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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,



October 2017




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


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


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).)




July 2017


Draw Near to God

James 4:8

Every Sunday of our study in becoming irresistible, becoming the people, and the church, God loves to bless, we have first looked at what it is going to take to get – and keep – us on that road. James tells us,

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you . . . 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”

(James 4:8, 10) Let’s look at the first part of that passage. If we are going to become the people that God knows we have the potential to be, then we have to begin at the beginning – becoming close to God, and staying there as He guides and teaches us. It’s not a place we can get to on our own – and it’s not a place we can be, if we don’t camp out in the shadow of God’s presence.

There may be times in our journey, however, when God seems far away. You may feel as if your prayers go unheard. James said there is a simple reason for this, and a solution. If you are far from God, it is because sin as separated you from Him.

One of the most awesome truths about God is that He is unchanging. His character stays absolutely holy. His faithfulness remains constant. The distance comes from us – it is we who change. We allow sin into our lives. We choose our own direction. We spend less and less time with Him in Bible study and prayer. Then, one day, we realize that we have – ever so gradually – grown distant from God. And, it’s not His fault; it’s ours. The solution, according to James, is straightforward: we are to draw near to God. As we realize our need to be closer to the Father and we begin to return to Him, He meets us even as the father hurried to welcome his prodigal son home (Luke 15:20).

Drawing near to God requires us to take two actions. First we must cleanse your hands (Isaiah 1:15). Before we can enjoy the blessings God’s intimacy with us has to offer, we have to clean up. We must cleanse our way of living. If you have been actively engaged in sin, you must reject it – every bit of it. If you have done anything to offend or hurt someone, you must make it right. Second, you are to purify your heart (Psalm 51:10). You have to make certain your attitudes, thoughts, and motives are right in God’s eyes and are in harmony with God’s word. Jesus warned that you cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). It is impossible to love anything else as much as you love God and still please Him.

If God seems distant, do what is necessary to cleanse your hands, purify your heart, and draw near to Him. Then you will begin to grow more and more irresistible to heaven!

In His Love,

Bro Heath




May 2017


The Apostle’s Creed

A couple of weeks ago, we started a new study on Sunday nights. It’s called “The Apostle’s Creed,” and it takes an in-depth look at the theology, development and use of one of the earliest documents in the history of the Christian Church. One review states, “Keeping Christians on the same page, before the invention of the page!”

Because of last week’s weather, we’re only one week into this great study, and I’d like to invite you to join me, every Sunday night at 5:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. To give you a little background, here is a welcome from Matt Chandler, the study’s author:

“It’s easy for our culture of individuality and innovation to shape the way we think about the church. So what should we believe? Should Christians try to be more accepting of a postmodern worldview? With so many questions, opinions, and interpretations among people today, even within the church, what should we all agree on as essential to Christian faith?

Finding its genesis in the apostles’ teachings, the Apostles’ Creed contains essential Christian doctrines and beliefs that summarize the gospel and make up the foundation of our faith. The scriptural truths contained in the creed help us operate from good theology, with the knowledge that our faith is rooted in truth and a rich history that spans past, present, and future. The lines of the creed aren’t mere words. They convey the essence of what we confess and believe as the body of Christ.

The creed helps us develop better symmetry as Christians, giving us a more robust understanding of biblical teaching. As Christians, it’s easy to stick with what we already know. Either we don’t grow and remain immature with a minimal, two-dimensional faith, or even if we’re growing, we become out of balance instead of developing a holistic, well-rounded faith.

It also helps us with clarity, making clear who God is. Clarity is a more specific focus on what we believe about God and the world. By and large, American evangelicals seem to be terribly confused about who God is, what He’s up to, what He’s like, and what He’s about. The Christian life isn’t about our preferences or opinions or the latest cultural trends; it’s about God. What you believe about God is the most important thing in your life; it shapes all your attitudes and actions.

The Apostles’ Creed informs our community, whom we belong to, and whom we’re with. As Christians who believe the doctrines summarized in the Apostles’ Creed, we’re part of a people who have been around for thousands of years. We’re part of a people who go back to the beginning of humankind, when God called first people to Himself. Throughout history God’s people, those He has chosen and called to Himself, have thrived and worshiped the one true God. We’re part of that tradition. We’ve been woven into something much bigger than us. The fabric created by God makes us stronger than any of us can ever be on our own. It’s diverse, it’s beautiful, and it’s global.

