On Purpose Radio Programs begin Monday February 10

Many have been wondering when to expect new Good News Today broadcast on WSJQ 101.7 FM. So on Monday February 10 our new “On Purpose” radio programs will begin airing messages from Dr. Bill Henard. The programs will still air at 6:55 am and 11:55 am. On Purpose represents the First Baptist Athens mission to Connect People with Christ and with Purpose.

Don’t miss it!


Family Dinner Menu and Events for this evening

The Menu Tonight

Taco Salad with Fixings

and Desert

Join us tonight for:

  • Prayer Meeting

  • Choir Practice

  • Cross Training

  • One Together Youth

  • Small Group Studies


Welcome Pastor Bill Henard This August

Join us during the month of August as we welcome Pastor Bill Henard as the senior Pastor of FBCAthens.

He will bring his first message to us on Sunday August 4th at 10:45.

Don’t miss it!

August 2019 Newsletter with a message from Pastor Bill Henard

Come meet and hear from our Senior Pastor Candidate, Dr. Bill Henard

Come meet and hear from our Senior Pastor Candidate, Dr. Bill Henard

On Sunday, Jun 30th at 10:45 am, Dr. Henard will preach during the morning worship. The congregation will vote immediately following the service.


Studying the Bible – Whole Books at a Time

When studying the Bible, most people spend their time on maybe a paragraph or a chapter at a time. What I am suggesting is that you should have regular times of Bible study where you consume a whole book in a single sitting. You may be thinking, “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Pump those brakes, Daustin.” Hang with me on this. This blog post provides reasons for doing this at times and the method for making this possible.

First, why in the world should this be part of your regular Bible intake habits? We have to remember that most of the books of the Bible were not written separately and compiled later. Yes, this is true for most of the Books of Wisdom (Psalms, Proverbs, etc.), but it is certainly not true for most of the books found in the New Testament, most of the prophets, and the books of history. What this means is that by consuming these books in a single sitting, it provides a robust view of the context, setting, and overall message of a book.

Another reason why this should be a habit of reading the Bible is because you are a grown up. Yup, I just wrote that! When you were a child, it was impressive if you could read a paragraph of Scripture. As a teenager, you were mature if you could read a chapter of Scripture and discern the context. If you are an adult and have been a believer for a few years, reading a whole book of the Bible, making notes, finding sources to interpret the book, and applying the text to your life is something that the Spirit makes possible because of your mental and spiritual maturity.

Maybe you read that last sentence and you are giving your screen a sheepish kind of look because you aren’t sure that you are able to do this. Well, that means that what I have written next is meant for you! I am going to give a few pointers on reading through a whole book of the Bible and spiritually digesting it. Every person is going to find a different method of bulk Scripture reading that works for them. What matters most is not finding the perfect technique. The point is the action, not the approach.

Let’s start with the easiest decision. What book do you read in one sitting first? Let me give you two different thoughts on this. If you are not a great reader or do not read often, start with a short book. The Prison Letters (Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians) are a great starting point for you. None of these are more than six chapters long, and they can generally be read in about a half hour. If you are a good reader, I highly recommend reading one of the Gospels. It is so refreshing to set aside a chunk of time to just read about our Saviour!

As you begin reading, have a notepad available to write down thoughts. I recently read again through Mark and I was paying attention to a few of pieces of information to make notes about. The first thing that you are going to use your notepad for is questions. Philip had the same question for the Ethiopian eunuch, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (Acts 8.30) Writing down your questions is a great way to continue in the process of reading, while making a note to research something later that you did not understand during the process. Sometimes, you will need to just stop and re-read or research, and that is ok, too.

The second reason that I have my notepad is to make connections to other Scripture. Many Bibles have tons of references in the margins. Use them! Many great brothers and sisters in the faith have worked hard to compile these and didn’t do so for us to ignore them. What you will notice is that sometimes you will even notice connections that are not referenced. For example, when I got to Mark 12, I noticed in verses 40 and 44 the contrast between how scribes deprive widows and then how Jesus commended the widow.

The last reason I have my notepad is to check on trends. When you go to a Broadway musical, listening to the overture is important because it contains the main musical themes of the work. In the same way, the opening chapter of a book is important because it contains the main themes of the work. I am looking for words or themes that repeat themselves. This usually means that the author is trying to communicate a certain point or purpose. When I began in Mark, some of the things I noticed in chapter 1 were

repent, follow, preach/teach, pray, Jesus questioned, and healing/casting out. I started my list by making a note of each of these occurrences by chapter and verse. As I continued into the book, repent, follow, and pray, were not referenced as much as the other topics. I share this to show you that being fluid and receiving the book instead of forcing your purposes onto it is the proper method.

