#God’swill

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.

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.

 

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.

God’s Will

By Elizabeth Thomas

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Are you someone who likes to plan? Or would you rather go with the flow? Are you someone who maps out your life, every decision or choice? Or are you someone who sees where the road takes you?

If you are like me, you would rather have a plan. I think human beings, in general, crave consistency and stability. We like to know we are in control of our future. The hard part comes when our plans fail, or get interrupted. As we all know, life doesn’t always go according to our plan.

In Kid’s Klub this past week, we focused on the Lord’s prayer and God’s will. In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. First, He acknowledged God as His Holy Father, then He said, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) He taught His disciples that when we pray, we shouldn’t start by laying out our plans or focusing on our will. We should start by accepting God’s plan, and set our will aside. Jesus knew how to approach God with the right heart. Although it is extremely difficult, God wants us to let Him guide us, not the other way around. It is so easy to come to God with your plans and desires and ask that He fulfill them. It is much harder to come to God and ask Him to lead you.

God is still teaching me to let Him lead me.

I have often laid some of the best plans (in my opinion) only for Him to change everything and send me in a completely new direction. Sometimes I feel lost and confused because I don’t know where He is leading me. But I know He is teaching me to trust Him. I am learning that until I submit to His plan, I will never know peace. If I continue to question His will, I will never be content.

Have you ever questioned God’s plan for your life? Have you ever been confused or wondered why He is allowing something bad to happen or why He is keeping you from something? I think at some point, all of us question the will of God. We have a plan set out for our life and when it doesn’t work out, we question God. Why would You let this happen to me? Why can’t You let this work out for me? Why are You doing this to me?

But He is not doing anything to us. He has done everything for us. He sent His Son to die for us. He made a way for us to have a relationship with Him. And He knows His plan is perfect. All He is asking is for us to trust Him.

I won’t say that I have learned this lesson completely. I still struggle to trust Him, especially when His plan doesn’t make sense to me. But I believe what it says in Jeremiah 29:11. I believe that God’s plan is to prosper me, not to harm me. I know that God’s plan for my life is perfect, even if I don’t understand it.

What about you? Are you still holding tightly to your earthly plan? Or are you ready to give up your will and trust Him?