The unexpected gift

December 6, 2017

The unexpected gift is a risky gift.

Israel struggled with God’s gift of His Son. This wasn’t what they were expecting and while there were many things they embraced in Jesus there was so much more that caused dissension. Ultimately Jesus was crucified by those that just couldn’t believe that he was the Messiah. They missed God’s greatest gift.

How are you responding to God’s unexpected gift to you? Remember it may not look like a gift. It certainly may not be any gift on your prayer list. Stop for a moment and consider those things that may be God’s unexpected gift for you. In time, you will understand the value of those gifts. Open your heart to God’s gift today.

 

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The hope of an expected gift

December 4, 2017

As we near Christmas day you may hear opposing views on gift lists.  Some love the idea of making a list and having others choose gifts from the list.  Others believe in the surprise element of gift giving–my preference. In either way there is always the hope of an expected gift.  The reality is that we are pretty good at making our wishes known whether we provide a list or not.

The expected gift that God gave us was a Messiah. His Son. It is a gift that has given us more than we could have hoped for. Celebrate God’s gift to you this Advent.

Leftovers, Rest and Communion

November 16, 2017

When the Thanksgiving meal has been served…

After you have given thanks…

Before the dishes have been cleared from the table…

Let your spirit transcend. Hear the Spirit speak:

no more leftovers,

rest,

and communion. Prepare our hearts for the season.  Usher us into the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.

Amen.

Go

November 16, 2017

When the disciples decided to follow Jesus they heard him say “come” and their hearts said “go”. Ultimately every disciple will understand the meaning of “go”.

Friends invite friends

November 2, 2017

Jesus starts his ministry by inviting others to follow him. Philip was one of those whom Jesus invited.  Upon his invitation to follow he went to one of his friends, Nathanael and invited him to follow Jesus.

What a great scene.  Friends inviting friends.

Inviting is not that difficult and ought to be a part of our ongoing process as a disciple.  When you invite others, consider an invitation into the following areas:

  1. Authentic relationship. There ought to be a place in some relationships where we trust, drop our guard and feel the freedom to be our self.  These relationships are rate but welcomed when offered.
  2. Genuine community. We need people in our life where we can give and receive grace in a caring way. A genuine community creates an environment of equality, freedom and mutual respect. Genuine communities are helped when someone takes the risk and initiative to forfeit their perceived perfection.
  3. Inclusion. Ultimately a disciple invites friends who invite friends. Paul demonstrated this kind of invitation with Timothy (2 Timothy 2.2). The process of inviting into authentic relationship and genuine community is perpetual.  Try it.  It starts with inviting a friend.

Transformed-Season 1

October 21, 2017

When Jesus began his ministry he called others to follow him.  Those that followed are known as disciples.  When we respond to the call of Jesus we are also known as disciples.  Being a disciple is the start of an adventurous relationship.

This fall we are teaching a discipleship series entitled Transform.  Our hope is that God will transform us into his image, to his purpose and to his mission.  If you cannot attend our worship services you can still follow along with us on this discipleship adventure.

You can find us on YouTube at FBCSweetwater.  Here is the schedule for the Transform series:

October 22: Become. John 1.29-42

October 29: Follow. John 1.43-51

November 5: Learn. Matthew 5.1-2, 7.24-29

November 12: Lead. Matthew 10.1, 5-15

November 19: Go. Matthew 28.16-20

 

 

Intersect of relationships

October 18, 2017

This past Sunday we celebrated at the intersect of relationships.  At our Reunion Sunday we recognized that in the experience of the church there are times of gathering and times of scattering.  It is a healthy balance for the church.  It is also helpful for the church to embrace these experiences by recognizing God’s work in the world.  This healthy intersection is unselfish.  It does not rush to scatter but doesn’t resist it either.

By this time next year we will experience more gathering and scattering.  It is the nature of the church. It is the nature of following God and striving to experience the fullness of his Kingdom plan.  Let’s walk this path together enjoying each moment of community and friendship.

Intersect of faith

October 10, 2017

The most difficult intersect a person will encounter is the intersect of faith.  It is difficult even when we understand basic principles of faith.  Here are a few things shared Sunday at First Baptist Church, Sweetwater TX.

When struggling at the intersect of faith:

Lay down any authority you think you may have.  The centurion in the story in Matthew 8. 5-13 understood authority.  His request for healing of his servant would come through the authority of Jesus, not his own.

Don’t take any steps until you are ready to take a BOLD step.  This is not the time for baby steps.

Develop a healthy disregard for the impossible.  This is where the adventurous life of following Jesus comes to life.  “In the same way that you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him.” Colossians 2.6.

 

Show up and say yes

August 31, 2017

When you begin to ask God for vision and you follow with devotion and obedience then God is likely to show up. In Acts chapters 9 and 10 we see how visions led us to two of the greatest evangelists we know in the New Testament–Paul and Peter.

For Peter and Paul there was a change in their core beliefs.  Paul persecuted the church but after a visionary encounter became a church planter.  Peter learned through his vision that God does not show favoritism and the good news of Jesus is for everyone.

In order for you to follow God’s vision for you here are three things that will help you be prepared.

  1. Listen for God’s call.  Are you really looking for God to speak to you about his vision for you?
  2. See and respond to an opportunity that presents itself.  Sometimes we don’t realize the magnitude of what God is doing until we hear the stories from those whose needs we met.
  3. Show up and say yes. Devote yourself to God in generosity and prayer. Be prepared to see God through the YES.

Leadership is Important for the Church

August 24, 2017

We have placed a high value on leadership in our church and while it is rare, some will occasionally ask why leadership in the church is so important. This list is by no means comprehensive but it should be enough to get you thinking. Here are five reasons leadership is important in the church.

1. It is required to get the work of discipleship done.  Jesus modeled leadership when he called together his disciples and sent them out to preach. (Mark 3.13) They demonstrated the authority of Jesus because he taught them and empowered them.  Paul in a similar way prepared Timothy with the expectation that he would train others in the same way that he had been trained. (2 Timothy 2.2)

2. It creates greater influence outside the church.  In many ways the church has forfeited its influence in the community. It seems we have gone into hiding within the walls of our churches only to come out when we feel like we need to criticize. This won’t do. We ought to be proactive in leading our communities and developing relationships for the greater good.

3. It encourages a dependence on God. When we respond to a greater vision we understand that we cannot accomplish this alone. We are not resourceful enough to do what God asks on our own.

4. It models a path into the future. Leadership is duplicated. It is multiplied through generations. It reminds us that legacies matter.

5. It necessitates togetherness. We will accomplish more through collective leadership than we will alone. This is the church.