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Sandy Sez
 

July/August 2013

     The following article is by Dr. Michael Smith, Pastor of Fruitland Baptist Church. Fruitland Baptist is leading us in an active outreach to a specific language group in Asia and Central Asia. This is a brief report of their first trip. We encourage each to pray, give, and go with Fruitland as they endeavor to go once each quarter for several years.

 
     For those who really need to "know everything", this article will be very frustrating. Because of the need to be very general in my comments, I cannot give specific details concerning the work we have undertaken.
     Many know that last year CBA voted to adopt a major unreached people group in the Middle East and Central Asia. Our work has been to prayer walk in major cities and towns amongst this unreached people group. Already teams have gone into this area of the world and have prayed, as well as met, talked with, prayed with/for, given literature to , and shared Jesus with some of the people of this region. There is a great need to share Jesus with there people, and the time is ripe.
     Our vision is to have at least four team leaders who will lead a team into this region every quarter. This is a long-term commitment (several years) so that we can help plant churches and train leadership to continue the work.
     If you would be interested in this work, or you would like more information, please contact me, Michael Smith, at FruitlandBaptist@bellsouth.net. Or you can call me at (828) 606-4631.
      If you do not feel led to be a part of this effort, please pray for us during this strategic time.

 

 
 

July/August 2012 

Have you visited the Open Door Christian Bookstore?

     Our community has had several Christian bookstores over the years, but only one has stood the test of time.  Open Door Christian Bookstore at our Blue Ridge Mall has been the only one that has lasted.  Small local bookstores have to operate on a shoestring.  We need to understand that Christian books, Bibles, and gifts are a ministry of this store.  I encourage each Christian in Henderson County to visit and do business with Open Door Book Store as much as possible.

     I believe that every community needs a Christian Bookstore because:

1. Christian bookstores are a continual witness that God is alive and that He cares for people.  In many communities this is a major outlet for the Gospel of Christ in the marketplace.

2. Christian bookstores can be a melting pot.  Sometimes evangelical Christian people can realize that we have much in common and can pray together, enjoy fellowship together and win lost people to Christ.

3. Christian bookstores display Christian literature and gift items that would not be otherwise offered in the secular marketplace. 

     Open Door Christian Bookstore allows—even encourages—your Association to display a tract rack in front of the store.  Patricia and Roger Myrto have been keeping the rack well organized with new, fresh tracts.  Step in and take a look at the tract rack.  While you are there look inside at the books, Bibles, music and gifts.

     The Open Door also sets up a bookstore and discounts their services at our women’s conference each year.

      Does your church partner with an unreached people group? 

     Fruitland Baptist Church is a strong supporter of the Kurds.  FBC Hendersonville is a supporter of another unreached people group.  

     I would like to have the names of any unreached people groups that our churches have adopted to pray for and/or visit if possible.  Sometimes visiting is difficult but our access to the Father is always available to us.

     Please let us know if your church has adopted an unreached people group so that we as an association can adopt them together. 

 
May/June 2012
     Possibly the most important vote in our lifetime is coming up on May 8, 2012.  This is the marriage amendment—sometimes called the Defense of Marriage Act.  Christians must take a very strong stand in support of marriage as being between one man and one woman.  This was firmly established in the book of Genesis with the creation of Eve for Adam with procreation as a main purpose.  From Genesis to Revelation this is affirmed and reaffirmed. 
      We must stand—pastors, we must encourage our members to make sure they are registered to vote.  We must teach what the Bible says about the relationships of man to woman within the bounds of marriage. 
      Of course there are homosexual applications in declaring that marriage between one man and one woman is the only recognized form of marriage.  There is so much more that we can honestly, biblically say. 
 · To Bible believing Christians this is also a good place to teach in favor of a “lifetime” commitment to ones mate. 
· To Bible believing Christians this can be the basics of Biblical teaching on the fidelity in marriage. 
· To Bible believing Christians this can be a great time to teach about family and family values.
· To Bible believing Christians we may need to be reminded that we are to have one mate not multiple mates.  There are those moving to our country who would enforce their religious laws on us—or at least allow them to live by their own laws.  Many of these cultures do not believe in monogamy and have laws allowing multiple wives and families.
      Pastors, do not be fooled by fear mongers who say you must be neutral or be in violation of the law.  You have the right, the freedom, the obligation, to stand up and point out those things that violate biblical principles or enforce them. 
     Please stand up FOR the Marriage Amendment!
 
