Newsletter – May 17, 2020

Regathering

During the service this morning Pastor Chris will share some brief details about our current plans to regather. Later this week those plans should (Lord willing!) be posted to our website, emailed, and posted to Facebook. Please begin praying with us about this important step towards resuming our assembling together. 

Serving during COVID 19

Transportation for Cancer Patients

We are grateful for those who have volunteered to transport cancer patients to the Proton Therapy Center in Flint. We do have a number of spots left to fill for the patient in Grand Blanc. If you are able to help with this important ministry, please see the signup genius listed below. We have also had a few individuals offer to help cover the cost of gas for those who are driving. If you would like to help but need assistance with fuel costs, please contact Pastor Jonathan.
 
 

Giving Blood and Volunteer with the American Red Cross

American Red Cross

Volunteers Needed: Contact Colleen @ 810-513-0224

Give Blood: Schedule appointment @ redcrossblood.org
 

Volunteer with Carriage Town Ministries

Carriage Town Ministies is in need of volunteers for their Health Screen Clinic

Contact Tamela Rigg at Trigg@carriagetown.org
 

Facebook Live Services, Zoom Meetings, and Youtube Videos

Each Sunday at 10 am we will be hosting a Facebook live service on our church Facebook page (here: https://www.facebook.com/BethanyBaptistChurchGrandBlanc/). You should be able to access and view our Facebook Live stream with or without a Facebook account. While we recognize this will never serve as a substitute for our physical gatherings, we hope you will utilize this as an opportunity to continue to grow in the Lord.
 
We are also now uploading our services, after they have streamed on Facebook, to our Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLVBHAG8qvEwlfYbySfkz8w Please be aware that it may take a few days of the upload to Youtube to be completed.
 
If you keep an eye on our Facebook page you will also see that we are posting fairly regular gatherings through Zoom and other avenues. One such avenue this week is the following:

Thursday Prayer Gathering

Thursday at 6:30 pm we will have an opportunity to gather for prayer as we look at all the Lord is doing through these unique days. We will gather through the Zo0m app. Again, details and login information will be posted to our Facebook page later this week.
 

Online Giving

Bethany’s Council of Elders would like to ask that our church family take a few moments to read the following letter related to our financial giving and ways in which you can give to our fellowship during these unusual days. (here: https://www.bbgb.org/covid-19-giving/). We trust you know that we continue to pray for you as we face these difficult days together.



Newsletter – May 10, 2020 – Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day

We hope that all of the Mothers at Bethany have a very happy Mother’s Day. May we all praise God together for you and for your contribution to our families and to our fellowship. We hope our fellowship will use these added moments at home today by blessing and being a blessing to your Mother.

Serving during COVID 19

Transportation for Cancer Patients

We are grateful for those who have volunteered to transport cancer patients to the Proton Therapy Center in Flint. We have just about completed our commitment to the patient from Lapeer. However, we do have a number of spots left to fill for the patient in Grand Blanc. If you are able to help with this important ministry, please see the signup genius listed below. We have also had a few individuals offer to help cover the cost of gas for those who are driving. If you would like to help but need assistance with fuel costs, please contact Pastor Jonathan.
 
 

Giving Blood and Volunteer with the American Red Cross

American Red Cross

Volunteers Needed: Contact Colleen @ 810-513-0224

Give Blood: Schedule appointment @ redcrossblood.org
 

Volunteer with Carriage Town Ministries

Carriage Town Ministies is in need of volunteers for their Health Screen Clinic

Contact Tamela Rigg at Trigg@carriagetown.org
 

Facebook Live Services, Zoom Meetings, and Youtube Videos

Each Sunday at 10 am we will be hosting a Facebook live service on our church Facebook page (here: https://www.facebook.com/BethanyBaptistChurchGrandBlanc/). You should be able to access and view our Facebook Live stream with or without a Facebook account. While we recognize this will never serve as a substitute for our physical gatherings, we hope you will utilize this as an opportunity to continue to grow in the Lord.
 
