Welcome to Lagniappe for the Soul!

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Welcome to the new staff blog of First Baptist Church of Eunice.

You will fiImagend posts each week here from different members of our church staff.  Some posts will be informative, some will be reflective, some with celebrate, some educate and at least every once in a while, some will entertain.  Some will be original, some will be great stuff that we just want to pass along.

So check in here several times a week and see what is happening.  (Usually we will put a note on Facebook when new content goes live.)

Pastor Tim

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A Thought About Grief and Faith

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griefIn these days, we have several members of our church family walking in grief. As I read Job 3 this morning, my heart was drawn to them.

You are no doubt familiar with the story of Job. You know of his great wealth and his great loss.  You know of his great statements of faith in chapter 1 and chapter 2.

He acknowledged God’s grace, stating he had no right to any of the gifts he had been given.  He acknowledged God’s trustworthiness, wondering how anyone could celebrate God’s blessings and then recoil when that same God delivered hardship to their life.

Job was a rock the week of his family’s funerals. But then a mere chapter (and seven days) later he speaks words of deepest hopelessness. He wishes he had never been born.

His world was shaken. By the end of chapter 3 he says is “I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have not rest, but trouble comes.” He has been crushed. It is a very different picture than the paragon of assurance you would have met at the funeral home.

The rest of the book contains the journal of Job’s long, anguished wrestling with the biggest questions of life. But what I am reminded of here is that Job was both a person of deep faith … and a person completely undone by the pain that had engulfed him.

And I know he is not alone. Dear friend, your faith does not seal your heart from pain. But neither does your pain invalidate the strength of your faith. Answers do not come quickly nor easily nor completely as attested by the rest of the Book of Job.

But the mere presence of this book in our Bibles assures us that God has, in fact, heard every word and thought of our wounded hearts. And He will be, in due time, the one who heals your heart.

New Sermon Series

Rooted Sermon ArtBaptist is our middle name.

But what does it mean to be a Baptist?  Are you even sure if you are a Baptist or if you want to be a Baptist?  Why does our church do what we do?  Does any of it make a difference?

I am excited to begin this new sermon series this week that I hope will answer some of these questions.  The biggest thing I want you to hear in these weeks is that we do not do things to be Baptist.  Instead, we are called Baptists because we do what we do, based on our convictions from God’s Word.

While many today run away from denominational labels (and to be clear our last name is more important than our middle name) there is a strong solidarity that we share with those who are called Baptists across the globe.  These men and women have been at the same time revolutionary and faithful for more than four centuries.

In this series we will be looking at what our church believes about six key topics. Our conclusion on these doctrines is what makes us Baptist.

To be clear, a handful of times we will contrast our belief with those of other churches. But I assure you, we will not be bashing any other church or denomination, only clarifying our own conviction.

Baptists have never been perfect and that is why our loyalty is to Jesus rather any earthly structure. But over the next seven weeks, join us as we discover our Roots. I believe your faith will be strengthened as we handle doctrine together.

A Portable Cross?

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A few years ago the College of William and Mary received some unwanted media attention for their decision to remove a two foot brass cross from its focal point in campus’s historic Wren Chapel.  The chapel has been in use since 1732.  In that day nearly the entire student population would have identified itself as Christian.  Twice daily chapel attendance was mandatory for all students.

Yet, in the intervening years much has changed.  The chapels are no longer mandatory and the student body is no longer all Christian.  In fact, many other faiths are present on campus and often use the chapel.  Several have found the presence of the Christian cross to be offensive to their own religious practices.  So the administration removed the cross from its permanent location.  (The cross could be displayed by request for special events).

This decision resulted in outrage both on campus and off campus.  At least one donor had withdrawn a pledge of a multi-million dollar donation.

In response a compromise was offered.  The cross wouldl be on permanent display once again in the chapel.  But it appears the solution is worse than the original problem.  The cross be displayed in a glass case with a label describing its historic significance, along with other items used for worship and devotion.

But the cross of Jesus can not be stored in some safe container.  It has no peers and it would be better to display no cross than to introduce a cross of convenience designed for harmless reflection.

