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Pastor Tommy Devotional: Delight in the Lord Jesus!   Recently updated !

Delight yourself also in the Lord; and he shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noon-day. (Psalm 37:4-6)

Pastor Tommy reminds us of the most wondrous gift any Christian can have: “Delight in the Lord Jesus!”

“The Psalms,” he said, “help us delight in the ultimate King of the universe!”

Zoar Strict Baptist Chapel in the hamlet of Lower Dicker in the English county of East Sussex. Founded in 1837.

Similarly, more than 150 years ago, Pastor Joseph Charles Philpot, preaching at Zoar Chapel, reminded his congregation of the close and intimate connection between the humbling teachings of God in the heart and our delighting ourselves in him.

Take time to read these Psalms. Turn the words into prayers of delight. We can do this because he has forgiven our sins and because he has given us eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

 


Pastor Sam Bennett Devotional: The Foundation of Christian Faith

In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will. (John 16:16)

First he is here. Then he is not. We ask, why do the messages seem contradictory? Why can’t faith be simple? What is the foundation of my faith?

Yet, Jesus said…

It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. (Acts 1:7)

a-strong-towerPatience is the key. Writing about the truth of Easter, Marcus Borg, Professor of Religion at Oregon State University, tells us, “The remarkable congruence between the way that he taught and the way his life ended means that he himself becomes the incarnation [the embodiment] of the Way.”

During his time on earth Jesus was faithful. He forged a new path for us — a path leading directly to him. Professor Borg continues, “He died at Passover, when the Passover lambs were sacrificed; and he died in Jerusalem, the location of the temple and sacrifice.”

It was poetry — his crucifixion and death. In time and space, a stark contrast and alternative to existing religious law, freeing the Jews (and later Christians) from physical sacrifice and the officials who impeded a one-on-one loving relationship with the Father.

Then, after death, Jesus was faithful in his return to move his Kingdom forward. Step back and be amazed. Not in our time but in his, the foundation of his love and promise is strong. Our faith and redemption are built on the solid foundation of his love and sacrifice. Indeed, he is a strong and mighty tower.

And on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:18)


Growing in Service: Tanner Besosa Blogs from BMW

but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)

AIDS Orphans 5K Run

AIDS Orphans 5K Run

In high school, my service for Christ had more to do with a sense of duty, and so it came from a heart that “had to” instead of “getting to.”

This also made service something that was easy for me—fitting in my time slots. The focus was on doing more of jobs that I like and activities that made me feel like I’ve fulfilled my duty.

A Changing Perspective

Now, when I serve, the Lord has taught me that I get to serve Him. It is a lot different now. It’s a joy and a honor to do work for Him.

Now, I seek out times to serve the Lord. Lately outside of my BMW (Florida Free Bible, Mission, & Work Training Center) ministries, I’ve been helping run a youth group in a small church, right down the road from the Teen Missions base. In addition to the usual BMW ministries, I’ve been working at the Teen Missions property helping get things ready for their yearly mud run to help orphans afflicted by aids in Africa (photo).

I hope this series of blogs has added to your knowledge of BMW and my experience there. I’ve enjoyed sharing my experiences.

Stay well,

Tanner

 

Previous posts in this series

The Freedom Challenge

Goals, Now and After College

The Diversity Challenge

The Time Challenge

The Challenge of Peer Pressure 

 

 

 


Pastor Sam Bennett Devotional: Wave the White Flag

Mark 13 tells the parable of the sower. The farmer scattered some seeds on good soil, some on the path, some on rocky soil, some among the thorns.

The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Mark 13:20-23)

Yet, where each seed lands is beyond its control. How might seed on rocky soil experience everlasting joy? How does seed on the path not become trampled? Is there any way that a seed among the thorns might still be fruitful? Are they doomed?

The answer lies not around us, but within us. Contrary to our natural inclination, surrender is the first step to safe passage toward a joyful and fruitful life. Full surrender is an act of love to Christ.

Inside our scared exterior is just someone who wants to be loved. And there’s no greater love than the Lord.

The first step is ours to take. So, wave your white flag.


What Does Peter Teach Us?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Jesus and Peter on and in the stormy seaChristian life is an ongoing battle of the sinful flesh against the new nature given by Christ. We know the enemy.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

To win this battle we must be skilled in using our weapons.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

A closer look at our tools is described here thanks to John O. Reid writing on The Berean website.

Love: Outgoing concern for others. True concern for all of mankind. Not being self-centered. Doing for others what is right, despite their character, appearance, social status, etc. (I Corinthians 13).

Joy: Related to happiness, only happiness requires right circumstances where joy does not. Jesus Christ felt joy though He faced heavy trials (Hebrews 12:2). We should all be joyful having been called by God.

Peace: Peace of mind and peace with God (Philippians 4:6-7).

