Joining Hearts and Hands In Mission with Christ

Splash Gordon 2016 and Connect 2016

I am going to forego my usual newsletter this month to share with you two extremely important events coming up this next year. I want to give everyone as big a heads-up as I possibly can so that these events can be put on your calendar. If the Lord will just not permit you to participate in these two opportunities you can at least be praying for them. The first one is: SPLASH Gordon 2016.

This will actually be our fourth year of conducting a SPLASH Gordon. Just in case you haven’t heard, it stands for Show People Love and Share Him. It is a local mission ministry. Wesley Hunt describes it well when he calls it “a mission trip without the trip”. It is three days and two nights of fellowship, hard work, worship, evangelism, ministry, and more.

In 2016 our host church will be New Town Baptist Church. We are going to begin a little earlier in the day this next year. Sign-in will begin at 6:45 am and breakfast will start at 7:00 am. We hope to be out to our ministry sites by no later than 8:30 am. The day will be spent working on site with lunch being delivered to your location. At 5:00 pm everyone will return to New Town to have supper together and then attend a worship service following. We plan to have you finished for the day by 7:30 pm.

The date will be July 28th, 29th, and 30th of 2016.

It is a family friendly inter-generational mission experience. The last three years we have been about equally divided in children and youth versus adults.

Registration will be:

March 1st – June 15th 2016. The cost is: $50 per person (early bird sign up before May 15th, 2016) or $65 per person (signing up May 16th – June 15th)

You may be wondering why you should have to pay for a mission trip right here in the county. The truth is that we use the fees to fund mission projects. This last year we spent over $8000 in construction materials alone in ministering to folks. But to be quite truthful with you, for that $50 or $65 you are also receiving a T-shirt (2 if you are on a construction team), eight meals, a wonderful worship experience and a sense of purpose, worth, fulfillment, accomplishment, camaraderie, surrender and service that money can never buy. I challenge you to find a better bargain anywhere.

We have two basic tracks of ministry:

Creative ministries: which might involve working in a nursing home, or the Boys’ and Girls’ Club or the Imagination Station, or Backyard Bible Clubs, or Street Evangelism, or Door-to-door surveying and gospel sharing, or cleaning of elderly or disabled people’s homes, or preparing and sharing baked goods for the teachers as they head back to school or … the list goes on.

Construction ministries: may involve building a deck for a disabled veteran, painting the house of a widow, fixing a rotten floor for a single mom, cleaning a yard for an elderly couple who just cannot do it themselves any more, putting on a new roof for a family who could not otherwise afford it, assisting with repairs at the Calhoun Pregnancy Center, or adding on a needed bathroom at one of our smaller churches. Again the list goes on.

How to get involved: If your pastor or youth minister or leader have not announced this event or encouraged your participation, give me a call! It might be a Sunday school class or a Men’s group, or just a group of friends in your church who would like to participate. I’ll be glad to come share a short video and talk to any group that is interested.

The second Big event in the year ahead is:

Connect 2016

Connect with fellow saints, Connect with Missions, Connect with Revival

2016 on Mission Connection Revival

You may recall we conducted one of these eight years ago. It is a great way for us as an association to:

  1. Become more kingdom minded. It is not just about me and my church. It’s all about HIM and his kingdom!
  2. Become more aware of not only what we are about as Southern Baptist and reaching the world for Christ, but of opportunities where we can become personally involved. I’d really like to add another dimension to this revival effort this coming year to include mission participation opportunities around the world that are available through our local congregations. (perhaps even if some of those opportunities are not strictly Southern Baptist)
  3. Become more revival passionate. The only hope our hope world is for God’s people to once more fall passionately in love with their Savior and to be on fire for Him. God’s own Word declares that healing of the land will come when God’s people…

While we will have missionaries from around the world, missionaries from North America, missionaries from Georgia, and perhaps even some local missionaries, the emphasis will not be just upon missions, but also upon seeking God’s face and seeking revival.

The last time we conducted an OMC Revival we had, I believe, twenty-one churches participating. This time I’d really like to have 100% participation. Please don’t let the lack of money keep your church from taking part. If finances are a problem, simply give me a call and we’ll find a way to make it work.

So when will this CONNECT 2016 – OMC Revival take place?

