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All Talk and No Action

Nobody in their right mind can hear the reports of violence and death in our schools and be unaffected. It should greatly disturb us and move us to be proactive in heading off future problems.

The sad reality of all of this is that we’ve become a nation of shouters because we’re in a mess and feel hopeless and don’t know what to do about it. The same groups with the same agenda gather after every tragedy and shout, “No More Guns, No More Guns,” until they’re hoarse. “No More Guns” is not an option. And all of that shouting isn’t going to make it so.

While we’re on the subject of shouting let me remind the church that we’re guilty of the same thing. We shout that we’re a nation under God and constantly try to make the point that we are a nation founded on Christian principles as though it will stop the advance of evil in this country. We can shout, “One Nation, Under God” until we are hoarse and it will not make it so.

I’d like to make the point that all of the issues we’re facing aren’t going to be resolved by placing and replacing the resident in the Oval Office. The answer to what ails America is not more shouting and it’s not a top-down issue… it’s a bottom-up issue. The culture of our country has drastically changed because the foundation has shifted. America is akin to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. She’s out of line with God and in danger of falling!

A nation under God can only be realized when its states are under God.
And states can only be under God when its counties are under God.
And counties can only be under God when its cities are under God.
And cities can only be under God when its communities are under God.
And communities can only be under God when its churches are under God.
And churches can only be under God when its families are under God.
And families can only be under God when its men are under God.

If we’re going to be a nation under God, we’d best stop shouting about it and do something about it. What do we do? Start right here and line up under God. A nation can be changed one family at a time.

The truth is that the right of the citizenry to keep and bear arms is a Constitutional right that “shall not be infringed.” We do not have provisions for Constitutional rights to be shouted away. “No More Guns” is not an option.

Pastor Bret

Preaching For Response

In Luke 11, Jesus was accused of casting out demons by the power of Satan. Jesus meets their accusation head-on and shuts them up. In the moments after this encounter a woman cries out, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.” But he said, “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”

The message? On the contrary, madam, you must respond to the truth of God’s Word. The word “keep” means to grow, to sprout. It’s the Word of God that points out error so that we might grow as we should.

Any preaching that does not confront sin is false preaching. God does not heal messed-up people by giving them hugs so that they feel better about themselves. He heals by confronting and cutting out the cancer of sin that is destroying them. Unfortunately, our view of success in the ministry has come down to numbers. If a church is growing and people are flocking to it then that pastor becomes a model for church growth.

When you make the pilgrimage to that pastor’s seminar on how to grow a church you discover the secret to their success: 1) Preach for no more than 20 minutes and use plenty of stories because people don’t want to be weighed down with doctrine. 2) Don’t confront them with sin. They’ve had a tough week and another one in front of them. Inspire and uplift them for the week to come.

Is it any wonder that things are going to pot around us? America is starving for a word from God! Biblical preaching always reproves, rebukes, and exhorts. It does not tickle your ears or tell you you’re ok. When you hear or read the Word of God, allow it to confront your sin. God wounds in order to bring healing. And when Scripture confronts you, respond! Own up to the sin that God has placed His finger on, turn from it and grow.

In light of the fact that every presentation of the Word requires a response, we offer a time of invitation at the close of each Sunday morning worship. This time is your time to respond to what God has confronted you with during our time in the Word. It is the most important time of the whole morning. The truth has been presented. What will you do with it?

It distresses me greatly to see those who should be responding, preparing to leave or actually leaving during the invitation. Not only are you failing to respond but you are distracting others who should be responding. By the way that whole concept holds true for those who get up and leave during any portion of our worship time.

What it really, really boils down to is that there is a marked difference between an attender and a worshipper. Attenders come to get and worshippers come to give.

Did you come here this morning to put God on the clock or did you come to put you on the altar?