Longsuffering: Bearing with others who are working out their salvation. Being slow to anger (Romans 15:1; Luke 21:19).

Kindness: Behaving toward others kindly, as God has behaved toward us (Ephesians 4:31-32).

Goodness: Generosity of spirit that springs from imitating Jesus Christ (Psalm 33:4-5).

Faithfulness: Being reliable. This describes a person who is trustworthy and will always stand up for God’s way. We can count on, and should work at imitating, the faithfulness of God (Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 13:5).

Gentleness: Considerate and tactful in conduct and correction. Never angry at the wrong time (Matthew 5:22-24; Ephesians 4:26).

Self-Control: Discipline which gives us victory over the wrong pulls of our mind and body (I John 2:15-17).

As with all tools it takes time and experience to use them well. Hammers will hit your thumb. Crayons will draw outside the line. Sewing needles will prick your finger.

Never be discouraged. Pick up and start over. In this, Peter the Apostle may be our best example.

 


Pastor Sam Bennett Devotional: Circumstances and Contentment

You make known to me the path of life;  you will fill me with joy in your presence,  with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)

Ancius Boethius (born: circa 475–7 AD, died: 526? AD)

Ancius Boethius was living the good life. He was born in sixth-century Rome to an ancient and prominent family, which included emperors and many consuls (the highest elected office of the Roman Republic). He himself served on the royal court as a highly skilled politician until his career ended abruptly when he was convicted of treason, put in prison, and executed.

As he sat in those bleak surroundings, Boethius recognized that our view of changing circumstances is a personal choice. In his book titled The Consolation of Philosophy he wrote, “Nothing is miserable, but what is thought so, and contrariwise, every estate is happy if he that bears it be content.” (more…)


BCBC Preschool: Time to Register for Fall Classes

…in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:12)

Christian Preschool at Bent Creek Baptist Church offers a loving and secure space where children develop socially, emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually in a Bible-based program run by a dedicated and loving staff.

It’s time to register for BCBC Preschool this fall.

We offer half-day classes for 3- and 4-year-olds. Call 828-667-1778. And check us out on Facebook.

What do parents say about BCBC Preschool?

5 stars: Not only do I love this preschool and all the great teachings. My granddaughter loves it and really wants to go everyday. That says a lot for the instructors.  (Kellie Case Whittemore)

5 stars: Both my children and my grandson attended preschool at Bent Creek — a first class mission work!   (Joe Belcher)

 


ABCCM Requests Donations of Food

And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” (Luke 3:11)

ABCCM (Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry) is requesting donations of cooking oil, sugar, canned meat such as chicken and tuna, salt, jelly, and jam in support of its assistance program for the poor.

ABCCM helps our neighbors in need, combining public funds and with local contributions to meet critical needs. You can learn more about ABCCM here.

The BCBC Young at Heart Sunday School Class will have a collection area in its classroom and will deliver all the items collected. If you are able to donate any of these items, or other things that could be used to help provide food for the homeless or those in need, please bring them to the BCBC Worship Center.  This is a continuing project sponsored by the class.


Fellowship Begins With an Invitation

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. (Mark 16:15)

FellowshipIn his book, Evangelism in the Early Church, Michael Green reminds us that when Jesus was crucified there were only 11 men left to carry on his work and bring the gospel to the entire world!

Undistinguished, poorly educated, and with no influential supporters, they were nobodies living in a second-class province on the Roman frontier.

How could they possibly succeed? And yet, they did. By one estimate, Christianity grew from about 1,000 believers in 40 AD to 5 to 8 million in 300 AD — a growth rate of 40% per decade and the dominant religion of the Roman Empire! Today, Christianity is the world’s largest religion, with about 2 billion followers.

The rise of a secular judgmental culture challenges our efforts to spread the Good News. When it comes to discipleship, today’s church-going American Protestants often struggle in their efforts to share Christ with non-Christians. A recent survey of 2,930 Protestant churchgoers in the US revealed that a majority agreed it’s their duty to share their faith. Yet, over the preceding six months just 25% had shared their faith once or twice, 14% had shared at least three times.

The survey also asked how many times they personally “invited an unchurched person to attend a church service or some other program” at their church in the last six months?

  • 48% of church attendees responded, “zero”
  • 33% had personally invited someone one or two times
  • 19% at least three invitations

Inviting someone to join you in attending church is probably the easiest form of outreach. And it may be one of the most effective based on the findings from a survey of 15,000 Americans who were asked to list the best of 13 approaches when a church wants to be heard.

