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December 31, 2018, 12:00 PM

New Beginnings, New Creation

New Year celebrations look forward to what lies ahead. Advancement, progress, prosperity and promises that might come with a new year. We bid farewell to the past year: the joys and lows experienced. When the 2019 calendar begins, we have this hope that it will be better than 2018. 

God delights in making things new. He loves to show mercy and lavish grace on people so that He might draw people to know Him by faith and experience all that Jesus' death, burial and resurrection offers to men and women separated from God by their sin and rebellion. God wants to rescue us from our enslavement to sin and to bring us into His glorious kingdom of light, where we can enjoy knowing Him and the privileges of being His people for all eternity. 

2 Corinthians 5:17 says: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

God sent Jesus on a rescue mission to save those alienated from God because of sin. Any who believe that Jesus is God's Son and that Jesus died and rose again to obtain our pardon and eternal life with God are given the privilege of becoming children of God. John 1:12. And, as 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, those who trust in Christ are made new. God carts away the garbage of our past and sees us as His new creation. 

Have you come to Jesus believing that through His death, burial and resurrection your sins are forgiven so you could be made right with God?

This new year of 2019 could be the start of a new journey: knowing God and all that He has done for you in Jesus! Come to Him now!

December 28, 2018, 4:00 PM

Pray for a bold, daring faith

The Apostle Paul wrote during his incarceration: “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith-that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:8-11

For 2019, how about asking God to so work in your heart and life that you would count everything else in life as garbage in order to know Christ? Would you be willing to pray such a gutsy request? Would you be willing to ask God to so change your affections that Jesus would become the greatest treasure in your life? Would you ask God to make Jesus so vastly worthwhile in your life that everything else looks empty and worthless?

Paul understood that anything he possessed, anything of merit and worth before God was received- not on the basis of his ancestry, upbringing, education and trophies- but the righteousness that God Himself gives - on the basis of faith alone. Paul has absolutely no grounds to boast or take credit for what he has received from God in Christ. And neither do we!

Paul simply wanted to know Christ and the power of Jesus’ resurrection and to share in Christ’s sufferings so that he might become like Jesus in his death and to obtain the promised resurrection from the dead. That’s a bold desire. A gutsy prayer, even to share in Jesus’ sufferings and become like Him in his death on the cross. The desire is to know Godand to glorify Him with our lives, even in suffering and death.

Ready to know God and live for Him in 2019?  Pray Paul’s prayer. May this be our heart’s desire every day of our life!

December 27, 2018, 11:11 AM

Reading your Bible: wide & deep

As you consider a Bible reading plan for 2019, you should pursue going wide and deep in your Bible reading.

What does it mean to go wide?  What does it mean to go deep?

Going wide refers to reading the entire Bible. From Genesis to Revelation. Why? So that you can see God's redemptive work unfold through Israel's history to the coming of Christ, God's promised Messiah. You need to see the big picture. And you'll observe that as you progress from one book to the next. has a variety of reading plans that will enable you to read the entire Bible in a year. Sign up and find one that best fits your schedule and learning style. 

Going deep refers to reading a smaller portion of scripture and asking God to speak to your heart and to teach you. It could be a passage of 5-7 verses, like Psalm 23 or John 1:1-5. Preferably it should be a progressive reading and devotional meditation through a book of the Bible; examples would be one of  the gospels or the New Testament letters. Your goal is to know what the passage says, what it means and how it should be applied to your life. By doing this as you read through a book of the Bible allows you to grasp the background and context of the passages. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you carefully observe what the passage says. Then ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what it means; you'll need to view the passage in light of what preceded and follows it so that you don't read it out of context or read into the passage things that the writer never intended. Finally, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you apply it to your life. Perhaps it is a greater knowledge and understanding of God Himself. Or there is a command to obey -- a specific action you need to take. Or maybe the Holy Spirit reveals certain sins that you are to confess and repent of. Or the Holy Spirit might lead you to respond in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord for who He is and what He does. 

