“Wisemen Still Seek Him”
Introduction: If the wisemen in Matthew 2:1-12 could still speak – what would they say to us today? Let me share with you what I think they would say – I think they would say:
"He….encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should
continue with the Lord." Acts 11:23
I'm So Thankful For His Grace!
Then King David went in and sat before the LORD; and he said: "Who am I, O LORD God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O God; and You have also spoken of Your servant's house for a great while to come, and have regarded me according to the rank of a man of high degree, O LORD God." I Chronicles 17:16-17
Yes, I am so thankful for grace! As we approach another Thanksgiving Day and I ponder in my heart all of the blessings that have been mine, none exceeds the manifold grace of God which appeared to me when I was desperately lost in my sins. W.E. Best expressions my sentiments when he said, "The sinner, apart from grace, is unable to be willing and unwilling to be able." Grace represents both the helpless poverty of man and the unlimited kindness of God. Someone once said, "The grace of salvation is a gift and you can't boast about a gift. You can only be thankful."
It was the word of "grace" that that brought salvation to me (Acts 20:32); it was "grace" that justified me (Rom. 3:24); His "grace" in saving me was not just sufficient but abundant (Rom. 5:7); my salvation was not through anything I could do but was a gift of His "grace" (Rom. 12:3,6,15:5); so like Paul, I can say, "By the 'grace' of God I am what I am" (I Cor. 15:10).
But God's grace goes far beyond the provision for my salvation, it touches every area of my life as I make my journey towards the heavenly city. God's grace for the journey is available for every situation ever imaginable. There is strengthening grace (II Cor. 12:9); sustaining grace (II Cor. 9:8); serving grace (I Cor. 15:10); standing grace (Rom. 5:2); singing grace (Col. 3:16); speaking grace (Col. 4:6); and maybe not a specific verse, but there is also succumbing grace as manifested in the life of Stephen at death's door (Acts 7:54-60).
We are so familiar with that great hymn "Amazing grace" written by John Newton, truly a sinner saved by grace (The text above prefaces his hymn in the Olney Hymnbook). Dr. Kenneth W. Osbeck, in his volume of hymn stories entitled, "Amazing Grace," states, "Until the time of his death at the age of 82, John Newton never ceased to marvel at the grace of God that transformed him so completely. Shortly before his death he is quoted as proclaiming with a loud voice during a message, 'My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior!' What amazing grace!"
Our hymnbooks usually only print five, six, at the most, verses of Newton's renowned hymn. Sometime ago, a friend at church, gave to me the complete text of Newton's hymn, "Amazing Grace," which, in it's entirely, contains thirteen verses. As I read them, I once again expressed to the Lord my thankfulness for His grace. I am sure that you will also.
In evil long I took delight, unawed by shame or fear;
Maynard H. Belt
Mich. Assoc. of Regular Baptist Churches
From MARBC MESSENGER – Volume 4 Number 23 11/2/04
Preaching To A Shifting Culture
12 Perspectives on Communicating that Connects
Edited by Scott M. Gibson – Baker Book House
There is no question that our pastors need to read this very important book for the church in America today is truly a part of a changing culture, and we must be prepared to engage the unique issues of our postmodern age, and to do it biblically. This book includes 12 chapters by different men who can help us communicate the Word of God is a way that will keep the interest of our people. Be sure to check this volume out.
Before You Move
A Guide to making Transitions in Ministry
John R. Cionca – Kregel Publications
This is a revised and expanded edition of the previously published title Red Light, Green Light: Discerning the Time for a Change in Ministry.” I was very disappointed when that edition went out of print for I shared it with many pastors seeking to discern God’s leading in their lives. Calvin Miller in his forwards states, “Read this book carefully, but never lend it. There may come a needy night when its wisdom will be for yo the only light in a passage of darkness.” Well, I did lend mine out, and it took almost forever to get it back. I am not lending out this new edition so you better go out and buy one. When you call and ask for assistance in knowing whether it is time to go or stay, I will say to you, “Did you read ‘Before You Move?'”
Discovering the Way of Wisdom
Spirituality in the Wisdom Literature
E.M.Curtis & J.J. Brugaletta – Kregel Publications
This is a very helpful, insightful and practical look at models for spiritual growth found in the wisdom books of the Old Testament. With clarity and depth, the authors explore essential principles for spiritual growth including developing self-control, nurturing good relationships, practicing fairness and justice, speaking appropriately, and responding properly to difficulty and suffering. A book worthy of consideration to help meet the day by day needs of your people.
