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Sunday: 9:45 AM Sunday school 11:00 AM Worship 5:00 PM Connection Groups, Children activities, & Youth Activities (Feb - May; Sept-Nov) Wednesday: 11:30 AM Noon Meal, prayer and Bible Study 5:30 pm Evening meal, Prayer and bible study 5:30 Uprising g1bc 6:00 Children's Activities 6:00 - Sanctuary Choir Rehearsal

The latest from First Baptist Church

Stay up to date with the happenings of First Baptist Church by visiting our blog. You'll find information such as announcements, sermon notes and thoughts from our pastor to encourage and challenge your walk with the Lord.


Rhythm of Regular Retreat

by: Matt Alexander

08/14/2019

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I am currently reading through the Gospel of Mark with an intentional focus on the life of Jesus. I have always been quite intrigued by Jesus' rhythm of life and ministry. There is no doubt that a day in the life of Jesus was filled with large crowds of people. Especially as news about him spread across the region, people came from everywhere to see firsthand what he was doing. In Mark 6 we find Jesus feeding some 5,000 people with a few loaves and fish. A miraculous account to say the least! When we read this story we often… read more

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I am currently reading through the Gospel of Mark with an intentional focus on the life of Jesus. I have always been quite intrigued by Jesus' rhythm of life and ministry. There is no doubt that a day in the life of Jesus was filled with large crowds of people. Especially as news about him spread across the region, people came from everywhere to see firsthand what he was doing. In Mark 6 we find Jesus feeding some 5,000 people with a few loaves and fish. A miraculous account to say the least! When we read this story we often focus on the miracle of multiplication but recently I have been awestruck by what follows this account.

Think with me for a moment. Jesus and his disciples have just ministered to several thousand people. Not only have they fed them but they have socialized and ministered to them through relational interaction. Anyone in full time ministry will tell you that such a task is both physically and emotionally draining. I am more of an introvert by nature so I can't imagine how exhausted I would be once the crowds were dispersed. Yet, no matter our personality we can't constantly be giving of ourselves without a pattern of letting ourselves be filled. Jesus knew this best.

In verse 45 Mark says that immediately following this encounter Jesus MADE his disciples get into a boat and go to the other side of the lake. Then once he sent the crowds away he, Jesus, retreated to be alone with the Father and pray. Do you see it?

Jesus was pastoring his disciples by making them get alone and refuel while we would do the same. This act was very intentional to say the least. Jesus knew that in order for himself and his disciples to be able to fully give themselves to ministry they must have regular rhythms of retreat with the Father to fill their souls.

I find a valuable lesson here. I communicate to my ministry staff on a regular basis that they must care for their soul before trying to care for anyone else. What good is an empty vessel?! I am a firm believer that we must have daily time away with the Father but we must also schedule both quarterly and yearly time away to refuel what "ministry" can take out of us.

If Jesus needed it how much more do you and I need it!

A live by a definition of ministry which states: "Ministry is what you leave behind as you follow Jesus." This means I must put Jesus first in everything I do. I must make my walk with him my main priority and then
"ministry" will take care of itself. This is not just for those in vocational ministry but for us all. Every believer is a minister of the Gospel and every believer needs these regular rhythms of retreat in life.

What does this look like for you? Being with people is important, yes. But more important is retreating with the Father so that you can adequately be with people.

Are you caring for your soul?

If not, stop whatever you are doing and seek God's wisdom to build a rhythm of retreat into your life today. You need it and the people around you need it.

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Why Missions?

by: Matt Alexander

07/23/2019

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Our church, like most, has been in a season of taking short term mission trips this summer. These trips have consisted of working alongside local and global partners who are accomplishing great things for the kingdom. It has been a joy to see what God is doing through his faithful servants all across the world. As a pastor, I sometimes hear people ask why we do missions?

I once heard John Piper say that, "Missions exists because worship does not." How true that is! I am firm believer that we should live on mission beginning with our neighbor next door… read more

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Our church, like most, has been in a season of taking short term mission trips this summer. These trips have consisted of working alongside local and global partners who are accomplishing great things for the kingdom. It has been a joy to see what God is doing through his faithful servants all across the world. As a pastor, I sometimes hear people ask why we do missions?