We are also now uploading our services, after they have streamed on Facebook, to our Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLVBHAG8qvEwlfYbySfkz8w Please be aware that it may take a few days of the upload to Youtube to be completed.
 
If you keep an eye on our Facebook page you will also see that we are posting fairly regular gatherings through Zoom and other avenues. One such avenue this week is the following:

Thursday Prayer Gathering

Thursday at 6:30 pm we will have an opportunity to gather for prayer as we look at all the Lord is doing through these unique days. We will gather through the Zo0m app. Again, details and login information will be posted to our Facebook page later this week.
 

Online Giving

Bethany’s Council of Elders would like to ask that our church family take a few moments to read the following letter related to our financial giving and ways in which you can give to our fellowship during these unusual days. (here: https://www.bbgb.org/covid-19-giving/). We trust you know that we continue to pray for you as we face these difficult days together.



Newsletter – May 3, 2020

Serving during COVID 19

Transportation for Cancer Patients

As many of you know, Travis (one of our members) works at a cancer therapy center in Flint. Due to the spread of the COVID 19 virus transportation options for cancer patients has been difficult to find. There are now two patients that need transportation to Proton Therapy Center in Flint for Cancer Treatments. One of these patients lives in the Grand Blanc area and another patient lives in the Lapeer area.  If you are able and willing to drive either of these patient to their appointments, your help would be a tremendous blessing to them. We have also had a few individuals offer to help cover the cost of gas for those who are driving. If you would like to help but need assistance with fuel costs, please contact Pastor Jonathan.
 
Grand Blanc Patient (HAVE SEVERAL SPOTS AVAILABLE STARTING ON WEDNESDAY OF THIS WEEK): https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0b4cada629a4fc1-transportation1
 

Giving Blood and Volunteer with the American Red Cross

American Red Cross

Volunteers Needed: Contact Colleen @ 810-513-0224

Give Blood: Schedule appointment @ redcrossblood.org
 

Volunteer with Carriage Town Ministries

Carriage Town Ministies is in need of volunteers for their Health Screen Clinic

Contact Tamela Rigg at Trigg@carriagetown.org
 

Facebook Live Services, Zoom Meetings, and Youtube Videos

Each Sunday at 10 am we will be hosting a Facebook live service on our church Facebook page (here: https://www.facebook.com/BethanyBaptistChurchGrandBlanc/). You should be able to access and view our Facebook Live stream with or without a Facebook account. While we recognize this will never serve as a substitute for our physical gatherings, we hope you will utilize this as an opportunity to continue to grow in the Lord.
 
We are also now uploading our services, after they have streamed on Facebook, to our Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLVBHAG8qvEwlfYbySfkz8w Please be aware that it may take a few days of the upload to Youtube to be completed.
 
If you keep an eye on our Facebook page you will also see that we are posting fairly regular gatherings through Zoom and other avenues. One such avenue this week is the following:

Thursday Prayer Gathering

Thursday at 6:30 pm we will have an opportunity to gather for prayer as we look at all the Lord is doing through these unique days. We will gather through the Zo0m app. Again, details and login information will be posted to our Facebook page later this week.
 

Online Giving

Bethany’s Council of Elders would like to ask that our church family take a few moments to read the following letter related to our financial giving and ways in which you can give to our fellowship during these unusual days. (here: https://www.bbgb.org/covid-19-giving/). We trust you know that we continue to pray for you as we face these difficult days together.



Newsletter – April 26, 2020

To save you from having to read through the entire newsletter, you should know that there are not many updates to the newsletter from last week. We do hope you know that we (both the Pastors and the rest of the congregation) are longing to gather back together again, and we are praying for you. If you have a need please do not hesitate to reach out.

Serving during COVID 19

We recognize that many in our church family have been finding unique ways to serve and care for one another. This has been a joy to see and a joy to receive the acts of love performed by Christ’s saints. We would encourage you to continue to consider how we can continue to challenge one another to “love and good works” during these unusual days. In addition to your spontaneous works for God’s glory, here are some additional opportunities where you could serve the Lord in the days ahead.