Be encouraged–you can do this! Begin by praying. Pray that God will bless you in this endeavor and that His Spirit will illuminate the truths of Scripture to you through a whole book at a time. Find a time to put your cell phone in another room, remove any other possible distractions, and dig deep into the Word of God.

-Associate Pastor Daustin

So Easter Happened…

You ate a good breakfast and got dressed nice. You made sure your hair was just right and that your kids knew that they were to behave in the pew. You hadn’t been in a while, so you weren’t sure where to go. Everyone seemed friendly, almost too friendly. Can people really be that nice? Wow, the sermon was very thought-provoking and energizing. That didn’t seem to last as long as you remember. Before you know it, you are out to lunch and back home hiding eggs for the kids to hunt. Did Easter really just come and go so quickly?
For many, Easter is one of the few times they come to church. The kids don’t have ball games. Your parents have been begging you to bring their grandbabies to church. Others have no one to come with and are nervous about what the people at the church might think. Some people only come on Christmas and Easter, and hate being labeled for it. Now comes the dilemma–do you come back next week or act like it never happened?
There are a few ways to respond to Easter. First, you could respond like the chief priests and religious leaders of Israel. Matthew 28.11-15 tells us that their position was cover up and deny, deny, deny. This could be your standard position. The service was nice and all, but it doesn’t really have to affect your life. Or you could be like the soldiers that were guarding the tomb. It is frightening to have their experience, but if you listen to the world and culture around you, ignoring the situation until Christmas is probably the best course of action. Maybe you are like the Apostle John. John 20:4-5 tells us that when John got to the tomb that he froze. Maybe Easter brings a certain excitement, but you are timid and unsure what to really do next. You freeze.
Finally, we see in John 20:17-18 that Mary Magdalene provides the best framework for responding to Resurrection Day. She clings to Jesus and obeys His instruction. This seems so unnatural. You have been a casual follower of Jesus at best. You feel like you will either come across as fake to those at work or unnatural and just caught up in the excitement to those at the church. How do you make this transition into following Jesus more closely?
Below is a list of 4 things that will help you on this journey:
1. Pray a simple prayer each morning when you first wake up
Thomas is what most people would call a good-bad example. In John 20:25 he seems a bit bratty about not seeing Jesus. That is one way to look at his statement, but it could also be taken with the perspective that he did actually want to see Jesus himself. Maybe his words can be a simple prayer that you pray each day. It might go something like this, “Jesus, show me the work you did on the cross. Help me believe. I want to believe. Teach me how to live as one of your followers.”
2. Read the Bible every day
Luke 24:45-46 and Acts 1:3 tells us that Jesus instructed the disciples in the Scriptures over the 40 days after His Resurrection. You have heard it before and know that you should be reading your Bible. It is just like going to the gym though. If you start with lifting too much, you will probably hurt or exhaust yourself and not come back. Ease into this process. Nobody with a New Year’s Resolution to get back to the gym becomes a body builder by February. I always ask my kids when a task seems too big for them, “How do you eat an elephant?” Surprisingly, they never respond, “Gross! Nobody eats elephants!” Instead, the solution is “one bite at a time.” Our pastor is preaching through the book of John, so over the next 50 days until Pentecost (June 4), read half of a chapter of John each day. On the weekends, go back and review the reading and look for answers to questions you may have.
3. Make a plan to attend Sunday gatherings at church
One of the most important things to the early church was gathering with other believers of Jesus. Acts 1:14 and 2:42,46 show that it was important for those early believers to gather to devote themselves to God. It surely took planning and preparation to get ready yesterday. It didn’t just happen on its own. Two great habits for Saturday night are: 1. Set out your clothes so that you have a head start on the morning. 2. If your church puts out their bulletin on Saturday, get the song list and listen to them online.
4. Talk to someone about what to do if you are unsure
In Acts 2:37 the crowds respond to Peter sharing the story of Jesus with “What must we do?” Maybe for you, you have never followed Jesus and don’t even know what that means. Asking someone, particularly a pastor, is not going to cause us to look down on you. On the contrary, it is exactly what we are here to do. It is what everyone in our church is here to do. We want to help and guide people toward Jesus. If we don’t know the answer, we will help you find someone that does. One thing I hear about our church from first time visitors is that the church building seems large and that they are unsure where to go or what to do during worship. Don’t be nervous about asking. We all were new here once.
Okay. So Easter Happened…what now? Four things. Write it somewhere. Maybe your fridge or your bathroom mirror. Talk to your family about it. Make a plan. Stick to it. Don’t be discouraged if things don’t go perfectly. Just get back to it the next day if you miss a day. Remember the example of Mary Magdalene–cling to Jesus and tell others about His Resurrection!
-Associate Pastor Daustin

