Sunday, May 28, 2017

    Summer is here! School bells are silent. Books have been turned in, and classrooms are empty. Young people have plans for swimming pools, cookouts, and summer camps. Dads and moms are making plans for much needed vacations.

    As your pastor, I try to alert you to some of the pitfalls of this season of the year. Again, let me put up some caution signs as you enter the summer months.

    Keep your priorities straight. Bible study, church attendance, and prayer times do not take vacations. Be faithful to your commitments. Times for soul winning, lesson preparations, work nights, and special church services are all part of a twelve-month lifestyle and should not be abandoned in the summer.

    Keep your standards according to the scriptures. Do not set aside Biblical standards of modesty in the summer. Activities, entertainment, clothing, and overall lifestyle must honor Christ 365 days a year.

    Do not forget your stewardship of possessions, finances and time. It is easy to break the budget through extravagant summer spending. Traditionally, church offerings go down in the summer because God's people use the tithes and offerings to finance summer activities.

     Reach others for Christ this summer. Take your Bible and gospel tracts with you on vacation. Resist the urge to drive through Sunday services. Plan your trip around your church attendance. Be a witness to neighbors, co-workers, and friends that you do not often see during the rest of the year. Maintain your testimony.

    Adopt a summer project. Helping at camp, assisting with the bus ministry, or a Sunday School class could provide a rewarding summer with eternal dividends. The summer is filled with opportunities. Invest for eternity.

 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

    Life is a series of new beginnings. Today marks the start of a new chapter in the ministry of the Fairview Baptist Church. For the past six months our church family has met for regular and special services in the former American Bedding warehouse on Dennis Street. This has been a precious time. Our lessons have been many and our blessings abundant.

    Our theme for 2017 is, "The Building Year." We have learned much about our Savior and ourselves. Six families have been added to our membership. Scores have visited. Souls have come to Christ and number await baptism.

     The key verse for this year is Jude 20, "Building up yourselves on  your most holy faith." Numerous words come to mind as I think of our church family: flexibility, resolve, faith, joy, determination, selfless, and united to name a few.

    Early in our situation some laughed when I stated that I was the envy of every pastor in Athens and McMinn County. I truly believe this trial of our faith has placed ingredients into our lives and precious memories in our minds that will last a lifetime.

    Today we are back home in our church building. Much has changed, but the important things have not changed. Several days after the storm, I wrote in the flyleaf of my Bible: "Early in the morning of November 30, 2016 a tornado came through our Fairview community damaging our church facilities but it did not destroy anything of eternal value."

    Today I express a sincere appreciation to all who prayed, worked, and gave to this ministry. We are rich today. We hold an unshakable faith in the Word of God, and unswerving purpose to reach the lost, and an unwavering trust in our sovereign God.

    As we embark on the building of our educational facilities, we covet your prayers that God will give the wisdom and resources to accomplish the task according to His will.

 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

    Today is Mother's Day. The very word strikes cords of memory in all our hearts. There is no power on earth to hurt or help as strong as the touch of a mother. The task of being a proper mother holds an ever-expanding job description. A mother is an educator, doctor, police officer, lawyer dietitian, mechanic, and much more. Her days are filled with lofty tasks. She shapes, teaches, molds, and influences tiny lives at the most crucial time.

    My mother went to heaven in 1995. It seems like only yesterday that I had her on this earth and enjoyed her presence. There is never a day that passes that I do not think of her and profit in some way from her influence in my life. One day I will see her again and will thank her properly for her prayers and sacrifice.

    This day is special to all of us. Some are mothers and wear the banner proudly, while all of us have mothers to whom we owe a great debt. Those who are mothers are encouraged to take your responsibilities seriously. God has given you his highest calling. Take the children as from heaven and raise them for our Savior.

    To the Fairview mothers, may I wish you the very best. This is your day. We honor you. May our Savior bless you and may your children rise up and call you blessed.

 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

    It seems like I have always worked with teens. The first Sunday School class I taught was teen boys. I served as superintendent of the teen department at Mountain Terrace Baptist in Memphis and directed the teen work in my first two pastorates. When I came to Fairview, the teens occupied a large portion of my time even after we called Brother Toby Weaver as our youth director.

    Today we honor our teens. Brother Matt Herrell is responsible for the teen department and has a big heart for these young people. Over these years many of our young people have stayed true to Christ and serve Him even in their adult lives.

    Whenever I think of our teens, I am encouraged because of the limitless possibilities, boundless energy, and optimistic outlook. In thinking of our teens, we adults should remember our teen years and the transition our young people are going through.

    I am very proud of our young people and love to be around them. I am quick to take their side and give them a second chance. I look forward with joy to our Lord using them in His service. We have a youth group that witnesses for Christ, attends the services faithfully, and loves Jesus. It is right to honor our teens today and to pray for each of them as they grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

    In the preceding five months, our Lord added five new families to the Fairview Baptist Church family. There were scores of varied spiritual decisions with many for salvation. I am praying that the year 2017 will yield a great harvest of souls and that many will come to join our fellowship. Many decisions for Christ will be made during this year's summer camp at Camp Fairview.

    Will you enter into prayer with me that our God will do even more wondrous works this year? Thousands of our church tracts each containing a gospel message, will be distributed. There are homes that have not received literature from our church.

    My point today is that there is much to be done for our Savior and everyone can have a part. No one is excluded from being a part of the Great Commission. Our God has given a unique opportunity to all of us to take His gospel to those all around us. Anyone can, and everyone should, invite visitors to the regular services, and share a gospel witness with them.

