Newsletter July August 2020

I’m guilty of living in a “Christian bubble.”  As a pastor, my coworkers are all believers.  My closest friends are all    believers.  Even my neighbors on either side of my house are a retired minister and an active deacon.  I have some acquaintances who are not Christians, but the vast majority of people I come in contact with are all believers.  This led to the dangerous practice of assuming how unbelievers think instead of listening to what unbelievers think.

 

Hannah and I made it a priority several years ago to seek out people who are not Christians to invest in.  It started with a neighbor in Indiana who I played golf with regularly.     Hannah got involved in a mom’s group.  We have seen relations grow through activities our kids are in.  We’ve been able to have conversation about faith and life.  And we’ve   received many questions over the years.

 

There have been some really, tough questions.  It’s been challenging.  But the biggest eye opener has been the lack of responses that unbelievers have received when asking  questions.  Often, people have shared that they’ve been  asking even simple questions “for years” with no response.  Brothers and sisters, we can do better.  We must do better.

 

1 Peter 3:15 says Christians must always be prepared “to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”  This certainly doesn’t mean we must answer every question. But we should at least be able to  answer why salvation gives us hope!

 

Through the month of July, I’ll be preaching a series entitled “Big Questions.”  We’ll be looking at several types of questions that unbelievers have asked.  I’ll follow up that up with “Now, I Have Questions,”  a mini-series about questions that you as a Christian can ask your unbelieving friends.  My hope is that these series will push us all to know the Word of God better and share the gospel more confidently.

 



Newsletter June 2020



Newsletter May 2020

With us not meeting together, it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on at First Baptist.  I wanted to take some time and share with you a few things that are going on.

 

1) People are serving.  We may not be gathering together, but work is still being done.  Becky and Tom Miller have done an amazing job leading worship.  Mike Ferguson and his family have installed new interior signage to make the church more guest friendly.  The trustees have facilitated the installation of new doors on our main entrance.  Melissa Chapman and Darcy Newnum have organized children’s Sunday School material for families (found at www.fbcrobinson.com/quest).  Several of our students have helped with outside yardwork for members.  And I’ve heard several stories of members contacting members to meet needs.  I love my church family!

2) Our digital services are reaching people.  In addition to our many members, our services have been viewed by many other people as well.  Some of our viewers attend churches who are unable to stream.  Some of our viewers have not been able to attend services, but are watching now.  And my favorite—some of our viewers are lost people who have been invited to watch by you!  Let’s continue to make corporate worship a priority.

3) Our digital worship service is top notch.  This involves service, but deserves mention on it’s own Jared Newnum has edited our livestream every week we’ve been apart, and it is beyond amazing.  I’m sure you’ve been focused on the worship, but take a few minutes to appreciate how blessed we are to have a engaging product to watch every Sunday.

4) Families are growing.  One of the biggest blessing to come out of this pandemic will be strengthened families.  More time together can get stressful, but God can use it build stronger bonds within your family.  Most importantly, families are sitting together and worshiping.  Seeing your #fbcrlive pictures brings joy to my face every single week.

5) Our deacons are loving.  The deacons and I have been every Sunday afternoon that we’ve been apart via Zoom.  Each one of these godly men have been using their gifts to service.  Their commitment to families within the church shows why God has called them to be deacons.  And their wisdom in decision making through a difficult time in our church has been invaluable to me.

6) God is providing.  God, showing His infinite grace, allowed us to enter this pandemic with a healthy financial situation.  Our March giving was almost enough to cover 100% of our budgeted needs, despite missing two Sundays.  April was much lower, but we are meeting our budget.  God is good!  The future of the economy is uncertain, but we continue to trust that God is using His people to provide!

7) We don’t know when we’ll meet together again.  The stay-at-home order has been extended through the end of May.  While there are still some provisions for certain businesses opening, large gatherings like church meetings are still discouraged.  When we do meet together again, there may be some changes in our service to make sure that we are continuing to be safe.

 

While the rest of the world is slowing down, God is moving!  The best way to keep in contact with what is going on at First Baptist is by signing up for our text announcements.  You can text “@fbcrob” to 81010 to sign up.

 

 



Newsletter March April 2020

 

We have moved around more times than I’d like.  Since Hannah and I were married in 2006, we have lived in seven different houses in seven different cities serving six different churches.  And with each move, we have felt the awkwardness of living in a place that doesn’t feel like home.  Because many of the moves were quick, we have lived in some houses that never felt like home.  Our one exception has been Robinson, where we felt at home almost immediately!