Getting them to visit a church:

  • 67%: a personal invitation from a family member would be very/somewhat effective
  • 63%: a personal invitation from a friend or neighbor would be very/somewhat effective

Get them to receive information about a local congregation or faith community:

  • 63%: very/somewhat willing when it comes from a family member
  • 56%: very/somewhat willing when it comes from a friend or neighbor

Bent Creek Baptist has a history of commitment to missions and community outreach. As we gear up to increase our efforts it might be best to remember that a simple straightforward invitation to come to church is one of our best God-given tools.

That said, please consider this an invitation to our neighbors living in the Bent Creek area, as well as residents in Buncombe and Henderson Counties to join us for Sunday worship service at 11 am.


In His Will is Our Peace

One day after Easter we remember the secret of true discipleship—we are subject to the will of Christ, and we know that, as Dante says, “In His will is our peace.”

 

Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica

Michelangelo’s Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica

My future I can leave;

safe in Thy care;

I place it in Thy hand

and leave it there.

It is so sweet to feel

My whole life long

Thy loving plan for me

Cannot go wrong.

I know that thou wilt choose

The best for me,

And I can be at rest,

And trust in thee!

 

Griffith Thomas, W. H. (2016-12-29). The Apostle John: Studies in His Life and Writings (Kindle Locations 951-958). CrossReach Publications. Kindle Edition.


Passion Week: The Resurrection of Christ

Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

The Empty Tomb by George Richardson

The Empty Tomb by George Richardson

This is the last in a BCBC in Action series remembering Christ’s final earthly days.

Day 8: Easter Sunday

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important event of the Christian faith — the foundation of all Christian doctrine is based on the truth of this event.

Early Sunday morning Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna, and Salome go to the tomb and discover that the large stone covering the tomb’s entrance was rolled away.

There’s an earthquake. As the guards shake and become like dead men, an angel proclaims…

“Don’t be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.” (Matthew 28:5-6)

Learning of the event, John and Peter run to the tomb. Peter enters and sees the linen cloth and a neatly folded handkerchief. Among Jews of the time a master let his servants know whether he was finished eating or coming back to the table by the way he left his cloth napkin. If he tossed it aside, he was finished. If he folded it, he would return.

The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. (John 20:7)

On the day of his resurrection, Jesus Christ makes at least five appearances. The first person to see him is Mary Magdalene.

she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John 20:11-18)

Jesus then appears to Peter, then to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and later that day to all of the disciples, except Thomas, while they gathered in a house for prayer.

After that he was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that he was seen by James, then by all the apostles. (1 Corinthians 15:5-7)

These eyewitness accounts in the Gospels offer undeniable evidence that, in deed, the resurrection of Jesus Christ happened. However, the resurrection of Jesus is not our ticket to “abundant life” in this age. Today, we die. In the age to come, we live. As Jesus said to Martha…

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 25-6)

Do you believe this?

Click here to begin reading this series with Day 1: Palm Sunday.


Passion Week: Holy Saturday

Peace be with you. (John 20:19)

Joseph of Arimathea providing a tomb for Jesus’s body

Joseph of Arimathea providing a tomb for Jesus’s body

This is seventh post in a BCBC in Action series remembering Christ’s final earthly days.

Day 7: Holy Saturday

After the crucifixion, with hopes dashed, undoubtedly Jesus’ followers questioned all that happened during the past 2 years.

It’s been said that faith isn’t something that arises after moments of understanding. Rather, faith is what you cling to when understanding and reason lay dead.

Faith is what Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea showed during those dark hours of Holy Saturday.

They were closet followers of Jesus, as well as members of the Sanhedrin, the court that condemned Jesus Christ to death. Before this day they were too fearful to publicly profess their faith because of their prominent positions in the Jewish community. Now, deeply affected by Christ’s death, they come forward and risk their reputations and lives because they realize Jesus was, indeed, the long-awaited Messiah.

Joseph asks Pilate for the body of Jesus… With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. (John 19:38-40)

The Pharisees, on the other hand, are uneasy. They remember what Jesus said.

Jesus answered and said unto them destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. (John 2:19-21)

They turn to Pilate.

“Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” (Matthew 27:62-64)

And Pilate responds.

“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. (Matthew 27:65)

Through growing faith Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea play their role in the Passion. In contrast, the Pharisees, who just a few hours earlier engineered the death or Jesus, are now powerless to block the unfolding events. Not even Roman guards can help them.

Tomorrow: Easter Sunday

Click here to begin reading this series with Day 1: Palm Sunday.



Passion Week: Good Friday

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:1-5)

This is the sixth in a BCBC in Action series remembering Christ’s final earthly days.

Day 6: Good Friday

Yes, it’s Friday, but as Pastor S. M. Lockridge tells us, Sunday is a comin’.

 

Praise the Lord!

What a mighty God we serve. Amen? Amen!

 

Tomorrow: Jesus in the Tomb

Click here to begin reading this series with Day 1: Palm Sunday.


