August 13, 2017
Faith Produces Faithfulness
This week I heard a sermon about the productivity of faith. Faith produces actions of obedience and faithfulness to our Lord God Almighty. If your faith is not being productive, there is a problem. The problem is either with your faith, what it is based on, or in whom your faith is placed. People put there faith in all kinds of things and different people. The strength of our faith is not only in our exercise of our faith, it is also in the focus of our faith. Life is challenging and trials are normal for us all; it is faith that helps us get through those hard times with success. As we read the Bible, we find example after example of men and women who put their faith in the Creator God and His truth to find out that He was sufficient for their need. In Hebrews 11, we find the Hall of Fame of Faith and many of these people are recorded for their faith in the Lord and what their faith was able to produce in their lives. In real life, our faith is challenged on a regular basis. Satan wants to use fear to defeat us, limit us, and keep us from experiencing the greatest that we could enjoy in the Lord. Our fear collides with our faith every week, and it is the strength of our faith that will help us not become a casualty in those collisions. Each of us must ask ourselves about the productivity of our faith. What has your faith produced in your life this past week? What will your faith produce through your life in the lives of others this coming week? God wants us to trust Him for great things in us and through us by trusting Him greatly. He does the producing while we do the trusting as we make ourselves yielded to Him working through us. If each of us will trust God and His Word as we live through this coming week, we can experience Him producing obedience in our lives and faithfulness through our lives for His glory as a testimony of faith to all who live around us. Let’s see what faith can produce!
August 6, 2017
By the Kingsmen Quartet
Excuses, excuses, you'll hear them every day.
And the Devil he'll supply them, if the church you stay away.
When people come to know the Lord, the Devil always loses
So to keep them folks away from church, he offers them excuses.
In the summer it's too hot. And, in the winter, it's too cold.
In the spring time when the weather's just right, you find some place else to go.
Well, it's up to the mountains or down to the beach or to visit some old friend.
Or, to just stay home and kinda relax and hope that some of the kin folks will start dropping in.
Well, the church benches are too hard. And, that choir sings way too loud.
Boy, you know how nervous you get when you're sitting in a great big crowd.
The doctor told you, "Now, you better watch them crowds. They'll set you back."
But, you go to that old ball game because you say "it helps you to relax."
Well, a headache Sunday morning and a backache Sunday night.
But by worktime Monday morning, you're feeling quite alright.
While one of the children has a cold, "Pneumonia, do you suppose?"
Why the whole family had to stay home, just to blow that poor kid's nose.
Well, the preacher he's too young. And, maybe he's too old.
The sermons they're not hard enough. And, maybe they're too bold.
His voice is much too quiet-like. Sometimes he gets too loud.
He needs to have more dignity. Or, else he's way too proud.
Well, the sermons they're too long. And, maybe they're too short.
He ought to preach the word with dignity instead of "stomp and snort."
Well, that preacher we've got must be "the world's most stuck up man."
Well, one of the lady's told me the other day, "Well, he didn't even shake my hand."
This is a song I heard years ago and I have been recently reminded of how true it still is. It is not just children who are professionals at making up excuses to remove blame of their actions or decisions. We adults find help from Satan in this very issue when we need help feeling better about a poor choice.
The Power of Influence
Every one of us needs to be cautiously aware of the power that our influence has on other people. As parents, older siblings, even older adults, we all have people that are looking to us for leadership and guidance. Our choices are being watched by these people who are affected by our influence, and we will be accountable to God for the way that our influence impacted those who are looking up to us. Charles Barkley made the quote, “I am not your child’s role model,” but in reality he was a role model to many children. We may not want to have influence on others, we may not want others to be influenced by our lives, we may not want to be accountable for our influence; but what we want does not change the fact that we are. Every one of us is being watched by others. Every one of us is being followed by others. Therefore, it is paramount that we follow the Lord in our lives so we can influence them toward Him instead of away from Him. I have seen younger brothers follow in the steps of their older brothers for good and for evil. I have seen children follow in the steps of their parents for evil and for righteousness. I have seen younger teens follow in the steps of older teens into evil and into holiness. No matter if we like or not, if we desire it or not, if want to admit it or not; the fact is, we all have influence on others, and we are accountable and responsible for how our influence affects those who are under it. Parents, our choices about our involvement in church or lack of it, which church we are involved in, what we believe about God and His Word all has influence on our children and the direction we send them off into life. The habits we allow in our lives as parents, grandparents, and adults will invariably influence those coming behind us and affect their involvement in these same habits whether they be good or sinful, healthy or destructive. This is a reality that the Lord is constantly speaking to my heart about; I hope that you are hearing Him speak to your heart about it as well. I am sad when I see people acting like they are an island unto themselves and they do not even remotely think about how their choices and action will influence and impact those that are around them. God even says, “none of us liveth to himself” in Romans 14:7. We are answerable to God for how we live, and we are answerable for how our lives influenced others. Let each of us make sure that our influence on others is for God’s glory and their good.
July 23, 2017
Let God Help You Dream
God has created us to desire to achieve things in life. He has wired us to be motivated to accomplish things in our future. For us to fulfill God’s will for our lives, we need to let God give us our dreams and help us achieve our dreams. If we do not dream and if we are not motivated to achieve, then great things will never be accomplished in our lives. God does not want us to settle for status quo or sub-par. He wants our lives to be lived to the fullest and leave an impact that makes a difference in the world and the lives of others. We have guests with us today that are on a God given journey to see a dream become a reality. God has placed it in their hearts to serve the US Military by planting a church outside a base on foreign soil. In a few weeks, they will be moving to Okinawa, Japan, to begin the fulfillment of this burden or dream given to them by God. It has required much effort, sacrifice, perseverance, patience, and faith in the Lord to see this dream come true in their lives. Their dream is much like the one given to the Martins many years ago by the Lord. They, too, are on the same journey the Jellison family has been on for several years. The Lord has given the Martins the opportunity to get some on the job training in Military church ministry next year with the Jellison family in Japan. Okinawa is the place where God gave this burden of ministry to US Military to the Martins and I think it is wonderful that the first place to experience this ministry will be back there again. The Lord wants to give each of His children His dream for their lives and help them see those dreams come to reality. The question is will we make ourselves available, sensitive, and yielded to Him so He can do His work in us and through us. Walk with God each day in His Word and through His Spirit and let Him bring Himself the glory He deserves in each of our lives.
