The blog contains daily devotions and notes from the weekly messages.  We encourage you to review the notes during the sermon or through the week!  Most of the posts will have an audio and/or video link at the end of the notes.  From time to time the pastors will share other insights and devotions here.

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Grow: Discovering Love (Week 2)

“Growing a Culture of Compassion”

This week two of our elders share with us:  Scott Underwood and Chris Logan. 


Scott Underwood

  • Intro and the muppets
    • Elders and trustee make up the officers, whose job it is to lead the church, in conjunction with all the ministry team leaders.
    • We meet once a month as officers and then again as elders
    • Despite our differences, Chris and I sit together most meetings and have earned a certain reputation.
    • Picture of the Muppets
  • The specific job of the Elders is lead the church in following Jesus, taking care of the flock and equipping them for acts of service
  • We take a couple times of year to share our hearts so you know more about us
  • Today we are going to talk about the second half of Ken’s sermon from last week and then share a little bit on where we think the church is today and is going
  • The title of today is Discovering Love – Growing a Culture of Compassion


The scripture for today is the fairly well know story of the Good Samaritan, found in Luke 10: 25-37. 
Like many of Jesus’ stories, the story is important, but the reason for the story is also relevant.
If we back up a bit from the GS, we can learn a little more about the context of the story. 


As we see from the scripture, Jesus was prompted to tell the story by an expert in the law who is testing Him.  As a starting point, what does it imply when someone is testing someone else?  “I already know the answer, and I want to see if you do too.  I’m in a position of superiority because I have the right to test you.”

As a starting point, what is going on in the heart of the expert of the law?  How does that relate to what sometimes goes on in our heart?  How do we test God? 


I would say that every time we know we are supposed to do something and we don’t do it, we are testing God.  “I know that you have said that I am supposed to forgive this person, but I haven’t, and there don’t seem to be any consequences, so why should I obey?”  It sounds a little like Satan in the Garden.  “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 

If we truly believed him, we would obey his commands, not look to test Him.


After Jesus answered him the first time, the expert dove in again, this time to “justify himself.”  Now, I thought I knew what the word “justify” meant, but I looked it up in the dictionary to make sure I did.  Here’s what I found . . .

  1. Secular definition – show or prove to be right or reasonable
  2. Theological definition – declare or make righteous in the sight of God.


Whether Luke meant either of the two definitions, both are convicting.  The first one implies an interaction with Jesus where the person administering the test wants to argue with the answer of Jesus.  The second one suggests the attempt of the expert to “check the boxes” of his own righteousness, apart from grace of Jesus or the obedience in his heart to Jesus’ teachings.


Before we even get to the story of the Good Samaritan, Luke has taught us lessons about humility and self-justification.

So now Jesus tells the story of the GS.  I have to believe when Jesus started into the story instead of giving a simple answer, the expert in the law started to get nervous.


After the sections about the Levite and the priest passing by the injured man, Jesus gets to the section about the Samaritan.  I know that Jerry covered this story before he left, but it certainly bears repeating, especially in our current political and economic climate.  As you may know, to make the hero of the story a Samaritan was offensive to all of the Jews that were listening.  It would be like going to a Trump rally and making a Democrat the hero of the story, or going to a Democratic rally and making President Trump the hero.  Not popular, and not a good start for Jesus.  The fact that he contrasted the Samaritan against people of their own “parties” was further insult.


But on he went with the story.  And as he told the story of the Samaritan’s encounter with the injured man, he said something that I think is the key to the whole story.  The second half of verse 33 said, “and when he saw him, he took pity on him.”  First, he saw him – really saw him.  Not as an impediment to the completion of his daily tasks or an obstacle to be avoided, but saw him in his injured condition.  The priest and the Levite saw the injured man too, but never really saw him in his true condition.


And then the Samaritan “took pity on him.”  Pity is a weird word in 2019.  It often has a negative connotation – “I don’t want your pity” or “Don’t pity me.”  Even worse, to be considered “pitiful”. 

But pity is simply another word for compassion.  And we find Jesus being compassionate on numerous occasions –

  • He had compassion on a large crowd and healed their sick (Matthew 14:14)
  • He had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed Him (Matthew 20:34)
  • He had compassion on the people at the feeding of the 5,000
  • He had compassion on the crowds, because they were harassed and helpless (pitiful), like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36 and Mark 6:34)


And so the hero of the story is compassionate.  If we are going to be called Jesus followers, we have to do what he does, say what he says, and have a heart that is modeled after His.

As a side note, 2 Corinthians 1:3 praises the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.  Jesus is just simply doing the Father’s will by being compassionate.


Many of us are already compassionate, especially to those who close to us or like us.  But here’s a harder question – How we doing with those people who not close to us or not like us or maybe even enemies to us?  Dems vs Republicans, white vs black, liberals vs conservatives, illegal immigrants, LBGTBQ, pro life vs pro choice, criminals, etc.  Do we have compassion on these people, or do our politics or preferences come before the words and deeds of Jesus?

If we get the compassion right, we have a much better chance of getting the love and service right, even if we don’t do it perfectly.

If we get the compassion right, we have a much better chance of getting the love and service right, even if we don’t do it perfectly.  If we see thru the eyes of Jesus and our heart is with His heart, we have the Holy Spirit to help us get it right. When we look at this story, the man who was beaten had a variety of needs.  Hope, transportation, medical care, food and lodging among others.


As a brief commercial for next week’s Gary Chapman The Five Love Languages workshop, it’s interesting to note that the injured man’s needs loosely line up with the 5 love languages.  He needed

  • Words of affirmation (hope)
  • Physical touch – bandaged his wound, pouring on oil and wine
  • Receiving Gifts – paid for the inn and care
  • Quality time – he went with the man to the inn and took care of him
  • Acts of service – the whole thing


If you know anything about the concept of the love languages, they are based on the idea that you need to understand and care about the other person’s preferred love language and then adjust yourself to meet them where they are.  Buying and giving expensive gifts (because it’s easy for you to do) may do nothing to show your significant other love. You have to do what they want and value, even if it costs you everything. 


In the story, The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry, we learn about a young couple, who like so many others, are struggling financially.  As they have been saving for Christmas presents for each other, they find that they have not been able to scrape together much more than a few cents.  They really only have two things of value – the husband’s inherited gold pocket watch and the wife’s beautiful long hair.  As the couple struggles to buy each other a treasured present, the husband sells the watch to buy the wife an ornate comb for her beautiful hair, and the wife sells her hair to a wig maker to buy her husband a chain for his treasured pocket watch.  Now, whether that was their love language or not, the thought behind giving up what you value to give someone else what they value is clearly evident.  It’s about the heart.


But let’s go back to the Good Samaritan – It’s also interesting that the story doesn’t involve our present day go-to maneuver, the “I’ll pray for you and walk away” maneuver.  I believe that many times we are put in that situation specifically to meet the presenting need.  If we don’t want to help, our prayer then becomes, “God please send someone who isn’t me to help this person.” 


A questions for all of us If we are able to meet the need – what or who are we praying for?  Someone who has the gift of service or more time or something else?


James 2: 14-17 (NLT) says, 14What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

17So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.


In our emphasis on prayer, I fear that we have erred too far on the “I’ll pray for you” end of the spectrum and missed our opportunities to meet the needs right then and there.


