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Direct my path...

Dear Church Family,
       How do  you end a year?  How do you begin a new year? Since the 80’s, I have taken some time at the end of each year to evaluate the year.  I ask questions like:  “What did God ask me to do?” “Did I listen?”  Did I do what He asked of me?”  “How was my Bible reading and study?”  “How was my prayer life?”  “What prayers did I see answered?”  “Did I live a life pleasing to Him?”  “Did I live the right example for others to follow?”  “How did God change me this year?” 
Once I have spent time thinking about these questions, I spend time thinking about the new year.  I pray and ask God for a plan.  I set goals and objections in eight areas: spiritual, mental, physical, social, ministry, life priorities, financial and emotional.  The Bible says our lives aren’t our own, we have been bought with a price.
 I want God to direct my path.  I hope you do, too. If you are not in the habit of reading your Bible, let 2016 be your starting place.  Set a goal, have a plan, pray and ask God to guide you. 
I believe 2016 is going to be a God honoring year at Oakland.  Make a commitment to be here and be involved.  Pray for souls to be saved, and lives to be changed.  Be faithful to Sunday School and worship, giving, telling others about Christ and prayer.

Serving the Savior, 
Pastor Mike
 

Anonymous

Dear Church Family,

When Jesus returns, what will He find at your house?

“’Twas the Night Before Jesus Came” “Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house, Not a creature was praying, not one in the house. Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care In hopes that Jesus would not come in there. The children were dressing to crawl into bed, Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head. And Mom, in her rocker with baby on her lap Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap. When out of the east there arose such a clatter, I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash! When what to my wondering eyes should appear, But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here. With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray, I knew in a moment that this might be THE DAY! The light of His face made me cover my head. It was Jesus! Returning just like He had said. And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth, I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself. In the Book of Life which He held in His hand, Was written the name of every saved man. He spoke not a word as he searched for my name; When He said, “It’s not here,” my head hung in shame. The people whose names had been written with love, He gathered to take to His Father above. With those who were ready, He rose without a sound While all of the rest were left standing around. I fell to my knees, but it was too late; I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate. I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight. Oh, if only I had been ready tonight. In the words of this poem, the meaning is clear; The coming of Jesus is soon drawing near. There’s only one life and when comes the last call, We’ll find that the Bible was true after all!! ---Anonymous

When it’s all said and done, this is what Christmas is all about. From my family to yours, “May you have a merry, merry Christmas!

Serving the Savior,
Pastor Mike

Pastor Appreciation

Dear Church Family,
       Thank you for your generosity, cards, letters, kind words, food, fellowship and most of all, the love you showed Jane and myself on our Fifth Anniversary at Oakland and for Pastor Appreciation.  You are a great body of believers and we love you all.  It is truly our privilege to serve along side you.  The Lord has showed His grace on us these last five years.
       As good as those years were, I’m looking for greater things in the next five years.  I want to see that new building up and filled.  I want to see more souls saved and God’s saints continuing to grow in the Lord.  I want to see and experience revival.  I want to see God honored and glorified through this body.
In order for us to get the monies we need from the lending company, they are telling us that our general offerings must increase.  We need to take in $53,000 over the next two months.  Those of us who give will need to increase our giving.  Those of you who have not been giving, please begin to give.  If we do not do this, it will mean a delay in the start of construction.  We are going to build a building, but it is up to us as to when it will be built.
Revival meetings begin November 1.  Let’s do everything we can to be here for each service.  Randy Mullinax is full of energy.  He will be a blessing to us.  Invite lost friends and family to come and hear him.  See you Sunday in Sunday School and Worship.


