Woodville Baptist Church
Sunday, December 09, 2018
Proclaiming the life-transforming Gospel of Christ.

From the Pastor's Pen


 From the Pastor’s Pen

By Dr. George Bannister, D.Min., Ph.D.

 

 

DECEMBER, 2018


“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! (Luke 2:10-11).

December is one of the most exciting months the entire year! For the Bannister family, the Christmas holidays begin with the close of Thanksgiving Day and extends until New Year's Day.

When our sons were still young, Lisa and I tried to help the boys to understand the joy of Christmas. We attempted to share the wonder of the Savior's birth through several family traditions. After all of the decorations were up and the Christmas tree was decorated, each night we would gather around the Christmas tree and sing Christmas carols. We discussed various parts of the Christian story as told by the Scriptures. In addition to exchanging presents between family members, we also discussed the gifts that God had given us – including the gift of his son. On Christmas Day, we had a birthday party for Jesus that included a birthday cake and ice cream. We also discussed what gifts we can give to Jesus.

One of the gifts that we offer to Jesus was our special gift or gifts to missions. The gifts that we offered included one to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering for international missions and other gifts to people who were in need or other special mission projects. Most importantly, we tried to help the boys understand that the greatest gift that we could give the Lord Jesus Christ was ourselves and that the joy of Christmas was found not only in receiving God's gracious gift of his son but being able to give ourselves as a gift back to him.

During this holiday season, I believe that we need to keep several things in focus. First, we need to remember whose birthday Christmas is and keep Christ as the central focus of the holiday. Second, we need to not only focus on the joy of the salvation that Jesus has given to us but also seek to give back to him through supporting missions and helping those in need. Third, we need to do as the angels did in the Christian story. We need to share the good news of great joy that is for all people. We need to share the message of salvation with those around us do not know Christ. If we can do these three things, this Christmas season can make one filled with joy.




 

 

 

 

NOVEMBER, 2018

 

 

                       

 

Several years ago, I took the picture above.  As I contemplated the message of the sign, I had a moment enjoying the humor born of the confusion created by an unclear message. Several questions occurred to me:

Just what is a Just what is a callustocater?

How do you have a callustocater event?
Does it involve a refrigerator or an alligator?
Or perhaps both... an alligator in a refrigerator?


Evidently Handel's has it figured out and perfected. At any rate, their ice cream is great... and they have the only Hurricane that anyone would desire... but they could definitely work on communicating with their community.


As Christians, we sometimes send out a confusing message about the Good News of Christ. As a result, people in the world around us do not understand that the message of Christ is nothing more than a system of things that a person is forbidden to do or about hypocritically pretending to be perfect. Nothing could be farther from the truth!


We need to make sure that we proclaim a clear message about Jesus Christ, who came to Earth, died for our sins and arose on the third day in order to transform lives. The Good News is not about our goodness, but about the message that is “the power of God for salvation to anyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16).

 

 

 

OCTOBER, 2018

 

                                                 

“Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus.” (John 1:42a)

 

This month marks the beginning of “Operation Andrew.” This is a year-long emphasis by our church on reaching people with the Gospel of Christ. The specific aim is to reach unsaved and unchurched people that are known personally to each of us. We need to follow the example of Andrew in seeking to bring our family members, friends, neighbors, and personal acquaintances to Christ. In the initial 40-day portion of this emphasis, the focus is on collecting the names and contact information of these people to compile our starting “prayer-list.” We will continue to seek additions to this list of people in the months ahead. 

 

Prayer is the key to the success of this effort. Over the years, I have seen the effectiveness of the focused prayer of God’s people for the unsaved and unchurched. I first witnessed the power of this type of prayer in my childhood church in Baton Rouge. As a result of the fervent prayer of God’s people (youth and adult) we saw an average of 200-300 people per year experience the life-transforming salvation of Christ. I also saw a similar move of God in some of the churches where I served as pastor over the years. It was exciting to see people respond to the invitation, continually, to profess their faith in Christ. In almost every case, these were individuals for whom the church was praying. The joy and excitement experienced by these churches cannot be conveyed in words.

 

I am looking forward to what the Lord is going to do here at Woodville Baptist Church in the months ahead! I encourage each member of this fellowship to be involved in Operation Andrew through submitting the names and contact information of unsaved and unchurched people that you know. Then become involved in praying for them and seeking to bring them to Jesus to experience his life-transforming power.