Passion Week: The Last Supper

I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. (John 13:16)

The Last Supper. Leonardo da Vinci (1494–1499)

The Last Supper. Leonardo da Vinci (1494–1499)

This is the fifth in a BCBC in Action series remembering Christ’s final earthly days.

Day 5: The Last Supper

While at Bethany in the morning, Jesus sends Peter and John to Jerusalem to prepare the Passover. Later, Jesus comes from Bethany into Jerusalem to eat the Passover with the Twelve.

On the road, the Disciples argue about greatness. But greatness is serving, as Jesus shows by washing the disciples’ feet, beginning with Peter who is sitting at the last place at the table.

Then, he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:5)

This day, which has been called “Maundy Thursday” or “Holy Thursday” commemorates this act of service that took place during the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles and the command Jesus gave them to love and serve one another.

Jesus says one among them will betray him. He dips bread and hands it to Judas, who took first place at the table. After Judas leaves, Jesus breaks bread and lifts a cup of wine, signifying his broken body and blood.

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28)

Around the table, Jesus predicts Peter’s (and all of the disciples’) denial.

Peter is adamant.

“Even though all may fall away because of you, I will never fall away… Even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you.” All the disciples said the same thing too. (Matthew 26:33, 35)

Jesus answers.

“Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” (Matthew 26:34)

Jesus tells them not to worry.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that here I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)

Later, Jesus and the disciples leave the Upper Room and go to the Garden of Gethsemane. Here, Jesus prays in agony to God the Father.

“his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44)

Late that evening in Gethsemane, Jesus is betrayed with a kiss by Judas Iscariot and arrested by the Sanhedrin. He’s taken to the home of Caiaphas, the High Priest, where the council has gathered to begin making their case against Jesus.

Meanwhile, in the early morning hours as Jesus’ trial is getting underway, Peter denies knowing his Master once, twice, and then three times. The rooster crows.

One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed. (John 18:27)

Tomorrow: Good Friday

Click here to read Day 1: Palm Sunday.

Click here to read Day 2: Jesus Clears the Temple.

Click here to read Day 3: Ambush in the Temple, the Mount of Olives

Click here to read Day 4: Holy Wednesday — A Day of Plotting and Betrayal


Passion Week: Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. (John 6:64)

The Sanhedrin plotting to kill Jesus.

The Sanhedrin plotting to kill Jesus.

This is the fourth in a BCBC in Action series remembering Christ’s final earthly days.

Day 4: Holy Wednesday — A Day of Plotting and Betrayal

The Bible doesn’t say what the Lord did on Wednesday of Passion Week. Scholars speculate that after two exhausting days in Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples spent this day resting in Bethany in anticipation of the Passover.

In contrast, the Great Sanhedrin is busy this day. This supreme court of ancient Israel includes 71 members. It’s constituted with a Chief/Prince/Leader called Nasi,  a vice chief justice (Av Beit Din), and sixty-nine general members. At this time the position of leader (High Priest) is held by Caiaphas.

So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.” (John 11:45-48)

They have powers to try Jesus.

They plot to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.” (Matthew 26:3-5)

The price negotiated with Judas to identify the One of inestimable worth is 30 pieces of silver (wages for about 4 months). Judas agrees to betray Jesus and says…

“What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him 30 pieces of silver. (Matthew 26:15)

Tomorrow: The Last Supper

Click here to read Day 1: Palm Sunday.

Click here to read Day 2: Jesus Clears the Temple.

Click here to read Day 3: Ambush in the Temple, the Mount of Olives.

The Sanhedrin plotting to kill Jesus.

The Sanhedrin plotting to kill Jesus.


Passion Week: Ambush in the Temple, the Mount of Olives

He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered. (Matthew 21:19)

The vine Dresser and the Fig Tree. James Tissot.

The vine Dresser and the Fig Tree. James Tissot.

This is the third in a BCBC in Action series remembering Christ’s final earthly days.

Day 3: It’s Tuesday

Peter and the other disciples see the withered fig tree on their way back into Jerusalem.

As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. (Mark 11:20)

Once in Jerusalem, Jesus engages in the final confrontation with the Jewish leaders whom he confounds.

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,  “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

“The son of David,” they replied.

He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”’

If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”

No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions. (Matthew 22:41-46)

Later, Jesus leaves the Temple, officially ending his public ministry.

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple.

But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down.”

He withdraws to the Mount of Olives and instructs his disciples.

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us,… what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?”

And Jesus answered them, “Take heed that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs. (Matthew 24:1-14)

Tomorrow: Plotting to Kill Jesus.

Click here to read Day 1: Palm Sunday.

Click here to read Day 2: Jesus Clears the Temple.

 


Passion Week: Jesus Clears The Temple!

