Stuck? Praise the Lord!

The Apostle John did everything right. He loved Jesus, he preached the Gospel, he ministered to thousands, and spend his entire life dedicated to the Lord.

Yet, he found himself imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos “For the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ,” meaning he was actually imprisoned for doing what is right.

Yet, when we first see John in the book of Revelation, he is in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, meaning that we can be joyful, hopeful, and have faith in any circumstance, and circumstances don’t affect our worship. Check out the above-posted video for part-two of our YouTube series from the book of Revelation.

Every Step Toward God’s Kingdom

No doubt, Patmos was a horrible place. A wretched, rocky prison island, upon which the Apostle John found himself as a result of a sentence handed down by a Roman judge for the crime of preaching the Gospel.

John was the disciple whom Jesus loved, the disciple who was closest to Jesus, who spent his life preaching the Gospel of Jesus. Yet, he found himself upon this wretched island, persecuted and forsaken.

Yet, on the Lord’s day, John was in the Spirit, and worshiping. It was at that moment that the Lord appeared to John… an overwhelming, yet welcome sight. The Lord’s appearance set off a divine Revelation to John that, despite the troubling things shown in the future, left John feeling at peace and thankful, resulting in the final words of the book, “Even So, Come, Lord Jesus.”

Oh, to be able to look through the pain of today toward the glory of God. Welcome, to our new YouTube series.

Hope (Daniel 9:24)

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Daniel was a man who had done everything right, yet, time after time, adversity and tribulation troubled him. Captured from his homeland of Israel during his younger years, he was one of several elite captives taken from Israel and enslaved in Babylon.

Though Daniel’s assignment wasn’t the worst, he worked personally for the Babylonian king, he still faced troubles, from impure foods being offered, to being thrown in the lions’ den, to seeing his friends thrown in the fiery furnace. (Daniel and his friends were delivered from all of those, by the way).

By the time we get to Daniel 9, the Babylonian empire has been conquered by the Medo-Persian empire, and Daniel is now working for another king. Having lived through the entire Babylonian captivity, Daniel now sees the light at the end of the tunnel,  and the captivity is coming to a close.

Daniel sees God’s deliverance coming, and it is at this time that God begins to show Daniel how He will redeem His people and restore the nation of Israel. In Daniel 9:24, the Lord gives us his plan:

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

God would redeem His people, and restore His nation, by ending man’s rebellion, cleansing man from sin, and establishing His Kingdom on earth. Listen to Pastor Leland Acker discuss this message of hope below:

Don’t Forget This

One of the worst parts of the COVID-19 outbreak is the unknown. We don’t know what it will do, how long this will last, how many more cases there will be, and how this will change life.

Thinking on these things leads to fear, and fear leads to anger. We’re noticing a lot of frustration being vented on social media today. However, one thing we must remember is that everyone is in the same boat. We’re all concerned, and we’re all being affected.

Philippians 2:4 says, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

This means, first of all, to consider each others’ needs. Secondly, this means to see things from the other’s perspective. Their perspective, and the details of their lives, are unknown to us.

The lady with the two shopping carts of stuff from the grocery store may be shopping for herself and her neighbor. The person who is traveling through town in spite of the advice to social-distance may have obligations that he must meet, or people who need his help.

Seeing the other’s perspective breeds empathy and empathy brings forth love, which in turn brings forth more empathy.

So, as you go through your day today, be mindful of how this situation may be affecting others. Try to see their point of view. And if you have the opportunity to help your neighbor, please do.

May God bless you, and may God cut this crisis short.

The End Is Not Yet (So, Don’t Panic) Matthew 24

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As more cases of COVID-19 are confirmed across the US (we have a local case here in Brown County, Texas), more people are asking the question, “Is this a sign of the end times?” Yes, and no.

