weakness, poverty, and affliction, fear, death, shame, and blame. Calamity will force you to step out of yourself and not to rely on the counsel, help, and strength of men, but you must have Christ in your heart, so that you hold His Name, Word, and Kingdom higher, dearer, and more precious than all things on earth. To him who does not do this but loves his own honor and power, the world's praise, lust, joy and friendship more, this word is preached in vain; as Christ, soon after, Himself says: 'He that loveth not me keepeth not my sayings'.  

But it does not say to love with words alone. There must be living works and the evidence of love, as the words 'keep my sayings' mean. That is, a love which fights and overcomes. For it is the nature of true love to do all things for the sake of the beloved, and there is nothing too hard for her to suffer and to bear, that she would not do with joy.

If His unspeakable goodness were to go right to our hearts, nothing would be too vexing or too hard for us to suffer or to bear for His sake, that we only abide in His love. This means, that, not only hearing the Word with joy, but holding on to it firmly and winning the victory.

- Martin Luther

Thursday, August 4, 2016

From the Pastor...

Travailing in Birth for Souls


What contradictions meet
In ministers employ!
It is a bitter sweet,
A sorrow full of joy;
No other post affords a place,
For equal honor or disgrace!

Who can describe the pain
Which faithful preachers feel,
Constrained to speak in vain,
To hearts as hard as steel?
Or who can tell the pleasures felt,
When stubborn hearts begin to melt.

The Savior's dying love,
The soul's amazing worth,
Their utmost efforts move,
And draw their bowels forth;
They pray, and strive, their rest departs,
Till Christ be formed in sinners' hearts.

If some small hope appear,
They still are not content;
But, with a jealous fear,
They watch for the event.
Too oft they find their hopes deceived,
Then how their inmost souls are grieved!

But when their pains succeed,
And from the tender blade,
The ripening ears proceed,
Their toils are overpaid.
No harvest-joy can equal theirs,
To find the fruit of all their cares.

On what has now been sown,
Thy blessing, Lord, bestow;
The power is Thine alone,
To make it spring and grow.
Do Thou the gracious harvest raise,
And Thou alone shalt have the praise.

- John Newton

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Our Missionaries...


Bill & Anne are on our weekly prayer list as one of the Missionary teams we support here at First Baptist Church. They, like all Missionaries in dangerous regions, always need our prayers and support. Please remember them often...


Sending out a quick note … we only have 2 days to pack to return to Africa and begin a new term. It has been a busy but a wonderful month. The Call Retreat and World Mission Conference were in early July. Then we headed to Puerto Rico with many of our family members to enjoy time together and celebrate the marriage of our son, Joel, to a wonderful woman whose family lives in PR.  
(photo of Joel and Taisha, July 17, 2016)
Due to continuing crises in South Sudan, Bill returned straight from Puerto Rico to Nairobi, Kenya to meet with members of his team who had evacuated from South Sudan as fighting resumed in the capital city.   He was in Kenya for two days and returned for a shared weekend of deputation in southern Maine and coastal NH.
Now we are back in our home in Maine and packing to leave July 28.
Before flying back to begin a new term, we wanted to let you know how much your friendship, your support, your prayers mean to us.
We will not have access to mail as neither place where we’ll be working (South Sudan and Eastern Congo) have mail service. But we’ll be in touch when we can! 
Love, Bill & Anne Clemmer

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Historical Reality Or Hysterical Revisionism

Inbred Unbelief
Only those discordantly educated and decidedly brainwashed by leftist, quasi-Marxist revisionism, in hotbeds of academia’s ideological inbreeding, fail to acknowledge that the spiritual and moral foundations of our nation, as well as the development of modern Western society and its institutions, are rooted and grounded in theological and philosophical ideas which are clearly Christian.
Many other self-described “liberated minds,” which in honest moments are forced by the facts to concede our spiritual roots, seem convinced that these roots are dead and being properly replaced.  Either way these are the increasingly accepted mindsets of the leadership of most modern Western institutions. 
With regard to the founding of our nation, anyone reading an unbiased account of the 18th century must see that the Great Awakening, the Spiritual revival that swept the American colonies, provided the “…change in religious sentiments” without which the historic events that began in 1776 would very likely have ended as the events in France in 1789.
In the words of historian Paul Johnson:

“…There was a spiritual event in the first half of the 18th century in America, and it proved to be of vast significance, both in religion and politics. It was indeed one of the key events in American history.” “The Great Awakening was thus the proto-revolutionary event, the formative moment in American history, preceding the political drive for independence and making it possible.” “The Revolution could not have taken place without this religious background. The essential difference between the American Revolution and the French Revolution is that the American Revolution, in its origins, was a religious event, whereas the French Revolution was an anti-religious event.”

