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December 10, 2014, 2:00 PM

Valley Mission Trip 2014


A group of us from the San Jacinto Baptist Association went to the Rio Grande Valley this past weekend on a mission trip. This trip is an annual mission trip in our association. This year we went to Mercedes, Texas.

 I look forward to this activity each year for a number of reasons:

*It is a fairly inexpensive mission trip

*it is only a 6 hour or so one way trip

*it is a kid friendly trip (I counted 5 kids, 7 youth)

*we are able to help and encourage a smaller church and a small church pastor

*we are able to bring smiles to the faces of the children

*the good news of Jesus is shared

On Saturday, we heard a brief accounting of that little church's history. It was amazing to hear how God brought about what other's were saying was impossible. We then went door to door in the colonias. We invited people to the block party, handed out gospel tracts and verbally told people about Jesus. It was tremendous. I personally was able to share the gospel with two people.

In the afternoon, we set up for the block party. Since the church grounds were filed with mud, we set it up right on the street.  Everyone had a role. I didn't see anyone doing nothing. Isn't that the way it should be in our churches? Everyone busy serving.

Again the good news of Jesus was shared. One of the ones to share their testimony was my son Benjamin. He's 11 yeas old. He shared about five sentences in total with each being translated into Spanish. My wife shared the real Christmas story using a coloring book and an evanga-cube. She shared with lots of children and finally to the whole crowd. But, they weren't the only ones to share! Many others shared their testimonies. Willie and Angie Rosales sang gospel songs. And an evangelist at the end brought it all together. I don't know the numbers, but the result was new brothers and sisters in Christ.

God was so good to us. He even held off the rain until we had everthing packed back into the trailer. And boy did it rain!

When we arrived at the church building on Sunday morning, the mud in front of the buildng was now a small pond. However, we overcame this challenge, and it didn't seem to keep the people from coming either! It was standing room only! I would dare say that 300 people were there in that small buildilng. The children even had a happy birthday cake for Jesus. And the last item on the agenda was to distribute the Christmas stockings to the kids. My favorite picture from this trip is that of a little girl holding on to her stocking present and it's over half her size!

It's still amazing what happens when God's people pray, work together with perseverance and flexibilty, give of themselves to others, and step out to share Christ!  You don't have to go to the Valley to be a part of such an amazing adventure. Start right where you are today. God can use you.

Be blessed and be a blessing to others this Christmas season!

Bro. Jason

 




November 17, 2014, 5:41 PM

WBC Thanksgiving and Christmas Plans


I love this time of the year. It can be a very busy season and yet it is a very wonderful season. Our schedules and routines are adjusted as we set our hearts and minds on the Lord.  Here is list of happenings at Wooster for this holiday season:

*Annual Thanksgiving Meal   Nov. 23rd at 6pm

*Decorating our Sanctuary Nov. 29th at 9am

*Lighting of First Advent Candle and Hanging of the Greens service Nov. 30th  (a.m. worship service)

*Lottie Moon International Missions Christmas Emphasis and Offering and continues throughout December!!!

*Lighting of Second Advent Candle and Presentation of White Christmas gifts  Dec. 7th (a.m. worship service)

*Lighting of Third Advent Candle and Presentation of White Christmas gifts Dec. 14th (a.m. worship service)

*Choir Cantata  Dec. 14th at 5pm

*Wooster Family Christmas (for the kids!!!)  Dec. 17th from 6-8pm

*Lighting of Fourth Advent Candle  Dec. 21st (a.m. worship service)

*Christmas Eve Service and Lighting of the Fifth Advent Candle- the Christ Candle 5pm

{this doesn't even include any Christmas parties!!!}

It's going to fun, and it's going to be about Jesus! Come join us!

Bro. Jason




November 10, 2014, 10:00 AM

One Necessity for the Holiday Season: Prayer!

One excuse for lack of praying is: I don't know what to pray. If this applies to you, I recommend using a Model for praying. The Lord's prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 is still the premier model. I highly recommend praying through the points of that marvelous model. At times, I still use the ACTS model for praying. Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.

When it comes to supplication (making requests),  I use five "L's" - 

Leaders        (government, SBC, church)  

Laborers      (missionaries, local church workers, pastor)

Lost people  (make this specific)

Love ones    (members of your family)

Little ole me

If you'll use the ACTS model and include praying for leaders, laborers, lost people, loved ones and yourself, you'll not be able to say: I don't know what to pray.

Another excuse for our neglect of prayer is:  I'm too busy to pray. I don't have enough time in my day to pray.   Martin Luther gave the opposite view. His attitude was more along the lines of: I'm too busy NOT to pray.

