Flemingsburg Baptist Church Youth Group

Love God, Love People, Serve the World Starting One Home at a Time.

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Moving Websites in September

We are in the process of moving this website to http://joegunter.wordpress.com/ , please go ahead and bookmark and subscribe to that page for future use.  We will be fading this page out soon, and kicking-off the new website sometime in September.

Panther Praise and Worship Back-to-School Service

Picture1On Sunday, August 18th, the 2nd annual Panther Praise & Worship will be held at FCHS. This is a night where all churches in Fleming County can come together, uniting as one, to show support for our students, schools, and district. Our utmost desire is to begin a new school year seeking God’s guidance.

The night will feature the musical talents of:

Solid Ground

and

Various FCHS Students

Pastor Kent Wilson (Unity Baptist) and Youth Pastor Joe Gunter (Flemingsburg Baptist) will be sharing a devotion to uplift and encourage our students, teachers, staff, and community this school year.

Service will end with a prayer walk around the high school.

Flyer can be downloaded here: Panther Praise and Worship

Sponsored by:

 FCHS FCA & Panthers for Christ

 

Resignation Letter

FBC Family & Flemingsburg Community:

Sunday I resigned as the Youth Pastor of FBC.  My last Sunday will be August the 18th.  I did not arrive at this decision casually and without much prayer and fasting.  I have also sought out the counseling of those that have been my ministry mentors.  This transition is bittersweet for me.  I am saddened to inform you my time as Youth pastor of FBC is coming to a close.  I love what God has accomplished during my tenure at FBC.  I love the people—a church that was very accepting of a young couple from Tennessee, fresh out of seminary.  I pray that my departure will not hinder the Gospel work here, in fact I pray that it is a catalyst.

 Selfishly, I must admit my time here has personally benefitted me.  Both FBC and the Flemingsburg community have taught me several life lessons.

 I’ve learned how to be a pastor.  You all have seen me mature in my calling, many of you remember me the first time I stood in the pulpit scared to death, some of you all shared in my ordination, and you all rejoiced with us in my graduation. Flemingsburg will always be special to me for that reason.  I have developed my work ethic here, I have been able to practice my preaching, and I have been able see a ministry grow from almost nothing to two ministries in the school, Wednesday night services, and our personal favorite our Friday Bible studies after school.

 I’ve learned how to live in a small town.  It’s no small accomplishment for us coming out of Louisville.  All pastors live a public life.  A pastor in a small town is under a particularly strong microscope.  Through Flemingsburg, I’ve learned how to be a better statesman and figurehead for the church, something you don’t necessarily learn by default in a big city.  No Christian is called to live anonymously; we are called to a public testimony.  This small town has challenged me to be more intentional about relationships and my witness.

 I’ve learned how to have close friends in the church.  Sometimes pastors have difficulty making friends in the churches they serve.  I’ve had more close friends in Flemingsburg than in any other place I’ve lived.  Flemingsburg has graciously given me the blessing of shepherding while also having close friends.  Too few pastors experience this blessing.  I do not take these friendships lightly.

 I’ve learned how to follow.  All pastors lead.  It’s an inescapable part of being called to serve the local church.  One of the most difficult aspects of leading a church is discerning when to follow and who to follow in your congregation.  At FBC, I’ve served with and under the leadership of people wiser and more experienced than me—laypersons more spiritually mature and equipped with gifts I do not have.  I’m continually learning how to limit a claim on pastoral authority to follow other servants who lead better than me in certain situations and environments.

 We came to FBC because it was a great church in a loving town.  We have loved it here since we first stepped foot here.  However, over the past several months it has become clear to Kaley and I that our season here is done.  I pray you will not view this transition as one of me leaving, but rather as one of you sending out Kaley & I more prepared for ministry than when we first came in.  Undoubtedly, I’m excited about the future and a new season of ministry.  The transition, however, is bittersweet.  While I will not have the privilege of being a youth pastor here anymore, I know the mission to further the Kingdom of God will never stop.  And I know you will persevere, regardless of who takes our place.  

We will continue to pray for this church, our youth, and our community, and we ask that you will be in prayer for us as we seek out the next season of our ministry.

Thank you again, your brother and sister in Christ

Joe & Kaley  Gunter

Kid’s Camp (June 25-28)

Kids Camp was a fast-paced, Christ-centered, kid-friendly camp for elementary children! At the heart of Kid’s Camp was our passion for building relationships with our children to help them cross over from death to life or more fully experience Christ. This past week our kids got messy, loud, and crazy. But, most importantly, our kids experienced Christ in a way they can understand

Kids camp brings much of the fun and excitement that our student camps have, but in a context that they can better understand.

Bible Study

During kids camp the students experienced Bible Study in Large and Small Group settings.  The Bible Study is geared more towards younger students. We still preached the Gospel, but it was in a way that the younger audience can better understand.

This week our children were challenged to “Exchanged” their sins for Christ’s righteousness.  They learned that this is the “Great Exchange”  that takes place between Christ and believers on the cross is as good for us as it is bad for Christ.  Jesus received our sin, while we receive his righteousness.  His loss was our gain, his suffering our joy.  Though he was rich, yet for our sake he became poor, so that we by his poverty might become rich.  Just as our sin was imputed to Christ on the cross, so his righteousness was imputed to us.  This means God literally sees believers as having all of Christ’s righteousness, and thus all of Christ’s standing and rights, in their lives before God.

POIs

Along with games at the lake our kids experienced a lot of fun games, such as, Bazooka ball, zip lining, climbing, icing the cake, messy games, and volleyball.  Below you can see pictures of some of the fun in action.

The Gospel According to Jonah

 

I chose this passage for three different reasons.  First, I love to go through books of the Bible, this will allow you to be able to see how I would normally preach through a book of the Bible.  Obviously since Jonah is so short, we can cover it in only one sermon.

