Reflection

I trust that you have been keeping up with the daily Bible Reading Plan. You can pick up a reading schedule at the Church. We have been reading through the book of Mark. The plan includes 5 days of Scripture reading and then two days of reflection. So far we have read down through Mark chapter 10 and the next two days are days of reflection. As you reflect on the truths found in the Gospel of Mark, I also want us to spend some time reflecting on the truth revealed in Philippians 4:8: the God who formed your mind cares about what you put in it. He cares about it because He knows that what you regularly bring before your mind eventually shapes your mind and determines the kind of person you become. Nothing “passes through” your mind – every book you read, every TV show you watch, every website you visit, every conversation you have will rewire your brain and shape you in significant ways. We think we can violate this principle. We might say, “That show I watch is a little trashy, but I don’t let it affect me.” That’s like saying, “I’m going to step off the roof, but I will choose not to hit the ground.” What you allow to occupy your mind will determine your speech, your actions, your decisions, and your destiny. What you think is what you are; just as what you put in your gas tank has consequences for your car. NASCAR drivers don’t settle for the cheapest fuel they can find. What you put in your mouth has consequences for your body. Eating two pounds of chocolate a day wouldn’t exactly enhance your performance! Likewise, what you put in your mind has consequences for your character. If your mental diet consists primarily of movies with gutter language, video games full of gruesome violence, books and magazines based on lust, and conversations focused on gossip, then don’t be surprised when your character is not so pretty.
 
With Love,
Bro. Clayton


There’s No God LIke OUr God!

 

Like most of us, Job had a lot of questions for God.  He wanted to know why there was so much pain, and why God wasn’t running the universe the way it ought to be run. In Job 38:4 God responded to Job with an avalanche of questions of His own, asking Job to consider which of them was more qualified to be God.  Job got real quiet real quick. So how about you?  Where were you when God laid the earth’s foundation?  Unless you were there aiding God in the assembly of the universe, perhaps you should remember that you can trust the One who has been here since before the beginning, who made it all by His wisdom and power and love.

Let’s consider one last question from God; we find it in Isaiah 40:25 and it is a profound one.  Who is in God’s category?  Who is like God?  Let’s see… well… hmm… that’s a pretty short list!  God uses this question to remind us that absolutely nothing compares to Him.  Nothing even comes close to His holiness, His might, His brilliance, His beauty, or His mercy.  No one else can create like He can, or sustain like He can, or protect like He can, or provoke like He can, or rescue like He can.  There is no God like our God; Actually There is no God other than Our God!

 

Oh, BTW – we had 135 people in attendance at our small groups last night. PTL!!!  

 

Praying that you have a Blessed weekend,

Bro. Clayton



Got Questions?

On Sunday Mornings we are in a sermon series entitled “Real Answers for Big Questions” during this series we are doing two things. 1) we are inviting your to submit questions that you would like the pastor to answer and 2) We have been looking at some of the Questions that Jesus asks in the gospels. It is actually surprising how many times Jesus asked a question.  Another of the surprising things about the Bible is the number of times we find a question on the lips of God the Father.  God is constantly asking questions of His people.  Clearly, this is not because God needs information.  It is not that He is in the dark and He needs us to enlighten Him.  God knows everything.  He asks the questions for our benefit.  He asks the questions hoping that they will cause a light to come on in our souls. The first question we hear God asking is in Genesis 3.  Adam and Eve have disobeyed God, and they are attempting to hide from Him (like that’s gonna work).  God, who of course knows exactly where they are, calls out, “Where are you?” (Gen. 3:9) What is your answer to that question from God?  Not just your physical location – God is not concerned with your GPS coordinates.  He is asking where you are with Him.  Are you hiding from Him, or are you ready to walk with Him?

Early in Genesis, God is full of questions for His disobedient children.  He sounds like a prosecuting attorney conducting a cross examination.  He has several queries for the first murderer, Cain.  He asks him why he is angry.  He asks him where his brother is.  Then, He asks  What have you done? (Gen. 4:10) God has the same question for you when you disobey Him.  And He doesn’t ask because He wasn’t paying attention and He needs you to clue him in.  He knows exactly what you have done.  And He knows you need to acknowledge it.  You need to get it out in the open by confessing it to Him.  As soon as you stop the hiding, God can start the healing.

