BROJACK’S BLOGS – 01/07/14

   Every year around the first of December, Millie and I try to take a trip to Branson, Missouri, as my “Birthday Trip.”  This past year (2013) was no exception.  This time was to be special.  We were going for the express purpose of seeing a live performance of one of my favorite Christmas movies, “It’s a Wonderful Life!” at Silver Dollar City.  This is a movie that I try to see at least once each Christmas season.

   What was to make this trip extra special was that we found out not long before we were to leave that our special friends, Bob and Mickey Ward had made plans to be in Branson at the same time.  If you read my articles with any regularity, you know that Bob, my brother is Christ, is closer to me than any brother could be even if we had been born in the same family.  Both of us had made plans to be there not knowing that the other was going to be there.

   Bob and Mickey arrived on Sunday, a day before Millie and I were to be there.  On our way down, Bob texted me that they had seen “It’s a Wonderful Life!” on Sunday afternoon and it was great!  (I must admit, I was a little envious)

   Millie and I arrived on Monday and began to make plans to get tickets for Silver Dollar City, but found out that they were closed Monday through Wednesday.  So, we got our tickets for Thursday.  This was the week of December 2nd.  If you have a good memory, you begin to get some idea of what was coming.

   That’s right!  We began to look at the weather and the threats grew larger and larger.  But still, it looked like the greatest threat for Branson was not until Friday (the day we were scheduled to leave).  So, we had high hopes!  But as the days passed, the forecasts began to change.  We began to be a bit undecided as to what we should do!  And, I really wanted to see “It’s a Wonderful Life!”

   By Wednesday, we were very uncertain that we should stay until Friday.  That evening we called Bob & Mickey and told them we had decided to get tickets for the Christmas show at the Andy Williams theatre and get our money back for Silver Dollar City.  Then we were going to start home on Thursday.  Bob and Mickey said they had decided to do the same, so we enjoyed the Osmond Brothers and Lennon Sisters together and started home on Thursday.

   And, are we happy that we did!  The longer we travelled toward home, the clearer the Lord made it to us that we had made the right decision.  It took us a lot longer to make the trip home because of the weather.  And, as we drew near Harrisburg, my secretary, Cheryl, called to inform us that the mother of one of our dear friends and church members was critically ill in Harrisburg Medical Center.  She called just in time to make it possible for us to stop by the hospital to pray with our friends.

  God is so good!  And, His timing is always just right!  The Psalmist writes, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13).  As we look back at 2013, may we see “the goodness of the Lord” even in the storms (and snow storms).  And, as we step into 2014, may we not “lose heart” as we remember God’s goodness; and may we live courageously!

   Once again, the weather interrupted plans this past weekend as we had to cancel the worship with the Sons of the Father.  But we will reschedule with them soon!

   Now I look forward to Sunday, January 12th.  Millie’s and my children and grandchildren will join us to lead the Morning Worship.  Barring any unforeseen obstacles, all 18 of us will be present.  Actually, this is a postponement of December 29th (our Wedding Anniversary).  Most of us will sing a few songs together (some prefer not to sing).  Then our son, Matt, will bring the morning message.  I would like to invite you to join us that day at 10:40 a.m.

SEE YOU IN SUNDAY SCHOOL!

      BRO JACK

 
 
The Old Testament account of the life of Joseph has always been one of my favorite passages. God used Joseph in such a powerful way! I have always yearned to have a life that fulfilled a purpose like Joseph’s. In Genesis 45:7-8, Joseph said to his brothers, “God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God.” Listen to what Dr. David Jeremiah says.

“I’ve noticed, as I’ve studied the life of Joseph, that God is just as intimate to him as breath. God is so much a part of Joseph’s life that he sees the Lord in every circumstance, and he trusts the Lord through every difficulty. ‘God meant it for good,’ he tells his brothers, ‘in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.’ Everything that happened to him, both bad and good, was viewed through the lens of God’s will.

“When Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, he said that it was God who gave him the meaning. When Joseph presented his sons to Jacob, he introduced them by saying, ‘These are the two sons God has given me.’ Even when Joseph was dying, he was able to encourage those around him that ‘God will surely visit you.’

