Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Backpacks and Food Needed for Schoolchildren in Harrodsburg.

Cindy Brown from Harlow Elementary School is asking for help with the Backpack food program:

"As many of you may know, the Harlow FRC operates a backpack food program which sends food items home weekly to identified families.  I wanted to see if any of you had any old backpacks or canvas (zipper) bags just lying around getting in your way…  If so, I’d love to take them off your hands.  Thanks"

Mike Riley  adds the following:
Got an email from Cindy Brown with Harlow School. They are in need of backpacks and/or old canvas zipper bags for use in the backpack program in the schools. For those of you who are not familiar with that program, they send backpacks full of food home with identified kids on the weekends so that they can have food to eat over the weekend.  There was a very nice write up about this in the paper a week or so ago, and the Brotherhood has had food drives for this in  the past.

If any of you have old backpacks or old canvas zipper bags that are just taking up space, please bring them to church and I will gladly make sure that they get to Cindy for this program.

If you have some backpacks or canvas zipper bags you can donate, please see Mike Riley, Amy Riley, or Darryl Peavler.

Since food is desperately needed for this program, you can shop for items on the following list and bring them to any church service to be given to this need.

Here is the Food List. [In PDF Format]

Let's roll up our sleeves and help!

- Bro. Dave

Yawning at the Bible in Worship

There is a startling trend taking place in today’s churches where the Bible is not being used much at all during worship services. Mark Galli, the senior managing editor of Christianity Today in an essay entitled "Yawning at the Word,” wrote, "It is well and good for the preacher to base his sermon on the Bible, but he better get to something relevant pretty quickly, or we start mentally to check out." That stunningly clear sentence reflects one of the most amazing and lamentable characteristics of this trend in our churches - an impatience with the Word of God.

Galli was told to cut down on the biblical references in his sermon. "You'll lose people," the staff member warned. In a Bible study session on creation, the teacher was requested to come back the next Sunday prepared to take questions at the expense of reading the relevant Bible verses on the doctrine. Cutting down on the number of Bible verses "would save time and, it was strongly implied, would better hold people's interest."

As Galli reflected, "Anyone who's been in the preaching and teaching business knows these are not isolated examples but represent the larger reality."

Indeed, in many churches there is very little reading of the Bible in worship, and sermons are marked by attention to the congregation's concerns - not by an adequate attention to the biblical text. The preaching of the Bible has given way to the concerns, real or perceived, of the listeners. The authority and importance of the Bible is being swallowed up by the authority of congregational concerns.

Galli has this situation clearly in his sights when he asserts that many congregations expect the preacher to start from some text in the Bible, but then quickly move on "to things that really interest us." Like . . . ourselves?”

How can so many of today's churches demonstrate what can only be described as impatience with the Word of God? The biblical formula is clear -- the neglect of the Word can only lead to disaster, disobedience, and death. God rescues his church from error, preserves his church in truth, and propels his church in witness only by his Word.

In the end, an impatience with the Word of God can be explained only by an impatience with God himself. We -- both individually and congregationally -- neglect God's Word to our own ruin.

May we grow in our desire to hear God’s word in our worship – read, explained, and applied!

- Bro. Dave

You can read the Christianity Today Article by clicking here. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

“Him, Who?” Part 7

I think I might limit this series to Genesis for now.  Someday I would love to see these ideas made into a book, and perhaps "The God of Genesis" might be the first chapter.  The passage for this week comes from Genesis 24 again.  I would have wanted to get a little further along, but I felt that this passage had one more "Him, Who?" moment that could be extremely helpful.  The quote comes from the story of Abraham sending one of his servants to find Isaac a suitable wife from his own people.  The task is not a simple errand; Abraham commands the servant to make a promise in a very strange way.  Abraham asks the servant to place his hand in a very personal place on Abraham's body, the inner thigh.  This strange act might come across as a borderline homosexual act, but that was not the intent in the least.  The ESV Study Bible says that this was possibly understood as a sign of submission to that person's strength and authority.  We know from the story of Jacob wrestling the angel, that when the angel touches his hip, it is a crippling injury, and so we see that the thigh/hip area is seen to be the seat of strength, and therefore extremely vulnerable (privacy issues aside).  We know the servant is faithful to his promise, and when he arrives in Mesopotamia, he kneels down and prays, "O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham."  We know at the end of the story, this errand produces Rebekah as a suitable wife for Isaac, but for the purposes of this article, I would like to look specifically at how the servant addresses God.  Obviously, this servant has a personal relationship with God, or he would not pray to Him directly.  What is interesting, however, is that he calls God, "God of my master Abraham."  What this seems to show is that the servant's faith is founded on the faithfulness of his master, Abraham.  In other words, it is likely that the reason the servant was a godly man was because of the influence of his godly master.  The blessing asked of steadfast love is a testimony to this truth.  Do you live a life of faith such that those under your influence can call out to God in such a way?  Do you thank God, as you worship Him, that He has put people in your life to be a godly influence on you, without which you would not be worshiping Him?