I once heard John Piper say that, "Missions exists because worship does not." How true that is! I am firm believer that we should live on mission beginning with our neighbor next door but when God calls us to go we must be willing to go wherever He leads. We can not dismiss local missions because we love to travel to another culture but neither can we dismiss global missions because it is "too costly." The reason we must do both is because in all places across the globe people are living out their every day lives apart from God.

We were created to worship God alone and when that's not happening a missional force must enter the picture to help show the way. I think Matthew 28 is clear that Jesus has commissioned every believer to live on mission for his kingdom. There is no way that we can faithfully follow Jesus and not be concerned about lost souls. It's so easy to show up at church and "worship" in a comfortable atmosphere and continue to do what is easy but we must not call that Christ-centered discipleship. At best it is just plain disobedience to our Holy God who deserves so much more.

In my years of ministerial service I have heard a wide variety of opinions on the issue of missions. It has always struck me as funny but very disheartening that such opinions exist on something that Jesus has already commanded us to do - go to ALL people. I don't think he left room for our opinions. There are things in our walk with God that we have to pray about before receiving an answer but sharing the Gospel at home and abroad is not one of them. Jesus has already commanded it in scripture and history proves that he is not likely to change his mind today.

A heart that questions whether or not missions should happen in this place or that place is a heart that is not yielded to the superiority of God and his word. Missions must take place everywhere because lost souls cover the planet and the sad reality is that if they remain lost they will spend an eternity in hell separated from God. Quite frankly - the financial cost of missions nor any other sacrifice is ever "too much" if it means a lost soul is saved from an eternal hell. After all, isn't the call of Jesus a call of sacrifice?

So...perhaps next time we are tempted to ask "Why missions?" we instead ask "How can I be used in missions?" The first question has already been answered in God's Word; the second will be answered as the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart. The answer will never be - you are exempt from missions.

God wants to lead us all on missions every day of our lives. In fact, the only way we can stand before him one day and hear "well done" is if we live a surrendered, missional life. Faithfulness to Jesus without missional service is impossible.

You needed Jesus and someone shared him with you - today someone else needs Jesus and you just might be the agent God uses.

That's why missions!

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It's All About Jesus

by: Matt Alexander

07/22/2019

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In Romans 9 Paul begins a powerful discourse relating to the people of Israel. His opening words relay the passion behind the pen. He has great anguish in his heart for his kinsmen. In fact, in verse 3 Paul goes so far as to wish himself cut off from the Gospel for the sake of his Jewish, unbelieving brethren. As we closely examine the context of Paul's teaching we see that he is revealing the hard truth that Israel has been the first recipients of grace and yet they have missed it. Verses 4-5 give an exhaustive list of the… read more

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In Romans 9 Paul begins a powerful discourse relating to the people of Israel. His opening words relay the passion behind the pen. He has great anguish in his heart for his kinsmen. In fact, in verse 3 Paul goes so far as to wish himself cut off from the Gospel for the sake of his Jewish, unbelieving brethren. As we closely examine the context of Paul's teaching we see that he is revealing the hard truth that Israel has been the first recipients of grace and yet they have missed it. Verses 4-5 give an exhaustive list of the blessings of God upon Israel - all leading up to Jesus himself. And yet, Paul's anguish comes from the fact that they did not receive God's gracious bounty. They took the provisions of God as personal blessings of superiority instead of blessings of eternal salvation meant for all people.

It would be easy for us to point the finger and cast shame at Israel for not understanding that the blessings of God were meant to point them to the Messiah. We must be careful, though, lest we do the same. How often do we pass over the blessings of God? How many times do we open the text of scripture and then continue on with life as we know it? How often do we miss Jesus on a daily basis?

I fear that many of us miss Jesus just like the Israelites have missed Jesus. I read a "scholarly" article last week which stated that the Old Testament is really not about Jesus. Brothers and sisters, IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS! Your life today is about Jesus. The decisions you make will either bring God glory or promote your own selfish ends. If you bear the name of Christ then you have a new position in life and that position is all about Jesus.

Today, don't let the blessings of God lead you to prideful superiority. Instead, let them lead you to your knees as you worship the only one worthy - the Savior of your sin. Get in the Word of God. Put your faith in action. Share the Gospel. And remember above all - JESUS!

