Pastor Chad's Itinarary

Thursday, March 30, 2017

"Are You a Witness?"

Acts 1:8 "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth"

      After Jesus was resurrected, he appeared to his disciples. His appearance to His disciples was to commission them to carry out the work that God has entrusted to them to do. What was their specific task? Matthew tells us Christ's disciples were to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus was teaching his disciples in Matthew's gospel, as well as Luke's account in Acts, they were not to look to themselves but to point others to Jesus the Messiah.

      Jesus tells his disciples that they were to be outward focused, not inward. He tells them that they were going to be given the power of the Holy Spirit to be faithful witnesses for him. They were charged to be μάρτυs (martys), from which we get our English word "martyr."  This word, "witness" means "one who dies for his faith." This was the common price of being a witness for Christ. The disciples were to be witnesses of Christ as they told the truth of the gospel. The disciples of Christ had given and are still giving their lives as witnesses for Christ today through death. The Lord's disciples were called to go and give themselves for the sake of the gospel, and the call is the same today.

     As Christ's disciples today, we are to be witnesses of the gospel by giving ourselves in our homes, communities, nation, and world. And the glorious thing is that God, the Holy Spirit, has empowered us to fulfill this command. Jesus gave his disciples 3 locations of where they were to be gospel witnesses:

1. The disciples were to be witnesses in Jerusalem. 
     The disciples were to be witnesses of the gospel at home first. This can be described as their physical homes and community in which they lived. Many want to carry the gospel across the ocean, while never carrying the gospel across the street. However, as Christ's disciples our witness begins at home with our own family, then extends to our neighbors and those in our community. 
     PHBC has had the privilege to be an effective witness in our community. The question is will you be a witness in YOUR Jerusalem. Saturday, April 8th PHBC will hit our streets to knock on doors to pass out gospel bags. Saturday, May 13th, PHBC will have a booth set up at the Strawberry Festival passing out water, gospel bags, and engaging people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The question is; Will you be a witness in your Jerusalem? Will you GO?

2. The disciples were to be witnesses in Judea and Samaria.
     The disciples had the awesome privilege of being witnesses at home and, at the same time, they were also to be witnesses in Judea and Samaria. They were to preach the gospel of Christ at home and be actively extending it to the surrounding regions--even to Samaria. 
     You and I have the privilege of being active in spreading the gospel in our surrounding area. The Lord has granted us several opportunities to help church plants here in Tennessee and in the United States. PHBC will travel to Syracuse, NY again to help Christ Is King Baptist church complete door-to-door evangelism. We will hit the streets passing out gospel tracts and invitations to their weekly gathering. The question is: will you be a witness in YOUR Judea and Samaria? Will you GO? 

3. The disciples were to be witnesses to the ends of the earth.
     The disciples were to be gospel witnesses in Jerusalem (home), Judea and Samaria (nation), and to the ends of the earth (Rome). The disciples were to preach the gospel and to eventually end up in Rome where the gospel had never been preached.  
    PHBC had the privilege to take the gospel to the nations. We have been called to be witnesses to the ends of the earth. By God's grace, we have a gospel presence throughout the world through our IMB missionaries and Bro. Barry Carpenter. However, God has called the local church--His disciples--to be witnesses to the ends of the earth.
Plans to go to the Philippines and Mexico City are being made for 2018. Will YOU be a witness to the ends of the earth? Will you GO?

      God has called every believer to be a witness for Christ. This means every believer is a missionary. I understand God doesn't call everyone to physically GO. Yet, God either calls you to go into the well or to hold the rope. This means that you would either go or support those who are willing to go through prayer and financial support.
       As your pastor, I have purposed for PHBC to be evangelistic and mission-minded when it comes to taking the gospel to our Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. I want every member at PHBC to experience the blessing, privilege, and joy of taking the gospel to the lost world, whether that be here in Orlinda, Syracuse, or even the Philippines. 
      May we not focus upon ourselves at PHBC, but upon being gospel witnesses to those in our community, nation, and the world who have not heard the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"21 Days of Prayer and Fasting at PHBC"

Matthew 17:21 "But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."
    The spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting are often neglected in the life of many Christians. As I have experienced, the discipline of fasting is neglected more so than praying. Nevertheless, these disciplines are essentials when it comes to the spiritual growth. Prayer and fasting are gifts given to the believer to enhance and draw oneself into closer communion with God. As James wrote, "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded" (James 4:8). When the believer prays and fasts it is an act of faith in God, which they are drawing nearer to Him with a spiritual purpose.

     What is prayer? Prayer is communicating with God. Prayer is talking to God in its simplest form. When believers pray they are acknowledging before God of their weakness, finiteness, and lack of being able to do anything without Him. Praying crushes pride. Prayer aligns the Christian's will to  "God's will being done on earth, as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). Prayer connects the believer with the sovereign God of the universe, whereby the believer confesses sin, intercedes on the behalf of others, and ask for God's will to be done in their lives. Prayer is the lifeline for the Christian. As Leonard Ravenhill once said, "No man is greater than his prayer life." So, very true. 

