How to Find A Good Church?

So you are looking for a new church?  This is a common issue.  So what do you look for in a church? As a pastor I am always shocked or surprised about how Christians go about looking for a church.  Most of the time it is very self centered!  I am sure I could write a whole blog on reasons why people join a church.  Instead of looking at the negative side, I would like to focus on applicable ways to truly find a TRUE church in your area!

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1.  You Must Plan

When looking for a job, a wife, a source of entertainment there is always a plan!  At your future job you may ask questions like how much money am I will to be paid minimum?  What hours would I be willing to work?  What are the benefits?  Is there are retirement program?  What is the insurance like?

These are all great questions to be asked.  And probably MUST be asked.  We would ask like questions in regards to our marriage  and entertainment choices. We would study things out before we jump into a situation we do not want to be in.  We make a diligent and disciplined effort to make sure we are making the right choice.

However, when it comes to make one of the MOST important choices of your life,we do not have a plan of action!  So here are a few thoughts on how to make a plan.

  • Know What You Believe
  • Write a Formal Written Plan
  • Make Sure You Know What the Non-Negotiables Are

Understanding these 3 points is really important to your success in finding a church.  Make sure you keep the MAIN things the MAIN thing.  Too often people make the main things the negotiable, and their own personal preferences the NON-negotiables!  These people are plaguing themselves with churches that will falter on the True teaching of God’s Word.  These churches often focus more on Man centered worship than Christ centered worship.

2.  You Must Use Tools

 

Talk to your neighbors or get on the internet!  These are VALUABLE resources and cannot be neglected.  If you talk to your neighbors and they do not have a church, it makes it a GREAT transition to share with them the Gospel.

The internet is such a valuable tool…that is if the church has a website.  You can often listen to sermons or music from their church, and get an overall feel of what they are like.  However, in some cases this should not be your final decision maker.  Often the websites are very basic in information.  You may be able to get a general idea of doctrine, but the overall atmosphere is something that can ONLY be understood through walking through the front door.

 

3.  You Must Be Diligent

Treat finding a church like you would finding a job.  This church is going to be your spiritual influence!  You need to make sure that you leave not stone left unturned.  At the same time, make sure that you do not just visit one week and make that your church!  Visit several churches, and visit them multiple times.

 

4.  Make it a TOP Priority

Choosing a True church is NOT a small thing.  And it is not necessarily easy!  We must understand what the purpose of church is!  It is for the strengthening of ourselves through the GENUINE preaching of the Gospel.  The Word of God is something that needs to be the center of the church.  If the Word of God is not being preaching, opened, or expounded than you are not going to be stretched like you should!
If you are more focused on programs than the preaching of the Word of God, you will end up in a church that is shallow and will not teach you to stretch yourself spiritually.  The goal of a Christian and going to church is too stretch themselves to be more like Christ. It is not a social gathering and it is NOT about entertainment.  Do not exchange TRUTH for entertainment.

 

 

For more information on Carbon Valley Bible Church please go to cvbiblechurch.com or call 303-736-9959

 

 

 

 

What We Can Learn From Duck Dynasty

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It is no doubt that Duck Dynasty is taking the world by storm!  You cannot get around the great characters in SI, Jase, and Willy!   Si who always has a pitcher of ice tea, Jase who always has something up his sleeve in pulling pranks on Willy, and Willy who has to take care of all of the stooges in the company. So “Hey, Jack” why is this such a great hit and what can we learn from them?

Well it has nothing to do with their crazy antics.  It is interesting to me how many posts I see about Duck Dynasty on Facebook.  Just this morning I flipped open Facebook and within 5 minutes I saw at least 5 posts about last nights episode.  It is no doubt that this show is taking us by storm.  And by us, I mean Christians!

