Tag Archives: serving God

20 Years In The Making

Nehemiah 7

The wall was repaired in a matter of days. Once lying in rubble around Jerusalem, it now stood firmly, the result of everyone doing his or her part. They hadn’t relied on professional builders. They’d relied on God who gave them the ability to do something great.

There had been opposition, bullying, insults and lies thrown at them to intimidate them to stop. But the Jews didn’t stop. And God was glorified.

So now what? Their goal was reached. Did they just sit back and simply enjoy the fruit of their labor? Not at all.

Appoint the residents of Jerusalem to act as guards, everyone on a regular watch. Some will serve at sentry posts, and some in front of their own homes. (vs 3b)

That wall protected Jerusalem and its residents from outside forces. Jerusalem was also the place where God lived on Earth That wall was there to keep the enemy out.

What spoke to me is that all the residents took guarding the wall seriously. Everyone did their part in protecting the wall around Jerusalem. It guarded the Temple. It also guarded their own homes. That wall was worth guarding.

We are celebrating 20 years of Frederica Baptist Church today. 20 years ago this month a couple dozen people took a giant leap of faith, believing God was calling them to establish a church on the north end of this island. 20 years ago they met in homes, in store fronts, in an elementary school, until they could use their own savings, or put their own homes up for collateral to buy a commercial building in which to worship. It took almost 15 more years from that point to pay off the debt, sell the commercial building, and erect a church building on land given this small congregation, a gift they knew was from God.

So today we will gather with our present fellowship along with former pastors and friends who have called Frederica Baptist their church home at times during these past two decades. It’s going to be a glorious celebration! God be praised.

But I am reminded this was never the goal. God didn’t call these people 20 years ago to build a building so people could drive by and say, “Look! There’s a new church on the north end of the island.” He didn’t ask us to build a church so people would come to fellowship with us, but fellowship with Him through the blood of Jesus. We aren’t here to be a social club, but a holy people unto the Lord, equipped to go and make disciples on the north end of the island.

There will be opposition. And it will be up to each of us to stand guard against the enemy. Our enemy is Satan, sin, apostasy, heresy, tolerance, compromise, the world. We will depend on our leaders to protect us at the door, being gatekeepers and barring the door against the enemy.

But each of us must do our part, too, by guarding our homes, and our hearts from the enemy. Satan is not welcome here! And it’s up to each of us to stand guard.

So I’m going to church today to praise God for bringing us to this point. We have a wonderful facility in which to worship and prepare to be the people we need to be to do God’s work on the north end.

We will sing, worship God together, share a meal, laugh, remember, and praise our faithful God today. Then tomorrow we’ll get to work, protecting what God has given us, and being His hands and feet in this community.

It’s been 20 years in the making. But the work is just begun.

Build On, Lord!

Psalm 127

Unless the Lord builds the house, the work of the builders is wasted.

We are about a month away from moving into our new church building on the north end of this island. To say we are excited is an understatement.

If I would tell you the many ways God has shown His hand in the twenty years since our church was formed, you would be amazed. We can see His direction and blessings at every turn. Just since we broke ground eighteen months ago (yes, during COVID), there has been one delay after another, the business building we owned and could not sell for years finally sold, we were faced with price increases and materials shortages. So many things that seemed like obstacles to us, turned out to be avenues for God to do His thing! And did He ever! We are almost ready to open our doors nearly debt-free.

It’s going to be a glorious day!

But our prayer is that this will be the LORD’S HOUSE in every aspect. We know He has built the structure. But more important is the building of the Church, those of us who will worship Him there.

The “building” has only begun.

May each of us allow God to continue teaching, leading, convicting, forgiving, growing each of us who call Frederica Baptist our church home. May our hearts be yielded to His will, our efforts be to His glory. May the Lord continue to build this house so that our work is not wasted.

He has been so faithful in bringing us this far. He will be faithful as we move ahead in our new digs. May He find us faithful.

Build on, Lord!

Follow My Example?

I Chronicles 29

King David gave generously from his own treasures toward the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. Then he went to the people and challenged them to follow his example.

That spoke to me today. God has give me so much, blessed me way beyond what I deserve. Not financially, necessarily. Although I have enough to be comfortable. But I certainly don’t have the equivalent of tons of gold and silver to throw around.

