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Statements of Faith From Billy Graham   Recently updated !

Rev. Graham was asked, “If Christianity is valid, why is there so much evil in the world?”

To this he replied, “With so much soap, why are there so many dirty people in the world? Christianity, like soap, must be personally applied if it is to make a difference in our lives.”

48742_254x191For 99 years Rev. Graham has shared many of his thoughts. Each is uplifting and positive, as is faith in Christ. Some of the best are listed here. (more…)


Happy Day

The text of the hymn “O Happy Day” was written by Philip Doddridge (1702-1751). It is said that he wrote his hymns as summaries of his sermons and intended to help his congregation express their response to what they were being taught.

 

O happy day, that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Savior and my God!
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.

Happy day, happy day,
When Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray,
And live rejoicing every day:
Happy day, happy day,
When Jesus washed my sins away!

 

O happy bond, that seals my vows
To Him Who merits all my love!
Let cheerful anthems fill His house,
While to that sacred shrine I move.

It’s done: the great transaction’s done!
I am the Lord’s and He is mine;
He drew me and I followed on;
Charmed to confess the voice divine.

Now rest, my long-divided heart,
Fixed on this blissful center, rest;
Here have I found a nobler part;
Here heav’nly pleasures fill my breast.

High heav’n, that heard the solemn vow,
That vow renewed shall daily hear,
Till in life’s latest hour I bow
And bless in death a bond so dear.

 

 


All My Life is Portioned Out by Thee

“Father, I know that all my life

Is portioned out by thee,

And the changes that will surely come

I do not fear to see;

 

But I ask Thee for a present mind,

Intent on serving Thee.

I would not have the restless will

That hurries to and fro,

 

Seeking for some great thing to do,

Or secret thing to know;

I would be treated as a child,

And guided where I go.”

 

Thus, brother, “go thou thy way till the end be;”

and “thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”

 

Bruce, A. B.. The Training of The Twelve (p. 379). Public Domain. Kindle Edition.


Pastor Sam Bennett Devotional: Waiting on the Lord

But, I will sing of your strength, and revel at dawn in your mercy; You have been my stronghold, my refuge in the day of distress. (Psalm 59:16)

Jeremiah_Michelangelo_Sistine_Chapel_sm

Jeremiah fresco by Michelangelo (c. 1542–1545) on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Lamentations is a book of sorrowful songs or poems. It’s author, Jeremiah, wrote about the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 586 B.C. He warned of its destruction, watched it take place, and then sadly reflected on it in order to teach God’s people that disobedience to the Lord results in immense suffering and distress.

Jeremiah also wrote that restoration would come.

For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. (Lamentations 3:31-32)

There’s hope in the midst of despair when we wait on the Lord.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. (Lamentations 3:21-32)

It’s important to know that even when we stray the Lord offers compassion and restoration. Better yet, he offers hope even when the source of suffering and condemnation is outside of our control.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (Lamentations 3:24)

But what did Jeremiah mean by the word “wait”?

Here, the Hebrew word “wait” is translated qavah, defined as “look for,” “hope,” or “expect.” Waiting on the Lord does not mean stopping all activity, quieting ourselves, and emptying our minds with a blank stare.

We wait for something we expect. We wait in anticipation and expectation.

Wait on the Lord in anticipation and expectation. Expect anything from God that is consistent with his nature. Expect God to do anything that he has revealed as his will, or implied from his character. He is faithful, dependable, and reliable. The Lord does what he says he will do.


Miracles and the New World Order

Then said Jesus to him, “Except you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” (John 4:48)

David Hume lived in the 18th century. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy. He believed that miracles were singular events that differed from the established laws of nature. Therefore, miracles violated all prior experience and were not possible based on reasonable belief. This position reflects the view of many skeptics today.

Mr. Hume’s position presupposes that the actions of Jesus must fit into the rational world of science. “But suppose, just suppose,” says Professor N.T. Wright, that miracles offer a glimpse of a deeper truth. Suppose the miracles of Jesus signal a new creation, with him fully in charge. What if miracles are his way of sharing with us a glimpse of what happens when God’s kingdom on heaven and earth come together? In doing this, why would Jesus feel confined to the laws of physics?

“Jesus,” says Professor Wright, one of the world’s leading Bible scholars, “seems to be the place where God’s world and ours meet, where God’s time and ours meet.” Jesus is the place where God’s matter — his new creation — intersects with us.

Miracles in the New Testament meant more than “simply” healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and raising the dead. Everything in the gospel narrative, including but not limited to miracles, is extraordinary. Those whose vision is limited to what they see using conventional spectacles risk missing the larger significance of Jesus’ miracles and their meaning in the new world order.


Pastor Tommy Devotional: Delight in the Lord Jesus!

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.