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April 2018 Edition from the Proclaimer Newsletter

This coming August, we will celebrate the 120th anniversary of the birth of Grove’s First Baptist Church.  As a staff, we have discussed some ideas concerning the August 19th date which is our anniversary date as a church.  We hope to be sharing some more ideas with you along with setting up a committee to help us plan the events for that particular weekend. 

In the previous churches that I’ve pastored, we have celebrated special anniversary dates concerning the history of the churches.  It has been a time of celebration and the inviting back of former staff and members.  I believe it is important that we take time and remember the past and recognize God’s blessings down through the years.  By doing so, we can also be challenged to be faithful in the present age and cast a vision for the future.  The Lord has been good to this church and we can do our part in preparing for an opportunity to thank the Lord for his past provisions and victories.  We can also pray that God would continue to have His hand on our church as we seek to glorify Him in the future. 

A couple of years ago, we did a study on the seven churches in the book of Revelation chapters 2 and 3.  I read a book by Dr. Erwin Lutzer who had traveled to modern day Turkey to visit where these churches used to be.  Jesus spoke to each church and basically gave a critique and a challenge.  Did the churches heed Jesus’ advice?  Unfortunately, not one of the churches survived.  They are gone and have been replaced by mosques of the Muslim religion.  Just because a church has been established by godly men and women doesn’t mean that the church will survive.  So what about Grove’s First Baptist Church?

Jesus gave the church instructions in order to survive and thrive in this dark and difficult world.  Based on
Scripture, we must be willing to acknowledge that Christ is the head of the church.  We must also take the Great Commission seriously that commands us to go and make disciples.  It is also imperative that we embrace Jesus’ words in Acts 1 whereby He command us to be witnesses here in Grove, also in Delaware Country, in the state of Oklahoma, in the United States of America and throughout the world.  One hundred and twenty years is quite an accomplishment but compared to eternity, it is just a drop in a bucket.  As we look toward this 120th anniversary, let us determine to be found faithful before our Lord Jesus Christ!  Join me in prayer as we plan for this special time in the life of our church.

March 2018 Edition from the Proclaimer Newsletter

The news that Billy Graham had passed away didn’t surprise me, but it caused me to stop and think about a man that God used mightily in this world for many years. Billy Graham had a passion for sharing the Gospel. He refused to allow the saving message of Jesus to get cluttered in the political squabbles of the day. Every night in his many crusades, he presented the Gospel in the most clear and simple way that people could understand that God loves them and wants to have a relationship with them. The legacy of Billy Graham is that he was faithful and true to share the uncompromising Gospel to the whole world.
My one opportunity to hear Billy Graham in person was in Oklahoma City back in June of 2003. We took a group of our people from Henryetta, FBC and traveled to Oklahoma City to hear him for what would be his final trip to Oklahoma. I have always been impressed with his preaching style and his simple and direct approach to sharing the saving message of the Gospel. In a sense, he was America’s pastor because he was highly respected and was a man of impeccable character. You never saw his name associated with scandal. There will never be another one like Billy Graham.
We have lost a giant of the faithful and true preachers of our time. In this day and age of political correctness and moral
ambivalence, we need to be true to the saving message of the Gospel and proclaim the truth of God’s Word. Most individuals who have commented on Billy Graham’s passing have been encouraging and thoughtful. But there is always one that stands out and shows how stupid they are. Country Music singer, Cheli Wright, a lesbian, came out with a tweet about Billy Graham. Here is what she said; “I appreciate that Billy Graham made a huge impact on faith communities around the world while at the same time, recognizing that his message about LGBTQ people was devastating to millions; me included,” she writes. “I’d like to think that God has already corrected him for his errors.”
His errors? What errors? Oh, that homosexuality is an abomination to God, or that same sex marriage goes against the traditional, biblical view of marriage? I must admit that I almost choked on her statement about God correcting him. It was not Billy Graham that chose to change the Bible to fit the sins of the people so they would feel good about their perversion. It was not Billy Graham that watered down the Gospel so that it could be a one size fits all regardless of your lifestyle choices. Billy Graham knew that the only way lost sinners could be saved is by admitting they were sinners and choosing to repent of that sin. Many times as I heard him preaching he would quote that famous verse in John 3; “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Billy Graham believed the Gospel; He preached the Gospel; and most of all he lived the Gospel. “Precious in the sight of the Lord are the death of His saints.” Another saint has gone home! Can you imagine the rejoicing going on in Heaven right now?

February 2018 Edition from the Proclaimer Newsletter

This article is being written one week before Lorie and I along with thirty others board a plane that will ultimately land in Israel.  And this article maybe the most enjoyable of all.  By now, you have heard that Grove’s First Baptist Church has finished what it started.  With the Lord’s help and guidance, we are now debt free as a church.  The big albatross is off our necks.  Our “Along the Way” Fund is officially complete.  PRAISE THE LORD!

Now that we have “finished what we’ve started,” we need to embrace the moment and begin to ask God what He wants for us now as a congregation.  Recently, a question has been asked as to whether the church has a master plan for the next five or ten years.  The simple answer is “No.”  As your pastor, I have been focusing on our present ministry and getting rid of our debt.  So forgive me for not being on top of a plan for the near future.  But I want you to know that my heart’s desire is to lead us to embrace the plan that God has for us.  We need a clear direction from the Lord and we need to come together as a body that seeks to worship and glorify God.  What we do in seeking God’s will is of utmost importance for the health of the church.  I am asking you to pray for your pastor, the staff, the deacon body and a Long Range Planning Committee that the church has put in place to look to the future needs and plans that will guide our path in the days and years to come.

When Grove’s First Baptist Church swapped properties with Cornerstone, it was evident that we were gaining worship space but were losing educational space by over half from our previous church site.  As we enter the second month of 2018, we cannot continue to have Sunday School classes in hallways and in the fellowship hall and grow as God desires for us.  We must address our space issues but do so with the wisdom from God.  If we are to fulfill the Great Commission from Matthew 28, we must be willing to dream and plan for the future.  I am asking you to dream and help us plan.  That, my friend, will cost us nothing.  We need time to pray and seek the Lord!

I can assure you as your pastor that I will not lead this church to go into a suffocating debt that we found ourselves in when we agreed to swap properties with Cornerstone.  When I was pastor in Henryetta, we engaged in a building program to build a Family Life Center with a commercial kitchen, classrooms and an office complex.  We raised a significant portion of the money and agreed as a church not to begin until we agreed on a plan.  We built a very functional building for $925,000 and were able to be debt free three years after occupying the building.  God wowed us with some wonderful ways to bless the church financially.  I believe He can do the same and even more at
Grove’s First Baptist Church.  I am excited about what is in store for us as a church.  Certainly, the
enemy will do everything he can do to divide us and get us off track.  That is why prayer must be
the starting point!  Will you join me?  May God richly bless you!

Bro. Jim

 

 
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