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Pastor's Points October 2018

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Below you will find reproduced a copy of the letter that I sent out to our regular attenders and members.   I have found throughout the years of ministry that you can never communicate enough.  So once again here is the letter that contains all the important dates about this possible exciting   opportunity for our church family.  Every person that I have spoken to since this information was shared has been genuinely excited about this possibility.  Plan on coming to one of the informational meetings listed below!

Dear Church Family,
On Sunday, October 7th we will be celebrating our church’s 55th anniversary of ministry here on Oak Hill Road! God has been so faithful to us throughout these years, and He continues to give us His favor and guidance as we minister in His name. We will acknowledge and celebrate the past ministry of Oakhill in a special video presentation as we hear from three of our former pastors.  I am excited for you to see this video and to hear from three of God’s faithful servants who have led Oakhill in the past.  Also, on this Sunday I will be sharing from God’s Word as to the purpose and focus of our church as we continue to reach out and minister here on Oak Hill Road in to the future.

I have always led our church to be ready to “move as God moves among us”.  What this simply means is that we need to be aware of our ministry and God’s movement in our midst, so we can walk in obedience to do what He would have us to do.  As your pastor I see this as one of the greatest responsibilities that I have as the lead pastor of Oakhill.  Often this happens as I pray and share with the other pastors and leaders of our church, but there are times when God moves and brings situations across our path that I was not looking for.  This is exactly what God has done recently.  I believe what I am getting ready to share with you may very well have come from the Lord for us to consider.

On August 20th at a leadership team meeting of our association of churches, a motion came to the floor from an ad hoc committee that was put together after the previous annual meeting to study the usage of the land that the association owns on Oak Hill Road.  This is the location of the ball fields that we use to play our softball leagues and where we have our churches large outdoor events such as our night of worship, fireworks celebration, and Easter egg hunt.  Because of the lack of use of this land by most of the churches in our association, the committee recommended that the association sell off 14 acres of property (effectively both ball fields and surrounding property).  This property is to be offered for purchase first to the churches in our association, and if there is no interest they are going to auction it off to whomever may be interested.  This is all pending a vote to be taken at our   annual associational meeting on October 27th.  If this motion is approved, then the land will be for sale.

I am convinced that this piece of property is vital to the ongoing ministry of our church.  This land is our “green space” that   allows us to do church fellowships and community outreaches that otherwise would be almost impossible for us to continue.  Securing this property will also help to ensure that we continue to have a ministry presence on Oak Hill Road into the future as well.  So after initially meeting with our elders and consulting a commercial real estate professional to get some key questions answered, we met with our finance team, and deacon team. At the end of all these meetings we all agree unanimously that we need to ask our church family to be prepared to make an offer on this property if it is approved by the association to sell it.  But for us to purchase a piece of property we need to of course have church approval and so that is what we are asking for.  We will have two informational meetings; one on Wednesday October 10th at 6:00pm, and the other on Thursday October 18th at 6:00pm. We will share all the  specifics of this possible purchase as we talk about the land itself, as well as the financial information that we need to consider.  Please make one of these meetings if possible.  You do not need to attend both meetings.  We are just offering two times to share this information to reach as many of our church family that we can.  I will be announcing a special called business meeting that will be held on Thursday October 25th  at 6:00pm to consider as a church family this exciting opportunity.  Please know that the vote taken at the business meeting will be for those that are active members of Oakhill Baptist Church.

As most of you know we are debt free as a church! The leadership of our church feels we are in a very good position to purchase this property, to secure the ministry that we are already offering as well as secure ministry options and possibilities into the future.  We want to share the details as well as the encouraging financial details of this possible purchase that could be paid off in a very short time frame.  I truly believe God may be moving among us once again in all these details, and if He is, I want us to be ready to continue to walk with Him into the future here on Oak Hill Road where He planted us 55 years ago.

 I love you and I love being your pastor,

 Pastor Alan

Posted by Alan Scott with

Spare Change October 2018

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Recently, two stories of public shaming have made headlines.  One man well known and the other not. The first was Geoffrey Owens who was working at Trader Joe’s in New Jersey when a woman snapped a picture and posted it online.  He is an actor formerly on The Cosby Show. He was publicly shamed for a moment, before scores of people turned to support the actor. The   other man was a man that was shaving on the train when, again, his picture was posted online to shame him.  It was then found out that this man was homeless and was given a train ticket by his brother to go stay with another family member. He wanted to look presentable, so he was shaving in public on a train. Neither of these men should have been made to feel bad for their predicament.  I read these stories and felt lachrymose. I have had the same feeling when the website “People of Walmart” came out to shame individuals that looked or acted strange in Walmart. I just don’t see why we must shame people, especially if they are downtrodden.

As Christians, we should never publicly or privately shame someone.  Our attitude should be one of humility and love toward our fellow image bearers.  Look at Paul’s advice in Philippians 2: 3-8, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

I love how Paul tells us to count others more significant than ourselves, this is how we should look at other people.  If we see them through the lens of humility, as more important than us, it will be easy to love and serve others. Our mind should not be like the world, rather we are encouraged to have the mind of Christ.  I don’t think Christ would think that the “People of Walmart” is a funny site. I try not to take myself or life too seriously, but I find it hard to believe that God would approve of such mockery of His beloved creation.  Each person has been crafted by God to bear His image, this is the distinction between us and all the other animals on the earth. We bear God’s image, this should mean something to us. So, when we see a poor soul that's unkept or dressed poorly or has a physical or mental issue we should not laugh, rather we should see them as God sees them---as a precious creation.

Our example for this humble mindset is Christ.  Paul tells us that Jesus, who is God, did not claim His rights as sovereign ruler of the universe.  He didn’t command that we bow before Him. He didn’t stand in front of us adored in all His glory and splendor. Instead He emptied Himself and came to us as a servant.  Born into humanity so He could be like us, and then doing the most sacrificial thing He could ever do; He died on the cross for us. What if Christ looked at us as we look at others?  What if He judged us for our hardships and bad choices? What if He looked down on our slobbish behavior or our propensity for idols? Christ refused to do that, instead He empathized with us, became like us and died for us.

This is the ultimate example of humility and one we need to keep in mind before we laugh at another human being. Of course, I like to have fun and don’t mind some good-natured kidding, but there must be a limit.  We need to be able to tell the difference between joking with our buddies and really making fun of someone in a hurtful way. We must learn to see everyone as Christ sees them, which means learning to serve them. One easy way to serve someone is to pray for them.  If you find yourself making fun of someone, even in your mind, start praying for them. This will train your mind to see them as God sees them. Also, give them the benefit of the doubt. You don’t know their situation, so don’t judge them for things you don’t know about.  Then if you have the opportunity, get to know them. You never know how interesting or amazing they might be. Finally, find ways to share the gospel with them. Remember Jesus died for them and the only difference between you and them is the gospel.

 

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

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