Pastor Bret

Deacon Selection Process

Today, we start a Journey that will culminate in the installation of additional Deacons to serve the church. In a nutshell, we need Deacons to:
 Free your Pastor for study, prayer and preparation for feeding the flock.
 Promote and protect church harmony
 To strengthen the church toward spiritual and numerical growth
 To actively spread the good news of Jesus Christ
 To help provide for the welfare of church members

In return, the Church has obligations to Deacons:
 We are to seek the will and way of God for guidance in selecting and resting Deacons
 We are to undergird with prayer and encourage them
 We are to work alongside them

The selection process starts now. I will deliver messages on the qualifications and method of selection to be employed this week and next. The following week will be a Concert of Prayer and nominations will be opened church wide.
Candidates will be nominated by the church over the next couple of weeks and be simultaneously qualified by self inspection and elder inspection. At the end of these two weeks, the names of those emerging as “qualified” will be published to the church.
During the next two weeks, the church will be requested (in the spirit of Matthew 18) to approach any candidate with concerns they may have with a candidates potential service. This inspection period will last for two weeks.
Candidates that advance beyond the inspection phase will then advance to a church vote at the beginning of November. Approval of a candidate requires a 2/3 affirmative vote of members present at that special called meeting.
Newly selected Deacons will then proceed to an ordination council in the middle of November and beyond that, to an ordination/installation service at the end of that same month.
Please continued to pray through each phase of the process. Gods will be done.

Pastor Bret

MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE? HERE’S WHY.

“I can’t memorize because my memory is terrible!” Well, that’s reason one to memorize. Forcing our faulty brain to drive important information into long-term memory is good brain therapy. That only happens by process of repeating something daily over a long period of time.

Phil. 4:8 tells us to think about whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of a good report. That really can’t be done properly unless we memorize the precious promises of Scripture so we can feed on them when we face the battles of life.

The things we invest most in become the most precious to us. It is readily apparent when we converse with someone who spends much time in the Word. Spending hours in the Word and hiding it in our hearts so that it dwells in us richly makes it a part of our life.

Suffering will come your way and it can confuse and knock you off balance. Having memorized great portions of Scripture is so helpful at those times. Not only will God’s voice ring in your ears on those days, but you’ll recall where to go to see more of the story. Memorizing imprints those sections in your mind.

We also need to remember that with the same comfort that we’ve received that we can minister gospel comfort and help to others in the household of faith. So, memorizing isn’t just for you, but a way for you to love others as well. A way to affirm the foundation of another.

Packing your gray matter with God’s Word will also do much to keep your baloney meter working well. The world lies to you continually and convincingly. It’s had a good teacher in the devil, the father of lies. The clearer you have the Word in your mind (undiluted, memorized word-forword) the more quickly and accurately you can spot baloney when it comes your way.

Memorizing longer passages and packing our mind isn’t easy. We’ve become a society of headline scanners instead of deeper thinkers. Don’t be an internet Christian, a babe in Christ, for all of your life.

My hope is that some of you will come to a spiritual fork in the road this morning and choose the road less traveled. That you’ll be challenged and dedicated over the long haul to seeding your mind with the life-changing oracles of God!

Bro. Bret

THE WAY BACK

It is heartbreaking to watch a believer in Christ drift away from fellowship with the Lord. It’s especially troubling when kind advice is offered, yet there is a refusal to listen.
Maybe there is someone here this morning whose light of faith once
burned brightly, but now that light is flickering and you’ve grown cold
toward God, other Christians and the church. If that describes your situation, take heart, you can return to the Lord and a life of spiritual joy and victory!
The five marks of a backslidden Christian are:

1) no interest in Christian fellowship;

2) no desire to attend church;

3) no personal or family devotions,

4) no burden for others, and

5) no spiritual sensitivity.

Do any or all of these hit home with you? If so, take the way back today. The first step is to confess your sin to the Lord and ask for His forgiveness. Acknowledge that you’ve been wrong in moving away from Him and confess those specific things that have crept into your life. Why
don’t you do that right now?
Now, tell the Lord that you want to live in obedience to Him and
accept His forgiveness.
1 John 1:9—If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
As you clean out your spiritual closets by confessing sin, you can begin to walk in holiness again. Rekindle your friendships among God’s children, get back to church, pick up your Bible again, and you’ll rediscover that the Christian life is the most wonderful life of all!
Remember, God loves you! Though wayward, you are still His child and He wants you to walk in faith and obedience to Him. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Come home to Jesus.
Bro. Bret

