Monday, November 2, 2015

The Pastor's Corner...

* Article was published in the November edition of The Herald; a monthly publication of Green Hill Baptist Church.

“…in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)

Growing up whenever someone would give me a present, say a kind word or give me a compliment, my parents would always say, “Now Brett, what do you say?” Of course, it was to beckon that proper response of “Thank you!” I’m grateful for parents who taught me the value of being courteous and respectful toward others. Unfortunately, it seems that is quickly becoming a lost art. Football Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant once said, If you remember anything else from me, remember this. It really doesn't cost anything to be nice, and the rewards can be unimaginable."

Certainly, southern hospitality exists and chivalry is not dead. That being said, Christians should be the most kind, considerate and courteous people on the planet. In fact, Christians should be the most grateful and thankful. Think about it: in Christ, we have been given every spiritual blessing and promised an inheritance that far outweighs anything this world can offer. If God does nothing else He’s already done everything!

Paul encouraged the believers in Thessalonica to give thanks in everything – in all circumstances and at all times. I don’t know about you, but that’s a tall order! He doesn’t stop there, but goes on to say that it’s God’s will for us to give thanks. In other words, having hearts of thanksgiving – possessing an attitude of gratitude – is not an option for the Christian; it’s an obligation. It is God’s good and perfect will for us to give thanks. To say it another way, giving thanks brings honor and glory to God. Circumstances of life don’t dictate God’s character or modify God’s truth – He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

There are many different thoughts and emotions that flood our hearts and minds as we consider the fast-approaching holiday season. For some of us, this will be the first Thanksgiving and Christmas without a loved one. An empty chair around the table will give evidence of the void. Family drama seems to heighten when families gather under the same roof. Perhaps, it’s in part, because we’re more spatially aware of strained and broken relationships. We see extended family members and deal with challenges that we generally don’t have to deal with throughout the year. Think of those challenges as “sanctifiers.” God desires to use those situations to grow your faith and make you more like Jesus.

Know this, no family is perfect. We are all broken people and when we live together in community, the brokenness often becomes more visible. So, when those moments come – give thanks. Remember God’s goodness and be a conduit for His mercy and grace to flow through you. In everything give thanks. Why? Because it’s God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.

I thank God for my family. I thank God for my Green Hill Family. Let’s give thanks together.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Pastor Brett

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Pastor's Corner

* Article was published in the October edition of The Herald; a monthly publication of Green Hill Baptist Church

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1 (NSAB)

The city lights often make it difficult to see the stars in the night sky. But, if you take a drive out into the country on a clear, dark night, you can see some amazing things. Not only can you see stars, but occasional satellites as they zoom across the sky. Perhaps some of the darkest nights I can remember were spent lying in a hammock under a Suriname sky. Ask anyone who has been to Suriname and they will tell you - apart from the flickering flame of a campfire or dim beam from a flashlight, there is no light to be seen anywhere!

There’s nothing like staring up into a starry night. Our Solar System, which includes the Milky Way Galaxy, is comprised of billions of stars. The Sun is the closest star to Earth, while Proxima Centauri is the closest star to our Solar System. This star is about 4.22 light years from planet Earth. Just in case you’re wondering, that’s a long way! To give you some point of reference, it would take a Space Shuttle traveling at a speed of 17, 600 mph about 165,000 years to reach Proxima Centauri. Friends, my mind can’t comprehend such information. The magnitude of God’s universe is mind-blowing. Indeed, our God is great! From one of the 37.2 trillion cells in our body to the farthest point in the universe, God’s glory is being declared. Creation itself is declaring the work of His hands.

God made the heavens and earth. He made us in His image and He knows us by name. Scripture says He “called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). He “rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). Along with the heavens, our lives and our church should tell of His glory and declare the work of His hands.

As we move into the Fall of the year, let us tells of His glory and declare the work of His hands. Simply put, let us be about the business of loving Him, loving others and making disciples. Let us declare that He alone is worthy of our worship and our praise. Let us declare that He alone is worthy of our giving and our service. Let us declare that He alone is worthy of our gifts and our talents. Let us shine the light of His truth into a dark world and declare that He alone is God.

Serving Together,
Pastor Brett

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Pastor's Corner...

* Article was published in the September edition of The Herald; a monthly publication of Green Hill Baptist Church.

Perfect Trust by pastor and author, Chuck Swindoll, is a powerful little resource that talks about the importance of trusting God at all times and in all circumstances. The tag line of the book says, “God knows that we can do all things by His grace, so He’s trusting in us to trust in Him.” Let that sink in for a minute. The God of heaven and earth is trusting in us to do something. Have you ever considered the fact that God is counting on you for something? Friend, He is. He’s counting on all of us as His children, to fully trust Him and not look back. To, in a sense, put all of our eggs in His basket knowing that He can be trusted with them. The bottom line is that whether we acknowledge it or not, we are dependent on God for everything – from the beating of our heart and air we breathe, to the resources and abilities we possess.

As I look around within the church family of Green Hill, I see the mighty hand of God. He is working to develop our faith and to deepen our trust in Him. I’m grateful to be part of that process. It’s a joy to see Him bringing the lost to a saving knowledge of His Son. It’s a joy to see new believers publically professing Christ in the waters of Baptism. It’s a joy to see discipleship taking place as believers are growing in the wisdom and knowledge of God. I encourage you to take advantage of every discipleship opportunity that comes your way. Discipleship is a great need within the body of Christ and we are working to offer more and more GHU classes to meet this very need.

If you’ve not yet taken the Discover Green Hill class, please sign up either for the 4-week cycle or the one-shot offering on a particular Saturday. The Discover class covers what it means to be a Christian, a healthy member of the church, and how the Lord has gifted us to contribute to the work of ministry. This class is open to anyone, whether a prospective member or long-time member of Green Hill. Let me also encourage you to sign up for Bible 411, which begins Sunday afternoon, September 13th at 4:30. This class will cover a conglomeration of topics related to the canonicity of Scripture. It will address such questions as: how did we get the 66 books we know as the Bible? How do we know we can trust the Bible as God’s Word? You don’t want to miss this class!

Discipleship is meant to develop our faith and deepen our trust. This phrase has become a motto for us in our study of Psalm 119. As we grow in our understanding of God’s Word, we grow in our intimacy with God Himself. We come to experience His mercy, grace, love and faithfulness on a deeper level. It’s important that we develop a deep root system of faith that plunges deeper and deeper into the soil of God’s Word. That regardless of the circumstances of life, we come to fully trust Him. This is important because He’s counting on us to do so!

Serving Together,
Pastor Brett