From the Faith Baptist Church Blog

Out of Place

I don’t know if Sesame Street still uses the song, One of These Things, but it is a good tool to help children learn a needed skill. When used with pictures that either do or do not share a connection, the song prompts children to identify which objects fit with other objects. It is an exercise in logic. It is an important skill for comprehension, application and maybe even survival.

The first line of the song is “one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong”.
As a child watches, listens and sings along, he/she is learning that there are a number of ways that things can be associated with each other, such as; size, color, theme, species, number, sound and setting.

Things that don’t belong stand out. They draw attention, provoke interest, and foster reactions. When something is out of place it causes an observer to notice it and wonder why it is present. That happened to me a few days ago. I opened our garage door to find a used and dirty birdcage on a table with wheels, sitting on our driveway and up close to our house.

I immediately asked myself -- What is that? Is there anything inside it? Why is it here? How did it get here? Who left it? What do I do with it? Where’s Steve?! I have come up with no answers other than what to do with it. I pushed it to the end of driveway for the garbage men to pick up. But for three days now, I have mentally wrestled with its presence on our driveway. It’s a mysterious enigma. The NSA may be involved.

As believers in Jesus Christ – we’re out of place. We are not of this world. We don’t fit. We are “not like the others”. When the Lord saves us He doesn’t take us home to heaven, but leaves us here to be noticed by the world. We are light set on a hill and a candle lit in a room. When the world sees us, it should also see that we are different.

Many Christians today strive to NOT be different, but to fit in and be like the others. If that desire prompts us to remove unnecessary barriers and self-righteousness, it can be good. It can please God and aid outreach. I have a suspicion, however, that our most common motive is to be liked, accepted and embraced. We don’t want to get pushed out to the end of the culture’s driveway. Not because our outreach will suffer, but because our social life will.

If the birdcage outside my garage had not been banged up, dirty and full of bird droppings, I may have kept it and looked for a bird it could house. But it stunk. So I didn’t. The world may dismiss our presence because we are like Christ, and that’s ok, but they are more prone to dismiss our message and push us away because we are personally irritating, unloving, and irrelevant to their lives.

If you and I are out of place because of what Jesus has done for us, and not because of what we have done to others, (or not done for them), we shouldn’t worry -- we are in exactly the right place. The world will notice, be interested, see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven.

Out of place can be a good place,
Pastor Dave

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | by Dr. David Anderson

Likes Almond Joy

Back in 1984 I heard a slow and melodic song that had a unique sound. The singer had a sultry and haunting voice. I couldn’t tell if the song was jazz, 60’s nightclub music, European, or current American pop. I also didn’t understand what the song was about, especially the line that said, “he moves in pace with cinnamon ways, he likes Almond Joy.”

During the past 30 years, I’ve heard the song many times and still couldn’t make sense of that line. Something told me she wasn’t saying “Almond Joy”, but I still heard it everytime. Yesterday, the song came on a golden oldie easy listening station and I really focused as I listened. Yep, there it was, again, “cinnamon ways” and “Almond Joy.”

I typed the name of the song and the singer into my search bar – Smooth Operator by Sade – and what I discovered made me laugh out loud (or LOL). Sade wasn’t singing about somebody’s spicy ways and love of candy. She was singing, “He move in space with minimum waste and maximum joy.” I couldn’t believe it. I still don’t know what the line means, but at least I know what the actual words are. Now I can put away that question that has been on my mind for years – “What kind of royalties is Almond Joy getting of that song?!”.

It was right there, the truth, all along. I just couldn’t hear it. It was like my ears were blind. Now that I know the words, I can’t believe I ever thought Sade was singing “Almond Joy”, much less “cinnamon ways”.
For thirty years I wandered in the dark deception of false lyric. I knew something was wrong, I just didn’t know what. And since I had no idea what the real words were, I only sang the song aloud when I was by myself. Thank the Lord for that little bit of restraint.

It reminds me of the numerous times my sister witnessed to me before I trusted in Christ. I couldn’t make heads or tails of what she was trying to tell me. I remember her asking me if I wanted to get saved and I just said “No”. I didn’t even understand the question. Thank God she didn’t give up. A little over a year later, my heart opened up, my spirit awakened and I understood the truth. At age 13½ , I got saved.

People who don’t know Jesus are blind and deaf to the truth of the gospel. But just like me singing to my self about Almond Joy, they have no idea of what they don’t know. They may even be happy, full of lyrical prose, spiritual ideas and good deeds, but if they have not embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ they are hopelessly lost. Well, not hopelessly, because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

If you know the real words to the gospel song, share it with someone today. Maybe the Lord will use you to open their eyes and ears to the marvelous truth of the gospel where they can find “maximum joy”.

