Reaching Out

I apologize for taking so long to once again write on my blog...I would love to do this more often, but with life so crazy, it doesn't happen very often.

Today I wanted to just briefly mention the fact that our church is getting ready to have a "Trunk Or Treat".

What is a "Trunk Or Treat"? You might ask.

"Trunk Or Treat" is a special outreach used by our church to impact our community on October 31st, Halloween night.

Many Christians today cringe when they hear of such a thing being done on "Halloween", but truthfully, man is the one who has created the holiday, it is still nonetheless the day that the Lord has made. It is NOT an evil day, but a BLESSED day.

Also, what other day of the year can you think of where children actually come to YOUR door, instead of you having to go to them!

"Trunk Or Treat" is a special event hosted by Fair Haven Baptist Church in our church parking lot. Up until the night of our event, we are constantly accepting donated candy, soda pop, hot chocolate, hot dogs, and hot dog buns. All of these things are provided by our church members! They are the most generous givers I have ever seen!

We also invest in two bicycles or scooters to give away, gospel tracts, church information, and a "Moon Bounce House".

The event runs from 5:30-8 P.M. and we have a blast! Last year we served 250 children, and we look for that number to increase this year!

Why have such an event?

The Bible tells us that we are to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Matthew 28:19-20. What an excellent opportunity to do such a thing.

Remember Lot's Wife

This is a message I preached several weeks ago. If you would like to hear it in a audio version your welcome to go to and select sermons followed then by January 17th, 2010's sermon "Remember Lot's Wife". Enjoy!

During the ministry of Jesus Christ upon the earth, he was the greatest teacher and Biblical scholar who has ever lived. The religious leaders of the day the Pharisees and Sadducees knew about him and of him, and realized that his following was to large to be just dismissed or ignored. The religious leaders of the day also couldn’t just categories him as a fanatic because of the miracles that he did and the number of people that followed him. Unfortunately though, they never understood that Christ was the Messiah, the one who had come to set them free.

In Luke 17:20-32 he gives a sermon; a discourse if you will, and he explains to the Pharisees who were demanding a sign from him as to when his “Kingdom” was coming, that horrific events were going to take place as that day grew closer.
I think three of most important words in this passage are the most distinct, and out of place words in the entire passage.


Why was it so important for them and for us today to hear those words? After all, we don’t even know her real name! Yet obviously important enough for Christ to want us to remember her, something must have happened to her in Genesis 19.

Historical Background:
Genesis 11-12 - Abraham leaves Ur to a new land that God has shown him.
12:4 - tells us that Abraham’s brother’s son Lot (his nephew) has come along for the journey.
We don’t know if he is married, but we obviously assume that if he is then his wife is journeying with them.

Genesis 13 - Between the two men there was so much success that herdsmen began fighting for grass and water. A decision to split occurs. Lot chooses desirable Jordan valley, and Abraham is left with the desert hills of Canaan.
Genesis 19 tells us that Lot has left his tent and now dwells within the city of Sodom.
Genesis 14 - five southern kings rebel against four northern kings. Great war, and Lot, family and possessions are carried away to the North. Abraham hears word, gathers approx. 300 of his trained servants goes, fights northern kingdoms, gets Lot, family and possessions back.

Genesis 15-17 - not much about Lot in these chapters more about maturing faith of Abraham. By chapter 17 - 24 years have passed since Abraham left Haran. Approx. 20 year at least of Lot living in Sodom.

Genesis 18 - God and two angels appear to Abraham and Sarah - 2 reasons
1. To tell Sarah she’s going to have a son indeed.
2. To tell Abraham because of the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah that God was going to destroy the two cities.

The city is believed to have existed on the SE side of the Dead Sea.
Sodom was a cesspool of unspeakable immorality and abomination.
It was obviously made into an example not to be repeated.

Before we focus on Lot’s wife, let’s look at the story.

