Making a Case

This past Sunday as we continued our series, How to Read the Bible, we talked about why engaging with the Scriptures is something worth your time. When the percentage of American’s who engage with the Scriptures has fallen 10% in the last year, this is something we need to know for ourselves and so that we can share it with others. Read on to discover some reasons this matters so much in your life and in the lives of the people around you.

Making a Case

Have you ever had someone try to convince you to do something you weren’t interested in or perhaps even opposed to doing? Have you tried to do it to someone else? How did that go? Did they succeed in their aim? What kind of an approach did you take? There are many different options available depending on the nature of the relationship between the two of you. In school, something like this often takes the form of basic peer pressure. They could have used the “everybody’s doing it” line. They might have offered a variety of reasons why you should do it. It could be they started mocking you for your unwillingness to join in, calling you any manner of names in the process—”scaredy cat,” “goodie two-shoes,” “weakling,” and so on and so forth. It could have been a pretty girl or handsome guy enticing you toward whatever it was with the promise of more personal attention if you came. There may have even been the threat of physical violence toward you if you didn’t join in. 

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Digging in Deeper: 2 Peter 1:3-4

“His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

For the last few weeks, I have been taking my congregation (and you as well) on a journey to understand how to read the Bible a little better than they did before. This has mostly been Christianity 101 type of stuff, and the next two parts of the series will be no different. I had been planning on this series for a few months and was pretty excited about it. Engaging with the Scriptures and encouraging followers of Jesus to do that in their own lives is something I’m pretty passionate about. But personally, I don’t always practice that passion as well as I feel it. As I fell asleep last night and when I was lying in bed for a bit this morning before getting up, I was thinking about what I would be writing about today. Leaving for the office a little later, I still didn’t know. Then God did what God has a knack for doing and gave it to me in a rush. We’re going to spend a little bit of time this morning engaging with the Scriptures together and seeing in action why doing it can make such a difference in our lives.

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The Necessity of Growth

This week we are taking the next step forward in our conversation about who God has designed First Baptist Oakboro to be. We are a people with whom anyone can connect, but connecting can’t be the end of the journey. Once someone has connected, it is time for some growth to happen. Let’s talk about what that means, why that matters, and how it can happen here.

The Necessity of Growth

Lisa and I both grew up in the suburbs. Now, I remember doing a pretty good-sized garden when I was growing up. It was a suburban backyard garden. We grew green beans, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and probably some other veggies, but those are the ones I remember. After we got through seminary and settled in a little town in the middle of rural, Virginian farmland, though, neither of us had grown anything for quite some time. Naturally, we thought planting a garden would be a great idea. Noah was still at the age where we could put him down and he really couldn’t go anywhere, so we had our friend Larry till us up a 30×60 plot of ground with his tractor. We had a ball. We would spend hours each week pulling weeds (just so we’re clear: when you’re a bit OCD, keeping a 30×60 garden completely free of weeds is no small task) and watering and then picking and canning. It was great. That worked out for a couple of years and then we found ourselves with another baby and a toddler…and the garden got smaller. Then came baby number three and it got even smaller. 

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Celebrating a Good Day

This past Sunday we celebrated baptism as a church. It was a good day. Eight different individuals were baptized including two of my own sons. It was a good day. Here are some thoughts on why baptism matters and what has to happen next.

Baptism Message 9-12-21 

This is a good day. Even setting all of my incredibly proud dad feelings aside, today is a good day. Today we are celebrating the growth of the kingdom of God in as direct and practical a way as we possibly can. Today we have baptized eight individuals in obedience to our Lord’s command. Now, different faith traditions believe different things about baptism. I’ve talked with you before about what we as Baptists believe, but let’s just refresh that for all of our sakes. 

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 1:11-12

“And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased.’ Immediately the Spirit drove him into the wilderness.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Growing up is hard. It’s hard on every level. Your body changes and stretches and that doesn’t always feel good. It seems like just when you get really comfortable with one phase, another one comes along and bumps it out of the way. You manage to overcome one set of challenges, to ascend to the top of a hill, only to discover that there is a whole other range of mountains still waiting to be climbed beyond that one. Yet climb on we must because the path to the best stuff is always forward. This is exactly what we see Jesus experiencing here in our next step forward into Mark’s Gospel.

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