Monthly Archives: June 2018
Relive the joy of Awana Camp 2018, the joint venture of First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, and Second Baptist Church of South Hadley. The camp was held at Pine Brook Camp & Conference Center in Shutesbury. The music for the slideshow is “I will be undignified” from Rend Collective’s Good News Album.
Thursday was the third day of Awana Camp 2018. The kids will head for home this morning. The day a bit soggy due to thunderstorms in the area. That meant for more indoor games and activities. The weather cleared enough for a slip-n-slide in the afternoon. We also had songs, Bible lessons, devotions, skits, crafts, Minute-to-Win-it competitions, food, and fun. It was another great day.
Wednesday was the second day of Awana Camp 2018 at Pine Brook Camp & Conference Center. It was another great day filled with canoeing, archery, games, songs, Minute-to-Win-It competition, carpet ball, snack shop, swimming, GaGa Pit, tie dye, crafts, Bible lesson, devotions, and a movie. How much fun can you pack into one day?
Yesterday was the first day of Awana Camp 2018. It is a joint venture of First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, and Second Baptist Church of South Hadley. The camp is held at Pine Brook Camp & Conference Center in Shutesbury. We had beautiful weather for the start of the camp. The first day featured songs, a lesson from Jack Gilbert, games, free time, good food, and fun. It should be a great week. Thanks for praying.
Book Review: When Through Deep Waters: A Novel, by Rachelle Dekker
Is it possible to break free of the crippling power of guilt? Especially when that guilt is starting to drive you insane? These questions lie at the heart of Rachelle Dekker’s powerful new novel, When Through Deep Waters.
The book tells the story of Alicen McCaffrey, a woman who has it all—a beautiful home, a successful husband, an adorable child. In the space of an afternoon, she loses everything. And she feels the weight of blaming herself for the tragedy. She accompanies an old childhood friend back to Red Lodge, Montana, where they spent summers together as kids. As her guilt seeps in, Alicen begins to her voices, see mysterious figures, and starts to wonder if she is losing her mind.
Part of the message of the book is the tension between guilt and forgiveness.
“There are always two choices,” Jane said. “Fear and love. Two voices: the Spirit and the accuser. Grace and condemnation.”
Can Alicen find the path to grace and be released from her guilt? Read the book and find out.
The book includes 10 Discussion Questions in the back. It encourages the reader to take the concepts deeper and apply them personally. It would be helpful for a book club who wanted to read and discuss the plot and principles.
The book is well written. It pulls you into the story and doesn’t let go until the end.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale Blog Network http://tyndaleblognetwork.com/ book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Below is a letter sent to the congregation of First Central Bible Church providing an update on the progress of our building renovation project. We’re getting closer.
Having benefited from Bob Buford’s work, especially his book, Half-Time, I enjoyed reading Todd Wilson’s article, “Healthy Rhythms,” in which he reflected on the lessons he learned from Bob Buford. One of the things Bob taught and emphasized was Multiplication Thinking. It is expressed in Todd Wilson’s statement,
The first essential shift in moving from being a hero to becoming a hero maker is multiplication thinking; it causes us to think beyond ourselves and beyond our churches. Instead of thinking the best way to maximize our ministry is through our leadership, we begin to realize that the best way to maximize God’s ministry is through multiplying and developing other leaders.
Multiplication thinking and Wilson’s statement about developing leaders resonates with the apostle Paul’s statement in Ephesians 4:11-16 that pastors are not to do all the work of ministry themselves. Instead, they are to equip others to do the work of service. Click on the link to read the entire article. Become a hero-maker.
Communication is one of the biggest challenges in marriage. It is compounded by the fact that men and women use the same words but with entirely different meanings. Here is a humorous resource Carol and I have used in sermons and conferences to illustrate the challenges of communication.
What men really mean
“IT’S A GUY THING” Means: “There is no rational thought pattern connected with it, and you have no chance at all of making it logical.”
“UH HUH,” “SURE, HONEY,” OR “YES, DEAR…” Means: Absolutely nothing. It’s a conditioned response.
“IT WOULD TAKE TOO LONG TO EXPLAIN” Means: “I have no idea how it works.”
“YOU KNOW HOW BAD MY MEMORY IS.” Means: “I remember the theme song to ‘F Troop’, the address of the first girl I ever kissed, and the vehicle identification numbers of every car I’ve ever owned, but I forgot your birthday.”
“OH, DON’T FUSS, I JUST CUT MYSELF, IT’S NO BIG DEAL.” Means: “I have actually severed a limb, but will bleed to death before I admit that I’m hurt.”
“HEY, I’VE GOT MY REASONS FOR WHAT I’M DOING.” Means: “And I sure hope I think of some pretty soon.”
“I’M NOT LOST. I KNOW EXACTLY WHERE WE ARE.” Means: “No one will ever see us alive again.”
