Obedience No Matter the Cost

What is obedience? Many times we define obedience as doing what we’re told. However, more times than not, obedience looks like doing whatever we want and then trying to justify how it is correct and right. Just look at the culture around us that states, “I can be whatever I want! My gender doesn’t define me. And if it does, then maybe I’ll just change that too!”. It’s said that we’ve moved past the post-modern movement and are now in what is considered the post-truth era. “I want what I want whenever I want, and I’m certainly not going to let facts get in the way.” We look at our culture, shake our heads and say, “I’m glad I’m not like that. I base my truth on the Bible!”. James says, “You believe that God is one. Good! Even the demons believe - and they shudder.” (2:19) It’s easy for us to look at the Lord and His Word and profess to know it and follow it until it rubs us the wrong way. When this happens, we start to try and justify our actions so that others will not think less of us. “But you don’t know what that person did to me!”, or “I really don’t agree with the direction the pastor is leading.”, and my favorite, “I’ve been here for 50 years! No one is going to tell me what to do.”. We like to be obedient until it gets hard.              So what is obedience? It’s doing what scripture says despite our feelings, prejudices, and reasoning. When Stephen was preaching his first, and last, sermon in front of the Jews, he stated, “You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 7:51) How often do we resist the Holy Spirit? How often do we know the right thing but refuse to do it because it may hurt someone’s feelings? Or our friends and neighbors will start to think of us differently? When we stand before the throne of God, these excuses will not suffice. But can’t we make it up by doing other good things? What if I give a lot of money to the church? Or what if I put in a lot of time by serving? Samuel answered this in 1 Samuel 15:22-23 by saying, “Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you…” What an indictment.             May we not be guilty of shunning the Word of God for the feelings of others or our own feelings. May we instead seek the Holy Spirit, read scripture, and then obey. We must be prayerful, we must be serving, we must be sacrificing, we must be loving, but most of all, we must be obedient.
Pastor Ben
 


Who’s Your One

Who is your one?  Throughout the Bible, it is easy to get caught up with numbers.  From a book all about the number of Israel, to the significance of the number 3 and the number 7.  We see the first church counted in number along with the feeding of the 5,000.  God is on the move for His redemptive purposes and His desire is that NOBODY would perish apart from a relationship with His son.  That number, roughly 285,000,000 people far from Christ in the U.S., seems daunting.  How does the church do something about that number?  How does a small, rural church like North Acres do something about that number?  Can NABC really make a dent in God’s redemptive plan.  I believe the answer partially lies within Luke 15.  Luke 15 is concerned with the number one:  One coin, one sheep, one prodigal son.  One son who left to run after the world, fully restored by a Father who ran toward him.  One coin and one sheep, in whose disappearance sparked an all out search, forgetting everything else but the redemption of one. God’s desire is that you share in the redemptive plan of God the Father and the redemptive mission of His son Jesus.  Matthew 28 tells us that we are to go and make disciples of all nations.  If that seems overwhelming, then it might be good for us to remember the coin, the sheep, and the son.  You may not actually make disciples of every nation, but you can be involved in making disciples of this nation.  Who is your one?  As we lead up to Easter (April 21st), who is it that needs to hear the message of God’s Son?  Who needs to be a part of a church that will love, extend grace, and preach the gospel?  Who is it in your life that you have consistent contact with?  Whoever in your life is the answer to these questions, that is your one.  May God give us grace, mercy, and wisdom as we serve alongside each other and find our one.   Love God, Love People,  
Pastor Jeff


Giving Freely

As a child, I didn’t understand the idea of freely giving something with no strings attached. I always wanted something in return for what I was going to give someone. Once I had children, that all changed. Now, I give freely to my children asking nothing in return. I do it because I love them. If they have a bad day, I’m not going to starve them, throw them out of the house, etc… No, they will still be able to enjoy the hospitality of their parents despite their actions at this young age. This is what Jesus did for us. We weren’t just disobedient to the Lord though as my children have disobeyed me. No, we were enemies with God! Romans 5:10 says, “For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!” The Lord freely gave us salvation. Nothing of our own merit, but instead completely He gave out of His love, mercy, and grace. In Matthew chapter 10, Jesus is commissioning the disciples to go out and preach and heal those who will listen and receive Him. But there is something interesting Jesus says in this ordination of the disciples, “Freely you received, freely give.” (Matt. 10:8) Jesus is clear that the disciples did nothing to deserve or receive the good new of the gospel, and because of that, they must freely give to those they preach to, expecting nothing in return, yet praying for their repentance.
Are we freely giving the same grace, mercy and love we have received from the Lord Jesus? Are we praying for our enemies and those who persecute us? (Matt. 5:44) We must be willing to give freely to all who are willing to listen. May we be obedient to the call God has placed on all our lives.
 
