Have you ever been thirsty? Have you ever been so thirsty that your life actually depended upon it? The story is told in Exodus 17 about the Jews when they were extremely thirsty. It says in verse 1 'there was no water for the people to drink.' That's a legitimate problem. They had a real need. It's not as if they were craving for Coca-Cola or Sweet Ice Tea or something! They needed water! They had a problem. You and I encounter such needs and problems in life.
Well, they took their problem to their leader, but it says that they 'contended' (vs. 2) with Moses and were about ready to stone him to death! To say that they didn't handle their problem well is to make an understatement! If we are being honest, sometimes we respond more like them than we'd care to admit.
Moses did what Moses so often did. He took it to God in prayer. He could've stayed and fought and argued with the people. But, Moses prayed. Moses is a great example to us. Have you prayed about your problem? Have you prayed with faith?
The Jews had just seen God deliver them from Egypt. They saw the plagues and saw God part the Red Sea. But, they sure forgot very quickly when they became thirsty. Truthfully, you and I get forgetful also. Let's not be forgetful. Let's recall today how GOOD AND GREAT our God is to us!
We can rest assured that God is interested in meeting our needs. He's our Shepherd (Psalm 23) and our Father in Heaven who desires to give good things to His children (Matthew 7:11).
Consider these verses:
James 4:2-4 "Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures."
Philippians 4:6-7 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Let's take our problems to our gracious God in prayer. Plenty of times in life we face problems that we can't handle or fix on our own. But, God can!
And friends, our greatest problem in life is with sin. Sin is an offense to God and seperates us from Him. You and I could never handle it or fix this sin problem on our own. But, God could and God did by sending Jesus to the earth to die on a cross as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. It's not about us 'achieving' anything with God. It's about 'receiving' Jesus and the salvation that He offers.
If God has fixed that problem for you, can't you trust Him with the rest of the problems? Something to ponder. Pray for me and for WBC. Pray for souls. Pray that we'll stir the baptismal waters real soon.
CiA 2015-2016 Theme: All for You
Scripture Verse: Matthew 8:27
Bible Story: Matthew 8:23-27
Focus place: San Diego, CA
Missionaries: Jeremy and Natalia Aylett
Join in by reading the Bible verses and praying for this church planting missionary team in San Diego throughout September!
TEN TIPS FOR TEACHERS AND THEIR CLASSES
September 1st is the official start of a new church year. Here are ten tips for teachers and Sunday School classes.
1)Pray regularly for those in your class and yourself.
2)Prepare for next Sunday's lesson early in the week.
Not only does make it easier on yourself in terms of the stress level, but you'll also have all week to be pondering over the lesson.
3)Teach from the Bible.
Use the Bible. Encourage the class to use their Bibles.
4)Get the Room ready.
The new church year is a good time to do some freshening and tidying up. Get rid of the old materials and the clutter. Put a few extra Bibles on the table for those who don't bring one.
You should be there a number of minutes early so you can greet your class as they come in. This demonstrates to them that they are important and that the class is important.
6)Delegate responsibilities to the class (this in particular is for adult classes)
Appoint a back-up teacher or two. Appoint a record's keeper. Appoint a prayer leader. Delegate the outreach function to all of the class. Take a few moments and use the records to assign people to call/contact those on roll who haven't been coming, etc.
7)Use a Shoe-box for ministry
Fill up a shoe-box with needed cards and post-cards for ministry purposes. Have some blank notecards also for those who need to write down a name and information for contacting absentees during the week. Remember you don't have to do this yourself as much as you need to lead the class to do so. Again appoint a care-group/outreach leader to take on this responsibility.
8)Promote Your Class
Why not have your class on the slide-show announcements every now and then? Why not give a testimony of what your class means to you in the worship service? Use email. Use the church's facebook account. Maybe you'll want to give your class a name other than: Adult 1, 2, 3, youth class, Children's class, etc.
9)Plan a few Socials
Maybe one of the class members would like to have the class in their homes one evening. Go out to eat as a class once or twice a year.
10)Support a Ministry
Think creatively. Take a month and encourage your class to bring items for the food pantry that month. Take a month and write out cards to the homebound, perhaps during the holiday season.
Lastly, pray some more and depend on God. I appreciate your service. You're more than a teacher. You're a leader. You're a ministry supporter. You're of great importance to the work of the churh. Let's aim high and see lives transformed this new church year.