-Mark Whitaker
Minister of Music and Worship
Interim Minister to Students

Calling All Men!

Work has begun on our Easter cantata, "See What a Morning," and our choir has grown some!  We have one of our biggest alto and tenor sections we've ever had to my knowledge, but we need basses!  Anyone is welcome to join us, of course, but we really need basses!  If you are a man and have been thinking about joining the choir, now is your chance.  If there is a man you know that you've been thinking about inviting (or coaxing) into the choir, now is the time.  This is one of the simpler cantatas we have ever done, so it would make a great way to get your feet wet in the choir.  Practices are Sunday nights after church (8:00-9:00).

-Mark Whitaker
Minister of Music and Worship
Interim Minister to Students

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Odds and Ends - Announcements for Bruner's Chapel Baptist Church

There is so much going on here at Bruner’s Chapel Baptist Church! Here are some odds and ends that I would like to highlight:

Buckets of Hope for Haiti – I want to challenge our church to put together at least 50 buckets of hope for Haiti. You can read all of the instructions and even watch a video of how to pack the bucket by going to the church website or you can call the church office for the instructions.

Brotherhood Saturday – I want to thank the brotherhood of our church for putting on an incredible Baptist Men’s Saturday! The worship was powerful, the preaching was life-changing, the food was amazing! Praise God that one young man accepted Christ! Photos of the event and Jeremy Gilliam’s sermon are available on the website for those who would like to hear/watch it.

WMU Sunday – I praise God for the sacrificial work of our Women’s Missionary Union and how they have helped to educate and get our church involved in missions. It was a blessing on Sunday Morning to take a close look at this vital ministry of our church!

Young WMU Group Forming
– I have been told that Amy Riley is putting together a younger woman’s WMU group. See Amy for more information.

Summer Mission Trip to Mountain Community Fellowship is scheduled
– Pastor Jason Hutchinson and I have marked out June 21-25 as the week for our mission trip to Mountain Community Fellowship. Mountain Community has purchased a permanent building where they will be worshiping and they need our help to fix it up. We will also be preparing some outreaches that will involve anyone who can help. Make plans now to join us for this life changing trip!

Find It Here Campaign Important Dates
– The largest outreach in our state’s history is coming up fast! Our church will be involved in doing our part on the following days:
March 3 Door Hanger Bag Assembly Night
March 27 at 1PM Door Hanger Bag Distribution
(April 3 at 1PM Door Hanger Bag Distribution Backup-Day in case of weather)

One Call Now List Information – With all of the snow we have received this year you need to be on our church’s one call list for any service cancellations. You can be added by calling the church office, or e-mailing your phone number to

May the Holy Spirit lead us through the days ahead, and may God bless us with a harvest!

- Bro. Dave

Monday, February 15, 2010

Him, Who? Part 6

This has been a series in which we look to Scripture to see how God has protected and provided for His people, but more specifically how they have responded in praise, giving God a new name.  As we have seen and will see more, God has chosen names for Himself, but He has also revealed Himself in such a way to His people that they give Him new names (or name people or places after Him and what He has done).  "Why does it matter?" you might ask.  The Bible has shown that God is a jealous God.  One disposition that makes the fall of man most apparent is that He seeks after other gods.  You might say that you worship the God of the Bible, but how do you know?  Is it apparent to those around you?  This is no way an evaluation of the song, but take the popular chorus, "Let's Just Praise the Lord," made popular by Bill and Gloria Gaither.  A question we might ask ourselves about the words we use in worship is whether or not the words could be spoken or sung and expressed truly by people who aren't Christians.  Could a Muslim sing the song to Allah without changing the words?  Could this text be used in a Unitarian Universalist gathering?  One of the core values of Christian worship is that the words we pray, read, say, and sing, are all words that set the true and living God apart from the false gods.

