Pastor Chad's Itinarary

Saturday, December 3, 2016

"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

“The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

The holiday hustle and bustle can be a bit overwhelming this time of the year. It all begins with the preparation for Thanksgiving, which leads right into Christmas. Families are trying to orchestrate the “who, what, when, and where” of their upcoming gatherings. There are many details to cover, such as the menu, grocery shopping, sleeping arrangements of guests, holiday travel routes—and finding the perfect gifts to purchase. All of this can lead a person to be overwhelmed with stress and strain to perform at their best. This is the reason Christians must have and live out a biblical worldview every day of our lives.

Christians can overcome the pressures of the holiday season by focusing on Christ and His work on their behalf. The reason many believers become stressed is because they fail to focus on the "why" of this time of the year. When we ask ourselves why we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, it will help us to handle the stress of this time of year. When Christians remember that Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and give thanks to God for both our spiritual and material blessings in the Lord, it calms nerves. For the believer, Christmas is when we reflect on the truth that God, the eternal Son, robed Himself in flesh, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and gave Himself up as a substitute to redeem His people. Focusing on these truths removes ourselves from the picture and places Christ properly in view.

Christians should meditate on truth, such as Matthew 1:21, which says, "She [Mary] will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." This reminds us of the true Reason for the season; Christmas is not a time of year that we focus on others or ourselves, for it should be focusing and worshipping Christ. Why? Think about it—if it were not for Christ, there would be nothing to be "thankful" for, nor any reason to celebrate "Christmas."  When we meditate on the real Reason for the season—that Christ came to redeem us, free us, and, one day, save us—it leads believers to truly worship Him.

This time of the year is not about just giving and receiving or the hustle and bustle of fighting the crowds while searching for the perfect gift. It is about the worship of King Jesus. Yes, it is a time where we are thankful for all of our blessings and a time where we remember the birth of Christ, but mainly, it is the time where the truth of the eternal Son Who took on flesh and died as a substitute and arose on the third day should bring us to worship Him.

Therefore, when you feel the pressure, stress, and strain of the holiday season starting to hit you, I encourage you to slow down and meditate on what Christ has done for you. And may the meditation of Christ lead you to worship Him in Spirit and truth, because this is the most wonderful time of the year.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

"Pondered Treasures & Piercing Sword"

In this my 24th year of being a daughter of the King, I still get so stunned at God’s ways and His Word…at how they can fall together in a single moment to form something I will forever keep. A treasure.
I was contacted earlier in the week to find a photograph for a certain occasion.
I have five matters in my life completely unrelated that are weighing heavily on my heart.
This morning I have a strong urge to sing “Blessings.”
I remember I need to find that photograph.
(How on earth is this all connected?)
So after pulling up the song on my heart from my desktop and singing about blessings coming through raindrops and healing coming through tears, I go to the photograph albums. Of course, this triggers lots of reminiscing. I come across a picture of Christmas from 1994 and there I am - a babe in Christ, proudly wearing my beautiful rhinestone pin with “Jesus” written in cursive on my Christmas sweater. Life seemed much lighter then. I remember how glad I was to wear His name in the presence of my family. I pondered these memory treasures and realized that back then, I had no idea piercing swords were coming. Then I saw pictures which reminded me of painful times where relationships were different because of my relationship to Jesus. By now, I was familiar with some swords.
As I thought about these memories, there was pain. There was joy. And God, in His amazing goodness, suddenly brought to mind two truths He reveals to us through the one who carried the Gospel as close to her heart as anyone could.
The first is found in Luke 2:19 and tells us that as the world around her encircled her newborn Son, Mary pondered up all these things in her heart and treasured them. She witnessed many unusual events. A Star. Visiting Magi. Prophets and prophetesses suddenly approaching her newborn baby in glee. And this was just the beginning. The second is found in Luke 2:34-35 and tells us that Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce Mary’s own soul. We can easily see this in Herod’s hunt for her baby. This also was just the beginning.
Mary experienced both pondered treasure and piercing sword. I remember the first time I read about her heart being pierced with a sword. Somehow I felt her hurt. It seemed so unfair and bittersweet. But, isn’t this a shadow of every Christian?
Being connected to Jesus brings wonderful relationships and wonderful revelations available only to His own. The thrill of participating in His family, understanding and learning new things …these are just the beginning. These are joy unspeakable and full of glory. Some pondered treasures. But also, being connected to Jesus brings about hard changes in relationships and hard revelations. We walk differently because we are new creatures, and not everyone likes that. Our new heart sees evil in a whole new light. This is also just the beginning. Some piercing swords.
Yet, these are to be our lot in life here on planet earth. Our pondered treasures and piercing swords are not single incidents or phases in life but encompasses our entire journey with God. Both are normal parts of our Christian life.
“Blessings” is still playing over and over on this computer as I type.
“What if Your blessings come through raindrops? What if your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights is what it takes to know You’re near. What if the trials of life are your mercies in disguise? When friends betrays us, and darkness seems to win, The pain reminds this heart this is not our home. What if my greatest disappointment or the aching of this life Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?”
I can imagine Mary singing this song.
My, how His Word and His Ways work to speak to us about Him in a single moment. Yes, there are present swords piercing my heart (as I am sure there are yours too) ~ but I just experienced a treasure that I will forever ponder.
Thank You, my Father. My Jesus.

