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Influence

 Dear Church Family,

       Recently a giant for Jesus died at the age of 88.  His name was Howard Hendricks.  He was a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary.  They called him “Prof”.  I never had the privilege of sitting under this man, but thousands did.  He is known for influencing more giants for Jesus than any other person I know.  I’ve read everything he has written, watched every video he’s ever made.  Even though I never sat in a classroom with him, he mentored me through his resources.

      As I look at all the books on my shelves and think about each author and how many of them have had a part in shaping my theology, I’m grateful.  You see, what people say influences our lives more than we know.  Not only what others say to us, but also what we say to others.  My prayer is that I would be an influence that leads people to Jesus.  I want my words to count for His glory.  How about you?

      I’m reminded of Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.”

      As we go through each day, let us think before we speak and speak only what God would have us say.

Serving the Savior

Pastor Mike

 

Deuteronomy 11

 Dear Church Family,

       In my devotion today, I was reading in Deuteronomy 11, and I came across verse 8 which read, “You shall therefore keep every commandment which I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land into which you are about to cross to possess it.”  The key to possessing what God wants us to possess is keeping His Word.  In order for me to keep His Word, I must read His Word, and remember His Word, and do everything it says for me to do.  What would God do with one person that obeys that command?  What would God do if 25% of a church were obeying that command?  50%? 100%?  The bottom line is this, God honors the obedient servant.

      After 28 months at Oakland, I am more committed to God for this work than the day I walked in the door for the first time.  One thing I know is that I can’t do it alone and I am thankful I don’t have to, because many of you have a desire to see God do something that only God can do here.  Thank you for your prayers, your service, your encouraging words, your smiles, your pats on the back, your giving and your love.

   There is much work to be done, and it will take great giving, great sacrifices, great work, and the only one I know who can accomplish things like that is our great God.  As He leads us, let’s follow the example of Deuteronomy 11:8.  If we do, we will be strong and He will allow us to possess the land.

Serving the Savior

Pastor Mike

 

2013

 Dear Church Family,

       It’s hard to believe that 2012 has come and gone.  As I reflect on all the Lord did at Oakland this past year, joy floods my soul!  On January 6, I will have my annual “State of the Church” message.  I will give details of all God did through us.  Thank you for being so faithful.  I am truly blessed to be a part of this body of believers.

       On January 13, I will begin a new series on Sunday mornings called  “The End”.  We will go through the Book of Revelation.  It is going to be an unbelievable study.  Invite your friends and family to come with you.  Be in prayer for souls to be saved, lives to be changed and God to be glorified.

   I believe 2013 is going to be a great year at Oakland Baptist Church...maybe the best year we have seen yet.  What would make it great?  All members praying for the power of God to fall.  Every person making a commitment to be here each week for Sunday School and Worship.  Seeing the building full of guests.  Every member growing in their faith.  A church obeying God as He instructs us.  The baptismal waters being stirred over and over again.

   Let me encourage you to be in the Word regularly.  It’s through the Word that our faith grows.  It’s through the Word that we receive direction for our lives.  It’s through the Word that we are set free.

I love you, church, and thank my God for you.

Serving the Savior

Pastor Mike

 

Spirit of Christmas

Dear Church Family,

       December, the time of year we celebrate the birth of our Savior.  It is a time when we put more of a focus on others than on ourselves.  That is the way it should be throughout the year.  That is the spirit of Christmas.  God was not thinking of Himself when He sent His Son to this earth to become the Savior of the world.

       I love to watch people in the stores looking for that perfect gift to give someone.  It reminds me of the perfect gift God gave us.  The sounds are like no other time of the year, with the Salvation Army bells ringing at the stores which reminds us of a world in need.  When God looked down on the earth, He saw the world in need, and He did something about it.  We can do our part by giving to the Red Kettle, to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and to the Food Pantry.  Just be a blessing to those who are less fortunate than you are. 

