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Seeing God!

Seeing God

How could a loving God give you everything, and then demand everything in return?

Brennan Manning, author of The Ragamuffin Gospel, recalled a Sunday morning Bible study:

A pastor read a passage from Genesis 22 where God called Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah. Isaac was the son that God had promised for years, and Abraham and Sarah had gone through much tribulation while waiting on God to fulfill His promise of a son. Now, the son was here, and Abraham was being called to sacrifice him. (End of the story, God saw Abraham’s faith, and gave him a ram to sacrifice instead of Isaac.)

The pastor offered some historical background, then said, “What does this mean for us?”

One man answered, “I’ll tell you what it means for me, I’m looking for a new church.”

The pastor asked, “Why?”

The man replied, “Because when I look at God, the God of Abraham, I feel that I am new a real God, not the sort of dignified businesslike Rotary Club God we chatter about here on Sunday Mornings. Abraham’s God could blow a man to bits, give then take a child, ask everything from a person, then want more. I want to know that God!”

The man’s assessment of God emphasized His power, and downplayed His love and grace. Likewise, many today emphasize His grace and love but not His power. A true understanding of God understands both, and sees the balance in the character of God.

For years, churches have preached about the love of God, and how He loves each and every one of us. We preach about His grace, and how He provides and cares for us.

Then, tragedy happens, and we don’t understand how that tragedy can be consistent with God’s love and care. If God is all powerful, in control of all things, and is loving, how can He allow such a tragedy to enter our lives?

We stumble for answers. Maybe God’s building our faith. Maybe He’s setting us up to be a witness for His glory. Maybe someone else will be saved because of our suffering. Yet, none of these explanations offer much comfort. Why should I have to suffer so that God can make a point?

The truth is, God does not make you suffer just so He can make a point. He does, however, use suffering to draw us closer to Him. Everything He does is to draw us into His presence. What does that mean?

In Job 19:25, after losing all of his property, livestock, wealth, and children, Job said, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and will stand on the earth in the last day.” He went on to say that after he had died, yet in his flesh would he see the Lord.

Job called the Lord his “Redeemer.” What does that mean?

A redeemer is one who rescues. In the Old Testament sense, it was a family member who raised the money to purchase a loved one out of slavery. The redeemer redeemed the family member from bondage and set them free.

Job was not a slave, yet he looked for his “Redeemer.” From what did Job have to be “redeemed?”

He was redeemed from the curse of his sin. Likewise, he was looking forward to the day he would be redeemed from the sufferings of this life. He was looking forward to the Lord’s return, and his redemption into everlasting life.

Job came to understand this, and thus in Job 42:5, he said “My ears have heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.”

Over the next few weeks at Life Point, we are going to gain a better understanding of who we are, and the hope we have in God. Furthermore, we are going to gain a better understanding of why trauma and tragedy enter our lives, and what God does to heal it. All of this with the intent to gain a better understanding of the Lord, a stronger faith, and a brighter hope.

Come see us. Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. at 599 Sunrise in Early, TX.

Life Got You Down? Our Next Series Might Be For You

Adon had been a faithful member of the church for years. He had trusted the Lord as his savior as a young man, had tithed regularly, donated to the church’s missions program, and had even accompanied a group on a mission trip to Central America. If more of God’s people were like Adon, greater things would be happening for the cause of Christ.

Adon had served God faithfully, asking nothing in return. Adon never prayed that God would reward him with a better job, nicer car or bigger house. Yet, when Adon’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, that changed. Adon prayed earnestly to God, begging God to cure his mother’s cancer, to heal her, and to restore her life. He prayed that her pain would subside, that the doctors would be guided to the proper treatment, and that a cure would be found.

For six agonizing months, Adon pleaded with God for this one miracle, the healing of his mother. Other folks had cancer, and other folks saw their cancer go into remission. But Adon’s mother continued to struggle with the disease.

Adon was told that the prayer of faith would save the sick. He was told that if he prayed in faith, God would answer. All Adon had to do was pray in faith, and claim the victory. Adon continued in prayer. He stayed faithful to the church. And he never doubted God’s love and power.

That is, until the doctor declared his mother to be dead, at 2:23 p.m. on a sunny Tuesday in October.

Why didn’t God hear Adon’s prayers? Was his faith incomplete? Did he falter? When did he doubt? Was his prayer not fervent enough?

If all the prayer he had poured out would not save his mother, what was the point? Why didn’t the scriptures that were shared with him work? Was his Bible broken? Is this all a lie? Is faith only good as long as he is serving and donating to the church?

Adon became disillusioned. And who could blame him? The person who was most precious to him in the world had just been ripped away.

If we are honest, I think most of us can relate to Adon.

But there is one man in the Bible that we can look to in order to learn how to handle these times of tragedy. Like Adon, Job was also a faithful servant of God. He was just and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. He gave generously, and prayed on behalf of all those he loved. Yet, in a matter of a few days, Job lost everything… his wealth, health, and kids.

The whole world collapsed on Job. Even his wife told him to curse God and die. And when his friends came, they said it must be karma… that Job must have done something horrible to deserve this misfortune.

