Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sharing with Christian Fellowship Baptist Church

"Wow. I never knew it was so spiritually dark there."

I think that was the most common response we received when we shared our mission opportunity with Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in Zebulon, Georgia, this past Wednesday night.

Honestly, it's been our own continued response as we learn more about Scotland's spiritual state. Late last year, we began to become aware of the lack of gospel churches in the most deprived areas of Scotland, the schemes. But it's only been recently that we've learned more about the darkness that is present even in the Highlands, in the outer reaches of the country.

And it's more than just a lack of the gospel. Over the last few generations, faithful churches have somehow faded away. You've heard that nature abhors a vacuum; well, Satan loves a vacuum. He loves to stealthily slip in and fill the void with lies.

And whether the lies lead to something called spiritualism, atheism, or pantheism, the result is always the same: idolatry. And the antidote is the gospel.

It was a joy to share the opportunities and challenges of partnership in our developing gospel work with this body of believers. The church family lived up to their name -- they reflected Christian fellowship in every interaction. Thanks to Steve and Odessa, and also Al and Cora, for inviting us to come. (Friends of our family, Doug and Yvonne, connected us with CFBC, but were unable to attend due to illness. We continue to pray for Yvonne.)

And can I just say that these folks know how to put out a South-in-your-mouth Wednesday night supper spread?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Braveheart: God's Way

We recently returned from visiting Scotland, the land of William Wallace (Braveheart) fame, and particularly that of his comrade in arms, Andrew Murray. While Wallace campaigned in and around the central belt of Scotland, Murray fought and won many battles in the Highlands. 

Wallace and Murray combined arms and fought the English in a major battle which Wallace and Murray won against great odds. Unfortunately, Murray was mortally wounded and died two months later. Wallace went on to a knighthood, great fame, and martyrdom.

I haven't seen Braveheart, yet. But I got to thinking about what it means to stand for something that you'd be willing to die for, check that, something you'd be willing to live for. 

In my first opportunity to offer some biblical encouragement to the folks of Hopeman Baptist Church , I spoke about God's gift of making Christians from all races and walks of life a spiritual family. 

1 Timothy 3:15 encourages Christians with the fact of our kinship as members of God's household; we are the Church of the living God. What a special gift we share together as adopted sons and daughters; though we may differ in skin color, language, culture and customs, we are family through faith in Christ. 

As a family then, we should pray for God to fill us with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we must strive for unity in the bond of peace for the sake of Christ and His commission to us: go and make disciples, teaching and baptizing to the greater glory of God.

Psalm 86:11 expresses the essence of a prayer of David that I encouraged my brothers and sisters to take to their hearts and offer to God on behalf of knowing His will, living in that will, and being united in our hearts to His greater glory. A prayer not so much for brave hearts, but for united hearts which offer the highest honor to God through holy living.

David humbly prays, "Teach me your way, O Lord."  We need to ask to be taught God's way; it is not something we know intuitively. "...That I may walk in your truth" -- that we may live our life by the truth of God's Word, i.e., that we will be obedient to Scripture. "...Unite my heart to fear your name." Our hearts are prone to wander, prone to distraction and discouragement. We need to pray that the Lord, by His truth and according to His grace, will cause our hearts to be pointedly focused on living a reverent, holy life. 

Unity comes through truth. The absence of truth fosters discord and every evil thing. I pray that my brothers and sisters at Hopeman Baptist will know the joys of knowing God, being filled to full measure with the knowledge of His Word, live in obedience to God's Word, and will have an unflinching heart of loyalty to the Lord out of reverence for Christ. 

Bravehearts? Maybe. But even better - hearts united in a growing awe of the Lord, and in a joyful, undistracted pursuit of what pleases Him.