The Best Is Yet To Come!

By Jim Ramsey

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An old song written by Dottie Rambo just came to mind that says:

“The holy hills of Heaven call me to mansions bright across the sea
 Where loved ones wait and crowns are given when the hills of home keep calling me

 This house of flesh is but a prison! Bars of bone hold my soul
 But the doors of clay are gonna burst wide open when the angel sets my spirit free!
 I’ll take my flight like a mighty eagle when the hills of home start calling me.”

We should praise the Lord for the wonderful life He has given us here on earth, in this “dressing room for eternity,” if you will. The greatest thing, however, is that the best is yet to come! Here’s an encouraging promise from God: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” I Corinthians 2:9

Simple Ways to Refresh Your Pastor

By Andrew Calabrese

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For those of us who are not senior pastors, we cannot fully understand the burdens that they face on a daily basis. While being in ministry is no doubt the most rewarding life one can live, it has also proven to be the most difficult one too. There is an immense need for God’s people to have a greater burden to refresh their pastor. According to 1 Timothy 5:17, each church member has the privilege and responisbility to be a blessing to his pastor: “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”

Run to God’s Will, Not From God’s Will

By Joe Monds

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Have you ever had a disobedient dog? They will chew things he shouldn’t chew, bark when it is inappropriate, lay on things he shouldn’t lay on… excrete on things he should not excrete on (gross). One especially aggravating trait of a disobedient would be when they run away when they are called. Nobody likes to chase around a disobedient dog.

Biblical Masculinity

By Pastor Dorrell

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There are many needed and necessary things that should be done to encourage masculinity in our churches. To do nothing deliberately is to abdicate our congregations to cultural forces, which obviously have gender-neutral or feminist bias agendas. The approach I would like to ask you to consider is to simply teach and preach on the subject of what genuine masculinity looks like from your pulpits.

The Way Life Should be

By Jim Ramsey

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Here in beautiful, cool New England we have had a wonderful time out of the everyday routine of life on the home front. We were privileged to spend most of our time off in Maine where Linda was born and spent the first eighteen years of her life. Maine is called “America’s vacationland, the Pine Tree state,” and the scenery is amazing!

The Power of Our Words

​By Andrew Calabrese

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Our words are incredibly powerful. In fact, Solomon said this about our words in Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue:” To summarize, Solomon was saying that the words we speak can be life-giving words or they can be life-taking words.

3 Ways to Get Excited About Your Salvation

By Jesse Becker

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What excites you? Ask any child that question and they’ll often reply with my birthday or Christmas. Those are exciting times for them for a couple reasons. First, they will most likely receive gifts. Who doesn’t get excited about a gift! Second, these days come only once a year, so they are more special than other days.

As Christians there is an exciting day in our life where we received God’s gift of eternal life and forgiveness from our sins. No gift could ever compare to that. If that day was more recent for you, you may still be able to recall that feeling when you knew that your sins were taken away. For many, that day was years ago and those feelings have been overshadowed by countless days of worry, stress, and fatigue. That’s OK. Life happens. But the neat thing is that we can restore the excitement of God’s miraculous gift in our heart with these three steps:

  1. Sanctify – Read Psalm 51 and see what this looks like. David sincerely asked God to cleanse his heart and restore the joy of Thy salvation.
  2. Sing – When participating in corporate worship, make a conscience effort to earnestly think about the words of the songs you are singing. These good songs hold awesome truths that can excite your heart about what God has done.
  3. Share – Just imagine having been cured from cancer and excitedly telling others how they can be cured. That’s what sharing the gospel is like.

Sanctifying, singing, and sharing. Reignite your heart today!

 

Had a “Divine Appointment” Lately?

By Jim Ramsey

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It’s amazing how God takes care of every little detail of life! The sad thing is that oftentimes I never even realize or acknowledge when He does it! There have been numerous times when I have been “out and about” and “accidentally” ran into someone I never expected to meet. Sometimes it’s someone from the distant past, sometimes someone from a recent connection, but always someone with whom the conversation seemed to benefit us both. God help me to see such “divine appointments” as opportunities that I must not squander.

