Love From Your Pastor

Happy Saturday FBC Family!

The LORD has bared His holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
 (Isaiah 52:10)
I love this beautiful prophetic promise from Isaiah!  And what struck me this morning was the way in which we are assured that this promise will come to pass.  How?  The answer is in the following chapter – Isaiah 53!  If you didn’t read that today, that would be a great passage to meditate on.  Our hearts absolutely must be filled with gratitude and praise as we contemplate the Suffering Servant, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Tomorrow I will be continuing our series in Titus with a message on Titus 1:5-9, “Above Reproach.”  This passage contains Paul’s requirements for Titus as he appointed elders/overseers for the churches.  But I believe it is a passage that all believers should study with the goal of growing in the character qualities described there.  In fact, Gene Getz (author, pastor, professor) wrote a very popular book based on this passage (and 1 Tim. 3, also elder qualifications) called
The Measure of a Man.
  The idea is that every man in the church should be measuring himself by these standards.
While we are on the subject of elders/overseers, this would be a great time to request continued prayer for us who serve in this capacity at FBC.  It is a challenging and rewarding calling.  Especially continue to pray for Alan Blake’s recovery in speech and motor skills.  Please keep praying for me in my pastoral responsibilities and especially pray for my prayer life and my preaching of God’s Word.  I recognize I desperately need your prayers!  Also please pray for Mike Kirk especially diligently today.  His sister Suzy looks to be passing along from this life soon due to cancer.  His family could use your prayers for comfort and encouragement.
Also thank you for continuing to pray for the Search Task Team as we follow up with various applicants for Associate Pastor of Family Ministry.  There are reference checks going on, various phone calls with applicants, and another skype interview this coming Tuesday.  Please keep praying for God’s perfect will to made clear in this process.
Thank you for your prayers!  Looking forward to our worship and fellowship together tomorrow!
Grace and peace to you!
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Happy St Patrick’s Day FBC!

And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.”
 (Mark 6:4)
Those of us following the same Bible reading schedule this year started reading the book of Mark this week.  That is one of the reasons we looked at Mark 6 last Sunday, and zeroed in on a few of the key things Jesus said.  The statement in verse 4 struck me again today, and I’m trying to continue to think through it.  But isn’t it amazing that the people who thought they knew Jesus the best, actually were some of the most mistaken about who He really was?  It’s easy for people to have a familiarity with stories about Jesus, but be way off in terms of understanding His true identity.  It’s also easy for people to think they know a lot about Jesus, but for their hearts to be far from Him.  I’m hoping and praying that I, along with my family, will continue to draw close to Jesus, grow in our love for Him and faith in Him, and be used by Him to help others come to an understanding of who He really is.
This Sunday we’ll continue in Mark by looking at the “triumphal entry” in Mark 11:1-11.  It would be good to read that ahead of time and join us as we worship Him with our “Hosanna!” this Sunday!  Do you know what “Hosanna” means?
Don’t forget, men, about our monthly Men’s Breakfast this Saturday at 7am!
Also Saturday, everyone is invited to the all-church work day from 9am to Noon.  There’s plenty of sprucing up to do as we prepare for Easter!

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Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC Friends!
 
“But fear not, O Jacob My servant, nor be dismayed, O Israel, for behold, I will save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity.  Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid.  Fear not, O Jacob My servant, declares the LORD, for I am with you.  I will make a full end of all the nations to which I have driven you, but of you I will not make a full end.  I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.” (Jeremiah 46:27-28)
 
This passage was another encouraging reminder to me this morning of the Lord’s constant presence, and because of that, the ability we as believers have to live without fear.  It tied in excellently with one of the messages Elizabeth and I heard at the Conservative Baptist Northwest Annual Enrichment Conference this week.  Greg Spires from Medford FBC spoke on Matthew 10:26-33 and challenged us all to Fear God, not “them”.  In other words, don’t fear people; God is the only One we should fear.  We actually four really outstanding messages, all from four different CBANW pastors.  We were encouraged, challenged, and inspired.  I was just told that they hope to have the messages up on their website by the end of next week, so hopefully I can direct you to them soon.  Each message was timely not just for me personally, but also for our church family.

