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Archive for January 2014

Better Than The Super Bowl

I love and hate this week.  It is the week of the Super Bowl.  I love it because I like football.  I hate the week because there will be no more football for six months after this week.  Before you go to worked up, I don’t LOVE football.  I like it.  I don’t have TV in my house, so I don’t watch much of it.

One of the reasons why this week can be unpleasant is all the talk.  Just mention the name “Richard Sherman” this week and you will get a load of divergent responses.  Then there is the clever weaving of faith into just about every biographical story.  I am thrilled to know that Peyton Manning claims to be a believer in Christ.  Many other will as well.  I like that.  I like that these very well paid professional athletes are willing to speak of their trust in Jesus.  Some don’t talk about it a lot (Manning), while others are much more open about it.  Who can forget Tim Tebow?  I can’t.  In fact, I will be wearing my Broncos Tim Tebow jersey on Sunday.  Or the gregarious Bible boastings of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis?  As an OU fan I think back to this year’s Sugar Bowl and Trevor Knight’s mention of his faith in Christ.  I love it.

I also know that to some, this kind of “Jesus talk” is meaningless.  These are people on a screen.  Over-paid people.  Who live lives of luxury and fame.  Sometimes it feels like “a little Jesus slapped on for good measure”.  I hate that.  I think these athletes are, for the most part, genuine.  The testimony of Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and some of his teammates with Pastor Mark Driscoll is awesome (see here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8U_ewtHZdw).

One of the reasons why I like this week is an event we do at FBC Ponca City.  I admit it – We do a Super Bowl party!  I know many churches don’t participate in such tawdry shenanigans.  Here are a few reasons why we do a Super Bowl party (and why I love this week).

1. It is fun.  I know – it seems so unChristlike to do something because it is fun.  Jesus never laughed!  Unless he was holding a small lamb while posing for a picture!  OK.  We do a party because it is fun.  Because our church family has the opportunity to get together, sit in their lawn chairs in the assembly center, and have a good time together.  How scandalous for Jesus to do his first miracle at a party!

2.  It is family time.  There will be kids running all over the place.  During the game!  In front and behind of those vigorously cheering their side to victory!  Playing tag and catch and hide and go seek.  AND…we will turn the screens off during the raunchy Super Bowl commercials.  It is a family atmosphere.  As a pastor, I love seeing families together…with other families…with MY family.

3.  It is about faith.  Not a guy on a screen.  Oh, we will probably show the testimony of the Seahawks.  But that is not it.  Nope.  We will have a real, live human being in the building who will give testimony.  TESTIFY BROTHER!  Last year we had Oklahoma Baptist University Head Football Coach Chris Jensen.  Wow, did he bring it!  That man can preach!  We also heard from Jay Wilkinson,  the son of legendary football coach Bud Wilkinson.  What an inspirational story!  This year we are in for a treat.  Josh Norman, a wide receiver for the 2000 National Champion OU Sooner football team and former NFL player will be sharing his faith with us.  Josh used to work for Fellowship of Christian Athletes with one of our own, Mr. Chuck Bowman.  Josh is the real deal.  Chuck told me “tell your people that they DO NOT want to miss hearing Josh.”  I cant wait.

Fun, family, faith.  5:30 this Sunday is kickoff.  Bring your lawn chair.  And your face paint.  I dare you!  It will be better than the Super Bowl.

Andy

January 26, 2014 – Dr. Bobby Kelly

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Church First – More Than a Schedule Change

Folks at First Baptist Church Ponca City have experienced “a new way of doing church” lately.  For the past two Sundays we have flipped our schedule – Worship service first (at 9:30) and Sunday School second (at 11 AM).  The reason for the flip of the schedule?  It is all about the theme of the day.

There is an old axiom in church that applies to Bible study – “We are educated beyond our capacity to obey.”  If you have been one of those people who basically lived at the church by attending Sunday morning for Sunday School, then worship, then Discipleship Training (or Training Union or any other name for the 5 PM hour), then Sunday evening church, then Wednesday night prayer meeting/bible study, then you know what I mean by the statement “educated beyond our capacity to obey”.  In one week of church you may have received 5 or more different lessons.  I don’t know about you, but I can barely REMEMBER one of those, much less apply them all.

So we decided to try something different.  We want Sunday School and worship service to carry the same theme.  To hear God’s Word explained, then talk about it within the context of a small group of friends.  The traditional schedule of Sunday School first, worship second just would not give us the vehicle to deliver our intended goal.  So we flipped it.  For the last two weeks at First Baptist Church we held “Church First”, then Sunday School – and we talked about the same theme.  For instance, two weeks ago I preached from John 18 on Jesus encounter with Pilate when the governor asks the Savior “What is truth?”  Truth was our theme.  I preached on it in worship and the Sunday School classes talked about how to apply it.  This past Sunday I preached from Matthew 22:34-40 on the subject of “The Great Love Project”.  The task for our Sunday School leaders was to lead a discussion on various related Bible texts and think of tangible projects by which their class or individuals could demonstrate love in a selfless act of service.

We are two weeks in.  The reports back have been great – actually, more than great.  More like “glowing” reports.  Discussion has increased, attendance has increased, and outreach has increased.  Parents are talking about the weekly theme with their kids.  Classes are posting challenges and applications on Facebook.  Many who were skeptical are beginning to see value.  Some who are still skeptical are willing to give it a chance.  Traditions are to let go of when we try to make a change.  But what if God used something as simple as a flip of the schedule to help more people become “doers of the Word” instead of hearers only?

We didn’t do this JUST for the sake of change.  I don’t like change THAT much!  We are exploring the opportunity with a purpose.  I guess we will see if it works.  Give it a try.  Church First.  9:30.  Oh, I almost forgot.  There will be coffee in the foyer before church!

Andy

January 19, 2014 – Commit to Love

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January 12, 2014 – Commit to Truth

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