July 16, 2017
Treating Others Like Christ Wants You To
The Bible tells us nine times that God does not want us to treat people differently based upon what we can get from them or because they can benefit us. Showing favoritism to someone by ignoring the wrong they do because of who they are or ignoring the good they do because of who they are is always a bad thing to do. When we treat people based on the principle of God’s truth and love them, we will always treat them with grace and respect. If we are a follower of Christ, then we should follow His example in how we treat people. Jesus was always gracious in His dealings with people, but He was also principled in dealing with what is right and wrong no matter who the person doing it was. As parents, we need make sure that we deal with our easy children and difficult children the same. We need to correct wrong in our compliant child just as we do with our rebellious child. To ignore what is wrong just because we like someone or they can benefit us is never a good thing. To ignore things that are done well and right just because we do not like someone or they cannot benefit us is never the right thing to do. According to I John 2:6, God’s Word tells true followers of Jesus they ought to walk or behave like Jesus behaved. This truth applies to how we treat others as well. Biblical Christianity applies to everyday life just as much as it applies to what we believe. What we believe is supposed to influence how we act, how we talk, and how we treat people. Joseph’s beliefs showed up in his life when he was loved by his father and when he was betrayed by his brothers. His father, grandfather, and grandmother did not do that quite as well. We all need to work on living out our faith in our everyday life and dealings with others.
July 9, 2017
Three D’s of Daily Christian Living
There are certain things about being a believer that are instantaneous and once for all, while there are other things that are needed to be done continually, regularly, and daily. Forgiveness of all our sins to be able to be in a relationship with the Holy God is done once forever, as is receiving God’s righteousness to be able to be part of His righteous family. Being born into God’s family and adopted as an equal heir of His eternal inheritance is instant and forever. Receiving the gift of God’s Holy Spirit is instant and forever, as is having an eternal residence in Heaven with your Heavenly Father. However, there are other aspects of our Salvation and relationship with God that need to be done regularly and continually. Keeping things right with God and being cleansed of sinful actions to stay in close, intimate fellowship with our Heavenly Father needs to be done regularly and continually according to I John 1:9, which is written to believers. Being in tune with the Holy Spirit that is dwelling in you is something that is an ongoing, repetitive matter as well. As we make ourselves sensitive to Him, we learn to listen to Him speak to our heart, learn from Him as He teaches us His Word, experience His power more and more so we can serve Him effectively, and experience the victory we have in Christ over sin and temptation. There are several other aspects of our Christian life that need to maintained regularly and done continually. Three of them being with the letter D: Discipleship, Devotion, and Dependency are continual, daily, and regular. Following Christ is a decision to be made, but must be maintained daily. Being a disciple of Christ means being a follower of Christ and learning from Him and about Him as we walk in close fellowship and intimacy with Him. But for that to be our reality it requires us to be committed to it each day, which involves discipline on our part. Being devoted to the Lord in our lives is a decision that also requires daily maintenance. Dedication to anything is renewed each day to make sure we are maintaining our decision of devotion to whatever it might be. To faithfully fulfill our duty to something we decide to dedicate ourselves to must be a continual, daily commitment. To be dependent on something requires a regular replenishing of whatever we are dependent on. Some people are dependent on certain chemicals because their body is no longer functioning as it should. Some people make themselves dependent on chemicals by putting chemicals into their system that God never intended on being there at all. Their body craves the chemical they have made themselves dependent on by using it originally. If we are going to maintain our physical strength, we must be dependent on regular exercise. So, too, is our dependency upon God. Prayer, God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, doing right, all need to be daily habits that strengthen our dependency upon them and our filling from them. Our dependency on these things will help us be more dependable to the Lord, to others, and to ourselves living the kind of life that brings God’s blessings richly to us.
July 2, 2017
Intimacy With God
The word “intimacy” means a special closeness and familiarity with someone. It means to have a belonging with someone and an inseparable nearness. It is the reality that God intended to be experienced in a biblical marriage and what too many marriages do not have. It is what God desires children to enjoy with their parents and, unfortunately, too many do not for a variety of reasons. This is exactly what God wants each of His children to experience with Him and many Christians never enjoy. Intimacy is what Adam and Eve enjoyed with each other and their Creator God before sin came in to destroy it. They enjoyed His personal presence with them, talking to Him and listening to Him, walking in harmony together and in close fellowship without any hindrances. This intimacy with God was destroyed by their sin, and it is sin that keeps us today from experiencing true intimacy with God in our own lives. Salvation redeems for us and restores to us what sin steals and destroys in intimacy with God. However, even in the believer’s life as a true follower of Christ, it is our sinful choices that causes us to not enjoy real intimacy with our God and Saviour. It is sin that hinders true intimacy in our relationships with other people in our lives here on earth as well. In marriage, parenting, church families, and friendships, it is sin that hinders our experience and enjoyment of deep, soul level connections with people we care about. Intimacy with God and with others is what God created us for, equipped us to have, and even redeemed us to renew. But far too often we settle for a lesser quality of relationship with God and others than true, authentic intimacy. Let each of us strive to have the best and deepest relationships we can have with God and those He has placed in our lives for His glory.
