Bach To Basics

So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.

2Peter 1:12

 
The story has been told of an old ship captain. Every morning the captain would walk into his office, approach a locked desk drawer, take a key out of his pocket, unlock the drawer, take out a book, read and then replace the book and relock it in the drawer. He would then go about his duties for the day. For years, the captain’s lieutenant watched him go through his daily ritual.
 
Upon the captain’s retirement, the lieutenant was promoted to become the new captain. As part of the changing of the ship’s command, the old captain handed over the key to the desk drawer and said, “Guard your ways well, sir, that you follow the advice given in the book. If you do so, you will succeed.”
 
The New captain couldn’t wait to see what the book contained that had so inspired the old captain and provided him so much wisdom all of those years. He anticipated finding the words of another great sea captain, or even the wisdom of the Scriptures. So he rushed to the office, opened the drawer, and pulled out the book. Upon the pages he found only two sentences.
“Port Is Left.”
“Starboard Is Right.”
 
This story is a simple reminder of how some of the basic things in life cannot be overlooked. Living as a Christ-Follower is no different. The Scriptures challenge us to move toward maturity in our faith. Prayer moves us toward important things like, loving devotion to Christ.
 
Today, reflect for a moment on areas in your Christian Life where you may be overlooking some of the basics of following Christ.
 
I want to encourage you not to overlook a simple invitation. According to recent surveys: A very high percentage of “unchurched” people would attend if the simply received an invitation from someone they know and/or respected.   
 
With Love,
Bro. Clayton


Everyone – “IN YOUR PLACES”

“So God has put the body together in such a way that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among members, so that all the members care for each other equally”

1Corinthias 12:24b-25
 
 
I once read a story about a Sea Captain and his Chief Engineer, They argued as to which of them was more important to the ship. Failing to agree, they decided to swap places. The Chief Engineer ascended to the bridge, and the Captain descended to the engine room. After a couple of hours the Captain emerged suddenly on the deck, covered with soot and oil. “CHIEF”, he yelled, wildly waving a monkey wrench. “You’ll have to come down here; I can’t make ‘er go!”  “Of course you can’t,” replied the Chief. “We’ve run aground!”
 
This is a humorous story, however the story shows us the truth about our church. That truth is – simply that every person is an important part of the Danville FBC family! God has put us all together, so that all the members can care for each other equally. Each person in our church has a special gift that God wants to use, for this makes harmony among the members. Disharmony comes when we try to do jobs that God has not gifted us to do. Disharmony also comes when body parts (church members) stop functioning as God intended them to.
 
How about You? Are you doing your part? Are you functioning as God intended you to? Are you an agent of harmony or disharmony? Are you in your place, using the gift God has blessed you with to advance His Kingdom as a member of FBC?
 
My Prayer is that we all ask God what He has created us for. What part of the body of Christ are you? Do you know? Pray and ask God to show you. Only then will you be functioning as a united part of the Body of Christ. Our church needs you! You are important! With each person working together, our church can and will be all that God wants us to be.
Together we can experience 360. I pray you do your part.
 
With Love,
Bro. Clayton
 
 


When The Going Get’s Tough

I have Fought A Good Fight, I Have Finished The Race. I Have Kept The Faith.

2Timothy 4:7
 
Sr. High & Jr. High Football season is underway and soon we will be watching College and Professional football on TV. Most of you would agree that football can be a rough sport, especially on the Professional level, in fact some people may call it violent. (I call it fun) 
Several years ago, during a Monday Night football game between the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants, one of the announcers observed that Walter Payton, the Bear’s hall-of-fame running back, had accumulated over nine miles in yardage by running with the football. Another announcer remarked, “Yeah, and that’s with someone knocking him down every 4.6 yards!”
 
Walter Payton was one of the most successful running backs ever to play professional football. He knew that everyone – even the best- gets knocked down. The key to his success was getting back up and running again just as hard the next time he took the football.
 
In the race that is the Christian Life, keep your eyes on the finish line and run hard! No matter who tries to cause you to stumble or what ever circumstances knock you off balance, when you fall down along the way, get back up, dust yourself off and get back in the game! Don’t become discouraged and quit! Keep your eyes on the Lord and Keep running and you will finish well in the end.
 
As you invite people to join you in Worshipping The Lord. Many will not respond favorably, even our best efforts may fall on deaf ears. We must not grow weary in well doing. We must fight a good fight, we must finish the race and keep the faith.
 
