This is the inside of the new chapel. The chapel will be used for our Spanish ministry, Wednesday night prayer meetings, BBA chapel on Tuesdays and Fridays, small weddings, men's meetings, preacher conferences and on and on. Part of the renovation also includes the hall going into the chapel which is being completely redone with another welcome center. The spanish pastor's office will office be located there and we gain a large storage room. The entire HVAC has been replaced and the roof has been completely repaired to prevent any water damage.
Here is a current picture of the future Berean Baptist coffee shop bookstore combination. The back corner is where the coffee bar area will be. The left and right walls will have bookcases and cabinets. The floor will have a combination of tile and carpet. The oak is going to be used for the trim work.
Dear parents of BBA's class 2008,
I have decided to reverse my decision with regard to the graduation ceremony being held on a Sunday versus a Friday. It will now be held on Friday, June 6th. With that in mind, the church will not fund the reception. My goal previously was to have church-wide Sunday night fellowship in honor of the graduates. Insomuch as we are returning to the old way of doing things, part of that old way is that parents of the graduates provide the reception for their graduates. All the parents of the graduates must work together to make this happen.
This decision was based on a request that more notice be given of such a significant change, and a request that more deference be given to those who are an active part of the Academy; however, are not a part of the Berean Baptist Church.
For those of you who have more than one child in the Academy, please understand that I am still weighing all my options with regard to a Friday verses Sunday graduation and may still change graduation to a Sunday in the future but with more notice. Furthermore, the K5 graduation will remain on Sunday night.
As I explained in our Tuesday night meeting, the importance of connecting the church and the academy together in all matters cannot be overstated.
BBA is a ministry of the church; it is not a separate entity created to give students a private education. First and foremost, our mission is to educate your sons and daughters in an environment in which Jesus Christ is exalted as the Lord of Lords and King of Kings and to do everything possible to ensure our graduates leave the Academy with a Biblical Worldview. This is not possible without the full and complete support of the entire church. Furthermore, it is not possible if our graduates are not active members of a Christ exalting, Bible believing church whose doctrine is sound and whose emphasis is right.
Please understand that with the change in pastoral leadership of the church, changes in the Academy will continue to occur. The significance of BBA as a ministry of the church requires my involvement and leadership in its purpose, objectives, philosophy, goals and future. As such, by God's grace, I am committed to providing that Spiritual influence.
I am also committed to being the premier conservative Baptist Academy in Fayetteville and the surrounding areas all to the glory of God.
Your faithful support has made so much of what has been done possible, and as long as our Lord delays His return for the saints, I believe the best and brightest days for BBA are yet to be seen.
I appreciate your exemplary conduct at last night's meeting, your patience and understanding as we work through change, and I am depending upon your continued prayers and support.
Yesterday at lunch I received a very encouraging phone call from Iraq. Pastor Jackie and I were talking about FAITH teams, evangelism and follow up when Dawn buzzed in an asked me to take a phone call from Iraq from a name I did not recognize. (I don't get calls from Iraq often—the men deployed call their wives most often and seldom me, as it should be).
But not this call; it was from a paratrooper in Iraq who asked if I got his email and then he proceeded to introduce himself. He was saved as a child and grew up in a Baptist home and got away from the Lord when he went into the Army. (Oh to God we ask, "How many more are like this paratrooper out there in the 82nd and Fort Bragg that we must reach?")
He said that he was at another base for a day or so and was complaining to another Soldier about the lack of chapel services when the Soldier gave him a DVD from BBC. This was five days ago and he said he immediately watched it and God brought him under great conviction concerning the way God had been watching over him during combat in spite of the fact that he haven't been living for God. Isn't the mercy and grace of our God often just overwhelming?
When I asked him, "what service it was that he watched?" He replied that it was from Sunday September 17, 2006. Yesterday was September 17th, 2007—a year after I preached a sermon it was still preaching in Iraq because of the dedicated effort of a team of volunteers who make our DVD ministry work.
This young man committed to rededicating his life to the Lord in Iraq and described being in contact with 7 IEDs and 21 engagements with a battlefield injury. This future Sergeant in the 2d BDE combat team of the 82d Airborne Division asked about being put on our DVD mailing list and if it would be ok for him to give to the church until he came back and became a member. I sent him a copy of Tender Warrior and Dawn added him to our mailing list and I ask that you pray for Brown.
Finally, pray that more men and women will pass on the DVDs to reach as many of the 200,000 men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan for His Glory and for His Name's Sake!
John 10:25-28 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
In John 10, Jesus describes those who do not believe the truth of the glorious gospel because they are not sheep. Jesus, God Himself, is able to identify all who are sheep and all who will be sheep and has been able to do this from eternity past.