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER 2018

                                     

Never Beyond Hope

 

Luke 23:39-43 One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” 43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

 

The story of the thief on the cross in Luke 23:39-43 and the story of the young criminal who was led to Christ by sixteenth-century pastor William Perkins underscore the fact that there is no person beyond the power of Christ to save. This is why Christ-followers should never quit praying for and witnessing to the nonbelievers around us. Please read the scripture above and the story below and let it encourage you to continue to work for the fulfillment of the Mission of Christ among our lost neighbors.

 

In sixteenth century Cambridge, William Perkins, an alcoholic, was converted to Christ and eventually became a pastor. His compassion for criminals and vagabonds was boundless. Winning the respect of the jailers, Perkins took great latitude in ministering to prisoners.

 

One day he accompanied a young man to the gallows. As hangings were public events, a multitude assembled to see the execution, and it was the custom for the condemned to address the crowd. But the young man, having climbed the ladder, merely lowered his head, pale and terrified.

 

“Are you afraid of death?” asked William, looking up at him.

 

“No,” replied the man softly. “Of something worse.”

 

“Come down again then, and see what God’s grace will do.”

 

The young man climbed down the ladder, and Perkins took his time explaining to him the forgiveness God offers through Jesus Christ. The man burst into tears and prayed earnestly. Then he wept again, this time out of joy as Perkins shared verses of eternal assurance.

 

Soon the young prisoner again mounted the ladder, this time with enthusiasm , and he went to his death as though seeing heaven opened. The onlookers went home amazed, saying they had not been to a hanging but to a transfiguration. The Gospel of Christ is the power that can accomplish what nothing else can….the transformation of most extreme cases of rebellion against God. Let’s keep praying and proclaiming the Gospel, for even hardened criminals facing execution are never beyond hope. 

 

One day he accompanied a young man to the gallows. As hangings were public events, a multitude assembled to see the execution, and it was the custom for the condemned to address the crowd. But the young man, having climbed the ladder, merely lowered his head, pale and terrified. “Are you afraid of death?” asked William, looking up at him.

 

“No,” replied the man softly. “Of something worse.”

 

“Come down again then, and see what God’s grace will do.”

 

The young man climbed down the ladder, and Perkins took his time explaining to him the forgiveness God offers through Jesus Christ. The man burst into tears and prayed earnestly. Then he wept again, this time out of joy as Perkins shared verses of eternal assurance.

 

Soon the young prisoner again mounted the ladder, this time with enthusiasm , and he went to his death as though seeing heaven opened. The onlookers went home amazed, saying they had not been to a hanging but to a transfiguration.

 

The Gospel of Christ is the power that can accomplish what nothing else can….the transformation of most extreme cases of rebellion against God. Let’s keep praying and proclaiming the Gospel, for even hardened criminals facing execution are never beyond hope. 

 

 

 AUGUST 2018

                                                                 

 

(Philippians 1:3–5) “ Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ...” It is hard to believe, that it has been a little over a year since we arrived here in Woodville. Lisa, Daddy and I are very grateful for the way that you have taken us into your hearts and lives. The joy and sweetness of our fellowship continues to grow.

 

Paul's words to the Philippian believers (in the paragraph above) are very descriptive of the way that I feel as we serve Jesus together. Likewise, each of you are constantly in our prayers (prayers of thanks and prayers with requests).

 

While the last year has been extremely blessed, I believe the best days are still ahead of us. I believe that God has many amazing things in store for the Woodville Baptist Church family. I believe that our influence and impact for Jesus will continue to grow in the years ahead.

 

Please continue to pray for us as we serve the Lord Jesus with you here at WBC. Pray that God will grant us wisdom and the leadership of his Holy Spirit as we seek to lead our church family and becoming all that she can be for Christ. Please pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to be demonstrated in all that we do as a church. Please pray that he will use us as an instrument to bring about the transformation of lives, our community, and the world with the gospel.

 

 

 

JULY 2018

                                                   

July 4th has always been one of my favorite holidays. As a child, it meant fireworks, bar-b-ques and fun. As an adult, I have grown to appreciate its significance to our nation and to us as Americans. July 4th means freedom to citizens of the United States of America.