   The stores are playing Christmas carols that talk about our Savior.  I think of what it would be like to live in a world where God was the focus everyday, everywhere, by everyone.  One day that will be the way it is.

   Whatever you do this Christmas, don’t forget the very first Christmas.  “There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.  Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of heavenly hosts appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.’”   Luke 2:8-14

Merry Christmas, and may God bless you and yours this season.

Serving the Savior,

Pastor Mike

 

2 years...

 Dear Church Family,

       Two years have come and gone since I became your Pastor.  It has been two of the best years of my life.  You are such a joy to be around and to serve with.  When I think of the word, gracious, I think of Oakland Baptist Church.  If I have heard it once, I have heard it 100 times about the warmth and love people feel when they come to Oakland.  May we never lose that.  I believe it is one of the signs of a great church.

One of my prayers is that we would never settle for mediocrity, but desire God’s best.  Psalm 9:1 says, “I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works.”  We owe God our all.  As we press toward the mark, let’s be aware of those around us who need Jesus, and be a church family who can love them.  Invite people to come with you to church.  Let’s see God’s house filled to overflowing.

One of the results of revival is that God is worshipped more than ever before by those who were revived.  People pray more effective prayers and God moves and does great and mighty things than we have not known before.  I believe God is up to something.  I can see a cloud about the size of a man’s hand. Oh, but for the showers we plead.  May God rain down on us in these days.

Thank you, church, for loving me and my family.  We truly love you and are so appreciative of the love gift you gave to us.

Serving the Savior,

Pastor Mike

 

Revival

 Dear Church Family,

       Summer has come and gone and it was one of the busiest summers I can remember.  Although busy, it was exciting.  We saw our Sunday School soar instead of slump.  The architect completed the plans for use of our property with a youth building and a new sanctuary.  We voted to move forward on the youth building. The estimated cost is between $200,000 and $250,000. This is just an estimate and we are gathering all the information and will report when we have it in.  What we all can be doing is giving to the building fund toward this project.  As I preached in a sermon, “God is calling us to something bigger than ourselves.”

We need to be faithful in these days to Sunday School and Worship services.  We need to invite people to come with us.  As you receive this Newsletter, we will be a few days from our Revival meetings and Homecoming.  This is a great time to invite people to church.  Remember, our goal is 150 in Sunday School that morning.  We have had 130 and I believe 150 is a reachable goal, but it will take everyone, plus one, to make it happen.  May God get the glory for it all.

Be much in prayer for our Revival. Pray for Dr. Ron Lynch, William Beck and Jeff Cleghorn as they come to lead us.  Pray for wisdom as we work on the youth building plans.  Pray that God will raise up Sunday School teachers so we can start new classes.  Pray for souls to be saved and the maturing of the saints.  Pray for me to have God’s mind in these days.  Pray for our country and for Israel.

Folks, I love you and I look forward to seeing you Sunday as we receive a word from the Word.

Serving the Savior,

Pastor Mike

 

We need Revival

Greetings Church,

       In one month we will celebrate our 88th year as Oakland Baptist Church.  It will be Homecoming with “dinner on the grounds”.  It will be High Attendance Sunday in Sunday School.  Our goal is 150.  In order to have that many, we will need to invite people to join us on that day.  It will also be the beginning of our Revival Services with Dr. Ron Lynch preaching, Jeff Cleghorn and William Beck leading our music.  It is going to be a great week.  Please make plans to attend each and every service.

Let me give you some evidences of why we need revival.  We need revival:

1. When we do not love Jesus as we once did.

2. When earthly interests and occupations are more important to us than eternal ones.

3. When we have little desire to pray.

4. When our Christianity is joyless and passionless.

5. When people have to be begged to give and to serve in the church.

6. When we would rather make money than give money.

7. When we are unmoved that those around us are lost and without Christ.

8. When we seldom think thoughts of eternity.

9. When we have ceased to be grieved over our own sin.

10. When we tolerate little sins of gossip, a critical spirit, and lack of love.

There is not one soul that does not need to experience Revival.  Please be here. Our church’s future depends on our obedience today.