Transportation for Cancer Patients

As many of you know, Travis (one of our members) works at a cancer therapy center in Flint. Due to the spread of the COVID 19 virus transportation options for cancer patients has been difficult to find. There are now two patients that need transportation to Proton Therapy Center in Flint for Cancer Treatments. One of these patients lives in the Grand Blanc area and another patient lives in the Lapeer area.  If you are able and willing to drive either of these patient to their appointments, your help would be a tremendous blessing to them. We have also had a few individuals offer to help cover the cost of gas for those who are driving. If you would like to help but need assistance with fuel costs, please contact Pastor Jonathan.
 
Lapper Patient (ONLY A FEW SPOTS LEFT TO FILL): https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0b4cada629a4fc1-transportation 
 

Giving Blood and Volunteer with the American Red Cross

American Red Cross

Volunteers Needed: Contact Colleen @ 810-513-0224

Give Blood: Schedule appointment @ redcrossblood.org
 

Volunteer with Carriage Town Ministries

Carriage Town Ministies is in need of volunteers for their Health Screen Clinic

Contact Tamela Rigg at Trigg@carriagetown.org
 

Facebook Live Services, Zoom Meetings, and Youtube Videos

Each Sunday at 10 am we will be hosting a Facebook live service on our church Facebook page (here: https://www.facebook.com/BethanyBaptistChurchGrandBlanc/). You should be able to access and view our Facebook Live stream with or without a Facebook account. While we recognize this will never serve as a substitute for our physical gatherings, we hope you will utilize this as an opportunity to continue to grow in the Lord.
 
We are also now uploading our services, after they have streamed on Facebook, to our Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLVBHAG8qvEwlfYbySfkz8w Please be aware that it may take a few days of the upload to Youtube to be completed.
 
If you keep an eye on our Facebook page you will also see that we are posting fairly regular gatherings through Zoom and other avenues. One such avenue this week is the following:

Thursday Prayer Gathering

Thursday at 6:30 pm we will have an opportunity to gather for prayer as we look at all the Lord is doing through these unique days. We will gather through the Zo0m app. Again, details and login information will be posted to our Facebook page later this week.
 

Online Giving

Bethany’s Council of Elders would like to ask that our church family take a few moments to read the following letter related to our financial giving and ways in which you can give to our fellowship during these unusual days. (here: https://www.bbgb.org/covid-19-giving/). We trust you know that we continue to pray for you as we face these difficult days together.



Newsletter – April 19, 2020

Serving during COVID 19

We recognize that many in our church family have been finding unique ways to serve and care for one another. This has been a joy to see and a joy to receive the acts of love performed by Christ’s saints. We would encourage you to continue to consider how we can continue to challenge one another to “love and good works” during these unusual days. In addition to your spontaneous works for God’s glory, here are some additional opportunities where you could serve the Lord in the days ahead.

Transportation for Cancer Patients

As many of you know, Travis (one of our members) works at a cancer therapy center in Flint. Due to the spread of the COVID 19 virus transportation options for cancer patients has been difficult to find. There are now two patients that need transportation to Proton Therapy Center in Flint for Cancer Treatments. One of these patients lives in the Grand Blanc area and another patient lives in the Lapeer area.  If you are able and willing to drive either of these patient to their appointments, your help would be a tremendous blessing to them. We have also had a few individuals offer to help cover the cost of gas for those who are driving. If you would like to help but need assistance with fuel costs, please contact Pastor Jonathan.
 
 

Giving Blood and Volunteer with the American Red Cross

American Red Cross

Volunteers Needed: Contact Colleen @ 810-513-0224

Give Blood: Schedule appointment @ redcrossblood.org
 

Volunteer with Carriage Town Ministries

Carriage Town Ministies is in need of volunteers for their Health Screen Clinic

Contact Tamela Rigg at Trigg@carriagetown.org
 

Facebook Live Services, Zoom Meetings, and Youtube Videos

Each Sunday at 10 am we will be hosting a Facebook live service on our church Facebook page (here: https://www.facebook.com/BethanyBaptistChurchGrandBlanc/). You should be able to access and view our Facebook Live stream with or without a Facebook account. While we recognize this will never serve as a substitute for our physical gatherings, we hope you will utilize this as an opportunity to continue to grow in the Lord.
 