John Adams, looking back years later, wrote:

“The revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the mind and hearts of the people: and change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations.”

Some eyewitnesses record that three of every four colonists were touched by the Divine Presence and power during the Great Awakening; and that with no modern means of communication.  
During a 1788 July 4th celebration, Benjamin Rush, physician, patriot, and signer of the Declaration of Independence, said:

“I am as perfectly satisfied that the union of the states…is as much the work of divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament were the results of divine power.”


Indeed, every July 4th we celebrate one of the continuing positive effects of that 18th Century outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit.

From "Third Millennium Antivirus" by John Cerrato, Jr.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

from Tim Timmon's 10000 minutes

Is Prayer Hard To Do?

What Is Prayer?
I have people tell me all the time how intimidating prayer is for them. Public prayer or even just intimate conversations with God throw people off to the point that they don’t feel like a good follower or less than. “Everyone else delivers these beautifully elaborate prayers, but i can’t do that” they say.
Mary Oliver is one of my all time favorite poets and I think she nailed it! Thank you Mary for being awesome...I feel like I know you from your work.
Be encouraged:
 
“Praying” By Mary Oliver
Praying
It doesn’t have to be the blue iris,
it could be weeds in a vacant lot,
or a few small stones;
Just pay attention,
then
Patch a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate,
this isn’t a contest
but the doorway
into thanks,
and a silence in which another voice may speak.”

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

From the Pastor...

The Single Source
When Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” it included the fact that, even as “born-again” believers, we cannot change our own spiritual condition. (Ref. John 15:1-10) 
We are often advised that repentance and faith, and the ability to love, is a matter of “choice.” Indeed, for spiritual growth and development, there are decisions that we can and must make, but there are some that we cannot make.
We cannot decide to produce God’s love, joy and peace, His patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-discipline, in ourselves, let alone in anyone else.
We can only decide to go to the Source; or neglect the Source: Jesus Himself, through His Holy Spirit. He Himself, as the vine to the branches, is the true Source of spiritual fruit, by His life in us, as we abide united with Him, spirit to Spirit. (Ref. John 15:1-10)
While in ourselves we cannot produce fruit; we can decide and determine to stay connected. Nothing really new; we become like Him by spending time with Him.

“…Beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord (we) are changed into the same image from one degree of glory to the next; even as by the Spirit of the Lord (Jesus).” II Corinthians 3:18
(Parentheses added)

We can make a conscious decision to obey the Savior’s command.

“…Enter the closet and shut the door and pray to your Father, who is in secret; and your Father, who is in secret, will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:6
We can decide to pick up the New Testament and read, and prayerfully meditate on the Word of God. We can determine to spend more time in prayer.

In order to break the power of the virulent falsity of the world-system; with its chilling, killing, effect on the eternal-sense and sensitivity of our spirits, we need a word “that proceeds from the mouth of God,” directly to our hearts.  Little wonder pastors and people seem to suffer the weaknesses of spiritual starvation when they not only attempt to “…live by bread alone,” but feed on the husks of the world’s swine pen. (Ref. Matthew 4:4)
As nourishing wholesome physical food is ingested and digested and becomes the very life of the human body, so God’s Word must be ingested and digested as life for the believer’s spirit.
Karl Barth wisely warned against allowing the Bible: 

“…to be replaced by books about the Bible.”

A good place to begin is for twenty-first century followers of Christ to develop a consequential vision. What does God’s word say will be the consequences if we do not wholly obey the commands of Christ: Jesus cautioned us about failing to “count the cost.” (Ref. Luke 14:26-28)
Do we dare honestly face the Bible’s clear warnings regarding the long-term inevitable results of pampering our flesh, compromising with the world-system, and dabbling in sin, with its resultant dullness of vision, and spiritual apathy?

Learning to see life and the world from God’s eternal perspective is vital as a motivation to obedience and continued commitment. This perspective only comes when we obey His command to “Let the word of Christ dwell in (us) richly.” (Ref. Colossians 3:16)

from "Third Millennium Antivirus" by John Cerrato, Jr.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

From the Pastor...

Lost: The Worth Of A Soul
Some evangelicals are fond of disparaging times of revival on the basis of a negative reaction in parts of the Church and/or the inevitable eventual loss of some of the positive social effects. This criticism reveals two misconceptions.
A clear understanding of those genuine periodic visitations of God in history reveals that they are granted: First, to restore the spiritual life of the Church and thus deliver it from self-destruction. By all records, the state of the Church in the world preceding the great revivals clearly and consistently indicates a near terminal spiritual condition. These intervening times of spiritual declension were often accompanied by the infection by potentially fatal ideological viruses, ranging from mild skepticism to outright apostasy.  These were not merely negative reactions to times of spiritual blessing but the continuing assault of the powers of darkness.
Second, God’s primary purpose is not to prolong history by preserving man-made institutions. God’s supreme and eternal purpose is still clearly and simply expressed in the ultimate reason He sent His Son into this world.
    
