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 ahd 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 loves 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...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.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Easter and Worry

Sunday we celebrate Easter!  The biggest day of the year for most churches.  It is a day packed with anticipation as we worship and rejoice over the victory that Jesus won over sin at Calvary and through His resurrection.  I pray that we all see people come to Christ and Christians drawn closer to the Lord. Let's pray for every aspect of our services and for every life that walks through the door.

Mark 16:1-8 (NKJV)
1
 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2  Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3  And they said among themselves, "Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?" 4  But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away--for it was very large. 5  And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6  But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7  But go, tell His disciples--and Peter--that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you." 8  So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.


When the women went to the tomb, they were worried about things beyond their control, such as who would roll away the stone to open the grave.  One writer has said, "Jesus opened the door, not to let Him out, but to let us in. "  The grave could not hold the Creator of the world, the Master of the sea, this God-man the Lord Jesus Christ.

May we be reminded this Easter that there are always things out of our control, and the Lord is big enough to handle it.  May we surrender our hearts and our lives to the one is already knows what we need.

Have a great Easter!  Jesus is alive!


Friday, February 23, 2018

Thank You Lord for Billy Graham

This week God called home one of His choice servants in Evangelist Billy Graham.  Ninety nine years old and now in the presence of the One whom he loved and called others to follow.

I can remember as a boy when Billy Graham crusades would air on prime time television and it would bump off any other program. His recognizable voice and accent, the clear message from God's Word, the Gospel presently clearly followed by an invitation to get up and come forward and receive Christ as your Savior.

As a  young boy in Dayton, mom and dad took us I believe in the 60's to Columbus where he preached and we heard testimony. That is another aspect of his crusades that stayed consistent.  He always had guests, celebrities, athletes, actors, come and share their testimony of faith in Christ.  They were never long, but you could tell, they had been asked to share a brief word for the Lord.  One of my favorites comes from the 1987 crusade in Columbia, S.C.  It is special because I am a basketball fan and my favorite player was "Pistol" Pete Maravich.  If you click on this link, you can hear this nine minute testimony. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5s6xIZfQtQ The following year, God called Pete to Heaven at the age of forty.

We took the Church to Indianapolis to Hoosier dome for a Crusade and several years ago we were in involved in the Cincinnati Crusade at Paul Brown Stadium.  It was a blessing to be a counselor and we also had folks involved in the follow up process.

Even in these turbulent days, and even in his declining health, Billy Graham's presence gave us preachers and Christians a sense of security.  He physical meetings with many presidents and world leaders indicate the respect that people had for him  His integrity in ministry and the "Modesto Manifesto" (Guidelines that he and his ministry would follow) served him well.

The news will ask the question, "Who will be the next Billy Graham?"  There will never be another Billy Graham, but as a preacher of the gospel there are many who will continue to preach the same Gospel and invite people to come to Jesus.  We must not waiver, and may we be found faithful as America's Pastor.

Years ago he was asked, "If you could ask the Lord one thing, what would it be?''  His response, "Why me?"
Each message concluded with "Just As I am." May we carry the torch that has burned for so many years.  May the Lord give strength to his family as the nation watches next week.  May many more come to Christ as the Gospel is preached.

Thank you Lord for raising up, using, and blessing Billy Graham. We are grateful.

Bro. Greg