-Pastor Ben


Christmas: The Season of… Busyness?

Plan the party, make a dish for the church dinner, get the kids to choir practice, donate toys to the charity, attend church Sunday morning… oh, and don’t forget, you volunteered to help put the lights up at your elderly neighbors’ house! Sound familiar? I would surmise this is the majority of people at Christmas time. The season of joy? Probably more like the season of stress. We run around like crazy people trying to accomplish all that is expected of us. After all, if we don’t partake in the norm, we start to look like a scrooge. Nobody wants that, least of all a Christian who should really know the meaning of Christmas. We should serve and do twice as much at this season than the worldly people all wrapped up in commercialism and secular meanings. But do we really know better? Do we really do Christmas time that much different than the rest of he world? Probably not. In fact, I would say sometimes we’re more guilty of perverting Christmas time than even the world does.

Now you’re reading and thinking, “Really? I know what Christmas is about. It’s about celebrating Jesus birth! It’s about spending time with family and friends! It’s about fellowship and giving, and peace on earth!”. To that statement I would give a resounding, “Yes”! But, how often do we practice what we preach? Are we actually taking time to reflect on the sacrifice Christ made for us? I’m not just talking about on the cross, I’m talking about when He took on Human flesh. We look at the birth of Jesus as sweet, precious, silent, quiet, and most of all holy. Indeed, it was a holy night, but think about the decision Christ made to come to earth and take on human flesh. Jesus had never been separated from the Father. Jesus had never been bound by rules that bind us humans. Jesus never had to experience the curse of sin and the destruction that comes with it.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Paul then says in Philippians 2:5-8, “Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.”  When we read this scripture, it should change our attitudes. Christmas isn’t just about a sweet baby being born, though that is part of the story. Instead, it’s about almighty God coming down in the form of His creation so that He might die for our wickedness. Kind of makes getting a good deal on Black Friday seem silly doesn’t it? In fact, it can make the entire Christmas season of busyness seem silly.

Why are we busy with parties, buying presents, decorating, and running around instead of reflecting on what the season actually represents? It’s interesting to see what the Lord asks us to do when we are in times of extreme busyness. Psalms 46:10 states, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (NIV) Understanding that there are things that must be done in and for the Christmas season, how have to you taken a step back to recognize and worship the Lord for Who He is and what He’s done? This Christmas, don’t let busyness and the expectations the world puts on you distract you from Christ. Be still, worship the Lord, and then share the love of Christ with everyone you know.

 

Pastor Ben


Servant Leadership

As the Christian church began 2000 or so years ago, the disciples saw that church grow exponentially in its effectiveness, in its community in its evangelical witness, and in its care for people.  As with any church growth, it also increases the need for good Biblical servant leadership.
Acts 6:1 says this, "Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution."  So, in the midst of a flourishing church, there were widows not being attended to, needs that were not being met, and people being left out.  The disciples understood that the ministry was first and foremost to he word of God, and the process of making disciples.  So what was the result?  What was the next step?  The disciples prayed over and they instated what we now call Deacons to oversee shepherding and the care of the ever growing flock.  These men were not just servants but servant leaders.  In fact the first Christian martyr was the first Deacon.  Servant leadership is how the church is cared for, poured into, and multiplied.  Look at verse 7 of Acts, Chapter 6, after Deacons were put in place. "And the word of God continued to increase, and the numbers of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith."  When men are committed to the growth of the church, and a plurality of leadership oversee the shepherding and care then everyone can be freed up to use their gifts and abilities.  When this happens, the church doesn't just grow, it flourishes.  People don't just become more religious, the become more righteous.  People are not just more interested in church, they become more invested in the Savior.
 