The Second reason for preaching the Book of Jonah is because we have just celebrated Independence day on July 4th.  Our text today will remind us that although it is healthy to be patriotic (to be thankful for the country that you live in, to be thankful for the freedoms that we have, to be thankful for the troops that help secure that freedom); Nationalism however is dangerous.  God opposes the proud, the worshiping of your country, the viewing of other countries as inferior, the refusal to leave this great nation, and the belief that we are superior is dangerous.  And that is exactly what we find at core of Jonah’s heart today, a hatred for anyone other than his Hebrew brothers and sisters.  So our question for today is, Is it possible for pride in our own nation, to keep us from being a part of God’s purpose in all nations? 

The third and final reason for preaching the Book of Jonah is because it points us to the Cross and our Lord, Savior, and Treasure Jesus Christ.  And I love to preach Christ and him crucified.

We will start reading at Chapter 1 verse 1.

Exegesis:

Chapter 1

V. 1-3 here in this passage we see that Jonah is commanded to go to the people of Nineveh, however, he goes to Tarshish instead.  So let me give you a little bit of backstory to help you understand why Jonah would do such a thing.  You see, we learn from 2 Kings 14:25 that Jonah was a national hero, he was a prophet that prophesied that the northern kingdom should strengthen their northern wall.  Which they did and it saved them from being invaded by the Assyrians.  Well, Nineveh is one of the great and prized cities of the Assyrians.  So it is not just bad enough that Nineveh is filled with people that want to invade the Nation of Israel, but the Assyrians are known worldwide for their wickedness, they were a war-driven nation and they would do gruesome things to the bodies of their prisoners in order to deter anyone from wanting to oppose their conquests.

Listen to one account from one of the Assyrian’s own kings, he wrote, “many of the captives I have burned in a fire.  Many, I took alive.  From some, I cut off their hands to their wrists.  From others, I have cut off their noses, ears, and fingers.  I put out the eyes of many of the soldiers.  I have burnt their children to death.”

This was the reputation of the Assyrians, they were not good people.

Therefore, Jonah hated them so much that he would rather see them be destroyed and go to Hell, than for them to receive the grace and mercy of God, so he fled to Tarshish.

V. 4-5 Now we see that God causes a storm to happen.  The storm is so violent that even the veteran sailors are afraid and recognize that it must be from a divine origin.  However, we see that Jonah has fallen asleep at the bottom of the boat.   His heart is so hardened against God’s will and against the people of Nineveh that not even a divine storm can wake him up.

And that is a dangerous place to be.  I pray that this evening that you will not harden you heart against God, but that you will allow Him to work and soften your heart.  Whether, you are someone who has never accepted Christ or someone that has been walking with him for decades, do not let your heart turn cold.

Summarize V. 6-16 Jonah is so sound asleep that the captain has to come and wake him up, so that he can cry out to his God so that they might not perish.  Jonah comes up and it does not take him long to realize that this storm has nothing to do with these pagan sailors.  This has everything to do with his disobedience.  And so it becomes clear that he is the reason for the problem and Jonah is thrown overboard.  And as he sinks into the depths of the sea, the water around the boat goes calm and the storm ceases.  The Sailors onboard the ship turn and worship the Lord of Jonah, while Jonah sinks to the depths of the sea.

Now do not miss this.  Jonah fled, in order to not preach to gentiles and he ends up converting a boat full of pagan sailors.  Our God is a Great and Powerful God and can even use our failures for His Glory.

Now look back at verse 17.

V.17 here we see that a huge aquatic beast swallows Jonah, it is probably not a whale, because they have a word for whale and it is not used here.  But that is not important because this story is not about the whale or a giant fish, but God’s love for the nations, which ultimately points us to Jesus.

Summarize Chapter 2: Then we see in chapter 2 that while Jonah is in the belly of this giant fish that he prays to God.  We see that Jonah cried out to the Lord in his distress and that he answered him.  We also see that Jonah recognizes that salvation comes from the Lord.

V. 10 We pick up the story in verse 10 where we see that the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.  This verse should remind us of Revelations 3:16, it was because of Jonah’s lukewarmness that God had the fish vomit him out of his mouth.

Chapter 3

V.1-4 Now beginning with chapter 3 we see that Jonah now gets a second chance.  He goes to the people of Nineveh and delivers the message, that God had given him.  However, we also see a glimpse of his heart is still lukewarm because Nineveh was so big that it would have taken him 3 days to go around proclaiming this message, but we only see him going to them on day 1.

V. 5-9  However, starting in verse 5 we see their response.  The people immediately responded to God’s message and Word spread so quickly that it reaches the King who issues a decree stating that no man or beast shall eat and must be covered in sackcloth and cry out to God earnestly.

So get the picture here.  This powerful rich city, is now on its knees begging God for mercy, they are so desperate, that they do not feed their animals, so that their animals will join them in bellowing miserably out to God.

So the question is why?, Why such a quick and effective “mission trip” with such a rebel prophet?  Well, what is surprising about this text is that Nineveh actually means “fish town”.  Nineveh is known for worshipping a pagan god, that was half man and half fish.  So here comes this prophet that has spent 3 days in the belly of a fish, that skin is probably bleached from the stomach acid trying to digest him, and if anyone wanted proof that he had been in a fish probably just had to smell him.  So here comes this prophet with a fish story to validate his message to a people that already worship fish.

So we see that God is so powerful, that he uses the rebellion of his prophet to authenticate his message.  God basically says to the people of Nineveh, you worship a false god of fish, but I am the true God that even the largest fish obey me.  Repent or in 40 days you will be destroyed.

And catch the irony.  Jonah hates Nineveh so much that he flees in the opposite direction, but in his fleeing does he not only converts pagan sailors, but now an entire pagan city because of his fleeing from God.

And I tell you right now, that is comforting that even when I screw up, God can still use me.  God help me never flee from your presence like Jonah, but if I do please use it for your glory.

So how will God respond to their repentance?  Will he forgive them or will he give them what they deserve and wipe them from the face of the earth?  We see God’s response in verse 10.

V. 10 God forgives them.  Even though they were wicked and deserved destruction, even though they opposed his chosen people of Israel, he loved them.  For while they were yet enemies they were reconciled to God by  a prophet that went into the depths of the sea for three days and was raised again to bring them a message.

