Understanding Relationships

While it may surprise some, Christians can have misunderstandings. One person, making light of this reality said, “If it weren’t for people, it would be easy to be a Christian.” One fella was so distraught over the fussing of adults that he resigned his adulthood. He said, “I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an 8 year old again. I want to go to McDonald’s and think that it’s a four star restaurant. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make ripples with rocks. I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them. I want to play dodgeball at recess and paint with watercolors in art. I want to lie under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer’s day.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all resign from adulthood? Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be Christians and not have to worry about repairing broken relationships? Of course, that is not what we receive when we are saved by grace through faith. According to scripture, we are all “ministers of reconciliation,” (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)

So, how do we deal with brokenness in relationships between brothers and sisters in Christ? The Bible speaks specifically about this in Matthew’s gospel. Jesus said, “If your brother or sister (a fellow believer or disciple) sins against you, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over” (Matthew 18:15). Instead, many times person A is more apt to speak about his problem with person B to persons C, D, E, and F. While there is wisdom in counsel, I suspect we are often looking for someone to agree with us rather than seeking wisdom about how to deal with our broken relationships.

Our Lord’s instruction in this matter calls each of us to be in the business of repairing relationships; not throwing them away. Unless we are like the person who once said, “I don’t do everything the Bible tells me to do,” we must make a judgement about our adherence to this command from our Lord. Do I or don’t I follow this teaching of Jesus? Am I about the business of reconciliation or not? This is a question of great importance.

One would assume that all of us who are followers of Christ know this teaching by heart and follow it in dealing with any misunderstandings. BUT WE DON’T! This is a problem. Every believer in the church should know and follow this biblical teaching. Most of our differences could be remedied by following Jesus’ instructions in this manner.

Friends, how would the church change if we would not listen to complaints about others?

Blessings,

Pastor Doug



CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

 

We would be hard-pressed not to notice the cooler weather. The Camellias are in bloom. Our summer plants are drooping. It is what happens every year about this time.

Change can be good. It may also be uncomfortable. The fact is; you can’t live very long without learning to adjust to change.

The Bible has much to say about change. In fact, each of us should be changing all the time. If we are followers of Christ, then we have changed into something other than what we once were. This process should continue throughout our lives.

The Good News is that Jesus does not change. He is always the same. That continuity is our security and our confidence.

You are loved!

Doug

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation.

The old has gone, the new is here!   2 Corinthians 5:17(NIV)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8  ESV



Memorable Summer

My Dear Friends,

Summer is slipping away from us. In just a few weeks, teachers are going to be back to school. The kids will follow shortly. What are the highlights of our summer? Did we travel to see family? Were we carried to far away places? Did we meet a new best friend? Did we face a crisis or lose a loved one? How will we remember this summer?

Now let me turn the question around. How will the summer remember us? As an opportunity to make a difference; as a witness for Christ; how might each of us be remembered by the moments soon passed? Will we have cared for someone else out of Christian love? Will we have sacrificed anything so that others could have? Will we have told one person about Christ so that they too might enjoy life in Him with a secure future?

Consider for a moment arriving in heaven and being greeted by those we knew in life. Will there be any folks who run to say “thank you” for introducing them to Christ? Will any give a testimony about when we explained how “Jesus loved them this we know?” Will even one come to say “bless you” for the quiet gift of encouragement we offered them one day or the visit we made in the name of Christ?

You’ve heard me say more than a few times, “All we ever have in this world is what we do for and give to others in the name of Christ.” But, have we ever given anyone Christ? Have we ever taken the courageous step of talking with a best friend or a colleague or a schoolmate or a neighbor about the most important topic in this world….how to get to the next?

Consider the following scripture that is the word of Christ to all believers. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NIV)

So, let me ask once again, “How will this summer past remember us?” What eternal significance will we have assigned to it by our actions? What soul will greet us when we arrive in heaven because of our witness? It is an interesting question, don’t you think?

I hope we will all have had a very memorable summer.

Blessings,

Pastor Doug



Caswell Bound – Youth Week – July 21-26

 

This week several of our young people are headed to the North Carolina Baptist Assembly at Ft. Caswell to participate in Youth Week VI. Sponsored by the Baptist State Convention’s BeDoTell ministry, the week is an intensive week of spiritual formation and renewal. The 2014 theme is Tag! You’re It. Students will explore how they can make their lives count, be the game-changers, and stand up for what they believe. Discussion will center on praying their friends to Christ, sharing Jesus without fear, apologetics, as well as leadership training for gender-specific groups.  The speaker this week is Adrian Despres from Kingdom Builders Ministries.

