Category: Equip The Church

God will take care of you

I was sitting in a worship service the Sunday after I retired in 1991 from the Florida Baptist Convention after 27 years of service; and before that, 13 years in the pastorate. The thought kept running through my mind:” What will I do now, what’s next for my life?” We began singing “God Will Take Care of You.” Right!?  “Be not dismayed what e’er betide, God will take care of you.”

I sang, I prayed, I trusted. And you know what, God has taken care of me and my family! As I sought the Lord’s leadership in prayer, He opened up many doors of opportunity: teaching ESL classes, going on mission trips to Jamaica, serving as interim Director of Missions in a nearby association, directing the Jacksonville Extension Center for Theological Education, working with Senior Adults at Southside Baptist Church, and the last 11 years serving as Senior Adult Minister here at Fruit Cove.

During these years I’ve been much in prayer for my family. They have been a wonderful support. I’ve seen our children and their families grow in the Lord; the grandchildren grow up, great grandchildren being born and wonderful times at family get togethers.
Then, there were those challenging days I prayed, and others prayed, when my wife, Carolyn, was diagnosed with Alzheimers and struggled with this disease over a period of several years. Three years ago she had a couple of strokes and died a few weeks later.
It’s so easy to ask ‘why?’ or ‘what if?’ or say ’if only’, but when you pray “Lord not my will, but Your will be done”, you may not understand, but you must go on praying and trusting in God’s leadership in the difficult times as well as the good times. I realized God loves me and He is still in control. For as the song continues: “No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you.” And He does!
Charles Ragland

That we pray…

THAT we are praying is far more important to our Father than HOW we are praying. WHY we are praying outstrips how long we are praying in significance. And to WHOM we address our prayers means more than where we pray.
Visiting St Patrick’s Cathedral during our trip to New York last fall was profound,  impressive and impactful. The front of the cathedral was cordoned off from the rest of the massive complex to allow room for the faithful to pray.  Candles could purchased and offerings given to gain Gods special attention.
And yet if we understand Scripture correctly God’s ear was equally if not especially inclined to hear the prayers of the homeless woman on the front steps or the young business man hurrying down the street praying for his family as he passes by out front. God, you see, will not be manipulated by our posture or position. His concern is not with the physical address from which our prayers originate but with the condition of the heart which is praying.
This is the wonder, the mystery and sometimes the frustration of prayer for us. We want prayer to be a formula to get our needs met.   God calls us into relationship that through it He may meet our deepest need…
The need for a Father.
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But you when you pray go into your closet and close the door .  Your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Matthew 6:6)

FOR REFLECTION:  Try and be aware today of God’s Presence in unlikely places and circumstances.

 

Giving God Our Best!

The Christmas season has just come to a close and as I reflect back I am reminded of a devotion I read pertaining to a very popular Christmas song, “The Little Drummer Boy.” The devotion explained how although there isn’t any reference to a drummer boy in the Christmas story in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 2, the point of the carol goes straight to the heart of the meaning of worship. A young boy being summoned to the scene of Christ’s birth realizes he has no gift to present the newborn King. So the young boy gives what he has. He plays his drum, saying, “I played my best for Him.”

Come they told me…
A new-born King to see…
Our finest gifts we bring…
To lay before the King…

So to honor Him…when we come.

Little baby…
I am a poor boy too…
I have no gift to bring…
That’s fit to give a King…
Shall I play for You…on my drum
Mary nodded…
The ox and lamb kept time…
I played my drum for Him…

I played my best for Him…

Then He smiled at me…me and my drum.

Are you giving your best to Jesus as you worship Him? You may feel you have nothing to offer Him. When we worship Christ we should empty ourselves and give Him our very best. Pray and ask God to show you how you can worship Him more.

Your Family and Communion

Your child understands technology but not Communion…

This Sunday as a church we worship Christ through the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.  Do your children understand why we do these?

As a child I remember the Sundays that we had the Lord’s Supper. They were exciting to me because I got to eat a cracker and drink juice… in church; and I knew the sermon would be a bit briefer.  As for baptism, that made little sense to me. I was baptized because I was promised Krispy Kreme if I did.  For a 7 year old that was the greatest deal ever offered.   But do our children know what is happening?  Here is what I know without reservation: it is the parent’s role to explain/teach/disciple our children in church.

