Daily Devotion- 1 Thessalonians 3-5

Happy Monday!

These past few days have been days we will remember. From COVID-19, job loss reports, rioting, and more, it seems like the news is filled with all bad news. I pray that you will turn the TV off. Take time today, and go to God’s Word. Also, make sure that you watch tonight at 6 PM our Virtual VBS! Get on there and make sure that you are communicating with us through our Facebook!

Read: 1 Thessalonians 3-5

Paul writes this letter and the next to a church in Thessalonica. This church is primarily gentile, they are new believers, and Paul hopes to give them encouragement to godly living and Christian Doctrine. 

1. They are encouraged. The power of encouragement is remarkable. Encouragement can change someone’s life. To be encouraging to someone is not all that difficult, to say a kind word, uplift someone, to show them, love. To receive encouragement can spur someone to take their next step, to move forward. Paul says that encouragement kept him going through the midst of persecution. Who has been encouraging to you lately? Who have you encouraged?

2. Live a godly life. For Paul, living a holy life was non-negotiable. Anyone that claims the name of Christ should reflect that in their walk. That our walk should be a testimony of the work that Christ does inside you; this is time for reflection. Are you different from last year? Are you different from when Jesus saved you? How is the Lord changing you? What is He drawing you towards? 

3. Doctrine encourages. The idea of death scares all people. No one really wants to die. Death is a subject that we all must face. In this, it seems that the church was struggling with what happens after death. Paul is encouraging them to take hope. That in death, there is great hope. That we do not grieve as those without hope, because we know that in death, we are present with the Lord. In death, we will be present with the great redeemer.

4. He is coming soon. The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. The Lord is coming back soon. Our prayer is, come Lord come.

Friends, I pray that you are encouraged. I pray that you take hope in God’s Word. 

​Pastor Aaron

Daily Devotion- Philippians 3-4

Do not be anxious

The past few weeks have caused great anxiety—the uncertainty of job loss, economic downturns, and the virus itself. Again remember, Paul is in prison; he writes from a jail cell.

Read: Philippians 3-4

1. Nothing else matters. Paul writes to the church, telling them to rejoice in the Lord. Why are we to rejoice in the Lord? Paul writes, not to rejoice in anything else. Though he is a Jew of Jews. He had followed the law; he was born into the right family, yet, none of that mattered. None of that gained him favor with God. Friends, let us not rejoice in the fact that we may be born into a Christian family, or born in the United States. While we can be thankful, we do not rejoice in that; we rejoice in the fact that we’ve been born again! That we are in God’s family.

 

2. Push forward. What is your end goal? What are you trying to attain? A level of wealth? Comfort? What is the final prize? I’ve been able to perform lots of funerals. One thing I’ve not seen yet was a Uhaul being pulled behind the hearse. Our award is Christ! Let our lives be seeking the grand prize of pleasing the Lord.

 

3. Be content. In all things, Paul says that he has found contentment. Friends, that is the hope we have. That when we trust in Christ, we can face trials, we can face uncertainty; we can meet all things in our faith in Christ! Let us rejoice in that. Let us rejoice in the certainty that we are known!

 

I am thankful for you.

 

​Pastor Aaron

 

Daily Devotion- Philippians 1-2

Humility of Christ 

Over the past few weeks, over and over, the Lord has brought me to this subject. This subject would significantly impact our nation, our state, our community, and your family. The theme is to imitate Christ. 

Read: Philippians 1-2

The letter to the church in Philippi has been widely called “the rebels guide to joy.” In this letter, Paul is writing from prison. He is on his way to be executed for the faith. He was under the emperor Nero, Nero was an emperor that was known for using Christians as his night light—using Christians to feed his pets, and all manners of torture. This is the same emperor that Paul said that the Roman church was to respect and obey. This is the emperor that would Paul to death, and Paul writes about his joy.

1. Advance the Gospel. Paul looked at his imprisonment as an opportunity for the advancement of the Gospel. In prison, he would write letters to encourage churches, share the Gospel, and promote boldness in others. Have we viewed our current pandemic in this same light? Do we take advantage of the situation that we are in to advance the Gospel? Encourage others to remain bold in their faith, write letters to others to show love, share the Gospel with those who are perishing? 