The holidays are upon us. Our church activities and personal activities will likely increase at this time of the year. We sure can find ourselves in a whirlwind of activity! And if we're not careful, we'll neglect dwelling with God in prayer. Before we get any closer to the holidays, let's settle it in our hearts and minds that we will make time in our schedules to pray.

If I can add one more suggestion, before you say "Amen," quiet your heart, dwell upon Jesus and prayerfully ponder a promise from the Lord and just listen and be still. Henry Drummond once said, "Ten minutes spent in Christ's presence every day, aye, two minutes, will make the whole day different."

Let's not neglect praying this holiday season. Let's dwell even more in the presence of our Savior!

Blessings to you all,

Parson Jay




October 28, 2014, 5:00 PM

Serving in a Little Place

A certain man after being mightily delivered by Jesus Christ begged Jesus to let him go with Him wherever He was going. Jesus told him 'No.' However, He did have an assignment for this now free man: "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you" (Mark 5:19). It's not what he wanted. Perhaps he had dreams of doing something 'big' for Jesus. What would you do if you found yourself in a similar situation with Christ? Would you obey an assignment from Jesus even if it wasn't what you really desired?  Let the following poem called "My Place" by Eleanor Scott Sharples sink in:

"Father, where shall I work today?"

And my love flowed warm and free.

Then He pointed me out a tiny spot,

And said, "Tend that for me."

I answered quickly, "Oh, no, not there.

Why no one would ever see,

No matter how well my work was done;

Not that little place for me!"

And the words He spoke, it was not stern;

He answered tenderly:

"Ah, little one, search that heart of thine;

Art thou working for them or me?

Nazareth was a little place,

And so was Galilee."

What marvelous truth we find in these words! Let's listen for the Lord's assignment, whether we'd call it big or small. And let's work for Him rather then for them. This Jesus deserves from us and so much more. Go home and tell of the great things Jesus has done for you.

Prayerfully,

Parson Jay
 




October 22, 2014, 10:25 AM

SJBA Annual Meeting 2014

Last night our local San Jacinto Baptist Association held it's annual meeting for 2014. We met at Central Baptist Church in Baytown, Texas. The Theme was: "Now is the Time." Randy Gilchrist shared with us how our nation has been moving further away from God and showed us some grim statistics in relation to our own work in our own area. SJBA consists of 49 total churches with five being African American, 12 being Hispanic, and 32 being Anglo. We have our 26,000 members, average over 7200 in worship attendance, and have over 4500 in Bible studies. These numbers equate to less than 3% of our population. Now is the time. We reported a very meager 399 baptisms over the last year which was down by 148 from the year before. Now is the time. Fellow pastor Jake Porter brought the annual sermon to us from Hebrews 13:8-16. He did a fantastic job at calling us to boldly follow Christ. Now is the time to boldly follow Christ and be about His work. I was excited to hear that our association is calling for a day of unity and solemn assembly amongst our churches on May 7th, 2014. It is to be a day of prayer and fasting and repenting.  The fellowship, the food, the singing were all really good. The challenge to wake up and to boldly follow Christ was even better. Now is the time. Let's get to it.

Prayerfully,

Parson Jay




September 9, 2014, 9:23 AM

Monday was a Ministry Day

Yesterday was a really good ministry day, and it was on a Monday. Sometimes Monday gets a bad rap. But, yesterday Monday was terrific because I had many opportunities to be a blessing to others.

It began with an opportunity to witness to a young married man who came to our church for help with some food. I proceeded to the hospital a little while later to minister to a church member who recently broke his leg/hip area. He's been through a lot and endures a lot of pain on a daily basis. He was jolly and ready to face this new challenge. As I was turning in our church's ACP (annual church profile) to the associational office, I heard of the new plans for this year's Valley Mission Trip. We will be helping with a new church plant!

Then it was time to lead our service in a local nursing home. We were met with a new couple! We don't have many of those in the nursing home ministry. They just moved back to Baytown. They must both be around 85 years old or so and such a delightful couple! We did receive news that one of our regulars in our service there changed his address to heaven this past weekend. We rejoice in the hope of the Lord. He will be missed.

A wonderful personal time of prayer was acheived late in the afternoon. "Just a little talk with Jesus" sure does a help a person! Then my family showed up for us to do some outreach visitation together! We visited an inactive member and her family. We had an initial ministry visit with a older man who is not doing well physically and certainly has spiritual needs. We had a very productive visit with a good prospect. And we finished the night by aiding a family in our church to supply some much needed encouragement and advice.

A good day of ministering to some people may be exactly what you need to find yourself encouraged, renewed and ready to move forward.