There are many reasons for not meeting the need, but if often comes back to one foundational problem – putting our own needs/wants over the needs of others, and often over the call and example of Jesus.  And now we are back to a question that would fit right in with our expert in the law from the Good Samaritan story. 


If there are no immediate, visible consequences from our disobedience, why not serve ourselves first?


Well, if you believe Jesus, there are consequences and promises –


Mark 8:35 (NLT) – If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.


Mark 10:28-31 (NLT)28Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said.

29“Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. 31But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.g


As elders, we are encouraging us all to live a life that follows Jesus.  Notice I didn’t say be a better Baptist or church member or even a Christian.  Many people can be a Baptist, Christian or church member without following Jesus on a daily basis.  Many can be those things with very few signs of the compassion of Jesus in their lives. 


So as we move toward to Christmas and 2020, we are going to be encouraging our body to have a culture of compassion and service to our community – to live and give generously to meet the needs of our neighbors.   When we look at our mission statement, we have to realize that the stories that need to be transformed are not just ours, but our neighbors, friends and enemies.  We have no hope of our communities thriving if we all are not transformed.
Chris Logan (begins at (16:57)
I thought about my own culture this week and came to some startling revelations…
  • I do what I want
  • I am competitive
Hebrews 13:8
1 Peter 5:2
Matthew 9:13
God desires mercy!  Forgiveness, grace, forbearance, etc.
We have one mission:  The Great Commission!
I find it hard to surrender, but we must.  Our community needs restoration.
Back to Culture…  Basically it is our Comfort Zone.
Matthew 5:45-48
Reconciliation is only through Jesus Christ!
Our culture (in the body of Christ) should revolve around the Promises of God.
Our culture (in the body of Christ) should revolve around the Promises of God.
They are all throughout the Bible.  If you don’t know where to look, Google them!  There are all kinds of lists of God’s wonderful promises.
Isaiah 40:29
Isaiah 54:7
James 4:7  Submit to God, resist temptation and the devil will flee!
1 John 1:9   Confess your sins and He is faithful to forgive.  (Confession is acknowledging your sins to God.)
Psalm 34
2 Peter 1:3-10
(These Notes for Chris’ talk were made by the editor.  To see his notes click HERE.)

Listen to the Elders’ message here:


You can watch the video HERE.



Grow: Discovering Love (Week 1)

Discovering how Love is our ‘Miracle Grow’

Deuteronomy 6:1-9

The New Testament quotes Deuteronomy more often than almost any other Old Testament book. Twenty-one of the 27 New Testament books allude to Deuteronomy; some scholars count 90 different citations.  Jesus himself drew from it during his temptation.


As we delve into these words from Moses, it is vital that we realize he was taking to heart the importance of what he was about to teach them. There is a sense of urgency that can be seen even in the previous chapters. He was speaking to the group that had wandered around in the desert for 40 years, many of whom had never really had encounters with other nations or the enticements that those civilizations would have to tempt them to abandon all they had known and just join in to the culture.


He was telling them that THEY had to set the tone, following after God in all areas of their lives…heart, soul, mind and strength (Might). They had to determine in their hearts Who they would follow and what guidelines would lead their lives. They had to prepare their hearts (the soil) and keep focused (proper feeding of their hearts) in order for God to bless them and help them grow as His children.


The same is true today. We have to be reminded that we must keep God first in all that we do. If we truly love someone, we desire to listen and obey, to cherish and serve and to demonstrate our love in all that we do.


Illustration:  Planting a garden.

  • Prepare the soil (remove grass, weeds, rocks)
  • Plant the seed
  • Continue to feed and water (Miracle Grow)
  • Continue to remove grass & weeds
  • Then you will see the fruit (not overnight)


Just like the garden, we have to prepare our hearts…we have to choose to obey…we have to maintain the soil of our hearts in order to grow. All this happens when we open up our ears to hear the truths of God’s Word. And all of these truths are based on what is known as the GREATEST COMMANDMENT.


The Greatest Commandment:  Deuteronomy 6:1-9

 “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the decrees —that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.


“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.


Moses broke it down into these three areas:

  • I have to teach them to you;
  • You have to hear and apply to your life; and then
  • You have to teach them to the next generation.


I. I have to teach them to you. (vs 1-3)


  • This command sets the tone for all rules and statutes.
  • God told me I had to teach you!
  • Everything hinges on what I am about to tell you.


A. Fear the Lord


As defined by Easton’s Bible Dictionary:

 “Fear of God – a designation of true piety*. It is a fear conjoined with love and hope, and is therefore not a slavish dread, but rather a filial** reverence.”

  *piety:           Reverence or dutiful respect

**filial:          of, relating to, or befitting a son or daughter


This is what God, your Father is commanding/asking you to do – You and generations to come


“…you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I commanded you,…”                                                                                                                                          Deut. 6:2


Keeping ALL! This means not just knowing them, but doing them.


For how long?


            “…all the days of your life,…”                                         Deut. 6:2


 B. God will bless and prosper you.


“and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.”                            Deut 6:2-3


…multiply you greatly 

  • This promise is not just for the people of Israel
  • From the beginning of creation, it has been God’s desire for us to be fruitful and multiply. He loves to bless His children. But we have to follow Him and His commands.


 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”                                

Matthew 6:33


“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”                                               

Acts 2:46-47



 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.  So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.”

1 Corinthians 3:6-7

Illustration:  Mission & Vision Statements (Show slides)


…the land will be blessed and thrive. 

Same promise for us today!


 “ And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19


II. Hear what I teach you. (vs 4-6)


A.  Lord God is our Lord, and Him alone.
  • He is Number 1!!!
  • nothing comes before Him


Rhetorical question in Miriam’s Song:

 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?

 Exodus 15:11

 You are the one who places Him there, no one can do it for you.


B. Love with everything you have

  •  not the first time they heard this charge.
But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Deut. 4:29

  • heart, soul, might (mind & strength) – with every fiber of our being.
  •  keep these words in your heart


 “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

 Psalms 119:11

  • It has to become our native language.


VIDEO SONG:        Native Tongue  by Switchfoot



III. Now that you have heard, it is YOUR responsibility to teach


“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Deuteronomy 6:7-9


A.  To your children – DILIGENTLY
  •  Memorizing scripture
  • Surround them with music, stories, & videos that have strong Christian values


“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4:8

 B. Carry them with you

 “My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Proverbs 7:1-3

  • Our values bracelets are a form of this
  • Christian jewelry is another form


C) Mark your home*


Show Slide:            Deuteronomy 11:18


*Moses started his talk with this and shared it again because it was so important.


Illustration:          Will & Christy Ragle’s Home.

  •  Intended to encourage family members
  • Became a witness to Comcast guy



As I told you two weeks ago, people are watching everything you do and say. This is especially true at home with our children. And like it or not, once you have heard the truth of God’s Word, you can no longer say, “I didn’t know.”


That is why Moses emphasized “HEAR WHAT I AM SAYING…” Maybe I should have started this message out the same way. So here is a reminder of the things I just told you…


  1. I just taught you the greatest commandment;
  2. You were told to hear what I was teaching you, to love God with all you got and the benefits of doing so; and
  3. It is your responsibility to teach your children.


We are here to help you, but you spend a lot more time with them than we can. You create the atmosphere in your home and car in which your child and those who are with you or visit you will either flourish or wither away.


