Bent Creek Baptist Church


Deacon Means Servant

Paul and Timothy, the servants 
of Jesus Christ, to all the saints 
in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons. (Philippians 1:1)

Pastor Tommy Bridges with our new deacons, Don Fender and Daniel Byers

Pastor Tommy Bridges with our new deacons, Don Fender and Daniel Byers

Last Sunday, Don Fender and Daniel Byers were installed as deacons at BCBC. It is a noble undertaking.

Deacon, diakonia, means service at the table, and is mentioned 34 times in the New Testament. Don and Daniel join a long and distinguished group of men of the church in a service that has evolved since the early days of the Apostles in Jerusalem.

Here’s some history

Early on, the apostles, in dealing with the benevolence ministry problem at the Jerusalem church, told the congregation…

It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. Acts 6:2-4 (NKJV)

“Business” in this sense according to the Greek “chreia” means “need”.

Derek Gentle, writing in The Baptist Start Page, traces the history of Deacons. From the 2nd through 5th centuries, deacons were the real agents of charity provided through the church. They served the needs of widows and orphans. They visited the martyrs in prison and helped to train new converts. They watched over the church members, reporting to the bishop any who seemed about to fall away. They also attempted to restore the excommunicated.

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)

The Middle Ages 

For a long period from the 5th to the 15th century, the Office of Deacon changed and less resembled the New Testament model. Medieval deacons assumed an increasingly ecclesiastical role. It became a path to advance to the priesthood.

The Reformation

This again changed during the reformation, which started in the 16th century. Martin Luther stated, “The diaconate is the ministry, not of reading the Gospel or the Epistle, as is the present practice, but of distributing the church’s aid to the poor.”

John Calvin agreed, “Scripture specifically designates as deacons those whom the church has appointed to distribute alms and take care of the poor, and serve as stewards of the common chest for the poor.”

Similarly, in the early 1600’s, John Smyth, an early Baptist minister in England and a defender of the principle of religious liberty, and Thomas Helwys, one of the founders, of General Baptist denomination, saw the primary role of deacons as carrying out the benevolence ministry of the church.

An expanding role again

By the latter half of the 18th century however, the activities of deacons expanded this time to include serving as business managers for the church in order to relieve the pastor from the secular concerns of the church.

In 1846, R. B. C. Howell, an early Tennessee Baptist and editor, referred to deacons as, “A board of directors, and have charge of the all the secular affairs in the kingdom of Christ.”

Deacons today

Deacon Cross by Ron Schmidt

Deacon Cross by Ron Schmidt

By the 1950’s and intensifying in the 1970’s this role for deacons was rejected. In 1991 Jerry Songer, of the Chattanooga Central Baptist Church, wrote that, “The board of deacons and business manager concept is no longer a viable model”

Baptists today agree that God established the deacon position to provide servant leadership for churches. According to the Bible, the office of deacon is an honor and a blessing.

For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 3:13).

We thank Don Fender and Daniel Byers for their service.

 

Thanks to Doug Van Wirt for the photo.


Baptists: A History of Discipleship

“teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).

Anabaptists of Philadelphia witness a full immersion baptism.

Anabaptists of Philadelphia witness a full immersion baptism. …

Missions and discipleship are an important part of what we do at Bent Creek Baptist Church. The roots of this calling goes back to the Anabaptists who came on the heels Martin Luther’s reformation.

Baptist, like other reform movements in the 16th century believed in four principles.

First, a person saved not by works but by faith alone.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)

Second, religious authority is found in the Bible in the Word of God (not church authorities).

Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16)

Third, the church is defined as the whole community of Christian believers, since all are priests before God.

Thus, all Christians are of that holy priesthood and can offer spiritual sacrifices to God. All have the right to go directly to God through Jesus Christ, our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Finally, the essence of Christian living is found in serving God in any useful calling, whether ordained or lay.

Encourage younger men likewise to be self-controlled, showing yourself to be an example of good works in every way. In your teaching show integrity, dignity, and a sound message that cannot be criticized, so that any opponent will be at a loss, because he has nothing evil to say about us. (Titus 2:6-8)

To this day any classical description of Protestantism echoes those central truths.