2. Imitate Christ. Chapter two of Philippians has long been one of my favorite chapters. Chapter two speaks to every Christian so directly. Whenever I am talking with someone, and I hear them say, “I want,” or those words proceed from my mouth, my heart is checked with Philippians Two. It is not about you. It is not about me. It is about Jesus. Our lives are to be lives that imitate Christ. That we seek the welfare of others above our own, that we seek the interest of others. During this time, I pray, I plead with you, do not seek your own interest. Let not your heart be settled by news channels; look to the Word. Let your heart look to the interest of others.

3. Don’t Complain. Isn’t that a tough one. Paul writes to the church, do all things without grumbling or disputing. What would our country look like if we did a little less complaining? What would the church look like? What would our church look like? Instead, let us be light. Let us be people that others see as a light to the world. Let people see us as instruments of hope. 

Friends, when I read the book of Philippians, I am always convicted of my pettiness. We have so much to be thankful for. Even in the midst of a pandemic, shutdowns, and whatever else, we have so much to be thankful for. I am praying for you.

​Pastor Aaron

Daily Devotion- Ephesians 5-6

Who are you imitating? 

These two chapters of Ephesians are genuinely encouraging and convicting. I pray that the Lord spoke to you as He did me.

Read: Ephesians 5-6

By the way, I am so thankful for those of you who respond and let me know how the Lord is using these devotions in your life. I truly enjoyed your insights! 

1. Be Imitators of God. When I read this verse, I was truly taken back. I’ve read this book numerous times. I’ve read this chapter more times than I can count. Never have I been struck by this verse like I was today. Please look at this verse and think of the weight of that statement. Imitate God! What does that mean? Begin by thinking about the character of God. Loving, patient, kind, gracious, kind, generous, and more traits that wreck me. During this Covid-19 pandemic, the church has been shown that so many things that we cling to in the church, don’t matter. Buildings don’t matter, I know that may offend some, but the reality is this, the building doesn’t care about you, it doesn’t pray for you, it does nothing for you. We did learn that the church is a people. We learned that the Word is essential. We learned that we long for fellowship. These are the essentials. Yet, over the past few weeks, political garbage is showing it’s ugly head. Something that should bring unity, Satan is using for his wants. This is where it hit me, have you been an imitator of God or of your favorite political leader? Does your heart and mind look more like Jesus or Donald Trump, or Andy Beshear, or whatever name? This hit me like a ton of bricks, who am I trying to imitate? If it isn’t Christ, it’s worthless. I pray that you would repent as I have, turn to be more like Christ. 

2. Your actions will show. How do you know, your actions will begin to show it. If you genuinely seek to be more like Christ, your actions will show it. Our language will change, our discussions will change, everything will change; when you seek to become more like Christ. 

3. Are you sacrificial? Husbands and wives are called to tremendous sacrifice for one another. As a husband, I have failed my wife so many times in this. I have been selfish; I have sought my own needs and not my wife’s. That is not Christ-like. As a husband, I am to serve and love my wife the way that Christ loved the church. He died for her. Friends, let that sink in. 

As you read these chapters, you will see, as I did, so much comes from seeking to imitate God. Where are you falling short? Where do you need to repent? Do it today. 

​Pastor Aaron

Daily Devotion- Ephesians 3-4

Happy Tuesday.

I hope that you had a truly relaxing weekend. I hope that you enjoyed the time with your family and friends. The Lord has been so good to our church, today I spoke with a pastor in Tennessee that lost four folks from his church due to Covid-19, and more in the hospital now. I know that our community has not experienced the trials that others have; let us continue to pray for them; let us continue to be safe.

Read: Ephesians 3-4

I wanted to make a few changes to how I do these devotions. I hope to give you some challenges from our reading. I would love to also hear from you; I would love to hear your insights.

1. We are fellow heirs. This is something I am so thankful for. We are fellow heirs to the kingdom through Christ. The Lord has grafted us into the branch that we are not naturally part of. 

2. Are you praying? During this time, has your prayer life grown or diminished? A new study came out recently about believers during this pandemic. A few things were great, a few not so great. One was that 40% of church members said that they watched their church service online. That’s great! Another said that 72% said they had a renewed love for the body of believers! The sad statistic to me was that 50% reported a decline in their prayer life. Friends, I pray that is not the case for you. Are you praying?

