Stirred -not- Shaken

You can ask anyone in my family and they will tell you that I love a good glass of sugar sweet tea. I am talking “pure joy,” I guess that sweet tea is one of my favorite delicacies.  You have probably noticed that when you add sugar to tea, the sugar settles to the bottom.  The only way to make the tea sweet is to stir it.  It is the stirring that causes the sugar to permeate the entire pitcher of tea.I can actually be a little picky about my tea, in-fact in my house I normally always make the tea. At a restaurant I have returned tea on several different occasions. I like it to be made a certain way. It is not enough to stir the sugar into the tea, I put the sugar in first and then add a little hot water, stir a little, then add the tea after it has brewed but it is still hot. It is the stirring of the hot water that causes the sugar to completely dissolve.

Let’s imagine that you are the pitcher of tea, and your faith is the sugar.  That faith is in you, but it doesn’t really transform you until there is some stirring.  That stirring is what James refers to as “trials of many kinds.” God often allows us to get into some “Hot Water”. God uses the trials you experience to change you and make you stronger.  When your life gets stirred up, God uses it to build your perseverance.  In fact, it is impossible to develop perseverance without that kind of stirring.  God is so good that even your trials can be reason to rejoice, because those trials strengthen your perseverance.

That same tea with out the sugar is not very good to me at all; it is bitter. Isn’t it interesting that on of my favorite delicacies, something that brings “pure joy” is only good after it has been heated and stirred? When God allows you to go through the fire and when your life is being stirred, God may be developing you to be a sweet taste in the life of others. 
 
Count it all Joy Brothers,
Bro. Clayton


Reverse Pedestrienism

In 1895 Plennie Wingo was born in Abilene, TX. Some you you are wondering who Plennie Wingo is! I can not believe you have not heard of the man who holds the world record for reverse pedestrianism, in-fact he has held it since 1931. In-fact he holds two world records in reverse pedestriensim. The next question you may have is probably what is -reverse pedestrianism?   It is Walking Backwards.

It all started when a friend of Plennies Wingo’s Daughter challenged Plennie to do something that had never been done before. So, on April 15, 1931 Plennie began walking backwards, He left Santa Monica and walked onto a ship headed for the Orient, he continued walking while on the ship; when the ship landed he got off and continued walking backward until he got to Istanbul, Turkey. He logged over 8 thousand miles of backward walking. later that year he set his second world record for “Speed backward walking” covering the 45 miles between Boston and Providence in 12 & 1/2 hours. No one has ever broken either of these records. (I cannot imagine anyone wanting to)

On the 45th anniversary of his record setting walk, Plennie walked over 450 miles from San Francisco to Santa Monica it took him 85 days – he was 81 years old.

Have you ever felt like you where going backward? Have you ever tired walking backward? It is not something I would have on my “Bucket-list”.

Plennie Wingo rigged up a mirror on his glasses so he could see where he was going. There are alot of people and alot of Churches that are contanstly looking at the past, always looking back and allowing that to keep them from looking forward. 

Look at what Jesus said in Luke 9:62  “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

This does not mean that we should not value our past, it just means that we should not let our past keep us from looking forward!

Mark this down……….. If we are going to do anything for God it will be FORWARD not someplace in the past!
 
This past week we voted to do two things that  will enable us to say “We’ve never done it that way before” We voted to partner with two sister churches to start a Hispanic Mission Church and we voted to use our Parsonage as a ministry tool by allowing a family, who lost their home to a fire, to move into the parsonage rent free.
I am looking forward to many more God sized, God ordained, opportunities to say “we’ve never done that before.”
 
Don’t live your life as a backward believer……… turn your eyes upon Jesus and see what he wants you to do for His glory today and tomorrow. FBC Danville has great days ahead of us. I am so looking forward to what God is going to do in us and through us is the days, months, and years ahead.

 

Remembering the Past, Evaluating the Present, and Envisioning the Future,
Bro. Clayton


Bird Brains

Jeremiah 8:7 

 “ Even the stork in the heavens   Knows her appointed times;   And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow   Observe the time of their coming.   But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD.

 

This scripture tells us that even the bird know when to turn and return. It is written in nature.

