Pastors’ Blog

Read weekly insights from all of our Pastors regarding the vision for First Baptist Athens.
 

Pastors’ Blog – The Giving in Thanksgiving

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If there is one holiday tradition that I would change, it would be to eat pizza on Thanksgiving instead of turkey. Think about it with me for a moment. Cold pizza is much better as a leftover. It cooks a lot faster. It is easier to eat when watching a football game or a parade. And it is loaded with carbs for energy for Black Friday shopping!
 
All kidding aside, our thoughts often turn to thanks and thankfulness when we consider Thanksgiving. We are thankful for our families. We are thankful for the good things that have helped us through the more difficult times of the past year. We are thankful for a good God that has provided for us. Yet, sometimes we consider ourselves to be the recipient of the giving, rather than the participant of the giving of Thanksgiving.
 
Thanksgiving is a beautiful opportunity for Christians to inaugurate the Christmas season. I don’t just mean getting your shopping done or spending time with your family. It is a great holiday to begin considering the gift of Christ, to be thankful for Him, and to start planning how you can give Him away this Christmas. He is, of course, the greatest gift of all.
 
Here are a few ways to put the giving in Thanksgiving:
 
1. Invite a person with no family, or family out of town, over to your house for Thanksgiving dinner (even if you are serving pizza instead of turkey!). We have a number of international students at Tennessee Wesleyan College that I am sure would love to be invited to a home to share a meal with you. We want them to be in Christian homes for this holiday!
 
2. Find a way to get food (and the gospel) to the needy this year. One of the ways our church does this on a regular basis is by helping once a month at Grace and Mercy ministries. This is a great ministry because after you serve food, there is a speaker. After that there is time for you to mingle and talk about Jesus with people.
 
3. Reach out to one of your neighbors with small children and “adopt” that family this holiday season. For Thanksgiving, bake them a pumpkin pie (and introduce yourself if you have not already). Or offer to help rake their leaves. For Christmas, buy them an advent calendar or take them a family stocking or gift. At some point, make sure that you tell them about King Jesus and that the best part of Christmas is Easter morning!
 
Associate Pastor Daustin


Life on Life Discipleship

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Discipleship is one of the central focuses here at FBC Athens. The leadership at FBCA spends a lot of time each and every year meeting with people, reading discipleship material, and organizing small group studies. The majority of our discipleship process is intended to happen during our programming hours throughout the week – Sunday morning small groups, Sunday Morning Worship, Sunday Nights Together, and Wednesday Night Christian Growth. Just typing all of that out seems like a lot of discipleship…roughly 4 hours a week. 
 
But everyone knows that you will not be at church for every one of those discipleship opportunities. Does missing weekly programming affect the discipleship process in your life?
 
Probably. 
 
That’s why Jesus doesn’t tell us “Go therefore and make programs in all nations.” He says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19)
 
The key to discipleship is not the programming…it’s the people. Programming is just a systematic way to introduce people to the process of discipleship.
 
But a lot of what happens in discipleship happens beyond the walls of our church…at least it certainly should. 
 
 
So let’s ask ourselves this question today…if I didn’t go to the church AT ALL in the month of November, how many spiritual conversations would I have with people? (Note: I am not telling you to stay home from church during the month of November)
 
I think a lot of the time, we can depend so much on Church programming to supply our needs for Spiritual Conversation that we don’t take matters into our own hands enough. That’s where I think life on life discipleship is so important. It’s making the intention to have spiritual conversations with people who you know (from church) about things that happen (outside of church). 
 
Let’s do just a little math to help us get our brains geared in the right direction. 
 
24 hours a day
x 7 days a week 
168 Hours a week (Siri helped me do this one..)
 
168 hours in a week, and the programming at the church allots for 4 hours of it being devoted to Discipleship through the programming at FBCA (That is if you make it to all 4 hours in a week, which a lot of people have a hard time doing because of their schedules.)
 
So you are being trained to be like Christ for 4 hours a week. What is training your mind for the other 164 hours of the week?
 
If you’re not careful…it will be the culture. And that is a scary thought. 
 
I get especially worried when I think about students – they spend 35 hours a week in School form Sunday to Sunday, and get 1 hour of teaching on Wednesday night, if they’re able to make it that week. 
 
My point with the numbers game is that it’s not enough to just come to church anymore. Cause you’re going to miss our church programming from time to time. 
 
I think the key is finding people in those other 164 hours of the week to have spiritual conversations with. Accountability. Someone who knows the things you’re struggling with throughout the week. 
 
