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Church

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I’m happy to announce that Fellowship Baptist Church and Heritage Baptist Church have officially united!

For several months our church has met with Heritage Baptist Church (our neighbors across FM-51). Both churches unanimously agreed to unite. It’s definitely a “God thing” in the way it came about. We look forward to seeing what God has in store for our new church. The new website isn’t online yet. But we’re working hard to get it up and running. Please stop by soon!

If you don’t have a church home, please stop by and visit with us at 3577 North FM-51 in Weatherford, Texas.

coffee cup

In today’s Bible reading, Jesus warns the Laodicea Church against its lukewarm walk with Jesus. Jesus tells the church that He would rather a church — or an individual, by implication — be either piping hot or stone-cold as opposed to being lukewarm.

One of my favorite scenes in the Christian Movie War Room features Miss Clara serving a cup of coffee to her new friend Elizabeth. Elizabeth has told Miss Clara that her relationship with Jesus is occasional. Comfortable. As she prepares to take a sip from her freshly-served cup, Elizabeth is shocked that the coffee isn’t hot. At all! Miss Clara connects the dots between a lukewarm faith and a lukewarm cup of coffee. God doesn’t want us to have a lukewarm faith any more than anyone wants a cup of lukewarm coffee.

Application

So, how is your walk with Jesus? If you’re reading this devotional, I assume that your spiritual walk isn’t icy cold. But is it as hot as it used to be? Or would you say that your love has grown a little cold? Perhaps it’s neither icy hot, nor piping hot, but instead is a tepid lukewarm.

Jesus is very clear that lukewarm isn’t where He wants you to be in your relationship with Him. (Revelation 3:16)

What are some things you can do to keep your faith hot? Here are a few ideas:

  • Spend some alone-time with God, asking Him to reveal those areas where you have neglected. Expect God to speak! And be ready to take notes and make adjustments to your life.
  • Prayerfully consider my devotional on Revelation 2. Ask God to bring a revival to your heart, to rekindle a neglected love relationship with the lover of your soul.
  • Prayerfully set some goals to read and study your Bible, to memorize Bible verses, to spend time praying, to join with other Believers in worship, to tell other people about Jesus, to give of yourself, etc. (in other words, to practice the Spiritual Disciplines), and then ask another Believer to hold you accountable. There’s no need to overplan to the point of burnout, but oftentimes, having a small plan — and sticking to it — beats having no plan at all.

Don’t put this off! Do it today!

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

Psalm 139:23–24 (ESV)

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Advent Candles

The Advent Season is upon us! You may have never heard of Advent, but it’s been celebrated by Christians through the ages. Some churches – and some families – use an Advent Wreath to observe this special time. Some families use an Advent Calendar that counts down to Christmas Day.

The word Advent comes to us from Latin and it means coming or arrival. The Scriptures looked forward to Jesus’ First Coming, which we celebrate as Christmas. But we also look forward to Jesus’ Second Coming.

Just like with His First Advent, we don’t know when His Second Advent will be. So we must always be ready. The four Sundays before Christmas and Christmas remind us to always be ready for His arrival.

Application

Let me recommend a few resources to help you to prepare for Jesus’ Second Coming during this Advent season. Feel free to do any or all of these suggestions. My only caution is to not do so many readings that you miss the reason you’re doing the readings.

  • Read one chapter of Luke each day. On Christmas Eve, you will complete your reading through the book of Luke.
  • Read through the Christmas narrative in Luke 2:1-21. This passage will take you from the announcement of the Census through the announcement of Jesus’ birth to the Shepherds and their visit to Bethlehem. (This passage is quoted by Linus Van Pelt in the A Charlie Brown Christmas TV Special)
  • Devotionals
  • The Dawning of Indestructible Joy – John Piper
    • Available for free in the PrayerMate App

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love

Several years ago, Barbara Walters asked Katherine Hepburn, “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you like to be?” As you read today’s Bible reading, let me ask, “Which church do you think you are? Which church would you like to be?”

John takes Jesus’ dictation for the letters to the seven churches. One thing to note: none of the churches is perfect. Each church has its good points, but each also lacks in something.

In some ways, I think the church in Ephesus is one of the more chilling judgments. Jesus points out all of the good things that a church should be good at. But then, he points out the most important thing and that’s the one thing He has against them: They have lost their first love. (Revelation 2:4)

Maintaining your first love for Jesus is one of the hardest things to do. It takes a daily commitment. Actually, it takes a moment-by-moment commitment.

Application

Jesus gives the Ephesian church a prescription for its first-love loss: Remember, repent, and re-do. (Revelation 2:5)

Remember how things used to be when you started in your relationship with Christ. Repent and turn back. And go back and do the things you used to do. But note, the doing again isn’t the first thing. It follows remembering and repenting.

Too often we lose focus and think it’s about the “doing”. It’s not. It’s about returning to the relationship.

So where are you in your love relationship with Jesus?

I’m not asking about doing. I’m asking about relationship. Do you enjoy your relationship with Jesus like you used to? Do you love Him like you used to? If not, why not? What are some of the things you did at the beginning of your relationship to help it grow?

Jesus puts a premium on maintaining our love relationship with Him. In our reading today, He says that if we don’t keep it maintained, we will lose our influence in the world. And that’s bad.

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Give thanks

Practicing what I preached on Sunday. I’m not going to say, “Happy Thanksgiving”. Instead, I’ll say, “Be thankful”. We have so many things to be thankful for: God and salvation by grace through faith in Jesus alone, God’s Word, the air we breathe, the food we eat, our friends and family, our church community, our health, jobs, and the greatest country on the planet.

Be thankful, everyone! Be very thankful.

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