Act of Approach – Delight in God

Sunrise over Ullswater, Lake DIstrict, UK

The Incomprehensible but Prayer-Hearing God,

You are known, but beyond knowledge,

revealed, but unrevealed

My wants and well-being draw me closer to You,

for you have never said, “You will seek me in vain.”

To You I come in my difficulties, necessities, and distresses;

dwell within me

with a spirit of grace and satisfaction

with a prayerful attitude of mind

with access into the comfort of your fellowship,

so that in the ordinary events of life my thoughts and desire may rise to You,

And in committed devotion I may find a resource

that will soothe my sorrows,

and sanctify my successes,

and qualify me in all your ways in dealing with my fellow man.

I worship you that you have made me able to know you

 The author of all being

                Of resembling you, the perfection of all that is excellent

                Of enjoying you, who is the source of all happiness.

O God, draw near to me in every part of my difficult and trying journey

I need the same counsel, defense, and comfort that I found at the beginning.

Let my religious affections be more obvious to my mind,

and more noticeable to others.

While Jesus stands as my representative in Heaven,

may I think on him all the more on Earth,

while He pleads my cause before you,

may I show him increasing praise.

Continue to be gentle to me by the goodness of your character

and whether I am awake or asleep, let  your presence go with me

and your abundant blessing meet my needs.

You have led me on and I have found all of your promises true,

I have been filled with sorrows, but you have been my help,

I have been fearful, but you have delivered me,

I have despaired, but you have lifted me up.

Your promises are ever before me,

And I praise you, O God!

 

Adapted from Valley of Vision, p.18-19

Unfailing

There are many strange, odd, and weird occurrences in the world, some of which we as human beings will go to great lengths to accomplish ourselves.  I remember as a 12 year old at Eunice Jr. High school going with my friends to the school library during my lunch break to read. Now, before you begin to applaud my studious and noble academic pursuits, let me make a confession: We went to the library to read the Guinness Book of World Records. That is much less commendable, isn’t it? Yes it is true; we used the extra time of our lunch break to look up the strangest, weirdest, and most disgusting world records we could find. And we found a bunch.

I revisited my childhood recently by searching the Guinness World Records website to find some of the strangest and most ridiculous world records to date. Here are a few notable selections:

  • Ram Singh Chauhan’s mustache is the longest in the world, at 14 feet, officially measured in Rome, Italy, on March 4, 2010.
  • Charlotte Lee (USA) holds the world record for the largest collection of rubber ducks, numbering 5,631, as of April 10, 2011, while Ann Atkin of West Putford, England has a four-acre “Gnome Reserve”, where she has curated a collection of 2,042 garden gnomes and pixies, as of March 2011.
  • The number of most apples crushed with the bicep in one minute is 8, achieved by Linsey Lindberg of Texas.
  • In 2008, Kevin Shelley set the record for most toilet seats broken by one’s head in one minute by shattering 46 in Cologne, Germany.

These records are no doubt astonishing and undoubtedly strange (Toilet seats? Really?) Meanwhile, the rest of us are hobbling along each day just trying to eat healthier, or not to oversleep, or not fall into a hole (hey that could be a new category, “the most consecutive days NOT falling into a hole”).

Obviously these record holders are people who found something that they are “good” at, and they’ve made it a life-passion to the point that they are known as the best or the greatest or the most accomplished individual who can do something that few others can, or desire, to do. And they will be remembered as such. But they did not achieve these strange records without many failed attempts. In fact, if we took the whole of their lives in seeking to achieve such peculiar records, we would see much more failure than success. So if you thought that you had nothing in common with Ashrita Furman (USA), who holds the records for the fastest mile hopping on a pogo stick whilst juggling three balls (23 min 28sec), think again! How many times do you think Ashrita failed before achieving the record? I hopped on a pogo stick once; it didn’t go well. And I’ve also tried juggling, which was a disaster. To do such amazing things takes a lot of hard work and overcoming many failures along the way, which leads us to the point of this article. (You are probably asking “how in the world will he draw out a spiritual message from this apparent nonsense?”)