“At the center of Joseph’s life was the sovereignty of God. Everything that happened was for His purposes and part of His program. Even the darkest threads in the weave help to provide the overall beauty of the tapestry.” (From “Sanctuary,” by David Jeremiah).

Anyone who knows me knows that I do not believe in luck, chance or fate. The shepherd king David said, “Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began” (Psalm 139:16).

Do you believe in the providence and sovereignty of God? If you do, you will find that life becomes much more meaningful and filled with purpose! Ask God to help you, like Joseph, to see the Lord in every circumstance.

I have been asking you to pray for me as I spiritually prepared for June 9th which is Pulpit Freedom Sunday. I have committed to join pastors throughout the nation in preaching on the biblical view of marriage. I must announce a change in plans. I am going to change the date of this sermon to June 16, Father’s Day. I have found out that, as long as I preach the message during the month of June, I will be keeping my commitment. The reason for the change is, at least in my thinking, a very good one. On Sunday morning, June 9th, my granddaughter, McKellyn Smith (whom I told about in a previous news article) will be baptized. Bro. Mike will preach on June 9th.

Our Wednesday night Adult Bible Study group grew in number again last Wednesday. Max Lucado seems to be touching the lives of some of our folks. We have begun a new Bible study titled “Max on Life – Answers and Insights to Your Most Important Questions.” It is based on Max Lucado’s book by the same title. We have six more sessions left and I would love to see more of you join us on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

Over the past 40+ years, my conviction has not changed that VBS is one of the most important events that we do during the year. The lives of our children are at stake! In order to have the kind of Vacation Bible School we need, we need all of the church family to support the school. This year our VBS is scheduled for July 22-26. Our school theme is: “Colossal Coaster World: Facing Fear, Trusting God.” We need teachers and helpers! We need prayer support! We need givers who will help us meet the expenses of the school! We need volunteers to step up now! We will begin having VBS planning meetings very soon! Pray for us!

Our mission trip to Michigan is August 3-10. We have several now who have started making plans to go on the trip. Pray for us as we continue to make plans for this trip!

The “My Hope with Billy Graham” evangelistic event is scheduled for November of this year. Keep praying about this event and plan to participate.

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 16. In the Morning Worship at 10:40 a.m. we will recognize all the fathers who are present. Also, that evening we will have a special guest with us in the Evening Worship at 6:00 p.m. Charles Chamberlain, a native of Gallatin County, will present a Gospel Concert. I would like to invite you to join us for this special service.

SEE YOU IN SUNDAY SCHOOL

BRO. JACK

 
 
I have been asking you to pray for me as I spiritually prepared for June 9th which is Pulpit Freedom Sunday. I have committed to join pastors throughout the nation in preaching on the biblical view of marriage. I must announce a change in plans. I am going to change the date of this sermon to June 16th. I have found out that, as long as I preach the message during the month of June, I will be keeping my commitment. The reason for the change is, at least in my thinking, a very good one. On Sunday morning, June 9th, my granddaughter, McKellyn Smith (whom I told about in a previous news article) will be baptized.

I was pleased with the increased attendance at our Wednesday night Adult Bible Study group. We have begun a new Bible study. It is titled “Max on Life – Answers and Insights to Your Most Important Questions.” It is based on Max Lucado’s book by the same title. And, it features Max as he assists the teaching through video. We will deal with eight issues that are very important to everyone’s life. In each session, we will view a brief video of Max’s teaching, and then we will have a discussion based on the Scriptures that Max has introduced in his video. I would love to see more of you join us on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

As school ends, our thoughts begin to go to Vacation Bible School. This year our VBS is scheduled for July 22-26. This year our school theme is: “Colossal Coaster World: Facing Fear, Trusting God.” The Key Bible Verse is: "For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love and sound judgment” (2 Timothy 1:7). The study is based on the life of the apostle Paul and what he taught about change, boldness, belief, courage, and trust. These are lessons that all of our children (and adults as well) need in the time in which we live.

Over that past 40+ years, my conviction has not changed that VBS is one of the most important events that we do during the year. The lives of our children are at stake! In order to have the kind of Vacation Bible School we need, we need all of the church family to support the school. We need teachers and helpers! We need prayer support! We need givers who will help us meet the expenses of the school! We need volunteers to step up now! We will begin having VBS planning meetings very soon! Pray for us!

