Love From Your Pastor

Hi Friends!

So someone called me this morning and asked, “Pastor Michael, don’t you love us anymore?”  I thought, “Oh, no, why would he ask that?”  He went on to tell me that he hadn’t seen my “Love From Your Pastor” e-mail yesterday.  I’m so glad to know someone reads it!  Well I do still love y’all but just didn’t get to it yesterday!  There were two things we read in the daily reading calendar yesterday that made me think of FBC.
First, we read 1 Cor. 15, and I was reminded of Ed Gossien’s excellent message last Sunday on the gospel.
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you– unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. (1 Cor. 15:1-5 ESV)
 

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Love From Your Pastor-Louisville Edition

HI Friends!

Just on a short break here at the D6 Conference in Louisville – I better get back to the last session, but wanted to make sure I got out a quick message to all of you!
This has been an amazing time for Elizabeth and I!  I’m anxious to share some of what we’ve experienced with you when we get back.
D6 stands for Deuteronomy 6.  The whole conference is built around the theme from these verses:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deut. 6:4-7 ESV)
We’ve been learning about the importance of Family Ministry in the Church.  We’ve heard some amazing speakers, including James Dobson!
Looking forward to seeing you Sunday.  Ed Gossien, our Awana missionary, will be speaking in the worship service.  You won’t want to miss it!
Oh, and Elizabeth wants me to remind you we need more candy!  She’d love to see the buckets filled this Sunday!  Then filled again next Sunday!  Please be praying for this upcoming outreach.
Also, have you been praying about possibly being a “Matthew” for the My Hope with Billy Graham event?  Let me know that you are willing to open your home and participate!
Well, gotta go!  Miss y’all (I’m in Kentucky – had to say y’all!).
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC Friends!

But I, O LORD, cry to You; in the morning my prayer comes before You. (Psalm 88:13)  There was another reminder in this psalm this morning about the great privilege we have of crying out to the Lord in prayer.  How are you doing in that area?    Are you seeing growth in the amount of time spent in prayer?  Don’t get discouraged if you’re not quite where you want to be yet.  (I’m not where I want to be either… yet.)  Keep pushing yourself to grow, even a little at a time, in the discipline of prayer.  Hopefully prayer will become a “first resort” for us, rather than a “last resort”!
Another great thing in today’s reading was Philippians 2:5-11.  If you didn’t read that today, stop right now, open a Bible (or a Bible app!) and read that amazing passage.  It may be one of the most important, most profound, most central passages for our Christian faith in all of the Bible.  What an amazing equal-with-God, self-emptying, others-serving, divine-and-human-at-the-same-time, obedient, cross-bearing, highly-exalted, name-above-all-names, worthy-of-all-worship, Lord and Savior is the One and Only Jesus Christ!  Have you bowed your knee to Him and confessed Jesus Christ is Lord?!

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Love From Your Pastor

Hi again Friends,

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember Your wonders of old. (Ps. 77:11)
TONIGHT IS THE AWANA CARNIVAL & REGISTRATION!  If you have kids that need to get registered for this year’s Awana, make sure you’re here tonight.  It starts at 7pm, but you can come and go anytime between 7 and about 8pm.  The Carnival is free and sure to be a lot of fun for the kids.  If you have invited anyone to come to Awana this year, be sure and remind them about tonight.  The actual club meetings begin in 2 weeks, on Oct. 10th.  Please PRAY for all the kids and parents tonight!  Pray that we will be effective in making disciples of all ages.  Pray for my parents class, which will also begin on Oct. 10.  This year we will work through the book Discovering the Joy of Parenting, by Barbara Bauman (one of the missionaries we support in Japan).  I’m excited about what the Lord will do in the lives of families in our community this year.  But we must pray!!
How are you doing on your Bible intake this week?  How’s your reading coming?  Are you working on memorizing?  Remember, “repetition is the mother of learning!”  Oh, and did I mention that “repetition is the mother of learning!”  And in case I’m not being clear, “repetition is the mother of learning!”  So in other words, well actually the same words:  “repetition is the mother of learning!”  You’re catching on now!  Review, review, review!

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Love From Your Pastor

Hi Friends of FBC,

“But this command I gave them: ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people.  And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.'” (Jeremiah 7:23)
I read the above verse in Jeremiah today.  I think it sounds very similar to what we read in Joshua 1:8, as well as a number of statements from Jesus.  What does God seek our obedience?  Why does He want to walk according to His commands?  There are a number of reasons I suppose.  Of course one major reason would be the desire for His name to be glorified.  And He is glorified when we obey Him.  But notice another reason:  “that it may be well with you.”  He’s looking out for what’s best for us too!  Do you want to be “successful” in life?  Hopefully yes, in the way God views success, and not how the world does.  Do you want to experience His blessing?  Sure you do!  Well here’s a formula: Obey His voice.  Walk in all the ways He commands.  Then it will be well with you!  Then you can sing “It is Well with My Soul” and mean it!  But how do you know what to obey if you’re not hearing from Him through His word?  How can you walk in His ways if you aren’t spending time listening to Him tell you what His ways are?  The key to spiritual success in life starts with the Bible!
That’s what I will be talking about again on Sunday.  Last week I discussed hearing, reading, and studying the Word of God.  This week we’ll look at 3 more.  Can you guess what they are?  I will be using a number of Scriptures again.  But to prepare your heart for the sermon, please read Matthew 4:1-11, and notice how Christ used the Word in that instance.  Also, you could read all of Psalm 119 (if you’re feeling ambitious!)  Or just focus on these verses I will refer to Sunday:  Ps. 119:11, 15, 18, 24, 50, 97-99.  Maybe you could choose one of those to memorize and meditate on.  (Uh, oh, hope I didn’t just give away the message!)
 