We are here to help you with tools to help keep the soil healthy. And the first priority is follow the greatest commandment.

For loving God with all you have…

He will fill you with His love so that…

you can in turn love others as He first loved you!


Listen to the message here:


You can watch the video HERE.



Grow: Spiritual Growth with Joe Bruce (Week 5)

Joe’s Garage

From Joe’s Website:
From his rich background as a children’s pastor, youth pastor, senior pastor, professional artist, father of ten and husband of one, Joe is able to draw from a variety of ventriloquist characters and assortment of artistic mediums to communicate his message with a unique diversity.
It has been said that one of Joe’s most amazing gifts is his ability to appeal to all people regardless of age, educational background, or economic status. His presentation is very organic and natural. His quick wit and clever characters will be sure to communicate redemption and restoration – a message Joe feels is essential in our culture. 


He uses the theme of “Joe’s Garage” as a place where he and his ventriloquist characters work on subjects such as character issues and real-life, relevant concerns in light of God’s plan and His Word. In his presentations Joe may draw a caricature of a child from the audience in under 60 seconds, paint a 3ft. x 4ft. likeness of Christ, utilize three ventriloquist characters, or cause a portrait he’s drawn to come to life and speak to the audience.
Joe’s diverse repertoire of creative and artistic talents and more than 25 years of hands-on experience as children’s and family speaker, gives him the ability to tailor the presentation to your specific needs.

You Can Watch the Video HERE.



Grow: Disciplines needed for healthy spiritual growth (Week 4)

Disciplines needed for healthy spiritual growth.

1 Timothy 4:14-16 & Psalms 116:17-19

“Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.  Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.”     

                                                                1 Timothy 4:14-16


Over the last month, you have been reminded of the words given by a very wise man of God (Paul) to his young disciple (Timothy), reminding him of the importance of staying in God’s Word. It is through the Word that he will be able to grow in the ministry to which he was called.

Sermon #1:        Need for daily nourishment, daily spiritual exercise and living a life of integrity.

Sermon #2:        We are to command and teach the Word, set an example on both the outside and inside of our lives, and devote ourselves to the Scripture, to exhortation (encouraging others), and teaching how to live it out.

Sermon #3:        Proper food for growth, Knowing that our food source is God’s Word as milk, bread, meat & honey (dessert), and the Evidence will be good fruit.


This week, Paul continues to encourage spiritual growth in these five areas:

1) Focus

2) Mediate

3) Dedicate

4) Integrity

5) Stay true

I want to invite you to follow these same practical steps. It is something that I am still working on every day of my life. I am not asking you to follow me, but rather join me as I follow Christ. It is my desire to show you through God’s Word how we can each be successful in doing this. Not merely present you with a sermon full of platitudes that is someone else’s trite or stale remarks, for while God’s Word has been around for a long time, it is never stale or trite. Just as He provided fresh manna every morning for Israel in the desert, His Word provides fresh food for our lives every moment of every day! And here is a fresh serving for you today!




“Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received…” (v.14a)


QUOTE:               “The office of ministry is a gift, it is the gift of Christ.

                                …Do not neglect the ministry gift given to you.

Matthew Henry Commentary


A. Timothy’s gift was recognized and affirmed by the ministry leaders. It was a gift given by the Holy Spirit for the building up of the entire body.


  • Ministry gifts will wither if neglected.
  • Spiritual ATROPHY (Not apathy, even though it can cause it)


B. Paul did not want Timothy to ever feel like he had “arrived” and could sit back and cruise until Jesus returned.


“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” 

Ephesians 4:11-13



“Give your complete attention to these matters” (v.15a)

A. Need time for preparation of the message.
  • average pastor spends 13-18 hours for one message
  • In the book of Acts, the apostles called the 7 deacons to serve the needs of the church so they could spend time in prayer and the study of God’s Word. (Acts 6)


“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”                  

Philippians 4:8

B. When we think on these things, we don’t have space for any other thing!


  • Kevin said last week “G.I.G.O” when talking about food
  • Same is true in our thought life.
  • This is why we need to fast and pray (clear our head)


QUOTE:  Brooke Obie, Guidepost Magazine, says the benefits of fasting are:
1) Soul Cleansing,

2) New Desire for God,

3) A Deeper Praise,

4) A Sensitivity to God’s Voice, and

5) A New Satisfaction. A small price to pay for what you have gained.

  • Like love, meditation must be both an inward & outward journey



“…Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.”  (v.15b)


[Blind Side Video Clip]


A. You have to be all in!


“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13


  • Just like in a physical workout, you have to put the effort into your spiritual workout.


“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Philippians 2:12-13

B. Give yourself wholly so you can be holy!


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. 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.”

Romans 12:1-2

  • The only problem with a living sacrifice is it keeps getting up off the altar!
  • You have to be the one to place yourself there, which requires dedication and commitment!




Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching.” (v.16a)

A. Living a life worthy of the calling!


“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a   life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”

Ephesians 4:1-3

  • We are all called to live this way, not just those in leadership.
  • You are a living example of Jesus that those around you will see!



B. Continue to grow (keep it fresh)


The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.””                                      

  Lamentation 3:22-24


  • Just like every day is a fresh new day with God, we have to be open to learning more from His Word as the Holy Spirit will reveal something new from the same scriptures we may have read before!
  • We have to keep growing so we can offer fresh food to those God brings into our lives…and show them how they, too, can find this source of Life!




Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.” (v.16b)


A. Your own salvation.
  • Self care in our spiritual life is important, for if we are not healthy, how can we correctly lead others.


                “ and on his law he meditates day and night.”     Psalms 1:2


                “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a   thankful heart.” Colossians 4:2


[ILLUS: Sabbatical season]

B. Other’s salvation.


Live wisely among those who are not believers and make the    most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”               
Colossians 4:5-6


  • While we can’t make the decision for them, it is natural for people to look for an example to follow.
  • Kids imitate parents; young athletes imitate pros.
  • Like it or not, people are watching our lives. We need to reflect Jesus in everything we do.


QUOTE:  John Maxwell:  “The more you walk, the less you have to talk.  Live the Life in front of those you seek to influence.    Our leadership is more caught than taught. People would rather see a sermon than hear one.”




I have said it before and I will say it again and again. All of these simple truths are from God’s Word. They are here for us as believers to follow, not pick and choose what we want or don’t want to do. As a disciple of Christ, we are to follow His commands. I have challenged you every week with this proclamation:


I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people…”                                                                                                          

Ps. 116:17-19


You have to be the one to make the choice.

You are the one that chooses to listen and obey or ignore and turn away.

What will you do today?


Listen to Ken’s message here:


You can watch the video HERE.



Grow: Disciplines needed for healthy spiritual growth (Week 3)

Disciplines Needed for Healthy Spiritual Growth

Psalm 1

Good morning…

Who likes eating?

You can all tell I like eating. I like being fed a good meal.


Today I want to talk to you about the discipline of feeding & how incredibly important that is for our growth.


It may make you hungry… but I’m going to need you to focus & I promise to get you out of here no later than 12:30.


You may not have known that eating is a spiritual discipline but if you want to grow closer to Jesus… in every season of life… you can’t get there without being fed.


We’re going to look at Psalm 1 today & learn what we can about this discipline that is needed for healthy spiritual growth.

