Our building renovation project is moving forward. You can see the door for the handicap lift for the stage in the sanctuary, the woodwork around the stage, new lights under the balcony, cabinets in the workroom, new flooring in the lower fellowship hall, and cabinets in the new kitchen in the lower fellowship hall. We are on track to “move in” this fall. Exciting things are happening at First Central Bible Church. Stay tuned.
Category Archives: First Central Bible Church
Today was the second day of KidConnect Summer, the week-long summer ministry program of First Central Bible Church. We had Bible lessons, songs, games, food, science projects, and a missionary story. Today’s theme was that when we worry, God rescues us. The Bible lesson was about Mary & Martha, how Martha worried about many things but Mary chose what was most important–Jesus. It was another great day.
KidConnect Summer is the week-long summer ministry of First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA. The week is filled with Bible stories, songs, games, science projects, missionary stories, friendship, and fun. This year we are using “Shipwrecked: Rescued by Jesus” from Group Publishing. Today’s lesson was that when we are lonely, Jesus rescues us. It was a good start to what should be a great week.
It is a difficult day to be a good person. Good people are targeted for scams and shootings. Good people are taken advantage of. We wonder, what good is it to be good?
Life in a fallen world brings suffering. There is the suffering that is common to all people—disease, death, sorrow, distress, weariness, to name a few. There are also times when we suffer for our faith. This suffering or persecution can be overt, like the Romans throwing Christians to the lions or a church being burned, or subtle like being passed over for promotion because of your Christian characters and witness.
As a Christ follower, how are we to respond to suffering? In 1 Peter 3:13-17, the apostle Peter explains that when Christ is Lord of our lives, we can face suffering with confidence, knowing that every crisis is an opportunity to witness.
When you suffer for doing right (13-14a, 17). Generally speaking, when we do right, we are rewarded. When we do wrong, we are punished. However, we live in a fallen world where Christians are persecuted for doing right. If we have a choice, it is much better to suffer for doing right than for doing evil, because those who suffer for doing right are highly favored by God. Those who suffer receive God’s blessings.
Face it with confidence (14). Because the natural temptation is to bail out and run away from suffering or persecution, Peter quotes from Isaiah 8:12-13. The historical context is that the Assyrian army is invading Israel and Ahaz, the king of Judah, is tempted to form a political alliance with the kings of Israel and Syria. Isaiah warns the king to fear God, not the enemy. Peter uses the quote to encourage his readers not to be intimidated or afraid. Because we know that persecution brings blessing, we have no reason to be afraid.
Live under Christ’s authority (15a). When we fear, we allow our enemies to take control. Instead, we are to honor Christ as Lord. Since the heart is the sanctuary where Christ prefers to be worshipped, we are to place all the areas of our lives under his authority. We are to fear displeasing Christ rather than fear what people can do to us.
Share your testimony convincingly, yet graciously (15b-16). If you want to enjoy corn on the cob in the summer, you have to plant the seeds in the spring. If you want to share your faith tomorrow, you need to be preparing your testimony today. We should have a ready answer whenever anyone asks us what we believe and/or why we believe it. We need to keep in mind, however, that we are witnesses, not prosecutors. The goal is not to win an argument. The goal is to win lost people to Christ. Thus, we need to witness with grace.
This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on July 8, 2018. It is part of a series of messages on 1 Peter. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.
The Declaration of Independence contains the well-known phrase, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” which its author Thomas Jefferson listed as among the “unalienable rights” God gave to people. For most people today, that means the pursuit of self-gratification and pleasure such as cars, houses, vacations, stylish clothes, the best seats at sporting and entertainment events, and health and fitness.
During the twentieth century, the novelist Ernest Hemingway was the personification of a hedonistic lifestyle. However, his pursuit of the good life—heavy drinking, hunting and fishing expeditions, celebrity parties, fighting in and reporting on several wars and revolutions—did not bring satisfaction. Hemingway took his own life in 1961. In Scripture, King Solomon pursued the good life through wine, women, gold, horses, building projects, and work. And yet he said it was all meaningless without God.
In 1 Peter 3:8-12, the apostle Peter gives the key to the good life. He explains that if we want to love life and see good days, it must come as we live in harmony with one another. If we want to enjoy the blessings that God offers, we need the right attitude, the right response, the right foundation, and the right motivation.
The Right Attitude (8). With the word, “finally,” Peter indicates that he is wrapping up the middle section of his letter (2:13-3:12). He appeals to “all of you” to describe specific corporate behavior which will silence the hostility of an unbelieving world. Peter lists five character qualities and actions that relate to social relationships. The first and last, live in harmony and be humble, relate to how we think about people. The second and fourth, be sympathetic and be compassionate, relate to how we feel towards others. These four qualities are centered around the middle instruction, love as brothers. Like the fingers of a hand, they radiate from the center and work together. As Christ followers, we are to set aside our rights and serve the needs of others.
The Right Response (9). When someone harms us, our natural tendency is to fight back and get even. Peter instructs his readers to resist the temptation and break the cycle. We are to choose “blessing others” as our preferred method of retaliation. This will result in us receiving a blessing.
The Right Foundation (10-11). To emphasize his point, Peter quotes from Psalm 34. He explains that the key to the good life is found by obeying the guidelines of God’s Word. Rather than deceive others, we should speak truth. Rather than perform evil, we must do good. We should focus on ways that make peace. We must build our lives on the truth of God’s Word.
The Right Motivation (12). Peter wraps up this section by encouraging us to make it our goal to please and glorify God. God is aware of all that takes place in our lives. He is ever open to the prayers of his children. And he will punish those who commit evil.
If we want to enjoy the blessings God has for us, we must seek to live in harmony with one another.
This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on July 1. It is part of a series of sermons on 1 Peter. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.
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.