In Matt. 7:12, Jesus says…
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12
As I look back on the recently past Christmas season, one of the striking memories is the wonderful music of Christmas. It seems that once I start hearing those old familiar songs and hymns, I am filled with a renewed sense of joy and happiness. That got me thinking about the importance of singing as a follower of Jesus Christ.
You may not think of yourself as a singer, but let’s for a moment suspend all judgement about what makes a good singer “good” and simply notice the wonder of singing. Humans alone are invested with this ability to sing. We sing for joy, we sing the blues, we sing love songs and we sing songs of loss. But I think most importantly, we sing songs of worship and praise. Paul puts it this way in Ephesians…
As Christmas approaches – it reminds us of the blessing of giving gifts to one another. There is great joy in picking out just the right gift and knowing that the person to whom it will be given will need and appreciate it. Therefore how would you feel if you entered your friend's home weeks after Christmas and found the gift that you had given them still unopened?
Wouldn’t it make you feel bad if you heard a friend of yours complaining about an unmet need in their life, and yet you knew that you had given them a gift to take care of that need but they had simply not yet opened it?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
One of the reasons I love the ministry here at Quail is that I see so much help being given to folks in crisis by so many. Just about every day, I observe a member of our Lay Counseling Team meeting with and assisting an individual or a couple in our counseling office.
I have a theory. I do not know this to be true, but I have this feeling that the Pharisees and the Sadducees who gave Jesus so much trouble when He walked the earth did not laugh very much. They seem constantly to be burdened with their responsibility, and consistently judgmental and cranky. By contrast, however, Jesus took joy in children, loved a good party and looked for reasons to be with people of all walks of life. I can picture Him smiling and laughing and being the kind of person whom other people wanted to be with.
In Deuteronomy 4:9 we read, “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” NIV
In Deuteronomy 4:9, we read,
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”
At Quail, we are totally dependent on our wonderful volunteers for the excellent ministry for the Lord that takes place on the campus and beyond, week after week. But I am aware that there are a few myths about volunteering that need to be dispelled, so that many more of us can participate in a way that blesses the Lord and brings us joy.
I want to talk to you about the “on the job training” that God provides. Back when God called Moses to leave the sheep he was watching and stand before Pharaoh and declare “Let my people go,” Moses was not so keen on the promotion. He responded by saying, “Please send someone else to do it.” (Ex.4)
Maybe that is how you feel today. Maybe you are pushing a calling that God has brought to you, or a job that He is giving you, back across the table of your life saying, “No thanks, that is not for me.” Or maybe you are putting something off that you know God wants you to do, saying, “I just don’t have the skills or the smarts to pull it off.” If so, let’s remember how God replied to Moses: "Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (Ex. 4:12)
This month we will engage in our first 2018 “GO - Lift Every Church” project. I am sure that you know by now that these projects are designed to bless and lift up other churches in Stockton so that together we can effectively reach this city for Jesus as well as enhance our unity with other fellowships.
I am pleased and thrilled to announce that the Elders have voted to enlarge the staff role of Brandon Smith here at Quail to full time. For many years now, Brandon has had a part time role in which he was the primary teacher/leader in the young adult congregation called “Refresh.” Over the span of his leadership, that ministry has grown both in numbers and in quality of relationships.
It was some time ago that the staff here in the office came to me with information regarding a growing trend among churches. It was that in order to make giving as convenient as possible for the giver, many churches were enabling people to make donations via text. I must admit that at first this seemed a little farfetched to me, but we were able to initiate this process in 2015. Since then, I have been amazed when I have received the reports that come my way. Particularly in 2017, we saw a surge in giving through this process.
When you consider the Great Commission that Jesus left us, the action that is called for is “make disciples. …go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matt. 28:19)
That is the job description of the church and, in fact, of every believer in Jesus Christ. In order to accomplish that, we need to keep a few things in mind. Here is my take on the most important points:
Recently our own Sandi Cornett traveled to Houston to serve in the relief efforts sponsored by Samaritans Purse as they responded to hurricane Harvey. Sandi is a Pediatric Physical Therapy Assistant here in Stockton and has been attending Quail for almost 10 years. She and I dialogued about this experience of self-mobilized missions and here is what she said.
Recently I saw the piece by Professor Todd Miles of Western Seminary. He had some good ideas about what we must remember not to forget as we study our Bibles. These simple points will help us stay away from bad habits than can creep into our time in the Word. Here they are…
Deut. 8:10, 17-18
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land He has given you…But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers…” NIV
In Deuteronomy 8, God warned his people not to forget that it was by His hand of blessing that they were able to enjoy their prosperity. It is an interesting paradox that people will cry out to God for help when they are having financial problems and then forget about Him when things are going well.
On March 4th of 2016, an article was published in the Wall Street Journal entitled, “At Its Heart, Science is Faith –Based, Too.” Written by Matt Emerson, the article detailed a February 11, 2016 experiment where scientists detected gravitational waves which emanated from a deep space collision 1.3 billion light years from Earth. The news confirmed, to their satisfaction, the 1915 theory of Albert Einstein that there was a ripple effect in space-time.
Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli, commenting on this event, stated that the scientists were pursuing a “dream based on faith in reason: that the logical deductions of Einstein and his mathematics would be reliable.”
Countless times through the ages, the question has been asked, “How can we recognize the voice of God?” Many times in Scripture we read of God speaking to people audibly, and often they did not recognize it as God at first. (Gideon and Samuel come to mind!) So what are we to think about this?
Don’t you love how God does some of His most important work through the humblest of people? In this Christmas ep of AMwPM, Pastor Marc considers the shepherds and the lessons we gain from God using them in spreading the original “good news”. Enjoy... and Merry Christmas!
One of the most destructive weapons the enemy wields against us is discouragement. But let’s flip that on its head! We all possess a greater weapon: the ability to influence and nourish the outlook of others in a positive way, through simple words of encouragement. And yet, we often fail to speak this warmth and light into others’ lives. Today's ep from Pastor Marc offers insight and encouragement on doing just that.
Let’s face it - rebuke is not our favorite thing. Yet we know discipline from a loving parent is good for us. If we can learn to embrace loving rebuke, we grow and mature. It’s the same way with God, our heavenly Father, as Pastor Marc explains...
For some, the idea of praying for patience brings to mind the old expression about “being careful what you ask for”. But praying for patience is a good thing, and Pastor Marc explains how courageous prayers like this can help mature us into better and stronger believers.
How does it feel to know that each of us, that YOU, are God’s workmanship? That amazing nugget from Ephesians 2:10 speaks to our potential, what we were made to be, what we can be... with God’s guidance and help. Pastor Marc offers some solid tips on how we can move toward realizing the God-designed potential within each of us.
Quail Lakes Baptist Church has a variety of ministries for everyone, young and old.