We are as followers of Christ still struggling with constant failures. Every day is filled with activity, busy-ness, work, play, family, and friends. All along the way we have inner thoughts and struggles which lead us to sin, on top of the many personal interactions we experience each day. And sometimes, perhaps many times, we fail in our attempts to live “Christianly” in those encounters. While we are not out to set any world records for “most Christian man or woman”, we know that we are also called to live our lives in such a way that others see Christ in us and glorify God as a result (Matthew 5:13-16). So what do we do when we fail? We do the same thing that world record holders do: get up, fix your eyes again on the goal, which is Christ, and take another step toward knowing him.

Your failure as a Christ follower does NOT define you, rather the unconditional grace of God and his steadfast love for you are what identify you now (1 Peter 2:9-10). I don’t consider any of the failures of my life (which are too many to count) the defining aspect of my life. Nor do I consider any achievements or noteworthy accomplishments the identifying mark of my life (Philippians 3:3-7). I cannot care about what I’ve accomplished, I must find my hope, joy, and identity in what Christ Jesus has accomplished for me (2 Corinthians 5:21). The most important fact which others much know about me is NOT what great or strange things I’ve done, but what God has worked in me through the person of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:29). Like the Apostle Paul, I must consider all things as “rubbish” (all the successes and failures of life) compared with what I have in knowing and being  known by Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:8).

So all of my failures at honoring Christ supremely and my constant shortcomings in obedience to His Word will not be my defining mark, neither will those days of soaring faith and Christ-honoring righteousness. But what DOES and WILL define me as a person is the saving and life-changing grace of God in Christ Jesus my Lord (1 Corinthians 15:10). I do not foresee a day when I will hold any world records for anything, but I will be no less recognized and known by God, and that is all the recognition I desire.

And so what if you can’t spin the most hula hoops simultaneously around your body (200) or hold your breath under water while suspended upside down longer than any other person (4min 29sec), you are noticed and loved much, much more. Take heart saints of God, for your heavenly Father holds your life close to his heart, and Jesus your Savior reigns as your great Redeemer King, and the Holy Spirit indwells your spirit and life, compelling you and molding you to look more like Jesus every day (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). God knows you, loves you, and He calls you his own. That is all the reason you need to get up and follow him each day. So let us be confessing, repentant lovers of Christ Jesus and by the power of God we will grow in our knowledge of Him. I will continue to pray for you each day, that Christ would be your great pursuit and his glory will be your greatest joy!

 

 

 

Restoration Church VBS 2016

It’s summer and you know what that means! It’s time for VBS adventures to begin!

For the past few years, we’ve try to help out our friends over at Restoration Church in Donaldsonville spread the good news of Jesus to area kids. (You can see all the fun we had last year here!)

You can see some of the fun we had below…


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/170988801″>Restoration Church VBS 2016</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user7978698″>First Baptist Church Baton Rouge</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

This year’s theme was High Seas Expedition, Exploring the Mighty Love of God!

Day 1

  • Bible Point: God’s word is true.
  • Bible Story: God frees Peter from prison. Acts 12:1-19
  • Bible Verse: “But you are near O Lord, and all your commands are true.” Psalm 119:151

Day 2

  • Bible Point: God’s Word is comforting.
  • Bible Story: God comforts Paul in a storm at sea Acts 27
  • Bible Verse: “Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.” Psalm 119:50

Day 2 part 2

  • Bible Point: God’s Word is surprising
  • Bible Story: Paul survives a bite by a poisonous snake Acts 28:1-10
  • Bible Verse: “Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.” Psalm 119:18

Day 3

  • Bible Point: God’s Word is life-changing
  • Bible Story: Peter and John teach about Jesus Acts 3:1-4:12
  • Bible Verse: “Give me life through your word.” Psalm 119:37

Day 4

  • Bible Point: God’s word is for everyone.
  • Bible Story: The community of believers share Acts 2:42-47
  • Bible Verse: Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created.” Psalm 119:90

 

Please be in prayer for these kids and their families! Pray that God continues to grow the seeds that were planted and, for those kids who know Jesus, to be a witness for Him in their community!

Sneak Peak at Masterpiece Kids 2016

Summer is right around the corner and it’s time to get hyped for MK16! I wanted to share with you a little of what we’ve been working on, what to expect, and how you can sign up to join us! Check out this FAQ!

