Tuesday, June 28, 2011

C.S. Lewis on Forgiveness

The following quote from C. S. Lewis may have some difficult words to understand, but there is much wisdom to glean. Here is what he wrote about the problem of forgiveness:

. . . you must make every effort to kill every taste of resentment in your own heart—every wish to humiliate or hurt him or to pay him out. The difference between this situation and the one in such you are asking God’s forgiveness is this. In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough.

As regards my own sin it is a safe bet (though not a certainty) that the excuses are not really so good as I think; as regards other men’s sins against me it is a safe bet (though not a certainty) that the excuses are better than I think. One must therefore begin by attending to everything which may show that the other man was not so much to blame as we thought.

But even if he is absolutely fully to blame we still have to forgive him; and even if ninety-nine percent of his apparent guilt can be explained away by really good excuses, the problem of forgiveness begins with the one percent guilt which is left over. To excuse what can really produce good excuses is not Christian character; it is only fairness. To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.

This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night ‘forgive our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’ We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says.

C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (New York: Harper Collins, 2001; Originally published 1949), 181-183.

May God help us to forgive others as we have been forgiven.

- Bro. Dave

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mission Trip Highlight: Glogow, Poland

Trip Date: October 17-28, 2011
Price for trip: $2000

Our Baptist Association has been involved in a partnership with Poland now for more than 12 years. This October, a mission trip will be taking a team to the city of Glogow, Poland to share the gospel. 

Poland is a nation that has gone through numerous historical abuses. From the German and Soviet invasions in World War 2, where more than 6 million Polish people died, to the post war communist rule until 1989, Poland is a nation that has experienced tremendous atrocities. While Poland is more than 88 percent Catholic, less than a third of that number attend any church on Sunday. Operation World, a mission’s prayer organization, lists Poland at #28 on their list of countries with the lowest evangelical population. According to their research, only 0.25 percent of the Polish population is evangelical. This means that Poland is less evangelical than countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Libya! Clearly, a Biblical understanding of Salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus alone is desperately needed.    
This trip will focus on evangelistic outreaches to the people of Glogow, Poland, a city of 75,000 people. The team will be working alongside the Christians of GloGow’s only evangelical church: “Christian Baptist Church.” The outreach will primarily involve English Language Ministry, working through the church’s local ministry called “The Logos Language Center.”  Through meetings to help people better use English, much effort will go into spreading the Gospel and inviting people to begin a relationship with Jesus. Many opportunities will be available to make friends with the intent of sharing Jesus. 

Would you pray about taking the Gospel to the unreached people of Poland? Would you be willing to step out of your comfort zone to go minister in one of the most unreached countries in the world? Will you trust God for the safety and finances and ministry opportunities?  Is God calling you to join with this team?
If you have any interest in this trip, we need to hear from you by Sunday, July 10. You can call the church office at 734-3546 or call me at 325-0528 to be added to the list. 

May God bless all of our mission efforts this year – local, state, and global!

- Bro. David Crowe

Monday, June 20, 2011

10 Ways to Glorify God at Work

Mark Twain once said, "Work is a necessary evil to be avoided." Although there may be days when we feel like he got it right, we know God has ordained work as a stewardship of his created world (Genesis 1:28; 2:15). He has designed work for his glory and our good. But how might we glorify God at work? This list is not exhaustive, but here's at least 10 ways —

1. Be just and honest in all your dealings with money.
A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight (Proverbs 11:1)

2. Be prayerfully dependent upon God, pouring contempt on self-sufficiency.
Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain (Psalms 127:1).

3. Use the wages earned by your work to provide for and bless others.
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1Timothy 5:8).
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need (Ephesians 4:28).

4. Grow in your skill-set, work hard, and strive for excellence.
Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men (Proverbs 22:29).
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

5. Exemplify love for your neighbor in how you interact with your colleagues.
Let all that you do be done in love (1 Corinthians 16:14).