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Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC!

The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
 (Exodus 34:6-7)
This was a great reminder for me this morning of who God is!  Who better to tell us what God is like than God Himself?  After telling Moses of His covenant name, Yahweh (the LORD, lit., ‘I am who I am’), He describes Himself: Merciful.  Gracious.  Slow to anger.  Abounding in steadfast love (‘
chesed,’
loyal, faithful, covenant-keeping love).  Forgiving iniquity.  By no means clearing the guilty.  He is the ever-existing, gracious, loving, faithful, and just God of Creation!  To quote a recent song, “You’re a good, good Father!”
This Sunday will be our next-to-last message from Paul’s letter to Titus.  We are covering (Lord willing) Titus 3:1-11, “Goodness & Loving Kindness.”  Once again, this is a tremendous passage of Scripture.  I hope you will read it prior to the Sunday worship service and come prepared to ‘have ears to hear’ the Word of the Lord.

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Love From Your Pastor

Hello Brothers and Sisters of FBC,

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.”
(Exodus 16:4)
It has been a daily occurrence this year that I have come across not only great and powerful truths from God’s Word in my daily reading, but also wonderful thoughts from my devotional Bible that have enhanced, explained, and applied the Scripture reading. Today was no different.  Another lengthy excerpt I feel led to share:
“The spiritual geography of Israel’s exodus from Egypt can be mapped onto the experience of our own souls.  Although there are times of refreshing, usually they do not last for long.  Soon it is time to head back into the desert, which is a place of testing and spiritual growth…
Whining was Israel’s besetting sin… The grumbling continued more or less for 40 years, as they became a nation of malcontents.
Our own complaints are not caused by our outward circumstances; rather, they reveal the inward condition of our hearts.  Really, the Israelites had nothing to complain about.  They were
not running out of food, but were confusing what they wanted with what they needed
.  This is often the source of our discontent: thinking that our ‘greeds’ are really our needs…
Israel’s attitude is a warning against the great sin of complaining.  Although they complained to Moses, they were really grumbling against God.  By saying that it would have been better for God to let them die back in Egypt, they were really saying that they wished they had never been saved.
We need to be honest about the fact that all of our dissatisfaction is discontent with God.  Usually we take out our frustrations on someone else.  But God knows that when we grumble, we are finding fault with Him.  A complaining spirit indicates a problem in our relationship with God.

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Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC Family!

The greatest among you shall be your servant.  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
 (Matthew 23:11-12)
Once again there were many many things in my reading this morning that were powerful.  I often underline things in my Bible as I read, then go back and try to zero in on one verse or phrase that I really want to focus on for the day.  That’s hard to do many times – to narrow it down from so much good stuff to choose from!  But the above verses were a great reminder to me… again.  I love how Jesus said things that were/are so contrary to how we as people generally think and operate.  The Life Application Bible has a great note on this passage:  “Jesus challenged society’s norms.  To Him, greatness comes from serving – giving of yourself to help God and others.  Service keeps us aware of others’ needs, and it stops us from focusing only on ourselves.  Jesus came as a servant.  What kind of greatness do you seek?”  Great question to ponder!
Please remember to pick up the Prayer Guides for our Haiti missionaries, located on the missions table in the foyer.  Mike Kirk and Dave Ezell plan to leave Feb. 17, and Roger and Susan Ruckert leave March 3.  There are separate letters for each team’s trip.  Let’s be upholding them and the Haiti Foundation of Hope in our prayers.  This Sunday is a finger food luncheon and a time to “send off” those who are going.  Please be sure to join in.
I heard about a movie that I think we should all try to see when it comes out on Feb. 19 (or see it as close to opening day as you can).  It is called “Risen” and it is about the resurrection through the eyes of an unbeliever.  You can watch the trailer here:
It’s hard to believe, but Easter is just around the corner!  It is March 27th, and it sometimes feels like it “sneaks up on us” when it lands in March.  It is only 45 days from today!  So be thinking about who the Lord who have you be praying for and inviting to our Easter service.