June 25, 2017
God Calls Men to Lead
Leadership is not always easy nor is it always glamorous or glorious. Sometimes leading is difficult and discouraging, but it is still the will of God for each person in different ways. Older people are called to lead in the lives of younger people. Parents are called to lead in the lives of children. Many people are entrusted with leadership roles in the lives of people in a nation or community. Pastors are called to lead in a flock of believers as a shepherd under the Chief Shepherd’s direction with the help of deacons and godly men. Husbands and fathers are called to lead in their families as they follow the Lord in their own life. Leadership is more of a responsibility than it is a right. It involves a greater accountability for the role of leaders unto God than those who are being led. We have been seeing how poorly Jacob has been leading in his life even though God is still pursuing him and not giving up on him. Today, we will look at further bad leadership by Jacob and how it led to some bad consequences in his family. Leaders must think about the result of their decisions in leading the lives of others. Our decisions have serious repercussions in the lives of others. I am amazed at Joseph and how well he led in his own life personally and in the lives of the Egyptian people as a political leader and in his family even in a pagan land. If Joseph could do well with all of the negative influences in his life, so can any one of us here today if we will walk with God personally and privately like Joseph did.
June 11, 2017
We Must All Deal With God
No matter what anyone wants to say, think, or believe; sooner or later everyone is going to come face to face with the Almighty God of the Bible. While on earth, we have the freewill to choose what we want, believe what we want, and do what we want within the laws of the land; however, we will give an account for it all unto our Creator God. He is the Creator of us all and the Judge of us all. No matter who we are, where we come from, how we were raised, what our beliefs are, or what we have done in our lives, we will be judged by God. We will all answer to our Creator for the life, abilities, and opportunities He gave to us and what we did with them. We can use these things for our own gain and glory or we can choose to use them for His glory, but we cannot choose if we will be accountable to Him for our choice. Today, we are going to look at two men who had to deal with their Creator. They were both sneaky, tricky, deceivers; but they could not fake, deceive, or manipulate their way through this encounter with the Holy God. For both of them, their dealing with God changed them. It behooves us all to meet with our maker on a personal level before we finish life on earth and enter eternity. It is in our eternal best interest to come before Him willingly, repentantly, and obediently to seek forgiveness of our sins and to be brought into a right relationship with Him while we are still on earth. If we choose not to come before Him willingly before eternity, we will still have to do it in eternity. If we refuse to humble ourselves before Him willingly, we will still have to face Him in eternity. If we reject making things right with Him willingly in repentance before eternity, we will have no choice but to face our consequences for eternity. We must all deal with God sooner or later. If we do it early, willingly, and obediently, it is better for us later. If we wait until after life on earth is over, the result will be eternal separation from God in the place God prepared for the Devil and His angels; it will also have room for His deniers.
June 4, 2017
Learning About Your Father
This week our children are learning a bit about my life growing up. They are seeing things about my history that they have never seen. My adult children grew up spending time in Florida hearing my stories of growing up there. It is a wonderful opportunity for children to know more about their heritage and the people, places, and things that have shaped the lives of their parents. Those shaping influences not only shape our lives as parents but indirectly shape the lives of our children as we parent them from the context of our own life experiences. Please pray for our family as we travel and introduce our children to more of my family they will meet for the first time and see others they have only met once before. Thank you for those who have prayed for my father and my Aunt Prudy, who are both battling cancer. We will be able to see them both on this trip. Please pray for safety and God to grow relationships of our children with their new family on this trip. Just like it is important for our children to know about the history of their father, it is important for all of us, as God’s children, to get to know details about our Heavenly Father and our spiritual family. Reading God’s Word, being engaged in Bible Studies, and being faithful to the preaching of God’s Word helps children of God learn more about our Heavenly Father and the family traits He wants His children to display in their lives. If you are not sure you have been born into God’s family by adoption as a child entitled to His eternal inheritance, today is a great day to settle that. If you are a child of God by faith in His Son as your personal Saviour, then make sure you are becoming more familiar with your spiritual family and family living.
Welcome Hutchens Family
Today, we are blessed to have the Hutchens family with us. Sister Juliana grew up on the mission field of Japan. Her father, David Harris, and I were roommates in college many years ago. Her mother, Jenny, was a roommate of Teri as well. Brother Sam grew up part of his life with his dad in the Air Force, part on staff in a church in Texas, and finishing up his teen years with his dad planting a church in Vancouver, B.C. They both felt directed from God to serve him with their lives in ministry at a young age. They were in Bible college at West Coast Baptist College, and they are pursuing His will for their lives to plant a biblical church in Christchurch, New Zealand. New Zealand is a beautiful country 1,200 miles southeast of Australia. The evidence of God’s glory and greatness in creation is displayed everywhere in this amazing country, but the truth of God from His Word is not very well known. God has called the Hutchens family to take the light of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ to the beautiful land of limited light in much darkness. It is exciting to see young adults dedicating their lives to the Lord’s service in a vocational ministry. It is a blessing to see servants of the Lord who have been saved at a young age, surrender to God’s will at a young age, and stay faithful to that calling to see it become a reality. God wants to use each of our lives for His glory while we are here on earth. The question is, will we experience all that He desires for us to achieve for His glory while we are here on earth?
May 21, 2017
The Key to Success
The word “success” speaks volumes about our world view. How we measure success defines how we view life and what we value life. How we achieve our success also defines our view of life and what is important to us. As we look at our world today and the history of our world, there have been many people who have accomplished much in life but not for good and often not in a good way. It is clear that Hitler achieved much in his life and left a lasting impact on our world, but the greatness he achieved was not for good. His rise to power cost millions their lives and ultimately brought his great country to ruins. On the other hand, many people have used their potential to achieve greatness in ways that resulted in good for them and for many other people at the same time. When we view our world and our lives from the filter of Scripture, we will evaluate success from God’s truth and we will seek to achieve our success in ways that honors God and those around us as well as those who come behind us. God has placed within every person the potential to achieve the success that He desires for them. The question is will they experience that success or squander it on something else. Our sin causes us to miss out on the success that God intends our lives to achieve. Joseph is a great example of achieving the success God places within a person in such away that honors God and honors the people around you. I want to encourage, challenge, and motivate us all to see success as God does and experience the success that God created you to achieve for His glory and the good of those around you.