Max Lucado once said, "Worry is to joy, what a vacuum cleaner is to dirt.' In the sermon on the mount, Jesus spoke about this very subject (see Matthew 25-34). He told us to not worry about our lives and what we will eat and drink and wear. He pointed to the birds and flowers and explained how God cares for them and made the point that we as humans are of more value than they. In doing so, He calls us to trust in God Almighty with our needs.
Faith over worry is the emphasis. As He gave concluding thoughts on this subject of worry versus faith, Jesus said in Matthew 6:34
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
Someone once said that the average person is crucifying himself between two thieves: the regrets of yesterday and the worries about tomorrow." Chuck Swindol once said: "Worry pulls tomorrow's cloud over today's sunshine.' Maybe that's what you've been doing lately?! It's easy to get into such a habit! Even pastors can get caught up in thinking so much about the future of our churches and making plans that we move from faith to fear and end up hindering our efforts today.
Friends, we all know how to worry! It's just a matter of thinking over and over about a problem or difficulty. Well, what if we did that same thing, but pointed it in a better direction? That's my understanding of what Biblical meditation is- pondering over and over a truth or a promise from the Bible. The blessed man as described in Psalm 1 is one who 'meditates on God's law day and night." Instead of stewing over and over on our problems, let's ponder the right things, the truth of God, His promises given to us. You'll be blessed if you do so and be more equipped to face your problems because you'll be facing them with faith in the Lord.
Continue in Christ,
The summer vacation has come and gone. The kids will be back in school this coming Monday and, we will soon be dealing with lunch monies and science projects and band concerts and so much more. But, before we begin again with another school year, let's consider where we've been this summer.
*With your help, my family attended the SBC convention in Columbus, Ohio in June where we were inspired and reinvigorated.
*We conducted our annual VBS both for children and youth with the theme: Camp Kilimanjaro and gained wisdom from the book of Proverbs.
*We followed up our VBS with contacts from our outreach teams.
*Our youth served in Little Rock, Arkansas with construction and ministry teams through the World Changers organization .
*We had three varied family nights: movie night, homemade ice cream and game night, and karaoke night.
*We began planning for WBC's 75th Anniversary which will take place next January.
*We've had the parking lot stripes painted again and the bees removed from the Sancutary attic areas.
*Our deacons hosted a Widow's banquet.
*Our deacons ministered to our Shut-ins and brought them the Lord's Supper.
*We have added some new leaders in key positions with our youth and children and pre-school/nursery divisions and are excited about these changes.
*We've had two tremendous church council leadership team meetings in which we have done some evaulating and discussing and, and we're set to meet again at the end of August.
*We're taking goodies to the teachers and staff at some of our local schools this very week to show them the love of Christ in a tangible way.
Much has been taking place. Much work is needed. Let us press on with eyes on the Lord and our hearts full of love.
*It was so wonderful to have Carol Colvin back with us in the worship service! We had a number of guests with us, which was great and the whole service was glorious.
*The sermon was on: "Growing Pains" from 1 Thessalonians 3. Adversity is: inevitable, a test, a training ground, an opportunity to bless others, and can thrust you towards future growth....when faced with faith in the Lord.
*I had an opportunity to lead the kids in some Bible drilling at the beginning of the Sunday School hour. One verse I had them look up was John 1:12. I then asked - 'what does it take then to be adopted into God's family?' A little girl said: 'you have to read your Bible and go to church.' I pointed her to the verse of Scripture and that it explains two things- you must believe upon Jesus and receive Jesus. It was a wonderful, unexpected opportunity to share Christ.
*Business meetings are not the most popular activity in the life of a church, but they are important and, and we had a good one Sunday night.
Just a few highlights:
*We elected our coordinators which are: Christine S for Adult 1, Aloha G for Adult 2-4, Jennifer W for Youth, Cindy B for Children and Roxanne M for Pre-school.
*Our maintenance committee has been hard at work. In the last quarter, we've seen a new roof go on the sanctuary, the bees removed from the sanctuary attic and lots of other smaller projects accomplished. What we need is the use of a small lift or some other way to reach up to the top of the inside of the sanctuary to take care of a few issues. The playground equipment is in need of being replaced.
*VBS penny offering brought in $539.02 for the Valley Mission Trip.
Much is happening and much help is needed. Let's press on in laboring for our Master!
Have you ever heard someone say that they were 'moved to pray' about a certain thing or for a certain person? Well, our church has been moved to pray!
