Why I Attend Outreach Conference

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The work of the ministry calls for frequent sharpening.  One of the ways I sharpen myself each year is by attending the Outreach Conference at Faith Baptist Church in Avon, Indiana. Here are some reasons I make this conference a priority.

  1. Solid Preaching—As pastors, we need to hear preaching. I have enjoyed hearing men like R.B. Oullette, Mark Monte, Kurt Skelly, Doug Jackson and Cary Schmidt. God has used these men to challenge me to keep growing spiritually.
  2. Meaningful Fellowship—I enjoy reconnecting with pastors that I don’t get to see throughout the year. Whether it is sharing ideas or just talking about the ministry, I am encouraged by the fellowship we have together.
  3. Genuine Motivation—Sometimes you get the sense that conferences are hosted in order to show off rather than to give sincere help. This conference is born out a genuine desire to just be a blessing. I have observed this over and over again.
  4. Encouragement for My Wife—Some conferences focus so much on the pastor that they forget the pastor’s wife. Every year my wife has been encouraged and leaves refreshed and charged.
  5. Helpful Workshops—Practical workshops give an opportunity for pastors and ministry leaders to sharpen themselves on multiple subjects. The workshops are about a half hour in length so that you can get more information in a short amount of time. No doubt you will leave with useful material.

Would you take the time to participate in the Outreach Conference March 6-7, 2017?  You will be glad you did!

Register today!

Thoughts from our Project

Untitled design-4This past Monday, our church was able begin phase one of our Auditorium Enhancement project. For over a year we have been praying about and raising funds. It is so exciting to see a fresh, new look taking shape. I would like to praise the Lord in several specific ways in regards to this project.

  1. Jesus is the Motivation
    It may seem obvious, but I want to praise the Lord that Jesus is the reason and the motivation behind this project. Jesus is the reason we exist as a church, He is the one whom we serve and the one whom we desire to magnify in every venture we undertake.
  2. Believers with a Heart for God
    Praise the Lord for believers who have had a heart for God and a willingness to sacrifice, giving of their time and finances. I am thankful for those who have prayed. I am grateful for the spirit of unity that the Holy Spirit has given to God’s people.
  3. Wisdom from God
    Many have co-labored on this project to this point with a heart to be guided by God’s wisdom. Praise God for wisdom for each step of the way! God’s wisdom allows all of us to carry out His will and to exercise our gifts in a skillful manner.

May God continue to guide and use Grace Baptist Church to impact Kettering and our world for Jesus Christ.

Someone Cared

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Can you think back to the day you accepted Jesus as your personal Savior from sin? Can you remember the person God used to point you to Christ? Maybe it was your mom or dad, your pastor, a faithful soul winner at your door or maybe it was an unknown person who left a tract in a public place. Whoever it was, they cared for you!

Today, you and I will have opportunities to connect with people. People who are doomed to spend eternity in the fires of hell. Would you care enough to give the truth to them? Would you care enough to tell them of what Jesus did for you? Would you care enough to invite them to attend church with you?

Would you be someone who cares?

John 5:7  The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.

Reflections on Couples Retreat



I always enjoy spending time with my wife. She is my best friend, cheerleader and soulmate. This was our second annual couples retreat at Grace Baptist Church. I would like to share several blessings of having and attending couples retreat.  

  1. Growing Together—Couples retreat is an awesome opportunity for God to work on a couple together. My wife and I hear the same Bible truth together and are given opportunity to respond to that truth together. It seems that God gives a focused openness to each other and an excitement about putting into practice what has been received. 
  2. Gaining Wisdom—We do well to listen and accept the advice of those who have walked with God for many years. We were privileged to have Dr. Bob Taylor and his wife Joan as our speakers. God used the wisdom they have gained from fifty plus years of marriage to give Biblical insight. I appreciated men in the older generation being willing to share all that God has taught them over the years. 
  3. Encouraging Others—It is exciting to see God’s people edified. In a day when Biblical marriage is under attack, what a blessing it is when marriages are strengthened! I praise God for the work He did in mine and what I heard testified that He was doing in other’s. 

In addition to these blessings, I want to give a two fold encouragement. 

  1. If you have not yet attended a couples retreat, plan to attend one! You will be blessed. Begin now to plan and save to be able to attend. 
  2. If you are a pastor and do not have an annual couples retreat, prayerfully consider beginning one. Strong families make up strong churches. Time investing in the marriages in your church will never be wasted time. 

Focus

IMG_0032There is no end of talk about the characteristics of the millennial generation. As a millennial myself, a characteristic that I am burdened about is the willingness to criticize the older generation. Sure, every generation, including the millennials, has its blind spots and failures. You would be hard pressed to find a preacher in his 60’s who would not readily admit theirs. My question is this. What should the focus of millennials be as we are taking the mantle of ministry? It seems that many of my generation are so focused on the issues of the past, valid and invalid, that they have forgotten the present mission. Many would rather sit behind a keyboard and criticize than knock on doors and preach the Good News. God did not commission us to be critiques but to be couriers. I believe we need to refocus and set our priorities right.