Now, before we get too outraged by this university’s decision, we must give consideration to what place the cross has in our own lives.  Does it come and go as needed?  Is it kept in isolation so as not to contaminate the rest of our lives?  Does it have to share space with “other objects of devotion”?

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel-not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.   For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Cor 1:17-18 NIV

May the cross be central in my life this week.

Tim

3 Ways to Make the Most of Holy Week (Plus Bonus Idea)

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Photo Mar 30, 6 00 52 PMWithout a doubt this week is the high point of the Christian calendar.  Everything we believe is anchored in what we celebrate this week.  Traditionally, Resurrection Sunday is the best and most exciting Sunday of the entire year.  Millions will choose to make this Sunday the one Sunday they attend church this year.

But if we are honest, nearly every believer has at least once in their life come to the end of Easter Sunday and said “it was okay…”  How can we make sure this week is full of Majesty instead of “meh”?

1.  Read along.

Take some time this week to read through the Gospel of accounts of Jesus’ arrest, trials, execution and resurrection.  Read them through from beginning to end at single settings.  Let power of Jesus’ Passion wash over you.

Each of Gospels carries a full account.  Take a different gospel each day and compare the points of view.  But more than that, read these chapters like you were discovering the story the for the first time.

  • Matthew 26-28
  • Mark 14-16
  • Luke 22-24
  • John 18-21

2.  Pull back.

Use this week to observe a type of “mini Lent,” focused on your mind and spirit rather than on your body or your appetite.  Find a source of noise to shut down this week (tv, radio, Facebook, wall to wall cable news, etc), simplify your schedule (ask yourself if this can be put off till next week), and seek some solitude (get up a little earlier, go for a walk, find a quiet place to have lunch by yourself).

3.  Gather in worship.

It is a full week.  All holidays get a bit crazy with meals to prepare, family to entertain, and extra hours to supervise kids.  But I urge you to build your week around your church’s worship events.

Our church is gathering for two important worship events.  On Thursday we will remember Jesus’ last meal with His disciples and watch as He turns His face to the cross.  On Sunday we will celebrate His victory over sin and death!

All of this made stronger when we gather with others in worship.  Don’t miss being in that number.  Don’t choose one over the other.  Be sure to experience the full arch of Holy Week.

Bonus — 

Create a Resurrection playlist for Sunday morning.  Spent time as a family thinking about Resurrection songs, surf the web for some ideas, ask some friends on Facebook what they are listening to.  You can use your phone or YouTube.  You can burn a cd or make a mix tape.  Just have it loaded it up and ready to greet you as wake up with wonder and worship on Resurrection Day!

Modern Martyrs

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By now you have likely seen the news footage of the 21 Coptic Christians who were beheaded by ISIS over the weekend.

These images and these acts make our heads spin and our hearts ache. We are horrified by the extent of evil routinely perpetrated by this group. Our hearts are stirred by the bravery of these believers. We grieve with the families of those slain. We worry about how this might one day effect us.

May we be again reminded of the struggles of fellow believers around the world. Without question, we are frustrated about the cultural shifts that are occurring around us and rightly recognize it is now more difficult to live out our faith in our own country. But the United States remains one the easier places to be a believer in the world. Our brothers and sisters around the globe face real danger and real persecution daily. We must be more faithful in praying for them and grateful for their faithfulness in the face of such opposition.

Our church supports several missionaries ministering on the frontlines in this persecution. Pray for them.

I also think, most of us wonder “what would I do?”. In the face of martyrdom, how would I respond? Am I willing to lay my life down for the name of Christ if so called? What if I were called to wear an orange jumpsuit in the desert?

The truth is that it is unlikely any of us will be called to make that sacrifice today. Which brings me to a tougher question.  If I say in my mind, I would die for Christ if so called for today…why do I struggle to give up much smaller segments of my life to Him as I roll through this Monday. Jesus saw this and told us to pick up our cross daily.

Join me in committing a readiness to die for my Savior. And join me in the far more complicated struggle to live for for my Savior today — five minutes at a time, each conversation at a time, each thought pattern at a time, each decision at at time.

I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord,I die every day!        1 Corinthians 15:31 (ESV)

Fifth Sunday Festivities this Sunday!

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Since this Sunday is the 5th Sunday of the month we have to important items on the calendar.