Yet God is reminding me how truly rich I am.

I have my health, a working brain. I have hands and feet and a voice. I have Jesus! I have the forgiveness of my sin, and the gifts of having the Spirit of God in me: love, joy, peace…

I have God’s own words at my fingertips!

The questions then, are these: Am I using these things generously toward the building of God’s Church? Am I investing in people, introducing unsaved people to their Savior?

And, would I ever in a million years suggest you follow my example?

I’m wondering if I’d want you to put in the same amount of time I put into serving God; if I’d want you to use your talents in the same way I use mine for the glory of God. I wonder if I exercise my faith in a way I’d want you to exercise yours, or am I serving half-heartedly, giving only what I think I can afford, hoping you’ll not notice?

David said, “follow my example.” Can I say that to you?

If not, why not?

David’s prayer in verses 10-19 reminds me that everything I have belongs to God. It all came from God in the first place. I own nothing. I am nothing. But I am a steward of everything He’s given me.

May God, when He examines my heart rejoice when He finds integrity, when He finds me giving away with both hands what He’s given me, so that someone will come to His saving grace.

I pray the same for you.

So Take This Seriously.

David’s charge to Solomon spoke to me today. It serves as a reminder:

And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. So take this seriously. The Lord has chosen you to build a Temple as his sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work. (1Chronicles 28:9-10 ESV)

Too many of us try to hold God to his promises without our doing the work. Maybe we should emphasize the knowing God intimately, the worship and serving God with our whole hearts and our willing minds, if not instead of, at least in conjunction with his wonderful promises to his obedient children.

God clearly tells us IF we seek him we will find him. IF we forsake him, he will reject us.

So take this seriously.

(2 Kings 12) Integrity

Now here’s something you don’t see every day. Any day, really.

Let me set the scene:

Scripture tells us there were repairs going on in the temple. The contractors and workers were paid with silver that came into the temple by way of the offerings from worshipers. The high priest and his secretary weighed, then bagged the offering silver.

“Then they would give the weighed silver to those doing the work – those who oversaw the Lord’s temple. They in turn would pay it out to those working on the Lord’s temple – the carpenters, the builders, the masons, and the stonecutters – and would use it to buy timber and quarried stone to repair the damage to the Lord’s temple and for all expenses for temple repairs.” (12:11-13)

It sounds like it would have been an accounting nightmare, especially without spreadsheets and Microsoft Office on their computers.

But listen to this. This is what struck me today:

“No accounting was required from the men who received the silver to pay those doing the work, since they worked with integrity.” (vs 15, emphasis mine)

Have you ever had any remodeling done in your home? How did it go? You hire a contractor who hires workers to do the actual remodel, plumbers, painters, carpenters, tile workers. Or maybe the contractor actually does the work himself. Were you happy with the finished project? Was the job completed on time and within budget? Was the work done to your satisfaction? I bet some of you have horror stories.

Like my sister who, after she and her husband shelled out almost $30,000.00 for a remodeled bath and laundry room, continue to discover problems:

a toilet set too close to the wall

faulty (and dangerous) wiring

shower floor not caulked

closets without doors because they were mis-measured

a sump pump clogged with mortar dust because the worker emptied his bucket in the sump pump with water containing the dust from sanding the new drywall

Oh, there’s more. But you get the idea. My poor brother-in-law is outside digging a hole in their front yard, hoping to replace or reroute the pipe from the clogged sump pump before it rains today and ruins their new carpeting.

Integrity? I’m not seeing it here exactly. But here’s my point:

are any of us doing our jobs with integrity?

I play the organ at church. If I tell myself that if I hit a wrong note here and there no one will notice, am I playing with integrity?

If I teach a Sunday School and think, they’re just children so if I am not as prepared this week it’s no big deal, am I teaching with integrity?

Are you parenting with integrity? Are you working at your marriage with integrity? Representing Jesus with integrity? Driving your car, paying your taxes, being a neighbor, caring for your parents, serving on a committee at church, whatever… Are you working with integrity?

Do you need someone standing over you to make sure you are doing the job well and honestly? Or can they throw away the spreadsheets, like they did here in 2 Kings, because you do your work with integrity?

May each of us, no matter how big or small the task God gives us to do, be men and women with integrity. Then may we do the job as unto the Lord.