Prayerfully,

Parson Jay




August 27, 2014, 11:43 AM

A Sunday School Refresher

Every now and then we all need some sort of a refresher course which calls us back to doing certain things so that we can be more effective. This past Sunday night I attempted to give us a refresher in Sunday School. Here is the list I gave in case you missed it:

1.Spend Time with the Lord each day

If you are going to impact others for Christ, you must first spend time with Christ.

2. Pray for your class specifically

The 'class roll' should be a prayer list for each one in the class.

3. Prepare Well

The best Bible study teachers are the ones who are diligent in preparing to teach. Aim to prepare early in the week. Then you can ponder it as the week continues.

4. Teach to Impact Lives

a.Teach from the Bible

Use the Bible in your classes. Encouage them to bring their Bibles. It should never have to said: "why should I bring my Bible to Sunday School, we never use it!!"

b. Teach for Transformation

Growing in Biblical knowledge is great and should be happening, but life change should also be happening. And that happens as we hear the truth from the Word of God, apply it and obey it.

5. Go the Second Mile

a. Be faithful in attendance and Be EARLY for your class

Being early to greet your class says to them: "You are important and what we do in this hour is important!"

b. Get your rooms ready

The new church year is a good time to throw away those old papers, do some dustin and arranging and spruce up the place!

c. Use technology.

Maybe you can send out an email or text of the main Scripture verses during the week or a thought provoking question that you'll bring up in class that coming Sunday.

You'll need to figure out what else you can do to go the second mile for your class. You can do it!

6. Get the Class Involved

Aim to get everybody in the class in involved, whether it be through bringing a snack, being a prayer leader for the class, a care leader in making contacts, a fellowship organzier, taking the roll, etc. Make sure each person has each other's information, including emails. Emphasize the need for each person to be praying for each other, checking on each other, and inviting others to join in the class.

7. Depend on the Lord

God is able to do immeasureably more than we ask or imagine. Let's pray and work dependly on the Lord and see tremendous progress and growth in our Sunday School in this new church year!

Blessings to you,

Pastor J




July 8, 2014, 9:46 AM

Reflections on SBC Annual Meeting 2014 (Part 2):

I heard 12 sermons on the overall topic of "Show Us Your Glory." Here are the top messages that have stayed with me:
 
1)Ronnie Floyd's sermon from Exodus 32-33. Main point: before you go down the mountain to dwell with the people and attempt to lead the people forward, you must go up the mountain unto the Lord and into His presence.
 
2)James McDonald's sermon from Isaiah 64:1 'Oh, that You would rend the heaven's! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence.' (You'd do well to get the CD). He actually defined what 'oh' means! It's a passionate plea. It's a not polite request. It's asking God to tear the heavens and come down. He related that the mountains are like the condition of most of our churches today. But, what are the mountains in comparison to God?! They quake at His coming! Main point (for me): we absolutely must have God's presence manifested in our lives and churches. God's presence is the solution, not our plans, methods, resources, etc.
 
3)Francis Chan's addendum to his sermon. At the end of his sermon, Francis Chan looked like he had finished what he had planned to say. He went to stand behind the podium, but didn't leave. A number of quiet seconds passed by. He appeared to be deciding whether to say what was on his heart or just stop where he had planned to stop. He related that something was on his heart, and he didn't want it to sound judgmental or mean spirited. He related that he wasn't sensing the response from us that he thought he should be seeing. He said that he felt the same way when he preached two years ago at the SBC pastor's conference. He mused on why this would be the case and at one point stated, "perhaps you are too used to your routines and structures."  That last statement is what stood out to me. Are we so used to and committed to our routines and structures that we fail at seeking God's presence in a deeper way?
 
4)John Meador preached to pastors on the topic of leadership, particularly in the area of evangelism. It was pointed and needed. He even gave an invitation to the pastors to come forward and be prayed over. It was a very moving moment.
 
5)Tom Elliff shared on Sunday afternoon at the WMU meeting. He stated that lostness often disguises itself in the familiar.
 
6)H. B. Charles Jr speaking in regards to the church said that we are not tourists on a tour bus who just happen to be headed in the same direction. Rather we are bound together in gospel partnership.
 
7)Dr. J. D. Greer related how a turning point came in his congregation when he looked at Acts 8 and asked is there much joy in our city because of our church and when he looked at Acts 9 (where Dorcas died) and asked would anyone weep in our community if our church ceased to exist? Tremendous questions on whether our congregations are impacting our communities.
 
