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June 2010

Posts from May 2010

Be the Church - Offering #1 for Honduras Church Plant

I had announced that we would be taking a mission team to Honduras this summer, but after talking with Pastor Jose, it seems that we are better served at this point in working to raise the funds to purchase and have installed the concrete floor for the new church building.  This church will be called the "New Jerusalem Baptist Church" and will be located on the island of Guanaja.  This island is just off the east coast of Honduras and is part of the country.

Pastor Cruz has already purchased land and has secured a builder who will donate time and material to put up the church's frame.  The only thing needed at this time is the foundation.  The cost of having concrete transported from the mainland to the island is almost $10,000.  At first, I thought it crazy to try to raise this amount of money.  Then. . . well, I prayed about it.

Ryan Rouse was sent to the island earlier this year to scope out the area and bring back some images of the people and land.  There is definitely a need for a Bible teaching church in this community.  We have been given a great task and I believe with our "Be the Church" emphasis, we are expected by God to step up.

A few weeks ago I shared about Spirit Airlines.  They offer very affordable rates to Honduras from Orlando.  The only problem is that the airport Spirit flies to is far from where we are working.  In other words, there's no cost savings in this.

We have had some show interest in an August trip, but to be honest, the number of folks who can go this August on such short notice as well as the intense labor that will be required makes it more feasible to raise the funds and have the floor put in.

Our plan is to then put together a work team, following the construction of the frame and roof, to finish out the interior and begin working with Jose to reach the people in the community.

So, if you were one who signed up to go in August, just wait.  The time will come.

Now, we have set a goal for $6,000 for our first offering on June 13.  We ask families (some families are individuals, others have many members) to pray about giving $150 each toward this offering.  With this smaller goal, I am confident we will raise the $6,000 plus more.  All monies raised through these occasional "Be the Church" offerings will go toward mission opportunities, trips and activities.  We will not have many of these BTC offerings, but when we do, they will be for specific projects.  Any extra funds raised will go toward our "Global Missions Fund" which gives us resources for mission work in the community and throughout the world.

Since these funds do not go into our budget, please, please, please do not give to the "Be the Church" offering until after you have given your tithes and offerings to the church.

The gifts, as always, are to be generous and sacrificial.  Does God need your money?  Absolutely not, but by giving with a generous heart (or "good eye") you can be a part of the bigger story.  It shows that we truly trust God.

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John & Stasi Eldredge's "Love & War" Live Simulcast at First Baptist in November

I know it's a little early to promote a November event, but we want you to get this on your calendar.  You'll be hearing more about the conference as we get closer to November, but here are the basics. . .

John & Stasi Eldredge, best-selling authors of Wild at Heart & Captivating have written their first marriage book, titled "Love & War."  This book has instantly become a best-seller and we are excited about hosting this live satellite simulcast with the Eldredges on November 6.

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The conference will cost $15 per person or $25 per couple.  The doors open at 9am with the conference teaching beginning at 10am.  The conference wraps up at 4pm.



Pornography in the Church

It's the dirty little secret no one wants to talk about. . .pornography.

Do people in the church have a porn problem?  Absolutely.  Many have admitted to being drawn into pornography's trap and find it very difficult to escape.

Check out this email I received from Tony Steward, Online Community Pastor of Lifechurch.tv:

If half the men in your church lost their jobs, how would you respond? If women were experiencing miscarriages at a rapidly increasing rate, would you start to ask questions? What if 90% of the youth in your church were exposed to a deadly virus?

Hopefully, the above situations will never come true but they do give you a sense of how heavily pornography now saturates our lives and churches. Some recent statistics --

  • 53% of Christian men consume pornography.
  • 17% (and rapidly increasing) of all women struggle with pornography addiction.
  • 90% of 8-16 year olds have viewed porn online (most while doing homework).

People who counsel for sexual and pornography addiction note we’ve reached the 40-year mark of pornography’s availability in our homes. Starting in the 1970s with VHS tapes, and in the 1990s with the Internet, the easy availability and exposure of pornography has influenced an entire generation’s adolescence, dating, and marriages.

In church settings, many of us have discussed pornography from the pulpit or offered events like Porn Sunday (XXXChurch.com) to teach people about the dangers of sexual sin -- and to explain how to find recovery. But, for those in your congregation who have a problem (man or woman), is there a safe place for them to find help?

Every week, the Church Online team at LifeChurch.tv connects with people who are dealing with sexual addiction. Many find safety in the distance or in the anonymity of online ministry, and feel like they can finally let their guard down. For me, the most surprising group of people we connect with are pastors who are trapped in pornography addiction and haven’t had been able to find a safe place to confess and receive prayer.

