#Gift

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.

 

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.

The Gift of Forgiveness

By Michael M. Cook

Jesus doesn’t make bad people better; He makes them new.

The forgiveness of Christ is remarkable. It extends beyond all sin. Our mistakes and shortcomings don’t define us. He is eager to meet us where we are. Have you experienced the magnitude of His forgiveness? Spend time today thinking about these five characteristics of forgiveness.

Gracious. Romans 3:24 says, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Grace is not earned. It is truly a gift.

Complete. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7) I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of His name. 1 John 2:12 There is nothing missing in His forgiveness. Nothing.

Ready to Forgive. You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Psalm 86:5 that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19 His goodness and love are evident in His forgiveness.

Certain. “… to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ Acts 26:18

Unequaled. Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.  Micah 7:18 There is nothing like the forgiveness that comes through Christ. It is life-changing, life-giving and the ultimate gift.

If you’ve never accepted His gift of forgiveness and new life, simply say to Him: “Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for my debt. I accept your gracious gift of forgiveness and want to follow you.” If you’ve already done this, thank God for this gift. Want to talk to someone? Call us at 505.247.3611 or email kevin@fbcabq.com

What Legacy Will You Leave?

By Gerry Wakeland

Recently I was given a gift. It was more than just a book. It was the result of many hours of blood, sweat and tears. My Footprint for God is a product of Kenn Edward’s passion for helping people see how they can build their spiritual legacy and leave their footprint on this earth. In a sense, this book is a part of Kenn’s very own footprint.

I have to admit I have come to that point in my own life where I am starting to think about the legacy I will leave for my children and more importantly, my grandchildren. Kenn reminds us that our true legacy is intangible. It’s not money or material items. It’s how we will be remembered. It’s the footprint that we leave behind.

Our spiritual legacy is about investing in people, family, friends, even strangers God places in our path. It’s about financing Kingdom work in many different ways. My Footprint for God is filled with personal stories from Kenn’s many years in financial and estate planning and nearly 40 years of teaching God’s Word in small group settings.

In his book, Kenn covers a comprehensive list of practical financial issues and provides the tools needed to work through these issues. Estate planning, wise giving and good stewardship are only a few of the topics. Each one is supported by scripture helping the reader understand the biblical principles behind Kenn’s sage advice.

“It’s Not Mine” is the title of Chapter Four. It was my favorite. It reminded me of a sermon I heard years ago that taught us everything we have belongs to God and He just allows us to hold it. Learning that concept changed the entire way I treated my possessions and my finances. Scripture teaches us that we are blessed to be a blessing. Kenn’s teaching reinforces this philosophy.

This book also helps us to view financial issues that we tend to overlook or avoid. Matters like how to handle our resources if we were to remarry. How do we deal with yours, mine and ours? What do we leave to our children when we are called home? Tough but necessary topics.

For those melancholy readers who love charts, you will find a number of very helpful forms that can be reproduced. Other resources are available at no charge on Kenn’s website.

If you struggle with financial matters this book will be a great tool for you. It will also be an encouragement, instilling the confidence that, yes, you can do this. If you know someone struggling in this area, My Footprint for God would be a great investment in their life or a great wedding gift for a young couple just starting out.

This material is designed not just for individual study; it can also be used for small groups. It comes complete with discussion questions and exercises for each chapter. In my opinion money is a hard topic to discuss. Working through these issues with other Christians can be a helpful way to study financial principles. It may be the spark needed for someone to look more closely at their own relationship with God.

Whether you study alone or with others in a group, I encourage you to get this book and put it to work for you. Start now to build your own footprint for God. Start by asking yourself, “How do I want to be remembered?”

For more information about Kenn’s ministry or to purchase your own copy of My Footprint for God, visit www.FootPrintForGod.com