Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC!

The LORD redeems the life of His servants; none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.  (Psalm 34:22)
What a precious promise from our Lord!  Whom are you taking refuge in today?  Have you been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb?  Then there is no condemnation for you and for all who are in Christ Jesus!
There are only four club nights left for our Awana program this school year.  Thank you for praying for our continued impact on the lives of children and their parents!  This Saturday eight of our kids will be heading to Salem for the State Bible Quizzing.  Please pray for them as they hide God’s Word in their hearts!
This Sunday I will be continuing in Revelation with a message from 9:12-21 about the Sixth Trumpet.  Please read it ahead of time, and join us Sunday morning!  Most remarkable to me, after seeing all the carnage from the judgments, is the response of the remaining people on the earth in verses 20-21.  Why do you think they don’t respond as we would expect?  Or is the way they respond what we should expect?
In this week’s bulletin you will see notes about two missions projects we are raising funds for.  Please pray about, and consider a generous gift toward one or both of these:
1. Thurman Falk is going with Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) to East Asia for five weeks this summer.  Let’s generously and prayerfully support him!
2. John Joiner returned from Burundi with a burden to help supply a diesel-powered welding machine for the hospital/medical school there.  We’d like to have the money raised by July 1 so it can get put on a shipping container heading there Aug. 1.
Thank you for your support!
Redeemed, and taking refuge in the LORD…
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC Friends!

Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 20:7)
To be “consectrated” means to be set apart, or to be “made holy”.  One Bible Dictionary defines “Consecration” this way: “It is the act of setting apart any person or thing to the worship or service of God.  In Leviticus, Moses was deliniating the Law of God and telling the people of Israel to be consecrated by obeying the law.  We know from the New Testament that the only way to truly be made holy is by the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Only God’s grace can save us and sanctify us.  As His “holy nation” and “royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9), we as Christians are to be consecrated, set apart for His service.  We serve and worship a holy God!  And He calls us to be holy as He is.  It is His grace that empowers us to become holy like Him.
In case you missed it last Sunday, Thurman Falk shared with us about his East Asia Summer Mission (many of you will receive letters in the mail about it as well).  His trip is June 14 — July 22.  The cost of the trip is $5,100.  He will be working with Campus Crusade for Christ (now called “Cru”) at a university in East Asia to share the gospel and train in evangelism and discipleship.  I’d like to encourage all of us at FBC to support Thurman generously.  He is “one of our own,” having grown up here at FBC Brownsville.  This is an exciting opportunity for Thurman, and for us as we partner with him.  Please make checks payable to “Cru”, or give at www.give.cru.org/0743833.  You can call Thurman at 541-760-6812 for more info.
MEN – This Saturday at 7am is our monthly Men’s Breakfast!  Please come join us for a great time together.  Our missionary to Brazil, Bruce Tissell, will be here to speak to us.  Invite a friend, bring your sons, and come!
Saturday at 1:00pm is the memorial service here at FBC for our sister Betty Keen.  Thank you for praying for the family and for a clear gospel message to be shared.
On Sunday, I will be speaking from Revelation 8:13 — 9:11.  This is a description of the Fifth Trumpet judgment, which is also the “First Woe”.  Prayerfully read ahead and consider how this future demonic warfare relates even to our current spiritual warfare we face today.
Following the worship service Sunday, we will be having our Quarterly Business Meeting.  Everyone who considers FBC your home is welcome to stay and join us.  Along with the “business” reports that will be shared, I plan to share an update on the current situation regarding additional pastoral staff, and the intentions of the elders and I for the near future.  You could consider this a kind of follow-up to the two Vision/Info meetings we had in March.  We are considering showing a video about our desire to “Grow Together” as people who represent multiple generations.  I think you’ll want to be with us!  We will try to not keep you too long!
Thankful for our holy God, and for the transforming grace of God that is making us holy too…
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC!