Integrity might be something we don’t see every day. But it should definitely be seen in you and me who know Jesus as our Savior.

Every day.

Use It! (I Corinthians 12-14)

Paul reminds me that being part of God’s Church isn’t like being a member of a country club or going to a matinee at the local theatre. Being part of a church means doing my part with the gifts and abilities God has given me.

It means working behind the scenes, or getting out there and teaching a Sunday School class. It means reaching out to visitors, or sitting quietly with a hurting brother or sister. It means being the Church, not just going to church.

I hope you’ll read this portion of Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. I hope you’ll assess your abilities and talents, define what it is you enjoy doing. I hope you’ll discover your spiritual gifts God delights in giving His children.

Then I hope you will use what God has given you, and serve in your church fellowship in an orderly way, in a way that honors God and points people to the Savior. I hope you – and I – will be the Church God intends for us to be, His body with all the parts and pieces working together, reaching lost people for the glory of God.

Yes, M’Lord (Luke 17)

If you are a follower of Jesus, you most likely consider yourself a servant, someone who seeks to do whatever God asks of you. But as I read this passage in Luke’s Gospel today, I wondered if I, and maybe you, really understand what being a servant is all about.

Several years ago there was a TV show called Downton Abbey, about a rich and influential dynasty in England, and the many servants who worked for them. I thought about it today as I read. The servants employed by the fictional Crawley family took pride in serving that particular family. Their respect in the town was measured by the wealth and social standing of the family they served. And whether serving dinner for kings, or doing their grocery shopping in the village, they behaved in an impeccable way, knowing they represented the Crawley family.

Got me to thinking. If I, as God’s servant, serve Him with the same intentionality, pride, and fervor as the servants of Downton Abbey? Or do I approach my position as a servant of God like it’s a job?

I might give it my all from 9-5, but reserve some me-time, too. I might serve Him with the intention of getting what I believe is due me for my effort. Maybe I obey Him expecting health and wealth and recognition.

Jesus said this about serving:

Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would you say to the servant when he comes in from the field, “Come along now and sit down to eat”? Would he not rather say, “Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink”? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.” (verses 7-10; emphasis mine)

I would challenge us all to check our hearts as we consider these words of Jesus. What motivates each of us to obey God, to share the Gospel, to teach a Sunday School class or sing in the choir – to serve Him? What prompts us to have a pure vocabulary, to make choices that make us stand out in a fallen world?

If we aren’t serving God out of a heart overflowing with love and gratitude, recognizing that we represent Him in the town and in our homes, knowing that serving Him is a privilege and honor, and that He doesn’t owe us anything in return, then maybe we aren’t His servants after all. Maybe we’ve made Him our servant by expecting some reward or at least an easy go of life.

So, if after spending my day serving God, He prompts me to get off the couch in the evening and go at it again, I want only to say, “Yes, My Lord.” Then I want to serve Him with as much intention and fervor and humbleness as He deserves.

A Really Big Deal (Matthew 14; Mark 6; Luke 9)

It occurred to me today that when Jesus fed the five thousand, He used what was given Him. He took the meager portion of bread and fish, and made a meal of it for all the people. He didn’t add a salad or dessert. The meal they ate was a direct result of the food placed in Jesus’ hands.

Sometimes I think we are timid about serving God because we feel what we have is not enough. Or maybe we look at the gifts and abilities God has given us, and tuck them away because we think they are unimportant and insignificant compared to what others seem to have.

But how can you know what God can do with your offering unless you give it to Him? Who in their right mind would have looked at the hungry crowd, then at the five loaves and two fish, and thought: “This will do.” No one!

But placed in the hands of Jesus, it was more than enough.

What spiritual gifts have you been given as a result of your relationship with God? What abilities and talents were you born with? You might think they are no big deal. And you might be right in your own power. The disciples couldn’t feed that crowd on their own, either.

But place your gifts and abilities in Jesus’ hands and watch what a big deal He makes of them. Watch as He takes what you give Him and multiply it over and over. Watch how He takes you and uses you to feed, to nourish, to bless a multitude.

That’s a really big deal!

Snap To It (2 Samuel 19-21)

David gave Amasa a position of great power. “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if from now on you are not the commander of my army in place of Joab.” (19:13) With that word, Amasa became the most powerful man in Israel, second only to King David.

