Archive for September, 2008

24
Sep
08

What’s Up With Baptism?

What’s the big deal with being water baptized?  Can’t I just skip that part?  Do I really have to get all wet in front of a bunch of people?

The answer is yes.  You don’t have to.  You get the privilege of being baptized.  In Jesus’ last words before ascending into Heaven he commanded that his followers be baptized. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus said, Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

When we follow his instructions and submit ourselves for baptism we follow the example of Jesus himself.  Jesus humbly submitted himself to be baptized by John the Baptist and afterward the Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove, and God spoke from Heaven, “This is my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with him.” (Matt. 3:17).  As Christians we should have a desire to follow the example of Jesus more than anything.

In Baptism we personally identify with, and express our belief and trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection.  As we go under the water we identify with his death.  As we come out of the water we identify ourselves with his resurrection from the dead.  Through the Holy Spirit, the resurrection power that worked in Jesus now can work in us, giving us a new heart, and a new life.  Old things are gone.  All things have become new.

Romans 6:4-7 says, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.”

Baptism is also a public declaration of our devotion to Jesus and to his church.  We want our church, our family, and our friends to know of our commitment.  Like a husband and wife wear wedding rings to publicly express their love, baptism is an outward sign of our devotion to Christ for all to see.  Jesus said in Matthew 10:32, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.”

If you’ve not yet been baptized I want to encourage you to do so.  Our next baptism service will be Sunday, November 2nd at Victory Baptist Church.  You can call the office or sign up at the Information Table at church.

If you are getting baptized, let me also encourage you to begin praying about who you could invite for this special occasion.  After all, this is a celebration!  Your family and friends would love to be a part of this day with you. 

In fact, if you will take the time to send me their names and addresses I will mail them a personal invitation.  I believe this is going to be a wonderful time of outreach as well.  You can email the addresses to arlie3@victoryscrossing.com or just call 703-330-0377.

 

God Bless You!

 

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17
Sep
08

Seek Not Great Things For Yourself

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92) was the greatest preacher of his generation.  Interestingly though, Spurgeon was never college trained, and was never officially ordained.  He did have a voracious appetite to read, and his mind retained almost everything he studied.  Most importantly, he had a passionate love for his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and a desire and gift to preach.  At just 17 years of age he became the pastor of a little Baptist church in the village of Waterbach.

He was really happy serving in that little country church.  Many were coming to know the Lord.  But Charles’ father, Joseph Spurgeon, an experienced pastor, wanted something more for his son.  He wanted him to attend Stepney College, the leading Baptist College in England.  Graduating from Stepney would put the stamp of approval on Spurgeon’s ministry.  Spurgeon didn’t want to go.  He loved that little village church, but reluctantly he followed his father’s advice.

To be accepted into the program, prospective students had to be interviewed by the college principal.  Charles set up his interview and arrived one time.  A maid answered the door and brought him into a sitting room.  He waited there for a couple of hours with no sign of the principal.  Frustrated, he left the room and found the maid only to discover that she had shown the principal into another room on the opposite side of the house.  The principal had waited and waited, but finally left to catch a train.  Charles’ interview never happened.

He left that day, and as he walked and thought about what happened he heard the voice of the Lord in his heart, “Seekest thou great things for thyself?  Seek them not!”  Right away his heart felt a peace.  He knew that he was God’s minister already.  God was sending him back to that little village church to preach.  Worldly praise and attention wasn’t something that was to drive his life.

Interestingly enough, just a short while later Spurgeon would receive the invitation that would forever change his life.  He was invited to preach and later to pastor New Park Street Baptist Church in London.  He would spend the next 40 years of his life ministering in that church.  A great revival would breakout in that church that would touch all of London.  Because Spurgeon listened to God, walked humbly, and didn’t seek great things for himself, he was free to step into this divine opportunity.  Spurgeon would later refer to that missed interview as, “the Lord’s hand behind the maid’s mistake.” (Spurgeon – A New Bigoraphy, Arnold Dallimore, 2005)

God help us to be humble.  God help us to submit our plans to him, and then allow him to change them as he sees fit.  What a tragic thing to forge our own path and miss God’s best.  May we, like Spurgeon, seek not great things for ourselves.  Isn’t that what Jesus did?

Philippians 2:5-7 says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing…”

16
Sep
08

New Service Update

Last Sunday was a big day for Victory’s Crossing.  We started a second worship service.  Our new worship times are 9:15 and 11:00 AM.  Praise God everything went better than expected. Both services were well attended.   We saw many new faces. There was an excitement that I could feel as together we were reaching, stretching for more.  Most importantly, you could sense God’s presence as we gathered to worship.  Let’s continue to believe and pray that God will use both of the services in a powerful way.

