Every Christian’s 2nd Most Important Book… Your Local Church’s Membership Directory

Our church membership directory is now accessible online (of course, only accessible by specified member’s email addresses).

Since we now have this resource, I thought this article may give us some encouraging ways on how to make use of it:

Prayer-JournalFor Christians, the Bible is the most precious and important book we possess. In its pages are the divinely inspired words that guide us to know and love our God.

 

After the Bible, there are a few books that every believer should probably read, reread, and apply. On this short list would be works like Foxe’s Book of MartyrsPilgrim’s Progress,Augustine’s ConfessionsMere ChristianityKnowing God, and Operation World. But even these great works fall behind what I consider the second most important book for every Christian.

 

What book is that? Your local church’s membership directory.

 

Now, before you roll your eyes and run off to read something else, give me a moment more of your time.

 

Christians are not isolated spiritual pilgrims on a journey to heaven. Rather, the Bible says we are all members of His body (1 Corinthians 12:27), children in His family (1 John 3:1-2), and sheep of His flock (John 16:10). These descriptions reflect the reality that God intends Christians to be part of a tight knit community.

 

One day that community will all be together in heaven with Jesus (Revelation 5:9-14, 7:9-17), but for now we gather together in local churches. These churches are assemblies of believers who regularly come together to worship Jesus through song, prayer, preaching of the Word, and sharing in the ordinances (baptism and Lord’s Supper).

 

But we don’t just gather for those reasons, we also gather to foster relationships in which we help each other to the heaven. Consider these two verses from the book of Hebrews.

 

“Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).

 

“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

 

9802-Bible_notebook.630w.tnThese verses highlight the kind of things that flow out of relationships formed in a local church. We are not merely a social club who gets together for sweet tea, chitchat, and a round of golf. We are in the midst of a spiritual battle awaiting our Savior’s return. We are being assaulted with temptations, trials, and hardships of every kind. In light of this, we need each other to help one another not give up, but to keep our hope set on Jesus’ return.

 

So what in the world does this have to do with a church membership directory?

 

I believe it is the second most important book you own because it keeps before your eyes the brothers and sisters you are responsible to help to heaven. God has called you to help particular brothers and sisters to fight against sin. He has called you to stir up particular people to love and good works. He has called you to encourage particular people every day until it is no longer called today.

 

The directory, if designed and used well, can be one of the most practical tools to helping you and your church fulfill the one another commands of the New Testament.

 

Let me explain a little more…

1. It gives every member a practical tool to aid in prayer and encouragement…

2. This helps pastors better shepherd the flock Jesus entrusts to them…

3. It keeps homebound members on your mind, though they may be out of sight…

4. It helps homebound members continue to invest in the spiritual health of the church…

5. It helps alert church members to people who may be in danger…

Read the full explanation of each of the 5 points above.

TAARBC Annual Meeting Next Sunday [Jan. 18, 2015]

Next Sunday evening is the annual Texas Area Association of Reformed Baptist Churches meeting.

It begins at 7pm and is open to the public. It will take place at Heritage Baptist Church, which is located at the following address:

201 E. Broad St.
Mansfield, TX 76063
Phone: 817-453-5580

Our speaker this year will be Brother Pascal Denault. Pascal is a Reformed Baptist pastor from Canada who has recently authored The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology published by Solid Ground Christian Books. We are delighted to have him come and bring the Word of God to our churches.

At 5:30pm is a dinner amongst the churches and we have been invited to join. If you would like to join the dinner please let me know so that I can get a headcount to the host church by this Monday, Jan. 12th.

4pm is a time of prayer amongst the churches, but due to our service time we won’t be able to make that.

Jason D.

Tools For Reading Through Scripture in 2015

Head over to CredoCovenant.com for some great encouragement to read through the Bible, then check out some resources to help you do just that:

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Both Android & iOS have available apps to keep track of various reading plans:

Resources for Bible Reading from Justin Taylor:

Do you want to read the whole Bible?

If the average person reads 200 to 250 words per minute, and if there are about 775,000 words in the Bible, then it would take less than 10 minutes a day to read the whole Bible in a year.

Audio Bibles are usually about 75 hours long, so you can listen to it in just over 12 minutes a day.

But a simple resolution to do this is often an insufficient. Most of us need a more proactive plan.

Stephen Witmer explains the weaknesses of typical plans and offers some advice on reading the Bible together with others—as well as offering his own new two-year plan. (“In my opinion, it is better to read the whole Bible through carefully one time in two years than hastily in one year.”) His plan has you read through one book of the Bible at a time (along with a daily reading from the Psalms or Proverbs). At the end of two years you will have read through the Psalms and Proverbs four times and the rest of the Bible once.