These interactions, and the overwhelming presence of sexual issues in people we connect with, helped us realize the need to specifically address the real-life effects of pornography, both as an event and in long-term opportunities for care.

ThePornEvent.com (http://thepornevent.com) is our response to the influence of pornography in our community, and you are welcome to join us.

From May 23-28, LIfeChurch.tv and XXXChurch.com are offering this event to help people who are caught in pornography’s grip. It’s an interactive 25-minute online experience with segments for men and women. Anyone from any church, any country, and any place can attend. They can be anonymous if they want, they can receive prayer, and they can get connected with a next-steps group that will offer preliminary help and a path to a safe recovery group.

This may be something you or a loved one is dealing with.  I encourage you to check out ThePornEvent.com for help.  It's a good start to healing.

Some follow-up material and help can be found at Defender Ministries. (http://www.defenderministries.com/)


Scholarships for Military Servicemen & Women (and Spouses) at The Cove

I just received an email from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.  They operate a training center in Asheville, North Carolina called The Cove.  It's a beautiful location where people can "get away from it all" and reconnect with God and others.

Here's the e-mail from The Cove. . .

Dear Servicemember,

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is proud of you and other brave men and women in uniform, and we appreciate your service to our country. To show our thanks, we are pleased to offer full scholarships for active-duty military personnel and their spouses to attend a seminar at The Cove, located in Asheville, N.C.

Come renew your spirit through encouragement and sound biblical teaching from respected Christian speakers. You will also enjoy the quiet seclusion of our mountain retreat, complete with winding trails, relaxing rooms, and celebrated cuisine. Most importantly, you will have plenty of time and space to be alone with God.

For more information, a schedule of speakers, or to make reservations, call us at 1-800-950-2092 or visit www.billygraham.org/TheCove.

We love our military servicemen and women and I wanted to make sure you were aware of this opportunity.  Check the schedule and manage your leave time.  Take advantage of this and enjoy the time away.


Baptism in Jesus' Name

I showed some of the photos of our trip to Israel last night and ran out of time (again.)  I ended with one of my favorite stories of the trip and trips past.  Looking at photos of the southern excavation and steps on the southern side of the Temple area, we discussed the happenings of Acts 2.  Here Peter preached and many were saved.  Following this salvation experience, they were baptized.  The question for years has been "where?"  Archeologists have uncovered many mikvah bathing pools right on the steps of the Temple.  These ritual baths were performed by Jews during the time of Christ (as well as before and in some circles of Judaism, even today.)  These "baths" were to be done nude, in a covered area, very modest and to prepare the individual to enter into Temple worship.

One of the keys is the name in which the person was to be baptized.  We baptize today in Jesus' name.  Ever wonder why?  Watch the clip below as our guide Yoni Gerrish explains the area, the ritual baths and the amazing (even to Hebrew scholars) concept of being baptized in Jesus' name.


Just a Few Things That Ought to Be

I'm sitting in a hotel in Orlando today waiting for the second game for our girl's AAU basketball tournament at Disney.  Some random thoughts started coming to mind.  My mind is like a television set when I have the remote control in hand - meaning I'm constantly changing channels.  Most men will do this, constantly change channels.  Why?  Because a man doesn't care what's on television.  Men just care what else is on television.  

So, these random thoughts came to mind of things that just ought to be:

  • There should be a Fuddrucker's or Red Robin near my home.  Great hamburgers.
  • The Loop needs to come back to Fleming Island.
  • While we're at it, someone needs to open a Sonny's near my home.
  • NBA teams should never wear their dark "away" uniforms at home games (I hope the Cavaliers are reading this.)  It's very confusing and goes against all the unwritten rules of team sports uniforms.
  • While I'm talking about uniforms, all teams should go back to the trend of wearing home uniforms that have the mascot name on the jersey and the away uniforms that have the city name on them.  All teams used to do this, but now it's so random.
  • High school girls should never get two technical fouls in basketball games due to cussing on the court.  Not very lady-like.  This happened in our game yesterday with a girl on the other team.  The refs tossed her.  Nice.  She was the other team's best shooter, too.
  • The coverage of the devastation in Nashville due to flooding should be more of a news story than it is.
  • Shampoo should smell good, but not like fruit.  Why?  Because it doesn't taste like fruit and if you're shampooing your hair and hungry and taste you're shampoo, you'll be greatly disappointed.  Not that I've ever done, this, but it could happen.
  • Candy should be health food.
  • Deodorant should be required for all teenagers on any youth trip.  I don't go on these much anymore, but I remember that many times students just haven't started the habit of regular bathing and using deodorant.  I vote that it be required, especially on a long church bus ride.

Oh, there's many more, but I have to leave.  Time for our next game.