The Christ child did not merely come to earth to be born in a manger, live a normal life, and die of old age. Jesus came to bring redemption for all mankind. He came to be the son of man, Emmanuel, and Son of God! He came as a servant, but will return as a King. The Magi brought gifts fitting only for a Prophet, Priest, and King for they understood the brevity of His life. The baby in the manger would grow up and teach the world what it meant to love sacrificially, and write eternity on the hearts of all who would believe. Philippians 2:10 states, “one day every knee will bow, those who are in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth.” All will recognize Jesus as their rightful ruler. (Matthew 2:1-12)
Answer these questions. Who or what is Lord of my life? Have I pledged my allegiance to another King? Do I humbly serve my King with my whole heart? How you answer these questions will determine your place in the Kingdom of God. The Advent season should remind us of the most important decision one could ever make – making Jesus your King. He is worthy of all worship and praise, and He died so we could live. Live for King Jesus today! (Revelation 19)
“In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving” — although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time — the festival lasted for three days. ” Thanksgiving Day stands to commemorate the religious and political freedom sought by those oppressed by the English government. Modern day traditions may vary, especially from the original celebration, but one thing remains. It should remind us to be thankful for our freedom to worship and live in a free nation. God gave the first Puritan and Pilgrim settlers the courage and wisdom to seek after freedom. May we never forget the sacrifice many gave to preserve the freedom to worship our great God! Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! (1 Chronicles 16:34)
When is the last time you recall giving generously or sacrificing your time, talent and treasure for someone else without expecting anything in return? How did you feel? How did the other person respond? Patrick Johnson writes, “Genuine Christianity compels us to become a generous person because the central act of our faith is an act of thankfulness.” The Apostle Paul explained it best in 2 Corinthians 8:8-9, “I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” There are some key generous aspects of these verses. First, Paul establishes grace as the core of God’s generous love and is not out of coercion, but a voluntary act of sacrifice and redemption. Second, he encourages us to model God’s grace that He has given to us freely. Finally, it is our goal as believers to live out His generosity, which is the very heart of God, to those around us.
Have you ever lost something super valuable to you? I heard about one story of a lost wedding ring in a lake, later found by a couple in shallow water. One day, while asking a local jeweler what they should do with the ring after four months of searching for the owner, he asked, “Where did you find the ring?” Sure enough, a couple had just inquired if anyone had found a lost wedding ring in the same lake. Rings can be lost and found, just like a fruitless wandering life can be lost and found in Christ.
After trusting in Christ, Jesus gives us a picture of what our new life should resemble in Luke 9:23. First, self-denial – we must seek after the things of God, not our selfish gain. Second, self-sacrifice – the cross is a place of death; there is no making it out alive. The cross symbolizes in our life all that must die in order to become a disciple of Christ. Jesus is not just an add-on to our life. His journey becomes our journey. Finally, we must be self-motivated. We must desire to follow Jesus’ example; it cannot be a casual relationship. Following Jesus means that we consume our life with His directives, and He will make our path straight. Ask God to help you live the sacrificial life!
It has been said, “It’s not how you start, but how you finish.” Well that is partially true, but the Apostle Paul included both the start and finish in his description of his life and the challenge he brought to Timothy, whom he mentored in life and ministry. In 2 Timothy 4:1-7, the Apostle Paul exhorts young Timothy, as well as all believers in Jesus, “preach the word, be ready, teach the Truth of God, and fulfill your ministry.” In other words, start and finish well. He goes on to say near the end of his ministry three keys to finishing well. First, “fight the good fight” (v.7). The Christian life will be a struggle and even a battle, but it is worth the fight to honor and follow Jesus. Second, “finish the race”. It is said that the Christian life is a marathon not a sprint; there will be hills, slipups, blind curves, and pitstops, but the goal is to finish the race and finish well. Finally, “keep the faith”. This is the ultimate compliment a follower of Jesus can receive, “well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21) Finish well!
What are you devoted to? Most of us have a handful of things we spend our time and energy on. Where does prayer fit into your spiritual life? Sadly, I know in my life prayer often becomes a last resort instead of a first priority. I believe if we are to see spiritual awakening in our Land and revival in the Church, prayer must become a central priority in our lives.
Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. We have that prayer recorded in Matthew 6. The key is our prayer must also be followed up by action. We must pray and then love, serve, and go wherever God instructs us. Prayer without obedience is just wishful thinking. As believers, we cannot sit idly by and not act on our prayers.
The outline of the ACTS of Prayer is a great way to specifically remember key points on prayer and how to pray effectively.
Adoration: Praising God for WHO He is and His awesome power! (Psalm 31:23-24)
Confession: Confessing our need for His forgiveness, love and cleansing! (1 John1:9)
Thanksgiving: Thankful for God’s provisions! (Psalm 100:4-5)
Supplication: Praying for Others! (1Timothy 2:1)
What an incredible week of growing in the Lord our kids and I had at camp this year! Our camp Pastor Colby King challenged each one to share their story with friends and family. He is a great evangelist when it comes to relating to kids and the way he accurately and concretely demonstrates what it means to be a Christian. Throughout the week kids would ask, “What time is it?” Pastor Colby shared it is always 3:30. This is their ministry theme verse. “He must become greater, I must become less” John 3:30. Pastor Colby also shared a very simple way to have a conversation with those around us. It starts with a question. Can I tell you about the greatest thing that ever happened to me? Then after sharing your story, you end with, “and that’s how I know I’m going to heaven, what about you?” I encourage each of you to give that simple way of sharing Christ with someone you know or have an acquaintance with a try. Thanks for taking time to hear a little bit about our camp week. It was terrific!
“In Jesus, we have everything we need to live a life that honors God. When we trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord, He rescues us from sin and death and gives us power to live joyfully for Him.” Because that statement is true, we invest prayer, time, effort, planning and yes, dollars to provide a VBS experience that has great life-changing, rescuing potential. You might wonder, is there a role for me in VBS? Oh, so glad you asked! Here are some ways for you to be involved that you may not have considered: Sound/technical support, prayer team, teachers, helpers, crafts, music, missions, recreation, registration, security, decorations, 4th of July parade workers, and more. This year’s goal is to get kids from our community to VBS, and we need your help. Parents with kids who’ve completed Kindergarten through 5th grade, would you encourage your child to invite a friend or two, particularly friends who are unchurched? All children are welcome, but think of how you might impact the life of a child by inviting them and perhaps providing transportation to and from VBS each day. If there are kids in your neighborhood, would you make it a point to invite them? We will be providing flyers to be handed out to kids you know or that live near you. I can’t wait to see how God will use VBS this year! I encourage you to be a part. VBS is July 9 – 13 from 9 a.m. to noon and is open to kids who have completed Kindergarten through 5th grade.
BCNM Student Camp
BCNM Student Camp, formerly known as Lives Ablaze Student Camp, is coming June 25-29. Early registration ends May 25th, and I need to know who will be going by May 20th so I can reserve our spots. The cost of Camp has increased to $192.00. Please let me know as soon as possible if you or your student will be going.
Camp dates: June 25-29
Deadline to register: May 20th
Elevate Summer Schedule
During summer, Elevate will follow the schedule listed below:
6 – Garden Party
13 – Cancelled
20 – Cancelled
27 – Cancelled (Student Camp)
4 – Cancelled (Parade)
11 – Cancelled (VBS)
18 – Family Play Evening
We will be returning to our regular schedule on July 25th.
Follow this link to find this information and more:
Attention parents with kids in grades 3 through 6. You are invited to begin planning now for your child to attend the Annual Young Lives Ablaze Conference. This year’s conference theme is #Never the Same, based on 2 Corinthians 5:17. It will be held on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at Eastern Hills Baptist Church, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This is a day packed full of fun: Entertainment by Jesse Joyner the Juggler, Worship Artist Yancy and the speakers Kolby and MaryBeth King. This exciting event is sponsored by the Baptist Convention of New Mexico. Registration before April 6th includes a T-shirt for $30. Registration after April 6th is $35 and does not include a T-shirt. Please be sure to see the poster at the entrance to the Children’s hallway or see me for more details. Permission slips (required to attend) are currently available in the welcome/check-in area. Transportation to and from the YLA Conference will be provided as well as breakfast and supper before and after the sessions. Lunch is included in the Conference fee. We encourage kids to invite their friends who are also in 3rd – 6th grades for a wonderful, fun day where the gospel presentation will be specifically geared for this age group.