Blog post was contributed by a dear friend who desired to remain anonymous.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"A Halted Work"

Mark 6:5-6 “And He [Jesus] could do no mighty work there, except that He laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief."

     I read these verses (actually the entire chapter) this morning during my quiet time with the Lord. I thought, here was Jesus Christ Himself among the religious folks of the day, and His work was interrupted due to their unbelief. Actually, the text says, “He could do no mighty work there…” The reality is that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, and He can do whatever, whenever, however He wants to do it. Yet, Jesus chose not to do anything among them due to their lack of faith or unbelief in Him.

     The text caused me to consider my own life and faith. The Apostle Paul reminds the Roman believer, “For whatever does not precede from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23b). Therefore, a life lived not in faith of God through Christ is sin. My thoughts, actions, and words not offered in faith is sin against God. This causes me to ask—am I hindering the work of Christ in my personal, family, and church life due to my unbelief? The faith, which believes God to be who He says He is and to do what He says He will do. The faith that was granted to me at the moment of salvation to believe upon the name of Jesus Christ as the Son of God who came to live a perfect life, die a substitutionary death, and be raised on the third day for my eternal salvation. Is my faith in a preacher? Is my faith in a denomination? Is my faith in a friend? Is my faith in my children or grandchildren? Absolutely not! As believers, our faith is not in anything or anyone other than the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone. 

     I am of the opinion that God does not need anyone or anything. However, God uses means to bring about His end. His end is simply that His glory would be made known throughout the world. How does He accomplish this end? God redeems sinners through the preaching of His gospel and the working of the Holy Spirit to bring sinners to Himself. And once God grants repentance and faith to sinners, they continue to live a life of repentance and faith. As a matter of fact, repentance and faith will increase as their walk with God deepens. This is what it means to be “saved.” Salvation is not a “one and done” thing, but a continual walk of brokenness over our sin and unbelief in who God says He is and trust in what He says He will do. True believers will have a holy hatred for sin and will grow in faith by trusting in Christ for their salvation evermore.

This brings me to ask a few questions:
1. How is your faith? Is it increasing or decreasing? Is it growing or dying? If it is decreasing, perhaps your faith is not in Christ or it has never been placed in Christ, but somewhere or in someone else.
2. Is your faith serving others? Do you see your faith as only self-serving?
3. Has the cause of Christ been halted in your own life, your family’s life, and the life of your church because of your lack of faith? Your faith is either helping or hindering the cause of Christ.
4. What do you believe God is doing in your life, your family’s life and the life at your church? Do you have any expectations that God is doing something wonderful in and through you to accomplish His ends by using you as a means? If not, your faith is either small or non-existent.