3. Are you walking with the Lord? We are to no longer walk as Gentiles do; rather, we are to walk as people who’ve been changed by the Lord. Have you been moved by Him? Have you been changed by Him? Let me ask, how is your daily walk with the Lord through His Word? If you are walking with Him, you will notice other aspects of your life change. You will see how He molds you and shapes you. Friends, I pray that the Lord is molding you, conforming you to His image.

Let me know how the Lord is speaking to you.

​Pastor Aaron

Daily Devotion- 2 Corinthians 12-13

Concluding 2 Corinthians.

Today we conclude 2 Corinthians. I pray that this has encouraged you through your walk. I am thankful that you’ve taken the time to read these, pray through them, and apply them to your life.

Read: 2 Corinthians 12-13

In the final chapters, Paul concludes with some final warnings for the church to heed. As believers, we aim to walk a walk of righteousness. Our aim is to please the Lord, love our neighbor, and give God the Glory. Let these final chapters be a strong encouragement to us today.

1. My Grace is sufficient (1-10). Paul writes of a significant thorn in his side. A messenger of Satan to distract him from the ministry that he’s called to. He pleaded with the Lord to remove that hindrance, the Lord replies, my Grace is sufficient. We do not know what Paul’s hindrance was, we do know that it turned out to be for his good. Friends, do we look at our hindrances in that manner? When we have something that seems to be holding us back, something that seems to keep us from being the best we can be, is it for our own good? If that hindrance was removed, would you depend on the Lord more or less? I pray for the Lord to remove and add things to me every day, I pray that He will supply everything I need. I pray that I will grow, repent, and become more like Christ. He is working in and through me. Praise God all the more today!

2. Concern for Corinth (11-21). The church of Corinth has a pretty rough past. Paul writes to them about their lack of trust in him. They continue to live their lives in a state of un-repentance. They continue to pursue worldly things and refuse the way of the Lord. This is the concern of every pastor and his church. His heart aches over those who continue to live in unrepentant sin. They are blinded or fully convinced that they are not in sin. I hear the heart of Paul in this, how he is pleading for his people to turn from their sin. He is pleading with them to listen to his previous warnings, rather than hearing, that they’ve continued to do what they wanted to do. They have not listened to the godly wisdom of Paul. Friends, when God’s Word is presented to you when He points our your sin, it is our responsibility to repent.

3. Paul’s Final Warnings (Chapter 13). There is a part of this that I’ve sought to live out in my ministry and life. Paul writes to them, examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. As believers, we must always be testing ourselves and our genuineness of faith. There are several identifiers of someone who is a believer.

 

A. Repentant of sin. When’s the last time that you repented of sin? When’s the last time you confessed to someone that you are wrong? The heart of a believer will be genuine in his confession. If you find yourself always having to be right if you find yourself believing that everyone else needs to listen to you, search yourself.

 

B. Love for the body. Do you love other members of the body? Do you sacrifice on their behalf? Do you miss them? Are you showing other believers your love for them? If not, I dare say, you might not be part of the body. I know this may seem harsh, but we are a body, saved into a body, let our love for one another shine forth.

 

C. Love for the Lord. Lastly, and most importantly, does your love for the Lord grow? Is your heart stirred towards Him? When the scripture convicts you, do you listen? These are traits of someone who is a follower of Jesus. Friends, I pray that we all let the Word of God draw our hearts to Him.

Pastor Aaron

Daily Devotion- 2 Corinthians 8-11

Continuing 2 Corinthians.

We are continuing to look at Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. I pray that you are encouraged by these chapters.

 

Read: 2 Corinthians 8-11

In these few chapters, Paul is encouraging them to continue to be faithful. During this time, it reveals our following of Jesus is, are we faithful?

 

1. Be A Faithful Giver (1-15). As believers in Christ, one aspect that should be well known is our generosity. We are to be generous to the Lord, to others, and not just with our finances. The Lord is the one that blesses us with these things, that we may be generous to others. A way that we can tell the heart of someone is through our generosity to others.

 

2. Celebrate Titus (16-24). Titus was a well-known pastor. He loved the church, he loved Paul. Paul is commending him to the church in Corinth. That they are to receive him well, to encourage him, to love him, and to hear what the Lord has to say through him. As a church, we are to celebrate and encourage our leaders. Let us come alongside them, let us encourage them, let us look to them. I know I am thankful for our deacons, and I am thankful for spiritual leaders that have poured into me. I pray that I would pour well into others.

