Holy Decisions Spark Holy Desires

December 7, 2017 by  
Filed under In The News

By Dan Delzell | 

     Have you ever noticed that the word “holy” tends to get a bad rap? After all, “holy rollers” are said to be too extreme in their spiritual views, while other religious folks get described as “holier than thou.” In both cases, the word “holy” is used to describe something off-putting.
In the Bible, however, the word “holy” is a beautiful term that describes a key aspect of God’s nature. In fact, the third Person of the Trinity is called “the Holy Spirit.” There is absolutely nothing within the God of the universe that is not perfect in holiness, righteousness, and truth.

When God created Adam and Eve, the first two human beings had nothing but holy desires within them. And yet somehow, when the crafty serpent seduced Eve’s mind, she began to entertain evil ideas. This was introduced to her from the outside. And Eve’s choice to contemplate forbidden fruit led to impure desires, which in turn led to this infamous decision:

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:6)

As we grow in our life of Christian discipleship, we tend to start making better decisions. The old adage “three steps forward, two steps back” gradually develops into “four steps forward, one step back.” That is, if we choose to obey God in those areas of our thought life, speech, and behavior that present us with daily options to choose good over evil, and holiness over wickedness.

Even the “one step back” is something the Holy Spirit is very concerned about in our life. After all, He is always holy and therefore only promotes righteousness and holiness. We, on the other hand, still make sinful choices at times. Our sin may involve something as simple as thinking wrong thoughts about another person for 30 seconds, or giving into some other “vain imagination.” (Romans1:21)

As believers, we are instructed to guard our thought life. “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5) Eve lost the battle in her mind before she and her husband made the choice to eat the forbidden fruit. Eve’s misguided thinking preceded the sin of eating the fruit God had placed off limits. And eating this fruit brought desires into human beings which God did not want man to experience. Nevertheless, those desires came flooding into man’s heart the moment Adam and Eve opened the floodgates to sin.

“Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin.” (Romans 5:12)

And one of the biggest proofs that the soul of man “died” in the Garden of Eden is the fact that human beings ever since have experienced sinful passions of various kinds and given into so many unholy desires.

There is no getting around this fact: Holy decisions spark holy desires, whereas unholy decisions spark unholy desires.

Susanna Wesley stated it beautifully: “Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of the body over the mind, that is sin to you, however innocent it may seem in itself.”

So how are things going in your life of discipleship? Do you find your soul being filled with God’s love and with songs of praise? Or do you find yourself spending most of your time battling unholy desires. While temptation is certainly going to be a part of every believer’s life, we at times make it harder on ourselves than it needs to be. That is, we make choices which cause us to be consumed with unholy desires, rather than staying under God’s mighty flow of grace, goodness, and purity.

The solution? Well, we can place all of our transgressions under the blood of Jesus by asking the Lord to wash away the sins we committed in our thought life and behavior. And then we can seek to remain “under the waterfall” of God’s abundant wellspring by choosing to say “no” to unholy options, while saying “yes” to praise, worship, obedience, thanksgiving, prayer, service, and trust.

There is not one of us who can pull off such a feat in our own strength. But God is more than able to do it in us and through us. As we yield our mind, body, and decisions to our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit produces the fruit of holy desires within us. And once we find ourself back in the flow, it is much better to stay in the flow than to continually move in and out of God’s will by unwise decisions.

This of course is the plight of every Christian, or if you prefer, the opportunity of every Christian. There is actually no need to see this dynamic in a negative light. After all, we as believers have been redeemed from sin, death, and the devil. And it is marvelous to celebrate this good news as we bask in the glow and the flow of the Holy Spirit’s power through faith in Jesus Christ.

No matter how far you may have drifted from a place of spiritual peace and confidence in Christ, this could be your day to once again choose holiness over sinful thoughts and forbidden behavior. And when you do, you will be quickly reminded of why it is always better for a believer to obey God than to make the same mistake Adam and Eve made in the Garden of Eden.