Much theological truth is poured out during the debates between Job and his friends. Job’s faith remained in tact, and by the end of the book, he had received a revelation that few have ever seen. Job got to know God in a way you and I cam barely imagine.

In Job 42:5, Job says to God, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.”

Up until now, Job had believed in a God whom he had learned about by the teaching of the word. But now, Job believed in a God he had seen with his own eyes. While God’s presence in the book of Job is clearly felt, Job gained such an understanding of the Lord through his struggle.

The book of Job offers us comfort by giving us that deeper understanding of the Lord. And if you are enduring a time of trauma, grief or bereavement right now, you are about to experience God in a way you never before imagined.

Join us on Sunday mornings in October to obtain a deeper understanding of God through our struggles. Morning worship begins at 11 a.m.

Smith strikes a cord with “Until I See You Again”

The biggest mistake we make in life is taking one another for granted.

Every day brings the same routine. Wake, work, eat, play, sleep. We tend to do so with the same people in our lives every day, from the family that lives beneath the roof of our house, to the friends we work with at the office.

We build relationships, bonds, and share common backgrounds which build our acquaintances into lifelong friendships. Again, we wake, work, eat, play, sleep. This process continues indefinitely, to the point that our ongoing assumption is that tomorrow we will once again wake, work, eat, and play with those we love most.

If we have something that needs to be done, or that needs to be said, we often think that we can say or do what needs to be done tomorrow. Then, our lives are interrupted. The Lord suddenly calls one of our loved ones home, and suddenly we are reminded of all the things we wish we had said, we wish we had done, and though we know that our loved one is in the presence of Christ, and we will soon be reunited with them, we still have that void left in our lives by their absence. Such is Godly sorrow.

It’s that experience that Heather Smith taps into in her song, “Until I See You Again.” The song begins by reaching out to her friend, whom she dearly misses, then progresses through a series of memories with that friend, before offering a ray of hope at the end of the chorus, saying, “Now the hardest part’s not saying, ‘goodbye.’ It’s how long until I see you again.” Indeed the separation hurts, but the hope is in the reunion at the end.

Anyone who has experienced a loss like this will be able to connect with the song, and also draw comfort, knowing that we will be reunited with those we love someday.

If you live close to Early, TX, you can hear Heather sing in person at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 11, 2019, at our worship center at 599 Sunrise Dr. Admission is free.

Life Point Welcomes ICMA Award-Nominated Heather Smith, and Russell Smith, in Concert May 11

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Life Point Baptist Church is excited to welcome ICMA Artist Heather Smith, in concert at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at 599 Sunrise Drive in Early. Smith’s breakout single, “Lion of Judah” rocketed up the Christian Country charts in 2018, and her latest single, “This is My Prayer, Lord” has cracked the Top-100 at #65.

Expect a night of blessings and encouragement as Heather sings her hits, songs written from her own personal experiences, and as she shares her experiences with the Lord. Her husband Russell will also share his incredible testimony.

Admission is free, and we won’t even collect an offering. This night is purely for your encouragement, enjoyment, and blessing. Come and be inspired.

New Venue Announced for Annual Sunrise Service

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The Early Visitors and Event Center will be the site of the 8th Annual Community Sunrise Service on Easter Sunday, Pastor Leland Acker announced Monday via Facebook. Life Point Baptist Church first sponsored the Community Sunrise Service in 2011. The service, which features Gospel singing, and preaching, will begin at 7 a.m. Sunday, April 21, at the newly built Early Visitors and Event Center. The entire Early and Brownwood communities are invited.

The Early Visitors and Event Center is located on Garmon Drive (Hwy 84/183 East), at the corner of Live Oak Rd., in Early. The Sunrise Service will be held in the courtyard in the back of the facility (pictured above). The sun will rise to the left of the pavilion, allowing those in attendance to experience the sunrise on the Lord’s day. The event center building will also be open that day, allowing access to restroom facility, and shelter from inclement weather.

Come join us for a moving worship experience, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. Enjoy good Gospel singing, and a Gospel message from Pastor Acker.

For a map to the Early Visitors and Event Center, click here.

Contact us for more information:

All Hands on Deck!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

With a number of Life Point’s members and friends facing serious situations this week, we’d like to call all of our members and friends to prayer.

There are specific prayer requests being lifted up to us for those who have lost loved ones, those battling serious illnesses, and those facing serious problems in life. We plan on praying for each and every one. If you have a prayer request to add to this list, email it to our pastor, Leland Acker, at LelandAcker@gmail.com.

If you would like to pray with us, you can do so in person at 6 p.m. Wednesday, at Life Point Baptist Church, 599 Sunrise Dr., Early, TX, or you can do so where you are.

May God hear your prayers, heal your hurt, and comfort your heart.

The Greatest Love Story Never Told

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Rarely will churches embark on a study of the Song of Solomon. This is mainly due to two reasons. (1) Interpreting the book presents a challenge, and (2) some of the romantic language is a bit more passionate than most are used to hearing during church services. It’s a shame, because few books fully illustrate the love Christ has for His people as the Song of Solomon.

