Monday, November 30, 2015

Week of Prayer 2014: Missions just got personal

The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® enables IMB missionaries to live and work at the forefront of lostness and extend our witness through their full-time ministry. Southern Baptists send missionaries from their churches, through IMB, to go into the world making disciples in the name of Jesus. In that partnership, Southern Baptists provide the funding to send and support these missionaries and their ministries. The more resources they provide, the more missionaries can be sent.

Week of Prayer 2014
Missions just got personal

Tony Mathews thought international missions weren’t for everyone, that as a pastor his focus should be on the local church.
North Garland Baptist Fellowship, where he has served for 22 years, supported the Cooperative Program. Members of the Texas church had gone on international missions trips, which the pastor had supported — from a distance.
That changed in 2012 when he helped lead activities for children of Southern Baptist missionaries in Africa.
Talking with those missionaries, including Adam and Suzie Hailes from Madagascar, rocked Tony’s world — how he saw it and himself. He realized how enriching a pastor’s personal involvement in international missions could be to a local church. That’s a message he now shares with other African-American pastors in the Dallas area. He recruits them to go on missions trips with him, most recently in partnership with missionaries Johnny and Donna Maust to reach Afro-Ecuadorians. The church also partners with the Hailes.
And, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® for International Missions is becoming part of the church’s vocabulary, both collectively and within families.
“Now, I desire that everyone craves to be a part of it,” Tony says. “I want to show my people that God is not only their personal God, but He is also a global God, and we need to be there to share that news with others.”
Pray how you can share the Gospel both near and far, according to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

Pray for missionaries like the Mausts and Hailes, who rely on support from fellow Southern Baptists.
Scripture to Claim:
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.  Isaiah 6:8

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

The staff and families of North Side Baptist Church wish you and your family a very Blessed Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Perspective

by Lara Cook
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Thanksgiving Perspective
A few days ago, I was at a loss about what to put on this day of devotionals.  I was searching preached sermons on Thanksgiving and scouring through materials we have on file and really had not come up with anything so I put it aside for a few days.  It is amazing how everything can change in a couple of days’ time.
Since I have set this aside, mankind has suffered a horrible tragedy.  The world has been attacked by a group of terrorists so evil they make my skin crawl.  But here we are a day away from the holiday that we are supposed to focus on all the blessings and things in our lives we are thankful for.  In the midst of tragedy sometimes it is easy to forget the blessings we have.  This is a sad and dark time and people are mourning losses and fear had gripped the whole world about where and when it will happen again.  We are all holding our breath, believing it is only a matter of time before it happens again here in the United States.  As Christians, we have already been a specific target of this group and that makes it even more sobering for us.  
However, this day, tomorrow, and every other day of the year, we cannot let terrorists steal our gratefulness, our Thanksgiving.  It makes me think of the Whos down in Whoville who gathered in the midst of their Christmas being taken by the Grinch.   Together they raised their voices in song because they knew that Christmas was in their hearts, not in the food, trees, decorations, or presents.  That is where Thanksgiving is too, in our hearts.  This year it is from our broken and confused hearts and in the midst of tragedy such as this, everything seems a little different. Things get put in perspective very quickly.  Suddenly what seemed important before is not so important now and nothing matters as much as the people we love. Unfortunately what we have experienced is much more formidable than the Grinch and does not have the happy ending that the classic Christmas cartoon does. But we can’t let it take away our thankfulness and faith.
This quote seems very appropriate in the midst of the current events: 
What I do know: there is a very real and very active battle, and the prize is faith. God gives faith and Satan steals faith. God loves faith more than any other thing in us, and Satan hates our faith more than any other thing. Faith is the measure to which we believe God is God. And faith is the measure to which we let God be God. - Jennie Allen
The exercise of your faith is the source of your strength.  Brother Van has said many times, Our strength is in direct proportion to our faith and our faith is in direct proportion to our knowledge of God.  Faith takes strengthBelieving requires trusting in the person of God when you cannot understand His ways.  In times such as this when things are beyond our understanding, we have to hang on to our faith.  It is the only thing that can see us through.  I know this year I will be thinking a whole lot more about all that I have within the grasp of my hand, my family that I can put my arms around, my Bible that I can hold in my hands and my God and my faith, that no one can take away from me ever.  For this, I am forever thankful. 
Scripture to Claim:

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gratitude must be Deliberate

