Love From Your Pastor

Happy New Year FBC!!!
Another year is coming to a close, and the next one is just over the horizon.  I enjoy taking some time at the end of a year to reflect on God’s many blessings from throughout the year, the lessons learned, the prayers answered, and the people who have touched my life.  It’s also a great time to think about new goals to set for a new year, as well as hopes and dreams for the days ahead.  I also enjoy coming to the end of a year of reading through the Bible.  This year a number of us used the One Year Bible, and today our readings completed the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs.  I get excited about beginning again with a new plan for reading through the Bible.  This year I (and any others who want to join me) will be using the ESV Daily Reading Bible, which uses the popular reading plan developed by Robert Murray M’Cheyne.  I already sent info about that to you in a previous email.  There are copies of the plan on a table in the foyer at church.
There were some powerful truths from today’s reading, including this from Malachi 3:8, 10 – Will man rob God?  Yet you are robbing Me.  But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’  In your tithes and contributions… Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house.  And thereby put Me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.  I have enjoyed the notes from the Gospel Transformation Bible this year.  Part of the note for this passage says, “Our giving is a diagnostic window into how we view God.  If we see God as the gracious giver of all good gifts, we will desire to excel in the ‘grace’ of giving (2 Cor. 8:7).  If we view Him as a hard taskmaster whose service is a burden, however, it will be visible in our reluctant giving.  The issue is our attitude, not the amount (Luke 24:1-4).  Through it all, we remember Jesus, who ‘though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich’ (2 Cor. 8:9).  We are cheerfully generous not in order to pay God back, but in light of His great and lavish generosity toward us.  What else could we do?”  So friends, what are your Giving Goals for 2015?

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Love From Your Pastor

Merry Christmas FBC!  (Yes, I know I’m on vacation, but I needed to tell you about this now.)

A number of you have been reading the One Year Bible along with me this year.  Thank you to all those who have been doing that!  It’s pretty neat to be talking about something I read that day, and know that many of you read the same thing.
I was having a hard time deciding what I was going to do for 2015.  I originally thought I’d just use the One Year Bible again, which I’ve used many times over the years.  But then I found what I think is a good deal on a Daily Reading Bible using a plan developed by 19th Century Scottish pastor Robert Murray M’Cheyne.
So I decided to get one, and a few extras to give as gifts.  If you want to get the same one, here is the link to buy one:
Of course, you can also just print up the plan and follow along in your own Bible.  You can get the PDF of the plan here:
Whatever plan you decide to use, I hope and pray that you will make it a goal and a priority to spend time every day in God’s Word in 2015!  I think it would be great for many of us from FBC to use the same plan, so we can “compare notes” and “be on the same page.”  Thanks for considering it!
And by the way, THANK YOU so much for such a generous Christmas gift to my family!  We are absolutely blown away by your kindness.  We love you and thank God for you.
Oh, and don’t miss this Sunday at FBC – Jeff Moritz, missionary with InFaith, and brother of our Jeremy Moritz, will be speaking at the morning worship service!
Have a Merry Christmas and a Christ-centered New Year!
Pastor Michael
Psalm 143:5-6
Revelation 15:3-4


Love From Your Pastor

Merry Christmas FBC!

GOD, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer’s; He makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:19)
Doesn’t seem like a “Christmasy” verse, does it?  But as I’ve meditated on that verse today it has hit me that the Christmas season is often an exhausting time for many.  We need the Lord to be our strength.  I also am aware that it can be a lonely and painful time for a lot of folks.  We need the God the Lord to be our strength.  We are easily frazzled, anxious, stressed, etc., etc… We need the Lord our God to be our strength!  May you find your strength in Him today and all throughout the holiday season!
Yes, it’s 8 days until Christmas!  But don’t forget that it’s just 3 days until the Children’s Christmas Program & Christmas by Candlelight!  In the morning service (10:30am), we will be blessed by our little ones (and some not so little ones) as they bring us “O Come Let Us Adore Him.”  You won’t want to miss this!  Then in the evening (5:30pm), we will enjoy the intimate and peaceful setting of candlelight as we sing of our Savior’s birth.  My brief devotion will center on a line that I have come to love more than ever this year from one of our favorite Christmas carols.  In the song “Silent Night”, there is the phrase, “With the dawn of redeeming grace…”  I have been reading, hearing, and thinking a lot about grace lately.  That line from Silent Night strikes me strongly now.  Ponder that as you prepare to worship with us on Sunday.  What does it mean for you?  “With the dawn of redeeming grace; Jesus Lord at Thy birth, Jesus Lord at Thy birth!”

