Small is Okay

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Small is Okay

 

Yesterday, I unlocked and opened one of the outside doors to the church so members of the brass choir could enter for rehearsal. As I walked through the doorway into the church, I noticed there was something hopping in front of me. It was difficult to see what it was as there weren’t but a few lights on and it was quite small. I thought it was a cricket, so I tried to chase it back to the door as I didn’t want to hear a cricket chirping in the sanctuary all week. But as I got closer, I realized it was not a cricket. It was brown in color like a cricket, but it was a lizard. A very small lizard. I wanted to catch it and take a picture of it in my hand with my phone, but it kept jumping out of my hand before I could get my phone out of my pocket. At one time it stayed still long enough for me to get a good look at it as it was on the tip of my little finger. It basically fit on that small part of my finger, no more than an inch or inch and a half long. It was incredible to me that it was so small. It jumped off my finger and headed toward the doorway, so I decided to leave it alone.

 

Everything starts out small. I know that baby whales are big, but compared to their mothers, they are small. The little critters like this lizard are so small and are all alone when they are born. They seem so tiny and fragile, yet they can and do survive and grow into mature lizards eight to ten inches long. Many things much smaller than this lizard do the same. Yet with us, it’s different. We start out in this world very small, but we are quite helpless. We cannot walk or run. We cannot feed ourselves. We could not survive on our own. We greatly need our parents or an adult to take care of us. We are completely dependent upon someone else. As we grow, we strive to become more and more independent so that we can take care of ourselves. But we can never be truly dependent just upon ourselves. Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” Apart from Jesus we can do nothing. Without Jesus we don’t have life. Without Jesus we don’t have strength. Without Jesus we can’t do what God has called us to do. Without Jesus we can’t do anything. We are dependent upon Jesus. When we depend upon Jesus, we have life. When we depend upon Jesus, we have strength. When we depend upon Jesus, we can accomplish the good works God has planned and called us to do. When we depend upon Jesus, we can do anything He wants us to do because He will do them through us. We may physically grow up and become independent in this world. But as maturing Christians, we know that spiritually we will always be dependent upon God.

 

That little lizard will find food and survive all on its own by the instincts that God has placed in it when He created it. And it will do the best it can in this one and only life it has. As humans, we may not be as independent at birth, but we have understanding because we have been created in the image of God. And with that understanding, we know this life on earth is not all there is. This life is the one and only chance we have to learn our dependence upon God. And it’s okay to be dependent upon God because He is the One that gives us everlasting life. Many will ridicule Christians for being so dependent upon God and Jesus, claiming They are just a crutch and we are weak. But I would much rather be small and depending upon God than big and depending upon myself.

 

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.” Psalm 73:26

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

 

 



Aggravation or Blessing?

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Aggravation or Blessing?

 

This past Saturday, I enjoyed a day of rest. That day of rest included watching a good amount of college football and ended with a wonderful game where Arkansas offensively ran all over and defensively shut down our old rival, Texas. I have to say, I was surprised the Hogs dominated that game from start to finish, but it was certainly a welcomed surprise. I did go grocery shopping for about an hour, and then helped cook supper, so I wasn’t necessarily lazy all day. One thing that was concerning during that game where Arkansas beat Texas, was we noticed the back part of our house was warmer than where the thermostat was set. That area of the house is on a separate unit and wasn’t blowing cold air like it had been earlier in the day. The air that was blowing was warm, hence the rise in temperature. I didn’t know why it wasn’t blowing cold air anymore, but I couldn’t do anything about it at 10:00 on a Saturday night. I would have to wait and call my AC guy first thing Monday morning. Sleeping in our room Sunday evening after no air conditioning through the day was a lot warmer than the previous night. 80 degrees wasn’t too bad with the ceiling fans running, but was definitely too warm for Debbie. Monday morning the call was made and the repairman would be coming that afternoon. Turns out, the outside part of the unit was not working and the reason was a breaker had been tripped. I couldn’t believe it. All that needed done to fix it was flipping a switch! But how was I to know that? Everything on the inside was working fine. Why was the outside part on a different breaker? After the switch was flipped back on, everything worked fine and the unit ran like a charm. I don’t mind paying the repairman for his time, but I’m wishing I had known to check the breaker box and been able to fix it myself instead of being out the repair bill.

