Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why God Allows Difficult Circumstances Into our Lives

This past Sunday night we looked at the book of Nehemiah and observed all of the hardships he faced in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem after the return from exile to Babylon. Nehemiah faced ridicule and threats, and he constantly had to rely on God for strength and courage to inspire the Israelites to rebuild the walls. I closed the sermon with the following illustration that came to me through the preaching of Charles Swindoll:

“In the northeastern United States codfish are a big commercial business. Note the following facts: There is a market for eastern cod all over, especially in sections farthest removed from the northeast coastline. But the public demand posed a problem to the shippers. At first they froze the cod, then shipped them elsewhere, but the freeze took away much of the flavor. So they experimented with shipping them alive, in tanks of seawater, but that proved even worse. Not only was it more expensive, the cod still lost its flavor and, in addition, became soft and mushy. The texture was seriously affected.
Finally, some creative person solved the problem in a most innovative manner. The codfish were placed in the tank of water along with their natural enemy—the catfish. From the time the cod left the East Coast until it arrived at its westernmost destination, those ornery catfish chased the cod all over the tank. And, you guessed it, when the cod arrived at the market, they were as fresh as when they were first caught. There was no loss of flavor nor was the texture affected. If anything, it was better than before.
Each one of us is in a tank of particular and inescapable circumstances. It is painful enough to stay in the tank. But in addition to our situation, there are God—appointed "catfish" to bring sufficient tension that keeps us alive, alert, fresh and growing. It's all part of God's project to shape our character so we will be more like his Son. Understand why the catfish are in your tank. Understand they are part of God's method of producing character in your life and mine.”

May God bless us as we endure these hardships, that we may stay fresh and growing!

- Bro. Dave

Monday, May 24, 2010

Letter of Resignation

To the saints of Bruner's Chapel Baptist Church,

                When I stand on the stage to which God's grace brings me, leading the members of Bruner's Chapel in worship, I look over those congregated here and see people I look to as parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles, and yet most of my blood relatives live hours from there.  I see people I have laughed and cried with.  There are still others who I know only by their deeds, and yet I hold them closer than a brother.  I see students I have taught and teachers who have mentored me.  Yet, ahead of me, and with a heavy heart, I see a parting of ways.  In these last two years, I have grown to be a wholly new person from the man I was when I arrived.  It seems now that God, in His wisdom, is growing my wife and I in a direction that takes us away from Bruner's Chapel. 

                In one way, we are saddened at this parting, but in another, we are committed to serve Him wherever He leads us.  We will miss those with whom we have served, but look forward to those He will place in our path to serve with in the future.  This future, over which my wife and I have sought the Lord in prayer continuously over these last few months, and which has been confirmed by the Lord through His Word and through prayer, leads us to Rainsville First Baptist Church in Rainsville, Alabama, where I have been offered and have accepted the position of Associate Pastor in a full-time capacity, effective Sunday, June 6.  This means my last Sunday at Bruner's Chapel will be May 30.

                As I remember you in my prayers, particularly as many new things are on the horizon for you, I covet your prayers as well.  I will be continuing my education at Southern Seminary, as well as taking up new challenges at Rainsville First.

                May God's blessing continue to be evident in the work of Bruner's Chapel, may her worship and service be informed by the Word and empowered by the Spirit, and may the Gospel of Jesus Christ be at the center of all of her endeavors.



Mark Whitaker


Monday, May 17, 2010

Jesus' Triumphal Entry

This past Sunday, we observed Jesus coming into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. In John 5:46. Jesus tells us that Moses wrote about him. Pastor Jonathan Parnell wrote the following devotional talking about the words that Moses wrote about Jesus:

In Deuteronomy 17 Moses instructs Israel concerning the king that they will one day appoint for themselves. He gives the following three negative stipulations:
1. he must not acquire many horses (v.16)
2. he must not acquire many wives (v.17a)
3. he must not acquire excessive silver and gold (v. 17b)

Now fast forward to Samuel and Kings. In 2 Samuel 7:12-17, God promises King David a son who will be king forever. Five chapters later his son Solomon is born, and by 1 Kings 1 this son has taken the throne. Could this be the promised eternal king?
The author of Kings leaves us in suspense. It's not until 1 Kings 10:14-11:8 that we get a clear answer. Notice what he says there:
10:21 - "All of King Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold.
·           10:26 - "And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen."
·           11:3 - "He had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines."