May 14, 2017
Happy Mother’s Day
Today is a wonderful day to celebrate the role of motherhood. Everyone has life because of a mom who gave them life and brought them into the world. The role of motherhood is one that the Bible speaks highly of and should be held in high regard by true believers of God’s Word. Mothers have an awesome accountability to the Lord for their nurturing, nourishing, and loving training of their children. The Bible states that God holds a heavy accountability for children that do not honor and esteem their mother. It is not easy to be a mom; therefore, God’s original plan is for parenting to be a job of mom and dad to do together for the well-being of their children. The plan of life is God’s plan. The plan of motherhood and fatherhood is God’s design. The care of life and the preparation for life by loving parents is God’s will for each person given the responsibility and blessing of life. As a mother, you have tremendous influence on the future of the children entrusted into your care. As a person who has life, we each have so much to give thanks for regarding the life that we have been given. It is critical for each of us to take the life that has been given to us and to use it to fulfill all of the potential placed within us within the number of days that we will be given to live. As Joseph lived his life apart from his family during his teen years, I can only imagine how his memories of his mother and father brought him much sadness and motivation. Sadness: in the fact that he could not be with them at no fault of his own or theirs. Motivation: in the fact that they helped prepare him to be the young man to endure the challenges he was facing in his life. I pray for each mother here today that has children in their care to do your part to prepare your children to reach their potential for God’s glory while they are in your care. That truly is a big part of our God given purpose in life: to reproduce ourselves and multiply the impact of our existence for the future.
May 7, 2017
Keep On Keeping On!
This week I have been blessed by receiving several texts, notes, emails, and letters from preachers who were here for the Bible conference. They each are expressing gratitude to the church family and praise to the Lord for how they were blessed by the conference. The preaching, the hospitality, the fellowship, and the sweet spirit all were mentioned as things that refreshed and encouraged them while they were here with us. We thank God for what He has done, while at the same time, we know that there is so much more that God still has to do with us and through us individually and as a church body for His glory here in the Grande Ronde Valley and around the world. Today, we are blessed to have a guest missionary couple going to Nepal to reach the Tibetan people. Joe & Katie McKelroy both grew up here in Oregon in the homes of pastors and the Lord is calling on them to continue in a life of ministry with Him. I am always encouraged to see young adults being faithful to the Lord and dedicating their lives for His service. It is an honor for us to have them here to share their burden from the Lord to go to this uttermost region of the world. We each individually, as the people that make up this church family and ministry, need to be committed to keep on keeping on in faithfulness to the Lord, His Word, and His will for our lives. If we are going to honor God with our lives and hear the words “well done” from our Lord, then we need to keep on keeping on with the Lord. There are more souls to reach with the Gospel, there are more places to send missionaries and plant churches, and there is much more ministry to accomplish with the Lord as long as He keeps us here on earth. Let’s keep on keeping on for the glory of God in our lives and in His church in this place.
April 30, 2017
Thank You Lord, Again!
God has shown Himself great and mighty unto us once again through the Bible conference we hosted this past week for the 27th year. We prayed, we prepared, we planned, we worked; but God gave the increase and did for us what we could not do. He brought people here from 42 different churches to gather together as a unified congregation to worship and honor God, to listen to His Word proclaimed, and to give to others in need. Even though we had one of lowest attended conferences this year, we had our third highest offering given to meet the needs of God’s servants with nearly ten thousand dollars. I want to praise the Lord for how He answered our prayers that we prayed for this conference. The weather did not interfere with any of our activities and, to my knowledge, everyone had safety in travel. One family had a breakdown on their way home, but I praise God for how He blessed and used their inconvenience for His glory. I praise the Lord for 22 pastors, 11 missionaries, 4 church planters, 9 staff members, and others in ministry for a total of 50 in vocational ministry who joined us. To God be the glory for great things He did through the preachers that preached His Word and His Spirit working in hearts of His servants as they were in fellowship together. Bro Hinton from Prineville preached a great message on caring for others, Bro. Kaminski from Eugene talked about how God is still in the miracle working business here on earth for His people, Bro. John Martin was a blessing challenging us to know Jesus intimately, and Dr. Clayton was a huge blessing with each message he preached. If all of that wasn’t enough, God blessed on Wednesday night with Bro. Petrocco from Lighthouse Baptist Press preaching on not giving God crumbs and leftovers in our life from Joel’s prophecy. God has been very, very good to us here at Summerville Baptist Church, and it is imperative that we give Him praise and honor Him with thanksgiving and faithfulness to Him. In recent days, we have seen several souls saved, believer’s baptized and added into the church family, the attendance finally beginning to improve, and the general giving a God’s people pick up. God is still here with us and working in us for which He is to be glorified.
April 23, 2017
All Hands On Deck!
