Love From Your Pastor

Hi Friends of FBC!

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39, ESV)
If you’re joining us in reading through the One Year Bible, you probably read the above verses today (or will).  If you’re doing something different for your Bible reading, that’s fine.  But can I encourage you to go ahead and read Romans 8:26-39 anyway?  Many of us are familiar with that passage, but certainly it’s worthy of being reminded of often.  Our God has shown such incredible love to us by sending His Son, Christ Jesus our Lord, on our behalf.  And we are promised that NOTHING in all creation can separate us from His love!  What a powerful truth.  Maybe you needed to be encouraged with that truth again today.  No matter what you may be facing right now, Romans 8 is true!  Not just true in general, but true for you if you are in Christ!  If you don’t feel like you have anything else you can cling to, cling to the promise of Romans 8.
This Sunday I will conclude our series in Lamentations.  Thank you for being on this 5-week journey with me.  I hope it’s been instructive, challenging, and even encouraging.  Please read Lamentations 5 before the service Sunday.  The title of the message is “Restore Us!”  Even when recognizing our guilt before a holy God, there is hope for restoration because of His mercy.  Come prepared for the Word of God to speak into your life.  Also, come prepared to worship our holy, righteous, and merciful Lord.  For this I will praise You, O LORD, among the nations, and sing to Your name (Psalm 18:49).
Thank you for your continued prayers for me, for the elders, and for our church family as a whole.  God is faithful, and He responds to our prayers!
Never separated from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord…
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC Friends!

But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.  I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13:5-6)
If you were here Sunday you may recognize an important word in the above verse.  Do you see it?  OK, I’ll tell you – “steadfast love”.  Wait, that’s two words, right?  Actually, that’s our English translation of a key Hebrew word – chesed.  (You have to bring up some phlegm in your throat when you say it, or you’re probably not saying it correctly!)  It is such a powerful word in the Old Testament.  It describes God’s covenant-keeping type of love.  The way He is so faithful, even when we are faithless.  The way He loves so wonderfully, even those (us) who don’t deserve it.  We learned in Lamentations that “the steadfast love (chesed) of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end.”  (I hope you’re continuing to work on memorizing Lam. 3:22-25; as I demonstrated Sunday I still need to work on it too!)
Look again at these words from Psalm 13.  If you read the whole Psalm today (it’s only 6 verses), you’ll notice that it starts with David asking 4 times, “How long…?”  Have you ever found yourself getting impatient with the Lord?  Do you have questions for Him?  Do you ever ask, “How long?” or “Why?” or “What now?”  That’s OK.  Well, I should say, that’s OK, as long as you end up at some point where David did here.  Trusting in His chesed.  Rejoicing in your heart at His salvation.  Singing to Him because He has dealt bountifully with you.  He is faithful and loving – we can trust Him.  He is a saving God – we can rejoice in Him.  He is a gracious and generous God – we can sing to Him.  Let’s do that every day… and then come together Sunday and do it as one body!
This Sunday I will be speaking on Lamentations 4.  Please prayerfully read this poem from Jeremiah before Sunday to prepare your heart to hear from the Lord.  We will see again how the uncovering of sins and the punishment for those sins results in terrifying consequences.  But we’ll also again be reminded of where our hope comes from (just a hint: it doesn’t come from anything this world has to offer).

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Love From Your Pastor

Happy Thursday FBC Friends!

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:1, 9)
An important part of our vision for FBC is to be a church that is passionate about “Exalting the Lord’s Name” through meaningful worship.  I was reminded of that again this morning as I read and prayed Psalm 8.  What a great statement of the majesty of His name.  His name is glorious.  His name is powerful.  His name is wonderful.  On and on we could go, couldn’t we?  One day, the name of Jesus will be truly exalted in all the earth:
Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

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Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC!
And he said, “The God of our fathers appointed you to know His will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from His mouth; for you will be a witness for Him to everyone of what you have seen and heard.  And now why do you wait?  Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name.”(Acts 22:14-16)
Here Paul is describing his “appointment,” his calling, to be an apostle and witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.  Some of what he experienced and was called to do was specific to him.  But some of it applies to all of us.  Like the idea that “you will be a witness for Him to everyone of what you have seen and heard.”  All the disciples were promised they would be His witnesses (Acts 1:8).  Also the idea of being baptized.  All believers all called to do the same in obedience to the Lord.  Baptism is an outward picture of an inward reality – that your sins have been washed away.  If you have not yet been baptized, “why do you wait?”  Let me know if you are interested and we can get that situation taken care of!
Happy Independence Day (a.k.a. 4th of July)!  Enjoy time with family and friends tomorrow celebrating our nation’s freedom!  Take some time tomorrow to pray for America at this crucial time in our history.  Maybe we’ll see you at the parade in Harrisburg, or the fireworks at Pioneer Park in Brownsville!
This Sunday at 9am we’ll continue our sermon series, “LAMENTATIONS: Rivers of Tears” with a message from chapter 2, “Fury Like a Fire.”  Please read the chapter prayerfully before Sunday morning.  Try to engage with the text and get a sense of the emotion it portrays as the author “laments” the aweful situation in Jerusalem.
 