THE NEW JERUSALEM

Have you ever gone to eat someplace that was raved about and hated it? Been to some show or landmark that was a “don’t miss it,” and wondered what all the fuss is about?
There is a place that most folks have heard about that is going to exceed all expectations. This place is the New Jerusalem, the city of God that comes down out of Heaven.
Since the fall of Satan and the fall of man, this first heaven and earth have been under a curse. Job 15:15 tells us that the heavens are not clean in His sight and verse 16 tells us that man drinks iniquity like water. Bottom line, this present heaven and earth are polluted by sin and God is going to redo it.
This world has had the blood of billions soak into its soil. Some on battlefields, some by the hands of murderers, some by accident, some by their own hand. The footprints of tyrants and murderers and thieves and lepers are everywhere. The air we breath is the same air that has been exhaled by men that blaspheme God as they do unspeakable and abominable acts. That foul air and odor swirls through the trees and permeates every fiber of this present sinful world.
But all of this toxicity is going to be burned away by the fire of judgment. And when God is through, every atom of this earth and the heavens over it will be purged and super soaked with nothing but righteousness. The New Jerusalem, glorious, sinless, eternal, will come down from above. A forever home for the redeemed of all the ages to enjoy.
There are many here this morning who have been through troubled and dark days. Others who will go through them. Our humanity can get discouraged and we can question whether we ought to persist in faithfulness to an unseen God. Those thoughts get louder when we feel that He has misplaced our address or is ignoring our pain. We can even begin to wonder whether its even worth it to persevere.
Beloved, don’t you dare toss in the towel! Don’t be as a dog returning to the vomit of this present corrupt world. God has a future planned for you that is out of this world!

Rev. 21:2—And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Bro. Bret

SANTA SAVES?

A sad story hit the wires this week. One of those stories that pulls at our heart strings. It seems that a Tennessee man who plays Santa Claus at about 80 events a year was called by an ICU nurse to come to the bedside of a terminally ill boy.

When Santa arrived the boy’s mother gave him a toy to give to the dying boy. Santa went into the room and sat on the boy’s bed and told him, “Say, what’s this I hear you’re gonna miss Christmas? There’s no way you can miss Christmas! Why, you’re my number one elf!”

The boy asked Santa, “They say I’m gonna die. How can I tell when I get where I’m going?”

Santa responded by telling the boy to tell them that he is Santa’s number one elf and they’ll let you in.

The boy gave Santa one last hug, asked Santa to “help him” and passed from this life.

I told you it was a sad story, didn’t I? It greatly saddens me… but, maybe, not the same way it saddens you. It saddens me that a mother and a nurse, who deals with death on a regular basis, would pick up the phone and call an actor in a red suit to give a precious soul some false hope at the very end of his life.

“Just tell them that you’re my number one elf and they’ll let you in,” he was told.

What saddens and angers me most is that a boy cried out for help from adults who were supposed to help him and all he got was a fairy tale. Neither a mom, a nurse, nor Santa had the words that could make a transition like that a hopeful one. Instead of telling the boy to relate to “them” that he was a number one elf, where was the voice that could use the same number of words (or less) to tell a soul hanging on to life by a thread, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”

The hijacking of Christmas isn’t really a game when you look at it from this angle, now is it? The baby that was laid in a manger 2000 years ago is the only savior this world will ever have. Now, that’s a message of hope, an inspiring story to shout about. Jesus Saves!

Pastor Bret

​MERRY CHRISTMAS

Genesis is known as the book of beginnings. In it we find the first mention of many things: sin, death, marriage, childbirth, prayer, rain, etc. The book begins with creation and ends with a coffin in Egypt.

Joseph dies at 110 years of age. He served the Lord until the very end. As he lay dying, he gave his brothers orders that they are not to bury him in Egypt, but are to carry his body to Canaan when the Lord brings them out of this land. They were to place him in a humble coffin to await the day when he would be taken home!

The message of the coffin still speaks to us today. It is unlikely that any of us will live to be 110. Pause and think about that for a moment.

A phrase was placed on a tombstone in California:

Pause, stranger, when you pass me by,

As you are now, so once was I.

As I am now, so you will be,

So prepare for death and follow me.

Someone passed by and read those words and scratched this thought on the stone:

To follow you I’m not content,Until I know which way you went.

In light of all this, we must remember some things:

● Life is shorter than you think.

● Life doesn’t end at the grave.

● Life is a time to prepare to meet God in eternity.

● If you’re going to serve the Lord, you’d better get with it.

