Friday, February 28, 2014

Just a thought going into the weekend.

I was reading my Bible this morning and part of what I was reading came from Numbers 10-12. In chapter 11 something amazing happens with the people of Israel; they begin to grumble and complain about where they are and what they have. (I guess not much has changed over the years, has it?) It begins with a few but quickly spreads like wildfire. Actually by the time chapter 11 is over and chapter 12 begins the grumbling and complaining has even spread among the leaders, namely Aaron and Miriam.

At each point during these two chapters the Lord deals with the people, and with each instance the discipline gets more intense. I was drawn to something toward the end of chapter 11. It really got my attention. The people had a tendency to name the place they were with what was going on at the time, and this time and place were no different.

They had begun to complain against God's provision of manna. As they complained to the Lord and Moses about God's provision, they began to say how good things were in the past. They remembered the fruits and vegetables, the spices and flavors, the meat and potatoes, but they seemed to have forgotten the chains and bondage. So the Lord told Moses to get the people ready for some meat. He was going to give them enough meat to last longer than they wanted it to. The Lord brought them quail. Quail was in front of them, quail was behind them, it was beside them. Scripture tells us it surrounded them a whole days journey any way they wanted to go. That was an abundance of quail! God gave them just what they wanted, just what they asked for. And along with all the quail, God gave them His judgment. That's right, judgment. It made God mad that His people weren't satisfied with what He was giving them. He gave them what they thought they wanted, but He judged them. They had a big grave digging party, because God killed a bunch of them.

They named that place Kibroth-hattaavah, which means Graves of Craving. Be careful what you complain about. Be careful what you crave. God just might give it to you.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Weekly Email Article plus some

2014 is flying by; it’s hard to believe February has come and gone, but it has. March is at the door, and we have some great things on the calendar for March. The first is our spring revival. It starts on Sunday morning March 9 with Dr. Bailey Smith preaching in the morning service. We have altered the morning schedule and will have Life Groups at 9 AM, and one morning worship service at 10 AM. Please note the change and help us spread the word. Dr. Greg Batchelor will be preaching Sunday night through Wednesday night. Sunday night will begin at 6 PM and Monday through Wednesday service times will be at 7 PM nightly.

I have known Dr. Bailey Smith for over twenty years. He is an evangelist the Lord has used to reach people across the nation and around the world. He preaches anywhere the Lord opens the door. One of the things Bro Bailey is known for is his annual Real Evangelism Conferences. I have been attending this conference for years. He will be hosting the Real Evangelism Conference at First Baptist Church Indian Trail next week March 5-7. If you would like to go with me to the conference Thursday or Friday please let me know. You will be greatly blessed.

I met Dr. Greg Batchelor when I entered the doctoral program at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a godly man, a great husband and father, a shepherd to his congregation, and a friend to me. I know you will be blessed to sit under his preaching.

I pray you are thinking about and inviting friends and family, especially lost friends and family, to come to one of these special services. I believe the Lord Jesus wants to save the lost, and encourage the Christians during these days. Make every effort to attend. Don’t miss a service. With that being said, if you are comfortable talking with people about Christ and sharing the gospel, I need you to be a decision time counselor during our revival services specifically, and also a counselor during our invitations each week. If you will do this please let me know ASAP. And Thank You in advance for serving the Lord Jesus in this way.

We have one other guest speaker who will be preaching in March. On March 23, Dr. Mark Harris will be at Highland preaching in both the 8:30 and 11 AM services. Dr. Harris is currently the pastor at First Baptist Church Charlotte, but he is seeking election as US Senator from NC. It is a privilege to host Dr. Harris. I encourage you to pray for him as he continues to seek the path the Lord Jesus is leading him to follow at this time. (The end of the email article)

I am also excited to tell you about the new format for our monthly leadership meeting, formerly called the Strategic Leadership Team meeting). Beginning March 16 at 6 PM, we will have our monthly Family FOCUS night. Each month on the 3rd Sunday night of the month we will gather together for a time of information, discussion, presentations of ministries, vision casting and direction along with a time of fun, food, and fellowship. I hope you will make plans to be present each Family FOCUS night, that you will bring some delicious goodies to snack on, and a heart and mind open to what God is doing and wants to do at Highland Baptist Church. On the 16th we will hear reports from our finance team, REACH leaders, PLACE leaders, and the JOY club will have a chunk of time to share what's going on in their ministry. I can't wait. This time should last about 40-45 minutes, immediately followed by food and fun in the FLC.