6. Plan ahead and sincerely preface future tasks with "if God wills."
Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that" (James 4:13-15)

7. Speak the gospel to your colleagues.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20).

8. Work as unto the Lord and as unto men.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).

9. Focus on the work you've been given.
Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty (Proverbs 28:19).

10. Speak words of grace.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29)

May God bless our work and may we Glorify Him in all we do!

- Bro. Dave

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Fruits of Covetousness

This past Sunday we looked at the Lord's Prayer and the petition to ask God to "Give us today our daily bread." When we fail to pray this, we can easily fall into the sin of covetousness - a greedy desire for more than we need. The following list comes from Thomas Watson's classic work on the Lord's Prayer:

Such as are not content with daily bread—but thirst insatiably after more, will break over the hedge of God's command; and to get riches will stick at no sin. Therefore covetousness is called a radical vice. "The root of all evil." 1 Tim 6:10. [Oh cursed hunger for gold, to what do you not drive the hearts of men?] The Greek word for covetousness, signifies an inordinate desire of getting. Covetousness is not only in getting riches unjustly—but in loving them inordinately, which is a key that opens the door to all sin. It causes:

(1) Covetousness causes theft. Achan's covetous heart made him steal the wedge of gold—which cleft asunder his soul from God. Josh 7:21.

(2) Covetousness causes treason. What made Judas betray Christ? It was the thirty pieces of silver! Matthew 26:15.

(3) Covetousness causes murder. It was the inordinate love of the vineyard that made Ahab conspire Naboth's death. 1 Kings 21:13.

(4) It is the root of perjury. Men shall be covetous; and it follows, truce-breakers. 2 Tim 3:23. Love of silver will make men take a false oath, and break a just oath.

(5) Covetousness is the spring of apostasy. "Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world." 2 Tim 4:10. He not only forsook Paul's company—but his doctrine. Demas afterwards became a priest in an idol-temple, according to Dorotheus.

(6) Covetousness will make men idolaters. "Covetousness which is idolatry." Col 3:5. Though the covetous man will not worship graven images in the church—yet he will worship the graven image in his coin.

(7) Covetousness makes men give themselves to the devil. Covetous people forget the prayer, "Give us daily bread." They are not content with that which may satisfy nature—but are insatiable in their desire. O let us take heed of this cancer of covetousness! Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have." Heb 13:5.

May God keep us from the sin of covetousness, and may we be content with what we are given!

 - Bro. Dave

Monday, June 6, 2011

Notes and Quotes on The Will of God:

Here are six C’s for finding God’s will:
A.  Commit your decision to the Lord in prayer.
B.  Open the covers of the Bible and seek Scriptural direction.
C.  Seek the counsel of those who know more about the matter than you do.
D.  What are the circumstances indicating?
E.   Is an inner conviction about this matter developing?
F.   Finally, contemplate the issue. Think it through. God gave us a brain, and He expects us to use it to arrive at a wise and sanctified decision.

Romans 12:1-2 (ESV) 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

This is the Bible’s classic three-point sermon. These two verses give us three ways of finding God’s will. First, we must offer our bodies as living sacrifices; then we must make a break from the world around us; and finally, we must get the Bible into our minds and be transformed by God’s Word. What does God want from my life? He wants my whole life. He wants my entire life—not fifty percent, eighty-five percent, or even ninety-nine percent. He wants all there is of you.

     To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge. To do the will of God is the greatest achievement.—George Truett
     To go as I am led, to go when I am led, to go where I am led … it is that which has been for twenty years the one prayer of my life.—A. T. Pierson
     The man or woman who is wholly and joyously surrendered to Christ can’t make a wrong choiceany choice will be the right one.—A. W. Tozer
     Has it ever struck you that the vast majority of the will of God for your life has already been revealed in the Bible? That is a crucial thing to grasp.—Paul Little, in Affirming the Will of God
     Belief that divine guidance is real rests upon two foundation-facts: first, the reality of God’s plan for us; second, the ability of God to communicate with us. On both these facts the Bible has much to say.—J. I. Packer
     Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.

May God bless us with both the knowledge of His will and the strength to obey it!

-          Bro. Dave