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May 2018

Greetings!

 

As most of you know, Cindee, Grace, and I will be going to Hawaii this summer to minister to kids and their families in the city of Holualoa. I’m writing you this month to ask you to pray for us and the families we will be engaging with.

 

When you think about Hawaii, the first thing that comes to mind, for lack of a better word, is paradise. From the beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear water, to drinking coconut milk straight from the coconut while sitting under a palm tree, Hawaii is a vacation destination dream for most. However, just like everywhere else in the world, there are people there who don’t know Jesus.

 

We are partnering with New Life Church Kona and helping them facilitate their kids sports camps. A major goal of New Life Kona is to create a community of believers that will grow and experience their new life in Christ together while bringing others along in this journey. We will be sharing the love of Christ during these camps. We will be teaching and playing a variety of different sports with the local kids, and have a time of Bible study each day. Many of these kids come from broken and/or low income homes. Our goal is to show them the love of Christ by spending time with them and loving on them.

 

The theme verse for New Life Kona is 2 Corinthians 5:17:  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.” Only 8% of Hawaiian residents claim to be Christian. Many Hawaiians follow the indigenous religious beliefs and practices of the Native Hawaiians. These include polytheistic and animistic, with a belief in many deities and spirits, including the belief that spirits are found in non-human beings and objects such as animals, the waves, and the sky.

 

We are going, not to just help some kids learn some games, but to tell them and their families who Jesus is. Let them know that he died for them so they can have eternal life. It would be a shame for these people to live their whole life in paradise, and then die and go to hell.

 

So please, be in prayer for us and the rest of the team that will be going to Holualoa this July. We are very excited about this mission opportunity and look forward to what God is going to do!

 

Tyler 

 

 

 

 



April 2018

Jesus, the Promise Keeper!

 

“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.’” (Matthew 28:5-6)

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There are so many precious things about Jesus – beginning, of course, with His willingness to offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice for my sin. While that reigns supreme as the best gift ever given, one of the things that is most wonderful to me is that He is completely trustworthy. It’s part of God’s attributes – His perfection and holiness mean that God is always trustworthy. If He says something, you can take it to the bank. Case closed.

 

Jesus and the Holy Spirit share in the attributes of God, including total reliability. It’s a defining characteristic of God; thus, a defining characteristic of Christ. And, it makes Him unique. In a world obsessed with relativism – the belief that truth is what you make of it right now, that there are no absolutes – Jesus stands as a stark contrast, a clear choice that we must make, between the world’s priorities and those of the Creator of the universe. Time and again, we see the truth of the promises of God – these promises provide a firm foundation for our faith, and for the living of our lives as joint heirs with Christ to the promises of God.

 

The Bible is literally filled with promises. Some, God tells us, and we can rely on the truth of the promise, because we rely on the total holiness of God. Some, the promise is conditioned on our response, such as the promise of eternal life to those who confess and believe in Jesus as Savior. Some, we believe without actually seeing or experiencing them – they are conditioned on faith, and, one day, our faith will become sight. But, we believe them, because of the promise-maker – we completely trust in the promise because God made it, and He’s never broken a promise to us, and never will.

 

Jesus, too, is a promise-keeper. The first day of April marks the single greatest promise ever kept. Jesus spent a great deal of time in the days and weeks leading up to His death and resurrection, trying to tell His disciples

 
what was going to happen. He told them, repeatedly, that He, the Son of Man, would be arrested, tried, and executed. Then, three days later, He would be raised again. All of the Gospels reference these conversations. Maybe they weren’t listening – we rarely want to hear things we don’t want to think about. But, make no mistake, the promise was there – death and resurrection.
 
 

Then, it happened, just as He said. The disciples, frightened and confused, deserted Jesus. His followers, with the exception of a few dedicated women, kept silent as prophecy was fulfilled, and Jesus kept His promises. Then, on Resurrection Day, victory was announced by an angel – “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” “He is risen, just as He said.” Another, unbelievable promise kept!

