The moon and stars they wept
The morning sun was dead
The Savior of the world was fallen
His body on the cross
His blood poured out for us
The weight of every curse upon Him
One final breath He gave
As heaven looked away
The Son of God was laid in darkness
A battle in the grave
The war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken
The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting
Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated
Forever He is glorified
Forever He is lifted high
And forever He is risen
He is alive and He is alive
We sing hallelujah we sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah the Lamb has overcome
This song has been in my head ALL week! Not sure what else to say because it speaks for itself!
We do not have to “feel our way through the darkness” as the opening song this morning talked about! We have a light, Jesus Christ, who has made a way for us! When we ask Him into our life, our life changes…forever! Our story changes radically!
This morning we asked God to open up the heavens, we cried out for Him to be here…not for us to feel good, but for us to be challenged, to grow, to guide us as we share the story! Often as the week moves on we get so caught up in our life that we don’t see the life going on around us! Each morning this is how we should start our day:
“At break of day in hope we rise
We speak your Name we lift our eyes
Tune our hearts into Your beat
Where you walk there You’ll be”
Powerful words aren’t they!!! When we don’t maintain things, they fade away…they rust away…they get piled underneath other things! We need to lift our eyes to the heavens, we need to tune our hearts into God’s heart! God has huge things that He wants to do here in New Castle! The video in the middle of the worship set “All In”…we need to be ALL IN!!!!!! Are you all in? ARE YOU ALL IN? ARE YOU ALL IN? ARE YOU ALL IN? ARE YOU ALL IN?
Isn’t it time to surrender! DO WE FULLY REALIZE WHAT GOD DID FOR US? THE PAIN, THE HURT, THE BURDEN, HIS FATHER TURNED HIS BACK ON HIM!! He did all that for us to have peace, to overcome the war! WE HAVE OVERCOME BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB!!!! What are you going to do with that? Anything?
This goes beyond our wants, our needs, what makes us feel good, what is comfortable you know why….because as humans it goes against our wants, our needs, what makes us feel good, and it definitely takes us OUT of our comfort zone. You know it’s easy to sit in church and feel completely comfortable…”DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING” this is my church! IT IS NOT YOUR CHURCH…IT IS GOD’S CHURCH! And he has called us to be a light, to share our story with others of our changed life because of Him! I attached a video that you need to watch to see, to realize, to comprehend what HE did for you!
SO WAKE UP! ARE YOU “ALL IN?” because we are about “Connection People to Jesus” and we are unapologetic for that!
This morning the Creative Team met to work on the next few months of sermon series ideas! I can’t tell you all enough how much I appreciate this team of people who help in planning the service moments for each and every Sunday! There is a lot of thought and hard work that goes into making sure that each element helps to “Connect People to Jesus” in one way, shape or form!
As we are planning the next series: “Jesus’ Pre-Game Speech” we watched a series of videos of movie clips depicting pre-game speeches and Pastor Mike and I found ourselves along with the rest of the team very inspired by them. First Baptist is a team on a mission…that mission is connecting people to Jesus Christ! We need to be united in this mission, we need to be involved in this mission, we need to be passionate about this mission, we need to use our time, talent and treasure when it comes to this mission!
Can you imagine being a part of those who heard these last pre-game speeches from Jesus Christ? He knew that He was no longer going to be here on earth and that the disciples and other followers had to carry out the message of God’s saving grace to the world. Messages of servant hood, love, obedience and dependence on Him and the Holy Spirit. I can almost feel the energy and excitement as Jesus challenged, inspired and passionately spoke to His followers.
I wonder as I sat there today how many of us are actually digging into His Word, living out what it means to be a genuine Christ follower. I think we take it for granite a lot! Then I hear on the Internet and news sources how ISIS is beheading children…children who are standing up for their faith in Jesus Christ and I wonder to myself do I enjoy the pre-game speech and watch the game from the sidelines hoping the Coach doesn’t call me to take the field!
I am reminded of the movie God is not dead and the scene where various college students faced their own persecution for taking the field…for standing up for what God has called them to do.
Not sure how much of this makes sense…it’s thoughts floating in my head, and not only my head, but the whole creative team. Connecting People to Jesus…are we standing on the sidelines or are we ready to take the field?
God keep our eyes open!!!
It has taken me a day to process this past Sunday! It was a mixed bag of emotions; in fact the past summer has been much like that! I believe my faith has been stripped down and shaken to the core…satan is very much active and especially in the churches of the United States today! I truly believe that we as the body of Christ have lost sight, we have lost sight of the great commission…I fear that church today has become about the “me commission”. We often refer to church as “my church”…when did that happen? How can we say it is “my church”? When and why have we become so self-righteous? IT IS NOT OUR CHURCH! First Baptist Church does NOT belong to the people who are members or attenders. IT BELONGS TO GOD!
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
15 Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.[b]
16 And I saw something else under the sun:
In the place of judgment—wickedness was there, in the place of justice—wickedness was there.
17 I said to myself,
“God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.”