To summarize, if you’re not talking about the gospel with saved people, how in the world do you expect to share the gospel with lost people? It’s not enough to come to church if you’re not willing to BE the Church. 
 
Life on life discipleship is not about programming, it’s about living life with people, intentionally seeking Christ with them. 
The greatest moments of discipleship and conviction in my life have not come through being in church services, (though I have been challenged there), but through coffee shops where hard questions were asked. Through late nights discussing God’s love for me in spite of my sinful nature. Around the breakfast table at Bojangles where we asked hard questions about theology.
 
The beauty of this model of discipleship is that it allows you to be connected to your church body throughout the week, even though you might have missed a church service or been out of town. 
 
At the end of the day, I hope you can make the most of that 164 hours you have that isn’t taken up with church programming, and find a way to share your life with someone, that Christ might be magnified. 
 
-Youth Pastor Drew
 
 


The people’s theology – Hymns

A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing;
Our shelter He, amid the flood Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and pow’r are great, And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal. – Martin Luther – 1529
 
Above is a well known text of a well known hymn. It’s by Martin Luther, the great theologian and champion of the Reformation. This man wrote this hymn in a time of persecution, a time when he risked his life and livelihood for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Word of God. This hymn spread like wildfire all over the reformed sections of Rome, as a sounding cry of our God’s sovereignty over their lives and wills. The beauty of this hymn is that it affirmed what the body of Christ believed, and it still affirms that truth today.
 
This is one small example of a hymn that has stood the test of time, to remain true from age to age, because its content is based wholly on scripture. What our churches in America sometimes forget is that our songs are our theology, explained in song. We sing these things in unity, because we believe them together. 
 
Let me make one thing clear. A hymn does not mean that a song is old, or from the 16th-18th century, speaking biblically. A hymn is simply rendered as a song of praise, sometimes involving instruments, in many places in the Bible. The reason why our Bibles often cite the words “hymn” is probably because during the time period of the first English Bibles being translated, hymns were sung in most churches, so in denotes a song of praise. However, a hymn can be old, or new, ages or minutes old, and still bear great significance to the church. 
 
I often look back to the first song ever recorded in scripture to see how God’s word instructs us to sing. You can find this “Song of Moses” as it is sometimes called, in Exodus 15. The funny thing is that this song has nothing to do with Moses whatsoever, but everything to do with God. The people of God are singing the wonders of God that he has worked before their very eyes, specifically his triumph over the Egyptians. It ends with a resounding cry in verse 18 “The LORD will reign forever and ever.”
 
This is huge for us to understand today. While this song was not written in iambic pentameter in a 3/4 time signature with an optional modulation on the last stanza, yet it recounts perfectly what our songs should be in worship. Throw the style out the window when it comes to your hymns and ask yourself, “does this direct glory to God for what He has done in my life?” If it does, sing it with your heart. If it doesn’t question why it is being sung.
 
For the church today, the work of God is most clearly seen in the cross of Christ. The greatest work God has done for us was accomplished in Christ rescuing us from the Kingdom of Darkness and ushering us into the Kingdom of Light. We should sing about that, and the Church has sung about that for thousands of years. Our songs, messages, prayers, and actions should all be cross centered, because of the great work God has done before our very eyes. 
 
My fear is that our songs are slowly drifting from the cross, from God’s supreme reign over sin, from Christ’s atoning works, to other things that don’t appropriately convey God’s glory. Rather, they look at God through a lens other than Scripture. 
 
This is dangerous for churches because of what hymns have historically been throughout the ages. Hymns have been a way for churches to sing what they believe together for 1) affirmation and 2) instruction. The hymns of ages past are exactly that because they are the people’s theology set to music. Let’s face it, if I walked up to you on the street and asked you to articulate your view on substitutionary atonement, you might not know how to respond. However, we all know this familiar hymn which I think articulates the atonement beautifully.
 
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the prince of glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.  (Isaac Watts 1770)
 
Do we believe this truth? Absolutely. Does it instruct us? Absolutely. I hope we never stop singing songs like this. 
 
I’ve given two examples of age old hymns that beautifully articulate theology. You might be asking yourself, “what about the new stuff, is there not anything new that’s good?”
 
