Friday, January 29, 2016

7 Things Church Members Should Say to Guests in a Worship Service

  1. “Thank you for being here.” It’s just that basic. I have heard from numerous church guests who returned because they were simply told “thank you.”
  2. “Let me help you with that.” If you see someone struggling with umbrellas, young children, diaper bags, purses, and other items, a gesture to hold something for them is a huge positive. Of course, this comment is appropriate for member to member as well.
  3. “Please take my seat.” I actually heard that comment twice in a church where I was speaking in the Nashville area. The first comment came from a member to a young family of five who were trying to find a place to sit together.
  4. “Here is my email address. Please let me know if I can help in any way.” Of course, this comment must be used with discretion, but it can be a hugely positive message to a guest.
  5. “Can I show you where you need to go?” Even in smaller churches, guests will not know where to find the nursery, restrooms, and small group meeting areas. You can usually tell when a guest does not know where he or she is to go.
  6. “Let me introduce you to ___________.” The return rate of guests is always higher if they meet other people. A church member may have the opportunity to introduce the guest to the pastor, other church staff, and other members of the church.
  7. “Would you join us for lunch?” I saved this question for last for two reasons. First, the situation must obviously be appropriate before you offer the invitation. Second, I have seen this approach have the highest guest return rate of any one factor. What if your church members sought to invite different guests 6 to 12 times a year? The burden would not be great; but the impact would be huge.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

3 Dollars Worth of God

 It has been said that too many Americans have been inoculated with a slight case of Christianity that is preventing them from getting the real thing. Perhaps this has something to do with how much of God people really want. Here is a quote from Wilbur Rees to make you think:

"I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please -
 not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of
warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine.
 I don't want enough of him to make
me love a foreigner or pick beets with a migrant worker.
 I want ecstasy, not transformation;
 I want the warmth of a womb, not a new birth.
 I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
 I'd like to buy $3 worth of God,

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

12 Reasons Why A Pastor Quit Attending Sporting Events

12 Reasons A Pastor Quit Attending Sports Events

1. The coach never came to visit me.
2. Every time I went, they asked for money.
3. The people sitting in my row didn’t seem very friendly.
4. The seats were very hard.
5. The referees made a decision I didn’t agree with.
6. I was sitting with hypocrites—they only came to see what others were wearing!
7. Some games went into overtime and I was late getting home.
8. The band played some songs I had never heard before.
9. The games are scheduled on my only day to sleep in and run errands.
10. My parents took me to too many games when I was growing up.
11. Since I read a book on sports, I feel that I know more than the coaches, anyway.
12. I don’t want to take my children because I want them to choose for themselves what sport they like best.

Obviously, this humorous article is a parody on the excuses people give for not attending church.   , if something is really important in our lives, we will make time for it.  For the majority of people, their recreational activities, social events, and shopping urges always seem to have ample time in their schedules.  If I have to think about what I am doing on Sunday, barring illness, church is not important to me. 

Secondly, we give our money to what we really love.  Show me your checkbook and I will show you what’s important to you.  Amazingly, we can spend hundreds of dollars with no thought on weekend trips and eating out, but often struggle to place five dollars in the offering plate.  This issue isn’t about amount, but about attitude.  When we see ourselves as the source of all we have, God really isn’t important.  Therefore, we see no need to give back that which came from him in the first place.

Worship was never designed by God for our comfort or to entertain us, but to lead us into his presence.  He is the audience.  We are the ones to show Him our love and praise for Him.  With other like-minded believers, we attend to be with Him and adore Him. It is not about me.

Can we  put any excuses aside and worship this Sunday?  And rather than just watching, may we join together on the team bench because we’re more than just spectators.  We’re part of God’s team

Monday, January 25, 2016

Family Ministries

This week's menu for Family Ministries will be Spaghetti, Green Beans, Salad, Garlic Bread and Dessert.  Meal will begin at 5:30 PM, ministries for the entire family will begin at 6:30 PM.

Come out and join the family!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Call to Commitment

What a powerful sermon this morning...A Call To Commitment.
  •  *Why are 100 million church members fail to make a moral or spiriitual impact on our world?
  • *Why are there more empty pews than full pews?
  • *If the Bible is God's Word, why do so many know so little about it?
"God's people most of them, have made a decision about Jesus...but have never made a commitment to Him” Charles Stanley
3 Clear Calls to Commitment
1.  Commitment to personal growth. We are called as disciples or learners.  We are never too old to learn.  Make a commitment to grow spiritually.
2.  Commitment to local church.
Commit to be responsible to the local church.  The church a major way God uses to accomplish His will.  We go to church to get our spiritual tank filled up to go back out and give. 
3.  Commitment to Ministry
Decide (prayerfully) on a church to attend, move in and serve.  Ministry is simply putting our God given gifts to work.
The greatest ability is availability

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

10 Verses For a Bad Day

Sometimes we don’t just have bad days but we have bad weeks, bad months, bad years or bad seasons of life.  During these times, we can feel out of control and in need of encouragement to make it through another long day.

God’s Word is alive and active – it speaks into the darkness and brings light to our soul, joy to our sorrows, hope in despair and strength to our weary bones.

