Over the last 126 years, God has been so good to Immanuel Baptist Church. Our desire is to see the current generations grasp the same vision for tomorrow. To do this, we must tell the story and not hide it to coming generations. During our study in Nehemiah, we learned that God used the people to create a Kingdom advancing Gospel culture. The core values of a Kingdom advancing Gospel culture are being for the Gospel, for the city, and for the world. Being for the Gospel means that we are for the message of the Gospel, but also the mission of the Gospel. We can’t be a people of the Bible, a people of the message, without being a people of the mission. The mission is to be and build reproducing followers of Christ who worship God, connect with others, grow in His Word, and go take the Gospel to the world. All of this is for the kingdom, which keeps our mission in the perspective of God’s great work. Of course, these lessons also help us think through our generations campaign, a campaign focused on creating space for us to create this culture. These are exciting days for the church and I am thrilled to think, study, and pray with you through all of this. Let’s pray for unity of hearts and minds as we seek God’s best.
We spent last summer in the Psalms and I thoroughly enjoyed it. (With 150 Psalms we have quite a few to go before we run out!) Our theme this summer is “I Shall Not Want.” This is the famous line from Psalm 23, the most famous of all the Psalms, and its theme. Since the Lord is our Shepherd, He provides everything we need. God provides all we will ever need. Each Psalm gives witness to this: protection, provision, defense, justice, sweet mercy, forgiveness, compassion, wisdom, help, shelter, or healing. God provides everything we need. His provisions are so rich that it makes us want to sing about it! And so this summer we gather in the chorus of the Hebrew song book to sing the great songs of the faith along with those who have sung before. As always, we are grateful for our own Danny Hinton for writing this curriculum. I’m honestly filled with joy at the thought of growing together in God’s Word this summer.
Nehemiah tells us the end of the Old Testament story. The significance of the events is huge. Think about it. God made a promise to Abraham that his family would have a land and would multiply, and that he would be a blessing to the nation. This was partially fulfilled. The promise was renewed through Moses, and then finally with David. David saw the land, he saw the multiplication, but the eternal blessing to the nations was hard to see. The kingdom was divided, conquered and the people were taken as prisoners…exiles in a foreign land. Just before the curtain closes on the Old Testament, the people return to the land and rebuild. This sets up the events of the New Testament where Jesus comes into a disrupted Jerusalem, and finds a Judaism that has drifted far from God’s original covenant design. The key characters in this story are Nehemiah the great leader, and Ezra the prophet/scribe. This story is filled with great leadership savvy and plot twists. However, mainly it is a story of hope. God keeps His promises. And when He does, how will we respond? That is the end of the story.
Marriage is an area of our lives that we can always grow in, and no matter what stage of life you are in we can all learn from the relationship that God designed to model His relationship with the church. The foundation of each marriage is critical to the stability of the relationship and marriage roles play a vital part in our daily lives. God has called us as men and women to love and respect one another and build each other up.
God is the only one who truly writes His own story. And He did. Graciously the story of God is recorded in our Bibles. The story of God is so overwhelmingly personal and intertwined with the collective stories of human history that it is tempting to think that man is the central player in his own performance. However, the Bible is the record of God and His interaction with His creation. It is the record of His actions and attributes. Understanding that the movement of God is at the core of the Bible is the key to unlocking all that God wants to teach us through it. This study will be a thrill. While it’s ambitious to cover the whole story of the Bible in four weeks, the advantages are huge. We can see, perhaps for the first time, how all the collective stories of the Bible fit into one grand narrative.
Life on Mission
If someone were to ask you to explain your faith, could you do it briefly, concisely, and in a compelling way? Nothing can replace the confidence of knowing you can turn any conversation into a Gospel conversation. Evangelism trends come and go. If you have been a part of church life for any period of time then you realize this. However, we are confident that Life on Mission will be a strategy we can stick with and promote through our many evangelistic outlets. Together we will become equipped to turn everyday conversations into Gospel conversations. With our strategic GO ministry, our growing interest in reaching the community around us, and for the simple reason that all people need to be equipped to share their faith, there is no better time for the whole church to be trained to share our faith. It’s our church on mission; it’s our life on mission.