  • Does your child understand the blood of Jesus?
  • Does your teenager understand what it means to eat the broken body of Jesus?
  • Does your 8 year old understand why people are dunked in a hot tub above the choir or at the beach?
  • Does your 13 year old know why they are drinking grape juice in church?
  • Does your family understand the sacredness, reverence and importance of communion?
  • What about the gospel?  Does your child/teen understand the gospel?

If your child does not understand the gospel and cannot articulate the gospel they are not ready, and should NOT to take communion.  If we allow them to, we make them liars and frauds, before they can do so themselves.

We, the church, for far too long have made the assumption that everyone watching understands.  To make this assumption without knowing for sure is sinful and lazy.  Both of which I have been guilty of as a father and a minister.  My plea is this, just as much as communion and baptism should be forms of worship, they should also be used as opportunities to share the gospel.  Here’s how:

COMMUNION/LORD’S SUPPER:

Sit with your child/family/teenager and quietly share with them why your are eating the “body” and drinking the “blood.”  You may have no better opportunity to share the gospel with them.  That Christ’s body was broken for you and them and that his blood was spilled for you and for them, and that Christ died as a free gift for us it is not something we can earn.  Explain we do this to remember what Christ has done for us.  Explain the gospel.  Remind/Share with them that they ARE sinful and need their sin to be pardoned or forgiven, and Jesus offers forgiveness by the blood he shed on the cross.

Refer to these points of scripture: Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 53, 1 Corinthians 11: 17-34

BAPTISM:

As baptism occurs (whether at the beach or at the church) talk to your child/teen before and after this occurs.  Explain before that baptism is simply the way that a Christian makes their faith public.  That is, this is their announcement to both the church and the world that they are Christians; and that Jesus is Lord of their life.   This is also a great time to share with our families what new life in Christ means.  We also must remind our children/teens that baptism is not what saves or changes anyone, it is simply obedience.  Nothing more.

Refer to these points of scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:17, Luke 3:16, Romans 6:3-6, 1 Corinthians 12:13

Church services that include communion and baptism are unique services.  Both communion and baptism are what make a church a church.  These are called church ordinances and without them based on scripture, there is no church.  Baptism and communion are two of the most important things that will ever occur in a church.  They serve to remind the church of the gospel of Christ.  To lead the church to worship Christ as Lord.  Baptism and communion help the church to continue to align its focus on Christ and the cross.  As great as communion and baptism are, when parents do not actively teach what these mean, by default they are sending their kids to Hell.

– Josh

 

Josh Glymph is the Youth Pastor at Fruit Cove Baptist Church. You can reach him at josh@fruitcove.com

How Netflix Keeps Me from Sharing the Gospel with My Children at Home

Actually, Netflix is not the only thing.  I have created a list, in an attempt to repent of the things that keep me from preaching the gospel at home.  I am sharing this list in the hope that it will encourage you and lead you to repentance in areas that keep you from sharing the gospel at home.

