The Pastor's Pen

God’s Good, Gracious & Glorious Provision

From Ephesians 2:1-7. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Easter Sunday morning, April 20, 2014.

See You This Sunday

Their world was as dark as it could possibly be. As they made their way toward the tomb grief overwhelmed them. They were inconsolable as they walked the garden path. What where they to do now? How could life have any meaning? They were certain he was the Lord’s Christ. Messiah had come to establish the kingdom of God…but Messiah’s don’t die. They had witnessed his humiliation. They saw his lifeless body taken down from the cross. They watched as he was hastily prepared for burial and then placed in a borrowed grave. It seemed meaningless now but they came with spices to further treat his body. It seemed the least they could do. Perhaps they were mistaken. Maybe he was not the Messiah. They still loved him. Mary would never forget how he had changed her life. It was like being delivered from death. It was like walking out of the darkest night into the light of the noonday sun.

Upon arrival at the grave they suffered yet another blow. The stone had been rolled away. His body was gone. Grave robbery on top of everything else? Mary saw the gardener and plead with him, “Please, just tell me where did they put his body?” “Mary.” Everything changed with that one word. He was alive! He had risen from the dead. Suddenly her mind was filled with things she heard him say over the last year. He is alive. Sin, death and the grave had been conquered. He is alive. Nothing would ever be the same.

Join us this coming Lord’s Day as we celebrate Resurrection Sunday!

Rod

Thanks!

Thanks to Stacy Narrin for her leadership in VBS (Vacation Bible School) this year and to all those workers! We had a great group of workers and youth assistance this year. Also thanks to Marie Taylor and Suzan Hatcher for overseeing the kitchen and those who help. We had great food every night and things ran like clockwork. I’m very proud of all of you. Thanks to the kids! We had a good group of kids who were respectful and listened carefully each evening. It was a very good week.

Next week (July 23-26) our children will head to Kid’s Kamp at Tulakogee. Pray for our kids and their sponsors. The following week (July 30-Aug 4) our youth will be at camp. It is a busy couple of weeks and then school starts! Where did the summer go? Also pray for Taylor Dix who leaves this week (Friday July 20) for her mission trip. Pray for her safety and that the Lord will use her for His glory.

It is also time to sign-up if you are going to be able to help with Good News Club this fall. This is a very important outreach/ministry and we want to keep it strong. If you can help please sign-up on the bulletin board outside the church office for call Katrenia. If you need more information talk to Jerry Deason. We need to know ASAP if you can help so that we can make plans.

I look forward to seeing you and your family as we gather for worship this coming Lord’s Day.

Rod

The Search Beginnings

I want to thank those who responded to our music survey on Sunday. We received 95 surveys and this will give our committee a good sense of where we are musically and what we need to focus on. I would ask that you pray for those who will be seeking God’s direction and leadership in the coming weeks. I am writing this on Monday and we are scheduled to elect our search committee on Wednesday at our business meeting. Pray that our committee will listen to your responses, carefully weigh each of them, and accurately discern God’s will in this matter.

Let me say one other thing about this process we are beginning. Finding God’s will in staffing is of critical importance in the church. Consideration must be given to the needs of the church balanced by outreach and careful attention paid to biblical qualifications. When we are talking about the music of the church we have to add musical taste, generational differences and personal style. Within the church we have all kinds of tastes and styles. No one style suits everyone. Add to the mix the fact that we are in the midst of a “culture shift” and you have an impossible assignment! Yet nothing is impossible for God. All of that to say, “We will all have to make some adjustments.” No one is going to get everything they want. But the nature of family is that we consider others more important than ourselves. What matters most is not that I get what I want but that the church goes on. The kingdom of God advances and new people are reached with the life-giving message of Christ. With that as our motivation we can rejoice in whatever direction God leads.

I’ll see you Sunday.

Rod

Resurrection Sunday

“He is risen!” “He is risen indeed!” Such has been the greeting of Christians for centuries as they gather on Easter Sunday for worship. The fact is every Sunday is a celebration of resurrected life. Every gathering of the people of God is a celebration of God’s redeeming love in Christ. That God chose to purchase a people for His own glory. That God chose to love a wayward people, deserving of eternal death. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and the wages of sin is death.” Death is what we’ve earn, what we deserve. Yet God loves. God is merciful. He is gracious and He has demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The debt of sin was paid as Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is finished!” The resurrection is God’s receipt for Calvary’s payment. The grave has been conquered. Sin and death no longer have claim on us. In Christ we have been granted life eternal and abundant. Join us Sunday as we gather in celebration of the Resurrection.

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes;
He arose the victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Rod

A Worthy Investment

“Unto us a Son is born. Unto us a Child is given.” The message of Christmas is the message of the Gospel. It is the story of the love and grace of God in providing redemption. Reconciling sinners to a holy and righteous God. It is a message worth telling and we’ve been commanded to take the message to the ends of the earth. The Southern Baptist Convention was born out of a desire to see the nations come to faith in Christ. The heartbeat of our convention has been to spread the name and the fame of our God. Because of the faithful of our churches Southern Baptist have just under 5000 missionaries serving around the world. Hundreds of thousands of people each come to faith in Christ through our efforts. Yet there is more to do. There are those who have never heard.

We are two-thirds toward our goal of $9,500 for our Lottie Moon Offering. You gift can make a world of difference. Did you know your gift of $128 keeps a missionary on the field for one day? $900 takes care of their needs for a week. Of course in addition to paying for personnel your gift goes to supply Bibles in the language of the people; provides hunger relief; hospitals; schools; radio; the list is exhaustive. Your gift is a sound investment in Kingdom work. But don’t just take my word for it. Go to www.imb.org and see what we are doing together through the International Mission Board. Together let’s meet our goal. Together let’s take the Gospel to the world. Together let’s make a difference.