This then means that even before I believed, God saw me and knew me as sheep—one of His very own! The Bible calls these the elect. From a human perspective, I do not become a sheep by believing, but perhaps a better articulation of this would be: I discover that I am a sheep when I believe in the truth that Jesus Christ, the sinless Lamb slain before the foundation of the world died on a bloody cross for the redemption of my soul so that my sins could be forgiven and I might be granted eternal life with God forever and ever.
This helps me understand Jesus' words in,
Luke 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
Today, even as I am typing away at my laptop, all around the world the Chief Shepherd is using men and women to look for the lost sheep, and the Bible says He looks until He finds it. What a promise to the disciple of Christ committed to the great commission God has sheep out there who are lost and don't even know they are sheep. We must share the truth with them that the Chief Shepherd loves them and is calling them by name.
And according to John 10, they know His voice and will hear Him calling and come home. My brother and sister in Christ, you are not out their hopelessly looking for someone you don't even know is out there. No! It is just the opposite Jesus said,
"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd" (John 10.16).
This is precisely the promise that we must grab a hold of and live by—Jesus said in your place of work and in your neighborhood there is one lost out there that must be found and brought home. He or she is a sheep and doesn't even know it. Go tell them. The Chief Shepherd bids us to go in His Name and for His Name's sake we call out for the Shepherd, and He promises that they will hear His voice and come home.
John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
He tells us that His Word will not return void so we must share His Word.
Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Do you know how to show a sheep how to come home using the Bible? If you don't, BBC offers classes every Wednesday night at 7.45pm so that you can learn to go in His name and call for the Shepherd:
"Come home, come home, You who are weary, come home."
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling, "O sinner, come home!"
Pray to the Lord of the Harvest that He will send us more laborers who are willing to be chosen vessels sent forth by the Master to bring forth fruit. As we labor in His vineyard for such a time as this. May we be about our Master's business looking for the sheep that is lost and harvesting the fruit that is ripe.
There is an incredible example of God's Sovereignty and Human Responsibility in Acts 27 that is worthy of much attention by any disciple of Christ—most especially a Baptist. I hope I can do the passage justice as I attempt to communicate what is there.
Paul as a prisoner is traveling by sea under the escort of Roman guards and at the expense of the Roman taxpayer from Jerusalem to Rome in order to preach to Nero. During the lengthy journey, the weather turns very bad and it appears that all will be lost. The crew has been battling the storm for two weeks. According to Luke, the historian and author of Acts, the weather has been too bad to eat and many are near the point of exhaustion. In vs. 20, Luke records that all hope of being saved was gone.
During the 14th night of the storm God sent an angel to let Paul know that the ship would be lost but not a soul of the crew would die. What a promise. The Sovereign God of the universe during a situation in which it appears that there is no hope of anyone making it out alive lets Paul know that instead not a soul will be lost. This is reminiscent of God's promise that nothing can separate the believer from the love of God!
To some degree, Paul's words fall on deaf ears because only a short time later Paul observes in the back of the ship sailors attempting to lower the small skiff that the crew had previously worked so hard in bringing on board to keep from losing it. Even Luke was involved in the effort to secure the skiff on the deck of the ship. As the sailors are attempting to abandon ship, prisoner Paul sees them trying to get away under the guise of letting down anchors and looks right at the Roman centurion and his band of warriors and states as authoritatively as can be said,
"Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved" (vs. 31).
Now there it is, don't miss it—one incredible truth.
Paul previously said that no one would be lost. God had assured him of that. Paul had received word from the highest authority in the universe that not a soul would be lost only the ship, and now he is putting the responsibility for the salvation of the passengers on the sailors.
This chapter serves as such a great picture of God's Sovereignty and Man's Human Responsibility in the eternal salvation of the soul. Man's salvation is a work of God and God alone; yet man must repent and believe! My belief and repentance is a gift from God; yet there isn't anyone who is saved who hasn't repented and believed nor will there ever be.
Paul said take hope; an angel from the Creator God of the universe has promised me that not a soul will be lost! Then minutes later he says that if these sailors don't stay and do what sailors do best, they will not be able to be saved from death at sea.
Paul understood that not only had God ordained the salvation of the crew, but He had also ordained the means by which the crew would be saved.
The gospel preacher understands that when a soul is saved during his sermon or the invitation that follows it is the work of a Sovereign God, yet he preaches like the salvation of men is completely dependent upon his earnest appeal to the soul of man to repent and believe. He begs, exhorts, pleads, explains, creates illustrations, describes hell, calls for a decision and encourages an immediate response. From the outside looking in, you would think that the preacher believes he is the soul-winner, but His theology, if correct, communicates that it is God that does the saving.
