From the Faith Baptist Church Blog

Looks Good

For a few years, I had a clock on display in my office because it looked good. I don’t mean it looked good for me to have a clock in my office, but that the clock itself looked good. It had a black frame, simple block numbers and a bold red OU logo emblazoned on its white face. A piece of art. I thought it was a great addition to my office, but guests found it perplexing. They would look at it, tilt their head, raise an eyebrow and then ask hesitantly, “Is that time right?”

Well, it was right … but only twice a day. It was stuck on three o’clock. What threw people off was that the clock ticked and its hands appeared to move. But they didn’t. Something was wrong with the mechanism that controlled their movement. The hands just quivered with the tick sound, so if you glanced at the clock you thought the hands were moving. When I revealed that the clock didn’t work, my guests would ask, “Why do you keep it on the wall?” My answer? “It looks good.” (Plus, some historians believe the interlocking O and U could be a first century symbol of Christian faith. I read that somewhere.)

The clock definitely looked good, but it wasn’t fulfilling the purpose of its design. After a while, I stopped looking at it. It became irrelevant. I eventually took it down and stored it away. I think my clock is a good analogy for the Christian life not surrendered to the Holy Spirit. It may look good and still be on display, but it is not fulfilling the purpose for which it was designed. After a while, this life is in danger of becoming the castaway that the Apostle Paul lamented.

The reason my clock didn’t work was because it had been damaged in a fall and I wasn’t able to fix it. The outer appearance looked the same, but the internal workings were affected. Inevitably, there comes a time in each believer’s life when “a fall” of some sort occurs. This trial either refines our faith or fatigues our spirit. The experience can cause damage so severe, that it prevents us from working as God intended. On a regular basis, we all need forgiveness, healing, comfort and encouragement to resolve these falls.

Just as the clock on my wall couldn’t fix itself, neither can you and I. We need help. We need Someone to step in, pick us up, adjust our faith, and fix the mechanisms that equip us to serve God. That primary Someone is the Holy Spirit. According to Romans 8:26-27, the Holy Spirit not only knows the mind of God, but He also comforts us and intercedes for us based on that knowledge. He fixes us through His own power, and the ministry of other believers (Heb. 10:24-25, Rom. 14:19, II Cor.1:3-4). He does the fixing, but He frequently uses another believer as His technician.

There were times when I thought I had fixed my clock. The hands would begin to move, but 12 hours later, they would get stuck again. In the walk of faith, we might find the same dynamic. We believe we have resolved an issue or conquered a problem, only to find out that the problem has returned. One fix is not usually enough. We need the daily maintenance of His Word, His Spirit, and the fellowship of other believers to remain fully functional. What kind of clock are you? One that works, or one that just looks good?

Is your time right?
Pastor Dave

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 | by Dr. David Anderson

Far Flung

I once was part of something big, solid and strong. I don’t know what happened, but I broke off and fell into a stream. It was the same stream into which many others like me had also fallen. For years I rolled in the current, and was pushed against hard sharp objects. I eventually lost all my rough edges and became smooth and round. Unknown and unnoticed, I stared up at the bright sky from the shallow water for so long that I wondered if I would ever get out.

One day, a young shepherd picked me, and four others, out of the water. He put us into a small leather bag and started running. The jostling around in the bag drowned out the noise outside. When he finally stopped, we heard an angry and booming voice. It was coming from someone mocking the shepherd. That’s when the shepherd opened the bag and took me out. He placed me in a piece of leather attached to two strings and dropped me towards the ground. I was jolted upward in a great surge of energy and was hurled round and round. I kept going faster until I was flung out at an exhilarating speed. The power was amazing! As I flew through the air, I could see a giant of a man, in the distance, covered in armor. I was headed right towards him.

He and all his friends were still laughing and shouting insults when I struck him in his head. He toppled over and fell to the ground with such a loud sound that it caused the crowd to go silent. The shepherd ran over, picked up the giant’s sword and cut off the giant’s head. Suddenly, a shock wave of cheers and shouts rushed over me. The ground began to rumble as thousands of men began fleeing from the thousands chasing them. They ran right past me like a thundering herd of animals.

What the shepherd did that day made him a hero. Women from cities throughout land sang songs about him in the streets. His story was written down in a very special book so people could read it for the rest of time. I am humbled to think he chose to include me in this historic battle. That’s the only reason I had a part. He chose me. He had a purpose for me. A purpose I never could have imagined, nor fulfilled on my own.

Even though all I did was yield to the power of the shepherd, I’m mentioned in the book containing his story (verses 40 and 49 of the seventeenth chapter of the first book of Samuel). Me! A small, forgotten, helpless, submerged stone, was touched by a shepherd and became a part of something wonderful. It’s amazing. As people remember what he did, they remember me, too. For the rest of time. It’s all thanks to a shepherd -- a shepherd who became a king. He did all the work, but he lets me enjoy his glory.

God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. 1 Cor. 1:27-29

It’s all thanks to The Shepherd,
Pastor Dave

Friday, August 15, 2014 | by Dr. David Anderson

Little is Big

If big freighters, tankers, cruise liners, and commercial fishing vessels lose power, get stuck, or have to move through a passage, channel or docking area, what to they do? They call a tugboat. So do large vessels that can’t move on their own, such as; barges, log rafts and oil platforms.