What is also amazing to me is how many posts I see online about how godly these men are.  How they are strong on their stance for God.  How they love the Lord.  How they hate abortion.  I have seen countless videos posted about these men preaching, teaching, and telling others about their relationship with Christ. Obviously there is nothing wrong with this.  I am glad that with this great audience that these men have, that they do take the stand for Christ.  It reminds me a lot of how Tim Tebow has taken a stance for his Christian walk in the sports arena.  The world has flocked to his spiritual character.

What absolutely baffles me is how accepting that we are of these men.  And why?  because they are professional entertainers, they are funny, and they have a hit TV shows.  Now you may be stumped as to what in the world I am talking about.  Well if you are a typical traditional…the mere fact that they have beards and long hair should appall you, it should anger you, it should make your stomachs turn!

Now you may say what?!  Well these have always been signs of rebellion in the heart of a Christian in the Fundamental circles, but for whatever reason, these men are not looked down upon, but rather lifted in praise because of their godly lives and Christian stance.  Now I am not saying that we should all go out and get long hair or whatever, but I am saying is that we can learn something from this acceptance!

See we have traditionally been legalistic by putting people into a certain mold that aligns with what we think spirituality should look like!  But what is interesting about that is that we have been SO consumed with trying to make people spiritual, that we have actually forgotten to really be concerned with their true spirituality.  We accept these characters on Duck Dynasty!  No, we embrace them!  But yet you never hear anything negative about their long hair and beards, but rather just throw out there that it is part of the character.  See when it comes down to it, we know that if we see true spiritual character, we throw out the looks.  When we see something we like, we throw out the looks, and when we see something that tugs on our humor bone, we throw out the looks.

However, the spiritual side of things has been something that God has been telling us for years!

1 Samuel 16:7

“7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

See this should be our mind set as well…As the person grows in the Lord, the Lord will teach them whether or not they should have a certain look or not.  As they are driven to Christ they will be taught and convicted by the Lord if they need to change something.  You see it is NOT our job to tell someone how they should or should not look to a degree! What a Believer should do is show them love and biblical principles and allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives.  See we interested in their spiritual life according to God’s standard and not our own agenda.  Instead of making them what we want to make them, we should show them and drive them to what God wants for them.

We should expect spiritual growth from a person and some of that growth will indeed change their outward appearance, but we must make sure that we pick the right battles in a Christians life.  Is it more important that they look a certain way or that they get over a sexual addiction, or a sinful habit?  In fact God expects them to change. But we should expect them to change how God wants them to change.  Fight the fights that matter not the fights that only change the outward appearance.  Only focusing on the outward man produces rebellion in the inward man.

So what can we learn for Duck Dynasty…simple, if we can accept them and say they are spiritual, then what can this teach us about those who are around us all the time at our churches?  Well show them love, the Bible, and biblical principles and allow the Lord to change them!  Quit focusing on the outward appearance and focus on the things that have eternal value!

P.S.  By the way a beard in Scripture was a sign of manliness!

2 Samuel 10:4-14

So Hanun took David’s servants and shaved off half the beard of each and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away. When it was told David, he sent to meet them, for the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, “Remain at Jericho until your beards have grown and then return.”

When the Ammonites saw that they had become a stench to David, the Ammonites sent and hired the Syrians of Beth-rehob, and the Syrians of Zobah, 20,000 foot soldiers, and the king of Maacah with 1,000 men, and the men of Tob, 12,000 men. And when David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the host of the mighty men. And the Ammonites came out and drew up in battle array at the entrance of the gate, and the Syrians of Zobah and of Rehob and the men of Tob and Maacah were by themselves in the open country.

When Joab saw that the battle was set against him both in front and in the rear, he chose some of the best men of Israel and arrayed them against the Syrians. 10 The rest of his men he put in the charge of Abishai his brother, and he arrayed them against the Ammonites. 11 And he said, “If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me, but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come and help you. 12 Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” 13 So Joab and the people who were with him drew near to battle against the Syrians, and they fled before him. 14 And when the Ammonites saw that the Syrians fled, they likewise fled before Abishai and entered the city. Then Joab returned from fighting against the Ammonites and came to Jerusalem.