Sound familiar?  Sounds a lot like Romans 5:10 right, For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  This is because God is using this passage to point us to Jesus and calling us to repent as well.  See God loves you so much that it looks like he hates his one and only Son.  While you were still enemies, while you were still in sin God reached out to you.  We are the people of Nineveh in this story.  We deserved punishment, we deserve Hell.  Because we all have sinned against a holy and just God.  But God loves us so much that he sent His only son to us so that we can be reconciled with him again.  Jesus lived the perfect life so that we did not have to and He died the death that we deserved.  However, He did not stay in the belly of the earth.  He rose again and anyone that trust him as their Lord, Savior, and Treasure can spend eternity with Him.  And I pray today that you will respond like the people of Nineveh, that if you have never repented that you will cry out tonight for His mercy.

So we come to the conclusion of chapter three and we think end of story, Jonah preached God’s Word, the people responded what a great story.  However, Chapter 4 reveals to us just how much Jonah hated the people of Nineveh.

Chapter 4

V.1-4 In this passage we see that Jonah reveals the real reason why he fled to Tarshish.  Because he knew that God was a merciful and compassionate God, slow to anger, rich in faithful love, and One who relents from sending disaster.  So it was not that Jonah feared for his life going to this war-loving people nor was it because he feared failure, but that he feared success, he feared that God would actually offer these wicked people salvation.

So if you want to get the amount of hate he had for this people, think of a clansmen going to an inner city ghetto to share the Gospel, think of a Nazi going to the slums of Jerusalem, and think of yourself going to a Muslim nation to share the Gospel… Is it possible to hate someone so much  just because of race or nationality to want them to perish in Hell for eternity?

Now we see it is possible with the life of Jonah to hate someone that much.  But I doubt any of us out loud would say that.  However, what do our actions say about how powerful our Gospel is?

I think one of the weaknesses of the church of America today is that we evangelize like we pick songs on Pandora.

Pandora Illustration:

Do you truly believe that God is powerful enough to save anyone?  God says He is, He saved the wicked city of Nineveh, in fact, everybody in this book is messed up.  Jonah is messed up.  The Sailors worshipping all these different gods are messed up, The city of Ninevah is royally messed up, and we are messed up.  But we see the mercy of God coming to all of them, even to some of us.

However, do our actions confirm that truth?

Scariest person illustration:

V. 5-11 God says to Jonah in these verses, that you are more concerned about a plant, when there are people, whom I have created and crafted with my own hand.  And I have shown my mercy and love to them, and you want nothing to do with it because you are more concerned about this plant.

And the story does not end with a happily ever after.  Instead the story ends with a haunting question from God.  The book ends with a question, not because we do not know how Jonah responds, but it is left open because it is directed to you.  Will you go to the nations?  Will you obey the commandment in Matthew 28 and go and make disciples of all the nations?

There is a clear parallel between God’s will for Jonah, and God’s will for every single one of our lives in this room, to go and preach.  God is calling you to respond, will you go and preach, making disciples of all nations?

You see we cannot be too hard on Jonah in this book of the Bible because in all reality Jonah reveals our hearts as well.  Are these tendencies in our own hearts as well?  Are there times when we want our way more than we want God’s will?  Are we often not interested in where he wants us to go, or what he wants us to do because we already have our plans set up?

Is it possible for us to sit back and enjoy the good life in our nation, without giving second thought to how God might want to use us to make the Gospel known in other nations?  Is it possible for us in this room to know the character of God in our heads, and, yet, lack the compassion of God in our hearts?  Is it possible for us to study the Word for an extended time this evening, in this room, and, yet, walk by someone tomorrow, who may be on a road that leads to an eternal Hell, and not even think twice about that?

Is it possible for us to be more concerned about empty desires and petty comforts, little things in our life here that get us all riled up and deafen us to the reality that we are surrounded in this town and in the world with literally billions of people headed to an eternity without God?  Have our affections so entangled with little things that we lose sight of eternal realities?  Is it a temptation for us in this room to sit back and soak in the mercy of God?  And, yet, give a mere tip of our hats, at best, to the mission of God in the world?  See in Jonah’s heart is a reflection of our own.

But let us not stop there because that would be depressing.  Instead, let us look at how this prophet of Jonah is ultimately pointing us to Jesus. (Platt, 2010)

Let us start in the book of Matthew chapter 8 in verses 23 through 27.

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

In this passage, we have a resource that can enable us to stay calm inside no matter how the storms rage outside.  Here is a clue: Matthew has deliberately laid out this account using language that is parallel, almost identical, to the language of the storm account in Jonah.

-          Both Jesus and Jonah were in a boat, and both boats were overtaken by a storm- the description of the storm is almost identical.

-          Both Jesus and Jonah were asleep.

-          In both stories the sailors woke up and the sleeper and said, “We are going to die.”

-          And in both cases there was a miraculous divine intervention and the sea was calmed.

-          Further, in both stories the sailors then become even more terrified than they were before the storm was calmed.

Two almost identical stories, with just one difference.

In the midst of the storm, Jonah said to the sailors, in effect: “There is one only thing to do.  If I perish, you survive.  If I die, you will live.  And they threw him into the sea.

Which does not happen in our passage in Matthew.

Or, does it?

I think what God is showing us here is that the stories are not actually different at all when you stand back a bit and look at it with the rest of the story of Jesus in view.  For proof of this now let us look at Matthew chapter 12 verse 38-41.

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold,something greater than Jonah is here.

In Matthew 12:41, Jesus says, “One greater than Jonah is here,” and Jesus is referring to himself as the true Jonah.

In this passage, the Pharisees said they wanted a sign, Jesus responds by saying that Nineveh responded when they saw a guy who had been in a fish.  If you do not repent when you have seen a guy who rises from the grave, then all the more judgment upon you.  And that is what Jesus is saying to every person in this room, “If you are here today and you have never turned from your sin and turned yourself to God, in Christ, through what he has done on a cross, to cover over you sins then the word for you from God today is repent.  Turn, man or woman, or student, or child, turn from your sin and turn to God in Christ.