Did you know that the Terra Del Fuego is a group of Islands on the Southern tip of Argentina. Why do I mention this? It is because on the tip of Argentina they have a little bird that is called the “Red Knott” we call them the “SandPiper”. You can often see them along the beach during the summer months. 

You can also see a variation of this bird along many U.S coast lines.

 In mid-May they fly all the way up the coast line of Argentina, up over Brazil, and eventually turn and fly over the Atlantic Ocean. They will fly for one solid week without landing or eating. They will make their way to the Chesapeake Bay and the Delaware Bay where the Horse Shoe Crabs come about Mid-May to lay their eggs. These Small birds will stop and will eat 1000’s of eggs. They will gain enough strength to continue their journey all the way up to Northern Canada. The trip one way is about 9000 miles. They will mate and the female will lay 4 speckled brown eggs. The female and her mate will hatch the eggs and by mid-June the female (who is apparently tired of the husband and kids) will fly by herself 9thousand miles back to South America and 1 week later the male (who is now tired of being alone with the kids) will make the same trip by himself back to the very tip of Argentina. By mid-August the baby “Red Knotts” or “SandPipers” with out any maps,or GPS will fly the exact same 9 thousand mile route to join Mom and Dad at the Terra Del Fuego Islands. They make this 18 thousand mile round trip each and every year. The greatest scientific minds cannot figure out why these birds do this, nor can they figure out HOW they do it with such perfection.

God says that the birds know when to go out and when to turn and when to return…………. I thank that is amazing! But what is even more amazing is what God says at the end of this same verse……….. “But My People do not!”

God is speaking about the fact that His own people will not return to Him! Did you know that about 90%- 95% of the time when the Bible speaks about repentance…….. it is God directing it toward HIS PEOPLE???????

If God can direct these birds to fly 9 thousand miles and even lead them to stop along the coast lines of U.S.A & at the same time He has brought the Horse Shoe Crabs to lay eggs so that He can provide a much needed meal, and can tell mom and dad when to leave and can also direct  baby birds to fly to a place they have never been. If God can do these things don’t you think He can direct every part of our lives if we just turn back to Him? Are you giving God the worship He deserves? I stand in AWE of MY GOD!!!!!!!!!
 
As amazing as this story is; I also Know God has amazing plans for HIS Church. Often HIS Church misses The will of God because the church is busy planning and discussing how to do it and trying to figure all the details. All the time God is often saying start flying and I will show you the way.
 
I am ready to Jump out of the nest and watch as God does amazing things through HIS people.
 
With Love,
Bro. Clayton


Dream Big

 

Can You remember having big dreams? Maybe the dreams began when you were younger when you dreamed of what you would be when you grew into adulthood. For many reality set in and you gave up the dream of becoming a pro athlete or a astronaut.  At the young age of 15 – I felt as though God was calling me to pastor a church some day, so for the next several years I dreamed of the day I would pastor a church. Today I literally get to live the dream. As, I first dreamed I imagined God doing something big through my life, using me to see lives changed for HIS Glory, leading His Church to experience HIM like never before, Impacting people for His Kingdom Agenda. No pastor starts out dreaming of just getting by or leading a church to simply maintain or just survive. I still dream that we as His People be used in ways that Only God can Explain.  Several Years ago study was done of concentration camp survivors to determine the common characteristics of those who did not die from disease or starvation. Victor Frankl was a living answer to that question. Before the Nazis threw him into a concentration camp, he was a successful psychiatrist. After his rescue, Victor Frankl traveled the world, sharing his story: “There is only one reason why I am here today. You kept me alive. Others gave up hope. I dreamed that someday I would be here telling you how I, Victor Frankl, had survived the Nazi concentration camps. I’ve never been here before, I’ve never seen any of you before, and I’ve never given this speech before. But in my dreams, I have stood before you and said these words a thousand times.”

