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Welcome!

Welcome to the First Baptist Church of Adrian!

We are a community of people dedicated to follow Jesus in all that we do. If you’re looking for a church committed to loving God, loving each other, teaching his word, and worshiping him, then we invite you to come join us at any of our worship gatherings and activities for adults, youth, and children (see our About page and Activities page). Also, if you’re looking to learn more about Jesus and what it means to be his follower, I would love the chance to talk with you (also, see our About page for contact information, or see our Follow Jesus page).

Check out our site, read the blog posts below for news updates and devotional posts, and check out one of our worship gatherings!

~ Pastor Mike

Sunday Morning Schedule
9:45am ~ Small Groups / Sunday School
10:45 am ~ Worship Gathering

Good Reads 06.22.17 (on: parenting and discipline, affirmation, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On parenting: 3 Reasons Why Discipline is Harder than Punishment by Michael Kelley

If you are strictly punishing your kids, then just put them in time out. Or spank them. Whatever it is you do in your house. You can do it quickly, and then it’s over and done with. The reason why punishment is quicker is because the goal of punishment is exclusively reactive; they did something bad, and you need to make sure they don’t do it again. But when you discipline, your goal isn’t just behavioral; it’s about the heart. Heart formation takes much longer than behavior modification. That leads us to the second reason why discipline is harder. (click here to read more)

On our need for affirmation: When a Father Wound Defines You by Scott Sauls

I once heard Tim Keller say that Jacob’s deceit was the first recorded case of identity theft. But what was Jacob’s motivation? Why, under false pretense and knowing that it would not be long before both Isaac and Esau would find him out, did Jacob deceive anyway? Ten out of ten therapists would say that it was because Jacob, like every other child in the world, craved a paternal blessing. More than anything, he longed to hear words of affirmation spoken over him by his father. And, if the blessing can only be gained under false pretenses, a child will resort to any measure to satisfy this primal craving. Simply put, Jacob wanted more than anything to hear from his father’s lips, “I see you. You matter. I love you. I like you. You matter to me.” (click here to read more)

On overcoming pornography: Victory Over Porn is Closer Than You Think by Jimmy Needham

Fighting sin feels like this, doesn’t it? When we’re in the midst of temptation, all we can see is the next big wave looming in front of us. Surrounded and hopeless, we give in and face defeat, never knowing that just over the water ridge is the calmer sea of victory in Christ. If we only had eyes to see over, what freedom would we experience in the midst of temptation? What fresh strength and resolve would we feel, with God’s help?

But so many of us can’t see over the ridge.

Here’s where God’s word offers an unfathomable gift to the tempted and addicted: a peek over into the calm ocean beyond our hour of temptation. Consider with me a handful of precious texts that serve to reassure us that God truly gives us the victory (Romans 7:24–25). May they serve you as they have me to walk in lasting freedom from this sin struggle. (click here to read more)

On revival: A Revival Without Christ at the Center is Not Revival by Jared Wilson

At the front end of Paul’s excursus to the Corinthians on the sign-gift charismata, he reminds us: “Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus is accursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3).

What we often see in false revivals is the exaltation of particular figures or the worship of a worship experience itself. You can turn on nearly any religious television programming and see this work in action. Christ is given lip service but exhilaration, personal revelation, warm fuzzies, and spectacular manifestations are the real objects of worship. Charlatans are at the helm, and they purport to wield the Holy Spirit as if he were pixie dust. In these cases and others, it is not the Spirit stirring, but the spirit of the antichrist. (click here to read more)

The Unforgivable Sin

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for all sins and whatever blasphemies they utter. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” ~ Mark 3:28-30 (CSB)

Toward the end of Mark 3, we find one of the most debated sections of the gospel. Jesus, when confronted by his family and the Jewish religious leaders as he cast out demons, spoke of a sin that would not be forgiven. He warned that every sin committed had the possibility of forgiveness except for one: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

Many have debated and others have fretted over the meaning of Jesus’ statement.

To understand what Jesus intended, we must first remember that we can never divorce a verse or two from its context. A passage of Scripture (or any other thing written or said, for that matter) does not mean something simply because we as the reader or hearer want it to mean that thing. It has a meaning found within the intent of the author and his/her context.

In this case, though confronted by his family and leaders, Jesus did not directly rebuke his family’s statement of “He’s out of his mind,” though this also was not true. Instead, he honed in on the statement of the scribes: “He is possessed by Beelzebul” and “He drives out demons by the ruler of the demons.” (3:22)

Jesus first responded to the absurdity of the prince of demons casting out his own demons. He said, “If Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is finished” (3:26). In other words, Satan would be dumb to work against himself. The Bible describes Satan as crafty, cunning, and deceitful as the enemy of God’s people, but not dumb.