I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same. But the pressing question is this: “Will I learn from my previous missteps and sinful choices, or will I continue jumping into the same pit over and over again?”

We often hear people say, “It’s only natural.” Well, here is a spiritual principle that is not only natural, but also supernatural: Unholy decisions spark unholy desires, and holy decisions spark holy desires.

It was true in the Garden of Eden, and it is true in our lives today. If you don’t think so, just try writing down your decisions over the course of an entire day, and take note of what desires flow from those decisions. You will find that your life is no exception to the rule.

God’s living water refreshes man’s soul with grace, forgiveness, and holy desires. And without the cross of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, we would be lost forever in a sea of unholy passions and wicked desires. Tragically, many people have gone to their grave in such a condition.

Will we learn from our own experience, as well as from the experience of those who have already left this world? Or will we simply allow ourselves to be swayed by whatever temptation or desire presents itself along our path on any given day?

God gave Adam and Eve free will. Unfortunately, human beings don’t always use such freedom to pursue God’s best for our lives. By the grace of God and the working of the Holy Spirit in our heart, let’s begin anew today to “hate what is evil” in our thought life and behavior as we “cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9)

How else could we ever hope to make progress in our life of Christian discipleship?


A Message for Those Who Are Grieving the Loss of a Loved One This Christmas

December 7, 2017 by  
Filed under In The News

Grieving is incredibly hard—and different for each of us. We can’t replace the lost lives. The holiday season of celebration is incredibly hard when we miss those we love. God knows.

Updated By Karen Farris | 
With the Christmas tree decorated and the cabin trimmed in holiday cheer, everything was as it should be until the phone rang. Life instantly shifted.

The world, as my grandson knew it, was irrevocably changed by a car accident that took the life of his best friend and his friend’s dad—who was also his coach. A drunk driver cut short the lives of four people in that car—two fathers and two sons.

Some of you have gotten calls like that—losing those you loved in an instant. Perhaps others of you had more time, but it was just as final.

As the Christmas tree lights twinkle softly and the line-up of toy snowmen on my fireplace mantel smile innocently, what can I say to a broken family?
Those who mourn rightly ask—why does God take such young people? We do not know.

But here’s another question: In whom can we lean when we grieve with such awful wrenching sorrow? God.

Not able to contain my grief within the four log walls of the cabin, I walked out into the darkness of night.

The brilliant display of millions of stars reflected the majesty of God, but these untimely and devastating deaths reflected the brokenness of this world.
God knows that devastation. He lost His son too. But first, He gave him to us on Christmas, so that we’d never walk alone as we travel through life, with all its shards of brokenness and pain.

We can walk with Someone who understands our pain and collects every tear we ever shed.

Grieving is incredibly hard—and different for each of us. We can’t replace the lost lives. The holiday season of celebration is incredibly hard when we miss those we love. God knows.

But He heals us in ways the world never will. So, breathe in deeply and let Him into your heart to begin the healing. God knows how.

“I am God your healer”. Exodus 15:26


Treat Every Day Like It’s Thanksgiving and Christmas

November 28, 2017 by  
Filed under In The News

Mark-Nation | 

     ”We love all of our lights. The crazier, the better!” I had found myself in Manila, Philippines, in what was my first ever October-November business trip outside the U.S. And here I was, gazing with wonder at the extensive display of lights on practically every house and small business throughout this gritty, densely-packed city. These weren’t just any lights – they were Christmas lights! Little did I know just how much the Filipino taxi driver would enlighten me on this humid, autumn evening.
“We just love Christmas. You know the Filipino people, we always look for any excuse to celebrate, and we can think of no better reason to celebrate than the birth of Jesus Christ. So, we light up the night with every color you can imagine because it reminds us constantly of the reason for our hope, even though many of us have endured so much difficulty.”

My taxi driver chimed in with a smile, “You Americans have a special occasion that marks the origins of your country, making November a special time for you. We don’t have that in November here, and we’re not too big on Halloween. For us, it’s all about getting to Christmas as soon as possible!”

