What is faith? How would you define Biblical Faith? Is it the same as hope? Is it a formula? Is it the ultimate Christian "power-tool"?
In Old Testament times, men and women had to rest on the promises of God. God had told them of a coming Messiah, a Deliverer who would take away sin. He told them that one day all Israel would be made clean and be ruled by this righteous Messiah. God's faithful believed God's promises, as incomplete and vague as many of those promises were. They did not have a great deal of specifics, by New Testament standards, but they knew God was in the specifics, so they put their full trust and hope in it.
That is what faith is. Faith is living in a hope that is so real it gives absolute assurance. The promises given to the Old Testament saints were so real to them, because they believed that God was who He said He was, that they based their lives on these promises. All the Old Testament promises related to the future--for many believers, far into the future. But the faithful among God's people acted as if they were in the present tense. They simply took God at His word and lived on that basis.
Hebrews 11:13 tells us that these Old Testament saints "died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them......from afar". They saw the fulfillment of God's promise with the eye of faith, which, when it is in God, has immeasurably better vision than the best of physical eyes.
This week, we will put a definition to true Biblical faith. As you prepare your hearts and minds for the work of the Holy Spirit in your life, I want to encourage you to take some time over the next few days to read the story of Noah, in Genesis 6 and 7, along with the story of Abraham in Genesis 12. As you read these stories, ask yourself this question, "Why did Noah build the ark"? Was it because he prayed for rain and wanted to be ready just in case God answered his prayer? What about Abraham? Why did he leave everything that was familiar and comfortable in order to travel to an unknown land? Was it because he got bored of Haran and wanted a change scenery? Was it because he prayed to God asking God to take him on a great adventure? What motivated these men to act in such a seemingly foolish manner?
Join us on Sunday at 9:00am as we look at the actions of these Old Testament heroes and through their lives, gain a better understanding of what true Biblical faith looks like.
Please Note: Members of FBC are invited to a special time of Q & A next Saturday, June 2nd from 4:00pm to 6:00pm in the Fireside Room. This is an opportunity for members to ask questions regarding the selling of our rental properties and the future direction of our church.
See you Sunday.
WHEW.....I think this word best describes this past week. Besides the "normal" ministry activities that take place every week on our church campus, this week, through our Room 4 Hope ministry, we hosted 2 families who are struggling with homelessness. Each family came to us with their own unique set of circumstances, but as God has allowed us to minister to them throughout the week, I believe that they will leave with a better understanding of God's love! As they prepare to leave us on Sunday morning, please continue to pray for their practical, emotional and most importantly, their spiritual needs.
It's also not too late to get involved. We have 2 unfilled volunteer opportunities. We need a couple people to provide and serve dinner tomorrow (Saturday night) and we also have a need for an overnight host to sleep on campus and provide a safe environment for our guests. Larry Collins has already volunteered to be one of our Saturday overnight hosts, but we need two and I know Larry would appreciate the company.....right Larry!
If you are able to help with either Saturday night dinner or as an overnight host, please call Pastor Doug at 949-838-6981. I also want to take this opportunity to say a huge "Thank You" to all those who donated food, prepared and served meals, helped set-up and tear-down bedrooms, helped with breakfast, spent time talking with and playing with the kids and spent the night on our campus, thus providing a safe experience for our guests. We could not have done it without all of our amazing volunteers!
This next week will again be a busy one for our campus. On Thursday, both our Adults on Mission and Young at Heart will hold their monthly gatherings. Adults on Mission will meet at 10:30am in the Fireside Room (East), followed immediately by our Young at Heart Luncheon at Noon, also in the Fireside Room. Please join us on Thursday as we pray for those who are on the frontlines of spreading the Gospel. Then stick around for what is always an amazing lunch! Hope to see you there!
On Sunday morning we will begin a 4 week series on Faith. Some of the questions we will answer are:
1. Where does faith in Jesus begin?
2. What is the definition of true Biblical faith?
3. What role do the promises of God play in our faith?
4. How can my faith stand the test of time?
This week, our focus will be on the anchor for our faith.....Jesus! In preparation for Sunday, take some time over the next few days to read and meditate on I Corinthians 15:3-17, then join us on Sunday at 9:00am and learn about this God that loves us and wants to be in relationship with us. Don't come alone.