August 14th – 17th, 2016

We will run on a schedule much like a half-week revival, beginning on Sunday morning and then services Sunday evening running through Wednesday night. Each church will be assigned different missionaries throughout the week. Someone in your church will need to assume responsibility from getting them to and from your church. If we do like the last time, we’ll have some sort of a “pig pickin’/low country boil” celebration the Saturday night before. Different churches may be hosting luncheons throughout the week. We will try to capitalize upon these missionaries’ time spent here while at the same time leaving them some time to refresh, rest and perhaps even sight see some in the area. Each church may be responsible for feeding their missionary the night he/she is/are there. A number of those details are yet to be worked out. But I am already excited about what God can and will do as we begin to seek Him and willingly work together.

With the times getting like they are, Christians must learn to work together more, pray together more, strategize together more, and seek God together more! If you want to know more give me or Lorena McDaris a call. We’ll be glad to share with you in any way we can.

I don’t know about you, but I’m already stoked. The fire is lit, the coals are stirred, and fuel being added daily. I just can’t wait to “join hearts and hands together in mission with YOU and CHRIST!!!

Brother Doug

Awake to Righteousness, and Sin Not

“Awake to righteousness, and sin not…” (1 Corinthians 15:34)

Have you ever had your arm or hand, or a foot fall asleep? Do you recall not only how badly it hurt as it began to awake from sleep, but how totally useless it was until it was fully awakened? For several months now I have been taking a look at “awaking”. Throughout the Bible we are not only enjoined “to awake”, we are literally commanded “to awake”.

I find a most interesting, if not more accurately a most disturbing, command to “awake” over in the fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians verse thirty-four. As I read those words, it is almost like waking up to find a limb asleep. It hurts just to realize this could very well be not only mine but many of God’s children’s problem right now and how totally useless we may be in His kingdom’s work until we awake to this issue. We’ve been asleep spiritually, or as Paul says, “righteously”. Perhaps trying our best to live correctly as is becoming of a child of God, we have still fallen asleep righteously.

The command in this verse is actually two-fold. And there is also a reprimand connected to the command. It is that reprimand that can quickly convict – if you and I indeed do awake. There is not only a command to “awake”, there is an adjoining command to (from that point in time) sin no more.

So, just what kind of sin is Paul talking about here? It is clearly revealed in the reprimand, “for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” It is the sin of not believing in the resurrection enough to share the good news of everlasting life in Jesus Christ as we ought. It is allowing ourselves to be misled. It is the sin of cuddling up so close to corrupt company that we’ve begun thinking that maybe what people believe and don’t believe and how they live doesn’t matter. It is the sin of living as if life here on this earth is all there is. It is the sin of just making the best of each day here with no regard to eternity. It is the sin of letting our morals slide and our witness wane. It is the sin of not warning folks. It is the sin of not letting your neighbors know that we will all be raised again – that all of us will live eternally either in God’s presence or in eternal torment.

“Ouch!” Has that burning, stinging, prickly sensation that comes with a limb awakening struck you spiritually or righteously? Are you feeling the discomfort of a heart under conviction? Has the truth struck perhaps a little too close to home? Has God’s word penetrated to the core of who you are and what you are about? If so, congratulations! You have just reached a point for proper change to occur – a place where the conviction can result in forgiveness. A hurting, useless child of God can suddenly become a bold witness for our Lord.

You can actually step away from this newsletter not only forgiven but empowered to live a whole new different life in Jesus Christ. “Awake righteously and sin no more,

“Lord, I want to be a witness,
for my Lord, for my Lord.
Lord I want to be a witness
for my Lord!”

Is that your heartthrob? Do you really want to see others come to know the Lord and trust Him fully each day? Then awake as this passage commands and watch God go to work not only in you but through you.

Brother Doug

Awake, Awake, Stand Up

“Awake, awake, stand up…” Isaiah 51:17

These are scary days in which we now live. I was talking with someone just the other day and she was confessing how secure she used to feel. She felt secure at home. She felt secure in her parents. She felt secure at school. She felt secure with insurance. But then she admitted, “But it was really a false security!” Then we discussed the fact that our only real security is in Jesus Christ and the Heavenly Father’s grace and mercy. And even then God has to press us at times to the point of insecurity to remind us of our need for him to push us to take our stand for Him.

I cannot remember whether I was in the sixth grade or the seventh. At any rate we had graduated to a new school and were all struggling to find our new identities. The familiarity and comfortableness of our local elementary school was gone. We were now in junior high with 1500 other kids. And for some reason (I never really understood why) a boy I had known all my life suddenly decided to use me as his proving ground.