What is Masterpiece Kids?

The most awesome thing ever.

Okay…can you tell me more?

Masterpiece Kids is our summer arts camp for kids who have completed kindergarten through the sixth grade. This will be our 5th year hosting the camp! We help kids understand different art techniques and styles with really cool projects. And we don’t stop at the canvas…we make, mold, sing, sign…we even used mops to slosh paint on a giant canvas one year.

Sounds messy…

That’s not a question, but I’ll respond anyhow. Creating a masterpiece can be messy at times! That’s why everyone gets their own t-shirt to wear over their clothes as a smock.  Kids get to take them home after camp, so they usually try to get their friends to sign them on the last day of camp. I got the kids to sign mine…see?

IMG_20160414_120951125

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s this year’s theme?

Around the World! We’ll be exploring different cultures and art that can be found in God’s great big world! We’ll be talking about missions and hearing from people that serve in different countries. It’s a world tour without leaving Baton Rouge!

How will the art and theme connect to the Bible?

Glad you asked!

Our theme verse is Ephesians 2:10. We’re God’s masterpiece and He has a plan for our lives. We’ll be looking at God’s plan of salivation and how Christians are called to love and serve others. Check it out!

Day 1 God’s Plan for John (Luke 1:5–20, 30–45,57–66; Matthew 3:1–3)

The Point: God created me for His plan. I am created for a reason.

Daily Verse: Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

 

Day 2  Matthew Needed a Savior (Matthew 9:9–13)

The Point: God sent Jesus to save me from my sins. I am in need of a Savior.

Daily Verse: John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live”


Day 3
Jesus Showed Love (John 11:1–45)

The Point: God shows His love in mighty ways. I am loved by God.

Daily Verse: Romans 5:8 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

Day 4 Lydia Used Her Gifts (Acts 16:11–15)

The Point: God wants me to serve Him. I am gifted with a purpose.

Daily Verse: 1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:”

 

Day 5 Philip Spoke to the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26–40)

The Point: God is with me all the time. I am always on mission.

Daily Verse: Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

 

Each day we’ll visit a new part of the world and new art style. For example, on Day 1 we talk about how God formed us and knows us from the inside out…so we’ll be visiting the land down under, Australia, for some X-Ray art.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of our music will also include different languages as well!

What else is new this year?

We’ll be supersizing our art classes so we spend more time on our projects. With that, we’ll also be bumping up the start and end times. We’ll dismiss at 12:15, but we’re providing a lunch for kids from 12:15 to 12:45. Parents can pick their kids up and do lunch on their own, or come at 12:45 and pick up their kids fully fed!

Sounds awesome!

I told you so.

How can I sign up my kids to come? How can I volunteer?

Just click on this link: fbcbr.com/masterpiece-kids

Why do something like this?

We see a need in our city for arts education. Combine that with our mission to serve and spread the good news of Jesus, and this is a perfect fit for us.

I’ll leave you with this video (staring the father of our very own Sarah Hunt!). Although we don’t call it VBS, we’re still committed to reaching out to our community’s kids and sharing Jesus with area families.

What Can My Child Understand About Easter?

kids-835146_960_720One of the goals of our ministry is to be age appropriate. We understand that as kids move from preschool to preteen, their capability to understand Biblical truths grow as well. We never have to shy away from what the Bible teaches, but we can always do it in a way where children can understand.

For example, a preschooler can understand that God loves them, while a preteen can go deeper, understanding that believers can live with joy regardless of their situation because of God’s great love.

So what can your child understand about Easter? Of course, each child is different, but LifeWay has put together a nice recourse that can help parents and teachers have a general idea of what concepts kids can grasp at different ages. It’s called the Levels of Biblical Learning, and it covers 10 areas including salvation, creation, and the Bible.

Here are some snippets from this resource that might help you this Easter see what your child can understand about this holy day!

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Younger Preschool They are beginning to recognize and sing simple songs about Jesus. They can understand that Jesus loves them, Jesus did everything God told Him to do, and the basic fact that Jesus is alive.

Middle Preschool They are beginning to develop a conscience and are sensitive to feelings of shame and guilt. They can understand that Jesus loves people. They start understanding the concept that Jesus is God’s Son and that He always obeyed God. You can also start helping them understand that Jesus is with God.