Don’t Snicker,
Pastor Dave

Thursday, July 17, 2014 | by Dr. David Anderson

Betsy and Katharine

Juliet calmed Romeo’s fears about being a Montague with one of the most famous lines in romantic lore -- What's in a name? That which we call a rose‚Ä®by any other name would smell as sweet. But the opposite is also true. Giving something bad a good name doesn’t change its essence any more than calling a rose a rock changes its smell.

The names Betsy and Katharine made national news this week. They are nice names, but so are Bonnie and Clyde. Betsy and Katharine are two great white sharks that swam up to the Gulf of Mexico from the waters off South Africa. Marine biologists equipped them with GPS sensors so they can be tracked by anyone with a computer. I did. They are within spitting distance from Sarasota!

Calling these two sharks Betsy and Katharine is cute, but whatever names you give them doesn’t change the fact that they would love to snack on a redhead freckled preacher. I will not be getting in the water to give them a chance. I may not even drive by the beach until they have swum all the way to Texas.

Sharks are the most efficient predators in the ocean, maybe even on the planet. Nothing to mess with. Their counterpart in first century Christianity was the lion. The Asiatic lions that populated the forests, caves and river shorelines of Israel were powerful, aggressive and hungry. Hearing one, much less seeing one, was enough to strike fear into your heart.

It was with this truth in mind that Peter wrote, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. His readers took that to mean that Satan is no body to welcome, entertain, or mess with. He is to be avoided. He is hunting them. Both Peter and James tell their readers to resist the devil, rather than try to tame him.

It seems that modern day believers give little or no attention to the devil or his ways. We don’t flee from sin as Paul instructed Timothy. We set up our tents close by sin the way Lot pitched his tent towards Sodom. We excuse our angry outbursts with “I just have a bad temper”, our unkindness with “I’m just being honest”, our rudeness with “I’m not very patient” and our fear with “I’m just being realistic.” Whenever sin is present, regardless of which sin it is, the devil lurks close by.

Back to Betsy and Katherine. They are sharks. Why would I want to swim with them? I should be just as wary of sin as I am of sharks. All a shark can do is destroy my body, but sin can damage my soul. Thankfully, I just need to be wary, not fearful, because greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.

Remember, the devil is not your friend, even if following his ways has added excitement to your life or he is smiling at you. Jesus told Peter that Satan wanted to sift him as a farmer sifts wheat. Don’t play with the devil, because he plays for keeps. He doesn’t spring his trap until it is too late for his prey to escape.

Don’t get in his water,
Pastor Dave

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 | by Dr. David Anderson

First Amendment

The recent Supreme Court decision acknowledging Hobby Lobby’s right to decline paying for abortive medicines and procedures is an answer to prayer and a cause for rejoicing. But it is also a harbinger of what is lurking and looming in the shadows waiting for new opportunities to strike at liberty. Four of the nine Supreme Court Justices voted in against Hobby Lobby’s petition. That should concern every believer in Jesus Christ. The fact that this case had to go the Supreme Court for resolution is just as troubling.

Hobby Lobby was providing insurance coverage for a number of birth control medications, but would not pay for medications that terminate the life of fertilized eggs – a violation of the Affordable Healthcare Act. It did so arguing that, as a private company, it was freely exercising the religious beliefs of the owners, and that in doing so, it was not infringing on anyone else’s rights. It was a classic First Amendment case.

The first amendment reads, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Our culture seems obsessed with preventing Congress from making laws that establish religion, but since Congress never tries to do so, establish has been redefined to mean endorse, acknowledge or allow. At the same time, our culture appears to have no problems with Congress making laws to restrict the free exercise of religion. The First Amendment prohibits BOTH actions. Since the founding fathers showed brilliant foresight in choosing the phrase free exercise of religion instead of freedom of worship, we are not just free to worship as we see fit, but to also exercise our beliefs.

If we allow the First Amendment to be redefined and misapplied concerning how we exercise our faith, it won’t be long until our rights to speak freely and assemble freely will also fall. And Christians won’t be the only victims – members of the press and those petitioning government will be next.

Why should Christians sit back passively while our right to preach and practice our faith is curtailed? Why should we be willing to surrender the liberty to preach Jesus Christ to our communities? Don’t be fooled, Congress making ANY laws that restrict the free exercise of religion is a step in that direction.

The First Amendment was not written to tell the Church what it can or cannot do, but to tell Congress that it cannot do ANYTHING to restrict religion, speech, the press, free assembly, or the petitioning of Congress. Regarding religion, it was not written to protect the American people from religion, but to protect religion from any and all Congressional oversight and actions.

As you celebrate Independence Day, celebrate the First Amendment. It is a vital safeguard to our Creator-endowed rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Enjoy the fireworks, the cookouts, and the holiday events, but don’t forget to pray for America. Our freedoms are under assault in more ways than can be counted – and on every front.

May God grant to us the same promise He gave Solomon about Israel (2 Chronicles 7:14), “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

As stated by numerous founding fathers and patriots, Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,
Pastor Dave

Wednesday, July 02, 2014 | by Dr. David Anderson

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