We are also now uploading our services, after they have streamed on Facebook, to our Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLVBHAG8qvEwlfYbySfkz8w Please be aware that it may take a few days of the upload to Youtube to be completed.
 
If you keep an eye on our Facebook page you will also see that we are posting fairly regular gatherings through Zoom and other avenues. One such avenue this week is the following:

Thursday Prayer Gathering

Thursday at 6:30 pm we will have an opportunity to gather for prayer as we look at all the Lord is doing through these unique days. We will gather through the Zo0m app. Again, details and login information will be posted to our Facebook page later this week.
 

Online Giving

Bethany’s Council of Elders would like to ask that our church family take a few moments to read the following letter related to our financial giving and ways in which you can give to our fellowship during these unusual days. (here: https://www.bbgb.org/covid-19-giving/). We trust you know that we continue to pray for you as we face these difficult days together.



Newsletter – April 12, 2020

Christ is Risen!

May we rejoice this morning in the glorious reality of Jesus’ resurrection from the grave.

“It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Ro 4:24–5:5).

 

Serving during COVID 19

We recognize that many in our church family have been finding unique ways to serve and care for one another. This has been a joy to see and a joy to receive the acts of love performed by Christ’s saints. We would encourage you to continue to consider how we can continue to challenge one another to “love and good works” during these interesting days. In addition to your spontaneous works for God’s glory, here are some additional opportunities where you could serve the Lord in the days ahead.

Transportation for Cancer Patients

As many of you know, Travis (one of our members) works at a cancer therapy center in Flint. Due to the spread of the COVID 19 virus transportation options for cancer patients has been difficult to find. One such patient is in need of transportation from Lapeer to the Proton Therapy Center in Flint. Proton Therapy is located at 4100 Beecher Rd., Flint, Mi 48532. If you are able and willing to drive this patient to her appointments, your help would be a tremendous blessing to her in her hour of need. You can sign-up at SignupGenius here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0b4cada629a4fc1-transportation 
 
We have also had a few individuals offer to help cover the cost of gas for those who are driving. If you would like to help but need assistance with fuel costs, please contact Pastor Jonathan.

Giving Blood and Volunteer with the American Red Cross

American Red Cross

Volunteers Needed: Contact Colleen @ 810-513-0224

Give Blood: Schedule appointment @ redcrossblood.org
 

Volunteer with Carriage Town Ministries

Carriage Town Ministies is in need of volunteers for their Health Screen Clinic

Contact Tamela Rigg at Trigg@carriagetown.org
 

Facebook Live Services, Zoom Meetings, and Youtube Videos

Each Sunday at 10 am we will be hosting a Facebook live service on our church Facebook page (here: https://www.facebook.com/BethanyBaptistChurchGrandBlanc/). You should be able to access and view our Facebook Live stream with or without a Facebook account. While we recognize this will never serve as a substitute for our physical gatherings, we hope you will utilize this as an opportunity to continue to grow in the Lord.
 
We are also now uploading our services, after they have streamed on Facebook, to our Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLVBHAG8qvEwlfYbySfkz8w Please be aware that it may take a few days of the upload to Youtube to be completed.
 
If you keep an eye on our Facebook page you will also see that we are posting fairly regular gatherings through Zoom and other avenues. One such avenue this week is the following:

Thursday Prayer Gathering

Thursday at 6:30 pm we will have an opportunity to gather for prayer as we look at all the Lord is doing through these unique days. We will gather through the Zo0m app. Again, details and login information will be posted to our Facebook page later this week.
 

Online Giving

Bethany’s Council of Elders would like to ask that our church family take a few moments to read the following letter related to our financial giving and ways in which you can give to our fellowship during these unusual days. (here: https://www.bbgb.org/covid-19-giving/). We trust you know that we continue to pray for you as we face these difficult days together.



