Two events will be remembered within one week of each other in the month of April.
The first of the two events, the sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912, monopolized the headlines 100 years ago. It has been written about in numerous forums, been the subject of several documentaries, served as the background of several major film productions, and still attracts large crowds who flock to view remnants of its wreckage.
When deep-sea divers were searching the wreckage of the ocean liner several years ago, among the items recovered was a leather case containing 40 small vials of perfume oil. The little bottles, which probably would have been sold in New York as the ingredients for cologne, belonged to a businessman from Manchester, England. When they pulled the case from the water, the fragrance of the oils filled the air, even after being submerged for almost a century.
“To smell something that smells the same as it did on the Titanic before it went down is simply incredible,” said Graham Jessop, an expert in the retrieval of such artifacts. The quality of that perfume allowed for an undeniable and unavoidable aroma of wonderful fragrance.
The second, and much more significant, event occurred almost 2,000 years ago and will be recognized on Sunday, April 8. I am referring, of course, to the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christians around the world will celebrate both the crucifixion and resurrection before the bewildered eyes of billions of observers.
As is the case of the story of the Titanic, perfume is also connected to the story of the crucifixion. While the fragrance of this perfume did not capture the attention of the enraptured press, God considered it of such significance that He included the account of it in the eternal Word of God. That makes it significant. And what it recognized and preceded is of greatest eternal significance.
In the days preceding Jesus’ presentation as the Lamb of God, a woman carrying a small vial slipped into the dining room after dinner. She broke it open and poured it on the head of the honored guest. Soon the room was filled with the smell of very expensive perfume. “What a waste,” some of the guests said. “We could have sold that and helped the poor.” Indeed, the perfume cost almost a year’s pay. But, the one she anointed cut their complaints short. “She’s done a beautiful thing. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” And indeed it has!
The woman in the story was Mary of the village of Bethany and her story is shared in John 12:1-8. Because of her love for Jesus, Mary risked rebuke from the crowd and gave the very best she had. Her motives were as pure as the oil she offered. Even now, two thousand years later, her sacrifice is still remembered. And the aroma of her sacrifice is as sweet now as it was then.
Ironic, isn’t it? The aroma coming from vials salvaged from a shipwreck will provoke some to eagerly purchase a ticket to stand in line for hours to catch a glimpse of an historic relic. Mary’s gift was more aromatic and pointed to the ultimate sacrifice and most fragrant display by the One Who “gave Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” (Ephesians 5:2) Those who are captivated by this powerful fragrance will not stand in line to experience it but instead will humbly bow the knee in reverence and submission (Philippians 2:10).
Jesus calls us to give our best – our best love, our best service, our best offering. Christians are admonished in the context of Ephesians 5:2 to “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
As servants of God we have the great opportunity in these days leading up to the Passion Week to fragrantly bring attention to the One Who is our Savior and Lord! 2 Corinthians 2:15 shares, “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” The world will question the reason for our perceived “fanaticism” regarding Jesus and events involving an old rugged cross and an empty tomb. Let’s ensure that the aroma of our testimonies direct others to the fragrance of Christ.
Our service is a sweet-smelling sacrifice to Him. And because it is offered to Him, it will always be remembered.“Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) As we minister faithfully in the days ahead through a myriad of preparations in order to direct people to focus on the Cross and celebrate Christ’s Resurrection, may “this attitude be ours” (Philippians 2:5). KEF
Prayer requests:Dr. Joseph Bower. Remember Joe and Florence Bower in prayer as Joe undergoes a bone scan and bone marrow test in the next week after being recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. 9276 Emily Rd., Davison, MI 48423.
Jeff Halsted, senior pastor of Calvary Baptist Church. Jeff is doing very well and has been making steady progress following a brain bleed in January. He has not resumed full function at the church as of yet, but will likely in the month to follow. Continue to pray for pain management, which we are thankful has made huge declines. Thank you to all who have been praying for he and the family throughout the past 8 weeks, we are grateful to God for His provision and protection.
Dawn Mattison. Pray for the wife of Pastor Tim Mattison, First Baptist Church in Wayland as she continues to be treated for an aggressive form of breast cancer. Pray for spiritual strength, physical stamina, and the financial provisions needed for her health care. Email / 3514 12th St., Wayland, MI 49348-9133.