March/April 2012

Welcome to Our New Staff Member

     Autumn Thompson is our new part time ministry assistant.  Autumn comes to us with a great deal of administrative experience.  She also has a bachelor’s degree from WCU in business management. 

     Her husband, David, works for PSNC Energy and her daughter, Hayden, is in first grade at Atkinson Elementary. 

     They are very active members of Mud Creek Baptist Church where Autumn also teaches part time as a computer instructor in the week day preschool program.

     Stop by the office and welcome Autumn to your association.  We believe the Lord has sent us a most able co-laborer. 

Marriage Protection Comes to North Carolina

     The following is an excerpt from an article written by Jacqueline Schaffer, J.D. entitled Marriage in Society's Moral Crosshairs.  This article is from the Winter 2012 Family North Carolina of the North Carolina Family Policy Council.

     After an eight-year battle to be heard, North Carolinians will finally have a voice on the issue of marriage.  In September 2011, the NC General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of a measure to allow the people—not judges, politicians, or a vocal minority—of this State to weigh in on the definition of marriage.  This measure is not a mere opinion poll, however.  The bill, SB 514—Defense of Marriage, is a ballot initiative that grants the citizens of NC the opportunity to vote on whether to enshrine the State’s current law defining marriage into the State Constitution.  The law currently states that:

     [a] valid and sufficient marriage is created by the consent of a male and female person who may lawfully marry, presently to take each other as husband and wife.

     It goes on to clarify that:

     [m] marriages, whether created by common law, contracted, or performed outside of NC, between individuals of the same gender are not valid in NC.

     In the primary election scheduled for May 8, 2012, North Carolinians will be able to take the necessary step of strengthening the State’s stance on marriage by voting on the following proposal:

     Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.

     The General Assembly’s consideration of SB 514 was met with protests, campus vigils, and rallies organized by homosexual activists. 
Such activism notwithstanding, the General Assembly voted to “let the people decide.”
     It is important to realize that even though the State has already statutory defined marriage as between one man and one woman, recent case law demonstrates that such defense of marriage laws simply do not provide the same level of protection from legal challenge that a constitutional amendment will.  For instance, in 2009, Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as between one man and one woman, was struck down as unconstitutional by the Iowa Supreme Court.  And in other states, laws upholding the traditional definition of marriage were overturned because they violated state anti-discrimination laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
 

January/February 2012

The Great Commission Church

While recently studying the seven churches in Asia, I was fixed on the words of Rev. 3:15 & 16.  “I know thy works, that thou are neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm , and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.”

 

Wow!  Those are strong words.  Those are the words that the Holy Spirit gave to John in an appraisal of the Laodicean church.  Many believe it is a picture of the last days of the church age—today’s church.

 

Although this is surely a growing truth in denominations all around us, it does not have to be true of us.  We can rely on the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to give us a holy strategy to encourage all Carolina Baptist churches.  We can become and be Great Commission churches.

 

There are churches in the Hendersonville area that are languishing in apathy.  I see churches that have turned inward and refuse to be Great Commission churches—with no baptisms for years.  I see churches in fear for their future because the economy is uncertain.  I see pastors worn out and frustrated until they themselves have become afraid. 

 

I want to shout it out from the roof tops—”Wake up church—you are all children of God.”  “Wake up church—you have been given the perfect word of God to lead, guide and direct you in all His ways.”  “Wake up church—Jesus is alive and well on the planet earth.”  “Wake up church—He is coming again and soon!”  “Wake up church—wake up-wake up!” 

 

He has given us many tools to make us and keep us Great Commission churches. Our association leadership—our state leadership and our national leadership are equipped to help us.  We cannot force our way in, but, if you would just invite us we can help you on your journey.

 

I, and many of our Director of Missions are trained in Transformational Leadership and in the Church Health Surveys.  If this process is too long or complicated we can help you with a short consultation. 