Newsletter – April 5, 2020

Serving during COVID 19

We recognize that many in our church family have been finding unique ways to serve and care for one another. This has been a joy to see and a joy to receive the acts of love performed by Christ’s saints. We would encourage you to continue to consider how we can continue to challenge one another to “love and good works” during these interesting days. In addition to your spontaneous works for God’s glory, here are some additional opportunities where you could serve the Lord in the days ahead.

Transportation for Cancer Patients

As many of you know, Travis (one of our members) works at a cancer therapy center in Flint. Due to the spread of the COVID 19 virus transportation options for cancer patients has been difficult to find. One such patient is in need of transportation from Lapeer to the Proton Therapy Center in Flint. Proton Therapy is located at 4100 Beecher Rd., Flint, Mi 48532. If you are able and willing to drive this patient to her appointments, your help would be a tremendous blessing to her in her hour of need. You can sign-up at SignupGenius here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0b4cada629a4fc1-transportation
 
We have also had a few individuals offer to help cover the cost of gas for those who are driving. If you would like to help but need assistance with fuel costs, please contact Pastor Jonathan.

Giving Blood and Volunteer with the American Red Cross

American Red Cross

Volunteers Needed: Contact Colleen @ 810-513-0224

Give Blood: Schedule appointment @ redcrossblood.org
 

Volunteer with Carriage Town Ministries

Carriage Town Ministies is in need of volunteers for their Health Screen Clinic

Contact Tamela Rigg at Trigg@carriagetown.org
 

Participation in the Celebration of Easter Sunday

This Easter Sunday we will likely celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection in a way unlike any other time we have celebrated His Resurrection. While we may yearn to gather together physically we recognize that the Lord, in His providence, would have us to celebrate His resurrection differently this year. We would ask that you all participate with us through two unique opportunities to celebrate his resurrection. We would like to assemble two videos to share with our church family on Easter Sunday.

Video with Easter Memory

We would ask that each individual or family prepare a 30 second (or less) video sharing with us a memory about Easter or a significant thought you have had about the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. This can be recorded directly through the following website: https://flipgrid.com/29a2993c

Video with Reading of 1 Corinthians

We would also ask that each individual or family participate in reading a portion of 1 Corinthians 15. Allison will edited the audio and portions of the video together into a meaningful Scripture video that will express our joy over Jesus’ resurrection. For additional information and to signup please utilize the following signup genius: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0b4cada629a4fc1-easter2
 

Facebook Live Services and Zoom Meetings

Each Sunday at 10 am we will be hosting a Facebook live service on our church Facebook page (here: https://www.facebook.com/BethanyBaptistChurchGrandBlanc/). You should be able to access and view our Facebook Live stream with or without a Facebook account. While we recognize this will never serve as a substitute for our physical gatherings, we hope you will utilize this as an opportunity to continue to grow in the Lord.
 
If you keep an eye on our Facebook page you will also see that we are posting fairly regular gatherings through Zoom and other avenues. Two such avenues are listed are the following:

Tuesday Coffee, Check-In, and Devotional

On Tuesday morning grab a cup of coffee and join us as we share updates on our family and spend a few moment in the Lord’s word together. This will take place on Tuesday at 10am through Zo0m. Details and login information will be posted to our Facebook page on Monday.

Thursday Prayer Gathering

Thursday at 6:30 pm we will have an opportunity to gather for prayer as we look at all the Lord is doing through these unique days. We will gather through the Zo0m app. Again, details and login information will be posted to our Facebook page later this week.
 

Online Giving

Bethany’s Council of Elders would like to ask that our church family take a few moments to read the following letter related to our financial giving and ways in which you can give to our fellowship during these unusual days. (here: https://www.bbgb.org/covid-19-giving/). We trust you know that we continue to pray for you as we face these difficult days together.



Newsletter – March 29, 2020

Preparation to Celebrate Easter Sunday

This Easter Sunday we will likely celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection in a way unlike any other time we have celebrated His Resurrection. While we may yearn to gather together physically we recognize that the Lord, in His providence, would have us to celebrate His resurrection differently this year. We would ask that you all participate with us through two unique opportunities to celebrate his resurrection. We would like to assemble two videos to share with our church family on Easter Sunday.