I look forward to seeing you and your family Christmas morning as we worship our Savior.

Rod

The Incarnation

One of my prized possessions is a little volume entitled, Gadsby’s Hymns. It is a collection of hymns put together by William Gadsby and first published in 1814. It includes some very familiar hymns by Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley but also many that are virtually unknown to most. I was reading hymns this morning about the incarnation. Here are a few lines from one of Gadsby’s own hymns:

The eternal Word, who built the earth and skies,
Takes on him flesh, and in a manger lies;
In that dear Babe of Bethlehem I see
My God, contracted to a span for me.

Mary’s first-born was God and man in one;
David’s own God, and David’s blessed Son.
Well might the angels wing their way to earth,
To celebrate so glorious a birth.

They sang, with new surprise and fresh delights,
Glory to God, in all the angelic heights;
Surrounded with God’s glory, in a blaze
To heaven they fly, the incarnate God to praise.

Shall angels sing the honours of his name,
And sinners, saved by grace, silent remain?
Good God, forbid! Inflame us with they love,
And set our groveling minds on things above.

This God-like mystery we will gladly sing,
And own the virgin’s Babe our God and King;
Jehovah Jesus, we will thee adore,
And crown thee Lord of all for evermore.

Christmas is a time for us to joyfully proclaim the glory and wonder of the incarnation. God made flesh to redeem sinful, fallen humanity. It is not our responsibility to win an argument, wage a culture war or make sure our traditions remain unchanged. It is our responsibility to declare the wonder of the Gospel. Let’s not lose sight of our objective. I’ll see you Sunday.

Rod

Lottie Moon Offering

This past Sunday we began our emphasis on the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. Our International Mission Board currently has 4,887 field personnel under appointment. We are engage with 763 people groups. That’s exciting and we praise God for what we are doing together through the work of the Southern Baptist Convention. In 2010 we baptized 360,879 and started 29,237 new churches! However, there are 3,629 unreached people groups. These are people who have no meaningful contact with the Gospel. The need is great.

For the first time in our history we have more personnel trained and ready to go then we have money to send. The need is great. How important is the Lottie Moon Offering? 57% of the IMB’s budget is provided by this offering. The need is great.

What can you do? You can pray, you can give and you can go. We are engaged in a spiritual battle for the souls of men. Such a battle demands that we pray. Pray that God will continue to open doors of opportunity. Pray that missionaries will have the courage and boldness to speak. Pray that God will protect those who serve. Pray for the freedom of the Gospel around the world.

You can give. Your gift to the Lottie Moon Offering goes directly to mission efforts around the world. Your gift helps to keep a missionary on the field. Your gift provides much needed supplies. Your gift helps to feed a village. Your gift puts the Bible in the language of the people. Your gift brings light into the darkness.

You can go. God is still calling for laborers to enter the harvest. Perhaps He is calling you. At a time when money is scarce it may be that you can go as a volunteer for a week, 2 weeks, 6 months a year? The need is great.

As you plan your Christmas giving why not make an eternal investment? Give generously to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. I’ll see you Sunday.

Rod

Frustration

To say, “I’m not a good speller” is one tremendous understatement. When spell check says, “I have no idea what you’re trying to spell” you know you’re in trouble. Dictionaries are no help. Honestly, if you can’t spell how do you look up a word in the dictionary? Thus I find word games frustrating. Rheadon loves to play Words with Friends. For those of you who don’t play, you play Scrabble online with your smart phone. It is frustrating to play a game you are not equipped to play. The game is not very forgiving. It expects you to know how to spell. My problem is when it comes to spelling I agree with Mark Twain, “I have no respect for a man who can only spell a word one way.”

I suppose it is this struggle with trying to do what is so unnatural that keeps interfering with my spiritual life. I’m not naturally forgiving. Or understanding. Or patient. Or prayerful. Or compassionate. Or…well you get the idea. Here is the good news – I don’t have to be any of those things naturally. In fact God knows I’m not. Jesus has even said left to myself I never would be any of those things. He said, “Apart from me you can’t do anything.” He went on to say if I learn to “be at home” in him, I would bear much fruit. In other words I’d learn to be all those things and more by his power and through his enabling. G. Campbell Morgan said, “Living the Christian life is not difficult, it is impossible! There is only one who has ever done it successfully and he does it again and again in you and me.” I find great comfort in that. Now, if only he played Words with Friends.

I’ll see you Sunday.

Rod

It Can’t Be November, Can It?

November? How can that be it was January just last week. Isn’t it hard to believe the year is almost over? November means a couple of things. First the holidays are upon us. Things get busy from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Pray for our children’s choir and our Celebration Singers as they work on Christmas music. A new wrinkle to the holidays this year is that both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Sunday. We will be adjusting our schedule some for those two Sundays we’ll tell you more about that in the days to come.

Second, it means that it is budget time. I would ask you to pray for our finance committee as they begin work on next year’s budget. We do have some challenges. While we’ve been blessed and have no debt, we’ve experienced a significant drop in receipts the last quarter. Pray that we will be good stewards of what has been entrusted to us.

Third, and this is really the most important, guard your heart during the business of the season so that you do not forget what it’s all about. Thanksgiving is not about food, family and football it’s about giving thanks to God for His gracious provision. It is a time to acknowledge every good and perfect gift comes down from above. Christmas is not about jolly old Saint Nick it’s about God’s gift of salvation through His Son. This is the time of year that grants us many opportunities to testify of our faith. Let’s not waste this opportunity. It’s worth thinking about. I’ll see you Sunday.

Rod


A Verse for Today

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:24, ESV)

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