Brother Mike and I have been asking for prayer about the mission trip to Michigan in August. We have begun to ask for commitments from our members to go with us on the trip. As we begin making definite plans, we ask you to join with us in praying for this trip. The destination is Ann Arbor, Michigan. The dates are: August 3-10. The cost will be minimal since we will have the opportunity to stay in a church building during that week. I want to thank those who have already donated for the expense of the trip.

There is another very important outreach event that I don’t want you to forget! That is the “My Hope with Billy Graham” evangelistic event scheduled for November of this year. I hope that those of you who have already made a commitment to participate are still praying daily. If you have not yet committed to participate, please do so by telling me or Bro. Mike. We will be having training meetings in the next few months to help you make the plans to invite your friends into your home to share Christ with them!

On Sunday, June 2nd, we will once again remember what our Lord Jesus did for us and we will observe the Lord’s Supper together.

Father’s Day is coming up on Sunday, June 16. All of the men present that day will receive a gift. And, in the Morning Worship at 10:40 a.m. we will recognize all the fathers who are present. Let’s have a huge showing of men present on Father’s Day!

Also on June 16th, we will have a special guest with us in the Evening Worship at 6:00 p.m. Charles Buckman, a native of Gallatin County will be with us to present a Gospel Concert. I would like to invite you to join us for this special service.

SEE YOU IN SUNDAY SCHOOL

BRO. JACK
 
 
Another life changing event took place at the Hall household on Wednesday of this week! Millie and I were relaxing after we had gotten home from Bible Study and Prayer at the church. Matt had come in after his church activities at Harrisburg to pick up a few things to use on Sunday morning because he was going to preach at McKinley Avenue.

A little before 10:00 p.m. the front door opened. K.C. (pronounced Kacey), our daughter Natalie’s little wire-haired Terrier, came running into the house. Since K.C. is staying with them while Natalie is in Coast Guard training, we immediately knew that some of the Smith Family (our daughter Kellie’s family) would be following. Actually, it was all of them!

Kellie had a camera in her hand. Matt said, “What’s up?” There was a silence. Then, there was some whispering. Kellie became teary-eyed and we began to catch on to what was going on. McKellyn, our eight-year-old granddaughter was acting shyer than usual, clinging to Mom and Dad.

Nana (Millie) said to her, “Come over here!” McKellyn went over to her Nana and hugged her and began to cry. Nana half-whispered, “Did you accept Jesus?” McKellyn replied by nodding her head. Then the tears really began to flow!

And, the rejoicing began! McKellyn came over and hugged me and I encouraged her. Then, she went over and hugged Uncle Matt as he happily said, “Cool!” Millie said, “The angels are rejoicing in Heaven!” And Matt added, “There’s a party going on in Heaven!”

Kellie shared with us that McKellyn’s Grandma Smith had recently been talking to McKellyn about Jesus and that she had come into Mom’s and Dad’s bedroom that evening and wanted to talk about it. McKellyn was saved there in their bedroom!

Once again the Hall Family had the wonderful experience of witnessing the amazing grace of God! God’s salvation is available to everyone, regardless of age or condition! However, every person who is saved must accept Jesus Christ as McKellyn did—“as a child.”

In Matthew, chapter 18, the disciples asked Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” In verses 2-5, it says Jesus “called a child to Him and had him stand among them. ‘I assure you,’ He said, ‘unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child—this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one child like this in My name welcomes Me.’” (Matthew 18:1-5)

I believe this is why many adults have such a difficult time being saved. They cannot humble themselves and just accept God for who He is! And, they are unwilling to give up the fact that they cannot save themselves. And, as adults, they have been so indoctrinated by the world that they miss out on the kingdom of heaven!

I was saved at the age of nine and I am so thankful that I had parents and others around me that encouraged me to ask Jesus Christ into my life at a young age! I don’t know what my life would have been like if they had not.

And, because it is much harder for many adults to give up their pride and humble themselves to repent of their sin and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, I believe that many who are leaders of children today should fear God rather than be intimidated by government authorities and those who reject God. Denying them access to prayer and the Bible may be a negative influence that could play a part in keeping them from humbling themselves to receive Jesus Christ! “Whoever welcomes one child like this in My name welcomes Me.”

