Pastor John and his wife, Becky

The Richest People in the Universe are Highly Favored of God!

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Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

(Ephesians 1:1-3)

Henrietta Howland “Hetty” Green (November 21, 1834 – July 3, 1916) was nicknamed “The Witch of Wall Street”, was an American businesswoman and financier known as “the richest woman in America” during the Gilded Age. Known for both her wealth and her miserliness, she was the lone woman to amass a fortune when other major financiers were men. (Wikipedia)

She took a 6 million dollar inheritance and invested it dying with a total net worth of 100 million dollars. In today’s economy, she would have worth 2.1 billion dollars.

But here is the thing, she was called the “The Witch of Wall Street” not because she was mean person, but because she was extremely miserly in her ways. Here are some examples of just how miserly Hetty Green was…

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Being an iWitness for Christ!

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I am extremely encouraged by the response of our church people over the past two weeks. Since we announced the launch of a new outreach program entitled “GROW”, we have seen 32 people fill out enrollment cards pledging to be involved. The response has been outstanding! I am thankful to pastor a church that still has a tremendous burden for reaching the lost. I also count it a great privilege to serve beside you each and every day as we seek to bring glory to His name.

The past Sunday, the message was “iWitnesses for Christ!” Act 1:8 is Christ’s last command to us before ascending into Heaven. In that message, I shared with you five things we need to consider as “iWitnesses”. 

First, we need to stay focused. Christ told the disciples that “it is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” (Acts 1:7) Their focus was on when Christ would bring about the complete restoration of Israel. Instead, Christ did not want them distracted by what was out of their control. It is no different today, we must make being iWitnesses for Him the primary mission of our lives. Too many times we let things distract us from keeping the main thing the main thing. Let’s determine we are going to stay focused on winning people to Christ.

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Excitement is GROWING for GROW!

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My excitement for the GROW ministry which starts this September is literally GROWING by the minute. This past Sunday, I shared with many of you our plans for the fall for outreach and personal evangelism. My personal goal is see each member of our church involved in evangelism. You can imagine how encouraged I was by the number of people who responded to my plea to join GROW. God is still in the saving business and it is good to see others who are interested in joining Him. If you are still on the fence about joining a group, I would encourage you to sign up this Sunday.
 
Opposite of unbelief is faith or believing. I love Hebrews 11. I think it is one of the great chapters of the Bible. Every time I read it I am reminded at just how great God is and how much He truly wants to use each one of us. However, without faith or belief in Him and His ability to work through us, the writer of Hebrews reminds us that “it is impossible to please Him,” (Hebrews 11:6). When God is not pleased He cannot and will not use us. Does God want to see great and mighty works done through the ministries of Calvary Baptist Church? Yes, He does! So, let’s be people of faith and not unbelief. Let’s be determined to see God do some great and mighty things through us as we go share the Gospel through GROW.
 

Next up for iWitness is the what, where, when, and why of personal evangelism.



A Place of No Escape!

 

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I love this little cartoon picture. This guy has literally painted himself into a corner with no way to escape. You notice that there are no windows or doors nearby. When I first saw this, I laughed and thought “How can anyone be so dumb?” Then it hit me that life is full of dead ends. And, oftentimes, we are the ones that work ourselves into these dead ends.

 

Have you ever come to a dead end? Perhaps, you have driven down a back alley only to find that there was no way out and you were unable to turn around. How frustrating such circumstances can be. Yet, many times in our lives we hit what seems to us to be dead ends. Matter of fact, as a Christian, I am assured that I am going to encounter many dead ends in life. The Bible repeatedly tells us that God is going to bring difficult circumstances into our live in order to grow us spiritually. The Bible also gives us many examples of people who encounter places of no of escape.

 

The children of Israel are a great example. In Exodus 4, we find the story of their exodus from Egypt. Of course, many of us know about the plagues. God used the plagues to demonstrate His awesome power and that He would take care of the Israelites. In the end, Pharaoh had no choice but to let God’s people go. Exodus 4 tells us that God led them away from Egypt and straight to the Red Sea. He led them to a place of no escape. They were surrounded. Pharaoh was angry about his decision and had amassed all of his military might to bring them back.With Pharaoh bearing down from behind and the Red Sea in front, the Israelites were in a place with no escape. Their reaction was two fold. They immediately began to complain and blame God for their predicament. There are four things we can learn from this.

 

  • Sometimes, it is a place that God leads us. (Exodus 4:1-4)

God specifically commanded the children of Israel to encamp by the sea. God led them to that specific place. Sometimes, God leads us to places of no escape. God had a purpose for leading them there. His purpose was to prove once again His awesome power and His willingness to deliver. God wants to do the same for us. When we experience His power and His deliverance, our faith in Him grows even more. We need the faith in Him that demonstrates to the world that He is in control. In order for that to happen, God will sometimes lead us to a place of no escape.

  • Sometimes, it is a place that God tests us. (Exodus 14b-9)

Very often when God leads us to a place it so that He can test us. It is important to note that the Israelites were in this predicament because they were obedient to Him. It was not because of disobedience or some other sin. They did exactly what God had asked of them. We are the way of obedience. In other words, God works through those who are obedient to them. If we want to experience the awesomeness of God, then we must obey Him completely and confidently. We must obey Him even when the circumstances seem to be overwhelmingly against us. We must obey Him even to the point we feel that we have no way of escape. Each circumstance is opportunity for God test us and know that we are committed to obeying Him.

  • Oftentimes, it is a place that we fail Him. (Exodus 14:10-12)

Two reasons we fail Him when faced with dead ends. One, we fail because of our fear. The Israelites overreacted because of the fear that darkened their heart. Fear causes us doubt God’s ability to deliver and protect us from harm. We allow fear to defeat our faith and trust in God. Second, we fail because we forget. The Israelites forgot how bad it had been in Egypt. They forgot about the bondage, the death, the hardness of life as slaves to the Egyptians. Their forgetfulness paved the way for fear and failure.

  • Always, it is a place that He delivers us. (Exodus 14:13-14)

No matter that circumstances God has promised to deliver us. I Corinthians 10:13 is great promise from God. He has promised that He will always make a way of escape even when it seems there is no way of escape. Moses told the children of Israel to do three things: fear not, stand still, and watch God deliver. We must follow the same advice. When we are faced with impossible odds, we need to overcome our fear by putting complete faith and confidence in God’s ability to deliver. We also need to just stand still and let God do His business. Too many times we try to work it all out. Instead, we should be still and give Him control of the situation. When we do these two things, God will fulfill His promise and provide an escape. He is good and promises are everlasting.

 

Can you relate to the children of Israel? Are you in a dead end situation such as dead end job, a dead end marriage, or a dead end financial mess? How can you be obedient to Him in these situations? What advice would you give to others who find themselves in places of no escape? Do you have testimony of being in places of no escape and seeing God deliver?