There certainly is. But the thing about it is, a lot of the older hymns have stood the test of time because the church has found them to be entirely accurate, a more pure reflection of theology if you will. One thing that determines whether a song is great or not is time. The longer a song sticks around, the better the chances are that it articulates a very pure theological idea. However, there are gems that articulate the beauty of our God in modern music today. Take this example from Aaron Keyes’ “Sovereign over us”:
 
Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You’re with us in the fire and the flood
You’re faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us          (Aaron Keyes, 2011)
 
Scripture supports this song so vividly in this simple chorus, and the rest of the song truly proclaims His sovereignty. You can listen to it on here. I could list many examples of songs that I don’t think accomplish this which are sung all over our churches from Sunday to Sunday. But let’s evaluate what we sing with Scripture, and proclaim God. Let’s sing true and scriptural hymns to our God. 
 
The power of the hymn comes with the content of the text melded together with the melody of the tune. It’s so much more than a “style” of music, but rather melds theology and art together into one beautifully crafted work that brings joy to the singers heart through the melody, and joy to the Father’s ears through the unity of His Bride. I hope that you are challenged to think about the songs you know and love, that maybe you’ve grown up with. Do they convey the God of the Bible as He is revealed in the lens of Scripture? If not, we might need to check what we’re singing. Pretty instrumentation and worthless words make for a pretty sad worship experience in the house of God, for God is not honored in our skillful playing of instruments if our thoughts about Him are not in line with what the Bible reveals about Him. 
 
I pray that you’re encouraged as your sing hymns week to week at with the Church, that God reveals himself to you, and that your theology is strengthened through your singing. 
 
-Drew Byers
Youth Pastor
 


Pastors’ Blog – 9/11/2015 Singing With Understanding

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Singing With Understanding

Etched in marble inside the Sellers building at New Orleans Seminary is 1 Cor. 14:15b.  “I will sing with spirit, and I will sing with understanding also.” It can be read and understood fairly easily, yet difficult to comprehend exactly.  There is so much to look at and this is not even close to an exhaustive glance.  But here is some food for thought, or amusement. 

Paul said he sang.  We know he did in the jail at Philippi with the other prisoners listening in.  The singing was directed to God in prayer and yet when the doors opened the other prisoners waited for leadership from Paul.  They didn’t make any attempt to leave.  May I say that singing had an enormous impact on them.  Paul’s spirit must have been in agreement with the Lord and his prayers were demonstratively answered.  Singing to God where unbelievers can hear is biblical and effective.  But that is not the main point in this context.

Not to ignore the “singing in the spirit” that Paul is describing, but this is a blog not a book I want to focus on “with understanding.” This understanding we are to sing with has to do with our motivation, will, and purpose.  Singing with others or audibly is implied by the context and therefore singing with understanding must apply to both yours and theirs, so order and organization is involved. We must be able to comprehend the melody, the text, the rhythmic speed and execution of patterns with precision to the point of staying together, not for God to hear and understand our heart, but for us to also benefit and be edified through corporate worship.   

So when we sing as a gathered body we are addressing God as the primary audience, but we remain aware that others can benefit from our worship through song. Musical worship is much more a mental experience where the mind not the emotions rule the moment.   Rather than address which songs or styles or new or old or adolescent or mature more importantly it is presumed in this passage that believers will sing. So when we gather, sing!  Sing with the spirit and sing with understanding!  I am excited that our Pastor is preaching through this book and looking forward to what God will teach us when we get to this passage.
-Pastor Tim


Pastors’ Blog – The Christian and Football Season – August 31,2015

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The Christian and Football Season

Okay.  The title of this blog could easily read, “The Christian and Basketball Season,” “The Christian and Soccer Season,” or “The Christian and ‘insert your favorite sport/hobby here’ Season.”  I only choose football because the season is upon us; as we say around here, “It’s football time in Tennessee!”  Though there may be a lot to talk about with this year’s team, my concern is more about our hearts.  Football (again, insert your own sport) can be a consuming passion in our lives that ends up competing with our passion for God.  The Bible calls this idolatry.  So how can you know if football is coming before God in your life.  Kevin DeYoung offers, “Three Questions to Help Diagnose Possible Football Idolatry.”  First, Is ministry and worship on the Lord’s Day compromised by my allegiance to football on Saturday and Sunday?  There’s nothing wrong with attending a football game.  God has given us sports and hobbies for our enjoyment.  But if football season means you’re only going to be in church every other week for the next three months, or that you won’t be coming to your Sunday Small Group because you’re too tired from Saturday’s game, then let’s be honest and call it what it is, “Football in the place of worship is, well, worship.”