What he means is that someday for all who repent and believe in Jesus as their Lord, Savior, and Treasure, I am going to calm all storms, still all waves.  I am going to destroy destruction, break brokenness, and kill death.

How can Jesus do that?

He can only do it because when he was on the cross he was thrown – willing, like Jonah – into the ultimate storm, under the ultimate waves, the waves of sin and death.

Jesus was thrown into the only storm that can actually sink us, the storm of eternal justice, of what we owe for our wrongdoing.  That storm was not clamed, not until it swept him away.

If the sight of Jesus bowing his head into that ultimate storm is burned into the core of your being, you will never say, “God, don’t you care?”

And if you know that he did not abandon you in that ultimate storm, what makes you think he would abandon you in so much smaller storms you are experiencing right now?

And, someday, of course, he will return and still all storms for eternity.

If you let that penetrate to the very center of your being, you will know he loves you.  You will know he cares.  And then you will have the power to handle anything in life with poise.  (Keller, 2011/​2013)

 

 

 

 

References

Keller, Tim. (2013). King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus. New York: Riverhead Trade. (Original work published 2011)

Platt, David. (2010, July 4). Chapter 24: Fish Food [Sermon]. Retrieved July 3, 2013, from Radical Web site: radical.net/​media/​series/​view/​397/​chapter-24-fish-food

What is Your Legacy?

Capture

Video played before sermon


Deuteronomy 6

Our passage this morning comes from Deuteronomy 6, could you work your way there as I introduce the passage to you.  I come into the pulpit this morning with a heavy heart.  This is because the passage that we will be looking at is one of the reasons that I have gone into ministry.  This passage combined Matthew 28 are the two verses that map out everything that Kaley and I do in our ministry.  You can see it on my business card, you can see it on our brochure, and most importantly, I pray that you can see it manifested in every aspect of our ministry and our everyday lives.  In fact, this chapter is so important that we see Jesus directly quoting from it four times during his ministry.

So our question today is, “What is your legacy” or “What are you living for?”  By show of hands who in here knows the names of all four of their grandparentsHow many know the names of all eight of their great-grandparentsHow many know the names of all 16 of their great-great-grandparents?  So it is clear, that living a life for yourself is vanity.  For if your own family will not even remember your name a couple generations removed from your death, why would anyone else?

So my goal this morning is to call you to live for something greater than yourself.  To take a smaller role in a victorious story that lasts for eternity, rather than playing a major role in a story that might last 70-80, maybe even 100 years, if you are lucky, that will end in tragedy.

You see too many times we complain as we look around at this world and see that it is decaying and we act like victims as the secular world continues to reject Biblical Christianity.  But I believe that the problem started with us.  You see there is a huge biblical illiteracy problem in the church.  You see, I believe that the country did not start out rejecting the Bible, look around America, it is written on everything, the 10 commandments used to be everywhere.

However, I believe that it was our failure as a church to pass our faith on to the next generation.  So when the world came asking hard questions, so many Christians across America came up looking stupid because they lacked Biblical knowledge to give an account on why they believe what they believe.  Keeping traditions for traditions sake, will cause the next generation to part from it.  If you need proof of that look around this room.

But, it is not just a Flemingsburg Baptist problem, it is not just a Fleming County problem, this is a problem across our nation.  You see the problem is that Americans revere the Bible- but, largely, they do not read it.  And because we do not read it, we have become a nation of Biblical illiterates.

So you might be thinking surely I am exaggerating, how bad can it be?  Well, this is how bad it can be… Fewer than half of all adults can name the four Gospels.  Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples.  60 percent of Americans cannot name even 5 of the 10 commandments.  Americans may demand that the 10 commandments be posted in the courthouse, but they seem unable to remember what exactly they are.

What is scarier is that 82 percent of Americans think that “God helps those who help themselves”, is a Bible verse.  A majority of adults think the Bible teaches that the most important purpose in life is taking care of one’ family.

Another survey of graduating high school seniors reveals that more than 50 percent thought Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.  Yet another survey revealed that a considerable number of respondents thought that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.

In summary, we are in big trouble.  And we might need to quit looking at the outside and complain about what is happening and start considering if this might be our fault.  We may just discover that the reason our nation is in such bad shape is because our churches are so unhealthy.  And I think that it is foolish to think that God is going to cause a revival to happen unless the church rises up and stop looking so much like the world.

So what do we do?  Churches must recover the centrality and urgency of Biblical teaching and preaching.  Biblical illiteracy is our problem and recovery starts at home.  Parents are to be the first and most important educators of their own children, teaching them the Word of God.  Parents cannot franchise out their responsibility to the congregation, no matter how faithful it may be.  The many fronts of Christian compromise in this generation can be directly traced to Biblical illiteracy in the pews and the absence of Biblical preaching and teaching in our homes and churches.  (Mohler, 2005)

And that leads us to our passage today, I believe we get the instructions on how we can fix this problem.  Today I want to specifically talk to the men, the fathers of our congregation because I believe specifically that is who this text is speaking too, and because I believe that the church as a whole this is where we are the weakest in America.

So the question can be asked, “what about daughters and wives?”  Are they excluded by these instructions to fathers and Sons?  Absolutely not, by not mentioning them directly they are more included-not less-and more protected-not less-by these commands.

Wives whose husbands obey these commands will constantly hear God’s Word repeated and discussed.  Daughters of fathers who heed these commands will scarcely be able to avoid the repetition and discussion of the Word of God.  And when fathers obey these commands and repeat and discuss the words to their sons, they ensure that other wives and daughters will be led by husbands and fathers who will do the same.  The father is the key to the family, and a son is a future father.  (Hamiliton, 2011)

If I was to tell you that I knew of a way that we could decrease suicide, rape, dropouts, and people in prison, you would want me to tell everyone, in fact, you would probably join me in telling everyone.  Well, that is what I am telling you today, that we have a man-sized problem.  For proof that America is suffering from a man problem, all you have to do is look at the stats.  63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes, 90% of all runaways grew up in fatherless homes, 85% of all children who exhibit behavioral disorders are from fatherless homes, 80% of rapists were raised in fatherless homes, 71% of high school dropouts are from fatherless homes, and 85% of all youth sitting in prisons grew up in fatherless homes.  You see we have men around, but they are not really around.  (Wright, 2008)

But you might say, “Well, that is the world, surely we are doing better in the church.”  However, sadly that is not true, just like in the world, men are around, but they are not really around.  Look at these startling stats of what the church in America looks like.