For more information on Carbon Valley Bible Church please go to cvbiblechurch.com or call 303-736-9959

Find our church on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Firestone-Baptist-Church/203757890870

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Why Video Games are Destroying Society: A part of the Destruction of the Christian Culture

https://i2.wp.com/static.ddmcdn.com/gif/best-games-never-made-6.jpg I can tell you now that I will have many friends and former youth group members, that I was their youth pastor, that will not be happy about this post.  I am sure as soon as they see the title they are rolling their eyes or are angry from me posting this. But as we move on with society, I can see that this era of video games will end up being part of the destruction of our Christian society. I will tell you right now that many of these people who are angry, will probably pull up Google and type in the search bar, “the benefits of playing video games.”  Now before you do that, may I suggest to you that this is not about physical health or mental health.  There has been many studies that are posted all over the internet about these issues.  This is not about the camaraderie that these gamers may feel with each other.  This not about your gang or clan or community that one may be a part of.  This is also not entirely about violence or the sexual content in games. This at first may seem like something that is rather trivial and trite.  This may be something that someone may think that I am trying to push my personal agenda or that I am trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill.  Some may even think that this may be something like the movie theater debate that has gone on for the last 100 years.  “Show me the proof from God’s Word that gaming is wrong!”  But this is much farther than that I believe.  This not a small battle about something that at the end of the day has no validity. May I first say, that I am not anti-gaming.  I do think they have a time and a place. However, everything has to be in balance.  I think this digs much deeper that just whether or not our society plays video games.  Ultimately it is about how video games and the video gaming community is and will be detrimental to the health of the church and of the Christian society. This actually causes two problems within Christianity.  The first is that it will be part of the destruction of the Christian culture.  The second being that this is an unreached community of people, that the church is going to have a hard time reaching.  These two problems can cause major problems and I believe in epic proportions.   Now you may read that and laugh, but let me help you understand where I am coming from. This gaming community has largely become a rather introverted community.  This community can play for hours upon hours at a time, locked away in the rooms, offices, and basements playing these video games of all sorts.  They are constantly thinking of video games.  And now with the advancement of technology they can take video games with them anywhere and everywhere they go.  They spend hours upon hours trying to rank up, get to the next level, beat the final boss, and trying to get the latest feature.  If they are part of the smart phone market they are even spending money to help them make these advancements through the games that they are playing. This introverted mentality is sweeping the nation and sweeping the earth.  The video gaming industry racks in well over 41 Billion dollars annually globally.  What is scary about this is who this is influencing.  This market you would think would be sweeping into our teens and children.  However, the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) has completely different statistics.

  • 67% of all households play video games
  • 49% of those who play games are between the ages of 18-49
  • 25% were under 18
  • 26% were over 50

