"He must increase, but I must decrease." - John 3:30
As John the Baptist gazed upon the Lamb which would take away the sins of the world, one of the only things he could utter was his own complete unwothiness to be in the presence of such splendor and glory. Surely as the man considered his own frame, his own sin and wretched heart, he knew that his ministry, his person must give way, that he must fade into the light that is Jesus Christ.
The role of the minister of the Lord Jesus Christ is an ever decreasing one. The purpose of the pastor is to point people towards the Savior. He is like a mirror, reflecting the person and work of Christ. He should not be seen for himself, but in the fashion of a John the Baptist, decreasing that Jesus might increase. This is a real challenge for any man who is placed in a position of popularity, respect and influence. John knew the temptation to seek his own glory. He had followers; those who would have probably went with him whether he followed Jesus or not. But John knew his purpose. His heart was aflame for the Messiah. And his only desire was to lead people to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ministers in the Church today would do well to check their motives, and their ministry. Are you leading people to Christ? When people look at you, are they immediately redirected to seeing Jesus? Does humility and deference define you as a person? John the Baptist understood and embraced his ever decreasing role in the presence of the splendor and glory of Jesus Christ. May we, as ministers of God, imitate the same.
"For I am the Lord, I do not change..." - Malachi 3:6
One of the greatest comforts in the Christian life is to know we serve a God who is eternal, everlasting and unchanging. We do not have to fear the whims of a capricious deity. Our Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8). He is our Rock and our Fortress. And upon the unfaltering foundation that is the character of our Mighty God, the Christian can build an abiding life surrendered and given over to Him.
January proved to be a blessed month for our ministry. Though we did battle a little illness through the church, everyone seems to have made it though no worse for the wear! We are contining our sermon series on "Jesus: The Tabernacle Fulfilled" looking at how the Lord Jesus Christ completes all the types and shadows of the Old Covenant tabernacle. (Remember you can always go to our website and listen to our sermons) In our equipping hour we are studying A.W. Tozer's book, "Man, The Dwelling Place of God" which has led to some informative and interesting discussions. And on Wednesday nights we meet for a time of Bible study and prayer.
One bit of new and exciting news is that our mom's monthly homeschooling fellowship T.I.T.U.S. (Teaching Inerrant Truth Using Scripture) met for their first meeting in January. All went well here and all the ladies had a encouraging and edifying time. If you are interested in this or any other ministry opportunity, please let us know.
Though our God does not change, sometimes in this world, our circumstances can. CCC would like for all our friends and family to know we will be moving from our current location soon. I will send out a seperate email with all the details about our move. We believe this will be a positive thing for us and our continued desire to honor God in all we do! So please stay tuned... May the Lord bless and keep you all!
“Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” – Amos 3:3
There is a subtle clash of worldviews between homeschooling families and churches that opt for the modern “age-segregated” style of Sunday school and worship. Inherent in the homeschooling family is a sense of ‘togetherness’ or of doing things together as families. I’ve have it said to me that it seems strange, almost contradictory, for a typical homeschooling family to attend a contemporary church where most, if not all of the church’s activities are divided up by various age groups. Imagine a homeschooling family whose goal was to stay together all week long, doing as much as possible with one another, to walk into a church building where the first thing they do is split up from one another and go separate ways – in some cases - not seeing each other until everything is over. Something seems amiss.
The home school movement has done a great deal to strength Christian families and homes. Parent-child relationships are strengthened and the bonds which hold families together are enhanced as we spend more time with each other. It is the opinion of this author (and pastor) the church as a whole could learn a valuable lesson here. It is interesting to note that prior to just a few generations ago, there were no age-segregated churches to speak of. People, all the people in a given church regardless of their age, meet together, were discipled together, and worshipped together. Historically, there is really no precedent for age-segregated activities in the life of the church.
Additionally, one would be hard pressed to defend age-segregated church biblically. If anything, the Bible seems to lean towards a covenantal (inclusive) view of worship and discipleship (cf. Ex. 12:26-27, Mt. 19:14, Acts 2:44). Again, separating people, families, and children from their parents is a modern idea based more in humanistic philosophy of education than on solid Biblical principle. For the homeschooling family, this means a church home where they can maintain their ‘togetherness’ would appear to best reflect the values and beliefs they practice at home.