 

The challenges of living away from “home” do not only apply to cities and houses. The Bible tells us that no matter where a Christian lives on the entire planet, he is not home.  Philippians 3:20 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”  This world is not our home—we are aliens in it.

 

How does our heavenly citizenship affect our earthly  living?  Unfortunately, it typically doesn’t.  We become comfortable in our conditions and live as if there is no eternal home.  Jesus himself warned that focusing too much on an earthly life robs us of blessings in our eternal life.

 

So how do we adjust our living in light of our heavenly citizenship?  Our March sermon series is entitled “Living as Citizens of Heaven” and will show us how God’s Word shapes our eternal perspective.  I hope that you’ll join us as we look beyond our circumstances to find our

eternal, perfect home.

 



Newsletter February 2020

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Does God exist?  And if He does what kind of God is He?  It seems like questions like these have been asked of me a lot lately by several different sources.  How do I believe the Bible when science proves it false? (It doesn’t).  If God is so loving, why does He punish good people?  (He doesn’t).  How can I believe in a God that I can’t see?  (I can see). 

 

Those are not simple questions, nor do they have shallow answers.  However, they should not stump the believer.  1 Peter 3:15 says that as we honor Christ as Lord, we are “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”  Are you prepared to give a defense?  Most of us don’t feel prepared!

 

There are two reactions to 1 Peter 3:15.  The first is defeat.  Many Christians retreat from intellectual conversations out of fear of being humiliated.  They don’t have answers so they don’t like questions.  The second reaction is investigation.  Questions are not our enemy!  Questions lead us to seek out answers.  Read the Bible.  Talk to Godly friends.  Study what faithful theologians are saying.  Learn answers so that you are better prepared!

 

The second reaction is the only appropriate reaction for the believer.  Instead of cowering at the question, “is Christ Lord?”, it places in our hearts, “Christ as Lord.”  So get in your Word.  Talk to unbelievers and let them ask questions.  And use those questions as motivation to study for yourself and grow in your faith.

 



Newsletter December 2019

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During Christmas, the secular world is much more receptive to the things of God.  No where is this clearer than in Christmas music.  Sprinkled in with the Frosty the Snowman and Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer, you find an abundance of clear Biblical hymns that announce the birth of the Jesus.  Words like “Messiah” and “Emmanuel” are on the lips of nearly everyone.  And while God seems to be marginalized more and more in society, Christmas has remained a place where all people have embraced religion.   
 
I can’t help but think that it would be different if people really understood what they were singing.  Most people recite Christmas lyrics mindlessly and never consider the words that they are singing.  Sadly, many Christians also sing these beautiful songs without considering the rich Biblical truth they contain.  I mean, how can we not be moved singing:  
 
“O holy Child of Bethlehem!  Descend to us we pray, Cast out our sin, and enter in; be born in us today.”
O Little Town of Bethlehem  
 
This month, we’ll be looking at four different Christmas songs and the Scriptures that they teach.  I hope you’ll use this month as an opportunity to talk to your friends and family about Christ and the impact his coming at Christmas has had on your life and salvation.  
 


Newsletter November 2019

 

Time and again, we see celebrities espouse Christian beliefs only to drop them later.  Very few people in the spotlight claim a Christian identity and even fewer live it.  So what are we to make of Kanye West’s recent proclamation that Jesus is King?

 

I listened to Kanye’s album.  I don’t typically listen to him (or any rap artist for that matter) and the music isn’t my preference.  I tried to listen to the lyrics, but I struggled to pick up the meaning.  I will say two things about the lyrics:  they are clean and they repeatedly tell of Christ’s saving love.

 

One song in particular hit me.  No, it didn’t hit me.  I  convicted me.  Hands On has these lyrics:

“Said I’m finna (sic) to do a gospel album

What have you been hearing from the Christians

They’ll be the first one to judge me

Make it feel like nobody love me”

 

Did Kanye West just call out my sin?  On his public album?  When Kanye said he was a born again Christian,  I didn’t believe him.  When he said he would produce a gospel album, I thought it was for publicity.  I was the first one to judge me.

 

Is Kanye West a genuine believer in Jesus Christ?  I guess to answer that question, I’d have to ask another question:  can Jesus Christ save Kanye West?  Yes and amen!  When someone confesses Christ publicly, our response should be rejoicing.  Whether you’re convinced of Kanye West’s conversion or not, you should at least honor his request at the end of the song Hands On when a chorus pleads, “Somebody pray for me.”

