Month: September 2014

October Sermon Series to Focus on Life after Death

If the Dead Could SpeakIf our existence ended upon our last breath, what would be the point of salvation? If we ceased to live, feel, think, and exist after death, what would be the point to pleasing God, and living according to scripture? The Apostle Paul said it best in 1 Corinthians 15:32:

If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

In other words, if there are no ramifications to our life on Earth after we die, what’s the point? We might as well eat, drink, and be merry. We might as well live it up. Without life after death, there is no point to living in holiness, worship, morality, self-sacrifice, charity, God or country.

However, the Bible plainly states that there is life after death. When that preacher reads 1 Thessalonians 4, and they lower your body into the ground, your story doesn’t end there. In fact, it has only begun, because at that moment, you will have begun your life in eternity.

The Bible says in Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” When you close your eyes in death, your eyes will re-open before the judgment seat of Christ. At that moment, you will be judged according to your actions, and found guilty of sinning against God. The question is whether your sentence of death for your sins will have been paid. The Bible teaches that Jesus endured that sentence when He died on the cross for your sins, however, has that payment been credited to your account? It has, if you have repented of your sins, and trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

In Grace Pointe’s October sermon series, “If the Dead Could Speak,” we’ll take a look at life on the other side of death from the perspective of those (in scripture) who have been there, and also from God’s perspective. We will discuss Heaven, and we will discuss Hell, and most importantly, we’ll discuss how to go to Heaven and how to avoid Hell. We’d be glad to have you come visit with us during this riveting series. Grace Pointe Missionary Baptist Church meets Sundays for morning worship at 11 a.m. at the Early Chamber of Commerce Small Business Incubator Facility, 104 E. Industrial, Early, Texas, 76802.

In Honor of Truett Cathy…

Truett_CathyThere are two types of Christians in the world today… those whose faith is part of their overall character, and those whose faith shapes their character. Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy fell into the latter category. Before you knew him as the founder of the top chicken restaurant in America, Cathy taught Sunday school at the First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, Georgia, where he often said that the Bible was his guide-book for life. 

While many people acknowledge that the Bible is God’s Word and His instructions for living, few actually put it into practice. Cathy not only taught Biblical concepts to his Sunday school class, he demonstrated them in how he lived, and how he conducted business. 

One of the hallmarks of Cathy’s Chick-fil-A restaurants is that they are closed on Sundays, thus allowing employees a day of rest, and a day to worship. This practice is a demonstration of Cathy’s faith, as Sundays tend to be the biggest day of the week for most restaurant chains. Yet, God blessed Chick-fil-A’s yielding of the most profitable day to His worship. Chick-fil-A sells more fried chicken products than most fried chicken chains. 

The benefits of closing on Sunday cannot be overstated. For a full day, crew members need not worry about being called in, management need not worry if the store is property operating, and maintenance personnel need not worry if the fry vats are working. For one full day, every single employee is able to take the load off of their shoulders and rest. Cathy afforded his employees the opportunity to take a day of rest, to worship, and to relax in God’s grace.

Yet, Cathy’s faith is expressed far and above his decision to close his restaurants on Sundays. In his personal life, Cathy was a foster parent for more than 30 years, and took in more than 200 foster children through his WinShape Homes. His WinShape Foundation also provided college scholarships, and supported marriage seminars to help the younger generation achieve success, and new couples to have strong marriages.

Cathy’s faith wasn’t about personal piety. It was about helping others walk worthy of the Lord. Cathy’s books not only taught business success, they taught readers to inspire others and raise Godly children. It was about reaching out and impacting those around him.

So, here’s honoring a man who personified a life of faith. Cathy allowed God to shape his character by applying the principles taught in the Bible to his life. He truly was a doer of the word, and not a hearer only. As a result, modern Christianity had a witness, that you could serve God and prosper, and that there is more to life than the next quarter’s earnings. Along the way, he impacted the lives of countless foster kids and at-risk youth, inspired Christians to live better, and provided us with the most delicious chicken sandwiches ever.

