Six years ago, I was called to First Baptist Church Talladega as pastor. During the interview process, the committee was clear with me that FBC was a church in need of revitalization, and I was clear with them that the burden of my heart was to serve as a revitalization pastor. We talked during those interviews about what had gone wrong at FBC, what changes were needed and what it would take to implement those changes.
In the six years that I have served FBC so far, we have seen God do an amazing work of revitalization. The work is still ongoing, but FBC is already a different church than it was because of what God has done.
I want to share with you six lessons I have learned in these years of revitalization work. I pray they may be an encouragement to you whether you are a member of a church in need of revitalization or whether you are a pastor seeking to be used of God in revitalization work.
Click here to read the 6 lessons.
Thoughts from the-scroll.com
Committing God’s Word to memory will help us stand strong when facing temptation, discouragement and fear. You may not know right now how God will use the verses you memorize to strengthen you, but the day will come when you are thankful for the Scripture you have stored up in your heart.
“Fighting with the sword of the Spirit”
Encourage each other without coddling each other. You’re going to mess up — by forgetting or by purposefully rejecting — but a gentle push from your partner is a good step to getting back on track quickly.
We are serving the Lord Jesus Christ! So in whatever you do this coming week, do it in the service of Christ.
When we live our daily lives for the sake of Christ’s Kingdom and we are motivated by the joys of being invited to join in on God’s timeless work of redemption and displayed glory, what can damper that?
Thoughts on successful marriages
The most effective witness today is a godly family. The quality of one’s family life is a prerequisite for leadership in the church.
One of the changes taking place today in marriage is a decline in understanding between marriage partners. There is also a loss of determination to stay married. After all, divorce has become too easy.
Happy marriages don’t just happen; they involve hard work. Effort can compensate for the corrosion of time and the inevitable decline of happiness in marriage.
Lack of effort results from special problems for incompatible or unskilled couples.
Marriage is better when a husband and wife put forth effort, both in the long run as well as the short.
With effort, spouses can hold the line of deterioration and develop their relationship from year to year. Marriage cannot grow if you don’t work on it.
Too often couples are part of a marriage that is empty. In such a marriage, couples will be hostile to each other, compete and even try to destroy each other.
They tolerate each other some of the time, and at other times it is an open warfare. There is an emotional divorce, which can lead to infidelity.
Why would one prefer admiration from another woman or man more than from his/her own spouse?
Some people are so maladaptive and hungry for admiration that they desperately crave attention to keep their ego built up. Men may doubt their masculinity, and women may doubt their femininity. The bait is not “sex” but “ego satisfaction.”
Infidelity or circumstantial adultery begins when another person meets his/her ego and emotional needs.
By Morris Murray Jr.
Counselor and minister
“One of the factors in our longevity together is the fact that we can forgive each other,” said James Walker on he and his wife, Mattie, being married for 70 years. The couple are members of First Baptist Church Benton, Arkansas.
“Whether in our homes, workplaces, neighborhoods or among the nations, God wants to use His children as missionaries so that all may know Him.” said Tara Dew, wife of Jamie Dew, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, speaking during the Abide women’s conference, held on the seminary’s campus.
“I only know that I experienced Christ and left uplifted and encouraged. I drove back to Alabama with a renewed desire to see true revival spread worldwide,” said Rob Jackson, who shared his experience of attending a worship service on the campus of Asbury University, where reports of revival have continued to spread.
“No matter what circumstance or situation we find ourselves in, Jesus Christ is truly the only person that can turn somebody’s life around. I get to watch God show up and show out. It’s amazing to watch. He still works miracles,” said Kay Bennett, a missionary with the North American Mission Board who serves in New Orleans.
“Walking in and genuinely seeing people I am walking everyday life with, step up and let the Spirit speak through them was life changing … to see people with beautiful God-given gifts singing out, speaking up and allowing the Holy Spirit to orchestrate that night. I’ve never seen the campus more unified,” said Madeleine Crow, a student at Samford University, reflecting on worship services on campus.
“Disciple-making is not a program — it’s a lifestyle,” said Bill Wilks, founder of D-Life and pastor of NorthPark Baptist Church in Trussville. “We don’t need any more new programs. Amen? We’ve got more programs than we could ever possibly know how to use.”
From the Twitterverse
Some of the greatest, godliest, most faithful pastors I know preached to small crowds in small places with no response and no visitors [on Sunday]. Yet, they are mighty in the Word, prayer and every biblical measure of pastoral faithfulness. The Lord knows, men. Stay the course!
I am overwhelmed with what God did in our church. … People confessing sin, crying out to God, weeping, loving on each other and sharing their hearts. My soul. Everybody saw God move in a powerful way. Pray we continue to see this. God is so good. May He get the glory.
Serving on the @SBCExecComm is humbling and weighty. … We work with the knowledge that whatever decisions we make, somebody is not going to agree. We can handle the criticism, but would more appreciate your prayers.
“Nothing we despise in the other man is entirely absent from ourselves.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Pastors, your wife is the barometer of your family. Barometers measure pressure. She has a God-given gift to measure and know the pressure in your home that ministry creates in a way you cannot. Listen to her. Took a lot of painful years before I learned this.
Something that has surprised me as I’ve read through the Bible this year is how invested my heart is in their stories and lives. I weep and mourn with them! Is this part of getting older? Also, God is more merciful than I could ever have imagined!
The loss of the Lord’s Day evening worship gathering is one of the great tragedies of the contemporary church.
The further along in years I get in pastoring, it’s the littlest things that are the biggest blessings … like having a personnel committee chairman who ends every phone conversation we have with, “I love you.”
Tears, Holy Spirit goosebumps and crowds aren’t the evidence of true revival. Revival is evident when God’s people get serious about the calling on their life to know Him and to make Him known. When the church repents, obeys and walks in holiness … cities and nations are changed!
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