 

Little things like that can be so aggravating. I remember one time in Florida, we had a leak around our hot water heater on a Saturday morning. The plumber came out and simply had to tighten a screw on a valve a couple of turns to fix it. He hated to charge me the “weekend rate”, but his company knew he made the call and he had to do it. How did that screw come loose? That valve had never been turned in the eight years I had lived there. I got to wondering why that breaker had tripped. There was no wind or storm that came through and made the electricity flicker or go off. We didn’t have a power surge. Even the repairman couldn’t figure out what had made it trip. And why did I have to pay for something so simple?

 

I don’t know why it happened, but God does. He might let me know some time, but He might not. Then I thought, maybe He let it happen because the repairman needed a little more money this month. Sure, he’s busy, but maybe he has a need that the little bit I paid would help. Maybe that plumber in Florida needed some encouragement that Saturday as we all had a good laugh about him having to come to our house because of a loose screw. If we truly believe God knows all and is working all around us, sometimes in mysterious ways, why can’t He be using things like this to help someone? He proved that to me a few years back when my car broke down in north Georgia and the repairman had prayed just that morning for God to send someone to encourage him that day, and that someone was me. God let my car break down to make that happen. Another time when a vacation rental was not cleaned after the prior guest, the cleaning woman finally came and was so grateful that we were so nice about it. It wasn’t a big deal to us – we were on vacation. And being nice gave us the opportunity to share a little about Jesus with her. It’s not always easy to put up with the little difficulties in life. But, if we look at them with the proper attitude, we may be able to handle them a lot better and even be a blessing to someone else. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”

 

The next time something like this happens, we all need to try and keep a good attitude and look for how God might use us to be a blessing in the situation.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

 

 



Change

Change

Dear Friends,

Well, it’s been two years since I first preached here as your pastor.  Wow!  What a challenging two years it has been!  However, as I sit here in my Covid induced quarantine I am remined over and over how blessed I truly am.  Yes, there will be storms in life, bad storms that threaten to blow us over with fear, uncertainty or grief.  We will lose loved ones along the way and we will encounter failures and mishaps.  God, however, is always near and He will always give us the strength to carry-on when we live surrendered completely to Him.

It is so easy for us to try and hold on to things, people, practices, and ideas in this life.  They are comfortable and provide structure and definition to who we are and how we live.  Unfortunately, time, like sand through a sieve, constantly changes the landscape of our lives.  What is here today may be gone tomorrow.  What was relevant yesterday may be struggling for recognition today.

Many of you may have watched the popular BBC television show, Downton Abby.  It follows the lives of an aristocratic English family from pre-World War I through the post-war years.  Before the war, the landed aristocracy was the backbone of English society.  Everything and everyone revolved around these families and their large estates.  The war and its terrible human toll broke down their society and began elevating the common man.  Industrialization moved wealth away from the landowners and countryside into the hands of merchants and cities.  New ideologies like Marxism, Socialism and Capitalism replaced the old feudal norms and gave the common man hopes and dreams of becoming more than what they were born into.  The television show does a wonderful job of showing the struggle of the various classes dealing with these monumental societal changes that occurred quickly over just a few decades.  Those who tried to ignore the new order of things soon failed and were replaced.  Those who adapted, albeit reluctantly, were successfully relevant in their new culture.

Charles Dickens once wrote, “Change begets change. Nothing propagates so fast. If a man habituated to a narrow circle of cares and pleasures, out of which he seldom travels, steps beyond it… his departure from the monotonous scene on which he has been an actor of importance would seem to be the signal for instant confusion…. The mine which Time has slowly dug beneath familiar objects is sprung in an instant and what was rock before, becomes but sand and dust.”  Change, I think, is like a line of dominoes.  Once they start falling onto each other, there is very little we can do to stop them.  Take a moment and look back at society and culture along the timeline of your own life.  Consider all the changes, some good and some bad.  Doesn’t it seem, however, that the pace of change has somehow sped up?  What was once without question is now challenged.