Finally, a few weeks ago, our church council hosted a Soup Sunday business meeting. At this meeting, our leadership provided you with an update on the refinance of our church loan, that has a balloon payment due on June 5th. During this meeting, we shared with you the possibility that our refinance application could be denied and that we would need to consider selling our rental homes. We learned late last week that in fact, our request for a refinance had been denied and were encouraged by the bank to consider selling these homes.
I then contacted the Northwest Baptist Foundation about the possibility of securing financing through them. They too, felt that our best option was to sell our rental homes, which would greatly reduce and possibly even help us eliminate our debt altogether. I then contacted Umpqua Bank, who is our current lender and asked them about the possibility of providing us with a 6 month loan extension, while we worked on selling these homes. They have verbally agreed to begin the paperwork to extend our loan, provided that we also begin the process of selling these properties.
Because our Church Council views this as a significant decision in the future of our church, we are requesting a vote be taken of our church membership, seeking your approval to move forward in the sale of these homes. The opportunity to vote will take place on Sunday, June 3rd, immediately following the 9:00am service. Our Church Council would also like to provide you with the opportunity to ask questions prior to Sunday's vote. To accommodate this, members of our church council will be available to answer questions on Saturday, June 2nd from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. Please note that this Q&A time will not be a formal meeting, but is simply an opportunity for you to ask questions and make an informed decision as you cast your ballot.
I want to personally thank all of you for your prayers during this season of transformation. I know God has an amazing plan for FBC and that His desire is for us to remain faithful to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Please continue to pray as God continues to move and always remember, God still sits on the throne, He is in control and His plan, in His time, is PERFECT!
See you Sunday.
Because this Sunday is Mother's Day, I want to devote this week's edition of Think, Act and Be Like Jesus to honoring mothers. If there's one attitude families are guilty of more than any other when it comes to mothers, it's presumption.....taking them for granted. As a child and even well into my teenager years, I never lost sleep wondering who was going to type my history term paper. Never felt compelled to make my school lunch before I went to bed. Never thought about making sure the clothes I wanted to wear where clean. All of those things just magically took care of themselves.....THANKS MOM!
As each of us, in our own way, prepares to honor the mothers in our lives, I want to encourage you to think about her example, her support, her humor, her counsel, her humility, her hospitality, her insight, her patience, her sacrifices.
Old "honest Abe" was correct: "He is not poor who has had a godly mother." Indebted, but not poor.
Moms, on Mother's Day Sunday we rise up and call you blessed. But knowing you, you'll feel uneasy in the limelight. You'll probably look for a place to hide. True servants are like that.
In preparation for Mother's Day, I would encourage you to take the time to read Proverbs 31:10-31 and thank God for the "mother" in your life!
Finally, before I wrap-up this edition of my weekly email, I wanted to let you know that beginning Sunday evening, we will be hosting two families on our campus through our Room4Hope outreach ministry. I think it is only fitting that the two families we will be hosting are both single moms who need our love and support during this season of transition in their lives. If you are interested in volunteering, we are still in need of overnight hosts for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Dinner hosts for Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and breakfast hosts for Monday, Friday and Saturday. If you are interested in volunteering, please email Pastor Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you Sunday.
That's right......Pastor Doug is back from cruising the Pacific Ocean and, although not as rested as I would like to be, ready to continue serving alongside you to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Beaverton. I want to say a huge "THANK YOU" to Pastor Avery, Pastor Norm and Larry Annes for preaching in my absence. We are so lucky to have such gifted preachers in our church family.
This Sunday, we will conclude our series in Joshua. Over the past 4 weeks, we have been reminded.....
1. Be strong and courageous as we follow God into the "Promised-Land" Life that is waiting for all of us.
2. Don't let the pressures of life divert our eyes from God's presence, because God's presence will lead us to places that we have never been before.
3. Pastor Norm asked the question, when facing our own "walls of Jericho", will we flee back into the wilderness or by faith, stand and face the challenge of the wall, knowing that by faith, the wall will fall.
4. A "Promised-Land" life needs to be prayed for and fought for, but it will be worth it.
On Sunday, we will dive into the life of Caleb and see how his faith had God saying....."But my servant Caleb has a different spirit." What do you think God meant by "different spirit"? As you prepare your hearts for Sunday, take some time over the next few days to read Joshua 14:7-12 and look for the secret to Caleb's faith that is revealed within this text. You might just receive a prize!
Also, don't forget that this Sunday is a special "Soup Sunday" business meeting. Join us at noon in the Fireside room for some good soup, even better desserts and hear from our church leaders about topics ranging from community outreach to finances.
See you Sunday.