In the days leading up to the return of Christ, Matthew 24:7 says “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Verse 8 goes on to say, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

“Sorrows” in scripture is often a euphemism for child birth. If you’ve ever had a baby, or if your wife or anyone close to you has had a baby, you know how this works. An expectant mother has a contraction. She doesn’t panic and run to the hospital, rather, she waits for the next contraction. There it is.

At first, the contractions are mild, and far apart (2 or more hours), but as time progresses, the contractions grow closer together, and become more severe. Ultimately, they become just a few minutes apart. Mom delivers the baby, and the joy of that newborn erases any memory of the pains of childbirth. (Or, so I’m told).

The end times, and the return of Christ works the same way.

The signs given in Matthew 24:1-8 are birth pangs, contractions, “The beginning of sorrows.” These signs repeat themselves with greater frequency and intensity until the Tribulation starts, ends, and Christ returns.

These signs both get our attention, and move the world closer to a place where the final events of this age can happen. It is all in God’s plan, and He is still in control of all things.

That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 24:6, “See that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”

As the news continues to fill up with stories of COVID-19, outbreaks, and instability, remember the words of Christ. See that ye be not troubled, these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

Watch, and pray. And use common sense.

COVID-19 RESPONSE 2.0

As of today, there are 79 cases of COVID-19 in Texas, with 1 precious life lost. Though these cases are still 200 miles away, we’d be naive to think our local community will not be impacted. Our online resources were designed to supplement and record our worship and teachings, not carry them live, as we have traditionally valued the assembling of ourselves together.

Scripture places importance upon gathering together, but scripture also teaches us to use common sense and not to tempt the Lord. With that in mind, we are currently re-evaluating our response to COVID-19, while building an online infrastructure that will allow us to livestream services. Stay tuned for further information.

In the meantime, you can follow us on YouTube here. If you subscribe to our channel, we’ll be able to add more features.

And follow us on Facebook here.

COVID-19 RESPONSE

Understanding the threat that common viruses like Flu and the Cold pose to immuno-compromised individuals, Life Point Baptist Church has already operated in a way to reduce risk to these individuals. CDC recommendations such as hand-washing, surface cleaning, and social distancing have already been in practice at Life Point.

Regarding hand-washing, we pay special attention to sinks and hand-washing stations in our facility to ensure there is ample hand-soap, hand-sanitizer, and paper towels at each stations. Furthermore, we also work to make sure that plenty of bathroom tissue is deployed to each restroom facility. Also, we keep hand-sanitizer stationed throughout the building, including in the foyer, warming kitchen, pastor’s office, and classrooms.

Life Point also endeavors to keep a clean facility. Surfaces are often disinfected, and a recent cleaning effort on March 14 resulted in the disinfecting of all surfaces, including sanctuary chairs, counters, tables and floors.

As far as social distancing, we already encourage all congregants who are experiencing ANY symptoms to refrain from attending services, whether these symptoms are tied to COVID-19, Flu, stomach bugs, the common cold, or any others. Furthermore, members who have weak immune systems are encouraged to refrain from attending church functions during times of “outbreaks.” We have members who stay home during Flu season.

These precautions have been taken for years, long before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regarding CDC recommendations and precautions of the current COVID-19 outbreak…

The CDC recommends discontinuing gatherings of 50 or more people. Our current average attention is 23 for Sunday Worship, and 19 for Sunday School. (We are a small church, we’ll address that at a later time.) Given that our current attendance is well below the 50-mark at our peak, current scheduled services and Bible studies will continue. However, we will be suspending our weekly Bible study at the Market Place apartments at that facility’s request.

Current plans for our Community Sunrise Service will go forward as well, though we will monitor the situation and adjust to what is appropriate for the situation.

As of the date this post is written, there have been 68 cases of COVID-19 reported in Texas, per the Texas Tribune. The nearest case is approximately 200 miles away. Should the virus move closer to our location, we will assess and adjust as is best for our members and our community.

Please be in prayer for this situation, for those affected by the virus, and that God would turn our nation back to Himself through all this. May God bless you, May God bless Life Point, May God bless Texas, and may God bless America.