Though small, tugboats are strongly built and have engines powerful enough to maneuver much larger vessels by pushing or pulling. A tugboat can go out into the ocean, break ice, salvage and fight fire. They are not built for speed or beauty, but for functionality and versatility. They are little, but can do big jobs. A tugboat is not pretty … unless you need one.

Last night, Colly and I were viewing an episode of Deadliest Catch, a program about crab fishermen in the Bering Sea. I get cold just watching it. During this episode, the Cornelia Marie was in a precarious position tied down to a dock engulfed in a hurricane. It needed to move from the dock to avoid being ripped away and crushed against the nearby adjacent rocks. The ship could not propel fast enough to counter the winds and waves so they called for a tugboat to help.

The little tugboat nestled itself against the ship and pushed with all its might to keep the Cornelia Marie close to the dock. That effort allowed the bigger ship to untie its ropes before they shredded, turn into the wind and move out of harm’s way. It was a very tense exercise that required split-second timing. They succeeded, but only because the tugboat gave them the support they needed.

Barbara Waters might ask, “If you could be a boat what kind of boat would you choose to be?” Battleship, cruise ship, freighter, and tanker are all good answers. But is there a boat more valuable than a tugboat in a time of trouble? Tugboats don’t get glory, but they often shower glory on magnificent ships entering a harbor. They don’t get jealous. Tugboats are humble. They know their role. They are here to help, rescue, protect and give strength to ships in need. They are here to serve.

Christianity needs tugboats. We have lots of speedboats, yachts, cruise ships and so on, but we need humble servant ships. Jesus told us that the greatest among us is the one who serves. Paul instructed us to use our liberty in Christ to serve one another in love. Serving requires that we shift our focus to the needs of someone other than our selves. Serving involves putting our concerns, needs and hesitations aside in order to help someone else. Serving reflects both the mind and life of Christ.

Hebrews tells us to look to the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, although He despised the shame it signified. He set aside His concerns. Paul told us Jesus left His glorious place in Heaven, humbled Himself and came to earth in the form of a servant -- to save us.

All believers have issues that need attention. We all have our own plans and desires for the day. Being a servant does not mean that we just happen to have a lot of free time and no needs of our own. That’s the challenge of being a servant -- putting our needs second. Prioritizing another believer’s needs above our own is a sign of spiritual strength, character, love and humility. That’s just one of the reasons Jesus said the greatest among us are the ones who serve. Another reason might be that there are so few who serve.

Be a Tugboat,
Pastor Dave

Thursday, August 07, 2014 | by Dr. David Anderson

Laughing in Protest

There are times when it is best for people to keep their mouths shut. The more we speak the more our foolishness goes on display. Solomon warned us of this likelihood when he wrote, He who has knowledge spares his words ... even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace;
When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive. Abraham Lincoln echoed this truth when he said, Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

I guess the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey is either unfamiliar with Solomon and President Lincoln, or like the rest of us, he just disregards their advice. His words this week are a classic example of the open-mouth-insert-foot disorder. In a speech covering many social ills impacting Turkey the Prime Minister urged women to refrain from laughing loudly in public as one means of protecting moral values. After the speech hundreds of Turkish women posted pictures of themselves laughing with mouths agape – in public. They are laughing in protest.

Sometimes, the best response to arrogant and ignorant stupidity is to laugh. It is an effective way to show how preposterous a statement or position is. Laughing is a means of saying, Are you kidding me?!! without saying a word. Psalm 2 reveals that the Lord laughs in this manner - Why do the nations rage,
and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,“ Let us break their bonds in pieces
and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision. Concerning the plots of the wicked man, Psalm 37:13 tells us that, the Lord laughs at him,
 for He sees that his day is coming. About the wicked transgressors who growl like dogs and belch boastful words, Psalm 59:8 states, You, O Lord, shall laugh at them; 
You shall have all the nations in derision.

Being laughed at can be embarrassing, discomforting and humiliating unless you intended to be funny. But when the Lord laughs at man, the repercussions are far worse than a wound to the ego. His laughter is a precursor to judgment. It serves as a warning. The arrogance and ignorance of man to think that he can do anything to thwart the will of the Sovereign God of the Universe is astounding. Man’s defiance does not prompt God to alter His will or bend His rules. Jesus’ words in His model prayer are not just a request, they comprise a declaration – Your will be done in earth as it is in Heaven.

Although it is not a good thing to make God laugh, it is a good thing to please Him. How do we do that? Isn’t thinking that finite and flawed beings can please the infinite and perfect God a sign of arrogance and ignorance? Well, Psalm 147:11 reminds us, The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
 in those who hope in His mercy. This is why Solomon wrote that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. God is pleased with a humble fear of His majesty and magnitude. James instructs us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God because He shall lift us up. If you want to make Him smile instead of laugh, be humble.

Make He smile on us today,
Pastor Dave
Psa. 199:135

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | by Dr. David Anderson

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