 

3. Cheerful Givers (Chapter 9). Paul is still continuing to talk with them about their giving. I know that many think that the church is only about money, this is simply a false assertion. Why? Because we are about your heart and relationship with the Lord. Often, what flows from your love for the Lord is your giving to the local church. Paul is echoing this truth to the church.

 

4. Paul Defends His ministry and Sufferings (Chapter 10-11). In these next few chapters, we see Paul write about his calling as an apostle. For many, they still struggled that he was not an eye witness to Christ. They listened to those who claimed to have superior knowledge. As a pastor, one of my jobs is to protect the church from false teachers. This is why I am very defensive about who I let preach to our congregation. If I do not know someone well, I do not want them to have a platform to teach. The teaching to the church must be biblically sound. It must be from the scriptures, soaked in scriptures, and expound God’s word to us. Friends, let us pray that God’s Word would be the light to our feet, the path of our church. Amen!

 

Pastor Aaorn

Letter to the church

Let us Love One another.

Good afternoon church!

I hope that you are doing well this beautiful afternoon. I wanted to send you an email to talk about something on my heart as your pastor. The church is in a position that no one would have ever imagined. The local church faces unique challenges that we’ve not encountered this generation. As a pastor, I am seeing things happen amongst people in my congregation that are being exacerbated by the current political and pandemic climate.

People have drawn lines in the sand. I mean by this, I am seeing people that have bought into a political narrative and have drawn their lines. They are totally convinced that the other side of the political aisle is wrong, and will not find common ground in any area. For example, some feel like they must wear masks, others who will not. Some want to continue to follow the guidelines, and others who want to disregard them go back to normal. Some who are cautious, others who are not. Usually, this would not be so troublesome, but today it is not so. People are at one another over these issues. In the church, we get emails from people on both sides that are upset with anything that we decide to do. For that reason, I wanted to give you some thoughts on both sides. I want to challenge you, stop drawing lines in the sand, that is not your calling.

Revelation 2:4  “4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” Your first Love is not a political stance, your first Love is Christ. Because of this, there are implications from scripture that both sides must take into account.

Mark 12:31 “31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.””

Philippians 2:4-5 “4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,”

Friends, we must first understand that we are to love our neighbors, love those who disagree with you. On the subject of the mask, on the drive-in church, on CDC guidelines, etc. As believers, it is our responsibility to do the things that show Love for neighbor. I’ll be honest, I don’t like the mask thing, but I do love my neighbors. As a believer, I must begin to take this responsibility seriously. It is not ok to make a political stand over a biblical one. Before you start sending me articles about masks, re-read Philippians 2. It is not about you; it’s about looking to others.

Hebrews 10:23-25 “23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to Love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Romans 1:16 “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

Acts 2:42-47 “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day, those who were being saved.”

From some, I’ve heard that they are ok with staying with “online” church. They have neglected to reach out to others, they’ve neglected the fellowship, they’ve stopped showing Love to their fellow brothers and sisters. This is wrong. We are not to seek an online platform for fellowship, that is not the biblical way of gathering. We are called to be a body of Christ, serving one another, caring for one another, fellowshipping. I know that we are in a weird situation as a church, but I’ve felt that many have neglected their obligation to one another under the excuse of the pandemic. This is not what God has called us to do. I would have expected to have heard from so many how they reached out to one another, loved one another, and encouraged one another, but that was not the case. We have to do better.

I write these things, not just for you but for myself. If we are to be the church that God has called us to be, we have to return to our first Love, put one another before ourselves, and stop drawing political lines. Love the Lord, Love your neighbor. This is our calling, so before you get angry at someone, pray for them, before you get frustrated about decisions, pray for your pastor, before you dismiss someone, call them and pray with them. Let’s do better.

With Love,

Your pastor

 

Daily Devotion- 2 Corinthians 7

Continuing 2 Corinthians.

We are continuing to look at Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. I pray that you are encouraged by these chapters.

Read: 2 Corinthians 7

As a pastor, my hope is for my people to have a strong understanding of godly repentance. That we would turn from our sins and turn to the Lord. The Christian life is a life of repentance. Let us look at Paul’s address to the Corinthians on the matter.

1. Cleanse yourself (1). For the Jewish reader, the idea of cleansing would have brought to mind ceremonial baths, sacrifices, etc. So what does it mean for us today? What does it mean to cleanse yourself? No, I am not talking about a juice cleanse. To cleanse, oneself is the idea of repentance. To turn from our sinful ways and sinful habits, and turn to the Lord. When you take communion, that is to be a time of cleansing. Reflection and repentance. 