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Are You Among the Wise Men?

by: Matt Alexander

12/14/2018

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Matthew 2:1-12 introduces a set of very important characters to the Christmas story. Magi come from the East to worship the newborn Son of God. Tradition has often taught us that there were three of these men who made the long journey with expensive gifts. However, as with any Biblical story we should examine the text of scripture itself and not tradition alone. We often associate three wise men because there were three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. However, there could have been two men with three gifts or multiple men with three gifts. The point is we simply… read more

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Matthew 2:1-12 introduces a set of very important characters to the Christmas story. Magi come from the East to worship the newborn Son of God. Tradition has often taught us that there were three of these men who made the long journey with expensive gifts. However, as with any Biblical story we should examine the text of scripture itself and not tradition alone. We often associate three wise men because there were three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. However, there could have been two men with three gifts or multiple men with three gifts. The point is we simply do not know the number of wise men but neither is it necessary.

What we learn from these men is far more important than trying to figure out their number.

The wise men come with costly gifts to worship Jesus despite Herod’s attempts to use them as informants. Herod was powerful. He held the cards and could determine the outcome of whomever he wished. The magi, however, believed that something supernatural was happening in Bethlehem that was of far more importance than the orders of Herod. One could assume that many people were visiting Bethlehem in these days just to get a glimpse of what was taking place. The wise men were not journeying to Bethlehem to be nosey, they were coming because Jesus was worthy. The magi were expected to give allegiance to Herod, instead they are bowing at the feet of Jesus with their very best.

What a way to live! Are you bringing your very best to Jesus on a daily basis despite man’s attempts to rob your joy and diminish your witness? We think of presents at Christmas namely because God gave us the best present of all but also because these earthly magi bring their best to Jesus. We can be so guilty of giving our best to our boss, our country, or our hobbies and leaving the rest to God.

God alone deserves your best. If God is getting the best of your time, energy, and resources then everyone else in your life will feel valued as well. I love Christmas because it means the Gospel is available to all. I love celebrating Christmas with my family because I love seeing the joy on their faces as they open that gift that I knew was the perfect one. What a solemn reminder to live each day with the awareness that every day is Christmas. I must live to bring joy to God above all. I must not seek man’s approval that is fleeting but God’s approval that is everlasting. I do this by bringing my best to God each and every day and in so doing find myself among the wise men.

Are you among the wise men?

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Guest Post: Who's Beside us at the Table? A Look Into the Ministry of Hospitality

by: Matt Alexander

12/08/2018

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I was born in the hospitality state, I’m a Southern Baptist pastor’s wife, and I can whip up a magazine worthy casserole in minutes. Hospitality is my spiritual gift.

As a child I remember dreaming of perfectly placed coffee tables, dining room centerpieces, and kitchen floor plans. I spent many years thinking the “Great Wall of China” was in the wedding section of every department store! Registering from that great wall was easy - I’d known exactly what I wanted for years, and I was so eager to get married so I could finally practice hospitality. Romans 12:13 was… read more

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I was born in the hospitality state, I’m a Southern Baptist pastor’s wife, and I can whip up a magazine worthy casserole in minutes. Hospitality is my spiritual gift.

As a child I remember dreaming of perfectly placed coffee tables, dining room centerpieces, and kitchen floor plans. I spent many years thinking the “Great Wall of China” was in the wedding section of every department store! Registering from that great wall was easy - I’d known exactly what I wanted for years, and I was so eager to get married so I could finally practice hospitality. Romans 12:13 was read at our wedding,

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality”

and you better believe I had serving fancy food on that fine china in mind. All 25 place settings of it.

I was eager to show hospitality the way I’d always perceived it - with a focus on my home more than my heart.

The word Scripture uses for hospitality is translated to mean “love to strangers.” And strangers means, strangers. A person whom one does not know or with whom one is not familiar. I was quick to call myself hospitable but I’m afraid a close examination would prove that I was simply really good at loving people who are like me. And there is so much good in that. However, the severity of the poverty levels in our zip codes and the homelessness of the strangers right around us prove one thing - we’re not doing hospitality the way Jesus did.

As I began to search, I found: the outline for the ministry of hospitality is found through Scripture loving, not Southern Living. If we’re selective of the love we show, our “hospitality” does nothing more than reveal the haughtiness of our hearts. The aim of hospitality shouldn’t be to show how kind our churches, civic clubs, communities or families are. The aim of our hospitality should be to show how kind Jesus is.