Older Preschool They can see Jesus as a friend and a helper, and are starting to make conclusions about God. Here, they can really start to comprehend that Jesus died on the cross and is alive. Along with that, they can understand that Jesus is God’s one and only Son, that Jesus was tempted to sin but did not, and that Jesus is in heaven with God.

Younger Kids As we jump from preschool to elementary, kids start seeing consequences to sin and most can begin to have a simple understanding of the gospel. For Easter, these kids can understand that Jesus died on the cross, and God raised Him from the dead. They start to know that it means when we say that Jesus was sent to be my Savior. They can also start to grasp salvation even more, understanding that Jesus took the punishment for people’s sins, God will forgive me if I ask Him., and people who trust Jesus as their Savior and Lord are Christians.

Middle Kids These formative years are when kids start asking serious questions about religion and start forming their values. They can understand a bigger picture of Easter. For example, they can know that God planned for Jesus to be the Savior from the beginning of time, Jesus died to pay the penalty for sin, and Jesus is the Messiah and Savior. Their picture of salvation grows as well. They  can understand that salvation is the gift of eternal life in heaven with God. Through salvation, God adopts us as His children. They know what you mean when you say, “When the Holy Spirit convicts you of my sin, you can trust Jesus as your personal Savior.”

Preteens At this stage in life, they are forming concepts of personal worth and are seeking spiritual answers. Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection were a necessary part of God’s plan for the forgiveness of sin. God sent Jesus to fulfill His promise of redemption. Jesus sits at God’s right hand and intercedes for us as our advocate, mediator, and high priest. When Jesus returns, all things will be made new. When it comes to salvation, preteens can know that people cannot save themselves. Jesus died to pay the penalty for my sins, redeeming and rescuing me from sin and death. They also see that a growing relationship with Jesus is important and necessary. A Christian experiences joy when he recognizes God is at work in his life and in the lives of others.

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This is only a small sampling of the Levels of Biblical Learning, and I highly encourage you to check out the full resource. The breakdown is extremely helpful!

Happy Easter everyone! Hope to see you at FBCBR!

M-JAM 2016 Report

Last weekend our kids joined hundreds of others from around the area to participate in M-JAM 2016. M-JAM is a day of mission’s awareness and mission activity that builds faith foundations with a Gospel presentation, introduces children to “real live” missionaries and gives them an opportunity to do mission activities with children from around the state.

We started the day off right with the opening celebration and worship. Leading was Jeff Slaughter, formally of Lifeway. For the past 26 years, Jeff Slaughter has been laughing, singing, dancing and worshiping with kids! His heart’s desire is to equip them with God’s word through music and to help them discover what a passionate relationship with Jesus is all about.

Before singing each song, Jeff would demonstrate the sign language that goes with the lyrics and explain how the songs use truths found in the Bible to help us worship God. I loved how he was able to put terms on their level of understanding and allow them to worship.

Abbie and Caleb, two students from LSU, did a fantastic job helping bring the story of Zacchaeus to life. With games and volunteers from the audience, the kids discovered how Jesus can rescue us from sin. The two also showed the kids how they could share that good news with their friends simply using their hands to tell the Gospel message. Adam and Eve were with God (hands together), but they sinned and we were separated from God (hands apart). But Jesus came, lived a perfect life, and defeated death so that we can be forgiven and brought back together with God (hands together in a fist). And nothing can separate us from that love (try to pull hands apart, but they are locked together).

Next we met a couple of missionaries that serve in Africa. The kids really enjoyed seeing what life was like for them. They took questions from our kids and told them all about what it is like to be serving God in a different country.

Finally we met Gibbie McMillian, the Men’s Ministry and Disaster Relief Strategist for Louisiana Baptists. He showed us what Baptists are doing here and around the world when disaster strikes. In a world that asks “Why?” Gibbie told kids that they come with the answers.

The kids were able to hear about the Cooperative Program and all that it helps with…which is a lot! Just see here!CP-Info-COMP2-RDC-1

 

 

We want our kids to know Jesus, grow in Bible skills, and to develop a heart to serve others. M-JAM touches on all those areas. Thank you for allowing us to go to M-JAM!