On Sunday, May 26th, we will have a Memorial Day service and recognize all our military personnel past and present in our Morning Worship.

On Sunday, June 2nd, we will once again remember what our Lord Jesus did for us and we will observe the Lord’s Supper together.

I want to ask you to be praying for me as I spiritually prepare for June 9th. It is Pulpit Freedom Sunday and I have committed to join pastors throughout the nation in preaching on the biblical view of marriage.

A group from our association will be traveling to Ann Arbor, Michigan, August 3-10 to share the Gospel in different ways. We are hoping to take a group from our church.

SEE YOU IN SUNDAY SCHOOL BRO. JACK

 
 
What has changed since 1970? That is a question that is upon my mind at present. Actually, it is on my mind every year just about this time. You may ask, “What ‘time’ are you talking about? The “time” I am referring to is “graduation time?” As the graduations approach each year, I always wonder what is about to transpire. Let me try to explain what I am talking about.
1970 was the first year that I was pastor at First Baptist Church of Shawneetown during the time of the graduations taking place. At that time, I was asked to lead either a prayer of invocation or a prayer of benediction at the high school graduation commencement and another pastor was asked to lead in the other prayer. And, it was the same procedure for the junior high school graduation commencement. That happened for several years.

However, after several years, that began to change. The pastors began to be notified that we would no longer be asked to participate in the commencement exercises. It took us by surprise. But, then they told me that students would begin to be asked to lead prayer in the program. Far from upsetting me, I actually rejoiced in that decision. I thought it was wonderful that the young people would themselves do the praying! And, in the following few years, I was overjoyed to hear some of the wonderful prayers offered by the students in our schools!

But since that time, the situation has dwindled to the point that it is a rare occasion to hear a prayer in a commencement exercise. Why is this a problem? More than being a problem in itself, it is a symptom of the problems we are facing in our schools and in our society. All you have to do is take a close look at what is going on in the lives of our students these days.

So, what has changed about prayer? One of the popular secular answers to this question is: “We have evolved!” This answer is offered with the implication that we have become better and we don’t need God and we don’t need prayer! I emphatically reject the unproven “theory” of evolution. It is evident that we are definitely not becoming better! If anything, we are going the other way.

I also know that God and His Word have not changed! God is Creator, Sustainer, Savior, and Redeemer. He is the answer to all that is going on in our society and our world. He offers to hear and answer our prayer. Why in the world we would refuse such an offer is just beyond my understanding! And, why we would ever refuse the option of prayer to our struggling youth is absolutely unbelievable!

The Constitution of the United States has not changed either! The Bill of Rights protects the freedom of religion and does not prohibit prayer in the public arena. Those who are against religion in any form have put a scare in the hearts and minds of many of our leaders so that they shy away from the one thing that calls upon a good and gracious God to help us with the deepest needs of our society.

Neither has the church changed! The church is still that body through which God speaks and works to bring His guidance and blessing to this world. Unfortunately, the church is not taking her stand and making the impact upon this world that God intends. The church needs to give itself more fully and more intensely to prayer for our nation. I am praying that the church has impacted some of the lives of some of our young people to the point that they will courageously take a stand for their God!

So, what has changed? I will leave it up to you to answer this question as to why we have come from being completely open to prayer concerning the lives of our young people to nearly eliminating it altogether.

We will have a Graduate Recognition Day this Sunday. We will recognize all graduates and family who are in the Morning Worship at 10:40 and present the graduates with a gift. Then, after worship, we will have a Luncheon in honor of all the graduates. Associate Pastor Mike Rushing will bring the message in the Morning Worship.

On Sunday, May 26th, we will have a Memorial Day service and recognize all our military personnel past and present in our Morning Worship.

On Sunday, June 2nd, we will once again remember what our Lord Jesus did for us and we will observe the Lord’s Supper together.

A group from our association will be traveling to Ann Arbor, Michigan, August 3-10 to share the Gospel in different ways. We are hoping to take a group from our church.