Then he said something that will stick with me forever.”We don’t need another holiday getting in the way of Christmas,” he said sharply. “Besides, we try our best to treat every day like it’s Thanksgiving.”

Treat every day like it’s Thanksgiving. What an incredibly simple, yet profound idea.

Suddenly, an epiphany broke forth in my mind with a thought I was sure God had deposited directly into my spirit: “They got it right, and Americans are missing it completely,” I thought to myself. “It’s like we’re suffering from a holiday version of ‘waiting for Friday’ – all year, every year. What would it look like if, instead, we treated every day like it’s Thanksgiving? And Christmas too for that matter? Like two sides of the same coin.”

Each November, I come back around to this idea and share this moment from Manila with others. Considering the numerous troubles we’re witnessing in our world today, I feel led to expand the conversation to include each of you this year. Perhaps this paradigm shift can be one of the small gifts you share this season.

Here are just a few ways you can “get into the holiday spirit,” starting today and enduring into the New Year:

- If God has blessed you – and I’m most certain he has in some way – then tell someone! Declaring our thankfulness draws us closer to God.

- Consider today, and every day, to be a precious gift. If you’re still fogging up the mirror and are blessed to be surrounded by family and friends, then give thanks.

- Remember the little things. Shoes on your feet, a warm meal, or the laughter of a tender child – don’t overlook these simple gifts.

- Both holidays are about giving, not taking. Find a way every day, as simple as it may be, to be a blessing to others.

- Slow down. Enjoy this special season without worry of where you need to be next or work that needs to be done.

- Don’t take a minute for granted. There’s never a day wasted when it’s spent on quality time with those you love.

I returned to the Philippines many times over the next few years, developing a deep love and appreciation for the Filipino people and the way they approach life with consistent, daily gratitude. Despite the countless challenges they face as an emerging economy, so many of those I’ve met from across this special place always seem to remember the One from whom all blessings flow. Thanksgiving flows so naturally to them and through them.

So now I ask you: Are you thankful enough for all the blessings in your life? Please don’t wait until the turkey is served or the Christmas tree is laid bare, stripped of its gifts. Look around and observe your world with fresh eyes. You are truly more blessed than you may realize. We all are.

I pray God will continue to shower you and your family with love, joy and peace this holiday season and all throughout the year.

Billy Graham Evangelical Leader 99th Birthday

November 16, 2017 by  
Filed under In The News

By Michael Gryboski , | 

One of the most famous preachers in American history, if not world history, the Rev. Billy Graham is 99 today.

For decades, Graham has preached to large crowds and written many advice columns and books, contributing a vast wealth of spiritual wisdom.

How Your Church Should Prepare for an Active Shooter

November 16, 2017 by  
Filed under In The News


By Thom S. Rainer 

 I hate the title of this article.
I hate that I even feel compelled to write about the topic. But many of you contacted me after the tragic murders at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas. Here are some basic issues:

1. Don’t be in denial. Church shootings are increasing every year in America. And while the percentage of churches with shootings is relatively small, this issue is one where we must be prepared. The downside is just too great.

2. Have a church security plan. This plan should include all issues of security, from active shooters to child abuse. Local law enforcement is almost always very willing to work with churches and make recommendations.

3. Remember that church security is a ministry more than an expense. I have little patience with church leaders and members who say they can’t afford church security. The church doors should not be open if it can’t afford to keep members safe and secure. The church or leaders may have to spend money to go to a training seminar, or to retain a local police officer every weekend. Those are investments in security, not expenses.

4. Keep church security as a matter of prayer in your church. While we should work as hard as possible to make our churches as secure as possible, let’s never forget that we should seek God’s power, strength, and protection.

6. Keep your facilities secure. Too many churches have too many members with keys and access to the church buildings. It is not unusual for doors to be left open and security to be lax because of the nearly unlimited access. I know one church where a former member had a key and decided to have a meeting at the church without asking anyone. Your church needs clearly controlled hours of operation and clear guidelines on access. If the locks have not been changed in a while, it’s probably time to do so. Ideally your church can move to digital access that can be changed at anytime.