So why be a downer with your blog at Christmas, Preacher? Well, I don’t see that as a downer at all. Jesus came as a beautiful baby boy . . . to die.

Jesus died and passed through the grave on His way back to the Father’s House. And by virtue of the trail He blazed, we, too, have a hope of a glorious future when we place our faith/trust in His finished work. He came in order that He might die for you. Merry Christmas!

Today we have something better than a coffin in Egypt to remind us of hope for tomorrow. We have an empty tomb in Israel!

Don’t miss the message behind the manger this year.

Pastor Bret

JUST BLOWING OFF STEAM

1 Cor. 10:1-12
Are you in the habit of thanking God for only what you want? In the
habit of grumbling a little when things don’t go the way YOU like them?
So what’s wrong with a little grumbling? What difference does it
make? All the difference in the world!

Marriages usually don’t break up over a big thing, but over little
things. I fixed a lot of flats in my day. Most caused by a little ole
mesquite thorn. A mechanic’s mistake can bring down a jet. A
misunderstanding can start a war.

Little things mean a lot. That’s where we have to live. It’s the little
things that make the breakfast table peaceful or a war zone.
Grumbling comes so easy that we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
What’s so important or life threating about having a burnt piece of
toast? Why should that wreck our day? Throw it away and fix
another… takes about 30 seconds!

What we’re really saying when we grumble and complain is that we
think God is mismanaging our day. God’s deliverance of his people out
of Egypt and through the Red Sea was incredible and awesome. But
they still didn’t trust God. They complained and grumbled. Lack of
water — lack of food — didn’t like the way the water tasted — tired of
the manna.

That’s when God said meat? You want meat? I got your meat! I’m
gonna give it to you till it comes out your nose!
40 years — to go 200 miles. Why? They wouldn’t trust God. Can
a slug go 2 feet in one hour? Would have only taken a slug about 50
years to get there, but petty complaining kept the Israelites out of the
promised land.

Christian, our complaints and murmurings against God in the little
things can keep us from entering into the perfect plan He has for our
lives, too.

Bottom line… the attitude of praise releases the power of God in our
lives and the attitude of murmuring and complaining blocks that power.
1 Cor. 10:10 & 31.

Pastor Bret

FOR SURE?

We live in a world filled with doubt. Have you honestly tried to assess what is going to happen in this country given our current national climate? Does anybody know what they are doing? When are things going to get better? How are we going to make it?

Listen, if there is something that you, personally, can do about any of those things… do it. If there isn’t, quit wasting your time fretting over it. If God is in charge of what you are powerless to change, there is no point in both of you staying up all night. Allowing doubt to become a fear will paralyze your life.

Spiritual doubt is also a great hindrance in a person’s life. The Bible teaches that we can know for sure whether we are saved. Saved is a term for describing the condition of those who have been rescued from the penalty of the death sentence pronounced upon every sinning man by virtue of having surrendered all rights of governing self to a new master named Jesus.

Salvation involves a personal relationship with Christ which results in our having a whole new outlook on life and shows up in our dealings with everyone around us. This new outlook shows up immediately after the event of our salvation. We become different in our thinking, in our actions, in our desires and in our hope. And we are no longer plagued by the thought of what happens when this life ends as we are then certain of our soul’s security through our oneness with the Savior. Where He is, there will we be also.

We don’t need a birth certificate to prove that we were born. The fact that we were born is fairly obvious even to the untrained eye. When we are born again, we are not issued a certificate to verify the new birth. What certifies the new birth is not a piece of paper, but some birthmarks. Just as babies have characteristics of their parents, so, too, will baby Christians take on characteristics of their new Father.

Saved folk will immediately begin to develop friendships with and love for other saved folk. Born-again ones will cultivate a love for and dependence upon the Scriptures as an indispensable tool for daily living. And salvation will spur them on to leave sinful habits and pursuits. These are some telltale evidences that a change has happened at the core of a man.

If you are saved, you are not saved by your feelings. You are saved by faith in the facts of the Gospel. Faith that rests in the facts of the gospel gives you assurance of your salvation.

Now, I’ve written all of this to get to this question: Do you know FOR SURE that if this were your last day on earth that Heaven would be your eternal home? If your answer is no, I would like to talk to you.

Pastor Bret

1 John 5:13—These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God