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Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC Friends,

For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
 (Matthew 5:20)
This has always been a challenging statement from Jesus to me.  Once again, my devotional reading this morning was profound, and I want to share it:

“Jesus’ teachings and actions complete the law.  He did not ‘come to abolish the law’ but to fulfill it… Scripture is secure, without error.  God’s law – His instruction – like all His Word, is imperishable… He teaches the law by instructing His disciples (us!) to do the right things for the right reasons, not from fear of punishment or calculation of gain, but from love of God and neighbor… When Jesus says, ‘unless your righteousness exceeds… you will never enter the kingdom’ (Matt. 5:20), He doesn’t teach salvation by works.  Jesus demands righteousness, but He also supplies it for us by His death and resurrection (Matt. 26-28)… Disciples surpass scribes by grasping the heart, not just the ‘manageable’ external code of the law (Matt. 5:21-48).  Disciples surpass Pharisees by living for the divine audience, not the human, and by seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness (Matt. 6).”  (Dan Doriani, ESV Men’s Devotional Bible, pg. 1103)

May our righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees!
Well as you know, many in our church family have been hit pretty hard by the flu bug (or some kind of bug anyway).  Please be in prayer for our families as we all navigate through this.  I’d like to remind you that if you are sick, or you have kids that are sick, it would be appropriate for you to remain at home until you (or your kids) are feeling better.  I always want to encourage you to come to church!  But let’s do what we can to avoid any unnecessary passing of germs.  Maybe we should “fist bump” instead of shaking hands this Sunday!  At least make sure you wash your hands well after greeting one another.

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Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC!

Sing praises to the LORD, for He has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.
 (Isaiah 12:5)
If you’re joining us in the Bible reading plan this year, you know Isaiah 12 was one of our chapters for today.  What a great chapter (only 6 verses)!  I’d encourage all of you to take a look at that today (if you haven’t already) and use it as a prayer and expression of worship.  I have been loving my new ESV Men’s Devotional Bible this year!  It had another good one today by Dane Ortlund about Isaiah 12.  I just want to share a couple snippets with you:
“In Isaiah 12 we are given the only real refuge and the only stable comfort and peace: ‘Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid. (12:2)’ … But notice what Isaiah says:
God
 is his salvation.  Therefore he will trust and not be afraid… What if we took God at His Word in Isaiah 12?  ‘God is my salvation!’  We would be invincible, because we would be fearless.”  Amen!
This Sunday I’m starting a new series on the book of Titus called “God Our Savior.”  In our first message we’ll do an introduction to the book and then dive in to 1:1-4.  I’d like to ask that all of us read through Titus (only 3 chapters) before Sunday.  I just read it again today.  It’s so short we could read it everyday between now and Sunday easily.  The first message will be “A Common Faith” from those first 4 verses.  We have a common faith in our one God, through His only Son, Jesus Christ our God and our Savior!  As we focus on Him and His beautiful gospel described in Titus, may it draw us closer together as one Body.
Let me share one other thing that blessed me today.  I’ve been reading the prayers in the book “The Valley of Vision,” which is a collection of some of the prayers of the Puritans.  The one I read today is called “The Gospel Way.” —
“Blessed Lord Jesus, no human mind could conceive or invent the gospel.  Acting in eternal grace, You are both its messenger and its message, lived out on earth through infinite compassion, applying Your life to insult, injury, death, that I might be redeemed, ransomed, freed.
Blessed be You, O Father, for contriving this way, eternal thanks to You, O Lamb of God, for opening this way, praise everlasting to You, O Holy Spirit, for applying this way to my heart.
Glorious Trinity, impress the gospel on my soul, until its virtue diffuses every faculty; let it be heard, acknowledged, professed, felt.
Teach me to secure this mighty blessing; help me to give up every darling lust, to submit heart and life to its command, to have it in my will, controlling my affections, molding my understanding; to adhere strictly to the rules of true religion, not departing from them in any instance, nor for any advantage in order to escape evil, inconvenience or danger.
Take me to the cross to seek glory from its infamy; strip me of every pleasing pretense of righteousness by my own doings.
O gracious redeemer, I have neglected You too long, often crucified You, crucified You afresh by my impenitence, put You to open shame.
I thank You for the patience that has borne with me so long, and for the grace that now makes me willing to be Yours.
O unite me to Yourself with inseparable bonds, that nothing may ever draw me back from You, my Lord, my Savior.”
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
 (Titus 1:4)
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC Family!