Outlook determines outcome. Victor Frankl survived because he chose a right focus, keeping his eyes fixed on what was ahead. Proverbs 4:25 explains, “We need to keep our eyes focused on what is right and look straight ahead to what is good.” The picture painted here is one of an “upright” life, a life of “moral purity.” We serve a holy God who is very serious about sin – serious enough to send His son, Jesus Christ, as payment for that sin. We claim the miracle of blood-bought forgiveness while flirting with sin. We give lip-service to God’s sacrifice while allowing impurity to negate its power in our lives. We point others to the cross when we are the ones in desperate need of its deliverance.

What is your dream? It must begin in the mind of God and then be transferred to your mind. Thus your mind and heart must be connected to His mind and heart.  What is your outlook? I still believe in Miracles and I still believe that God wants to use Danville FBC to miraculously see lives changes. How about you? Do you want to have a Kingdom impact on the city of Danville, on families in Yell Co.? If so, Dream – or better yet let God dream for you!  I’m dreaming of a Church like we read about in the book of Acts! Who wants to join me?
 
With Love,
Bro. Clayton


Taking A Risk For HIS Glory!

In our daily Bible Reading we have moved into the book of Acts. If you are not following us with the Bible reading plan; it is not too late you can pick up a reading schedule at the church. I love the book of Acts, because it chronicles the life of the early church. It amazes me to see the way the early believers were ready to take a risk for the sake of advancing the Kingdom. They risked everything to see lost people saved, to be able to help those in need, to be able to Worship and bring Glory to HIS NAME! I pray our church will be willing to take risk if HE leads us to do so. Consider the story below and then lets pray to God that we never fall into the same pattern.  

Schwinn Bicycle was the leader in the industry for a hundred years. Edward Schwinn, the fourth generation of Schwinn’s in the business, took control in 1979. Thirteen years later, the bicycle company was on life support, having watched its market share fall by 60 percent. Analysts attribute the decline of the company to a refusal to live in the present. Because it was family owned, and always had been, Edward Schwinn refused outside financing when the company began to show signs of weakness. Because Schwinn was “the name” in bicycles, Edward Schwinn refused to spend money on keeping the brand name in consumers’ conscienceness. Because Schwinn was always the kind of company that operated on a handshake and long-term commitment, Edward Schwinn agreed to outsource all their manufacturing to the same Chinese supplier, Giant Manufacturing, without adequately protecting Schwinn’s long-term interests. By the end, in 1992, Schwinn Bicycle was 75 million dollars in debt and was loosing a million per month. No investor would come near the company until it could be picked up for next to nothing in a bankruptcy sale. Product recognition among children dropped to close to zero. And Giant Manufacturing ended its deal with Schwinn and began producing its own bicycles in plants that was originally paid for with Schwinn money. The company declared bankruptcy, and the Schwinn family lost all control over the family’s business. Edward Schwinn’s explanation for the fall? “We are where we are.” To which one family member responded, “Where we are is out of business because you were asleep at the wheel.”

As I read the story of the down fall of this company there are several things that come to mind. The company did not want to change, they had always been a family company. This is much like some Churches that fail because they refuse to change old traditions. Many Churches get comfortable and are very good at keeping the long time members very satisfied, but are also very “new comer repellent”; meaning that the way they do things often unintenually repeals the lost and un-churched. This company also saw little need to put money into marketing or strategy. Many Churches are full of people who get angry when the Church spends money to encourage it’s workers, train it’s volunteer’s, advertisement, outreach, etc. Edward Schwinn forgot that “it’s not about the family” and many Churches forget that it’s not about us, it’s about God and His kingdom agenda. Therefore many Churches wake up one day and find their-selves in trouble. I also think the statement made by a Schwinn family member could also be said about most Churches “asleep at the wheel”. Do you remember Jesus asking His disciples to pray, but they feel asleep? He rebuked them and asked “couldn’t you pray with me for one hour?” Because many Churches become so secure in their rich heritage and past glory, they “Spiritual fall asleep at the wheel” They loose their hunger to pray and seek the Lord in passionate worship, as a result they loose sight of the lost and see no need to change because “we have a great past”. One day they wake up and realize they have forgotten to pray, to seek after the things of God, they begin to scramble and hope it’s not to late.