Serving the Savior, 
Pastor Mike
 

Reliability

Dear Church Family,
        I read this verse in I Corinthians 4:2: “Moreover, it is required in stewards (which we are) that a man (or woman) be found faithful.”  Then I began to meditate on it.  What exactly does it mean “to be faithful”?  In First Corinthians 4:17, Paul is speaking and he says, “For this cause have I sent unto you Timothy, who is my beloved son, and faithful to the Lord.”  So, whatever it means, Timothy was.  First let me define it.  It means trustworthy, dependable.  It begins by trusting God which leads to obedience.  Paul found Timothy to be one who trusted God’s Word and who did what it said.  Based upon that definition, I asked myself the question, “Am I faithful?” 
As you read this, would you ask yourselves that question?  In the Hebrew language, “reliability” is used.  Can God count on us?  Can He count on us to seek His face, to read His Word, to attend church in order to exhort the body of Christ and to worship together, to serve Him, to be a witness for Him, to give our resources back to Him?  When we are found faithful, we are also counted as righteous.  That means our relationship between God and us is in tact.
I see a lot of slackness, slothfulness, and inconsistency in our church body.  We need to be faithful to attend Sunday School and worship (more than just Sunday mornings). We need to be found faithful in service to God and to His church.  We need to be faithful to do whatever it takes to be a team player in seeing Oakland Baptist Church grow spiritually and numerically.
May the Lord be able to say of each of us: “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”

Serving the Savior,
Pastor Mike
 

Sunday School

 Dear Church Family,

        When you hear the words “Sunday School”, what comes to mind?  I’ve received many different answers such as:  exciting, boring, crowded, the best thing going, love it, hate it, can’t wait to come back, great teaching, boring teacher, great fellowship, friendships, where I was saved, where God called me to teach.  You might even want to add to the list.
        Our church is participating in an eleven month training to help get our Sunday School where it needs to be.  Surveys have been done on churches that are growing and the results were that the Sunday School was the key to their growth.  The Sunday Schools were organized and functioning well at every turn.  The teachers were team players, willing to do what was necessary for growth.  They led by example.  The talked it up in class.  Their classes had prayer leaders, fellowship leaders, group leaders and prospects they were contacting regularly.  They had a heart to reach people.  Each class set goals and they worked hard to reach those goals.  Growing Sunday Schools start new classes, which means people are volunteering to teach or to grow with a new teacher to help get the new class started.
I recently went through the rolls and discovered that we have 177 people who attend Sunday School, however, not on every Sunday.  With a little encouragement and effort, I believe we could average more each Sunday.
        We are having High Attendance Sunday in Sunday School on September 13.  I believe we could easily have 150 in Sunday School that day.  If we all show up and bring someone with us, who knows how many we could have!  See you Sunday with a Bible in your hand a smile on your face.

Serving the Savior,
Pastor Mike
 

Voting to move forward..

Dear Church Family,
        On July 12, we had our Quarterly Church Conference.  At that meeting, the church voted to move forward with plans to build the multi-purpose building.  We voted to allow Parrish Construction of Perry to be the contractor.  We voted to allow the pre-construction phase to begin.  We voted to submit the plans to the city upon Parrish Construction’s recommendation as to when.  We voted to be approved for a loan from the bank for construction and final financing minus monies we have in the bank.  Construction will not begin until next year.
I am asking everyone to be faithful to your commitments you made toward the building.  We need to give all we can over this next year so we can reduce what we have to borrow from the bank. Please pray much about all of these plans, that God would guide us every step of the way.
Also on September 20, Mark Mirza with Common Thread Ministries will be with us all day leading us in a prayer conference.  Mark led Charles Stanley’s Men’s Prayer Ministry for 4 1/2 years.  Mark your calendar, you will not want to miss this.
Our 91st Annual Homecoming is October 4.  Make plans to bring someone with you that day and let’s celebrate what God has done through the years.
Last, but not least, is our Revival meetings November 1-4.  Randy Mullinax works in the Evangelism Department of the Georgia Baptist Convention.  He is full of energy, loves the Lord, and he will keep your attention.  Pray much, make plans to invite lost people, and let’s believe in God for a harvest.

Serving the Savior,
Pastor Mike
 

Faith

Dear Church Family,
        As you read this newsletter, my family and I are away on vacation to get some rest and relaxation.  Our first stop will be in Charleston where nine people were gunned down while having a Bible Study.  Our next stop will be in Oak Island where the two kids were attacked by sharks.  Swimming there should be very interesting.  Did I mention we are away for rest and relaxation?  There will be 28 of us in our house eating I can’t tell you how many pounds of food, cutting up and having the time of our lives.
I want you to know that while I am having a great time away with my family, I will miss my church family.  I love being with all of you.  You are a great group of people and I am blessed to have the privilege to serve with you.
God is doing some amazing things at Oakland.  Souls are being saved, God has sent us some key people to serve in our AWANA ministry, our Youth ministry, our choir.  We set a record in attendance at our last Men’s Meeting in May.  God has provided us with another bus.  We already have over $200,000 dollars in our building fund.  God has answered so many prayers since we started our prayer ministry.  Keep it up!
Every Sunday, people come to church expecting God to do something.  I’ve had people say, “I wonder what God is going to do today”?  That’s what faith will do...it will cause you to believe God for the next thing or something even greater.  Let’s not grow weary in well doing.  Pray for the lost by name, invite people, and be here every time the doors are open, or you might just miss what God will do!