 

Just as He said. Four words that will change your life, if you let them. We don’t have to guess what Jesus would do – He’s done it! We don’t have to wonder if He will keep His word – He always has. His promises are true, and so is His sacrifice. Let the total trustworthiness of Jesus ground your faith, and change your life today!

 

In His Love,

Bro. Heath

 

 



March 2018

“’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)

 

“What’s my purpose?” That’s an interesting question, and one which I imagine we have all asked ourselves more than once in our lives. Its sister questions are “Why am I here?” or “What am I doing?” or, the Sunday School version, “What is God’s will for my life?”

 

As humans, we struggle with the question of our purpose, or our usefulness, in life. As Christians, the issue becomes one of eternal significance, as we seek to discover the plans God has for us in His kingdom and its work. Every day, we see in the news or on social media how people, more plugged-in now than ever before, are dealing with historically high rates of depression and loneliness. There is a never-ceasing thirst for satisfaction with the “things” of this world – and, the more we get, the more we seem to want. Surrounded by friends and our stuff, we still feel isolated and anxious about the future.

 

Could it be that we are not looking in the right place, or for the right stuff? In His Word, God reminds us time and again that He is all we need, and that He – and He alone – can provide the peace and joy that we so desperately seek. We are never satisfied, never content, because we seek to fill the spaces in our souls with things that simply do not measure up to the One who desires to make us whole. We were created to seek Him out, and to have a relationship with Him. He wants to fill in all the pieces, to give us hope – to tell us what our purpose is.       

 

Beginning Sunday morning, March 4th, we will be looking at these, and other questions, in our new morning series, “From Garden to Glory.” God has a plan for us – to save us, to break us, to transform us, and to use us to reach and serve others to His glory. From the foundation of the world, until we see Him face to face (from garden to glory), God has had something special just for you, formed with you in mind. We will talk about living a life of purpose – not simply a life full of things, but a life filled with the things of God. How do we know? What do we need to do? Come Sunday morning, and let’s unpack these questions together!

 

See you Sunday!

 

In His Love,

Heath

 

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February 2018

Share the Love!

 

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)”

 

Happy February!  If you own stock in candy or greeting card companies, I know you look forward with great anticipation for this particular time of year – it’s the “love month.”  With a wife and two girls, February is an incredibly important time for this husband and dad!

 

For the Christian, though, every month ought to be a love month.  After all, love is at the center of our relationship with our heavenly Father, and with each other.  We are called and challenged to, above everything else, love one another.  Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross was a direct result of God’s love for humanity, and Christ’s love for His Father, and us, too.  The love that Paul wrote of in Romans 5:8 goes way beyond friendship.  Here, he wrote of agape love – something intimate, something connecting.  One definition I read said, “With reference to God’s love, it is God’s willful direction toward man.  It involves God doing what He knows is best for man and not necessarily what man desires.”  According to Romans, it is a profoundly selfless love.  And, it came to us, when we deserved it least.

 

We, too, are challenged, even commanded, to love others in this way.  One of the best ways we can share the love God has given us is to bring as many folks as we can into His family.  Sharing the Gospel is an extreme kind of  love – not because it is so hard, or takes so much

 

much time and energy on our part – but because we share it with everyone we meet, even when we feel they deserve it least.  And, like agape love, it can’t be imitated, or faked.  When you love someone, genuinely and honestly, they know it.  And, like we talked about recently in worship – if people don’t know that you love them, they aren’t going to listen to you share the Gospel.  Authenticity first, the Gospel second. 

 

February might be the best time to start sharing the love of Christ with others – after all, it’s on our minds already!  The real goal is to use this time as a springboard to a daily, monthly, and yearly commitment to witnessing.  Eternity is on the line, and we have the antidote to forever without God – shouldn’t that be reason enough to love?

 

In His Love,

Bro. Heath

 

 



January 2018

Make the Most of 2018!

 

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)

 

Happy New Year! I pray that you have had a wonderful, joyous Christmas, and a peaceful, special New Year celebration with family and friends. It’s been a much-needed season of family time around our house, and I hope yours, as well.