Vs 1 - Lot was a leader in the city.
Vs. 2 - Travelers usually stayed in the city square at night, but Lot urged his two visitors not to do so, but to stay with him. Obviously at night things were happening to travelers in the square.
Vs. 3 - I believe Lot feared for their safety.
Vs. 4 - Everyone was involved in the sins of the city - young and old, from every area of the city.
Vs. 5 - Their intentions were very clear. There was no reason for them to be discreet in the city, because EVERYONE was doing it.
Vs. 6-8 - Lot offers an alternative the is unimaginable. Christ wants us to Remember Lot’s Wife. He wants us to remember her mistakes and weaknesses. The key lesson about Lot’s wife has not come into the picture yet, but where is Lot’s wife during this unbelievable offer?
VS. 9-13 - Situation becomes critical.

Vs. 14 - Lot’s family didn’t take Lot seriously. Why? Because most likely he had never mentioned his faith to his children before. Perhaps Lot’s words were of no reputation, for his family wasn’t used to him denouncing sin and wickedness in the city.

At this point in the text though, we are starting to see clearer pictures in this story. It’s very clear that the sins of the city were out of control and rampant. Everyone was involved in them, and there was nothing that anyone could do about it. In this city not even 10 righteous men could be found to spare the city.

I think we can now start to look at Lot’s wife.

How many righteous people lived in Sodom?
Do you think that Lot’s wife’s friends were good influences on her? Lot and his family had to be basically dragged out of the city. Why?
Perhaps 20 years of hanging around with worldly people have weakened her faith. Maybe she didn’t believe all this was happening.
The crowd you keep is who you become like.
Notice this goes beyond just human beings though. It extends into your television viewing, your leisurely reading, your websites that you regularly look at, your favorite pass time. You become what you enjoy.
Thursday night some of our teenagers were saying that they enjoyed watching a television show that constantly has swearing, drugs, homosexuality, sex, and other things involved. Teenagers I warn you, just as I warn the adults. You find that interesting and funny? Your going in the wrong direction. The people and things you associate with are the people and things that you force the Holy Spirit who is within you to also look at and associate with. You will become what you associate with.
Illustration: You are what you eat. You become like those you associate with.
This is why its so important to have a church family.
While we are outside the doors of this building our defenses ought to be up! We ought to be ready to deflect a piercing fiery dart at any moment, but instead what happens? Its often in church that we have to put up our shields. Defending ourselves against what others might find the be the true lives that we live.

No matter how unimportant or trivial one thinks a command from God is, we have to take God seriously. (vs. 17)
We know how the story ends here (and well get to that later), but Lot’s wife will disobey God and look back. We could speculate as to why, but bottom line is God specifically said, “DON’T DO IT!” God has been very specific about how we live our lives.

Is God serious about our worship? (Heb. 10:25)
Is God serious about prayer? (I Thess. 5:17)
Is God serious about our priorities? (Matthew 6:33)
Is God serious about evangelism? (Mark 16:15)
Is God serious about our disposition? (I Tim. 2:22-25)

What did Christ say? "REMEMBER LOT’S WIFE!"
Perhaps the most obvious thing we see when we remember Lot’s wife is that she didn’t take what God said seriously! Even our children who have learned this story can recognize the point to it! We have to take God seriously. In fact God is also serious about how we get to heaven!

He’s serious about belief (Mk. 16:16)
He’s serious about repentance (Acts 2:38)
He’s serious about confession (Romans 10:9-10)
He’s serious about baptism (I Peter 3:21)

Notice where Lot’s wife was when she looked back.
Our English translation says she was behind him. The word behind is translated from the Hebrew word “Achar” meaning away from, back, it suggests some distance.
Lot’s wife not only had to be pulled from the city, but she lingered behind the fleeing party. Why?
-perhaps she was concerned about her friends.
-perhaps she hated to leave her home.
-perhaps her heart was in Sodom.

Simply put the world had a death grip on her heart. She loved the things of the world, rather than the things of God.