But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers (and sisters) beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14)
What a great statement by the apostle Paul about his Christian brothers and sisters in Thessalonica.  I love that he reminds his readers that they are beloved by the Lord, chosen to be saved, called through the gospel, so that they may obtain the glory of Christ!  And he is right on in saying that he ought to give thanks to God for them.  I too find myself often thanking God for you when I pray for you!  I want to thank again the many who made our Easter weekend a special time.  I am so thankful for the dedication, effort, and love put into both “Experience Easter” and our two Sunday services.  Many of you pulled “double duty” or even triple!  I praise God for you and thank you for your devotion to Christ, His church, and our community!
This Sunday I plan to return to our series in Revelation, with a message on Rev. 8:7-12, “The Trumpet Judgments Begin” (unless the Lord directs me otherwise again!).  I encourage you to read that passage before Sunday and consider the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man, that would lead to such an outpouring of judgment.
Please be praying for the guests we had last Sunday who live in our area, that the Lord will be continuing to work in their lives and encouraging them to return this Sunday!
We will be observing the Lord’s Table, or Communion together this Sunday.  Let’s come with hearts prepared and examined before the Lord.
Tomorrow morning we are hosting the regional Awana Bible quizzing at FBC!  If you want to be blessed by seeing our young ones reciting many verses of God’s Word, come join us and support these kids!  It starts at 10am in the sanctuary.
Thanking God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord…
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor: Holy Week Edition – 5

Hello again Friends,

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. 12 For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield. (Psalm 5:11-12 ESV)
I love these verses from my reading in the Psalms today!  I was also very encouraged by the note in my Gospel Transformation Bible regarding this passage:
David sought refuge in God (v. 11) because he was confident that the Lord would “cover him with favor as with a shield” (v. 12). This truth of God’s covering those who take refuge in him is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Through his death and resurrection, those who trust in Christ are covered with the favor and the very righteousness of God. No one can bring any charge against such a one (Rom. 8:33).

So on the Good Friday, let us take refuge in Him and rejoice!  Let us sing for joy, love His name, and exult in Him!  Let us thank Him that He has spread His protection over us.  Praise Him that He gives us the righteousness of Christ through our faith in Him!  He has covered us with favor (which is another way of saying, He has covered us with grace!)  All this is made possible through the loving, sacrificial death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the cross.
We are so looking forward to what the Lord is going to do in the lives of people in our community through our “Experience Easter” outreach.  As I write this, many “worker bees” are hard at work making preparations.  Elizabeth and I are so thankful for the tremendous people of FBC!
Keep praying for our two Easter Sunday services (9 & 11am), and for the community Sunrise Service on Buttercup Hill!  May God be glorified and lives transformed this weekend!
Taking refuge… rejoicing… singing for joy… loving His name… exulting in Him… blessed… covered with His grace…
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor: Holy Week Edition – 4

Hello FBC!

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  (Colossians 3:1-3)
Notice in this amazing passage our union with Jesus Christ!  As we reflect on the events of the “passion week”, we are especially focused on Jesus’s death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead. And rightly so!  These two major events are the foundation of the gospel message we believe and proclaim.  But isn’t it incredible that here in Colossians, Paul reminds us that not only did Jesus die, but so did we!  If we are His disciples, His followers, then we too have died.  We died to our old sinful nature.  We died to our old way of life.  We died to ourselves.  And now (isn’t this marvelous?), our life is not our own, but our “life is hidden with Christ in God.”  And not only that, but just as Christ has been raised, so have we!  We read about that in many other places in Scripture.  But in this passage Paul uses that truth as the basis for his statement, “seek the things that are above.”  It is because of our new (resurrected) life in Christ that we are called to become heavenly-minded instead of earthly-minded.  May this week be a time when we take this message to heart!
Tomorrow night (Friday) is Experience Easter!  Thank you for helping, for giving, for praying, and for inviting!  Please pray that last-minute details come together.  Pray for a great response from the people of our community.  If you’d like to help with decorating that will begin at 9am tomorrow.
3 Days to Easter Sunday!  The message will be from Psalm 24, entitled “Who Is This King of Glory?”  It would be great to read that in preparation for this Sunday.  If you want a little extra, read also the two chapters prior, Ps. 22 & 23.  Those three Psalms actually tie together quite well.  Last night I prayed that all of our regular attenders would have a very meaningful Easter Sunday.  We often think a lot about all of the guests who will be here for Easter, but I want you all to know I haven’t forgotten you!  I’m still praying for you by name this week, that God will bless you in a great and powerful way.  But of course we will have a number of guests who don’t usually attend.  So please continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to be convicting people’s hearts, and for the power of His Word to impact lives.
Remember that there will be two services, 9:00 and 11:00.  I look forward to seeing you at one of them!  I’m thankful for everyone who is involved in making this weekend a tremendous time of ministry to our community!  I’m excited about what the Lord will do in our midst!  Keep praying!
Raised with Christ, seeking the things above…
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor: Holy Week Edition – 3