 

Let us work hard together to prevent apathy from sneaking in on us.  Just because the Laodicean church is an overall picture of the end of the church age, we can still be strong, missional churches until the day of our Lord’s appearing.

 
November/December 2011
Bittersweet Farewell
After almost 16 years of faithfully serving the Lord through Carolina Baptist Association, Linda Marie Phillips has been called to serve Him at her home church, Etowah Baptist.  We are very happy for her as she follows our Savior’s will.  We are selfishly sad because we will miss her here at the Association office.
 
It is significant that Linda Marie was the wife of Dr. David Hyde, pastor of Etowah Baptist for 12 years before his death in 1998.  She made it her home church and raised her two children there.  She has been a faithful member all these years and now she has been called there to minister through her secretarial and office skills.
 
If she had said anything but “God is calling me to serve at my home church,” I would have tried to entice her to stay.  When God calls we have to be careful to encourage the called and not interfere with God’s will for another persons life. 
 
Paula, Sam and I, as well as the dozens of pastors, staff members and volunteers in our Association, will deeply miss her sweet, Godly spirit.  We will miss her gentle smile and encouraging words.  We will simply miss “her.”  We wish her well and share in the excitement of Brother Brian and the staff and members of Etowah Baptist Church.
 
Linda Marie—We love you!
 
September/October 2011
The following is a condensation of a June 11th Biblical Recorder article entitled “Eight Benefits of a Bivocational Ministry” by Terry Dorsett.
 
     Because there are challenges to bivocational ministry does not mean that such situations should be viewed in a negative light. There are actually a number of advantages that bivocational pastors have over their fully funded counterparts:
 
1. Bivocational pastors are not as dependant on the church for their financial support. This relieves them of the stress of what might happen to their families if they were dismissed from the churches they serve. In some situations, bivocational pastors actually have more personal resources than fully funded pastors because they have two sources of income.
2. Bivocational pastors often find more opportunities to witness to the lost than fully funded pastors because they spend more time with non-Christians through their secular employment.
3. Bivocational pastors seldom live in a “bubble” where only church people inhabit. Their secular employment requires them to interact with and understand better the needs of non-Christians. Therefore, they frequently feel they relate to the people in their congregations better than fully funded pastors because they “work” just like the laypeople do.
4. Bivocational pastors have the ability to serve a larger number of churches because they can serve churches that cannot fully fund pastors.
5. Bivocational pastors feel they are better able to encourage the churches they serve to create a culture whereby the laity use their gifts and devote more time for ministry, since there are no fully funded pastors “paid” to “do everything” for congregations.
6. Bivocational pastors often feel it is easier to teach about financial stewardship and/or to solicit contributions from church members. This is because so little of the churches’ funds are spent on the pastors’ salaries; the pastor is not perceived as being “self-serving.”
7. Bivocational pastors frequently express that they feel more dependant on the Holy Spirit in their sermon preparation and less dependant on their formal theological training, elocution or research skills. This greater sense of dependence on the Spirit is perceived as a positive thing by most bivocational pastors.
8. Bivocational pastors sometimes say that being bivocational gives them valid excuses not to attend denominational meetings that they perceived as irrelevant, uninteresting, and/or promoting things that are not helpful to their own ministry. Their bivocational status makes them feel more comfortable attending only the meetings that they perceive as being helpful and as being more applicable to the situation.
 
     While bivocational ministry has many challenges, it also has many advantages. Learning what the advantages are can help bivocational pastors, or those considering bivocational ministry, feel better about their ministry. When bivocational pastors feel more confident about their roles, they tend to be more effective in their ministries.
 
