Our Purpose



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.

If He Can There, I Can Here!

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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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.”
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.

What’s Your Bushel?

What's Your Bushel?

I was fueling up at the gas station recently and had an interesting divine appointment that got me thinking. The man using the pump across from me was staring at me which made for an awkward moment but then he spoke up.

He said, “Do you go to that church?” He was pointing to a Baptist church across the road. I told him that I went to Grace Baptist Church in Kettering. The conversation continued on spiritual things and it was awesome to see how the Lord set up the opportunity with this man. However, what caught my attention is when he told me the reason he had to talked to me. I did not ask him, he offered this on his own. He said, “I just had to say something to you, I knew you were a Christian because your light was shining.”

This caused me to do several things. First, praise the Lord! Second, I pray that my light is always shining for Jesus. Third, I must ask what is it that allows people to see a Christian’s light shining?

Jesus told us that we as His followers are lights and to be shining in this dark world.

Matthew 5:14-16

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 

In this passage we have a statement of fact, “Ye are the light of the world…

We as Christians are the light that God has left in this world to witness for Him. Acts 1:8 bears this out when it tells us we are witnesses. These are facts that lead to the question, “How bright is your light? How effective is your witness?” As a Christian you cannot change that fact that you are a light, but you do determine if that light is seen or not.

We also have a command, “Let your light so shine before men…”

Christ commands us to shine. That word shine means to beam, to radiate brilliancy. We choose whether our light is dim or radiant. So what is it that dims our light? What bushel do you allow over your light that dims it or makes it invisible?

Before I describe some possible bushels, I want to make an important point about our lights. In our day it is popular among Christians to espouse the thinking that all that matters is the heart — what is on the  inside. However, I see that Jesus commanded us to be visible for Him. Certainly the heart matters and it must be right with God if we are to shine on the outside, but the outside must shine too. So lets not get caught up in the thinking that what is visible about you is not important, just the invisible. We must shine — that’s visible!

Let’s consider some bushels that can hide our light:

  1. A Backslidden Heart. Nothing will dim and hide our light faster than not being right with God. Fellowship with our Heavenly Father is put on hold when we cling on to sin that the Holy Spirit has told us to confess. Psalm 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Those are fearful words to one who has chosen to walk in sin. The fact is, when we are out of fellowship with our God, our light is hidden. We have busheled it! Let the Psalmist’s prayer be your prayer, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
  2. A Joyless Countenance. Whether it is a constant smile, a pleasant look or light in the eyes, you can tell a Christian who is in love with God. The world can’t mistake it! The faces of the lost communicate anger, hate, hurt, discouragement, and hopelessness. The faces of Christians should communicate love, joy, peace, gentleness and goodness. We often don’t shine for Jesus because our faces don’t  tell a story that the lost notice and then want to hear.
  3. A Confusing Appearance. Every serious business is keenly aware of the power of a distinct and identifiable appearance. They will spend a great deal of money on sharp uniforms. Again, in our military an orderly appearance is an absolute. It should be no different for the follower of Christ. Your appearance should send a clear distinct message for the Lord. Be careful not to wear clothing, hairstyles and accessories that cause people to think you are a follower of the world. The world pushes its name brand shirts, its tattered jeans and the grunge look. Lets rise above it and have a clean, neat, distinct and identifiable appearance that shines for Christ.
  4. A Worldly Speech. The world has its lingo, language and its popular conversation topics. As Christians it is important to remember moment by moment that our light can be hid when we sound like the world. The bushel is placed quickly over our light when we complain about the gas prices, speak in anger or use minced oaths (like heck instead of hell). The world should see a marked difference in our speech. Colossians 4:6 tells us to “Let your speech be always with grace…” Our speech should be spiritual, God enabled speech. One of my prayers each day is found in Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” Ask God to help you each day to be a light through your speech.
  5. A Compromising Company. I think of Peter warming his hands at the fire with the servants during Christ’s trial. (Matthew 26:58) Avoiding clear identification with Jesus, he stood afar off with a worldly company who did not love Christ. Peter was not there to win them but blend in with them. This choice of company partly led to his denial of Jesus, a decision he would regret for the rest of life.  Sometimes Christians hide their light by “hanging” with the wrong crowd. Like Peter, they try to blend with the world and not clearly identify with Christ. Let’s be sure that we are not placing a bushel over our light by having a compromised company.

Jesus has told us that we are lights to the world and has commanded that we let them shine unhindered, undimmed and bushel free. Take a moment and ask Jesus if you are shining as brightly for Him as He desires. Whatever bushels He points out, determine to confess it and forsake so that you radiate brilliancy for Jesus Christ.

Encouragement for You

This devotional (below) was a blessing to me today in light of the election day outcome. I hope it is to you as well. I am glad that I serve the God of Heaven whose position upon His throne is completely unaffected by the elections of the United States of America. Yesterday was no surprise to Him and furthermore His thoughts and plans for you and me have not changed. Be encouraged and strengthened in our God who is in full control.

“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” — Isaiah 49:16

No doubt a part of the wonder which is concentrated in the word “Behold,” is excited by the unbelieving lamentation of the preceding sentence. Zion said, “The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me.” How amazed the divine mind seems to be at this wicked unbelief! What can be more astounding than the unfounded doubts and fears of God’s favoured people? The Lord’s loving word of rebuke should make us blush; he cries, “How can I have forgotten thee, when I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands? How darest thou doubt my constant remembrance, when the memorial is set upon my very flesh?” O unbelief, how strange a marvel thou art! We know not which most to wonder at, the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of his people. He keeps his promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt him. He never faileth; he is never a dry well; he is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapour; and yet we are as continually vexed with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears, as if our God were the mirage of the desert. “Behold,” is a word intended to excite admiration. Here, indeed, we have a theme for marvelling. Heaven and earth may well be astonished that rebels should obtain so great a nearness to the heart of infinite love as to be written upon the palms of his hands. “I have graven thee.”It does not say, “Thy name.” The name is there, but that is not all: “I have graven thee.” See the fulness of this! I have graven thy person, thine image, thy case, thy circumstances, thy sins, thy temptations, thy weaknesses, thy wants, thy works; I have graven thee, everything about thee, all that concerns thee; I have put thee altogether there. Wilt thou ever say again that thy God hath forsaken thee when he has graven thee upon his own palms?

Reality Check…

I am well aware that the persecution of Christians happens around the world. However most of the time it is faceless and nameless. I just came across the story of Youcef Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor in Iran.

Youcef Nadarkhani Executed: Christian Pastor Hanged in Iran for Being Christian 
Youcef Nadarkhani has been executed in Iran. He is the Christian pastor who has been imprisoned and found guilty by the courts in Iran of being a Christian. Now he’s been executed in spite of international appeals to spare his life. He was hanged today.Youcef Nadarkhani was arrested in 2009 for being a Christian in a muslim country – specifically Iran. The 34-year-old father and husband was charged with refusing to convert to Islam. He was given the opportunity to renounce his Christian religion and refused, resulting is his condemnation and sentence to death by hanging.There is breaking news that he has been put to death by hanging because of his refusal to renounce his Christian religion and acceptance of Islam.

I am reminded that as an American I am free to be a Christian and what a tremendous privilege it is! I am also reminded that Islam is not a peaceful religion. It is a religion of the sword. Christianity is of the amazing love of God and whosoever will may come. I am challenged in two ways:

  1. The Gospel is the only answer for the Muslim religion, it is the power of God unto salvation.
  2. There are Muslims coming into America by the droves, they need Christ! I don’t ever want to miss an opportunity to share Christ with them while I still have the freedom.

Hebrews 13:3 “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”