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September 12, 2017, 12:40 PM

September13, 2017

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”  Psalm 23:1 (NIV)

    “To recognize God as the Lord is to acknowledge that He is sovereign and supreme in the universe.  To accept Him as Savior is to accept His gift of salvation offered on the cross.  To regard Him as Father is to go a step further.  Ideally, a father is the one in your life who provides and protects.  That is exactly what God has done.  God has proven Himself as a faithful father.  Now it falls on us to be trusting children.”  Max Lucado

     Do we live as though we truly trust God?  The Scriptures frequently use the metaphor of humans being like sheep.  Sheep need a shepherd.  They build a trusting relationship with the shepherd learning that the shepherd will provide and protect them.  In fact, sheep find it very difficult to rest without the presence of the shepherd.  It is the same way with mankind.

     You see, without Christ, we never rest either.  People search for peace, safety, and provisions according to the ways of the world.  What happens when the professional is at the top of their career or there is a plethora of material possessions?  There is still a search to find “something” that is missing.  So, the question is: Do we trust God to give us only the things through which we can glorify Him?  God may indeed provide an abundance of possessions; however, those possessions are to be used to build the Kingdom.  Ask yourself this question:  If God miraculously put one thousand dollars in your hand today, what would be your first thoughts of how to use the money?

     Think about the relationship between parents and teenage children.  There usually develops a dialogue about trust.  The child wants the parents to trust them while the parents want the child to show them that they are trustworthy.  In a similar way, God desires that kind of relationship with us.  We can certainly trust God but is He able to trust us?  In other words, if God provides resources for us, can He trust us to use them for His glory?  Remember the question about the one thousand dollars?  Maybe there is a good reason many seem to have a minimum amount of resources.  Maybe they have yet to learn that a trusting relationship with our Father is a two-way street.  We are thanking God for getting us safely through the storm and praying God’s blessings upon the restoration efforts under way in so many areas.  We are also praying that you have a great week!

                                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia

September 5, 2017, 3:29 PM

September 6, 2017

“Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit.”  Matthew 28:19

                What does God want from us?  Many will begin to name off all the good works they feel necessary to somehow earn God’s approval.  Jesus gave us a Great Commandment and a Great Commission.  Jesus shared a two-part commandment that is vital to our spiritual growth.  First, we are to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength.  Second, we are to love our neighbor as we love ourself.  That’s a huge command.   Then Jesus says that we are to make disciples of all nations.  How well are we obeying what God has given us to do?  We live in a culture that magnifies our own desires.  Sin has caused us to be self-centered and self-seeking.  Only God can transform us from natural self-centeredness to His plan.

                If we carefully look around us we see people who are desperate for help.  It is easy to overlook them because our number one priority gets in the way.  As Christians, we have lost track of the reason for which God has called us.  A quote from Henry Blackaby says it best.  “We were not saved from our sin simply so that we would qualify for heaven.  God delivered us so we would have a relationship with Him through which He could carry out His mission to redeem a lost world.”  People are looking for someone to share truth with them.  As Christians, we know truth is a person.  His name is Jesus!  If people are without Jesus, they are constantly trying to fill the void with something.  We have the Good News but are we willing to share it intentionally with others?

                If we knew that our last day on earth were tomorrow, would we live differently today?  We may literally be living in the last of the last days.  There should be an urgency to share the Gospel message with as many people as possible.  Yet, even though the days are so uncertain, there still seems to be such an attitude of indifference among many Christians.  Why?  We’ve grown extremely comfortable living each day in obedience to ourselves rather than God.  As we go about this week, may we be excited to be a Christ-follower and be compelled to share the Gospel message with others.

                                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia

August 29, 2017, 12:00 PM

August 30, 2017

“My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  Colossians 2:2-3

     What things are you committed to?  We all have a list of commitments and sometimes it becomes very difficult to prioritize them.  What usually ends up happening?  Certain tasks get our attention while others go lacking.  It happens in every area of our life.  Commitment means that we must make a decision.  The Latin root for decision is “to cut away from”, as in making an incision.  When we commit to something, we are cutting away all of our other possibilities.  Does that describe our commitment to Kingdom work?

     A huge part of commitment is believing in what you are doing.  When we are passionate about something, there should be a level of intensity and excitement.  As Christians, we must be passionate about our calling.  However, we must be extremely careful because the enemy will see that we become involved in so many activities that we become frustrated and lose sight of the real goal.  What is the real goal?  Our real goal is to do the will of our Heavenly Father!  He gifts, calls and equips us to do different tasks while bringing all of those together to strengthen the Body.  What happens if just one person is not passionate about Kingdom work?  What happens if just one team player decides not to play to his/her potential in a game?  An interesting quote says, “A person with 100 percent ability and 50 percent commitment can throw a wrench into the whole system through inattention, inconsistency and laziness”.