The Gospel Coalition’s For the Love of God Blog (which you can subscribe to via email) takes you through the M’Cheyne reading plan, with a meditation each day by D. A. Carson related to one of the readings. M’Cheyne’s plan has you read shorter selections from four different places in the Bible each day.

George Guthrie’s “Read the Bible for Life Chronological Bible Reading Plan” is a semi-chronological plan, placing the prophets and the NT letters in basic chronological order. You read in four different places each day, along with a daily psalm (so you end up reading the Psalter twice in a year). You can also download a printable booklet.

For those who would benefit from a realistic “discipline + grace” approach, consider “The Bible Reading Plan for Shirkers and Slackers.” As Andy Perry explains, it takes away the pressure (and guilt) of “keeping up” with the entire Bible in one year. You get variety within the week by alternating genres by day, but also continuity by sticking with one genre each day. Here’s the basic idea:

Sundays: Poetry
Mondays: Penteteuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy)
Tuesdays: Old Testament history
Wednesdays: Old Testament history
Thursdays: Old Testament prophets
Fridays: New Testament history
Saturdays: New Testament epistles (letters)

There are a number of Reading Plans for ESV Editions. Crossway has made them accessible in multiple formats:

  • web (a new reading each day appears online at the same link)
  • RSS (subscribe to receive by RSS [Note that these have the text and also a MP3 of it professionally read out!])
    • podcast (subscribe to get your daily reading in audio)
  • iCal (download an iCalendar file)
  • mobile (view a new reading each day on your mobile device)
  • print (download a PDF of the whole plan)
Reading Plan Format
Chronological
Through the Bible chronologically (from Back to the Bible)
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
Daily Light on the Daily Path
Daily Light on the Daily Path – the ESV version of Samuel Bagster’s classic
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
Daily Office Lectionary
Daily Psalms, Old Testament, New Testament, and Gospels
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
Daily Reading Bible
Daily Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalms
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
ESV Study Bible
Daily Psalms or Wisdom Literature; Pentateuch or the History of Israel; Chronicles or Prophets; and Gospels or Epistles
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
Every Day in the Word
Daily Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
Literary Study Bible
Daily Psalms or Wisdom Literature; Pentateuch or the History of Israel; Chronicles or Prophets; and Gospels or Epistles
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
M’Cheyne One-Year Reading Plan
Daily Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalms or Gospels
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
Outreach
Daily Old Testament, Psalms, and New Testament
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
Outreach New Testament
Daily New Testament. Read through the New Testament in 6 months
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email
Through the Bible in a Year
Daily Old Testament and New Testament
RSS iCal Mobile Print Email

You can also access each of these Reading Plans as podcasts:

  • Right-click (Ctrl-click on a Mac) the “RSS” link of the feed you want from the above list.
  • Choose “Copy Link Location” or “Copy Shortcut.”
  • Start iTunes. [Or your podcatcher]
  • Under File, choose “Subscribe to Podcast.”
  • Paste the URL into the box.
  • Click OK.

digital bibleResources for Bible Reading from Ligonier Ministries:

Many Christians take the beginning of a new year to evaluate their Bible reading habits, and then change or begin a Bible reading plan.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. — Psalm 119:105

For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of Bible reading plans for you to choose from. Maybe this year you will read more of the Bible each day. Perhaps you’ll slow down your reading and instead spend more time considering what you read. Whatever it is you’re looking for in a reading plan, you should find it below.


52 Week Bible Reading Plan

Read through the Bible in a year, with each day of the week dedicated to a different genre: Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy, and Gospels.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF


5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan

Read through the New Testament in a year, reading Monday to Friday. Weekends are set aside for reflection and other reading. Especially beneficial if you’re new to a daily discipline of Bible reading.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF


A Bible Reading Chart

Read through the Bible at your own pace. Use this minimalistic, yet beautifully designed, chart to track your reading over 2013.

Duration: Flexible | Download: PDF


Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Read through the Bible in the order the events occurred chronologically.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF


The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan

Four daily readings beginning in Genesis, Psalms, Matthew and Acts.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF


ESV Daily Bible Reading Plan

Four daily readings taken from four lists: Psalms and Wisdom Literature, Pentateuch and History of Israel, Chronicles and Prophets, and Gospels and Epistles.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF


Every Word in the Bible

Read through the Bible one chapter at a time. Readings alternate between the Old and New Testaments.

Duration: Three years | Download: PDF


Historical Bible Reading Plan

The Old Testament readings are similar to Israel’s Hebrew Bible, and the New Testament readings are an attempt to follow the order in which the books were authored.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF


Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System

Reading ten chapters a day, in the course of a year you’ll read the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters four to five times, the Old Testament wisdom literature six times, the Psalms at least twice, Proverbs and Acts a dozen times, and the OT History and Prophetic books about one and a half times.

Duration: Ongoing | Download: PDF


Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan

Read the New Testament and Psalms twice and the Old Testament once.