 

The scriptures have much to say about a nation and its relationship with God. Two scriptures immediately come to mind ...

 

“What joy for the nation whose God is the LORD...” (PSALM 33:12). This speaks of the joy experienced by a nation that is submissive and obedient to God.

 

There is an additional stipulation for this joy... “Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34). In order to enjoy the continued blessings of God, a nation of people must walk in the ways of godliness (as defined by God’s Word). Following the pathway of sin (as defined by God’s Word) brings disgrace and pain for the people of the nation living in a sinful lifestyle with sinful attitudes.

 

As believers, July 4th should remind us of two things:

(1) that our nation needs our prayers and witness. We need to pray for our political leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-5), in order that we might continue to have the freedom to live for Jesus and serve as his witnesses to the people of our nation and world.

(2) Our ultimate allegiance and citizenship is beyond this world. “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior” (Philippians 3:20). We must always remember that we are a part of Christ’s kingdom. Our allegiance and work to expand that kingdom should always be our primary focus.

 

 

JUNE 2018

 

      

     One of the most beautiful truths contained in Scripture is the power of God's amazing grace. Our Lord can take a life that is marred and scarred by poor choices and open-rebellion, and transform it radically. If there is one message that is clear in the New Testament, it is that Jesus came into this world for the purpose of saving souls and transforming lives. The Bible is full of the stories of people whose lives were transformed by God's amazing grace through Jesus Christ.

     One of the most potent stories demonstrating God's amazing grace is found in John chapter 4. In this brief narrative, Jesus purposefully engaged a woman in a conversation whose life had been marred and scarred by years of poor choices. Because of those choices, she led a life of shame and isolation from the people in her town. If anyone had asked her about her relationship with God, she would likely have indicated that such a relationship was impossible. she would likely have felt that she was too deeply bound in sin and had made too many mistakes in judgment to even find forgiveness for all of her sins. Any thought of being used by God to bring others into a relationship with Jesus would have been a mere pipedream to her. But one day at the well in Sychar of Samaria, Jesus made a point to meet her there and offer her living water. From that point forward her life was changed, transformed. Not only did she find forgiveness for her sins, but, she found herself being mightily used of God to bring her entire city to Christ. That is amazing Grace.

 

     Sometimes Satan is able to convince us that we cannot be truly forgiven of our sins and that our mistakes are too many and too serious for God to ever be able to use us in sharing the good news of Christ. The good news is that God can redeem all of our failures and transform us into men and women of God. Not only our sins forgiven, but, we can become tools used to bring about the redemption of other people. The Lord already knows that we are not perfect. We do not have to be perfect, all we need is for God to do his work in our lives. When Satan tries to remind us of our sinful past, whether in our own minds or through the taunts of other human beings, we must remember that the guilt of our sins has already been removed by the finished work of Christ. Just as the message of the Samaritan woman of John 4 pointed to Jesus, so our message must be of the transforming power of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our job is simply to introduce people to Jesus and let the Holy Spirit do his work.

 

     I want to encourage you: do not let Satan convince you that you have committed too many sins are made too many mistakes to be able to receive God's forgiveness and transformation. If you have never trusted Christ as your Savior, open your heart to him today. Believe in his sacrifice and resurrection as the atonement for your sins and surrender your life to him. If you have already been saved, but, have allowed Satan to convince you that the guilt of your past makes you unusable in the service of Christ, reject his lies. Remember that the guilt of your sins has been erased by Calvary's sacrifice, yield to the power of his spirit, and tell others of God's amazing grace.

 

 

MAY.2018

                                                                                  

 

     One of the most beautiful truths contained in Scripture is the power of God's amazing grace. Our Lord can take a life that is marred and scarred by poor choices and open-rebellion, and transform it radically. If there is one message that is clear in the New Testament, it is that Jesus came into this world for the purpose of saving souls and transforming lives. The Bible is full of the stories of people whose lives were transformed by God's amazing grace through Jesus Christ.