7. Strive for total member awareness. Remind your members from time to time that they should watch for anything unusual at the church. Greeters at different places in the church facility, from the parking lots to the worship center, should be trained toward awareness as well. Those with keen eyes and discernment can save lives.

Continue to pray for First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. And as we pray for them,  pray for wisdom and protection for all other churches.

Active shooters are a harsh reality of church life today.

We can be prayerful.

And we can be prepared.


Prayer Topic for the Week

November 16, 2017 by  

Wisdom: Proverbs 3:7 ; Psalm 37:30

Children’s Church

November 16, 2017 by  
Filed under MINISTRIES

Mission: To bring children to Christ and train them to walk and minister in the power of the Holy Spirit.

To expose our children to the total worship experience which will prepare them for participating in the worship service in the church sanctuary. The children participate in singing, prayer, scripture, and lessons. Activities are incorporated to stimulate each child’s participation. The children attend Children’s Church in two groups:

Preschool-Ages 3-5

Elementary/Middle School -Ages 6-12

The Children’s Church Ministry Team is divided into sub-teams; each sub- team is responsible for a specific Sunday. For planning purposes, the Children’s Church session is designed for one hour in duration. The children are dismissed from the sanctuary at approximately 10:45 a.m.

The 2012 curriculum year began for Children’s Church on Dec. 11, 2011. The elementary/middle school program, More Jesus! is divided into four quarters. The Spring Quarter begins on March 11, 2012. In the Gospel of Mark, the actions of Jesus come to life! The children will discover Jesus the Servant helping others and giving His life to save others. The Preschoolers’ curriculum, Discovering God’s Love, is a 52-week program designed to help 3-5 year old children understand the reality of God’s love and how He works in their daily lives.


  • A Children/Youth Retreat at a camp facility (educational and fun)
  • Trips
  • Participation in Operation Christmas Child (Mission)
  • Participation in Recruitment Sunday


  • Computer projection for CD-ROM and DVD presentations
  • Portable puppet stage and puppets


October 24, 2017 by  
Filed under In The News


By Charles F. Stanley


Have you ever considered what activity or pursuit should be the top priority in a believer’s life? Some common answers might be prayer, reading the Bible, serving the Lord, or worship. But how would you determine which one is the most important? In reality, there is one phrase that encompasses all these essentials—fellowship with Christ. It’s a time when we sit before Him in His Word, worshipping, praying, and then responding in obedience to serve Him.
Fellowship is a sense of closeness and communion with someone because of mutual interests. We usually think of it in terms of our relationships with other believers, but our fellowship is first and foremost with God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 1:9; 2 Cor. 13:14).

The only qualification for fellowship with God is salvation. If we have not received Christ as our Savior, we have nothing in common with Him because our sins have separated us from Him. But after salvation, we become part of His family, and He calls us into intimate fellowship with Himself. Yet despite this wonderful privilege, many believers don’t make time of fellowship with the Lord a priority or even comprehend why it’s important.

Perhaps the easiest way to understand fellowship is to see what it looked like in the life of Mary of Bethany. When Jesus traveled to Jerusalem, He often stopped to rest and relax at the home of His good friends Lazarus, Martha, and Mary (Luke 10:38-42). On one of those occasions, Martha was busy preparing the meal, but her sister Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to Him.

Mary wanted fellowship with Christ while Martha focused on serving Him. When Martha became upset that Mary had left her to do all the work, she came to Jesus saying, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me” (Luke 10:40). However, Jesus’ response may have surprised her: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).

There are several lessons we can learn about fellowship from this story. First of all, fellowship must be chosen. Mary had two options—she could stay busy in the kitchen, or she could take time to be with Jesus. And each day we face this same choice. If we don’t carve time out of our busy schedule, having private communion with Jesus probably won’t happen.

