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.

Bethlehem Bound Recap

Last night, we put on a Christmas play with props and music for four different scenes. The twist? We only had one hour of rehearsal…and after the hour was up, EVERYONE had the chance to go on stage and be a part of this event!

In case you missed it, Bethlehem Bound is a play that uses a fictional story to remind us of a very real Bible truth. Jesus is the ultimate star. He is the only one worthy and we can worship Him alone! What a great reminder for any time, but especially here at Christmas!

Thank you all for making Bethlehem Bound a fun and exciting night! I know some people didn’t know what they were getting themselves into, but I hope it was worth it!

Below is a (very) rough cut from the fun we had last night. This is two hours of prep and play that has been cut and condensed to less than 10 minutes. Enjoy!


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/149652617″>Bethlehem Bound Christmas Play 2015</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user7978698″>First Baptist Church Baton Rouge</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

We Are Thankful!

In case you missed it, these are the videos that we shared in worship this past Sunday.  As you can see, we have alot to be thankful for! Feel free to share with your friends and family!

 

 

Neighborhood Block Party 2015 Recap

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While princes and princess managed through the cloudy weather that came the night before Halloween on October 30 2015, a special event was taking place. First Baptist Church’s Neighborhood Block Party was taking place at the home of our very own Meriwethers. Varying games and fun events were planned for the expected superheroes and visiting cats, everything from sizzling hot dogs, to blow up bounce houses that seemed to bring out the kids in even the church’s staff. While turn out started slow at first, it soon picked up once the volunteer members of the church got out on the streets. Thankfully the rain that had been threatening to spoil the event held off just long enough for the block party to end and for clean up to begin. David Jennings, family and children’s minister seemed thrilled with the turnout for the Block Party. “We wanted to reach families that where there and show them God’s love,” said David. “Next year we hope to each even more families.” Most families that stopped by seemed to love the event, especially for all of the kid friendly activities the church put on. On a night of cloudy weather First Baptist Church’s Block Party certainly was a beacon of light, music, fellowship and most importantly an example of the love of Christ.

Thanks to Jamie Dearman for this report!

Top Tweets from the IMB Live Stream

The International Missions Board is undergoing some changes, including an organizational reset and the start of a voluntary retirement incentive. Yesterday, IMB president, David Platt, hosted a live streaming event in which he talked in detail about the steps being taken to move IMB to a financially healthy place in the present so that IMB will be in a financially healthy position for the future.

A replay of the live steam is available.

Using the hashtag #IMBLiveStream, viewers on social media could ask David Platt questions and interact with the stream. Below are some tweets that I thought were worthy of sharing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we move into November, our church will put a larger focus on reaching the nations with the Gospel. Be looking in our bulletins and newsletters for more information on how to pray, give, and go!

Act of Approach – Spiritual Helps

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Eternal Father,

It is such amazing love,

that you have sent your Son Jesus

to suffer in my place

and you have given the Holy Spirit to me

to teach, comfort, and guide me,

and you have allowed the ministry of your angels

to surround and protect me.

All of heaven looks upon the welfare of this poor worm.

Please allow your unseen servants

to be all the more active in my life

that I might rejoice all the more as your grace grows in me.

Do not permit your heavenly servants to rest until my earthly conflict is over,

and I stand victoriously on the shores of Heaven.

Do not allow my proneness to evil,

my numbness to good,

and my resistance to your Spirit’s movement

to ever provoke you to abandon me.

May my hardened heart awake your pity, not your wrath,

and if the enemy gains an advantage through my corruption,

let it be seen that heaven is mightier than hell,

and those who are for me are greater than those who are against me.

Rise to my help, O LORD,

and bless me once again with your covenant promises,

Keep me fed in the pastures of your sustaining Word,

as I search the Scriptures to find You there.

If my wandering is corrected with discipline,

enable me to receive it with humility,

to bless your correcting hand,

to understand the purposes of your rebuke,

and to respond quickly by faith and trust in you.

Let all your fatherly actions lead me to see your holiness.

Cause me, when I fall, to sink lower on my knees,

and that when I rise from prayer it may be

to a greater devotion to You and your glory.

May my cross be ever sanctified,

that every loss be gain,

that every denial be a spiritual blessing,

that every dark day be illuminated by Your Spirit,

and that every night of trial be a song to your goodness.

 

 

Translation from Valley of Vision, p. 242.

Haiti Mission – Day 1, 2, & 3

  
Greetings from Croix-des-Bouquets in beautiful Haiti.   The Louisiana Baptist mission team has settled in and worked hard for 2 full days of mission work in the areas of Canaan and Croix-des-Bouquets, which are just outside of Port-au-Prince.  The medical team, VBS team, clean water project team, evangelism team and pastors conference leaders have all been very busy in minisrty and outreach. 