As Christians, as a church, our rock and foundation is the Bible, the Word of God.  The Bible contains divine laws, principles and intentions given by the inspiration of unchanging God.  To these alone we must cling and dig in our heels.  However, everything else is subject to change as long as they do not oppose what we find in God’s Word.  These changes, for some, may be uncomfortable.  That is to be expected and respected.    I heard a preacher once say, “When I’m 80 years old, the only thing in my church I should be comfortable with is my Bible!”  Those who were visionaries 19 years ago, starting Frederica Baptist, may be wary of anything that alters what they began.  It could be music, style, artwork, colors, dress, outreach techniques or any number of things we could come up with.  Our new building, to many, is their crowning achievement but even it will be vastly different from what we are used to.  God is not unchanging because He’s stubborn.  He’s unchanging because He is perfect and any change would mean that He either was or is becoming less than perfect.  Since He is perfect, He is always relevant so no change is ever needed.  That can never be said of us as individuals or collectively as the church.  So, for us, change for the right reasons can be very good!

Change for the sake of change alone is unnecessary and uncomfortable.  Change for the sake of the gospel, for the sake of reaching lost souls is imperative and should be done with joy!  Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:20-23 “When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.  When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.”  I don’t believe that God cares what type of building we meet in or what color scheme we choose or what we wear to worship.  He cares about the hearts and eternal souls of His children because this world and everything we have built here will one day all pass away.  How we act and what we look like then has less to do with what we like or are comfortable with and much more to do with who we are trying to reach with the gospel!

John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”  My life has changed a lot!  This past year alone has been fundamental.  But I must look forward.  I don’t want to miss the future!  I believe that in this present life we must contend with death and life, angels and demons, the present and the future, powers that I don’t understand, things high and things low…  However, the Bible tells us that nothing in all creation can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord (Rom. 8:38-39)!  Taken in that light, change is the easy part!

Only by Grace!

Pastor Mike



Connected?

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Connected?

 

Labor Day weekends are notoriously known for people working out in the yard or around the house. I wanted to do my part, so this past weekend I decided to pressure wash the back deck and steps that had needed cleaned for quite some time. They had become slippery when wet, and with all the rain we’ve had lately, were an accident waiting to happen. I began at the top deck where the back door is and worked my way down. Pressure washing is a lot like mowing a yard. There is an immediate change and instant gratification. I think that’s why I enjoy doing both. As I was spraying the deck, I realized I probably should have done this months ago. The change from the amount of dirt and discoloration coming off the boards was quite drastic. Of course, the railings also needed cleaned. After a few hours, I looked back over what I (really the machine) had accomplished. It’s amazing the change that takes place when doing this. The wood looked clean and newer. And most importantly, the steps and decks weren’t slippery. I then looked where the lower deck leads onto a concrete pad. As I was cleaning the edge of the wood, the edge of the concrete was cleaned and there was a major difference with the rest. It was obvious the entire pad needed cleaned as well. The pressure washer was still running, so I proceeded to move it off the pad area to being cleaning it. All of a sudden, my feet were being sprayed with water. I looked down and there was water spray coming out from where the water hose was connected to the pressure washer. As I reached down and grabbed the end of the hose, it came loose. I turned the machine off and crimped the hose. Then I looked at the end of the hose and realized the nozzle had broken in half. The metal had split and most of the end was still screwed into the pressure washer. The hose was still able to carry water through it, but it could not be connected to the machine. I checked my spare hose and it was broken in the same way.

 

A water hose is a great tool. It carries water with the same pressure from a spicket to a place that is 25, 50, or even 100 feet away. And the connecters on the end allow you to add other hoses to carry that water even farther and have a constant supply of water in another location. But, if the connecters are broken or not there, the additional length cannot be reached. And they cannot be attached to a machine. The normal pressure coming through a water hose isn’t near powerful enough to do the cleaning a gas-powered pressure washer can do.

 

We have power and influence on our own. But our power is nothing compared to God’s power. We can accomplish so much more and have a much greater influence on others if we have God’s power. The thing is, we have to be connected. We can have His power, but we must be connected with Him in order for His power to move through us. Jesus says in John 15:4-5, “Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.” We must remain in Jesus and stay connected to Him to have His power working through us to accomplish the will of the Father. When we do, we will see lives changed and great things all around us.

 

I guess I need to go buy a new water hose. Maybe one with a better connecter. What about you? How’s your connection with Jesus?