When you’ve found your place in Psalm chapter 1, please stand out of reverence for God’s word.


Psalm chapter 1


I’d like to read this Psalm again, this time in the NLT


Psalm 1 (NLT)


Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly. For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.


This is one of my favorite psalms & one of my favorite chapters in the whole Bible.


In this Psalm we get a great lesson on the spiritual discipline of being fed.


We get a great picture of how we can Grow Closer to Jesus in every season of life.


We get two images of two different types of people in Psalm 1.


The first picture is of a healthy, growing believer.

The second picture is of someone who is not a healthy, growing believer.


Both of these pictures in the Psalm teach us an important lesson, to be a healthy, growing believer you need to be fed, you need to be nourished by God.


As physical beings we need physical food, physical nourishment to grow, stay healthy, stay alive.


But we’re more than physical beings, we are spiritual beings too & we can’t just be fed physically, we need spiritual nourishment.


The scriptures call our relationship with Jesus a walk or a journey, if you don’t get refueled it’s extremely difficult to make the journey.


Verse 1 begins a contrast between the first person & the second.


Psalm 1:1-2 (CSB)

1 How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.


What we can see from the contrast of these two verses is that both types of people are getting fed.

Everyone is getting fed with something…

The question is… are you getting fed with something that is good for you, that will help you grow?


The person who is NOT a healthy believer is being fed with wicked advice, sinful words & mocking directed at God.


Garbage in garbage out.


We’re supposed to grow closer to God in every season of life, not farther away.

If we’re fed with garbage like this, we won’t grow closer to Christ, we won’t be nourished for our journey with Him.


Instead we’ll be like the wicked person.
We get more information on them in verses four through six of Psalm 1.


Psalm 1:4-6 (CSB)

The wicked are not like this; instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand up in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.


If you’re not getting fed with the good stuff from God, it leads to a ruined life.


That is why we’re warned in


Colossians 2:8 (CSB)

Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ.


What are you getting fed with?…

The first person isn’t like the wicked person though, he’s a healthy believer.


The psalmist says the healthy believer is like a healthy tree planted by a flowing stream or river.


Psalm 1:3 (CSB)

He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams that bears its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.


The picture of a flourishing tree was a common symbol of a healthy believer.

It pops up in other places of scripture in


Jeremiah 17:8 (CSB)

He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.


It’s also in


Psalm 92:12-14 (CSB)

12 The righteous thrive like a palm tree and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon. 13 Planted in the house of the Lord, they thrive in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green,


It’s interesting in these two verses that both mention growing fruit in old age or never stopping fruit production.


That is the goal to never stop growing, never stop bearing fruit for Jesus.

So this is what we are supposed to be like as believers, like a flourishing tree.

How do we get like that?


The success of the thriving trees in these passages is all dependent on how close the tree is to it’s source of nourishment


If you look at verses 2 & 3, Psalm 1 tells us how we can be like this tree,


  1. We have to be planted by flowing streams/delight in God’s word & meditate on it often
  2. Then we’ll never wither
  3. Then we’ll produce fruit


First, we have to be planted by flowing streams. This means we need to be planted in Christ so that we can be fed, nourished by spiritual food that only God can give.
There is an issue here though.  You may be hearing this sermon this morning & your problem is not that you’re not getting fed by God but that you aren’t planted in Him yet.


Colossians 2:6-7 (CSB)
So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.
If you’re not planted, rooted in Christ, you can’t get fed. Get saved first, planted in Christ so you can grow closer to Him.   Once we’re in Christ we can be fed & are able to grow & thrive in Him.
Now we get to the fun part, how do we get fed by God?   How are we nourished spiritually so we can live the Christian life? So we can grow closer to Jesus & produce fruit in every season of life?
The answer is, we need nourishment from the word of God. If you didn’t see this coming, get your eyes checked…  
Psalm 1:2 (CSB)
Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.
A better translation here would probably be, “his delight is in the Lord’s law,” & the Hebrew word for law or instruction used in this verse is Torah.
Why is this important?   It’s important because at the time that this Psalm was written & sung in worship, what they had as God’s word would have been the first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Pentateuch or the Torah; this included Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy.
At that time they would have been fed by the Torah, would meditate on the Torah.   Hebrews scholar, , says this of Psalm 1:2, “The individuals who pattern their lives after Torah will be blessed.”
Now because the first five books of the law were all they had at the time, it doesn’t mean those first five books are all we can be fed by.   As God’s word grew, the term Torah also grew & is used as a blanket term for all the word of God.   “The word law (torah) is an elastic term… It can refer to an individual law, the laws of the Sinai, the Pentateuch, the Hebrew Bible or spiritual instruction.
Here it means all of God’s word, not just the Pentateuch.” – – Michael Rydelnik & Michael Vanlaningham (Moody Bible Commentary, pg. 759)
So today we can apply this to us, so we don’t just delight in the first five books but the whole & complete word of God we have, the Old & New Testaments.   So being fed by God’s word is a discipline we need for spiritual growth.

Kinds of Spiritual Food

From my study I have found that there seem to be four types of Spiritual food found in the scriptures, four different types of nourishment that we all need at different times & stages of our walk with Christ.
The first is milk:
1 Peter 2:2-3 (CSB)
Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
When you have a baby, you don’t start off giving them solid food. They don’t have teeth to chew it & their digestive system isn’t ready to process it.   They have to start with milk & get used to that before they can progress to meat.   It’s the same with new believers. They need nourishment from the word, a lot but we shouldn’t expect them to digest the Bible on the level of a mature believer.
There are certain books, passages & doctrines that a new born believer is just not ready for.   Another thing to consider is that babies need to eat more often than maturing people & this is true with discipleship as well.   New believers should be feeding yourself God’s word, in little bits often throughout the day.   Something else we need to consider when it comes to milk…
This is perfectly acceptable, healthy, natural & normal.
This… is NOT.
This is a very real problem, there are believers who are not newborns, not babies, that should be eating meat, maybe even feeding others meat, but they’re still going after the milk.   Don’t get mad at me for saying it.   This is not a new problem either…
Hebrews 5:12-13 (CSB)
12 Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. 13 Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant.
That’s like an adult man hanging out in the kiddie end of the pool with water wings & a floatie.   We laugh but, this is real, there are Christians like this.   Why would you want to go back to formula when you could be having something good & tasty?   I’m hear to tell you, I’ve smelled Kevin Michael’s formula, it smells disgusting.   Anyone else smell the baby formula before you give it to your child? Disgusting! Can I get an amen?   I’d have to be pretty darn starving to even consider drinking that nonsense.   Kevin M loves it, he can’t get enough of it, it fills his tummy & that’s good he’s a baby.   He doesn’t know how good food can taste yet, but the milk is getting him ready.
This is Kevin M a few nights ago.
Scriptural milk should get us excited, hungry for solid Bible food.   Some Christians in the early church & some today need to increase their feeding so they can move on from milk to solids.   Are you a Christian like this?
The second type of food the Bible is, is bread:
Matthew 4:4 (CSB)
He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
God’s word is equated to our “daily bread” that keeps us alive & kicking.
Jesus is actually quoting the Old Testament here when said that, Deuteronomy 8:3 (CSB) He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then he gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.  
Bread is your middle ground, its solid but not too hard to chew on or digest.   It’ll sustain you & keep you alive, keep you going, just like the scriptures will sustain you & keep you alive to walk with Jesus.