On April 8th, we will begin the process of adding to our deacon body.  Starting then, you will have the opportunity to nominate men that you believe are Biblically qualified to be servant leaders in this church.  As a member of North Acres, I would ask you to partner with this community to pray diligently over who from amongst us can be the type of servant leader we need.  Nominations will run through Sunday May 6th.  Upon the completion of that time, the current deacons and I will prayerfully process these nominations, do interviews, and meet with each viable candidate.  Upon this thorough and prayerful process, we will identify men who will go on the ballot.  At the following business meeting, we will vote as per our by-laws for the men from that list that we want to call to ordain as deacons.  
 
Thank you in advance for your prayer and support of our church in this process.
 
Love God ~ Love People
 
Pastor Jeff


A word from Associate Pastor Ben

The Promises of God
 
One of the most quoted sayings from the Bible I've heard is, "Everyone of God's promises are yes and amen! If you want something, you must claim it in the name of Jesus!"  These "promises" that are being referenced often come in the form of prosperity, in wealth, health, and living a stress-free life.  But most of these promises are never mentioned in the Bible.  In fact, Jesus paints a very different picture of what the life of a disciple should look like.
 
In Matthew 16:24-25, He says, "If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it."  The Master does not promise us a stress free life.  Instead He states that we should deny ourselves the very things that we want and desire, so that the Lord can have complete control and reign over our lives.  Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 10:22, "You will be hated by everyone because of my name."  Not a very encouraging word from the Lord is it?  The promises of God are not of the temporal things of this world.  The temporal promise from God are usually pretty rotten.  However, the eternal promises of God are beyond anything the world can give us.  Jesus also says in Matthew 10:22, "But the one who endures to the end will be saved."  He goes on to say in Matthew 28:20b:"....remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."  The promise of God is not a good life.  The promise of God is His presence while we are on the earth, and then to enjoy Him forever in eternity.  We should never look for our reward to be of the temporal worldly desires, but instead should look to Heaven and say, "Lord, may Your will be done in my life.  I believe Your promise that you are always with me.  May I serve You in all things and finish the race You have put before me to receive the prize of eternity in Your presence."  That is a promise of God you can hold onto, and He will deliver on.
 
"For every one of God's promise is "Yes" in Him.  Therefore, through Him we also say "Amen" to the glory of God." 2 Corinthians 1:20
 
Associate Pastor Ben


A Letter from Pastor Jeff

 

2017 has flown by!  I can’t believe all that has happened this past year.  2017 saw some significant staff transitions as we welcomed the Rhodes family, Diane Scaggs, and Tonie Savage.  We experienced a new partnership in a village in Haiti, our second off-campus Fall Festival, and many opportunities to share the love of Jesus in Minden.  We really saw our Faith Family expand and join together to truly Love God and Love People.  It has been an incredible year, but I believe that the best is yet to come! 

 

I am reminded of Ephesians 3:20-21, and the prayer Paul prays for the church at Ephesus.  “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”  My prayer for our church is threefold as we end 2017 and look to 2018.  1.  “Lord Jesus, help me and those at NABC trust and rely totally on you.”  Paul tells the Ephesians that it is Yahweh God who is able to do all things.  It is His power inside of us to work the works of God, and it is His glory that the church proclaims.  As those who Follow Jesus, we just fully rely on Him for our strength, our power, and our lives.  I am reminded constantly of my weakness and how I need His power.  One of my favorite cartoons growing up was the Flintstones.  I loved how even when they drove, they were running.  The car was running on their power alone.  No wonder the car would “run out of gas” so frequently!  today our cars are plugged into a power source, which we rely fully on.  When the battery goes out, we are out of luck and not moving anywhere.  As Christians we must remember to charge the batteries of our hearts and lives by staying plugged in to the true source of power. 
 
2.  “Lord, may we be the vehicles in which you bring revival to Minden, LA!”  Paul encourages them that it is the Lord’s power…at work WITHIN THEM!  as followers of Jesus, if we are plugged into the power source, then we are equipped for every good work and equipped to do all that God has for us.  You are the vehicle, taking people to where they need to be.  You are the one who is tasked with the work of the ministry.  My prayer is that we won’t be sideline Christians, content with showing up. 
 