Then Jesus made his statement in 3:28-29 in response to the scribes’ words of “He has an unclean spirit.”

In other words, the scribes were opposing Jesus by attributing the Holy Spirit’s work to Satan. Here we have the unpardonable sin: A so thorough rejection of the Spirit’s work through Jesus, and thus a thorough rejection of Jesus, so as to call the work of the Spirit evil.

But there also seems to be another element to this. The scribes weren’t men of a different religion, or even no religion, who thought Jesus’ ways were false. No, these were men well-educated in the Old Testament, who claimed to follow the One True God, were zealous for their religion, and should have realized from the prophecies that Jesus was their Messiah.

These are men who would seem to fall into the description of Hebrews 6:4-6

For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, who shared in the Holy Spirit, who tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age, and who have fallen away…

They had every reason to know better, yet they ascribed the Spirit’s work through Jesus to the forces of darkness instead of to God.

So, we should know that the unforgivable sin is real, and it should challenge us to persevere in our faith, keeping our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus. But we should not get bogged down in fear, worried that we have said a wrong word or thought a wrong thought and committed it.

This sin is a complete rejection of Christ and the Spirit’s work, not a temporary slip such as Peter experienced when he denied Jesus three times before being restored to repentance. And as C. E. B. Cranfield said, “We can say with absolute confidence to anyone who is overwhelmed by the fear that he has committed this sin, that the fact that he is so troubled is itself a sure proof that he has not committed it” (as quoted in William Lane, Commentary on the Gospel of Mark).

New posts in this series will appear most Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

Focus on the Few to Reach the Many

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, to send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. ~ Mark 3:13-15 (CSB)

Jesus dealt with large crowds with love and compassion, but his main focus wasn’t on the crowds. Jesus’ aim was to grow his kingdom people, faithful to him, and he has been doing that throughout the ages as countless millions have come to follow him. But he started this endeavor by devoting the majority of his attention to twelve men (one of which would betray him, so eleven faithful men).

Now this might seem unusual. If you want to reach the crowds, wouldn’t you focus on the crowds? That might seem like the way to go, but from what we see with Jesus, the key to reaching many is to focus most intensely on a few.

Jesus worked to train up eleven who, after three years, he would release to go into the world and make more disciples of him.

In The Master Plan of Evangelism, Robert Coleman wrote:

“[Jesus’] concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow. Remarkable as it may seem, Jesus started to gather these men before he ever organized an evangelistic campaign or even preached a sermon in public…

“Jesus devoted most of his remaining life on earth to these few disciples. He literally staked his whole ministry on them.”

The principle in working with a few to reach a multitude is the principle of multiplication. If a few faithful persons spend time sharing Jesus with and training a few faithful persons who then go and spend time sharing Jesus with and training a few faithful persons, the results begin to compound.

What if one person were to invest three years in just three other people, teaching them about Jesus and his word and how to live faithful to Jesus, and then send each of these out to do the same while he/she picks up three more people to invest in?

At the start, you would have just one trained disciple-maker. At the end of year 3, you would have four. At the end of year 6, you would have sixteen; and at the end of year 9, fifty-two. These numbers don’t seem impressive, but if you keep going, after 21 years, you have 16,384; and after 27 years, 262,144; and then in 48 years that number jumps to 4.29 billion. (1)

In other words, a few devoted to reaching a few can change the world in a generation.

Paul understood this as well, which is why he told Timothy as a church leader to entrust the gospel “to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

Real life rarely works according to formulas, and no person can force another to be saved. Salvation through Jesus comes only by the work of the Holy Spirit through the message of the gospel. But if we set our sights on multiplication, like Jesus and Paul, to train up a few who can train up a few who can train up a few, then we may very well see the gospel spread in massive ways.

(1) Assuming I have my numbers right…

New posts in this series will appear most Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

Discipleship 01 (Coleman)

Image taken and modified from pixabay.com

Sunday 06.18.17 (life lessons)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at Ecclesiastes 7:1-14 and a few of the many proverbs of Solomon as we consider the life lessons we learn from a well-traveled king. We will also be honoring the men in the church with a special gift for Father’s Day. We hope to see you there!

Sunday Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
**No Evening Service, enjoy the holiday!

Sermon Notes
Life Lessons from a Well-Traveled King ~ Ecclesiastes 7:1-14

  • žCharacter matters supremely, therefore seek to finish your life with a good name (7:1-7)
  • žWhat is future is better than what is past, therefore keep your faith forward-looking (7:1, 8-10)
  • žWisdom offers more to life, therefore devote yourself to grow in wisdom (7:11-14)

Sunday 06.11.17

This Sunday we’ll have Ben Palmer filling in for Pastor Mike. Also, don’t miss out on being a part of our Adrian Manor Nursing Home service at 2:30pm. We hope to see you there!