May the Lord increase His people’s faith as we echo the words of a father from Mark 9:24, “I believe; help my unbelief!"

Monday, August 15, 2016

"The Gospel and 167 Years of Grace"

“The Gospel and 167 Years”

 Matthew 16:18 “...I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” 

      The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is the apple of God’s eye. God’s love for His Bride is manifested in all believers, throughout all the ages, and from all nations. God’s love is expressed mainly through the local church, where the gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ, is proclaimed. The proclamation of the gospel and the saving of sinners is where God receives most glory. The church is an assembly of sinners redeemed by the blood of Jesus who strive to be as closely aligned to the Scriptures as possible—not perfectly—but striving toward that end. The church’s main responsibility is to proclaim the gospel of God’s glorious grace.

            There was a group of people who assembled on August 15, 1849 in Orlinda, Tennessee in order to establish a church. Orlinda is a small, rural tobacco-farming community located in northern Tennessee. These individuals assembled with the sole purpose of worshipping God through His Word, as well as continuing the practice of multiplying Baptist churches. The assembly started out humbly with only fifteen charter members. The property was donated in order to build a 30 x 40 ft. meeting house that featured 12 ft. ceilings and three doors. The building was to be used and benefit the community both as a schoolhouse and as a place of worship. The main purpose of establishing Pleasant Hill was for the people of God to be “salt and light” with the gospel in Orlinda and the surrounding communities.
Original minutes recorded at PHBC's first meeting

            Elders O.H. Morrow, B. Roberts, and W.I. Morton were the ones who helped constitute PHBC into a church. Elder Morrow served as the church’s first pastor, where he preached the Word of God when the church met for its monthly meetings. Elder Morrow paved the way for faithful gospel preaching throughout Pleasant Hill’s existence. Throughout the 167 years of PHBC’s existence, there have been 45 pastors who served the church. Although PHBC has never been large in number, there have always been people who were faithful to the Word of God and desired to see sinners saved through the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.
Elder O.H. Morrow

            Moreover, the church at PHBC has served as a location where the redeemed of the Lord could come, serve, and worship God, knowing that the Word of God would be proclaimed. We live in a time and day where the simplistic preaching of God’s Word doesn’t seem to be enough for families who are looking for a place to worship. However, this is not to be surprising, as Paul wrote Timothy and said, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but will having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Tim.4:3). The focus of any local Bible-believing church should be the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This must be the primary concern for the elders and the church, and that is what Pleasant Hill is striving for in 2016 and beyond.

            The Lord has graced PHBC by saving people and sending others to join an assembly who desires to be a part of a biblically healthy church. This appetite has been revealed by the people’s hunger for the gospel being preached, a passion for discipling the saints, and evangelizing to sinners with the gospel of Jesus Christ. After 167 years, there have been several valleys and mountain top experiences within the body of Christ; however, God’s grace is not only enough to convert sinners into saints, but God’s grace is enough to sustain the saints through any storm as long as the gospel is being preached. How do I know? God says, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor.12:9), but I also know this due to the fact that there has been a group of people called by God’s name who remained faithful to the same message and mission for 167 years.

            As I am approaching my seventh year serving the Lord’s church at Pleasant Hill, my love for the Lord and His people have increased immensely. We have seen both good times and valleys, but it is all part of the journey God has called us to in order to make us more like Jesus Christ (Rom.8:29). We have been blessed with the resources to start a media ministry. The Lord has opened doors to spread the gospel in our community, nation, and even around the world. The people who make up Pleasant Hill Baptist have been concerned about one thing and one thing only, and that is the preaching of the gospel, whereby we see God glorified in redeeming lost sinners to Himself for His glory! I am thankful to be a part of a church where the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power unto salvation for whoever believes. I can say, along with the Apostle Paul, “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph.3:21).