The scripture focus passage for the week is Joshua 1:9. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

In addition to the Oak Island beach, youth will have opportunities for large group worship, small group bible study, church group devotions, as well as, Sand Castle contests, splash and Dive contest, various sports offerings, and the great Caswell cuisine.

Please pray for our youth and their leaders, Liz Cassell, Carey Banks and Meg Melton, as they travel and grow in Christ. [i]

For more information, please go to the link below.



SUMMER

My Dear Friends,

This is a busy time for our church family. We just wrapped up a wonderful week at Vacation Bible School. Our thanks to VBS Director Helen Chandler and a host of volunteers who helped make it one of our very best years. Lots of boys and girls discovered much about Jesus. Many have asked to know more. Several parents joined us on the last night of VBS to enjoy a great meal and learned more about what their children experienced in “Agent D3.”

Next week our mission team heads to Guatemala to share the gospel with hundreds of boys and girls at feeding stations as they partner with “Hearts for Heaven,” a wonderful ministry led by Roger and Beth Briggs. We will commission the team this weekend at worship services on June 29th. Please pray for our team during their journey, July 5-12.

Beginning on Wednesday evening, July 9th from 6:30-7:30 we launch Camp Marshville, a wonderful time for boys and girls in grades K through 5. Music, crafts, Bible stories snacks will fill an hour with the Good News in a wonderful way.

Also on July 9th, adults are invited to join us in the sanctuary for an American Red Cross presentation on disaster preparedness. On the following Wednesday evenings all summer we will have Bible study and a time of prayer.

From July 21-26 our youth will be at Fort Caswell at the North Carolina Baptist Assembly on Oak Island for Youth Week Six. This will be a great week of fun, learning and worship with more than a thousand other young people. Youth Week VI will be led by Adrian Dupree. Adrian played football for Furman University and now serves as chaplain for the University of South Carolina Football Team.  Adrian has a powerful witness and will challenge our youth people to grow in their faith.

All of this is occurring in the next 30 days. That’s right! This is just the next month. Of course, this doesn’t include Sunday School and worship services; nor does it include Savvy Survivors and Yoga and a host of regular opportunities to learn about and serve Christ.

Each of these items requires staff and facilities, transportation, air conditioning, and lights and a multitude of other items to support the work of the Lord at First Baptist Church of Marshville.

Many take much needed and much deserved time away during the summer; but, much continues during the weeks you are on vacation. Please remember this by sharing God’s tithes and your offerings while you are away. You may drop them off at the church office or mail them in before you leave.

Don’t forget, your church supports you whenever you need it. Please remember to support your church throughout the year.

Blessings,

Pastor Doug



Gardeners Together

My Dear Friends,

 

These days, there are always roses blooming in gardens. Some have been beautiful for a while. Others are just beginning to show themselves as young blooms. Still others are only buds, having merely the potential of future splendor.

 

The beauty of our gardens focuses our attention on the process of growing the flowers. The ground must be maintained, the plants pruned, the weeds removed, and the soil watered. Even with all this work, it is still a bit of a mystery to us precisely when a plant will grace us with a bloom or when it will decide to die. I guess it’s fair to say that some aspects of gardening are out of our control.

 

The church is a garden. We are both sowers of seed and nurturers of the growth that takes place. Because of our work, we are fortunate to see some breathtaking examples of God’s handiwork. In fact, we see these at all stages of growth. For example, we often dedicate children to the Lord. Of course, we see our young ones come to the faith requesting baptism and church membership. On other days, we acknowledge the passing of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

So it is in the garden of the church. Just as we cannot decide when a little one should publicly declare her faith, neither can we decide when others should be gathered to God.

 

We are gardeners together. By God’s grace, we are allowed to share in the beauty of the flowers around us. While we can and should contribute to their growth; ultimately, we must acknowledge a force greater than ourselves, whose prerogative it is to decide when a flower must bloom and when it must fade. In this sense, our garden teaches us to yield. It reminds us that we are often just observers, and at best, participants in the horticultural miracles we survey.

 

Have you acknowledged God’s desire for you to participate in His garden? Do you realize your opportunity to contribute to His work? Have you accepted your inability to control some of life’s outcomes?

 

It seems to me that one of the most important steps in gardening is to accept the one who really makes the garden grow. Sounds like a pretty good definition of faith, doesn’t it?

 

I hope to see you in the garden this summer,

 

Doug