  1. The Big Fat TV. Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, ESPN, HGTV, NFL network, Monday Night Football, College Gameday, Movies, The Office, Breaking Bad until I finished it.  How pathetic is it that I can allow the above devices and programs keep me from sharing the gospel at home. How pathetic is it that the list is so long.  How pathetic is it that in the end none of that will truly matter.  Lord, forgive me for making things that do not matter, matter.
  2. Football. Games, fantasy, college, pro, a different favorite group of teams at each level;  Friday night, Saturday and Sunday after church;  checking scores, checking standings, checking statistics;  watching pre-game, post-game and mid-week reports.  If I am not careful I can allow it to consume me.  Lord, forgive me when I make football and idol and allow it to blur my focus.  Lord, remind me daily that sharing the gospel is greater that any football game could ever be.
  3. Tired. I carry these titles: Husband, Father, Pastor, Employee, Student, Preacher, Guest Preacher, Bill Payer, Yardman, Coach, Teacher, etc.… I am not alone and I know more people who wear more hats.  But the hat I should wear first and foremost is Herald.  A Herald of the gospel.  And I must herald that gospel at home first!  Lord, forgive me when I fall short of this.
  4. Selfishness. I just want to sit there, read the paper, watch CNN, read a book, and go fishing by myself.  There are times I do not want to be “bothered” by others.  There are times I want to be left alone.  Lord, forgive me for the times that my own selfishness takes precedence over your gospel.
  5. Laziness. Sometimes I would rather do nothing, literally nothing.  Just be, just breathe, just exist, and just be quiet.  Lord, help me in times of laziness to know that I do not have time to be lazy.
  6. I get flat out busy. Much of my business is keeping my children busy.  From soccer practice, to basketball practice, to church the constant shuffle of kids along with feeding, cleaning and laundry.  Most of this my wife doing… When I am too busy I begin to believe the lie that I will make time tomorrow to do what is most important.  Share the gospel with my kids.  Lord help me to not get lost in my business.  Lord help me to place priority on sharing your gospel with my children even in the midst of business.
  7. “They do that at church.” It is not the church’s role to share the gospel with my children, it is my role as their father.  Salvation, discipleship and worship should all at the very least begin at home and very often occur at home.  Taking my kids to church should be the reinforcement of what is taking place at home, NOT where the only conversations about the gospel take place.  In my experience most children do not hear the gospel at church enough anyway.  Lord, help me to see that sharing the gospel at home, not expecting the church to do it, is what you have called me to.
  8. It is easier to place emphasis on ministering to others. I have family members that need the gospel.  I have neighbors that need the gospel.   I have friends I have met, and people at church that I serve that need the gospel.  Lord, help me to see that my first ministry is to my family. Lord, help me not be so hypocritical that I only focus outside my home.
  9. Sin. My sin makes me lazy, selfish and complacent.  My sin causes me to value things differently.  My sin causes me to place importance on the wrong things.  My sin tells me lies that I believe.  Lord, help me not to be blinded my own sin.
  10. Some days I don’t believe the gospel. Some days I wake up and don’t believe the gospel and do not take the time to remind myself of the gospel. Lord, on the days I do not believe you are better and do not believe your gospel, remind me of Romans 5:8.  Lord, remind me that you took my place.

 

Lord, forgive me for any instance in which I place any activity, any sin, any device before sharing the gospel with anyone.  Lord, help me to embrace my first ministry: to share the gospel often in my home.

– Josh

Josh Glymph is the Youth Pastor at Fruit Cove Baptist Church. You can reach him at josh@fruitcove.com

Your Child and Baptism

This past Sunday our family arrived late the 9:30am worship service. We caught the last baptism but missed all that transpired before this. I have 3 kids, one who loves Jesus and has been baptized and 2 younger ones that are just coming of age to understand these things. We share the gospel at home but I know for my child to know and understand the gospel I must get them around the gospel. One visible place we can see the gospel is baptism.

As a youngish father who grew up in a very old and traditional church, seeing Sunday night services as a part of life then disappear, music change from organ and piano to the addition of drums and guitar, from Sunday school to small groups (which in my opinion is the same thing with a different name), through of all the changes made, baptism was sort of pushed back. I grew up in a church where baptism happened once per year. It was an odd, yet sort of cool tradition. In serving in a few different churches I saw baptism on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, after service, before service, at camp, and everywhere in between. With all the cultural changes in the church, this has left baptism sometimes in “inconvenient” time slots.

If we are going to see baptism for what it is, the celebration of new life in Christ, we MUST participate. Baptism is not just for the believer being baptized, rather for the whole church. It is the outward expression of looking at what Jesus did and can do. Baptism is just as much for me to celebrate with the new believers as it is for my own children to witness. It is imperative that my children see, participate, and later ask questions about baptism. My responsibility as a father is to get them around baptism, and it is also yours. A couple of questions we should ask:

  • Do our children see others being baptized?
  • Do our children frequently see others being baptized?
  • Have my children ever seen anyone baptized?
  • Do my children need to see me being baptized?
  • Do I have open dialogue with my children about baptism?
  • Is baptism important to our family?

One of the greatest things we can do as parents for young believing and un-believing children is to bring them around the gospel and those who have responded to the gospel. At some point, your child will be held accountable for their life and faith, and no longer you as a parent. My role as a parent is to present the gospel so often that my children can see and hear that Jesus is better. One way I can do that is getting my children in front of baptisms. If I can make a point to teach them about football and get them in front of that, I have no excuse.

– Josh

Josh Glymph is the Youth Pastor at Fruit Cove Baptist Church. You can reach him at josh@fruitcove.com

Why Kids Need to See Their Parents Serve

Jana Magruder, Director of Kids Ministry Publishing of LifeWay has written an insightful article entitles Why Kids Need to See Their Parents Serve.  I learned to serve the church and Christ from the model of my own parents and their example of servant’ hearts spoke louder than any speech.  Read Jana’s article here.

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