Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC Friends!

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! (2 Timothy 2:8-9 ESV)
I am so thankful that the word of God is not bound!  Nothing can stop it.  It’s power is relentless.  That’s why we preach it.  We teach it.  We memorize it.  We study it.  His Word is the foundation of all we do, which is why we symbolically placed Bibles in the foundation at the four corners of the new classroom building, almost a year and a half ago now!  I recently saw the picture on my computer as it appeared as part of our screen saver photo slide show.  It was a great reminder of why we do what we do!  We had another reminder about why we do what we do on Thursday nights in our reading this morning:
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV)
This of course is the Awana theme verse (Approved Workers Are Not Ashamed).  What a blessing to instill God’s Word in the hearts of boys and girls every week!  But speaking of workers, we are in a great need of some more adults to come and help out!  We are often short of people to simply listen to the kids say their verses.  We’d love to have your help!  Obviously, you have to complete our Child Safety screening process.  If you have the paperwork but haven’t completed it yet, let this be your admonishment from your pastor.  “Get ‘er done!”  We need you.  If you haven’t started the process, but would like to, speak to an Awana leader or myself, and we can direct you to the people that can help get you started.  We have a thorough process because we deeply care about the safety of our children!  But please pray about this opportunity to serve the Lord, either on Thursday nights with the children, or on Sunday nights with the teens.

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Love From Your Pastor

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you.  You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

“God’s plan for the exiles (Israel, exiled to Babylon) is welfare (shalom), not evil, or ‘calamity.’  Having sought Babylon’s shalom, the exiles will receive God’s shalom in the form of a future and a hope in their homeland… Eventually, God will respond to His people’s prayers for restoration… ‘You will seek Me and find Me.’  This amazing promise from the infinitely righteous, holy God to sinful people echoes a promise in Deut. 4:29 and remains true even to the present day (John 6:37).” (from the ESV Study Bible, pg. 1424)
God’s faithfulness to, and forgiveness of His people should never cease to astound us!  Are you trusting today in the God who has good, hope-filled future plans for you?  Are you calling upon His name in prayer?  Are you seeking Him with all your heart?
This Sunday I will be speaking on “Seeing the Son of Man” from Revelation 1:9-20.  This is an amazingly powerful vision that John experiences while he was in exile on the island of Patmos.  I hope that you will prayerfully read it before Sunday and come prepared to hear from Him, to see Him, and to fall down in worship before Him!

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Love From Your Pastor

Happy Friday FBC Friends!

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thes. 1:2-3)
For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? (1 Thes. 3:9-10)
Do you notice any themes popping up in Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica?  What stands out to me is his emphasis on prayer.  And not just a little bit of prayer.  But he refers to praying for them “constantly”, and “earnestly”.  This seems to denote a quantity of prayer (lots of it), and a quality of prayer (earnest, sincere, passionate, etc.).  Also notice the emphasis on thankfulness.  “We give thanks to God always for all of you.”  “What thanksgiving can we return to God for you…?”  Our prayers should not only be about asking for stuff, but should be permeated with thankfulness.  And the last emphasis I will point out: the corporate nature of the prayers.  “We give thanks.”  “We pray most earnestly.”  For Paul, and for the early church, prayer was a team sport!  Of course we are to spend time individually in prayer.  But you can’t miss how many times Paul refers to prayer with the pronouns “us” and “we”.  Oh, wait, one more thing: “night and day.”  That reminds me, we have corporate prayer opportunities night and day on Wednesdays!  Make an effort to be a part of the blessing of praying together with thankfulness for our church family, our missionaries, and more.  Wednesdays at 5:00am, 6:00am, and 7:00pm.

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Love From Your Pastor

Hello again FBC Friends!

