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January 15, 2015, 4:04 PM

Building Strong Families


Building Strong Families

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and  with all your strength.”
Deuteronomy 6:5

 

Church Family,

Spiritual maturity is a lifelong process.  It begins the day you are born and continues throughout life.  Equipping the generations means that as you and I grow, we lead the next generation spiritually.  Leading begins at the home with family.

At First Gholson we believe the church and family should work together to raise the next generation of Christians.  We see discipleship as a two sided coin: church and family.  We believe God designed parents to be the uniquely perfect, primary faith trainers of their children.

First Gholson partners with the parents to equip preschoolers, children, and students with the Biblical and practical understanding to experience the next phase of life and in this way we build a legacy of faith into the next generation.   

But most importantly we need to strengthen our marriage relationships: Children need to experience a loving relationship between mom and dad that reflects the gospel and between parent and child that makes kids want to embrace their parents’ beliefs.

Building Strong Families is what we are about and hope you will join us in this adventure.

 

All for Jesus,

Bro. James

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December 31, 2014, 10:52 AM

God has you exactly where He wants you


 

If you know that God has got you where you are for a reason, then you can rejoice. We have probably never learned to live the Christian life until we're able to rejoice in the midst of real problems. If you're in a hard spot right now, that may be exactly where God wants you to be.  Oswald Chambers says,  "If you can stay in the midst of the turmoil unperplexed and calm because you see Jesus, that is God's purpose in your life." God never leaves us at the status quo. In fact, it's like this:

If we're lost He wants us saved,

If we're saved He wants us committed,

If we're committed He wants us sanctified,

If we're sanctified He wants us called,

If we're called He wants us commissioned,

If we're commissioned He wants us sent,

If we are sent He wants us serving,

If we're serving He wants us suffering,

If we're suffering He calls us to higher suffering, to a deeper more profound walk with Him. He presses us to new frontiers.

So if you're in a tough place, don't bemoan your circumstances.

Rejoice that God may very well have you just exactly where he wants you.

 

 

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August 26, 2014, 1:23 PM

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Court is now in session!


 

1 John 5:6-12, “This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. 10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

 

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Court is now in session! In 1 John 5:6-12, John summons witnesses to testify to the truth that Jesus is the Son of God.

“I call the water of the Jordan River to the witness stand.” 

“Water of Jordan, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” “I do,” replies the water.

John begins: “You were there that day Jesus was baptized; please tell us what you saw.” “Yes,” answered the water. “I was there. Jesus walked down until he was about waist deep in my waters where John the Baptist was standing. John immersed him and raised him up.

I saw something very unusual occur after that. At first, there was Jesus standing in me, but I also saw the heavens were opened and there was a visual sign of a dove that descended on him. I heard a voice speak from heaven and it said: ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’”

“Thank you, water. I have no further questions. You may step down from the witness stand,”

John continues, “I call the blood of Jesus to the witness stand.” “Blood of Jesus, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” “I do,” responds the blood.

“You were there that day Jesus was crucified. Tell us what you observed.”

“Yes, I can testify that at his trial before Pilate, Jesus was scourged. The punishment left his back a bloody mess. The crown of thorns caused me to stream down his face. When he was placed on the cross and the nails were driven into his hands and in his feet, I flowed from his body. As the blood of Jesus, I bear testimony that Jesus is the Son of the living God.”

John replies, “Thank you, blood of Jesus, you may step down from the witness box.”

“I call a third witness to the stand: the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” John queried. “Yes, I am the Spirit of truth,” replies the Holy Spirit.

“Holy Spirit, were you present during the earthly life of Jesus?” “Yes. I was present at his birth; I was present at his baptism; I was present during his earthly life; and I was present at his crucifixion, his resurrection, and his ascension. I was present with him in heaven in eternity past before the incarnation and I will be present with him for all eternity.”

“Holy Spirit, is it your testimony that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God?” John asks. “I bear witness that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God,” replies the Holy Spirit.

“Thank you Holy Spirit; you may step down,” says John.

“I would like to call a fourth witness to the stand,” says John. “I call God the Father to testify.”

“Heavenly Father, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” “I do,” says the Father.

“Heavenly Father, do you recognize this man Jesus? Is he indeed your Son whom you sent to this earth?”

“Yes,” replies the Father. “He is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

John continues, “Do you testify that he and he alone is your Son and the only way of salvation?”

“Yes. From the very beginning, Jesus is the only-begotten Son; one with me throughout eternity as the third person of the Trinity. I foretold his coming into the world in the incarnation through my prophets. I sent John the Baptist as his forerunner. I sent an angel to Mary to announce to her that she was my choice to be the human mother of Jesus.

As a man, Jesus entered his ministry and was baptized. The heavens opened and I spoke and said ‘this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.’ The night before his crucifixion, he called out to me, ‘Father if it can be your will let this cup pass.’ But it was not my will. And I turned over my only Son to evil men to crucify. But I did it for a purpose and he did it willingly. This purpose was to make an atonement for your sins.”

“My Son Jesus was crucified, buried, but three days later, I raised him from the dead. Forty days later he ascended to heaven where today he sits at my right hand. One day I will determine the time has come, and my Son will come again to this earth.”

“I give eternal life as a gift, and this eternal life is in my Son, Jesus. So say I, God, the Father.”

After a pause that seemed to last an eternity, John spoke with reverent softness: “Thank you Father, you may step down from the witness box.”

John declares, “I call the twins ‘Whoever’ to the stand.”

John intones. “Do you both swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” “We do.”

John turns to the first whoever and asks, “Whoever, have you come to Jesus Christ and found him to be the Savior of your sins?” “I have,” responds “Whoever.” “Do you then testify concerning the truth of what I myself have said about Jesus in my writings?” asks John. “I do indeed,” says Whoever. “Jesus is the Son of God who has given me the gift of eternal life.”