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

 

 



Last

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Last

 

This is the last day of August 2021. It is hard to believe that eight months of this year have already come and gone. If you think about it, there are a lot of “lasts” in life. Someone always gets the last piece of bacon. Someone always eats the last doughnut. Someone always takes the last banana. Someone always drinks the last of the milk. There’s the last time you use a toothbrush before getting a new one. There’s the last bit of toothpaste that will come out of a tube. Who used the last of the toilet paper and didn’t put out another roll? This is the last time I can wear these socks. This is the last time these pants will fit. This is the last day of school.  This is the last day on this job. This is the last day before retirement. There’s a last time you see a loved one before they pass. There’s a last breath that we all will take. There is a last child that will be born to you and he/she will be the baby of the family. There is a last time you walk out of a house because you’re moving. There is a last house you might buy. There’s a last vehicle you will buy. There’s the last day you drive a vehicle. There’s the last time you drive. There’s the last time you ski, bike, or sail. There’s the last time you eat at a restaurant that closes. There’s the last time you eat at a restaurant because the food is bad. There’s the last time you take a walk. There’s the last time you see a friend. There’s the last time you see your hometown. There will be a last time you talk with a friend. There will be a last for everything. Or will there be?

 

Things on this earth will pass and there definitely will be a last here. But, there’s another meaning for the word “last”. Last can mean the end, or last can mean endure. “Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13). And this love of God is what makes us last forever. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). Eternal life through Jesus is how we can live, how we can last forever. This earth will pass away and there will be a last day for it. But, we can continue living if we place our faith and trust in Jesus and receive Him as our Savior. Because of Jesus and what He has done for us, we can experience both lasts. The last breath we take on this earth brings the first breath we take in heaven, where we will last forever with Jesus. The last time we see our loved one is only on this earth. We will see them again in heaven. The last time we see our friend is only on this earth. We will see them again in heaven. But remember, for this to happen, we and all our family and friends must know Jesus. He is the only way to heaven, so one must have Him to live forever. Without Jesus, life will end on this earth for that person, and only death with last.

 

When was the last time you talked to your family member or friend about Jesus? What are you waiting for? This is the last day of August 2021.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

 

 



Watching Over

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Watching Over

 

When I was growing up, we used to take Saturday or Sunday afternoon drives. My father enjoyed loading all of us up in the car and just driving out into the country. We usually wound up parking the car alongside a small dirt road and would start walking down it just to see what we could see. Many times we would go up around the small rivers that ran north of town. We could walk across the low-water bridges so we could explore both sides. I remember gathering little sticks with my brother and we would throw one in on one side and watch it be sucked down into one of the pipes that ran underneath the road, then run over to the other side to see when it came out and watch it continue to float down the river. Those trips were a lot of fun. We never knew just where we would go or what we would see, but it was good to just be together. Dad was always telling us how to know what kind of tree this was or what kind of plant that was. And we usually would go home with a sack full of poke salad leaves that he wanted to cook up and eat later. We would take these drives all throughout the year. One time, it had snowed quite a lot and we wanted to see how everything looked in snow. We headed out north ninth street several miles and came upon a new subdivision that was being built. These were five or more acre lots out in the woods. My father knew someone that was building a house out there and decided to see how it was coming along. I remember getting to the drive that led up to the house. It was pretty steep going up the side of the hill and was probably fifty yards long. Now, you need to know, all these roads were just dirt and gravel. Nothing was paved out there then, and I don’t think it is even now. Anyway, my mother and us kids weren’t too sure about driving up to that house. There was at least six inches of snow on the ground, and we were just in an old station wagon. The drive was solid white and you could only tell where it was by how the ground sloped down to the brush and trees on either side. There were no completed houses around and we were a long way from anyone else. But dad thought we could make it, so we headed up the drive. We all were pretty nervous and it took some time, but we finally made it up the hill and were next to the house. I guess it looked okay, I don’t remember. All I remember was what happened next. As we sat there, we soon realized there was nowhere for us to turn the car around. We were going to have to back down that long drive going downhill in the snow. It was scary enough driving up it, let alone having to back down it. Dad moved the gear shift and we slowly crept back down. He didn’t need to hold the brakes too hard or we would begin to slide. But, we didn’t want to go too fast or we could lose control and slide off one side or not be able to stop at the bottom and go across the main road into the ditch on the other side. It was a precarious situation. Finally, we were all able to breathe again when we eventually made it down. It was then that my father began laughing. We didn’t know why, but then he explained. Because of the snowy conditions and going uphill, my father had shifted down to “Low 1” to go up to the house. When he shifted to go back down, he moved the gear shift up two notches thinking he was shifting to “Reverse”, which would have been normal after driving forward. However, he forgot he was in “Low 1” and had simply shifted back to “Drive”. Turns out, we had backed down that hill with the transmission in “Drive”, not “Reverse”, and yet had made it down safely.