Another question we should ask is, Are my emotions all out of whack?  I don’t like it when my team loses, especially 25 times in a row to the same team!  But, the most revealing question is how do I respond?  I love DeYoung’s candor, “If the good news of Jesus’ resurrection can’t outweigh the bad news of your team’s minus 3 turnover differential you’ve got some heart work to do.”  If we are more excited over how well our team is doing then we are about worshipping the resurrected Lord on Sunday, then there’s something amiss in our hearts.

Finally, DeYoung challenges us to ask, Can my conversation go deeper than football?  This time of year there will be a lot of talk about the Vols filling the atrium and hallways of our Church-nothing wrong with that!  But if we never get around to talking about the goodness of God and love of Jesus Christ, then where does our true passion lie?  Don’t be the guy who knows all the stats of Saturday’s game, but can’t share a verse of Scripture that he read last week or the plan of salvation to a lost friend.  Football is fun, but there are simply more important (eternal) matters in life.  It’s great to be a Tennessee Vol, but even greater to be a child of the King!

_______________________________________________

Would you skip church for football?  Trevin Wax, GC, Jan 7, 2015

I know pastors who are discouraged by diminishing attendance at worship services. As Thom Rainer recently pointed out, an active church member 15 years ago attended church three times a week. Now it’s three times a month.

Pastors and church leaders feel the encroachment of activities vying for church members’ time and attention. The cultural Christianity of yesteryear, which reserved Sundays for worship and rest, has disappeared. In its place are travel leagues that tie up families, sporting events that lure away men, and shopping sales that entice women. Carving out time for worship and rest takes intentionality these days, and churches are feeling the impact.

Even so, a recent study from LifeWay Research shows that a whopping 83% of churchgoers disagree with this statement:

“I would skip a weekly worship service in order to watch my favorite football team.”

Now, I can see some pastors shaking their heads, thinking, They must not have polled my church! 



Pastors’ Blog – The beauty of the schedule: How an organized week focuses the family on church Aug 24, 2015

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The beauty of the schedule: How an organized week focuses the family on Jesus

Growing up, I hated the schedule. I still am not a big fan of a schedule. Some would say, “ah man, your dad being in the military is why you don’t like schedules, I bet he was rigid about time.” Not true. In fact, not many things could be farther from the truth. If anything, I am not very different from my Father at all. I am about on time and on schedule as often as he is, and often here is a poor choice of words! So why in the world am I the pastor at church writing a blog entry about schedules if I am so terrible about keeping one?
 
The reason I am writing this article is probably a combination of God’s sense of humour allowing the topic to fall to me and His process of growing me as a man as I try to lead my family to follow Him. As I thought about writing this article, I realized a few things. I realized that there is something healthy about time, schedules, and punctuality. I see the need for my little children to have a routine because they crave and desire a routine. I recognize that my wife has a desire for something to be the same week in and week out amidst the craziness of raising three small children. I understand that there are more important things going on around me that need my attention than what I personally see as important.
 
We live in a world where parents leave work and have this practice, then that recital, then this meeting, then that appointment, and oh yeah we have to eat at some point. Parents find themselves trying to remember what day it is even though they have asked the middle child five times in the last hour while waiting to pick up the other two from their practices and checking their phones twice during that time as well. Some parents struggle to connect with their teens that have driving privileges because they are always headed in different directions. And yet, other parents have trouble staying awake in the evenings with infants and toddlers that refuse to have a “normal” sleep schedule.
 
Here is my grand conclusion–and it probably is not that grand: An organized week focuses the family on church. Amidst the world of disorganized lives centered around a full calendar, we need to have priorities. We have to have non-negotiables. Whether you want to believe it or not, you have non-negotiables when it comes to your calendar. As for me and my household, our non-negotiable will be Jesus. Rather than this being relegated to being at church every time the doors are open (as the old Southern Baptist phrase goes), what I mean by this is that my house will be organized around Jesus. Our evenings will have purpose, despite the crazy that some days may be filled with throughout the week.
 
So what does this look like? It looks like this–every week has to be planned and communicated. You can ask my wife. I am the guy that has this phenomenal long term memory and compare to Dory from Finding Nemo when it comes to short term memory. I can remember the outfit she wore on New Year’s Eve 2004 (White turtleneck sweater and faded flare blue jeans), but forget to tell her about the meeting I have this afternoon that I arranged yesterday. It drives her crazy, and not in the good way. If we want to have organized weeks that focus our family on Jesus, we have to be better communicators. This means taking time on Saturday or Sunday to plan out the week ahead. This means using that time to talk about when we are going to visit family out of town in the future and using the time to plan vacations. It means that we have to talk about planned opportunities to have family Bible time and to prepare for AWANA. It means that we have to think in advance about sharing the person and good news of Jesus with our children.
 