This week, our text comes from Genesis 24:3 and 7, where, for the first time, God is referred to as the "God of Heaven" and the "God of Earth".  Actually, this is the only reference to God as the God of Earth, but I would like to draw particular attention to the name, "God of Heaven."  This name is one that will set the people of Israel apart from the other nations.  As a matter of fact, the Gospel of Matthew's frequent use of the phrase, "Kingdom of Heaven," is one of the distinguishing features that causes it to be known as the most Jewish Gospel.  The most frequent use of "God of Heaven" is found in two major focal points, other than the current usage.  Its most common occurrence is in the period of Ezra's revival (the books of Ezra and Nehemiah) and in prophecy of the Day of the Lord in Daniel and Revelation.  A whole-Bible understanding of this name shows an emphasis on God being from somewhere else, but despite that fact, He comes and reveals Himself in our world.  One of the things that set the God of Israel, and later of the Church, apart from the gods of the world is where He chooses to dwell.  This is of particular significance to Abraham, who is the first to utter this name, among whose descendants God has promised to dwell.  This promise is fulfilled in Christ, our Emmanuel.  We worship the God of Heaven in the same way.  He, who dwells in inapproachable light, has come to be amongst His people.  This is the nature of the beautiful reality we sing about in songs like "God of Wonders," and, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."  God is with us, and has promised to always be with us.  This is true not only in a salvific way, but also in fellowship.  At times when we feel the most alone, we know that He is there.  What a loving God we serve!

-Mark Whitaker
Minister of Music and Worship
Interim Minister of Students

Baptist Men's Saturday Videos and Photos

You can now see the video of Jeremy Gilliam's sermon to our men and look at photos from our recent Baptist Men's Saturday.

Men's Saturday - Evangelist Jeremy Gilliam from Bruner's Chapel Baptist Church on Vimeo.

Isaiah House Testimony - Director Choe Sergent from Bruner's Chapel Baptist Church on Vimeo.

Check out the photos of Baptist Men's Saturday by clicking here.

Buckets of Hope for Haiti

Looking for a hands-on, tangible way to help the people of Haiti recover from the devastation caused by the Jan. 12 earthquake? Packing a "Bucket of Hope" is one way you, your mission group, or your church family can provide food and hope to a family in Haiti! Read on for details:

Every Baptist can have a hands-on, life changing affect upon the people of Haiti by participating in a Southern Baptists “Buckets of Hope" ministry.

The “Buckets of Hope" is just one means by which Baptists can fulfill the mandate of Jesus Christ to feed the hungry in the name of Jesus. As we are reminded in Matthew 25:45, Jesus tells us, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, yet did it not to me." (KJV)

The “Bucket of Hope" consists of a plastic five-gallon bucket packed with selected foodstuffs. For approximately $30 an individual Baptist can purchase the materials and assemble a "Bucket of Hope." In addition Baptists are requested to include a $10 cash contribution, placed in an envelope and attached to the lid of the bucket, to offset the cost of transporting the relief buckets to Haiti.

Click here to download a special bulletin insert which features step-by-step instructions for participation in this project.

Project deadline: By March 4, 2010, the “Buckets of Hope" must be completed and delivered to your local Baptist association collection point. Disaster relief volunteers will facilitate the pick-up and transport of the local “Buckets of Hope" for placement in cargo containers for immediate shipment to the island nation. After delivery, before loading in cargo containers, all the buckets will be labeled indicating the “Bucket of Hope" is a gift of Christian love and support from Southern Baptists.

The Bucket:

The 5-gallon white plastic bucket with handle, which should be new and unused, can be purchased from Wal-Mart (UPC code #098262506408) and must include a tight fitting lid (UPC code 9826270645). UPDATE: as of 2/11/2010, we can accept any color bucket, and buckets may include logos. Should still be new and unused, 5-gallon, with handle and tight-fitting lid.

The Food Items:

The commercially pre-packaged food items can be generic, store brand items. Once the food supplies are used, Haitians will find multiple everyday uses for the bucket. Please do not substitute any item listed and do not add anything additional inside the bucket.
  • 2 – 5-pound bags long grain enriched rice
  • 1 – 48-ounce plastic bottle cooking oil
  • 2 – 2-pound bags dry black beans (can substitute with red beans)
  • 1 – 5-pound bag of all-purpose flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 – 20-ounce cylinder container of granulated white sugar (coffee service size)
  • 2 – 1-pound boxes spaghetti noodles
  • 1 – 2 lb, 8 oz jar of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 – white kitchen trash can size plastic bag (which will be used to wrap the bottle of cooking oil)

Packing Instructions:

Click here to view and/or download a helpful video that will show you step-by-step how to pack the buckets.