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Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC Friends!

The LORD is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His works. (Psalm 145:17)
Isn’t that a great combination?  Righteous and kind.  He is both holy and merciful.  Perfect and gracious.  What an amazing God!  If He were not righteous, He would not be worthy of worship.  If He were not kind (and gracious and merciful), our unrighteousness, our unworthiness, would prevent us from being able to be in relationship to Him.  I’m glad He’s a “both/and” God, aren’t you?
This Sunday (at 9:00 a.m.) I will begin a new series on the book of Lamentations, called “Rivers of Tears.”  Come prepared with handkerchief!  No, seriously, I do hope you will come with heart prepared to hear what He wants to say to us through this often neglected book of the Bible.  What made God’s prophet so upset?  What things cause God grief?  Does your heart break with the same things that break God’s?  We’ll learn about these things in this series.  The first message is on chapter 1, called “What Have We Become?”  Please read the chapter before Sunday morning worship service.
Remember, we are going to work on a few memory verses together while studying Lamentations.  The first one for this Sunday is an easy one!  Lam. 1:18a – “The LORD is in the right, for I have rebelled against His word.”  Let’s try to say that together Sunday.
Also, thank you for your flexibility and understanding as we do a little summer experiment with the times of our services.  The morning worship is now 9:00 — 10:15, and Sunday School is 10:45 — 11:45.  I know there are a few things to work out, but the good news from last Sunday is, we had a record Sunday School attendance of 121!  Praise the Lord for that.  I hope you will join us for both the worship service and Sunday School this week.
Some important events are coming up in the near future, and there is information in the bulletin about them (so make sure you read it)!  But for a little heads up…
July 13 at 12pm – Quarterly Business Meeting
August 1-3 (or July 11-13 or Aug. 8-10) – Sons of Thunder Father/Son weekend at Camp Tadmor.  www.cbnw.org/events/sot
August 23 – “I Still Do” one day marriage conference at the Moda Center in Portland.  www.istilldo.com
August 24 – Noonish – Annual All-Church Picnic at the Miller’s Playground in Halsey. (Potluck, games, fellowship, etc.)
September 5-7 – Men’s Roundup at Tadmor.  www.mensroundup.com
Thank you for continuing to faithfully pray for First Baptist Church, its members and regular attenders and pastor, and our work of developing devoted disciples of Jesus Christ!  Please remember our 3 corporate prayer times on Wednesdays – 5am, 6am, and 7pm.
Praising the Lord for His righteousness and kindness!
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC Friends!

But the word of God increased and multiplied. (Acts 12:24)
There is no power like the power of the Word of God!  I hope you are making the Bible central to your life each day.  Please pray that the word of God will increase and multiply through the ministry here at FBC Brownsville!
Reminder: Remember that this Sunday we are making a change in our times for the summer.  Worship service will begin at 9:00 a.m., and Sunday School will begin at 10:45 a.m.  Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday!
Also, Micah and Heather Powers with Teach Beyond in Spain (one of the missionaries we began supporting this year), will be here with us.  Micah will be speaking for us.  They will be with us for Sunday School, and then there is a Potluck beginning around Noon, and the Powers will be with us for that too.  Please bring something yummy (like I had to remind you of that!) and be sure to join us.
Micah will be preaching on a number of different passages in 1 Peter.  He suggested two possible titles, “Aliens on a Mission,” or “Set Apart for a Purpose”, so take your pick!  (I personally like the first option!)  A passage that will be a good representative of what Micah wants to share is 1 Peter 2:9-17, so please read that ahead of time to prepare your heart for the message.

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Love From Your Pastor

Hi Friends!

But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. (Psalm 131:2)
How’s your soul?  How calm is it?  How quiet?  The above verse has a fascinating and powerful thought behind it.  What can we do to calm and quiet our soul?  It begins with our trust in the Lord, no matter what may be going on around us.  We need to understand: “He’s got this!”  Having a calm and quiet soul also must include breaking away from the “gerbil on the spinning wheel” pace of busyness many of us tend to live with.  We need to take the time to cultivate our walk with Jesus Christ.  We need to “be still and know” that He is God.  I think our corporate time of gathering together to worship our great God can also be impacted by this verse.  Each of us has the opportunity daily to calm and quiet our soul.  But once a week we gather together for worship, fellowship, teaching, encouragement, etc.  Why can’t we try to take a few moments before the worship service begins to actually prepare our hearts for what we are about to encounter – the presence of the living God in our corporate expression of worship!  I think we could all do a bit better at entering into that time like the psalmist – “I have calmed and quieted my soul.”  You may not think that this is that important.  But what about the others in the worship center who do?  Some are trying to pray and quiet their soul before we begin the service.  Let’s each be considerate of others, and try to not be a distraction.  I am so thankful that we are a church who loves one another!  And that we love to talk and fellowship.  But really, we have plenty of opportunity for that before and after the service.  We have the foyer; we have the fellowship hall (where we currently have the coffee).  We have 30 minutes between Sunday School and the worship service (starting June 22 that will be 30 minutes between the worship service and Sunday School).  So let’s use every opportunity we have (and maybe even create new ones by inviting someone over for a meal) to chat it up, to laugh, to catch up.  But let’s try to take the moments before we begin singing to calm and quiet our souls, and be conscious of others who are trying to do the same.  Spend a few minutes in quiet prayer.  Meditate on Scripture.  Listen to the beautiful prelude music.  Fix your eyes and minds on Jesus as we prepare to exalt Him.  Thank you!