In 1 Kings 19, Elijah is in the middle of high-tailing it out of town.  He is running for his life, running away from his mission field, running away from his mission as a prophet.  Not surprisingly, God tracks him down.  He asks him a question – actually asks him the same questions twice within just a few verses: what are you doing here? (1Kings 19:9)

That is a good question for you to ponder.  What are you doing where you are?  What is your purpose there?  Are you where God wants you to be?  And are you doing what God wants you to do in that place?

These are just a few of the questions God has asked throughout Scriptures. I encourage you to look and find others. Meditate on these questions from God: Ask yourself – Where am I with my walk with God? – What Am I doing? Is My life pleasing Him or causing Him pain? What am I doing in this place/time of my life for God?

 

I am praying for you,

Bro. Clayton



WIll It Be Worth The Cost?

At a museum in Deadwood, South Dakota, tourists can read the following inscription left by a prospector:

“I lost my gun. I lost my horse. I am out of food. The Indians are after me. But I’ve got all the gold I can carry!” That scenario not only aptly defines the pursuits and obsessions of most Americans today, it also begs the question: “When you finally get all that you want, will it be worth what it cost?”

As a pastor I often have to stand beside a casket and minister to grieving families. There’s not much room in a casket. Even if your casket has a safety deposit box filled with millions or you are buried at Fort Knox, it wouldn’t mean a thing to you. The only things that will matter then is what you do with Jesus now.

I am getting to the stage of my life when I am consumed with a desire to make a KINGDOM impact. I want to influence people for the cause of Christ. I want that more than I want Gold, more than I want Stuff. I want to be used By GOD! I want our Church to be used by God. I want to lead people who want to be used by God. I want to and want US to lead people into a love relationship with Jesus Christ. It has become a Holy Obsession.

In the end, you and I won’t hope for all the gold we can carry. We will hope for a God who can carry us. I’m thinking that old prospector wishes he would have pondered that thought a bit further. Perhaps we as a Church body need to rethink what we hold as “most important. Maybe we need to examine our values to insure they have Greater Kingdom Impact, those things will always be worth the cost. Click the “Rethinking our Resolutions” link and see how your values line up with your pastors values. Rethinking Our Resolutions
 
 
With Love,
Brother Clayton


SHOW ME THE BABY!

This past Sunday as I was preaching we had a “church family” at the hospital awaiting the delivery of their baby girl. Many of us here at the church were also waiting the announcement of the safe delivery of this precious answer to our prayers. As we were getting ready to dismiss, the long awaited news came… baby was here and doing well.  Praise The Lord! Many of us have since seen pictures and as we all expected, she is beautiful. She is now the talk of the church. There is something we all have seemed to have forgotten – the labor pains. I am told that labor can be some what intense. Peter Drucker, a leadership guru,  said ” People do not want to hear about your labor pains, they want to see the baby.” When it comes to leadership; that is so true, people want to see results. As a pastor I know I want to see fruit for our labor. Satan will do what ever it takes to keep us from seeing lost people saved. Satan wants to get us to look at each other, he wants to draw our attention on our labor pains. Come this Sunday looking for the baby, maybe not the baby of the family mentioned above (it may be to early for that), rather come expecting to see God’s Glory fall, come believing that God will do something great.
 
Today in our daily Bible reading we read about a woman who was suffering with an illness and nothing seemed to help. One day as Jesus came to town she reached out to touch his robe and was healed. Jesus asked, ‘who touched me?’ His disciples were amazed because many people were touching Him, bumping into Him, etc. and He asked about a specific touch. What do you think was different about her touch? I personally believe the touch of faith is always different than a simple  physical touch. Later in Mark chapter 5 we read that Jesus goes to heal a girl and only takes Peter, James and John. Why only these men? Again, maybe it comes back to faith, maybe it comes back to expectations.   I hope and pray that we do not limit God because of our lack of expectations and lack of faith. For a cross reference on this read Psalms 78, esp. verse 25, 41, 42, and 32.
 
Show Me The Baby,
Bro. Clayton


Stretching Togehter!

A mind once stretched will never return to its original size.”   – Oliver Wendell Holmes.

 

With that quote in mind; please allow me to stretch you a little this morning. By the way, may I add; that is my goal in writing these post. I want to stretch your thinking, I want to stretch your mind. Since I know this quote is actually true; I am always trying to read books, stories, etc. to try to stretch myself. ( or at least my mind)

Did you know that right NOW, with the challenging economy, is the best time to try to grow a Church? You see, un-churched people are most likely to come to Church when they are 1) in trouble, 2) under tension or 3) in transition. There is a lot of trouble, transition and tension in our country.

