Pastor’s Pen

Romans 13:11-12  And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Contrary to the spiritual shift seen across the globe, God calls us to understand the present time and NOT ignore its reality in an apathetic or lethargic manner. I have read several recent articles that express that the focus of the American church has moved to a non-prophetic view, a here and now worldview without a view of how what one does today effects their eternal future.

Let’s define some terms from the of the above passage:

understanding = eidō: knowing, to see literally and figuratively, the perfect tense of to know, be aware, behold, consider, look, perceive.

present = ēdē: even now, already, by this time.

time = kairos: occasion, set or proper time, always, opportunity, due season.

the hour has come = hōra: it is high time, day, instant, season, eventide

wake up = egeirō: through the idea of collecting one’s faculties, rouse from sleep – sitting – lying – disease – death – obscurity – inactivity – ruins – stand – take up.

slumber = hupnos: (where we get our English word hypnosis from) through the idea of deep – sleep – spiritual lethargy.

put aside = apotithēmi: cast off, lay aside – down

deeds = ergon: toil, effort, occupation, act labor, work

darkness = skotos: shadiness, obscurity, error, adumbration – that is done in the shadows

armor = hoplon: to be busy about, implement, offensive utensil or tool for war, weapon

light = phōs: to shine, manifest, illumination, fire
 

So, when you put all the meanings together, and look at the context of the passage, God is telling us that we are to know exactly what is going on in this age, and that it is not a time to coast spiritually, and it is the season of our salvation (rescue

and deliverance) is very near. One cannot afford to be asleep spiritually, to treat prophecy with contempt or in a light manner. And as many passages indicate, working out our salvation with fear and trembling, being about the Master’s business, living as though Christ will come back at any moment, watching, and guarding. Since this is true, no longer should incognito iniquity be part of a believer’s life; rather, the believer should shun shadiness and even be on the offense in the war of the world on souls… in fact one should be shining, manifesting and full of Holy Spirit fire, all the more, as the Day of the Lord draws near.

As a very dear friend and sister in Christ used to say “I have questions”… I do, and so here they are:

What are you doing to take of the deeds of darkness, to come out of the shadows, and step into the light, to be the light, and to live the light?

How does the knowledge of Christ’s return compel you? I mean – are you so deep in spiritual sleep that you cannot hear the Spirit’s leading?

How on fire for the LORD, His Word, His work are you?

Do you understand the times? Or do you hold God’s Prophetic Word in contempt?

Well, I hope this wake’s you up and gets you ready for THE day, for the night is far spent and the Son is coming!

By Jesus’ Grace and Light,

Pastor Daren


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Upcoming Events for May

May   5 – Potluck

May   7 – CED Meeting

May   8 – NO Classes

              – Praise & Worship With GCA 7 pm

May 12 – Time for Prayer during fellowship

May 14 – Stewardship Meeting

May 18 – Men’s Breakfast at 8:30 am

              – Community Lady’s Brunch at 10:30 am

May 19 – FBC Women’s Meeting during fellowship

May 21 – Spiritual Ministry Meeting

May 26 – Medical Missions during fellowship

 – Movie Night

May 28 – Servant Leadership Meeting
 
 
You can find the full calendar here.

 


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Pastor’s Pen by Pastor D. L. Barnett

There are many controversies among believers today. It seems that everywhere one turns, offence and defense abound. Argument and opinion have taken the driver’s seat; while the Word and the Spirit have been put in the back seat – and some have even strapped them in the restraints of the car seat. Why is this contention among God’s people?

It boils down to four reasons: The Gospel, The Christian Life, The End Times, and Scoffers following their own minds. Maybe you’re asking yourself, as I have, how could any true Christian quarrel over the Gospel, or living the Christian life, the promises of prophecy in the End Times or and Scoffers following their own minds?

It starts in the heart and mind! Presumption of heart condition and preconceived notions in mindset, apart from deep Bible study and diligence in prayer, is put in place of the truth – that is “my truth” has been exchanged for The Truth of God and His Word. It is parroted theology, closed eyes and deaf ears, and an unwillingness to get outside one’s own interpretations.

In Scriptural fact, let me share the following passages that states what was just read above:

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Pet. 1:19-21)

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” (2 Pet. 3:3-4)

 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, (1 Cor. 15:1-4)

 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears.  (Zec. 7:11)  

 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ (Matt. 13:15) 

As one can see, or at least I hope so, the Biblical evidence is overwhelming that even people, who claim to be God’s people, stop up their ears, close their eyes, scoff and get their spiritual priorities out of order.