2. Paul’s love for them (2-4). When I read this section, I immediately thought of our church. I want to tell you that during all of this, I am filled with pride for Springfield Baptist. I am thankful for your response and your faithfulness. My family has been so blessed to call SBC our home. Sometimes when I’ve preached, messages can be hard, but your response shows your heart of love. Friends, that would make any pastor proud, and I am proud to call you my church.

3. Comfort to move on (5-7). Paul writes that his body has been broken, that he is exhausted from the work he’s doing. They find no rest in what they do, they continually work and work. Yet, when Titus came to him, he encouraged Paul with a report of the church. That they longed to see Paul, that they dearly loved him. Friends, it is encouraging to hear from people and know they think about you. 

4. Godly Grief vs. Worldly Grief (8-12). There is a big difference between conviction and guilt. Godly grief or conviction, is something of the Lord. The point of this conviction is always redemptive. To turn you from your sin, to point you to Jesus, to conform you into His image. Worldly grief or guilt, is accusing. It makes you feel like you need to run from God. It says that God doesn’t love you, that you are too bad to love. The point of guilt is to point you away from the Lord.

5. Make us proud (13-16). Paul is really impressed with the following of his rebuke. They were people that took serious his words. They listened to him and turned to the Lord. The reports to him that this took place give him great hope in them. Friends, keep up the good work. Keep fighting the good fight during this pandemic. I am proud of you. 

​Pastor Aaron

Daily Devotion- 2 Corinthians 5-6

Continuing 2 Corinthians.

We are continuing to look at Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. I pray that you are encouraged by these chapters.

Read: 2 Corinthians 5-6

One thing that has become abundantly clear is, our world is broken. We’ve seen a pandemic, political corruption, job loss, and countless other things. All of this should cause us to long for redemption, long for Heaven. Let us look at God’s Word together.

1. Longing for Renewal (5:1-10). To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, Amen! Paul writes to us that our earthly bodies are longing for renewal, they are longing for redemption. It is painfully obvious that when you begin to age, your body breaks down. When you start to age, your body reveals to you that it will not last forever. Every ache and pain should lead us to long for our heavenly home. Because of this truth, we should take great courage. When you feel that pain, you should take courage that the Lord has prepared a place for you. That we should seek to live our lives holy and upright. Our living should be to please the Lord. 

2. Ministry of Reconciliation (5:11-21). In this section, one of my favorite scriptures is written. We see Paul again appealing to his readers to understand his purpose. To begin to think about their lives and purpose differently. That they should no longer look at each other through the lens of the world, instead, look at one another through the lens of Christ. In verse 16, we are told that we regard no one according to the flesh, why? We are no longer of the flesh. If you are in Christ, you are a new creation! AMEN! We’ve been reconciled to God, we’ve been made new, and because of this, we have a mission. Because you are a new creation, you have a job to do. You are a representative of Christ. 

3. Today is the day of Salvation (6:1-13). We live in unprecedented times. As I said earlier, pandemic, etc. But today is the day of Salvation. Our aim is to proclaim the goodness of Christ to the world. We will allow nothing to stop the mission of God. Just because we can’t meet in a building, just because we can’t do the things that we typically want to do, does not mean the mission is on hold. Friends, we should still be sharing the Gospel. We have the opportunity like never before. Let us not lose sight of this. Many are so upset because they can’t sit in their favorite pew, they’ve forgotten that the church is not about a building. That building won’t save you. That building won’t pray for you. That building has not missed you. The church is the people of God sent on mission. Let us be free in sharing that good news.

4. You are the Temple (6:14-18). This section should be very encouraging and challenging for us. In the Old Testament, the Temple was a highly respected and revered place. In this place, it was believed that the presence of the Lord dwelled. Men died when they approached the Temple in a disrespectful manner. If you were outside the Temple and you were worshipping, if someone came up to it with a sledgehammer, you would probably step back from them, waiting for the Lord to strike them down. Your body is that Temple. You are a dwelling place for the Lord. Therefore, why would you defile yourself with ungodly things? Live like you believe that the Lord is in you. 

Friends, it was so amazing to worship with you yesterday. Look for further emails to discuss what the future holds! 

​Pastor Aaron