 
 
BROJACK’S BLOGS – 04/29/13

Sunday’s worship was somewhat different than usual. Bro. Mike and I shared with First Baptist what we believe God has placed upon our hearts concerning our commission to reach out to the lost of our community. Sunday was called “Matthew Sunday.” We will be connecting with “My Hope with Billy Graham” to train Christians to be “Matthews.” During one week in November of this year, Christians across the United States and Canada will invite their friends, family members, neighbors, colleagues, or fellow students to their homes, or another family location, to watch television or video programs that clearly share the Gospel. They will then share their own story of how they met Jesus and invite their friends to receive the Lord Jesus Christ. The following is an explanation of the Matthew strategy. The “Matthew and Friends” strategy encourages the members of our church family to take the following five steps:

LOOK AROUND and identify friends, neighbors, co-workers, fellow students, and family who do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Write their names on your Matthew list.

LOOK UP and pray every day for each person on your Matthew list. Ask God to open their hearts so they can see their need for Him. Pray that He will strengthen your relationship with them and that they will accept your invitation to watch the program.

LOOK OUT for opportunities to build your relationships with these people. Spend time with them. Be transparent about your relationship with Christ, so that your friends can see the difference He is making in your life. God’s Spirit will help you.

LOOK FORWARD to the event: Prepare for the outreach, invite every person on your list, watch the My Hope with Billy Graham programs together, share your story, and ask your guests if any of them would like the kind of hope that you have. Then you can help them receive Christ as their Lord and Savior.

LOOK AFTER those who give their lives to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith.

Mike and I have attended the training for this evangelistic event and believe that it has great potential in helping us carry out the Great Commission of our Lord and reach the lost in our community. We will be having regular prayer events as we approach November 7, 2013 (Billy Graham’s 95th birthday).

We will also be having training sessions to help people get a handle on how to prepare and carry out this plan with friends, family and neighbors on November 7.

Right now is the time for us to make a commitment to become “Matthews” and become concerned about those that we know are lost and commit to prepare to use our homes to reach them for Christ!

If any of you pastors or churches out there want to be a part of this nationwide evangelistic effort, Bro. Mike and I would be more than happy to share our training and our materials with you. All you need to do is give us a call at First Baptist, 269-3664.

I want to remind you that The National Day of Prayer is this Thursday, May 2nd. We will be having a special observance on this day at noon at the shelter in the middle of town. This year the theme is simply “Pray for America!” We are being called to commit to pray for our nation. The scripture foundation is in Matthew 12:21: “In His Name the nations will put their hope.” It is urgent that we pray for spiritual awakening in America! So, I am asking you to join us at noon on May 2nd as we come together to “Pray for America!”

A group from our association will be traveling to Ann Arbor, Michigan, August 3-10 to share the Gospel in different ways. We are hoping to take a group from our church.

Mother’s Day is coming up. It is May 12. We will be inviting ladies from our church and our community to join us for worship. We will present a gift to all of the ladies above high school age. Also, we will offer a Parent/Child Dedication service to any who have not yet dedicated themselves to raise their children to know God. If you are interested, let me know by May 5th.

Then, we will have a Graduate Recognition Day on Sunday, May 19th. We will recognize all graduates and family who are in the Morning Worship and present the graduates with a gift. Then, after worship, we will have a Luncheon in honor of all the graduates.

On Sunday, May 26th, we will have a Memorial Day service and recognize all our military personnel past and present in our Morning Worship.

Go to shawneetownfirstbaptistchurch.com and check out changes in our website.

SEE YOU IN SUNDAY SCHOOL

BRO. JACK

 
 
BROJACK’S BLOGS – 04/22/13

The National Day of Prayer is Thursday, May 2nd. We will be having a special observance on this day at noon at the shelter in the middle of town. This year the theme is simply “Pray for America!” We are being called to commit to pray for our nation. The scripture foundation is in Matthew 12:21: “In His Name the nations will put their hope.”

After last week, surely we can see the urgency of praying for our nation! We have seen once again how Satan can get into the hearts of men and cause great evil to happen. We have seen how an accident like the one in West, Texas, can take unsuspecting lives without notice. And, we have seen a great man of God, George Beverly Shea, go home to be with the Lord!