 

We all make mistakes that could have made things a lot worse had God not been watching over us. I’m sure there are so many harmful things He has kept from happening or kept us from because His eye was upon us and He shielded us from danger. Even when it’s not simple mistakes, but times we have deliberately put ourselves in harm’s way, His grace still covers us. Why does He do that? Why does He show us such mercy and grace? It’s certainly not because we deserve it. It can only be because He loves us so much. Psalm 121 is an encouraging chapter that reminds us that God is watching over us and protecting us.

 

“I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, He who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord Himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.”

Psalm 121 NLT

 

We have and serve a loving God. Thank Him for always watching over you with His great love and protection.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

 

 



E Pluribus Unum

E Pluribus Unum

Dear Friends,

As we plunge into another round of Covid-19 lock-downs, mask-ups and vaccination drives, I began considering how we, as a church, might preserve our unity and common purpose. Divisiveness is a tactic of Satan to steal away the church’s effectiveness.  The Deceiver knows that if he can distract believers away from their primary mission with other seemingly righteous pursuits, he can remove us from the cosmic battle for eternal souls.  Better yet, he knows that if he can turn us against each other, dividing the church against itself, we actually become agents of darkness whom we are meant to do battle against!

In 1776, the Continental Congress of the thirteen original states declared independence from Great Britain.  After they adopted and sent the Declaration of Independence to King George, they set about crafting a unified country out of the very diverse colonies and peoples that stretched from Hew Hampshire to Georgia.  They knew that in order to stand against the might of Great Britain they had to stand united.  Along with the flag, one of the symbols they created to announce that unity and to rally around, was the great seal with our national motto, E Pluribus Unum, “Out of many, one.” 

In 1 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul compared the church to a body.  Our bodies have many parts with different functions but there is only one body.  Likewise, the church is made of many diverse parts (people), who are very different and perform various functions but they all come together in unity to form one church.  E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one. From diversity, unity.

This is such an important concept in our day and age.  Our country is divided as never before.  Those divisions (political, social, racial, intellectual, even geographical) run very deep.  Trust and compassion are rare commodities.  We cannot allow this divisiveness to infect the church, our church.  As with anywhere else, there are as many opinions as there are people.  These opinions often come in conflict with others that we are close to.  Sometimes, there can be healthy, non-judgmental, unifying debate between parties but more often than not, one party or another will take offense and division occurs.

Unity in our church, our body, must center around the person and message of Jesus.  We are not called to be Democrats or Republicans.  We are not called to be liberal or conservative.  We are not called to be vaxxers or anti-vaxxers.  We are called to be sons and daughters of God and ambassadors for His kingdom of light, working together in unity to bring the good news of the gospel to the lost who now live in darkness.  I am convinced that anything else is a distraction and will lead to division.  Division in the body, which is the church, cannot be godly under the headship of Christ. He has brought us together out of our diverse backgrounds to fulfill His purposes, unified as His church.  E Pluribus Unum.

 “I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.”                          

                                                                                                                                        1 Corinthians 1:10 (NLT)

 

I am so thankful to be part of such a loving, unified church!

 

Only by Grace!

 

Pastor Mike

 



Black-eye Summer

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Black-eye Summer

 