3.  Paul says, “Now to Him who is able to do abundantly more…”  “Lord Jesus, please do abundantly more than we can every comprehend!”  It is God’s work, that we do - but we need to ask God to do Abundantly more than we can comprehend.  I have a vision for NABC, as I am sure you do.  I pray that God will do exceedingly more than what I can imagine, dream, or see. 

 

May God bless you as you finish the year strong in Him.  Happy New Year from our staff and families!

Love God, Love People,

Jeff Gray

Senior Pastor

 


Vacation Bible School 2017

 
CLICK THE PICTURE ABOVE TO PRE REGISTER FOR VBS
 
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
JUNE 25 - 30
6:00 - 8:30 PM
FOR PRESCHOOLERS WHO TURN 4 BY SEPT 30 - 6TH GRADE
 
Join us at North Acres Baptist Church and let us turn your kids into Galactic Starveyors! As kids focus their telescopes on the marvels painted in the sky by the Creator, they will discover the wonder among all wonders—that the God who created everything there is—the knowable and the unknowable, the visible and the invisible—wants a personal relationship with them! Invite your kids into the clubhouse and show them the God who is over the moon in love with them.


May Newsletter Post

 

Greetings NABC,

Another month has come and gone, maybe even quicker than I could imagine. Easter went well, we had 220 in attendance, and were able to meet some new people in the process. It was an exciting day for sure!

Now that May is here, I wanted us to continue to pray for three things with me. 1. Pray for the revival of God to come to Minden. Pray that people would begin to follow Jesus, pray people would repent and come back to Him, and pray that we the people of NABC would live out the repentance and revival in our own lives. If you want, a group of us meet every Sunday morning at 8:15 to pray for this specifically. 2. Pray for the opportunity we have to engage in an extended internship with a potential youth minister. Pray for God’s wisdom and guidance to be all over this process. Pray for Shane and Mack (his fiancé) as they process and decide whether this is the road God is leading them down. Pray for us that we don’t make a decision out of only need but also out of the guidance of the Holy Spirit 3. Pray for the search team and personnel committee as we continue the search process for a Worship Pastor/Associate Pastor. We are excited about what God has in store. Pray for complete unity on our decisions as a team. Pray for the potential person and the journey the Lord still has them on. Pray for wisdom and insight for the team as we process this important decision.

Jennifer, Landree, Hudson, and I are so blessed to call NABC and Minden our home. We are excited about what God is doing now, what God is going to do, and how God is going to use this church so that many people in Minden come to Jesus.

Love God, Love People,

Jeff Gray



April Newsletter post

Greetings Church!  I am very excited as we get closer and closer to Easter about what God can do and will do in a few weeks.  As we get closer to Easter, the burden of praying for Revival, restoration, and new life in our city and community has gotten deeper.  As people of God, we need also to be people of prayer.  I personally want to challenge each of us to pray hard over this next month.  I would also like to challenge each of you (as you are able health wise) to pick a day a week to fast and pray at lunch.  I am going to be fasting on Thursdays during lunch.  Isaiah 58 talks about how the Israelites fasted to be seen by God, but it didn’t change their hearts.   They just did it as a ritual.  God calls us when we fast to lay down something meeting our physical needs to seek out and put a priority on our spiritual needs.  The hunger we feel then, should remind us of the hunger we need to have for Jesus and His word.  Isaiah 58:6 shows us that true fasting in a humble heart, with our eyes turned the Lord, the oppressed go free, the bonds of sin are broken, and revival through repentance happens.  Here is what we need to pray for.  1.  People’s hearts during this easter season to be turned to God, and that we might see the fruit of that in our church.  2.  Revival for our church, city, state, country, and world.  God is doing something, may we be honored to be a part of it.  3.  The search team as we look for the next worship pastor for our church.  Pray that we have wisdom and that God’s timing brings about HIS man.  I look forward to see how God is going to honor our faithfulness!

Praying with you, in Christ,

Pastor Jeff