 



Newsletter October 2019

 
“Where there is no vision, the people perish” – Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)
 
  At a previous church where I served, the previous minister had built a strong ministry.  His leadership style and   personality were a large reason why the ministry had grown to the size it had.  The previous minister had cast a vision and they were now looking at me to lay out a vision for continued growth.  “Without vision, the people perish,” they said.  It was the mantra of a few of them.  God wants a clear vision from His leaders in order to see people come to Christ.
 
 It sounds great.  The mantra even worked to build up a strong ministry.  And it was directly from the Bible!  But there was a major flaw that I had a hard time getting the church to see.  Proverbs 29:18 doesn’t say that a leader should cast a vision to accomplish God’s purposes.  It actually says that without God’s purpose (vision), the people (including the leader) perish.  It puts the emphasis on God’s revelation, not man’s plans.  
 
There are so many individual verses that are misused, taken out of context, or just manipulated to communicate our own personal agendas.  But God’s Word is perfect by itself, without us trying to fit meaning into it.  As Paul charges Timothy, we must be careful to “rightly handle the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).  
 
Through the months of October and November, the sermons will address several verses that are commonly misused or misquoted.  Some of these misinterpretations teach correct doctrine, but miss the deeper message that God is communicating.  Other times, we completely change the meaning of what God is communicating and fall prey to false teaching.  I hope that the coming months will help us to a) correct some errors in how we read the Bible and b) draw us to a more careful study of God’s precious and perfect Word.  


Newsletter September 2019

“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” – Psalm 96:3  
 
First Baptist Church is blessed to support ten missionaries scattered around the globe.  Not only do we send financial support, but we have traveled to serve several of our missionaries including the Coopers in New Zealand in 2013, the Pines and Owens in Great Britain in 2016, and the Butlers in San Francisco in 2019.  Within the past five years, we have hosted the Butlers, the Coopers, the Browns in Mexico, our friends in the Middle East, and our friends in Turkey.  Several other of our missionaries have been here in the more distant past as well.  
 
In the months of September, we will have the privilege of hosting two more of our missionaries. On Sunday, September 1, Jonathan and Joanna Liggett will be a First Baptist to share how God is working in Guatemala.  You may remember the Liggetts, from their Christmas Cheer Pack Ministry.  Each of the past few Christmases they have assembled and distributed gifts to children in their community as a way to then share the gospel with their families.  First Baptist has sent supplies and money to support this ministry.  
 
We also serve friends in China.  Because of the sensitive nature of their ministry, they are unable to share much of their ministry while they are in China.  They are currently in the United States and, while they are unable to be physically with us, they will be sharing with us via video chat on Wednesday, September 18 at 6:30 p.  I would love for you to join us to hear the details of their ministry and ask questions.  
 
God’s will is to make salvation known to every nation.  Your support of our Mission Fund allows First Baptist to partner with our missionaries to carry out this mission.  Our Mission Fund is kept separate from our General (Budgeted) Fund.  To give to our Mission Fund, you can use the offering envelopes in the back of the pew to indicate how much of your offering should go toward our missionaries.  You can also designate a portion of your gift when donating online at www.fbcrobinson.com/give.  I hope that you’ll be praying for all our missionaries, joining us in September to hear from two of our missionaries, and giving faithfully to our Mission Fund to continue our partnerships around the globe.  
 


Newsletter August 2019

 
The topography of Israel is very diverse.  To the south, the land is a low lying, dry and hot desert.  To the north, there are large mountains.  To the west lies a fertile and moderate coast.  If you were to start your day in Jerusalem, you may need shorts and a tee-shirt to be comfortable in the heat.  In less than a day’s journey, you could find yourself in a winter parka scaling a snow capped mountain.  
 
The land is full of mountains and valleys.  Some of the land is great for   farming; others is a desert waste.  Israel’s geography creates a  perfect illustration of the ups and downs in our own lives.  Sometimes we are on the mountain top; other times we are in the valley.  One day we may have fruitful fertile lives; the next we can struggle through the desert.  
 
Christians should especially understand that life is not always lived on the mountain top.  God   doesn’t just allow valleys to interrupt our business.  He intentionally draws us down to the valley.  God Himself has a purpose for every stage of our lives.  And He promises his presence and protection for every stage.  
 
Psalm 23 paints this beautifully.  God “leads me beside still waters” in verse 2 and is still with me in verse 4 when I “walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”  It is God’s presence that gives us comfort in the valley.  It is God’s sovereignty that lets the writer proclaim in verse 1, “I shall not want.”  Even in the valley when we have the least, we lack nothing because God is with us.  
 
Perhaps you’re in a valley.  Fear not!  There is nothing you lack because God is with you.  Do not lose heart—the God who brought you to the valley will bring you out.