Explaining the Virgin Birth to your children…to yourself

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As the Christmas season begins again, our children are likely to read or hear Mary’s response to Gabriel in Luke 1.34 “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” There is that moment where you are hoping that in the mind of your 6-year-old daughter her innocence still outweighs her inquisitiveness. Her eyes gloss over. Something is processing in that young mind.
Then it happens. “Mommy, what’s a virgin?” Here we go. How do I explain the birds and bees to her? Will she understand? Can’t I just tell her that they weren’t married, yet? Don’t take too long to answer. Don’t let her see you panic. This kids smells when mommy doesn’t know. Ahhhhh, what do I say? We will just move on in the story. Gabriel, help me out here bud!
You read verse 36 hurriedly, make it to “For nothing will be impossible with God”, and hold your breath. You wonder if you have really honored God’s Word by avoiding your little one’s question. Later as you wait at a stop light, you begin to wonder, “Why is the impossible so possible with God?” Your mind wanders down one path and trods through another until you find yourself needing to grab your phone to Google the significance of the Virgin Birth.
One of the most helpful theological tools that one can use is called a Systematic Theology. These are large volumes that handle all of the possible texts in the Bible on any specific topic. When a topic like the Virgin Birth is mentioned in Isaiah, Matthew, Luke, Galatians, a Systematic Theology studies that topic and provides helpful insight to understanding how those passages teach about God.
Using Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology [p529-532], he sees three areas where there is theological importance of the Virgin Birth. The first of these is that the Virgin Birth shows that salvation must ultimately come from God. This was not something done through human efforts, neither by an earthly father, nor by an earthly mother. Mary had no initiative in the process. Salvation comes only through the supernatural work of God. Remember Galatians 4.4-5, “God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
The second area of theological importance of the Virgin Birth is that it made possible the uniting of full deity and full humanity in one person. Grudem explains that if God had Jesus come as a full grown adult from Heaven, then it would be hard to understand Jesus’ full humanity. Likewise, if Jesus had two earthly parents and was conceived just like us, it would be difficult to perceive Jesus’ full deity. God chose a combination of human and divine influence in the birth of Jesus, to show both facets of His complete being.
This brings us to the third area of theological importance—that the Virgin Birth makes possible Christ’s true humanity without inherited sin. Jesus did not descend from Adam in exactly the same way as the rest of us have come from Adam. Those from Adam’s lineage have a legal guilt and moral corruption built into their nature. That is to say, we are sinners by birth and sinners by choice. Take note of Luke 1.35, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” Due to the Spirit bringing the conception, the child is holy. Jesus was fully human and at the same time did not share the inherited sin from Adam. [Before you ask if this made Jesus fully human, ask yourself if Adam was fully human before the Fall.]
Hopefully this resolves some of your thoughts on the issue. Perhaps it provokes a desire to more study on the issue. I would be glad to give you more information and resources. Yet, you are still going to have to go home and speak to that little girl again this Christmas season. We should probably discuss that a little more.
Let’s rewind to “Mommy, what’s a virgin?” How can we fairly answer this question without mishandling the truth of Scripture? Allow me to suggest a path for discussion. As the father of a little 6-year-old that has become a professional at asking daddy questions, I try to think about what surprise logic she will bring to me next. With this specific question, I think a fair response to a child in her age range is that a virgin for the sake of this story’s context is someone that has not yet put herself in a situation to become pregnant.
As she gets older, this will elicit another question, “What is a situation where someone can become pregnant?” En garde! My response would be that for girls in Mary’s time, this would usually mean they were married. As your children get older, they are going to pay attention to your use of the word “usually”, and call you on it. When their rhetoric comes to this level, it is probably time to discuss more details of virginity and pregnancy. Parents, don’t be afraid of this. Embrace that you are the one that teaches your children about sex and sexuality in a safe environment. Be grateful that you will be their primary resource, rather than their peers or people that you should not entrust with this responsibility. Worship the Lord with greater depth as you convey why the impossible is possible with God.
-Associate Pastor Daustin

Update from Ecuador! – Pastors’ Blog 27Jun2016

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We have made it to Tambo, Ecuador for the second of our Vision trips in 2016. More about this trip in a moment.