   What is fasting? John Piper writes in his book, A Hunger for God, "Christian fasting, at its root, is the hunger of a homesickness for God." Ronnie Floyd defines fasting in The Power of Prayer and Fasting as, "The abstinence from food with a spiritual goal in mind." Donald Whitney wrote in his book entitled, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, saying, "Christian fasting is voluntary in that fasting should not be coerced. And fasting is more than just the ultimate crash diet for the body; it is abstinence from food for spiritual purposes." Ultimately, fasting is a form of self-denial that has a spiritual goal, namely God for its purpose. It is abstaining from food or other enjoyments for a period in one's life in order to seek God and to be conformed more into the image of Christ.

     This coming Lord's Day, Sunday, March 26th, Pleasant Hill Baptist church will begin 21-Days of Prayer and Fasting. The purpose and goal of this 21-Days of Prayer and Fasting will be to seek God in order that He would change us individually, corporately as a church. PHBC will be praying for God the Holy Spirit to bring about a spiritual awakening in our families, community, nation, and the world. These 21-Days will be marked by confession, repentance, and brokenness over our sin. Some of the saints may be desperate to hear from God in other areas of their lives. Others may need guidance or even a miracle in their life at this time. I am not sure of anyone's specific needs, per se, but I do know PHBC and all Christians could spend more intentional time focusing on God and His will for our lives, rather than less.

     Therefore, I encourage all of PHBC to prepare yourself for the next 21 days. Pray, asking God to reveal sin that needs to be killed. You know what sin so easily weighs you down. Pray asking Him how you can better serve Him. Pray for your lost neighbor, friend, or co-worker who needs Christ, then share Christ with them. Ask God what needs to be removed from your life in order to seek Him more fully these next 21 days. Pray and fast in faith expecting God to move in your life and the life of PHBC for His glory!

Here are a couple of more quotes on fasting. Enjoy! 

John Piper wrote, "What we hunger for the most, we worship."

Richard Foster says, "More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us. This is a wonderful benefit to the true disciple who longs to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We cover up what is inside of us with food and other things."

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

"Who Will Go?"

Romans 15:20 "and I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone's else's foundation." 

Me and Eli at Shoshone Falls

     I have spent the past week in Twin Falls, ID to celebrate and surprise my ex-music minster (Eli) for his 40th birthday. It was a great time seeing how surprised he was seeing his mother, step-dad, and sister who flew in from Illinois,  his mother-in-law (Gail) who drove down from Washington, and brother-in-law (Jason) from Montana to join in the surprise party as well. I believe he was doubly surprised to see his old pastor who traveled 2,000 miles to spend the week with him and his family. Yet, there was much more to my visit than surprising Eli. There was a multitude of  Christ-centered and gospel-saturated conversations with the lost, pastors, and church planters while in Twin Falls.

Me and Pastor Paul Thompson at Idaho Joes

    Therefore, this trip was much more than to surprise Eli. It was also an opportunity to minister in the name of Christ. I had the privilege to meet faithful pastors and church planters from both Idaho and Utah. On Tuesday I had lunch with Pastor Paul Thompson of EastSide Baptist church in Twin Falls, ID. I learned more about the lostness of Twin Falls and the need for faithful gospel preachers throughout the Idaho area. He shared with me that there are communities in Idaho with 20-30,000 people and no gospel preaching churches.

Me and Dr. Travis Kerns

   Likewise, I traveled 120 miles to Pocatello, ID to have dinner on Tuesday evening with Dr. Travis Kerns. Dr. Kerns was my philosophy professor at Boyce College back in 2010. Travis moved to Salt Lake City in 2013 to serve as an NAMB (North American Mission Board) missionary and church planter. I learned there are over 3 million people who live in the state of Utah. There are over 2 million who live in what is called the "bowl area" of SLC. The state of Utah is less than 2% Christian. There is only 1 Christian (gospel preaching) church for every 40,000 people. As Travis shared these stats with me I was heartbroken, saddened, and concerned.

    Being from Alabama there are no shortages of Bible believing churches. This is not the case in Idaho and Utah. Matter of fact, the opposite is true. As there are Christian churches on almost every corner in the South, there are LDS (Mormon) meeting houses on almost every corner here. Mormonism is a way of life here in Idaho and Utah. Mormons call themselves Christians, all the while denying the eternal Deity of Jesus Christ, which makes them not Christian at all. Mormons have another Jesus, like that of Islam and Jehovah Witnesses. They have been taught to believe a lie, rather than the truth of the person and work of Jesus Christ.

LDS Mormon Meeting House

    The bottom line and truth is this; There is a multitude who are dying without hearing the "true" gospel of Jesus Christ, according to the scriptures. Living in the south we are sheltered and often take this truth for granted. God has enlightened you and me with the truth not to keep it to ourselves but to take to the world. It is the gospel of Jesus, which is the power of God to salvation (Rom.1:16). The same gospel that converted the Apostle Paul, me, and if you are a Christian, even you is the same gospel that has the power to change the hearts of Mormons.

   This question is this; Who will go? Who will plant a church where the name of Christ has not been named? Will you support those to go? Will you pray?
Pray. Ask the Lord to use you to take the gospel whether short-term or long-term where the name of Christ has not been named.

For further information you can check see links below:
Salt Lake City

Eastside Baptist Twin Falls