The Lord has been deepening Wooster Baptist's praying in 2015. It began earlier this year with one small change and one big promise. The small change took place in our order of services in our Sunday morning worship service. The church wide 'call to prayer' that previously was in the middle of the service was moved to the invitation time. This switch allows those coming forward to pray to utilize the prayer cards given in the offering plate in the service. This small change in the order has resulted in many people coming forward to pray on their knees in our worship services!
The big promise came out of a sermon that I preached in January. In Psalm 34:18 we find this promise: "the Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit." 'Broken heart' has to do with us being spiritually broken. When we experience that brokenness whereby we wholeheartedly admit that we absolutely must have God's help, God promises to work mightily! We are taking God at His Word.
We have also had a day of prayer event and also have had youth night of prayer as well (and another will take place this Friday night!)
We also recently had a Sunday morning prayer meeting. That doesn't quite describe it, but I'm not sure what other terms to give it. We took the entire Sunday morning worship service, broken it up by various elements of prayer and prayed in those various ways throughout the service. I've had more encouraging comments on that one service than any service that I've ever led! To God be the Glory!
I recently was given two new suggestions from one of our senior adults in regards to prayer lists and using our prayer room more regularly. We will continue to humble ourselves in prayer and trust in the mighty workings of our God. My hope and prayer is that you also will be moved to pray and will be inspired to deepen your own prayer life.
Holy week is such a special week in the life of Christians. Imagine how we along with Christians all over the world are focusing on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and drawing near to Him this week!
This Thursday night is one of the my favorite services that we enjoy together each year. We call it: the Upper Room Lord's Supper service. It is on that night that Jesus would've met with his disciples in the upper room and began what we call the Lord's Supper. What a great night for us to continue to gather on all of these years later for the same purpose! Imagine all that happened that night: the Passover meal, the Lord's Supper, washing the feet, tremendous teaching. It was followed by the Gethsemane praying and the arrest and trials and crucifixion of Jesus.
On good Friday, I hope you will be mindful of Jesus' suffering, His sayings on the cross and ultimately giving His life for us even unto death.
But, of course, the story doesn't end there! On Easter Sunday, Jesus Christ triumphantly rose from the dead! He's alive. He's alive. Sing it, shout it, rejoice, our Savior is risen and alive forevermore. We invite you to join us on Thursday night at 6pm in our fellowship hall for our Upper Room service and on Easter Sunday at 10:45am as our choir leads us in celebration with an Easter Cantata.
A little girl came to her mother one day and asked, "Momma, which is worse, to tell a lie or to steal?" The mother replied that both were so terrible that she did not know which was worse. The little girl replied, "Well, I've been thinking a lot about it, and I think it's so much worse to lie than steal." "Why, my child?" asked the mother. The girl went on and said, "Well, you see, it's like this, if you steal a thing, you can take it back, unless you've eaten it, and if you've eaten it, you can pay for it; but a lie is forever."
Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of having to eat our words. We wished desperately that we could take it back, but we could not. God's Word puts it this way: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21) and "Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles" (Proverbs 21:23).
Words are powerful! Words can hurt, destroy, and tear people down. Words can also bless, heal, encourage, and tell people about Jesus.
God has given us two ears and only one mouth. Now doesn't that tell us something?! The Bible teaches us to: "be swift to hear, slow to speak" (James 1:19). Many relationships would be immediatley improved if not transformed if we would learn to be careful with our words and use our words to encourage and lift up.
Have you ever asked God to aid you in the use of your tongue? Have you ever yielded it over to the Lord for His purposes? Why not stop now and pray? God, the Creator of our mouths and of words, has given us the ability to communicate and will surely hear your humble prayer and come to your aid.
Frances Ridley Havergal penned the words to this old favorite hymn, 'Take My Life and Let it Be':
Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Praying for you,
News, Notes, and Happenings:
*For the last three Sunday mornings, we've had tremendous times of prayer at the invitation time in our services. Many have come forward to pray at the front on their knees. The people have really responded to the messages on prayer and revival. This is a wonderfully exciting development! We give praise to the Lord for moving our hearts towards Him in prayer as a congregation!
*On Sunday March 1st, we will have a Western Day and Men's Chili Cookoff. Come dressed in your cowboy clothes and get out your chili recipes! Details to come!
*VBS dates have been set for June 28 to July 2nd. We've moved our dates up from our usual time in July and will be begin on a Sunday evening and use a different material as well.
*Psalm 34:18 continues to move in my heart- 'the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who contrite in heart.' God moves and works in the lives of those and the congregation that approaches Him with a spiritual brokenheartedness and seek Him with their whole hearts.
Good things are happening. Keep praying and seeking the Lord!