Some churches have taken notice of this and are responding. They have gone back to their bibles, they have sought out the Lord in prayer and they have become convicted that age-segregated ministry is not the best model for the church. These few churches are shaping their style of ministry like that of the homeschooling family – they strive for a strong sense of unity and togetherness in every aspect of church worship and fellowship. They keep families together during the church services. Children see their parents reading their bibles, answering questions, praying and participating in worship. All of this teaches our younger ones. And instead of a ‘youth’ pastor spiritually leading your children, you the parent get to fulfill that wonderful experience every week in a church setting.
The family-integrated church (FIC) is the perfect fit for homeschooling families (and even non-homeschoolers). Our ministry style seeks to compliment what occurs in the home every day; an organic, natural flow to life, worship, and fellowship. My prayer is both FIC’s and home school families continue to flourish under the grace of our Lord. May it please God to bring a mighty reformation of both the family and the church for the furtherance of His kingdom and towards His own glory.
As Fall approaches this month, I am reminded how God's good grace falls upon those who are faithful and obedient to Him. And that is all we desire to be as a Church; faithful and obeident to our Savior, Jesus Christ. The Lord has been so merciful towards our congregation, every update could simply be filled recounting the Lord's blessings! The highlight of August is the fact we baptized a young man into Christ and received him into the fellowship of the Church. A sermon on building the character of Christ was preached at his baptismal service and it was a real joy to see this young man profess his faith in Jesus Christ and be baptized in His name!
For September, I suppose one of the more significant ways in which we are seeing God work here in the midst of our humble ministry is in the Institution on the Constitution seminar we are holding. I want to personally thank every member of Christ Covenant who is working to make this a successful outreach and educational opportunity for all who attend. It would not be possible without their sacrifice. I pray much fruit will be born for the Kingdom as we seek to inform and equip people with a proper understanding of civil government.
“What you have as heritage, take now as task; for thus you will make it your own”. - Goethe
"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways... and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." - Jer. 6:16
Dear Fellow Christian Gentlemen,
We stand at the edge of a epoch-changing time in our history. The lot has been cast. It has fallen to us to be the generation of men upon which much, if not all, of our future will be written. As I pen these words, the very foundation of our society is crumbling to the ground around us. Rampant demagoguery, decadence, and degeneracy has befallen us and we find ourselves pressed sorely under the hard Providences of a holy and righteous God. The spiritual weaponry of Christ's and our enemies are being wielded this very moment. The tips of their spears and the edges of their swords have been shaped and sharpened; anxious to draw your blood (if only figuratively for the moment). No one remains safe. God's enemies are eagerly anticipating the death and destruction of the Christian man. They long to see an end to all that the Christian holds precious and dear. The enemy's joy and satisfaction, his glorious victory will only be realized as your faith, your convictions, the people and possessions you treasure most (and if needs be your life), along with the ideals you value and the principles upon which you stand united with your brothers in Christ are completely wiped from the face of the earth, stricken from history, and covered in the fullness of the wickedness and depravity of fallen man.
The gauntlet has been thrown down. A challenge has been given. The prince of the power of this world and his minions have rallied together on the field of battle and they are relentlessly determined to send you to your demise. Therefore it is here and it is now that we, as men standing firm upon our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, must answer the call to service in our Master's army. It is now that serious conviction must root out flaccid complacency. Righteous principle must triumph over godless apathy. Fear must flee in the face of a fierceness and determination like that of our once honorable forefathers. It is up to this generation of would-be-warriors to face our enemies on the battlefield, robed in the full armor of God, and prepared to live, or if needs be die, for the cause of Christ! What we, dear brethren, have as a rich and precious heritage, the faith handed down to us, we must now take as our calling and task. Only then do we make it our own. There is an old path, a better way. There is the grace of God and the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit to quicken and strengthen us for what lies ahead. Be it in our coveted churches, in our homes and by our firesides, or in the realm of public opinion, civil affairs and cultural controversy, may we be found fighting the good fight of the Faith once delivered to us by the beloved saints.