We are delighted to have Dr. Larry Clayton with us today to help us get started with our 27th annual Northwest Bible Conference. Bro. Clayton has been with us several times before, and we are blessed to have him join us again for this wonderful event. The Bible conference is one of our biggest events on our ministry calendar each year. We need everyone to take part in helping this ministry be a success. Our goals in hosting this conference are simple and biblical. We desire to see God glorified through the preaching of His Word and our hospitality to His servants. We desire to serve God’s servants and encourage them in the work God has called them to do with Him in the area of God’s harvest field. We also desire to find out who has needs and work together to help meet those needs with our special offering on Tuesday. Each year thousands of dollars are raised to meet the needs of God’s servants here in the Northwest. Over the years, we have helped to purchase Bibles, pay off medical debts, fix vehicles, and even purchase vehicles. God uses this event to encourage preachers, support missionaries, and strengthen believers through Christian fellowship, charitable hospitality, and biblical preaching. Everyone can do something and no one should do everything. You may be able to help with child care, food preparation, food service, meal clean up, and by giving a special offering to help with expenses and the needs offering. I have been blessed to see the different names on the sign up lists, but there are empty spots that need to be met by others who have not signed up as of yet. Today, we will be blessed by the preaching of God’s Word from Dr. Clayton, and today is your opportunity to plan on being part of the ministry team. We have invited guests to come join us, and we need to be good hosts as they come to experience the work of God in the Northwest Bible Conference. I am excited to see what God is going to do and who is going to be here to experience it. I am also excited to hear about the results that come from this event for weeks to come in the future. I hope you will let God use you to glorify Him during this conference and use this conference for His glory in your life.
April 16, 2017
Our First Fruit Offering
Nearly two thousand years ago today, Jesus Christ came forth from the dead and out of the grave in fulfillment of yet another Old Testament prophetic foreshadowing of the Messiah. The first day of the week after Sabbath following Passover every year on the Jewish calendar is a part of the Feast of Unleavened Bread known as the Feast of First Fruits. It is when the Jewish people worshiped God in thanksgiving and honor for the first harvest of the spring which was wheat. They would bring a sheaf of wheat and wave it unto the Lord acknowledging Him as the giver of this new source of life harvested from the ground. All through the Old Testament this special worship was always done on the first day of the week, which was not a normal day of worship for them. Today, on this Sunday or first day of the week, we are celebrating in this spring season our only hope of new life that was given to us from God and was brought forth from the ground or grave, which is Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead following His Crucifixion sacrifice of Himself as our Passover Lamb. He is our first fruit offering that brings us to the holy God of Heaven. In fact in I Corinthians 15:20, one of the most significant texts of Scripture in regards to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, it declares Jesus Christ to be “the firstfruits of them that slept” in reference to His resurrection “from the dead”. And this is why we worship our Lord and Saviour on Sunday the first day of the week and the historical day of celebrating the firstfruits offering to God. It is Jesus who paid our debt of sin as our sacrificial Passover Lamb. It is Jesus who brings us into a right relationship with the Holy God of Heaven through new life in Him by giving us His resurrection life and righteousness by faith in Him. And here is another fun fact. It is also Jesus who is our High Priest offering His own blood on the altar of Heaven, the Mercy Seat, before God the Father who accepted His offering and what makes us acceptable to God.
April 9, 2017
Avoiding Death and Experiencing Deliverance
That is exactly what we are celebrating today and as we go through this coming week. Last Sunday I challenged you to read from John 13-17, about how the Lord Jesus sought to prepare His followers for His coming death and departure. This week I wish to encourage you to read through each of the Gospel narratives recording the events of Jesus’ last Passover commemoration and His institution of the Lord’s Table for His church representing His sacrifice and shed blood for our salvation This coming week is when those events took place in the life and ministry of Christ, along with His arrest and crucifixion on the cross as our Passover Lamb to pay the debt of our sins. The Passover is celebrated every year by Jewish people all over the world since God established it with His people when He was delivering them from bondage in Egypt. It is recorded for us in Exodus 12-14, where God tells Moses and Aaron what to tell the children of Israel as to how they could be spared from death and enjoy the deliverance from Egypt. It involved the life of a sacrificial lamb that was perfect and pure. It involved the shedding of the blood of the sacrifice and the application of that blood to the door to the house. It involved the death angel of the Lord passing through Egypt and any home that did not have the blood applied would experience the death of the first born male of man and animals. This is the time of year this observance was established for the deliverance of God’s people in the Old Testament and this week over two thousand years ago is when Jesus not only celebrated this festival with His disciples, but He also fulfilled the prophecy it represented for all who believe in Jesus and apply His shed blood to the door of their life by faith in who He is and what He did for us on the cross. It was during this week in the calendar that Jesus shed His blood back then in history. He bore our sins in His body on the cross as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of all who will receive Him as their Saviour. He suffered death and separation from God because of taking our sins upon Himself. He was innocent, so He could take the guilt of the sins we commit. Today, for any of us to avoid death eternally and experience deliverance from the payment of our sins, we must receive the sacrifice Christ made as our payment for our sins by faith. We must apply His shed blood to our lives by faith. We must accept His death as the payment of our sin debt. We must receive His righteousness as a free gift only made available by trusting in Him to redeem us. This is the only way the Jews in Egypt avoided the death angel and experienced deliverance from bondage, and it is the same for us today. If you have never experienced this as defined in the Bible, we invite you to let God save you today.
April 2, 2017
God’s Church, God’s Plan, God’s Will
For any church to be a biblical church, it must stay faithful to God’s Word, the Bible. For a church to be God’s church, it must be faithful to God’s plan for His church. God’s church is God’s plan for fulfilling His will on earth in reaching the people in the world with the truth of His Gospel. A church is made up of the saved and baptized believers who have united together in agreed doctrine in a physical location to worship and serve the Lord in obedience to His Word. So, for a church to be biblical and be obedient to God as His church, the people in it must be understanding of what God’s Word says and then committed to doing what it says His churches are to be doing. I am thankful that in recent weeks we are seeing that this church is continuing to be God’s church and a biblical church. Two weeks ago the Lord reached down and drew a soul to be born into His family by faith in His Son as personal Saviour in our worship service. Souls being saved and lives being changed is an evidence of a living church where the Spirit of God is producing life. Last week, God’s people in this place gave close to $2,000.00 to send Bibles to the Missionaries to give God’s Word to people who do not have it and can not obtain it on their own. Today, we are honored to have two of our longest supported Missionaries, Ron and Kathy Reasoner. The Reasoner family has been serving the Lord on the mission field for nearly three decades. We have been able to invest in the work God has done with them over the years. Today, the next generation of Reasoners are continuing the Lord’s work as their children are returning to the mission field to serve the Lord with their families. God is still at work in His church in this place for which I thank Him and give Him all of the praise and glory. I hope you are seeing it, enjoying it, participating in it, and praising God for it. Don’t miss out on God using you for His glory in this place.