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him… In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope.” (Isaiah 42:1,3-4)

A painting of Jesus using a whip in the temple. Giovanni Antonio Fumiani, 1678.

A painting of Jesus using a whip in the temple. Giovanni Antonio Fumiani, 1678.

This is the second in a BCBC in Action series remembering Christ’s final earthly days.

Day 2: Monday in The Temple

Upon leaving Bethany in the morning, Jesus is hungry. He finds a leafy fig tree with no fruit and curses it.

And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it. (Mark 11:14)

Jesus then enters Jerusalem and cleanses the Temple, just as He did at the opening of his public ministry.

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. (Matthew 21:12)

Children in the Temple laud Jesus. He quotes Psalm 8 to the sneering Pharisees, again declaring His divinity.

“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they ask him.

“Yes,” replies Jesus, “have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?” (Matthew 21:16)

Repeatedly, Jesus openly proclaims his divinity. And the Jews knew who he claimed to be — not just the Messiah.

Jesus declared that he (the Son of Man) has authority to…

  • Forgive sins (Matt 9:6; Mark 2:10; Luke 5:24)
  • Raise the dead (John 5:21,28; cf. Php 3:21)
  • Even raise Himself from the dead (John 2:19; 10:18)
  • Grant eternal life to others (John 17:2; Matt 25:34, 46)
  • Declare those are saved and which are rejected (Luke 12:8–9; Matt 10:32–33)

“I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:8–9)

And, in a kingdom not of this world (John 18:36-37)…

  • Act as an authority higher than the Law and the Sabbath (Matt 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5).

Then, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Luke 6:5)

Tomorrow: Ambush in the Temple and the Mount of Olives.

Click here to read Day 1: Palm Sunday.


Passion Week: Remembering Christ’s Final Earthly Days

Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who… made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-9)

The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week.

The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week.

Passion Week (aka Holy Week) is the time from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday). It is so named because of the passion with which Jesus willingly went to the cross in order to pay for the sins of his people.

Follow BCBC in Action this week as we remember Christ’s final earthly days.

Day 1: Palm Sunday

After 2 years of ministry, Jesus begins his final journey to Jerusalem for the Passover. He and the disciples are not alone. Pilgrims from far and wide are entering Jerusalem for the Passover. They meet Jesus along the road and begin to cry “Hosanna!”

“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matthew 21:9).

Hosanna is often thought of as a declaration of praise, similar to hallelujah, but it’s actually a plea for salvation. The Hebrew words yasha (“deliver, save”) and anna (“beg, beseech”) combine to form the word that, in English, is “hosanna.” Literally, hosanna means “I beg you to save!” or “please deliver us!”

Palm Sunday at Bent Creek Baptist Church

Happy the preacher and happy the hearer who find their theme and their attraction in the atoning death of our Lord and Savior. Thomas Griffith

Riding on a donkey to fulfill prophecy, the King of Israel wails loudly and pronounces judgment on Jerusalem.

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, (Luke 19:41)

Arriving late in the day, Jesus enters Jerusalem through the eastern Susa Gate, directly into the temple courts. Jesus looks around for any who bear the fruits of repentance, and then returns to Bethany with the disciples.

And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. (Mark 11:11)

Tomorrow: Jesus openly proclaims his divinity.


Passion Week: Remembering Christ’s Final Earthly Days

Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who… made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-9)

The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week.

The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week.

Passion Week (aka Holy Week) is the time from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday). It is so named because of the passion with which Jesus willingly went to the cross in order to pay for the sins of his people.

Follow BCBC in Action this week as we remember Christ’s final earthly days.

Day 1: Palm Sunday

After 2 years of ministry, Jesus begins his final journey to Jerusalem for the Passover. He and the disciples are not alone. Pilgrims from far and wide are entering Jerusalem for the Passover. They meet Jesus along the road and begin to cry “Hosanna!”

“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matthew 21:9).

Hosanna is often thought of as a declaration of praise, similar to hallelujah, but it’s actually a plea for salvation. The Hebrew words yasha (“deliver, save”) and anna (“beg, beseech”) combine to form the word that, in English, is “hosanna.” Literally, hosanna means “I beg you to save!” or “please deliver us!”

Riding on a donkey to fulfill prophecy, the King of Israel wails loudly and pronounces judgment on Jerusalem.

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, (Luke 19:41)

Arriving late in the day, Jesus enters Jerusalem through the eastern Susa Gate, directly into the temple courts. Jesus looks around for any who bear the fruits of repentance, and then returns to Bethany with the disciples.

And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. (Mark 11:11)

Tomorrow: Jesus openly proclaims his divinity.


You are Blessed

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

I Am So Blessed to Have Found You. Yvonne Coomber

I Am So Blessed to Have Found You. Yvonne Coomber

We all know if we sat down to really think about it, we would say that we appreciate what our spouses do each day.