 

     One of the most potent stories demonstrating God's amazing grace is found in John chapter 4. In this brief narrative, Jesus purposefully engaged a woman in a conversation whose life had been marred and scarred by years of poor choices. Because of those choices, she led a life of shame and isolation from the people in her town. If anyone had asked her about her relationship with God, she would likely have indicated that such a relationship was impossible. she would likely have felt that she was too deeply bound in sin and had made too many mistakes in judgment to even find forgiveness for all of her sins. Any thought of being used by God to bring others into a relationship with Jesus would have been a mere pipedream to her. But one day at the well in Sychar of Samaria, Jesus made a point to meet her there and offer her living water. From that point forward her life was changed, transformed. Not only did she find forgiveness for her sins, but, she found herself being mightily used of God to bring her entire city to Christ. That is amazing Grace.

 

     Sometimes Satan is able to convince us that we cannot be truly forgiven of our sins and that our mistakes are too many and too serious for God to ever be able to use us in sharing the good news of Christ. The good news is that God can redeem all of our failures and transform us into men and women of God. Not only our sins forgiven, but, we can become tools used to bring about the redemption of other people. The Lord already knows that we are not perfect. We do not have to be perfect, all we need is for God to do his work in our lives. When Satan tries to remind us of our sinful past, whether in our own minds or through the taunts of other human beings, we must remember that the guilt of our sins has already been removed by the finished work of Christ. Just as the message of the Samaritan woman of John 4 pointed to Jesus, so our message must be of the transforming power of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our job is simply to introduce people to Jesus and let the Holy Spirit do his work.

 

     I want to encourage you: do not let Satan convince you that you have committed too many sins are made too many mistakes to be able to receive God's forgiveness and transformation. If you have never trusted Christ as your Savior, open your heart to him today. Believe in his sacrifice and resurrection as the atonement for your sins and surrender your life to him. If you have already been saved, but, have allowed Satan to convince you that the guilt of your past makes you unusable in the service of Christ, reject his lies. Remember that the guilt of your sins has been erased by Calvary's sacrifice, yield to the power of his spirit, and tell others of God's amazing grace.

 

 

APRIL, 2018

                                                       

This is the season of the greatest event in all of human history. On Easter morning over two thousand years ago, the angelic messenger delivered the message that has altered all of human history. It is the source of hope for every person in God’s creation. “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man* must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” (Luke 24:5-7).

 

Of all people on Earth, Christians have more to celebrate than anyone else. God did not create us and then leave us to make our own way to him. He knows that we have no knowledge or strength that will enable us to find our way to Him. Even if we could, our sin and rebellion against his holy standards would block our way. God sent Jesus to die on the cross; paying the price for all of our sin and rebellion against the Father. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead was God’s confirmation of the sacrifice Jesus made upon the cross. It serves as the validation of the Gospel message. Christian, celebrate!

 

The beauty of our faith is that historical evidence supports the Gospel message! The death of Jesus on the cross, the burial of Jesus in a borrowed tomb, the fact that Jesus’ tomb was empty on the third day after his death, and that over 500 people saw Jesus alive after the tomb was found empty are all facts that even skeptical scholars concede. There were even two skeptics (James, 1⁄2 brother of Jesus and Saul of Tarsus) who became follower of Jesus after seeing the risen Jesus. Those who experienced these post-resurrection appearances of Christ were changed from fearful people who were hiding because they feared the Jewish authorities to bold, confident witnesses proclaiming a risen Christ as Savior and Lord.

 

Let’s rejoice and confidently share the angelic declaration with the world around us, “He is risen from the dead!” Allow the assurance of his resurrection give us confidence to proclaim the message of salvation to a lost world. Jesus said. “...you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). With resurrection power we can boldly proclaim “Jesus Saves!”

 

 

 

 

MARCH 2018

 

                                                                                         From the Pastor’s Pen

                                                                                       By Dr. George Bannister

 

In Romans 10:13-14, the Apostle Paul writes, “For Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”

 

In these verses, a bold statement is made. It is a universal truth that is guaranteed by the absolute faithfulness of God. Anyone and everyone who calls out in faith to Christ for salvation WILL be saved. This is a reassuring and comforting promise. This is why it is so important that the message of salvation be shared.

 

Paul also asked three powerful questions that underscore the importance of active engagement with the Gospel. Active engagement means that you and I actively seek opportunities to share the good news with those who have not yet trusted in Christ as savior. The questions are (1) How can they call out for salvation unless they believe in Christ? (2) How can they believe in Christ, if they have not heard his message? And finally, (3) How can they hear his message unless someone tells them? These three questions all narrow down to one answer.... “They cannot!”

