Living a Life Worthy

I Corinthians 1: 10 – 12, “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”

I am sitting here at my trusty computer and it’s snowing outside, which seems to be a more than normal occurrence these days, but I’m also listening to the radio at the same time and the announcer is talking about “spring” training beginning for the Detroit Tigers. Bottom line I have just plain had enough of winter and I am really, …, really ready for spring.  But on the other hand I also realize that spring will not come in the form of 80 degree days beginning next week, or even on the first chronological day of spring, March 21.  No, it will happen gradually, over a period of time, with temperatures improving slowly until all of a sudden we realize there can be no more snow  (in Michigan that could be in July), only rain and sunshine.  So, I have to be patient, and wait.  But, I know that my patience, although somewhat chronologically forced will be rewarded by the warming sun and slow, moderate breezes of spring and eventually summer.  Ahhh, life will be warm and wonderful and all is good.  So, I am patient and I wait for spring, and warmer weather to come.

I reference all of this because it’s important that we realize that God operates much the same as the seasons, except rather than having His will chronologically forced upon us, we have options to choose, at any time we wish,… , to be patient or to be impatient, to choose Him or choose the world. It’s our free will and our choice.

When we become a Christian we spiritually feel great things and experience the wonderful presence of the Holy Spirit alive within us. Remember those stirrings?  But time begins to take its toll and soon we begin to wonder why our prayers are not being answered or why the desires of our hearts are not being made available to us.  It’s easy to become frustrated and even anxious thinking our prayers have gone unanswered, our perceived needs unmet.  Enter Satan and his dominion to distort the truth and reinforce our fears, driving us even further from our Father and His provision.  We become even more discouraged and even more fearful for the future, eventually abandoning our trust in God Himself.

Jesus came to this world to not necessarily accommodate our wants and desires but to do the Will of His Father. This typified His life, and His heart’s desires, e.g., living every day of His life to fulfill the Will of His Father.  As tough as it may seem this is a lesson we as Christians must learn as well, that our life as  Christians is not for our convenience or even our comfort.  Rather life as a Christian is for the glory of God, e.g., Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It’s not about us, it is about Him, …, always and forever more.  But still we ask, “Well what about my needs and the things like to do?  Am I forever going to be without the niceties of this life?”  I answer you, “No, not at all.”

Psalms 145:12 – 16 tells us, “ The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” (emphasis added). Our needs will be met and the desires of our heart will be given.  That’s God’s promise and His guarantee to each and every one of us.  When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we accept His will, which is the will of His Father, and our Father.  Accordingly we desire His will for our lives, foregoing our own will.  It’s His glory which becomes our priority, and His glory which becomes the desire of our heart.  But this is the part which everyone will appreciate, so spare me just a few more moments as I bring this article to closure.  

When Jesus Christ is glorified in our lives, by who we are, by what we do, by the very significance of our faith, we, …, we receive all the blessing.  Christ is glorified, we are blessed.  What more could we ask for?  God the Father is glorified through His Son’s presence in our lives and we receive the ultimate benefit, His blessing.  Luke 19:38 tells us, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (emphasis added). Amen!!

If we truly feel that our Father no longer listens to our prayers, no longer accepts us because of our past (or our present), it could be because our hearts are properly focused on our Father’s will, that we’re asking out of personal gain and not God’s glory, or we are asking and being far too impatient.

I truly believe we can find Christian reason and purpose in every day of our lives, whether serving our Lord to others around us, displaying our faith boldly, or in our own personal growth, or both. But we must learn to trust our Father, understanding that He only wishes good for each and every one of those who call upon the name of His Son Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:38).  We simply need to understand the concept of patience, and then practice that concept in every aspect of our lives.  Ecclesiastes 7: 8 tells us, “The end of a matter is better than it’s beginning, and patience is better than pride.”  Therefore, especially during this season of the Resurrection, let us be patient, waiting upon the Lord, glorifying Him in every aspect of our lives.  I guarantee He will fulfill not only all your needs, but the desires of your hearts as well. 