Invite someone to join you at Church!
 
Experience 360 Together,
Bro. Clayton


Bring Home The Gold

“All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize”.

1Corinthians 9:25

 
 
The Olympics in Rio are over and the medal count totals are in. The United States came out on top with 46-gold, 37-silver & 38- Bronze for a total of 121 medals won. China came in second with 70 total medals, 27 of them being gold. Many of you watched the competition and even day dreamed about… What If I Could have….
 
Imagine if you were selected to participate in the next Olympics. You received a call from the Olympic Committee who, through their records, determined you were the most qualified to win a gold medal in the marathon. This is your big chance. You picture yourself walking through the opening ceremonies with the most elite athletes in the world, waving to the crowds, and accepting your medal. In your head, you hear the national anthem being played and know, without a doubt, this is your destiny.
 
But then reality sets in. You can’t run a marathon right now. You haven’t trained. Even if you try really, really hard, the best you could do is maybe crawl across the finish line. You can’t even remember the last time you ran around the block, let alone around the city. In order to run a marathon you will have to turn your life around. You will have to enter into a life of strict and disciplined training. You will have to sacrifice. No matter how hard you try, you must train to be successful.
 
The Christian life is the same. We can try really hard to be good Christians, but in the end unless we are training we cannot finish strong. It is important in life to study the Bible, Pray, even endure through hard times, Seek God for Wisdom, Learn, Grow and Sacrifice. It is all part of training. We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus’ example of living faith.
 
Each day we must choose to train,
 
With Love,
Bro. Clayton   
 
 
 


Work Till Jesus Comes

I recently read a humorous and factious story about a mayor of a small town who was driving through his town and glanced over toward the city square, noticing two city workers doing something rather unusual. Along one side of the city street, they were working steadily, one of the men digging a hole in the ground, and the other filling it back up. After watching them dig and fill in several holes in this same manner, he asked for an explanation. “Well, sir.” replied the first man, “we work for the city planting trees, and usually there are three of us – one to dig the hole, one to plant the tree, and one to fill the hole back in. But the guy who plants the tree called in sick today, and,” he proudly announced, “we did not want to miss a day’s work!”
 
You probably thought the same thing as I did… How cheesy, and what a lame joke!
 
However, isn’t it easy for us to fall into the habit of just being at church, just going through the motions? Attending worship, pay tithe, sing in the choir, or praise team, attend more services, volunteer some time, give some more money, and attend Sunday School. We become programmed, like the tree planters, we totally lose sight of the meaning behind what we are doing. The result is that after years of “DOING” church, our walk with God is still in the same place it has been, and our lost friends and family members are still without Jesus.
 
Our goal is not just to be counted among the regulars on Sunday Morning! Our mission is one of eternal consequences, and we must never lose sight of the urgency behind it. We are to make a difference in a dying world. Everything we do must be motivated by two things – A deep, passionate, growing Love for Our Lord and a desire to win this generation to Christ – For His Glory. Let your motivation for “Experience 360” be Love! Loving God, and Loving others so much that we desire to see the two come together.   
 
Meditate on this for a few minutes – For the early church praying was like Inhaling the breath of God, and evangelism happened naturally as they Exhaled what they had received.
 
Please take time to fellowship with the Heavenly Father in prayer today! Then Share your faith with others.
 
Breathe in – Breathe out,
Bro. Clayton


Prayer Testimony

I’ve been re-reading (for the 5th time) Jim Cymbala’s book “Fresh Wind Fresh Fire”. In the book he tells how God used prayer to revive a dying church in New York.

I enjoy books about prayer and especially when they remind me of what God can do when His people seek Him and truly believe.

Let me share a little excerpt from the 2nd chapter:

“God had formed a core of people who wanted to pray, who believed that nothing was too big for HIM to handle. No matter what roadblock we faced, no matter what attack came against us, no matter how wild the city became in the late seventies – as cocaine arrived on top of heroin, and then crack-cocaine on top of that – God could still change people and deliver them from evil. He was building His church in a tough neighborhood, and as long as people kept calling out for His blessing and help, He had fully committed Himself to respond.”

