It’s Monday morning, and I am looking at our Sunday School report as I always do on Mondays. I am so encouraged by what I see. For the last twelve weeks, we have had great attendance. We have the potential of running 150 easily. Thank you for being faithful to small group Bible study. When I first came, we did not have very many children or youth, but I can tell you we have them now. We are looking at adding classes. That tells me that we have more young couples coming. God is truly blessing us at Oakland. To God be the glory!
However, with growth comes growing pains. That means we will need new teachers. Please don’t think someone else will do it. You pray and ask God if you are the one to teach children God’s Word.
Also, with growth comes the need for money to do what we do. More people means we have to buy more resources. We have a new building which adds cost. We have added staff. We are not meeting our budget needs. Our budget needs are $27,870.00 per month. We currently are averaging $19,284.00. As you can see, we are well short. I don’t talk a lot about finances, but when we have a need and God is blessing us, you must know. People who are uninformed can’t help. Pray about how you can help. Let’s shake our fist in the devil’s face, because he surely doesn’t want to see us move forward.
Thank God with me for how He is blessing us, and ask Him to meet the needs we have. With growth every church faces these kinds of issues, so don’t panic. Believe and be faithful. God bless you, church.
The Lord impressed upon me to get a book down off the shelf titled “Forty Gospel Hymn Stories”. I began to read some of the stories when I came across one titled “Living for Jesus”. Here are some of the words:
“Living for Jesus a life that is true. Striving to please Him in all that I do. Yielding allegiance, glad hearted and free, this is the pathway of blessing for me.”
“Living for Jesus who died in my place. Bearing on Calv’ry my sin and disgrace. Such love constrains me to answer His call, follow His leading and give Him my all.”
“Living for Jesus wherever I am. Doing each duty in His Holy name. Willing to suffer affliction or loss. Deeming each trial a part of my cross.”
“Living for Jesus thro’ earth’s little while. My dearest treasure, the light of His smile. Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem. Bringing the weary to find rest in Him.”
And the chorus says:
“O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee; For Thou , in Thine atonement, didst give Thyself for me. I own no other master, my heart shall be Thy throne. My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.”
Harold Lowden wrote the music then he asked T. O. Chisholm to write words to the melody. After much thought and earnest prayer, God gave him these words. My prayer is that you would read them again and meditate on them. The only life worth living is the life lived for Christ.
Dear Church Family,
The journey to see our new Family Life Center is about to be complete. It started with much prayer and planning. Then we all made a commitment to give toward the plan. Finally, we saw the loads of dirt come in and then the building going up. God blessed us with a great company in Parrish Construction. They have been a joy to work with, as well as all the subs that worked on the project. They are to be completely done by the end of the month. We have set February 12 as the Grand Opening. Make plans to be here. Invite as many as you can to here that Sunday. We will have Sunday School, Worship in the Sanctuary and then we want to have a covered dish meal after the service and dedicate the new Family Life Center to the Lord’s service.
Now, what we have to do is work to fill this place with people. One step toward doing that is our “GO to GROW” ministry. Reaching out to people who are lost, un-churched, our friends and neighbors, co-workers, those looking for a place to worship and plant their lives. I am more committed than ever to go after people. Come and join us the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6:30pm to do just that - reach people. Pray that God would save the lost and pray that God would help us to reach out into the communities around us. One thing we know for sure, people need the Lord.
It’s easy to get busy doing many things, but let’s refocus and recommit ourselves to the things that matter most to God...PEOPLE! God loves people and we are to love people too. There is much to be done. Let’s be faithful in these days to obey the Lord and believe Him for a great harvest of souls.
Dear Church Family,
Wow! Can you believe how fast 2016 seemed to go by?! It seemed like it just got started when it was coming to an end. This year had its ups and downs for many families and for our church family. We saw people saved and baptized, people who joined, but others who left us. One thing I know, there are no guarantees in life. Just when you think you have things figured out, you are thrown a curve ball. I’m glad God is faithful and I can look unto Him for guidance, strength and truth. It’s His truth that sets us free. I am also glad the Lord told us to put the past behind us. I can look forward as the Lord tarries His coming.
What will 2017 hold for each of us or Oakland Baptist Church? No one on earth knows the answer to these questions, but I know who does. God already knows every detail to 2017. Our job is to seek Him, and listen for His instructions. Then we are to obey Him. Will you do that with me this coming year? I plan on digging into His Word more than I ever have. Join me, won’t you?
On January 8, in the morning service, I will give my “State of the Church” message. Please make plans to be here.
Remember, each month we include a Bible reading plan with the Newsletters that will help you read the Bible through in a year. Join those that do it every year. You won’t be sorry you did.
Dear Church Family,
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know we did! It comes and goes so fast, and then we begin to focus on Christmas. The month will be filled with so many things: the parade, Live Nativity, parties, shopping, traveling, decorating, eating, and eating some more. All of these things are important, but remember Christ, the reason for this season, to put Him first. During this month, take the time to sit down with your Bible and read about His birth and reflect on how important that was. I read it every year to my family as our tradition.
There was no greater gift ever given than Jesus Christ. Find ways to share Him with others during this season. One way is by inviting people to the Live Nativity. Pick up some cards and pass them out to those you know and to those you don’t know.
