Christ’s Answer to Every Problem

Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself. 8 Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. 9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

One of the difficulties of being a pastor is to help people through difficult seasons of their life. Usually, there is no advice to give or anything to say that will really change the circumstances. At the same time, saying something like, “Just trust God,” seems so hollow and void of real compassion. And yet, is there any better answer to all of our problems than the answer that Christ gives? Jesus said to Paul and He says to us, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

The focus here is on the power of God. There is …

  1. The Power of the Cross of Christ

1 Corinthians 1:18

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (NKJV)

  1. The Power of the Resurrection of Christ

Philippians 3:10

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (NKJV)

Ephesians 1:19-20

19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, (NKJV)

  1. The Power of the Intercession of Christ

Romans 8:26-27

26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (NKJV)

Rom 8:34

34It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. (NKJV)

  1. The Power of the Love of Christ

Romans 8:35-39

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;

We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV)

  1. The Power of the Holy Spirit

Acts 1:8

8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (NKJV)

  1. The Power of the Promises of God

2 Corinthians 1:20-21

20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. (NKJV)

What’s Happening This Week at FBC?

Friday night, April 12, the Youth Choir is presenting the second annual Decades Dinner Theater. This was a fun event last year. The Youth Choir has worked hard on this event. It is a fundraiser for their choir/mission trip this summer. You can get a $20 ticket from any Youth Choir member.

We are excited about participating in “Here for You, Acadiana” Saturday. This is our annual day of service in our community. Here are some reminders that will help us to have a great day.

  • Meet in FBC Fellowship Hall at 7:30 for a light breakfast, last minute instructions, and group picture.
  • Wear your “Here for You, Acadiana” t-shirt from previous years or be prepared to purchase one for $5.
  • Be prepared to stay on your job location until 1 p.m.
  • Certainly be praying that the seeds of evangelism planted through word and deed will produce a great Gospel harvest.

As Christians, this week beginning Sunday is a really exciting week. As we celebrate Easter, we have several opportunities for worship and reflection. First, this Sunday morning, April 14, we have a special event planned for our children in Sunday School. They will experience a reenactment of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on the Sunday that began His Passion Week. In our two morning worship hours, I will continue our series in 1 Peter. Our theme has been “Living Hope.” Sunday, we will explore a glorious text that reminds us that Jesus is our Living Hope Forever.

Join us back Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. for a special musical presentation by our choir and orchestra, titled “The Reason.”

 

Looking Ahead

As I closed our service Sunday (April 7), I shared these words with our congregation. If you missed this important time, I certainly want you to know what I shared.

Linett and I have been forced in recent weeks to look ahead, and we have come to a necessary time to tell you about that. It’s the reason that I wanted to have one combined service today. It was important to me for all of us to be together so that I could talk to you about what we sense God is leading us to do.

I likely will be transitioning in ministry. Our church is part of the Louisiana Baptist Convention—approximately 1600 Southern Baptist Churches in Louisiana. The full-time employee that leads this cooperative convention of churches is called the Executive Director. Currently, the Executive Director is Dr. David Hankins. He has preached here for us on a number of occasions. Last November, Dr. Hankins announced his intention to retire. A search committee has been actively at work since that announcement. At noon today, the Executive Director Search Committee will begin a process of announcing that they have selected me to be their nominee to the full Board of Directors, known as the Executive Board, to be the next Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. That confirmation vote will not occur until Tuesday, May 7, but since my name will begin to be announced today, I wanted you to hear this from me. If this call is confirmed by the whole Executive Board, I do intend to accept their call.

I realize that this will be a difficult month for all of us to have to wait for the final outcome, but no other option presented itself.

So what happens if they call me? This is a position that is full-time and therefore would require my resignation as pastor of First Baptist Church. I would give a formal announcement of that resignation in writing on May 7. In order to not prolong the length of departure and since I am giving you this notice today, in consultation with our Personnel Committee Chairman, my last Sunday as your pastor would be May 19. Since I assume nothing, other than seeking to be obedient to God in every step, if the full Board would not confirm my selection, I would continue to be your pastor with great joy and belief that our best days are yet ahead.

I know this announcement likely comes as quite a shock to all of you. This has been equally a shock to Linett and me. We came here fourteen years ago believing we would be here forty years. We love you. We love Lafayette. We love First Baptist Church. The thought of leaving so many friends, a staff that has worked hard with us, our families, and a ministry that we love doesn’t make any human sense to us. However, we have sought the will of God in this matter in the same manner that we have taught you, and the evidence of His leading us is undeniable. In fact, I have reached the point that I believe I would be acting in disobedience if I did not say “yes.”

None of this means that we do not hurt to leave. None of this means that we are unhappy here. We simply mean to say that we are following God as we sense He is leading at this point in our lives. And, our faithful God will lead you as well.

There are many more things I want to say to you, and I will in the days ahead. I want to lead us in what might be my final weeks as your pastor to exalt Jesus during this Easter Season. I want to be a part in giving effective leadership for a smooth transition.

But today, I want to close by saying, in all of this, we must all Look Up!

As I have quoted many times to you, “Hallelujah, the Lord God, the Almighty, reigns!” (Revelation 19:6)

With Love,

Steve