The third is meat:

Hebrews 5:14 (CSB)

14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.   The meat of scripture is something you have to work towards, something to progress to.   Not all Christians in their current stage of maturity can handle the meat of the word, just like babies.   The meat of the word requires someone who can chew on it, with the ability to digest it.
For example, I never recommend the books of Ezekiel, Hebrews or Revelation to new believers.   For someone who is a new believer, I always recommend the Gospel of Mark, easy to understand, fast paced, Jesus focused, it’s a good place to start.   Not being ready for spiritual meat is nothing to be ashamed of or grumpy about, we all start there & then grow.

The fourth type of food is honey:

Psalm 19:9-10 (NLT)

Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. 10 They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.

Psalm 119:102-103 (CSB)
102 I have not turned from your judgments, for you yourself have instructed me. 103 How sweet your word is to my taste—sweeter than honey in my mouth.
This is one that I feel isn’t taught enough in the church.   Honey was a sweet treat, dessert, a delight, one of the sweetest things they could get in ancient Israel.   You may not like honey & that’s okay, what it really symbolizes here is something sweet, dessert.   So picture your favorite dessert; candy, cakes, crème Brule or ice-cream.   We eat these things not so much for nourishment but because they’re sweet, they delight & comfort us.   This is what God’s word is. It is a sweet treat, it’s comfort food.   How we can pass over passages that talk about how much God loves us & the amazing lengths Jesus went to, to rescue us & not enjoy the sweetness?   Some of you might be thinking, “Can you give us an example?”  
John 3:16 (CSB)
16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
God gave up, sacrificed His Son, for us. For you. That is sweet!


Romans 6:23 (CSB)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Eternal life with God is a free gift, we can’t earn it & don’t have to try, He’ll just give it to us!   That is SWEET! It can be your delight if you let it.

The Bible is comfort food:

Hebrews 13:5-6 (CSB)
5 Be satisfied with what you have, for he himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you. Therefore, we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
Comfort food
Isaiah 41:10-13 (CSB)
10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand. 11 Be sure that all who are enraged against you will be ashamed and disgraced; those who contend with you will become as nothing and will perish. 12 You will look for those who contend with you, but you will not find them. Those who war against you will become absolutely nothing. 13 For I am the Lord your God, who holds your right hand, who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.    
Comfort food
Lamentations 3:20-23 (CSB)
20 I continually remember them and have become depressed. 21 Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! 24 I say, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.”
Comfort food… accept God’s comfort food… His dessert is actually really good for you. & it lasts, it’s forever.   I am so thankful for the people God put in my life, who when I was hurting or struggling, fed me the sweet comfort food of God’s word.   There are days where I don’t read my Bible & then the next time I do, I’m like why did I allow myself to miss Bible time, this is so good!
Is the Bible sweet to you?   If the answer is no, ask yourself why not?   Have you really given the scriptures a chance? Do you have a wonky perspective, maybe you see this as a dusty old rule book trying to kill your fun? It’s not. It’s dessert that wants to make you healthy.   So the Bible is milk, bread, meat & dessert, all meant to nourish & enrich our lives.
So a logical question becomes, if we need to be fed spiritually, how often should we partake of God’s word?   Some people think once or twice a month is enough… Some people think once or twice a week is enough… Some people think once a day is enough… What do our verses say?
Psalm 1:2 (CSB)
Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.
So the Bible seems to say each day & throughout the day.   For those who are only fed when they come to church, that is like only eating food when you have a family meal on the weekend.   Family Meals at Sammy’s.
Would your smart phone or tablet do all the things you need it to, if you only charged it for an hour or two a week?
How many of you could happily go through your week doing all the things you want to & all the things required of you, eating one or maybe two meals in a week?
Do you think the same when you don’t eat? Do you feel the same when you don’t eat?
Kevin Michael Hangry
Do you have the same energy when you don’t eat?  
Some of the things that will happen to you if you go without eating for three days:
  1. You’ll be ravenous then not so much
  2. Your breath may smell

Research has shown that breath acetone is reliable indication that you have gone into fat burning mode. You release ketone bodies through your breath—and the smell is often unpleasant” 1

  1. You’ll lose weight
  2. Your body starts running on emergency power

“Researchers at Yale found that “During times of starvation, the body preserves two organs and then shrinks the rest,” 2   It runs on emergency power.

You might be in this room, running the Christian life on emergency power, that’s not something you’ll be able to do forever.
If we can’t live, grow, work & play without physical food, why do we think we can live without spiritual food.   This is a huge problem in the American Church. We are overfed here & malnourished spiritually.
If we are trees, many of us have planted ourselves far away from the flowing waters.
The Christian life is a journey, a walk, a race but many of us are trying to make this journey without the fuel to do it.  Church, Sunday School, Wednesday Night services, Bible studies, these things aren’t bad, these are family “meals” & you should go to these things, every chance you get, God wants you there.   The problem is they’re not enough, you need to be feeding yourself the word each day.   We need to reach out with our roots toward the flowing stream of God’s word.
So come to Sunday service, Sunday School, Wednesday night, a small group Bible study, but crack open the Bible on your own each day.
This is Grumpy cat, R.I.P.   You might be wondering why I put this picture up here. Some people say there is a shocking resemblance between me & grumpy cat. R.I.P.   I don’t see it.   I can get grumpy though, I have my moments. No need for an amen there.
Every once in a while, Bree will come up to me and say,
“Have you done a quiet time yet?” & I’ll say no, why?
She’ll say, “I can tell. You should do a quiet time, you’re much better when you’ve spent some time with Jesus.”   Now no joke, Bree, does this happen?
If I’m honest it happens more than I like to admit. A while back after she said that to me it made me think of something…
It’s better if I show you a clip to explain.    [PLAY SNICKERS SUPER BOWL AD]
Amen?   It’s funny, we all laugh but isn’t this the truth?   You’re not you when you’re hungry spiritually, but there is an easy fix. HOLD UP BIBLE   You’re not you when you’re hungry. Read some Bible. Scripture satisfies.   Only when we are fed well by God’s word will we grow, thrive & produce fruit.
Psalm 1:3 (CSB)
He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams that bears its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.   The fruit that is mentioned her is described in detail in Galatians, it’s the fruit of the Spirit.  

Galatians 5:22-23 (CSB)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.
A lot of Christians act like they have to work to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit.   But really all you have to do is spend time with God, being fed by His word & you will grow, God will produce fruit in you.  
John 15:4-5 (CSB)
Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.
If you don’t spend time with God, bearing fruit is impossible & growing closer to Christ in any season won’t happen.   We need to be in the Bible daily, taught the scriptures weekly & filling up our minds with the word, then we will be like the tree in Psalm 1.
Growing, producing fruit & thriving.   Psalm 1 gave us an example of two types of people.   A thriving tree that has been well fed by God.   & dust that gets swept away.
Which one are you?
Please join me in prayer.

Listen to this message here:


You can watch the video HERE.



Grow: Disciplines needed for healthy spiritual growth. (Week 2)

Disciplines needed for healthy spiritual growth.

