IT’S JUNE! Half of 2017 is behind us. Can you believe it? During this month the school year will officially end, children will go to camp, our youth will attend their camp, families will be traveling for vacation, and others be hosting or attending family reunions. Life does not stand still! God, however, commands us to STOP! On the seventh day God Himself rested from all that He had created. God gave us ten commandments, one of which tells us to set aside a day to rest and worship Him. The psalmist said in Psalm 46:10, “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” In all of our summer activities it is important for Christians to do two things—1) Take time to rest; and 2) Remain faithful in tithing to the Lord through the ministry of the church. Take/Make the time to stop long enough to take in the majesty of God’s creation. Demonstrate your thankfulness to God, in part, by investing in the ongoing ministry of His church.
Throughout the four books in the Bible focusing on the life of Jesus, people were noted as saying that they were amazed by His teaching and His authority. How long has it been since you have been amazed by Jesus. Two songs come to my mind as I am writing this—one is an old hymn, and the other is a contemporary song. The hymn’s title is “I Stand Amazed in the Presence” (…of Jesus the Nazarene). The contemporary song simply says, “Lord I’m Amazed By You” (…how You love me).
We have carved out the dates of April 22-25th for a series of meetings called “Encounter Christ Revival.” It is my sincere hope that God will use this series to help us to have a special encounter with our Lord Jesus.
In preparation for this series I have invited a team of ministers to come and help us. The preacher for this event is Jonathan Hewett. Jonathan is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Carrizo Springs, TX. God has used him to help others encounter Christ in many other countries as well as throughout the U.S. The singers for our event are Sherman and Tammy Aten. They have been with us on several occasions as they travel extensively with their message of Christ through music.
As this team comes to join us for this series there is something we can do to help them to be refreshed and energized. I would like for us to begin praying RIGHT NOW for them and for this event. As we are praying, I know they would be so blessed to hear from us that we are praying for them. So—I want to challenge you to go to their respective websites and reach out to them. Their sites have been given below, and each site has a menu bar with an option to connect with them. Please send them a message to let them know that you are praying for them and for Scotsdale. As we prepare for this event, please pray that God would have His way with us! Here is how you can find out more about this team, their ministries, and how to connect with them:
- Jonathan Hewett at www.makeitplain.org
- Sherman and Tammy Aten at www.a10s.org
God bless you for your prayers and participation. I can hardly wait to see what God is going to do if we will let Him!
Thankful to serve as your pastor,
P.S. Right now Sherman Aten and a team of men are scheduled to go on a mission trip to a place that is potentially volatile. God knows where they will be, but let’s pray for their safety and that God would use them to bear much fruit for His kingdom.
Ask almost anyone what February 14th is and they will tell you that it is Valentine’s Day. Commercials share no shortage of ideas for you to commemorate your love for others. Valentine’s Day is seen as a way to tangibly demonstrate your love for special people in your life. My guess is that this is only one of many days that you express your love for the dearest people in your life in such a demonstrative way. If not, then you and I need to have a serious talk!
I am blessed by the number of ways that I see Scotsdale members demonstrating their love for our Lord and for others! Recently I have seen church members helping other church members through struggles of various kinds. At the beginning of this month I witnessed a large group leave the parking lot of the church to serve a meal and some groceries to low-income residents in the Sparks Community. What was so beautiful about what I witnessed that evening was the various ages represented. Parents brought their children. Some of our members brought friends. Some of our members were brand new while others have been members here for a number of years.
When we got out to the church where the meal and food distribution takes place I saw my brothers and sisters quickly jump into action unloading, setting up, serving, and cleaning. When it came to the distribution of groceries we formed an assembly line. Next to me were two children who said, “We want to help.” They could have remained outside to play, but they wanted in on the action of serving—so they did! So on one side I had a collegiate student, and on my other side I had these two grade school aged kids. Down the line were others who were teenagers, retired, working, young, middle-aged, and elderly all working together for a common cause.
On that night I heard the testimony of one of our recently returned soldiers. After that Pastor Luis very clearly shared God’s message of love and salvation. After that I saw a couple of our ladies praying for someone who had requested prayer. What I saw that night was not only a picture of teamwork, it was also a picture of love in action. It was a picture of love through service.
Jesus said, “When you serve the down-and-out, you are serving Me!” Beloved this is true whether you are serving in a large group like we had at Sparks, or within a small group of friends, or all by yourself. When we serve others, or one another, we are serving our Lord. Jesus also said that He Himself did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His own life as a ransom for many.
Thank you church members for allowing me to serve our Lord with you. It is so cool to see your love in action!
As the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus it is very clear that he was writing about a variety of relationships. Yes, he was writing to the church, but who makes up the membership of churches?—People! As a church we are involved in a relationship with one another. The book of Ephesians speaks about how our relationship with one another should work within the church and within our families. Just look at the references to families within this letter…
- 3:14-15, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name…”
- 5:22-33 – The relationship between a Christian husband and wife
- 6:1-3 – A child’s relationship with their father
- 6:4 – A father’s relationship with his children
I believe that, just as every parent would want harmony and unity in the home, our Heavenly Father wants harmony and unity in His church. The book of Ephesians instructs us in how to live in harmony and unity with one another. For this reason this study has taken me much longer to preach through than I originally thought it would, but the instructions are so important, especially in a day when we see our enemy, the devil, trying so hard to steal, kill, and destroy everything that God has created and called good! By-the-way, Paul’s letter tells us how to combat our enemy as well in Chapter 6, verses 10-18.
As I pray for Scotsdale Baptist Church, my church family, through this study, I will continue to pray that our gracious God would grant us, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man so that Christ would dwell in our hearts through faith. To the degree that we are rooted and grounded in love, may we be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth of His love. May we know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge so that we may be filled up to all the fullness of God. May the Lord do abundantly more than we could ask or think according to His power that works within us. May our Lord receive the glory in Scotsdale Baptist Church in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen!
In His Service,