Pastor Chad's Itinarary

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).