Pastor Corner
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February 5, 2016, 5:13 PM

Seek Him with all you have...

"All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the LORD gave them rest on every side." - 2 Chronicles 15:15 (NIV 2011)

A time of renewal and rejoicing was evident as King Asa of Judah was bringing God's people back to where they needed to be...right with God.  They were rejoicing and were not ashamed to verbalize their commitment to God with all their heart.  It must have been a powerful scene.  Look closely at this verse as the people of Judah found God.  They "eagerly" sought God.  They put everything they had into finding the God of the universe and then He was found. I like how the NASB translates this part..."and He let them find Him."  With the NASB interpretation, it demonstrates just how much God truly is in control.  God was not about to reveal Himself until the people were in a right relationship with Him; not until they had come to understand who God was to them.  Then, and only then, was He going to reveal Himself.

Think about it...if you have or have had children, I know at some point you have played "hide and seek" with them.  You knew that there were places that you could hide that they could never find you, or at least not for a long time (ah, quiet time).  You might have hidden there and listened to your children call out, looking for you for a long time.  Then, you noticed that their voices changed.  They began to sound a little less confident and slightly more shaken.  Then, at some point, their voices were down right fearful.  They thought you were gone.  You knew it was time to come out of hiding and let them know that you were could hear their voices all the time.  After they had sought you with all their heart, you came to their rescue.

Your Father is asking you to do the Him with all you have...He is there!

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

January 25, 2016, 12:11 PM

A heartbeat from exile...

"I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart." - Jeremiah 24:7 (NIV 2011)

The word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah, but look at when it was coming.  These words were coming at at time when the people of Jerusalem were being taken into exile (skilled workers and artisans, v.1).  Some had already been taken, including the officials.  This was not a good time in the life of Judah.  However, during this time, the words that Jeremiah was receiving from the Lord were those of reconciliation.  God was one day going to touch the very people that would not listen to His prophet.  He would place a heart that would be tuned into God Himself, and they would return.  God knew the path that was ahead, but He also had the ability to change the hearts of those that were going down those paths.  

As Jeremiah received those words, what do you suppose Jeremiah thought.  Remember, he knew the people were not listening, but he also knew what God was telling him.  Maybe, just maybe, he stopped and prayed that God would change their hearts right then so that the exile would not have to continue the way it was going.  Surely God had the power to change their hearts right then; surely He could cause them to listen right then. What a powerful prayer that would have been!

While we are not facing exile into a foreign land today, in a sense, we are facing exile from God.  How far do we have to go before we recognize that the things we do and say affect those around us and, more importantly, affect our relationship with God.  I wonder how many are in the process of being exiled from God for a period of time because they are not listening.  How many will have to go through a period of exile just so God can "give them a heart to know" Him? God has sent prophets, He has sent His son, He has sent His word, He has sent teachers and preachers that love us...what will it take to keep us from exile? Pray that this won't happen.

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

January 4, 2016, 4:59 PM

Because of who He is...

"This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else." - 2 Corinthians 9:12-13

This is always a great time of year for me as a pastor.  I absolutely love to see what churches can do together for the sake of God's kingdom. Each year Baptist churches focus on international missions in December, coming together for the sake of expanding the gospel; even unto the ends of the earth.  Many churches have speakers visit, bringing the message of hope back to the very churches that help support missions.  

I find it such a blessing that the missionaries that speak to the "home churches" are actually bringing just as much joy to these supporting churches as they are to the churches they serve in the missionary field; at least, I pray that this is the case...I know that it is for me.  As I listened to the missionaries we had visit this year, I heard that God was still at work, that God was still needed both here and across this world, that God was still making a difference.  That is exciting!

As this season of focus has come to a close, it has blessed my heart to know that FBC Hooks has surpasssed the goal set for Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.  I want to thank you on behalf of our missionaries that are on the field, serving our Lord daily.  Truly, without your support, they would not be able to be there.  Thank you for being a church that supports missionary work here at home AND across the world, so that EVERYONE is afforded the opportnity to hear the good news.  Thank you for giving simply "because of who He is!"

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

December 24, 2015, 4:35 PM

There is still time...

"All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means 'God with us.''" - Matthew 1:22-23 (NIV 2011)

Amazing is it not?  That Jesus' birth took place in order that prophecy could be fulfilled.  Really?  Is that the real reason that the Son of God had to be born in the manner that He was, to the parents that He was? Well, yes and no.  The short answer is yes.  Since God desired that it should be done this way, the answer is yes.  Since the prophesy was spoken in such a way, yes.  Since God does not change or lie, yes.

The more provocative answer is "no."  Jesus did not have to be born as it is written, to the parents as it is written.  Why is that?  Because, if God had not so desired it in the first place, then it never had to occur.  If God had not loved His creation (you and me) so much, then He never would have had to do anything of the sort.  He never would have had to have a plan.  There would have been no need for salvation.  We would not have needed saving because God would not have desired a relationship with us.  

But the fact of the matter is, God did and He does.  God does desire a relationship with each of us. He does care about us as individuals.  He cared so much that He made a way for each one of us to be saved through the fulfillment of prophecy...the birth of Jesus.

Praise God we have the opportunity to celebrate the birth of Jesus...even now, this very season.  It's not too late to give God glory through worship and praise.  Find a place to worship Him tonight (Christmas eve), this weekend, and the next.  He wants and deserves your praise. After all, He gave you the most precious present of all...His Son!

Merry Christmas!!

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

December 18, 2015, 10:18 AM

Time to praise together...

"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." - Romans 15:5-7 (NIV 2011)

It has been a couple of weeks since I've written.  That's usually a sign of laziness or being too busy; I'll claim the latter (it sounds better). As I was preparing for messages next week, I realized that Christmas eve is approaching, which means the year is fading fast.  It also means that some churches are preparing for a Christmas eve service.  We will be having one at 6:30pm and I know of at least one other church in town that will be having one as well.  I would encourage all who can to attend.  If you are in town, come share a few moments with church family, remembering why we celebrate this season.  Even if you don't regularly attend one of the churches holding the Christmas eve services, go anyway.  Hopefully, you have seen that when we encourage one another in the Lord, we are of one mind, one voice and we glorify God.

I know that it has been a few weeks, but just think back to the Thanksgiving Community Service.  Several churches, coming together to praise the Lord in one accord, glorifying His holy name.  What a sweet spirit we had that night.  Should we not have the same spirit every day, but especially in the season as we celebrate the birth of our Savior!

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

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