    When we see people saved, baptized, and discipled for the Savior in the year 2017, it will be because some have prayed, given, witness, and been tearfully concerned over the souls of others. You need not complete an application or request permission to qualify for this grand endeavor. If you are saved, you are already commissioned to "go into the highways and headges and compel them to come in." Start today!

 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

    In April we think of showers of blessings. Let me encourage you to be a blessing to someone today. That is not a hard request, as we should be constantly looking for ways to lift others and help meet needs. Never forget those who have helped you along life's road. Be grateful and appreciative for helping hands and concerned hearts.

    The song, "Count Your Blessing" is extra special advice for all of us. Those who are discouraged and downcast would do well to begin this practice. Often we allow a very small inconvenience to rob us of joy by majoring on one bitter morsel in the midst of a banquet. This side of heaven we will never achieve perfection in any way; yet there is much for which we can rejoice. The old adage regarding your glass being half-full or half-empty certainly applies.

    Having stated the above, let's encourage one another to look to Christ and realize the heavenly blessings that are ours. Look within and feel the satisfaction of a redeemed soul and look around to see the bounty of blessings brought from the lives of others.

    As we pillow our heads this night, may our day have been filled with efforts to bring a measure of joy and encouragement into the lives of others. Remember, giving carries more blessing than receiving since it is the person who gives who gets to enjoy being a blessing to others. It is exciting to receive blessings, but it is a great deal more exciting to be a blessing. Look about you today and bring joy to someone. You will be glad you did.

 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

    My earliest memories of Easter includes new spring outfits, ladies' broad-rimmed hats, attending church and Sunday school, and the feeling that in some way this day contained some kind of special ingredient that made it different from all the rest of the days of the year. It was only after I was saved and began to realize what God had done for me though Christ, that I understood the real meaning of this day we call Easter. On this special day we bow in gratitude and admiration at the feet of our risen Savior.

    Easter Sunday is really resurrection Sunday. Like most of the precious things of our spiritual life, the devil has perverted Easter from a holy day to a day of diversion. Satan is too smart to attempt to discredit the resurrection on a large scale. His tactic is to substitute appealing, fleshly things in place of spiritual truth. So while the core of dedicated, born-again believers observe the empty tomb, Satan will have the majority of the world's religion bowing to nature, materialism, secular traditions, and meaningless ceremonies.

    The resurrection is the cornerstone of all our belief and the foundation of our salvation. Today as we sing songs of the resurrection, hear the teaching of the empty tomb, and listen  to messages concerning our living Savior... we should rejoice in the fact that... He lives!

 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

    The work of Christ has always been at odds with the world system designed by Satan. Satan has sought to counteract God's influence on people by providing alternatives that attract and entangle individuals. Once Satan's bait has been taken, he will provide illegitimate ways to satisfy legitimate appetites, thus entrapping people into a life of slavery to sin.

    God stresses the sanctity of the body with principles of modesty in dress. Satan's system has its fashion world with a totally different agenda. God originated the home as a union between a man and a woman. Satan's system has consistently attacked this institution through perversion. God's standard for success is centered in man's relationship and fellowship with His Creator while Satan projects success as the acquisition of the Creation.

    The list is endless and the contrast is apparent. Perhaps the most marked of all these differences is God's plan to lift men to a place of strength and then have them use their strength to serve Him and others. Satan's system will tear man down, destroy his capabilities and prevent him from thinking of others by focusing all energy and effort on self-gratification.

    Today we honor those who have discovered the true blessing of servant leadership. God's plan is amazing in that everyone profits from the life of a servant. The principle is to die to self and let Christ live in these mortal bodies as though He was on this earth. A selfless lifestyle will reveal Christ to a lost, selfish world. The contrast is so vivid that it cannot be overlooked. A true Christian is refreshing to a thirsty world and his presence demands a response.

    I am grateful for many people at Fairview who live for the Savior and for others. There is true joy in being a servant.

 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

    The advent of spring is all about us. Flowers blooming, trees leafing out and warmer days all promise a new beginning. These wonderful sings of nature remind me that life is a series of new beginnings. Often we grow cold and unresponsive to the spiritual life our Lord has for us. We lose the joy and beauty of our testimony. Spiritual vibrancy and signs of life are distant memories. Yet, just as the sunshine of spring seems to return the earth to productivity and beauty, so the Son of God can awaken our cold hearts and give true spiritual meaning to our lives.

    We all need a periodic resurrection. The death of winter gives rise to the life of spring. This is a great time to shake off the bitter cold of our lives and replace it with new life in Christ. Here are a few suggestions that may help.

  • Start a new Bible study or reading schedule.
  • Commit to a new start in church attendance.
  • Ask God for a new burden for souls.
  • Select a new project or ministry.
  • Make an effort to meet and help a new family.
  • Give yourself a new goal for giving.
  • Take a new approach to time management.
  • Develop new ways to use your home to encourage others.
  • Plant some new seeds of kindness in someone who is discouraged.
  • Learn a new chorus.
  • Read a new book with a Christian emphasis.
  • Cast off an old, bad habit and replace it with a new activity.

    The above suggestions can be added to or altered, but the idea of starting new is essential to all of us. If we all spent a bit of time thinking "spring" in our souls, it would be amazing how beautiful and productive our church would become.

 
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