Healed

“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near” says the LORD, “and I will heal him.” – Isaiah 57:18-19

I have a friend who is a doctor, and he is a good one too. In fact, if he lived anywhere near Baton Rouge he would be my doctor. Several years ago, he was in medical school while I was in seminary, and we visited often.  He told me about the many different “rotations” that he had to go through as a medical student, which is a process the med schools use to expand each students’ knowledge of the many different areas and concentrations of medicine. My friend had just finished his emergency medicine rotation, and he was sharing with me some of the more “interesting” stories of the ER patients. Some of them were just awful and tragic, while others were humorous. (For the record, ER doctors see a wide variety of people and hear many “tales” of how those patients ended up in the emergency room.)

My friend, being the pragmatist that he’s always been, said to me “You know that when you become a doctor, you take the Hippocratic Oath to do everything within your ability to help a patient in need, regardless of how they came to need that care. But to be honest with you Oren, sometimes I don’t “want” to help them. They did something really stupid (jumping off the roof) or careless (drunk driving) or ignorant (frying a frozen turkey) and their suffering is their own fault. I will help them, but sometimes it’s really hard.” I think we can all relate to that sentiment in some ways, can’t we?

Just to remind you all how God does have a sense of humor, my friend wanted to be a family doctor, but is now head of an entire Emergency room staff. But to the point of his comment to me about not wanting to help people who have done so much to cause themselves harm, I think we can all understand that feeling. It falls under the “get what you deserve” kind of thinking, where people should have to suffer the consequences of their actions. We have all at times seen “that news story”, when a murderer on a rampage is shot and wounded by law enforcement and emergency doctors are expected to do everything in their power to keep him alive. We say to ourselves “This shouldn’t be! He should have to die for all of his murderous ways. He deserves death, he deserves punishment, and he deserves to suffer for his foolishness and carelessness.” I know I’ve thought that way many times before, as have most of us. But. . .

When it comes to our own lives and our redemption as broken people, we must recognize one very important reality: We are the foolish, careless, reckless madman in our relationship to God.  Our “ways” have been outright rebellious, and any punishment is well deserved. As Isaiah writes in 57:18, the Lord has seen the ways of the rebellious man, and yet he will heal him. The people of God (Israel) had become idolatrous and disobedient, yet God promised to lead and restore comfort to those who have suffered shame, guilt, and overwhelming burden of sin. God has seen your ways and my ways, all the way down to the depths of our hearts, and he says “come to me and I will heal you! Trust me and I will give you peace. I will not turn you away because of your past mistakes and sinful actions. Look to me and be forgiven and healed.” God mercifully promises to change our words from hate to love and from disdain to glorious praises (Psalm 40:3). God promises and gives abundant and fulfilling peace in Christ Jesus (John 14:27, 16:33). God heals the brokenness of our hearts, and of our world (Isaiah 53:5). Hallelujah! Almighty God has seen our wicked ways and yet is gracious, patient, and merciful and does not ignore us in our state of death and suffering (1 Timothy 1:15-16)! He intends to heal us and make us whole. As one songwriter puts it ‘Lord you know the hearts of man and yet you let him live.” Why does God treat us with such grace when we deserve none of it?

God’s intent to graciously redeem his people is for the purpose of making us true worshipers (John 4:23-24). Our worship of God flows from hearts that have been mended by his grace, and lives that have been healed by his mercy, and souls that have been satisfied by his love, and minds that have understood true peace.  Whoever you are, far or near, God extends comfort and peace through Jesus Christ to you, just as you are.  The cross on which Jesus hung is the revelation of love and mercy from God to us, as Jesus endured the shame and punishment of our sins so that we might live in freedom and peace.

In a few short weeks, our FBC family, along with countless other Christian churches will commemorate and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is a glorious and beautiful revelation of God’s plan to bring peace to his people. As we journey toward the cross this Easter season, I challenge you to take time to consider your own ways, which have been neglectful and prideful and self-serving, and look to Jesus to restore your soul. Your salvation is secured forever in Christ, and your joy is an everlasting one (John 16:22). Will you join with Christian believers near and far this Easter season as we joyfully celebrate the death of Christ that gives us healing and His resurrected life that gives us peace?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Things the Super Bowl Ads Reminded Me Of

One of my favorite parts of the Super Bowl are all the great commercials. I’ve heard this year, businesses spent up to $5 million for airtime during the big game. This year’s batch of ads had some that stood out above the rest. Here are three that we can take a lesson from!