My heart goes out to the people in Boston! I can only try to imagine what they must be experiencing! How two young men would have such hatred in their hearts to do such a thing is beyond my human understanding. We need to pray for the grace of God to be seen in the lives of all these folks.

And, we still struggle to understand such tragic accidents as the one in Texas. I don’t pretend to have all the answers to things like this. But I do know of God’s promise to be with us through anything when we trust Him! And, I do know that He hears our prayers as we bring them to Him! Another reason for prayer!

Then, I think of George Beverly Shea. He was 104 when the Lord took him home. Still, there are many who mourn his passing. It is our loss. However, it is his gain! He is still singing! The only difference is that it is with the Heavenly Choir rather than the Billy Graham Crusade Choir. But, what a difference!

Whether death comes through the hand of evil as in Boston, or by a tragic accident as in Texas, or by natural causes as with Bev Shea, there is a common denominator here. It is the urgency of knowing Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior! Whether our death or the death of a loved one comes by any of these means, we mourn but we do not despair as people without hope, because we believe that Jesus died and rose again!

This brings me back to our emphasis on The National Day of Prayer. It is urgent that we pray for spiritual awakening in America! It is urgent that we pray for the leaders of our nation that they might recognize they are in their positions only because God allows them to be there! It is urgent that we pray for the many lost people in America who will not go home to be with the Lord when they die! So, I am asking you to join us at noon on May 2nd as we come together to “Pray for America!”

In the next few weeks, Bro. Mike and I will be sharing with our church family about a mission trip which is being offered through Saline Baptist Association. A group from our association will be traveling to Ann Arbor, Michigan, August 3-10 to share the Gospel in different ways. We are hoping to take a group from our church. Pray about it!

And, in November, our church family is planning to be intensely involved in the “My Hope, Billy Graham” personal evangelism effort throughout our community. We will begin making plans for this important evangelistic effort this Sunday!

Mother’s Day is coming up. It is May 12. We will be inviting ladies from our church and our community to join us for worship. We will present a gift to all of the ladies above high school age. Also, we will offer a Parent/Child Dedication service to any who have not yet dedicated themselves to raise their children to know God. If you are interested, please let me know by May 5th.

Then, we will have a Graduate Recognition Day on Sunday, May 19th. We will recognize all graduates and family who are in the Morning Worship and present the graduates with a gift. Then, after worship, we will have a Luncheon in honor of all the graduates.

On Sunday, May 26th, we will have a Memorial Day service and recognize all our military personnel past and present in our Morning Worship.

Go to shawneetownfirstbaptistchurch.com and check out changes in our website.

SEE YOU IN SUNDAY SCHOOL

BRO. JACK

 
 
BROJACK’S BLOGS – 04/15/13

The tomb is empty! Last week I shared with you that the cross is empty. It is also of great importance that you believe the tomb is empty. I am appalled when I hear how many preachers in the pulpit today do not preach that Jesus was bodily resurrected from the dead. It goes all the way back to Satan’s lie in the First Century: “After the priests had assembled with the elders and agreed on a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money and told them, ‘Say this, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole Him while we were sleeping.’ If this reaches the governor’s ears, we will deal with him and keep you out of trouble.’” (Matthew 28:12-14).

You may think that was just a First Century plot. However, listen to all the lies Satan has out there today: (1) The women and the disciples went to the wrong tomb. (2) Jesus never really died on the cross and was revived in the coolness of the night (the swoon theory). (3) The disciples stored the body. (4) Jesus continued to live in some “spiritual” sense that did not involve a bodily resurrection. (5) The disciples were hallucinating. And, (6) Jesus had a twin.

The problems with all of these “theories” are that even the disciples of Jesus were not expecting His resurrection and that He appeared to so many people—to the women, to Peter, to the 12, to over 500 believers at one time, and to James and all the apostles (1 Cor. 15:5-7).

Why is it important to believe in a “bodily resurrection” of Jesus? Because, if there was still a body in the tomb, it would give substance to some of these so called “theories” and Christianity would be no different than many of the other religions who claim a martyred leader who is still with them “in spirit.” And, our “faith is worthless; and (we) are still in our sins.” (1 Cor. 15:17). And, we would be without hope! “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20).