The New Testament is full of commands to the church to practice hospitality but perhaps the most striking is when Jesus paints a picture of Heaven and shows how our earthly hospitality matters in eternity.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these of my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:34-35

We serve them, because He has so richly served us.

There will be a day when the King of all welcomes us to His heavenly table prepared for us. How we live before we get there determines who could be sitting beside us. Let us allow the hospitality He’s shown us be the foundation for the hospitality we show to strangers around us. Let us share His love with them at our tables, and pray that one day we’ll share His joy with them at His table.

- Virginia www.virginialittlealexander.com


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Christmas Presence

by: Matt Alexander

12/05/2018

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One of my favorite scriptures surrounding the Christmas story is Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased to dwell.” This worshipful pronouncement from the angelic messengers declares the Gospel in a nutshell. The story of Christmas is the message of the Gospel. Jesus came because mankind is sinful and Jesus’ work brought glory to God in the highest. Christmas is about the presence of Jesus which glorifies God and brings peace to man.

Luke 2:14 should not be reserved only for the Christmas story. It should… read more

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One of my favorite scriptures surrounding the Christmas story is Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased to dwell.” This worshipful pronouncement from the angelic messengers declares the Gospel in a nutshell. The story of Christmas is the message of the Gospel. Jesus came because mankind is sinful and Jesus’ work brought glory to God in the highest. Christmas is about the presence of Jesus which glorifies God and brings peace to man.

Luke 2:14 should not be reserved only for the Christmas story. It should be an anthem of our lives on a daily basis. No matter how put together we may try to be, we desperately need God. One of the most practical truths I have ever heard was when a former pastor shared with me that “everyone is broken, just in different ways.” It’s amazing to me how many Christians “come to God” and then pretend like they have become some sort of standard by which others must be judged. This is as far from the Gospel as one could possibly get. We are all broken. My brokenness may look different than yours and yours may look different than the beggar on the street but all brokenness needs mending. Our brokenness is in need of peace with God and this is just what Jesus accomplished.

The mending work of Jesus brought glory to God because only God could provide the answer to our extreme brokenness. Jesus lived his life for an audience of one. He was not a people pleaser, he was a Father pleaser. Jesus was fully surrendered to the will of God and thus you and I have peace with God today. The presence of Jesus has eternally altered the reality of all who would call on His name.

It is my desire this Christmas to focus more on the presence of Jesus than any presents that might be shared. The presence of Jesus is the only gift that can make you and I more faithful in 2019. The presence of Jesus has brought us peace with God, therefore may we determine to live our lives only for the glory of God.

In Him,

Matt

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Daddy, I Love You

by: Matt Alexander

11/27/2018

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As I sit at my computer on this rainy day in a foreign country I constantly hear our expressive child speak words that we don’t understand interjected with “daddy, daddy, daddy….I love you.” His mother and I began teaching him this very important phrase on the first day we met him. It did not take him long to understand it’s meaning as we would use it interchangeably with the native form. Whether he is in the middle of a bath, getting dressed, or eating lunch he doesn’t stop declaring his feelings for his forever father and mother. There are days… read more

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As I sit at my computer on this rainy day in a foreign country I constantly hear our expressive child speak words that we don’t understand interjected with “daddy, daddy, daddy….I love you.” His mother and I began teaching him this very important phrase on the first day we met him. It did not take him long to understand it’s meaning as we would use it interchangeably with the native form. Whether he is in the middle of a bath, getting dressed, or eating lunch he doesn’t stop declaring his feelings for his forever father and mother. There are days that the constant repetition has a way of being quite agitating, yet we will never tire of hearing these words. Why? Because though he feels something special between himself and these two strangers who can’t speak his language, we feel it so much more. Our love driven by the adoptive love of God is what brought us to this place.

Romans 8:15 says “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba,[a] Father!” Paul says a mouthful in this context but what he wants his readers to understand is that their spiritual adoption has changed everything about who they are and how they are to live. Paul uses the most endearing term for God found in all of scripture, ABBA. This relates to our English equivalent of “daddy.” God has replaced fear with trust for his children.

