Seeking God’s Will

By Michael McFadden

God has given each one of us the freedom to choose between the world and God’s will. The world consists of popular culture and selfish desires. By far the easiest choice is to conform to the world and selfish desires and the majority do. It is more difficult to seek and choose God’s will.

Since the beginning of time, godly people have chosen selfish desires over God’s will. These godly people include: Adam and Eve, Abraham, God’s chosen people (the Israelites), Samson, King David, and Judas (a disciple of Jesus). The list could go on and on. The godly people of Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church, those serving on the Pastoral Search Committee, and the pastors considering this church are no different than the godly people mentioned time and again in the Bible. We all fall short in consistently choosing God’s will.

The good news is God has provided us an excellent model of one that has chosen His will every time, JESUS.

The Bible provides example after example of Jesus choosing God’s will. When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, when Jesus was facing cruel punishment and the worst kind of death by crucifixion, Jesus gave us a clear example of how He could choose God’s will. It was through scripture and prayer.

As a church body, we need to follow Jesus’ example of choosing God’s will. Every day we need to seek out scriptures that will guide us in choosing God’s will.  These same scriptures will guide us in choosing a godly pastor (Romans 12:1-2, 1 Timothy 3:2-7). We need to pray daily for discernment between our selfish desires and God’s will.

God has already chosen the next pastor to lead our church through the next phase of His mission. The issue now is the discernment of God’s choice. Remember, God has given us the freedom to choose between our selfish desires and God’s will.

The Pastoral Search Committee needs your help. Jesus spoke “I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19).

  • We need you to pray for discernment of the pastors considering our church. We need these pastors to seek God’s will. As a search committee, we only need one applicant and that is the pastor God has chosen.
  • We need you to pray for the pastor God has chosen for our church. Pray for God’s chosen pastor to step out of his comfort zone and seek and act on God’s will for his new mission. We need you to pray for his family to step out of their comfort zone and follow God’s new mission in their lives.
  • We need you to pray that our committee surrenders to God. Each of us have our own selfish desires. We need your prayers to set our selfish desires aside and seek only God’s will for our next pastor. Pray that we seek God’s will in our selection process, that we have the strength and willpower to stay in scripture and prayer seeking God’s will. Pray that we support each other in our struggles seeking God’s will.
  • Pray for the church family at Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church. We need the church body to remain faithful. We need you to pray daily for God’s will be done in the life of His chosen pastor, in the actions of this committee, and, yes, in this church. The church membership is the ultimate decision maker in the selection of the next pastor. Pray that God’s will be done in that selection.

A Royal Priesthood

By Karen Polich

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a Holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

We are being built up. Through God’s design, the veil was torn when Jesus was crucified and those who choose to follow Him are a royal priesthood. But you will be called the priest of the Lord; You will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Isaiah 61:6

God’s design placed Jesus as the chief cornerstone and the foundation which we build on. He has us where we are for His purpose. It is not for us to find our place, but to seek Him and yield in obedience to where He wants us to be.

Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; This came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” Matthew 21:42

When we build our lives on His firm foundation, we don’t have to worry about where we fit. God has a specific purpose for each of us. He puts all of the pieces together for His plan. Through His mercy, we have been forgiven and can live in His grace. We must set our eyes on Him and be living examples of what it means to walk with Him.

We are brought together as a family of believers who are called to be doers of the Word.

Our actions identify us as His royal priesthood and shine light into the lives of those around us. We are living stones. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. Galatians 6:10

Who we are in Christ is our true identity. We are called to live a life glorifying Him, built up by His hand. Listen to Pastor Kevin Linthicum’s sermon series, Real I.D., and A Royal Priesthood here.

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

What is God building in your life today?

What Legacy Will You Leave?

By Gerry Wakeland

Today the AFBC family will say a final farewell to Ollie Allred. For those who knew Ollie, they know that he loved God, his wife Patty, his family, and his church. He loved his friends.

Ollie Allred was a man with a servant’s heart. He served long and well. And we can be assured that when he entered his heavenly home last week, he heard the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

In the words of Pastor Kevin Linthicum, Ollie finished well. And he left a legacy not just for his own family, but for his church family and the many others who were a part of Ollie’s life.