Video with Easter Memory

We would ask that each individual or family prepare a 30 second (or less) video sharing with us a memory about Easter or a significant thought you have had about the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. This can be recorded directly through the following website: https://flipgrid.com/29a2993c

Video with Reading of 1 Corinthians

We would also ask that each individual or family participate in reading a portion of 1 Corinthians 15. Allison will edited the audio and portions of the video together into a meaningful Scripture video that will express our joy over Jesus’ resurrection. For additional information and to signup please utilize the following signup genius: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0b4cada629a4fc1-easter2 
 

Facebook Live Services and Zoom Meetings

Each Sunday at 10 am we will be hosting a Facebook live service on our church Facebook page (here: https://www.facebook.com/BethanyBaptistChurchGrandBlanc/). You should be able to access and view our Facebook Live stream with or without a Facebook account. While we recognize this will never serve as a substitute for our physical gatherings, we hope you will utilize this as an opportunity to continue to grow in the Lord.
 
If you keep an eye on our Facebook page you will also see that we are posting fairly regular gatherings through Zoom and other avenues. 

Online Giving

Bethany’s Council of Elders would like to ask that our church family take a few moments to read the following letter related to our financial giving and ways in which you can give to our fellowship during these unusual days. (here: https://www.bbgb.org/covid-19-giving/). We trust you know that we continue to pray for you as we face these difficult days together.



The Dedication of a Father

 
Father’s Day is a celebration that recognizes the positive impact a father has upon the lives of others. That celebration however, does not happen in a vacuum. In the context of a follower of Jesus, a man must first be dedicated to the Lord, before a proper measurement can be made about his impact as a father or a husband. Tim Challis recently wrote an article about the vigilance that is needed in the Christian life. I would like to apply that article to men specifically this Father’s Day,  that they remain vigilant in their walk with Christ, so that they could be godly men, husbands and fathers, who have a positive impact on the the lives of others. Pastor Chris
 

“We all love to watch the occasional fail video, don’t we? What started years ago on primetime television has migrated to YouTube and become one of our beloved pastimes. Some of my favorites are “finish line fails,” compilations of athletes celebrating just a bit too soon.

In one of these finish line fails, an Olympic runner is nearing the end of his race, still going at a tremendous pace. He has swept around the final turn and is now just 15 or 20 meters from the finish line. Convinced that he has an insurmountable lead, he slows his pace, raises his arms in victory, and coasts toward the tape, savoring the adulation of the roaring crowd. But he has failed to keep a watchful eye on the competition, and another runner is far closer than he thinks. This second place runner sees his opportunity. Digging deep, he summons a last reserve of energy and surges forward. Just a step from the finish line he pushes past to claim the gold, an inch ahead of the careless runner.

As a Christian man, you are running the race of life and looking forward to victory. You are running to win! But like that embarrassed and disappointed Olympic athlete, it is imperative that you do not claim victory too soon. He, too, was running to win, but he let up. He neglected to maintain his pace and neglected to watch out for the competitor who was close behind. The arms that were raised in victory were soon forced to collapse in defeat.

If you are to be victorious in your race, you must maintain your pace all the way to finish line.

So far in our series “Run to Win!” all that we have covered relates to character, to the inner man. I have encouraged you to embrace your purpose, to renew your mind, to know your doctrine, to practice your devotion, and to prioritize your church. These practices are all for growing in godliness, for exhibiting the Christ-like character God so values. In the articles that follow we will transition to the outer man, to areas related to life and relationships. But before we do that, I want to provide a sober call for watchfulness. If you are going to run to win, you need to maintain your vigilance.

Maintain Your Vigilance

I’ve heard it said that what distinguishes a world-class athlete from the hundreds of thousands who never quite make it is situational awareness. Wayne Gretzky remains the greatest hockey player to ever lace up a pair of skates, and he often attributes his success to counsel his father gave him when he was a boy: “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” This required more than sheer speed or dexterity, though Gretzky had both in abundance. It required keen observation, constant awareness, and split-second decision-making. Gretzky had a unique sense of how players moved across the ice, how plays developed, and of where the puck would head. Most often, he would get there first, which is why he remains the all-time points leader with no close competition. It’s for good reason that he’s known throughout the hockey world simply as “The Great One.”