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced… Psalm 105:1-5
Its Thanksgiving week and hopefully you are thinking a little more about all the blessings you have.  If you are not, then stop and take a moment to really reflect on the many blessings in your life.  Then take action to let God and those special people in your life know just how grateful you are.
Gratitude must be Deliberate 
It is not enough to be grateful TO someone, but we must also be grateful FOR something. 
Too often we don’t spend enough time reflecting upon the specific ways in which God has blessed us. But to be truly thankful, we must be grateful FOR something.
If we would not be careless with God’s blessings, we must be careful to remember them. 
The psalmist calls his people to "remember" the wonders of God. (Verse 5) He knew how prone we are to forget. He knew how easy it is for us to focus on our trials, to be weighted down with care, to overlook the many, simple blessings we enjoy in life.
O seed of Abraham, His servant, O sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the LORD our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He has remembered His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations…   Psalm 105:6-8In the passage above the psalmist begins to mention specifically the good “deeds” of God and that God remembered His covenant forever.  God keeps His promises to us and He does what He says He will do.  His promises are like a door prize.  If you claim it, it is yours but if you don’t claim it, it is no good to you.  You have to believe and claim the promises of God and then be grateful to Him for His everlasting mercy, love, and faithfulness.

Take some time to perform this simple exercise. 
1. Sometime soon (today would be best) get a piece of paper and divide it into three columns. 
2. Give each of the columns one of the following headings: God, People, Things
3. Then, begin to list the things under each column for which you can be thankful. Don’t rush through it. Take time to remember. 
4. When your list is completed, take it before God in prayer and deliberately, one by one, thank Him for the things on your list. 
5. Then, you might want to thank the people on that list for how they have been a blessing. Write them a note, call them on the phone, or give them a hug the next time you see them. 

There is so much to be thankful to God for.  His faithfulness to keep His promises, His loving kindness, His mercy, His grace, His sacrifice to give us eternal life, and the list could go on and on.  Take some time this holiday to really focus on all He is and the blessings He gives.  

Scripture to Claim:
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. 
Hebrews 12:28-29

Monday, November 23, 2015


Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced… Psalm 105:1-5
It’s Thanksgiving week and hopefully you are thinking a little more about all the blessings you have.  If you are not, then stop and take a moment to really reflect on the many blessings in your life.  Then take action to let God and those special people in your life just how grateful you are.
Gratitude must be expressed TO someone. It’s not enough to just feel thankful. We must express our thanks to someone, being grateful for what they have done. That is why we call it "Thanksgiving." We give thanks. We don’t just feel thankful. We need to tell people what they have done that has benefited and blessed us. 
God Deserves Our Thanks For Many Things With Which We Are Blessed 
You can thank God for the air you breathe, the rain that waters the soil, and the abundant variety of foods that grace our table. You have God to thank for a healthy body, a sound mind, eyes that see, and ears to hear. You can thank Almighty God for an inspired, preserved Word of Truth upon which we can build our lives. And you have no one to thank but God for the precious gift of salvation. 
Yet, others deserve our thanks for the many good things they contribute to our lives. When was the last time you thanked a friend for their friendship? How long has it been since you thanked your mate for their commitment to your marriage? Have you ever thanked your employer for giving you a job that puts food on your table and a roof over your head? How about thanking your parents for all the sacrifices they have made to make you successful? 
Gratitude Must Be Expressed The psalmist tells us to "give" thanks, to "make known" what God has done.  We are to "talk" of all His wondrous works. If you are grateful, tell it, sing it, shout it, but don’t bottle it up inside of you. Don’t take it for granted that people will know you are grateful, or what you are thankful for.
Both Gratitude And Ingratitude Are Contagious
Don’t you find it somewhat depressing that people almost always know of our complaints, but seldom know how we have been blessed? We are so quick to share our latest trials, no matter how trivial, but it takes a "big blessing" before we think to share something good. Can you imagine how different life would be if we spent as much time in sharing our blessings as we do in airing our complaints?
Whether you realize it or not, both gratitude and grumbling are learned habits. You simply develop a habit of focusing on the good things around you or the things you don’t like, the things that can make you happy, or the things that add hardship to your life.
It becomes a habit to be grateful, or to grumble. Unfortunately, it is a lot easier to fall into the habit of complaining. That is why we need the special encouragement God gives us in His Word to be grateful. We need to be reminded that God is good. We need to be prodded to remember how He has blessed us.
Scripture to Claim:Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. 3 For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. Psalm 95:2-4

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