 

As I read that I was reminded of Calvin Hunt’s Story – a drug addict who was reached through the prayers of the Brooklyn Tab. And how now He is an award winner Gospel Artist – Free At Last!! I want to encourage you to copy and paste the link below and watch his testamentary.   Those who know me best will tell you that I do not cry often… but as I watched this today I found myself crying like a baby (just glad no one was in the office). Because This is part of my dream… A church that is so full of the Grace of God and so sensitive to the Spirit of God, that they pray in such a way that God works mightily and in ways that can not be describe by anything other than “GOD DID IT!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGi6lt_7mZU

Just imagine what God can do if we pray and invite others to join us in the worship of Our Worthy God!

Experience 360,

Bro. Clayton

 

 

 



Soar With The Eagles

An eagle can see a rabbit about 1 mile or 1760 yards away. Now the average person needs to be about 550 yards away to see the same rabbit. That’s why when someone says “you must have eagle eyes,” they mean you can see really far.

In John Maxwell’s Book on leadership he speaks about “Searching For Eagles”. John Maxwell speaks about 21 laws of leadership; one of the 21 laws is the law of the inner circle. The basic principle of this law is that those who are closest to you will determine your level of success. If you have a bunch of turkeys around you; you will never soar with the eagles. Today I am thankful and blessed to have an amazing group of men around me. I consider them “Eagle Leaders”.

As I have already stated, eagles have amazing eyesight, more than 3 times that of a human. Eagles can even see fish swimming just under the surface of the water, while flying some 600 yards above the water. When they dive for the fish they reach speeds of up to 75 miles per hour.

When we apply these facts to leadership; we understand that “Eagle Leaders” can see things that others cannot and they will also swiftly seize opportunities that others cannot! I have heard it said that opportunities are seldom labeled. Walter Chrysler said that -“the reason so many people never get anywhere in life is because when opportunity knocks they are out in the back yard looking for four-leaf clovers.”

Churches today are dying because of lack of “Eagle Leaders”. Many times a Pastor/Leader will pray and receive a God given vision only to hear the followers say – “Preacher we just can’t see how this will work”. There-in lays the problem. They can’t see it – “Eagle Leaders” on the other hand can see what others cannot or perhaps do not want to.

Let me share another interesting fact about eagles. Did you know that they can swim? Sometimes eagles, even with their amazing eyesight,   super-fast speed, and keen senses; they will occasionally miss their targeted fish, or they may mis-judge the size of the fish and they will have to swim back to shore dragging the fish up-on bank where they can eat it on shore. “

“Eagle Leaders”, perceive opportunities and seize them even if it means they have to take risk. Sometimes they may miss the mark or mis-judge but they do not sink, they simple begin to swim, they may drag the problem with them but eventually they wrestle it onto the shore where they can solve it – one bite at a time. 

Oh, God give us men who are eagles, who can see what you want them to see, who can seize the opportunities you put before them, who will have the resolve to fight the good fight, even if they have to take some risk, Give us men of faith who will navigate the deep waters!
 
Seeing “Experience 360”,
Bro. Clayton


Dream Test

I enjoy reading books by Dr. John Maxwell; he is a leadership guru and one of his books is titled “Putting your Dreams to the TEST.”
 
  The following has been taken from this book.

“Have you ever been strolling through a shopping mall or car lot when – POW! – THE perfect product captures your attention? Perhaps it’s the sporty convertible with a V-8 engine and unbelievable acceleration. Maybe it’s the adorable dress that’s exactly your style, has a flattering fit, and accentuates all of your finest features.

Whatever the case, there’s an initial moment when you’re enamored with THE product. For a split second reality is suspended as you imagine the joys of owning it. Unfortunately, two words generally bring this pleasant daydream crashing to a halt: price tag.

The Dream Is Free, but the Journey Isn’t

When you first think about a dream, you only see possibilities and potential. As my friend Collin Sewell observed, all dreams begin obstacle-free. However, at some point we have to confront the Cost Question: Am I willing to pay the price of my dream?”

A little over a week ago I shared a dream with the congregation of FBC Danville. A dream I called “Experience 360”. Why “Experience 360”? Because I want us to experience what it would be like to have our sanctuary full during Sunday Morning Worship. During our worship time together last Sunday I asked you to consider “What Type Of Person Are You?” Perhaps the question we should be asking is “Are God’s people willing to pay the price in Prayer?” And are they willing to put feet to their prayers?