See you on Sunday!!

Pastor Dave

The Greatest Gifts Ephesians 2:1-2:10 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

This passage tells us that God has great gifts that He wants to give to us… but the chapter starts out with some very peculiar, almost ominous words. Paul begins this passage by reminding us how evil we have been in the past, before we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior.  Before our gifts can be fully understood, it’s necessary for us to understand how undeserving we are of any gift. In fact, Paul reinforces this theme in verses 8 and 9: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." Why would Paul go to such lengths to prove to us that we don’t deserve God’s gift?  Because, there are some who call themselves “Christians” but never seem to comprehend their legal standing before God, e.g., they are Christian in name only and are undeserving of His gifts.   Matter of fact, some actually believe they have “earned” God’s pleasure and therefore they “deserve” God’s favor.  They could not be further from the truth. It’s importance that each of us realize that we have no "right" to the salvation our Father offers us through His Son, Jesus Christ, or even any gift at all. Without this realization we can never fully appreciate and respond to His offer, e.g., Christ’s power within us and a desire to act and be seen as Jesus’ brother. That’s why Paul goes to such lengths to tell us, that before God got hold of us, e.g., our pre-salvation status, we… 1st (vs. 1) … were dead in our sins

2nd (vs. 2) … were under the power of the ruler of the Kingdom of the air (Satan) 3rd (vs. 3) … once lived satisfying our sinful cravings…And we were objects of wrath Now contrast those pre-salvation statements, with how Paul describes as our AFTER salvation status.

AFTER salvation we’re told… (vs. 5) … we’ve been saved by God’s grace… and because of that (vs. 5) … we’ve been made alive in Christ (vs. 6) … and we’ve been seated with Christ in the heavenly places The key is simply acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives.  But there are a couple of things I feel are important to note at this point regarding our salvation status. This is where the whole concept of “gifts” comes into play.  Jesus told the crowds that had gathered, in John  15:10, that if we loved Him we would obey His commands.

Because, before accepted Christ into our hearts, we were "dead in our transgressions." (v.1). But now, we have been reborn … we have been “made alive” in Christ” (vs. 5). The sin which dragged us down, kept us contained and not allowed us to truly enjoy the life that God intended for us in the first place has been forgiven and forgotten, thanks to the blood that was shed at Calvary. 

We were objects of God’s wrath and subject to the "prince of the power of the air" (v. 2 and 3). But, now, God has "raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms …" (v. 6). God, in His holiness, cannot deal with us because sin has tainted our lives.  It’s only through the perfect sacrifice of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, that we can come into our Father’s presence and be justified as sufficiently righteous to bridge the gulf between God and sinful man. 

Our sins forgiven our relationship restored, our eternal destiny secured, …, all because our Heavenly Father loved us, …, more than we can comprehend. Is there any reason why the gifts and talents He has bestowed upon us should not then be used for His gain, His glory, and not our own?

And that’s exactly the point of this newsletter. When we use the talents and gifts for our own selfish gain, we are actually cheating God of the glory He would have otherwise received.  As well, we are depriving ourselves of His blessing when we glorify Him by using the gifts He has given us. Every time we glorify God by whom we are or by what we do, e.g., by being Christ-like, using our gifts to His glory, God is glorified, but we receive the blessing.

This is because of God’s great love for us, e.g., His grace. We who have accepted His Son, Jesus Christ and truly desire Him, have received something we did not deserve … something we could never buy … something we could never earn … we received the right to stand as heirs to eternity in paradise with our Creator Himself. Our Heavenly Father graciously gave us good gifts that His Son Jesus Christ might be glorified in our lives; that we might be the beacon on the hill for others, those without Christ. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (v. 10). You see… you,…, me, …, we are God’s workmanship.  God has taken that which was useless and without value to Him and has transformed us into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ. Now, some may ask: “What can I do?”  What are my gifts?”  Part of being a Christian is discovering the gifts God has bestowed upon us.  We discover the “gifts” God has for us – by making ourselves available to God. When we make ourselves available to God, then He makes His purpose for our lives obvious to us.  We make ourselves available to God through prayer, confession, and by submitting to His Will for our life.  I challenge you to discover the gifts our Father has placed into your lives, serving Him, shepherding others for His glory, putting those talents to work for the greater glory of God rather than our own glory.  But, stand back, because I promise, you’re going to be blessed more than you can now understand.

