Wednesday, December 12, 2018

He's On His Way!

Growing up in Dayton, Ohio meant that our grandparents lived out of state our entire lives.  Most of that time being in Tennessee and South Carolina.  Many years when Sheila and I were kids we were able to go to Tennessee to celebrate the birth of Christ with family at Christmas.

A special memory I have was the arrival.  We would pull into the lane, roll out of the car, then step up onto the porch.  As we would step up on the crickity floor, we would  knock on the old screen door. If you listened carefully you could hear it.  The china cabinet was vibrating and that meant only one thing.  Somebody was on their way walking through the house.  
In seconds, we were greeted by someone loved far more than Santa, we were welcomed by my Papaw Jackson.  He and Granny were always so happy to see us. He also always greeted us with a joyful smile and hug. There was always food ready when we arrived.  Regardless of the hour, it was prepared with eager expectation of our arrival.  The sight of his overalls, along with the smell of tobacco mixed with the smell of coal in the fireplace and chalky peppermint sticks are things I will never forget. I must not forget the small glass bottles of Coke!

Just as the vibration of the china shouted, "He's on his way", Christmas shouts to us a message that when Christ was born, Hope, Peace, Joy, and Salvation was on His way!  If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, He will be home for Christmas.  Home in your heart as a Christian is where the Holy Spirit resides.  Let's celebrate and not forget or neglect the reason for it all.  Regardless of where holiday travel takes you, make sure Your heart is where Christ finds His home.  That will make it a great Christmas.

Merry Christmas!  Bro. Greg

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Surprise in Sandusky

Last week at our State Convention of Ohio Baptist Annual Meeting Sandusky, Ohio I was stunned to receive an award called the Darty and Dot Stowe Award. Taken by surprise, it was a blessing to have Renee slip up with Mom and Dad, and Roy and Cathy from church.  It was also a great blessing to have our Staff share congratulations by video as well as my sweet kids and grandsons.  God has been so good to me as a son, husband, dad, papaw, and pastor.  I could not have asked for anything more in life. It is a great blessing to shepherd the flock God has given me in Camden. I share this with my church family.  Below is a description of the origin and some background regarding Darty and Dot Stowe.


Darty and Dot Stowe began their ministry with Mission Ohio in 1954 as director of missions for the greater Cincinnati area. A year later he became state director of missions and then became the associate executive secretary, working closely with state executive secretary Ray Roberts. Darty and Dot loved their work in Ohio and served until his home going in 1981. Dot accepted a position as director of a women’s residence hall at Georgetown College in 1983, where she influenced many young women. She moved back to Ohio in 1989 and stayed in close contact with friends in the ministry until joining Darty with our Lord in 2000.
  


Darty Stowe led well from the ‘second chair,’ with a servant’s heart, leaving a great legacy in Ohio. The award is given every year to a pastor or minister who has served faithfully, perhaps never recognized like those in the larger, more visible churches, but leaving a legacy and serving in the spirit of 1 Thessalonians 2:3-12. The Darty and Dot Stowe Award is provided by annual gifts to Georgetown College from members of the Stowe family.
Candidates for the Stowe Award must be currently serving Mission Ohio and have at least five years of service. Nominations are submitted to the state convention staff by October 1 each year. The award is announced during the annual meeting of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio. A recognition plaque and a financial award for the purchase of books and/ or continuing education are presented to the recipient.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Hallmark Holidays?

I can't believe the transformation that has recently overtaken me when it comes to television watching. I am actually watching the Hallmark Movie Channel and enjoying the movies. It began last Christmas season and has now progressed through the present series of Autumn themed movies.

Some characteristics of these movies are recurring, such as the actors, a small town or village, a trip back home to the farm where an old flame is still there,  fall or Christmas festivals, a delayed flight back home to a job that has overtaken a life, and did I mention I haven't heard cursing. There is always a fresh snow and plenty of coffee and hot chocolate in people's hands.  We even know the names of the actors and actresses who often appear in many different movies.

These movies are about simple things from small towns with clear messages.  There is nothing fancy about them.  To really experience the season, there is nothing wrong with keeping things simple.  Spending time with folks you love, in places that you love, and being reminded about the One who first loved us is what brings joy to the holidays.

Jesus teaches us to be grateful.  Paul said that he had learned to be content,  in prosperity or poverty.
Let us seek to be thankful for all that Christ has done for us.

My mom and dad have always made this season special.  They have spent their lives going out of the way to make it wonderful for our family.  Now with grandsons of our own, I hope we can make the holidays "Hallmark" for them as well, and if that means keeping things simple, if it is all about Jesus... then we have done something right and that will be ok.

Monday, August 13, 2018

When Your August Doesn't Sizzle!

Most of the time, August means hot, lazy, the winding down of summer, school clothes hopefully purchased, and school buses starting to roll.  In ministry it may be even the month where you try to catch your breath as the fall schedule begins to take shape.

