Sunday, June 25, 2017

"It is Time"

Almost two years ago we kicked off a capital improvement campaign to take care of necessary repairs on our facilities that we call the “It is Time” Capital Campaign.  God has blessed us with a great facility but it is showing the wear and tear of many years of life-changing ministry.  We have seen some great improvements over these last two years.  We no longer have strobing lights above the congregation in the worship center.  We have a new baptistery and changing area.  We have painted the worship center and the north hallway.  And the biggest change can be seen in the new carpet in the worship center and hallways.  Our facilities are coming back to life and it is only because of the financial sacrifice of many.

In October, we decided to put on hold a couple things in the worship center so we could go ahead and include carpet in the hallways at the same time we carpeted the worship center.  It was our hope that this would be a catalyst to help us see bigger gifts to finish up the campaign.  However, the carpet has had the opposite effect.  Giving has slowed down and we are struggling to continue the improvements to the facility.  It was probably a poor strategy because it leaves us with projects that are not seen by most members on a regular basis. 

These remaining projects are important.  We need to update the lighting on our stage.  The praise team and musicians have a hard time reading their music because we cannot turn on the lights above their heads.  They are experiencing the same strobe affect we had with the lights over the congregation.  We also must flip a breaker before every service because the spot lights are shorting something out that the electricians have not been able to find.  We also know most of our classrooms still have the same flooring that was put in when the original building was built in 1970 and the chapel is in desperate need of flooring that is suitable to be eaten on every week.  Another part of the campaign is to open up an area to have a true welcome center where we can welcome guests and answer questions concerning the ministries of our church. 

The needs addressed in our “It is Time” Capital Campaign are not frivolous, outrageous requests.  These are simple things that will have great return as we engage Bartlesville and the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Would you be willing to give sacrificially to help us finish this campaign?  You can donate through church offerings or though Simple Give on our website.

Haggai 1:8-9, “ Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord. You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.”

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Means Ministry

Summer means vacation for most families.  The kids are out of school.  The weather is nice.  It is the best time to go see family, spend time at the lake, or travel to scenic destinations all around the world.  God has blessed us with the resources and freedom to make those happen.  We know that on any given Sunday in the summer we will have many families out of town.  We see attendance fluctuate from week to week as people come and go.  Even me and my family take time away for vacation.  We look forward in a couple of weeks camping at a state park with our children.  Go make memories and come back and share with us your stories.

Summer also means ministry.  Summer is the time of our greatest ministry impact.  VBS, camps and mission trips give us the opportunity to share Christ with the lost.  We see more lives surrendering to Christ during these events than the rest of the year combined.  At a time when we have many people gone we are the busiest.  God uses this busy season to call many to a relationship with him.  These are your ministries.  Thank you for your support.

Ministry is not free.  To make an impact amid our dark world we must have resources.  Summer is expensive and summer sees the smallest offerings.  Let me encourage you to give even when you are gone.  God asks for our first fruits, not just what we have leftover at the end of the month.  If you have not already set up automatic bill pay through your financial institution please do so or go to our website and set it up through SimpleGive.  There is also an app you can download and use.  Your faithfulness in giving keeps our ministries running smoothly during this busy time. Thank you for your support as we take the gospel of Jesus Christ to Bartlesville and the world.

Click here to give!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sin Messed Everything Up

Music has been a huge deal in Vacation Bible School for years.  LifeWay has done a great job teaching the major themes of salvation through these songs.  This year the song that was obviously a favorite of the kids was Sin Messed Everything Up.  It was a fun throwback sounding song that reminded me of a cross between Herman the Worm and The Fresh Prince of Bellaire. Click here to hear:   
Sin has certainly messed everything up.  God created us in his image and placed man in a perfect garden to walk in fellowship with Him daily.  We had dominion over plants and animals.  There was no shame nor regret.  There was no sickness.  There was nothing to fear nor anything to make gardening difficult.  Then sin messed everything up.  Death, disease, work and fear entered the world.
The song also gives us hope.  “God will make it all right.”  We cannot make anything right on our own.  Sin has already messed it up.  However, the story of the Bible is a story of God making it right for us.  He sent his son Jesus to die in our place to pay the penalty of sin. He proved his power over death through the resurrection and promised to return to set everything right.  His return will bring back what he gave us in the beginning.

Hope in the Bible is used differently than the way we use it in our everyday language.  Hope in scripture refers to the confidence we have that God will complete what he started.  It is always a look into the future.  Despite sin messing everything up around us we live in confidence knowing that God has provided victory over it.  This VBS song is a great reminder that things are messed up now but God will soon make it all right.

God Provides

God provides in many different ways. I have been reading Ezra as part of my daily devotional time.     Ezra leads the people of Israel out o...