As Maxwell said – the dream is free, the journey may cost!!! Are you willing to pay & what price? Most people are willing to pay some, but they have a limit; they are willing to sacrifice a little but not enough to actually see the dream become reality. They dream big, but want small price tags. We all want to drive nice, new cars, but want to pay used car prices. So, when we see the price tag of the big dreams we run and are forced to settle for small “affordable”, “comfortable” dreams. Something we can handle, something we can pay for, sacrifices that we are comfortable with. We forget that if God gives the dream, if God leads us, He provides – provided we are willing to PRAY THE PRICE!!
 

What about you?  Are you content with just dreaming or do you want to see God do the impossible? What are you willing to sacrifice, what price are you willing to pay? Have you began inviting people to come experience 360, or better yet come experience the worship of our awesome God?

 

Putting The Dream To The Test – TOGETHER

Bro. Clayton



A NEW CHURCH

Let me share a brief story with you. There was a young pastor that I know of who had dreams for the congregation that he pastored. The people seemed to be some-what satisfied to remain in their stagnate state, the pastor desired to lead then to greater things.  It seemed as though ever step forward was met with some sort of resistance. However, God Blessed and the church soon began to get full, the choir grew and was the talk of the town; even receiving invitations to sing at other events. The baptistery was being used on a regular basis. This small country Church had grown from 52 to over 130 and a high of 166. AS I said it was full!!! They soon saw the need to build a new building, the ground work was done, the plains made, the excitement was still growing, etc. However, behind the scenes the cold water committee, those who had never done it this way before, those who would not let go of the past glory days, (which were beginning to pale in comparison to the present day); they were keeping the negativity stirred. These few complained about the youth minister, they complained about the music and the worship leader, they complained that the building was going to cost too much, they complained that the pastor was causing them to lose their Church. Soon visitors began to leave……… it was too crowded, baptisms dropped, then those who had the vision and the dream began to slowly leave, the staff began to leave for other churches. The ones who worked to get the plans and drawings for the new church left. The pastor was now so drained Spiritually, emotionally, and physically he too soon left. The dream was over. The cold water committee got their church back, the building was never built. Since that time this church has dropped back down to under 50 some times even in the 20’s. I guess they were right they did not need a new building, they needed a new Church.

These were all Casualties of War! As we move forward here at Danville FBC we have to remember that we are in a war, but not with each other! We must also understand that we may have some Casualties of War. We will have some that get mad and leave, we will have some who get tired and leave, we will have some who get wounded and leave. We need to remember that those who get wounded are not our enemy, they are victims of this war…….. SATAN is the enemy and he will try to knock out as many as he can. We have to fight on our knees. I have seen him knock the breath, the dream out of one church and I know he wants to do the same to as many as he can.

Let’s look around and see those who are getting Spiritually, emotionally, physically tired and drained. Let’s help encourage, and refresh them so they can live to fight another day.

Beside you not behind you,
Bro. Clayton


Prayer – What, Why and When

What is Prayer? That sounds like one of the most basic questions we could possibly ask. However, it is perhaps the most difficult to answer.  Many see prayer as a religious activity, I personally see it as an important part of a love relationship. Charles Stanley says that prayer is the intimate dialogue with the one who cares about you the most. So based upon that, prayer could be defined as the intimate communication between the Heavenly Father and His Child; or an on going dialogue between two parties who are totally in love with each other. Richard Foster says that: “Prayer is about a love relationship, an enduring, continuing, growing love relationship with the great God of the universe. We will become more effective prayers as we become more effective lovers of God”. With that in mind, prayer is more than a religious ritual, it is getting to now God and prayer is more than just asking for stuff and getting God to answer our wants. It is fellowship with God. I recall another statement I heard Dr. Charles Stanley make, He said: The more I pray, the closer I grow to God, and the closer I grow to Him, the less I ask Him for things and the More He Gives Me! WOW! Meditate on that statement, and make it your goal to see prayer as a form of worship and a way to grow closer to God, a way to get to know Him better, to Love Him more!
As You pray allow God to speak to you and guide your every move. Consider the words of Jesus, in John 5:30.  “I can do nothing on my own, I judge only as I hear, and My Judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent me.” (John 5:30)
 
 
 



Danville First Baptist Church | PO Box 877 | 1009 Main Street | Danville, AR  72833 | Phone: 479-495-2873 | Fax: 479-495-3095 | email:fbcdan@arkwest.com