Serving the Savior,

Pastor Mike

 

What is God doing at Oakland?

 Dear Church Family,

       Sometimes you may ask, “I wonder what God is up to at Oakland?”  Let me tell you of a few things.  We just selected and elected a Long-range Planning Committee made up of Pete Soots, Jack Daniels, Ted McGrath, Julie Dalton and Mary Crook.  They will assist me in going over the sketches of the plans for our property that the architect has been working on.  AWANA Clubs are about to begin and we are believing God for double the number of kids we had last year.  A “Women Blessing Women” Bible study is about to begin along with WMU.  Our men are going to a Men’s Conference.  We will be having Homecoming, High Attendance Day in Sunday School and Revival, with Dr. Ron Lynch as our speaker,  Jeff Cleghorn on piano, and a dear friend of mine, William Beck, to lead us in music in October.  I’m believing God for great things that week. Please be in prayer during these days. Our annual Fall Festival is coming up.  Our Live Nativity, that we believe will be the best to date as we will have live animals this year will be in December.

   We have had 25 join our OBC family already this year and others are talking about joining.  I believe we could see 40 to 50 by the end of the year.  With growth comes great challenges. A willingness to adjust will be a must.  Our giving must be strong and each of us must begin to give toward the building fund.  The sooner we begin, the quicker we will have enough money to build a building which we have talked about.

Thank you, church, for your faithfulness.  It is truly a blessing to serve along side you.

Serving the Savior,

Pastor Mike

 

Overview

 Dear Church Family,

       It’s Monday morning, and I am sitting at my desk at the office reflecting over all that has taken place in June. 

       We had one of the best Vacation Bible Schools I have ever been a part of.  We had over 50 children  enrolled.  They listened, memorized their verses, learned all the songs and on Friday night they performed the songs to over 100 people.  We ended the evening with a hot dog supper in our Fellowship Hall.  It was great!  Many thanks go out to Tricia and all her helpers that made this year’s VBS such a success.

    I preached in Revival meetings at Avondale Baptist Church in Macon.  Marty Watson, the pastor, had some heart issues and had to go to the hospital, but is doing better.  Please pray for Marty and the  people of Avondale that God may do a new thing there.

    My wife had knee surgery and is still recovering from it.  We want to thank every person for your calls, cards and food during that time.  Your kindness is overwhelming.

    We have had one of the highest attended Junes on record, both in Sunday School and Worship.  All I can say is...let’s keep it up.  I believe we can have every seat filled for the glory of God.

    My family and I are going to take a well needed vacation.  Bob Bowman will be preaching Sunday, July 1.  He is a man of God and has preached here  before.  If you are not on vacation, be sure and be here to hear Bob.

    Lastly, don’t miss the Ice Cream Social Sunday night, July 8.  See you when I get back.

Serving the Savior,

Pastor Mike

 

Fan of Jesus?

 Dear Church Family,

       Do you consider following Jesus as just a bunch of rules and regulations you have to keep?  I hope not, because being a follower of Jesus Christ is so much more than that.

       Recently I read a book by Kyle Idleman titled “Not a Fan”. Kyle is a pastor at the fifth largest church in America and one day he was sitting in the sanctuary wondering what he was going to preach to his congregation on Easter Sunday.  He didn’t want to just preach a message.  He wanted to preach a message that impacted and made a difference in peoples’ lives.  He realized that the only thing that mattered to Jesus when He was ministering to people was the level of their commitment. 

    Some people have a Jesus fish on the back of their cars, but they are not committed.  Jesus asked one man to sell all that he had and give it to the poor and come follow him.  One man said he would follow Jesus but first he had to bury his father, who was well at the time.  Many have made a decision without making a commitment to follow Jesus.  Fans grow tired of trying to maintain an outer appearance that doesn’t match inner passion.  If you are a fan, consider becoming a follower of Jesus.

Serving the Savior,

Pastor Mike

 

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