After arriving Saturday afternoon, we made it to our lodging site, Villa Mamika, whch is in the heart of Croix-des-Bouquets. The Chatelain family operates the hotel/lodgiing area and they have gone out of their way to make us feel at home. Sunday we were all up vey early to attend worship with our Haitian brothers and sisters (Sunday school starts at 6AM, so we need not complain too much). I had the opportunity to preach at the Baptist Bible Church (one of many with that name) and the service went very well. There were nearly 40 in attendance, ranging from young children to senior adults. Although I could not understand much of what they said or sung, it was a joy to sit in the presence of God with kindred spirits in the Lord. 

Monday and Tuesday we spilt up all over the area to accomplish what we came here to do.  The medical team set up in Canaan, an area that did not exist prior to the 2010 earthquake. Nearly 1 million people fled the city of Port-au-Prince and settled there over 5 years ago. The needs there are vast and overwhelming. Most of the medical care has been minor issues, although one young lady was rushed to the hospital today in very serious condition. The VBS team for older and younger chlidren is located near a school in Croix-des-Bouquets. The VBS team has ministered to dozens of children each day, and at lunch time they have fed nearly 200 children. The Lord has provided enough food and patience to accomodate each child. The evangelism team is traveling to remote areas outside of Port-au-Prince bringing the gospel to rural communities. We’ve also partnered with a group from Pennsylvania to start a clean water filttration project for homes in the area. These water filters are state-of-the art and proven to work efficiently for up to 10 years. This is an exciting  opportunity to help the people of Haiti obtain clean drinking water, which will eventually cut down on sickness and spread of disease.

I have the privilige of helping to lead the pastors conference, which is actually located at our lodging area. There is a spacious conference room (with A/C!) that has been sufficient to accomodate all of the pastors. It has been a very encouraging time for each of us and we have built some solid relationhships with local pastors. They are encouragiing to us and we pray that we are able to encourage them as well. 

The needs here are numerous and yet the door is wide open for God to work in this country. The poverty here is obvious and widely known, but that is not the primary problem in this land. As it is even in our own beloved country, the problem is lostness and spiritual darkness. Spiritual depravity  does not have a price tag or income level. Whether in affuence or poverty, Satan has set his traps and had captured many people in spiritual bondage. So many are living aimlessly, from day to day, without any kind of hope for today, not to mention hope for tomorrow. The people of  Haiti have felt helpless and witout answers for their struggles for so long now that sorrow and sadness have become deeply rooted in the hearts and minds of the people. This is why they (and we!) so desperately need the gospel. The amazing, life-changing power of the gospel is the only power that can cut through the hopelessness and bring joy to broken  lives.  We are not discouraged, for the LORD GOD reigns! This land is his land, and every square inch of it belongs to him. The fields are ripe for the harvest. Lives are ready to be surrendered to Jesus Christ. Pray for us that we would be bold and that our work will be fruitful for the glory of God. 

– Pastor Oren

Knowing Jesus

friends-267810_640One of my favorite Bible lessons to do with kids (and adults) involves famous people. Let’s try it out now.

You can do this by yourself, but it’s fun to do it with a friend. Think of a famous person, living or dead, famous or infamous. Got it? Answer the questions below! (If you are with someone, ask them the questions and try to guess who they were thinking of!)

  • How would your life be different if you personally knew this person?
  • How would your relationship with this person change your living conditions, free time, or group of friends?
  • Would your friends or parents approve of this relationship? Why or why not?
  • Would you want become more like this person? Explain.

It’s always fun doing this activity with kids and adults. Usually the kids always get in Justin Beiber, and last month when I did this, adults ended up thinking of Donald Trump.

Now here’s the twist…answer the questions above, but this time using Jesus as the famous person.

 

Here’s another question for you.

  • What’s the difference between knowing about someone and having a relationship with that person?

It’s here that we would dive into 1 John 1:5-2:6 and talk about how do we know that we know Jesus, and how does knowing Jesus change our lives. It gives us a chance to challenge kids (and adults) to think about if they know about Jesus, or do they truly know Jesus.

Philippians 3:8 says, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ”

I am a firm believer in head and heart knowledge. Talking about spiritual knowledge, Charles Spurgeon once said, “An ounce of heart knowledge is worth a ton of head learning.” (See below for the devotional that was taken from.)

I want our kids not only to memorize scripture (head), but to meditate on it (heart). I want them to know why we sing praises (head) and then to sing with all their heart (heart, of course!). I want our kids to know verses about giving (head) and then to live them out by giving in different ways (heart).

In short, I want them to truly know Jesus.

Our kids cannot know Jesus by their parents knowing him alone. As Spurgeon said, “Spiritual knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I cannot know Jesus through another person’s acquaintance with Him.” As Dale Hudson, a children’s ministry blogger, said, “God doesn’t have any grandchildren. He only has children. A child must own their faith.”

Parents, you are vital at helping your kids understand the Christian faith. God has placed children under the authority of their parents, and it is the parents’ responsibility to teach their children how to live a life that is pleasing to God.

Don’t mistake faith for being a genetic trait like hair color or height. It doesn’t work like that. Help your kids dig into their Bibles, help them apply it to their lives, give them opportunities to live it out.

As always, remember that we are always here to help you in this important, amazing task!

Suggested Reading: Charles Spurgeon on Spiritual Knowledge

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