I loved playing baseball when I was young. I think I’ve mentioned before that I played on the DeQueen Lions team from age eight to twelve. We practiced on one end of the elementary school playground. It was a pretty good spot, but the ground wasn’t always level. The water drained to that end, so the infield area where there wasn’t much grass usually had ruts where the water had washed the dirt out. This became a problem at times when trying to field a ground ball. You never knew just where the ball might go. Bad hops were always expected, but hard to guess when and where they might occur. It was early in the season, maybe before our first game, when I was playing second base during one of those practices. A ground ball was hit my way and I got my glove down and squared up to it so that I was ready to field it and throw it to first base. It was a hard hit ball, so it was coming at me pretty fast. Just before it got to my glove it took one of those bad hops. I tried to raise my glove when, bam! I felt a sharp pain. My reaction wasn’t fast enough to keep that ball from bouncing up and hitting my left eye. Bringing my hand up to my face I could immediately feel that it was swollen around my eye. Everything stopped as my coaches came over to look at me and it was determined that one of them needed to take me on home so my parents could tend to it. The next morning, it was a nice deep shade of purple. I had a black eye. Over the next few days, the swelling went down, leaving me with just the discoloration that seemed to linger for several weeks. I played almost that entire season with a black eye until the last game when it was finally back to normal. We usually played in a tournament down in Texarkana a few weeks later. So, we were practicing for that the week after our regular season. I was playing shortstop and a high pop-flyball was hit. I ran back a bit looking up as I tracked it and just as it was almost down the sun got in my eyes and I flinched. Bam! I threw my glove down and said, “Dad-gum-it! The same eye!” Sure enough, that ball hit my left eye and it swelled right back up and the next morning it looked just as it did after the first time. I couldn’t believe I had another black eye in the same eye.

 

Why do bad things keep happening? We go through one difficulty and finally struggle to get through it when, bam, we are hit again. At times it seems we can never catch a break. The difficulties and struggles of life are relentless. They keep coming and hitting us. Our world is in constant stress with this: there seems to be peace and then terrorists take over; it’s a pleasant day and then an earthquake hits; we relax when things are calming down with the pandemic and then the numbers spike up again. And we all are facing other difficulties in our individual lives this summer on top of these things. It is a difficult time, but our God is bigger than all of it. We must continue to have faith in our God. In Joshua 1:9, when Joshua was beginning to lead the people of Israel after Moses died, God told him to “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Our faith must be strong like Joshua’s. He didn’t know what he would face when he crossed over the Jordan river into the promised land, but he knew God would be with him and give him the strength he needed. We serve the same God. His promises for us are the same. Jesus says in Matthew 28:20b, “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” We don’t know what we will face or what we will have to go through, but we know our God is with us and will see us through. And we can find great comfort and encouragement from 1 Peter 1:6-7, “There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious that mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

 

When the world keeps giving you black eyes, remember to keep your faith in God. He is always with you and will give you the strength to endure. “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

 

 



Missions

Missions

Dear Friends,

We have made August a missions focus month and it could hardly be going better.  So far, we have heard from the five local ministries our church helps to support through our collective giving.  We have also heard from some of our own, Brenda Clifton and Becky Parker who have gone on mission to Romania as well as Chris and Nikki Pope about Haiti!  Last Sunday IMB missionaries Chris and Debbie Mauger told us about their ministries in Chittagong, Bangladesh.  This Sunday we will hear from IMB missionaries to Southern Thailand, David and Pamela Taylor and their children, Hudson, Katie and Elliott.  We will also hear from Lisa Warren and Rick Shellnutt about Nicaragua, Robin Shelnutt and Amy Bowles about Haiti and Todd and Lara Carlson about Israel.  Finally, our annual dessert auction to support mission trips, will be held Sunday night, Aug. 29.

Many times, the term “missions” is reserved in the church to denote going away from our home area to spread the gospel or to do some type of humanitarian work in the name of Jesus.  It is separated from “evangelism” or the more generic, “ministry.”  In reality, missions involve the on-going cycle of going, evangelizing, discipleship and church planting wherever that occurs. Hopefully, as an established church we are already acting in some, if not all, aspects of this cycle.  At one time we were a church plant and now, hopefully, we are an active participant in evangelizing, creating disciples and sending out ministers of the gospel which may result in more churches. Missions are the way that healthy churches participate in the Great Commission.  

As if that is not enough, what are some other reasons that our church (collectively and individually) should be involved in missions?  Why are prayer and monetary support essential to local, domestic and foreign missions?

First, we are commanded. Not every one of us can go ourselves to spread the Word but we should be obedient to support missions in some capacity. Jesus called us to participate in making disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to keep His commandments (Matthew 28: 18-20). There are many ways to be involved with this effort.  We should encourage those who are studying to be ministers of the Gospel, pray for missionaries and mission fields, and lend financial support to those who have heeded the call to go.

Second, how else will they hear?  The fact that so many still have not been told about the hope that is found in Jesus should be compelling enough. Grace has been extended to us, and grace is required of us. In Romans 10:14-15 the Apostle Paul says, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” We must be involved in this effort.