So he petitions fellow believers to pray that God will work and save souls and continues to plead with the congregation believing that God will save the lost man that day. You see he understands that it is God that saves, but all that are saved must respond in faith in Jesus Christ and repentance toward God. So he, like John the Baptist, admonishes the people to bring forth fruit worthy of repentance, even though he knows that if God doesn't grant repentance no one can repent. But the preacher, evangelist and soul-winner all believe that God is still in the business of saving souls, so each urgently reminds all people- everyone- that God commands all to repent and then silently petitions God to grant repentance.
Paul in the midst of the storm, soaking wet, cold, half-starved, exhausted, and at the brink of death did not rely exclusively on the promise of God to save 276 souls. Instead, he saw the very means that God would use to save the 276 that were attempting an escape and told the centurion that if those sailors escape the promise of salvation was gone. The church understands that God has souls he intends to save in Fayetteville, NC yet it does not sit back and wait on God to save. No it—the body of Christ—pursues the lost as if God is completely dependent upon man; yet it knows that the truth is man is completely dependent upon God.
Paul understood the exceedingly awesome synchronization of two very important biblical truths that appear at odds with each other; yet they are held together in a perfect balance by the same force that holds the earth on its perfect elliptical orbit around the sun. These two truths also orbit around the Son.
May God give each of us the same understanding through the indwelling of His awesome Spirit that Paul had to a degree that we may boldly declare that this is the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes!
Once again Berean you knocked me off my feet with the way you act like the body of Christ and glorified God in a unique and special way Saturday. At 2.30 pm Joe and Michelle were married in the fellowship center of the church. Joe and Michelle came to Berean through our Friday night outreach and discipleship ministry and both began to get serious about their relationship with the King of Kings and knew they should get married. Pastor Ken spent precious time preparing the couple for this day through hours of premarital counseling and then solicited the help of a few key leaders. The entire Friday night team did an amazing job in preparing for a wedding and reception. I know Michelle must have been most pleasantly surprised by the elegance that was created by a core group of volunteers who love Jesus enough to love others. The hands and feet of Jesus went to work preparing to give this new couple a fresh start—much like the fresh start we receive in Jesus. We call it being born-again. Volunteers God has a reward for you in heaven and someday you will be able to give it back to him as an expression of your appreciation and adoration of the King. The purple lace, white table cloths, pedals of flowers, and buffet of food all said we love you in Christ. The fresh fruit, finger foods and fancy fixings all said we are friends in Christ. The simple but sufficient ceremony, led by Ken, communicated the truth of God's Word and the importance of marriage—Joe and Michelle we pray that you will be faithful to the covenant you committed to today—September 8, 2007. We look forward to your completion of 1st CLASS and the opportunity to officially welcome you into the local body of Christ that meets at 517 Glensford Drive as members of this incredible church as husband and wife. There were guests there who were not a part of the church and they got to see the body of Christ in action loving like Christ loved the church. We hope that by God's Amazing Grace that He will Sovereignly use what these guests saw to show that that Jesus is real and in doing so they will desire to have a personal relationship with Christ. Can you imagine how much glory God will receive when one soul is saved because of what they saw on one special day when the love of Christ was poured out on this family today? It is a joy and privilege to be part of such a great church.
Last night we had an amazing first Wednesday in September with people everywhere doing wonderful things all over the campus. Wednesday Works describes our desire to do discipleship and evangelism together on the same night with the entire church and what an incredible turnout we had.
On the Academy side of the street 269 students and adult workers came out for a great first night of AWANA with two students making a profession of faith. People and cars were everywhere on both sides of Glensford Drive—praise the Lord we have a crossing guard and a police officer working to help make it safe.
Trek and Crossfire Youth met on the other side with 99 adults and students playing, worshiping, and growing together. Both the youth building and the singles center are being used for student discipleship.
41 adults, babies and toddlers hung out together in the nursery wing, while 125 adults were led in worship and the study of the Epistle to the Hebrews by Pastor Ken. 23 from the Spanish church met together in the Crown room with Pastor Rick.
And finally 83 adults turned out for FAITH. From now on every Wednesday teams and teams of people will be visiting Sunday guests, checking up on people not getting connected to an ABF small group, visiting with those in the hospital and checking up on our shut-ins. And other teams will be focused exclusively on witnessing to the lost.
I knew a lot of people were all over the campus doing all kinds God honoring God glorifying things, but I had NO clue we had 641 disciples of Christ and future disciples of Christ all together on Wednesday night at Berean. To God be the glory for all He is doing in a most marvelous way in His Church at 517 Glensford Drive.
700 is right around the corner, will you make it a weekly priority to come be a part of Wednesday Works at Berean—Everyone is invited!