As you read your Bible, plan to go wide and deep. This will mean establishing a scheduled time to read and pray. Make this a habit that becomes a daily discipline. Nothing legalistic about disciplining your heart and soul to be with the Lord. Over time, you will see the fruit of this practice in your heart and life: new affections for God, a renewed mind, a thankful heart, lips that offer the sacrifice of praise to God, power to fight temptation and kill sin in your life, words and Scriptures to share when witnessing . . . 

What will be your plans for going wide and deep in God's Word?

December 26, 2018, 12:00 PM

What's your Bible reading plan for 2019?

if you are like most of us, you'll make some well-intentioned plans for the new year. A lot of folks want to shed some weight in 2019. Others would like to learn something new: a skill, hobby, recipes or a second language. These are noble ambitions. But without a clear strategy with specific details, our best plans remain just that: plans - without any progress.

Do you have a Bible reading plan for 2019?

Many Christians want to read their Bible daily and to know it. But without a clear, doable plan, how does one begin and follow through?

I'd like to commend YouVersion for your consideration! YouVersion allows you to select Bible reading plans: short and long ones in your choice of translations: King James, New International Version, New American Standard, English Standard Version, Christian Standard Bible, etc. Do you know other languages? YouVersion offers Bible translations in Spanish, German, French, Creole, Korean, Choctaw, Portugese, Chinese, Swahili . . .

YouVersion offers a variety of different plans for reading through the Bible in a year: daily Old Testament and New Testament readings, straight through from Genesis to Revelation and Chronological, etc. There are also topical, devotional Bible readings on work, marriage, courtship, parenting, leadership, prayer, forgiveness, divorce, addictions and leadership to name a few. 

The benefits of YouVersion is that it allows you to connect with others: friends, family and church members in sharing what you are reading, what the Lord is teaching you, highlighting verses and notes made. Moreover, those connected with you can encourage your Bible reading plan progress; sometimes mutual accountability and support can add fuel to the fire when we sense the flame is dying. 

And one of the best features of YouVersion: you can download it as an app for your smartphone, iPhone, tablet or iPad. You can use it wherever you are to keep track of your reading plan, to search and read Scriptures while waiting at the doctor's office, your lunch break . . .

I invite you to check out YouVersion. Sign up. It's free! Find friends, even folks at Coleman Baptist who regularly use YouVersion. Check it out and look at plan descriptions and samples to consider what plans you might want to pursue in 2019.

December 24, 2018, 4:13 PM

Fifth Advent Candle: Christmas Day

Read: John 1:14-18

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'")  For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known. - John 1:14-18

Take a moment to reflect on what this passage says and what it means.

  • God became a man and lived among us.
  • God's glory was seen in Jesus, His Son.
  • Jesus was the fullness of God. In Christ, God's grace was given to us in abundance.
  • Jesus came to make God the Father known.
  • Christmas is the story of God coming into our world as a man. Jesus was 100% God & 100% man. 
  • By being 100% man, Jesus could completely understand our frailty and weakness. He was tempted in similar fashion as we are, but Jesus never yielded. Jesus lived a devoted life of love and obedience to God the Father that we were intended to live. 
  • By being 100% God, Jesus could endure the wrath of God that we deserved for our rebellion and rejection of God's sovereign reign over us. As God, Jesus would take our place on the cross so that we could receive mercy and reconciliation with God the Father. And Jesus was raised from the dead so that we could know God has justified us because of Jesus' atoning work on our behalf.

Light the center candle in the in the middle of the Advent wreath! This is the Christ candle.

  • Child of God, worship Jesus! Sing of His glory! Praise Christ for who He is and what He has done for you. Thank Him for brining you to God so that you might know Him and enjoy Him forever!
  • Friend, if you don't know Christ as Savior and Lord, won't you consider who Jesus is and what He has done for you?  This Christmas, would you believe in Jesus and receive the gift of eternal life being offered to you?  Come to Jesus and know that He is the greatest treasure, the most wonderful gift you could ever receive!

Pray: God, Thank you for sending Your Son, Jesus, so that He could live the life of perfect devotion and obedience You intended for us to live! Thank you for sending Jesus so that we could know who You are and Your great love for us!  Thank you for Jesus'  willingness to die in my place so that I could be forgiven for you sins and so that I could know You forever. In Jesus' name, I pray! Amen.

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