There are many things in the world today that get our hearts and hold onto them.
-ball games
-fishing and hunting
-lukewarmness and complacency
List goes on and on. For Adam and Eve it was a piece of fruit.

BACK TO THE STORY (vs. 25-30)

Your actions, your lifestyle can and will affect others. Especially those closest to you. Your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, your co-workers, your neighbors, everyone.
It is hard for us to understand and even comprehend such an act. Why would these young ladies from what seems to be a “christian home” devise such a plan?
I believe it was a direct reflection of the lifestyle their parents had been living. We don’t know much about the life of Lot and his wife, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say that they were not participating in the immorality of the city. I suggest to you that by just living there they subtly condoned it. By just living in such a godless environment their children were thus exposed to it, and allowed to see the disgusting acts that took place day and night.

Notice with me that if we put God first in our lives…that means reading His word, praying, attending church, serving in the church, being active in the church, living for the Lord, encouraging other believers, applying the Word of God to our lives, by example we lead Godly lives and in so doing, perhaps our children will as well.
When we expose them to the correct environments they will be exposed to potentially become the individual that God wants them to be. For me, I’ve never understood why a parent would ground a child from church. If the child needs to be punished for something that they did, church is the first place they need to be at so they learn why they shouldn’t have done what they did do!

What did Christ say? "REMEMBER LOT’S WIFE."
Why? Because who we associate with we become.
Because unlike Lot’s wife’s example we need to take God seriously.
We need to realize that through Christ the world ought not have any hold on us!
We need to understand that our lives are not our own to live, but they are to be examples to those around us who are constantly watching and learning from us.

Honesty - The Truth Teller

About one year ago, we began our youth group at our church, and came up with an acronym that helped describe what we wanted our teenagers to become not only in our church, but also in society as a whole. The acronym?


Hi-Fhy? You might ask. Yes. "Honesty, Integrity, and Fidelity".
Last week during our Thursday night youth group time we talked about Honesty.

So often even as adults our lives are filled with lies. Maybe not lies that are involved in the corporate world, but still lies.

For example, "Does pizza sound good for supper?" My wife might ask. Not really, but at the same time I know she's worked a long day, put up with rude people, and watched our daughter all day long too. Do I say that pizza sounds good to make her life easier, or do I tell her that what I'm really hungry for is something that will take several hours to make.
"Sure sweetheart. Pizza sounds fine." is often the answer. Then the rest of the evening under my breath I mutter. "Pizza. Seriously? Pizza?"

The perfecter of lies, Satan himself is the best liar, and he's also the best teacher of how to lie. Unfortunately though at many times our lies come out. Trying to cover one lie with another, with the results eventually most often exploding in our face.

One of the best examples of lying I could find in the Bible is found in Acts 5 the account of Ananias and Sapphira. Ananias and Sapphira a married couple in the early church wanted to be noticed for being sacrificial like other people in the early church. What was happening such as the example of Barnabas was that certain people were selling their possessions to aid in the provision of some of the Christians who were being fired from their jobs and disowned by their families all because of their new beliefs.

When Ananias and Sapphira heard and saw how others were giving and being recognized for their donations they wanted the same pride and recognition. Unfortunately the desire to have this recognition led them to do something that God would not have wanted them to do, and thus resulted in a lie, which then ended in dire consequences.

With a plan in tow, the two sold some possessions and chose to give the church some of the money from the sale. The plan though was not to give all of the money, but to keep some of it, but to sound pious to the church they were going to say that they had given all the money from the sale.

Ananias was the first to enter the church and give Peter the money. Maybe at first Peter looked at the money and was humbled at the thought that once again someone else from the church was giving all that they had, but the Bible tells us in verse 3 that Peter knew that the sum was not all that had been gained from the sale, and Peter blames Ananias for not only lying to him, but also to the Holy Spirit. There in the church he drops dead as a consequence for his sin.

