Thankful For a Flat Tire

Today I had the privilege of speaking to a group of pastors from the Cincy region. It was hosted by DeerbornBaptist Church where a good friend, Darrell Sparks, is the pastor.  He and his wife opened their home to my family last night for dinner, fellowship, and overnight lodging.

Before dinner, Pastor Sparks and I were talking about some common ties we had in Amarillo, TX.  He'd been an assistant pastor at Caprock Baptist Church and I grew up in the city.  He asked if I knew the Arriaga family from my time at Arden Road Baptist Church (the church I became a Christian at and the church they attended).  He then told the story of how he had met Ruben Arriaga.  Pastor Sparks was driving, developed a flat, and stopped close to the service station Ruben worked at.  

Ruben noticed that Pastor Sparks didn't have the proper tool to get the tire off and was struggling.  He brought over a 4-way and in no time Pastor Sparks was on his way.  

He said he knew the Holy Spirit was prompting him to begin witnessing to Ruben.  So over a series of lunches, stopping by the station, etc., Ruben and his wife trusted Christ!  As a result, many family members over the years left religion and trusted Christ.  He even attended the youth group during my time at Arden Road Baptist Church with one of his daughters (who also had trusted Christ).  

Tragically, Brother Ruben went to be with the Lord earlier than perhaps anyone expected.  Yet, several generations of this family have placed their trust in Christ and will be with him again in eternity.  With tears in his eyes, Pastor Sparks spoke about how thankful he was for that flat tire that day.

Friend, what unexpected, maybe even undesirable, moment have you had this week?

Now think, who did God place there for you to reach?

These moments might just become the turning point for many generations in one family.

- Pastor Paul

The Responsibility of Love

Brethren, if a manbe overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2)

Paul writes in Galatians 6 of all too familiar occurrence in the church—a member being overtaken, tripped up, or fallen into sin. It is common because the church is not full of perfectly sanctified saints, but rather saints growing in sanctification, battling the flesh with the Spirit of God and the Word of God. So how should the body of Christ respond to one of its fellow members being in sin? Paul provides that answer.
It begins with those who are spiritual—those actively walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-25). Those that walk in obedience to the Spirit of God, by obeying the Word of God. A pastor once said that “Spirituality is an absolute. You either are spiritual or carnal depending on whether you are obedient or disobedient, whether you are God-centered, Christ-centered, Spirit-centered or self-centered.” It all begins with the spiritual reaching out in meekness and grace with the desire for restoration for the erring member.
Secondly, though, Paul calls every member to true love by bearing the burdens of each other. These are the heavy loads of ever trying temptations that left unchecked lead to patterns of sin. Each of us has our “weak” temptations that we have strong resistance to, but there are other temptations that we have great susceptibility to—burdens. At times, these oppressive temptations responded to in doubt lead to habitual sin—burdens. In bearing these spiritual burdens of one another in the church, Paul states that we fulfill the law of Christ—to love one another as Christ loves us (John 13:34; James 2:8).
So how does that affect me as a member of Faith Baptist Church?
1. If we are to fulfill this responsibility of love, we will have to stick around long enough to bear those burdens.  We have to be there not only to restore that member up, not only to restore that person and to bring them back to spirituality, but we have to stay there with accountability, in love, and commitment to sustain the strength they need.
2. That's what the church is.  It's not something you attend, but a life you live. Church doesn't fulfill its responsibility when it sits in the pew, sings a few songs, then listens to whoever is in the pulpit. It fulfills its responsibility when it turns and faces itself; the royal law of love.  We have to be there for each other.  And we must stay there to hold them when the heavy burden comes, in prayer and personal accountability.

- Pastor David

A Rejoicing Faith

This past Sunday, I was particularly stirred during our evening congregational worship. As we began to sing out To God Be the Glory I heard distinct voices from the front pew section. My ears picked up on multiple children muttering the first verse of the song but rose with great volume upon the arrival of the chorus.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let the earth hear His voice; Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let the people rejoice;

Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son, And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.

As I continued to lead the song, I could not help but rejoice at the praise coming from the children of Faith Baptist. No doubt, some understood the truth that the song represented. It was during the mid-1800s when Fanny Crosby penned the words about a Savior who “yielded His life redemption to win.” A redemption that “when the vilest offender believes,” in that “moment from Jesus a pardon he receives.”

A Faith Worth Rejoicing Some may ask: Is music really necessary for the church today? The answer is simple. We have a faith that is worth rejoicing in! For centuries, Christians have expressed worship through music and praise to God. Consider Paul. Most Christians would typically view Paul as an intellectual man. Perhaps the thought of him singing might not fit our picture of a scholar, yet it was Paul and Silas that sung at midnight in stocks after being beaten.

Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. - Jas 5:13.
What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. - 1 Co 14:15.

Doctrine Worth Proclaiming As you search the New Testament you find prescribed patterns of biblical preaching, prayer, and singing. Historically, the hymnody of a church alongside with preaching has been the driving force of doctrinal teaching. Why? Our theology is intricately tied with our musical worship. This is why we seek substantial, rich, and deep doctrinal content to be included in our worship services.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. - Col 3:16.
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; - Eph 5:19.

Practical Tips Regarding Music - Strive to listen to Christ-honoring, doctrinally rich music at home and on your way to work. - Teach and sing hymns and songs with your family. - Men, lead your wives/family by singing out (loudly and confidently) during corporate worship times! - Ladies, teach your children to sing (kids naturally have a knack for singing) - Students/Children, corporate worship is a time for reverencing God, meditate on the words of the song as you sing.

Church, I look forward to gathering each week with you to sing praise to God as we are reminded of the great doctrinal truths found in Scripture! Let’s sing out this Sunday!

- Bro. Jordan