     We must all take a good inventory of ourselves.  Do we know what God has called us to do?  If not, our first commitment must be to spend time with Him and seek His desire for us.  If we do know what God has called us to do, let us pray that He will make us passionate about it.  We should then inspire those around us and join together to accomplish God’s plan.  As we embark on a new church year, let us all become truly passionate about Kingdom work.  Let us become excited and encourage those around us as we have so many opportunities to serve our King.  We pray that you are having a great week and experiencing God’s blessings in numerous ways!

                                                                                                                                                 We love you,

                                                                                                                                                 Brad and Virginia

August 22, 2017, 3:32 PM

August 23, 2017

“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.  They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ He promised?  Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3: 3-4

     In the passage above, Peter warns of scoffers in the last days.  We seem to be living in the last of the last days.  We believe and know, because the Bible tells us, that Jesus is coming again.  Yet, plenty of people around us say that nothing has changed and everything remains as it has always been.  Even Christians struggle that it has been 2000 years and we are still yearning for His coming.  For those who desire them, there are signs all around us.  Yet, this world has such a way of influencing people with all kinds of technological advances, advances in medicine and dramatic increases in life expectancy.  If we are not very careful, we are drawn to the idea that life is all about this world. 

     For Christians, nothing could be further from the truth.  John tells us very clearly (1 John 2:15), “Do not love the world or anything in the world”.  Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:10, “For Demas has deserted me because he loved this world”.  However, the closer we are to God the more we distance ourselves from the influences of this world.  There are many events happening around us that seem to point clearly to Jesus’ return.  One major event occurred back in 1948 when Israel became a nation once again.  Folks, that in itself is huge!  With that in mind, what nation is constantly involved in the “peace-process” which really means a division of the nation of Israel?  Of course, it is the United States!

     Much of the hype this week about the solar eclipse is quickly fading away.  Yet, the hype was probably for the wrong reasons.  Was this solar eclipse event a warning to this country?  In seven years (2024), another total eclipse will make its way across America.  This time from the southwest to the northeast.  The 2024 eclipse along with the eclipse just experienced will form a huge X-mark across America.  Does that mean anything?  Is it just coincidence?  Maybe.  However, could it be a mark of God’s judgment?  It is quite interesting that where the shadows of the two eclipses cross just happens to be the New Madrid fault zone in middle America.  Is it newsworthy that this also happens to be where the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers converge?  Many today say, “Nope, this happens all the time”.  They may be right.  Yet, when you see it on a map, the huge, ominous X-mark definitely catches the eye.  One thing we know for sure: We need to be on our knees before God confessing and repenting of our sins.  Jesus is coming sooner than we think!  May He find us busy about His work when He comes!

                                                                                                                                               We love you,

                                                                                                                                               Brad and Virginia

August 15, 2017, 11:03 AM

August 16, 2017

“While we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.”  Titus 2:14

     We have all been looking forward to this weekend.  It is Homecoming and we will be celebrating 75 years of ministry in the Plant City community and beyond.  We will kick off on Saturday night with the Exhorters here to share God’s Word in song.  Then, on Sunday morning, we will have the Teen Trio share with us as well as some of our own special music.  Carlos Hernandez will be here to present God’s Word to us and we will have a fun time of fellowship following.  Hope you have made your plans to be here as it will be a wonderful time together.  There have been many changes that have taken place over the years.  One thing remains constant: the Word is being taught and disciples are being made.  The main purpose and goal over the years has been, and continues to be, for the Lord to be exalted and praised.

     Please continue to remember our Nominating Committee as they are in the final stages of securing teachers and leaders for the new church year.  If asked, please prayerfully consider participating in the many ministry opportunities available in our fellowship.  Many church members miss out on growth opportunities because they fail to obey God as He leads them to various ministry opportunities.  Maybe you have not been asked to serve but you feel God is calling you into a specific area of ministry.  Please let one of our committee members know and we will be glad to assist you in that direction.

     God has been blessing in multiple ways in our church.  It is so exciting to see what God has done, is doing and is about to do among us.  However, let us not forget the mission among the excitement.  It continues to be all about the One who gave His life so that we could truly be free.  Let us keep our eyes focused on Him, our hearts devoted to Him and our lives obedient to Him.  We are so glad to have our new members!  Please make sure they continue to feel at home as they listen to God’s call and serve Him with us.  Have a very blessed week and remember that God has called us to make a difference in the lives of those around us.

                                                                                                                                      We love you,

                                                                                                                                      Brad and Virginia

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