On Wednesdays of each week, I try to use this blog to speak specifically to our congregation at First Baptist Church, Lafayette. To my other readers, I hope that you will pray for us and be encouraged by what we are doing as you read.
I want to alert your attention to the next three Sundays because they all deserve a little bit of preparation. First, this coming Sunday is our next big step in our “Do Something” Ministry Strategy. In our evening service, the six assigned task forces will each take a turn in sharing about the 6 potential ideas that have received the greatest attention in our earlier focus groups. Each person in attendance will be given a card to give a response. The card reads like this: “What is the Lord impressing upon your heart concerning…” Each of the six ideas will bel listed below this phrase. I love where God has us as we journey together to hear His call.
Of course, by now, I hope you know that the next Sunday evening, November 9, we begin hosting Baptists from all around the state for the Louisiana Baptist Convention. That Sunday evening will be an exciting worship event as we host the Pastor’s Conference. I hope you have definite plans to be with us.
On the following Sunday, November 16, several important events are happening on this one Sunday. First, this is the day that we will perform two annual tasks. We will have the opportunity to adopt the operating budget for 2015 at the Annual Church Conference during the Evening Service. A presentation and discussion of the annual budget will take place on Wednesday, November 12, at 6:00 p.m. The Ministry Action Planning Team will be meeting this week to finalize the proposed budget.
We will also be nominating deacons on Sunday, November 16. We will provide a list of those men who are currently deacons and a blank ballot for you to nominate up to 15 men. The purpose of supplying the list of current deacons is to remind you of who is presently serving as a deacon and, therefore, does not need to be nominated.
As you pray about your nominations, please study Acts 6:1-6 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13 for a foundation of what God requires for the service of deacon. In addition, please remember that we ask all nominees to be a member of First Baptist Church for at least one year.
What do you know about the Old Testament prophet Zephaniah? Zephaniah 1:1 tells us that Zephaniah prophesied in the days of Josiah. That means something. It means that Zephaniah was born into one of the worst times in history, but he also lived to see a revival. In fact, I think we can assume that it is Zephaniah’s preaching in part that God used to bring about this revival.
Josiah was the king of Judah that had one of the most unusual resumes ever for a king. He was 8 years old when he began to reign. His father was Amon. Amon was only 22 years old when he began to reign. He lasted only two years before he was assassinated. Amon’s father was a king named Manasseh. He was only 12 years old when he began to reign, but he reigned for 55 years. Here is the first word we get about him in 2 Kings. “He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, imitating the abominations of the nations that the Lord had disposed before the Israelites.” (2 Kings 21) Later in verse 16 of 2 Kings 21 we read, “Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem with it from one end to another. This was in addition to his sin he caused Judah to commit so that they did what was evil in the Lord’s sight.”
This is the world in which Zephaniah was born. Fifty-five years of Manasseh’s reign and the two years of Amon’s reign had left Judah far away from God. Zephaniah was born to desperate times. It wasn’t as Charles Dickens wrote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” It was just the worst of times. And these times made Zephaniah desperate for God to move. This begs several questions.
· How desperate are we?
· What is the evidence in our lives that we are desperate? In our praying? In our personal holiness?
· How difficult do things have to get before we get desperate?
A few of us were talking this week about what was going on this week at FBC. We agreed that nothing out of our normal schedule was happening this week, but that this was probably the last week of 2014 that we would be able to say that. We have some really busy weeks for the rest of the year.
I do want to say that we are continuing this Sunday with our series on the Minor Prophets. If you are reading the book before you come (which I hope you are), read Zephaniah this week. We are skipping Habakkuk for the time being, but will come back to that book on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Fall Fest is Wednesday, October 29th! Let me encourage all of our families with children to join us for our Children’s Ministry Fall Fest & Trunk or Treat. Sunday School classes and other groups within our church are gearing up to have games and car trunks filled with candy ready to be given to the boys and girls. We will also have some of the area’s Food Trucks on hand for purchase of food items. The fun happens this coming Wednesday, October 29, between 5-7 p.m.
Did you know that we are hosting the Louisiana Baptist Convention on November 10-11? Every year churches of the Louisiana Baptist Convention meet for several days. Convention business is conducted, but there are lots of other times of worship and inspiration. Please pray for me as I give leadership to this meeting as the LBC president. On Sunday evening, November 9, and Monday, November 10, from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. the Pastor’s Conference precedes the main convention meeting. Don’t let this title mislead you. Everyone is welcome! This will be our evening worship on November 9. I am counting on you to come. Our choir is singing, and I will be preaching along with Dr. Chuck Kelley, President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and Fred Lowery, recently retired pastor of FBC, Bossier City. Several have indicated their desire to see our church host a revival. This meeting is a good gauge to see whether we would support with our attendance an extended revival meeting. If you can make it during the day on Monday, November 10, you will be able to hear our current Southern Baptist Convention president, Dr. Ronnie Floyd. Dr. Floyd is scheduled to speak at 10:30 on Monday morning.