            In conclusion, I want to thank all of those who have paved and are paving the way for PHBC to be where she is today. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for your commitment. Thank you for loving the Bride of Christ. I am reminded that no matter how much I love the people who make up PHBC, God loves them more than I do. That gives me rest and assurance that no matter what, He will continue to build His church for His glory!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

"Father, Forgive Them"

Matthew 6:14-15 "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

    One of my very first memory verses from the Bible came from "The Lord’s Prayer.” This prayer has been memorized and quoted by the masses, both Christians and non-believers. I remember quoting this prayer as an unbeliever on Friday night prior to taking the field to play football. I have heard it quoted by coaches leading their little league baseball team before playing their game. I have heard this prayer quoted by pastors when called on to pray. There is absolutely nothing wrong with quoting these scriptures; however, I do not believe Jesus wanted people to only quote the scriptures, but for believers to live them out.

     I am not sure Jesus is impressed with our memorization capabilities as much as He is with us living out what we memorize. Jesus said in Matthew 6:7,  "And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” These phrases, “empty phrases and many words” were a rebuke on the religious crowds who would pray to be heard by others, but their prayers were empty of meaning. This is what happens when scripture becomes so familiar that we fail to apply it to our lives. The quote, “Familiarity breeds contempt” is both true and dangerous.

     When it comes to "The Lord’s Prayer,” I believe one of the most neglected verses is found at the conclusion of the prayer. These verses are often said in haste in order to finish the prayer. However, I believe that they hold the key and ability for believers to walk in the freedom of Christ. Those verses are on “forgiveness.” Forgiveness tends to be something only weak people do, but the reality is that forgiveness is what Christians are commanded to do. Forgiveness is not an option, but a command. But, how do you and I forgive others, especially our enemies? We are unable to forgive them in our own ability, but by the grace of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

     It doesn’t take living in this world to realize that people can and often hurt us. It’s not a matter of if they will hurt us, but when they will hurt us. This is why it is so important to have a biblical worldview, so that when we are hurt, we are able to look into the Word of God and read how God would have us respond. One man told me, “Things will happen in life, and what matters the most is how will we respond when life happens.” 

 1. Why should Christians forgive others?
     First, we should forgive others who hurt us because God commands us to forgive others. In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus clearly reminds His disciples that if they do not forgive others, then they too will not be forgiven. It seems pretty cut and dry. The Christian should not ask if they should forgive, but rather if they have forgiven. 

     Not only does Jesus command forgiveness, but the consequences of not forgiving will lead to “bitterness.” The Apostle Paul told the church at Ephesus, "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Eph.4:31-32). Bitterness, wrath, and anger are like cancer in the life of a believer. If they are not dealt with, they will eventually cost them their lives. Therefore, the believer must forgive others.

2. How should Christians forgive others?
     Col. 3:13 "bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 

      Christians are first commanded to forgive because they are able to forgive. How are they able to forgive? The Christian is able to forgive because God in Christ has forgiven them. This is the only reason anyone is able to forgive. However, forgiveness is more than a mental ascent. Biblical forgiveness will always lead to reconciliation. This means the offender will have acknowledged their offense toward the other party, the offended will accept their repentance, and the two will walk together in reconciliation.

      This is what God has done for us in Christ. We, as sinners, had offended our Holy God due to our rebellion, rejection, and sinful state toward Him. We were His enemies who hated God and wanted to be our own God, rejecting Him and His Word. However, God, in His grace, sent the good news of the gospel to us along with the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin, then lead us to repentance and faith to believe upon Jesus. God took those who had offended Him, forgave them in Christ, and now, we are made “at one” with Him. We have been reconciled to God because of what Christ has done for us in dying for our sins upon the cross. This is the only way anyone can truly forgive--because Christ has forgiven us.

     In conclusion, this past week I was in a conference where a Pastor John Fry said, “What if God forgave you the way you forgave others?” 
Would you be forgiven? What would that look like? Would you be reconciled to God? Do you pick and choose how you forgive?
May God grant us the grace to say like Jesus, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pray For Your Pastor(s) by Rick Muchewicz

Pray For Your Pastor(s)

Today's post is by guest blogger Rick Muchewicz. Rick serves as an elder at Pleasant Hill Baptist church in Orlinda, TN. He is married to Karen and they have a daughter Ella. Rick is an author and blogs at He is a graduate of Boyce College the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. 