 

Simply having churches exist in communities like Woodville does not guarantee the opportunity for people to experience salvation. It is not enough for believers to lead exemplary lives morally. It is not enough to offer worship services in our buildings. Unless we choose to get outside of our small groups and churches and purposefully share the message of Jesus with the lost, they will not be able to hear and respond to his saving grace.

 

As the people of God who comprise the Woodville Baptist Church, we must personally and corporately seek to engage lost folks in our community with the Gospel. I would like to urge you to ask for God to open doors of opportunity for you this week to be Jesus’ witness to at least one lost person per week. As these folks begin to respond to the Gospel, the results will be amazing

 

 

FEBRUARY 2018

 

From the Pastor’s Pen By Dr. George Bannister

 

“For the Son of Man* came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:10)

“As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” (John 20:21)

 

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, each and every one of us have been called to be continually on mission with Him. Jesus’ mission is our mission!

 

One aspect of our calling is something that we collectively make up the bride of Jesus Christ. As His bride, our love for Jesus should motivate us to be unified in purpose with our bridegroom. As individual believers, it does not matter what our vocation; our avocation is the mission of Christ.

 

An online list of the most popular jobs in Mississippi provides a starting point for possible mission fields for the child of God. Notice the list:

 

Cashier, nurse, secretary or administrative assistant, medical assistant, dental assistant, attorney, physician, heavy equipment operator, manager, postal worker, delivery driver, waiter or waitress, janitor, maid, or housekeeper, dental hygienist, office clerk, nursing assistant, food service worker, teacher, bookkeeper, accountant, auditing clerk, maintenance worker, retail sales, wholesale sales, cook, teacher assistant, customer service representative, security guard, corrections officer, jailer, construction worker, law-enforcement, home health aide, childcare worker, receptionist, welder, landscaper, electrician, carpenter, plumber, bus driver, production worker, automotive service technician, teller, personal care aide, homemaker, truck driver, packager, inspector, pipefitter, upholsterer, psychologist, psychiatric aide, seamstress, tailor, billing or posting clerk, pharmacist, pharmacy technician, industrial machinist, financial manager, mail carrier, hospitality industry worker, social worker, dish washer, firefighter, banker, loan officer, insurance salesman, highway maintenance worker, electrical power-line worker, parts salesperson, human resource specialist, HVAC specialist, printer, computer technician or repair, emergency medical worker, slaughter and meat packing worker, lab technician, sheet metal worker, radiological technician, human resources worker, logging industry worker, compliance officer, counselor, painter, civil engineer, industrial production worker, payroll clerk, respiratory therapist, physical therapist, paralegal, librarian, assembly worker, county or city worker, switchboard operator, telemarketer, public relations specialist, sports coach or scout, marketing specialist, claims adjuster or investigator, file clerk, hair dresser or barber, architect, real estate sales, cabinetmaker, recreation or amusement attendant.

 

1 Wherever you and I are... whatever vocation we are in... we are on mission for Christ. We are his missionaries! Our primary work is sharing the good news of salvation with people around us who do not know Jesus.

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1 “200 Most Popular Jobs in Mississippi - USAWage.Com,” accessed January 17, 2018, http://www.usawage.com/popular/jobs-state-mississippi.php. 

 

 

 JANUARY 2018

 

The new year is a time for new beginnings. While the old year holds some great memories, and brought some great blessings, it is likely that there were also many mistakes made in 2017. 2018 holds promise for each and every one of us individually and for us collectively as the Woodville Baptist Church. In order to make the most of the new year before us, I suggest that we (individually and corporately) move ahead with four spiritual resolutions based in Philippians 3:7-21 in view.

 

I. RESOLVE TO FORSAKE PAST AND FOCUS ON JESUS (v.v. 7-9) “ 7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.* For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith."

 

Il- RESOLVE TO MAKE A RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST THE PRIMARY FOCUS (vv. 10 -14) " 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

 

III- RESOLVE TO GROW IN GODLY FELLOWSHIP (vv. 15-19). " 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind. 17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame--who set their mind on earthly things.”