“Thank you, Whoever,” John says.

Turning to the other Whoever, John asks, “Have you come to Jesus Christ and found him to be the Savior of your sins?”

“I have not,” responds Whoever. “John looks at him and in a stern voice says, “Do you refuse to believe the testimony that God the Father himself has borne in this very courtroom?”

“I do indeed,” says Whoever without blinking an eye. “I believe God is a liar about what he has said concerning Jesus. He has perjured himself under oath.”

Stunned silence fills the courtroom. Mouths are agape. Finally John speaks: “Thank you, Whoever. You may both step down from the witness box.”

John turns to the jury and now begins his closing argument: “The testimony of the witnesses is clear and irrefutable. God has given us eternal life and this life is in his Son, Jesus. He who has the Son possesses this eternal life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have eternal life.”

“I rest my case.”

Written by Dr. David Allen, preaching professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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July 25, 2014, 2:00 PM

Covenant Eyes


 

Church Family,

Did you know that 81% of teenagers have seen online pornographic material in their homes. Don’t let your kids be among them.

That why, I hope you will take a look at Covenant Eyes web site.  What is it?  It is Internet Accountability that tracks websites you visit on your computers, smart phones, and tablets, and sends them in an easy-to-read report to someone you trust. This makes it easy to talk about the temptations you face online. 

Give yourself peace of mind and protect the whole family for just $13.99/month.

To find out more about Covenant eyes and to protect you and your family go to: www.covenanteyes.com .

 

All for Jesus,

Bro. James

 

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July 9, 2014, 2:55 PM

High School Grads Who Donít Leave the Church


 

Written by Dr. Richard Ross professor of Student Ministries at SouthWestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.

 

The bad news is that some young adults leave the church after high school. The good news is that not as many are leaving as we once thought. And, we increasingly know what makes the difference.

Once, we thought that kids who generally attended church for 18 years developed an okay faith. Then, we thought, they would go off to the terrible secular university (or military, or workplace) and there they would lose their faith. But the research does not support that scenario. The older teenagers who possess a genuine faith carry that faith on into adulthood. The older teenagers who never really possessed a genuine faith tend to leave the church after high school. But they are not “leaving the faith” because they cannot leave what they never had.

They are not “leaving the faith” because they cannot leave what they never had.

A Focus on the Family study casts light on trends among young adults that may contradict doomsday predictions for the Christian faith. The study, titled “Millennial Faith Participation and Retention,” tracked the religious trends of Millennials (usually those born between 1980 and 2000). The study utilizes data from the Pew research sources and the National Science Foundation’s annual General Social Survey.

Of the young adults who now are unaffiliated with any church, only 11 percent said they had a strong faith as a child and lived in a home where a vibrant faith was practiced and taught. In other words, the great majority of Millennials leaving the church (89 percent) never had a strong faith to start with.

The great majority of Millennials leaving the church (89 percent) never had a strong faith to start with.

Homes modeling lukewarm faith do not create enduring faith in children. Homes modeling vibrant faith do. “This is not a crisis of faith, per se, but of parenting,” the Focus on the Family study noted.

“Parents who provide a home where faith is vibrantly practiced—even imperfectly—are remarkably likely to create young adults who remain serious Christians, even as they sometimes go through bumpy spots in the road,” the study said. “[N]ot surprisingly, homes modeling lukewarm faith do not create enduring faith in children.”

Christian Smith, architect of the National Study of Youth and Religion, reports in his book Souls in Transition that “Religious outcomes in emerging adulthood are not random happenstances about which all bets are off after age 18. Instead, they often flow quite predictably from formative religious influences that shape persons’ lives in early years. … The religious commitments, practices and investments made during childhood and the teenage years, by parents and others in families and religious communities, matter—they make a difference.”

Parents can be divided into three groups:

Parents who are lost

Those parents do not know God through faith in Christ.

Most of those who grow up with lost parents spend all their lives lost (including their eternity). The few who do come to faith in Christ are true miracles.

Parents who are converts

Those parents know God through faith in Christ, but their faith is shallow and their daily preoccupation is themselves. Self reigns.

Most of those who grow up with convert parents leave the church and adopt a lifestyle similar to lost young adults. While middle-aged convert parents may find reasons to stay in church, young adult converts seldom do.

Parents who are disciples

Those parents know God through faith in Christ, and they are so transformed that their daily preoccupation is adoring King Jesus, following Him, and living for His glory.

Most of those who grow up with disciple parents spend all their lives as disciples. The few who do not are tragic exceptions.

The Focus on the Family study also noted a relationship between religious disengagement and the trend to postpone marriage and parenthood.

“Settling down in family usually means settling down to church,” the study said. “Growing strong marriages and thriving families is an important church growth strategy that cannot be ignored.”

Church sociologist Robert Wuthnow of Princeton would agree, noting that “today’s young adults are divided religiously on lines that correspond closely to their marital status. Young adults who are married go to church and often go to theologically conservative churches. Young adults who are not married are less likely to attend religious services.” (After the Baby Boomers)

Among the study’s key conclusions for ministry:

Churches clearly teaching the Bible (conservative evangelical churches) are growing while those that do not (mainline denominations) declined. Young adults want “uncompromising truth” that “calls them to something beyond themselves.”

Homes with serious faith tend to produce children who carry faith into adulthood. Christians should create homes where children “witness a vibrant faith that’s lived out honestly and intentionally.” Strong families produce lasting faith.

Millennials want serious, substantive faith—not entertainment and theatrics. “Truth trumps trappings,” the study said.

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