  1. Mountain Dew reminds me that we’re not in the entertaining business.

Mountain Dew’s PuppyMonkeyBaby is a thing of dreams…or nightmares.

 

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This three-in-one hybrid was created to promote Dew’s newest energy drink, which is a combination of three elements mixed into one (Dew, juice, and caffeine). Whether or not the ad was effective is still to be seen. In a way, it was successful because PMB is still on my mind. But none of my coworkers could recall what product was being sold.

The commercial caught our attention, but didn’t deliver the message. I think this is a good reminder of what we need to avoid in our children’s ministry and church when it comes to worship. We can’t focus on entertainment and miss the point of why we are gathered.

I like what Mike Livingstone, content editor of Explore the Bible, has to say about the subject. “If the figurative spotlight in our church services is on anyone other than God, it is not worship. If the spotlight shines brighter on human performance than on the gospel of Christ, it is not worship…The message of the church—the message the world needs to hear from us—is not, “Come and have a good time,” “Come and be entertained,” or “Come and find your best life now.”

You can read more about Mike’s thoughts here.

 

  1. Doritos reminds me to care for the unborn.

So here’s a cute little fan-made commercial for Doritos.

The doctor is performing an ultrasound on a mother while the father eats Doritos. We see on the monitor the baby attempting to reach for dad’s chips. Getting tired of the distraction, the mother grabs a chip and tosses it across the room, at which point the baby decides it’s time to head on out to the world and get some Doritos.

This one received a lot of buzz on Twitter, with many saying it was their favorite of the night. According to one tweet, the ad was played on the big screen in the stadium and ended with the crowd going wild.

Unfortunately, a pro-choice group denounced the commercial, shamming it for “humanizing fetuses.”

The Bible clearly points to conception as the beginning of human life (See Judges 16:17, Psalm 139:13, and Psalm 139:16).

As election season is upon us, this issue will continue to be brought into the spotlight. Pray for our country and our current and future leaders. Pray that they will seek God’s guidance on this important issue.

Suggested reading: Adam4d

 

  1. Kung Fu Panda reminded me to be a witness.

Po thinks of extreme ways he can drive traffic to Mr. Ping’s by imitating famous Big Game commercials from the past. Luckily Master Shifu is here to tell him it all starts with a stunning website.

Commercials are good, but with websites I get so much more information. I feel like I can get to know the product or service better and find out any contact information I need. In fact, many business sites allow you to chat live with a salesperson.

I think the same goes for our church. We can advertise and get the word out, but we need to ask God to help us build relationships with people. Just as a website has answers to frequently asked questions, we need to be ready to give answers when people ask about our hope (1 Peter 3:15). And we need to pray that God opens their hearts, because that’s where it all starts!

Who will you reach out to this week?

A Proven Word


As most people in our church family at FBCBR already know, as do many of my friends and immediate family, I am a big fan of Charles H. Spurgeon. The 19th century world-renown preacher and Baptist pastor of the London Metropolitan Tabernacle stands as a giant in my eyes. His ability to simultaneously preach accurately and expositionally God’s Holy Word and illustrate its power and truth for everyday life amazes me every time I read his works. Recently I picked up a small volume of Spurgeon’s works entitled The Greatest Fight in the World, which happens to be the final book he completed before his death. In it Spurgeon writes to the young men of his pastors college, encouraging them in the proven truth and power of God’s Word, the spiritual armor of the Lord for every believer, and the strength for the Christian in Christ Jesus. Below is a glimpse into Spurgeons heart and mind, as he upheld the life-changing nature and reliability of the gospel while openly challenging the emptiness of worldly philosophy and modern religion:

The weapons of our armory are the very best; for we have made trial of them, and have found them so. Some of you, younger brethren, have only tested the Scripture a little as yet; but others of us, who are now getting grey, can assure you that we have tried the Word, as silver is tried in a furnace; and it has stood every test, even unto seventy times seven. The sacred Word has endured more criticism than the best accepted form of philosophy or science, and it has survived every ordeal. As a living divine has said, “After its present assailants are all dead, their funeral sermons will be preached from this Book – not one verse omitted- from the first page of Genesis to the last page of Revelation.” Some of us have lived for many years, in daily conflict, perpetually putting to the proof the Word of God; now we can honestly give you this assurance, that it is equal to every emergency. After using this sword of two edges upon coats of mail, and buckles of brass, we find no notch in its edge. It is neither broken nor blunted in the fray. It would cleave the devil himself, from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot; and yet it would show no sign of failure whatsoever. To-day it is still the self-same mighty Word of God that it was in the hands of our Lord Jesus. How it strengthens us when we remember that many conquests of souls which we have achieved through the sword of the Spirit!

Have any of you known or heard of such a thing as conversion wrought by any other doctrine than that which is in the Word? I should like to have a catalogue of conversions wrought by modern theology. I would subscribe for a copy of such a work. I will not say what I might do with it after I had read it; but I would, at least, increase its sale by one copy, just to see what progressive divinity pretends to have done. Conversions through the doctrines of universal restitution! Conversions through the doctrines of doubtful inspiration! Conversions to the love of God, and to faith in his Christ, by hearing that the death of the Savior was only the consummation of a grand example, but not a substitutionary sacrifice! Conversions by a gospel out of which all the gospel has been drained! They say ‘Wonders will never cease’: but such wonders never begin. Let them report changes of heart so wrought, and give us an opportunity of testing them; and then, perchance, we may consider whether it is worth our while to leave that Word which we have tried in hundreds, and, for some of us here, in many thousands of cases, and have always found effectual for salvation. We know why they sneer at conversions. These are grapes which such foxes cannot reach, and therefore they are sour. As we believe in the new birth, and expect to see it in thousands of cases, we shall adhere to that Word of truth by which the Holy Spirit works regeneration. In a word, in our warfare we shall keep to the old weapons of the sword of the Spirit, until we can find a better. ‘There is none like that; give it me’, is at present our verdict. (The Greatest Fight in the World, by Charles H. Spurgeon)

Praise God for his glorious gospel! What Christ has done on the cross is mankind’s only hope of salvation. May we continue to lean on God’s revealed, proven Word and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

2015 in Review

As we prepare for a new year, I wanted to take a moment to go back and recall all the faith-fueled fun we had in 2015. (You can click on some of the names to see pictures or videos of the event!)

February

Faith UnFrozenOur first big family event of the year! We ice skated, built towers, and made icy art…all without leaving the church! All the while, our families warmed up to talking about their faith in Jesus.

March

MJAM Thanks to our wonderful WMU group, our kids were able to travel to Williams Blvd Baptist Church for M-JAM 2015. It was a day of missions, missions education, and sharing about Jesus. Missionaries shared with us how we can be involved in taking the Gospel to others, our community, North America, and the world.

Kids and Communion Page CreatedTo help families talk about communion, we made a simple page full of discussion ideas and even a fun video to help explain it!

Walk With JesusAt the end of the month, we hosted Walk With Jesus, an interactive trip to see Jesus on the days leading up to his death. My favorite station included the Taste Twisting tablets that changes sour tasting things to sweet tasting flavors. Families discovered that Jesus’ death was sour, but soon learned the sweetness that comes with His resurrection!

April

New BAM with Epic Adventures- Starting in April, we tried a new BAM series starting in Genesis. We’ve followed this up with series on Biblical heroes, God’s nature, and respect.

May

God’s Planarama Mini Camp- This one-day camp helped kids discover the God always has a plan for their lives. We made homemade ice cream, made our own obstacle course, and had a water fight all while learning about Jesus.

Restoration Church VBSFor the second year, we’ve teamed up with Restoration Church in Donaldsonville to help put on an amazing Vacation Bible School. It was a great time sharing Jesus with these loving kids.

June

Swim Party- The first of a couple of times this year our gang was able to get together and have some fun!