What kind of body is Jesus’ resurrection body? He Himself showed His disciples and us! “Look at My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself! Touch Me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” Having said this, He showed them His hands and feet. But while they still could not believe because of their joy and were amazed, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” So they gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate in their presence (Luke 24:39-42).

So, the tomb is empty for that reason! Jesus was raised “bodily” from the dead! And, if you are curious about what kind of body you will have in the resurrection, Jesus has just shown you through the Word of God. Because His body is the firstfruits of what our new bodies are going to be like! Is that not Good News? But only for those who believe in the substitutionary crucified Savior and the bodily resurrected Lord! He is Jesus Christ! Put your trust in Him today and you will not only have the hope of a new body like His resurrected body one day; you will have the assurance that He walks and talks with you each day and will lead you to live the Christian life!

Living out that Christian life, of course, means being a witness of His resurrection. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, all three record the commission that Jesus gave to all His followers, past and present. The one we are most familiar with is in Matthew: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And, remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

In the next few weeks, Bro. Mike and I will be sharing some ways you can obey this commission of our Lord. One is a mission trip which is being offered through Saline Baptist Association. A group from our association will be traveling to Ann Arbor, Michigan, August 3-10 to share the Gospel in different ways. We are hoping to take a group from our church. Pray about it!

And, in November, we are hoping that our church family will be intensely involved in the “My Hope, Billy Graham” personal evangelism effort throughout our community. Pray about this!

I would like to ask you to begin praying about the National Day of Prayer. It is Thursday, May 2nd. We plan to have a community observance of the day. I’m certain you will agree that we really need to pray for our nation and all of our leaders.

Go to shawneetownfirstbaptistchurch.com and check out changes in our website.

SEE YOU IN SUNDAY SCHOOL BRO. JACK

 
 
BROJACK’S BLOGS – 03/25/13

Have you seen “the glory of God?” I believe that this is one of the main purposes of the events surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus in the gospels. This is especially brought out in the story from chapter 11 of John’s Gospel of the sickness, death and resurrection of Lazarus. John makes it very clear that Lazarus, along with his sisters Mary and Martha were very close friends of Jesus.

When Lazarus became sick, Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus and simply said: “Lord, the one You love is sick” (John 11:3). When Jesus received the message, “He said, ‘This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it’” (v.4). Then, Jesus did something that was strange to the disciples and would be to us as well. Instead of leaving immediately for Bethany, the home of Lazarus, He waited two more days. In the meantime, Lazarus died!

After waiting as He had planned, Jesus told His disciples that it was time to go to Judea. This was just more proof of Jesus’ love for Martha, Mary and Lazarus because not long before the Jews had tried to stone Jesus there. When the disciples voiced their concern, Jesus assured them that He was in control of the situation. Then, He said that His friend Lazarus was asleep but He was on His way to wake him up. The disciples said, “Lord if he has fallen asleep, he will get well” (v. 11).

Jesus then told them plainly, “Lazarus has died. I’m glad for you that I wasn’t there so that you may believe. But let’s go to him” (vv. 14-15). Then, Thomas (the one most people know as the doubter) demonstrated his devotion to Jesus when he said, “Let’s go so that we may die with Him” (v. 16). I hope that you are seeing a theme develop in this chapter!

Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days. When Martha heard that Jesus was near, she immediately went to Him and voiced the words that Mary would repeat verbatim later when she came to Jesus: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died” (vv. 21, 32). Both the sisters had suffered disappointment. But both were happy that Jesus was there.

Jesus said these words of hope to Martha: “Your brother will rise again” (v. 23). Martha expressed her belief in the resurrection in the last days. But Jesus said the greatest words of hope mankind has ever heard: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever” (vv. 25-26).

Not long after that Mary came to Jesus. Jesus wept with her and her sister. At that point, even Jesus’ enemies acknowledged His love for this family. Then, they went to the tomb where Jesus told them to remove the stone that was over the entrance. Martha resisted: “Lord, he already stinks. It’s been four days” (v.39). But listen to Jesus reply: “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (v.40).

There it is! The theme of this passage of Scripture! And, the theme of the events surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Believe and you will witness the glory of God!