The source of Baptist Protestantism, as told by Bruce Shelley in his book, Church History in Plain Language goes back to 1525 in Zurich, Switzerland. On a wintry night, like-minded individuals met and defined what it means to be baptized. Only four days before this meeting, the church warned all parents to have their babies baptized within eight days of birth or face banishment from the territory. This tradition, played out on a little baby, lacked meaning. For Anabaptists, baptism should be reserved as an informed statement of commitment to Christ—something impossible to expect from a baby.

and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, (1 Peter 3:21)

After discussion and calling on God to do his will, these brave men arose from prayer and took one of the most decisive action in Christian history. George Blaurock, a former priest, asked Conrad Grebel for baptism in the apostolic fashion—upon confession of personal faith in Jesus Christ. There he was baptized and proceeded to baptize the others. Thus, Anabaptism the forerunner of today’s Baptists and an important expression of the Protestant Reformation, was born.

In life, Baptists strive to demonstrate that those who live most devoutly for the world to come are often in the best position to change the world of the present. Accordingly, at Bent Creek Baptist Church, we are a family of disciples who do our best to live out faith as a model of God’s grace.

Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19)

Join us each Sunday at 10:30 am for coffee and fellowship and stay with your neighbors for church service at 11 am.


The Freedom Challenge: Tanner Besosa Blogs from BMW

Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. (1 Peter 2:16)

Tanner Besosa

Tanner Besosa

Tanner spent time last week dealing with Hurricane Matthew. The Florida Free BibleMissionary, & Work Training Center (BMW) evacuated the students to one of their sister ministries in Indiana. They are safe, and are now back fixing the minor damage around campus.

The Freedom Challenge

Among the challenges faced by college students is the freedom challenge. Out from under parental guidance and restrictions, priorities can change. For Tanner this has “made my responsibility for school work and spiritual life increase, because I no longer have anyone to push me to do school work or my alone time with God.” The responsibility falls on him now, and this “forces” him to be responsible.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Freedom in Christ III

Freedom in Christ III

Some of the challenges faced by a student at BMW differ from those confronted by students attending a secular college. For example, how do you say no to your friends when they choose to do something that you are uncomfortable with? “Most of the time,” says Tanner, “I do not have to say no to my friends, but every now and then I do have to say no so that I do not fall behind on school work. For the most part, none of my friends take part in immoral living.”

At BMW however, students have differing views of Christ. “Teen Missions doesn’t lean to one or another doctoral view, so people from different denominations can work together without one or the other being pushed aside. But it does sometimes make for debates on doctrinal issues. Yet, by the goodness of God, it never affects our ministry here.”

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. (Ephesians 5:1-2)

Next time, we’ll discuss the diversity challenge for students.

The first post of Tanner’s blog can be found here.


Each of Us, Evangelists

For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 13:47)

The Light of the World, Holman Hunt, 1853

The Light of the World, Holman Hunt, 1853

Over the past few Sundays, Pastor Tommy has described a vision for the BCBC congregation to take their faith to their neighbors as a natural part of our daily interactions.

Today, Pastor Erwin W. Lutzer, writing for Decision Magazine, made a similar plea.

Says Pastor Lutzer, “We want God to come in great power to convert people, but the Bible stresses the need for personal evangelism. I believe that America’s crumbling walls cannot be rebuilt until Christians—bankers, lawyers, nurses, factory workers—all see themselves as representatives of Christ wherever He has planted them.”

But here’s the challenge…

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. (Matthew 5:13)

“One of my greatest disappointments,” he continues, “is the number of Christians who work next to unbelievers without ever making it clear that they are Christians. Lovingly and winsomely [sweetly, innocently, charming, winning, engaging], we must share the Gospel message through our lips and testify to its transformative power by our lives. Unless that happens, America’s walls will not be rebuilt.”

“We as the church,” he concludes, “through the power of the Gospel, have the seeds of renewal. Unless they are watered, cared for and cultivated, we will not rebuild our crumbling walls.”

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. (Matthew 5:14)


Pray for Revival

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? (Psalm 85:6)

Open Heavens

Open Heavens

We should not be surprised to learn that spiritual factors play a major role in the growth of a church. Gary McIntosh, Director of the Doctor of Ministry program at the Talbot School of Theology, has observed that members of growing churches show a spiritual passion to find the lost and involve newcomers. They have a desire to fulfill the Great Commission as instructed by Jesus.

Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20)

Join us as we pray for revival in Bent Creek Baptist Church and throughout Asheville. Meet with Pastor Tommy in the church library for prayer on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm. Call the church office for more information. 828-667-9818


Men, Take Time for Spiritual Renewal

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. – See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Fellowship,-Among-Believers#sthash.LttyGEnM.dpuf

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. – See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Fellowship,-Among-Believers#sthash.LttyGEnM.dpuf
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. – See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Fellowship,-Among-Believers#sthash.LttyGEnM.dpuf

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42)

The annual BCBC Men’s Retreat will take place September 16-17 at Balsam Lake Lodge.  If you can’t make it for the whole weekend, come for part. Call Aaron Creasman (828-777-1272) if you are interested.

Remember, when men take time out for spiritual renewal, the whole church benefits.

BalsamLakeLodge

Balsam Lake Lodge

During the 2016 BCBC Men’s Retreat at Balsam Lake Lodge you’ll catch fish, hike the beautiful North Carolina mountains, eat hamburgers, and — most importantly — be spiritually renewed and refreshed as you share key truths and new perspectives in your walk with Jesus Christ.

Men, take this opportunity to develop unity through fellowship.

Best of all, the benefits continue long after the first fish is caught and last hamburger is eaten. Relationships at home become more positive and hopeful when you find renewal in God.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Join us on Friday, September 16th  to Saturday the 17th  for the BCBC Men’s Retreat.

Speak with Aaron Creasman, or call the church office for more information. 828-667-9818

And, remember you must sign up at the information desk in the church lobby. Space is limited for this event!


Meditate on Scripture

"God Provides" (Genesis 22). Abraham’s relief of God's provision and the benefit of trusting God even when circumstances seem tragic.

“God Provides” (Genesis 22). Abraham’s relief of God’s provision and the benefit of trusting God even when circumstances seem tragic.

Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. (2 Timothy 2:7)

It’s easy to read the Bible too quickly, especially if you’ve read the story before. After all, you know the ending. But reading quickly not only risks missing deeper knowledge but also underlying emotions.

Can you imagine Abraham’s mental contortion when he learned his son would not be sacrificed?

"The grief of God: A new beginning" (Genesis 7:1-24). Imagine the moments after God shut the door to the ark. Fists banging and voices yelling for the only way that leads to life to be reopened. The way we live our life matters.

“The grief of God: A new beginning” (Genesis 7:1-24). Imagine the moments after God shut the door to the ark. Fists banging and voices yelling for the only way that leads to life to be reopened. The way we live our life matters.

Have you considered the agony of Noah and his family when the rains came, and they heard clawing and anguish on the other side of the arc. Too late.

Some believe that Jesus might have been two years old when the wise men finally made their way to his house. What is the emotion of a young boy or a young God-man when foreigners arrive at the door?

"The Terrible Lie" (Genesis 3:1-24). Distraught and distant from God, Adam and Eve wonder what will happen next. Emotionally separated from each other, having to leave the garden must have been so scary.

“The Terrible Lie” (Genesis 3:1-24). Distraught and distant from God, Adam and Eve wonder what will happen next. Emotionally separated from each other, having to leave the garden must have been so scary.

Were Adam and Eve capable of understanding the full consequences of their actions?

"Beholding God With Us" (Matthew 2). Siting at Joseph and Mary's front door, Jesus watches the Magi arrive. At two years old (or even as an infant), did Jesus know the Magi would come? Psalm 139 tells us God's eyes saw us when we were formless, and all our days were written and planned before a single one of them began.

“Beholding God With Us” (Matthew 2). Siting at Joseph and Mary’s front door, Jesus watches the Magi arrive. At two years old (or even as an infant), did Jesus know the Magi would come? Psalm 139 tells us God’s eyes saw us when we were formless, and all our days were written and planned before a single one of them began.

Craig Hawkins has thought about such things, and using charcoal, put his thoughts to paper. Ponder his work. Perhaps he has uncovered a new dimension of Biblical insight for you.

We’re here for you. Share your thoughts with us every Sunday at Bent Creek Baptist Church.