Here’s 10 Verses For When You Are Having a Bad Day

1.) Remember, the Lord is near.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.
~Psalm 34:18
2.)  God is with you and He loves you.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
~Zephaniah 3:17

3.) You are in a spiritual battle – be strong in the Lord!
Be strong in the Lord
and in the strength of his might.
~Ephesians 6:10
4.) You are not alone.
It is the Lord who goes before you.
He will be with you;
he will not leave you or forsake you.
Do not fear or be dismayed.
~Deuteronomy 31:8
5.)  Give your worries to Jesus.
Cast all your anxieties on him,
because he cares for you.
~1 Peter 5:7
6.) Run to Jesus and rest in Him.
 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me,
for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
~Matthew 11:28-30
7.) Keep believing.  Cling to hope.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
~Romans 15:13
8.) This is unnatural, but rejoice.
We rejoice in our sufferings,
knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance produces character,
and character produces hope.
~Romans 5:3,4
9.) Peace is only found in Jesus.
 I have said these things to you,
that in me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation.
But take heart; I have overcome the world.
~John 16:33
10.)  God is present with you. Let Him be your refuge and strength.
God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
~Psalm 46:1

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Family Ministries

This week's menu for Family Ministries Meal will be Chicken and Dumplings and Baked Chicken, Hash Brown Casserole, Mixed Vegetables, Peas, Salad and Dessert. Meal begins at 5:30 PM.

Ministries for the entire family begin at 6;30 PM.  Be encouraged to set aside some time in the midst of life to worship the Lord!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Encouraging Predictions for 2016

With all the problems the world is facing, it can be unsettling to the mind. It's wonderful to know Who really is in control and that "the Word of God endures forever." ~ I Peter 1:25

Here are a few facts we can be sure of as we enter a new year.

1. The Bible will still have all the answers.

2. Prayer will still be the most powerful thing on Earth..

3. The Holy Spirit will still move.

4. God will still honor the prayers of His people.

5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.

6. There will still be singing of praise to God.

7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.

8. There will still be room at the Cross.

9. Jesus will still love you.

10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Word About our Local Pregnancy Care Center

Here is a beautiful description of the ministry of our local Pregnancy Care Center...


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Marks of a Mature Christian - Part 2

  Here is part 2 of "Marks of a Mature Christian."
6) You do not compare yourself to others.
We live in a culture obsessed with looking at magazines and pictures of others and coveting their body, looks and position in life  This is toxic to joy and degrading to God. Comparison produces shame, bitterness and frustration. Spiritually mature Christians understand reaching their full potential does not come from looking horizontally at the world, but looking vertically to God.
7) You listen to others who have a different viewpoint … with the goal of growing and not correcting.
 Spiritually mature Christians understand their perspective is limited. They acknowledge God doesn’t need spiritual police, he needs passionate followers. And followers are listeners. Followers are gleaners. Followers are convicted of their beliefs but are not so close-minded that everyone else is wrong. They understand listening to another viewpoint does not equate to condoning or accepting it.

8) Your heart breaks for the poor and marginalized.

Jesus loved everyone. But Jesus had a special love for the marginalized. Maybe more than any other mark, this mark forms the dividing wall between Jesus and the Pharisees. Jesus loved those without a voice. The poor. The sick. The helpless. The Pharisees only loved those who could help them.
Mature Christians understand this distinction. Their hearts genuinely break for those in the world who don’t have a voice. Their hearts hurt for the poor. They can’t stand to see kids at school get picked on. They can’t stand to think about boys and girls without parents. This is the heart of Christ. And it is the heart of mature Christians.
Mature Christians love those without a voice because they are close to God, and God is close to those without a voice.
9) You understand Christianity doesn’t have an on/off switch.
Christian living does not have an “on/off” switch. Living for God is 24/7/365. Spiritually mature Christians do not find ways to compartmentalize God because He is not part of their life … He is their life (see Romans 12:1-2).
Mature Christians are constantly aware of their surroundings. They are constantly aware of opportunities God is presenting them to disciple, share, love and comfort. Nothing is off limits. The grocery store. A restaurant. The church building. They believe God is always working, and they are not going to miss an opportunity.

10) You have a sustainable rhythm to your life.

Mature Christians are not workaholics or lazy slobs. They are not underachievers or overachievers. They believe health is important. They find value in exercise. They find value in vacationing. They find value in a regular Sabbath. They find value in hobbies.
They understand living for Jesus and being the most effective servant possible means living holistically.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

On January 17, 2016, we will celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday (SoHLS). SoHLS is a day for Americans to focus on the value of each and every human life. It is celebrated every year on the Sunday closest to the anniversary of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decisions Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which legalized abortion in every state for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy.
President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation creating the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day in January 1984, and it included these words:

"We have been given the precious gift of human life, made more precious still by our births in or pilgrimages to a land of freedom. It is fitting, then, on the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that struck down State anti-abortion laws, that we reflect anew on these blessings, and on our corresponding responsibility to guard with care the lives and freedoms of even the weakest of our fellow human beings."  