1 Timothy 4:11-13; Psalms 116:17-19

Command and teach these things.  Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.”                 
– 1 Tim. 4:11-13 (ESV)  
Paul was continuing his message to Timothy on how to be a good servant of Christ. In last week’s message, he first instructed him on how he had to continue to grow in the Lord with proper nourishment (daily time in the word, with meditation and prayer); second, proper spiritual exercise, which included not wasting time with arguing about or with the godless and old wives’ tales stuff; and third, to live a life worthy of the calling by working hard and striving to live a life of integrity.
Today’s study focuses on an urgent appeal. In the same way that we have to teach the common courtesies of please and thank you or in school we teach multiplication tables, these are things that you MUST KNOW in order to grow.  

I. “Command and teach these things.” (v 11)

(NLT) “Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them”
Timothy was serving the church of Ephesus, appointed by Paul, as their spiritual ‘personal trainer’ or evangelist.  
A) COMMAND defined:


“to direct with specific authority or prerogative; order, to require authoritatively; demand”  
“Command them to exercise themselves into godliness, teach them the profit of it, and if they serve God, they serve one who will be sure to bear them out.”
– Matthew Henry Commentary  
Nowhere in this scripture to I see the word ‘option’.  These are the things we MUST DO and KNOW to grow!
Not intended to be a “Because I said so” type of command.  
B) TEACH defined:
“to impart knowledge of or skill in; give instruction in or to.”
We have become lazy in our approach in a lot of areas in our lives.  We used to have to do physical research, reading actual physical books and going to the library to cross reference and search out materials needed.
Now, we Google, ask Siri or ask Alexa to find the info for us, and it gives you what their search engines find as their top results, which can be skewed by their programmers.
O.T.   Deut. 6:1-9; Prov. 22:6
N.T.   Matt. 28:19-20
Training a plant Repetition is what helps you remember and grow stronger!  Memory recall or muscle growth.  

II. “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”


A) Separation of Authority from Seniority.


Timothy had been mentored by Paul for over 10 years.  He is now in his mid to late 30’s, men in Bible times were still called ‘youth’ until age 40.
His teachings were not to be discounted because of his age because he was walking in the authority of God’s word, which was evident in how he lived his life.
B) He set the example…both on the outside and the inside.
This is how his authority is grounded.
Outsidespeech and conduct
He lived the same way he talked:  *No “do as I say, not as I do”
Not a double standard, but rather a voluntary commitment to live exemplary lives.
Since we are not perfect, we have to strive for the kind of integrity and quality in life that reflects Christ’s presence and love.  The world has to see that there is something different in how we live our lives because we have Christ living in us.
“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.”    
Roman 12:2
Inside: faith and purity
These are our inner beliefs not just about morals, but rather a mind set on seeking and doing God’s will.
This fine-tunes our hearts to be able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit leading and guiding our lives (NO STATIC)
Inside and outside:  tied together with LOVE
“Love stands in the middle of this pentad, for it is the bond that ties the outer and inner life together. Love always involves the whole of life. Outward expressions of love that are not rooted in Inner love quickly withers and die as insincerities. Inner love that is not expressed by open giving and caring turns to self-adulation and decay. The love of Christ is intensely personal. It is also intensely public. It simply does not exist one way without the other.”
Gary W. Demarest in The Communicator’s Commentary
They will know that you care when you show that you care! That is love demonstrated/lived out!  

III. “…devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.”

These are instructions on how to lead a worship service.  
A) Reading the scriptures to the church.


They did not have their own personal copy.  The more it was read to them, the greater the possibility of them putting it to memory.
(Reference again Deut. 6:1-9)
Excited about new Bible Study Group on the Public Reading of Scripture!
B) Exhorting & Teaching the church
Encouraging, giving urgent advice or recommendations   Teaching the doctrines grown out of Scriptures    “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.  But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Hebrews 2:12-13
“Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.”
2 Timothy 4:2  
This is God’s word telling us what to do, not just my opinion. Sometimes the message is hard, but it’s just like going to the doctor for a check up and him saying “You need to change your diet or it’s gonna kill you.” We don’t want to hear it, but it is for our own good.
Again, these simple truths are here for us as believers to follow, not pick and choose what we want to do. As a disciple of Christ, we are to follow his commands. I challenged you last week with this proclamation:
I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people…” 
Ps. 116:17-19
The challenge has been made. You have to make the choice, because no one can do it for you! It may be tough at first, but we will be a better church body because of putting these things into practice in our lives! I echo the words of Paul when he wrote to the Ephesians…
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
Ephesians 4:15-16

Listen to this message here:


You can watch the video HERE.



Grow: Disciplines needed for healthy spiritual growth. (Week 1)

Grow: Disciplines needed for healthy spiritual growth.

1 Timothy 4:6-10; Psalms 116:17-19


If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, you will be doing your duty as a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is fed by the message of faith and the true teaching you have followed. Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward both in this life and the next. This is true, and everyone should accept it. 10 We work hard and strive in order that people will believe the truth, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and particularly of all those who believe.                                            

      1 Timothy 4:6-10

Introduction: As we begin this new series on “GROW”, it’s important to remember the reason why we are to keep “Growing closer to Jesus in every season of life.” We are to never stop growing not matter our physical age. And we need to be aware of where we have planted ourselves. Is it providing what you need to grow in the fullness of God, or is it limiting you?
Illustrations:     Shark in a fish tank quote
Tomatoes in containers vs in a garden
Planting a fruit tree (got to take root before it can bear fruit!)
Paul was writing to Timothy to encourage him to be a “worthy servant of Christ Jesus” (4:6a). In fact, he said it was his duty! (yes, I said duty) Duty is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “conduct due to parents and superiors (respect); obligatory tasks, conduct, service, or functions that arise from one’s position (responsibility).”  There is a clear call for the church to live out in tangible ways the ethical implications of the Gospel. This week, we are going to study the disciplines needed to fulfill our duty and grow in Christ.

I. “…one who is fed by the message of faith and the true teaching you have followed.” (1 Timothy 4:6b)

A. What does fed by or nourished mean here?
1. Message of Faith (Scriptures)
We believe that the Bible is the inspired,  God-breathed Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16)
The faith or trust that we exhibit here is that we have anchored our hope in the living God.
  1. Good (true) teaching you have followed

The importance of learning from others’ examples. Putting into practice the things we have learned.

Illustration:       Common courtesy vs self-centered focus

B. How are we to be nourished?
  1. Nourishment in this context can be defined as the DAILY study of Scriptures with time for reflection and meditation
  1. We cannot exist on “Jack in the Box” or “McDonalds” fast food style of spiritual nourishment.
It is not a substitute. May feel full, but it’s just not healthy.
C. Don’t waste your time on the godless stuff.
1. Even before His first miracle, while He was still a child, Jesus was showing us what we should be doing.


“…Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?”   Luke 2:49    “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.  Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.”              Ephesians 5:15-17
2. The Pharisees tried arguing with Jesus
“When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had arrived, they came and started to argue with him. Testing him, they demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority. When he heard this, he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, I will not give this generation any such sign.”                         Mark 8:11-12
There are those who just want to argue for the sake of arguing!  Don’t waste your breath! We have to understand that the devil is just using this to waste our time. If we are living our lives on purpose to be the child of God that we are called to be, then our actions are speaking a lot louder than words.