 

IV- RESOLVE TO KEEP THE TRUE HOME IN VIEW (v.v. 20-21). 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

 

If we will commit to these practical resolutions for the coming year, I believe that we will have an even greater year than we did in 2016. The transformation in outlook that these resolutions will produce in our lives will draw us all closer to our Lord and one another, and will lead to WBC having a greater impact upon our community and the world.

 

Happy New year!

 

 

 

 

DECEMBER 2017

 

Being Thankful at Thanksgiving: Developing an Attitude of Gratitude

 

Philippians 4:4-9 “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

 

 Thanksgiving might not be celebrated in the United States today, were it not for a patient, persistent woman named Sarah Hale. It is well-known that the first Thanksgiving Day was celebrated by the Pilgrim Fathers in 1621 to give thanks for their winter in the New World. In 1789, President George Washington issued a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation to commemorate the first Pilgrim celebration. But Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States discontinued it, calling Thanksgiving, “a kingly practice.” After this, Thanksgiving was observed by some individual states, and on whatever date suited their fancy. Then in 1828, Mrs. Hale, the editor of the magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book and author of the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” began campaigning for the restoration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. She wrote letters and sought appointments with national leaders from the President down. Time after time she was politely rebuffed, sometimes being told it was “impossible” and “impractical,” and sometimes being dismissed with a this-is-none-of-your-business scolding. Finally, in 1863 President Lincoln listened seriously to her plea that North and South “lay aside enmities and strife on (Thanksgiving) Day.” He proclaimed the fourth Thursday of November to be the official “National Thanksgiving Day.” This day was finally ratified by the U. S. Congress in 1941¹ What do the scriptures teach about thankfulness? In Philippians 4:4-9, the Apostle Paul encourages some actions that will help us to develop an attitude of gratitude?

 

I. MAKE A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO BE JOYFUL. (Phil. 4:4) “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!”

 

II. CULTIVATE A CONSIDERATION FOR OTHERS THAT IS A MINDSET. (Phil. 4:5) Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.  

 

III. DEVELOP A COMPLETE RECOGNITION OF THE SOURCE OF ALL RESOURCES. (Phil. 4:6-7) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

 

IV. CHOOSE A CONSCIOUS FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE  (Phil. 4:8-9) And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me - everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

 

What does that mean to us today?

1. The believer is to make a conscious choice to have an attitude of gratitude.

2. The believer must choose to have a mindset of consideration for other people.

3. The believer must recognize the true source of his supply for all of life’s needs.

4. The believer must maintain a conscious focus on good, positive things.

 

The result: Development of an attitude of gratitude.

 

Now what will I do about it? What will I do…

1. Will I make a conscious choice to have an attitude of gratitude?

2. What will I do in a practical way to help me be others focused, rather than self-focused? What practical steps will I take to help me be considerate of other people?

3. What will I do to redirect my energies from worry to trust in God for meeting my needs?

4. What will I do to change the focus of my thinking to things that are good, praiseworthy, and pleasing to God? 

 

 

 

 

NOVEMBER 2017

 

One of the greatest assets that any church can have is members that are serious about the practice of prayer. The best organization, the finest facilities, and the most beautiful music will not generate one ounce of spiritual power. The power of God can only be released through the faithful and fervent prayers of God’s people.    

 

Dwight L. Moody told of a remarkable incident in connection with one of his early visits to London. He was unknown in England, therefore, he did not ex-pect to preach, In spite of this fact, a church invited him to preach a short time after his arrival in London. He said it was a very cold and uninteresting service to him, but he announced that he would preach again that night.  Upon reaching the church that evening, he noticed that the atmosphere had changed. At the close of the meeting he was led to give an invitation for those who wanted to be saved to stand. A great crowd of people stood. He left the next day for Dublin, Ireland.

 

Shortly after arriving there he received a telegram from the church to return, stating that the whole community was asking for a series of meetings. He went back and found that a great revival was beginning, and hundreds of people were being converted.  Not long after he learned the secret. An invalid lady, who could not attend the church, was praying for a mighty outpouring of the Spirit upon the church. She prayed for months. Once she saw in the papers accounts of some of the Moody meetings in America, and, although she had never heard of Mr. Moody before, she began to pray that God would send him to her church in London for a revival.