Second, fellowship includes listening, learning, and loving. Mary’s love for Jesus moved her to humbly sit at His feet listening and learning from His words. Although today we cannot audibly hear Christ’s voice, He still speaks to us through His Word. As we sit with our Bibles open, reading and talking to Him about His Word, He teaches us His ways and guides us in applying His truths to our lives. The result is a growing love for Him, which in turn increases our devotion to Him.

Third, fellowship with Christ demands that we leave some things undone. If we wait until there are no other pressing needs, we’ll never be free to be alone with Jesus. There will always be one more thing to do. That’s why we must be like Mary, who left the kitchen before the meal was served in order to do what was more important—be with Jesus. Serving Christ is essential, but if we rush to serve without spending time listening, learning, and loving Jesus, we may be serving with the wrong attitude, and the result might not be as fruitful.


The fourth lesson is that prioritizing fellowship with the Lord may result in misunderstanding. Instead of seeing what Mary did as the best choice, Martha felt abandoned. She didn’t understand Mary’s desire to be with Jesus when there was so much to do. In the same way, other people may not understand why we set aside time to be with the Lord. To them it may seem like we’ve gone overboard on religion or are foolishly wasting our time. Sometimes those close to us may even feel jealous because of our devotion to Christ.

Fifth, negative consequences result if we neglect fellowship with Christ. There is quite a contrast between the peaceful disposition of Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet and Martha’s agitation. Martha was distracted, worried, and bothered, and this is what happens when we take our eyes off Jesus. But fellowshipping with Him in the morning helps us trust Him throughout the day, knowing that He’s working in our lives to enable and guide us in whatever situation we may face.

Many of us are more likely to sit in front of a television, computer, or cell phone than at the feet of Jesus. That’s why we must re-evaluate how we use our time by asking: Is there anyone or anything that is more important to me than Jesus? Other things may seem more pressing, but there is nothing more necessary or rewarding than being with our Savior. Spending time at His feet will enrich our relationship with Him and bring us deep peace and satisfaction. Every such moment is a moment well spent.

Prayerfully yours,

Charles F. Stanley


Approaching Jesus With Humility

October 24, 2017 by  
Filed under In The News


By Dan Delzell  

If you hope to gain an understanding of Jesus Christ and the purpose of the Savior’s life, death, and resurrection, it will be necessary to approach the Lord in a spirit of humility. You know, an attitude that is opposite of how many religious leaders in Christ’s day approached the Messiah. Their hearts were full of pride, and they often tried to prod the Lord into saying something erroneous.

But no matter how hard they pressed, those religious leaders always came out on the short end of the stick. They never succeeded in getting the Lord to contradict Scripture. In fact, Jesus responded to their insincere comments and questions with far more wisdom than they were capable of grasping due to their dark hearts and evil intentions. And so those religious “big wigs” were typically left with their mouths hanging open as they stood there dumbfounded.

What about you? If you were to approach Christ today, would it be with a humble heart? There are many today who approach Jesus out of pride, antagonism, and even some resentment toward the Savior of the world. But what about you? How humble are you in Christ’s presence?

The bottom line is that “pride goes before a fall,” (Proverbs 16:18) and the pride of man remains a dominant feature of the human heart. This is why many people today do not view Jesus with an attitude of humility. Instead, they look at the Savior as being on their level, or even a little bit below them.

Most of the religious leaders of Christ’s day saw themselves as being superior to Jesus. And in their arrogance, they looked down on the one person who could have delivered them from their sinful pride, and even from death itself. But they wanted no part of it. They were too good for such a thing, or so they thought. And this stubborn refusal to humble themselves before the Messiah is what secured their demise, both in this life as well as in the world to come. Other than a few of them who escaped their self-made prison of pride, the vast majority of them became victims of an inflated ego.

Well, that is an interesting question. You see, Jesus died, but then the unthinkable happened: He rose from the dead. Can you name another king who has been able to pull off such an amazing feat, or another religious leader who has risen from the dead?