March 26, 2017
Having God’s Word is Eternally Beneficial
Can you imagine all that you would not know to be true if you did not have a copy of God’s Word that you could read and understand? Can you imagine all that you would not have grown to understand in God’s Word if you did not have people in your life teaching you, helping you grow, and ministering to you because you did not have a church with which you could connect? We are often amazed at how deceived people are around us and around the world, but many are deceived because they just have not been exposed to truth. Without God’s Word, we would not know the truth of the Gospel in order to know we need to be saved. Without God’s Word, we would not have the necessary ingredients to have faith to trust Christ, since faith to trust is produced through God’s Word working in your soul. God uses his Word to work in our heart to draw us to Him and to know Him so we are to trust in Him. God’s Word is essential for faith and it is also essential for obedience. Although we do have consciences, that cause us to know some things about sin and guilt or right and wrong. There are many things that we just would not know we are accountable for without knowing what God’s Word says. The Word of God is a priceless gift that we should treasure and cherish, but far too often we neglect it or let other things marginalize it in our lives. I have met several people who were saved just because someone gave them a Bible, and they committed themselves to reading it and discovering what it has to say. I have heard testimony of others who were drawn to the Lord because someone gave them a Bible and when a soul winner shared the Gospel with them all of the pieces of the puzzle of faith came together for them to be born again. I have also heard the testimony of others who sought out to study the Bible in order to prove it was false and flawed, but in their studies ended up believing it unto Salvation. God’s Word is powerful, however, that power must be made available to people who do not have access to it. Much of the world’s population live in abject poverty and could never hope to purchase a Bible. If a Bible was not provided for them, they would not ever be able to afford one. Missionaries around the world, and even here in America in several locations, are dependent on God’s people caring enough to provide Bibles for those who could never be able to purchase one on their own. We need to care enough about the significance of the Bible itself and about the eternal souls of people so we will be willing to sacrifice from our own resources to help others have access to God’s truth. Thank you for the gift you gave today for Bibles. Please pray with me that God would use these Scriptures provided to work mightily in the hearts of people on the foreign field.
March 19, 2017
Life Lived God’s Way
Thou wilt shew me the path of life:
in thy presence is fulness of joy;
at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
There are a myriad of ways to live life, but only one way will ensure the blessings of God on our life. We can live according to our own rules, we can live the ways of the world, or we can live God’s way. Today, the popular thing is to blend them all together in order to cover all the bases and form a hybrid way to live life hoping God will still bless it at least a little, maybe. Unfortunately, Satan loves to deceive us into believing that partial obedience is still obedience, but the reality of God’s blessing is only the result of true obedience. God’s path of life for His children that insure the blessings of God is recorded for us in His Word. If we have any hope to truly live life His way, we must receive His instruction on living life from His Word. If we will let His Holy Spirit teach us and guide us as we read His Word and hear it taught and preached, then we can put it into practice effectively in our living of life. As we live life God’s way around other people, we are demonstrating for them how to live life God’s way. The best example of living life on earth God’s way is in the person of Jesus, who was God in the flesh. If we truly follow Him in our living of life, we will be living the path of life God desires for His children. If we will seriously do this, it will positively effect every aspect of our life and eternally improve our impact on those around us each day as we journey through this life. Living life God’s way means to receive from Him all that He desires for His children and then to extend what we experience with Him unto others who are around us. This is the dynamic of biblical Christian living on earth. Letting God do His work in me as His child, so I can bring Him the glory He deserves in my life, and so I can enjoy the fullness of His blessing in my life. As I experience His Word in me, I can express it to others verbally and extend it to them in demonstration, but it all begins with me yielding to God in my life.
March 14, 2017
“Zeal For God, Not Righteousness of God”
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
For they being ignorant of God's righteousness,
and going about to establish their own righteousness,
have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Here we see the shortfall of religion over relationship. Israel, as a nation, is and has been devoutly religious, and Paul knew that first hand as a Pharisee himself before his conversion to faith in Christ alone. Like the nation of Israel in Paul’s day and even today, we in our society have much religion that is teaching about God, but failing to bring followers into a personal relationship with God. God gave the Apostle Paul these words to record regarding the difference between religion and relationship. He said his desire was to see them come to faith in Christ alone for forgiveness of sin and be saved eternally. He acknowledged their sincerity and devotion to following the tenets of their religion, while at the same time declaring authoritatively the short coming of their efforts. Now remember, Paul had been raised in their faith and he had been an ardent practitioner of its teachings even as a teacher of it. So, he knew what he was talking about. He was not speaking second or third hand from what he read in a book about people who were in the Jewish faith; it had been his faith for his whole life before he met Jesus. Paul further declares the problem with the religions men (follow in verse 3) when he speaks of how they were trying to establish their own righteousness through their religious rituals and law following. This is the goal of most all religions of man that contradict the Bible and Biblical Christianity that Jesus came to make possible for us. All religions of man teach their followers that the path of salvation and relationship with God is earned in our faithful efforts to make ourselves acceptable to God through strict adherence to the disciplines of their faith. Each religion has different rules of engagement in this process, but they all have their rules to establish acceptance with whomever they are worshiping. The failure to this ideology is that is it missing the Biblical reality of the righteousness of God. The Bible teaches us that God is perfectly righteous without any sin or even the ability to sin. We humans, on the other hand, are sinners by nature from birth and sin willfully on a regular basis. The standard of sin is so high in the Bible that in Romans 14:23 God’s Word says that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Even if it were possible to reform our actions of sin, which is what much of religion seeks to do, we still have not done anything about the sin we are already guilty of committing. Even if we could work off the sins we have committed through good deeds, then we have still not changed our soul nature of sin. Only God can truly do these things for us. He alone can pay the debt of our sin, remove the guilt of our sin, and change our nature of sin with His nature in us. For us to truly be in a right relationship with the Holy God of Scripture, we must submit to His plan of Salvation and receive His righteousness by faith alone in His provision alone who is Jesus Christ, His eternal Son. Christ is the end of our religious efforts of righteousness and the beginning of a real, eternal relationship with God as a part of His beloved family. Don’t settle for religion, find relationship.