 

As we turn our focus to this brand-new year, I’m reminded of a couple of passages:

 

Lamentations 3:22-23, 22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness, and

 

Romans 1:16, 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

 

One is a promise, the other is a challenge. Both are reminders that we worship and serve a God of infinite love, mercy, and grace, who never stops touching us in ways we simply can’t imagine. One is a call to us to remember that God is always there; the other, a call to us to remember that there are people out there who need to know that God loves them, too, and it is up to us to tell them, regardless of the cost.
                         
 

I read somewhere this great little thought – We were not saved to be silent. What an awesome idea, and a challenge that should convict us. Have you shared the Gospel with anyone lately? Have you ever? Our salvation is not a secret – we should shout it from the highest place we can find, to everyone who will listen. That’s our mission – to love, serve, and reach our friends, family, neighbors, community, and world with the message of the Gospel – the message that, regardless of your circumstances, God loves you and wants to make you a part of His family. Surely, there is someone you know who needs to hear that wonderful news!

 

So, my prayer is that you will join me in making that little thought your New Year’s mission – to embrace the reality that you were not saved to be silent, and to offer your life as a testimony to the greatness, the mercy, and the grace of the God who saved you. Find ways to make that a part of your life – God will open the doors, if you will walk through them. Let’s see what God will do with us in 2018!

 

In His Love,

Bro. Heath

 

 

 

 


December 2017

Preparation is Paramount

 

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; to give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace.”     (Luke 1:76-79)
 

Welcome to Christmas time!  It seems, in so many ways, like we were just here.  I can’t believe that, in just a month’s time, we’ll welcome in 2018.  But first, we need to take some time to really let the wonder of Christmas penetrate our hearts.

 

To do that, we have to prepare ourselves – spiritually, physically, and emotionally.  That’s what Advent is all about.  The word “advent” means preparation – it’s the time that we take whatever time is necessary to understand that the Child born in a manger came with a purpose – to reconcile the world with our heavenly Father.  The passage at the top of this article tells us about John the Baptist, and how he was born to pave the way – to prepare Israel – for the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God.

 

In many important ways, what John did for Israel is similar to what Advent does for us.  We are called to get ourselves ready for the coming of Christ, and the season of Advent helps us to focus on the reality of heaven coming to earth.  There are couple of things that we need to do in order to make sure we appreciate the magnitude of this event:

 
First we need to understand that we need a Savior. Jesus Christ came to this earth for one purpose – to repair the relationship of the creation to the Creator that had been damaged by our sin.  Truly, the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world (John 4:14).  If we don’t understand that we are what brought Christ to earth, then we will never fully appreciate the incredible sacrifice that the birth of Jesus set into motion.  Yes, it is a beautiful, wonderful, time of year – the birth of our Savior is to be marked, celebrated, and committed to our hearts.  However, in preparation for that, we must remember, and meditate on, the fact that it was our rebellion that necessitated His intervention in history.    
 
 
Along those lines, as part of understanding that we need a Savior, we should engage in some deliberate self-examination. Let’s spend this time in the run-up to Christmas taking a serious look at ourselves, and our spiritual preparation for the Season.  Are we living our lives in a way that both represents a growing, maturing child of God, and that points others to Jesus.  Without the Gospel as the centerpiece of our celebration, we lose Christmas to commercialism.  So, some healthy introspection is called for, as we prepare ourselves for the greatest gift ever given.
 
Finally, the best way to make the first two points meaningful and lasting is to spend time in the Word of God. It is here that He speaks, here that He reveals Himself, here that He shows us in ways big and small who He is and how much He loves us.  It was His love that brought Jesus to earth, and Jesus’ love that took Him to the cross – all for us.  Get on your knees, read His Word, spend time letting it soak into your soul, so that it becomes a part of who you are, not just something you do.