Over the last week we have watched our child move from a place of fear to a place of extreme trust. The day we arrived at his foster home and took him away from the only stability he has known for 4 years of his life was fearful. The first nap and bath time were fearful. The simple act of getting dressed in new clothes he had never seen was fearful. Yet, little by little he began to trust that we were taking care of his needs and would never harm him, let him go hungry, or purposefully put him in danger’s way. There is something special about the rejoicing that happens when your child finally trusts you enough to take a nap in your presence. We still have such a long way to go but hearing the simple words “I love you” makes it all worth it!

Do you realize today that God’s adoption of you enables you to relate to him as “daddy.” You no longer have to fear – anything. He will never let you down. He will always provide for you. He has your very best at heart and he will move heaven and earth to prove it. I know this because He already has.

We must turn from the fearful places of life, trust Him more completely, and never stop declaring “daddy, daddy, daddy…I love you.” If this earthly daddy never gets tired of hearing it how much more does God want to hear it!

In Him,

Matt

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Who Are Deacons?

by: Matt Alexander

11/14/2018

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Who are Deacons?

Each year we come to this very important time in the life of our church – deacon elections. I almost cringe to use the word “election” in connection with the word “deacon.” It has been my experience in some places that choosing deacons has indeed been an electoral environment – all about popularity with no regard to Biblical qualifications or the high standard of ministerial service.

In Acts we discover that deacons were first called because the apostles were stretched far too thin. Widows were getting overlooked because the needs of the ministry were too great. The apostles… read more

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Who are Deacons?

Each year we come to this very important time in the life of our church – deacon elections. I almost cringe to use the word “election” in connection with the word “deacon.” It has been my experience in some places that choosing deacons has indeed been an electoral environment – all about popularity with no regard to Biblical qualifications or the high standard of ministerial service.

In Acts we discover that deacons were first called because the apostles were stretched far too thin. Widows were getting overlooked because the needs of the ministry were too great. The apostles could not devote themselves to prayer and study while at the same time helping the poor all within a 24-hour day. As any modern minister understands, they needed help. In 1 Timothy, Paul outlines very clearly who these men are to be. They are to be above reproach, upstanding, and spiritually mature. In essence they should be men focused on God who possess a servant’s heart. The word “deacon” is translated “servant.”

Deacons are called to be helpful hands and feet so that ministry does not get overlooked. Deacons are called to support the pastoral ministry of the church with full integrity.

When I graduated from seminary I joined a church staff terrified to attend my first deacons meeting. Somehow, I seemed to always hear ill reports and see bad attitudes concerning this group of men at large. It wasn’t until I walked into a room of 50+ deacons my first week on a church staff after seminary graduation that I saw differently. For over an hour I heard man after man discuss the needs of his church and his community. Over the next 13 months of that internship I was blessed to witness these men acting on the words shared in these monthly meetings. It was the norm for myself or another staff member to show up for a hospital visit to learn that at least one deacon had already been there. This is when I learned what a true deacon really was.

From that point forward, I had a new perspective and a new expectation from deacon ministry. I am thankful for the servant hearted men of FBCG who serve well in the true calling of deacon. It’s crucial that we let this be a holy time of aligning our hearts with God’s so that ministry happens in Greenville and beyond. Let’s fast, pray, and go straight to scripture over the next week for the men God already has in store to serve our church and our community as we advance the Gospel together.

In Him,

Matt

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Lord, Make Me a Stephen

by: Matt Alexander

10/02/2018

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I have always been intrigued and somewhat convicted by the story of Stephen. In Acts 6 the disciples find themselves in a predicament. There are more needs to be met than hands to meet them. The church is growing at a fast pace and there is no way the disciples can prepare sermons, spend time in prayer, and be available to minister to everyone in need at the same time. They are simply spread too thin. Anyone who has ever served in vocational ministry has certainly felt this struggle at some point.

The disciples decide to choose 7 men of… read more

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I have always been intrigued and somewhat convicted by the story of Stephen. In Acts 6 the disciples find themselves in a predicament. There are more needs to be met than hands to meet them. The church is growing at a fast pace and there is no way the disciples can prepare sermons, spend time in prayer, and be available to minister to everyone in need at the same time. They are simply spread too thin. Anyone who has ever served in vocational ministry has certainly felt this struggle at some point.