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Love From Your Pastor

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 ESV)

The question Jesus asked Martha applies to all of us as well.  Do you believe this?  What an incredible hope we have — eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ, Who is Himself the resurrection and the life!
I want to thank everyone who came out to join us for the 4 Days of Prayer this week.  I really appreciate you being here!  There is a real blessing when we gather together in prayer.  I have to admit that I feel that there were a number of you who missed out on the blessing this week.  I realize that not everyone could come, and there are very legitimate reasons to have missed.  But I have a feeling that there are some who could have, but for a variety of reasons decided not to.  Let me encourage you to stretch yourself when we have these opportunities.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Try something new, even if it seems hard or scary.  Trust me, you wouldn’t regret it.  We’ll do this again at some point, and when we do, I trust we will see more of you there!

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Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC Friends!

Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:6-7, ESV)
Notice the action words in the above verses:  Seek, call upon Him, forsake, return.  That is our responsibility.  What is the Lord’s response to such actions?  He will have compassion, and He will abundantly pardon.  Let’s be sure that we are doing our part, and trust Him to do His!  I like what Dallas Willard says a number of times in his book, The Great Omission:  “Grace is opposed to earning, but grace is not opposed to effort.”  Yes, we have been saved by grace; we cannot earn it.  But the Lord calls us to put for the effort necessary to grow in our Christian life.  That’s what we’ll be looking at for the next few months in my new sermon series: SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES: Training for Holiness.
In preparation for Sunday, let me encourage you to spend some time meditating on 1 Timothy 4:7-8.  That passage is essentially the theme of the whole series.  Chew on it for awhile and think about the importance of the phrase “train yourself for godliness.”  Why are we to do that?  How are we to do that?  We’ll begin looking at that Sunday morning.  Looking forward to seeing you here!
A few other important items:
 

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Love From Your Pastor

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isa 40:28-31 ESV)

Hi again Friends!
Countless people have found great comfort in the above verses from Isaiah.  What a great promise from our Lord, the everlasting God, the Creator of all things.  If you are faint and weary, you are not alone!  All people will experience that at one time or another (or many times!).  The key is to, in your weakness, find your strength by waiting on the Lord.  Are you doing that today?
This Sunday I will preach on Psalm 57, a message entitled “Exalted in All the Earth”.  The focus will be just what it sounds like – worshiping our God, exalting His name (that is part of our E3 purpose after all – EXALT, extend, equip!).  Please spend some time between now and then meditating on this Psalm.  For the background behind the Psalm, you may want to read the stories in 1 Samuel 22 and 24 about David hiding from Saul in caves.

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Love From Your Pastor

Hello again Friends,

Thank you for your prayers for our family while we were on vacation.  We had a very good time of refreshment, fun, and just spending time together.  I think we may have finally gotten all of the sand and dirt out of our shoes.  And I think our clothes have the campfire smell out of them now (except I put on one of my hats yesterday and relived the glorious aroma… reminded me of s’mores… Mmmmmm)!  I am grateful for Tony Villanueva and David Douglass filling the pulpit admirably (as I knew they would).  And I am grateful that you let me come back, and didn’t change the locks on the church doors or anything!  It’s good to be back in the saddle here.
I also want to thank Gail and George Miller for graciously sharing their “playground” for our annual church picnic.  It seemed like a good time was had by all.  It dawned on me while we were there, “Oh yeah, I was going to practice horseshoes this year to prepare for the picnic!”  Obviously that didn’t happen.
This morning we read Luke 14 in the daily reading calendar.  It included verse 27 — Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  Chew on that for awhile.  What does He mean?  That is one of the verses we will be discussing Saturday morning with the men at 6:45.  Please come and join us guys!  Prayer time is 6am.
 

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Love From Your Pastor

Hi Friends!

This morning I read a profound truth from the early part of Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry.  It tells us a lot about His heart and His purpose for coming:
13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. 15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:13-17 ESV)
The good news here is that it is obvious that He came for us!  It is the people who know they are sick that recognize their need for a doctor.  It is those who know they are sinners who recognize their need for a Savior!  Also, if we are truly His disciples, then I believe we will follow in His steps – do what He did.  Who are the “sinners” that you are “eating with”, representing the Lord Jesus to them?
 

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