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Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC Friends!

But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He thus fulfilled.  Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,… (Acts 3:18-20)
I really like what the Life Application Bible says about verse 19: “John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus by preaching repentance.  The apostles’ message of salvation also included the call to repentance – acknowledging personal sin and turning away from it.  Many people want the benefits of being identified with Christ without admitting their own disobedience and turning from sin.  The key to forgiveness is confessing your sin and turning from it.” (Pg. 1949)  There is a great promise given to us when we do repent and turn to the Lord: times of refreshing will come from His presence!  Do you need spiritual refreshment today?  Repent.
This Sunday I will continue the “Family Matters” sermon series with a message entitled, “Communication or Conflict?” from Ephesians 4:25-32.  Please be sure to read that ahead of time.  I will specifically addressing communication within marriage, but of course these verses apply to every relationship, especially within the church.  We will look at some ways of communicating that we want to avoid (and the opposite ways which we want to pursue).  Looking forward to seeing you Sunday!
For those not involved in high school graduations this Saturday, there is an all-church workday from 9am-Noon.  We will be doing bark dust and other things to beautify our church yard.  Bring wheelbarrows, shovels, rakes, gloves, and be ready to put in some “sweat equity”!

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Love From Your Pastor’s Wife

Hi FBC Friends!

Yes, it does say Love From Your “Pastor’s Wife!”
First of all I want to say I love that title. I love that God has allowed me the privilege to be joined together with a godly man of God who has been chosen to lead His people.(Might I add that I believe we are with the best group of people at FBC.) So here goes.
But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
This was my devotional thought for the day.  I have been on a journey the past few months and God is really challenging me to “engage” in His word not just read it.  This has led me to “walk by the Spirit.” However, that said, this last week I have been struggling with my flesh. My flesh wants to sleep in, watch TV, and eat what I want when I want! It is pure selfishness.
Another area of pure selfishness is related to this weeks sermon “Wisdom for Wives” – Ephesians 5:21-24 . Sure, I loved last week, but honestly God revealed to me more about myself than just my husband.  But submission is an area that I have always cringed at.  I like my way!
In preparation for this weeks sermon I want us to do three things. One, pray. Pray that God would soften our hearts and prepare us for His amazing encouragement into our lives. Be ready to be refined. Two, read. Read the passage this week and be still before the Lord. Let His word speak to you. Lastly, I want to encourage you to listen to a podcast I heard last Saturday on “Focus on the Family” (before I even knew the sermon topic). Sara Horn does a great job in sharing what both her and her husband “thought” was submission and how they were challenged to look at  God’s definition of Biblical submission. Their marriage was good, but Sara wanted more. She wanted the blessings to pour out on their marriage. What a great picture! God wants to pour out blessings on our marriages!
So, don’t stay home!!! Pray that the enemy will not hinder you from coming. Prepare your hearts to hear from God. Plan to be challenged and blessed.
Wow, this sermon thing is harder than I thought.
Love,
Your Pastor’s Wife (aka:The honorable, reverend Mrs.)


Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC Friends!

…for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. (John 12:43)
These religious leaders in John 12 apparently believed in Jesus, but were afraid to make that public because of their fear of what the Pharisees would think.  This is a common problem in our world – we worry more about what others think of us than what God thinks of us.  Don’t be a man-pleaser!  Be a God-pleaser!
This Sunday I will be speaking on Ephesians 5:22-33, especially focusing on 5:25.  The message is called, “Help for Husbands.”  Prayerfully read the passage in preparation for Sunday (especially husbands!)  Ephesians 5:25 is a verse we should all have memorized, guys, and we all need to ask the Lord to help us live it out!
I’m looking forward to a great Memorial Day weekend time of worship together.  Remember to thank the Lord for those who have laid down their lives for our freedom, and pray for the families of those who have lost loved ones in military service.  Thank a member of the military this weekend!
Don’t forget our new corporate prayer times  – Wednesday at 5am, 6am, and 7pm.  Let us pray!
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael



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