Though he was actually quite a bit smaller than me, every afternoon as we waited in line for our school bus, he started picking on me, bullying, threatening and such. I tried to ignore him as best I could. It wasn’t that I was afraid of him so much as afraid of getting kicked out of school for fighting. So day after day the torture continued it seemed forever. (In truth, I think it was less than a month.) But finally one day I awoke to the reality that I was going to have to take a stand if I was going to see this thing cease. So that day when he started I stood my ground. A fisticuff ensued. Before I even realized what was happening my fist popped his jaw and in less than a minute it was all over. There wasn’t even time for another student to yell, “Fight, fight!” and a crowd to gather. I immediately apologized to my attacker and after a few days of worrying about being called to the office, life once more became good.

We’ve been taking a look for the past several months at the need to awake. The scripture quoted above is a wake-up call from God himself speaking to His children. It is given in the midst of a chapter written to those who follow after righteousness. Throughout the chapter God keeps saying, “listen to me, lift your eyes to heaven, I am the Lord your God, I’ve covered you with the shadow of my hand, you are my people.” Then He declares, “Awake, awake, standup, you who have drunk the dreg of trembling from the Lord’s hand of fury. Now that I have your attention, stand up and act like a child of God. I’m the Lord of hosts that parted the sea. I have taken the cup of trembling and its dregs therof out of your hand and you shall not have to drink of it again. Christ is coming to redeem you!”

I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to not just stand up but to literally jump up and shout hallelujah!

But let’s get back to the reality of the standup injunction in these particular verses for a minute. There are two ways we seem to be missing God’s message to us today. One way is that we are failing to recognize God’s corrective, attention-getting hand upon us. Whether it is directly or by the permissive hand of God, he is at work in our lives. He often allows the enemy to play havoc to call us back to repentance. We need to stand up and acknowledge God’s corrective hand at work upon our lives.

Secondly, too many of God’s children are living with a defeatist attitude these days. Although the times are rough and the days are somewhat uncertain, we still trust in and serve a Lord that nothing happens that he is not aware of, nor is there anything that he does not have power over. You are already covered by the shadow of His hand. That’s how closely he is walking beside you each day. So stand up and start living like it! Though you may be drinking the dregs of His wrath right now, the assurance is that He will remove it (in fact, in God’s mind it is already as good as done) and you won’t have to drink it any more.

So just like me with the young man when I finally decided that if things were going to change I was going to have to stand up, so if we as God’s children are going to see things change, we are going to have to wake up and take our stand for Him. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long! This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song.

 

Awake, Thou That Sleepest

“…Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead…” (Ephesians 5:14)

When I was a teenager we used to sing a song about Noah and the flood that had a chorus which said:

So rise, and shine, and give God the glory, glory.
Rise, and shine and give God the glory, glory.
Rise! And Shine! And give God the glory, glory!
Children of the Lord.

I think of that chorus because it ties so well with what I am considering this month in those “injunctions to awake” we started considering a couple of months back. This month I want us to take a look at a couple of very personal commands from the Lord and a promise from Him that goes with them.

We live in a day and age that people need as bold and as positive a witness as we can possibly give them. They need to hear the good news of not only God’s saving grace for eternity, but of His abundant grace and provision for daily living.

The verse we are considering this time is from the letter to the Ephesians. Recall that they were the church in Revelation that was commended for their hard work, and patience, and their stand for right and truth. But then they had to be chastised for their love loss. They were quickly becoming cold and calloused Christians. Instead of loving people into the kingdom of God, they were becoming skeptical and judgmental witnesses for the Lord. They had left their first love and it reflected in their whole lifestyle. God has a cure for that. But it is a cure to which WE must awake.

As God breathed it into Paul’s mind and heart, he wrote to these believers to tell them that they weren’t really reaching people as they ought. And the reason they weren’t, was because they were not walking in the love, light and joy of the Lord as they ought. However with the very words he uses it quickly becomes apparent that he is not speaking to a group as a whole in generalized terms but is instead talking to each of us one-on-one. His words are very personal and direct.

In the preciseness of the language in which he wrote it, Paul reveals the message is for “You” not “Y’all”. It is very personally singular. And to emphasize just how personal that “you” command is, Paul uses a “middle voice” verb (something we don’t have in English) to literally say, “You, yourself! You alone! You personally!”

So what are the two commands he gives this way? The first one is “Awake!” “Egeirai!” You know what that implies, don’t you? I’m not the only one who struggles staying awake! In fact it sounds as if every single one of us has some “sleeping-at-the-helm” issues when it comes to the unfruitful works of darkness all around us. We are not living lives of love and light that help reveal to people just how unacceptable that darkness is. As one of Vance Havner’s sermons used to declare, we’re “Getting Used to the Dark.” Rather than brightening the corner where we are, we are simply adjusting our vision to the darkness. Paul says, God says: “Awake!” It is a command we each must individually do.

