January 2020

Proverbs 16:9 says, “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” At the stroke of midnight on January first we entered into a new year and a new decade. WOW, it seems that time really does fly! Do you even remember what you had hoped to do ten years ago? What was then a future hope is now a distant past. But what about now? What are your hopes, goals, and plans for the future at this point in your life? The New Years is the most common time for us to think about these things.

What gives me comfort in an uncomfortably changing culture is that my God already has everything figured out, from my simple little life to major world events. I am thankful that I can trust Him. As the membership of Scotsdale Baptist Church makes our plans, I trust that God will direct our steps.

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December 2019

Many of us will decorate our homes for Christmas. No doubt that a part of the decorations for many of us will include a Nativity Set—a small display of figurines memorializing those who were part of the advent of the child Jesus. As a child I was given such a Nativity Set. Mine depicted the setting as a barn. At the top of the barn was a hole where a light was to be placed to illustrate the star that led the magi to Jesus. Surrounding Jesus, as He lay in the manger, were Mary and Joseph, the barn animals, some shepherds, and the magi.

Over the next few weeks we will look to see what the Bible has to say about these Christmas Advent personalities. I am calling this series “Unpacking the Nativity.” I hope you will able to join us each week to worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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November 2019

From prison Paul wrote a letter of thanksgiving to the church at Philippi. This is what he wrote in Chapter 4, verses 18-19–“But I have received everything in full, and I have an abundance. I am fully supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you provided—a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your needs according to riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

As we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday, I must tell you, church, that I am so thankful for you. While I was away taking care of my mother several servant leaders here at the church stepped up to cover my areas of responsibility. The last two weeks have taught me so much about struggles, hard decisions, and genuine loving care. Scotsdale Baptist Church played a part in that, and I am very grateful! May the Lord be with you and bless you this week as you return your thanks to Him for what He has done for you.

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October 2019

Have you ever read a verse that really gripped your heart? It may have been one that you are certain you have read before, but this time the words just seemed to jump out at you—as if God were saying, “This word is for you!”

2 Corinthians 5:10 is one of those verses for me. It says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” Paul asserted that he would not be a bond-servant of Jesus Christ if his goal was to please men (Galatians 1:10).

Confession: I try too hard to please men! This is not to my credit, this is actually to my
shame! Jesus specifically told us to “seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). May I be a man, and may we be a church, that will seek the kingdom of God, and seek to be a righteous people before we seek anything else.

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Sept. 15, 2019

Over the last few months I have been basically camped out in Acts 2:41-47. This passage reports the beginning and the traits of the Christian church even though the word “church” is not used until Acts 5.

One of the overarching traits of this large group of new Christ followers was their unity. Again, the word “unity” is not actually used in this passage, but it certainly is described! Read through these verses and you will find the following words and
phrases: “continuously devoted,” “together,” “all things in common,” “sharing,” “one mind,” “together” (not a misprint, “together” is used twice).

I want to challenge Scotsdale Baptist Church to be an Acts 2:42 church, and I challenge YOU to be an Acts 2:42 Christian! Please pray for your church leaders—pastors, elders, deacons/ministers, and teachers. Pray that we would be Acts 2:42
leaders.

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Sept. 8, 2019

It’s a beautiful day as I look out my window. The temperature is a warm 92 degrees, but this is not as hot as it has been over the past several weeks. The movement of the palm leaves suggest a light wind. These winds, along with the trending forecast of cooler temperatures, are introducing a changing of the seasons. It is that time of year again!

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven” (NASB). Not only is there a time for every event under heaven, there is also a time to evaluate what we have been doing. Paul told the church at Ephesus , “Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (5:15-17).

Our biblical model for church life is found in Acts 2:42-47. Please pray for us and with us as we seek to honor our Lord God in every aspect of church life. May God use us to reach the community where He has placed us.

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July 21, 2019

I love young people! Actually I love people of all ages, but as a grandfather I seem to look at children through another set of eyes. When we had our Summer Blast Sports and Crafts Camp I was impressed by what many of our children knew about the Bible. I was also very concerned about the beliefs that other children had due to the instruction of what I am sure are well-meaning, yet very misinformed parents/guardians.

Working with and watching these kids was a reminder to me of why we do what we do. We work to train children, youth, and adults in God’s Word. We use a variety of methods in our work, but the goal is always the same—Evangelism, Discipleship, Ministry, and Worship. Until the Lord returns may we always be faithful in that service!

Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).

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July 14, 2019

I guess everyone feels this way from time-to-time. For some this feeling has to do with family. For others it has to do with their job. Far too many feel this way about their marriage. Many pastors will quip that they feel this way every Monday morning. For me, the feeling is most prominent after Business Meetings; but honestly, I feel this way after a lot of Sundays as well!

What is this feeling? It is the feeling that you would like to QUIT! Quit the job. Leave the marriage. Check out on the family. Walk away from the ministry. Forget your friends. Why stay? Nobody cares anyway, except for the people who have a gripe. They are the ones you will hear from!

Then you read Psalm 37:23-24 – “A person’s steps are established by the Lord, and He takes pleasure in his way. Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord supports him with His hand.” Somehow Lord, I have to trust that You have established my steps. Somehow or another You take pleasure in my way. Every time I fall, even if the words of others threaten to overwhelm me You won’t allow it because You are the One who is holding my hand. So right now, even though my feelings are telling me to QUIT, my faith is telling me to CLING to Your hand.

Dear ones, may God give you the strength to cling to Him in your trials!

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July 4, 2019

HAPPY BIRTHDAY U.S.A!

The celebration of a birthday does not take into consideration the process that preceded the birth. We celebrate a person’s birthday, but there is about a nine-month process from conception to birth. Mothers can attest to the difficulties of this process.

Our forefathers’ decision to break from the British monarchy began in 1765 with the Stamp Act. The corresponding Revolutionary War lasted from 1775-1783. We celebrate July 4th, 1776 as our nation’s “birthday.” History records the difficulties of this process.

Our Statue of Liberty stands in New York Harbor on Liberty Island. This statue is a gift to the U.S.A. from France. It is a symbol of the freedom that this nation is blessed to have. The idea for this gift began in 1865. The process began in the early 1870s. It wasn’t completed and dedicated until October 28, 1886. History records the difficulties of this process.

Life is about process, and so is your walk as a Christian. The process is difficult. Be patient, but be persistent! “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” – 2 Peter 3:18.

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June 16, 2019

Out of the Ten Commandments, six of them have to do with how people are to treat each other. The first of those six commandments deals with the parent-child relationship—“Honor your father and your mother. . .”

Father’s Day was started by a daughter of a widower who had raised six children. Her name was Sonora Smart Dodd. Her father was for a time a single parent and a Civil War Vet.

History is full of ordinary men who have overcome extraordinary obstacles for the sake of their families. My hats off to you men who work, serve, sacrifice, and pray for your families every day. Happy Father’s Day, and God bless you men!

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