Ok, so the first point is we have to communicate. Then how do we get started? Start small. If you try to go too big, you will burn out. You want this to be a long-term plan, not just a flash in the pan. Start small and build from there. For my family, we are starting small by having an AWANA night in our house on Saturdays. Every Saturday night, I work on the kids AWANA work with them. I tell them the story from their handbooks. We work on learning the verses from their handbooks. We prepare outfits/costumes for the upcoming AWANA night. The kids are laughing as we repeat verses over and over and my wife is smiling in the background as she sees me interacting with our children. But this is not the best part. My kids are learning about Jesus and who He is and what He has done for them. 
 
Maybe you don’t have a young family like me and don’t have a schedule that is mostly clear. Maybe you do have that jam packed full schedule. Sit down with your children and get real with them. You might–gasp–have to tell them that daddy and mommy need forgiveness because they let other things besides Jesus be their non-negotiables (it’s okay, I have to ask my children for forgiveness often). Take them out to a nice dinner on a free night and get away from distractions. Tell them that you want to reorganize the family plans around Jesus. Tell them that you want to start praying with them and any other players that want to before soccer practice. Tell them that you want to spend a night at dinner discussing what they learned in their children/Youth Bible study at church. Take initiative to make things about Jesus. Make it clear that your plans are to be consistently at church meeting times. Don’t let the busyness of the week control your relationship with Jesus, let your relationship with Jesus control the organization of your week.


One Million Minutes of Prayer

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This past Sunday, our pastor announced that a challenge for our church to pray 1,000,000 minutes over the next year. In his sermon, Pastor Jason clarified what these minutes of prayer is to be for, “Extraordinary prayer is such that is radically God-centered, not ‘me’ centered… not ‘you’ centered, but God-centered. Full of praise, full of Scripture, full of power. Where it’s not about you, but about Him; about His glory, His Kingdom, His Mission, and His Church!” He went on to explain that two requests often mark prayers of revival. First, a yearning to know God, to see His face, to glimpse His glory. Second, a compassion and zeal for the flourishing of the Church and salvation for the lost. If we have 250 people commit to pray at least 10 minutes a day, every day, for the next year and then if we add in some corporate prayer times in our worship services, where we take few minutes with 300-400 of us praying and if we create some special opportunities throughout the year (i.e. a prayer retreat, or half day prayer event), and have 250 people praying 10 minutes a day, we can do it! We can pray a million minutes over the next year.
 
In two weeks, on Sunday morning August 30th, we’ll have a time of commitment and then we’ll kick this off the second Sunday in September (the 13th).
 
God is calling us all to extraordinary prayer. How exactly is He calling you? Be in prayer now for yourself and for our church as we prepare for these Million Minutes of Prayer!


Pastors’ Blog – Memories Are Valuable, Sometimes

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A friend from a former place of service reminisced this week on facebook regarding a particular song we used there (and here) in our worship times together.  They said the song was powerful and they held fond memories of using it to worship.  It reminded me that worship is always about Him –  God, Jesus, the Great I Am, the Holy Spirit, and on and on.  The many names all remind us of Who He is and what He has done, and is doing in us and around us.  Time spent remembering our moments of decision while humbled with fellow believers in worship is so valuable to all believers.  It gives us courage and a deep desire to experience more times together.  

While great times of worship are not exactly the same as “hungering and thirsting after righteousness”, they must certainly be akin to it.   How might worship in our church and other churches be different if we got on the “same page” of humility, confessing our utter dependence, and devotion to the object of our worship?  Great participation in worship is like the oil in an internal combustion engine.  It helps to negate the damaging effects of friction.  It is not however the fuel, the starter, or the operator of that engine.  If we are the machine of worship, then the fuel is our desire to be in His presence for whatever purposes He designs.   God is the operator and we in essence run to please Him.  Our fuel is the blessings He pours out to those who seek Him.  

Remembering what God has done is essential, but no formulas or attempts to recreate the past will improve life in the present.  That doesn’t even make sense, though all of us love some former memories of “the way we were”.  If we are walking with God, should we picture a treadmill that is only good for ending up where you began?  No!  Our walk with God has many destinations – all new and all worth the effort.  I finish with this question:  Are you at roughly the same place every time you worship or have you noticed He is transforming you and His mercies are indeed new? Come and seek Him together, basking in the refreshment of His presence.

Pastor Tim
#sundayiscoming


Christian, are you committed?

