Monthly Archives: April 2016

Baptism and NC’s HB2

Things are heating up out there and I love it! I trust you are having a great day! I hope to see you tonight for our “POTLUCK DINNER” and for Bible study and prayer. Obedience is a beautiful thing. When Michael and Adam were obedient, our household was so pleasant. Obedient children make things a lot easier for their parents… And all the parents said, “Amen!” The same is true for us as Christians. Recent reflections on the last words of Jesus to His disciples have touched my heart. Jesus told His disciples to “make disciples of all nations and to baptize them….” Our place in this world is to be identified with these last words of Jesus! Grace Church, we are to be known for “making disciples of all nations and baptizing them….” Being a follower of Jesus is no easy task and yet it is a wonderful privilege! Being a follower of Jesus sets you apart from those around you. Baptism identifies you as part of the body of Christ. Jesus told us as His church to “baptize” His followers. Think about this… Have you recently received Christ into your life? Have you recently become a child of God? Have you recently experienced new life in Christ? Have you been a Christian for some time and need to be baptized? If so, then your next step is to follow Jesus in baptism! Your next step is to identify yourself with Jesus and His church! Call or contact us so we help you take this next step in your spiritual walk with Jesus! Obey the Lord… if you have never been baptized, now is the time!

SUMMER PRAYER MEETINGS: On Wednesday evenings this summer we are going to center our attention on prayer. We will meet for Wednesday Evening Prayer Services each Wednesday at 6:30 pm in our church sanctuary. Make plans now to attend. It is common knowledge among us that we all need to pray! What a great way to grow together; let’s pray together. This is going to be an awesome experience for all of us. These prayer times will begin in June. Prayer is crucial to your life as a believer. Prayer is also crucial to the life of every church, Grace Church included! I can’t wait!!!

HB2 ~ Pray for our state and our nation! On the state level, our leadership in North Carolina has taken a stand for morality and decency. It appears that some can no longer identify with common sense. Some in North Carolina would have us plunge deeper into our human depravity! I support Governor Pat McCrory and other state leaders on HB2. They can count on my prayers and support! The lengths to which people force themselves on others is definitely getting out of hand. It is Biblical to live righteously and to stand for righteousness. We are past the time for silence on many issues that face our nation, state and our families! Politicians and talking heads would have us believe that to say anything makes you a hypocrite or even a bigot! Silence is a worse option. The Scriptures are clear on the sins of our days. Live Biblically and righteously; these will identify you with Jesus and His spirit of compassion! Jesus loved people but He never condoned or encouraged them to pursue a sinful lifestyle. I covet your prayers as I lead Grace Church in a world that is passing away! Again, pray for our state and our nation! Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

Even so come Lord Jesus!

 

 

Thankful Praying!

Good afternoon, what a beautiful day! My recent Sunday evening SESSION focuses on The prayers of Paul. This past Sunday our text was Philippians 1:3-11. In verse 3 Paul is very transparent about his prayer life. He tells his brothers and sisters in Philippians 1:3-4 “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.” This a grand show of affection and compassion for these believers. I believe it reflects his love for the church of Jesus Christ! Paul did not take lightly the relationship he had with them. The same is true for me and Cheryl regarding you! For the past fifteen years of our lives the Lord has woven a precious tapestry. We thank the Lord for you and for how He has used you to minister to us in many different ways. Through weddings, through the birth of grandbabies, through the illnesses of parents and through calls to ministry, you have been there. You have stood by us and with us. Thank you! Paul emptied his heart in this prayer. He made much of his partnership in ministry with the Philippians. Cheryl and I recognize this partnership as well. Through worship, through service, through missions and through discipleship we have shaped each other. Our hearts are filled with joy knowing this partnership continues. The Apostle John shares these sentiments in 3 John 1:3-4 “For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” With great joy we say “Thank you” for allowing the Lord to use you in our lives!

REMINDER: This summer is going to be a summer of prayer for our Grace Church family. On Wednesday evenings our focus will be prayer. Our Sunday School fellowships will focus on prayer. Prayer is going to be “Priority One” for us. If you have any questions please see us. Our staff and deacons are excited about this emphasis. We are looking forward to growing with you in the area of prayer.  

Be faithful and available to the Lord. His desire is to use you. Remember you are alive unto God! Romans 6:11 “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Making Much of Jesus!

Mike and Cheryl <><

Dying To Live!

