In the month of September our family celebrated two birthdays. Those are special times aren’t they? God’s grace has allowed each of us these many years and more specifically this day to get to know Him better and to make Him known to a world that lives as if He doesn’t exist. Some folks hate it when the next birthday rolls around because it reminds them of how “old” they are. Personally I’ve passed the “40”, “50” and “60” plateau and can honestly say that I’m happy with every year God gives me. In fact, when I wake in the morning, it tells me that God is not through with me here on earth and I still have purpose in His kingdom’s work. That is pretty exciting!
Well, our church is about to celebrate 125 years. Will this be our birthday or anniversary? I’ve not figured that out yet. In any case God has been generous and allowed us the privilege to serve Him together for 1 ¼ centuries. We’ve all shared a portion of that span. Lucy and I are very grateful to have served alongside you these past 12 ½ years. And what God has been able to accomplish these years through First Baptist Church has taken the cooperation of thousands of us. Today we stand on the shoulders – the labor – of so many dedicated clergy and laity. Why not pause and give extended time to remember many former members and staff who gave so much to move FBC on in kingdom work – some have already gone on to their eternal reward and others on to further service elsewhere. Thank God for those the Lord brings to your mind.
Think back on your own journey with this church. Have there been those who have aided and blessed your life? Thank God for them as well and make plans to share your appreciation this coming week with all those who you possibly can communicate with. Has God used you to enrich the journey of others? Thank the Lord for choosing to use you as His instrument. Have those occurrences been few, then God has given you today. Why not let the Lord know you want to cooperate better with Him in ministry to other people.
Now think about First Baptist Church today. What do you see the Spirit of God doing in our midst? What is the Lord up to in our church? Pray about that and as God gives you insight then thank Him for His work – thank Him for what He is doing. Looking back is good and necessary – seeing what God has done. Yet those 125 years are only the foundation upon which God is still working. The more I think and pray about this I get the strong sense that great days lie ahead of us. Thus far we’ve only made a minute impact on our Jerusalem – China Grove. It has good to have been a part of that, but so much more can and needs to be done.
So I ask you to dream a little – put your mind into vision gear – go ahead, just take off the blinders, blow your thoughts past all limitations and boundaries – and envision First Baptist Church making an impact, a huge and godly impact on South Rowan. If what you see as possible isn’t crazy and scary than you haven’t begun to see what God can accomplish through us. I mean when the One who conquered Satan, sin and death is living in us, how can we have small goals and little dreams? For instance, our Mission Team has been moved by God to set our Lottie Moon Christmas offering for international missions at $10,000. Can we reach that goal? Well if you look at our past track record of giving then you would have to answer, “It’s too big of a goal!” But if you look at God, whose resources are unlimited and whose desire is to see all people come to know Him, you know we will reach that goal. So go ahead, dream, DREAM, DREAM – and I bet your dream is still smaller than GOD’S DREAM. So ask God to give you and the leadership of FBC His DREAM so we can begin to cooperate better with what God wants to accomplish.
And, by the way, how much will you be giving to this great adventure of reaching South Rowan for Jesus Christ? If you aren’t tithing now, that is one place for you to step up and be obedient to God. Will you pray more fervently for lost people by name each day to be saved? Will you work on your testimony so you can share it with people who need Jesus? Will you step out of your comfort zone and talk to people about Jesus each week? Will you constantly invite others to join you in attending First Baptist Church? Maybe it’s time for you to step up and find your place of service in this church. For God to do what His heart’s desire is to do through First Baptist Church will take your total dedication. Will He be getting that from you?
Needing to be more dedicated,