Pray For Your Pastor(s)

    You as a church member have the responsibility and the privilege to pray for your pastor. Your pastor needs prayer. The average church member, I would guess, rarely thinks of their pastor when they are praying. Why is that? I don't know, I cannot answer that for everyone. But, if you are reading this, you now know that you ought to be praying for him.
Why do pastors need prayer?
    Pastors need prayer for the same reasons you do. They face the same things that you face day in and day out. Your difficulties are their difficulties. Pastors face temptations, struggle with sin, are often beset with weakness and doubts, deal with prayerlessness like other believers, have problems in the home, raise children, wrestle with apathy, grieve over social issues, allow stress to take hold, are at war spiritually, and live life in a fallen world just like everyone else.
    In addition to these needs, pastors face others. Pastors need your prayers because they often struggle with depression. The ministry is demanding and often fruit is not seen. It is easy for a pastor to take his eyes off of the Lord and look to all of the issues within the church. Or, a pastor might become bitter and complain. “Woe is me!” can easily become the attitude of a pastor.
    Other things that most church members may not realize are that pastors bear the sins and burdens of their people, are held accountable by God for their flock, experience heartache over the faithlessness of some members, face criticism, may feel pressured to perform in certain ways or produce according to the churches standards, and face the challenges of leading a group of people that are made up of different backgrounds, different maturity levels, different interests, etc.
What to pray
    Pray for your pastor's preparation. Pray that as he prepares to preach and teach that he would be illuminated, faithful, prayerful, obedient, studious, understanding, submissive, and able to apply God's word. Pray that God bless you pastor with clarity, the ability to deliver God's word, that he would communicate effectively, that he will not be distracted from his time in study, that he would be a good steward of his time, and that his sermon will be Christ-centered, Spirit-dependent, and gospel-saturated.
    Pray for your pastor's personal life. Pray for his family. Pray that he is growing, maturing, and spending time in the word. Pray also for his needs, struggles, leadership, character, joy, holiness, and hope. Remember to pray that he get enough rest, that he would be God-honoring, above reproach, a good husband and father. Pray that he work hard and be a good steward of all that God has given him. Pray for his physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
    Pray for his prayer life. Pray to God that as he prays throughout the week he be filled with passion, grace, mercy, love, and faith in God to hear and answer. Pray that he remember to intercede for the saints, confess the sins of the church, and beg God for mercy and forgiveness. Pray that your pastor's prayers will be scriptural, effectual, Spirit-led, and strengthened by God. Pray that your pastor have a desire to pray, that he makes time to pray, and that he never ceases to pray.
    Pray for your pastor's ministry. Pray that he would be faithful, God glorifying, biblical, and persevering. Pray that the Lord bless his efforts with fruit, spiritual growth, conversions, and joy. Pray that the Lord bless him with the desire to serve, cast a vision, be patient, be focused, love the people, and be evangelistic. And, pray that the Lord grace him with wisdom to teach, preach, and counsel in and through any situation.
    Pastors need the prayers of their people. Church members do not know everything that goes into being a pastor and the emotional, physical, and spiritual strain it places on a man of God. It takes its toll. So, remember to pray for your pastors. Your prayers, in God's sovereignty and perfect plan, may be the one thing that is keeping your pastor sane, faithful, and productive. Thank God for the prayers of the saints! Keep praying saints. The days are getting darker, the ministry more challenging, and life more arduous. The battle is real. Pray for your pastor as he prays for you.
    What a gift from God. God has called and equipped men to shepherd his church. He has given them the command to pray for the sheep. And God has orchestrated that the sheep pray for the shepherd. There is a harmony here that can only come from God. Shepherds and sheep need each other. We help one another. We are on the same pilgrimage and headed for the same destination; one is leading and the other following. But, it is a relationship with no equal-a pastor and his sheep. What a beautiful picture, what a beautiful marriage. So again, pray for your pastor as he prays for you.