Fairy Tales

Re:Verse reading–Romans 5:1-11 (day six)

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings,…” Romans 5:3

The Brothers Grimm wrote their fairy tales to provide a sense of escapism or present to their readers cautionary tales. Fairy tales are best when they impart some truth; acting as a sweet easy-to-swallow capsule to an otherwise unpleasant reality. And like medicine, you only use it when needed, or when you are eager to be swept away to another world.

The Gospel is nothing like a fairy tale. That’s Paul’s message in the first few verses of Romans 5. The Gospel is not a supplement to life, to be sprinkled here, or applied there as needed, no, the Gospel meets us in all of life, messy bits and all. It is not a sweet notion, or fashionable (or unfashionable) fairy tale, but is a gritty and real antidote to our most desperate brokenness. The Gospel is gritty; it is the clearest lens which to understand all of life, and it changes everything!

A very Good People

Re: Verse reading– Acts 4:32-37; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Galatians 6:9-10; Hebrews 10:24-25 (day six)

I was reminded last night of the many blessings in belonging to the FBC family. There is a sweet goodness among us, an eagerness to learn of our great inheritance in Christ. That was very evident last night as over 170 leaders from FBCSA gathered for equipping and training at our first annual Main Event. Jonathan, a dear friend leading one of the many breakout sessions, kept saying to me following the event, “These are good people; I can sense a readiness to join God in what He is doing.” And he is right!

This doesn’t magically happen of course. Our re:verse texts remind us that God is the grand architect of the church-His people. He is fitting us together, all the various parts, that we might encourage one another to “love and good deeds.” That is why we must not neglect gathering together, whether that be in worship, Bible study, or on mission. We are God’s children after all, to neglect those activities, is to deny the very core of our identity in Christ-who we are. So God’s design for us, is that the more we build community (worship, Bible study, and mission) with one another, the more we realize and live out our truest identity in God.

A church like that does not go unnoticed. No, in fact our “light on a hill” becomes brighter and brighter. Let’s shine on!

Are You My Neighbor?

Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:13-17; Leviticus 19:16-18; Zechariah 7:8-10; Matthew 5:13-16 (day two) 

“But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?'” Luke 10:29

April and I have moved several times in our 15 years of marriage. Not always to a different town or part of town, but as our family has grown so has our space needs. As a result we have found ourselves in several different neighborhoods in each stage of our young marriage. We found it difficult, or, rather, we made little effort to get to know those around us. We had plenty of excuses: I had a new job, lots of extra activities, new baby, etc. Consequently we came and left without ever really knowing who lived around us. Something was different when we moved back to San Antonio. We both felt compelled to learn about those around us. We have their names written down, and have had seasons where we pray for them even if they haven’t asked for it. They have shared their stories with us, loved our girls, and watched after our house. We have begun kingdom conversations with them and invited them to visit FBCSA. It is simple, but required. If they don’t know us, how could they ever hear that we love them and more that God loves them?

Truth about friendship

Re: Verse reading–Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 1 Samuel 20:1-17, 27-42 (day seven)

“And Jonathan. . .loved him [David] as he loved himself.”–1 Samuel 20:17.  TRUTH–Life is to be fortified with many friendships.  TRUTH–“There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother”(Proverbs 18:24)  TRUTH–Friendship has the potential of being the highest form of love. (John 15:12-15)  TRUTH–Sin isolates.  The Enemy whispers that I am enough in myself, that I do not need others, that being with “them” is a waste.  TRUTH–The Spirit of God brings people together in unity and mutual agreement.   TRUTH–solitary confinement is a form of punishment in almost every society, a universally recognized reality.  TRUTH–ability to make and keep friends is the strongest predictor of success in every field of endeavor.  TRUTH–God is very concerned about my friendships and very clear about His expectations of me on this subject.  It is not “my private business”. TRUTH—We will meet together to think/believe/repent/change on this subject today at FBCSA.  TRUTH–We can do this!  Our Friend will help us.

Bible Togetherness

Re: Verse reading–Exodus 19:1-12, 16-22 (day six)

His nation was in spiritual tatters, the Temple in disrepair, and young king Josiah did not follow in his father’s footsteps. Rather he began initiatives to restore his people. In the process of restoring the Temple the high priest stumbled upon the Book of the Law and brought it to Josiah’s secretary. When Josiah’s secretary began to read to him from the Book of the Law, “he tore his clothes (2 Kings 22:11).” He grieved at the thought of he and his people disobeying God for generations, and he was fearful of God’s wrath. The Book of the Law broke the heart of Josiah.