The Minor Prophets
An Ironside Expository Commentary
H.A. Ironside – Kregel Publications
For many years pastor of the historic Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, and visiting professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, Dr. Ironside has left us many valuable expository studies on various books of the Bible. Many are beginning to be reprinted for a new generation and I am glad to recommend this volume on the Minor Prophets. It was very helpful to me in my early days of ministry in trying to bring understanding to my people on the wonderful truths of these men of God and their ministry to God’s chosen people. When you study the Minor Prophets, have Ironside by your side.
Exploring The Epistle of Jude & Exploring Galatians
The John Phillips Commentary Series
John Phillips – Kregel Publications
These are two separate volumes but I am listing them together. I hope that you have become acquainted with the expository commentaries of John Phillips. I would encourage you to have all of them in your library. I thoroughly enjoy his two volumes on the Psalms. These volumes are good for pastors and Sunday School teachers and are filled with doctrinally sound interpretation that emphases the practical application of Bible truth. His commentaries study the text and its meaning and includes detailed outlines and numerous illustrations and quotations.
Volume 50, Number 10, November – 2004
Issue of the Baptist Testimony
From Where I Stand
Maynard H. Belt
MARBC State Representative
The State Rep’s 2004 Annual Report
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God…” Isaiah 61:10
Where has this year gone? It seems like only yesterday we were meeting at our annual conference at beautiful Lake Ann Baptist Camp. Someone once wisely said, “Time goes, you say? Ah, no! Alas, time stays, we go!” Well, needless to say, as I once again look over the past year and attempt to put a year of ministry on one page, I can truly say that Ann and I have been “going!” I don’t wish to bore you with detail but here are some highlights.
Speaking is one of the special delights and this past year I was privileged to speak in 42 different churches in our State Fellowship. I also was invited to conduct workshops/seminars at the GRARBC Church Ministries Conference, the Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, Pastor’s Retreat at the Shack, Michigan Christian Home, Continental Baptist Missions Candidate School, Lake Ann Senior’s Retreat and the National GARBC Conference. Some of my other ministries involved my commitments on the Boards of Baptist Mid-Missions, Continental Baptist Missions and Bible Tracts, Inc. I serviced nearly 100 churches in various ways including meeting personally with six different deacon groups seeking counsel, participated in an arbitration committee because of a church conflict, attended five ordination examinations, had personal meetings with forty pastors, usually over lunch, attended five funerals, edited 11 issues of the Baptist Testimony, 20 MARBC Messenger e-mails to our churches, and 12 issues of the Barnabas File to some 600 pastors and missionaries worldwide. As usual, annually I direct the two Men’s Retreats at Lake Ann Baptist Camp, which this year drew some 700 men from around the state, and attended the Men Modeling the Master Seminar, Talents for Christ competition, State Teen Bible Conference, Church Ministries Conference and the National GARBC Conference which was held this year in St. Charles, ILL. In May, Ann and I spent eight days in the Upper Peninsula speaking in several of our churches and fellowshipping with several of our dear servants of God who are ministering so faithfully in their chosen vineyard. This ministry would be totally impossible to carry on without the faithful help of Ann who carries a big load working many hours in the office each week as well as traveling with me most of the time. Talking about the office, we have come a long way from the two broken down typewriters and ancient copier I inherited with this position fourteen years ago. God has blessed us with good computers, printer, copier and now if we could only learn how to use them, we could even be more effective!
Apart from the many good things that are happening in our churches, there are two things that I am very excited about in this ministry. First, our new website (www.MARBC.net) is up and running and will be very helpful in facilitating information for those in our State Fellowship, as well as assisting those who would like to know who we are. Second, I am excited about the Strategic Planning our Council of Fifteen is involved in as we set the course for our Fellowship in the days ahead. They are presently actively working on our mission, our vision, our values, and future goals, which hopefully will be in print before our next annual conference. I am greatly encouraged with what God is doing in and through many of our churches and the future is bright as together we reach out to a lost and dying world.
In closing, please accept our humble thanks for continuing to pray regarding our health challenges this past year. After a series of cancer treatments Ann and I are both in remission at the present time and rejoice in His goodness to us. Our schedule is full, and we grow weary in body from time to time, but never in the work of the Lord. Lord willing, February 17-March 2, 2005, Ann and I will be traveling to Curitiba, Brazil, where I have been invited to speak at the BMM South Brazil annual conference. We are honored and excited. Thank you for letting us partner with you, our beloved MARBC churches. As we begin our 15th year, please know that we love you dearly, and count it a high honor and privilege to serve as your representatives in ministry for Christ.
Serving Christ and others is love made visible!