As this year comes to an end, and we begin 2017, make a commitment to read God’s Word through next year. Make a commitment to be faithful in your attendance to Sunday School and Worship. Make a commitment to be involved in some ministry or ministries.
Our building will be completed in January. Thanks for praying and for giving. Please continue to do both.
On January 8, 2017, I will give my “State of the Church” message. Please make plans to be here that Sunday.
In closing, Jane and I would like to wish each and everyone a “Merry Christmas”!
Dear Church Family,
Saturday, October 22nd, I met with the Church Council for four hours. We planned and discussed many things related to Oakland Baptist Church. It was a great meeting from my perspective. A lot of great ideas were shared and we planned out the 2017 year. I am thankful for every person who serves on our Church Council. Each person has a heart for the Lord and is committed to giving 100%. I am, and I believe I can say that the whole council, is excited about the 2017 year at OBC.
Before we get to 2017, we still have a couple of very important months left in 2016. Our Revival begins on November 6 with Bob Pitman, Bob Smith, and Jeff Cleghorn. Please do everything you can to be here and bring someone with you. The WBW Annual Christmas Bazaar is Saturday, November 19 and is always a big hit. Many will be on our property who we will have the opportunity to speak to and invite to church. November is also the month that has been designated as “Thanksgiving”. As believers, we are thankful every day for what Jesus has done for us, but on November 20, we will come together to celebrate Thanksgiving with a meal, fellowship and an encouraging word. Make plans to join us. On the 27th, we have our annual “Hanging of the Green” Service. It is a night where we learn of Christmas, we sing, and together, we decorate the church for the Christmas season.
In December, we all work together to present Jesus through the Live Nativity. Pray much for those who will come, for good weather, for wellness among the cast and crew, and for the performance itself. All participants, please be where you need to be at the appointed times. May God honor His name through this presentation.
Dear Church Family,
Many of you participated in a recent survey we did through the Sunday School. First, let me thank you for doing so and for answering honestly. It will be a tremendous help to us in putting focus on areas of need related to spiritual growth and to enhance areas where most were in agreement. One of the encouraging stats was the number of people who read their Bibles regularly. 72% read their Bibles regularly. Praying was the most impressive...it was 97%! A church that seeks the Lord like that has great hope, and a great future. Thank you, church, for being faithful to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
If that wasn’t encouraging enough, I then had a meeting with those who had participated in our discipleship process, and I was so encouraged to hear the testimonies of how God has and is growing them in the Lord. Blue Book grads, let’s go after others and keep the growth going.
There is a lot taking place between now and the end of the year: Homecoming, Revival, Fall Festival and the Live Nativity. Let’s be faithful to attend and participate everywhere we can.
Please be thinking about who you can invite to our Revival meetings, November 6-9. Let’s believe God for great things.
Dear Church Family,
Finally the building has begun. They are getting ready to pour the concrete and after Labor Day they will put the steel up. The weather has been good and God has shown His favor on us. Remember to pray for the workers and the opportunity to share with them.
Stephen Littleton started working Monday, August 22. He is an asset to this church. God is going to use Him mightily here. Pray for him as he transitions in setting up his office and working to develop and implement the things I have given him to do. He is available for counseling by appointment. He is truly gifted in this area.
The Lord has been saving our children and that thrills me. “Thank you” to all who pray for our children and Children’s Ministry. We need teachers in Sunday School, leaders and listeners in AWANA, those who can sing and have some understanding of music to work with our Children’s Choir. I’m praying that God will call many out to serve in these areas.
Three words identify what we are about at OBC: “Worship, Witness, Work”. I want to focus on “Worship”. As believers, we should worship our Lord everyday. He deserves and requires our devotion to Him. When we gather together, we do so to worship Him together. Many of us are a part of making sure that those who come together to worship have a worshipful experience...Pastor, Music Director, choir, special music, musicians, sound people, video people, camera people, etc. Each of us must take our responsibility seriously. The Pastor must study to be ready, the choir must practice faithfully, and every other person involved must bring their “A” game when they come. Let’s all be prepared, be ready, and be alert to the One we do what we do for, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s do all we can to have the best worshipful experience we can have.
Dear Church Family,
At our last church conference, I presented a plan of bringing Stephen Littleton on staff as Minister of Education in a part-time position. I gave two weeks for you to think about it and to ask any questions you might have. This Sunday, July 31st in the evening service, we will vote by secret ballot. I believe bringing Stephen on staff will allow us to move beyond where we are as a church. I believe God wants to do something here at OBC, and I believe that now is the time. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do. It will take faith and obedience and commitment.
It has been a chore getting the new building started, but we are about there. We are waiting to sign the loan papers and then building will begin. Pray for the safety of the workers and for the opportunities to share Jesus with many of them. Pray that God would receive glory through all of the things that will take place when it is completed.
During our Tuesday prayer meetings, there are times when we intensify our praying for visitors and when we do, more and more visitors show up. Recently I had a choir member tell me that they observed during the greeting time, a visitor standing alone while people were shaking other’s hands. This cannot happen. The purpose of greeting time is to greet our guests. We must be alert, looking for, and doing everything in our power to talk to our guests and to thank them for being here.
There are packets of five cards each out at the Welcome Center. I keep some in my wallet and give them to people every chance I get. Please pick up a pack and keep them with you and look for opportunities to give them to people and invite them to church.