The Church

  1. The church is the only institution that our Lord promised to build and to bless (Matt. 16:18).
  2. The church is the gathering place of true worshippers (Phil. 3:3).
  3. The church is the most precious assembly on earth since Christ purchased it with His own blood (Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 6:19; Eph. 5:25; Col. 1:20; 1 Pet. 1:18; Rev. 1:5).
  4. The church is the earthly expression of the heavenly reality (Matt. 6:10; 18:18).
  5. The church will ultimately triumph both universally and locally (Matt. 16:18; Phil. 1:6).
  6. The church is the realm of spiritual fellowship (Heb. 10:22-25; 1 John 1:3, 6-7).
  7. The church is the proclaimer and protector of divine truth (1 Tim. 3:15; Titus 2:1, 15).
  8. The church is the chief place for spiritual edification and growth (Acts 20:32; Eph. 4:11-16; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:1-2; 2 Pet. 3:18).
  9. The church is the launching pad for world evangelization (Mark 16:15; Titus 2:11).
  10. The church is the environment where strong spiritual leadership develops and matures (2 Tim. 2:2).19

from Ed Stetzer ComeBack Churches

Resolution On Adoption And Orphan Care

Our local newspaper, The Sea Coast Echo, reported this week that we have 163 children in the county foster care system with only 12 licensed foster care homes. This crisis drives me to prayer. How can we as believers in Hancock County Mississippi, confront this situation with the gospel? Russell Moore’s resolution at this years Southern Baptist Convention offers a challenge.

RESOLUTION NO. 2 ON ADOPTION AND ORPHAN CARE – SBC 2009

WHEREAS, In the gospel we have received the “Spirit of adoption” whereby we are no longer spiritual orphans but are now beloved children of God and joint heirs with Christ (John 14:18; Romans 8:12-25; Galatians 3:27-4:9; Ephesians 1:5); and

WHEREAS, The God we now know as our Father reveals himself as a “father of the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5) who grants mercy to orphans (Deuteronomy 10:18; Hosea 14:3); and

WHEREAS, Our Lord Jesus welcomes the little ones (Luke 18:15-17), pleads for the lives of the innocent (Psalm 72:12-14), and shows us that we will be held accountable for our response to “the least of these brothers of mine” (Matthew 25:40); and

WHEREAS, The Scripture defines “pure and undefiled religion” as “to look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27); and

WHEREAS, The satanic powers and the ravages of sin have warred against infants and children from Pharaoh to Molech to Herod and, now, through the horrors of a divorce culture, an abortion industry, and the global plagues of disease, starvation, and warfare; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have articulated an unequivocal commitment to the sanctity of all human life, born and unborn; and

WHEREAS, Churches defined by the Great Commission must be concerned for the evangelism of children—including those who have no parents; and

WHEREAS, Upward of 150 million orphans now languish without families in orphanages, group homes, and placement systems in North America and around the world; and

WHEREAS, Our Father loves all of these children, and a great multitude of them will never otherwise hear the gospel of Jesus Christ; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, June 23-24, 2009, express our commitment to join our Father in seeking mercy for orphans; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on each Southern Baptist family to pray for guidance as to whether God is calling them to adopt or foster a child or children; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage our pastors and church leaders to preach and teach on God’s concern for orphans; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we commend churches and ministries that are equipping families to provide financial and other resources to those called to adopt, through grants, matching funds, or loans; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage local churches to champion the evangelism of and ministry to orphans around the world, and to seek out ways to energize Southern Baptists behind this mission; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptist churches to join with other evangelical Christians in setting aside a special Sunday each year to focus upon our adoption in Christ and our common burden for the orphans of the world; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we pray what God is doing in creating an adoption culture in so many churches and families can point us to a gospel oneness that is determined not by “the flesh,” or race, or economics, or cultural sameness, but by the Spirit, unity, and peace in Christ Jesus; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we pray for an outpouring of God’s Spirit on Southern Baptist congregations so that our churches will proclaim and picture, in word and in deed, that “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.”

Lakeshore Baptist Church Covenant

The best we can ascertain, this is the original church covenant when Lakeshore Baptist Church constituted in 1911:

Having been led as we believe, by the spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now in the presence of God, angels and this assembly most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.

We engage therefore by the aid of the Holy Spirit to walk together in Christian love, to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness and comfort; to promote it’s prosperity and spirituality: to sustain it’s worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the spread of the gospel through all nations.

We also engage to maintain family and secret devotion; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Savior.

We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior, to secure it without delay.

We moreover engage that when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.

Pastor’s daughter diagnosed with cancer

Please pray for my friend Yogi Taylor and his family. Yogi is pastor of Saraland Baptist Church outside of Mobile AL. Their 14 month old, Hanna, has just been diagnosed with Neuroblastoma cancer. Doctors performed surgery today to remove the tumor. The Taylors look to have a long road ahead as they minister to their baby girl, consider treatment options, etc. I spoke with Yogi this morning, during the surgery, and he expressed a strong confidence in the sovereignty of God as he acknowledged depending on his theological grounding to keep them stable in the days ahead.

Yogi was scheduled to preach in Lakeshore on March 29, when I will be in California preaching at the West Coast Reformed Baptist Pastor’s Conference. Understandably, he will not make the speaking engagement. Please join us as we continue to lift his family up to the the Lord in prayer.

Preaching Schedule

I have the privilege of preaching at several events in the next few months, in addition to the ministry at Lakeshore Baptist Church.

Next week, January 15-17 I plan to attend the Deep South Founders Conference in Jackson MS. I’ve been invited to speak about our mercy ministry in Lakeshore on Thursday evening and preach on “The Love of God” in the Friday morning session.

On January 25, Clifton Baptist Church in Franklinton, LA has invited me to lead their January Bible study. We will cover the book of Exodus in three sessions.

At the end of March my wife and I will fly to see our friends in Livermore California where I will speak at the Livermore Reformed Baptist Church for the morning Sunday School hour and preach in both the Sunday morning and Sunday evening services on March 29.

Later that week I will speak at the West Coast Reformed Baptist Pastor’s Conference in California. I really enjoyed this gathering last year and and received great encouragement from like-minded pastors. I look forward to spending the week with these men again.

Away In A Manger – Revised

(to be sung to the traditional tune: MUELLER, by James R. Murray, 1887)
verse 1 by anonymous – verse 2-4 by Don A. Elbourne Jr. 2008

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

Hear angels proclaiming, our dear Saviors birth,
His life brings salvation, to children of earth.
He walked in great wisdom, among mortal men,
All God and full human, without any sin.

The pain of temptation, rejection and strife,
He suffered with joy as He laid down His life.
Perfections of heaven, He gladly did leave,
Securing salvation, for all who believe.

He calls for repentance, and faith in His name.
Great glory to God for the spread of His fame.
Rejoice in King Jesus, we gladly make known.
We praise Him this season, from manger to throne.