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Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC Friends!
And I will give him the morning star. (Revelation 2:28)
This is a promise given by the exalted Christ to “the one who conquers” in His message to the church at Thyatira.  What a powerful promise!  “The morning star is Christ Himself (see Rev. 22:16), Israel’s ruler and rescuer, who was foreseen by Balaam, the unwilling seer (Num. 24:17).” (ESV Study Bible, pg. 2467)  As we think about the Magi following the Star to Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus, fulfilling the prophecy from Numbers 24, may we also remember this great prophecy of promise to those who overcome and hold fast to the end!  The One who came in such a humble manner the first time, whose location was found by the following of a bright star, is coming again in great power and authority, as “the bright morning star”!  All praise to Him as we celebrate this Christmas!
Speaking of promises, one of the great characters of the Christmas story who was a recipient of God’s promise was Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.  And get this – she is coming to visit us at FBC Brownsville this Sunday!  She’s coming from a long way away, and from a long time ago, so make sure you’re here Sunday at 10:30 to see my interview with her on another edition of “30 Minutes”!
Also this Sunday, after the morning service, is our Annual Business Meeting, where we will celebrate what God has done in our midst in the year 2014, and vote on new church officers and the 2015 budget.  If you want to check out what’s happening you are welcome to attend (You don’t have to be a member to attend, but you do have to be a member to vote.).  Commission leaders, please come prepared with your reports.

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Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC’ers!
So sorry!  Please don’t ask me, “Pastor, don’t you love us anymore?”  I’ve been so busy preparing for Christmas (after recovering from a few days of illness), that I forgot to send the email to remind you about tomorrow’s sermon, which is about preparing for Christmas!
Seriously, if you happen to see this before our time of worship tomorrow, I will be speaking on “Prepare the Way for Christ” from Mark 1:1-8.  You may take a few moments to look that over and see how John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ.
We also will be remembering the Lord’s death together with the observance of the Lord’s Supper.  A passage that has impacted me this week is the following:

 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10 ESV)


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Love From Your Pastor

Happy Thanksgiving FBC!

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies — in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.  To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.  (1 Peter 4:10-11)
Amen!  If you are in Christ, you have at least one gift, probably more.  When we use our gifts to serve one another, we glorify God.  We also are stewards of God’s varied grace.  Whatever God has given us, we are to use it for Him and for others!  And we are to use our gifts in such a way that we show we are dependent on God and His strength.  Are you using your gift(s)?  There are many areas of ministry at FBC available for you to get involved and start using them if you’re not already.  Some ministries are “under-staffed,” and can use help.  Ask me or another church leader where you might be able to help.  Ask the Lord what He would have you to do for Him.  Look for opportunities.  Then go for it!  For the church to function most effectively, we really need “all hands on deck!”
I want to remind you of an email many of you received from Rosemary this week:

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Love From Your Pastor

Hi Friends!