Lastly, let me relate a small incident that was greatly meaningful to me. On our Thursday tour of D.C., we finally were at the Lincoln memorial stop. Angie and I had been looking forward to seeing it and were excited about it. I noticed when we came back to the bus to leave that the tour guide was sitting on a bench, with an umbrella over her head for comfort and was reading a book. She had seen the Lincoln memorial and the Vietnam memorial and all the other sites. She wasn't excited about it any longer. She was caught up in lesser things. How many of us who have been Christians and ministers for so long have become just like that tour guide? God's Word, prayer, worship, sharing the gospel and yes God himself shouldn't be taken for granted. Getting caught up anew in God's presence and in the things of God would tremendously affect our lives, our churches and our communities. Blessings to you,
Parson Jay



July 7, 2014, 11:00 AM

Reflections on SBC Annual Meeting 2014

Now that some time has passed, I would like to reflect on my experience at the SBC 2014 annual meeting. It was held in Baltimore, MD, and my wife Angie was with me. Any trip which allows me to get away with my wife is going to be a good trip! We went to an O's baseball game, visited Baltimore's inner harbor, visited Fort McHenry, toured Washington DC and went back to see Arlington National Cemetary, the Iowa Jima memorial and Mt. Vernon. It felt like we experienced every means of transportation as well. It was a wonderful, marriage enriching trip. The SBC meeting and pastor's conference was equally as fabulous.
 
None of the business was earth-shattering to me (that doesn't mean the business conducted was unimportant). The president's race was very close. Ronnie Floyd was narrowly elected. He is a deep man of prayer and seems to be the right man at the right time.
 
What stood out to me most were the times of prayer. Both during the SBC annual meeting and the pastor's conference, there were moments of prayer in which we literally got on our knees for prayer. I don't recall this ever happening in one of my church's business meetings?! One of these moving moments of prayer took place following or during Russell Moore's ERLC report. He spoke in regards to the Greens of Hobby Lobby and to Saeed Abedini (read on it here: https://erlc.com/article/russell-moore-leads-tribute-to-green-family-of-hobby-lobby-and-saeed-abedin ). A few thousand SBCer's prayed together.
 
Perhaps the most interesting moment was Paige Patterson's report on SWBTS because he had to address why he admitted a Muslim to the seminary as a student. He first apologized. I think he was apologizing for this issue being an interruption to such a fabulous, prayerful meeting. His apology seemed extremely sincere to me. He went on to give some reasons on why he allowed this fellow as a student (he needs to find salvation in Christ) and some history of him having allowed such a thing in other institutions. He then explained in his own way that he will have to stand before the Lord one day and give an account of his actions in regards to this Muslim student. He did what he could in leading him to Christ. What I took away from it was the example of Paige Patterson's leadership.  He took full responsibility. He sincerely apologized. But, his greater obligation is to the Lord Jesus Christ. He broke some rules with the motive of leading a man to Christ. (Dr. Akin followed up Paige Patterson's report by saying that he doesn't have to apologize to him...a real cool moment).
 
It was a tremendously, fabulous meeting which was beyond words for me. In my next blog, I'll relate some thoughts on a few of the sermons which I heard.
 
Prayerfully,
Parson Jay



May 19, 2014, 11:40 AM

Are You In The Ministry?

A simple game involving an upside-down bike helmet and wadded up pieces of paper (each with various colored letters on them) resulted in the children unscrambling four words: Ministry Is Meeting Needs.

The children then learned about Dr. Perry and Tonya Hancock who minister in Louisiana. Tonya works with the Christian Women's Job Corps whereas Perry is the president of the Louisiana Baptist Children's Home. It was found that they minister to ladies, to children and in all sorts of various ways.

The children were then divided into two groups: boys and girls. Each had different Bible story involving ministry (Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 10:25-37). They were assigned to read it and to find the negative and the positive in the story. The boys told how some failed to minister by not caring for the sick, by not clothing the needy, by not visiting those in prison and so forth. Those that pleased the Lord did these acts of ministry. The girl group reported that one guy once was beaten up! Two guys passed him up. One guy, the good Samaritan, helped him and cared for him.

The children then took a sheet of paper, folded it and wrote their names on the front and on the inside. Then they passed their papers to each other. Each child wrote something encouraging on each of the other notes. You can imagine how thrilled they were to get their own papers back and read all the notes of encouragement. They were learning to minister to one another.

Jesus went about doing good. He ministered in all sorts of places to all sorts of people with all sorts of needs. Ministry opportunities abound! Ask God to give you a heart for people. Be mindful of the people around you. Then, if you will start meeting some of their needs in the name of Jesus, you will be ministering. Sometimes we refer to pastors as 'being in the ministry.' All of God's children are to 'be in the ministry.' Start today!

Prayerfully,

Parson Jay


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