What is a legacy? Webster defines legacy as anything handed down from the past. Often, we think of that as money or material possessions. But the Bible looks at it quite differently.

Everything we need to know about passing on a Godly legacy is found in Scripture. The Bible is as valid for us now as it was for all the generations before us.

God spoke these words to Moses, admonishing him to instruct the people.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 (NKJV)

Teaching our children, the Word of God is a legacy. It’s a legacy that will last long after we are gone.

Proverbs 13:22 tells us, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” (NKJV)

This verse keeps our life goals, our vision and our legacy front and center when we’re choosing how to use our money today. When we weigh what we want now against what we really want later, we realize how temporary satisfaction pales in comparison to a legacy of purpose and generational fulfillment.

An inheritance is not limited to money. It also includes godly character qualities like integrity and trustworthiness. Combining a financial inheritance with wisdom and godliness ensures that the next generation will also manage God’s blessings God’s way for God’s glory long after I’ve graduated to heaven.

When I think of men like Ollie Allred I think of those godly character qualities. It is imperative in these perilous times that we are serious about modeling these character traits for our children and our children’s children. But it doesn’t stop there. Every day we have the opportunity to model those same traits for others. Whether at work, school or play.

Every day we have the opportunity to build people up when the world is trying to tear them down. We can do a kind deed that will go on and on after we are gone. We can lend a helping hand without expecting anything in return. This is the legacy left by Ollie Allred.

The truth is this: You will pass on something to your children and grandchildren…the question is, what?

The legacy you leave is the life you lead.

Children of God

By Karen Polich

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13 NASB

Pastor Kevin Linthicum’s sermon series, Real I.D., continued with what it means to be children of God. Listen to the podcast here. Our true identity comes from Him. He is the reason for our existence.

“We cannot begin the journey until we have accepted and embraced our identity in Christ.” – Kevin Linthicum

God’s promise is fulfilled through Jesus Christ. What does it mean to be children of God? We must receive Him. When the choice is made to receive Him, He gives the right to become children of God.

We can’t move forward until we have received Him. Below are some scripture references that are clear indicators we have received Him.

  • Acts 1:8
  • John 13:34
  • 1 John 3:23
  • 1 John 4:12
  • Mark 4:20
  • Galatians 5:22

“You are who you are because He loves you.” – Kevin Linthicum

We are given the commandment to love one twenty three times in the New Testament. It’s the hallmark of Christ followers so others will know Him. As believers, our job is to love others without regard for anything else. Love others for who they are and who they can be in Christ.

God’s provision is that we become children of God. The miraculous transformation in your life is not because of who we are, but because of who He is. He has given us the ability to choose. We are not of human making, but of God.

When we take people, places, and things out of our identity and have received Him, our lives become clearly defined by Jesus.

“Have you received the Word? Are you good soil?” – Kevin Linthicum

Real I.D.

By Karen Polich

“God is the only one who can take nothing and make something.” – Kevin Linthicum

Pastor Kevin Linthicum began his new sermon series, Real I.D., Sunday with an overview of what it means to know our true identity. Over the next three weeks, this series will teach us:

We are all children of God. 1 John 3:1

We are a royal priesthood. 1 Peter 2:9

We are God’s own possession. 1 Peter 2:9

While identity is often associated with people, places and things, our true identity comes from one source, God. Jesus was, is and always will be the preeminent child of God. Our difficulties stem from the rejection of God as the ultimate source of everything and the refusal to have a personal relationship with Him. Not everyone will accept being God’s children.

A proud heart can lead to disobedience and corruption. Read the story of King Uzziah in 2 Chronicles 26:16-21. In his pride, Uzziah was eventually cut-off from the house of the Lord. He dishonored God and paid the price.

God is the reason we exist.

We are given direct access to Him.

We belong to Him. The thread that unites us is Jesus.

Listen to the podcast here to learn more about this sermon series and how you can better understand what it means to live out your true identity.

You Are Welcome

By Karen Polich

Dr. Trey Sullins continued The Parables of Jesus sermon series with thoughts on where we are regarding God’s great invitation. Listen to the podcast here. Are we full of excuses?