A former pastor and longtime mentor of mine, Joe Baker, once said, "Don't evaluate ministry on Monday morning, or in the month of August."  That is a good word preacher. Why?  

I believe that Mondays can be either wonderful or grueling. If you have had a good Sunday, powerful worship, decisions for Christ, strong attendance, strong offering and a spirit of unity.  That can add up to a good Monday. A great Monday! That is when sleep is easy on Sunday night as you are exhausted from giving it your best. You get to the office early on Monday, ready to tackle the week and preparation in front of you with passion and excitement.

But what about when August isn't sizzling.  Everything seems down, and as you look around, it appears as if even your leaders are hit and miss in support and attendance. Leaders failed to show, you lead the worship, pass out bulletins and everything in between.   If you evaluate ministry on Mondays in August, you can easily be discouraged, even now as you read this blog, yesterday may have felt like a death blow and you are reeling like a fishing bobber in strong wind.  I have experience both of these kind of Mondays.  I certainly prefer the the good ones, but be reminded, "God is at work, even when we can't see it." Blackaby
 

What does God need from us in August?  Faithfulness.  Some have said that ministry today is harder than ever before.  If that is true, God must be wanting to use us if He is allowing us to lead for a time such as this. Charles Spurgeon once wrote, "I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages."  My prayer for you today, is that the Holy spirit may stoke the fire of your heart, and that you sense that sizzle that keeps you pressing toward the mark.

Until He comes, we will go!  Bro. Greg

Monday, July 2, 2018

Family Reunion


One thing in culture that has changed is the importance and planning of family reunions.  There was a time where it was almost a regularly scheduled annual event.  Years ago we went to Tennessee to be part of one and it was wonderful.  Sadly today, this is not the case as reunions have given way to busy schedules, ball tournaments, and planning alternatives.  My experience is that most family reunions sadly now take place at funeral homes or gravesides. We only get together when there has been a great loss or death.
Unless someone takes charge and makes it happen it will become only a conversation and never take place.

Last night we came together to worship around the Lord's Supper table.  In many ways, this service is about a Family Reunion.  Brother's and sisters in Christ getting together to worship, and remember what the Lord has done for us.  We are family brought together by the blood of Jesus, Calvary's cross, and His glorious resurrection.  Jesus brings us together for this important time.  It is His blood, His sacrifices, and His wonderful promise of heaven that makes it happen.  We are saved by Him, through Him, and for Him.

I am grateful to be part of the family of God.  We may not be a perfect church, but we strive to serve and worship One who is!  Lord, thank you for my family at FSBC!

Bro.Greg

Monday, May 21, 2018

Prayer for FSBC

Lord, today I pray for our Church Family.  With the excitement of a school year winding down, our nation has once again been rocked with a senseless school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.  We pray for all of those who suffered the loss of a child, sibling, grandchild, and for the students, teachers and staff.  We lift up the first responders, and I pray Lord for the Pastors and Churches in that area who are ministering through the pain. Help our nation, states, and communities take bold steps to make sure this ends in our nation.  Students killing students, or anyone who murders another represents the lies of the devil.  May You send a great awakening to America.  Forgive us, and heal us we pray.

Whoever is reading this message today, help us major on the main things.  Help us to take the message we heard yesterday to heart and seek to please You Lord.  Thank You for the commitment of everyone who serves here at FSBC and those who will be serving in the upcoming year.  Thank You for the powerful worship, the graduates that were recognized and each family as well.  Lord we pray that You raise up an army of young people who will carry the baton of faithfulness for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As many vacation, help us use it as a time to be refreshed.  We love You Lord.  Help us be bold in sharing our faith, our story, Your love.

In Jesus name,  Amen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

4/13/76

Friday, April 13, 2018 may not mean much to many people, but it marks the forty second year since the day I gave my life to Jesus Christ and was saved.

It was during Revival with T.D. Hall, the guest Evangelist, at North Dayton Baptist Church.  I recently attended a funeral there and the memories of the past flooded my soul.  Being raised by godly parents and in Church is a wonderful thing, and a blessing from God.  I had walked down the aisle as a nine year old boy, but always wrestled with doubt as a young teen on whether or not I knew what I had done at that young age.

Tuesday night came.  Most folks likely thought that it would be a service similar to the previous night.  There was a fourteen year old boy there, that knew this would be the night.  I had made up my mind before the invitation.  I would settle it once and for all, and I did.  Christ met me at the point of my surrender and my life has never been the same.  With knees bent and tears streaming down my cheeks I ask Jesus to come into my heart and forgive me of my sin.  The greatest and most important decision I have ever made.

Now in my twenty fifth year here at FSBC as pastor, I  pray and yearn for Revival where we see people broken, saved, and surrendered to Jesus Christ as Lord.  That is one reason I love Revivals, 
my life was forever changed by Christ in one.  We look forward to having Jeff Crook with us beginning this Sunday and my prayer is that the same sweet Holy Spirit does it again, as lives are touched and  forever changed.