The disciples decide to choose 7 men of upstanding moral character, full of the spirit & wisdom, and willing to serve. Seven men who will help the disciples minister to the needy while the disciples devote their time to prayer and preparation for teaching the church. What we find in this context is the calling and ordination of the first deacons, of which Stephen was numbered.

Throughout the rest of chapter 6 and the entirety of chapter 7 we find certain "religious" folk at a point of contention with Stephen. We are told that Stephen was "full of grace and power" (6:8) and that the religious-political groups "could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking." (6:10) Wow! Stephen was so filled with God that it was not only evident but it was a powerful tool for the kingdom and threat to the worldly establishment.

In chapter 7 Stephen gives an excellent exposition of Old Testament history which ends not with a flood of people coming forward to repent but instead a mob coming forward to stone him to death. The text says "when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him." (7:54) Talk about upsetting the status quo! Stephen is chosen as a deacon and he takes his calling and commitment so seriously that it actually costs him his life not long after his ordination. That is Christian service worthy of the Gospel.

We may not serve as a deacon but the application is for us all. We need more Stephen's in the church today. Men and women who understand what God has called them to and who un-apologetically live it out even when it costs them everything. If the church today is going to not only survive but thrive in a world of contention we have got to forsake religious tradition and mere talk and truly live in the footsteps of Jesus. Today, it seems as if everyone wants to be in charge and get the applause when things go well but no one wants to serve and give up their life for the calling of God. True Christianity is about service that comes with a price.

I fear that for far too long our prayers in the church have been for God to make us great in the line of some "successful" spiritual hero who has thousands of followers and has sold millions of books. Somehow we think that if we speak the Word of God that it will make us popular and well liked. Most often, the contrary is true. The Word of God is offensive to man because it reveals sin and man's need for something he doesn't have. Stephen was faithful to not only speak the Word but live the Word and it cost him his life. Yet, they could not take his soul. Earthly ridicule can never rob you of heavenly rejoicing.

There have been times in my ministry were I selfishly feared how certain 'key people" (as if that's a real thing in God's eyes) in the church might respond negatively to my stand on the Word of God. In those moments the Spirit quickly reminded me that the only approval that comes from being asked to leave a ministry is when you are asked to leave because you stay true to the Word of God. May we never serve God for man's applause. May we always stay true to the Word of God for heaven's applause.

It may just be that greatness in the kingdom of God is for God to make us like Stephen - everyday men and women called by God to do things that cost us everything we have on earth but the payoff is all of the rewards of heaven.

Simply put - Lord, make me a Stephen today.

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The Discipline of Prayer

by: Matt Alexander

08/27/2018

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Discipline is needed to grow in any area of life. Few students excel academically without the discipline of study. An athlete must be disciplined to train and practice in order to be a leader in the game. An employee must show discipline in order to do well in the workforce. We may not always like living a disciplined life but we can not deny the value it brings to any area of our day to day practice. It is no less in our spiritual life.

If you have never read The Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster I highly recommend… read more

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Discipline is needed to grow in any area of life. Few students excel academically without the discipline of study. An athlete must be disciplined to train and practice in order to be a leader in the game. An employee must show discipline in order to do well in the workforce. We may not always like living a disciplined life but we can not deny the value it brings to any area of our day to day practice. It is no less in our spiritual life.

If you have never read The Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster I highly recommend it. Foster outlines key spiritual disciplines that must be a part of any disciples life. I am confident that prayer is at the top of the list.

Prayer is the lifeblood of a successful Christian journey.

We have far too often taken prayer for granted in the 21st century church. We have demoted prayer to a ritual that we do before a meal, bedtime, or the Sunday offering. We act as if we owe it to God to offer up some words in order to appease him so that he will help us get through the day. This is a long stretch from what we find in scripture.

All throughout the pages of God's Word prayer is the key to a healthy - intimate relationship with the Father. God doesn't need us to pray, instead we need prayer to align us with God. Prayer is a spiritual discipline not only because it is necessary in order to walk with the Father but also because it is a key area the enemy attacks in the life of any Christian. Satan knows that if he can keep God's people from praying then he can thwart their effectiveness for the Kingdom of God. On the other hand, the greatest encouragement a believer can receive is to know that he is giving his heart to God in prayer as well as being prayed for by other believers. A dear sweet lady in our church sends me a text message every morning with a specific prayer she is praying over me for the day. Words can not adequately share what that does for my heart. Prayer moves us to great places - God places.