I am not sure if those number shock you, but they should.  If you notice the number of the least amount of players is actually the teenage!  Most video game players are those who are classified as adults by ALL scenarios.  Why does this pose such a threat to Christianity?  Have you ever heard of the thought that the Young Marrieds and College and Career show a healthy church?  As a church planter, I can tell you this indeed is true!  Young People attract all people when it comes to church. If a church has young people in it, that typically tells the rest of the area, that this church is culturally relevant.  For more reading on culturally relevant please click HERE. Personally I am scared because of these frightening statistics. “The National Center for Health Marketing at the Centers for Disease Control was the strong correlation between regular gaming and internet use, and increased risk for depression, higher body mass index (BMI), and other negative physical and mental health issues. Women who regularly played video games had both higher levels of depression and lower overall health status compared with women who didn’t play, and men who concentrated time on the console were more likely to have elevated BMI and report more time spent on the internet than men who weren’t gamers. Overall there were more male than female video game devotees (55.9% of those who reported playing regularly in this survey were men), but for both men and women, regular gaming was strongly correlated with a higher dependence on the internet for social interaction.” The last phrase of the previous quote scares me, it says that the gamers had a higher dependance on the internet for social interaction.  According to a survey conducted by video game price comparison site Playr2.com, gamers age 18 – 40 may end up dedicating almost two years of their lives playing video games. The company conducted a survey of 1,452 of its members, asking a variety of questions about their gaming habits. The survey found that the average gamer will spend about 1.8 years of their life playing games on various platforms. What this is doing to the Christian community is that instead of driving them out of their four walls of their home, it is driving them farther and farther inside and for more and more time.  I know this may seem small, but in the great cause that Christ has called us, this could be catastrophic. You may think that is over the top or exaggerating.  But as a Christians we must consider our greatest purpose.  If our time is consumed with beating the next boss, or leveling up and we forget the Gospel, what have we become?  If our churches are filled with video game minds rather than the minds of Christ, where will this lead us?  These gamers are the next leaders of our church?  These gamers are the next generation of “God Fearing” Christians? The gamers are the next group of missionaries?  These gamers are the next Spurgeons, Carmichels, Elliots of our time. I fear that this issue needs to be taken into consideration for massive action. Personally I have been concerned with the leadership of our church for years.  Many of the leaders have a hard time describing why they believe what they believe.  If this is the case now, what about the leaders that will be hereafter?  God has called us to be studiers of His Word, to be instant in season, out of season!  Always ready at a moments notice to defend, preach, and teach the Word of God.  He also teaches us to redeem the time because the days are evil.  The Lord’s return is immanent.  Should we waste our minds and time with such frivolous things?  A balanced approach is in order!  A vision of the spreading of the Gospel is in order!  And a mindset of renewing our minds with the Word of God is an absolute! This does bring us to the second problem. And to be honest. It is a problem that I do not know how to effectively solve!  It is a problem of reaching the Lost world who has introverted themselves in their basements playing video games.  How do we effectively reach these people for Christ?  There is an estimated 70% of the worlds population that plays video games!  This proposes a conundrum for us as Believers!  How do we effectively spread the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth…literally defined, the basement? We could:

  • Get more involved in the gaming community
  • Start Christian Clans and gaming communities
  • Create GREAT Christian games
  • Start Boycotting the gaming market

Obviously, some of the above suggestions are silly and ridiculous.  All the suggestions above have some issues that would actually make us spend MORE time in the world of gaming rather than limiting us.  If 70% of the world is gaming, than this is something that I really believe should be something that we as Believers consider.  How do we effectively reach the gaming world, without completely wasting our time as Believers? Truly at the end of the day, this may not seem like something that big right now.  But if the trend is going the way it looks like it will be going, this could be a devastating issue for the church, for outreach, and ultimately for the Gospel’s sake.

For more information on Carbon Valley Bible Church please go to cvbiblechurch.com or call 303-736-9959

Are You In College or in Your Career and Live In or Near the Carbon Valley Area?

You are invited!  We are actively looking for college and career adults who are looking to make an impact in and around the Carbon Valley Area.

Are you looking for other adults who are also in the college and career years of their life?  Are you looking to making an impact for God?  Are you looking to outreach in the communities around you?  Firestone Baptist Is actively growing their College and Career Ministry and we want you.

This will be a great opportunity to outreach to those in the Frederick, Firestone, and Dacono area for the Lord.  There are plenty of things to get involved this summer.  Outreach, activities, community projects, hiking, restaurants, and missions.  If this is the type of atmosphere that you are looking for, where your age is actively serving the Lord.  We would love to have you.

For more information on Carbon Valley Bible Church please go to cvbiblechurch.com or call 303-736-9959

When Christians Realize Who God Is!

John 3:30

30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

It all comes down to realizing it is not about you!  It is about Him.  It is about His will.  It is about His glory.  It is about furthering the Kingdom of God.  John 3:30 teaches us that the more we see God for who He is, the more we ourselves for who we really are!  The more we let God increase in our life.