March 12, 2017
Peace Through Truth
How do you get peace in your life? Some people try to experience peace by ignoring or avoiding reality; however that is never very long lasting. The pesky reality just keeps coming back to our attention sooner or later and it must be dealt with at some point. People who try to use chemicals to escape reality and experience peace, even natural, physiological chemicals like adrenalin, after a while the effect of the chemical will be gone and reality will once again be staring you in the face screaming for attention. Jonah had some experience of this avoidance approach to peace recorded for us in the book of Scripture bearing his name. In Jonah chapter 1, we see him disobeying God and the will of God for his life to preach God’s truth to the people of Nineveh. Instead of dealing with the reality of how God’s will did not fit into his desires and talking things over with God he instead tries to run from God’s will and avoid having to deal with it. Later in that chapter in verse 5 we find Jonah experiencing some temporary peace of mind sleeping in the lower parts of the boat. When I hear people try to justify their sinful choices with the fact that they have peace about it, I always think of Jonah. Completely out of God’s will, running from God, living in disobedience and peacefully content asleep. This kind of peace never lasts very long until reality sets in and begins to wreak havoc, which is exactly what happens to Jonah. God has a far better plan for peace that is very different and longer lasting than chemicals or avoidance. God’s plan for peace is built upon truth. Today we are going to spend some time this morning and this evening taking a look at God’s plan for peace built upon the truth of His Word. This is significant for Salvation and a personal relationship with the Lord as well as what we believe and how we live in obedience to the will of God. Peace is possible here on earth and it is part of God’s plan, which we studied last Sunday. The significance is in knowing God’s Word and implementing what we know in our daily life. I hope this will be a day of discovery for us all.
March 5, 2017
Peace on Earth?
Today, what we see on earth is anything but peace. We see people protesting everything under the sun that they might disagree with. The constitution protects free speech, but it does not protect violence, destruction of property, nor in siting terror in protests. This week as we visited our elected officials in our State Capitol in Salem, we heard many asked prayer for protection against extreme groups who have threatened them and their families if they vote a certain way. It is refreshing, however, to finally have a president again who is willing to name our enemies and call them by their truly identified name. We do not have much peace on earth – why not, and is it even possible? God has answers to these pressing matters if we will take time to examine it. In the Gospel of Luke, we have two statements about peace on earth that seem to be a contradiction, but are they? Did Jesus come to earth from Heaven to bring peace on earth, or did He rather come to cause division? Which is it? Is there actually a contradiction in God’s Word here, or is there more to the story? I would like to offer you the explanation that both are true and being experienced today on earth and will be experienced in the future as well. This morning, I would like for us to take a look at why there is not peace on earth, but rather why Christ is the cause of so much division on earth currently. Tonight, we will look how we can enjoy peace on earth through the Lord and His Word. My question to each one here today is what is your own personal experience of these truths in your own life here on earth? Are you experiencing peace on earth through knowing Jesus, or are you experiencing division? And, if following Jesus had brought division and conflict in your life, how has that experience been for you personally? Are you experiencing peace in your own heart although there is division and conflict taking place around you because of following Jesus? God’s Word is sufficient for our questions and quandaries of life. God does not want us to doubt Him or our faith in derision due to the divisions that Jesus may cause in our life. He has given us His Word to help us experience His peace even in the midst of the storms that come in life to every follower of Christ. So, how is that “peace on earth” working out for you personally?
February 26, 2017
Oregon Pastor’s Capitol Outreach
Tuesday February 28
I wish to invite you to join me in prayer for an event taking place this week that has been eight months in the making. Eight months ago God burdened my heart to stop simply praying for preachers in Oregon to make a difference in the lives of our state legislators, but to also start working on getting it done. Prayer is always an important thing to do and every great work needs to begin with prayer and seeking God’s direction. However, somewhere along the line God wants us to get into motion while we are praying. Any work will not get done without action. Prayer should always lead us to obeying God in response to our prayers and God’s direction. So, eight months ago God laid the name of a preacher who could help get this into motion, and I made a phone call to Pastor Brandon Hardy, who is the pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Salem, OR. Bro. Hardy began doing outreach in the State Capitol a few years ago. I knew that he had a passion to make a difference there and that he could help get this effort accomplished. When I called, he not only expressed enthusiastic support for the idea, but also stated he had been praying for this to happen as well. In life there are a lot of good ideas that never come to fruition because of a lack of action. Sooner or later if good ideas are going to become reality it will require action on the part of people being yielded to, led by, and empowered through God. My first step was to make sure our list of preachers was complete. This took much time and energy, but the reward was meeting preachers that I had not come in contact with before. This effort was also helpful in my efforts to help the Martins raise their Mission’s support which has been going on during this same eight months. Praise the Lord, currently we are at thirty-four churches who are on the call list for helping the Martins with their support when they are needed in a military church overseas. In September, I began correspondence with the Oregon Independent Baptist Pastors to encourage them to take part in this effort. Through the course of the next several months through emails and letters we have been organizing this effort. I have personally spoken to every pastor on our mailing list several times over the last several months, and we currently have nearly twenty-five Pastors in the state of Oregon who will be joining Bro. Hardy and myself this coming Tuesday to do Gospel outreach in the halls of our state Capitol. Please pray for God to bless and work mightily through this event. Pray for safety, God’s blessings, open hearts, and the power of the Gospel to be fruitful as it always is.