Third, the workers are few!  Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matt 9:37-38). We are ALL called to play a part in the process of planting, watering, and reaping the harvest.  Missionaries are normal everyday churchgoers just like us.  Is God calling you to join His workers in the field?  Might there be a way we could help others to go?

Fourth, missionaries depend on churches.  We are told in scripture to pray and provide support to those who give of themselves in taking the gospel to various parts of the earth. Paul asked the church to pray “that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified…and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.” (II Thessalonians 3:3).  Paul thanked the Philippian church for their contribution to his care (Philippians 4:10-18). Fulltime missionaries depend on prayer, encouragement and financial support to meet spiritual, emotional and physical needs, so that they can give themselves fully to the work of spreading the gospel.

Finally, we have been blessed for a reason.  “To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48). Look around.  We have been given so much (freedom, health, prosperity…) that is not seen in many other parts of the world. Are we fulfilling our responsibility as good stewards of all that God has given us? It is yet another reason to labor in love for those who do not have the eternal hope that we share.

Church friends, missions is the work left to us to finish by Jesus Messiah our Savior.  Sunday morning worship in a nice airconditioned building without fear of persecution, fellowship dinners with abundant food, Sunday school, playgrounds, padded chairs and such are undeserved benefits and a privilege – not our work. ALL born-again believers can and should be involved in missions to the greatest extent of our ability.  We can ALL do at least one but likely more… GO, GIVE and/or PRAY!

Only by Grace!

Pastor Mike

 



Forty-Eleven

“REED” This

 

Forty-Eleven

 

My father was a chiropractor and my mother was a school teacher. Just like most moms, she was busy working around the clock. Taking care of five children and a husband, preparing all the meals, doing the laundry, and cleaning the house were all part of her job at home after she spent the day teaching her third-grade class. Now, dad and all us kids helped out with cleaning and keeping the house in order, but I am certain that none of us came close to the amount she did. With no school on Saturdays, you’d think that would be an easier day for her, but you would be wrong. Saturdays were when all the beds were stripped, the sheets were washed, and then the beds were all remade. Plus, all the bathrooms were thoroughly cleaned, and all the floors vacuumed, or swept and mopped, along with catching up on whatever couldn’t be done the week before. It was a busy day for all of us. Sundays were the only days I ever remember my mother sitting down other than at mealtime or when she was grading papers. Sunday afternoon naps were the only time I remember her resting during the day. And that was after she had gotten all of us ready for church that morning, taught a Sunday School class, sang in the choir, and then cooked a big, wonderful Sunday lunch, and cleaned the kitchen afterward. There were numerous times I remember my mother saying, “I’ve got forty-eleven things to do today!” Now, as a child who loved math, I always wondered why she didn’t just say fifty-one. Forty-eleven really didn’t make sense, but forty-eleven sounds like a lot more than fifty-one. I soon realized, of course, that was just her way of saying she had a lot to do.

 

I was thinking about that saying, “forty-eleven”, this morning. I’ve never heard anyone else say it, other than one of my siblings referring to mom saying it. I don’t know if she came up with it on her own or if she had heard it from someone else. Knowing my mother and her strong faith, I thought maybe it was a scripture reference. I searched the Bible for a book that contained a chapter forty and verse eleven. Out of the 66 books in the Bible, only seven contain a 40:11, and all of them are in the Old Testament. Yet, none of them are referring to being busy or having too much to do. However, there were two that spoke to me as I read them. Psalm 40:11 says, “Lord, don’t hold back Your tender mercies from me. Let Your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.” My mother loved me. Even though she was busy, she always made time for me and extended a lot of mercy to me when I was a boy. The other passage was Isaiah 40:11, “He will feed His flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in His arms, holding them close to His heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.” This, of course, is speaking of our wonderful Savior and the comfort that He brings. As I thought of it in reference to my mother, she did this for me and my siblings. She fed us, cared for us, and protected us. As little ones, she would carry us in her arms. She would hold us close to her heart as she rocked us to sleep. And the greatest thing, she allowed Jesus to lead her in teaching us about Him.

 

I didn’t know where “forty-eleven” was going to go when I started writing this. It brought back a lot of wonderful memories of my mother. But the search for the passage was quite fun. I was going to tell you the names of the seven books that contain a 40:11, but I think I’ll let you look for them yourself. You may have forty-eleven things to do today, but you always have time to look in God’s Word.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

 



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