Hi FBC Friends!

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:11-14 ESV)
What an amazing passage!  It would be great to meditate on this passage today as we consider the outcome of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For those who are “in Christ,” the gifts of God’s grace given to us are incredibly amazing!  Do you understand that prior to coming to faith in Christ we were “dead” in sin?  There’s not much a dead man can do for Himself!  But look at what He did for us!  With the same power that raised Christ from the dead, He made us “alive” together with Him!  Wow.
If I keep going this email could get really long.  But one other thought: take some time to picture in your mind the record of your debt.  How extensive would that record be?  I can imagine mine!  Now picture this: Christ takes that record, and instead of using it to condemn us (which we would completely deserve), He instead NAILS IT TO THE CROSS!  What mercy.  What grace.  Praise His name!
Remember that we will be praying together at the church in classroom #1 at 7pm tonight.  We’d love to have as many of you as possible join us.

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Love From Your Pastor: Holy Week Edition – 2

Hello again!

If his offering for a sacrifice of peace offering to the LORD is an animal from the flock, male or female, he shall offer it without blemish. (Leviticus 3:6 ESV)
Sometimes it can be difficult to read through Leviticus (some of you are saying, “That’s an understatement!).  But when we understand that the sacrifices, the offerings, etc., are foreshadowings of what Jesus Christ has done for us through the sacrificial offering of Himself on the cross, it can take on a whole new meaning!  In fact, we should understand that all of Scripture is pointing to the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  After His resurrection, He explained to two disciples on the road to Emmaus about Himself, and the necessity of His death and resurrection, “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).  
 
The writer to the Hebrews, and the apostle Peter, both express well how the sacrifice of an unblemished animal was a picture of the once and for all perfect sacrifice of Christ:

For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (Hebrews 9:13-14 ESV)

…knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (1 Peter 1:18-19 ESV)

Let’s thank Him today for this profound truth – that He has purified and ransomed all who trust in Him with His own unblemished blood!  Thank you Lord!
If you are inviting people to Experience Easter on Friday, and/or to one of our Easter Sunday services (9 & 11am), we have flyers here in the church foyer you can use to hand to people you are inviting.  There is one specifically for Experience Easter, and one for Sunday.  You can come by the churhc to pick some up (I suggest you call first).  If you will be here Thursday for Awana you can get some then as well.
Thank you for praying for the impact of these events this week on people in our community!  Please remember, we have three opportunities to pray together tomorrow (Weds): 5am, 6am, and 7pm.
Thankful for the Lamb without blemish…
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor: Holy Week Edition – 1

Hi Friends! (I am hoping to send out daily notes this week as we gear up toward Experience Easter and Easter Sunday.  If you would prefer to be removed from my mailing list, please let me know. Don’t want to clog up your inbox unnecessarily!)

Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side.  Do not disbelieve, but believe.” (John 20:27)
If you want to prepare your heart and mind for Easter (a.k.a. Resurrection Sunday), read John 20!  It was part of my daily Bible reading today, and what a powerful chapter on the resurrection!  The characters in the (true) story are so intriguing.  Notice the Mary’s, Martha, and the disciples.  Study their emotions, their reactions, etc.  Great stuff!  Thomas has always gotten a bad rap as we call him “Doubting Thomas.”  But I love Jesus’s gracious response to him.  He answers Thomas’s desire to have the proof he was looking for.  And He challenges him to have faith.  He is saying to us the same thing: “Do not disbelieve, but believe!”  Of course, of all the characters described in John 20, the Hero is Jesus Christ!  And he’s the only hero really worth celebrating!  Celebrate with us this week!
Please be praying for the impact on the hearts and lives of people in our community this week!
Wednesday, 5:00 – 5:45am — Join us for prayer!  I believe the more we pray together, the more fruit we’ll see.
Wednesday, 6:00 – 6:45am — Join us for prayer!
Wednesday, 7:00 – 7:45pm — Join us for prayer!
Thursday, 7pm – pray for Awana and the parents class, and that as families receive invites to Experience Easter they will decide to come!
Friday, “Experience Easter!”  Tours begin at 5:30pm and continue until the last tour begins at 7:30.  We will be decorating during the day, beginning at 9:00am. Please contact Elizabeth (541-979-1774) or myself if you’d like to help!  A reminder – if you are donating items for the event, please have them to the church by Wednesday.  Also, if anyone has decorative trees or plants or palms that we can borrow, contact Elizabeth.  Thank you!
Sunday, 6:30am – Community Sunrise Service on Buttercup Hill.  For directions, contact Roger Ruckert – 541-740-7821.
Sunday, 9:00am – First Easter Worship Service!  Pray, pray, pray!
Sunday, 11:00am – Second Easter Worship Service!  Pray, pray, pray! (Pray for our musicians, singers, children’s and nursery workers, sound people, ushers, greeters, the preacher, etc. etc.)  (Pray for effective follow-up with our guests from these two services)
Have a blessed & holy week!
Do not disbelieve, but believe…
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hello Friends!

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel… (Phil. 1:27)
What a great reminder of the Lord’s desire for us as a community of God’s people!  May this be true of us as we strive side by side for the faith of the gospel!
I have again been impacted during my daily Bible reading of the importance and power in prayer.  In yesterday’s reading (John 16:23-24; Ephesians 6:18) I was reminded of our need to be constantly in prayer, in the power of the Holy Spirit, praying in Christ’s name.  Then today we read John 17 and Philippians 1.  John 17 is Jesus praying for His disciples (and for us!), and Phil. 1 includes Paul’s prayer for the church at Philippi.  If you’d like a couple great prayers to model yours after, I’d recommend going back and simply reading those two passages in a spirit of prayer!
Sunday I will be speaking on Revelation 8:7-12, as we see the Trumpet Judgments begin.  We will also be singing the songs of Palm Sunday, and we will witness a great dance by some of our girls!  Don’t miss out – we look forward to seeing you Sunday at 10:30!
9 Days until Easter!!  Please be praying for the services to be powerful in glorifying the Lord and ministering to people.  I hope you are praying for unchurched members of your OIKOS, and looking for chances to serve them in Christ’s love, and for opportunities to invite them to FBC.
Easter Experience is one week from today!  Again, please be praying for this special outreach event for the families of our community.  Thank you for all who have stepped up to volunteer and to provide supplies!  Contact Elizabeth if you have any questions or would still like to help.
May God’s grace and peace be ours as we stand firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the gospel!
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC Friends!

For you were called to freedom, brothers.  Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. (Galatians 5:13-15)
What a great blessing it is to have freedom in Christ!  But, as every parent knows, with freedom can come the danger of abusing that freedom.  The best use of our Christian liberty is not in selfish pursuits, but in loving service to one another.  That is one of the things I am so thankful for here at FBC.  Many of you are demonstrating this truth through loving service.  Paul echoes the words of Jesus when he says that the whole law is summed up by this: loving your neighbor as yourself.  Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with everything you are and have, and the second is “like it,” to love your neighbor.  Here Paul leaves out the first one but includes the second.  It’s as if he’s saying that loving your neighbor is loving the Lord.  May we rejoice in our freedom we have because of Jesus, and may we use it to serve others and love our neighbor!
I want to thank everyone who came out last night for our first vision/informational meeting.  We have the second meeting tomorrow (Friday) at 3pm.  If you weren’t here yesterday and can make it tomorrow, we’d love to have you join us as we share our heart about the vision of the future!

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