I truly believe we all have been blessed with special gifts and talents from God, and this is our opportunity to use those gifts for His glory.

See you Sunday,

Pastor Dave

We have so much to offer you!!!

Fellowship, friendship, kindness, and love.

With so much going on in the world today, there are very few places where you can go to find inner peace and piece of mind that church brings to you.

 

We have several different bible studies from adult to 1st grade as well as several groups that focus on Men's Ministries, Women's Ministries, Outreach Ministries, Missionary Ministries. 

 

Our Youth Group (6th-12th grade) is involved with many of the above mentioned groups as well as our younger youth group (K-5th grade) being involved in brown bag lunches for the homeless, Christmas cards for Soldiers and both groups have been instrumental in Seasonal plays.

 

Our adult groups have put together our Men's night out dinner with amazing speakers, Mother's Day luncheons with amazing speakers, our annual Silent Auction with awesome food, Trunk or Treat (a free event for the community), minor repairs and handyman touch-ups around the church and landscaping.

 

There are plenty of ways to give back to the Lord for all theblessings you have received, so again I pray that you will join us, no committment required to see the fun we have in serving the Lord. I assure you that it is so much better to give than to receive!

NEW COMMITMENTS FOR THE NEW YEAR Philippians 3:13-3:14, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Introduction Well, it’s that time of year again when in a fit of optimism many of us make great promises about what we are going to do and how we are going to conduct ourselves in the year ahead.  If you’re anything like me, we usually break down and abandon each promise sometime around the second week in January. Honestly, how many of us actually kept the diet? Well this year I am determined its going to be different.

This month I want to offer you a way to start the New Year by resolving to significantly change your life. Simply, I want to suggest that, if you can hold to four simple resolutions that God, in His Word encourages you to make, I guarantee that 2013 will become one of the most significant years in your life.

1)        COMMIT TO FORGET YOUR FAILURES Some 2000 yrs. ago the Apostle Paul gave the church at Phillipi the advice noted I our Scripture for the day.  I don’t know of any more practical advice for anyone which could be more relevant for 2017 than this piece of advice.  Jesus came that we would not have to live life imprisoned by our past.  All of us have failed in some way over the last year, and for many of us, our failures are painful memories. Maybe it’s a memory of how we failed in a relationship, or a bad business move, or some other poorly made decision. It happens to all of us.  We are imperfect beings living in an imperfect world.  What Paul told the Philippians is that we must not allow ourselves to be bogged down by our past failures. We need not dwell on our past to the point that it prevents us from moving forward into the future that God has planned for us. It’s time for us to leave our past behind and with God’s help, forget our past; to stop torturing ourselves about what we did or didn’t do. The New Year is a good time to take stock of our lives and truly begin moving forward,…, in Christ Jesus.  When we received Christ’s offer of forgiveness it meant we it was okay allowed to forgive ourselves, forget our failures and live free from our past. 2)         COMMIT TO GIVE UP YOUR GRUDGES The second challenge I believe God wants you to make in 2017 comes from the Apostle Paul writing to the church at Colossi. “Bear with each other and forgive each other whatever grievances we may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” Colossians 3:13. Did you catch that challenge?  God, in those words, is challenging us directly and personally to give up our grudges. That’s what He means when He asks us to forgive one another regardless of what grievances we may have against one another,…, forgive. Unforgiveness is dangerous because it’s hurtful, harmful and destructive.  It destroys marriages, breaks up families, ruins friendships, and splits churches.  But, grudges are not just destructive they are also self-destructive. Unforgiving servants always end up in an emotional and spiritual prison. Prisons made of anger, guilt or even depression.