But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
 (Genesis 39:21)
What a great chapter in the Bible!  I love the story of Joseph.  I appreciated the devotional in my Bible this morning that talked about Gen. 39, and I’d like to share some of it with you:
“Moses’ narrative voice-over at both the beginning and the end of the account states that Joseph was successful because the Lord was
with him (v. 2-3, 21-23)… And here Joseph shines because he knew that God was with him as he refused Mrs. Potiphar’s advances, declaring to her, ‘How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?’ (v. 9).  The grand deterrent to the seductive pleas was Joseph’s awareness that God is present and sees all, and that a sin no one else knows about, committed behind locked doors in a dark room, is actually committed in the presence of a holy God… How does the story of Joseph intersect with our lives today?  It does so beautifully and powerfully in the incarnation of Christ the Messiah, who is Immanuel, ‘God with us’ (Matt. 1:23).  Brothers, the key to our day-to-day success is to believe this with all our being, and conduct every moment of life in the dazzling reality of Christ’s presence.” (R. Kent Hughes, ESV Men’s Devotional Bible
, p. 45).
This Sunday we will conclude our series on Zephaniah, “Mighty to Save” with a message on chapter 3 entitled, “He Will Rejoice Over You.”  Please read this amazing chapter before Sunday and be here with us as we look together at this great text.  After words of judgment and warning, there is a powerful message of hope here, especially in verse 17.  That would be a great verse to chew on for a while if you ever wonder about God’s love for you!
Starting the following Sunday, I plan to begin a series on Paul’s letter to Titus called “God Our Savior.”  This is an amazing New Testament letter filled with great doctrine and great lessons for our living of the Christian life.  One of the reasons for wanting to go through Titus together is because it can be a great unifier for us as we encounter truth together about our common faith.  I’d like to encourage all of us to read through Titus a number of times in preparation for this series, and even while the series is going on.  What draws us together as a church family is the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and our common faith in the One true God, our Savior!
I’m looking forward to our time together this Sunday.  Don’t miss it!
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Happy Friday FBC!

The man bowed his head and worshiped the LORD and said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master.  As for me, the LORD has led me in the way to the house of my master’s kinsmen.”
 (Genesis 24:26-27)
Abraham’s servant was sent on a mission to find a bride for Isaac from among Abraham’s kinsmen.  It’s a beautiful story of prayers being answered very specifically! The servant displays for us once again what a proper response to God’s graciousness looks like: he “bowed his head and worshiped.”  Humbly bowing before the Lord in praise and worship is the right thing to do in these situations!  Also, notice what the servant blesses the Lord for: He has not forsaken His steadfast love and faithfulness toward Abraham.  Friends, that is true of us as well!  Our Father has poured out upon us His steadfast love and faithfulness.  We have much to worship Him for!  We especially, and ultimately, see His steadfast love and faithfulness in the provision of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, given to us to be the necessary sacrifice for our sins on the cross.  Blessed be the Lord!
This Sunday I will be speaking on Zephaniah 2, “Seek the Lord.”  This is a fitting reminder as we are early in this new year.  There are numerous things we can be seeking.  There are all kinds of resolutions and goals to pursue.  But may we encourage one another above all else to seek the Lord this year.  Seek an intimate relationship with Him.  Seek a transformed heart that comes from trusting in Him.  Seek humility and holiness.  Seek the Lord while He may be found!
We are looking forward to hearing from Gary and Barbara Bauman, missionaries to Japan whom we support, this Sunday.  They will be sharing in the adult Sunday School, and briefly in the worship service.  I hope you get a chance to meet them if you haven’t before, and hopefully we can all be a major encouragement to them as they prepare to head back to Japan.
Baptism classes for children are starting this Sunday!  They will last for 4 Sundays.  If you haven’t signed up your child yet, but would still like to, it’s not too late.  Let me know or contact Doris Trimble or Alice Tetamore.  Adults, if you are interested in baptism, please let me know as well!
Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday as we worship the Lord together!
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael



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