How disciplined is your prayer life? Are your prayers honest and from the heart? Are your prayers consistently aligned to seeking the Father's will? Do you seek to change God in your prayers or let God change you?

The above questions have been a constant conviction on my heart for a long season of my spiritual walk. The Holy Spirit has been teaching me that without deep, intimate, abiding prayer I will not be the husband, father, man, or pastor that he has called me to be.

I need God, therefore, I need prayer.

My personality tends to fall more on the systematically organized side of things. I need some type of plan to follow in order to do well most days. Thus, when it comes to my prayer life I have found that the following prayer plan helps me stay disciplined and focused. Discipline in your life may look totally different but for me this works. Let me disclose, however, that the point of this is not to become legalistic or ritualistic. If the Holy Spirit is truly meeting us in prayer then we are free to adapt however He leads (and most days much adaptation takes place). My overall plan for the week is structured in the following way:

Monday - My prayer focus in my wife and my marriage.

Tuesday - My prayer focus is our adoption journey and the future children God would intrust to our care.

Wednesday - My prayer focus is the church I pastor and each of the ministries we oversee.

Thursday - My prayer focus is for missions and all of the missionaries serving in North America and throughout the world.

Friday - My prayer focus is our government and leaders.

Saturday - My prayer focus is simply praise and preparation for my heart to be ready to worship on Sunday.

Sunday - My prayer focus is that the Word of God will delivered in such a way that Jesus will be exalted and lost souls will find salvation.

Again, this is simply an outline as much as it is a work in progress. Each of these days contain very specific prayers dealing with the focal point of the day. Many times the Spirit impresses much more on my heart and the daily plan is always finding fluidity under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Some days I find myself failing more than I am faithful but God remains the same.

At the very least I hope this helps you think about how God would lead you to grow in the discipline of prayer. Your prayer life may not look like mine but please don't neglect to be growing in the discipline of prayer.

You need God, therefore, you need prayer.


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The Path to Greatness

by: Matt Alexander

08/21/2018

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Greatness is defined as "the quality of being great, distinguished, or eminent." In life greatness is set before us as a noble goal worthy of achievement. Striving to be great is rewarded in academics, athletics, and every realm of society. Those who desire to stand above the rest are viewed as exemplary as they set a worthy standard for others. Desiring to be great is rarely seen as a negative flaw of anyone's character.

In Luke 9:46-48 Jesus found the disciples conversing over the issue of greatness. This conversation quickly escalated into an argument over who would be the greatest… read more

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Greatness is defined as "the quality of being great, distinguished, or eminent." In life greatness is set before us as a noble goal worthy of achievement. Striving to be great is rewarded in academics, athletics, and every realm of society. Those who desire to stand above the rest are viewed as exemplary as they set a worthy standard for others. Desiring to be great is rarely seen as a negative flaw of anyone's character.

In Luke 9:46-48 Jesus found the disciples conversing over the issue of greatness. This conversation quickly escalated into an argument over who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of God. They wanted to be the one who stood above all the rest in God's eyes. Then, at just the right time, Jesus interrupts them by taking a child in his arms to illustrate the true picture of greatness before God. A child - small, fragile, and with little to offer. A child - one who often represents lack of maturity. A child - one who is needy. A child - one who is yet to receive a full education. A child - one with no income. A child - one whom the temple leaders would likely never put in a place of spiritual leadership.

And yet, Jesus used a child to represent who is great in the Kingdom of God.

Jesus' words should resound in our ears. As he placed this child before these argumentative disciples he said, "Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me." Don't miss this next part: "For he who is least among you all is the one who is great." Did you hear that?

Jesus completely redefined greatness. He did not say that we shouldn't strive for spiritual greatness, that we should remain childlike in our faith, or not pursue worthy goals of Godliness. In fact, all of those are marks of spiritual greatness in the Kingdom of God. However, Jesus said the definition of greatness in God's kingdom is HUMILITY.

We dare not look at our religious rituals, spiritual accomplishments, church service, or any other earthly mark of greatness to define where we stand in the kingdom of God. Instead we must constantly check ourselves against God's thermometer of humility. Are we daily putting others before ourselves? Are we, like Jesus, ready and willing to get on our knees, take a basin of water, and wash the feet of those who stand before us.