(We likely won’t have any new posts for the website this week as Pastor Mike will be gone for the Southern Baptist Convention.)

Sunday Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@Noon Widows/Widowers Dinner, hosted by the deacons at Adrian Park, shelter house #3
@230pm Adrian Manor Service
** No Evening Activities at the church this Sunday

The “Faith” of Demons

And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” – Mark 3:11

Large crowds often followed Jesus as a result of healings that people received. Some of these healings included the release from demonic or unclean spirits. Here in his gospel, Mark records that these spirits would cry out truths about who Jesus was.

Also, in Matthew 8:29 we also see demons crying out from within possessed men: “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”

It would seem, then, that at least in some respect demons and unclean spirits have good theology and faith in Jesus, but this didn’t stave off their condemnation. James spoke to this issue in his letter. He wrote, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder” (James 2:19). This is in James’ larger teaching on the role of faith and works.

This is what we find consistently taught through the Bible: We are saved by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone. As James wrote, “Faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26).

What set the faith of the demons apart from those who have faith in Jesus that saves is the works that the faith produces. The demons believed right things about Jesus, but their works set them against the Kingdom of God. People who have a faith that saves have good works that flow from their faith which demonstrate a growing love for Jesus and his Kingdom.

Simply put, if we say that we believe in Jesus but we’re known more for a dislike of people than love, for bitterness more than a joy, for meanness more than kindness, for conflict more than peace, for a lack of control more than self-control, for impatience more than patience, etc., then we have grounds to ask: Is our faith really better than that of the demons?

True belief in Jesus manifests itself in practical love for God and others. How is the fruit of your faith?

New posts in this series will appear most Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

Good Reads 06.07.17 (on: fostering, identity, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On fostering and the church: Foster Children Need the Church by Brittany Lind

The need is enormous, but when you consider that there are roughly 348,067 evangelical churches in America, the 430,000 children-in-foster-care number doesn’t seem quite so daunting. Unfortunately, it’s not a problem that can be solved by simply doing the math and distributing children among churches. Many factors complicate the issue, but the numbers are still fascinating to consider.

The church really can do something to help. While not all may be called to open a home to foster children, there are numerous ways to get involved and be part of the solution. I’ve been incredibly blessed by a meal from a friend on a busy week of social worker visits, or by friends who took the time to get fingerprinted so they could be approved babysitters. Larger group homes may be in financial need to care for the children, or they may have a child in need of a tutor or a counselor. The needs are many and ongoing at every level of the foster care system. Who better to meet those needs than the church? (click here to read more)

On your identity and behavior: Always ‘Be’ Before You ‘Do’ by Jon Bloom

Jesus came with the true gospel and the gift of the new birth to set us free (John 8:32). We must not allow the old, corrupt virus to dictate our lives. We must refuse to “submit again to a yoke of slavery,” by living out of the old “Do. Have. Be.” ethic (Galatians 5:1). “For freedom Christ has set us free,” so let us “stand firm” by living out of the liberating gospel ethic of “Be. Do. Have.” (Galatians 5:1).

When it comes to the source of our identity, discerning and then choosing which operating system governs how we live, we must always “be” first. (click here to read more)

On life in Jesus: Jesus: Living Water by Jonathan Camac

That’s the beauty of the gospel. Jesus makes a way. 

Where joy is found lacking, Jesus provides (John 15:11). Where hope is left wanting, Jesus comes through (Hebrews 6:19). Where help seems absent, Jesus is always present (Matthew 28:20). Where life is cut mortally short, Jesus eternally extends (John 3:16).

Jesus offers us something that nothing in this world can ever offer. Where the world can only promise temporary life and joy, Jesus promises eternal life and joy. And get this. We know for sure that Jesus is not in the business of ripping people off.

Because he offers all this for free. (click here to read more)

On getting rest: Christian Restivisim by Stephen McAlpine

But the radical reality of the gospel is not that it enables us to be activists, but that it enables us to be restivists. It enables us to rest from all our labours (Hebrews4:10); enables us to be something that the secular culture won’t applaud; enables us to be something that our self-righteous, harried hearts feel nervous about, and therefore will shy away from.

Indeed our self-righteous, harried hearts DO shy away from rest, and our church culture seems to be doing everything within its grasp to help us shy away from rest and pursue its own form of evangelical activism.  The defining feature of evangelical churches in the West is not rest. Do I even need to tell you that?  It is not even merely well-considered activism.  It is ill-considered activism.  And it’s burning out church leaders and their flock at a rate of knots. (click here to read more)

Finally, words of wisdom from challies.com:

Challies_June-4-10-02