Hey MABC family and friends,
This Saturday Sherry and I were out looking at some homes in the southeast Wichita area.
That would put us right in between our daughters plus quick interstate/turnpike access to
Kansas City area for daughter #3. There was to be an open house that we wanted to look at
but when we got there, no one was there. I called the realtor who then gave me the garage
code to get in and look at the house. It was nice but there was one thing that was a deal
breaker for us design wise.
Now, on the porch we found a couple of Amazon packages but there was nobody living in the
house as it was still under construction. We looked at the addresses and found they were for a
neighbor. Sherry offered to take them over to their house and I went to the car. Five minutes
goes by and Sherry comes out to holler at me to come to the house. A single dad was living
there and he was interested in our interest in the house. Sherry answered as always trying to
find a way to include a hint of faith telling him that we were looking for a house in this area,
about our daughters living close by and then she inserts the “go to”: and my husband has
recently started pastoring a church here in Wichita. That little bit opened a conversation to
discussing his faith. He happens to go to Newspring and has served in the children’s ministry
area for the past five years.
Now I say that to give you an idea of how easy it is to weave faith based ideas into your
conversation. Remember our key point from yesterday’s message? Evangelism is not just
anywhere we find it but anywhere we want to find it. In this case it turned out that the resident
was already a believer but we had some good conversation. Sherry opened the door and then I
looked at a discipleship opportunity and asked him if he goes to the men’s lunch at Newspring
every month? He said no so I invited him to his own church (ha ha) and offered to meet him
there. He gave me his number and said sure.
If you are a follower of Jesus, witnessing to others and making disciples is not an option. In
Acts 1 Jesus said “you will be” my witnesses.
Remember that there is no AWANA’s tonight. Sherry and I will be at church this evening for a
while…she has a meeting and I will get some work done in the office. Wednesday I will be in at
the normal time of 2:30 pm. Thursday afternoon I will have a meeting at Lawrence Elementary
and them a visit in the evening.
Have a great week!
(Warning: this may be a little lengthy…not as long as the Super Bowl so hang in there!)
How many of you made it through all 5 quarters of the Super Bowl? Were you worried you
would run out of wings before the game was over? Sherry and I were extremely blessed in that
regard. Our small group that meets on Sunday evenings is very good when it comes to food!
We have some excellent “smokers” and by that I mean wings, ribs, etc.! We never run out of
goodies. I also appreciate them because it is a diverse group. We have couples with kids in
elementary school, middle school and high school as well as graduate school and kids out in the
work force. We have teachers and paras, maintenance workers, law enforcement,
administrative assistants, a co-op manager and a fundraiser. One mom had a brain aneurysm a
couple of years ago and hasn’t been able to work.
I love the makeup of this small group because it represents what a church should look like.
Every generation is adequately represented. It is often said by this group that this is their
“church.” Whether we study a book of the bible, a video driven discussion or watch The
Chosen, our discussion includes viewpoints from different stages of life, different career paths,
and many different life circumstances such as parenting children and teens. Most of the
couples have been long time followers of Jesus but one couple with a junior in high school and
the college grad student are relatively new to the faith in the last couple of years. They have
had a tough time getting their kids to join them in their faith journey. To help them we often
have “family nights” like the Super Bowl where the whole family comes. We want those who are
new to the faith to see what a community of Christ followers looks like away from Sundays.
Now, can it be a little messy at times? Sure it can but isn’t that what happens in authentic faith
families? Sometimes our mess can be relational and sometimes it can be a “facility mess!”
Sherry and I host and sometimes our house gets a little messy. In events like last night’s Super
bowl gathering, there are food and drink spills, dirty dishes and our littlest ones don’t always
clean up their toys. Does it always happen? No, but when it does, Sherry and I don’t get upset.
Messes, whether food and drink, little ones interrupting conversations or occasionally not getting
all the Legos picked up are a blessing. That means that our people feel comfortable, welcomed
and loved…and they are present!
As your new pastor, this is what Sherry and I desire for Meridian Ave Baptist Church. We want
MABC to be a place where all generations feel comfortable, welcomed and loved. If you are a
member, what can you be doing to help us facilitate this kind of environment? If you looking for
a church home, would you consider visiting us and even join us in our vision?
I am so excited this morning ! We have focused on revival in my first month with you. I am beginning to pick up on some things that really get me going. Last week on Facebook I saw someone get involved in a conversation with a friend that included an invite to join us in worship on Sunday. And that friend said she would love to! Then, after yesterday’s message, someone in attendance went out to eat and tried something new. They told the waiter they were getting ready to bless their meal and if he had anything he needed prayer for. And he said yes! This couple said it was scary to get out of their comfort zone but it worked!
