The Best is Yet to Come
 

     January 8, 1790…Probably very few of us remember that date. Just Kidding.  Without looking it up, few of us would know what happened on that date.  It is the very first “State of the Union Address” given by President George Washington.  Since then Presidents have stood before a joint session of Congress to report on what has taken place the previous year, and to give vision for the next.

     January 7, 2018 was for us a similar address to those gathered at Thorsby First Baptist Church.  In that service, we cast vision for what we believe God would do through us in 2018.  We declared it to be “Vision Sunday”.

     In the message, I reminded the church that we are commissioned to multiply disciples who Love God Supremely and Love Others Selflessly.  Our desire at TFBC is to obey the Great Commandment (Love God & Love Others) and to fulfill the Great Commission (Multiply Disciples).  We want to reach people far from God and walk with them to maturity and multiplication.  Dann Spader said in 4 Chair Discipling,While the Great Commission deals with our mission, the Great Commandment speaks to our motives.  The Great Commission establishes our priorities.  The Great Commandment clarifies our passion.” 

     Our Text for Vision Sunday was Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

The following are Three Objectives we will strive to accomplish in 2018:

Abide in Christ

     Jesus said in John 8:31, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.”   The word abide means “to reside; to remain, or making something at home.  Is the Word of God “at home” in your life?  Does your attitude/actions reflect time in the word?  If so, Jesus said principle of abiding in Him is a mark of a disciple and that a person who abides will bear much fruit and thereby glorify the Father, but without abiding in Christ, “…you can do nothing.” (John 15:5,8)

     Our desire at TFBC is to encourage everyone to “Abide in Christ” by joining together to read the New Testament using the Abide reading plan.  Author Josh Hunt said, “Disciples don’t think about whether or not to have a quiet time; this is how they start their day.”  A disciple of Jesus is fully devoted to God’s Word, so let me encourage you join us.  I also encourage you to share your thoughts on the reading on social media using “#TFBAbide”. Together let’s “Abide in Christ.”

The second objective in 2018 is to…

Invest in the Mission

     In 2018, we want to make a significant investment in strategic areas of ministry.  As you know we are pressed for room.  We are strategically looking at how we can use every available inch to its maximum capacity before building.  The rule of thumb is that at 80% capacity, any ministry will stop growing. 

     We are considering rearranging and reorganizing the area where our First Kids Elementary Ministry meets. We are excited about launching First Kids’ Blast on Wednesday nights, and want to do everything possible to facilitate their growth. 

     We also hope to renovate the Old Fellowship Hall and rename it.  It is a main area of connection; a hub of activity.

     Another area of strategic investment is the Youth Building.  The WhiteFlag Student Ministry has been out of space for quite some time.  Our students need a place to worship without being crowded, but just as important is a place to connect, to fellowship.  We are considering a renovation project which will cost approximately $60,000.  We hope to raise a majority of the money before renovation begins.

     This project is so important, that we will host a “Fellowship Forum” on January 28, following our Morning Worship.  Lunch will be provided.  Attendees will hear reports from the Buildings and Grounds and Finance Committees, and our Staff regarding this project.  The church will vote on the project Sunday Morning, Feb. 4.  Please sincerely commit this matter to prayer.

     By the way, for those of you who were there on Vision Sunday, I’m still dreaming of the Student/Children’s Building…In God’s Timing!

 The last Objective is a joint effort with the North American Mission Board as well as the AL State Board of Missions…

Share Your Faith

     The Decline in the Southern Baptist Convention is well documented.  According to the latest research, a majority of churches are either platued or in decline.  Several months ago, we studied the exponential multiplication that took place in the book of Acts.  In Acts 8:4, Luke records the secret for this incredible growth, “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.” 

     Someone once said, “Evangelism is not a professional job for a few trained men, but is instead the unrelenting responsibility of every person who belongs to the company of Jesus.”  The North American Mission Board along with the AL. State Board of Missions has formed an initiative called the “GC Challenge.”  They are encouraging churches to pledge Gospel Conversations, with a nationwide goal of 1 Million gospel Conversations in 2018.  Our church goal is to have 2018 Gospel Conversations this year.  Would you commit to share your faith by inviting your friends, relatives and neighbors to church or your Sunday School class, give a “truelife” card, or turn a conversation to a Gospel Conversation at least once a week for the next year?  If just 100 people shared their faith once a week, we would easily reach our goal.