Last week, we served in the Copper Basin in Southeast Tennessee. We partnered with Ninth and O Baptist Church and local missionary Jason Dublin, and his wife Dara, to do mission work in Appalachia. It was HOT! There was a lot of sweat and hard work done in the few days.

The Appalachia trip involved 4 major projects. The first of these projects was to help with some light construction at a local elementary school. The work included painting a compuer lab, exterior painting, installing glass block windows, and other maintenance work. The principal of the school is a believer and our work has been a great blessing to her. Her vision for this is that many of the children live in homes that they are not proud of because of the condition and that she wants them to find their school as a source of pride. The second major project was building a ramp at a home for a mother and adult daughter that needed better accessibility to their home. The adult daughter has an adult son that lives with her, and Philip Brown [The Singles’ Pastor from Ninth and O], was able to connect with him and spent some time discussing life and the good news of Jesus with him. The third major project was a complete house renovation for a lady that lived near Turtletown. The home was unlivable and she had to live in a trailer with her handicapped son. The goal of the project was to get the house to a place where either her or her son could live in the house and the other in the trailer. Before we arrived, the house had very little room to move around in, had no handicap access, no water [which we didn’t find out until later], and had many other needs to be livable. In the course of the trip, the house was completely cleaned out, new cabinets were installed, a lot of electrical work was done, a 100+ foot trench was dug to bring a water supply to the house, a dead raccoon/possum [we weren’t sure which] was removed, a new hot water heater replaced a rusted one, and a deck with handicap accessiblity was built. The final project was a pastors’ conference on stewardship and finance was held for local pastors. The goal of this was to teach through a course so that they could take the material back to their churches to be taught there. We had a team also serve food and care for these pastors and pastors wives as they were at the conference.

Right now, I am typing this from Ecuador, and let me tell you–IT IS COLD! Right now I have a portable heater pointed at me, a huge blanket slung over my lap, and layers of clothes above my shivering frame. I started typing this with gloves on, but that proved rather inefficient so I am frequently hovering them by the heater. Yes, I am a wimp. The difference from the heat of Appalachia to the cool of Ecuador is humourous. Many of you are wondering about David and Julie’s luggage: it is in the country now and we hope to have it by this evening. They have been champs in dealing with this inconvenience, and it has set a great tone for the whole team.

This week in Ecuador, we are partnering with Reaching and Teaching International Ministries. Dr. David Sills is the leader of this organization. Some of you may remember that he was our keynote speaker at our 2015 Missions Conference. We are also partnering this week with Chris and Carol Sills [his son and daughter-in-law]. Chris and Carol are the local missionaries for this area. We are also working with two guys from Beeson Divinity School [a seminary in Birmingham], a pastor from Texas, and a math teacher from Kentucky. We have a main project here and a few side projects. The main focus of this trip is pastoral training. We have about 13 pastors and other men from the region here to be trained in another module of pastoral training. This module includes the HEART and a focus on the spiritual discipline of Scripture memorization, the HEAD and a focus on church history from AD 0 to the present day, and the HANDS and a focus on the two ordinances of the church. David and Julie are exploring some potential projects that our church could send larger teams to assist with in the future, such as: building and construction, smaller construction projects, connecting with the community through backyard Bible club type events, and doing Bible studies for the women of the area and the wives of the pastors.

Some of you are probably reading this and thinking, “That is not what I read about missions work in the book of Acts.” To that, I say that you are correct. We are not going into synagogues and market squares and preaching the good news of Jesus and planting churches. That is not the point of these trips. As short-term mission trips, we would not be able to complete goals of this size in a single week.

This is the importance of year-round MISSIONS PARTNERS. When we left Appalachia and when we leave Tambo, the work doesn’t leave. This is because the Dublins and the Sills will have benefitted from our time here. Short term mission teams can help them do work in a week that they would not be able to complete for months otherwise. Short term teams also allow for their work to be multiplied during that time and free them up to continue building relationships that would not happen if they were always working in these other ways where we have helped. In addition, we are a huge encouragement to these missionaries. They are in cross-cultural contexts all the time and often they do not have opportunities to spend with other believers from their spiritual maturity level. We are a breath of fresh air to them and we are used by God to put wind back in their sails. By supporting them and their year-round mission work, we are technically participating in the total mission of God. We are glorifying God by making disciples of all nations.