One last thing I want to share with you is a new way I am trying to communicate with the church. Of coarse I use this blog, Facebook, and Twitter. The church uses Facebook, emails, the phone tree, and other means. But Matt showed me something not long ago that he has been using to communicate with parents and students via text messages. So, I decided to give it a try. Many Highland folks have received either an email or text invitation from me to join the Highland group. This isn't spam or a scam, it was really from me. If you want to receive these texts from me periodically you can just follow the instructions from the text or email I sent or/and I will post the instructions here.  Send a text message to 704-322-4951 and put @highlandbc in the message of the text. If you do that you begin receiving messages from me as I send them out. That's it. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

What Will It Take?

The title of this post was also the title of my sermon yesterday at Highland. I preached from Acts 8:1-8. The great persecution that arose against the church in Jerusalem scattered (v. 4) them throughout Judea and Samaria (Acts 1:8). The gospel of Jesus Christ was proclaimed, and Jesus was glorified. It seems to have taken this persecution to move the church beyond Jerusalem.

They had been doing an excellent job of "filling Jerusalem" (Acts 4) with the gospel, but for some reason they had not moved beyond the boarders of Jerusalem to this point. This let's me know that King Jesus is serious about His commission (Matt. 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, & Acts 1:8 [the specific GC passages]).

So I put it to you, what will it take to get you going to the place (s) God wants you to go? Will you carry the gospel of Jesus with you as you are going? Will you share that same gospel message, the one that let's sinners know there is a Savior who loves them, died for them, rose from the grave for them, and will forgive them of their sins, with them? What will it take to get you from where you are to where you need to be?

I can tell you this; it doesn't have to take anything more than you choosing to take that step with Jesus. You don't have to wait until something happens in your life to motivate you to go; something already did happen. You had an encounter with Jesus. You accepted the free, grace gift of salvation. That's more than enough. You and I should be "On the Go for Jesus!" You can't have GOspel without GO. You don't have GOod News without "GO." So don't just sit there...GO!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Weekly Email Update Article

I am so pumped about what the Holy Spirit is doing as He works through our Life Groups. We have one full month of REACH behind us, and we have seen the hand of the Holy Spirit doing wonderful things. Some evidence of His moving is 1) we averaged 207 in Life Groups during the month of January, and 2) we had a high attendance of 228 in the month of January. Praise the Lord! If you aren’t plugged into a Life Group, please check one out and engage. It will be a blessing to your life and your family. BTW, we had 223 this past Sunday in Life Groups and 334 in worship. Did I say how excited I am?!!!

I also wanted to take a moment to congratulate our “Gold Star” and “Silver Star” classes. You have been recognized for exceptional work, as a class, using REACH. Each week, be looking for and working toward earning that “Gold Star.” I pray you see God working in amazing ways as you REACH out with the love of Christ Jesus.

I want to update you on the Strategic Leadership Team meeting Monday night. We had a great time hearing about some specific ways the Lord Jesus is working in different areas of our church. The first PLACE seminar was January 24-25, and there were 14 people who attended. All of them will have received their coaching by next week, and they will begin to move toward actively engaging in a ministry that allows them to use their gifts and passions to serve King Jesus at Highland and beyond. We had three people who attended the seminar share their experiences, and it was very powerful to hear what they learned about themselves and how the Holy Spirit moved in their lives. It lights a fire in me to see people excited about walking with and serving the Lord Jesus. Keep your eyes open for the next seminar coming in March. The time in March will be formatted as a 5 week Life Group. We will also have 2 more PLACE seminar experiences in September. I hope you will make plans to participate. We are planning to make some changes to the time and format of our SLT. We will be moving the time to the third Sunday of the month, and will also have a time of food and fellowship following each meeting. I’m praying that our participation will improve because of these changes. I look forward to seeing you there.

Lastly, I want to thank Jeff Drake for preaching the message on praying for your pastor and church leaders. Thank you for praying for my family and me. I pray the Lord does amazing things as you pursue Him. God bless you.