To God’s Beloved At Cloverdale Baptist Church:
Thank you for your love and grace as we journey through these times. We need grace, and that experience of God’s grace is the only way we will be able to offer this to others.
Thank you for being gracious with one another.
As you probably are aware this new variant seems to be hitting more and more of our people, and impacting ministries in our church family. Please continue to pray that we would focus on Jesus and stay on mission in the midst of all that is going on. It is so easy to be distracted by our own feelings, rather than devoted to our MASTER. Key for us is to do what we know He has commanded, and my guess is that if you (and I) are honest with what the text clearly teaches we will be so busy adjusting ourselves to it in humility that we will have very little time to disagree or disdain others in our family on grey issues.
Humility is not only the key attribute for getting to know Jesus, it is the key overflow of living in His presence.
What do I mean by this?
I mean we are a people of the BOOK. Or perhaps more clearly, we allow God to let us know through His Word who He is, what He has done, and what He wants from us. The massive danger that we are warned about in the Bible is being deceived by sin (Hebrews 3:12-14); or put another way, trusting in our own understandings (Proverbs 3:5-6). The reason that this is so important is that we are in a war, and in that war we are in a battle with our own flesh (self-focus and pride); the world (a pattern of thinking); and the demonic realm (desperately trying to destroy us by distracting our minds and moving us to sin).
So how do we fight? The answer is to be WORD saturated and GRACE soaked. To know God’s Word so well that we don’t add to it, or take away from it, and to be so overwhelmed by God’s grace to us, that we live in that grace, practice it, walk in it, and demand of ourselves so much more than we would ever demand of others.
If you find yourself trapped in thinking negative spiritual thoughts of yourself or others…STOP. That might be a little too easily said, and even if you are eager to do it, it might be difficult, so here are some ways we can stay unified, and we can stay humble.
- Interact with God and His Word and seek to apply it to your life with authenticity and in relationship.
Obviously, this is for all of us, but it is easy sometimes for the demonic realm to distract us to non-biblical things, and help us to avoid what God really wants. Allow/ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate His Word to you. There are so many areas of our own lives that we need to align with God, that if you do this, you will find your heart filled with humility and your passion to be pure before Him. His Word is a mirror, that if you authentically look into, will produce humility and in His power, peace and obedience!
- We are to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Him…how are you doing on this?
- We are to give thanks in all circumstances...how are you doing on this?
- We are to love God with all our we are and all we have…how are you doing on this?
- We are to store up treasures in heaven by investing our earthly resources…how are you doing on this?
- We are to love one another, ABOVE ALL, which means willing self-sacrifice for their good in God’s eyes…how are you doing on this?
- We are to live our lives on mission for Him, sharing His Gospel…How are you doing on this?
And we could go on and on. When Jesus is your LORD, it will mean that you spend your life seeking to align your life with His Word and His Ways, because you love Him…well, perhaps better theologically, because He loves you!
We do this in His grace, for His glory, as we seek to live our lives in His presence and power, and look forward to being with Him in eternity!
If you want Him to say, “well done my good and faithful servant”, it will mean consistently and carefully offering to Him all you are and have as entrusted to you by Him and for Him!
God, you have planned good works for me to walk in, today, help me to walk in them!
- Seek To Experience His Love And Grace Richly Always.
I say this for three reasons…
A) WE NEED IT! Read Ephesians 3:14-21, and realize that we are desperate for His filling with love, so that we can live our lives for Him. Ephesians 4:1-8 follows Ephesians 3:14-21, which is not profound from an order thing, but incredibly profound from a living our lives worthy of the Gospel. Your experience of His life is key to living for Him. The closer you get to Him, the richer His grace will become and must become, because the light from His glory shows who we truly are.
B) OTHERS NEED IT! His grace produces grace towards others, or maybe more clearly, His love produces love for others. If you are not loving others around you, it is because you have not experienced His love as you should.
C) IT COMPELS FURTHER CHANGE! 2 Corinthians 5:14 is one of the great verses that show us that if we are experiencing God’s love, we will be compelled to live in love and holiness. To be those who live on mission for Him.
Okay, I want to be Word saturated, not worldly, gracious, not an accuser, but an enjoyer of your love for me.
Father, help me to experience your love so richly that I am able to walk worthy of your calling in a world filled with brokenness (Ephesians 3:14-4:8).
- Seek to be truly holy not culturally or traditionally acceptable.
It is a little heartbreaking that each tradition and culture develops their own shibboleths that supersede Biblical truth. If you wear a tie, you believe God is holy is one of the ones that CBC struggled with when I first got here (or some anyway). We can now say that is silly, but we literally had people leave our church over this, because one of our elders was not in a tie for communion, showing (to the traditionalists) how little we valued the holiness of God. It would be comical if it were not so heartbreaking! God’s holiness is not a matter of ties, it is a matter of purity in thought and deed, and being set apart by Him, for Him in obedience to His Word, and avoidance of disobedience.
Now some feel it is on whether people are vacced or not, do what John says or not, make the right health choices, fight for the right freedoms, or I could go on. We need to be a people of the book, not a people of traditionalism or cultural binding.
The key to surviving, even thriving in this environment is to stand where the Bible does, firmly, and unmoved, personally and corporately, not where tradition or culture might demand. We do not add, or take away from God’s Word! And this is not new territory for the church...as we see as we study the book of Revelation!
If you think someone not wearing a tie means that they don’t believe in the holiness of God, or someone not fighting for or against COVID the way you want makes them in or out, then you have missed biblical holiness. I am not saying that those things are not important, I am saying that compared to what God has revealed, they are so secondary that they will never create division, or cause the true follower of God to lose their humility in hate.
There is lots of room to disagree on politics and health, even on Trudeau or Bonnie, but when God’s Word speaks clearly, and it is clear on all sorts of areas where we fall short, it will lead to humility and unity in our own passionate desire to be like Him.
If you are able to sign, NO RESERVES, NO RETREATS, NO REGRETS, no matter what the cost, then we will make a massive difference for Jesus today forward. Yes, we will fall short, but it will be with His grace overwhelming us, with our humility causing us to live for Him with others, and our longing to be His glory always and forever.
If you find people distracting you, reject the distraction and force the conversation to go to Jesus and His mission, to stewardship and your sonship and slavery. You will discover if your eyes are on Jesus, humility, grace, passion, holiness and power to live in the Spirit, and a love and unity with the church family God has called you to serve and be a part of.
Jesus is LORD of the church, which means we will follow Jesus where His Word is clear, and His servant leaders (our elders) where it is not. We will live our lives for Him and His glory, no matter what the cost, in love and a passion for biblical holiness not cultural conformity or traditional tattling.
I think we get this at CBC, and so long for us to get it all the more!
Your servant, because I am His, thankful for you because you are His and show it,
Sunday is Coming
To truly get and give in a healthy spiritual way we must prepare our hearts…
Sermon Title: Sardis: A Cry For The Dead To Awaken
Text: Revelation 3:1-7
- How does Jesus reveal Himself to this church?
- How does this help us to know Him better, and live for Him more fully?
- Why is it essential that we know Jesus is Lord of the Church?
- Many throw this around in our modern era, and mean, “do what I want”, Jesus leads His church through His Word and His elders, how can we make sure we are living under the Lordship of Jesus as a part of His church?
- What does spiritual life look like according to this text?
- What are the rewards that are promised to those who overcome?
- Why is keeping rewards in view helpful in our personal pursuit of being overcomers?