ONE Service - 2015

10-18-2015-930-ONE Service-We Are Antioch

We gathered together as a church family yesterday for ONE Service. This was a challenging undertaking as we met together for worship, family business, and the declaration of God's Word together in one service. Based on what people have been buzzing about the past day, there was great joy and excitement in gathering together. 

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I'm excited for ONE Service 2016. We're already planning it.

ONE Service 2015 from First Family on Vimeo.

 


Talk Is Cheap - Part 5 - The Implanted Word

10-11-2015 Talk is Cheap - Part 5 - Receiving the Word

When I was a kid, I would plant beans in cups in my room. It’s weird, but I was a weird kid. My mom would buy bags of dried beans at the grocery - you know lima beans, great northern (or butter) beans, etc. I’m not sure why I wanted to do this, but I would take some of those beans, put some dirt in a cup and plant them in a little one-bean garden in my room.

Eventually, this became part of the required science project in junior high school. Amazingly (at least to me) these beans would sprout and grow. I never had any beans grow on my bean plants, but they always would sprout and grow. Some became pretty tall.

I was probably the only kid in school growing beans in cups in my room. Now, I knew of some other students who grew plants in their rooms, but I was never allowed to hang out with them. I think they eventually got caught.

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I was never a gardener, but some of you are. We have master gardeners here in the church family. I do not know the intricacies of gardening. It requires more patience than I have, I guess.  But those of you who know more about that, know the principles referred to in Scripture regarding gardening and faith. You know, “You reap what you sow” and the like.

The Bible actually uses a number of references related to agriculture and life outside the city. It’s wise not to skip these portions just because you may not live on a farm or grow your own food. The deeper truths are there and vital.

In James' letter in the New Testament he speaks of the need to receive with meekness the implanted word. It made me think of those beans I used to plant, for some reason. 

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:19-21 (ESV)

This is a reference to Christians who have been born again. This word is the gospel. It has been given to us as a gift. Jesus spoke of this. James referenced this. 

In John’s account of Jesus’ life, he shares a moment where Jesus spoke to religious leaders who sought to kill him.

I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. John 8:37 (ESV)

Jesus is speaking to people who are people who were highly religious and looked upon well by those in society. They were the celebrity preachers of the day and were greatly loved. They knew their Bible (well, the Old Testament at least) and could quote it verbatim. They looked well, dressed well, spoke well and yet. . .Jesus calls them out.

Apparently, the implantation of the word of God (a phrase I never hear anyone using) is more biblical than “praying the prayer” and “asking Jesus into your heart.” 

What Is the Result of Not Receiving This Word?

Apart from the reception of the implanted word, religion is dead.

Maybe that’s what has happened to most of the churches in our nation?

Maybe that’s why the mission has seemingly been forsaken?

Maybe that’s why we lament that “things are really getting bad?”

Maybe we have spent too much time focusing on behaving well rather than the reception of the word and therefore have fallen into the mundane walk of a religion with no power?

Could it be that we have unknowingly become more like the ones wanting to throw stones at Jesus than like Jesus Himself? Not consciously, but perhaps it has occurred.

Maybe that’s why it is so difficult a concept to quantify the command to “make disciples?” 

Maybe that’s why we think that by doing more religious activity we are forwarding the Kingdom of God?

In the midst of this reality, there is great news. All we have to do is put away and receive.

New birth is received through surrender to God’s Spirit, the repentance of sin and reception of Jesus Christ as Lord.

The Spirit carries the word into our lives and reveals the truth of Christ that is not possible just by choice. It’s by God’s design.

Life is given through the word and through that word of Truth, we are transformed.

The Spirit of God dwells within the children of God. The word of God is implanted within the children of God.

Verse 21 tells us the result of receiving this implanted word is the salvation of our souls. Don’t underestimate this.

It’s truly a simple principle, when you think about it. “Put away” and “receive.” Maybe you have a desire, but that hasn’t been enough for you to see life change. Maybe you were sincere in your prayer to receive Christ. . .but still there’s something not quite right. It’s not about having everything figured out. It’s about total surrender - perhaps the one thing keeping many who have “prayed the prayer” from being disciples of Christ.

What If?

What if we did this? What if we received with meekness the implanted word? What if total surrender happened today? What if church attenders and even church members took the dangerous step of faith into living as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

It’s not adding something into our lives. It’s replacing something.