II. “…Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. 8 Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward both in this life and the next. .” (I Timothy 4:7b-8)

A. Time and energy as a commodity.
1. Making time with God a priority, because you set your schedule by what you deem as most important
Biblical examples: Abraham, David, Daniel, Jesus
Early church fathers: Wesley(both), Spurgeon, Bounds.
2. Takes discipline to set priorities.
B. Physical exercise vs Spiritual exercise.
  Illustration:       2009 Biggest Thriver Contest in Henry County.
1. C.T. Studd poem “Only one life ,twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”
2. We can’t put our growth off on others. We have to practice the disciplines we have set.

III. “This is true, and everyone should accept it. We work hard and strive in order that people will believe the truth…” (I Timothy 4:9-10a)

QUOTE:   “If one knows one’s calling, one’s Gospel, one’s self, and one’s mission, all of life and ministry can be lived with love, joy and peace.” Gary W. Demarest in “The Communicators Commentary
A. It is ALL of our responsibility to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, and to make disciples!
1. Some of may do it as a profession (pastor, missionary)
2. Others may do it as undercover missionaries
B. How we live our lives the other 10,000 minutes a week speaks a whole lot louder than how we live our lives for the 80 minutes we are together on Sunday Morning



When we confessed our sins and surrendered our lives to Jesus, we made a commitment to do whatever He asked us to do.

When we stepped into the baptismal water, we made a public confession that we had confessed our sins, had made Jesus Lord of our lives, and that we would strive to do our best to follow Him in all areas of our lives.

Then why is it that we struggle to grow in our faith and go share with others about our wonderful Savior?  Too often, the answer is we have not being doing our spiritual exercises, so we are soft and flabby, rather than strong and courageous.

We can improve our spiritual health by daily reading God’s Word, surrounding ourselves with positive, encouraging music and teachings, and by living exemplary lives, which will then clearly point others to Jesus! I challenge you to make the same proclamation that the Psalmist David did…

“ I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.  I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people— in the house of the Lord in the heart of Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!”   

                                               Psalms 116:17-19


Fulfill your vows! Encourage and hold your brothers and sisters accountable to their promises…not to programs or activities, but to serving one another in love and sharing this message of hope to a world that needs it!


Listen to the message here:


You can watch the video HERE.



Go: Live Eternally Today! (Week 6)

“Go in Love to Grow Closer to Jesus in Every Season of Life!”

Matthew 22:37-40.
Pastor Jerry is going to share from his heart.  The content has already been touched on in his last letter which is below.  He wants to dive deeper as he shares with us and prepares us for his departure on his sabbatical.
Pastor Jerry’s 6th Letter:

Dear First Baptist Church Family, It is with great expectation of what God is doing in us as members of the Body of Christ, and will do in and through us at FBC, that I send you this letter one week out from departing on my 3-month Sabbatical. The theme word for this time of Sabbath rest is GROW! Over the last year, you have heard me teaching on our mission and vision, our faith and values, our 7 big words and our 7:1 Initiative. All of this has been in preparation for fulfilling the 2020 Vision Initiative and being strategically prepared to enter 2020 on mission for Jesus. As I prepare to leave you for this prolonged time of Sabbath rest, I have no new word or teaching for you because I have already told you everything that is necessary for our fellowship at FBC to mature in Christ and become His Church. I only ask you to do this one thing: GROW! Grow in these areas:

  • Our mission: transforming stories through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Our vision: we desire to see communities thriving to the glory of God!
  • The 7 Big Words designed to unite us on what it means to be His Church: GATHER, FOLLOW, REST, BELONG, LOVE, SERVE, and GO!
  • The “7:1 Initiative” to help you grow personally. Research shows that people feel a church is “theirs” when they have 7 people they are in relationship with and have 1 place to serve where they can help make a difference. To that end, I invite you to take part and grow with at least 7 other people and find 1 place to serve. God designed you for this!
  • The four core values: “Loving others as God first loved us” (red); “Developing people for a life of service” (blue); “Living and giving generously” (yellow); and “Growing closer to Jesus in every season of life” (green). Walk firm in your faith in all these ways.

I have seen you walk in these ways. Excel even more! Regardless of your season of life, you are called to GROW closer to Jesus! This is all I ask of you over the next 3 months: GROW!

  • GROW in your individual walk with Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit!
  • GROW in your vital relationships by giving the love of Jesus Christ!
  • GROW as a Church Family by living as one people to the glory of the Father!

Thank you for the overwhelming support and exceeding joy I have received from you as I prepare to “enter the rest of the Lord” in a unique way. This is a gift from God that I do not deserve, but that I receive with a thankful and humble heart! Thank you, Jesus, for calling me to grow in you through a set apart season of Sabbath rest. As Hebrews 4:9-11a states, “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest.”

Growing in Christ with you,

Listen to the message for Week 6 here:


You can watch the Video HERE.



Go: Live Eternally Today! (Week 5)

“Living and Giving Generously!”

2 Corinthians 8:9;  Matthew 6:19-21, 19:21-23; Titus 3:4-7; Philippians 2:5-8, 14-18 & 2 Corinthians 9:6-12

Good morning and welcome to your missionary training session. I’m so glad you all decided to come for missionary training. Now, before we begin, does anyone feel like they are in the wrong session? Like being in the wrong class in college or high school – “I didn’t sign up for missionary training.” No? Great, because if you signed up for Heaven with Jesus then you signed up to live eternally today, which means this missionary training is for you.


Let’s start out by learning from missionaries who have been in the field. Over the years, I have spent time with numerous cross-cultural missionaries and there is a dominant thread through most of them, though not all of them, and that is a generous lifestyle.


Missionaries are people who, in response to God’s grace in their lives, are leaving behind much of what is familiar and expected of them by their home culture so that they can go to others and give what God first gave to them. Their generosity is a lifestyle! It is about giving grace.


Many of the missionaries I have talked to in depth have done their work in the foreign mission field by getting to know the people and meeting them where they are. They spend a lot of time on the front porch with their neighbors, working in their neighborhood, and setting up ways that they can be generous to their new community. They are focused on building relationships.


Even if missionaries don’t have the financial means to be generous with money, many times they are generous with what they do have to give. They are generous with their time, their skills and talents, their home and vehicles, with their very lives. If they have money, it is simply part of the package and not the dominant part of the conversation of what it means to live and give generously.

I am talking about this because this is the most practical teaching on what a missionary does and how we can live in such a way that we will experience communities thriving to the glory of God.


What works for foreign missionaries works here in local missions. Here is the good news: you don’t need to go to language school or have to do the incredibly hard work of learning new cultures and customs. You just have to be willing to be as intentional here as you would be there!


This morning I simply want to read to you the gospels of Jesus Christ to make this point because Jesus’ whole lifestyle illustrates the point. Listen to Paul’s summary statement of Jesus’s example from 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”


How did Jesus make us rich? Listen to Titus 3:4-7, “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”


Jesus accomplished this for us by making Himself poor. As Paul teaches in Philippians 2:5-8, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”


Paul encourages us to have the same attitude as Jesus did: a willingness to empty ourselves for the sake of another. A willingness to sacrifice what we want to help another. A willingness to put aside a comfort to comfort another in the name of Jesus. Why do we do this?


