We Are…

We Are…People Who Serve

By Karen Polich

As Christ-Followers we are all called to serve. Service to others is a core value for Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church. Impact happens when people reach out and help others. Pastor Michael M. Cook finished his sermon series We Are… with why serving others matters.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45

Your life is not about you. There’s more to life than our own story. God wants us to be part of His story. Who can be helped and where can an impact be made? Opportunities are everywhere. Putting others first broadens our perspective and changes us as well as those we serve.

Your life needs to have a mission bigger than you. (Mark 9:33-37) Giving ourselves away, we get to see how God is using us to influence others. Those moments can have great impact.

Something inside each of us will come alive and be awakened when serving others. Serving others helps us grow. Our hearts become fuller as we meet needs around us. Relationships blossom and lives are changed. The intensity of our troubles fades into the shadows when we serve.

Serving others brings a crispness to our lives like nothing else. – Michael M. Cook

Is there anything in your life you know God has called you to do and you are struggling? Charge ahead, serving others. Move beyond the “what ifs” and any discomfort. Let God transform you to become who He designed you to be.

Jesus, Ancient of Days is still serving… Where is God calling you?

Listen to Michael M. Cook via podcast here. Learn more about the core values of AFBC here.

We Are… Depth and Obedience in God’s Word

By Karen Polich

Every one of us has an authority that speaks to our hearts. Who you value as an authority is essential. It is who you allow to shape and mold your life.

Pastor Michael Cook’s sermon series, We Are… continues to examine the core values of Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church. In our fellowship at AFBC, God’s Word is the authority and our foundation.

In our own lives, we need to look at who or what is going to be the authority. What is influencing you? Is it culture, friends, feelings, tradition, your up-bringing, reason and rationale? Where is your focus? If we are seeking to please anyone, it should be God. Our obedience to His Word establishes the foundation of our lives. Obedience is key. (Psalm 119)

Focused on two power-packed truths, Pastor Michael Cook asked, “Who or what will we choose to be the authority in our lives?”

Hearing the Word of God is not enough. The Word should transform us.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

Knowing the Word of God is not enough. At the heart of obedience is worship. At the heart of disobedience is rebellion. Partial obedience is still disobedience. We have a choice to make.

Could it be that God has something bigger in this world for us than ourselves?

Focused on doing our best to fulfill what we are called to do is at the core of who we are. For all, struggles will come but choosing God as the authority will create a heart of depth and obedience.

Is God the foundation of your life today?

Listen to the podcast here. Visit our website, fbcabq.com, for more information about the core values and who we are.

We Are… An Authentic Community

By Karen Polich

Acts 2:42-46 They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had a need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.

Pastor Michael Cook’s sermon series We Are… continued with a focus on what it means to be an authentic community. Called to chase after God’s standard, we should seek to invest in the lives of those around us.

Togetherness is more than simply hanging out. Committed to learning together and sharing, an authentic biblical community grows together. Life is done together. It is more than time spent together in corporate worship on Sundays. The ups and downs, the joys the sorrows are all shared.

Four results of a true biblical community.
1. God makes His presence known. People can see the difference. It is an opportunity to be part of something special.
2. Needs are met. We all have challenges, but God is working in our challenges. He is mending, repairing and reconciling hearts in the midst of brokenness.
3. Joy returns. Enthusiasm is unmistakable. Others can see it and want to be a part of the joy. (John 20:19)
4. Lives are changed. The purpose of everything done at Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church is to add to lives. It is not about adding to numbers. A life saturated in Christ will overflow.

It’s easy to share our lives when good things are happening. Sometimes, though, there is more bad than good. Pain can come from many sources, even those close to us.

Our hurts and wounds are meant to be healed. It might be the hurt came from trusted people in a church. Our expectations will never be fully met until we reach authentic perfection in heaven. Knowing this doesn’t fix the hurt, but could it be that choosing to forgive will have an impact that is life altering?

Willingness to take people where they are and love them is the beginning of an authentic community. Pour your life into others and see what God will do.

Listen to Pastor Michael Cook via podcast here. Learn more about the core values of Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church here.

We Are…Striving for Impacting Worship

By Karen Polich

What is worship?