We can’t all be Truett Cathy. We can’t all build a national franchise, and achieve business success. We can, however, build our foundation out of a faith in Jesus Christ, and build on that foundation by applying God’s Word to our lives. And, while we all can’t create multi-million-dollar foundations and pay for hundreds of kids to go to college, we can all inspire the people around us to look to the Lord, and live a better life. 

Truett Cathy was laid to rest today, and I guarantee you that at some point, the preacher referenced how he “didn’t invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich.” I am thankful that’s not all he will be remembered for. When your life is over, what will you be remembered for? Your business or financial success? Your personality? Or how you impacted people’s lives for the better?

This is a Man of Faith

Life was hard in the city. The murder rate was skyrocketing, burglaries and robberies were rampant, and rumors of another war circulated among the people. Meanwhile, downtown, the nightclubs were busy with music, alcohol, drugs and prostitution. As times got worse, the divorce rate increased, and some people declined to get married in the first place. 

Yet on the outskirts of town lived a man, who, despite the evil that was rampant in society, continued to live his life peacefully and follow his core convictions. In a time and place where people expected salesmen to lie and cheat, and justice was about who had the best lawyer, not who was actually right, this man continued to deal fairly in his business transactions, and his integrity was unassailable. This man went to worship every week, and stood out as a Godly man in an evil world. 

On occasion, people would take advantage of him, and others would laugh at him for continuing to hold on to old-fashioned, outdated values. Yet, this man endured the abuse and ridicule because he knew that at the end of his life, he would stand before God. He feared the Lord more than man.

While this may describe any number of people in today’s society, the man I am describing is actually Noah (from Genesis 6-8). In Genesis 6, the Bible says that the wickedness of man was great, and that every imagination of the thoughts of man was only evil continually, and as a result, the Earth was filled with violence. Things were so bad, that it repented the Lord that He had made man. This means that God was actually repulsed by what He was seeing.

Yet, in that day, the Bible says Noah found grace in the eyes of God. Why did Noah attract God’s attention? Because Genesis 6:9 says Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. “Just” means he was saved, and that he treated everyone fairly. “Perfect” means that Noah was complete. When it came to faith, Noah was “the real deal.” He was a true man of God, from the inside out. The Bible also says Noah “walked with God.” This means he lived his life in fellowship with God. He prayed, he sought God’s wisdom, and he obeyed the Lord.

Hebrews 11:7 provides commentary on the life of Noah, when it says “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” What we learn is that Noah’s lifestyle wasn’t one of mere piety, or empty religion, but that his life was motivated by his faith in the Lord.

While Noah’s faith and faith-driven lifestyle were the catalysts for God directing him to build the ark, we’d be remiss if we didn’t consider what it was like to be Noah. In a time where anything went, Noah stayed true to God, and was likely ridiculed as a result. When God directed Noah to build the ark (a project that took nearly 120 years), I’m sure that people made fun of that project as well. Noah lived a significant part of his life following the Lord and looking to His promise, a promise that took years to be fulfilled. While life was hard, Noah patiently waited on the Lord.

In this life, you may find challenges to your faith. Others may ridicule  you, and God’s promises may seem far off. When you find yourself in this situation, just think of Noah. His life was one of constant tribulation, and loneliness, yet he remained true to the Lord. In doing so, he not only honored and glorified the Lord, but God also took the occasion to honor and glorify him. 

In Hebrews 13:5, the Lord said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” You may be going through a tough time right now. You may wonder if God even remembers you. You are probably wondering when it will all end. The promise God gives us in the scriptures is that He is working things out according to His plan, that He hasn’t forgotten you, and that He will come to your rescue at just the right time. Trust Him, and live by that faith in Him. In doing so, you’ll not only honor and glorify God, but you’ll place yourself in a position where God can bless you.