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)
What a great promise!  This world is not our home.  We are citizens of another country.  And we are waiting for the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Are you ready?
I am excited about our new upcoming sermon series – REVELATION: Unveiled!  This Sunday I will be sharing the introduction to this incredible book.  Sometimes I hear people talk about how confusing Revelation is, and that they don’t like to read it or hear teaching about it.  I’ve heard some teachers talk about how they avoid it.  But did you know that Revelation is the only book in the Bible that specifically promises a blessing to those who read, hear, and keep what is written in it (see Rev. 1:3)?  So I hope you will be praying for me diligently throughout my time preaching on Revelation.  I hope you will come with “ears to hear”.  We will see some powerful truths that impact our present, as well as some great promises about our future.  But ultimately we will see the “unveiling”, the revealing of Jesus Christ – His glory, His judgment, and His triumph!
This Sunday we will also be observing the Lord’s Table, or Communion, together.  I want to share with you a rather lengthy quote from something I just read this morning in The Transforming Power of the Gospel by Jerry Bridges (which I highly recommend to everyone!) —
“The most common instrument of grace God uses is our opportunity to worship together and hear the Word of God taught in our local churches… Why is it of not more lasting effect?  While lack of effective teaching may often be the cause, I believe the greater problem is lack of effective hearing.  Thousands of people come to our evangelical churches each Sunday to enjoy the sermon without expecting any life change from what they hear.  They are like the Jewish people of Ezekiel’s day of whom God said, ‘They come to you as people come, and they sit before you as My people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it’ (Ezek. 33:31)… Too often our hearing the Scriptures results at best in a ginosko (intellectual knowledge) grasp of truth, so we should come prayerfully to hear God’s Word taught so that we may apply what we hear.
     Some people today would write off the local church and its preaching and teaching ministry as ineffective and out of date in this age of rapidly changing means of communication.  But the message of the Bible does not change in response to changing culture and technology, and it is clear from the New Testament that God’s people met together for worship and hearing the Word of God taught (Acts 2:42; 20:7; Rom. 16:5; 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:1-2; Heb. 10:24-25).
     Worshipping together regularly also provides the opportunity to partake of the Lord’s Supper with fellow believers… Though many of us may observe the Lord’s Supper in a reverent but perfunctory manner, it is indeed an instrument of grace that God has provided.  As we silently wait for the elements to be distributed, we should use that time to reflect on and thank the Lord for His sacrifice for our sins.  By that action, we are beholding the glory of the Lord in the gospel (2 Cor. 3:18), and the Spirit of God will use it as a transforming instrument in our lives” (pg. 140-141).
I warned you that it was lengthy!  But please consider what Bridges says here, and come with hearts prepared Sunday morning.
Please note some important events this month:
Oct. 12, 19, 26 – Church Directory photos being taken at the church.  We want everyone included, so make sure you get shot (by one of our cameras that is)!
Oct. 25 – Tim Watson of WorldVenture, and the singing group Spasenie from Belarus, concert at FBC at 7pm.
Oct. 31 – Trunk or Treat, 6-8pm in the parking lot!  Our goal is 40 vehicles and 500 lbs of candy!  Make sure and sign up with Elizabeth.  The candy contest this year is between Team Elizabeth and Team Michael.  I’m a little biased, but let me just say that the truly wise people of FBC will surely support Team Michael!
Many other important and exciting things are happening as well, make sure you read your bulletin this week!
A fellow citizen of heaven, awaiting the Savior…
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC Friends!

 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call– 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:1-16 ESV)
This passage we read in Ephesians today was too good to just pick a verse or two to talk about!  Read through it carefully.  This is the Lord’s will for us as a church.  That’s why it’s so important that we are dilligent to equip the Lord’s people.

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Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC Friends!

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ… (Gal. 1:3)
Thank you to everyone who participated in our 4 Days of Prayer!  We ended up with 116 hours of prayer, which is short of the goal I’d set, but more than we had last September.  I know many were praying from home as well, so thank you!  It was a blessed time and I appreciate all your support.  I believe God delights to hear the prayers of His people, and there’s something powerful about praying together.  Now to wait on Him for His answers…
Men, don’t forget our Men’s Breakfast this Saturday at 7am.  We expect a couple guests to be there and share with us: David Black, who is preparing for missionary service in Tunisia, and Robb Goff, who is the Northwest missionary for a ministry called “Fathers in the Field”, which works to help Christian men develop intentional relationships with fatherless boys.  So come for our usual good food, connecting with other guys, and meeting and hearing from David and Robb.
This Sunday I will share the first of two messages on Equipping the Lord’s People.  We will look at Galatians 6:1-10, and see a number of ways that we can work together to be equipped to reap a great harvest.  Please come prepared to worship and to grow in grace!
Trunk-or-Treat is not too far away – October 31st!  Time to start planning how you’ll decorate your vehicles, looking for sales on candy, praying for the event and for the people from our community who will attend, etc.  There will be an insert in the bulletins this Sunday about ways you can help for this event.  We would really love a few of you to volunteer to help with the planning of the details (to help lighten Elizabeth’s load a bit).  Thank you!
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers (and sisters).  Amen. (Gal. 6:18)
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Good afternoon FBC!