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever! (Ps. 118:29)
We have much to be thankful for don’t we?!  We celebrated God’s faithfulness to FBC Brownsville for 161 years this past Sunday.  Of course, Thanksgiving is officially next Thursday, but it truly is to be a regular occurence for the believer.  I also want to thank you for your generous response to our special offering for missions last Sunday.  Over $10,000 was received!  This will be an incredible blessing to the 3 groups we chose to give to.  Thank you for being generous for the Voice of the Martyrs effort toward refugees.  And thank you for being generous with the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  This Sunday is the last day to bring in your boxes, so they can be delivered on Monday.
This Sunday I will be back in Revelation.  We will look at 2:18-29, the Message to Thyatira.  Please read ahead.  Notice what Christ says are the strengths of that particular church, and what is the major weakness.  Do some examination of your own life in terms of what is said there.  Also, consider what important lessons our own local church can learn from this message.  Come prepared to learn, worship, and repent if necessary!
As Christmas approaches (already?), Elizabeth is gearing up for a children’s Christmas program.  The program will take place during the morning service on Dec. 21.  This Sunday at 5:30pm there will be an informational meeting/tryout for all interested.  We will meet in the preschool room.  The other practices will be Sundays at 5:30 each week until the program.  If you are interested in your child participating, please let Elizabeth know.  You can reply to this email, or call her at .
Thanking the Lord for His goodness & steadfast love!
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC!

Full of splendor & majesty is His work, & His righteousness endures forever… For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. (Ps. 111:3; 112:6)
These two verses from the one year Bible reading yesterday and today reminded me of the message for this Sunday, based on Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  This Sunday we will be commemorating the 161st anniversary of FBC.  It is amazing to think about how God has been so faithful to this little church in Brownsville for so many years, and to think about all of the lives impacted for eternity, locally and globally, through this ministry!
Remember we will be receiving a special offering for three great mission projects, as a way to celebrate our anniversary and to give back.  We are asking you to be much in prayer about this offering, and ask the Lord what He would have you do.  The projects are: 1) Jeff David’s pastoral training using I-pads; 2) David & Hilary Ker’s Red Zebra project promoting literacy in southern Africa; and 3) Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse and their relief work with refugees in the Middle East.  Please make your check out to FBC, and specify on the memo line which project.  If you’re bringing cash, you can put it in an envelope clearly marked which project.  Unspecified gifts will be given toward the least funded project.  This will be a separate offering from our regular general fund offering, which we will also receive for your usual tithes and offerings.  Thank you so much for your prayerful consideration and for your generosity!  Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Tomorrow is the Men’s Breakfast at 7am!  Come join us for a great time of being nourished physically and spiritually.  Randy would love any help with the cooking, starting at 6am!
Also tomorrow is the Awana Grand Prix!  Please pray for the families who normally don’t attend any church, that they will be impacted by their time with us.  Come cheer on the kids and adults who worked hard to make their ultra speedy cars!
Thankful for Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever!
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hi Friends (sorry this is later than normal)!

“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.” (Ezekiel 18:32)
God’s desire is that people repent, turn to Him, and live.  He loves people, and yet He is also perfectly just.  Because of His perfect holiness, His wrath will be poured out upon sin.  But for those who place their faith in what His Son Jesus Christ did when He died on the cross and rose from the dead, that wrath will not be experienced!  So turn, and live!
That is also the message Jesus Christ had for the church at Pergamum.  He knew their good qualities.  And He also knew their tolerance of false teaching and immorality.  His response to them: “Repent!”  Please read Rev. 2:12-17 before tomorrow in preparation for what He will say to us.
Remember, next Sunday is FBC’s 161st Anniversary!  We will have a special offering for 3 missions projects:

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Love From Your Pastor

He (Christ) is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:3 ESV)
Hebrews 1:3 is an incredibly powerful verse, one from our reading today in the One Year Bible.  There is so much to say about this verse, that I don’t even want to get started, because I could be here typing all day!  But just look at it.  Read it.  Now read it again.  Wow.  This is why we worship Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  God incarnate.  The Word who was God and became flesh.  Notice what it says about Christ.  He is “the radiance of the glory of God.”  Jesus is the Light of the world!  And incredibly, He calls us the “light of the world” as well!
Tomorrow night, from 6-8:30pm, at Trunk or Treat, we have the opportunity to be a reflection of Him to our community!  To shine “the radiance of the glory of God” on a dark night.  Please pray for a powerful impact on people from our community through this event.  Please tell your friends who have children about it.  If you can, bring some more candy down to FBC!  And you’re going to want to come and find out what costumes Elizabeth has come up with for her and for me!

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