Wednesday, September 28, 2016

From the Shepherd's Heart...Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Let me first begin by saying what a joy this past Sunday was to hear the Word of God preached so faithfully and powerfully from Jay Lowder; then to see so many responding to the altar call both Sunday morning and evening.  It was a good day and one that causes us to anticipate Easter Outreach.

It's hard to believe this Saturday is the last day of Upward Football and Cheerleading season. Thanks to Drew Hogsed and our Upward Ministry Team for their leadership.  Thanks to those who served in the concession stand, video, sound, set-up, take-down, referees.

Thanks most of all for our lead coaches:  Tracy Coots, Emily Mays, Jamie Hutchison, Nathan Moore, Josh Clifton, Michael Evett, Jessie Gamez, Chad Rains, Johnny Stewart, Joseph Helms, Craig White, Greg Wigley, Isaac Mays and Drew Hogsed.

This Sunday night is our Awards Celebration with Dean Watson, Pastor, Gibson Baptist Church, Gibson, GA presenting our program  Dean is the father of Melinda White.  Be sure to be in attendance as we have many guests who attend this event and we want to make sure they are welcomed to the Rainsville First Family.

Saturday, October 8 is a BIG day here as we have our 5K and Fun Run at 8 then a big Fall Festival 11-2.

We will have a Car Show, BBQ Cookoff and children's games from 11-2.

EVERYBODY needs to sign up for the 5K or Fun Run because all the proceeds goes to our annual Mission trip to Mobile.  Click HERE to sign up online or get forms in the Foyer.

Tonight (9--28-16) will be a great night for our Students as Nazareth and  Broadway Student groups come to join our Rainsville First Students in a joint service.  Praying for a great night.

Fall Puppet shows are October 16-23.  Click HERE to see more information.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Is Your Church Messy Enough? by Tim Challies

I love my church. I love the people I gather with week-by-week. They are fun and safe and easy to be with. But who said church should be safe and easy? What if one of the marks of a good church, a blessed church, is that it’s a messy church?
I’m sure you know of the parable of The Lost Sheep in Luke 15. We call it “The Parable of The Lost Sheep” but it is actually “The Parable of the Kind and Loving Shepherd.” The sheep aren’t the point of the story. Like so many of Jesus’ parables, this parable was told in the presence of two groups of people—people who were convinced of their own badness and people who were convinced of their own goodness. And in this case Jesus was speaking primarily to those good and religious people.
The parable is simple: A sheep has wandered off from the flock and become lost. The shepherd will not rest until he has found it and restored it to himself. He goes, he searches, he finds, he restores, he rejoices. Just think about that silly, helpless sheeping, wandering lost and alone in the wilderness. Think about that tired shepherd who had to go wandering far and wide to find him. Think of the ways he could have responded when he finally tracked it down.
The shepherd finds his sheep and rebukes it: “You stupid, ignorant sheep. How dare you wander off from me?” No. He doesn’t rebuke it.
The shepherd finds his sheep and punishes it: “You dumb, disobedient sheep. I’ll teach you to wander off!” No, he doesn’t punish it.
The shepherd finds his sheep and is disgusted by it: “You are filthy and smelly! What on earth did you get into? You go clean yourself up right now and I’ll come back later.” No, he doesn’t make it clean itself up.
The shepherd finds his sheep and sells it: “I can’t have a sheep like you polluting my flock. Do you know how you made me look in front of everyone else?” No, he doesn’t get rid of it.
“And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” Yeah, that’s the one. When that shepherd finds his sheep, he cares for it. He hoists that big, heavy, dirty sheep onto his shoulders and carries it home, rejoicing all the way. He carries it home and calls his friends and throws a party to celebrate.
The point of the parable is that God loves to save the lost. He loves to save sinners. He doesn’t save those who are righteous and whose lives are all put together, he saves those who are just plain bad. He saves the messy ones, not the ones who are convinced they are clean.
If God is in the business of saving sinners, we need to expect that church will be full of sinners—those who are still wandering and those who have only just been found. If our churches reflect God’s heart for the lost, they will be full of people with problems, full of people showing the consequences of a lifetime of wandering. And this means that church may not be a safe and easy place. It may not be a place full of people who have it all together. It may be messy. It should be messy. Thank God if it is messy.

Friday, September 23, 2016

This Sunday...Jay Lowder at Rainsville First Baptist

I'm so excited about every Sunday at Rainsville First but this Sunday is special due to us having Evangelist Jay Lowder with us.

