“God be gracious to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us that Your way may be known on the earth, Your salvation among all nations.”
Psalm 67: 1-2
Psalm 67 is about missions! It’s a cry for God to bless us. But unlike so many who cry today for God’s blessing, the Psalmist is not thinking only of himself. He has a much greater goal in mind. He prays that God would bless us and be with us so that through us the nations might hear and know and worship God as He deserves to be known and worshiped!
As I think about that, I realize that this has always the motive behind God’s blessing. God does not bless his people so we can hoard that blessing to ourselves. He blesses us so that we might be a link in the chain of events He intends to use to bring a blessing to others – and especially to bless them with the Gospel of Christ.
What was it He said to Abraham when he called him to leave all and follow Him by faith? He said, “I will bless you and you will be a blessing and all nations on earth will be blessed through you!” (Gen 12:3) Think about that. God doesn’t bless us so that we can look in the mirror and say, “Gee, isn’t it great to be blessed?” God blesses us so that other nations and people we’ve never met may be blessed through us! And how will they be blessed? By hearing and responding to the Gospel of Christ that we preach and bring to them as we send and go as missionaries into the world!
That’s why I like to say that Psalm 67, in addition to being one of my own personal favorite Psalms, is at heart a missionary Psalm! It is a call for us as Christians to realize that everything God is doing in our lives today and every day, all His rich blessings of grace, all the advantages he has let us enjoy as “wealthy” Americans is for this one great purpose: to make His glory known and to enable us to carry the news of His glory (the Gospel!) to the ends of the earth so that,….”all the peoples” and “all the nations” everywhere may hear and be glad in Him!
So let the nations be glad!
God blesses us, so that all the ends of the earth might fear (and worship) Him! (Psa 67:7)
Pastor S Scott Lee
We all need help in learning to minister to the bereaved. When you lose someone you love, it leaves a hole in your life. The depth of that hole depends on the nearness of that person to you. That’s why the loss of an acquaintance hurts, but only for a short time. The loss of a close friend, however, hurts much longer. Keeping this in mind helps me understand why, even with the loss of a friend, most of us are able to pick up and move on more quickly…much more so than those who have lost a spouse or child. The hole left in our life, though significant, is not nearly as deep as theirs. Knowing this reminds me that I must continue to express a greater depth of compassion for those who have experienced this deeper loss. They can’t just “pick up and move on”. A larger part of their life is now missing. They need me to stay closer to them, to pray for them and to grieve with them longer than I would do, if it were just about me. But it’s not just about me. It’s about them, and the love Christ would have me show them, for His sake. Deep wounds do not heal in a matter of weeks or even months. I must be prepared to love those who grieve, over the long haul. In that way, I can take part in fulfilling Christ’s promise, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Mt 5:4)
“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
As many friends of our congregation have heard by now, we have suffered the unexpected loss of our dear brother in Christ, Jason Moslander. I say “loss” because, while his death is certainly “gain” for him (since he is now enjoying a full, unhindered fellowship with Christ – Php 1:21) it is nevertheless a real loss for us, and above all for his precious family. Let us never forget that death is not our friend. It is an enemy. As Paul says in 1 Cor 15:26, “the last enemy that will be abolished, is death.” And death has taken from us a dear friend and zealous servant of Christ!
Many are likewise aware that Jason and his wife Stephanie were preparing to give their lives as missionaries. Their hope was to serve with Pioneers in the Middle East, taking the Gospel of God’s Grace to those locked under the hard rule of Islam. Jason will not be going. That means that others must now respond to Christ’s call and go in Jason’s place. Please join me as we pray to the Lord of the Harvest to raise up workers for this white harvest field.
One of the things, that has caught me off guard this, has been the discovery of how deeply our children at Rockport loved Jason. I should have known it, I suppose. Jason has served as a Sunday School teacher for many years. And he was, in fact, the biggest “kid” of them all. Each Sunday he would greet the children of our church by name. And on our fellowship meal days, you would often find him out in the field next to the church playing soccer or some other game with them. His fun-loving nature made him easy to love. And they did love him. Please pray for our little ones, many of whom are experiencing such grief for the first time.
But above all, pray for Jason’s family, for Stephanie and Gracie and Elliot (and the little one Stephanie is carrying), and for his parents, Dennis and Donna. This is a hard place where they find themselves, and they will need all the grace and love that God has so richly piled upon us, to be spread as thick as we can over their lives in the coming months and years.