10
Sep
08

Lessons From the Life of Peter Cartwright

I want to tell you the story of a man who had a heart to reach the lost.  His name was Peter Cartwright.  Peter was born in southern Virginia, right next to the Blue Ridge Mountains.  After the revolutionary war his family moved to Kentucky, to Logan County, just a mile from the Tennessee state line. Peter grew up in a tough area.  It was known as “Rogues Harbor” because there were a lot of crooked people living there – horse thieves, bandits, and killers. (http://www.jonasclark.com/Peter_Cartwright.htm)

Like the Cartwrights, many moved west for more affordable land in the early 1800’s.  But, as people headed west, the churches stayed back, and the reason why is because they didn’t have enough ministers.  To be a minister in the mainline churches that were prominent at this time, the Presbyterians and Episcopalians, you needed a seminary education.  Their seminaries were unable to produce enough ministers to keep up with the fast expansion westward.  So, the people in Rogues Harbor and in other communities in the untamed west had no strong churches around.

The Wild West literally became a wild place in some areas, with very little knowledge of God, the Bible, or spiritual things.  Drunkenness was a huge problem.  One pastor wanted to show the dangers of strong drink.  He placed a worm in a glass of wine.  It wiggled.  He took the worm from the wine and placed into a glass of whiskey and it curled up and died. “There,” the pastor said. “What does that tell you?”  A man in the crowd shouted, “It shows that if you drink whiskey you won’t have worms.”  It was a really dark time for the west.  Who would reach these people? (http://chi.gospelcom.net/GLIMPSEF/Glimpses/glmps085.shtml)

It was about this time that a new movement began to take shape – the Methodists, under the leadership of a circuit riding preacher named Francis Asbury.  Asbury would travel most of his adult life on horseback, building the church for God in America.  They operated a little differently. 

To be a minister, no seminary education was needed, just a love for Jesus and the Bible.  The times were too desperate.  When someone gave their life to Christ and felt called to the ministry Asbury gave them a Bible, a hymn book, a copy of the Methodist disciplines, and a strong horse and sent them out to preach. 

In hopes of reaching as much of the west as possible they created circuits for these ministers to travel.  They became known as the circuit-riding preachers.  The average circuit covered about 100’s of miles and it took many months to travel as the conditions were often very treacherous with bad weather, swollen rivers, and rough terrain.  The circuit riding preacher endured going from town to town proclaiming the gospel, gathering new Christians in fellowship, and into small groups that would eventually become Methodist churches.

Peter Cartwright grew up in Rogues Harbor and became a wild teenager.  He loved to gamble, dance, and party his life away.   But, his mother was a strong Christian and prayed for him often.  In a camp meeting at 16 years of age, convicted of his sins, he gave his life to Christ and at once joined the Methodist movement. Within two years he became a circuit-riding preacher.  (http://www.famousamericans.net/petercartwright/)

It wasn’t easy.  There was not a lot of money in it.  It was often discouraging.  After preaching to crowds Peter Cartwright was often overwhelmed with discouragement over his own lack of education, and weak speaking skills, so much so that he wanted to quit.

Also, in these wild towns there were drunks and rebels who wanted to cause trouble, especially at church meetings.  They were called “rowdies”. Often rowdies disrupted Cartwright’s meetings threatening to whoop him.  When they disrupted his meeting, with threats of violence Peter would often respond, “Let’s step out into the woods and see you do it.”  He was a wilderness man and knew how to take care of business. (http://chi.gospelcom.net/GLIMPSEF/Glimpses/glmps085.shtml)

Crowds soon flocked to hear him. Throughout Kentucky, Tennessee and Illinois, Cartwright preached to crowds, speaking three hours at a stretch, several times a week.  They estimate that 10,000 came to Christ through his ministry.  Thousands were baptized.  He was used mightily of God to help save a nation from itself as it moved westward, because he responded to the opportunity that came divinely to him.  The Methodist church at first in America was ridiculed and despised, frowned upon.  But in a few years the Methodists would grow to be the largest most influential movement in America because of the desire to reach the lost at any cost through men like Peter Cartwright. (http://www.forgottenword.org/cartwright.html)

Today, we don’t have to face rowdies disrupting church, just an occasional cry from a screaming kid.  We don’t have to wait for a circuit-riding preacher to come through town. Churches are all around.  We have nice homes and paved roads, schools, and businesses.  So much has changed, and yet I believe our community is still a lot like Rogues Harbor where Cartwright grew up.  People today are just as lost, just as empty, just as desperate, just as needy, just as sinful, and under the judgment of God, trying to fill the emptiness inside with worldly things.  We just hide it better.

Maybe you feel under qualified.  Remember Peter Cartwright.  The man was from the sticks.  He had no education, but his heart was for the lost.  God took what little he had and saved thousands of souls.  God can use you too!  You may not save thousands, but what if you could reach one?  What could be more important than that?  Nothing in this world.

Col. 4:3-5 – 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.  4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.  5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity

02
Sep
08

New Video

Last Saturday some of our volunteers got together to shoot a video.  We wanted to show in a funny way the reasons for starting a second worship service on Sundays. On Sunday, September 14th, our new worship times will be 9:15 and 11:00 AM.  

There will be more videos like this in the future.  Click the link below to check it out.

Why 2 Services Video