You and your sins must separate, or you and your God cannot come together. - Charles Spurgeon


Talk Is Cheap - Part 3 "The Ordination of Robert Powell"

09-27-2015 Talk is Cheap - Part 3 - Calling Out

I have had the honor of seeing many young men and women step up and say "Yes" to God regarding calling into ministry. As I reflected on the men and women serving Him in various churches, missions, ministries and even in the workplace that I have had the honor of knowing over the years, I have been humbled by God's grace.

Yesterday, we had the privilege of licensing and ordaining Robert L. Powell to the Gospel Ministry. Robert grew up in Orange Park as a regular attender and member of First Baptist Church. At age twelve, he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and as a high school senior, he said "yes" to the calling into full-time ministry. He has since graduated from The Baptist College of Florida and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and currently serves as the Children's Ministry Assistant Pastor at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in Baker, Florida.

He has been called out, equipped, sent out and set apart for God's glory and His ministry. 

Robert Powell Ordination


Talk Is Cheap - Part 2

09-20-2015 Talk is Cheap - Part 2 - On the Team

Ever tried out for a sports team as a kid and discovered, much to your surprise, that when the final cuts were made, you were NOT on the team? That was my seventh grade baseball experience and effectively shifted me to basketball and a career of bad church softball.

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There is a truly awkward feeling to show up at at party, thinking you are in the right place, only to discover that you weren't really invited. 

Sometimes people feel this way in church or around believers. It's not a clique issue (though those are issues) but one of family. When the conversations go places spiritually and you just feel lost, thinking "What are they talking about?" there is a sense that you're standing at the punch bowl at the party, but truly aren't part of the group.

Some, tragically, have committed their lives to church or religion and missed Christ in the process. This type of faith is a superficial, dead faith and when trials come, is revealed for what it is.

Maybe this is why there are so many non-attending church members in our churches today, relegated to the "Whatever happened to them?" files.

This message looks at James chapter 1 and digs into this reality.

Yet, here's the good news of the Gospel - there is an open invitation to join the family of God. The gift of salvation awaits. Listen to this message and if you need to talk to someone personally about where you stand with Christ, comment below.


The Fam - Part 4 - "Rites of Passage"

08-30-2015 - The Fam - Part 4 - Rites of Passage

“When does a child become an adult? When does a boy become a man? When does a girl become a woman?” 

  • Age 13 – Teenager, no longer eating off the kids menu (legally.)
  • Age 15 – Driver’s permit?
  • Age 16 – Driver’s license?
  • Age 18 – Legal to vote?
  • Age 21 – Legal to drink?
  • When puberty hits? (Different for everyone?)
  • When puberty ends? (Somewhere around 25 or maybe 30?)
  • When they get a job?
  • When they have sexual relations?

The culture is confused, in so many ways, but this challenge of growing up is being stunted and causing more problems for families and individuals than ever in the past.

Have you ever heard of the term “adultescent?”

This is the moniker attached to adults who “fail to launch” and choose to remain home, stay unmarried, refuse commitments and continue to live as if they were 16 well up into their 30s. Unfortunately, some of this trend can be traced to parents who, though well-intentioned, have lacked the tools to usher their children into adulthood. In most cases, the parents never had a defining moment of adulthood, so creating one becomes the challenge.

Male and female genders are intentionally and strategically created by God for the individual even before conception. Authentic manhood and womanhood are bestowed. God has intended for parents to lead out in this area. 

But, what about those who grew up in homes where there was no father or mother speaking truth into their lives?

What about parents who don’t know how to do this?

What about the teenagers who are living far outside the boundaries of morality and godliness? 

Many parents just laugh it off and say “Let kids be kids.” While I think kids should be able to have fun and be kids, the frustration is that when adults who have all the trappings of adulthood live as though they are little more than kids in big people clothes.

Rites of passage are essential

Watch this video from our ROPE series. This is one designed for parents of 13 year olds.

7th Grade - First Family Rite of Passage 2 from First Family on Vimeo.

It’s one thing to say “You need to create rites of passage for your kids at different stages and ages” and something totally different to say “Let us help you in this journey.”

Parents, grandparents, kids - We’re here to help you in this journey.

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (ESV)

Click the image below to be taken to the Rites of Passage Experiences (ROPE) page.

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The Fam - Part 3 - "Redeemed Family"

08-23-2015 - The Fam - Part 3 - Redeemed Family

When you hear principles of parenting or marriage and you know the information is right and good, do you ever feel that for you and your family "it's too late"?

"If I knew then what I know now" is heard over and over again.

Knowing that God redeems our past is incredible, but sometimes even that doesn't bring the comfort needed. Why is this? In this message, I share plainly how we, as believers, are often victim to the lies that keep us from living as redeemed children of God in a redeemed family.

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