As I’ve thought about Stephanie this week, the words Sarah Edwards wrote to her daughter upon learning of her husband, Jonathan’s, sudden death keep coming to my mind. Surely, Stephanie can say the same thing:
What shall I say? A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud. O that we may kiss the rod, and lay our hands upon our mouths! The Lord has done it. He has made me adore his goodness, that we had him so long. But my God lives; and he has my heart. O what a legacy my husband, and your father, has left us! We are all given to God; and there I am, and love to be.
Please keep all in prayer. A fund has been established to help Stephanie and her three children through these days. Checks may be sent to “The Acts 4 Fund” in her name (Acts 4 Fund / Rockport Baptist Church 3761 Telegraph Road / Arnold, MO 63010). Everything received will go to help support her and her children during this difficult time.
The Lord has been our help! He has not abandoned us but has continued to pour out his grace upon us throughout this entire ordeal! He gives, he takes away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
Resting in His mercy,
PS – you can listen to the message preached at Jason’s Funeral here. You can also listen to the sermon from the Sunday given the Sunday following his death here. God has helped us through with both messages.
As our church has grown, I’ve found it harder and harder to keep up with the names of every child of every member of our congregation. This is made especially hard, given the fact that we have several very large families. With that in mind, I made the following post on my Facebook page:
I finally had to add the names of the children of our congregation to my weekly prayer list. For years I’ve been praying for the kids from memory as I came across their parents’ names. That’s just not possible any more! Soooo many kids (but that’s a good thing). It is a privilege to pray for you all, Rockport Baptist Church.
Within an hour or so of that post, I received a question from a friend and former member in my inbox (which I’ve edited to preserve the anonymity of the sender).
Good morning. I have a question. Is it necessary to mention everyone in prayers by name as you stated in your post? Are the children of Rockport less blessed by Him if, in my prayer, I say “the children of Rockport?” How is this different than when, in prayer I say “all the victims of a disaster”? I trust that the Lord knows about whom I am speaking. Maybe I have misunderstood something here. Chapter and verse, please, so I can get my prayer life where it needs to be.” Have a day filled with the blessings of the Lord. (Name withheld)
Here, in an edited and slightly expanded version (using made up names) is my answer:
I find many passages that speak of “making mention of you in my prayers” (Eph 1:16, 1 Tim 1:2, Philemon 1:4). It makes sense that I, as a shepherd, should lift to the Lord by name those who are under my care, just as I lift my girls to the Lord individually. Now certainly, there are different kinds of prayer and different levels of responsibility. It is true that, since I do not know all the folks who suffered during the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook, I have no choice but to lift them up as a group to the Lord and trust that He can and does interpret my prayers as needed. In the same way I also sometimes pray for the “families of our church” as a whole rather than individually. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But, when it comes to my specific responsibility to shepherd and care for individuals, I find that it is necessary (or at least helpful) to bring them to the Lord individually. When I ask the Lord to bless the Baker family for instance, I am thinking of them as a whole. Certainly God can and does use such praying. But when I am praying for little Tom Baker, for instance, the Lord brings his individual needs to my mind so that I am moved to pray for him more earnestly. Does that make sense?
I think it comes down to a matter of wisdom. Since I cannot pray for every individual in the world, I spend specific time praying for those individuals for whom I bear a personal responsibility. So that is the question: For whom has God made me responsible? My wife and children, certainly. Grandkids when I get them one day. My own parents, siblings and families. Other relatives, in-laws, etc. And as pastor, the people of this congregation. I also include good friends, missionaries I personally know, and on in on. Generally I begin with those closest, and move out in concentric circles as I seek to pray for those in my immediate sphere of influence. This is where my “lists” of people I know begins to come in handy. I have broken up my week into various categories of prayer so that I may work through most of the people in my life on a weekly basis, while praying for those closest to me daily.
Does that answer your question?
My prayer is that this answer may help others as well
Grace and peace, through faith in Christ,
Pastor Scott Lee
Somebody recently asked me what Rockport Baptist Church was “all about”. That got me to thinking. What is it like to be a part of this congregation? I was tempted to just say, “We’re all about glorifying God through Christ!” Because I hope that’s the case. But then, I suppose ever church that strives to be biblical would (or should) say the same thing. But what are we about really? When people come to be a part of our congregation, what do they experience?
Here is the answer I gave:
Rockport seeks to spread the good news of God’s sovereign grace for the joy of all who believe. We are (or at least desire to be) passionate about missions and seek to find ways to engage our people personally in missions. We do this by recruiting and training people to serve as missionaries, and men to send out as pastors. Every worship service begins with a focus on a missionary we are connected with, as we remind our people to pray for them. We have also divided up lists of missionaries to volunteers who correspond with them and keep our congregation informed of their needs.