And is there another prophet or religious leader, other than Jesus, who has the ability to enter the human heart and actually live there? Of course not, and this is one reason a wise person approaches Jesus with humility.

Many people don’t realize who they are dealing with when, for example, they use the name of Jesus as a curse word. Such behavior is the opposite of humility. It demonstrates a total disregard and complete disrespect for the Messiah.

And when people treat Jesus the way many religious leaders did 2000 years ago, it leaves a person with a cold heart toward Christ. Obviously, there are even plenty of people who go so far as to hate Jesus. This of course is why the Lord told the disciples: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18)

Arrogance and hatred, or humility and a gentle spirit. Which of these attitudes describes the way you approach Jesus? It’s not natural to trust Christ as Savior and follow the Messiah as Lord. This is why a person must first be spiritually reborn. It brings a person into a supernatural and eternal relationship with the King of Kings. Once the new birth takes place, a person’s relationship with God is secure. And you wouldn’t dare approach Jesus with pride once the King has come to take up residence in your heart.

After coming to know Jesus, you start to see where you fit in the grand scheme of things. And you recognize that it’s not all about you. It’s all about the King. It’s all about “Christ, the Son of the living God,” (Matt. 16:16) which is exactly what Peter said when Jesus asked him, “Who do you say I am?” (Matt. 16:15)

Without humility, it’s impossible to see Jesus in the correct way. The human heart is not capable of being ruled by both pride and Christ. There can be only one King on the throne of your heart and soul, and only one captain at the helm.

Who do you say Jesus is today? How are you approaching Him? And if I may be so bold as to ask one more question: How is that working out for you?

If your current approach isn’t working, then it may be time to try a different approach. And this is where history is so critical to the quest. Throughout history we can see who actually made a connection with Christ, and who didn’t. For example, compare the attitude of the religious leaders in Christ’s day to the attitude of those fishermen who became the Lord’s first disciples.

And if you, like those first disciples, want to become a beneficiary of the Savior’s sacrifice on the cross, then humility before God is needed in order to get there.

As you humble yourself at the foot of the cross and admit your sins to God, you are heading in the right direction. And then simply trust Jesus to wash away your sins. After all, this is why the Lord died on the cross. It was because of our sin, our pride, and our separation from God. No matter how great your sin may be, the blood of Jesus and the cross of Christ is far greater.

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

The gap between you and God can be closed today. Simply cross the bridge of Calvary so to speak by placing your confidence in the Savior’s sacrifice for your sins. And then walk humbly with Jesus everyday as you seek to do His will and serve others with God’s love. This is why you were created, and this is the only place you will find ultimate peace in this world and in the world to come.

A proud and self-righteous attitude, or the humble faith of a child. Two different ways to approach Jesus, but only one of them leads to a loving and lasting relationship with the King of Kings.

In the words of the prophet Zephaniah: “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land; you who do what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.” (Zeph. 2:3)

As you decide for yourself how you will approach Christ, just remember: whatever you do with the Lord today won’t change the fact that you will definitely stand before Him on Judgment Day. He came in as a lamb, but He is coming back as a lion. The “Lamb of God” (John 1:29) is also the “Lion of Judah.” (Revelation 5:5)

Will you receive Christ today as your Savior, and then walk with the Lord daily in a close personal friendship? You won’t regret it if you choose to approach Jesus with humility. Today is the day. Now is the time. Seize this moment as you come to Christ with a humble and repentant heart, and as you believe for yourself the wonderful promises of God contained in the Gospel.

The most famous Jew to ever accept Jesus as Messiah was Saul of Tarsus, who became the apostle Paul. And this apostle who wrote much of the New Testament boldly penned these words: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16)

With that same miracle of salvation being available to you right now, this could be the day you humble yourself before your Creator as you repent of your sins and believe the good news.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Why pink for breast cancer awareness? The pink ribbon is an international symbol of breast cancer awareness.  Pink ribbons, and the color pink in general, identify the wearer or promoter with the breast cancer brand and express moral support for breast cancer.

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