The typical US church congregation draws an adult crowd that is 61% female and 39% male.  So you might say what is the big deal over 21%?  Well that 21% means that on any given Sunday there are 13 million more adult women than men in church.  Making men one of the largest unreached demographics in America.

This Sunday over 25% of married, churchgoing women will worship without their husbands.  Over 70% of the boys who are being raised in church will abandon it during their teens and twenties.  Many of these boys will never return.  More than 90% of American men believe in God, and five out of six call themselves Christians.  But only 2 out of 6 will attend church on any given Sunday.  The average man accepts the reality of Jesus Christ, but fails to see any value in going to church.  (Murrow, 2005)

So needless to say, we have man sized problem in our country and in our churches.  So what will we do about it.  Well, luckily, God does not leave us in the dark and that is what I hope to display from our text this morning.

However, before we get started in the text today, let us answer the question, why would you eliminate over half the congregation and speak directly to menWould it not be better to do this sermon during a men’s bible study?  This is because we all need to be able to recognize a Godly man or be able to instill these characteristics into younger men.

For example, young men need to hear this message because they need to know what God expects of them.  They may have learned how to be a man from their father, but are wondering how it works out Biblically or they may have an absence of a father in their life and have questions on what it really looks like to be a Man of God.

Likewise,   Young women need to hear this message because they need to be able to have a standard of what kind of man they will or will not date.  They need to hear that they need to let God make a man out of him, before they try to make a boyfriend or husband out of him.  That being single is better than being in the wrong relationship.

More mature men need to hear this message because maybe they are doing well in some of the areas, but need to improve in that area that they have over looked and to be able to cultivate these characteristics into their own children or younger men that they are discipling.  The disciple making process never stops, if you no longer have children at home find someone else you can invest your life into.

And mature women need to hear this message because maybe God is calling you to be like Eunice and Lois, the mother and grandmother of Timothy, who had carefully taught Timothy the Scriptures so that when he was still young God was able to use him to help aid Paul in his ministry.  Or, to come up behind your husband and support him in his God given role as leader, provider, and protector of the home.

So now, let us look at our passage today, because it is very clear that it speaks to us today.

V. 1-3: You see in chapter 5 Moses had just given the nation of Israel the 10 commandments and reminds them now in chapter 6 that while they are entering into the Promised Land that they need to remember to do these important things to make sure that God will continue to bless them.  Moses says to his people, if you want to make sure that your legacy lasts forever, make sure you do this.  Here we look today to see what God would have us to do to make sure that our legacy of glorifying God is passed down from one generation to the next, so that maybe the next generations might be spared from what we are going through now.

And all starts with the fear of the Lord.  This fear is not a terror of God, rather it is a response of reverent awe and trust to the redemptive revelation of God.  It is the Old Testament equivalent of trusting Christ or believing the Gospel.  The fear of the Lord is the response of faith to all that God has done to redeem his people, as he himself interprets what he has done by his Word.  (Goldsworthy, 1991)

Now let us look at the heart of the passage, starting in verse 4.

V. 4: It would be difficult to overstate the significance of the monotheistic declaration of verse 4.  Israel is summoned to hear and take notice.  YAHWEH is their God.  YAHWEH is one.  Moses says to his people if you want things to go good for you in the Promised Land, do this.  This is greatly significant.  Therefore, verse four is then explained in verses 5-9.  Starting with verse 5.

V.5: Since YAHWEH is the sole deity means that, he is to be loved.  Jesus himself quotes this passage in Matthew 22 verse 38 as the first and greatest commandment.  We are not just to kind of love God, we are not to just love God, my wife, my family, baseball, and my dog, along with other things.  It is our love; it is what we desire more than anything.  Our love for God should be so great that it looks like we hate everything else.

But, how can this be soHow can God command us to love Him?  This is so counter-cultural, that many cannot fathom how someone can be commanded to love.  People today often think love is like the wind.  It blows where it wills.  You cannot control it, you cannot do anything about it.  If you are in love with your spouse, great.  But if you wake up one morning and “fall out of love”, go ahead and get a divorce.

Or, if you love your next-door neighbors, that’s good.  But if they and their annoying kids annoy you to no end, well, there is nothing you can do about it.  You cannot force yourself to love them, right?

In short, too many of us think of love as the wind.  If the wind strikes us, we are inspired.  If not, we are indifferent.  However, love in the Bible is very different thing.  For one, love can be commanded.  The Bible commands us over and over again to love God, our neighbor, our fellow Christians, and even our enemies.  Certainly love can grow cold, and can lose the love we had at first.  But, scripture commands us to love each other genuinely, affectionately, and earnestly, and to love God with all we got.  Love is not the wind that cannot be grasped, but something that can be commanded and striven for, something we can even stir up in others.  (Jamieson, 2013)

Therefore, love God with all you have, if you do not feel like it that particular day, start by reflecting on what he did for you.  While you were still in sin, while you were still an enemy, he went to the cross for you so that you can spend eternity with him, because he loves you.

Verse 6 shows us that we are to obey our one and only God.  Here in this verse we get some very good news.  Here Moses is answering the question, how are we going to keep these commandments?  You see Christianity is not a works based religion, you are not going to be able to work your way to heaven.  So You cannot keep the commandments faithfully enough to get there either.  So if you leave here today burdened, thinking that I told you to do more and try harder, you missed the point.

So follow the train of thought that is going on so far.  Moses is telling us that if you fear and love your one and only God, you should expect an internal transformation.  God gives you a new heart.  This echoes the words of Jesus when he says, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  You see, we keep the commandments because God through the Holy Spirit changes our hearts, not because of our own willpower or because it is a checklist of things to do to make sure God still loves you.