The answer is to return to a hunger and passion for Jesus, to spend hours in prayer prayer and fasting, to repent and corporately cry out for God’s mercy and forgiveness. We must remember that our’s is a spiritual task which can only be achieved by spiritual people who employ spiritual methods.  
 
Seeking Him First,
Bro. clayton


The Scape Goat

In our last post we looked at… Why Mark share the details of his being at the garden wearing only a sheet, and his subsequent “nude run”.  Probably since Mark is writing the gospel story he is simply including a personal note ant this is also why the other gospel writers leave it out of their account. Let’s also consider an event from the Old Testament.  

In the O.T. during the day of atonement the High Priest would take two goats/lambs and inspect them for perfection/imperfections. The High Priest would slay one and take the blood and sprinkle it as a symbol that the people could now approach God because another had died in their place. They did this every year because the blood of these lambs did not take away sin; if it did they would only have to do it once. It was a symbol that God covered their sins until the final one would come to take away their sins. It was also called the day of “Covering”.  This was the passover lamb!! We now know that Jesus was and is our passover lamb……. (that final one)!!

The High priest would take the second lamb/goat and stand before all the people, place his hand upon the lamb and pronounce that the nation had broke the LAW symbolically transferring the Nation’s sins to the lamb. After the pronouncement the High Priest would then take his linen robe and place it on the goat symbolizing that this lamb would bare Israel’s sins. The goat would be led out into the wilderness to die and never seen again. Symbolizing that Jesus bares our sins and when he forgives us those sins are never seen or remember again.

This goat was called the scape goat, Jesus was our scape goat that carried away our sins; as Jesus was lead away to die another linen robe was dropped.

So what do you think about that? Feel free to share your thoughts.
 
Looking Forward to seeing you Sunday!
Bro. Clayton


The Case of the Nude Disciple

Have you ever heard someone telling a story and they give way too much information? Sometimes I hear other say “TMI” which stands for Too Much Information. Well as we read the story about Jesus’ Betrayal and Arrest in the Garden each of the Gospel writers gives a different point of view. Think back a couple of days when we read Mark’s account in chapter 14. Mark records something that is only found in his writing. When I read it I think “TMI”…………..

Mark 14:51-52

A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him.
But he pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked.
 

Wait did that say that a young man was only wearing a sheet, and it was tore off of him and he ran away naked? YES!!!

Now I know that it really is not “TMI”, because the Holy Spirit inspired Mark to give us this little detail. However, it does raise several questions for me.

For instance, why did Mark tell this? Who was this young man? Why was he only wearing a sheet to begin with? Why is he at the garden when Judas and the troops come to arrest Jesus? And My final question is……….. has anyone ever seen a painting of this scene??????? Me Neither!! 

Let me try to help with all of the questions besides the last. We have to go back and talk about what Jesus and his disciples where doing before the Garden. They were in the upper room where they shared the last supper (I have seen paintings of that scene) during this time Jesus tells them that one of them will betray him, later Judas leaves and goes to Caiaphas’ house to make the deal to betray Jesus. Mean while Jesus and the other disciples leave the upper room and go to the Mt. Of Olives to pray in the garden. Most of the commentators believe that the “upper room” was actually at John Marks house (also the same Mark who wrote the gospel of Mark). The events in the garden (betrayal and arrest) happened around mid-night. So it was late when everyone left the upper room (Marks house). Mark probably got ready for bed and went to sleep. Jews would take off their outer robe and sleep in a linen robe, similar to a sheet. Later that night probably around 11/11:30 Judas came back with the army and religious leaders looking for Jesus. He looked at Marks House first since that was where he left Jesus. Since Jesus was not there Judas knew that Jesus would be at the Garden. They probably woke John Mark up; he jump up and did not bother to put his outer robe on, rather he ran to the garden to try to warn Jesus and the others. The Bible says that as they led Jesus off all of His disciples fled, as John Mark began to run off someone reached out to grab him and tore his sleeping robe off. So it was probably Mark who was wearing his “PJ’s” which got stripped off, then He ran off. Now, Mark is inserting himself into his writings.

This is why I never where my “PJ’s” out in public!! I am amazed by how many people actually do this. As a child I used to dream that I had gone to school wearing nothing but I under wear…………… I Know , I know…”TMI” !!!

