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January 27, 2016, 10:54 AM

Pondering the New Year

A new year is upon us! We have a new covenant, a new commandment, new creatures in Christ, and look forward to a new heaven and a new earth (Matthew 26:28; John 13:34; 2 Cor. 5:17; Rev. 21:1). I hope you have a sense of a fresh, new start. A new year is filled with wonderful possibilities. We have a new year to serve our Savior and to share His love with a lost world.  The apostle Paul once said: "one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14). Two major things happen this month! First, we have the 75th anniversary of our beloved church. Much work has gone into this day. I pray that it'll be a day of encouragement, fellowship and inspiration. Second, on January 31st, we begin our new Sunday night format with the start of growth groups. Currently, we are settled on at least two groups for the adults (one focusing on world religions, one focusing on revival) and two groups set for the youth (boys and girls separate groups). These groups will have seven sessions and finish up on Palm Sunday. Dream with me of what this can be and join in with us. Let's press forward in 2016 and both be and develop devoted followers of Christ.
Blessings to you all,
Bro. Jason



November 24, 2015, 2:31 PM

The Unspeakable Gift by Rev. Harvey Neal

"The Unspeakable Gift"   

II Corinthians 9:15

Approximately one month seperate the holidays of Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. There is a very definite relationship between the two as pointed out by the Apostle Paul in our text: "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift."

Thanksgiving Day is a time when we are reminded anew to give thanks unto God for all our blessings. Christmas Day is a time of exchanging gifts, but more than that it is a the day we celebrate the giving of the greatest Gift the world will ever know--- God's gift of His Son to be the Saviour of the world! This is the Gift Paul is giving thanks for, and the Gift that the world must ever give thanks for--- Jesus Christ!

God sent His angels to the shepherds to first announce His Gift: "And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11).

In our traditional exchange of gifts, let us not forget that the greatest Gift ever offered was the Gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. The celebration of His birthday should be a time of thanksgiving for this great and unspeakable Gift.

Why should God make such a gift to us? Do we deserve this great Gift? Was God indebted to us? Did mankind have some claim on God that would make Him have to give us His Son? The answer is "no" for God did not have to make mankind this gift. In fact man does not deserve this gift of salvation in Christ. We have rebelled against God, broken His law, forgotten His Word, and sinned against Him. The penalty for sin is death. The Bible says, "The wages of sin is death." Since all are sinners (Romans 3:23) all of us deserve death. Thus, God's gift is not based on our worthiness or our merit, but on His grace.

He have because He loved us. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). We are the recipients of His love and grace in spite of our unloveliness and unworthiness.

This gift cannot be earned. Our good works can never build up enough merit to where God is obligated to give it to us. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works." (Ephesians 2:8-9). Real gifts are never made out of obligation, but out of love. God gives us His Son because He loves us and wants us to be redeemed from our sins. Before Jesus was born an angel revealed to the perplexed young Joseph, "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins."

God the Father sent His Son to redeem mankind from their sins. He sent Jesus to bear the cross of death in our place. Because God loved us and didn't want us to die for our sins He let His Son die for our sins.

How do you receive this greatest of all gifts? God's Word teaches us that it is by faith. We realize that we are a sinner needing salvation from the death penalty of sin. We repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness, believing that Jesus can and will save us. In that moment we receive Christ by faith, we are saved and thus the greatest of all possible gifts is bestowed on us.

Have you received this greatest of all gifts? Millions haven't. Can you imagine how you would feel if you gave someone the greatest possible gift available and that person turned their back on you and refused to accept that gift? This is in some measure, how God feels this Christmas season. God's gift is refused and we continue in our sins (no room in the inn). Possibly some of you reading this [newspaper] have never accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. Will you at this moment repent of your sins and receive Christ as your Saviour, and receive the greatest gift of all this Christmas season? God offers this gift to all. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13).

God offers this gift to all, but He does not force anyone to receive it. The receiving of the gift is up to you. God wants you to have it but He'll not force it upon you against your will. If somone offered you a gift of a milliion dollars you would take it. God is offering you countless more than a million dollars, He is offering you eternal life in Christ. Accept this "unspeakable gift" today and join the Apostle Paul in giving thanks to God the Donor.

"If Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, until He's born in me, my soul is all forlorn."

By Rev. Harvey Neal (while pastor of First Baptist Church).




September 28, 2015, 9:47 AM

God Gave Me a Rainbow


It was a Monday. I was rushed to get out the door and to get my son early to school so he could make up some Math work. I decided with my rushed time that all I could do in terms of a ‘quiet time’ was to read a devotional and then later do something much more substantial.

In my rushed state of affairs, I enlisted my son to help me with a few odds and ends so we could leave on time. He helped me make my morning breakfast smoothie. It was all together, and I instructed him to do the blending. Well, let’s just say that it wasn’t done correctly and we had a mess and not much of a smoothie. I did what I could at making something out of a mess and off we went.

Yes, I was annoyed, but what was done was done. As we drove in the drizzling rain, I remembered that I had forgotten to bring my daily Bible reading Bible! We spoke about his math work and I dropped him off on time. As I was making my way to the office, I was still annoyed and still lacking in a ‘real’ quiet time.

I came to a stop light and saw the greatest rainbow that I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ve not seen one quite like that one before. I took a quick picture, which doesn’t do it justice, and was reminded of those “exceeding great and precious promises” of the Lord (2 Peter 1:4).

I went to my study and started to read in the place where I would be had I had brought my daily reading Bible. I found these words in Lamentations 3:21-24:

"This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’”

Thank the Lord for His promises of everlasting love and mercy, for filling us with hope, and having compassion on us, even on Mondays when it doesn’t start off so smoothly. He is the God of fresh starts. Look to Him and to His promises and may you and I both find strength, hope and renewal this day.

Blessings to you all,

Parson Jay




September 14, 2015, 5:45 PM

Got Thirst?

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.

Prayerfully,

Parson Jay
 

 




September 12, 2015, 1:59 PM

September Missions Focus


CiA 2015-2016 Theme: All for You

 

September 2015

Scripture Verse: Matthew 8:27
Bible Story: Matthew 8:23-27
Emphasis:  Faith

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!




August 31, 2015, 12:00 AM

TEN TIPS FOR TEACHERS AND THEIR CLASSES

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.

5)Arrive early

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.

Bro. Jason




August 24, 2015, 4:16 PM

Winning over your Worries


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,

Bro. Jason
 




August 19, 2015, 1:39 PM

Summer Reflections


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.

Bro. Jason




July 20, 2015, 9:43 AM

Reflections on Sunday July 19th

*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!

Parson Jay

 




May 26, 2015, 2:45 PM

Moved to Pray

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.

Prayerfully,

Parson Jay


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