So in this passage we are not called to pull ourselves up by our own boot straps, to do more, to try harder.  No, in fact it is a test, a measuring stick for how we are doing.  Moses is answering the question, how can I know that I am loving and fearing God enough?  The answer is if you have received a new heart and on that new heart is written God’s commandments.  We obey not out of our own willpower, but because of the heart change that has occurred in us.

We should pause here and take stock of the enormous significance of what Moses announces in chapter 6 verses 4 through 6: YAHWEH alone is God; Israel is to love YAHWEH; his commands are to be on their hearts.  What Moses says next will undoubtedly be of great significance.

What will he say nextSomething about kings or armies or economicsOr is there something more fundamental than those thingsPerhaps something that will produce righteous kingsSomething that will teach soldiers that there are things worth more than peace and more than lifeSomething that will ensure economic stabilityAnd what might accomplish all that?

The high and beautiful truths that YAHWEH is the only true and living God who is to be loved and obeyed will be followed by something of equal significance: a specified approach to passing on the knowledge of this one true God to the generations that will follow.

And who will be responsible for passing this valuable information to the next generationWill it be the king, maybe the prophets, or what about the priests?  No, the main responsibility for education falls to the parents.

You see this concept has become counter-cultural to us.  We hire math teachers to teach us math, we hire science teachers to teach us science, football coaches to teach us football, baseball coaches to teach baseball.  Parents today can delegate out almost everything that there child needs to learn.  However, let us take the example of baseball.

When you go to the community park and you watch kids that get equal time with coaches, equal time on the playing field, equal time at practice, but it becomes evident that not all players are equal.  Why is that?  You could say, that it is because of different levels of athletic ability, but I believe that has little to do with it.

Baseball is a game of repetition, a game of skill, just being athletic is not going to help you hit an 80MPH fastball and definitely not a curve ball.  No, when you go to the ballpark, it will soon become clear which kids practice at home, which ones find ways to play it every chance they get, the ones that even think about it the most compared to those that only come out for the scheduled times their teams play or practice.  You see, your child is never going to be good at the game of baseball if they are only doing the least amount as possible.

I say all this to say, how many of us do this with our discipling of our own children and grandchildren, or maybe others that God has placed in our lives to discipleHow many of us rely solely rely on the hour on Sunday, to have God’s Word spoken into our lives?  I can guarantee you this, you if you are only spending one-two hours with God a week, it doesn’t matter if it was Billy Graham preaching to you, your life and your family’s life will never be changed if you allow the world to speak into your family’s life the other 165-166 hours of the week.

If we know that a baseball player needs to be making 200 cuts a day, how much more important to the growth of a disciple of Christ to be in his Word, reading it, praying it, discussing it, and applying it.

However, before we look at the details of verse 7, we must observe that only those who believe that YAHWEH  alone is God (4) will do this; only those who live to love YAHWEH in everything they are and do (5) will do this; and only those on whose laws are written on their hearts (6) will obey what verse 7 commands.

So it is important for us not to ask the question, “how can I be a better father, grandfather, or disciple-maker?” And skip right here to verse 7.  In order to be effective here you have to be committed to verses 4 through 6.

V.7: This one and only God is to be remembered verbally in the household.  What follows verses 4-6 is an explanation of the means for passing on the knowledge of this one God to generations yet to come.  If YAHWEH alone is God, he deserves to be worshipped, loved, and obeyed even after the current generation dies.  Here Moses is answering the question, “Since our God deserves to be glorified in the next generations, how & when is the best time to be making disciples?  We learn the how in the first word of this verse.  Repeat, repetition aids learning.  We are not to just tell our children about God, but are to repeatedly tell our children about God.

Moses responds to when we disciple our children by saying, when you are getting up, when you are laying down, when you are walking, when you are sitting.  Discipling your children is not in a hit-or-miss manner.  You must be intentional.  In other words, anytime is a good time to talk about the things of God.  (Hamilition, 2011)

It is like if you asked me what do they sell at Steve’s Ace Hardware.  I would reply they have everything from A-Z.  What I do not mean is that they literally have everything, but what I am communicating is that if you need something for your home, Ace is the place.  And that is what Moses is doing.  We do not literally have to talk about God every second of the day.

However, if we love God and his commandments are written on our hearts then we should naturally and intentionally find ourselves driven to want to talk about it.

However, I fear that we miss so many opportunities because we fail to see that the Christian faith is all inclusive.  If we were inside a building looking out through a clear glass window, I might ask you, “well, tell me what you see when you look outside?”

You might begin by describing the grass and the tree and the vehicles on the street.  Now would not you find it odd or strange if I asked, “well, did you see the window?”  One does not talk about the window.  Instead, one sees the world through it.

And yet, in the end it is the window that is passed on and transferred to the child.  They will see the world through the window that we give them.  And this window is important, because how we see the world is greatly affected by the window we are looking out.  So we want to be able to give our children a clearest window as possible to look out.  We must make sure that our minds are so filled and saturated with the scripture that our world-and-life view is completely shaped by the biblical teaching.  (Gentry, 2013)

And that is exactly what we see in the life of Jesus.  Jesus used all waking moments and activities, He used the opportunities at hand to speak of the creator God, of all aspects of his creation and also of the God who is in covenant relationship with his people.

For example, Jesus trained his disciples through formal teaching such as the Sermon on the Mount.  However, Jesus also taught as he walked, as he talked, and the disciples learned from him on a day-by-day, moment by moment basis.  As a result, many of the episodes in the Gospels reveal how Jesus used different opportunities as teaching moments.  For example, the parable of the fig tree.

The good news for fathers in this passage is that there is nothing complicated here.  There is not a 10 step plan that you need to stick strictly too.  There is not instructions on that you must make soteriology perfectly clear, that you must explain the difference between “infa” and “supra” lapsarinisms, or to be able to clearly explain the book of Revelations.  There are no strict rules, such as you must read your Bible to them all the way through in a year, have them memorize the Bible by the time they are 15, or go through Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology nightly.