Isaiah 6, also shows us that when Isaiah saw God for who He really was, it allowed Isaiah to see himself for who he really was.  It is important for us to have the proper and right opinion of God.  When we realize who God is, life has a totally different perspective.  We see the world through Jesus’ eyes.  We see the world through an eternal perspective rather than a temporary perspective.

We see people how God wants us to see them.  We see church how God wants us to see the church.  We see our work through the same lens that God would view our work.  When we have an improper view of God all of those things then centralize around ourselves.

The way we view people becomes a personal matter of how we can better ourselves at the cost of them.  The way we view the church becomes as though it is our own church that revolves around us and what we do, instead of what God wants for the church.  Our work then becomes a stepping stool into corporate world, instead of using it as a platform for the work of the Lord and the furtherance of the Lord’s Kingdom.

When we see Christ and we allow Him to be the center of our attention, this is when the verse of John 3:30 becomes real to us!  This is when God can do a tremendous work in our life!  Christians can often be self-centered people who care more about their needs than those of Christ’s.  They often breed the mentality that is about them, rather than about others.

Since God wants us to decrease of ourselves…what is it in your life that is more of you then of Him?  He must increase!

 

For more information on Firestone Baptist Church please go to FirestoneBaptist.com.

Qualifications of a Pastor: Respectable

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1 Timothy 3:1-2

3 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.

Our study today is on the qualification of the pastor of being respectable.  The word in the Greek is κόσμιος .  The idea here is one who is appropriate, modest, restrained, disciplined, proper, and a sound mind.  There is a common thread from the last 3 phrases of sober-minded, self-controlled, and respectable.  Although there are definitely similarities there is also a few differences that ought to be noted.  The KJV uses the words of good behavior.  This a is a good translation because one who has good behavior typically is respected.  At the same time, the idea of good behavior does not fully grasp the idea of being respectable.

The best sense of the term is probably defined as dignified.  One may have good behavior but may not necessarily be of good behavior.  As we looked at last time at the word sober, sober addresses the inward mind, but κόσμιος address the outward behavior, tone, look, gait (movement), and dress.

The pastor therefore must be a person who is organized in his thinking and his living. This should also follow suit in his teaching and preaching.  This falls right under the same thinking of verse 7.  “Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.”   They must be a person who has a good reputation to even those who are outside of the church.

This is the same word that we see when talking about modesty.  It means to adorn.  Pastors ought to adorn themselves with respectable behavior.  Although this is not necessarily hard for a young pastor fresh out of college, it is difficult to establish that respect from the congregation as to which they serve.  You have heard the phrase respect must be earned and not given.  Unfortunately, the pastoral position as a whole is not “lifted up” as it should be.  Churches put too many extra-biblical stipulations on young pastors and it is difficult for them to attain that respect.  At the same time, the church as a whole is losing the respect for the authority of the pastoral position in general.

Especially a young man who goes back to his hometown.

Luke 4:24

24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.

The reason for this, is that the hometown will not allow for the once young teenage young man to grow up and mature.  They still see him as a little boy, instead of a man who has been called by God!  The Pastor is a divine position called by God, not by man.  Therefore as we see in verse one, if he desires the office of a pastor, despite the age, as long as he meets the qualifications he is considered called by God to a divine position.  At this point, his position automatically demands respect.

To be a pastor, one must portray a dignified lifestyle what that even on the outward appearance is respectable and God honoring.

For more information on Firestone Baptist Church please go to FirestoneBaptist.com.

Why Can’t Christians Think for Themselves?

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As the world turns in Christianity so does their standpoints on what they think is right and wrong on extra biblical convictions.  One year they are saying something is wrong and ten years later they are no longer condemning it, but rather condoning it!  They follow like lemmings, but never really stop to consider for themselves what is really right and what is really wrong.  Unfortunately this has been going on for ages, people have not been thinking for ages.  Christians have been following a religious teaching, but not knowing why it is they believe it.