Bowling With Youth-We always love the chance to fellowship with other departments, and this time we split to go bowling!

Doxology & TheologyDuring the summer we had such a great time getting back to basics and reviewing some basic Biblical truths. Our kids were able to have their own time of discovery and learned more about God, Jesus, sin, and salvation. Each week, the kids were challenged to put the answers to life’s questions in their hearts and you can still review them by clicking the link!

July

Masterpiece Kids Art Camp This was my first art camp, and what an experience! I had so much fun coming up with different artists to cover alongside different points of the Gospel. And any time you can connect Jesus with mops flinging paint, it’s going to be a blast!

CentriKid Summer Camp FIT We took the kids to Louisiana College for CentriKid Camp 2015. It was an incredible time of fun and discovering what it means to be a follower of Jesus. This year’s theme was FIT: Faith in Training. We discovered what can happen when we search for God with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:13). (We also had a study just for adults as well)

August

Preteen Invasion- PreTeen Invasion was a high energy day filled with friends, games, worship, teaching and challenging thoughts designed for our PreTeens to have a great day together. We headed to FBC Lafayette to hear Micha Mariano preach about Jesus, and was able to get in giant inflatables and eat baby food afterward!

Back to School Kids + Youth Swim Party- Another chance for the kids and youth to bond together, but this time tragedy struck. RIP giant inflatable kangaroo.

Make and Take Family Art NightUsing a unique material created right here in Baton Rouge, we were able to let families sculpt their own creations and cure them in less than an hour. Families discovered how God created us and how he sent his Son. We still have our creation and it still glows in the dark quite well!

September

Buzz Curriculum- In September, we moved to Buzz curriculum. Along with the change in material, we also decorated the preschool area like a jungle. With all the monkeys around it was a cool place to hang around!

Game Night with the GAP Class- Another chance for some multigenerational fun, our GAP class and kids came together for a night of games. The baby food challenge was a lot of fun, but my favorite memory is seeing the kids and GAP class rush through the church looking for chalk.

October

Seniors Vs Kids Bingo Bash- Who knew the seniors were so competitive?! Amazing prizes were given out (like a rubber rat!), and we even played mini-games between the bingo battles. Green noses anyone?

Puppet ShowIf you haven’t seen it already, make sure to click the like to see the P.R.E.A.C.H. Puppet Ministry from Coteau Baptist Church (Houma, LA) share the good news of Jesus with our families using puppets! Later in the year, our kids put on their own puppet show.

Neighborhood Block PartyIn an effort to better reach families in our city, we hosted a block party on October 31st. We had three inflatable bounce houses, all the hotdogs we could eat, and it was the first time we played Pie Face as a church!

November

Parade of Flags- Once again, the kids were able to wave their own flags during our focus on missions. But, did you know that we also do a special missions-focused lesson during Sunday school before hand?

Church-Wide Fun Night- We split into two groups for a night of fun! The first group was able to make their own creations using the material we had from Make and Take Night. The other group went outside to learn survival skills, like using a compass and (allegedly) starting a fire.

National OMC DayEvery year, we celebrate National OMC Day. OMC is a game put on by LifeWay’s CaentriKid Camps that is a fun, messy blast! I got my fellow staff members to help me out and we ended up tying for first! That night, we played OMC with the kids as well!

December

12 Doors of Christmas- A night out for parents, we took the kids on an adventure to discover the true meaning of Christmas. Behind each door, kids did interactive experiences that got them in their Bibles and hearing about Jesus.

Bethlehem BoundCould we put on a 4-act Christmas musical that pointed to the good news of Jesus, with a cast of over 50, and only one hour to make props and to rehearse? Click the link to find out!

Advent Family Devotional and videos- Our daily Advent devotional book included activities for families to do together. I hope it allowed families to grow closer together as they grow closer to Jesus. We also streamed live videos using Periscope!

*****

What a year! Thank you for trusting us with your kids and allowing us to come along side you as you guide the kids spiritually. I want to thank each and every volunteer. Thank you for investing in our kids and allowing God to use you to change lives.

We’re always doing something here at the church, so make sure to invite your friends and family! There’s always room for more!

We give thanks to God for an amazing 2015, and pray for his guidance as we prepare for 2016.

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