Here is my challenge to you: START PREPARING NOW.

In a few weeks, we are going to be presenting trip reports to the church. You are going to hear about opportunities for future trips. You are going to think of other people that would be great for the trip. You may even see ways that you would be able to help on the trip. Start preparing now. Be praying for yourself and others to go on trips. Start reading the book of Acts now to capture a wider vision for Kingdom advancement. Start saving now to send yourself or another on a trip. Be diligent in fulfilling your commitment to the Missions First Offering. Start talking to those who have gone on trips about how you could fit into it. Start committing yourself to going next year. Don’t worry about the heat or cold, it isn’t that bad <grin>. If you are still worried about going on a trip, memorize these two verses of Scripture from Philippians 4, “6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
-Assoc Pastor Daustin

True Evil Triumphs Unsuccessfully

This past Sunday morning, true evil triumphed unsuccessfully. As we received the news of 100+ injured and dead from a nightclub in Orlando, the mourning began. As the day developed, news reports came out that the attack was done by a terrorist and our hearts filled with that old salve of rage from 15 years ago. Do you remember it? Can you feel it coursing through your veins and brains? As churches were packed for the first time in years back in 2001, hatred for Islam and the 9/11 attackers fueled bitterness and rage for many Americans. In the 48 hours since this evil event was done, many find themselves welling up with the same emotions and feelings. Do not be discouraged: True Evil did not win the day, the year, or ever.
I have been extremely impressed and saddened by Christians in the last couple days.
Christians have properly handled rallying behind the LGBTQ community as they mourn. Both well-known and little-known Christians have correctly denoted that we should mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep. This event has caused years of wall-building to be torn down from between our communities. We are able to show their community that what they have perceived as hate is from our worldview an intense love for their souls. This has been demonstrated in too many ways to write about. Christians, well done! I am reminded about Joseph in Genesis 50.20 quoting to his same brothers that threw him in a well and sold him into slavery years before, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” The intention of this event was evil. Christians responded with grace and mercy and figurative cups of cold water [Matthew 25].
Christians have also disappointed me immensely as a result of this tragic event. As my social media feed is filled with the above encouraging news, I cannot overlook the mishandling of the situation toward the Islamic community. Christians, our hearts should break as we read statements like, “We need to bomb them all and be done with them,” or “These are not humans, so they do not deserve to be treated like humans.” Christians, do you not understand Genesis 1:27? These are image bearers of God. Do you really think you have the spiritual right to condemn countless people to a Christ-less eternity and to a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth [Luke 13.28]? What if someone said this about you before you were a Follower of Jesus? What if the early church had this attitude toward Saul [later renamed Paul]?
More than this, our battle is not against a culture, sub-culture, or any other group of people. Ephesians 6.12 reminds us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” People are not our enemy. Even if they want to blow us up, shoot us, rape our children, or commit any other kind of extremely evil deed. They are our mission field.
Let the Bible be abundantly clear: “Be angry and yet do not sin.” [Ephesians 4.26] Do not think in fleshly ways anymore, because your heart of stone has been removed. Go ahead and double check that Ephesians reference to make sure I am not using it out of context. In fact, go back and read all of Ephesians 4:17-32. Then go ahead and read Mathew 5.44, Matthew 10.22, and John 15.20. Now come back to your statements about the Islamic community. There is clearly a difference between Jesus’ thoughts on the matter and the prevailing thoughts on social media.
If you have been around me much when I talk about the Islamic community, there is no doubt that you have heard my oft repeated quip, “Who will be the apostle Paul from Islam for Christ?” When God calls you in the same way he called Ananias, don’t respond with “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem.” [Acts 9.13] Instead, respond as Peter and John did in the face of persecution and possible death in Acts 4.20 “for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Reports are coming in about countless migrants from nations under the rule of Islam forsaking Mohammed and heeding the call from Jesus to “follow Me”.
What happened in Orlando is another unsuccessful triumph of true evil. Remember the words of our Saviour in John 10.10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” True evil thought it was winning by the shedding of blood. Yet again, it was unsuccessful because Christians will rally around the LGBTQ community with the hope of Jesus and around the Islamic community with the good news about the one true and living God.
-Associate Pastor Daustin