This coming Sunday we will finish up our series on “Awakening.” Out of the five weeks, this may be the most difficult. The title is “It’s Gonna Cost Ya.” True discipleship comes with a very heavy price. Jesus taught the disciples to pray “thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” and that kind of thinking cost Jesus his life. He told the disciples – and us through the Bible – that if we were going to follow him, we would have to take up our cross. In Roman times, taking up a cross was a one-way trip. A one-way trip that meant dying to self.
Please remember that I will not be in the office this morning. I will be over Tuesday morning instead as we have an Evangelism & Missions team meeting plus the monthly men’s lunch. Also, the Hwangs, ABC missionaries from Japan, will be sharing tonight at AWANAs. If you missed them at Prairie Homestead yesterday you have one more opportunity to hear them. This Wednesday night in our Bible study we will begin to focus on overcoming objections to the Christian way of life. We had some visitors yesterday who said they caught our worship on Facebook and also our study on Wednesday nights.
Be blessed this week. Ask God for opportunities to share your faith. Tony Evans says we should be the kind of Christ followers that when we get up in the morning the Devil says “Oh crap, he’s up!”
Hope you enjoyed the game yesterday. Just for fun, if you are a KC Chiefs fan, sport your gear on Sunday, Feb. 11!
I was doing some reading this morning and found an interesting post on Church Answers. As you know, there is a rift in the Methodist church over gender identity and homosexuality. It has led to a split in the denomination with a new group forming called the Global Methodists. It is growing quickly not just here in the US but around the world where most conservative Methodists live. The staff at Church Answers offered up the following in prayer for the new group:
- That they look forward and not backwards. While this is a good thing for the new group it is also good for us at MABC as well. You have heard me say it before but let’s not live in the past.
- Pray for a rekindling of evangelistic fires. I will touch on that this coming Sunday. For those of you concerned that I am going to put you all out on the streets to do evangelism, “fear not!” There are many of ways for each of us to do outreach.
- Pray that these new churches will attempt new and great things for His glory. As a church seeking revitalization, this should be our aim as well.
- Pray that they will work in unity. The author says they may not agree on every detail but that they keep the main things the main thing. We heard that this past Sunday!
- Finally, pray that they have courage. When the Israelites were getting ready to take the Promised Land Joshua was told “fear not for I am with you wherever you go.” I pray the same thing for us. Let’s have courage in carrying out the Great Commission because Jesus promised to be with us always.
Have a great week. Begin praying specifically for three people you know that need to have a saving relationship with Jesus. We will tap into that as we get closer to Easter.
Hey MABC family,
Couple of things to remind you about. One, don’t forget the missionary coming tomorrow evening to MABC. She will be speaking about 6:15 pm in the Fellowship Hall. It’s always great to hear from those we support through the ABC. Bible study this Wednesday is bumped up a little bit. Steve has moved praise team practice up 30 minutes to allow us to start earlier. We will show the video on campus at 7:00 and then at 7:15 we will start Facebook live for the discussion. I will be trying something a little different for this week’s lesson to see if we can make it more engaging. We will keep trying until we get it right. Email me if you need the link to the video source (PastorMABC@outlook.com). There is one more upcoming mission reporting session that I want to get the word out well enough in advance for you to get it on your calendar. On February 4 th , Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang, ABC Missionaries to India, will be sharing at Prairie Homestead Vespers. Time for that is 3:00 pm.
Today we tackled a tough topic – sin. More importantly, being aware of our own sin. Unless we fully recognize the gravity of sin it is hard to fully comprehend the magnitude of God’s grace. German minister Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote about cheap grace in his book The Cost of Discipleship. “Cheap grace”; he said, is “the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ”; When we fail to acknowledge the magnitude of sin, we cheapen the grace offered to us through Jesus Christ’s death. The Romans devised crucifixion to be painful and excruciating. It was to be an example of what happened when you crossed the Romans. Prior to being hung on a cross, Jesus was beaten so badly, disfigured beyond recognition (Isa. 52:14). Jesus endured great pain and anguish because of my sin, your sin and the sin of the world. Let’s never take that for granted. “Repent” John the Baptist exclaimed as he readied the world for the coming of his cousin, the Messiah, Jesus. What have you done that you need to repent of today?
Next week, we get a great look at what happens as we become active participants in revival, helping others to experience and awakening. One of two things will happen and we will follow the adventures of Paul and Silas as they set out in obedience to Jesus’ Great Commission. What will it take for us to be active participants in the next Awakening? I will share one aspect with you right now because we have talked about it previously in our series. Paul and Silas were men of prayer. We must continue to be a people of prayer. We need to seek God’s will individually and corporately. I can tell you from my past work that we need to be in serious prayer about reaching out into our community. One of the major reasons churches plateau or decline in attendance is a lack of evangelism. We are looking at making a major push to connect with our community for Easter. Begin to pray for that outreach now even though Easter is slightly more than two months away. Pray that God would provide the laborers and that the hearts of the people we try to reach will be softened to hear our message.
Enjoy the warm up this week. For the “old ball coach” anything above freezing is shorts weather!