ENGAGE: WALK WITH GOD

Throughout the Word of God, believers are consistently called to Walk with God–Walk in Christ. That word walk literally means to live out. If we are to fully ENGAGE in ministry, we must be fully ENGAGED in our walk with the Lord. There are five elements to our walk in Christ.

WALK IN THE WORD Leviticus 26

I know you’re thinking, “Wow! He went Leviticus on me!” Well, yes, God offers a great promise to those who will follow His instructions and statutes. Read it! The blessings He promises include provisions, peace, fruitful lives, and strength.

A word of caution – many try to make the Word fit into our personal beliefs, or even our lifestyles. We must accept the Word as it is. That is, let the Word say what the Word says. Oswald Chambers says, “God never fits His Word to suit me; He fits me to suit His Word.”

Reading, studying, and meditating on the Bible is foundational in our walk in Christ. If you decide to skip this element to get to the others, you can just go ahead and forget it. Without the Word implanted into our lives, the other elements in the Walk with God are not possible. You may not understand or even agree with parts of the Bible, but if you read it and trust by faith in what it says, God will speak to you.

WALK BY FAITH2 Corinthians 5:7

When we say we live by faith and not by sight, what does that really mean? It means our own “common sense” approach and our own circumstances in life cannot dictate what we do. We must trust God to do what He says He will do. James 4:13-17 illustrates the power of that approach. Go ahead–read it right now. The Bible also states that faith without works is dead. We must place our faith in Christ and act out on what He has said (James 2:14). That means we must be involved in spiritual activity to which God has directed us.

WALK IN THE SPIRITGalatians 5:16

Scripture shows that our spirit and flesh are at war with each other. We must follow what the Holy Spirit calls us to do, and “lean not on our own understanding” (Prov. 3). Our flesh will always pull us in the opposite direction from God. Listening to His Spirit will always bring us closer to Him. D.L. Moody was once teaching when he held up an empty glass. “How can we remove the air from this glass?” he asked. One man said that he should attach a vacuum. Moody reminded the man that this would cause the glass to break. Instead, D. L. Moody took a pitcher of water and filled the glass. “There, the glass now has no air in it.” Moody reminded his listeners that a victorious Christian life is not in sucking out an occasional sin, but is found by being filled with the Holy Spirit.

WALK IN LOVEEphesians 5:1-2;8-12

God is love. Ephesians 5 tells us that we are to imitate God. We are to love as He loves. We are to become a sacrifice as He became a sacrifice for us. My life purpose is “May my life be spent up in the praise and worship of God.” How are you being spent up? Are you walking in love. Are you loving people enough to show them the Savior–Jesus Christ?

WALK IN THE LIGHT1 John 1:5-7

God is light. That means that “light” is the essence of His character in holiness and purity. To walk in the light we must continually fellowship with God. We cannot do that unless we are walking in the Word, walking by faith, walking in the Spirit, and walking in love.

I hope you’ll take the time to go back and read these Scriptures and let God speak to you. Will you Walk with God? Will you receive the inexpressible blessings He has for you? Will you ENGAGE in a relationship with God? Don’t miss it! I’m in!

I’m ENGAGED

I’m ENGAGED

The word “engage” brings many things to mind. For some, it is the epitome of love and commitment through marriage. That biblical expression of love through the bonding together of a man and woman for a lifelong commitment to each other.

For others, it is the great command from the captain of the Enterprise, forging on the in the intergalactic dream to “boldly go where no man has gone before”.

The Bible uses the word “engage” to describe the work and heart of the Levites:

“Now these are the singers, heads of fathers’ households of the Levites, who lived in the chambers of the temple free from other service; for they were engaged in their work day and night.” 1 Chron. 9:33

In 2012, I’m calling on all of our Worship Team to ENGAGE in the ministry to which God has called us. That is because of a deep love for Christ and the bond that is brought about through the blood of Christ, to boldly forge ahead with all our might, with all our heart, to worship God and love Him to the fullest. As a result of that, we are to lead His people into His presence through music–praise–and worship.

You see, the core of worship is summed up this way: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:5). Jesus called this the greatest commandment. Mark D. Roberts says, “When we sing, we can invest our whole self in worship as we think, feel, and act.”

I’m asking you to ENGAGE in:

  • Your walk with Christ
  • Your worship to Him
  • Your musical skills that God has given you for a purpose
  • Your relationships with your brothers and sisters in Christ
  • Your diligence in reaching others for Christ
You see, “the miracle of music and song is that there is no other vehicle available to us on earth that has the ability to bring to attention our mind and our auditory senses, arresting the heart and moving the soul to a point where our whole self is focused in one direction.”–Darlene Zschech
1 Corinthians 14:15 says, “Then what am I to do? I will pray with my spirit (by the Holy Spirit that is within me), but I will also pray (intelligently) with my mind and understanding; I will sing with my spirit (by the Holy Spirit that is within me), but I will sing(intelligently) with my mind and understanding also.”

Sunday, January 15, we will spend some time in worship (at First Baptist Mableton, GA) at the altar, committing to the engagement of our whole selves to the Worship Ministry. Will you join us in this year-long (really lifelong) quest? Will you say to God and others–I’m ENGAGED? I really hope you will walk this path with us–a path, with great rewards. You see, when we follow Him, He reveals more about Himself to us–that is we begin to take on more and more of His character.

I have more to share in the coming weeks. For now, I’m asking all members of our Worship Team to ENGAGE with us. Stop by the Worship Center as you arrive Sunday morning and pick up an “I’m Engaged” sticker. Wear it proudly throughout the day as we wholly commit ourselves to serve our Holy God!