As King Solomon loved the Shulamite woman, so Christ loves us. As Solomon woo’ed the Shulamite woman, so Christ drew us to Himself. As their love endured difficulty at times, so do we often fail our Lord. Yet, as Solomon loved the Shulamite woman, and took her to a special place, so does Christ love us, and will one day take us into His Kingdom.

For a PG interpretation of the Song of Solomon in light of the Gospel, come to worship at Life Point Baptist Church, 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, at 599 Sunrise Drive in Early, TX. Come experience the love of Christ.

The Concept of Prayer Service

48423434_608600369559694_43192085209153536_o (1)Scripture says that “The effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man availeth much.” At Life Point Baptist Church, we not only believe that prayer changes lives, heals the sick, and transforms us as believers, we have seen it happen. Over the past five years, we have seen two cancer patients turn up cancer free after intense prayer was lifted up on their behalf. These are healings that can only be explained by God’s miraculous response. This is not that televangelist “lay hands on the sick” and heal, “only if they have healing faith” approach. There is no show here. There are no theatrics. Just simple, sincere prayer, and quietly trusting God to answer.

Over the past few years, we have seen a man who was in his final days recover and return home. We have seen patients with failing kidneys see their kidney function restored. In each of these cases, the patients sought medical care as we prayed. We trust doctors, too. In each case, healing occurred for which the doctor had little explanation.

Healing does not occur in all cases. Sometimes God, in His divine will, simply tells us, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

We have seen God provide for financial needs. And most importantly, we have seen God move in the lives of our loved ones. We have seen lives changed, souls saved, faith made complete.

For these reasons, and because scripture commands us, we pray.

Wednesday nights, Life Point meets at 6 p.m. for Prayer Service. We begin with a hymn, a congregational prayer, a message from the Bible, then we lift up our prayer requests, and then we all pray, simultaneously, individually, before reuniting in prayer to close out the service. The entire service lasts less than an hour.

So if you have a need in your life, one for which you want God to intervene on your behalf, pray. And, if you be so inclined, some join us, that we may pray with you. Then, we will all trust God together for the answer.

May God bless you. See you Wednesday.

Revealing Christ

the-transfigurationOn Sunday, Life Point Baptist Church began a study into the book of Revelation.

This book is known by many names. Some call it “Revelations,” and others call it “The Revelation of St. John the Divine.” However, neither of these titles are accurate.

The title of the book is given in the opening line of Chapter 1, verse 1, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.”

That title more aptly describes the book of Revelation, as the book describes the revelation, or the unveiling, of Jesus Christ to the entire world at the end time. The book is not a series of revelations, rather, it records a series of events that reveal Christ Himself.

Furthermore, the book is not “the Revelation of St. John the Divine,” as St. John was neither divine, nor is he the one being revealed. While the revelation was revealed to John, John was not the object of the revelation. Christ was.

This is an important detail as we embark on a multi-week journey through the book of Revelation. We will study how the book reveals the character of the risen, glorified Christ, and how one day He will return to Earth to establish His Kingdom and judge the living and the dead.

We will continue this study during worship service Sunday Morning at 11 a.m. at the Early Chamber of Commerce Small Business Incubator facility at 104 E. Industrial Dr. in Early. Come see us.

Life Point to host Community Sunrise Service on Easter Sunday

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The 6th Annual Community Easter Sunrise Service will be held at 7 a.m. Sunday, April 1, at the Margaret and Stuart Coleman Plaza at the Depot Center, which is located next to the Adams Street Community Center in Downtown Brownwood.

Life Point Baptist Church (formerly Grace Pointe Missionary Baptist Church) has hosted the Easter Sunrise Service since 2011.

“The Community Easter Sunrise Service began when our church saw the need for a central place for Christians to come together and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday,” said Pastor Leland Acker. “There is just something special about being outdoors as the sun rises on the day that we celebrate the Lord’s resurrection. It gives you the feeling of a new day, a new hope, and blesses you with a unique experience that can’t really be described.”

Acker said the resurrection is the foundational doctrine of Christianity.

“Christianity is built on the idea of redemption, new life, and eternal life,” Acker said. “The Bible teaches that we have all gone astray, we have all lost our way, and we have all sinned against God. Sin leads to destruction and eternal condemnation, but Jesus Christ loved us so much that He gave His life on the cross, taking the divine consequences of our sin upon Himself.

“The Bible teaches that He was buried, but that He rose again the third day, where He conquered death, thus opening the gates of Heaven so that all that repent and believe in Him will be given eternal life.”

Acker went on to say that because Christ rose from the grave, He lives, is seated at the right hand of the throne of God, and advocates for His believers daily.

Acker will bring a special message at the Community Easter Sunrise Service at 7 a.m. Sunday, April 1. Bro. Waymon Childress will lead the group in Gospel singing as the sun rises.

Life Point Baptist Church was founded in 2008 in Brownwood, Texas. The church currently meets for Sunday School at 10 am every Sunday, and morning worship at 11 am every Sunday, at the Early Small Business Incubator Facility (also known as the Early Chamber of Commerce) at 104 E. Industrial Dr. in Early. Life Point’s worship center is being built on Sunrise Drive in Early, with completion expected this summer.