18 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath[c]; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”
22 So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?
As I reflected on this Scripture, I realized we have absolutely no control! God does, He has completed control! He has complete control of First Baptist Church and every other Bible believing church in the world! What gets me though is we loose sight of that and when we loose sight of that fact satan takes complete advantage of that! I can tell you this, as a pastor, being called into ministry is truly an amazing call that comes with some of the most incredible highs and some of the most despairing lows…but God uses His Holy Spirit and call on our lives to direct us…and just like followers of Christ are in the trenches everyday; we too are in the trenches everyday! Just like followers of Christ struggle with being human, so do we as pastors and leaders. But what I know, when we loose focus on our Savior…when we forget that we are about Connecting People to Jesus and begin to focus on ourselves we have a problem!
As a developing follower of Christ we ALL have the responsibility to develop that relationship, to understand His great commission, to have a burden for our community, family, friends and coworkers who do not have a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ! A LIFE CHANGING RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST! And when that happens we are NOT of this world!!!!! We do not view anything through the eyes of the world we view it through the eyes of our God!
I am going to honest and vulnerable and open up my heart right now…GOD IS IN ULTIMATE CONTROL! This Sunday we were blessed with an incredible day of worship and challenge. Many of us went through the journey of the adult choir, one of the darkest times in my life! I time of many misunderstandings on both side for sure…but for me one thing remained the same, I AM COMMITTED TO WHAT GOD WANTS FOR HIS GLORY! As I watched the adult choir sing yesterday I was so happy for them, God used them and despite what happened and the process it happened in it is time to move on, it is time to focus on CONNECTING PEOPLE TO JESUS CHRIST! I will not allow ANYTHING to get into the way of that! Have I been hurt through the process has the sting of my integrity being in question given a satan an in to discourage me…YES! BUT I WILL NOT LET HIM WIN!!! God is bigger and I am committed to what God has called me to do and if anyone wants to question that I would invite them to come and speak directly with me! I would invite anyone to speak with any pastor or leader of FBC if they have a question or concern with the call on our lives. This song was the opening of the service and it’s words are powerful…read them!
Standing on this mountaintop Looking just how far we’ve come Knowing that for every step You were with us Kneeling on this battle ground Seeing just how much You’ve done Knowing every victory Was Your power in us Scars and struggles on the way But with joy our hearts can say Yes, our hearts can say Never once did we ever walk alone Never once did You leave us on our own You are faithful, God, You are faithful Kneeling on this battle ground Seeing just how much You’ve done Knowing every victory Was Your power in us Scars and struggles on the way But with joy our hearts can say Yes, our hearts can say Never once did we ever walk alone Never once did You leave us on our own You are faithful, God, You are faithful You are faithful, God, You are faithful Scars and struggles on the way But with joy our hearts can say Never once did we ever walk alone Carried by Your constant grace Held within Your perfect peace Never once, no, we never walk alone Never once did we ever walk alone Never once did You leave us on our own You are faithful, God, You are faithful Every step we are breathing in Your grace Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise You are faithful, God, You are faithful You are faithful, God, You are faithful You are faithful, God, You are faithful You are faithful, God, You are faithful
Every song we sang yesterday echoed the words of Ecclesiastes 3…HE IS IN ULTIMATE CONTROL…when will we all realize that and live our lives believing that? Those who choose a “holy commune”, I feel bad because that is not what Jesus was about at all…that was what the Pharisees and Sadducees were about. God does not want that for us, He wants us all to be connected to Jesus no matter where we are at in our journey towards Him.
IT IS TIME FOR US ALL TO “DO SOMETHING” AND STOP EXPECTING SOMEONE ELSE TO DO IT!
You know this morning as the worship team came to rehearse I look behind me and along side of me and was overwhelmed with the team that God has put together. They are talented musicians and singers! They are team players, they get the vision…but most of all, they love God so much that each week that give up countless hours to rehearse and prepare for the Audience on One!
I also know they are real! They live real lives with real problems, pains, struggles and hurts. And we are on a journey together, myself included in that!!!! So when we sing a song like “A Little More Jesus” we can relate to it…as Jake said this morning we are human. All on a journey…but do not think you will ever complete that journey! It is ongoing!
I say that because as I challenged us all this morning in the worship moment that we all have a responsibility from the great commission…we all have a responsibility to connect people to Jesus Christ! It’s a mix of what we all sang about today! Getting strength from God and taking a risk with others!
I dream of a church where we all look behind us and along side of us as we strive to connect people to Jesus Christ and build His kingdom!
“Reaching out Your Hand
As Your people call”
“I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms”
“Precious God into Your arms
Without blame I come
Your blood has saved us all”
“There’s a place
Where mercy reigns
And never dies”
“There is no shadow
Of turning with Thee”
Words of truth, words of hope, words of wisdom, words of strength…just when you think you have had more than you can take these words give you courage to move on.
WE ALL NEED A LITTLE MORE JESUS!
“So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
An when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus You’re my hope and stay”
Those words just keep going through my head! You know some times it truly does feel like we do “feel our way through the darkness” don’t we! And its like we cry out to God “I WANT TO SEE YOU GOD!!!!”
As we walk with the Lord the journey is not always easy, we make our way through what we think is darkness not knowing exactly where we are going or where He is taking us! But we do know this one thing, that with our eyes focused on Him, His grace abounds, He is sovereign, and HE WILL NOT FAIL US!
He has helped in the past, He will help now, and He will help in the future! We must have hope, we must persevere!!!!!
First Baptist Church of New Castle • 984 West Maitland Ln, New Castle, PA 16105 • [p] 724.658.2507 • [f] 724.657.0552