Month: May 2017

A Transformed Life

A Transformed Life

By Ty Haguewood

A person that comes to faith in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit is a transformed person. If a person has experienced the grace of God, they cannot remain the same.

For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:3-14

Paul, the converted Saul, the one who sacrificed everything he had to follow Jesus, shows that to follow, we must see Jesus as who He really is! Through encountering Jesus, we begin to see all else as loss. Paul didn’t “set his mind to it”; Jesus radically transformed this man’s life.

Today, Jesus is still in the business of transforming lives.

King Jesus, our Savior, is the only One that enables us to see with an eternal perspective. The more we see Jesus, the more we recognize Him as more valuable than anything else. Knowing King Jesus becomes the only thing that matters. There is absolutely nothing more important in your life than the answer to this simple question, “Do you know Jesus?”

The reality is your dreams, the very material items you find worth in, put your trust in, can be the very objects that lead to destruction. If you do not know Jesus, you will get to the end of your life thinking that you had it all and realize that you really had nothing. The Apostle Paul did not sacrifice everything he had in vain. In fact, while the world sees him sacrificing possessions that seem to have such great worth, they fail to see that Paul sacrificed rubbish, empty objects,  in order that he would have the greatest reward of all: knowing Jesus and being known by Him.

Do you see the surpassing worth of knowing Christ or is He just some small part of your life?

Malawi 2017 Mission Team

The 2017 Malawi Mission Team is safely off the ground.  They will soon be arriving in Lilongwe, Malawi to begin their work.  Please continue to pray intentionally.

Pray specifically for:

  • Safe travel
  • Safety in the mission field
  • Strength, stamina, and good health
  • God’s protection and provision
  • Planting and dedication of new churches
  • Training and new ministry opportunities
  • Lives to be changed
  • Families of missionaries

Join with us as we pray and anticipate how God will use them to change the world!

Ten Necessary Characteristics of People Called to Mission Work

By Karen Polich

Sunday was a time of worship and commissioning for those headed abroad this summer for mission work. Pastor Kevin Linthicum shared ten characteristics necessary in mission work. Acts 13:1

  1. Be called by God. A decision to embark on a mission trip must be driven by the Holy Spirit.
  2. Be willing to set the financial component aside; it is the least of your worries. God is faithful. He will provide for those He calls. Preparations are critical, but the money side should never take priority.
  3. Be led by the Holy Spirit. An individual needs to be mature enough as a follower of Christ to be led by the Holy Spirit.
  4. Be able to learn what it means to empty themselves. You must be willing to let God lead in all areas of the mission work being done. You should be set aside and He should be the messenger.
  5. Be bold. Speak the Gospel with tenacity. He has called you to proclaim the Gospel. It is not a time for timidity.
  6. Be a team player. No matter the size of the group, work together. Build each other up and help one another.
  7. Be singularly focused. Let the Gospel message be the sole purpose of your efforts.
  8. Be able to deny yourself. It’s not about you, but about Him and His Kingdom.
  9. Be a problem solver not a problem causer. Distractions will come, but stay focused on the goal.
  10. Glorify and honor God through the proclamation of the Gospel. This should be the sole focus of every effort.

This summer, pray for the mission work being done throughout the world. God has called many to go, beginning with our Malawi missions team who are leaving this week. Those He calls, He equips. We can each be a part of the work He is doing throughout the world with prayer. Pray for those away on missions. Those prayers will make a difference. Also, remember we are all in the mission field, regardless of location. Ask God to help you see those around you in your mission field today.

Fasting for the Purpose of Drawing Near to God

By Kevin Linthicum

Doing without… We live in a time when the thought of doing without is outside the normal thought process. When we determine we want something we simply get it. Many of the things we have are not even things we need, but things we want. We are a selfish, self-serving, and self reliant culture. Initially, I wanted to call the Malawi Mission Team to a time of prayer and fasting, but the more I began to pray over the process, I came to realize the entire church needed to be called to a time of prayer and fasting.

Acts 13:2-3, While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

In this passage, we see the church called to prayer and fasting before sending the missionaries out on the first journey. As we prepare to send our team off next week, I want all of us to take seriously the call to prayer and fasting.

For some, it will be the first time to exercise the discipline of fasting. I want to encourage each of you to seek God during this process. When you begin to feel hunger pains, you should be reminded of the purpose of the fast. We are attempting to draw near to God, seek God’s provision, seek God’s protection, and seek God’s will. I am waiting with anticipation to see how God will use this time of fasting and praying to help our team become stronger.

I believe the following text with all my heart. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. Ephesians 3:20

Use this time of fasting and prayer to strengthen your own journey and believe He can do far more than we could ever ask.

The AFBC family has been called by Pastor Kevin to a church-wide fast that begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 20 and ends at 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Sunday, May 21. We encourage you to join us as we fast and seek God together.

Fasting 101

By Karen Polich

Fasting 101 may sound like a boring sermon topic, but on Sunday Dr. Trey Sullins delivered this fast-paced message with passion and purpose. Listen to the podcast here. In his message, he focused on two areas, fasting and praying and respect for holiness.

Sullins’ message is a direct response to Pastor Kevin Linthicum’s call for the church to fast in preparation for upcoming mission trips to Malawi and throughout the world.

Fasting and praying. At its core, fasting is sacrifice. It’s getting rid of the things of the world and focusing on God. It is an outward expression of an inward devotion. Fasting is an act of worship. Nowhere in the Bible is fasting required. It is a choice of the heart. Fasting is a time of giving God all the honor and glory. Sacrifices are not easy. We can choose to make the sacrifice for Him.

In scripture, many fasted to seek God. Nehemiah, Daniel, David and Esther are examples of fasting during times of need, mourning and repentance.

Respect for holiness. What goes on in our hearts and the act of that is what is holy. We are made holy through Christ. (1 Peter 2:9, Colossians 3:12) We are often clear on what is unholy, but uncertain about what is holy. Holiness comes with a separation from the world and a holy pursuit of God and His call on your life.

And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:10

What about families? In 2 Chronicles 20:1- 29 King Jehosaphat called everyone to fast a pray, begging God to show up in their time of need.

In this process, the pursuit of holiness and the respect for holiness was being taught. Fasting is an opportunity to teach our children what it means to respect holiness. It is the act that brings holiness.

Not sure where you are with this? Search out God’s Word. As a church, we will be fasting from midnight Friday, May 19 until noon on May 21. If you choose to fast, immerse yourselves in it all day long. Talk about it as a family; pray as a family. For children or young adults, or those with health concerns, fasting is not necessarily about food. We can fast from many things. Also, it is not for everyone to see. It is for us to walk through as we would during a normal day. It’s not for social media and loud boasts, but a true focus on God.

“The end product of any fast is God’s will.” – Dr. Trey Sullins

The challenge is to embark on this journey with God, pursuing God and pursuing holiness.

Dare to Be a Disciple

By Karen Polich

Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

Pastor Kevin’s final sermon in the Making Disciples, sermon series looked at supervision and reproduction. Listen to the complete series via podcast here.

Supervision. Jesus kept watch over His followers. He taught the disciples the importance of rest. He led them into maturity as believers and He was always showing them His way and His provision. (Luke 10:18- 23, John 3:16)

“When was the last time you felt satisfied with God’s provision?” – Kevin Linthicum

We should take our role as disciples seriously and stop being satisfied with a low standard. Are we seeking and giving the best we have to offer?

Reproduction. The disciples needed to be able to produce more disciples. We should be in a place where we can produce more disciples. We should be interested in a person’s relationship with Christ. To look for a connection between going to church and salvation is wrong. It’s about knowing and choosing Jesus. Disciples produce fruit in their lives. (Matthew 28:19, Matthew 9:37)

“A person full of the spirit cannot help but to communicate the gospel to others. Your life is called for a purpose – to bring glory and honor to God.” – Kevin Linthicum

We should be seeking His will. Do we have what it takes to do what God has asked us to do? No, but HE DOES and He will equip each of us.

Every believer should be in the process of discipling or being discipled. The decision is yours.

God’s Will

By Elizabeth Thomas

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Are you someone who likes to plan? Or would you rather go with the flow? Are you someone who maps out your life, every decision or choice? Or are you someone who sees where the road takes you?

If you are like me, you would rather have a plan. I think human beings, in general, crave consistency and stability. We like to know we are in control of our future. The hard part comes when our plans fail, or get interrupted. As we all know, life doesn’t always go according to our plan.

In Kid’s Klub this past week, we focused on the Lord’s prayer and God’s will. In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. First, He acknowledged God as His Holy Father, then He said, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) He taught His disciples that when we pray, we shouldn’t start by laying out our plans or focusing on our will. We should start by accepting God’s plan, and set our will aside. Jesus knew how to approach God with the right heart. Although it is extremely difficult, God wants us to let Him guide us, not the other way around. It is so easy to come to God with your plans and desires and ask that He fulfill them. It is much harder to come to God and ask Him to lead you.

God is still teaching me to let Him lead me.

I have often laid some of the best plans (in my opinion) only for Him to change everything and send me in a completely new direction. Sometimes I feel lost and confused because I don’t know where He is leading me. But I know He is teaching me to trust Him. I am learning that until I submit to His plan, I will never know peace. If I continue to question His will, I will never be content.