In addition to pausing to reflect how each of us are fearfully and wonderfully made, there will be the opportunity to provide support for our local Pregnancy Care Center. An offering will be collected during the morning worship service to go towards the ministry of PCC. 

Be encouraged to begin now to...
KNOW - and thank the God who gives all life
SHOW - others His love
GO - give to and support our local Pregnancy Care Center to help those in our community to choose life. 

Family Ministries Menu

This week our Family Ministries Meal menu will be one of our favorites...

Baked Potatoes with all the fixings, chili and soup, salad and dessert.  Meal begins at 5:30 PM, all ministries begin at 6:30 PM.

We love and appreciate our families!!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Prayer Time

Starting in January, Franklin Graham will visit all 50 states, challenging Christians to pray for the country and take a stand for their faith. This urgent mission has been dubbed the Decision America Tour, and you can be part of it.

Next Tuesday January 12th Franklin Graham will be in Tallahassee preaching and praying at the Capitol during the lunch hour.  Westwood Baptist church is opening the doors and Altar for prayer from 11:00 – 1:00 for any who would like to come and pray. Other churches in our association are also encouraged to open their doors for a prayer time.

At each stop, Franklin Graham will hold a prayer rally, calling on Americans to boldly live out their faith and help turn the country back to God.
Franklin will ask Christians to pray for the country, vote for people who hold biblical values and run for public office at every level. He will not endorse any candidates in the 2016 race but will preach the Gospel at each rally.
2 Chronicles 7:14 "If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Top 10 Most Popular Bible Verses

#1  John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

#2  Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

#3  Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare  and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

#4  Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

#5  Isaiah 40:31

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

#6  2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

#7  Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest.

#8  Matthew 28:19

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.

#9  Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

#10  Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.

Click HERE for a printable to place in your Bible or on the refrigerator.  These would be great to keep in front of us!!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Family Ministries This Week

Family Ministries will be back on schedule this week.  What a wonderful opportunity to begin a New Year by bringing the family to Family Ministries!  Our prayer is for our families to take time out of their busy schedules, come together and spend time growing in the Lord.  It takes sacrifice and faithfulness, but the benefits of growth in our lives, families, churches and community will bring blessings which will last for generations.  Be encouraged to be a part of Family Ministries.

The meal will begin at 5:30 PM and this week's menu will be BBQ Pork, French Fries, Baked Beans, Cole Slaw and Dessert.  Ministries for the entire family will begin at 6:30 PM.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Marks of a Mature Christian - Part 1

Just like we develop as humans, we also develop as Christians. And just like there are markers for physical and mental maturation, there are also markers for spiritual maturation.
Spiritual maturity is not about age. 
Spiritual maturity is not about achievements.
Spiritual maturity is not about appearance. 

Marks of a Mature Christian

1) The highs and lows of life don’t impact your relationship with God.
Mature Christians, do not allow the highs and lows of life to impact their walk with God. They are consistent. Oh, yes, they celebrate the mountaintop moments, but they do not rely on those moments to sustain their faith.
2) You find value in the “daily-ness” and trivial seasons of life.
Be patient in the mundane activities of life. God is still working. Whatever you do in secret, God will reveal in public.
When nothing “awesome” is happening, many Christians leave or give up. They believe every day is supposed to be a day when God rocks the world. Mature Christians understand the value in mundane and trivial seasons.

3) You are at peace with situations beyond your control.
Are we living in dark days? Absolutely. Are the acts carried out by ISIS and other terror organizations awful? Beyond awful, they are heinous.
But mature Christians don’t allow the latest buzz on the news to derail their lives. They don’t waste time worrying and freaking out over situations beyond their control.
They pray hard. They act on the situations they can control. But they don’t allow a second of their day to be wasted on conspiracy theories or sensationalized new stories.
God’s got this. He is sovereign over everything. That includes ISIS. That includes the apparent downfall of America. And as long as God’s got this, there is no reason to freak out.

4) You don’t allow disciplines to take a back seat.

It never fails. If I reflect on a season of my life where I did not feel close to God, there was one constant: spiritual disciplines were lacking or non-existent.
Meditation. Bible study. Prayer. Solitude. Worship. Community. Confession. Fasting. These are non-negotiable for spiritual maturity and continued intimacy with God. People who struggle with consistency and intimacy in their walk with God are the ones that constantly place everything ahead of God. Spiritually mature Christians do not allow time or busyness to be excuses. They find time. They create space. They make whatever sacrifices necessary to live a spiritually disciplined life.
5) You maintain a childlike sense of wonder and awe.
As adults, we have a tendency to lose our childlike sense of wonder toward the world and our surroundings. Maybe this is why Jesus told his disciples we must become like little children to inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:3). Children take risks. Children don’t put up walls based on skin color. Children see the beauty and joy in life. Children find joy in eating Cheerios underneath the couch.
Mature Christians have a childlike nature. They don’t easily become bored. They celebrate. They laugh. They don’t put up walls. They view life as a gift. They see opportunity where others see failure. They have a healthy naivety.
Becoming a child doesn’t mean you are immature. It means you refuse to accept the joyless, bored life that often associates adulthood.