This year, at Grace Baptist Church, we are our learning our purpose and priorities. More than anything, we want to accomplish the purpose that Christ has given us to accomplish. In Matthew 28:18-20 says, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” This is a huge, monumental undertaking! However, as one man said, “Through God’s power, our faithfulness is always possible.” We have a purpose and we must faithfully engage in that purpose.
This past Vision Sunday, I was excited to reveal our public church purpose statement. Our purpose is to engage in the complete fulfillment of the Great Commission of Christ through the power of the Spirit to the glory of God.
During this first quarter of the year, I am preaching and teaching our priorities—how we will accomplish our purpose. I believe that accomplishing such a God-sized purpose requires that we plan and prioritize. You can listen to the message at our website, facebook or podcast.
Most of us quake in fear when we think of personally spreading the Gospel in the Muslim world. Preaching the Gospel in most areas of the Middle East legitimately requires that a man would be willing to lay down his life for Jesus Christ. These are precisely the reasons why the autobiography of Edgar Feghaly, Forward in the Face of Fear, will grip your attention. As I read it, I was encouraged by the testimony of a man who chose to walk by faith and not by sight. I was inspired by the countless examples of how God had preserved the life of His servant. Here are five reasons why this book would be a great encouragement to you.
- It is Current—We hear the great missionary stories of the past. They are inspiring but, in our minds they are often relegated as possible in the past, not in the present. Chapter after chapter is filled powerful accounts of God doing the impossible during the lifetime of my generation and last. As a young man, that just encourages me!
- It is Relevant—With all the focus on the turmoil in the Middle East, this book will be one you don’t want to put down. While reading of the power of God, you will also learn enlightening history describing the beginning of conflict in that region. You will gain a greater understanding of the unrest we see there today. Beyond that, you will see that the unrest has not stopped the Gospel from advancing or Christ’s church being built.
- It is Simple—When I hear of the ways God used great men of the past, sometimes I am tempted to think that God used them because they were special. While that is not true, it is easy to slip into that thinking. Edgar Feghaly is just a man who simply decided to follow Jesus early in life and practiced simple faith in God’s extraordinary power. “Although I knew at a young age that God had called me to serve Him, the night I walked the aisle at the Baptist church to surrender to His will I had no idea what a life of service would involve. I just knew I wanted to tell everyone I met about the One who had changed my heart and my family. And soon, God blessed me with opportunities to do just that.”
- It is Challenging—You will be challenged by Mr. Feghaly’s sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Multiple times his obedience to the Spirit kept him from danger or enabled him to win a soul to Christ. You will be challenged by his contentment to serve God without complaint. After all, there are easier places to preach Christ than Lebanon!
“I am ever grateful to the Lord who called me to minister and enabled me to serve Him in Lebanon. He truly provided spiritually, emotionally, and physically for my family’s every need.”
- It is Applicable—In America we have many excuses for not telling everyone we meet about the One that has changed our hearts. When you read of the circumstances in which Mr. Feghaly preached the Gospel, every excuse will pale in comparison. We have not been touched by unending war on our home soil. We have not faced persecution or even extreme opposition of our faith. Yet in the midst of a hostile, war-torn region, the Gospel went forward. I found myself thinking, “If he can do it there, I can do it here!”
Forward in the Face of Fear will be release on April 11, 2016. You can purchase your print or digital copy at Striving Together Publications.
Without reservation I can say that Men’s Retreat 2014 was the best retreat I have seen at Grace Baptist Church. There was an excellent spirit in the men and a desire for God’s Word. Despite the winter temperatures and weather, the attendance was fabulous. Here are some of the reasons for a great retreat this past weekend.
- God’s Presence—We prayed and prepared for this retreat and God blessed us with His unmistakable presence. As the Word was preached I sensed that God was deeply working in our hearts as men. He helped us identify the challenges that we as men face in these days and how to overcome them. He showed us that we can live holy lives in an unholy world. He taught us how to walk in victory day by day. He led us to prayer for strength to be the men, husbands and fathers that we ought to be. It was awesome to see God work in my heart and in the hearts of our men in specific areas.
- Great Preaching—God promises to bless and use the preaching of the Word. We were blessed to have Pastor Dan Mawson, Senior Pastor at Victory Baptist Church in West Chester, PA, as our retreat speaker. His heart for God and enthusiastic preaching was a blessing.
- Good Music—There is nothing like a group of men singing praises to God. It is bold, heart felt and glorious. I love singing and was certainly moved by this year’s music. It was a blessing to sing songs of salvation, heaven, victory and praise. We sang that encouraging song I’m on the Winning Side reminding us that the Devil is a defeated foe and we stand with our God on the winning side. The men sang this song for the Sunday Morning Service as a testimony to our Lord.
- Godly Fellowship—Men are bombarded with the influence of the world on a daily basis and are often wearied with its temptations. The godly fellowship found at Men’s Retreat was refreshing and encouraging.
If you missed Men’s Retreat 2014, I would encourage your to listen to the messages here and then make plans to attend next year, January 30-31 with Pastor Marc Monte. You will be glad you did! Until then, seek to be faithful to the Lord, to your wife, your family, and your church. The Devil is not playing games and neither should we. Let’s be men for God that make a difference by being different.