What’s Happening this Week at FBC?

After a Christmas season of interrupted schedules, different schedules, and school recesses, this week finds us getting back to normal. We have our full schedule tonight. I am beginning a Bible Study on Exodus tonight. This study will last all year. We did this last year with Genesis. I am looking forward to continuing that story this year on Wednesday nights.

Sunday is going to be a special day. Don’t miss! We will begin a new preaching series called, “Facing 18.” What are you facing this year? Maybe you don’t even know what you are facing. In reality, we never know what a day holds. The good news is that we can face every day with faith and not fear. Let’s talk about that Sunday.

Also, on Sunday, we celebrate the ministry of Gary Ruffin. Gary has retired as our Minister of Education and Outreach. Never has a pastor had a better friend and confidant on his staff. I am blessed by Gary’s ministry and friendship. Join us as we honor Gary this Sunday.

We will have a reception in his honor at 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. This will serve as our Evening Worship. In addition, if you would like to be part of a retirement love offering for Gary, we certainly encourage you to do that. We ask that you give that through the church offering making a check to FBC and memo for “Gary Ruffin Love Offering.” Paul said as is recorded in 1 Timothy 5:18, “The worker is worthy of his wages.” Let us honor our friend in a great and worthy way.

Guard 2018

Arguably, Proverbs is the most practical book in the Bible. Every line is flowing with God’s wisdom. Indeed the book of Proverbs is categorized as a book of wisdom. In this book, you will discover wisdom for so many areas of life—money, marriage, and work. Most anything you are concerned about, you will find God’s wisdom here in the book of Proverbs.

Sunday, I turned to the wisdom discovered in Proverbs 4:20-27 for the basis of my morning worship message. In this passage, we discover 5 areas to guard.
Our ability to guard these five areas may well determine the way 2018 goes for us.

Guard Your Mind! (20-22)

Guard Your Heart! (23)

Guard your Mouth! (24)

Guard your Eyes! (25)

Guard your Decisions! (26-27)

The words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6 are a good reminder of how we are to guard.

    1. We are to be strengthened by the Lord and His vast strength.
    2. Put on the full armor of God—truth, righteousness, the Gospel of peace, faith, and salvation.
    3. Take up the Sword of the Spirit—the Word of God.
    4. Pray at all times in the Spirit.

One hundred sixty years ago, Spurgeon preached a sermon on Proverbs 4. He gave this wonderful example that is just as true today as it was 160 years ago. He said guarding our hearts is like a city required to guard its water source for its citizens. They must (1) tap into a pure source, (2) they must take care of what flows in, and (3) they must continue to test what flows out.

Have you, first of all, tapped into the right source—Jesus? Are you taking care of what flows in? Are you eliminating the rotten stuff and allowing God’s Holy Word to pour in? What is flowing out?

(This post is based on the message “Guard!” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)

A Prayer for His Church in 2018

Psalm 67

As we begin 2018, it seems appropriate to think upon a prayer to guide God’s church in 2018. The prayer that I want to show you today is a Biblical prayer. Rather than a prayer that we would pray for ourselves, this is a corporate prayer. Consider Psalm 67.

May God be gracious to us and bless us;
may he make his face shine upon us. Selah
so that your way may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, God;
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations rejoice and shout for joy,
for you judge the peoples with fairness
and lead the nations on earth. Selah
Let the peoples praise you, God,
let all the peoples praise you.

The earth has produced its harvest;
God, our God, blesses us.
God will bless us,
and all the ends of the earth will fear him.

Some people see in these seven verses what is called a chiastic structure. That means that the first verse mirrors the last verse, the second verse mirrors the next to last verse, and the third verse mirrors verse 5. What remains (which in this Psalm is verse 4) serves as the most important line. Think of it as a bullseye.

I want to put this Psalm, which is a prayer, in one sentence.

God, grant us Your blessing so that we might go after people with the Gospel so that we and others might give You the praise that You deserve.

God, grant us Your blessing

Most, if not all of the Psalms, are a cry from the heart. Indeed, a deep plea of the heart is the feel of this text.

This is a corporate prayer. We are unashamedly asking God for His blessing. This does not mean material blessing, but it does mean that we are asking God for more of Him—more of His power, more of His anointing, and more of His presence.

Consider these words attributed to A.W. Tozer—a preaching giant from the last century.

Before we can be filled with the Spirit, the desire to be filled must be all-consuming. It must be for the time the biggest thing in the life, so acute, so intrusive as to crowd out everything else. The degree of fullness in any life accords perfectly with the intensity of true desire. We have as much of God as we actually want.” 

We will have as much of God in 2018 as we desire to have.

Go after people with the Gospel

                Here is the Reason for the Request

The cry is in verse 1. The motivation for the cry follows in verses 2-5. The motivation for the request we make to God is more important than the request. James said, “You ask and don’t receive because you ask wrongly, so that you may spend it on your desires for pleasure.” (James 4:3)

But, if our motives are right, we can ask God for His blessing. When we ask God to help us to go after people with the Gospel, we can expect His blessing.

Look at the number of times in this Psalm that we have a word that reflects people.

God is not looking for a church to find their mission; God is looking for a church to fulfill His mission.

Give You the praise that You deserve

There is always a connection between glad hearts and saved people. Remember Luke 15. Three parables—lost coin, lost sheep, and a lost boy (the Prodigal). The common denominator? Rejoicing when that which was lost is found.

God, grant us Your blessing so that we might go after people with the Gospel so that we and others might give You the praise that You deserve.