Written instructions appear below:
1. As you pack the bucket, pray for the Haitian family that will receive the food.
2. Lay bucket on its side.
3. Place rice packages in bucket. Lay bags side-by-side and flat running in the direction of top to bottom of bucket. Gently compress the bags (without breaking them) as flat as possible to create room for other items.
4. Place bottle of oil inside a clean, unused trash bag and wrap the excess portion of the bag tightly around the bottle. (This is a precaution to protect the foodstuffs should there be leakage or a break in the bottle during transport.)
5. Lay the bottle of oil on top of the rice bags. Lay the wrapped oil container so that the bottom of the bottle is at the bottom of the bucket and is approximately in the center of the bucket.
6. Place the peanut butter jar on one side of the oil.
7. Place the cylinder of sugar on top of the wrapped oil bottle.
8. Place boxes of spaghetti noodles on the other side of the oil bottle.
9. While holding the sugar and peanut butter containers in place, stand bucket upright .
10. Place one bag of black beans down along the inside of the bucket next to the peanut butter.
11. Place bag of flour on its side on top of the peanut butter, gently packing down the flour bag to clear the rim of the bucket.
12. Place second bag of black beans next to the flour on top of the peanut butter.
13. Close lid on the bucket and make sure it is securely closed.
14. Place $10 cash (bills only) into a business size (#10) or smaller envelope. Seal the envelope. Securely tape the envelope to the lid of the bucket.
15. Take the filled “Bucket of Hope" to your area collection center before March 4, 2010.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Other helpful verses for Evangelism

This past Sunday morning we talked about marking our Bible’s for evangelism. I have compiled a list of my most used other verses that are not part of the Roman’s Road that I use in evangelism. These passages are well worth memorizing and marking in your Bible to use whenever you share your faith:

Jesus is the only Way to Heaven

John 14:6 - Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Acts 4:12 - Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Good works cannot save you

Ephesians 2:8-9 - For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Titus 3:5 - he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

Unbelief will cost you

John 3:36 - Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

Revelation 21:8 - But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Belief in God is not enough

James 2:19 - You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

When they say “I do not believe the Bible…”

1 Peter 1:20-21 - Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

May God bless us with many witnessing opportunities!
- Bro. Dave

Monday, February 8, 2010

“Him, Who” Part 5

Our next passage to look at comes from Genesis 22:14, just after the moment at the brink of the near-sacrifice of Isaac, when God supplies the ram in the thicket to be sacrificed instead. "So Abraham called the name of that place, 'The LORD will provide'; as it is said to this day, 'On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided." This is a bit of a unique case, compared to the rest that we have looked at, because this name used is the name of a place. Actually, to be more precise, it is the name of a memorial. The name, "The LORD will provide," serves the purpose of reminding the traveler (not just Abraham) that God will provide, as He has before. More specifically than that, God had provided the sacrifice to save the life of Isaac and preserve the line of Abraham, keeping His promise to make a nation of Abraham. Abraham had set up a place, not a holy or supernatural place, but a place that would remind him every time he passed by that God will continue to provide salvation for His people. I believe it is a very spiritually healthy thing to attach meaning and memory to things, particularly when they strengthen faith. I am not at all suggesting that we should set up idols to worship. What I am saying is that when God works in our life, we ought to discipline ourselves to remember, not just for reminiscing purposes, but to remind us in the hard times, when we need to be reminded most, that God is faithful. One such way is by keeping spiritual souvenirs. One such spiritual souvenir I have is the Bible I was given at my ordination. It is a very important Bible to me, not just because it has a very expensive calf-skin cover (that I would never be able to afford), nor because it is the version I prefer to read. It is important because it was given to me and is signed by the ones who stood and bore witness that God had called me to His service. My pastor at the time, the ordained men of the church, my family (both biological and spiritual), and friends' names appear in the first few pages, a testimony in times of doubt that God has a plan for me. I pray that you find ways on your own to constantly remind yourself that God is for you and desires your good.

-Mark Whitaker, Minister of Music and Worship and Interim Minister of Students

Choir Update

This Sunday night, February 14, we will begin work on our Easter cantata, See What a Morning, to be performed Palm Sunday morning, March 28. I am really excited about some new components this year, including some poetic narrations, a few songs we know, and some we don't! Please feel welcome, even if you never have sung with another person in your life, to join us starting this Sunday evening at 8 (right after Sunday night church). It would be helpful if the choir members were at our evening service (we'd love to have you), so that if service ends early, we can get an early start (and therefore an early finish- sometime before 9).