Creative Excellence

By Pastor Troy Dorrell

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Over my tenure as pastor of Eastland Baptist Church, we have done many creative and innovative things. Each one has been organized and planned with a specific purpose and goal in mind.

A number of years ago, we organized a creative outreach effort one summer called “Family Tract Team,” which involved taking busloads of adults, teens, and children to various neighborhoods for door-to-door canvassing, inviting people to church, and handing out gospel tracts. The innovative part was the pre-meeting skits and fun times, and then we followed the events with a special and unique time of fellowship afterwards. Through this effort we were able to get hundreds of people involved in outreach who had never been before.

Over the years we’ve enjoyed annual “I Love My Church” Sundays, which have to been seen and experienced to be appreciated. This is a day we promote extensively and create a lot of enthusiasm for. During the event itself, we take a special offering in a unique and memorable way for a designated church project. We also take up our Vision/Building offering pledges for the coming year on that day.

Among the other creative things we do outside of our normal church services are a 4th of July fireworks display that attracts a myriad of people and a family ice skating night each December, where we rent an entire ice arena downtown for our church family and guests.

Like many churches we have a fall Festival Day, with a host of carnival and family-friendly games after the morning service, concluding with a giant tent service.

Our church has also highly invested in a drama ministry where special productions on Christmas, Easter, and other occasions involve many of our people in ministry, production, and set up. It is one of our varied outreach efforts to minister to many in our community.

I could go on by telling of other special events and creative ideas we have had used through the years for outreach, ministry, community service, and building the church body. I think all these things have had their place and contribute both directly and indirectly to our purposes. Through some of these events we have not only reached souls or raised money, but we have also built precious, happy fun-filled memories that have endeared the hearts of our people … both young and old alike … to the church and the Lord’s work.

In my opinion, in all these “ideas” we have done no harm or violation to the Scriptures and have been guarded not to develop an expectation of entertainment. We measure these events out with calculation and much thought, endeavoring to consider all of their pros and cons.

With all that said, I think the thing we give the most time and attention to and that has grown our church the most and is appreciated by our people more than all of these things combined is an effort to conduct our church services with excellence. While I am a proponent of the careful use of creativity and memory building I don’t think creativity or special events should ever be a substitute or take away from giving our very best effort each week in how we conduct our services and how we present ourselves to our community.

Of course, want to be authentic, real, spirit-filled and conservative in philosophy, but we also want to do things well, to be “sharp” and on point. We endeavor to do all things to the glory of God and with all of our might and use the best of our abilities in everything we do.

That is reflected in having a service that is planned, discussed, and thought through each week, giving attention to details, transitions, and preparation of everything that is said and done. We expect our music to be thoughtful and well prepared, for our special music to be done with excellence and grace, and for the preaching to be labored over and prayed for.

Since we live in a visual and graphic world we endeavor for our bulletins and all our literature to be done with excellence. We produce new tracts for each season and special event; we make sure they are well done, proofed, and attractive.

We also endeavor to make sure our property is well maintained inside and out, that the facilities are clean and presentable, that things are in good repair and touched up.

It is very important to us that we have well-prepared greeters at the doors, that our nurseries stand out as excellent, and our Sunday School classes have teachers who have prepared both themselves and their classrooms to receive both members and guests.

The point and principle is this: preparation and excellence can look like and even surpass creativity and are better starting points for most of us in trying to build a church. People tend to universally appreciate things done well, and being creative is a bonus.

I hate to BRAG, but…

By Jim Ramsey

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A Kentucky woman boasted to a Texan that there was so much gold in Fort Knox that you could build a wall of solid gold 10 feet high all around Texas. The Texan answered, “Well you go ahead and build it, little lady, and if Ah like it, Ah’ll buy it!” I’m a Texan, but I’ve never been that much of a braggart!

Nobody likes people who constantly brag, but the Bible actually encourages the right kind of “boasting!” The critical part of scriptural “boasting” is that it is directed toward Him Who alone is worthy of it! Bragging on myself is actually “misplaced affection,” and steals glory from the One to Whom I owe everything!   I want to made a determined effort to practice Psalm 34:2 “My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.”