July/August 2011
Sometimes we get drawn into conversations when and where we least expect it.  Recently I was slurping a diet coke float when I ran across a member of one of our churches who had a sincere concern that both his church and the Southern Baptist Convention were going to put a seal on approval on social drinking.  I sincerely doubt this will happen, but whether we do or do not remains to be seen.
The thing that impressed me the most was not his staunch position nor his sincerely passion.  The thing that impressed me the most was his desire to discuss lovingly and Biblically his philosophy with a commitment to  maintain the bond of love among and between his brothers and sisters in Christ.
There are without a doubt some sin issues that are not negotiable.  However, not every issue is a sin issue.  Some even say that one things that is a sin issue for me may not be a sin issue for them.  I will let theologians and scholars debate these weighty issues.  One thing I do know, if we approach every debate with this brothers desire to allow the love of Christ and the unity of the brethren have the proper place, Christ can solve our problems if it is only to agree to disagree.
Sometimes the lines are clear.  Sometimes they are not so clear.  But the Bible is unmistakably clear that the mind of Christ, the love of Christ, the love of the brethren, the authority and clarity of His Word and the leadership of the Holy Spirit must be allowed to work within us and between us to follow Him.  Let us learn to let the Lord lead.
 
May/June 2011
Our Jerusalem Offering
     Even now Carolina Baptist Churches are continuing to take the Jerusalem Offering. I would like to personally thank each church that has given or plans to give to this worthy cause.  Because of your giving, we will be able to continue the 100+ ministries and services of your association.
     I hope that the information packet delivered to every pastor helped you see the variety of ministries we do together. Even now, as you look toward your next years church  budget, it would be a good time to increase giving by only 1%. If each church raised its goal by 1% each year until a 5% goal was reached, we could do some new and innovative ministries for Christ!! I would be happy to come to your church and present an Associational missions message about Carolina Baptist.
  
Church Merges are Becoming a Healthy Way to Strengthen Churches
     One of the saddest things that I see in ministry is the number of churches that close their doors and “go out of business.” That number is growing each year. It does not have to.
     In some places a healthy alternative to church closure is church merges. This happens in several ways, but the goal is the same...a continual testimony for our Savior.
      Each church had a visionary leader in its past who desired to establish a local fellowship of soul winning believers in its current location.
     As I have said there are several ways to “merge” congregations:
1.   Two (or more) small congregations merge to form  a single fellowship large enough to meet the needs of the community and support a single pastor (and staff?).
2.    New church starts. The older church leadership and membership step aside and facilitate a new church start out of the old building. Frequently the new start is nothing like the old church. The goal is not to start a new church like the old church. The goal is to establish a new work to meet new needs arising out of the old community.
3.    A multi-campus church. Multi-campus churches are growing exponentially. For example, a church without a pastor can have satellite sermons from a pastor of another church. Perhaps your campus can become the new home for a multi-campus church.
 
     Regardless of how the merge is done, the old leadership and the old membership will have to be willing to “step aside” for the merger to  work.
     If you want to know more about merges and multi-campus churches—give me a call.
 
March/April 2011
Boot Shaking Radicals
     Do you want to shake in your boots? Do you want your knees to knock? Do you want your teeth to rattle? Read “radical” by David Platt.
     He paints a frightening picture of the church in America today. A church that stands in stark contrast to what the Bible shows us about the person and purpose of Jesus Christ.
It is at the same time exciting to me that God is raising up a generation of young leaders who have a  burning passion and the great courage to answer two of the greatest questions facing the American church.
1. Am I going to believe Jesus? Am I courageous enough to embrace Jesus even though He said radical things?
2. Am I going to obey Jesus? Can I? Will I settle for less than radical obedience to Christ?
     This book, if taken seriously and applied Biblically, will change our way of “doing church.” “Follow me!” will become much more than a cliché. It may become life’s greatest challenge.
     Before you cringe at the word “Challenge,” please understand that today’s modern young pastor and the “x and y” generations are looking for a Jesus who challenges them. A God who loves, yes! But also a God who challenges and may discourage the great American Church Dream in favor at this own perfect challenging will in our lives.
 
January/Feb 2011
Pray for your association as we pray for you.
I am asking for your prayers!  Funds certainly.  But I believe all of us need prayers for wisdom, discernment and spiritual and financial blessings from our Lord.  I commit to pray for each church and each pastor every week.
 
Funds?
Yes, we need more funds to continue to operate at maximum efficiency.  Last year we cut our budget and in that process we cut salaries and benefits.  Next year (2011) we are looking at the real possibility of severely cutting hours, layoffs or terminations.  Can you increase giving by 1% or 2%?  If your church does not give, can you begin giving just 2%?