Jay is from Wichita Falls, TX and has been in full-time evangelism since 1989.  After trying to commit suicide at the age of 21, he was radically changed by the power of God.  He has since preached in over 450 city-wide events, rallies and conferences including the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  His "love" is doing school assemblies where he has spoken to over 2 million students.

Jay is a powerful communicator of the Gospel and he is here to be "introduced" to us in preparation for him returning Easter Weekend to lead us in a BIG Easter Outreach.

Every hand on deck this Sunday for both services.  Invite family and friends and you will be glad you did.

Join me in prayer for God to move in a mighty way.  See you Sunday for Sunday School at 9:00 and two great services at 10:15 and 6:00.

We will be receiving a love offering for Jay in both services Sunday.  Pray about what to give and be prepared to share.

To learn more about Jay, you may click HERE.  In fact, share that page from our web site with family and friends.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

From the Shepherd's Heart...Wednesday, September 21, 2016

October 8 is going to be a "Fun Fall Festival" Day and hopefully the beginning of an annual event here at Rainsville First.

* Car Show
* BBQ Cookoff
* Music (hopefully "Live" music in the future)
* Children's games
* Inflatables for the children

*  5K and Fun Run Races

I plan to "walk-run" the 5K as I did in the Freedom Run and I have already registered for the race; plus, I registered Roxanne, too.  Why?  To support missions and our church.

That's right...this Race goes to underwrite our summer Missions trip to Mobile.

So, every member needs to register for the Race whether you plan to actually "run or walk."

CLICK HERE to get all the details and to register online.  Or you can pick up a form in the Foyer.

Thanks to the leadership of Bro. Jonathan Harris and Mrs. Pearl Jackson for their leadership in this great Fall Festival.

October 2 is our Year-Ending Upward Football Awards Program beginning at 6:00 in the Auditorium.

Dean Watson, Melinda White's dad, will present the program that night.  He will also be preaching that Sunday morning for us.

Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to be here and personally shake hands with all the parents and kids who will be present that night.  Let's make sure we give them a BIG Rainsville First Family welcome.

We only have two more Saturdays of Upward Football.  If you have not attended one Saturday, do so.


Evangelist Jay Lowder 

10:15 and 6:00

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Little Bit of Sodom by Chuck Lawless

READING: Ezekiel 16-17
Sometimes just a few verses of Scripture give you information you may not have fully known before — but that is critical to understanding the entirety of the teaching of the Word. In today’s reading, we learn more about the sin of Sodom that we did not learn from the city’s primary description in Genesis 19. In that chapter in the first book of the Bible, the sin of Sodom so dramatically described was homosexual activity — so pervasive that young and old men alike came from every quarter of the city to try to sleep with Lot’s guests.  
Yet, we learn much more about the sins of that city from the book of Ezekiel: “She [Sodom] and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me” (Ezek 16:49-50). Note the nature of their sins now added to the list: pride about themselves, luxury and ease in life, neglect of the poor, and detestable moves into sin. Materialism marked their life. They had abundant food they shared with no one. Injustice and immorality followed. Arrogance apparently convinced them they had no need to confess sin. 
You see, it’s easy to condemn Sodom for its blatant homosexual activity. In fact, it’s easy to condemn America for affirming and promoting this same sin. It is indeed right and appropriate to condemn that which God condemns, and we must stand up for biblical sexuality. What we don’t like to do, though, is address our sins of materialism, luxury, arrogance, and selfishness. We don’t like bearing the conviction of not ministering to the poor and instead living according to our own prideful plans. Yet, we’re just as guilt of these latter sins as the people of Sodom were also guilty of the sin of homosexuality. 
While Genesis 19 addresses homosexuality, Ezekiel 16 does not let us any of us off the hook. Instead, this chapter describes sins of many American believers, thus putting us in the same needy, desperate position of the sinners of Lot’s day. We’re selfish. Often overfed. Unconcerned. Prideful. Worldly. Immoral. 
Truth be told, all of us probably need to repent of a little bit of Sodom in us today. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

From the Shepherd's Heart...Friday, September 16, 2016...Why Study Habakkuk?

We have started this past Sunday a new series of messages through Habakkuk.

Just a note, I am doing this series Sunday mornings and night through the first of November.  So, don't miss a service.