1. We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper.

It pleases me a great deal as pastor to know how our church looks forward to coming together at The Table in worship and remembrance.  I remember as a young child seeing the words “Do This in Remembrance of Me” inscribed on the funeral table.  In my youthful ignorance I thought that who ever had bought the table had left the message for his church. Only later did I recognize these were actually Jesus’ words from the last meal in the Upper Room.  But in a way I was right…they were the words of the One who had paid for the Table because He wanted His Church to remember.  

Be here as we remember together.

2.  We will be collecting non perishable food items for the Eunice Community Food Bank

Someone once pointed out that whenever you ask a group of people to gather in a circle and hold hands, the circle will always face inward.  At the Table we will face inward as he focus on the Fellowship of Christ.  But a church must also hold hands and face outward.  By remembering those in our community who are having a tough time, we can in a small way face outward together.

3.  We will have Dinner on the Grounds after church

This is a great church tradition that goes back to the earliest days of the church in Acts.  The people of God “broke bread together.” So throw a couple dishes together, invite someone to join you and stick around for lunch when church is finished.  It’s good stuff.

It’s going to be a great day!

Pastor Tim

Exciting day…

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spanish11347071028_2_imageToday is a very exciting day for our church’s Spanish work in Mowata as their new pastor, Luis Romero arrives with his family from Honduras.

About three years ago, in order to reach the growing Spanish speaking population in our area, we partnered with Mowata Baptist Church and several other churches to begin a new Spanish work under the leadership of Carlos Schmidt. Last year Carlos became a church planting catalyst with the Louisiana Baptist Convention. After months and months of prayer and paperwork, their new pastor arrives.

Thank you church for your support of this great work, through your ongoing tithes and offerings and through the special offering that you generously participated in.

Continue to pray for this ministry. Pray for Pastor Luis and his family as they settle into a brand new place and a brand new culture. Pray for the people that will be reached with the Gospel through this ministry.

Will I Be Missed When I Die…

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LaurelHardy468319You ever join a bunch of folks carrying something heavy, like a piano or an over-sized entertainment center or a monster gun safe? Do you wonder what would happen if you just stepped away? Would others notice the extra weight when you took your hands off?

Thanks to Aaron Armstrong, I read this incredible quote from the great 19th century believer George Mueller.

The godly aim of our lives should be that when we die we may be missed. My soul longs for grace so to live, so to walk, so to act, that when my course is finished, I may be missed,—I may be greatly missed. It becomes every one in the body of Christ,—every member in the body of Christ, to aim after this; that when their course is finished they may be missed,—they may be missed.… Suppose this were my last night on earth, suppose I should not have to stay another day here, would my brethren and sisters in Christ miss me? How deeply important it is that we should so walk, so act, and so pass through this world, that when we are gone we may be missed. If when gone, we are not missed by the saints, it is a plain proof that we have not been strengthening their hands in God, it is a plain proof that we have not been ministering to their spiritual profit, that we have not been helping them forward in the things of God. If we take our place,—though we may not be preachers, though we may not be pastors, though we may not be holding any public position among the saints,—yet if we take our place as members in the body of Christ, and act according to the place the Lord has given us, and walk graciously according to that place, when we are gone we shall be missed,—we must be missed. After this we all have to aim. Let each one take away with us to-night this godly purpose,—that by the grace of God, from this evening and henceforth, it shall be my earnest prayer, my constant aim, so to live, so to walk, so to carry myself, that when I am gone I shall be missed.

George Müller, Jehovah Magnified, pp. 8-9

We should be living now so we will be missed when we take our hand off the load. Look for someplace to pick up some weight today.

Pastor Tim

 

Update on Race to Zero…

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Race to ZeroSome of you may have missed our Quarterly Business Meeting last Sunday evening. While we did not have any significant items to vote we did receive a great report concerning our Race to Zero (formerly Together We Build) campaign.

We have already exceed one of our goals of have over $100,000.00 paid down in this calendar year. Not only that, but we are very close to hitting our year end target of being under $200,000.00 remaining by the end of the year.

While all of this was unfolding our giving to budget has remained strong and included one of our best months in recent memory!

I thank God for His wonderful provisions. I thank you for being the channel of those provisions!

Pastor Tim