We desire to disciple all of our people, beginning with our youngest, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We place a great deal of emphasis on family focused teaching and ministry, training fathers and mothers to be the primary teachers/trainers of their children. Most of the things we do as a church are designed to include all ages together. We believe it is vital to have a multi-generational approach to ministry and fellowship so that the older men can teach the younger men, and older women can teach the younger women. This has been one of the great joys of the last few years as we’ve seen the “generation gap” narrowing in our congregation and both the older and younger learn to love and serve one another. To help facilitate this, we have a fellowship meal on the first Sunday of every month after our worship service. Many families will remain for several hours afterwords getting to know and spend time with each other (all other activities are cancelled for that day). But even on the regular Sunday mornings, it is not odd to have families remain at church fellowshiping and talking for an hour or two longer.
Though Pastor Scott carries the primary task of weekly preaching, we are led, spiritually, by a team of elders, each of whom helps share the load of teaching, preaching,and leading. We are also served by a wonderful team of deacons who seek to meet the physical and practical needs of the congregation.
We place a high priority on the careful, systematic teaching of the word. Every individual and family are strongly encouraged to be daily in the word, and to share freely with each other what they are reading. During every Sunday morning service we have a time of open sharing when any member can stand and share something from the word, or a need for prayer, or a praise for some good thing God has done. This has become one of the most joyful aspects of our weekly gathering. There is also a weekly Sunday evening Systematic Theology class where those who wish may come study a little deeper.
We also place a high priority on gathering for prayer and the study of the word. There are no midweek meetings at the church building. Instead we gather in homes on every night of the week (except Monday) to meet in C-Groups where whole families and individuals meet together to worship, share testimonies and exhortations, study the word and pray. These meetings are a highlight of the week for many of us.
We are always looking for ways to send our people out in evangelism and service. Bake Ottofy heads up our jail ministry, sending various members (and others from the JBA) into the jail to visit inmates who have requested a visit. We have a team, led by Matt McDonnell who go into the city to hand out tracts and preach wherever crowds of people gather together. We were privileged recently to plant a church in U-City (the Gate), led by Pastors Kenny Petty and Kyle Hubbard. This year we hope to plant another church somewhere in West County, pastored by Bro Brig Jones. We also have, by God’s grace, several able men who are ready to go preach in any church that has need for pulpit supply, interim work, etc.
Finally, our we have two annual events that are a blessing to our people. Grace Camp Meeting in the Spring (April 11-14 this year). This is three full days of meeting together to pray and hear the Word. This years speakers are Charles Leiter, Mack Tomlinson and Curt Daniel. And then, in the fall, our Annual Family Camp at Bate’s Creek, where our whole congregation meets together for four days of fellowship, fun and family focused teaching.
In a “nutshell” I think that describes the life of our congregation. I’m sure I’ve left some things out, but that’s surely most of it.
If you live in the Saint Louis area, and are looking for a church that isn’t trying to be anything, but faithful to God’s Word. Come join us. We’d love to get to know you.
Soli Deo Gloria,
I just updated this new blog by importing “only the best” from my old Blogspot. Hopefully, these articles will be a blessing and help to some. Looking forward to future new posts.
In His Mercy
I rediscovered this brief “poem” of mine recently, while rummaging through some old computer files. I remember writing it back in college, oh so long ago. It was shortly after I’d come to faith in Christ, and I was trying to work through how different my view about ultimate destinies had become now that I was a Christian, as opposed to what I had once believed when I was edging near the borders of atheism. I do not claim that this is great literature by an stretch! But the thoughts expressed here still ring true to my mind.
What am I?
Some absurd ape taken in by a grand illusion
of false grandeur?
Or am I a child of a loving Creator-God
formed from dust into his everlasting image.
Is my life wrapped up in a sad delusion?
A delusion that will pitiably end in the sticky
black darkness of death?
Or am I destined to serve my King,
to serve my King in eternal, heavenly glory?
But I know in Whom I have believed,
And I am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I have entrusted to Him
Until that final day.
Yes Lord, I am Yours.
I have really wanted to respond to the so-called “Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist View of Salvation” that was issued recently (and which ought to be called, “A Statement of the Neo-Traditionalist Arminian View of Salvation”), but frankly I have not had the stomach or the time to do so. Fortunately, several faithful brothers have done what I could not do. Let me commend to you the following.
First, a dear brother named Scott Weldon has issues this excellent response, which he calls My Two Cents re: “A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”. I highly recommend it.
Second, Brother Tom Ascol is doing an excellent point by point analysis. It also is highly recommended and you can find it at the Founder’s Blog here.
My many thanks, brothers, for taking the time to declare truth.