Month: October 2017

Strong Foundation

By Karen Polich

We can choose to set our life on the foundation of Christ’s sacrifice for us and approach each day with the full confidence that comes when we truly live by faith. Great season? Faith. Crushing season? Faith. Serving Him in all things? Faith.

This is what sets us apart. Living by faith is what opens doors for others to see the glory of God.

His light shines through us when we focus on Him. Paul did not refer to “jars of clay” because of their strength. He referred to them because though fragile, they served a great purpose for what filled them.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 6-9

This isn’t shaky ground. We can walk through life with the confidence that comes from God.

Yet, we often sit in worry and fear. It’s easier to live with confidence when the path is smooth, but God has called us to be used in His kingdom regardless of circumstances. God chose to fill us with His mighty power. We are “jars of clay”, fragile and sometimes broken, the perfect place for Him to shine.

How has God worked in your life? Write down what He is doing and has done. How has He shown His strength and faithfulness? Share His goodness with others. You might be the encouragement someone else needs today.

Have faith and choose to live a life filled with confidence. It is God who works through us in all things. What better foundation could we ask for?

 

The RPT Process

By Ty Haguewood

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I don’t know about you but that passage seems impossible to actually live. How could I possibly rejoice always when everything around me is burning? How could I possibly pray without ceasing? I already struggle to pray once a day. How could I possibly be thankful in all circumstances? ALL CIRCUMSTANCES? Life is tough and often unpredictable. One-day things can be going well and then you get a phone call that radically changes everything.

Our circumstances, whether we want to admit or not, impact us all the time.

A sudden loss of a loved one, an unexpected promotion, a call from a childhood friend, whether our circumstances are good or bad doesn’t matter. It is inevitable that we will be affected. So if our circumstances are ever changing, how could we possibly fulfill Paul’s words to rejoice, pray, and give thanks?

The RPT (Rejoice, Pray, Thanks) Process is important to the believer because it reminds us that our circumstances are not our God. God is not impacted by our circumstances. He doesn’t change who He is because something crazy happened in your life. God is not absent from our circumstances; He is above them. This is good news for us. We have a hope that is external to our circumstances. We have a hope that will never change. We have a hope that we can trust.

This strong challenge from Paul to rejoice, pray, and give thanks is not a command for you to always be happy about your circumstances but rather to find joy in the One who is above your circumstances. I believe this text gives us a practical guide for our daily fight to rejoice, pray, and give thanks.

Let’s break this down.

Rejoice (R) = to be glad/ filled with joy

Pray (P) = our response to God’s Word

Thanks (T) = the overflow of a heart that has experience this joy

How can we rejoice, pray, and give thanks daily?

Let’s start with rejoicing. Wake up in the morning and go to the source of all joy.

You have access to God through His Word. Spend time with Him. Visit the words and teachings of Jesus in the four gospels, hear the songs of praise from the psalmists, explore the well of wisdom in the proverbs, and be challenged by the life lessons Paul has to give you. Every day you can go and fill your cup. Start by rejoicing (R). Experience joy.

After you have been filled with joy from the promises of God, respond to Him in prayer (P). Prayer, simply put, is our response to God’s promises in His Word. You have personal access to the King of Kings; talk to Him. Write or verbalize your response to the joy you have just experienced in His Word. Don’t be intimidated by prayer. The Lord wants to meet with you.

After rejoicing (R) and praying (P), hopefully you will be left with a great feeling of gratitude. We cannot fake authentic gratitude. Either we are grateful or we are not. The thanksgiving (T) part of this process is last because it is of the utmost importance to go to God first to understand why we should be thankful. If your cup of joy has been filled and you have responded in prayer, thanksgiving should be the fruit of this process. We give thanks because of what we have tasted and experienced.

Like everything, this will be a process. I hope you will fight to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances. Wake up every day and fight to grow. Start now!

Listen to the sermon podcast here.

 

Praying for Obedience

By Gai Gai Anderson

Pastor woke up from a restless night of sleep and looked at the clock. 4:00 a.m. Wow. Another night of waking, praying, and wondering what God is doing in his family’s life. His ministry is going well, God is touching lives, and his wife and children are happy; but God seems to be nudging his heart to be ready for something new.

Later in the morning, as he sits at his desk pondering the last few days, the phone rings. Someone from Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church is on the other end. “Hello, Pastor, this is a member of the pastor search committee at Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our search committee has been praying for the man God wants to lead us into the next season of our life here at our church. We think you could be that man…”

Later on in the evening, Pastor talks to his wife about the phone call, and they begin to pray earnestly about what God is leading them to do. Should they pursue this opportunity for service at Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church?

When Abraham was called to go to a place God would show him, he had to make a decision whether he would follow God’s leading or stay in the place where he was already. He listened to God’s voice, gathered his family together, and set out on a journey that would take him into the future God had for him. This journey would touch generations to come.

We want God to give us the pastor He has already been preparing for the ministry here at our church that will touch generations to come. Obedience is the key. Our prayers have taken many different routes in the last several weeks. As we end our focused prayer time led by the pastor search committee, we feel it is time to pray for the pastor God has for us to be obedient to his calling. Let’s be unified in our prayers this week as we pray for God’s working on the other end of this scenario—God’s man to be obedient to his call to be the pastor of Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church.

Let’s pray he will trust God with his whole heart and not rely on his own understanding in this time of searching for God’s will in his life (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Let’s pray that God will give him a vision for what He is about to do in his life, and he would heed God’s wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 29:18).

Let’s pray that he will follow Jesus’s example and spend necessary time alone with God seeking His will (Mark 1:35).

Let’s pray that he will go to God for the true wisdom that he needs to take the next step in God’s plan (James 1:5).

Let’s pray that he will be obedient to God’s call (just as Abraham was), and that he would have the faith to take the first step on the journey (Hebrews 11:8).

 

Giving Thanks for our Pastors

By Karen Polich

October brings Pastor Appreciation Month. Sunday, October 8th is Pastor Appreciation Day so let’s show our pastors how important they are by showering them with gifts that say “thank you”. Express your gratitude to the pastors who are serving you every day and consider thanking those who have influenced your life over the years.

Pastors and their families have brought joy into our lives. They teach us, lead us and point us toward God. They are there when we need encouragement and they celebrate when we are in seasons of joy. Here are three easy ways to show pastors and their families how much their work is appreciated.

  1. Hand written notes of thanks and encouragement can brighten a busy day and remind a pastor that every detail of their works makes a difference. Take time to send a note to the pastors who have impacted your life.
  2. Pastor Matt and Pastor Ty love food. Gift cards for favorite restaurants, a home cooked meal dropped off, crockpot fixings for fall soups in the office or delicious desserts are sure to bring smiles.
  3. Gift cards for a movie night give pastors time with family and friends and a refreshing break.

Let’s make it a month where our appreciation can’t be missed by those who serve us faithfully. Find ways to show our pastors appreciation. Have a creative idea? Be sure to post your thoughts in the comments.