In other words, he had excessive gold, excessive horses, and excessive wives. And although he doesn't have to, the author concludes in 11:6, "So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and did not wholly follow the LORD, as David his father had done."
So Solomon is not ultimately the Son/King who was promised in 2 Samuel 7. And if Solomon is not the one, then there must be another.
Another son of David would come—there would be another king.
·           This king would not have excessive silver and gold. He would be rich, and yet for our sake he would become poor so that we, by his poverty, might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).
·           This king would not own many horses. He would have to borrow a donkey to ride into Jerusalem (John 12:14).
·           This king would not have many wives. He would have one Bride and he would give his own life for her, that he might sanctify her and present her in splendor, holy and blameless before him forever (Ephesians 5:25-27).
Here is your king, O Israel! Here is your king, O peoples! Here is the Son of David who was promised, and he will reign forever. 

May God strengthen our passion for serving King Jesus and for investing in His Kingdom!

- Bro. Dave

Chimes Article- How Firm a Foundation

How Firm a Foundation

John Rippon was pastor of Carter's Lane Baptist Church in London for more than half a century.  Rippon loved hymns, and his hymnal, A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors, became a best-seller among Baptist churches in England and America.

You would think that a title touting "Best Authors" would be careful to acknowledge the author's names.  However, this hymn –– "How Firm a Foundation" –– had only the initial K where the author's name should be.  We think that the author was Robert Keene, the music director for Rippon's congregation –– but we can't be sure.

In most hymnals, quotation marks enclose all the words except verse 1.  That is because most of the words are quoted from the Bible –– a line from here and another from there.  The hymn relates a series of Godly assurances.  "Fear not, I am with thee," it says –– and then promises, "When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie, my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply."

This has been an exceedingly popular hymn.  At Robert E. Lee's request, it was sung at his funeral.  It was also one of Theodore Roosevelt's favorites, and was sung at his funeral.  But it shouldn't be reserved for funerals, because its assurance of God's help meets our needs through every chapter of our lives.


–– Copyright 2007, Richard Niell Donovan

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Big Events Taking Place

There is so much happening in the life of our church, I would like to spend my chimes article going over some important items:

Disaster Relief

The Harlow family and the McCloud family are thankful for the many volunteers who showed up to clean out their basements. In all, the Bruner’s Chapel Brotherhood helped six homes receive flood relief! Thanks for all who volunteered and worked hard!    

Graduation Sunday May 23

            Photos and information sheets must be in by this Sunday the 16th if they are going to make it into the Graduation Sunday video.  

Mountain Community Fellowship Mission Trip

            The sign up sheet for our mission trip to Mountain Community Fellowship is now up. This mission trip is open to the entire church and will run from June 21-25. This trip will involve helping get MCF’s new building into shape as well as performing outreaches to the surrounding community.

Vacation Bible School

            Our largest outreach of the year will take place on July 11-16. Like last year, this year’s VBS will run during the evening. Please look on the sign up sheet to see the needs and volunteer where help is needed!

Malta Mission Trip

            Many of the details of our mission trip to Malta are now available. The dates for the trip will be from October 18 to the 27th. The cost of the trip will be in the range of $2100. We are assembling a team from our church, Bethel, and Pioneer Baptist Church. If you are interested in this trip, there will be a meeting at Pioneer Baptist Church on May 23rd at 5PM. Please begin praying for God to prepare hearts as we go to share the gospel in Malta. 

May God grow our faith as we journey through a busy summer!