Life is busy and hectic. Just remember, you’re blessed to have food to clean up when it spills, you’re blessed to have your hampers runneth over, you’re blessed to have customers or a boss to please. And you’re blessed to have each other. 

Edited from Lisa LaFortune: Families! Change the World.


The Challenge of Peer Pressure: Tanner Besosa Blogs from BMW

My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. (Proverbs 1:10)

Peer Pressure, 2010. Els Vanassche

Peer Pressure, 2010. Els Vanassche

In this post, Tanner discusses how he navigates the challenge of peer pressure at the Florida Free Bible Mission, & Work Training Center (BMW).

Tanner doesn’t view “peer pressure” as an special influence on his life at BMW. From his perspective, “peer pressure is not a very significant part of my experience, but pressers from the teachers and staff are a big part everyday life.”

For the most part, the pressure is positive. However, decisions (at BMW as in life) are always influenced by the potential for repercussions. “Sometimes, he says, “it is hard to stick up for oneself.”

For example, some students exert peer pressure during work by taking more and longer breaks than Tanner is comfortable with. In response. Tanner applies his own pressure by naturally following his decision to do what he sees as right—continuing to work during these times. It’s an important lesson Tanner is learning by experience, which will serve him well in life after BMW.

How does he find strength to buck the group? His faith supports is actions. “I try to look at myself in the way the Lord would look at me in the light of eternity.” He concludes, “There are a lot of things that happen in life that have no impact (or impact for good) on eternity, so I try to live life in a way that will have an impact on eternity.”

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

A sense of perspective grounded in Christian values is essential. Decisions made now (even how long to take a break at work) will guide in making the hard decisions later in life.


Aaron Creasman: The Ongoing Challenge of “Growing” the Church

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Thom Rainer, who is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, just published an article outlining the five challenges to growth in the church today.

You can read his post here. But these challenges are not new to members of BCBC, and the Elders have made it one of the church priorities for 2017.

Pastor Rainer lists these challenges from a negative perspective. We prefer a more forward looking approach, as listed below.

As Christians and members of BCBC we must…

  • Be intentionally relational with those who are not in church.
  • Reflect an awareness of our beliefs and a willingness to be missionaries to our neighbors.
  • Take opportunities to invite acquaintances and friends to come with you to church.
  • Be welcoming to visitors before and after Sunday worship service, and ensure they have a good experience.

and…

  • Remember, when we use social media, we are always Christians.

Dr. Rainer concludes, “Then, and only then, will we see our churches start growing again.”

 


Paul, the Spirit, and Us

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. (Romans 8:26)

Apostle Paul Writing His Epistles by Valentin de Boulogne, 17th century.

Apostle Paul Writing His Epistles by Valentin de Boulogne, 17th century.

Ethics (aka our rules of behavior) are the moral principles that govern our lives. For Paul, it was a theological issue empowered by the Holy Spirit and related to the known character of our God.

“Ethics have everything do with God, and what God is about in Christ and the Spirit,” says Prof. Gordon Fee.

For example, the purpose (or basis) of Christian ethics is the glory of God.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

The pattern for such ethics is the Son of God.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:20)

It is Christ himself, into whose likeness we are to be transformed.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29)

“Because the Spirit of God is the Spirit of Christ,” says Prof. Fee, in his book Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God, “and since the first-mentioned fruit of the Spirit is love, the Spirit not only empowers the believer for ethical behavior, but by indwelling the believer also reproduces the pattern and the principle of that behavior.

Erica John, an American novelist and poet, once said, “Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer. The ethical answers to life’s issues are within us through the Holy Spirit. Access them.

JC Watts, the politician and football player at the University of Oklahoma, tells us, “Character is doing the right thing when nobody is looking.” The Holy Spirit is always with us. We need only to act like it is.

 


Pastor Sam Devotional: Worldly vs. Spiritual Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)

The Harlem Renaissance, 2016

The Harlem Renaissance, 2016

When confronted by peer pressure we have a choice: follow worldly or spiritual wisdom. For example, in 1 Samuel we learn that King Saul tried to kill David many times. Then, under comical circumstances, the tables turned, and David was given an opportunity to kill his king.

Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men…. He came to… a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself. (1 Samuel 20:1-3)

David and his men were hiding in the back of the same cave, unseen by King Saul. They suggested that God had delivered Saul to them, and urged David to kill him. After all, if David killed Saul, David would become king and they could stop hiding.

And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’” (1 Samuel 20:4)

The peer pressure tempted David, but he changed his mind as he advanced toward Saul who was unaware of what was happening. Rather than kill the king, David cut off a piece of Saul’s robe. Even then, despite great risk, David followed Saul out of the cave to apologize and swear his allegiance to the king. David overcame peer pressure, which seemed gratifying or practical in the moment. He managed to distinguish between worldly wisdom and spiritual wisdom from heaven. There is a distinct difference.