The second command is, “Arise!” “Anasta!” Arise from among the dead. I believe we can infer two things from that command. One is that we’ve been living too much in this old sinful world. Like Lot, we have settled in at Sodom and Gomorrah. We must arise from among those dead in their trespasses and sin. We got to come out of the darkness of this old world and live as children of the light. But then secondly, we need to realize that there are those who are dead even within the church. Arise not from among the “chosen frozen” but those who have literally withered on the vine – those who no longer know, or have never known that “to live is Christ.” (Philippians 1:21)

Two things the Lord says that we can and must do of ourselves: “Awake! & Arise!” if we will do that, what does he promise to do? He’ll light up our world! He’ll give us a glow that will witness to the world. He’ll enable us to live in the light as he is the light.

Maybe the chorus should be rewritten? Maybe it should say instead:

So awake! Arise! And Let God shine through and through!
Awake! And Arise! And Let God shine through and through!
Awake! Arise! And His light will shine through you!
Children of the Lord.

 

Awake, Awake; Put On Thy Strength

“Awake, awake; put on thy strength…” (Isaiah 52:1)

His name actually means “Sunshine.” But it didn’t look like there was going to be anything sunny about his life in the near future. Samson’s demise came when he awoke to realize his strength was gone. The power of God that had rested upon him virtually all of his life had suddenly disappeared. A Nazarite vow that had been made even before his birth had been foolishly and unknowingly broken. Delilah lulled Samsom to sleep. Then as he slept, his hair was shorn, thus breaking a vow and commitment between him and God. With his hair went the abiding strength and power of the Lord.

Last month I began a series in my “Missionary Musings” on awaking. I spoke of how we are being lulled to sleep at a time when the risks are too great and the dangers too near. So we began looking at God’s injunctions to awake. This month we are going to take a look at awaking to our powerlessness and His power. Without Him we can do nothing, be we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)

The particular verse quoted at the top is from the 52nd chapter of Isaiah. Isaiah had been calling God’s people back to the Lord. He was/is calling those who would seek righteousness. He was/is bringing hope to those who had suffered the fury of God. He was/is assuring them and us that neither they nor we will any longer have to drink of that cup. The Lord will plead our cause. So in the first verse of chapter 52, he calls the children of God to put on strength and to put on their beautiful garments.

Awake to our need to put on “strength.” That word, “strength”, is a very interesting one in the Hebrew. It can vary in its meaning from “might” or “power” to “praise” and “boldness”. I believe we need to take a little closer look at all of those.

Paul, the apostle, was reminded by God, “…for my strength is made perfect in weakness”. Paul therefore gloried on his infirmities that the power of Christ might rest upon him. (2 Corinthians 12:9) It is only as we come to the end of self that the power of God can truly be released. Just as quickly and as surely as you or I admit, “I cannot do this of myself Lord! Come to my aid!” God rushes to our side in power and might.

You and I need to awake to our powerlessness. The reason the church is so ineffective today is because far too many of us are still running it in our power, not His! In far too many congregations “the glory has departed” but the people within, don’t even know it. Admitting our need is more than half the problem. James reminds us that “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble”. (James 4:6) We need to awake to our strength, His power, His might.

But you recall I said that word “strength” in Hebrew could also mean “praise”? I wonder how many unsaved people are turned off to our God due to our lack of praise? If you or I are the only Bible some people read, what are they hearing and seeing about our God? Besides that, God inhabits the praises of His people. (Psalm 22:3) Satan flees at the sound of praise to God. Have you ever paid close attention to the second verse of “Onward Christian Soldiers”? “Hell’s foundations quiver, at the shout of praise; Brothers, lift your voices, Loud your anthems raise!”

I learned a praise chorus more than 30 years ago:

It’s amazing what praising can do!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

It’s amazing what praising can do!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

I don’t worry when things gone,

Jesus fills my heart with a song,

It’s amazing what praising can do!

Hallelujah!

It is amazing how many victories were ushered into God’s people as they simply lifted their voices in praise.

Well, it looks like I am going to have to save the boldness part for next month. I’m running out of space.   That’s probably one that deserves a full article of its own anyway.

Hope to see you next month, but until then I’ll be praying that you and I will awake to our need for His strength and to praise Him all the more.

Brother Doug

 

 

 

 

 

Associational News

New Town Baptist will be sponsoring a Women's Conference on Saturday, May 4, 2019, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm. Cost $10, lunch provided. Frances Worthington will be the speaker ...
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