The Scripture finds Jesus sharing a meal on the Sabbath with the Pharisees. Remember, they don’t see heaven as a place for the outcast or anyone else “beneath” them. In fact, they were not spending time with Jesus to learn from Him, they were spending time with Him because they were out to get Him. Jesus told them in Luke 14:11, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Jesus then shared the parable of the great banquet to illustrate just how off track they were when it came to who He had come to save. The idea of saving “everyone” was not a comfortable thought to the Pharisees. Read Luke 14:1-24.

We find the story full of people with excuses. Would you blow off a party invite from someone you greatly admire? Jesus was talking about THE party. He illustrated how everyone should be invited and nothing should be a bigger priority. The “banquet” represents heaven. Everyone is welcome. God has a place for each of us. While the Pharisees would exclude, Jesus was teaching that everyone is included in the invitation.

The catch is accepting the invitation. Excuses won’t work. Excuses are worthless. Anything given greater priority than God is misplaced, sinful and disobedient. Anything that comes between you and a “yes” will cost you.

What is your eternal perspective? Let’s not wait. If you haven’t accepted Christ’s invitation to the table, choose Him today. Make Him the Savior of your life and watch your life change in a mighty way. If you have accepted His invitation, be an active pursuer of Him. Grow. Don’t sit and watch others miss the banquet. Make sure they know they have an invitation.

Ultimately, nothing else matters. Be obedient to God’s call in your life. Rejoice in His love for everyone and share the joy with those around you.

 

Praise be to God

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” Psalm 150:6

The Bible is full of God’s promises. He is with us always. His is a strong tower. He goes before us. His love will never fail. Thankfully the list goes on.

We can live in full confidence of a God who is everything we could ever need. What if we slowed down and spent time simply praising Him? Regardless of whatever circumstances we face today, He is the same and His love for us knows no limit. The Bible is packed with scripture focused on His praise. Here are 10 scripture references from Psalms for us to declare today.

“I will sing to the Lord of my life. I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” Psalm 104:33

“Great is the Lord and mostly worthy of praise. His greatness no one can fathom.” Psalm 145:3

“The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts in Him and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.” Psalm 45:7

“My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praise all day long.” Psalm 35:28

I call to the Lord who is worthy of praise and I am saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:3

I will exalt the Lord at all times. His praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord, let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me, let us exalt His name together.”Psalm 34:1-3

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:3

“In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust, I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” Psalm 56:4

“I shout with joy to God, all the earth. Sing the glory, make His praise glorious. Say to God, how awesome are your deeds. So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.” Psalm 66:1-4

“Open my lips Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.” Psalm 51:15

Today, pray and spend time with Him, giving Him all of the praise and glory. Let His love pour over you, precious child of God.

 

Hide and Seek

By Karen Polich

Are you a seeker or a hider? Jesus’ teaching, using parables, will help us understand where we are and how to make a choice about our obedience.

Parables are meant to point us in one direction, towards God. Dr. Trey Sullins continued, The Parables of Jesus, with Hide and Seek. Stories of the lost sheep and the lost coin take us to the core of what Jesus is asking us to decide. (Luke 15:1-10, Matthew 18:12-16) Listen to the podcast here. Will we hide, not choosing to follow Jesus? When we know Him, will we seek Him and the lost?

Jesus has a heart for the outcast. He calls the righteous to go out and find the lost. When they are found – rejoice! Just as He teaches in the parables, the love of God is huge. He will always seek us out when we are lost. When we know Him, He equips us to seek after the lost for His name’s sake.

Who are the lost? The lost are those who are without a relationship with Christ, a follower who has wandered off or a follower hiding from God. The righteous know God but aren’t doing anything about it or are doing good deeds but missing something related to doing the right things.

“You are either lost and need to be found or found and need to go find the lost.” – Dr. Trey Sullins

God’s Word tells us to go and do, so we need to get up and get going. We can choose to be found; we can choose to seek the lost. Anything less is disobedience. Seek God’s will in your life.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6

We don’t have to rest on our understanding. When we seek God’s will in our lives, He will direct us. Trust Him. Today, make a choice. Make the decision to follow Christ and to do what He has called you to do.