No, God keeps it simple.  As you are loving God, as you are living out your commandments, as you are rising, walking, and resting make sure that you are intentional about sharing the Gospel with your children.

Now the word intentional is the key word in that sentence.  Discipleship is not going to happen by accident.  Satan will do everything in his power to make sure of that, so make sure that you are intentional in your teaching and always looking for ways to communicate the glory of your one and only God to your children.  The main point of verse 7 is that at the beginning and end of the day, and at every opportunity in-between, God’s word is to be repeated, pondered, explored, explained, and celebrated.

V.8: In verse 8, this one and only God is the window in which we interpret life.  Now it is probably obvious that I do not take these verses to be literal since I am not wearing scripture bound to my forehead and hands.  But, before we are too hard on Jews that do take this to be literal, calling them a bit radical, let us ask ourselves, “what are we doing to keep scripture always on our mind, and is it working better than if we were to bind them in-between our eyes and on our hands?”

The main point of verse 8 is not to bring about some mechanical activity of attaching the law to one’s forehead or hand, but to display to us that this is our power and this is the window that we should be judging every decision.  It is our measuring stick for truth.  In the Old Testament, the “hand” is often a figurative reference to physical power or might, and the “eye” is the organ of perception.  I believe that verse 8 is calling us to bind God’s Word on our power and to make God’s Word the filter for our perception.  And when we do so, it will change everything in our lives, not only our actions, but even our attitudes.

V.9: And finally, this one and only God is to be memorialized on doorposts and gates in verse 9.  The doorposts and gates were the two primary points of access in their lives.  They will pass through their doorposts whenever they enter or leave their homes.  And they would see them at the gate because the gate of a city was the center of public activity.  Buying and selling took place at the gate.  Legal decisions were rendered in the area of the city gate.

However, it is clear that the writing of the words on doorposts and gates will accomplish nothing if Israel does not recognize that YAHWEH alone is God (4), love him (5), obey his commands (6), and  remember Him by the teaching God’s word to their sons (7).  The house and gates are to be marked by the word of god as a reflection of the inward reality that Israel is devoted to YAHWEH.  Verses 4 & 5 make it clear that these items in verses 6-9 are not simply about the laws but about the one who gives the laws.

Moses did not summon Israel to obey because he was teaching a law-based religion.  Moses is not giving us a stepladder into heaven, nor is he giving us a 6-step plan on parenting, or how to have your best life now.  As we see in the New Testament, love for God is demonstrated by obedience.  Whole-life love for YAHWEH will result in his commandments being on the heart.

You see this is a result of a change on the inside, God changes your heart therefore, you do these things.  You see we will greatly miss the point of this passage if we think that we can do this on our own.  That kind of devotion to the commandments divorced from love for YAHWEH also breaks the first commandment, leading only to a condemning sense of burdensome duty.

These laws can only be fulfilled by those who are dominated by the reality that YAHWEH alone is God, consumed with a love for him that finds expression in desire to please him, commitment to obeying him, and the constant occupation of mind, heart, and imagination with the wonder of who he is.

In short, only those who live to worship YAHWEH as an expression of love for him-those who trust him more than what they see with their eyes, will have the law on their hearts, teach it to their children, bind it on their hands, frontlet it to their eyes, and write it on doorposts and gates.

That is a high standard, we are going to make mistakes, and we are going to fall short.  However, we serve a God, that is worth passing on to the next generation, that is worth our love, our obedience, and our remembrance.  And I pray this morning that you do not hear me say, try harder, work harder, but that you hear me say that if Christ is your Lord, Savior, and Treasure.

If he is valuable to you, then you should be desiring that to be passed on to the next generation and that you naturally should be doing some of these things already.  What I am calling you to is to reverse the cultural norms of our nation and to become more intentional with your own children, grandchildren, spouse, and those that God has put in your life to disciple.

So where do you start?  This might all seem overwhelming to you.  I encourage you to start small and to be faithful to it and see how God blesses it and grows it.  Start with maybe a prayer before going to work and school.  Maybe reading a passage before dinner or before going to bed.

Start small, be intentional, and be consistent.  No longer assume that it is the church’s responsibility to teach your children the Bible.  It is, in fact, the responsibility of every parent. And if you are a parent and you do not know the Bible, you should immediately begin reading and studying it, because at final judgment, God will hold you as parents, not the leaders of your church responsible, for the teaching of your children the Christian faith.

I pray that when we get serious about passages like Deuteronomy 6 and Matthew 28 that God will do something in our community that could be epic.  It is not going to be tent revivals or the mega churches.  It is going to happen around the family table.  The family table is central to worship.  I am not saying it is going to be easy, but if we become a church known for our commitment to Deuteronomy 6 and the Great Commission, then things around here could get risky.

We would be running the risk of having an extremely biblical church and God will bless that.  When we build the bridge between those two passages, church does not become perfect, but it will become extremely biblical.  You get yourself into biblical community.  You get yourself into partnership and accountability.

My heart is that in our community will come a day when people use a biblical worldview as their filter for everything.  That this culture that has gotten so far from the Lord will come running back.

At this church, we have started talking about legacy.  Some have started to walk down this road a little bit.  There is nothing more precious than passing down Christ to the next generation in the context of the home.  When you empower people to do that, you are giving them a gift.

So here is my dream: My prayer is that one day I will walk around and see people living out the discipleship of parents to their children.  Teaching them as they rise, as they sit, and as they lie down at night.  That the Gospel is their strength, it is the way they view all things in this life.  And it is all rooted because of their love for Christ and that they then go into to the community to share this good news with others.

That our families will stand out, that they will become attractive, that people will see that there is something different about us, that they will just have to ask us and seek us out to see what the difference is.  And then we will be able to point them to the Gospel, and that we also go out making disciples that make disciples.  That is how the community is going to be redesigned.  (Coobs, 2011)

References

Coobs, Jason. (2011, March 21). What Are You Getting Yourself Into? Message July 19, 2013, posted to Family Ministry Today: http://www.sbts.edu/​family

Gentry, Peter. (2013, November 12). Raising Children, the Christian Way. Message July 20, 2013, posted to Family Ministry Today: http://www.sbts.edu/​family/​

Goldsworthy, Graeme. (1991). According to Plan. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.

