In 1269 Kublai Khan sent a request from Peking to Rome for “a hundred wise men of the Christian religion…And so I shall be baptized, and when I shall be baptized all my baron and great men will be baptized, and their subjects baptized, and so there will be more Christian here than there are in your parts.” The Mongols were then wavering in the choice of a religion. It might have been, as Kublai forecast, the greatest mass religious movement the world has ever seen. The history of all Asia would have been changed.
But what actually happened? Pope Gregory X answered by sending two Domnican friars. They got as far as Armenia, could endure no longer and returned home. So passed the greatest missionary opportunity in the history of the church.
David died yesterday in a car accident. Please remember his family. He had heart problems and even had a pace maker (at a very young age). Still, the shock of such a loss at such a young age can never really be anticipated.
I recently read about an old man, walking the beach at dawn, who noticed a young man ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Catching up with the youth, he asked what he was doing. The answer was that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun. ‘But the beach goes on for miles and miles, and there are millions of starfish,’ countered the man. ‘How can your effort make any difference?’ The young man looked at the starfish in his hand and then threw it to safety in the waves. ‘It makes a difference to this one,’ he said.”
The Bible reminds us that when wicked people die, there is no joy in the heart of God for it. Ezekiel 33:11 says quite pointedly: “Say to them, `As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, `I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways!” When we rejoice at the death of our enemy we grieve the heart of God.
Did you hear about the company that makes blank bumper stickers? They’re for people who don’t want to get involved.
If you wondered what was happening this weekend in some of the “mega-churches” whose focus is on making people feel good and comfortable rather than repentant, here’s a bit of proof that the modern church has lost its focus: Celebration Church in Blountville, Tennessee invites all singles to a New Year’s Eve Dance. Their ad says, — “Get yo’ groove on! The Singles Ministry is hosting a New Year’s Eve Dance for all area singles. Cost is a mere $5 at the door. Dress classy, and be ready to bust a move with DJExpress.”
What this has to do with Christianity is anyones guess.
President Ford spoke to the Southern Baptist Convention in 1976. Here’s an excerpt of his speech:
An early champion of religious freedom–which the great Baptist minister, George Truett, once called “the supreme contribution of the New World to the Old”–was Roger Williams, founder of Providence, forerunner of Jefferson, and giant among Baptists. The principle of democracy itself was rooted deeply in the Baptist Church long before there was a United States of America. Thomas Jefferson so admired the Baptist form of church government that he called it “the purest democracy in the world.”
These rich contributions of religious liberty, democratic principles, social equality, evangelistic fervor, and moral strength have reserved for your people an honored place in American society. You have always jealously guarded the separation of church and state, but you have always believed that private morality and public service can and must go hand in hand.
Ford understood what being a Baptist meant. Baptists have historically stood for the separation of Church and State and liberty of conscience. As the 400th Anniversary of Baptists approaches in 2009, we will have ample opportunity to look back at our roots. And we should, lest we forget who we are.
Tuesday at 2 we will join together to discuss “What Does It Mean To be A Church Member?”
Sunday is our Food Drive, but there will be NO Monthly Fellowship Meal that night.
January 7th– Family Sunday in Sunday School! Bring the entire family along with you to Sunday School and worship on the first Sunday of 2007, and start a family tradition worth keeping!
Upcoming events in the Big Emory Association include
January 3 – Minister’s Conference, 10:30 a.m. at Riverside Baptist Church
January 8 – Executive Board Meeting, 10:30 a.m. at South Harriman Baptist Church
Also, the following Churches in the Association are without Pastors- so please do pray for them as they search for the right person: Clymersville, Coal Hill, Daysville, Dyllis, Kellytown, Mossy Grove, New Height’s Mission, Pine Ridge, Pleasant Grove, Riggs Chapel, Walnut Hill.
The Texas Baptist Standard has an interesting essay today which rightly points out that anthropological studies that show the largest naturally occurring human community is 150, whether it is a village in Africa or a church in America. Larger groupings actually are groups of communities. In other words, small churches are what’s considered normal and large churches are simply collectives of small gatherings.
The report continues by noting something I agree with completely: Although pastors of smaller churches may feel their church needs to grow before it can accomplish something significant, testimonies during the conference showed how God used small congregations to plant churches, reach people groups and transform communities.
God can use any Church as long as its members are willing to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
So popular and effective was Campbell Morgan’s ministry that he was given all kinds of offers from many different places and people. John Wannamaker, the great merchant of Philadelphia, offered to build Morgan a million dollar church if he would become its pastor. Morgan turned him down, something the wealthy Wanamaker was not accustomed to in his dealings with people. “I am God’s man,” said Morgan. “If I did that I would become John Wanamaker’s man.”
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