Giving God the Glory

Sunday was a significant day in the life of First Baptist Mableton. We heard from our Senior Pastor, Stephen Byrd, as he presented the State of the Church 2011. God has been so incredibly good to us. We put together a video to show some of the incredible things that He has done. The important thing here is that HE ALONE accomplished these things, and He allowed us to participate with Him.

Here’s the video we showed to the congregation. I hope that as you view it, you too will see how great God is, and how He is enough to accomplish what He desires in your life.

Enjoy

UNSTOPPABLE

I’m always excited when our Worship Ministry presents a new musical or worship event. My excitement has grown with the evening we have been preparing for Sunday night, August 29. I first heard this music as First Baptist Woodstock, GA premiered it in late April/early May. The songs so moved me as I sat and worshipped, that I was speechless and often tear-filled. The lyrics so moved me to remind me (1) how much He loves me, (2) how powerful He is in my life, (3) how He completely forgives, (4) how He demands my all, (5) and what a fortress He is in my life.

Psalm 27 states,

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?
When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,
My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me,
In spite of this I shall be confident.
One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple.
For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.
And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice,
And be gracious to me and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,
“Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me,
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not abandon me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
But the Lord will take me up.
Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a level path
Because of my foes.
Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries,
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.

Cliff Duren has written a wonderful song based on this Psalm, and the Celebration Choir does a magnificent job of singing it as they worship. Along with this, there are 12 other songs of equal magnitude and encouragement.

Last night at our final dress rehearsal, I asked the choir to share what song had ministered the most to them, and I received answers that included almost every song. What a great time of testimony, worship, and prayer we had. I know the same will be true for you if you join us Sunday night, August 29, at 6:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church, Mableton, GA. Trust me, any schedule conflict and any driving distance will be worth it to you when God speaks to you to show you the love, power, and encouragement He has for you. I hope you’ll come, and know that for many weeks now, I have been praying that God would attract many to be here for His glory. Is He calling you?

Find more information here

Andy Get Your Gun

Dad and me at the range after trying out the shotgun.

My dad loves to tell stories of his past. Many of them I’ve heard before, but last week he surprised me with a new one. When he was 15, my dad, known to many of his friends as Andy, received a 16-guage shotgun from his father. He loved the gun and used it often for hunting. He kept the gun until the late 1940s. My brother was soon to be born and mom and dad needed some money, so my dad sold the gun for $25.

Just a few weeks ago, my dad, now 85, ran into the man who bought his long-sold shotgun. He asked the man if he stilled owned the gun, and the gentleman replied that he did still have it. My dad offered $100 to purchase the gun and the deal was done. This old shotgun, now discolored and worn from years of neglect was finally back in the arms of the man who learned to shoot with it as a boy. My dad spent more than two days cleaning and repairing the gun.

After sharing the story, Dad surprised me by telling me he went to all the trouble because he wanted me to have that gun. He had planned to give it to me in October for my birthday, but he just couldn’t wait. With great excitement, he brought the gun out–and it’s a beauty! It too, is my first gun. Sure, I’ve shot his guns for years but never owned one of my own. As excited as I was to have that old 16-guage shotgun, nothing would compare to the work and love that came behind that gun.

Isn’t it just like our Heavenly Father! He loved us so much that He purchased our sin through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus; all because of His great love. He went the distance just so that we could be in relationship with Him forever.

No doubt, I’ll cherish that old shotgun for the rest of my life, but never more than the relationship that I have with my dad.

L-R: Becca, Laura, Dad, Melissa
Laura, Becca, Dad, Mom, and Melissa

WELCOME TO THE NEW WEBSITE

I’m delighted to welcome you all to the new First Baptist Mableton website. Hopefully, many of you have arrived at my blog through the new website at fbcmableton.com. We have been preparing the new site now for several months and are quite proud of it. Along with a new look, there’s lots of new information available. AND, we now have our worship via video!

The Word Revealed, our new video ministry will give you the opportunity to hear Pastor Stephen Byrd as he preaches the Word each week at FBC. We hope to add some music from services too, as we work through copyright licenses.

I plan to write once a week on the blog, so why not begin a subscription and receive the new blogs automatically as they are released. They will also be released simultaneously on Facebook.

As always, I would love to hear from you! Share your comments and even your ideas for the blog. And YES, I will be bringing back the Monday Morning Musings!

Blessings!

The Dove Awards

Every once in a while, great opportunities come around. This week is one of those times for me. As you read this, I am en route to Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House to attend the 41st Annual Dove Awards.

It’s such a cool thing to not only spend your life in music, but to be around some of the great creators of wonderful expressions of praise to God and about God is just amazing. Then, on top of all that, to get to know some of these great people is another blessing.

I look forward to hearing such artists as Casting Crowns; Toby Mac; BeBe and CeCe; Natalie Grant; Jordin Sparks; Mercy Me; Ricky Skaggs; Jason Crabb; Francesca Battistelli; Kari Jobe with Phillips, Craig, and Dean; The Blackwood Brothers; Legacy 5; the Crabb Family; and more.

My good friend, Cliff Duren, is nominated for a Dove this year for his Christmas musical. I look forward to seeing some good friends and meeting some new ones too.

You be sure to watch the Dove Awards as it is broadcast on Sunday, April 25 at 8/7c on GMC (The Gospel Music Channel).

Thank you, Lord, for such a great opportunity!