 

So, as we enter this time of anticipation and celebration, let’s do it the right way.  And, I don’t mean getting just the right gift, or cooking just the right foods.  I mean preparing our hearts and souls for the true meaning of Christmas – so that, when we think of the birth of Jesus, we see the whole picture, and the true meaning of the Season becomes clear, relevant, and real to each and every one of us.  Merry Christmas!

 

In His Love,
Bro. Heath
 
 

 



November 2017

 

“O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods, in whose hand are the depths of the earth, the peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it, and His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” (Psalm 95:1-6)

 

I love the Fall! I love the respite, however brief, from the heat of Summer, when what few seasonal trees we have burst in beautiful colors of orange, yellow and red. It is, to me a wonderful time to reflect on the greatness of God and the utter genius of His creation – and to do so in a sweater or jacket! While not the renewal and rebirth that characterizes Spring, Fall, to me, shows the hand of God so clearly on our world. It’s one of the many things I’m thankful for.

 

Perhaps that’s why Abraham Lincoln selected this time of year to inaugurate our nation’s Thanksgiving observance. OK, it was likely because there wasn’t already a holiday during this time – but, indulge me just a little on this. The important thing isn’t really when we celebrate it, it’s the fact that we do. The idea that we, as a country, pause on this one day to remember the bountiful blessings of our Creator, and to simply reflect with thanksgiving to the One who made it all – everything – even us. Especially us.

 

That really brings into sharp relief the praises pouring from the words of the psalmist who wrote Psalm 95. “O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord . . . the rock of our salvation.” He made it all – “Come, let us worship and bow down . . . before the Lord our Maker.” You know, that had to be on the hearts and minds of the Pilgrims as they gathered together – those few who survived that first brutal winter in Plymouth Colony, together with the Natives whose lessons in farming saved their lives. They were thankful to be alive. They were keenly aware of the provision of God.
 
 

And, as the Civil War came to a close, Lincoln must have had similar thoughts of the provision of God, who carried the Republic through a bitter war, and on whom he relied daily for peace and direction. So much so that he declared a day of remembrance for the Creator, Sustainer, and Lord who made it possible.

 

How much we have to be thankful for! For family, friends, church. For peace, provision, and life. For the God who made the mountains and the seas, and us. Everything we are, and hope to be, we owe to Him. So, as we gather to eat and watch football, let’s not forget to take a moment to, first, remember and thank the founder of it all – the living God!

 

In His Love,

Heath

 



October 2017

 

Hello!

 

It’s not often that I get to do the Newsletter article, but I love it when I get the opportunity! IT’S FINALLY FALL!! One of my favorite times of the year! The air is changing, the leaves are falling, it gets dark earlier, and….PUMPKIN SPICE!!! As most of you know, Grace and I have a slight addiction to anything Pumpkin Spice, so this season of the year makes us inordinately exuberant!
 
Another reason that this time of the year is a favorite of mine is because this is when we start getting ready for our Christmas Musical that we will do in December. I am going to use this article to invite you to be a part of our choir for Christmas this year. The musical we are doing is called “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and that it is. What’s our setting you ask? Well, we’ll transform the stage into downtown New York City in front of the Rockefeller Center! A giant Christmas tree, a fountain, big Christmas ornaments, and snow on the ground are just a few of the things you’ll see. A street vendor may even make an appearance!
 
We are so excited about this musical and hope that you will join us. The songs are guaranteed to be ones that you know and enjoy singing each year at Christmas. We will sing about the birth of our Savior, Jesus, and how He was sent to earth to deliver us, redeem us, and wash us white as snow. I invite each of you to come join us in making a joyful noise this year. If you aren’t sure, then join us on a Sunday night at 6:00 pm and just sit and watch how things are operated.
 

The musical will be Sunday, December 17 at 6:00pm. We will have the members of the South Mississippi Regional Home joining us, as we do each year, to celebrate the birth of Christ! I look forward to seeing you in the choir and being able to worship with you!

 

Tyler Selby

 


September 2017

Hate 2 Wait

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)

If there is only one thing that unites us all as people, it is that we hate to wait. There is not a one of us who, given the choice, would opt for waiting in a long line, at a stoplight, or in the doctor’s office. “Nah, I think I’ll just hang out here and watch the world go by,” was said by no one, ever.
 