Since, the first issue of concern I raised was the controversy among believers, here are a few recent realities, events, happenings and discussions that have been circling the Christian news cycle, that are causing disunity – based on what our personal views are about them; and dare I say not looking to the whole counsel of God, but on what parts we prefer:

– The upcoming eclipse in April 2024

– The war in Israel and Gaza

– The apostacy of Christians

– The breakdown of Christian families

– The rise of paganism in society

– The red heifers and animal sacrifice

– The firing of Candace Owens from Daily Wire

– The funding of Ukraine by the U.S.

– The inflation and shrinkflation in the world economy

– The number of natural disasters increasing

– The agendas of powers, principalities, rulers of the world

– The amount of deception in the media

– The rise of violence and persecution of Christians

– The difficulty of the times in which we live

– The technology, A.I. and the 4th Industrial Revolution

– The Green Movement and Climate Change

– The undermining of national governments

– And yes, vaccines are still an issue

These are just a few (though that is a lot)…. And in Christian circles, people are arguing over whether we really are in the end times, whether or not the signs of the times are actually prophetic, whether or not one should just preach the Gospel and not touch on Bible prophecy, some even focus so much on the 1/3rd of prophetic future found in the Bible that the other 2/3rd’s are ignored.

I would like to try and help us get a grip and quit griping about one another, and stop. Be still. Not letting“bitter roots” grow (See Hebrews 12). Check ourselves at the door of the Word of God. Listen to what “The Spirit” is saying to the Church today (See Revelation 2-3).

Biblically speaking on issue of disagreements –  they are bound to rise, as Paul said – led by the Holy Spirit, “For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.” (1 Cor. 11:18-19); God has called us to unity in the one Lord, one baptism, one faith and one Spirit. (See Eph. 4)

Again, I have said it beforeI refuse to ignore the warnings, the signs, the necessity to watch, guard and stand in our age!!

As Jesus Himself said, “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

 And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:25-36)

There is a rebuke that Jesus gave that tells us hypocrites pay attention to the weather but not the time in which we live – along with not seeing the spiritual climate of this age and signs of the times.

He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? (Luke 12:54-56) 

He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. (Matt. 16:2-3)

 So, why am I sharing all this…. We are not immune to controversy. I am hoping and praying that the controversies we discuss and are a part of, are God honoring, Biblically grounded and Spirit led. I am asking and anticipating that God will convict each of us, in the area of controversy we each are prone or drawn to, to consider if we place to much emphasis on one and not enough on the other. Let’s let “man sharpen man as iron sharpens iron” (See Pro. 27:17). Let’s set our “self” aside and seek the LORD, study His Word, heed His Spirit. Then, as the issues fade in the light of the Scriptures, offence and argument will dissipate and The Truth will prevail. After all, are we not all on the same journey with Jesus? Isn’t what He says on these matters more important than any man’s opinion about it? One day, we will see the LORD, we will know that He is right, and we will understand where we were wrong.

Therefore, I close with this:

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. (1 Cor. 1:10)

 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col. 3:16-17) 

 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. (2 Cor. 13:8)

By Jesus’ Grace,

In Brotherly Love,

For the Truth,

 

 


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Why Do I Need to Pray

When I consider the omniscience (all knowingness) of God, it has always seemed to me there is little need for prayer.   So, if God has always known our thoughts, needs, desires and concerns since  the beginning of time….Why do I need to pray?

Scripture tells us to “pray continually” (1 Thess 5:17) and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Eph. 6:18).

One consideration is, we are children of God, part of His royal family.  God, like all good parents, wishes to hear the thoughts and desires of His children, even though He knows what those thoughts and intents are.  Just like most parents, it is a general desire for God to address the problems and wants of His children and respond with either yes, no, or wait.

 Therefore, because God knows everything, He knows our prayers. Just as He hears our salvation prayer, when we trust in the faith the reality of the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross, when we believe Jesus is God incarnate (the God/man) – Jesus elects (choses and calls) us to His purpose (Romans 8:28-30 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”) long before mankind was created (Ephesians 1:4-5 “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—”).

Because of this – isn’t it reassuring to know that God hears our prayers long before we bow our heads….

By Mitch Jenkins, Spiritual Ministry Team Member

 


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April Upcoming Events

April   2 – CED Meeting

April   7 – Potluck

April   9 – Stewardship Meeting

April 13 – Church Cleanup/Adopt a Highway @ 9 am

April 14 – Time for Prayer during fellowship

April 16 – Spiritual Ministry Meeting

April 20 – Men’s Breakfast at 8:30 am

April 21 – FBC Women’s Meeting during fellowship April 28 – Medical Missions during fellowship

  – Movie Night

April 30 – Newsletter Deadline

 
You can find the full calendar here.

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Pastor’s Pen

What Do You Say?