Before the Reformation, this was the same type of mentality that the people were falling under.  They were listening to the church, but they were not thinking for themselves.  It was not until Martin Luther decided to think for himself.  It was not until he read the Bible and understood what the Bible, that what he was teaching and what he was being taught was not right.

See this just doesn’t effect the people who are listening, but the people who are teaching as well.  The teachers have been made to teach what they do not truly believe themselves.  They are backed in a corner and “forced” to believe what it is they are supposed to teach, yet deep inside they do not really believe this.  We have both teachers and listeners who fall under this process!

For example, about 15 years ago, the song “Because of He Lives” was a song that was not supposed to be song, because it was a song, sung be a group that did not fall under conservative Christian tradition.  However, in most, if not all, conservative churches, this very song is sung and sung frequently, especially during Easter time.  This type of mentality is very common among songs that are song in these circles.  Yet this is not the only type of example.

Movie theaters were anathema even 15 years ago within this circle. Yet, today they “seem” to be alright!  Not only alright, but now movie theaters, in a sense are even being brought into the church.  With churches providing popcorn, drinks, and snacks.  Even the pastors themselves are now going to the theaters with their family, friends, and children.

Many other examples in regards to entertainment, clothing, and music can be brought into this as well.  But it does not just end there.  It also falls into the topics of preachers, commentaries, and study helps.  We can say that there are certain pastors that we do not agree with, yet at the same time we listen to their preaching and read their commentaries.  We quote them in our series, we promote their books, and we mimic their styles; but yet they are people that we do not associate with, yet they have an integral part of our life!

Sometimes this thinking violates the very core of our thinking!  For example the KJV only crowd will say that anyone who does not read from the KJV, might as well be a heretic.  Now that might be a little overboard for some the KJV only crowd, but definitely not the whole group of KJV only people.  Yet at the same time they again will listen to the these NON-KJV only preachers, read from these NON-KJV only preachers, and support these NON-KJV preachers, by buying their books and commentaries.  Are you KJV only or not?

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When all is said and done the preachers and the people they are teaching are just followers.  They do not want to be put on a black list.  They do not want to have friendships torn by the rest of the people who are just following.  If and when they change and realize that their philosophies and conviction are based upon tradition and not what Scripture teaches, then they feel like they are put up against the wall.

If they change something they will get plagued as no longer being conservative, or a Fundamentalist, or a Baptist.  Of which none of these are true.  If you decide not to have a Sunday night service, you are plagued!  I suppose the truth is, because I am writing this, most likely I will get plagued as not being those.  Yet, when all is said and done, it does not matter what people think.  Your convictions should based off of the Bible and biblical principles.

If you are a person that believes some of the things that are mentioned above, why?  What is the biblical reasoning behind those philosophies.  Now I am not here to tell you what I believe on those specific matters presently, but I am here to help us as Christians think.  We should as the Scripture tells us, to “prove all things and hold fast to that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12.  We should have a reason to believe, profess, and teach these types of thought processes before actually claiming them.  They are philosophies that if are not checked can lead legalism and superficial Christian lifestyles.

Does God change?  Is something that is wrong 15 years ago in God’s eyes, something that is now right in His eyes? Or can it just be that we have finally decided that what we truly believed 15 years ago is really the truth now?

Malachi 3:6

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

It may all come down to the very understanding of what we know about God Himself.  This is our Theology.  Our Theology should teach us that it is important not to worry what man may think, but rather do what God commands us.

Acts 5:29

29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

We ought not to worry whether we are labeled, black listed, or even “kicked” out of our circles.  It is not important.  What is important is that we have obeyed the Lord in His leading.  It is important that no matter what other man, preacher, institution, or university teaches we still listen and serve the Lord.  If you know something that the Lord is teaching, follow His Word, follow the biblical principles to establish your belief system, despite what man may think.

 

For more information on Firestone Baptist Church please go to FirestoneBaptist.com.