As a new year approaches, it is typically accompanied by a review and analysis of what transpired in the closing year and the anticipated challenges, opportunities, and outcomes of the approaching year. It is amazing how changing one page of the calendar can produce such an intellectual and emotional exercise of contemplation and anticipation.
Keeping this in mind, perhaps there is no more appropriate word for us to begin this new year and decade with than the word “change.” The type of change that I am referencing is that which King Solomon notes in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Solomon then illustrates his observation through a series of comparative examples that demonstrate life’s ebb and flow and give and take (Ecclesiastes 3:2-8).
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” [Matthew 1:21 ESV]
One of our ministry road trips in Michigan recently afforded us a luxury that people over 60 years ago could not enjoy. We will journey into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and back via the Mackinac Bridge. No matter how many times you cross its magnificent five-mile span, you are amazed by this amazing structure and its impact upon the region.
You would most likely agree with me that we live in a very noisy, disruptive world. Groups and individuals are clamoring to express their positions and perspectives. Many times it seems that rather than pursuing healthy and constructive dialogue, the goal is to see who can shout the loudest and longest.
Something seems to be missing in this tsunamic cacophony: the art of listening with discernment. Several years ago, I came across this helpful illustration that emphasizes the importance of attentive listening.
I recently had the privilege to minister in the Flint area. While there, I passed billboards and viewed commercials that advertised the arrival of a display of Titanic artifacts at the Sloan Museum in Flint. It has been over a century since it’s tragic collision with an iceberg, causing over 1,5000 people to perish. Yet, the display of the ship’s remnants continues to draw large crowds wherever they are exhibited.
The start of a new year has often been described by phrases such as, “a fresh start,” “a new lease on life,” “turning over a new leaf or page,” “beginning a new chapter,” and “starting with a clean slate.” Perhaps in this highly technological age we can use updated phrases to mark this occasion, such as, “getting a reboot,” “proceeding with a clean hard drive,” “upgrading your software,” or “downloading a new app!”
You can also download a PDF of The Baptist Testimony – Volume 59 Number 3 Third Quarter 2013 (PC: Right click / MAC: Control click on the link and choose “Save As”)
From The Baptist Testimony – Volume 59 Number 3 Third Quarter 2013 — Also see: News & Notes and Ken’s Road Report
Togetherness is a regularly developed concept in the New Testament regarding the church. Often the New Testament describes the relationship between believers and churches through words such as “one accord” (Acts 1:14; 2:1, 46; 4:24; 5:12; 8:6; 15:25; Philippians 2:2), “partnership” (Philippians 1:5), and “together” (Acts 4:31; 14:27; Romans 1:12; 8:17; 15:32; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 5:4; Ephesians 2:21-22; 4:16; Philippians 1:27; Colossians 2:2, 19; Hebrews 10:25). The actions involved in these depictions include prayer, fellowship, unity in purpose, and gospel endeavors.
You can also download a PDF of the Volume 59 Number 2 Second Quarter 2013 (PC: Right click / MAC: Control click on the link and choose “Save As”)
From The Baptist Testimony – Volume 59 Number 2 Second Quarter 2013
Summertime in Michigan is typically a time identified by phrases such as “change of pace,” “vacation get-away,” “cabins and cottages,” “weekend camping,” and “heading up north.” Who hasn’t heard Tim Allen’s narration along with the background of soothing music and stopped to see which wonderful scenic views from around Michigan will be shown in the next segment of the tourism advertisements titled “Pure Michigan?” The emphasis of the campaign seems to focus upon opportunities for refreshment and renewal.
You can also download a PDF of the Volume 59 Number 1 First Quarter 2013 (PC: Right click / MAC: Control click on the link and choose “Save As”)
From The Baptist Testimony – Volume 59 Number 1 First Quarter 2013
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.” Philippians 1:3-7