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10

Only the conscious or unconscious replacement of the New Testament emphasis on eternity, and the loss of awareness of the unspeakable tragedy of individuals being eternally banished from heaven, can explain why anyone would downplay the continuous need for a supernatural outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s power upon the people of God.
This casual and widespread acceptance, by Americanized believers, of the replacement and loss of Christ’s clear emphasis on eternity may well expose a deep resistance to facing and renouncing their carnality and “friendship with the world”; the cost of becoming an effective intercessor. (Ref. James 4:4)
The heart-longing for revival is not a matter of wishing for some “good old days” but a God bestowed desire for the reemergence of the felt Presence and power bestowed at that original Christian Pentecost, the return of the Church to prayerful obedience and holiness, and the incalculable gift of eternal life for precious souls.  
During times of genuine “spiritual awakenings” or real heaven-sent “revivals,” with all the excesses and divisiveness, the sanctifying, saving, grace of Christ was seen triumphing in hearts and lives as at no other periods in the history of the Church. Believers who don’t appreciate this, either are ignorant of the documented records or simply have no desire to experience them.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

From the Pastor...

Through the Scriptures, the believer is reminded that the battle is the Lord’s. God draws the believer to action, but in a parental way, He wants us to experience the battle and victory while learning that it is all about devotion, obedience and His Lordship! 

The amazing account in Joshua 5:13 draws the reader to Israel’s beginning steps in acquiring the land promised to them. Joshua, who was the chosen leader of Israel after Moses, carefully makes his way to the very edge of Jericho as he had 40 years earlier. While he is close to the wall of that city, he sees a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword. Now consider, this is more than likely at night and Joshua is alone near the enemy’s wall. What would you do? I would probably hide and watch, but Joshua goes up to this man and essentially confronts him. He asks, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” Do you realize that this statement was essentially Joshua preparing to fight this warrior? The warrior’s reply is our focus of this short devotion. This commander of the Lord’s army, who asks Joshua to take off his sandals for he is standing on holy ground, is none other than a pre-birth appearance of God the Son, Jesus Christ.

The commander called Joshua to worship. The text reveals Joshua’s personal preparation, obedience and devotion, but God was at the wall with a drawn sword already! When you read on you see the unusual way God fought and won the battle of Jericho. How challenging it is for us  to be a Joshua!! Personal preparation, adoration and worship, obedience and devotion are never overstated actions of the believer. May we stand with our Lord listening to His commands to advance in His way! 

Brad Harbaugh
Capitol Commission North Carolina

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

From the Pastor...




Revival: God In Our Midst
By A.W.Tozer


“And He said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."Then he said to Him, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do notbring us up from here." -Exodus 33:14-15

It was this (the sense of Someone there) that filled with abiding wonder the first members of the Church of Christ. The solemn delight which those early disciples knew sprang straight from the conviction that there is One in the midst of them. They knew that the Majesty in the heavens were confronting them on earth: They were in the very Presence of God. And the power of that conviction to arrest attention and hold it for a lifetime, to elevate, to transform, to fill with uncontrollable moral happiness, to send men singing to prison and to death, has been one of the wonders in history and a marvel of the world.

In what I have to say I may not be joined by any ground swell of public opinion, but I have a charge to make against the church. We are not consciously aware of God in our midst. We do not seem to sense the tragedy of having almost completely lost the awareness of His presence....

Revival and blessing come to the church when we stop looking at a picture of God and look at God Himself. Revival comes when, no longer satisfied just to know about a God in history, we meet the conditions of finding Him in living, personal experience....

We desperately need a divine visitation - for our situation will never be cured by sermons! It will never be cured until the Church of Christ has suddenly been confronted with what one man called the mysterium tremendous - the fearful mystery that is God, the fearful majesty that is God. This is what the Holy Spirit does. He brings the wonderful mystery that is God to us, and presents Him to the human spirit.

We need a revival! We need a revival of consecration to death, a revival of happy abandonment to the will of God that will laugh at sacrifice and count it a privilege to bear the cross through the heat and burden of the day. May God raise up a people who will consult their pleasures less and the great need more.

How much does a revival cost? Absolutely nothing and absolutely everything - that is how much it will cost. It will cost not one dime, and it will cost everything we have.


The Counselor, 66-67
Men Who Met God, 121-122,127.
God Tells the Man Who Cares, 159-160.
Rut, Rot or Revival: The Condition of the Church, 158-159.
The Pursuit of Man.

"Oh Lord, show me Your glory. I don't want to be satisfied with just a second-hand picture of You; I want to sense Your living presence with me today. I long to know You. Amen.