Well, why is this in the Bible? Was Mark just sharing this because this was his personal experience of the whole event? I am not 100% sure as to why, but I do believe everything in the Bible has a purpose; even if I don’t understand it. However, In our next blog post I will share another story with you and see if their is any type of correlation.
 
Praying For You,
Bro. Clayton
 
P.S.  Feel free to share a comment. Simply clink on the title of this blog at the top (The Case of the Nude Disciple) and it will take you to a page scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see an area to add your comments.


Satisfied Customer!

In Mark 15 we read about the trial, crucifixion, death, and burial of Christ.  My heart breaks as I read the details of Jesus last days and  my heart rejoices when I think of the love that took Jesus to the Cross. Over the past few years I  have spoken at length about the fact that The Roman Government did not take His Life; He gave it. They might have came after Jesus with several hundred men. However, if Jesus had not wanted to die they could have come after Him with 100’s of thousands of men and they could not have taken Him against His will. However, since He was ready and willing to go to the cross and five year old girl could have held His finger and lead Him to the cross. 

HE GAVE HIMSELF to set us free.

I believe that every member of Danville First Baptist Church (or any other church) as a three-part job description. 

Job description number one: know Christ.  We are called to surrender to Him as our Savior and Lord and live our lives in a relationship with Him. 
Job description number two: grow in Christ.  We are called to let Him shape us so that we come to resemble Him more and more, increasingly living with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 
Job description number three: go for Christ.  If you are a follower of Jesus, you are also His ambassador.  He wants you to serve Him within the church, and He especially wants you to serve others in His name outside the church.  Your neighborhood, your workplace, your school, the businesses you frequent – they are all part of the mission field in which God has placed you.
Know Christ.  Grow in Christ.  Go for Christ.  These are the things we are called to do.
Some have simplified it to Knowing Christ and Making Him Known!  However, lets not skip the growing in Him or we could say getting to knowing Him better.  Remember the best salesman is a satisfied customer…. When you are satisfied with Him – you will make a good ambassador of Christ.
 
Satisfied with Him.
Bro. Clayton
 


Focused Time

Our Bible Readings have been in the book of Mark and today we read in chapter 14 about Jesus’ betrayal and His time in the Garden. Had Jesus chosen this day and time to come to earth, how different might the Scriptures read? In Mark 14:37, Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, moments away from being arrested, beaten, and crucified. Jesus had asked Peter, James, and John to stay close by and pray. After Jesus prayed for a while, He turned to see His disciples asleep. He asked Simon Peter,

“Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour?”

What if that had been today?

“Simon, are you tweeting? “Are you on face book again?” “Who are you texting?” Could you not focus for just one hour?”

It is obvious that Jesus knew what He was doing when He came when He came. His timing is always perfect! That includes God’s timing in our life and in the life of our Church. One of the keys is that we must be ready when He is ready. We must be focused on Him and His kingdom agenda.

Let us have focused time with our Heavenly father each day. As our passion grows so will our church and the kingdom of heaven.
 
With Love,
Bro. Clayton


Mark 11

Today’s Bible Reading is found in Mark 11. We have been following the life and Ministry of Jesus, we now journey with Him as He makes His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. As Jesus makes His way into the Holy City the crowds of people sing and shout “Blessed is the coming Kingdom of our Father David! Hosanna in the Highest!”
The next day Jesus shows His authority by cursing a fig tree and intensifies showing His authority by cleansing the temple complex. Needless to say the religious leaders of the day did not appreciate this display of authority and by the end of this chapter we see that they are now questioning Jesus’ authority. They do so by posing a question to Him, Jesus in turn asks then a few questions of His own.
Perhaps today we have questions for God, perhaps He has a few questions of His own for us! I do not think that God necessarily minds when we as humans have questions, I do believe – He does not appreciate when we question Him with the wrong spirit/attitude. I pray that in our questioning we never challenge His authority – that never turns our for the best. However, HE has all authority!!  This Sunday we will deal with a few questions that have come in from the pews, about the Kingdom of God.
 
Praying You Have A Blessed Weekend,
Bro. Clayton



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