     Jimmy Scroggins said, “Multiplication happens when we train ordinary, everyday missionaries to generously sow gospel seeds in the places they live, work, and play. We can’t multiply if we constrain the gospel to a message that is shared exclusively on Sunday mornings or at big rallies.”

The Best is Yet to Come

     I do not believe that the Glory Days of Thorsby First Baptist are behind us.  There have been great days in our history.  God wants to do a New Thing.  God is writing Redemptive History; He has chosen us to be His vessels.  I am excited to see what God does in and through the ministry of Thorsby First Baptist.
 
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“Get on Track”
July 28, 2017

 

      In January of 2017, we encouraged our church to walk through the Word of God together using a Bible reading plan called Foundations (F260). The F260 highlights the foundational passages of the Bible.  Participants are encouraged to read 1 to 2 chapters a day 5 days a week.  This gives the reader two days to either catch up on the days missed or to meditate on passages that challenged them personally.

 

     Many of our church family joined in.  Some have stuck with it.  Some have gotten off track.  Some have gotten side-tracked, while others never joined in to begin with.  Whatever the case, let me encourage you to join with us as we “RESET” the reading plan.  The New Testament portion of the reading plan begins the week of August 1.  This is a great time to “Get on Track.”

 

     As a follower of Jesus, it is impossible to grow as a believer apart from a daily time in the Word.  Robby Gallaty, Pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church says, “Get into the Word until the Word gets into you.”  Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…”

 

     Will you join us?

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Our Heavenly Father,
    
With great humility, we acknowledge our sin.  Forgive us of our apathy, and our lethargy.  We plead with you to forgive us for seeking prosperity and comfort above Your will and Your way.  Father, we repent of wickedness.  We repent of our trespasses.  Search us, O God, and see if there be any wicked way in us.  Return us. Restore us. Revive us, we pray!

     We confess that you are King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  We acknowledge that You ordain the powers that be.  Those that are in authority are placed there by your Sovereign Hand.   Lord, we ask that Your Will be done in our nation.  We ask that you revive us so that we seek first Your Righteousness and Your Kingdom.  We ask for wisdom and guidance.  We ask that you lead us in these troubling days to be a light that shines brightly into this dark world.

     Protect us, O Father, from the wicked one who walks about seeking whom he may devour.  Let him not distract us from the mission that you have given us.  May Your Spirit encamp around your people.  May He empower us to stand against the world.  May He enable us to mortify our own flesh that we might serve You wholeheartedly.

     Father, Creator and Sustainer of all life, Ruler of All, To you be all the glory from this time and forever more. Amen!

 

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“Write It Down”

 Jan. 12, 2016 by: Pastor Marc
    

Those of you who know me know I am, quite possibly, the world’s worst at forgetting things. People jokingly pick at me because of my forgetfulness. So when I titled this, “Write it down,” I immediately thought I am the last person who should say that. My wife will attest to the fact that even when I do write things down, I often lose the note.

    It did however occur to me that I am changing in this area. Yes, I still forget to do things. I forget to make announcements. I forget to make that phone call. But the Lord knows my heart, and my desire to accomplish the tasks that He has given me with effectiveness and efficiency.

     There are a couple of practices that I have started which have been beneficial to my spiritual journey.

     One thing I have begun to do is take notes when I listen to a sermon. Being a pastor, I do not get the opportunity to hear messages as often as I would like, but when I do I always try to have a pen and a piece of paper available. Our Youth Pastor said something that stuck with me. He said, “If you don’t write down what the preacher is saying, it’s like you are screaming, ‘I don’t care what you have to say!’”

     The other thing that I have begun to do is to journal. For a long time I felt journaling was too much like writing in a diary, so I neglected it for years. At the beginning of 2015, however, I began to write things that I had learned from the Word of God using the H.E.A.R. method. HEAR stands for Highlight, Explain, Apply and Respond and is the method Robby Gallaty teaches as he equips believers to become disciples. This method of journaling has been incredibly beneficial to my life. I remember what I write down! If I remember it, I have a better chance to apply the truth of God’s Word to my life. A ministry friend of mine recently said, “You cannot implement what you cannot remember!” If I apply these truths, God can use them to transform me into the image of Jesus. Isn’t that the goal for every believer?

     Let me encourage you to begin today to write down how God has spoken to you. You will be amazed at how God will transform your life by doing these simple things!