February 19, 2017
What Is Your Perception of God?
I think it is interesting how differently people perceive God. It saddens me how many people do not enjoy God personally and how many people have degraded God to a curse word or a peer of theirs. I also feel it is sad how many people blame God for things Satan should be getting the credit for and how often people attribute the blessings of God to luck or coincidence. The God of the Bible is knowable through His Word while, at the same time, so great He will never be fully comprehended by mortals such as us. The God of eternity is so simple that a child can embrace His love and forgiveness by faith, yet so complex you can spend a lifetime studying Him and His Word never exhausting the reality of His greatness. It has been said by many that perception is the basis of reality. I think this is exactly why people have a different reality of the true God and a different experience of His work in their life. For us to have a true reality of God, our perception of Him must be true. For our perception of God to be true, it must be based upon true information. God has supplied us with His truth in His Bible to help us know Him truly. God has also given His Spirit to work in human hearts to help people truly know Him. Don’t cheat yourself out of the experience of the reality of who God really is by having a false perception based upon false information. We have heard a lot about “fake news” and false information in the media. I think the outcome of the election is testament to that fact. The media proclaimed their reality based upon their perception, yet the outcome was a very different reality is truth. Don’t settle for a false reality of God that will keep you from enjoying the truth of who He is and what He can do in you, through you, and with you for His glory.
February 12, 2017
In my personal worship this week, I ran across two great truths that stirred my heart and caused me to contemplate some meditative thoughts. The verses are in Psalm 111 and 112. I would encourage you to read both of these Scriptures today as you continue your Lord’s Day observance. They are both incredibly rich with significant truths about the kind of experience God wants each of His children to enjoy with Him while they journey through this life here and now. One of the truths that captivated my attention was in 111:2. It is so true that we will seek out what we find pleasure in. If you find pleasure in exercise, you will make time in your schedule to do it, but if it is not at all pleasurable, the least little thing will keep you from it. If you find pleasure in a person’s company, no distance is too far, no challenge is too great to spend some time with that person. If a certain type of food or meal is pleasurable to you, then you would have no problem eating it three times a day or every evening for dinner all week long. But at the same time, if a food is not pleasurable to you, one time a year is too often even if it is good for your health. The works of the Lord found in the Word of the Lord are sought out by those who find pleasure in them, while easily avoidable by those who do not. Discovering new truths and insights into known truths is a constant source of joy to those who delight themselves in the law of the Lord. If you are in the Word much at all, being sensitive to the Spirit of God as you read it, you will be regularly pleased by the things you discover and uncover as you dig into His truth. It is there for any one who will find pleasure in it. There is so much more in that Psalm, but I must hasten on to a thought in Psalm 112. This Psalm is talking about the blessed man, which is discussed in several others Psalms as well as other Scriptures. In fact, the phrase “blessed man” is a great word study to dig into in God’s Word and see what all God has to say about being that blessed person. But look at the reality of peace in verses 7&8. Look at the hope of your heart being fixed by trusting in the Lord. The word “fixed” in the Hebrew means “to be set up; or erect, established, or stable; as well being focused or repaired, prepared, or ready for prosperity.”
This is what happens for the person who is trusting in the Lord, and it is connected back to delighting in God’s Word. The more you enjoy the Word the more you will be in the Word, and then the more you will be fixed in your heart and experience peace in your life by trusting in the Lord.
February 5, 2017
There is something new for us here at Summerville Baptist Church. With the help of Adam Umpleby, the oldest son of Lyle & Sharon, along with our secretaries (Sabina & Sharon), we now have a new website. The main reason for changing the website is to accommodate sermons to be posted on the website. Currently, they are available as an audio file that you can listen to, and we hope in the future to have them available as a video file that can be seen and heard. This has been something that we have been working to achieve since Stuart moved to Thailand and was an idea even when then Flowers were traveling for work. This way people who cannot make it out to the service can still benefit from the preaching of God’s Word and not miss out. Stuart was very blessed this week when he was able to listen to God’s Word being preached from his home church. If you have a computer or a mobile device that allows you to search the internet, please take time to visit our new website www.summervillebaptistchurch.com and see what it looks like. It is very informative with current activities that are coming up, pictures from past events, and much more. If you cannot make it out to church on a Sunday, you now can still benefit from the message God had for the service you missed. This is just one more way for us to serve the Lord and minister as a church. We have had people attend our services because of viewing our website. Please pray for God to use this tool to reach people for His glory, and let Him use it to be a blessing to you as well.
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Summerville Baptist Church
507 Jefferson St
PO Box 164
Summerville, OR 97876
Phone: 541 534-9155
Sunday School 9:45am
Sunday Morning Worship Service: 11:00am
Sunday Evening Worship Service: 6:00pm
Wednesday Evening: 7:00pm
Please join us on Sundays and Wednesday for all ages! See "Ministries" for more information.
Call the church office for a ride @ 541-534-9155
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Sundays @ 9:00AM
La Grande & Union
Temporarily off the air and working to get back on.
Radio - 1450AM
Points to Ponder
Membership is made up of Union County residents including La Grande, Imbler, Elgin, Cove, Union, North Powder, and Summerville.