Lastly, the creed informs the way we counsel ourselves and others. Counsel is essentially the point of application. How do symmetry, clarity, and community lead to a change in your perspective? How do you think and act differently? When you grow in your understanding of the person of God, the work of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, you’ll think differently. The result should be an ever deepening maturity and a closer walk of obedience with our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Hope to see you there!

Bro. Heath






April 2017

Nothing, and Everything


Easter is almost here.  This season, more than any, we are reminded of the many contrasts of the Christian life.  Through the events of Jesus’ last week on earth, we follow Him from His triumphant entry into Jerusalem – hearing the adulation of the crowds – to His agonizing walk up the Via Dolorossa, soaked in His own sweat and blood, toward Calvary.  We hear, just as clearly, the jeering and mockery of the same crowd which, just a few days earlier, wanted to declare Him king.


We experience the loneliness of the cross, as Jesus, dying for me, cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”  And, very soon thereafter, we hear Jesus declare victory, stating, “It is finished!”  We share with the disciples the loss and confusion of His death and burial, and we also share with them the incredible, unbelievable confidence of the empty tomb.  As Christians, we are emboldened by the words, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?  He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.” (Luke 24:5; Matthew 28:6)


We experience so many conflicting emotions:  defeat, and victory, sadness and joy, loss and gain, emptiness and abundance.  But, one I’d like us to focus on, for just a minute, is

nothing, and everything.  You see, it cost us nothing to become a Christian, and to receive eternal life.  The price was paid in full before we ever even thought about the consequences of our sin.  The conquering of Satan, the payment of a blood sacrifice, the agony of the cross, the bearing of the weight of the sins of the world.  Add to that the experience of God’s rejection and condemnation in our place, the facing down of hell itself – all of these things Christ accomplished on our behalf – without any help at all from us. 


And the victory – along with all of the benefits of His mighty work are ours, through faith – they’re free to everyone who would believe in Him and claim them for their own.


But, while it cost us nothing to become a Christian, it will cost us everything to be a Christian.  Jesus commands and demands nothing less from us than that we place Him on the throne of our lives.  He requires us to set aside our personal agendas, and replace them with His.  It is not His desire, but his expectation, that we view everything we have as His, and that we submit it all – everything – to His will.


In that darkened Upper Room, through the flickering of candlelight, only a few hours before His crucifixion, Jesus challenged the disciples, saying, “If you love Me, keep My commands.” (John 14:15)  And, that challenge is ours, as well.


Learning Christ’s will, and then choosing to give Him your obedience is a profound act of worship.  Obedience to God is confirmation, to ourselves and others who may be watching, that our faith-statements are real.  It is also the surest path to personal satisfaction and happiness.


So, this Easter, embrace the contradictions that come from living a life of Christ-honoring service.  Know that, as Max Lucado wrote, He chose the nails – for me, and because of me.  And, through Him, I am forever free.  He saves!  


In His Love,

Bro. Heath







March 2017

The Love of Easter

1 John 4:7-11




March 1st begins the observation of the season of Lent – a time where Christians prepare themselves for the bloody sacrifice of Good Friday, and the victory of Easter Sunday, by spending time remembering.  We remember who God is – that, in His sovereignty, He prepared a way for his wandering, rebellious, sinful children to return to Him, once and for all, through faith in His Son, and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We also remember who Jesus is – the Son of God, who voluntarily set aside his heavenly crown to be born of a virgin, to live, and to die, in fulfillment of promise and prophecy, to give us the hope of eternal salvation to all who would believe.  We remember, too, ourselves, and the sin of humanity that made the cross necessary.  It was for us that Jesus bled and died, and it was for us that His resurrection promised time without end with His, and our, heavenly father.


We should remember, too, the words of John:

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:7-11, NASB)

Easter is all about love:  a Father’s love, a Son’s love, and the love of repentant children, who present themselves as a holy and living sacrifice – a gift of love, through faith, that is the only acceptable response we can have for the indescribable gift that was given to us in salvation.  


So, as we prepare ourselves for Easter over the next forty or so days, let’s remember the love that made a plan, and the love that took a cross, and the love that gave and empty tomb.  And, let’s remember that it was all for us, and respond with the gratitude and humility that is demanded of such an awesome gift.  And, let our belief, our faith, impact our behavior.  Let’s share some of that love with others; because, “if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”


In His Love,

Bro. Heath