Lanaia Griffith – teenaged daughter of Pastor Rich and Sue Griffith, Parma Baptist Church, Parma. Lanaia continues to be treated for classical Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which was diagnosed last October. Email
Please make note of these ministry opportunities related to the MARBC:
CONTINENTAL BAPTIST MISSIONS GREATER GRAND RAPIDS FRIENDS & FAMILY BANQUET, MARCH 29. For more information or to reserve your seats now contact Rodney McNany at the CBM home office: (616) 863-2226 or by Email. The banquet will feature 70th anniversary year message by former president Dr. Gerald Webber, and music by Mark Cizauskas of West Cannon Baptist Church. This year’s banquet will be held at: Noto’s La Gran Sala, in Grand Rapids. Punch Bowl is at 6 p.m., program and meal will begin at 6:30 P.M.
Relating for Spiritual Impact – Training Weekend. First Baptist Church in St. Louis, MI, will host this weekend seminar featuring Dwight Peterson and Dennis Wilhite, Bible professors from Baptist Bible College, on Friday and Saturday, March 30-31. The session schedule is Friday from 6:30PM to 8:45PM, Saturday from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. Lunch will be provided on Saturday. Refreshments will be available between sessions.Cost: $99 group registration covers up to 3 attendees from the same organization, $25 per additional attendee. Bring your ministry leadership team! For more information, contact Pastor Derreck Jewell, Associate Pastor, First Baptist Church, St. Louis, 989.763.7836; Email.
Love & Respect Conference. Friday evening and Saturday, April 13-14, Calvary Baptist Church,1200 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids 49508. This conference is for those wishing to grow in their understanding of the opposite gender, whether married or single. The cost is $15 per person by April 2 ($20 after April 2). Registration is online only at www.loveandrespect.com (click on “Conference” and search for “Michigan.” Questions? Contact the church office at 616.243.3674, Email.
CMARBC Annual Meeting. The annual meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 24, beginning at 10 a.m. and concluding with lunch at noon. The speaker is Bill Jenkin, Executive Director of Continental Baptist Missions. The meeting will be held at the X57 Youth Building of First Baptist Church, 10010 E. Carson City Rd., Carson City, MI.
EMARBC Ladies Conference, “Enjoying the Ride of Your Life!” Saturday, April 28, at First Baptist Church of Rochester, 6377 Orion Rd., Rochester, MI. Guest speaker is Sherrie Holloway, dynamic ladies conference speaker and faculty member of Baptist Bible College, Clarks Summit, PA. Please note this corrected information: Registration will begin at 8 a.m., followed by a light continental breakfast. The Conference will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 3:30 p.m. The cost is $15.00 per person for those who pre-register and $18.00 the day of the conference. For more information, contact First Baptist Church of Rochester, 248.652.6151; www.fbcrochester.org.
Ukraine Missions Trip for Pastors. Church Ministries Institute (CMI), a ministry of ABWE, is seeking partners to assist in training leaders and developing churches. Be one of the 15 pastors who join Chris Hindal, GARBC Director of International Ministries, in Ukraine to survey the scope of this ministry. The dates of the trip are October 15-24, 2012. The cost is $2,000. Contact Chris Hindal, by Email, if you are interested.
HOUSE FOR SALE. A member of South Baptist Church in Bay City has asked that the MARBC family be made aware of a house for sale in Flint. 222 W Oakley, Flint, MI; two story home – 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, kitchen w/ appliances, dining, living rooms, full basement, 1248 sq feet, 2-car detached garage. I bought a house for my son when he was going to the U of M – Flint. Since the economy has had issues, I have been trying to sell it for three years. There are two charter schools within a mile. Price: $30,000 but will take other offers to bank. Would possibly consider renting it. Interested parties please contact Mary by Email.
Needed: A Ride to the GARBC Conference in June. BMM missionary Anita Swedberg (Brazil) and her daughter need a ride from Hazel Park to the GARBC Conference and then back to Hazel Park in June. Anita’s daughter, Jennifer, is a senior in high school and will be participating in the national Talents for Christ competition during the conference. Anita and Jennifer are arriving in the Detroit area the week of June 17th. If anyone can give them a ride, please contact Pastor Rick Yokel, Email, 248.541.8070.
Pews for sale. The Marlette Baptist Church has 4 solid wood pews of varying lengths and great condition for sale, $75 each or best offer. They are white with red cushioning. Pictures are available. Contact the church office, 989.635.2570.
Partnering with you and praying for you,
Executive Ministry Director
Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches