Author: kpolich

Bringing it Home as a Family

By Bethany Bentley

We went to camp with a lot of expectations. We were ready to have that “night where the whole youth group cries together”, ready to worship with thousands of students, ready to make new friends, ready to play loud rounds of Uno, just like we did last year. We had a lot of those things.

But this year was not like last year. We had our old moments, our new moments, our angry moments, our joyful-beyond-words moments, and the moments when we were all really done with the humidity and the giant hill.

I don’t think any of us would trade any of these moments for a repeat of last year. Here is a list of my moments.

So much brokenness got brought into the light in our small groups. We poured ourselves out and allowed Christ to bring restoration. We got to watch God grow and heal our friends. Many of us took steps and leaps in our faith, and it had less to do with being in Oklahoma and more to do with all of us just seeking God. He met us where we were.

We saw Delia Pierce respond during the altar call on the last night, after so many of us had been praying for her all week. Sarah and Becca Woffard were jumping. Jay Magnant threw both his hands in the air in praise. Everyone was crying; it was amazing.

The small groups prayed for each other one night. The middle schoolers came together in friendship and openness. The high school boys listened to and prayed for the middle school girls, and they did it in gentleness and love. The girls bonded over similar struggles. It was incredible to see.

During the ‘open-mic night’ many of us shared what God is doing in our lives. Connor Powell made us all cry, laugh, and took us on an emotional roller-coaster that none of us were ready for. Tyler Geldmacher, though terrified of public speaking, got up and shared how much God has stretched him the last few days, weeks, and months.

As a family we laughed, cried, and praised God for what He was doing.

By the end of the week, we saw those who had been quiet and distant finally surrender to Christ. We watched several of our friends surrender to ministry. During our in-cabin worship we were able to just lay it all down and worship with complete abandon.

More than anything else, we left feeling like a truly united family. But this is only the beginning. Students, let’s take what we learned at camp out of Oklahoma. Let’s apply it all on our campuses and in our homes. The battle starts now, let’s start fighting as a family. This is only the beginning.

Components of the Gospel

By Karen Polich

“God’s will for us is what He wishes to be done by us.” – Kevin Linthicum

God’s will is simple, straightforward, and rarely easy. It requires an intentional effort on our part and clear obedience.

After his recent sermon series, Discipleship, deeper questions about the gospel message arose. In response, Pastor Kevin Linthicum began a two-part series, Components of the Gospel, for those seeking to disciple and be discipled. Listen to the sermon podcast here.

As communicators of the gospel, it is not our job to convince anyone. We are to be proclaimers of the gospel, communicating the Word of Truth. God will take care of the rest. The gospel is constantly bearing fruit – with or without us. Remember, it will not always be easy and will require perseverance.

The faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:5-12

We are called to show unconditional love for others through Christ. We are also called to seek out His will. To be filled with the precise and correct knowledge of God’s will in your life will transform your journey with Christ.

“When you determine you are going to be obedient in what God has called you to do, your knowledge of Him will be greater and you will know Him more. To walk in a manner worthy of the Lord has everything to do with making due use of the opportunities given to us.” – Kevin Linthicum

Led by the Spirit, we will see opportunities around us each day. God has qualified us in Christ. When we have accepted Him, we should continue to grow in our knowledge of Him and share that knowledge with others.

The first three components of the gospel include:

  1. An understanding of the reality of sin. (Romans 3:10, 23, Genesis 3) Sin is sin. We are all born into sin and our sin separates us from God. There is no one righteous, not even one.
  2. A penalty for sin. (Romans 5:12, Romans 6:23, Colossians 1, Ezekiel 18:20) We often try to sugarcoat this. The penalty of sin is death! There is no way around it without Christ.
  3. The penalty must be paid. (Romans 2:!2) The payment for sin is death, but as we will see in the conclusion next week, we can choose not to be eternally separated from God. The good news is, the penalty has been paid by Jesus.

To be continued next week…The great news of the gospel.

 

Never Waste a Moment

By Krisit Sullins

Vacation Bible School has arrived here at Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church. The decorations are being hung.  Crafts are being prepped and snacks are being planned.  After years and years of experience, we have a routine and a plan.  However, the reality is much greater than the plan.

For those who lead in ministry, volunteers who give their time, and those who, at all stages of life, find a way to serve, this week is a week of moments.  Moments that are made when teachers, in costumes, make the stories of the Bible come to life.  Moments when adults and children worship together.  Moments when our youth give up their time to decorate, lead and invest.

The best moments are when you see a child grasp the reality of God’s great love for them.

As the AFBC family prepares for Vacation Bible School, our prayer is that God moves in a mighty way.  Our theme, “Finding Messiah”, sets the stage for children to discover how they can know Jesus was truly the Messiah, sent to save us.  We will journey through the Bible finding proof within the stories in the Gospels.

This is more than a program we do, or just an average week in the summer.  It is a time that will be filled with moments for the children who attend.  Often a moment is all God needs to change everything.  Christ, Himself, understood the importance of taking a moment of time to be with children.  He knew their value in the Kingdom.

As each volunteer prepares for VBS, we pray they would see the importance of the task at hand and would embrace the sacrifice it requires to make a Kingdom impact.  We pray for each family that will be connected through VBS, that they would be changed by learning about the Messiah who loves them.  And we pray that God would move in His mighty way so that by Thursday night it would be clear that all that had been accomplished was through Him.

May each of us be able to answer like Peter when Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:15-16

A New You

A New You by Ty Haguewood

You are loved. You are redeemed. The old is gone, the new has come. Do you believe that?

If you are like me, I have struggled to believe I am a new creation. We are quick to take the title, “New Creation” but slow to let that sink in. Think about it. 2 Corinthians 5 tells us those who are in Christ are new creatures. I don’t always feel that way.

I struggle to believe the old is actually gone. There are three major reasons we often hold on to the old self and refuse to embrace the new creation Christ has made us to be. The three major setbacks are:

  1. Not trusting what the Lord has said
  2. Being afraid of change
  3. Fearing sacrifice.

Maybe you have been all three? I have.

The Word of God tells us exactly what believers are in Christ yet we don’t trust. We have to get to the point that we actually trust God at His Word. We are to believe the entirety of Scripture even the parts that we struggle to embrace. It’s hard to embrace this new identity because we don’t trust God with what He says, the process of change, or the sacrifices that may accompany following.

There is a beautiful freedom that comes with taking God at His Word. You haven’t experienced true freedom if you have yet to believe what He says.

We have been set free by the blood of Jesus to walk in our new identity that comes with such a great purpose. You are loved and then given the opportunity to tell the world about the same love you have experienced in Christ Jesus.

We cannot fulfill our purpose as believers if we haven’t first embraced the new identity Christ has lavished upon us.

Making Time for God

Making Time for God by Elizabeth Thomas

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. – Proverbs 16:3

I don’t know about you, but I love summer. As a teacher, I probably look forward to summer more than my students do! I know people like to joke about teachers having so much time “off”, but I really covet the time that I can spend unwinding from a tough school year and gearing up for the next one.

As much as I wish summers were relaxed and stress-free, we all know that is not true. Summers can be busy, hectic times filled with summer camps, family trips, swimming lessons, etc. Life certainly doesn’t slow down during the summer, it often speeds up!

When life becomes hectic, it can be easy to forget about spending time with God. During times when our lives are structured and consistent, it is easier to plan time each day to focus on our relationship with God. I know that during the school year when my schedule is set and my routines are in place, I have specific times set aside to spend on my quiet time. But during the summer, routines are different and plans tend to change frequently. It can be difficult to “find time” for God.

I am embarrassed to admit that I struggle to have daily time with God. The God that saved me, the God that loves me, the God that sacrificed His life for me – that is the God that I don’t always make time for. When I sit back and realize that I have let my life become so busy that I have lost my connection to Him, I feel sick. Have things in my life suddenly become so important that I have lost sight of my true purpose in being here? My mission as a follower of Jesus is to know Him and to tell others about Him. And to know Him, I have to spend time with Him.  

My goal this summer is to not let the hectic bustle of this world distract me from God. I am going to put my focus on Him, make time for Him first, and let the rest of my plans fit around that schedule. Will you join me?   

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – Isaiah 26:3

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.