The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere. (James 3:17)

There are other examples of peer pressure in the Bible. In some cases, worldly wisdom (eg, Pontius Pilate, Peter at Antioch) prevailed, while in others spiritual wisdom from heaven (eg, Noah, Lot but not his wife) prevailed. The Bible makes it clear that the latter is the better path.

Finally, remember that peer pressure wasn’t limited to biblical times. It’s present today. It’s just as tempting and just as risky.

For example, earlier this year, Kiera Wilmot, a high school student, ran into trouble after failing to get approval from her teacher for a science experiment. Instead, her classmates persuaded her to perform it outside the classroom. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? Kiera combined aluminum foil and toilet bowl cleaner in a small bottle. After about 30 seconds, the reaction created pressure inside the bottle, blowing the cap off with a pop that according to witnesses sounded like firecrackers going off.

No one was injured and no property was damaged, but Kiera was expelled because she created a chemical explosion on school grounds. In addition, she was arrested and charged with felony (possession/discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device). Though criminal charges were dismissed, it will take 5 years to clear her record.

Before we give in to peer pressure, perhaps Adelaide Pollard offered the best advice in her 1907 lyrics to this hymn titled “Adelaide.” The last verse is most pertinent and is presented here.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!

Hold o’er my being absolute sway!

Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see

Christ only, always, living in me.

Marty Robbins sings Adelaide.


Is it Possible to Have it All?

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, was recently interviewed about her struggles balancing motherhood with corporate responsibilities.

Ms. Nooyi says, “I don’t think women can have it all… Every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother, in fact many times during the day you have to make those decisions. And you have to co-opt a lot of people to help you.”

Grace of God. Shweta Kanhai

Grace of God. Shweta Kanhai

It’s true. We depend on and give support to family, neighbors, and friends all the time. In fact, during the early years of the growth of the Christian church its enemies were confounded by the support and charity Paul and other Christians poured out to each other and even to those who didn’t share their faith. Pagans and Judaizers (first century Jewish Christians who followed Old Testament laws) wondered, “How do we discredit people who show such love?”

And that’s the secret to having it all. Grace. Grace from God. Yes, there are a thousand ways to be stretched thin. But there’s only one way to truly have it all… to have Jesus — and like Him — to give it all away.


Thoughts for Valentine’s Day

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18)

MAYJAY'S MEANDERINGS

MAYJAY’S MEANDERINGS

Many women have discovered to their dismay that there’s an awful lot of bad sex out there, says Margaret Wente, writing in The Globe and Mail.

They’ve been told to have a superpositive sex life — unconflicted, joyous, casual, and abundant. “They’ve been told they should be able to have as many partners and initiate sex just as often as men do.”

They’ve tried all that.

And, surprise, it hasn’t worked out very well! “Instead of feeling superpositive, they feel sexually dissatisfied, emotionally disconnected, and more than a little used.”

The trouble isn’t men or culture. The trouble is that these women bought into a lie. Rick Warren tells us, “Some things are hard wired in us by God; we know they are always right or always wrong, no matter what anybody else says. Our conscience tells us this.”

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:21

“A women’s best strategy is to be selective.” Something in the soul longs for meaningful relationships. The key is to take time, lots of time (three dates are not enough), to know someone and be known by them. Treasure the relationships that allow you to truly “be yourself.”

A woman sharing intimacy with a man is the most special thing she can offer. Never give it casually. Always remember that you are special in the eyes of the Lord.

Or don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)


Thank You for Dirty Dishes

I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8)

My mind was just blown…once again… while reading Secrets of the Proverbs 31 Woman by Rae Simons.

Many times the work of keeping up the house and family—the cooking, cleaning, putting away, cooking, cleaning, putting away…repeat…but also some giggles and joyful play with little ones—can feel menial.

WAIT! Menial?

Do you know what that word means? It’s earliest translation means “to remain, to dwell”.  Yes ladies (and gentlemen) that’s the Latin root for menial.

Don’t we take comfort in having a place to dwell and stay? Isn’t that the stability we all need deep down? Shouldn’t we take pride in creating a dwelling, a stable place for our most cherished people? Our family? To me these words bring up feelings of comfort and safety. I want to bring that into my children’s lives and my husband’s. So, why do we let our culture make it feel so minimized? So inferior?

Consider Psalm 123:2.

As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he shows us his mercy.

“This verse,” say Ms. Simons, “puts God in the role of the housewife…God provides nourishment for us, clothes us, and opens loving arms to us. God watches over our affairs and is intimately involved in the physical details of our lives. So why do we find ourselves (sometimes or often) resenting the same sort of work we do for our families?”