If you are going to run your race successfully, you need some of that situational awareness. You need to know that you are in a grueling competition and facing constant challenges from deadly enemies. You need to know where they are most likely to attack and where you are most likely to succumb to their unrelenting temptations. You need to be vigilant, expecting waves of assault and availing yourself of the defenses available to you.

Three Deadly Enemies

There are three great enemies you can be sure you will face from now until the day you break the tape in victory: the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Maintain your vigilance against the world
 
We already encountered the biblical concept of “the world” when we looked at the importance of renewing your mind. The world is any system of values and way of living that opposes God and his Word and finds satisfaction in things that are temporal rather than eternal. Those who follow the patterns of the world become obsessed with “the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions” (1 John 2:16). They eschew future rewards in favor of fleeting satisfaction and prefer what they can have today to what God promises in the future. Even though you are a Christian, you remain prone to worldly desires and worldly thinking, both of which lead inevitably to worldly living.
Worldliness presses in from around and surges out from within. You cannot avoid it, so must learn to resist it.
The Bible warns you not to love the world, not to befriend it, not to be conformed to it, and not to behave like it. It warns that worldliness is the very opposite of godliness.

Maintain your vigilance against the flesh

The Bible often warns against “the flesh.” As a sinful human being, you are “fleshly”—you have a sinful nature that is opposed to God and craves satisfaction in that which he forbids. “Now the works of the flesh are evident,” says Paul, before providing a representative list: “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these” (Galatians 5:19-21). When you live according to the flesh, you pursue such odious things. However, when you were saved by God, you were called to live by the Spirit and to begin to display very different attributes. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (22-23). You have a new nature that remains locked in moral combat with the flesh so that the great battle of your life is to put the flesh to death and to come alive to the Spirit. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Galatians 5:16-17).

Maintain your vigilance against the devil

As a Christian, you are also opposed by the devil himself. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Though the world and the flesh are powerful, they are at least inanimate. But the devil is a being who has desires and a mind and a personality. His desire is to destroy you, his mind schemes against you, and his personality is set against you. Just as he custom-crafted temptations to lead David to adultery and Peter to denial, he will custom-craft temptations suited to your weaknesses. His great desire is to promote and expose your sin, to cause you and those around you to doubt your profession of faith.

These are the deadly enemies you face each and every day. They are present and they are strong. Thankfully, though, God provides great defenses with which you can maintain your vigilance.

Three Great Defenses

Maintain your vigilance through prayer

When Paul wrote about the grim reality of spiritual warfare, he instructed Christians to “put on the whole armor of God” and, after explaining the nature of this armor, concluded with a solemn charge: “Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…” (Ephesians 6:11,18). Vigilance is inseparable from prayer, which is why in another place he says, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2). Jesus himself told us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). Prayer is our first great defense against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Pray that God would protect you from their encroachment, and pray equally that he would expose and correct any of your particular temptations to sin.

Maintain your vigilance through self-examination

A second defense against your enemies is self-examination. This is using God’s Word to realistically assess your desires, your temptations, your habits, and your sanctification. You must do this in the light of Scripture, for only it “is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). God’s Word tells you what is true about yourself, and you are responsible to heed its warnings.
 
Maintain your vigilance through the means of grace
 
God extends his grace to his people through very ordinary means. It is his good will to conform you to his image and maintain you in that image through Word, prayer, and fellowship. You must read the Word and pray in your home and in your church, in the quietness of your devotions and the chaos of your family, until you can truly say you are “constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12). You must enjoy Christian fellowship, primarily in the local church, gathering together to worship, to serve, to hear the Word preached, and to participate in baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
You can trust that it is God’s good pleasure to work through ordinary means to bring about extraordinary holiness.
You cannot expect to thrive in the Christian life or to survive the onslaughts of your enemies if you neglect these most important means.

