More Together

Here we are at the end of our journey to better understand who God made us to be as a church. We are a people with whom anyone can connect to grow in Christ and reach out for His kingdom. That is who God designed us to be for such a time and place as this. But simply being that church is not enough. If we are truly going to grow into who He made us to be, that growth has to go somewhere. Well, God has plans to take us somewhere. In this final part of our journey we’ll talk about what it takes to be the church He created us to be and where He is taking us in the days ahead of us. Thanks for reading and sharing. I would invite you to join with us on this journey.

More Together

The Ironman Triathlon is widely recognized to be one of the most grueling endurance races in the world. To complete the course, participants must swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a full marathon. Doing this once in a lifetime would be a major accomplishment. Doing it more than once in a year is almost beyond imagining. Then there’s William Pruett. This endurance superstar completed the Ironman course not merely once, not even merely twice. He once did it five times. In a week. That’s right: William managed to complete 5 Ironman events in 5 days. How was your week? If you didn’t swim 12 miles, bike 560 miles, and run 131 miles, you’re falling a little short. You may need to pick up the pace some this next week. 

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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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When Come and See Becomes Go and Tell

This past Sunday we kicked off a brand-new teaching series. For the next four weeks we are talking about who exactly we are as a church. Who did God design First Baptist Oakboro to be for the present season? He made us to be a people with whom anyone can connect to grow in Christ and reach out for His kingdom. What does that mean? Let’s dig into the first part, connecting, today. Don’t miss the rest!

When Come and See Becomes Go and Tell

Have you ever been to Allen Fieldhouse? Maybe you don’t even know what Allen Fieldhouse is. That’s okay. Not everyone is enlightened at the same time. Those of us who have walked that path already must teach those who have yet to discover it. I’m kidding…sort of. Allen Fieldhouse, named after famous coach Forest “Phog” Allen, is where the Kansas Jayhawks play basketball, and have been since 1955. No less an authority than Wikipedia calls it “one of college basketball’s most historically significant and prestigious buildings.” The actual playing surface in the fieldhouse is the James Naismith Court, who was, of course, the inventor of the sport and the first Kansas men’s basketball coach. His original rules of basketball are actually on display in the fieldhouse. When it comes to college basketball – and with apologies to fans of…anybody else – there simply isn’t a better place to play. If we lived close enough, and I was trying to convince you to be a Kansas fan (granting that if we lived close enough you’d probably already be a fan), I’d tell you to come and see a game there and then you’d know. If you are interested in connecting with the Kansas basketball nation (there’s not a Kansas football nation as most people like to cheer for a team that finishes above .500 more than about once a generation), that “come and see” invitation will make all the difference. I make that invitation because I’ve gone and I’ve seen and I know that if you go there too, you’ll experience what I did. 

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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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Strong Where it Counts

As we wrap up our series, Standing Firm, this week, we find the apostle taking a turn from everything he’s been talking about for the past nine weeks. But then again, he’s not doing that at all. Instead, after spending the rest of the letter telling us how to stand firm in our faith without sacrificing our Gospel witness, Peter closes things out by talking about where we can find the strength we need to do it. I’ll give you a hint: It comes from God, but it isn’t found inside of us. Keep reading to find out what is the source of this strength.

Strong Where It Counts

Some of you are builders and so you understand the ins and outs of building and building materials better than I do. But from my rudimentary understanding, concrete is a pretty good building material. It’s stable. It’s sturdy. It’s strong. It holds up pretty well under a whole variety of weather conditions. It doesn’t degrade much over time. It’s low maintenance. There are all kinds of advantages to it. If you’re building something that requires extra stability and support, though—perhaps because of its size, for instance—concrete isn’t enough by itself. It needs a little bit more to make it up to the task to which you are applying it. Specifically, it needs a steel skeleton. To add this, you build an internal rebar frame inside your concrete mold and pour the mixture over it. With the rebar encased in the slab or structure, its strength is increased many times over concrete by itself. Now, this doesn’t mean that concrete alone isn’t still really strong stuff. It is. But when it has that extra element of support, it can withstand just about anything that might be thrown at it.

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