It’s easier to talk about what worship is not. Worship is not music. It is not a program and it is not a feeling. Pastor Michael Cook continued his We Are… sermon series teaching why it matters to strive for impacting worship. Listen to the podcast here.

While music can be part of worship, it is a language of its own.We like different styles. Traditional or contemporary it doesn’t matter. Music itself is not worship. Music can be a great tool used in our worship.

Worship is not a slot of time on Sunday mornings. What we bring on Sundays should be an outpouring of our life. Worship does not have a specific start time and stop time based on events.

We worship because He Is good, not because we feel good. Our worship should be greater than how we feel. God is greater than how our day is going. He is unchanging.

Worship is the response of your heart to an amazing God!

The expression of your heart in worship is your language. God sees that. He is focused on what you bring. We are not the audience, He is. Our worship is something we bring to God.

Romans 12:1 (NIV)
A Living Sacrifice
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Three anchors come out of this verse, demonstrating what worship should be. God’s mercies touch everything in our lives. Our bodies should be a living sacrifice. We should strive to be holy and pleasing in what we offer to God.
God does not want pieces or parts. He wants ALL of you. He is not looking for us to make a sacrifice, He wants us to be the sacrifice.

Worship is the believer’s response to all He is and to all He has done. It is an outpouring of our hearts to who God is.

Is worship overflowing in your life? An incredible God deserves worship that spills out of everything we do.

We Are… People that Matter to God

By Karen Polich

The people details are one thing that sets Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church apart. What a difference it makes when people truly care about one another. Pastor Michael Cook’s sermon series We Are… shines light on why people matter. Listen to the podcast.

One thing the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ CAN and SHOULD do better than anyone is to give away the love of the Christ through the Gospel. – Michael Cook

Romans 1:14-16 (NIV)  I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Paul understood that God had done something radical in his life and he should share it with everyone else. Everyone has an opportunity to know Christ. Christ followers have a responsibility to show the love of Christ.

During the Last Supper, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. Do you wonder if they were even aware of the dirt on their feet before He did this? After a busy day, it might have been easy to overlook. Are we ever in a place where we no longer see the dirt on our own feet? We stop being thankful, no longer seeing the blessings all around us.

We should never lose sight of the dirt on our feet. We are debtors who can never pay for what we have been given. What a gift! When we have something amazing, don’t we want to share it with others? What God has done for us should spill out into the lives of those around us.

Spiritually, our immediate condition never determines our ultimate value!

Jesus looks into the heart and sees what is great.  Regardless of where we are or what we have done, we are forgiven.

Challenge: Be ALL IN. Let God’s love for you spread to people you know and encounter.

We Are… Excellence in What We Do

 

By Karen Polich

Pastor Michael Cook’s sermon series, We Are… takes us deeper into the core values of Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church and how we can apply them in our lives. (AFBC Core Values) Listen to the podcast here.

Excellence can be defined as giving our best to God.

God’s people began to neglect certain things. Their passion and excellence were fading. Keeping the best for themselves, they gave God blind and lame sacrifices thinking He wouldn’t notice. God was not pleased. (Malachi 1:6-14)

Seeking excellence in all we do matters, but how often do we offer God our leftovers instead of our best? This can happen for many reasons.

Wrong thinking. Our tendency to compare, impacts giving our best. We think we are less than this person or greater than that person. God is asking only for what is MY best.

Wrong priorities. At times we have the “perfect sacrifice” but aren’t willing to offer it to God. God always knows where our passion is. Where we spend our talents, money, time and focus reveals our hearts. God wants the best we have to offer, not our leftovers.

Wrong motives. This can creep up on any of us. Our motives can deteriorate to the point that we can no longer recognize the difference between excellence and mediocrity. “Just enough” to get us by is not what we are made for.

What happens when we give our best in all we do? Excellence spills over into a lifestyle that honors God.

He is worthy of the best we have to give. Romans 8:32 (NIV) He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?

Attention to detail makes a difference. When we approach everything with excellence in mind, it will reflect all around us. Big or small, everything we do matters. When we seek excellence, we not only honor God, but we honor who He created us to be. It allows us to shine light in the lives of others. People will know that they matter. It inspires.

Challenge: Take a look at your life. Where is your focus? Make excellence a priority and ask God to show you how you can honor Him with your best.