But we really don’t read much about Amasa’s role as military leader. In fact, his first and only mission was an epic fail. And really, what David told him to do shouldn’t have been that difficult for the commander:

“Rally the troops! Get the men together and get back here in three days.”

Granted, they didn’t have phones back then. There was no texting or social media, no TV or even snail mail to get the message to soldiers sitting at home. I can see that it would take some coordinating effort and time to get the word out, then for the men to gather.

But Scripture tells us Amasa “took longer than David had set for him.” (20:5) So the king put the army under Abishai’s command, and set them out to battle instead. He wasn’t about to lose a war waiting for Amasa to do his job.

I don’t know why Amasa didn’t meet his deadline. Were the men resistant? Was he so inept he couldn’t get organized in time? Or did he simply not take David’s time frame seriously? Does is matter?

Well, I think it matters a great deal in my life. There are things my King would have me do in this war against His enemy. I’m wondering if I see my response to God in Amasa’s response to David.

God lays on my heart a person whose heart is ready to hear the Gospel. How quick am I to respond? Do I find myself thinking I’ll get around to it eventually? Do I tell myself I don’t know what to say? Do I shrink back at a little resistance? Do I not feel the same urgency God feels for that eternal soul?

God nudges me toward a ministry, toward teaching Bible study, toward serving in the nursery, or mowing my neighbor’s lawn. Do I snap to it? Or do I drag my feet, hoping maybe God was just making a suggestion?

In the account we read here in 2 Samuel, David appointed someone else to do Amasa’s job. And, seriously, there have been times when in the back of my mind I think if I don’t go, God is going to send someone else anyway. Whew! Ball’s in their court.

Amasa’s failure at the task that was given put him in a position that cost him his life. That’s a bitter pill to swallow. God may give my assignment to someone else, but there are consequences for blowing off the King.

Besides, I want to look at God’s commands, those nudges into service, as a privilege to serve my King. I love Him so much I want to obey with enthusiasm and do the best job at whatever He is asking me to do because He deserves my 100% effort. Why would I want anyone else to have the blessings that are mine as an obedient soldier in His army?

This is war. When my King gives me a command, I want to snap to it.

No, Thank You (2 Samuel 7; I Chronicles 17)

When you love someone, do you find you can’t do enough for that person? You sacrifice, take a back seat, go out of your way to find tangible ways to express how totally and completely you love them. You’d do anything.

I think that’s how David loved God.

But how do you feel when the person you love politely tells you, “No, thank you,” when they don’t accept the gift, or tell you they don’t want your sacrifice?

David was excited about building a beautiful temple for the Presence of God. The ark had been housed in a tent, and David wanted to build a house fit for the King of Kings. Nothing would be too extravagant for the One David loved.

I imagine old David stayed awake at night, going over floor plans, arranging furniture, placing and re-placing doors and windows in his mind’s eye. It was the least David could do for the God who meant so much to him. I think David was excited about the possibilities.

But God politely refuse the offer. David heard His Beloved say, “No, thank you.”

David’s response? “Ok. Thanks.”

You see, David’s love for God wasn’t about David. David wasn’t looking for recognition or appreciation. He wasn’t looking to make a name for himself as the builder of God’s Temple. The gift David wanted to give God was totally and completely about God. So when God refused to accept it, David didn’t take it personally. It wasn’t personal.

Makes me question my offering to God, my service to Him, my sacrifice for Him. Am I motivated by what blessings are mine when I do great things for Him? Do I put God under obligation to do something great for me in return? If that is the case, then I will be disappointed, hurt, maybe jealous when I don’t get what I think I deserve.

But if my service to God is like David’s, I’ll continue to serve, to give God my very best, to find tangible ways to show Him how much I love Him with no regard for myself, no selfish agenda. I will be just a woman who can’t do enough to show my Beloved how much I love Him, even if He politely refuses my offer or accepts my actions without giving back in-kind.

I want to, like David, give it all to God without expecting some big reward. Because the reality is, God has already given me much more than I deserve.

He gave me Jesus, the tangible expression of His amazing love. And believe me, that is one Gift you’ll never hear me say, “No, thank you,” to!!!