A little later in walks his wife. I wonder if she came in with her head held high, or if this was part of the plan to make the pride and recognition last a little longer in the church. In she strutted with her head held high and a big smile on her face. But then Peter asks her a question. "Tell me Sapphira, is this all the money from the sale of the possession that you sold?" "Oh yes, Peter!"
"Why Sapphira, why is it you agreed together to lie to the Holy Spirit? Don't you know that the men that carried out your husband and buried him are waiting at the door to take you out as well?" And then down the ground she fell also dead.

Why would God cause two people to die just for lying? Because God wanted the early church to recognize that lying was a sin, and in God's eyes, a lie was just as bad as a murder or adultery. A lie is a lie, and a sin is a sin. Thus causing the lie to be a sin that can separate us from the presence of God for all eternity. Praise the Lord for the gift of Salvation.

Acts 5:1-10

60 Years Of Service

Its hard to believe that here in the year 2010, Fair Haven Baptist Church the church that I have the privilege and honor of leading is turning 60! Beginning in 1950, Fair Haven was originally a group of people who left a church called "Ruby Avenue Baptist Church" when they began to realize that the direction the church was going was away from the Word of God, rather than growing closer to it. So after realizing the fallacies of the church, they left Ruby Avenue and began to meet in the living room of one of the charter members of the church. It was then in 1950 that the sanctuary and first floor portion of the church building were complete and the church family began to meet in the building.

Since that time there have been only a small number of pastors that have pastored the church, and God has given me the opportunity to follow in the line of pastors.

When Fair Haven Baptist Church began the church's motto which still stands today was "We Preach Christ - Buried-Risen-And Coming Again" the focus was on the life, death, burial, resurrection and coming again of our Savior, and rightly so. We are told from God's Word that we are to be ready at any time to give an account for our beliefs (I Peter 3:15), and not only that, but we are to preach the WHOLE counsel of God's Word (Acts 20:27). There are many churches in the world today that cater to people's feelings rather than the truth of God's Word. The Bible in fact has warned us that people will begin to have itching or tickling ears (2 Tim. 4:13). They want to hear funny stories, and feel good messages about how God wants us rich, or healthy and successful. Does God want us happy? Yes, but not because we are millionaires, but rather because we have learned to be content in all things.

This year marking our 60th anniversary though, I'm contemplating on adding something to our motto. Maybe it will last beyond my time as pastor here at Fair Haven and maybe not, but I think the additive would be helpful and correct as well. I have considered changing the motto to "Fair Haven Baptist Church...Preaching Christ and Answering the Call." What do I mean by "answering the call?" I mean a variety of things. Realizing that we are commanded to evangelize the world (Matthew 28:19-20), realizing the our lives have been commanded to be living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2) realizing that we are a chosen priesthood a chosen generation (I Peter 2:9), realizing that we are called to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind, and your neighbor as yourselves." (Mark 12:30-31) and so on. I believe that we are to preach Christ, and I believe that with all my heart, but there is more to this Christian life than just preaching Christ. We are also called to live like Christ. Ephesians 5:1 encourages us to be "imitators of Christ as dear children". We imitate by mimicking.

My 15 month old daughter is starting to mimic my wife and I. Often when my wife or I drop something on the ground we will say, "Uh-Oh." Well our daughter has caught on to that,and has also learned the short phrase of "Uh-Oh". In fact, just yesterday she was using it, maybe not in the way it was meant to be used...but she was correct in what she said. :) Sitting in her high chair with her pacifier she would take it out of her mouth, look at it, throw it on the floor, and then stair over the edge of her chair at the pacifier on the floor. She would then look at my wife and I and say, "Uh-Oh." She was mimicking my wife and I! Just as dear children mimic their parents and others they see, we as Christians ought to mimic and imitate Jesus Christ.

To answer the call means to live out the life that God has called us to live out. The Christian life is not just about "Preaching Christ" which is very important, but we are also instructed to be disciples, and be constantly learning and growing and living out the commands of our Savior. May it be true of Fair Haven Baptist Church in 2010 that we are "Preaching Christ and answering the call".