The question is, are we ready? Is the Church ready to help the lost and broken people that God wants to send our way? Are we willing to get ready?

Why do some Churches grow and others do not? There is a commonality among all growing Churches – They are ready, they are full of people who are willing to be stretched for the glory of GOD!!!
 
Are you ready to Stretch Together For HIS Glory?
Bro. Clayton


WHO THEN IS THIS?

Today’s Bible Reading is Mark Chapter 4.
 
Mark’s gospel emphasizes Jesus’ actions, and teachings; all in an effort to show who HE is.  As we read through the book of Mark we find the question of who Jesus is coming up as; he heals, as he defies the legalistic laws of the religious leaders, etc. Jesus’ own disciples asked “who then is this?” after Jesus spoke to the winds and waves of a life threatening storm on the sea of Galilee; resulting in the sea calming. All through this gospel Jesus is on the go – healing, casting out demons, going from place to place, teaching. However, the closer HE gets to the cross something changes, you will see that the pace seems to slow down as Jesus enters the city of Jerusalem. I believe one of the major purposes of Marks writing was to call people to repentance and to call them to respond in faith to the good news of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God. As you read look for ways that Mark seeks to draw the readers attention onto “Who Then Is this Man?”
 
Feel free to comment, to read a comment left by someone else just clink on to the title of the blog… for example to read comments that someone may leave about this blog click onto the “WHO THEN IS THIS?” title and scroll down to the comment section.
 
With Love,
Bro. Clayton


5X5X5

Today is Sunday January the 3rd. Hopefully you are three days into your new Bible Reading Plan. You should have read Mark Chapters 1&2 and today will be reading Mark Chapter 3. Feel free to leave a comment on what God says to you as you read. We will use this to spur one another on and to sharpen each other. Praying for each of you as you prepare for Worship!


Moving Forward TOGETHER!

I want to share a story with you, that demonstrates what happens when people are too satisfied with the way things are.

In the 1940’s, the Swiss watch was the most pretigous and best quality watch in the world. Consequently 80% of the watches sold in the world were made in Switzerland. In the late ’50s, the digital watch was presented to the leaders of the Swiss watch company. They rejected this new idea because they knew they already had the best watch and the best watchmakers. The man who developed the digital watch subesquently sold the idea to Selko. In 1940, Swiss watch – making companies employed eighty thousand people. Today they employ eighteen thousand. In 1940, 80% of the watches sold in the world were made in Switzerland. Today 80% of the watches are digital. This story represents what happens to many organizations and people: They choose to die rather than to change.

I read about a sign that was posted on the wall of an office building; it said-

  • Don’t look – you might see.
  • Don’t listen – you might hear.
  • Don’t think – you might learn.
  • Don’t make a decision – you might be wrong.
  • Don’t walk – you might stumble.
  • Don’t run – you might fall.
  • Don’t live – you might die.
  • Don’t change – you might grow.
The story above demonstrates that the man who invented the digital watch knew someone would make the necessary changes to be the next “leading” watch comapny. The question was just- “WHO?”. Like -wise I know God is going to use a congregation to reach Danville For His Glory – the question is WHO? Some people are afraid to look ahead, some people refuse to listen to God, some people do not want to think or dream; it seems as though for some it is easier to just let others make the decisions, etc. I am praying for men and women of God who have a holy desire to see God do wonders.
 
With Love,
Bro. Clayton


A NEW THING!

Isaiah 43:19 says that God will do a “New Thing”. That is one of my prayers for FBC in 2016 – That God will do a New Thing, in us and through us. 
We as a Church will also see and do some “New Things”. Some will invoke pleasant thoughts and some will stir up emotions that are diametrically opposed to your Flesh. One of the new things will be our Bible Reading Plan, our main reading will be concentrated on the New Testament. You can pick up a 5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan at the Church. We will read about 5 Minutes a day for 5 days then you will spend the other 2 days in a time of reflection. The plan will also list for you 5 ways to dig into the Word as you read & reflect.  Another “New Thing” will be the Pastor’s Blog – I will use this blog to share thoughts about our Spiritual Growth, Dreams, and share thoughts about the daily Bible Readings. My hopes are that these things can help use do life together. As most of you know we will also start Life Groups, which is a new way of saying small group Bible studies. Some of these small groups will meet in homes, while one will meet at the church.   
 
See You Sunday as we Worship TOGEHTER,
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