 

 

Living Water – Part 2

By Gerry Wakeland

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37-40 NKJV

“The Church is not about you. In fact, the Church may be the only institution in the world for non-members.”   -Dr. James Draper

Listen to the podcast here.

This is the supposition that Dr. James Draper placed before the fellowship of Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church in his message. The church is not a club you join, where you pay membership dues and anticipate benefits in return. Yet, in today’s benefit driven society, that’s what many expect.

“What’s in it for me?”, is a common question in our world today. Based on the words of Jesus found in John 7, Dr. Draper presented two answers.

Provision is offered. Jesus calls out to the thirsty and says “come.” He is offering to satisfy the needs of heart and life. There is no requirement. The offer is made to anyone, anytime and for any need.

What we must recognize is that Jesus is the only one who can satisfy the need. Is your need pleasure; He can fill it. (Psalm 16:11). Do you lack wisdom? Jesus will give it. (James 1:5) If you need salvation, He’s waiting to provide it. (Romans 1:16) There is nothing you need that Jesus is not ready, willing and able to provide.

Promise is given. Jesus promises water. Not just any water, but living water. Thirst is the most driving passion in our lives and sometimes we are not even aware that we are thirsty. Dr. Draper reminds us that the water is there, right in front of us, but we must drink to be satisfied. When we drink of the water we experience the gift of salvation.

But wait, salvation is not the end, it’s the start.  When we get saved it’s not about us, it’s about Him. It’s about what He has called us to do, share the living water.

If you were to go to Israel today, you would find two bodies of water. The Sea of Galilee in the north is a beautiful, flourishing body of water, fed by underground springs. It is Israel’s largest and most important source of drinking water. The Sea of Galilee receives and gives life through its water.

111 miles south lies the Dead Sea. At approximately 1292 feet below sea level the Dead Sea is the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. Nothing lives in the Dead Sea because of its mineral content.

The Church is designed to be rivers of living water. As both the body of Christ and individuals, we are called to share the living water of Jesus Christ with all who thirst. We are called to be distributors, giving away what we have received.

If indeed the greatest need in our world today is water – living water, then the only question is, will you be the Sea of Galilee? Or are you the Dead Sea. Think about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living Water – Part 1

By Gerry Wakeland

Did you know that water is the most critical need of the human being?

Life cannot exist without water. Our bodies are comprised of 80% water. A person can go weeks without food but only three days without water.

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37-40 NKJV

Using this Scripture as a foundation, our guest speaker, Dr. James T. Draper reminded us of the importance of reading Scripture in context. He took us into the passage in John 7 and painted a vivid picture of the scene and its significance. Listen to the podcast here.

It was the last and most important day of the Jewish Feast of the Tabernacle. This feast was the highest, happiest and most holy of the Jewish festivals. We would see it much like a large carnival. It was a feast about water.

Each day the temple priests would lead a procession through Jerusalem’s water gate and pour their jars of water through a great funnel. The crowds would cheer. This was an act of thanksgiving to their God. However, on the last day when the priest would start to pour there was no water in the jar? Why? Because it was the belief of the Jews that the Messiah had not come. The lack of water indicated the absence of a savior. The crowd was silent.

It was during this stony silence that Jesus chose to stand up and cry out. “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Let’s look together at the significance of Jesus’ words and actions.

In this day and time Rabbis did not stand and teach; they sat. The only time standing was appropriate was when they were making an official announcement. At the moment when the Jewish people were focused on the jar with no water, Jesus was proclaiming Himself to be the water. He was announcing His place as Messiah.

There are only four passages in the book of John where the writer uses the term “cried out.” In addition to this passage, others include the baptism of Jesus, the triumphal entry, and the crucifixion. All pretty significant passages. This gives you some idea of the magnitude of this announcement at this time.

Now that you have a picture of what was taking place, let’s go back and look at the words of Jesus. He was offering an invitation. An incredible, amazing, wonderful, marvelous invitation. “Come to Me and drink.“ Come and receive the gift of salvation.”

A gift…He was offering them a gift, the greatest gift of all. And all they had to do was receive it.

What about you? Have you received the gift of salvation? Have you drunk of the living water? Water is vital to our life here on earth. Living water is essential to our eternal life.

Don’t delay. Receive the gift. Open the gift and enjoy the gift, today and forever.