Have you ever questioned God’s plan for your life? Have you ever been confused or wondered why He is allowing something bad to happen or why He is keeping you from something? I think at some point, all of us question the will of God. We have a plan set out for our life and when it doesn’t work out, we question God. Why would You let this happen to me? Why can’t You let this work out for me? Why are You doing this to me?

But He is not doing anything to us. He has done everything for us. He sent His Son to die for us. He made a way for us to have a relationship with Him. And He knows His plan is perfect. All He is asking is for us to trust Him.

I won’t say that I have learned this lesson completely. I still struggle to trust Him, especially when His plan doesn’t make sense to me. But I believe what it says in Jeremiah 29:11. I believe that God’s plan is to prosper me, not to harm me. I know that God’s plan for my life is perfect, even if I don’t understand it.

What about you? Are you still holding tightly to your earthly plan? Or are you ready to give up your will and trust Him?

Looking for a Great Gift? How About Discipleship?

By Tom Neal

I am truly a lucky man. For most of my adult life I have had all the things that people believe make a man feel happy and fulfilled: a great wife of twenty-five years, two awesome kids, a stable job, a handful of good friends, and enough stuff.  However, I was never consistently happy or content and always knew there was something missing in my life. In the back of my mind I knew that it was the lack of a connection with God. I would identify myself as a Christian, but I did not know Christ. I was lost.

This changed for me when I met Pastor Kevin Linthicum while working on the old First Baptist Church building in downtown Albuquerque. We were having a casual conversation waiting for some folks to show up for a tour of the building.  Kevin told me about his mission work in Malawi which fascinated me. Here was a man living his faith and traveling 10,000 miles away to share that faith. Our conversation eventually led to Kevin sharing the Gospel with me and asking me to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior.

This is probably where the story of discipleship should begin. Unfortunately, I told Kevin that I was not ready to accept Christ.

Kevin had touched a nerve and I could not get our conversation out of my mind.  He continued to reach out to me; I continued to resist. After many months, my heart changed and I began attending Sunday service and a small group. Kevin’s continued guidance led me to receive Christ as my Lord and Savior in October 2015 followed by my baptism in March 2016.  The transformation from lost to saved is the most powerful feeling that I have experienced in my entire life. The Holy Spirit working in me has created a deep desire for a closer relationship with Christ.

As a new follower of Christ, I was hungry for more and wasn’t quite sure what to do. I contacted Kevin and he told me that he would teach me as much as I wanted. This is the point that our discipleship relationship truly began. For the past eighteen-months we have been meeting every Thursday morning at 6:30 a.m. with a few other men. The focus of our sessions is always the Bible. Over time it has evolved from deep dives into various books of the Old and New Testaments, to study related to the understanding the attributes and mind of Christ, to sharing the Gospel effectively with others.

Discipleship is a very personal process. It’s a journey. Having someone in your life that is committed and dedicated to your spiritual well-being is an amazing feeling. There are so many ways to stumble in this world and push God aside. For me, having a teacher has firmly planted me on a path moving towards Christ and obtaining the spiritual tools to resist those things which might cause me to stumble. Although I have a long road ahead, discipleship has moved me beyond those rocky first steps. I am now steadfast in my faith.

More importantly, I have been given this miraculous gift that I want to share with others so that they will also experience the joy and peace that comes with a life in Christ.

Discipleship is giving me tools and a deeper understanding of Scripture that will allow the Holy Spirit to work through me to spread the Good News of Christ, our Lord. I encourage everyone to embrace discipleship to grow spiritually and honor Christ’s command to make disciples of all nations. I can’t think of a better gift.

Making Disciples – Demonstration and Delegation

By Karen Polich

“People are looking for a demonstration not an explanation.” – Kevin Linthicum

Is your life teaching others how to live? Jesus demonstrated what life as a follower should look like. He showed the disciples how to live. Jesus demonstrated compassion, taught the practice of prayer and laid a clear path of discipleship through action.

Jesus never forced the disciples to pray, instead He showed them the practice of prayer, praying until they asked Him how to pray. Matthew 6:9-13 lays out the clear direction of prayer and the need for communication with God.

“This, then, is how you should pray:”
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’”

A life lived following Jesus produces disciples who can teach others what it means to be genuine and authentic as a follower.

Jesus gave the disciples things to do. He delegated tasks that required action on the part of the follower. (Matthew 10) He was clear that we should produce fruit. We are called to disciple and be discipled.

Afraid to share the Gospel? Matthew 10:20 says, “for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Our focus should be on obedience, giving our trust to the One who has called us.

Are you willing to invest years, full of determination to see things through when it comes to discipleship?

Listen to Pastor Kevin Linthicum’s sermon series, Making Disciples, via podcast here.