Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Your Invited to Our New Contemporary Worship Service, Common Ground!

As the Pastor of Grace Baptist Church, I wanted to take a moment and invite you to our new contemporary worship service called Common Ground!

We are excited to launch this service on August 21, 2016. A great time to start something new!

Common Ground will be praise band-oriented with a focus on Honoring God and drawing those far from God back to him.

If you show this page from my blog, we will give you a free book when you visit either our traditional 10:30 am service in the main sanctuary or the new contemporary worship service, Common Ground, at 11:00 am. 

So to Summarise:
  • Who is in invited? Everyone.
  • WhenAugust 21, 2016
  • What time11:00 am
  • LocationGrace Baptist Church, 1114 Broad Street, Elizabethton, Tennessee in the Oasis.
  • DressCome as you are.
  • Anything else? Show this on your iphone, ipad, or andriod device to a greeter, and get a free book! Note: The greeters will be wearing a name badge.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

VBS 2016 A Great Success!

We just recently completed VBS 2016. We had a great week. We had a traditional morning VBS on our church campus, and we had the same themed backyard bible club meeting in the evenings from 6 to 8 pm. Here is a breakdown of VBS by the numbers:

·      Morning enrollment of 99 kids
·      Evening enrollment of 57 kids
·      Morning Workers total of 40 during the week
·      Evening workers total of 15 during the week
·      Total average attendance in the mornings of 83
·      Total average attendance in the evenings of 38
·      Mission offering of $46.19 collected to aid West Virginia Flood Victims
·      The children were given a clear accurate gospel presentation everyday Monday though Friday
·      No salvation, but as Paul reminds us that sometimes we are planting seeds, sometimes we are watering (1 Corinthians 3:6)

I want to thank all our VBS workers. I would like to give a special thanks to Kathy and Richard Taylor, who worked tirelessly for their planning, organizing, and encouragement. And to Danny Birkner who always is a help and encouragement to our church family and to me.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Why do I need to be a member of a church?

"…Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her" – Eph. 5:25

Several years ago, I took a mission trip to Romania. Romania continues to recover from a communistic rule. One thing that stuck out to me when I came back stateside was the amount of advertising here versus over there. Seeing this overload of advertisement reminded me of how individualistic oriented our culture in North America has become. The ethos of individualism has leached its way into the local church. While you will not find any passages that say, "Thou shalt be a member of a local church," here are some biblical reminders of why church membership is necessary:

  • In the Old Testament, God made a clear distinction between his people and the world (see Lev. 13:46, Num. 5:3, Deut. 7:3).
  • Christ says that entering the kingdom of God means being bound to the church "on earth" (Matt. 16:16-19; 18:17-19). Where do we see the church on earth? The local church.
  • The New Testament explicitly refers to some people being inside the church and some people being outside (1 Cor. 5:12-13). Church membership is much more than a casual association. It means being a covenant community, similar to a marriage covenant.
  • The church in Corinth consisted of a definite number of believers, such that Paul could speak of punishment inflicted by the majority (2 Cor. 2:6).
  • Not only does the New Testament speak of the reality of church membership, but its dozens of "one another" passages are written to local churches, which fill out our understanding of what church membership should practically look like.

The conclusion on church membership is that it is a biblical concept. Even though it lacks direct biblical commands, like the Trinity, the concept exists and remains an expectation for God's people. We must not approach the local church the same way we shop for cell phones, moving around when somewhere else has a better deal of us individually. We should view our local church as a family (Ephesians 1:5), we don't leave just because the family is going through a difficult time. We also don't leave our families because we don't like something someone said. There may be times to leave a local church, which I have about previously, but overall it is always in the best interest of Christians to stay in a covenant commitment to one local church. It is what brings maturity and accountability into our lives.