It was that Law that was about to be delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai. Save for the incarnation their might not be a greater event in human history; God’s inaugural written revelation delivered to humanity. We find the people in Exodus 19 instructed to “consecrate” themselves as they prepare to act as over-hearers at the base of the mountain. This was no small thing; this was not life in the mundane.

When we posture ourselves to listen to God’s revelation; when we yield to the voice of God we can’t help but be transformed. We can’t help but see ourselves for who we are in light of His revealed Word, and that is grace to us. The thunder and lighting, smoke and fire, and the written Law was an extraordinary work of grace that day on Mount Sinai. Even the slightest glimpses of God lay us bare, exposing all our deepest and darkest frailties, and that kind of self-knowledge is the beginning of restoration. Let us expose ourselves to the majesty and glory of the Gospel, that Jesus may lead us in ongoing restoration in all of our life; even the most broken and shameful parts he can redeem! Will you “consecrate” yourselves this week? Will you remove yourself out of the mundane in order to be ready to see glimpses a glorious and majestic God who redeems?

Praying for multitudes of “Josiah” moments in the FBCSA family! Pray with me!

Youthfulness

Re: Verse reading–1 Timothy 4 (day five)

12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

It’s a scripture used in Youth Ministry to encourage teens to grow and lead now.  So, what  can we learn from Youth these days?  Here are recent conversations with teens at FBCSA.

Evangelism:  “I wanna learn how to share my faith with my friends so they can know Christ”.

Hunger:  “Which book of the Bible should I read next? I just finished Ephesians and it was AWESOME!”

Selflessness:  “Before I go into the workplace, I wanna serve in a foreign country.”

Obedience:  “How can I get to Africa? I believe God wants me to go to there.”

“How do I start a Bible Study at school?  God is calling me to lead a group.”

“How do I teach the Bible?  God is telling me to share scripture with my friends.”

Uncommon?

RE Verse reading–Acts 2:42-47; Romans 12:3-13 (day seven)
“They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching . . . the believers were together and had everything in common.”  (Acts 2:42, 44)  “An UNCOMMON love for God’s word and an ability to teach it.”  That’s how the profile describes the Associate Pastor for Young Marrieds at FBCSA.  It is a quality the search team is looking/praying for as the Lord leads us in this interview process.  Ironic, isn’t it?  Our scripture this week indicates that the will of Christ is for such a love to be VERY COMMON among the people of God.  Koinos is Greek for “common”.  Koinoinia is Greek for those who “share life together, love the same thing, bear the same burden.”  Is this uncommon in a selfish and “me-centered” world?  Perhaps, but not for those who have experienced the power of Pentecost!  I am looking forward to being with you in worship today.  May the Lord us uncommon people in His normal way.

The Best Gift

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 119:9-16; Acts 17:10-12; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (day five) This Sunday we will celebrate the accomplishment of 30 High School Seniors.  We will encourage, we will cry, we will cheer, we will remember our own youth, and be reminded of our own mortality.  Perhaps the BEST thing we will do for these young men and women is give them a Bible from ALL of us at FBCSA.  It really signals the best things about this church:  our love for the Scripture and our hope (God will continue to grow His Kingdom now in a downtown church, and in future generations).  This gift really is from all of us since we have held each Bible and highlighted hundreds of verses that have given us hope, life, strength, peace, and joy from our collective experiences and wisdom.  And Sunday, we will pray that by these scriptures they will find the Lord and then the Life He has promised.  Psalm 71:18 “O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.”

Sow the Seeds

Re: Verse reading–Jeremiah 31:27-34; 32:1-15 (day four
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and with the seed of beast.  As I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to overthrow, to destroy and to bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the Lord.
 (verses 27-28)  God is involved and in control of all of history.  Nothing happened in Israel that was not a part of God’s plan or apart from His permission.  When we hear the news today, as believers, we know that God is in authority and control over all of history.  It is not at the whim of an earthly ruler, or nation, or ideology.  He is still in charge of history.  God is in charge of First Baptist San Antonio as well.  It is God who will build and plant His church here.  May it be our constant prayer that He will sow the house of FBCSA with the seed of man to His glory!