Words Women Use
“FINE.” This is the word we use at the end of any argument that we feel we are right about but need to shut you up. NEVER use fine to describe how a woman looks. This will cause you to have one of those arguments.
“FIVE MINUTES.” This is half an hour. It is equivalent to the five minutes that your football game is going to last before you take out the trash, so I feel that it’s an even trade.
“NOTHING.” This means something and you should be on your toes. “Nothing” is usually used to describe the feeling a woman has of wanting to turn you inside out, upside down, and backwards. “Nothing” usually signifies an argument that will last “Five Minutes” and end with the word “Fine.”
“LOUD SIGH.” This is not actually a word, but is still often a verbal statement very misunderstood by men. A “Loud Sigh” means she thinks you are an idiot at that moment and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you over “Nothing.”
“SOFT SIGH.” Again, not a word, but a verbal statement. “Soft Sighs” are one of the few things that some men actually understand. She is content. Your best bet is to not move or breathe and she will stay content.
“THANKS.” A woman is thanking you. Do not faint, just say, “You’re welcome.”
“THANKS A LOT.” This is much different than “Thanks.” A woman will say, “Thanks A Lot,” when she is really ticked off at you. It signifies that you have hurt her in some callous way, and will be followed by the “Loud Sigh.” Be careful not to ask what is wrong after the “Loud Sigh,” as she will only tell you “Nothing.”
It should be no surprise that men are confused today about what their role is. TV portrays men as idiots and women as strong. Movies and magazines tell us the measure of success is how much money you make, how fast your car is, how many women you’ve taken to bed, or how high you’ve climbed on the career ladder. Christian books and speakers tell us to be radical and wild at heart. Churches promote Bible studies for women and children, but leave men to fend for themselves.
What’s a man to do? What is the role and responsibility of a man in marriage?
Scripture explains that the role of the husband is to be the head of his wife (Ephesians 5:23, 25-27; 1 Corinthians 11:3, 8-9; Colossians 3:19). Headship communicates the ideas of one who is superior in rank, responsible for those under his headship, and the one who has been delegated the authority to decide and to act. By God’s design, the husband is the head of the wife and lovingly exercises his delegated authority.
1 Corinthians 11:8-9 gives two reasons why the husband is the head of the wife. Verse 8 explains that God created the man first. Verse 9 explains that the woman was created for the man. You have both the priority of creation and the purpose of creation. Headship is not dependent upon the capability, conduct, or character of the husband; rather, the husband is the head by God’s design from creation.
As the head, the husband is to be the active leader who lovingly manages and provides. Manage means “to stand before” and care for the family (1 Timothy 3:2, 4-5). The husband is to superintend and care for his family. Part of his care may be to protect his family much like a Secret Service agent is willing to take a bullet for the President. In addition, the husband is to “plan before” and provide for his family (1 Timothy 5:8).
Rather than “lording it over” or “exercising authority” over his wife, a husband is to lead “with consideration” and “respect.” “Lording it over” abuses personal power while “exercising authority” abuses personal position. Instead, we are to be considerate and understanding of our wives. We are to grant them honor and respect.
Biblical headship is countercultural. Today, we are told to pursue our own interests and be all we can be. We are entitled to our rights and privileges. However, Scripture tells us that the husband is to devote himself to his wife above children, friends, recreation, ministry, or work (Ephesians 5:25-29).
Far too often, our wives grow spiritually in spite of us rather than because of us. In contrast, we are to mentor our wives to become blameless, holy, and glorious (Ephesians 5:25-27).
While the role of the husband is to be the head, the responsibility of the husband is to love his wife (Ephesians 5:25, 28-29, 33; Colossians 3:19). As head of the wife, the husband chooses to love his wife unconditionally and sacrificially as Christ loved the church. Nowhere is a husband to become harsh and bitter towards his wife. There is no excuse for any kind of physical, verbal, or emotional abuse.
Rejoice regularly that God called you to be the Head of your wife¾and as you lead, “do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” (Colossians 3:23). Overcome any feelings of inadequacy, fear, and anxiety about your role through Biblical solutions. Enlist several respected married men to meet with you regularly for support and accountability. Take responsibility for your spiritual life and the spiritual lives of your wife and family. Demonstrate your love so that your wife feels loved.
If you choose to practice these principles, don’t be surprised if your wife doesn’t recognize you.
A man at work decided to show his wife how much he loved her, and before going home, showered, shaved, put on some choice cologne, bought her a bouquet of flowers. He went to the front door and knocked. His wife answered the door and exclaimed, “Oh no! This has been a terrible day! First I had to take Billy to the emergency room and get stitches in his leg, then your mother called and said she’s coming for 2 weeks, then the washing machine broke, and now this! You come home drunk!”
This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on June 24, 2018. It is part of a series of sermons on 1 Peter. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.