The hour is at hand. The time has come. Chose this day whom you will serve. May the men of God in my generation, those of this era, be found faithful in their calling. May history record of many great deeds done, of higher and more nobler victories won, and of the mighty advancement of God's kingdom accomplished at the hearts and hands of my fellow brothers. Yes, we may stand at the edge of an epoch-changing time. Yes, if we fail to act today, the heritage we leave for tomorrow's children may be one of dread, despair and shame. But there is hope! Greater is He that is in you, then he that is in the world. Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861) was an English writer, author and poet. One of his best known works was a rousing call to tired soldiers to keep up the good fight entitled, "Say not the struggle nought availeth". Be encouraged my brothers. Trust in God and you will find rest for your soul. I leave you with Mr. Clough's though-provoking poem. Will you join me?
"Say not the struggle nought availeth, the labor and the wounds are in vain,
the enemy faints not, nor faileth, and as things have been, things remain.
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars; it may be, in yon smoke concealed,
your comrades chase e'en now the fliers, and, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking, seem here no painful inch to gain,
far back through creeks and inlets making, came silent, flooding in, the main.
And not by eastern windows only, when daylight comes, comes in the light,
in front the sun climbs slow, how slowly, but westward, look, the land is bright!"
Post tenebras lux,
"So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." - Is. 55:11
The power of God is the true minister's only hope. If our hope of growing God's kingdom is in our church buildings, youth ministries, novelty in worship, academics, credentials, financial accomplishments, or anything other than the pure word of God, then it will not prosper. This is a hard saying, a minister's success is gauged by his faithfulness, not necessarily his fruitfulness, for God gives the increase.
Dear Friends & Family of Christ Covenant Church,
"Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You" - Ps. 31:19
God has been good to us and I wanted to update and share some of the exciting things our merciful Lord has been doing in and among our humble fellowship. First, the folks at our new facility (the SDA church at 10469 College Rd in Olive Branch) have proved to be very gracious hosts and the use of this building has tremendously helped our ability to minister to more people wanting to visit and worship with us. So, yes! We praise God for His kind provision in this wonderful facility!
We also had the privilege of sharing in TWO baptisms this past Lord's Day! It is always a blessing and encouragement to the whole Body to witness and share in such a wonderful occasion. The plans also include receiving two new covenant members into our fellowship this upcoming Lord's Day as well. Once again, we are honored and humbled at the work of our Lord.
Finally the outreach ministries of our church, the Olive Branch Food Pantry, and Silver Creek Living Center are both ginning along. A recent food drive, and volunteer opportunity at the food pantry continues to provide a means for people to serve their community in a significant way, touching the lives of others.
Our chapel services at Silver creek are such a blessing. I sometimes think we received a greater blessing than the residents. The knowledge that you are reaching out to a segment of your community who might not otherwise have access to the Gospel will fill your heart with joy. In
addition to the weekly chapel services, we plan (DV) to begin holding a monthly Lord's Day evening fellowship time at Silver Creek. I sincerely hope this gives our church family an opportunity to get to know the residents we are so committed to serving.
All of this and I don't even have time to mention we're starting a new series in our "Equipping Hour" dealing with building a Christian Worldview. We have both a weekly men's bible study/prayer time, a monthly woman's study, and we're in the process of updating our counseling services to help those who have counseling needs.
In short, I often can do nothing more than stand back in awe and consider how good God truly is. His mercies do endure forever and to Him goes all the glory. For more information about our church, our services or other ministries, please do not hesitate to contact us. We'd love to hear from you.
Things are starting to really pick up. God is moving in the life of our humble fellowship, and His kingdom is being advanced.
We are grateful to annouce that we have established a formal counseling ministry; "Covenant Counseling Solutions
". As an extention of our church, we hope this counseling ministry will provide solid biblical answers from those simply needing a little guidance, to those who are hurting and need serious assistance with a difficult time. For more information about this ministry, please visit the website linked above. As always, we covet your prayers, and we seek to do all we do to the glory of God.
We are very pleased to annouce the Lord has provided a new ministry opportunity for CCC. Starting March 20th, 2011, we will begin conducting services at Silvercreek Living Center
here in Olive Branch, MS. They have a beautiful facility and chapel. The worship service will begin at 2:00 PM each Sunday afternoon. We are excited to see the Lord work and at building a loving relationship with these people in the Lord.