Do It Now

It is a negligent soldier who neglects his duty to watch when he knows the enemy is nearby. Your enemy is approaching right now, so here are a few ways to get started and then to persevere in vigilance.

  • Pray. Pray and pray and pray.
  • Know your areas of temptation. Where you have experienced and succumbed to temptation before, you are likely to experience it again. You will probably succumb to it again if you have not addressed that weakness of character.
  • Enlist an ally. Tell your spouse or a friend where you battle temptation and enlist them to pray for you and to ask you probing questions. Commit to always answer those questions honestly. In the area of sexual sin and temptation, you will probably benefit from regularly confiding in a brother and allowing him to speak truth into your life.
  • Trust the means of grace. Trust that God has appointed these means rather than others to promote zeal for godliness, to foster godliness, and to preserve godliness to the end. Trust them and take full advantage of them.
  • Prioritize Lord’s Supper. Make the celebration of the Lord’s Supper a special time of self-examination. When you know it is approaching, take the time to carefully examine yourself according to the Bible’s instruction: “Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:28).

Conclusion

It is both foolish and perilous to celebrate too early. The world, the flesh, and the devil thrive where there is apathy or pride, where you do not care to maintain watchfulness or where you do not consider it necessary. Conversely, these enemies wither before prayer, self-examination, and the ordinary means of grace. Until the day you are in the presence of the Lord, you must keep up your pace and keep a close eye on your enemies. If you are going to run to win, you must maintain your vigilance.”



Church Growth

Church growth is a hot topic these days. There are countless books, seminars, and blog posts that share with followers of Jesus different ways to advance the Gospel. Over the years I have appreciated Carey Nieuwhof who seems to consistently challenge me in the my thinking about this important subject. Below is a post regarding 5 characteristics of growing churches. As you read the article, please meditate on his points so that they become seeds for future growth in our lives as we strive together for the advancement of the Gospel in the greater Grand Blanc area. Pastor Chris
 
 
 
 
 
 
     “In fact, here are five things that are true about most growing churches.  1). They Are Led by Passionate Leaders:…The passion is contagious…If you’re wondering why your church isn’t excited about its mission, check your pulse. Your church will only ever be as passionate about your ministry as its leaders are….Leaders who criticize more than they contribute never make a lasting impact.  And even if they’re not passionate about criticizing others, they’re likely passionate about something else in the life of leadership other than the mission before them.  2). They’ve Figured Out the Structural Issues That Hold People Back:  This is where structure matters a lot….
Larger growing churches inevitably change their structure to accommodate the people they’re reaching,… 3). They Are Relentlessly Focused on Reaching People Outside Their Walls ;  This is probably the point that gets leaders into the most trouble.   Because as soon as you start obsessing about the people outside your walls that need the Gospel, the people inside your walls start to say ‘what about me?’…Which is exactly why many leaders get scared away from truly focusing on people outside their walls.  Leaders of growing churches realize that criticism comes with the territory.  So how do you deal with the internal criticism? Easy…just get everyone on the same mission. Get everyone to focus on people outside your walls… 4). They’re Willing to Do What It Takes:  Growing churches have a unique culture. Hang out with them long enough and you’ll realize most of them are willing to do whatever it takes…Their leaders have a habit of not just dreaming, but doing.  Others see obstacles. They see opportunities.  They have a tremendously high pain tolerance and consider nothing to be as important as the mission.  If you’re willing to do whatever it takes, it’s amazing what you can accomplish….leaders who look for a guarantee of success never tend to find success.  5). They Refuse to Let the Present Become a Barrier to the Future: Realizing your mission and reaching more people creates its own challenges, not the least of which is your realization that what you’re doing is working. Which ironically can make you biased against further changes.  As we often say around here, success makes you conservative, which is why the greatest enemy of your future success is your current success….many leaders become risk averse.  Churches that continue to reach people push past this…When the only thing that’s sacred is the mission, you tend to realize your mission.
     “These are five things I see growing churches practice…if you want to go deeper, why do you think criticizing the effectiveness of others is such a big pursuit these days?”