Hamilition, J. M. (2011). That the Coming Generation Might Praise the Lord: Family Discipleship in the Old Testament. In R. Stinson & T. P. Jones (Eds.), Trained in the Fear of God (pp. 34-38). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic & Professional.

Hamiliton, J. M. (2011, January 3). That the Coming Generation Might Praise the Lord. Message July 20, 2013, posted to Family Ministry Today: http://www.sbts.edu/​family

Jamieson, Bobby. (2013). Sound Doctrine. Wheaton, IL: Crossway.

Mohler, Albert. (2005, October 14). The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem. Message July 19, 2013, posted to AlbertMohler.com: http://www.albertmoher.com/​2005/​10/​14/​the-scandal-of-bibilical-illiteracy-its-our-problem/​

Murrow, David. (2005). Why Men Hate Going to Church. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Wright, Steve. (2008). A Parent Privilege. Wake Forest, NC: InQuest Ministries.

Water Park/ Bible Study

DETAILS

Location: Paradise Breeze Family Entertainment Center, Maysville, KY

Date: July 19th

Time: Please have your child at Flemingsburg Baptist Church no later than 10am

Transportation: Church van

Cost:  $8.00 a person + Money for Food & Drinks

Notes: Joe Office phone number for any questions

(606-845-5121).

Deadline: None

WHAT TO BRING

  • Appropriate bathing suit for water park
  • Money for food and Drinks
  • Sunscreen

July Newsletter Article

100_0841This past month the youth ministry took a Camp trip to Myrtle Beach.  Now the question can be asked, “why go all the way to South Carolina for a camp?, Is there not a closer camp?”  Well, that is a good question, but the answer is that we go to this camp because its foundation is on scripture.  Growing up in the Bible Belt South, we have a term for the post-camp experience; we call it a camp high.  This occurs when you go to camp and experience really exciting music and a motivational speaker that causes you to be excited about going out and sharing Jesus with everyone.  However, when you return, the “high” soon wears off and you go back to life as normal.

That is why we chose this camp, because its foundation is on scripture, and only God’s Word can bring about change that lasts.  During our camp time, we experienced great music that much of which came from straight from scripture, fantastic expository preaching from David Platt, and our Bible Studies covered the timeline of redemptive history (Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation).

However, instead of me continuing to tell you all how much it changed the lives of these youth, I have decided for the rest of this article for you to hear straight from their testimonies that they shared with us during the Youth Share Night.

MKMary Kate: “What changed my life the most was the quote, “Trade in your human desires for someone, something greater.  And, trust me, not only will God fulfill your desires, He will give you so much more.””

APAlyssa: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come.  This is so true and Jesus has revealed this to me.  Throughout the week at camp, I felt God like nothing before.  In one of the songs they sang there it says, “ O praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead.”  Which is what we did, we praised him in all of his grace and glory.  I was shown what it means to be in the kingdom of God and how important it is to share the Gospel and share his love.  So I want to thank you all for supporting us in this beautiful journey with our savior and I specifically want to thank Joe and Kaley for listening, supporting, and helping me through this journey.

God Bless.”

CWCheyenne: “As you all know we took a trip to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.  Down there we went to an all week conference. The Theme of the week was “The Kingdom”.   David Platt, who is a big time Preacher was there as well as Kristen Stanfill who is from one of the groups associated with Passion Conferences.  This experience to go not only let me meet new people, but led me to understand the Bible more.  David Platt and the music played by Kristen Stanfill really inspired me to really try more and it got me closer to God.”

HWHannah: “During camp, I made a huge decision that changed my life forever.  I gave my  life to Jesus, and I could never be more excited to see what God has in store for me in the future.  Thank you, Jesus, and also to Joe and Kaley Gunter, for their support this week.  God is Great!”

Day 3 Evening Session (Matthew 7)

What does it means to know God?

Matthew 7:21: Not everyone who cries out Lord Lord, will enter the Kingdom.

There are many who think they are safe, but they are dangerously deceived.

4 out of 5 Americans say that they are Christians.  They are committed it the name only.

Matthew 4:17 Repent

Matthew 4:19 Follow Me

Characteristics of Jesus:

- Jesus is the center of history, Jesus is fully human, Jesus is fully divine, Jesus is the sovereign of the wise, Jesus is the shepherd of the weak, Jesus is Savior King, Jesus is the righteous judge, Jesus is filled with God the Spirit, Jesus is loved by God the Father, Jesus is the sinless one, Jesus is the light of the world, Jesus is the hope for all nations, Jesus is the authorative teacher, Jesus has authority over disease, Jesus has authority over natrue, Jesus has authority over demons, Jesus has authority over sin Jesus has authority over death.

-This Jesus is worth so much more than nominal Christianity.

- Jesus is not a poor puny savior wanting you to accept him as Savior.

- Jesus does not need our acceptance.  Jesus does not need us at all.  We need Him.

- When you encounter this King, everything changes. (Mac Truck Illustration)

1.) Turn from your sin (Repent)

- We admit we are sinners before God.

- Sorrow over sin.

- Desire our life to honor Him.

2.) Turn from yourself (Renounce)

- Disciples leave their jobs and their families.

- Leaving safety and security as you know it.

- Stating your life belongs to Jesus now, not yourself.

- It costs to follow Him, It is not easy.

3.) Trust in Jesus as the Savior who pursues us by His grace.

- It is not a checklist following Jesus.

- We have nothing in us to draw Jesus to us.

4.) Trust in the Lord who leads you for His glory.

- The cost of not following Christ is far greater than following Him.

- If you can trust Him to save you, you can trust Him to Satisfy you.

Matthew 13:44: He has found something worth giving everything else up for.

- Jesus is worth losing everything for.

- Repent for the glory of God, and the good of yourself.

 

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