Ephesians 4:29  “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

It is so easy to let words fly off our tongues and spew out of our mouths unchecked and unthought of…. We are all guilty of this, and I often – more than most. The above verse hit me like a semi skidding into a jackknifed position against oncoming traffic! Why? Well, I have noticed a terrible trend among believers today – with the need to stand up and speak truth, we have forgotten the need to “be gentle and patient, able to teach – even when we have been wronged.” And, for some ungodly reason, we feel it is a right to fly off the handle without regard of the damage it does to those listening – not just the one who needed a good stern rebuke, but the on listeners that are in earshot of the conversations.

So we understand what is meant here by Paul, as the Lord led him, through the Holy Spirit to write to the Ephesians, here are the definitions of some terms in the above verse:

Corrupt Communication = rotten – worthless – putrefied thoughts – talk – topics – reasoning – motives – expressions

Building Up = architecture, structure, confirmation, edifying

That it May Give = ministers – brings forth – delivers – yields

What we say can hinder instead of help, how we say things can corrupt instead of correct. In fact, the statement indicates that it should be building conversation that brings an edifice of strong faith.

Building up or building in general has a few steps. For instance, a plan needs to be made. Then the materials need to be collected. Of course, you begin to lay the groundwork and the foundation. If a brick, block, or board is off or wrong, it needs removed. Then a resuming of building commences. Along the way, one needs to inspect and check and recheck each angle, each measurement, each level needs assessed. And there is an order of each step, or you get ahead of the building process and things get out of whack.

 

Same goes for the right kind of discourses and discussions. There are times to lay the foundation, to check the materials, to take out the mismeasurements of terms and premises, and certainly the tones and motives. Some edifying means some correcting and confrontation that will build back the right way and set the right direction.

I think you get the picture. So, what should we do then and how should we say what needs said? It is rather simple – if it lines up with the Scriptures, the Truth and the Holy Spirit – then say it in a grace giving way…. And if it comes from anything else – don’t say it.

Besides, this passage goes along with a parallel Scripture that is even more pointed:

Ephesians 5:3-4  But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

So – let’s consider what we say and not speak carelessly, let’s say what needs said and avoid what doesn’t and remember to be holy in our conversation and not horrid with our mouth – after all, what we say, says a lot about our hearts…. And some things just should not be said, let alone thought and harbored like a ship in our hearts.

 

By Jesus’ Grace,
Pastor Daren

 


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Sing to the Lord ~ By Ann Krause, Spiritual Ministry Team Member

We’ve all heard of the power of music to the human spirit – the positivity of music to children’s development and I’ve personally experienced the power of music to an individual as they prepared for their last breath and meeting their savior face to face. Music allow us to jointly affirm Jesus’ place in our lives or His saving grace in times of conflict and confusion.
 
As we gather together and are preparing our hearts; as we wait for worship to begin – page through the hymnal and peruse the messages of hope, love, forgiveness, freedom in Christ, perseverance , revival, grace – the list goes on.
 
Our voices rise up to God as He reaches down to us for our daily needs. Our God is so good – so righteous – so merciful. (I think there’s a song for that.)
 
Whether you enjoy the foundational music of the faith or the contemporary praise songs of today – God has inspired people to write it in the “form of therapy to our souls.” Physically our body changes- lower heart rate, lower blood pressure and stress hormones – elevation of mood and dopamine and hormones to help us relax. Add to that, tonal qualities of music, the words of scripture and our ability to memorize the Word of God, all are enhanced.
 
Perhaps there is a reason the birds sing, the frogs croak, the honey bee buzzes- it’s to remind us there is a pulse of creation, to remind us of God’s presence – NOT to worship those things but to be mindful of the presence of God in His creation and in our world that surrounds us.
 
Whether you raise your voice in song and your soul with praise – carry His word in your heart, His love in your words, His service in your hands, His forgiveness in your attitude. Carry Christ with you – carry Christ in the music of your soul – and sing to the Lord a new song each day

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March Upcoming Events

Mar. 10 – Missions Committee & Prayer Group @ 11:30 am

Mar. 12 – Stewardship Team Meating @ 7 pm

Mar. 14 – Museum Goulash Supper 5 – 7 pm

Mar. 16 – Men’s Breakfast @ 8:30 am

Mar. 17 – FBC Women’s Ministry @ 11:30 am

                – Medical Missions @ 11:30 am

Mar. 19 – Spiritual Ministry Meeting @ 7 pm

Mar. 24 – Wbgo Ambulance Breakfast 8:30 am -12:30 pm

               – Movie Night @ 6 pm

Mar. 26 – Deadline for Newsletter

 
For full calendar click here.