  1. Focus on Continuing
    Paul commanded Timothy to continue not critique in the things he had learned. Let’s not be so in love with “new” that we ditch what is good old, real Christian practice. I hear so many criticize the last generation’s standards as legalistic throwing them out the window not realizing they have just ripped out key protections of purity wisely put in place.  Check your heart when you find yourself zealous to disregard that which you have been taught. Be careful to follow the wise advice of the Apostle Paul to continue in the things you have been taught.
  2. Focus on the Commission
    In these last days, we must use the strength of our youth to preach Jesus boldly, publicly and constantly. The devil would love to sidetrack us with the wrong doing of a preacher, a vendetta against standards or a desire to be accepted. Bottom line, Jesus has called us to follow Him so that we could be fishers of men. We need a laser focus on the great commission influencing others to follow suit and turn our worlds upside down. Have you stopped to think that the time taken to write that criticizing blog may have been better used planning an outreach campaign or just getting some tracts and going soul winning. Let’s be busy for Jesus and for souls!
  3. Focus on the Christlikeness 
    This is the ultimate goal of every believer. Jesus has clearly revealed Himself in the Word and commands us follow His example. Let us be passionate about following His commands to hate sin, to be holy, to love not the world, to preach the Gospel everywhere, to walk as children of the light and to prove all things. It saddens me to hear millenials criticize the older generation’s practices as legalistic and unbiblical while many of them simply had a desire to follow Jesus and obey his commands—to be Christlike. We must personally focus on following and becoming like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

6 Benefits of Couples Retreat

In just a few weeks Grace Baptist Church will host its second annual Couples Retreat. This year we are privileged to have Pastor Chuck and Linda Phelps from Indianapolis, Indiana. As I think about the benefits of a Couples Retreat, some thoughts come to mind.

  1. It gives time to focus on your spouse. 
    With our fast paced culture, what does not get planned does not get done. If we are not careful, building our marriages can become a last priority.
  2. It gives God an opportunity to speak to you. 
    Sometimes it takes a change of pace, surroundings and a different voice for us to hear what God is trying to say to us. You can be sure if you set aside time to hear from God, He will speak to you through His word. Remember, God’s Word has the answers for having a vibrant, successful marriage.
  3. It will encourage teamwork. 
    As you and your spouse hear from God’s Word lessons geared toward your relationship, God will work in both of your hearts at the same time. He will show areas that need work. It is out of these times there comes a renewed desire to work on your marriage together.
  4. It is an opportunity to be encouraged by other couples. 
    It is always a blessing to see and hear how God is working in the lives of others. It encourages us to keep at it. Perhaps you will get a tip or idea from another couple that will inspire you in your marriage.
  5. It will say that you are interested in deepening your relationship. 
    What we take time for indicates our interests. Setting aside time to focus on your marriage will speak volumes to your spouse.
  6. It will help you follow God’s plan. 
    God’s plan for every marriage is for it to be a lifetime love relationship. The statistics tell us that about half of marriages end in divorce. A strong marriage in the future depends on the decisions made in the present. Take advantage of present opportunities to strength the most your wonderful, awesome earthly relationship.

 

Followers of Christ, Fishers of Men

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The American way is one of convenience and ease or at least that is what we expect. This is readily apparent with people start complaining when they wait more than 90 seconds in a McDonald’s drive-thru for a Big Mac. Americans want it now and they want it to be easy. Yet, when it comes to winning souls to Jesus Christ there are no convenience plans—no shortcuts. Being a soul winner means taking up your cross and being willing following Christ. (Luke 14:27)  As Jesus was choosing His disciples, he called to Peter and his brother Andrew, Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” While I believe that soul winning training is vital and important for every believer, nothing can replace the training one will get from daily following Jesus—being His disciple. There are no shortcuts around it. If you want to win souls, start following of Jesus. Fall in love with Jesus!

Follow Him in His Mission

Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Christ entire purpose in coming to earth was to see lost and sinful men repent and turn to Him for salvation. He prioritized this mission. All through His ministry He was laser focused on His mission.

Follow Him in His Sacrifice

1 Corinthians 5:7 “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us…” Are you willing to sacrifice? Jesus gave his life for us. He endured all the pain of death so that we could enjoy the power of new life in Him. If our Lord sacrificed his life, could we not sacrifice our time, talents, comfort and preferences to be fishers of men? Lets not fool ourselves, if we preach the same message that Christ preached while here on earth, it will require sacrifice. Philippians 1:29 “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake…”

Follow Him in His Love

Have you stopped to think of all that Jesus has done for you, all that love He has poured out on your life? He died in your place. He moment by moment intercedes for you. He guides you through the Spirit. He does not give up when you refuse to hear Him. He loves you! How much we ought to love others as He has love us. John 15:13  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:14 “For the love of Christ constraineth us…”  Paul followed Jesus in His love for the lost. Does Christ love constrain you to be a faithful witness?

Follow Him in His Compassion

Over and over we see Christ throughout His ministry stop and show compassion on the lost. He did not judge them, he cared for them. He fed them, healed them, took time with them and forgave them. It is easy for believers to look on the needs of the lost and be cynical and judgmental when our Lord would have us to show compassion. Matthew 9:36 “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” 

What happens to you when you see the lost? Do you focus on the marks of a life without Jesus? The emptiness of their souls? The bondage of their sin? Ask Christ to fill your heart with His compassion for their souls. All throughout our neighborhoods and cities are lost people who just like the impotent man in John 5:7 say, “…I have no man…” No man who will care about their soul enough to show them the way to have peace in life and hope beyond the grave. God help us to be followers of Christ and fishers of men.