 

One Sunday morning her sister, upon her return from the service, informed her of Moody's presence and his preaching, whereupon she spent the  whole afternoon in prayer that God would make that night a night of power. That explains the difference between morning and evening services!  

 

The greatest need that Woodville Baptist Church has is praying members! As your pastor, I am asking for every member of this fellowship to resolve to pray to God for God’s power to come upon this church. Pray until revival and spiritual awakening takes place. Pray for the hearts of the lost in Woodville and in Wilkinson County to be awakened to their need of Christ. Pray for your pastor (me) and church leaders to experience a renewed vision for the church body. Pray for me to be able to preach and teach with the unbridled power of the Holy Spirit of God. Pray for our worship services to be energized with the presence of God. Praying church members can make a huge difference for Christ...please be one of them. Woodville Baptist Church 

 

 

OCTOBER 2017 

 

 

The Power of Long Distance Prayer

 

The power of prayer is undeniable. The location of that prayer is unimportant. As prayer warriors, we must persist in praying ... for even long -distance prayers are powerful. The story of the legendary missionary Hudson Taylor’s conversion to Christ illustrates this fact powerfully. Please read his testimony below as encouragement to carry out your watch in the Watchman Prayer Ministry. On a day I shall never forget, recalled Hudson Taylor, when I was about 15 years of age, because my mother was away from home, I had a holiday, and in the afternoon looked through my father’s library to find some book with which to while away the hours. I turned over a basket of pamphlets, and selected from among them a gospel tract which looked interesting. I sat down to read the little book in an utterly unconcerned state of mind. Little did I know at the time what was going on in the heart of my mother, eighty miles away. She rose from dinner with an intense yearning for the conversion of her boy, and she went to her room and turned the key in the door, resolved not to leave until her prayer was answered. Hour after hour did she plead for me, until at length she was constrained to praise God for that which His Spirit taught her had been accomplished. In the meantime I had taken up this little tract, and while reading was struck with the sentence, “The finished work of Christ.” The thought passed through my mind, “Why does the author use this expression?” Immediately the words “It is finished” came to mind. What was finished? I replied, “A full and perfect atonement for sin: Christ died for our sins.” A light flashed into my soul by the Spirit, that there was nothing to be done but to fall down on one’s knees, and, accepting this Savior and His salvation, to praise him forever. When Mother came home a fortnight later, I was the first to meet her at the door to tell her I had glad news. I can almost feel her arms around my neck, as she said, “I know, my boy; I have been rejoicing for a fortnight.” As Watchmen on the Wall, we should pray with assurance that our prayers are effective (James 5:13 -18)


  

AUGUST 2017

 

ELEVEN SPECIFIC EVANGELISTIC PRAYER REQUESTS

1.  God, make _________'s heart receptive to your word.  Luke8:11-15

2.  God, open__________'S  spiritual eyes.Break the blindness on his/her mind caused by the god of his age. 2Cor 4:4

3.  God, give _________ears to hear.  Help him/her see with his eyes, hear with his ears, understand with his heart and turn, and you will heal him.  Matthew 13:15

4.  God, give ________faith to believe.  Help him/her make a radical life change before God and equally radical twist in Jesus. Acts 20:22

5.  God, give _______the will to respond to you.  Bring him/her to the point he declares with his mouth, "Jesus is Lord" and believes in his heart that God raised him from the dead, and he will be saved. Romans 10:9

6.  God, set ______free from spiritual captivity.  Help me gently instruct him/her when he is in opposition to you.  2 Timothy:25-26

7.  God, send people into ______'s life to witness to him/her.  Send more believers into his/her life who will exemplify Christ and cause him to believe.

8.  God, help me to build a caring relationship with _____.  Help me become whatever Christ-like servant he/she can identify with so by all possible means he will be saved.  1Corrinthians 9:22

9.  God, bring me opportunities to witness to ______.  Open doors for proclaiming the mystery of Christ to him/her, even in our present difficult circumstances. Col. 4:3

10.  God, give me boldness to witness to _____.  Enable me to speak your word to him/her with great boldness.  Acts:29

11.  God, provide me the opportunity to invite _____to a relationship with you.  You want your house full, so give me opportunity to invite him/her to come home to you. Luke 14:23

 

Evangelism begins with prayer.