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Pastor’s Pen

Well – on occasion one runs across something simple yet deeply profound… as we are getting ready to study spiritual warfare and the devils devices through the C.S. Lewis’ “The Screw Tape Letters” (and of course the Scriptures) I thought I would simply share a devotional I recently read about Stephen the martyr:

He Only Had Eyes for God

“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, hardly noticed — he only had eyes for God!” (Acts 7:55 The Message)

“But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55 ESV)

It is one of the great, dramatic moments in Scripture — Stephen giving his defense before the High Court of Israel. His presentation was masterful and respectful. His recall of history was exact and compelling. The case he presented was flawless and clear.

But as he spoke he saw the smug indifference etched deep into the faces of his judges. Their hearts were hardened by pride, their eyes blinded by bigotry. Stephen, realizing that nothing he could say was going to change their prejudice, shifted gears and got straight to the point.

“You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears!” he cried. “You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!”

As any student of the pugilist arts knows, no champion ever relies on a single punch to knock out his opponent. No, he peppers him with jabs, rocks him with a one-two combination, and then drops the bomb – a left hook and a blinding overhand right. BAM! Stephen does the same.

While the council was reeling from his stunning indictment, Stephen continued, “Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute?”

Before they could compose themselves to reply in religious double-speak, he delivered the knockout blow – “Just as your fathers killed those who told us that the Messiah would come, now you, their sons, have betrayed and murdered the very Messiah Himself!”

The Bible says, ” Now when they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.” One translations puts it this way, “At that point they went wild, a rioting mob of catcalls and whistles and invective.” We are then told, “At this the council members covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.”

Amazing, isn’t it, the depth of evil that lurks in the hearts of religious people? From the moment Cain murdered Abel, religion has found no other way but violence to force its claims against those with whom it disagrees.

Oh how quickly those esteemed as holy and impartial judges turn to nothing more than a band of alley thugs. What craziness in the courtroom. What absurdity in the assembly of the astute. What rage erupting from the righteous…..excuse me, I mean to say the religious! For righteous and religious are not one in the same. Indeed, they have nothing in common. One is true, the other false. One is freedom, the other is bondage. One is kind, the other cruel. One is from God, the other comes straight out of hell.

But now, set in sharp relief against this dark backdrop, get the point of our opening text: “Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, hardly noticed — he only had eyes for God!”

Oh how quickly those esteemed as holy and impartial judges turn to nothing more than a band of alley thugs. What craziness in the courtroom. What absurdity in the assembly of the astute. What rage erupting from the righteous…..excuse me, I mean to say the religious! For righteous and religious are not one in the same. Indeed, they have nothing in common. One is true, the other false. One is freedom, the other is bondage. One is kind, the other cruel. One is from God, the other comes straight out of hell.

But now, set in sharp relief against this dark backdrop, get the point of our opening text: “Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, hardly noticed — he only had eyes for God!”

Wow. How wonderful it must be to “hardly notice” the dumb, outrageous, banal, and vindictive attacks of the devil through people and circumstances around us. What is the key? How did Stephen manage to remain so detached? The word says, “he only had  eyes for God!”

O Lord, give me eyes only for you!

My prayer for our study is this – that each of us would look to Stephen’s example! To be able to stand in the face of devil’s devices and keep our eyes on Jesus…. Come what may from the fiery fury of hell’s cohorts; you and I will be found faithful to the finish and finish well!

tempters will try
devils will lie
though they ply
we may die
 
yet they will lose
God sees us through
don’t give into the ruse
stand strong in the truth
 
little foxes will chew
to try and outwit you
to the Word be true
God sees us through
 
no twist or trick
need make you trip
for in Christ Jesus
the devils you’ll whip

Fighting the Good Fight,

 


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Striving to be Christ-Like

As Christians we should work every day to be more like Christ.  I know that this is easier said than done; after all, we are only human. We are sinful by nature, and many of us lack self-control, especially when we get angry.    A good example of this is being quick with the tongue and saying things we shouldn’t out of frustration or anger.  I am guilty of this because I let anger get the best of me.  Now, I have gotten better over the years, but it still happens on occasion. 

Now add a two-year-old.  They’re like little sponges soaking up everything they see and hear- listening and repeating what you say.  Often times I don’t think we realize how bad the things we say or do are, when in the presence of other adults, but it hits you pretty hard when an innocent child repeats your words or actions. It becomes very clear just how far from Christ-like you’re acting and how poor of an example you’re setting for them.  In Proverbs 22 vs 6 it says, “teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  That’s a good reminder that as parents it’s even more important to be more Christ-like as the little ones are always watching.  We should also exemplify the fruits of the spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

So, my prayer, for myself and anyone else who needs it, is that we remember that the little ones are watching and listening and we must make a great effort every day to be more like Christ. 

 

Andrew Hervey

Spiritual Ministry Team Member

 


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