As a new believer I was encouraged to memorize Scripture. At Grace Baptist Church (Wilmington, NC) where I was saved, Scripture memory was practiced throughout the church body (Senior citizens listened to us quote Scripture weekly). At that time Bible Memory Association was a huge organization with hundreds of churches memorizing Scripture. Our summer camp was based upon the verses we memorized. As you can imagine, this was a major change for me as a sixteen year old. I was unfamiliar with the Scriptures even at the simplest level. The first verse I memorized was Galatians 2:20. It says, I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. Committing these words to memory affected my spiritual life and walk. I learned that being a Christian was not about what makes me happy. I learned that being a Christian was about dying to myself and to my own desires. I learned that the Lord had a plan for my life and that my plans were in the way!!! Think with me for a second, how hard is this? We all tend to want our way! We all want to be happy even if it makes others unhappy. The truth is, we tend to make our Christian lives all about us. Is that not true? Living for Christ is all about dying to live… dying to self and living for Someone and something bigger than ourselves. Reflect on Galatians 2:20.  Why not memorize it, and let it reshape your life into the life of Jesus Christ! Happiness is one thing; Christlikeness is another. Which do you desire? Look in the mirror, look at your heart and see who you have become. Are you becoming more like Jesus or are you the same person you were before you came to Christ? Take a look, and hear what the Spirit says to your heart! In Philippians 1:21 Paul underscores this truth, For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 

REMINDER: This summer we are going to focus on prayer as a church family! The Scriptures are clear about the church and its prayer life. Prayer begins with our leadership, deacons and pastors. I have been praying about how we can make prayer a priority within our church family. The Lord has given us a plan. I am excited about sharing it with you. Jeremiah 33:3 is still in God’s Word. Listen to it, Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. The impact of such praying is immeasurable! Even our simplest humble cries are heard by our God! Pray, brothers and sisters, pray!

SUNDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY: I want to encourage you to find a Sunday School class, and get connected. Your walk with Christ and with brothers and sisters within Grace Church will be deepened. As a Christian you should not be walking alone. Walking with other believers is your calling. If I can help you with this, please call me. When you came to Christ, the Lord placed you in the body of Christ. Please do not walk alone… a group of believers await you at Grace Church. It’s true! There is a class for you; we can help you get connected. Join a class this Sunday!

1 Corinthians 16:24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

 

Justification and Sanctification

Dr. Ray Pritchard writes, Romans 5 speaks of justification. Romans 6 is talking about sanctification. Romans 5 explains how God declares people righteous. Romans 6 explains how God makes people righteous. Those distinctions are crucial for you to know. Justification is that act whereby God declares you righteous in his eyes. Sanctification is that act whereby God makes you righteous. But those things are not the same:

Justification happens at the moment you trust Christ and is never repeated.

Sanctification happens moment-by-moment as you surrender your life to the Lord.

Justification delivers from the penalty of sin.

Sanctification delivers from the power of sin.

Justification is an event.

Sanctification is a process.

Justification happens once and only once.

Sanctification is gradual and continuous.

Justification cannot be repeated.

Sanctification must be repeated.

Justification is the work of a moment.

Sanctification is the work of a lifetime.

Justification gives you the merit of Christ.

Sanctification gives you the character of Christ.

These two doctrines are distinct yet inseparably related. Justification leads to sanctification. Those who are truly born again are led of the Spirit into a life of growing holiness. This is the true connection between Romans 5 and 6. Romans 5 describes how we are brought into a right relationship with God while Romans 6 tells of the changed life which must issue from that new relationship with God. So, then, these two chapters are distinct yet joined by a natural progression of thought.

20/20 Vision from Matthew 9:36

What can we learn from Jesus? One thing we learn from Him is this. We learn how to “see”! Jesus had extraordinary eyesight. He saw everything! He saw into the hearts of His disciples. He saw into the hearts of His followers! He sees into our hearts as well! I say this not to frighten you but to encourage you! I want to see what Jesus saw. I know you do as well. So what did Jesus see? Matthew 9:36 tells us “He saw the multitudes; He was moved with compassion on them.” Jesus saw people in their lostness. His response was one of “compassion.” As Matthew shares this Jesus is already going to the multitudes. Jesus wanted His disciples to see what He saw. He expects the same from you and me. When you see your children, your friends, your coworkers, what do you see? I hope you see what Jesus saw. Cheryl and I just returned home from a visit with our children in Kenya. Literally, we saw the multitudes!!! We saw what Jesus saw. What’s my point? My point is this; within the multitudes around you people need Jesus. They need to be saved! They need what you have! If you don’t see them, you certainly won’t see their need. Let’s see what Jesus saw. We all need 20/20 vision. Share your faith! Give them the Gospel. It is “the power of God unto salvation.” See what Jesus saw!

I am sensing in my heart a need to call our church to a focus on prayer. Corporate prayer is what I see! In the coming days I will be sharing more with you concerning this prayer focus. This coming summer we will be praying together as a church family like never before. Prepare your heart now. You and your family will be involved. This focus will be called “PRAYER… PRIORITY ONE!” It is no secret that we all need to pray. I believe we also need to pray together as a church family! There are great needs in your life and in mine that we need to pray about. There are great needs in our church that we need to pray about. There are great needs in Greenville that we need to pray about. Yes, we need to be praying Christians. But we also need to be a praying church. Our Lord willing, that will happen in a new and fresh way in the coming weeks here at Grace Church. As I mentioned earlier, I will be sharing more about this prayer initiative soon!

It is good to be home. Cheryl and I are a little turned around time wise. Our trip was awesome; our family is safe in the arms of our loving Lord. Thank you for your kind and loving support!

Jesus is Lord!