The missionary martyr, Jim Elliot from the 1950s, is frequently quoted, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Generosity is very much about perspective. When we realize what we have been given in Christ—heavenly riches, then it becomes easier to give away what we cannot keep—worldly wealth. The more and more we focus on living eternally today, the more and more the value of things upon this earth lose their appeal. Some people argue that we can be so heavenly minded we are of no earthly good, but I would have to disagree. The more eternally minded you are, the greater you bring Heaven to earth for its good!


Listen to Jesus express this: In Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”


In Matthew 19:21-23, Jesus is responding a man who has asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. After the man says that he has kept all the commandments, Jesus demonstrates to him that he has not kept the most important commandment. “Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’”


Here is the mastery of what Jesus said: when you love God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength, you will hold nothing back from Him that He asks of you. You know you belong to God when all that you have belongs to God! Generosity begins by knowing that all that you have belongs to God and all that you have is by grace for grace.


Does all that you have belong to God? I encourage you to demonstrate this to God in the way you live and give generously to meet the needs of your neighbors! God will give you many an opportunity to demonstrate that you have eternal life by the way you do this. If you are not in the spiritual habit of returning to God what is already His, then you need a new perspective.

Generosity is an outflow of devotion to the God who is our all in all! We are generous to that which we are devoted to… Paul says that we should have a distinct response to Jesus becoming poor for us. Listen to Philippians 2:14-18, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.”


Allow me to illustrate this in a simple way that works for me in my life. I say that I am willing to die for my wife because I’m that devoted to her. Don’t tell your spouse you are willing to die for them and then not be willing to die in little every day ways; like being polite, doing chores, offering forgiveness, etc. Every time you put yourself first and choose not to serve your spouse, you are demonstrating your true allegiance: to yourself and not to God! Jesus died so that we could be rich! What are the little things you need to die to daily so that you can help others be rich?


One last scripture to end today’s message: 2 Corinthians 9:6-12, “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, “He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.” Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.”


One of the best daily disciplines for the generous lifestyle is to take time every day to count your blessings! Why? Because thankful people are generous people! When you know that all that you have is from the Lord and will return to the Lord, then it would be foolish to not use the things to show others the way to Jesus.


So, count your blessings! And then go be a blessing. Let your generosity flow out of grace, out of the recognition that all that you have is God’s and from God’s hand. Give it back to God by living and giving generously to meet the needs of your neighbor.


Just remember what Christ has done for you… yet while you were still far away from God, God demonstrated His generous love to you by sending His Son Jesus Christ as the gift of all gifts so that through His poverty you could become rich!


Live out of the deep well spring of thankfulness for your salvation and you will find eternal life is not only a final destination, it is a way of life! You will reap what you sow in this life and into eternity. Live eternally today!

Listen to the message for Week 5 here:


You can watch the video HERE.



Go: Live Eternally Today! (Week 4)

“Filled Up to Go Out!” (Continued)

Acts 1:7-8

There are signs in our parking lot as you leave this location that say, “As you leave this place, be the hands and feet of Christ to our community.” This sermon series called, “GO: Living Eternally Today!” is about encouraging you, equipping you, and empowering you to live your life for the Great Commission of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). That means you are being sent from this place to go out and live and give generous to your neighbors.


Today, I am going to finish last week’s message with some help from our Dominican Republic Mission Team. If the team could come on up please and stand with me.

We all area called to be a WITNESS for Jesus! This calling comes with your salvation! It is not a second special call. It is part of who you are as a Christian and as part of this calling Jesus insists that you shouldn’t go alone! That is the emphasis of our Scripture lesson for last Sunday and today. In Acts 1:8 Jesus promises, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”


(DR Team Testimonies)


Jesus teaches us that Holy Spirit is our Helper which is why He tells to not go without Him!


Listen to Jesus teachings on the Holy Spirit:


  • John 14:16-17, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
  • John 14:25-26, “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
  • John 15:26-27, “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”
  • John 16:7-8, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”
  • John 16:13-15, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”


Honestly, Jesus knows that we can’t answer His call as a witness without a Helper. That is why He gives us the image of getting in His yoke! So that we are connected to Him because it is through our relationship with Him that we are filled with the Holy Spirit—the Helper, and not just once at the time of our conversion when we are sealed for the day of judgment, but we are to be daily refreshed with the filling of the Holy Spirit.


The Mission Field, even in your own local community, is like going on a backcountry fishing trip. You don’t always know where the best fishing hole is and which bait to use on different fish. The Holy Spirit is like a fishing guide who knows the lay of land, where the fish are, how and when to fish for them, what bait works best, etc. Who would hire a fishing guide to take them into the backcountry of the wilderness where there are chains of lakes just waiting to be fished, and then not listen to what they say? A good guide takes a novice and helps them be successful in why they went in the first place: to catch fish! The guide is key—the guide teaches and then reminds of what He has already taught as he guides you into action! Don’t go alone!


I use the fishing imagery because Jesus used it first. In Mark 1:17, Jesus invites and promises, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”


Why did Jesus promise you the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:8?  TO MAKE YOU BECOME…  It is the promised work of the Holy Spirit to fulfill in and through us the promise of Jesus Christ to all who follow Him! This is what Paul meant when he stated in Philippians 2:13, It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”


This is why Paul can say to us in Philippians 1:6, For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Because Paul knows that to be a Christian is to have the Holy Spirit and it is through the filling of the Holy Spirit that God brings us to completion, one day at a time. It is a process that you cannot go at alone! We each must go on the journey God calls us to, in the yoke of Jesus!


As Paul rebuked the early church followers who thought they could do the Christian life apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. From Galatians 3:3, Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” We can’t abandon the Helper once He gets us to the right fishing hole.


Paul says in Ephesians 5:17-18, “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” Listen to a pastor clearly explain what this means:


To be filled with the Spirit means to have the Spirit pervading, saturating, and infiltrating us with His holy and glorious presence in every chamber and corner of your being, leading and influencing every purpose, every affection, every thought, every action, every utterance. That’s what being filled means. The tense of the verb is the present, which indicates that the process of being filled must be continuous and constant. So another way of saying what Paul is saying is this, “Be continually getting filled.” In other words yesterday’s filling will not do for today. We must be like a cup that is kept full of water by being kept constantly under an ever-flowing faucet. Notice the word “with.” If we literally translated the passage it would read, “be filled in the Spirit.” The thought is that every part of the believer’s life is “in the Spirit.” If we are believers in Christ we are “in the Spirit.” That means the Holy Spirit surrounds us and rests upon us with His glorious and holy presence. Paul’s thought is to let this water of life to flow in and through us to expel and push out everything else until we are completely full of the Holy Spirit.[1]


You have been chosen and saved by God’s grace and it is that same grace of God that is working in you that empowers you to live as a witness of God to our world, starting in our communities. The question is not whether or not you are called to be a missionary—if you have been saved, you have been called! The question is are you being filled up to go out? It is the Holy Spirit of God within us that compels us to go and guides us along the way.


Don’t go alone! Don’t leave this place without being filled with the Holy Spirit!


How? By asking God! Jesus taught us this in Matthew 7:7, Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”


Ask God to immerse you with His presence and His power in every part of your life; hold nothing back; surrender it all and come to Jesus with all your weariness and all of your burdens.


You can teach people what you know, but you can only replicate what you are! Are you immersed?

Listen to the Message for Week 4 here:


You can watch the video HERE.




[1] Pastor Tom Preble’s 2019 sermon, “Devotion to the Essentials Gives Birth to Revival Families”.