God says to us in His word, “Don’t sentence yourself to prison.”,…, “forgive each other whatever grievances you may have against one another.”   Sounds simple doesn’t it. 3)         COMMIT TO RESTORE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS Every time I turn on my computer a little windows pops up that asks if I want to run a check to see if my programs are all working properly.  God through His Word issues a very similar invitation, checking to see whether our personal relationships are working properly. The Lord issues that challenge in Paul’s epistle to the Romans, stating, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” Romans 12:18.  The important phrase is, “as far as it depends on you”.  Some relationships might have gone wrong in your life because of what other people have done and they might well not want that relationship restored. Our Father understands. That’s why Paul starts by saying “If it’s possible”.  Let’s be honest, some of our relationships have gone wrong because of what we have done. But, God’s word tells us that as far as it depends on us, we are to live at peace with everyone.  If we have caused a rift in a relationship then we have a responsibility to do everything we can to restore it, and that includes the one thing we all find most difficult; forgiving and asking forgiveness.  I wonder how many marriages are not all they should be or could be simply because someone won’t say “I was wrong”, or” I am sorry”, or “Will you forgive me”.  I am certain that most who are married have asked forgiveness for “ harsh words and cutting remarks” that have really wounded our partners, at one time or another in their relationship.  In this Scripture, I believe God is saying that, in this New Year, the time is right to restore those relationships by sincerely saying we are sorry for our angry words or for our selfish and unthoughtful claims or actions. 4)         COMMIT TO TURN YOUR BACK ON YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS. The New Testament was written as a testimony to the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.  It provides life to those who accept Jesus as their Savior and provides us with a model of how we are to conduct our lives as Christians. Let’s look at these words from Romans 6,  “Do not let sin control the way you live, do not give in to its lustful desires … we are no longer slaves to sin” Romans 6:2.  That is the last challenge that I believe you will need to meet to make this New Year truly significant. When God says “Do not let sin control the way you live, do not give in to its lustful desires, He is issuing us a challenge to turn our back on our sins. I have a friend, a pastor who tells a story of how, in his younger years he was addicted to pornography and how, now, even though he has overcome the addiction, he remains overcome with guilt for his transgressions. That sums up the attitude of too many Christians regarding “sin”. They don’t do anything about them, they simply learn to live with them.  God, in His Word challenges us to turn our backs on whatever sin we may be or have been involved in and stop allowing sin to control the way we live; stop giving in to sin,; stop obeying our old master and start living as a freed person for our new Master, Jesus Christ.  Jesus’ death broke the power of sin, and the Holy Spirit gives us strength and power to resist sin.  That means you don’t have to go into this New Year defeated by the same old enemy. We are no longer a slave to sin so we don’t live like or act like one. Jesus died for all sin, even ours, so why not allow the Holy Spirit to minister to us and allow this to be truly, a “new” year in our lives?  I pray so.

CONCLUSION It all boils down to this: Will this New Year be just a calendar changing event for us or are we willing to rise to the challenges God’s Word places before us? Are we willing to meet these for challenges fro 2017, forgetting our failures, giving up our grudges, restoring our relationships, and turning our backs on our past?

Jesus Christ and the New Year can be a turning point in our lives, a real reason for celebration, if you’ll make forgiveness the very heart of the celebration. Why give it a try.

See everyone Sunday!!!

Pastor Dave

 

Welcome to Valley Farms Baptist Church!

Please feel free to look around our website, check out our Groups, Articles, Photos, and Events

We are so glad that you are here.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us or better yet, stop on by.  We would love to see you for Sunday service.

 

Sunday Schedule

9:30 AM-10:15 AM

Adult Bible Study, Sunday School (K-5th) & (6th-12)

Child Care available

10:15 AM-10:40 AM

Fellowship Time in the reception area

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Worship Service

Child Care Available

11:15 AM-12:00 PM

JR Church (K-5th)

 

 

1141 E.State Rd Lansing MI 48906        P (517) 485-3095   

We are located on the corner of State Rd and Brooke St. just one block East of State Rd and US HWY 27