-Mark Whitaker, Minister of Music and Worship, Interim Minister of Students

Monday, February 1, 2010

“Him, Who? Part 4”

There is a practice that many Christians have adopted where, when they are writing about God, they capitalize the "H" in "He," whenever it refers to God. Whereas this practice in no way is prescribed in Scripture, and most translations don't even use it, it is good for several reasons. First of all, it is helpful in clarifying a story. If the story includes God as well as a man (or men), it makes it such that you don't have to keep repeating names to keep the story straight. In other words, you can use "He" for God and "he" for Mark, without having to say "God" and "Mark" over and over again. In another way, it is a sign of respect to God's name. While it is true that God never referred to Himself as "God" (He only spoke in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek directly to people), it is a beneficial and biblical practice to use reverence whenever you use any name to refer to God. This is an easy way in which you can honor God's commandment to not take His name in vain. That isn't to say that not capitalizing "Him" is a sin, but simply that doing so can be beneficial. Lastly, and most importantly, giving this reverence to God's name sets Him apart from the gods of the world (note the difference between God and gods). Not only does it set Him apart from gods like Allah, Buddha, or Baal, it also sets Him apart from the gods we create, like ourselves, our idols, and our misguided priorities.

It is this separation that we have been studying in this series. Today, I would like to look at a passage that comes right after the one we studied last week. Genesis 16:13 references a name for God that people rarely use. It happens in the context of the comfort an angel brought to Hagar, the servant of Sarai who bore an heir to Abraham while Sarai was barren. Hagar had been troubled because she had been put out of the household of Abraham, and after she heard from the messenger of the Lord, "she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, 'You are a God of seeing,' for she said, 'Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.'" She even named the place where she was, "Well of the Living One Who Sees Me." When God had shown Hagar that He watches over her and protects her, she honored Him with a custom name to fit the occasion. Even though I do believe that God has chosen ways in which He wants us to refer to Him, I believe He has also paved the way for us to refer to Him by the ways in which He has acted toward us. My wife, Wendy, for example, refers to God as "Daddy" in her prayers. This is so partly because the New Testament tells us that, with the Spirit in our hearts, we can call God Abba, which is an affectionate term for father, and partly, I think, because He in many ways has been the father to her that she has lacked in her life. I invite you to think about how God has worked personally in your life, and then worship Him in light of that provision, protection, or promise.

-Mark Whitaker, Minister of Music and Worship, Interim Minister of Students

Did the high priest enter the Holy of Holies with a rope around his ankle?

Our Wednesday Night Study in Revelation raised a question about the High Priest having to wrap a rope around his ankle to enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple. The story says that if the high priest did not have all of his personal sins dealt with, he would die in the temple and have to be drug out by the rope. I have heard the story a hundred times and have repeated it a dozen times, but after some investigation of its origins I have discovered it to be an urban legend that has no Biblical basis. The following is some of the research I have found:

You may have heard this story before. It has been said that that because the high priest could be killed by God in Holy of Holies if not properly prepared according to Divine instructions, a rope was routinely tied around his ankle. Then, if he dropped dead, his body could be dragged out. Various versions of this claim have been repeated in Christian and Jewish circles.

As yet, we have not located the original source, but apparently it originated long after the last Jewish Temple was gone. The biblical and historical evidence indicates that there was no rope, at least not in any common use.

Dr. W.E. Nunnally, a professor of Hebrew and early Judaism, has reported:

“The rope on the high priest legend is just that: a legend. It has obscure beginnings in the Middle Ages and keeps getting repeated. It cannot be found anywhere in the Bible, the Apocrypha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, the Pseudepigrapha, the Talmud, Mishna, or any other Jewish source. It just is not there.”

A Messianic Jewish Fellowship points out the potential difficulty of dragging a dead priest out of the Holy of Holies:

“You could only drag out the priest if he died in the Holy place. The way the curtains of the temple were designed, the priest could not have been dragged out of the HOLY of HOLIES. The veil was made using many layers of cloth. The thickness was over three feet. The curtains overlapped and made a small maze through which the priest walked…"

Well, I admit my own guilt in passing along this story as historical in my preaching. This evidence goes to show how there are a lot of stories we have heard that are not truly biblical. If only we could get more excited about what the Bible actually says than in what it does not say.

May God help us all to know His word more faithfully, and may our desire to read it increase!

- Bro. Dave