Serving the Savior,
Pastor Mike
 

Are you committed?

Dear Church Family,
        In my quiet time, the subject of commitment came up.  I thought about it for a while.  How was my commitment to pray regularly and faithfully?  How was my commitment to meeting with my Lord daily, Bible reading, study?  How was my commitment to serve others, to share my faith, the gospel, invite people to church?  How was my commitment to my wife, my family?
        Then, I thought about our church - the people - not a building.  How committed is our church?  How committed are our deacons, Sunday School teachers, children’s workers, youth workers?  How committed are our choir members, committee members?  How committed is each member to Sunday School?  How committed are people to read the newsletter or the bulletin?
God is real!  Church is no joke!  Commitment matters!  If I’m going to pastor, I need to be committed to study and prayer.  A deacon needs to be committed to serve joyfully.  Sunday School teachers should be committed to study and prayer.  Children and Youth workers should be committed to teach our children and to live that life before our kids.  Choir members should be committed to practice.  Committee members should be committed to giving their all to make sure the area they are over is functioning the best that it can with the resources it has.  Every member should support the Sunday School every Sunday, unless prohibited. If all of us would just pick our commitment level up one notch, all would benefit from it.
Let’s be real Christians, not hypocrites.  Don’t say you love the church and then not be committed to it.  Every member should make an effort to be at all worship services possible.  Every member should support the church through giving tithes and offerings.  Let’s be committed!

Serving the Savior, 
Pastor Mike
 

Building Together as One

Dear Church Family,
        Our “Building Together As One” Banquet was a great time together.  We had good food, we heard new talent as they ministered to us through song, and then I challenged us to “Bountiful Living Through Bountiful Giving”.  Many pledged that night to give toward the Building Campaign.  Others took their commitment cards home to continue praying about what they should give.  Some of you were not able to make it to the banquet and you do not have a commitment card.  You can see me and I will be glad to give you one.  The goal is everyone doing their part.  With the money we have in the bank and the commitments made, we have $314,309.00 pledged.  Some of you have been giving already, however, May 3 will be our Kick-off Sunday.  I’m asking each person to come prepared to give a special gift that Sunday to start the campaign.  God is at work and we will see this building erected.
I want to say a word about Sunday School.  I was a Minister of Education for years and I have worked with churches to have a vibrant Sunday School.  Recent statistics show that small group Bible Studies are still the tool of thriving churches.  They will only be that if they are organized, making contacts of members and prospects and being faithful to attend regularly.  Every member of the Sunday School must do their part to make it a great experience.  Would you make a commitment to do your part to encourage people to be in Sunday School each week?  Encourage your teachers who study each week to teach you by being faithful in attendance.
God is going to do a new thing here, at Oakland Baptist Church and I give Him all the praise for it all.

Serving the Savior,
Pastor Mike
 

Word of God

Dear Church Family,
        In Romans 10:17 it says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”.  Now if we take that literally, then every time we hear the Word of God spoken or we read it, we should be increasing in our faith.  And if you have been doing that for years, shouldn’t you be a giant for Jesus?  I would say yes to that.  However, the problem lies with the word “hearing”.  What does “hearing” mean?  It does not mean just hearing words spoken.  It means you hear to the point of understanding.  You received the Word of God in your heart and life.
I Thessalonians 2:13 says, “For this cause, also thank we God without ceasing because, when you received the Word of God which you heard of us,  you received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
As a pastor, I rejoice when I know someone is grasping truth and that truth is setting them free from sin and they begin to live in victory in an area of their life where they once were in bondage. I also am saddened when people hear what was said from God’s Word but they reject the truth and they won’t let the truth work in their lives.  Instead, they continue to live in bondage to sin. 
Friend, are you hearing the Word of God?  Is it changing your life?  One preacher asked his congregation, “Do you have your ears on?”  When we come to church, let’s come ready to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Serving the Savior,
Pastor Mike
 
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