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Turning the Page from 2018 to 2019!

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Pastor's Christmas Devotional - New Year's Eve 2108

When I was a teenager, I loved New Year's Eve and Day, not just for Family and Buckeye football, (and black eyed peas, ribs, and sauerkraut), but also for the fact the radio stations played a "Top 10 Countdown" from that year.  I can remember laying in my bed looking at the poster of basketball hero Pete Maravich on the wall and waiting to hear the next song, thinking it may be one of my favorites. Today I want to share some of my "Top Things I am taking from 2018"  and some "Top Priorities to carry into 2019."

2018 Takeaways:  1. Prayer is the Key - apart from the power of God it is easy to just go through the motions. 2. FSBC needs steady, faithful, verse by verse preaching and teaching of the Bible without apology or compromise. 3. There is no substitute for a personal face to face visit. 4. If I am not intentional in sharing my faith, the staff, leadership, and church will most like…

Never Alone

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It has been a blessing to write a devotion for Christmas this year.  Below is the post from 12/28/18 Pastors Devotion Friday December 28th,
Mark 4:35-41 (NKJV)
35  On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side."36  Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him.
37  And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38  But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?"
39  Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40  But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?"
41  And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!&q…

A Christmas Review

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Pastor's Devotion - Monday December 17th
As we have completed "The Light of Christmas", all I can say is wow, and praise the Lord!  I believe we had a record Saturday night crowd, with so many guests, but it didn't stop there.  Sunday morning we had 461 in worship! There was a buzz in the building as the anticipation of months of practice was about to become reality through the performance. The church was decorated beautifully and Christmas is in the air!  Marcia and Bev had labored tireless to get us to this point.  A group of fine young people kicked it off with a fun "It's Time for Christmas"  holiday choreographed rendition that would have made any Christmas show or King's Island performance proud.  The staging, lighting, sound, narrators, actors, soloists, and singers were spot on and everyone adjusted wonderfully when they had to.  The Drama Team delivered a powerful presentation of the futile search to find perfection on our own…

He's On His Way!

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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 hi…

Surprise in Sandusky

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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 lo…

Hallmark Holidays?

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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 …

When Your August Doesn't Sizzle!

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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 ap…

Family Reunion

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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 togethe…

Prayer for FSBC

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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.  Than…

4/13/76

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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 Jesu…

Easter and Worry

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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)
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 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 wer…

Thank You Lord for Billy Graham

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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 basketba…

You Never Know

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Last week I did some Birthday shopping for Renee.  I try to buy her clothes or shoes, purchases that usually take me into an all ladies store, and a place where a man is really a fish out of water. It can be an intimidating place!  Upon entry I heard the words, can I help you?

I replied, yes, I need your help.  From that point on, she walked with me, and offered suggestions as we put together several outfits. Upon checking out, I asked both sales associates at the counter if they had a home church and discovered that they were both Christian's.  The manager of the store responded, "We may try to make it Sunday night."

What a blessing to watch her along with her husband walk in last night for church and to join us for worship.

I tell you this story because " You Never Know' what God may want to do with a conversation and in invitation.  We are part of what Ohio Baptists are calling the Big Invite this Easter, by inviting 500,000, ( One Half a Million People) to …

Do You Love to Tell the Story?

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Dear FSBC, today Joe Kramer will attend the funeral of one of his best friends, Junior Driver.  In hearing Joe and others talk about Junior, it was said that he was one of the greatest soul winners they have ever known.  What a great testimony to leave family and friends!  A testimony that you cared enough about people to share Christ with whomever you could.
Could it be that one reason we may not see people come to Christ is because we have quit sharing and inviting? Could it be that we are so Consumed with our lives that we feel like there is little time to show compassion and care for others?
Recently as a result of his death, I was given a KJV Schofield Bible of Jim Castle. As a young husband at North Dayton Baptist Church, Jim and I learned to share our faith and often went out on visitation together. It was not always smooth and clear, but we saw some folks come to Christ and made us rely on the Holy Spirit like never before. We had a  friend, Ron Lee, who now past…