October 6-7, Bible Baptist Church, Carthage, MO.
As the service began, Pastor Sam Davis, from Carl Junction led us in an opening word of prayer and asked God’s blessing on the meeting.
After some congregational singing, a ladies trio, and a beautiful special by Pastor Hogan, Pastor Shane Hughes came to the pulpit.
His title was “Prepare to Worship,” and his text was 1 Chronicles 13, the story of Uzza.
He reminded us that none of the things David was doing seemed that bad. But God often is concerned with things we ignore.
He divided his message into four questions:
1. Why did God kill uzza?
God had given clear instructions on how to carry the Ark. But David chose the easy way. Numbers 4:15 shows God’s prescribed plan. It was to be carried by a specific group of people. It was not supposed to be touched by just anyone. Neither was it to be carried by animals. So no matter how rational Uzza’s response seems, God’ people were not doing it God’s way. God wants commitment, not convenience.
Churches and pastors need to be committed to God’s plan for ministry, given in His Word. His plan for reaching people, His plan for pastoral authority, and His plan for church life must remain our focus. God wants commitment, not convenience.
2. Where did God’s people err?
God was not consulted. In verse 2, David said that if It was of God, they would make plans to transport the ark. But in verse 4, the Only conclusion they had come to was that it was good in the eyes of the people. We cannot lead our churches by the changing winds of , popular opinion. We must consult God through His Word.
The leaders were not sanctified. In chapter 15, when they returned for the Ark and transported it God’s way, the Levites sanctified themselves at David’s command. We are not ready to lead our churches until we have separated ourselves unto God.
3. Can this happen in my life?
Yes. Serving God is work. We can get so caught up in what we do, that we often fail to stop and think wether or not God approves of hoe we are doing it. We can find ourselves going through the motions: not doing the wrong things, but doing the right things the wrong way.
4. How can we tell that David’s approach was wrong from the start?
David got angry with God. This can happen in our lives as well, when we don’t prepare to worship God.
But that’s not the end of the story. In Chapter 15, David did it right.
When Spirit-filled men with the right motive, and the will to act are called to a task. They move with confidence. They expect victory, and not defeat. They trust God’s final authoritative decision to be the best for the people. This message was a powerful reminder to focus on our motives in serving God.
After the closing prayer, guests were invited downstairs, where a generous variety of sandwiches, snacks, and desserts had been prepared by the ladies. Several stayed and enjoyed the fellowship.
Pastor David Barbee led the good size group of preachers and their families in prayer to begin the day.
Pastor Hogan led in congregational singing, which was followed by a special.
Pastor Stan Metts was invited to the pulpit.
He began by helping us envision the opening scenes of Jesus ministry. He read from Matthew 11:1-6, and introduced the title, “We didn’t expect it this way.”
The direction Jesus took in His ministry often surprised his disciples. When Jesus came to Jerusalem, the disciples thought He was going to set up His earthly kingdom. But his actions in the temple were not what they expected.
Toward the closing of Jesus’s earthly ministry, Jesus was betrayed, arrested, and put on trial. And it became increasingly clear to the disciples that they did not understand what Jesus really had in mind. The climax of their misunderstanding was the crucifixion.
However, when Christ arose, the angel at the tomb said something remarkable: “He is risen, as he said.” His followers should have known the whole time what was going on, but they failed to listen, and we’re surprised.
Why were the disciples so surprised? Because of this: they saw what was happening, and they had ideas about the future, and could not reconcile the two.
Sometimes things will happen to us that we don’t expect. We see what’s happening, and we have ideas about the future, and we cannot understand how the toe fit together.
So often we ask, “Is this the way it’s supposed to be?”
Are you ready for what may happen tomorrow in our world? Jesus told us things would get worse. Paul told us there would be false Gospels. We get worried, many of us quit, we pull back from the ministry, all because we didn’t expect this. But God knew what was going to happen.
He closed with Revelation 19:11-15. Jesus is coming back. It may get rough, but God’s still in charge. The story is not over yet. Don’t ignore what God has said. Though we will have unexpected hardships, in the end, Christ will take care of it all. The heartfelt sermon was encouraging and uplifting.
After Bro Hogan sang a special, the next speaker, Pastor Wes Stewart, approached the Pulpit,
His text was James 4:1-10 and he entitled his message “The Recipe for God’s Grace.”
Grace is the unmerited favor of God. It is responsible for every blessing in the Christian life. From salvation, to prayer, to ministry, every aspect of our lives goes back to grace.
Though grace is available to everyone, not everyone enjoys the benefits of God’s grace. Why is that? There is a simple formula for grace, and God gives it to us throughout the Word of God.
Deuteronomy 28 provides an example. God told his people if they would humble themselves, he would overtake them with blessings (verses 1-13). But if they lived independent of God, He would not bless them (verse 14-68).
But this is not just an OT principle. He took us to the end of Matthew 7, where Jesus closes the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus told His disciples that blessings in their lives would depend on their willingness to submit to what He had just taught them. The foolish man’s downfall was his pride. So even in the NT, humility leads to blessing, pride leads to cursing,
Then we went back to James 4. The believers he was writing to wanted God’s blessings, but they were going about it the wrong way. They were prideful and self-sufficient. God cannot bless people like that.
God blesses the humble and resists the proud. This is seen throughout the Bible. God has not changed in this area. Pastor Stewart aptly used Ruth, David, and Ahab to show that God blesses the humble. He also used the nations of Israel and the people of Babylon to remind us that God resists the proud.
We must submit to God (verse 7). We must separate ourselves to God (verse 8). We must see sin like God sees it (verse 9). In short, we must humble ourselves (verse 10). When we do this, God will lift us up in His grace. This was a greatly needed and appreciated message, and a first rate exposition of the first half of James 4.
In the next service, after an encouraging song by a ladies duet, Dean Herring came to the platform. He led us to Matthew 5, and read from verses 1-2, and 13-16.
He began by explaining that, contrary to popular opinion, the Sermon on the Mount was preached to the disciples, not the multitudes.
Jesus told his disciples that they were the light of the world. The central teaching of the passage is light, not darkness. Jesus was not emphasizing the problem of the darkness, but rather the light that He had brought.
We often miss this point in ministry. Preachers often emphasize the problems in our land and forget the responsibility of emphasizing the light. “We become discouraged pastors of discouraged church members that we have discouraged.”
He told them they were a city on a hill. Each church is to be a corporate witness. We are not to be in a cave complaining about the darkness, but in a lighthouse penetrating the darkness.
We cannot be reclusive. The message of the true church is not “come,” but “go.” We are not the light of the church, the church is the light. We are the light of the world. We are not to hide from it, but penetrate it.
The light is corporate (verse 14), begins in the home (verse 15), and ultimately illuminates the glory of God. “If Christ made Himself of no reputation, why do we work so hard on ours?” The whole purpose of this was to glorify God.
This challenging message was a fantastic ending to the meeting. A generous lunch was provided afterward, and many stayed to enjoy the fellowship. Bible Baptist Church did a great job of taking care of us and making us feel welcome, and each speaker had exactly what we needed to hear.
– David Harris