But, that’s precisely what God calls us to do, and with great frequency. As His children, who are striving to grow in our faith, and who yield ourselves to His will and His timing, we are often told to be patient, and to wait for God. We extol the virtue of being, “still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) But, like most things in our spiritual walk, waiting is an uncomfortable and sometimes painful task.
 
This month, we are going to be launching into a new message series entitled, “Hate 2 Wait.” I hope you’ll join us on Sunday mornings at 10:30 as we take up this topic – one that is so personal for each of us. How do we reconcile our professed faith in God, in the perfection of His plan and timing, and still cry for Him to move – Now! How can we grow through our seasons of waiting, tarrying to hear God’s voice and see Him move, when all we want is what we want – Now!
 
Listen, family – there is never a time in our lives when our plans ex-ceed God’s plan for us. He created us in His image, and draws us to Himself, so that, through our obedience and dependence, He can
make all the arrangements for His very best in our lives. But, while He is working everything out, we have to be willing to hold tight, even when the thing we think we have always wanted is right in front of us. If the Father says, “No, wait for Me,” then that is the answer.
 
David knew a lot about waiting. From time to time, we’ll look at seasons of his life when he could have taken another road, but elected to let God continue the process of building him and preparing him for the great things that would come his way. In that way, David is exactly like us – sometimes, we are called to pause, or even postpone, our best, while we wait for God’s best. I promise, it might not feel like it at the time, but you will never go wrong with this plan!
 
See you on Sundays!
 
In His Love,
Bro. Heath
 


August 2017

“’Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?’ declares the Lord. ‘Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.’ ” (Jeremiah 18:6)

 

God knows how to bring revival to our friends, our community, our families, our church, and our world. He looks for those who will allow Him to shape them into the instruments He requires to do his work. One mark of revival, when God comes to His people in power, is that God’s people are

compelled

to offer their lives for His service – they give themselves to God completely. You see, clay has no plans of its own, no aspirations for service. Nor does it have any reluctance to perform the task it is given. It is just clay: moldable, pliable, totally submissive to the will of its master.

 

Many churches lack people who are willing to get involved in carrying out God’s redemptive work. We are more interested in conducting our own interest and gift inventories and telling God what we think we can or can’t do for Him, or what we want or don’t want to do. But, this is not a characteristic of clay. God is not limited to working with our strengths, or around our weaknesses (2 Cor. 12:9-10). He looks for someone who will submit to being broken and remade into a holy vessel. He finds those who will allow Him to remove their impurities.

 

One of the personal lessons I learned this summer is that the mission fields are crying out for Christians to go and share the Gospel with those who’ve never heard it. I never thought it was me – it was something for someone else to do. But, then I realized that obedience is a willingness to be what God wants you to be, and go where He wants you to go – no questions asked. That’s what being a disciple means. What we need is not more pleas for volunteers, but an outpouring of the power of God. When God comes among His people in power, there is never a shortage of volunteers or resources for His work!

 

When Christians today are asked what aspects of the Christian life are most important to them, missions is not usually ranked as a priority. This is because we have lost track of why God called us in the first place. We were not saved from our sin simply so that we would qualify for heaven. God delivered us so we would have a relationship with Him through which He could carry out His mission to redeem a lost world. It is not a noble task, being clay. There is nothing noteworthy, or glamorous, or worthy of boasting – except it is exactly what God is looking for.

 

Only the power of God can free us from our natural self-centeredness and reorient us toward the

mission

of God. There is no need to pray that God would come in power – that is the only way He ever comes! We need hearts that are so willing, so responsive to Him that he will choose to demonstrate His power through us. Is your heart so filled with love for God that you are watching for the first opportunity to say with Isaiah, “Here am I. Send me!”?

 

In His love,

Bro. Heath

 

(Excerpts taken from Experiencing God Day-By-Bay, by Henry and Richard Blackaby (1997).)