The enemy desires to speak into our lives today and cause us to fix our gaze on works and duties in order to define spiritual greatness. He knows if we do this then pride will quickly take hold in our lives. The moment pride takes up residence then we become useless in the Kingdom of God. Jesus, however, desires to speak into our lives today today and lead us to humble service. He wants us to respond to him as a child - needy, dependent, and willing to follow his requests.

He desires for us to live this day putting others needs before our own. As we do that - we just might find that we are being used by God in great ways to further his kingdom on earth.

Today, don't let the world define greatness for you. Let God define it within you. Let's get our eyes off of ourselves and fix our gaze on Jesus. He will keep us humble, equip us to serve, and lead us to the place of exaltation in the Kingdom of God.

That, my friend, is far better than any earthly measure of greatness.

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When Temptation Comes: A Word to My Brothers

by: Matt Alexander

08/13/2018

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1 John 2:15-17

What is your greatest temptation? That might seem like a loaded question. As I have ministered to and discipled men for quite some time I have found that men are under attack. The first ordination of God is marriage and the home. In the first few chapters of Genesis we find God creating Adam as the pinnacle of his creation but something was lacking, a suitable helper for man. The only thing that God said was not good was the loneliness of man. The viable option was to create a woman from his side. God then joined the… read more

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1 John 2:15-17

What is your greatest temptation? That might seem like a loaded question. As I have ministered to and discipled men for quite some time I have found that men are under attack. The first ordination of God is marriage and the home. In the first few chapters of Genesis we find God creating Adam as the pinnacle of his creation but something was lacking, a suitable helper for man. The only thing that God said was not good was the loneliness of man. The viable option was to create a woman from his side. God then joined the two together in a holy union that is incomparable to any other earthly relationship. God highly values marriage. He ordained Adam to be the head of the home to lead in Godliness and it did not take long for Satan to notice.

From the very beginning, the enemy has been out to destroy the holy foundation of the home. He attacked Adam and Eve in a very subtle way and he is still doing so today. I believe strongly that healthy churches are comprised of healthy homes. If we are going to have healthy homes we have to be healthy men who know our calling, live our calling, and protect our calling.

John has given the first century church a great warning in 1 John 2:15-17. Failure to recognize the attacks of the enemy will lead to spiritual demise. The desire of the flesh, desire of the eyes, and the pride of life are the same three temptations Satan used in the beginning and has been using throughout the course of history. Don’t be foolish and unaware. Satan is out to get you because if he can attack Godly men he can weaken the home. If he can weaken the home he can cripple the church.

Jesus offered such warning in terms of total execution of the things that trip you up. Whatever is leading your flesh astray – run from it. Whatever is causing your eyes to wander – remove it. Whatever is bringing pride into your life – destroy it.

With the indwelling of the Holy Spirit you can defeat temptation today because Jesus has already conquered the enemy.

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Welcome To The New First Baptist Church Website

by: Alan Berry

02/12/2018

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We are so excited to present our newly designed website. As you can see, it has a fresh new look and easy navigation to help you get the information you need quickly and efficiently. Many thanks to the ChurchSpring team for helping us launch such a beautiful new church website. To God be the glory!

First Baptist Church's mission is to meet people at the crossroads of life with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to help one another along the journey of spiritual growth. Please let us know how we can help you.

There's still a lot… read more

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We are so excited to present our newly designed website. As you can see, it has a fresh new look and easy navigation to help you get the information you need quickly and efficiently. Many thanks to the ChurchSpring team for helping us launch such a beautiful new church website. To God be the glory!

First Baptist Church's mission is to meet people at the crossroads of life with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to help one another along the journey of spiritual growth. Please let us know how we can help you.

There's still a lot of information to be added, and we hope to keep the site fresh and up to date. If you have any ideas about how we can improve the site or use it better, please leave a comment below.

If you're a first time visitor to our website, we would love to have you visit our church this Sunday. You'll get a warm welcome and a wonderful Gospel message. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to give us a call at 662-334-9452 or send an email to fbc@fbcgreenville.net.

From all of us at First Baptist Church, welcome to our new church website.



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