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. (Isaiah 9:2)
The above verse is normally heard a lot around Christmas-time.  But this is certainly something to ponder every season of the year!  As I think about Isa. 9:2 today, I recognize that the world around us sure seems aweful dark today.  I find myself being extremely concerned for the state of our nation.  It sure seems to me that we are dwelling in a land of deep darkness.  But the hope that the world, our nation, and our community needs is the same hope it has always needed: the light.  The Great Light.  The light of the world, Jesus Christ!  And what amazes me to no end is the fact that He who is the Light, has “passed the torch” to us to shine for Him!
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 5:16)
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.(2 Cor. 4:6)
Even on this day, when we remember 9/11, the events of September 11, 2001, let us thank God for Christ who is our light.  And let’s ask Him to use us, and to use His church throughout the world to shine His great light in the midst of great darkness!

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Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC’ers!

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. (2 Cor. 7:10)
The apostle Paul understood what King David experienced, and what many of us have experienced and come to understand as well, namely, that there is indeed a godly grief that produces repentance.  And repentance is not only a starting point for coming into relationship with God, it is also the foundation of true worship.  I think that’s something that we often forget, or maybe never realized in the first place – that in order to truly worship our great, holy, majestic God, we must first come to Him for forgiveness and cleansing from sin.
That’s what I will be talking about Sunday morning as we continue our series on our E3 purpose (Exalt, Extend, Equip).  This will be the first of two messages on Exalting the Lord’s Name.  Please read Psalm 51 ahead of time, and spend some time with the Lord asking Him to search your heart.  For background on why David wrote Psalm 51, read 2 Samuel 11 and 12.  We will see that we are only ready to exalt the Lord’s name when we have come to Him for cleansing from sin.
A few things to remember:
Sept. 5-7:  Men’s Roundup!  If you haven’t signed up yet, you can still come.  We will have an area for our group to camp together.  You can also come for just Friday night or Saturday.  (Men please note: there will be NO MEN’S GROUP this Saturday morning, as many will be at Roundup.  I am excited about something new they are doing this year: Breakout sessions.  These look like tremendous opportunities.  See the schedule here:  www.mensroundup.com.
Sept. 7 (Sunday):  TIMES OF SERVICES GOING BACK TO 9:00 SUNDAY SCHOOL, AND 10:30 WORSHIP SERVICE.  Please remember the time change this week, but, you were planning on being here for BOTH anyway, right? 🙂

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Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC Friends!

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:11)
What a great reminder today that no matter what may be trying to bring you down, you can hope in God!  It’s also a great reminder to praise Him, regardless of your circumstances.  We once again will have the opportunity to do that together this Sunday.  Hope to see you here!
This Sunday will be our last Sunday of the summer schedule, with the worship service at 9am and the Sunday School beginning at 10:45.  September 7th we will be returning to our usual schedule:  9am Sunday School, 10:30 Worship service.  Please mark it on your calendar and remember the time change, and pass along this announcement to others.
This Sunday I will be preaching part 2 of “EXTEND” in our E3 purpose series.  I will be in 2 Corinthians 4, speaking on “We Believe, So We Speak.”  Please read the passage ahead of time.  Prepare your heart and mind to hear from the Lord.  Do we really believe what we say we believe about our glorious, death-defying Lord Jesus Christ?  If we do believe, do we speak?  Important questions for us to consider!

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Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC!  I’ve missed you… it’s great to be “back in the saddle.”  Something I read today really encouraged me:

The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for He sees that his day is coming.  The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright; their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. (Psalm 37:12-15)
Maybe you, like me, have watched with horror the news about the wicked terror group ISIS and their brutal atrocities committed against humanity.  I have a lot of thoughts about all this, but don’t really want to take the time or space in this venue to share all of them here.  But what we read today in Psalm 37 today brought some encouragement.  God knows.  God sees.  He is not oblivious.  “The Lord laughs at the wicked, for He sees that his day is coming.”  Yes, Lord, make it happen.
As most of you know, I have just returned from some time away.  I want to thank you for your prayers for me and my family as we were spending time in refreshment and recreation, sometimes together, sometimes separated.  And on Friday, just as I was starting to gear up to come back, I received the call that my Grandma Beach had passed away.  Many of you have expressed your condolences and assurance of your prayers, and I thank you so much for that.  I also want to thank the elders for encouragement to go down to California to be a part of the memorial this past Tuesday.  Not only encouragement to go, but also some help with the resources to fly there.  I am extremely grateful.

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