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Here we are again….

The sunrise of the summer is quickly setting. There have been so many fond memories of camps, mission trips, family vacations, church get togethers, and many other things (also probably the Dairy Barn deserves a shout out in there)

Now you and I stare into the face of something daunting: another semester. Whether you are a student or not, you feel this pressure. Maybe you aren’t attending another semester of school, but when fall commitments roll in, you must pay them attention.

Very soon we find ourselves grasping at straws to find time to relax like we did during the summer. The week of Fall Break looks like some sort of fulfillment of biblical prophecy because the world actually seems to slow down for us long enough to breathe, to relax. 

Our commitments run us ragged until we are spent. 

No matter what stage of life you’re in, I’m sure you’re familiar with the expression, “there aren’t enough hours in the day,” and it’s true. There aren’t.

Can I be honest with you?

Maybe there aren’t enough hours in the day and we go to bed feeling unfulfilled because we spend too much time committed to the wrong things. 

A. W. Tozer once said, “What you think about God is the most important thing about you.” I think that’s a great statement, and one that bears a lot of truth. 

So look at your week. Would your schedule reflect that this statement is true in your life? Would your schedule affirm that you think Jesus Christ is the Lord of your life?

Christian, are you committed?

We live in a generation with commitment issues. However, the Christian life will not make room for that excuse. One of the ways we help each other with commitment issues is in the local body of the church. 

We gather together to sing, encourage, study, and do so much more as the body of Christ. Together, we are committed. 

Christian, are you committed?

We offer 4 hours of programming per week to help our Church grow in their relationship with Christ

-Sunday Small Groups

-Sunday Morning Worship

-Sunday Nights Together

-Wednesday Night Christian Growth.

If you commit to these for programs each week, you’ll spend 208 hours (approximately) in Bible study or prayer or small group discussion a year. That’s 5 full 40 hour work weeks investing spiritually (and a little bit of spiritual overtime). 

However, Christian, if your commitment wanes, and you miss each one of those hours once a month, you can easily drop a full 40 hours of Christian fellowship without even meaning to. 

Christian, are you committed?

Hopefully, your time spent at FBCA will only be fuel to the flames of your daily Christian life, and you will feel more encouraged to walk with Christ as He has called us. 

Christian, stop making excuses this fall. Commit. Commit to what matters most in your life, and let everything else fall in line around it. Commit to growing as a Christian this fall. Yes, scheduling will still be impossibly difficult to manage. Yes, sometimes your students will have to miss to play a soccer game. 

But don’t let the fellowship of the Church become a secondary priority for you or your family. 

Hebrews 10:19-25 says,

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (emphasis mine).” 
 
We have been given the right, by the blood of Jesus Christ, to come before the throne of God and worship Him. Why would we neglect that incredible privilege?
 
Don’t neglect Christian. Commit, and let’s watch Christ change our hearts and lives
 
– Drew Byers

Minister to Youth



Pastors’ Blog – 7/22/2015 – Mission Teams Send Off

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Later this week two teams from our membership will leave the comforts of home in obedience for the cause of “making disciples of all nations.”

One team is heading back to Honduras to work in an area of great poverty.  The work is done on a “ranch” established as a place to offer relief from the abject poverty and the sharing of the “Good News,” to those in the surrounding region.  Our folks will be doing manual labor, teaching the Bible, working with children in Bible classes and fun events especially for the little ones.  To be sure the conditions are difficult compared to our normal life situations here in Tennessee.  All those going have paid a great deal to go and be both their own and our voice to the Hondurans, and those working to bring them the Gospel and humanitarian relief.  They need our prayers to be the best and clearest voice of God possible to this region.  Remember them for safety, but even more for effectiveness in evangelism.

We have another team going to Victoria Island, Canada to work directly with the Bond family, who are Southern Baptist church planters there.  Matthew was on staff here as our youth minister before leaving us for seminary.  Upon his graduation he and Heather felt led to be planters and God has greatly blessed them in that work.  Our team will assist with activities like a kid’s camp, and their part in Sunday’s worship, and in general sharing the load of planting a church with the Bond family.  They need our prayers for opportunities to share their faith and that they would be a refreshing help with the day to day struggles of church planting.

We can’t all go.  All of these folks going have made a substantial personal investment both financially and in terms of time in preparation and the time spent away.  We can all support them with our prayers and encouragement expressed by gratitude for the sacrifice they are willing to make to be obedient to the call for help.
 
-Pastor Tim
#SundayIsComing