Friday, May 26, 2017

Prayer Helps

This year for the Annual BFC Youth Summer Camp we are going to be discussing the topic of prayer. As a precursor to camp our youth group has started discussing and practicing praying together for the last few weeks. I, the small group leaders, and the kids have all commented that this process has been very helpful. It takes us from just teaching the kids about prayer to actually modeling and practicing praying with them. All that being said, I thought I'd share with you a brief outline we used with the hope that it might be a help and encouragement to you and your family in your own prayer times.

Prayer Practice (R.A.T.S.)

Repentance – confessing sin and thanking God for forgiveness & newness through Christ
·      Read Prov 28:13 & 1 John 1:9 together and briefly discuss what they mean in light of repentance
·      Take a few minutes to each individually come to the Lord confessing your sin to Him and then thanking Him it has been paid for by Christ and you have the Holy Spirit to enable you to live for Him

Adoration – praising God for who He is
·      Read Psalm 145 together
·      With your Bibles open have everyone take turns praying different parts of the chapter that strike you about God back to Him, praising Him

Thanksgiving – thanking God for what He has done, is doing, or will do
·      Read Psalm 34 together and briefly discuss different things David thanks the Lord for
·      Have everyone in the group take a turn thanking God for at least 1 thing

Supplication – making requests of God for Himself, others, and yourself
·      Look back at Psalm 34:4 and briefly discuss how it applies to supplication
·      Have everyone in the group go around and give a prayer request then have everyone in the group take turns praying for the person on their right

May this outline be a blessing and encouragement to you and your family!

Phil Smith
Youth Minister

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Preview of Sunday's Sermon

A little preview of this Sunday's sermon on Colossians 3:1-9...

Are you weary of your earthly desires? Tired of being beat down by sin?

Take heart!

Despite the pressures, your flesh, and the culture around us, it is possible to put off your earthly desires. The fuel of putting off these desires is the gospel.

Jared Wilson, when asked about the gospel, says,
It provides freedom from the past
It provides power for the present
It provides hope for the future

So, seek and set your mind on things above, not on things that are earthly. For you have died, and your life is hidden in Christ! (Colossians 3:1-2).

Hope you can join us this Sunday or catch sermon audio or video. Just head to our website, click on sermons or the youtube icon to find non-series sermons.

Take care,

Pastor Ben 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Why Hard Conversations about Membership are Good

The following is adapted from an article on membership I was asked to write for the North Central Conservative Baptist Association. –Pastor Daniel

Over a year ago, our church began a mini-series on church membership. In the series, we discussed God’s goals for relationships within our community of faith and how membership—formal commitment to the members of the local church—was necessary to accomplish these goals.

Following the series, I felt convicted. I feared asking friends at church questions about their membership. What if I asked a regular attender why they weren’t a member and they told me it was because they didn’t really like my preaching? What if I asked a missing member where they had been and they told me they were attending another church? What if my questions pushed people away? It seemed easier to just let things be.

I realized those fears reflected unbiblical thinking. Over the past year, we as a church grew in pursuing conversations about church membership that could potentially be uncomfortable. We’re still learning, but the conversations about membership with people have produced some great fruit. Even though some were sad, I am so glad we pursued the conversations.

Here are just a few of many reasons I’m glad we did this.

First, I’m glad we pursued these conversations because of the joy of seeing people follow the Lord by committing to serve one another. Many people who love the church were excited to express that love by becoming members. Relationships are deeper and sweeter because of these conversations.

Second, I’m glad we pursued these conversations because they taught the importance of church membership. To ignore the elephant in the room—a person’s hesitancy to fully and formally commit relationally to others in the church—undermines how important we claim growth together as a local church is. Talking about membership demonstrates that our commitment to one another is not just some abstract theological discussion.

Third, I’m glad we pursued these conversations because some people realized we were not where God would have them be are now growing deep roots in other fields. Because of our conversations, some people did leave the church. This was the exact outcome I had feared and it was sad! But that didn’t mean that it wasn’t a good thing for them. Some had sensed God calling them elsewhere but were afraid to leave. Forcing ourselves to ask questions about what we believe about membership and ministry in the local church was spiritually healthy. I am convinced some who have left our church grew in ways they would not have grown had they remained fellowshipping with us. That hurts my pride but helps me rejoice in God and His work in their life.

I miss friends when they leave and often think of them but I have great joy as I see the people God is bringing to our church who are called to be here. I also rejoice that God is bigger than Bethany Community Church and love to hear how my friends are growing deep roots and producing fruit in other fields. Hard conversations help us to be more obedient to Him and encourage those we love to pursue God with greater vigor.