Twenty-one of our students went to Lives Ablaze Camp at Inlow Baptist Camp, and what an amazing time it was! Camp is always a great way to get our students reconnected to each other and God, but this year was so much more than that. The theme for the camp was ID, and we were lead to look at our identity through Christ. Mike, our camp pastor, helped us see who we are in Christ by looking at some truths we sometimes breeze over – Justification, Regeneration, Adoption, and Redemption. This, along with the church/personal time and cluster group time, had an impact on our young adults that was life changing. We had two students who accepted Christ at their Lord and Savior… How AWESOME is that!!! Please pray for our young adults as they transition back into life after camp that they will not forget who they are in Christ.
The vision of The People Church | First Baptist Moriarty is to Build Community, Give Hope, and Make Disciples. Our Growth Groups serve as a key resource for Making Disciples by creating an environment for discipleship and leadership development to take place. This happens by focusing on six different areas: fellowship, teaching, prayer, ministry, accountability, and multiplication.
Each month we will highlight a different Growth Group to allow you to get to know others in the church and maybe learn about ministries that you may be unfamiliar with. This month we are highlighting the Richard/Pettit Growth Group.
Group Leaders: Bill Richard & Rick Pettit
- How long have you been leading this Growth Group? 8 or 9 years
- When and where do you meet? Sunday mornings at 9:15 a.m. at The People Church in Room 212
- Who is the “typical” member of your group? While our growth group has no age restrictions, the majority of the members are in their 50’s or above and many are empty-nesters.
- What curriculum are you studying? D-Life Bible Study that covers the entire New Testament in one year. Each week our members read five chapters and summarize what they see as the important thoughts in each chapter. Additionally, there is a selected passage within the five chapters that is specified for additional study driven by a series of about ten questions. On Sunday mornings, four preselected volunteers lead the group study. The four responsibilities are 1) Lead Prayer Time; 2) Read the Focal Passage; 3) Paraphrase the Focal Passage; and 4) Facilitate the Bible Study.
- What fellowship and mission activities have you had in the past six months? Provided clothes for disabled veterans; enjoyed breakfast together prior to Bible study; delivered donuts to police officers; served at the Easter celebration; enjoyed a potluck and a movie together; helped clean the church to allow Buffy to attend the Lives Ablaze Youth Conference at Inlow.
- What fellowship and mission activities are scheduled for the next few months? Two fellowships in the country; provide treats for the Kids’ Bible Club; serve at the Movies in the Park; deliver Blessing Bags; Christmas potluck and white elephant gift exchange.
- What are some other interesting facts about your group? Besides the fellowship and mission activities listed above, most of the members have additional personal ministries that they lead or are involved in throughout the year.
One thing that I have heard over and over attributed as a key component to living a successful and fulfilling life is gratitude. A recent study found that about 71% of Americans see millennials as selfish and 64% as entitled. While this may appear true that people around my age show signs of being entitled and selfish, it really seems to me that among most adults there is not a sense of gratitude. Whether it is entitlement driven, or driven by pride because of hard work exerted, we struggle to be grateful for our life and what we have. This leads us to a self-serving attitude.
Now I do want to say that there is nothing wrong with desiring more for your life, or wanting the best for your family. But we can’t let that be our main focus. We also need to live in the moment and take time to be thankful for things around us. This eventually leads to an ongoing attitude of gratitude.
There are four things that we can do right now to begin our process of being more grateful and showing more gratitude in what God has already given us.
First, look at everyday blessings. Choose to put the emphasis on the things that you do have instead of things that you wish you had. While there are big things in your life that are everyday blessings, like a job or a big opportunity that just fell in your lap, there are also tons of little things that we sometimes forget about. Running water, not only clean water, but clean running water that we can get to exactly the temperature that we desire. Three meals a day, and a safe warm bed to sleep in every single night. We should remember these and be thankful.
Second, go outside and be in nature. Paul makes an excellent point in Romans 1, when he points out that God is revealed through His creation. Nature is a display of God’s creativity and goodness. There are countless verses in the Psalms about how the heavens reflect the glory of God, and the skies proclaim His work. It is also great to see flowers and the birds, because Jesus tells us very plainly that even those things, though they don’t work hard, they are fed and clothed every day. He also tells us that if we seek His kingdom, that will be granted to us as well. Being around what God has made is a great reminder of how grateful we should be.
Third, remember how much God loves us. This may be something that we don’t really think about, but it should be. It’s easy to dismiss God’s love when we hear about it so often. But when we just hear it and don’t look for it, or try to feel it, it is easy for us to be complacent about the love that we have been shown. Be mindful of the mighty love that God has showed so freely to you.
And finally, try to think past your current pain. When we dwell on our current pain, stress, or hard situation, it is easy to not feel grateful. But we are reminded in James 1:2-3 that we should “Consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you go through trials of many kinds, because you know the trials of your faith develop perseverance.” When we look past our pain, we can see how God can use it, and then, even in our pain, we can count it a joy and show our great gratitude.
This is not an easy task, but it is important to show God and others our gratitude for what we have in our lives already. So take one of these things, really work on it, and then keep going.
As I write this article, we are just a few days removed from the tragic attack in Orlando, Florida that took the lives of 49 people and impacted thousands of others. As with most tragedies in our country lately, it doesn’t take long for individuals and groups to use the occasion to push their agenda. This is true for politicians and gun control but it is also true in this case for Christian Pastors and Churches who believe that the victims deserved their fate. Some have gone so far as to say that it was God’s judgment on them for their lifestyle.
Let me say this loud and clear…THE PEOPLE THAT JESUS CONDEMNED THE MOST, WERE THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS RELIGIOUS ELITE WHO FELT LIKE THEY HAD IT ALL TOGETHER AND WERE BETTER THAN EVERYBODY ELSE. The reality is, every single one of us is guilty of sin. Every single one of us is deserving of death. And should God have chosen to judge the world according to our sins, humanity would have been wiped out long ago.
Yet, God choose a different path. As John 3:17 says, “For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” God decided to show compassion over condemnation. He chooses to offer grace over wrath. He chooses to give love over punishment. And it is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that gives any of us a right standing before God. His blood, shed on our behalf, is the only reason why I am no longer destined for an eternity of separation from God.
So, next time there is a situation that arises like this, let us remember that as Christians we are to respond in a Christ-like way. This means showing compassion over condemnation, grace over wrath, and love over punishment. Let us be there for those who are hurting to weep with them and to serve them in their time of needs. Let us be a tangible representation of the God we serve. And by showing the love of Christ, we will have more opportunities to share Christ.