- Bro. Dave

Monday, May 10, 2010

All I have is Christ

We sang this song at a conference I was at recently and I wanted to share the lyrics with the church.

All I Have Is Christ
Words and Music by
Jordan Kauflin

Verse 1:
I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave

I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

Verse 2 But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross

And I beheld God's love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Verse 3:
Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me

Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

Music and Words by Jordan Kauflin.

© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI). Sovereign Grace Music, a division of Sovereign Grace Ministries.

From Na Band: Looked Upon. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

North American administration by Integrity Music. International administration by CopyCare International.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bro. Dave's Cancer Update

I want to thank everyone for your prayers and encouragement as I have gone through the assessment stages of my cancer. God answers prayer! And everything that you have been praying for me has come true in one way or another! My trip to Houston was necessary and beneficial.

I flew down last week to M.D. Anderson Hospital to meet with Sarcoma specialist Dr. Kelly Hunt. Dr. Hunt is one of the foremost Sarcoma Dr’s in the world. When I got to the Sarcoma clinic, I arrived to a packed room of people who all had sarcoma cancers. There were people in wheelchairs with amputated limbs who had been coming to the clinic for years and others like me who were just beginning their journey.  

I would spend more than 9 hours in the hospital that day going through various tests and seeing specialists. My ultrasound Dr. showed me that there was no remnant left of my removed tumor and said, “If there is anything there, it is far too small for this ultrasound to detect.” My EKG nurse was a believer and when she found out I was a pastor, she prayed for me for 10 minutes to the point of tears that God would heal me.

Dr. Hunt was able to take all of the information in and provided the following prognosis: "David, you only need a "margins" surgery to remove the tiny remains of your tumor and one of our best margins surgeons just left us and moved to Louisville, KY (U of L)! His surgery on you will be outpatient and will completely remove your cancer. An ultrasound every 6 months for 3 years will confirm that it is gone for good!"

No amputation. No skin graft. No return trip to Houston. No two-week stay in a hospital. I was even told I could go on all of the summer trips with the church and wait till late summer for my surgery to let my current skin heal!

Though I am still not fully out of the woods, the prognosis is very positive. My cancer has brought me closer to God; closer to extended family members; has allowed me to visit with old friends; has given me a refreshed outlook on what is important in life; has helped me to understand a whole world of people who have gone through cancer or are going through it now, and has introduced me to thousands of new friends!

Thanks again for your prayers, and continue to pray for me that this cancer will completely disappear.

May God continue to bless us all with his healing hand as we go through sickness!

- Bro. Dave

Monday, May 3, 2010

He Leadeth Me, O Blessed Thought

Pastor Joseph Gilmore intended to speak on the 23rd Psalm during a Wednesday evening service at the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia.  As he reflected on that Psalm, the words "He leadeth me" kept coming to his mind.  "He leadeth me beside the still waters" (Psalm 23:2).  "He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness" (Psalm 23:3).

"He leadeth me."  After the Wednesday evening service, Pastor Gilmore went to Deacon Watson's home for refreshments and pleasant conversation.  While there, the words, "He leadeth me," continued to come to his mind.  He took out paper and pen and quickly jotted the words to the hymn that we know and love.  He handed the paper to his wife, and quickly forgot about it.

Without consulting him, his wife submitted his verse to a publication called Watchman and Reflector.  They published it without his knowledge.

Several years later, Gilmore was preaching at a church in Rochester, New York, so he pulled out a hymnal to see what they would be singing.  The hymnal opened to the hymn, "He Leadeth Me" -- his own hymn.  He said of the incident, "That was the first time I knew that my hymn had found a place among the songs of the church."

During his lifetime, Gilmore wrote several other hymns, but only this hymn, "He Leadeth Me," became well known and widely sung.  We can be thankful that God led Pastor Gilmore to write it, and we can be thankful that God led his wife to submit it for publication.

–– Copyright 2006, Richard Niell Donovan