And, everyone there that day was about to see His glory! After they removed the stone, Jesus prayed, “Father, I thank You that You heard Me. I know that you always hear Me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so they may believe You sent Me” (vv. 41-42). Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And, they saw the glory of God! Lazarus came out of that tomb with all the burial wrappings on! Jesus said, “Loose him and let him go” (v. 44).

You too can see the glory of God! Answer in the affirmative the question that Jesus asked Martha: “Do you believe this?” In fact, everyone who believes that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life experiences the glory of God! His glory is His presence in with His people!

I previously announced that we would have Maundy Thursday service this week on the Thursday before Resurrection Sunday. However, a conflict has come up and we will not be able to have that service. I apologize but it is something that is out of my control.

But we will have our Good Friday service at 12:15 p.m. which will last only about 30 minutes.

And, next Sunday, March 31st, we will celebrate the Greatest Day in the History of the world—RESURRECTION SUNDAY! We will begin with a Sunrise Service at 7:00 a.m. followed by a continental breakfast. Then, we will have Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. and Morning Worship at 10:40.

Go to shawneetownfirstbaptistchurch.com and check out changes in our website.

SEE YOU IN SUNDAY SCHOOL

BRO. JACK

 
 
BROJACK’S BLOGS – 03/07/13

“When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high; and don’t be afraid of the dark. At the end of the storm is a golden sky, and the sweet silver song of the lark. Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain, though your dreams be tossed and blown. Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart; and you’ll never walk alone. You’ll never walk alone.” I’m sure many of you are familiar with that song.

And, I’m certain that you’ve all been through at least one storm. Perhaps you are going through a storm right now. You also know how difficult it is to “hold your head up high” or to not “be afraid of the dark. In fact, it saddened me when I heard that some folks I know blamed God for a recent storm they went through. These were folks who at one time had “praised” God for some miraculous events in their lives.

I recently experienced a spiritual storm in my life—that’s right, even preachers go through storms. I found myself thinking about that storm almost every minute of the day. I could not focus on what was important. I could not concentrate on what I needed to do. And, I could not think about the needs of other people.

Fortunately, God would not allow me to turn away from Him! He says, “cast your care on Him, because He cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7). I did just that! I went to Him and sought His help through prayer. When I told Him I could not handle the storm on my own, He began to do His work. And, just this week, God took that load off my shoulders—or, should I say “off my heart.”

But, that is not all! I shared my storm with two Christian friends. And, those two friends came and walked alongside me until the storm had passed.

This is just what the church is all about. I have seen so many professed believers walk away from the church because of difficulties they are facing. This is missing one of the major reasons Jesus gave us the church. (I must explain that, when I talk of the church, I am not talking about a building, but an assembly of people who have a common belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.) And, Jesus gave us this group of believers to fellowship with, to rejoice with, and to share our burdens and sorrows with! If you’re missing out on this wonderful fellowship, or you are leaving them out when you face trials, you are missing out on something very special!

God does not intend for any of us to walk through the storms of life alone. First of all, He wants to (and will) walk through it with us. And, then, He has called out a special group of people (the church) who also wants to (and will) walk with us. First Baptist is one of those churches who will walk with you!

Bro. Mike Rushing will be preaching today in the absence of Millie and Bro. Jack. Don’t forget that Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 10th. Remember to turn your clocks forward one hour before going to bed on Saturday night.

Our “Reach Up!” Basketball program is winding down. We have only two Saturdays left. On Saturday, March 16th, we will have our Trophy Day. All our players will receive a trophy to remember their basketball experience with us.

Our Community Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled for Saturday, March 23rd, at 10:00 a.m.

On Palm Sunday, March24th, in the Morning Worship at 10:40 a.m. we will “remember” Jesus as we partake of the Lord’s Supper together.

And, on the last day of the month, March 31st, we will celebrate the Greatest Day in the History of the world—RESURRECTION SUNDAY! We will begin with a Sunrise Service at 7:00 a.m. Then, we will have Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. and Morning Worship at 10:40.

Bro. Mike is also doing more updating on our church website! He is beginning to add videos of our Morning Worship. If you cannot make it to our Worship at any time, you can go to shawneetownfirstbaptistchurch.com and you can catch up on what is going on. We would love to know if you are checking out our website.

SEE YOU IN SUNDAY SCHOOL

BRO. JACK