Well, I don’t know! Perhaps we all just need a good nap! 😜

So in doing the redundant, but very necessary things that keep our lives in order and our families grounded and stable, let’s keep in mind that we were made in His image and have a big job to do and a very important job to do. Without which our most loved would be shaken and severely let down.

***

I almost ended here, until I remembered a question I was thinking about today. After a week of all 5 of us sick (ALL 5!!!) I was walking around putting the house back together and thinking why doesn’t anyone thank me? Where are the thankful hearts? HA! I feel like a fool.

So in closing, thank YOU, Lord, for your provisions, your constant care of me and my loved ones. Thank you for the dirty dishes because it means we ate well, for the dirty clothes and blankets because it means we were warm and cozy, and for the games and toys and just things to put away that we use to make memories and have laughs together.

Thank you God I AM grateful. 💜

Edited from Lisa LaFortune: Families! Change the World blog.

 

Blessed are the Meek

 

for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)

A View of the Sea of Galilee from atop the Mount of Beatitudes

A View of the Sea of Galilee from atop the Mount of Beatitudes

Thousands gathered near the shore of Galilee and then up the mountain to hear Jesus of Nazareth speak the Beatitudes.

Question. Why does Jesus include the meekest among us for blessings? Why not achievers, perfectionists, geniuses, phenomes?

Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the LORD’s wrath. In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth. (Zephaniah 1:18)

“Meekness,” says columnist Ed Morrissey, “is not weakness; it is the answer to sinful pride and avarice.” The meek, mourn their own sinfulness; they see the poor among us—the materially poor and those ignorant of the Lord. The meek know the Lord is with them through persecution and ridicule. The meek no longer fear loss of status or damage to pride.

He concludes, “We do not live in meek times, but then again, neither did the people of Jesus’ time.” Through meekness as our guiding principle, we shine the light of the Lord a little brighter. We can receive Christ’s blessings, and be Christ’s blessings in a fallen world.


The Time Challenge: Tanner Besosa Blogs from BMW

The Sovereign LORD is my strength; (Habakkuk 3:19)

Mark Lawrence Poster Print entitled Secret Separation. Matthew 6:6.

Mark Lawrence Poster Print entitled Secret Separation. Matthew 6:6.

College students must learn to deal with a relentless class schedule along with the stress of studying, relationships, and social events. The challenge is even greater because these provided quicker payoffs than time spent in spiritual growth.

In this post, Tanner discusses his time challenges, and how he navigates the Florida Free Bible, Mission, & Work Training Center (BMW) environment.

“Making time for devotions and prayer is pretty easy,” say Tanner, “because BMW sets aside 30 minutes each morning for quite time with God and prayer.”

Depending on the semester and the amount of homework due each week, Tanner tries to spend a good amount of time enjoying fellowship with his fellow students. “But first I always make sure to at least be caught up with all my homework.”

The time to put thoughts into action comes during discussions. In fact, says Tanner, the teachers “try to keep us away from debating about doctrinal topics, but do encourage us to study them and talk about them.” For example, during an Ethics class last semester, students were challenged to use the Bible to support their views on today’s controversial subjects.

Any environment for true learning requires that authority figures encourage growth through interaction. The faculty at BMW is open to different doctrinal views, as long as they are biblical and do not lead to a false teaching. There isn’t pressure to pick one doctrinal view over another. Rather, says Tanner, “We are expected to develop a doctrinal perspective, know it in depth, and defend it.”

Ultimately, learning and recognizing the time for application of knowledge is each student’s responsibility now and after graduation. Patience in this pursuit must not be overwhelmed by the need to speak.

Someone once said, “The day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Trust in the Lord to reveal that day.

Love in Christ

Tanner Besosa

Habakkuk 3:17-19

 

Read more about Tanner’s college experience.

The diversity challenge

The faith challenge

The freedom challenge

His goals now and after college


Rejoice in What We May Become

Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)

Charles Spurgeon was a British Baptist preacher who lived during the 19th century. It’s estimated that during his life he preached to around 10 million people and was a prolific writer.

Consider these words from Pastor Spurgeon, which are taken from one of his sermons.

I think I can say to every one of you—If you are already saved, then the work is only half done until you are active in bringing others to Christ.

You are as yet only half formed into the image of your Lord. You have not attained to the full development of the Christ-like life in you unless you have begun in some feeble way to tell to others of the grace of God: and I trust that you will find no rest to the sole of your foot until you have been the means of leading many to that blessed Savior who is your confidence and your hope.

His word is — “Follow me,” — not merely that you may be saved, nor even that you may be sanctified; but, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Be following Christ with that intent and aim; and fear that you are not perfectly following him, unless in some degree he is making use of you to be fishers of men.

This Sunday join us at BCBC for fellowship  at 10:30 am and stay for worship at 11:00 am.