Duration: One or two years | Download: Website


Straight Through the Bible Reading Plan

Read straight through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF


Tabletalk Bible Reading Plan

Two readings each day; one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF
App: Accessible in the Ligonier App (iPhone / iPad & Android)


The Legacy Reading Plan

This plan does not have set readings for each day. Instead, it has set books for each month, and set number of Proverbs and Psalms to read each week. It aims to give you more flexibility, while grounding you in specific books of the Bible each month.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF


Two-Year Bible Reading Plan

Read the Old and New Testaments once, and Psalms & Proverbs four times.

Duration: Two years | Download: PDF


In addition to your daily Bible reading, if you’re looking for devotional material that will help you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living, consider Tabletalk magazine. Try it out for three months absolutely free.

Sermon & Scripture Reading on Jesus’ 1st & 2nd Coming

Here is Pastor Jay’s sermon from this past Sunday reminding us to NOT miss Jesus in all of Scripture:

By way of encouraging you to meditate on the glories of the incarnation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, here are the Scripture readings from this past Sunday:


The Christmas season is mostly celebrated as a joyful, happy occasion (and for good reason!) But it’s also a good season to remember the longing, the desperation, and the darkness in which the world awaited its coming Savior, and even now awaits His return.

The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
– Isaiah 9:2; 7:14

This true light was none other than the Word of God, the Son of God, 2nd person of the Trinity, Jesus the promised Messiah:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
– John 1:1-5

…there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.

And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
But the angel said to them,

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.


This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”


And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

…The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
– Luke 2:8-20

We know the story does not end there, but this baby fulfilled the purpose for which he was born, namely, to “save His people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21)

…behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:


“BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”

…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

– Matthew 1:20-23; 20:28

And He is coming again to judge the living and the dead (as Psalm 98 says [which Joy to the World is based off of):

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.
…Before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth;
He will judge the world with righteousness
And the peoples with equity.

Joy to the World:

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found!

“Behold, I am coming soon,
bringing my recompense with me,
to repay everyone for what he has done.

I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the first and the last,
the beginning and the end.”

… He who testifies to these things says,
“Surely I am coming soon.”
Amen.
Come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.
Amen.

– Revelation 22:12-13, 20-21

Updates & Upcoming [Nov. 30: Handing Out Budget, Dec. 7: Baptisms]

Several events that we’ve been talking about during announcements and have added to the church calendar:

CHURCH-FAMILY-THANKSGIVING-DINNER

Tomorrow, November 23, immediately following the service we welcome all to join us for our annual Thankgiving Potluck. Guest are under no obligation to bring anything, just enjoy the meal and fellowship with us. Members, if you haven’t already, you may sign up to bring food by contacting Shay.


church-business-meeting_t

November 30, we will be handing out the proposed budget for 2015.

On December 14 we will have our annual budget meeting (members only) immediately following the service.


 

Baptism-Gen-300x168

On December 7 we will be closing out our worship service with several baptisms.

Also, be on the lookout for an email of each candidates testimony in the coming weeks. As our Constitution state in ARTICLE IV – MEMBERSHIP – Section 3 ­ Procedure for Receiving New Members:

For admission into church membership, applicants shall be recommended by the elders for admission (when the Board of Elders is satisfied that an applicant gives a credible profession of faith and meets the requirements for membership) and then accepted by vote of the members at any regular or special meeting of the church…

Audio & Video from the 2014 Trinity Montville Pastors’ Conference on “Unity: Love & Truth”

Here is the audio and video from the pastor’s conference that Pastor Jay was at two weeks ago:

Monday, Oct. 20:

Unity: Love and Truth: Unity Among Interchurch Relations Part 1David Chanski [VIDEO | MP3]:

Unity: Love and Truth: Unity Among Interchurch Relations Part 2 | David Chanski [VIDEO | MP3]:

“Public Meeting”: The Goodness and Pleasantness of Brethren Dwelling Together – Psalm 133 | Albert N. Martin [MP3]:

Tuesday, Oct. 21:

Audio from Jim Savastio is not online but here is a portion of his sermon.

“Evangelistic Meeting”: Who is Jesus, and Why Did He Come into the World? | Warren Peel [VIDEO | MP3]:

Wednesday, Oct. 22:

Unity: Love and Truth: Unity Among True Believers Part 1Jeffery S. Smith [VIDEO | MP3]:

Unity: Love and Truth: Unity Among True Believers Part 2 | Jeffery S. Smith [VIDEO | MP3]:

Thursday, Oct. 23:

Unity: Love and Truth: The Importance of Love and Implications for the Ministry Part 1 | Robert Fisher [VIDEO | MP3]:

Unity: Love and Truth: The Importance of Love and Implications for the Ministry Part 2 | Robert Fisher [MP3]:

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