You ask, Who is Habakkuk?  And Why do we concern ourselves with him today?  You don’t know anybody named Habakkuk.  No one will ever name their child Habakkuk.  And further more, that part of the Bible is so old, what good does it do us today?

In our contemporary churches, it is very popular to ask what a book of the Bible or even the Bible itself has to do with our lives.  I am not against that question for all questions are legitimate as long as you are open to an answer.  So I welcome that question and consider it healthy.

The problem arises when we seek only to find how something applies to us and that’s all we want. Give me five helps for raising children, give me the key to a successful marriage, help me balance my check book.  Now there is nothing wrong with those issues, but we must be very careful to make a “god” out of the solution and want only an answer.
I saw an article the other day in the paper that said my generation is sicker, having more doctor visits earlier in their lives and already having difficulty in their 50s to reaching down to pick up their grandchildren. The reason – we have been raised with doctors and medicine and if we have a medical issue, we go to the doctor and get a pill.  We don’t want to talk about changing our diet, exercising or changing our lifestyle.

This carries over spiritually.  Preacher, give me a pill to help me and if I’m not better by next Sunday, I’ll come back and get another pill.  But if I don’t like the pill you are prescribing or if it is not working, then I will go to another doctor (church) and see what they have to offer.  Because the only thing that matters is that I get my problems fixed and get them fixed the less painful way possible.  Whoever has the answer get my attendance.

This is not following Christ.  This approach is self-centered and works oriented.  We want something that works and we don’t care who said it, where it came from or what the long term affects might be, we just want it to work.

We think we can’t find the favor of God by following some advice.  God’s Word is not advice on the same level of Oprah or Dr. Phil.  It is the eternal, never-changing command of God that is good for every generation no matter if they live with a walking cane or a pierced tongue.

Church, I can’t go there.  I can not just use your money that you invest in my life to go to the pulpit  Sunday-after-Sunday to give you “the three latest steps to get over the discomfort of your ingrown toe nail.”  It will be doing you great harm if that is all the pulpit at Rainsville First is.  Why is this disservice to you?

  • This type of preaching is how cults starts.  Just enough “Bible” sprinkled in to make it look good.
  • This is how you get off in wrong doctrine.  What we believe controls ultimately how we behave.  Don’t chase the symptoms of wrong behavior, change the source of it – the mind – what you believe.
  • This is how you your life will fall apart.  When things in your life do begin to fall apart and there is no “rock” for you, then what does it matter how practical the little sermon was or how beautiful the house was when it all comes crashing down.
You need to know what you believe and why you believe it.  And the answer to the “why” is not “because that’s what the preacher said.”  I’m not trying to make the pulpit to be a seminary class, but the pastor is a teacher who should be a “theologian-in-residence” who teaches the people of God week after week the things for which to build their lives.

So, why study Habakkuk?

  1. It’s a dialogue between Habakkuk and God with Habakkuk complaining to God about what He is doing.  Ever been there?
  2. It is the foundation for understanding faith as revealed in the New Testament.  Since faith is the most important, most essential topic – then we need to understand it well. 
  3. This book along with Romans was used as a lightening rod to start the Protestant Reformation so we need to understand our history.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

From the Shepherd's Heart....Wednesday, September 14, 2016

WOW - what a wonderful year God has blessed Rainsville First THROUGH YOU church family:

We opened the remodeled Children and Student Center this past Sunday debt free plus you gave extra for some fans, lights, tile.

The church steeple (on the Bell Tower) was recently cleaned due to the generosity of someone in our church.

New carpet put in a Sunday School room, tile fixed in the hallway.

New I Pads and new check-in system for the Children's Ministry.

We sealed the parking lot.

We upgrading our hardware and software in the church office moving all of our financial record keeping in-house and computerized.

We have totally rewired the fire alarm system.

Bought a new freezer and preparation tables for the kitchen.

PLUS....your giving to missions at record highs.

All of this is possible (and debt free) because of your giving.  Thank you church family and would you join me in just saying "WELL GLORY!"  Thank you Lord.

Just an announcement or two:

Corporate Prayer on  Sunday morning is moving to 8:30 in the Bride's Room.  Come and join us as we pray.

This Sunday night is our monthly business meeting and the proposed 2016-17 Church Budget (which you have had since late August) will be voted and the new On Mission 1:8 Offering proposal.  Also the Nominating Team report will be presented.