Network News - June 30, 2017

Want a deeper walk with God? Give Him just seven minutes and see what happens!

½ Minute: Preparing Your Heart

Invest the first 30 seconds preparing your heart. You might pray, “Lord, cleanse my heart so You can speak to me through the Scriptures. Make my mind alert, my soul active, and my heart responsive. Surround me with Your presence during this time.”

4 Minutes: Listening to God (Scripture Reading)

Take the next four minutes to read the Bible. Your greatest need is to hear a word from God. Allow the Word to strike fire in your heart. Meet the Author!

2½ Minutes: Talking to God (Prayer)

After God has spoken through His Book, then speak to Him in prayer. One method is to incorporate four areas of prayer that you can remember with the word ACTS.

Adoration. This is the purest kind of prayer because it’s all for God. Tell the Lord that you love Him. Reflect on His greatness.

Confession. Having seen Him, you now want to be sure every sin is cleansed and forsaken. “Confession” comes from a root word meaning “to agree together with.” When we apply this to prayer, it means we agree with God’s estimation of what we’ve done.

Thanksgiving. Think of several specific things to thank Him for: your family, your business, your church—even thank Him for hardships.

Supplication. This means to “ask for, earnestly and humbly.” Ask for others, then ask for yourself. Include people around the world, missionaries, friends, and those who have yet to hear about Jesus. — Seven Minutes with God from NavPress.

This article excerpted from The Discipleship Course by Josh Hunt.



Reaching a Changing World with God's Unchanging Word by Pastor Rick Warren from pastors.com
In ministry, some things must never change but others must change constantly.

Clearly, God’s five purposes for his church are non-negotiable. If a church fails to balance the five purposes of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism, then it’s no longer a healthy church, and it’s in danger of becoming simply a social club.

On the other hand, the way or style in which we fulfill these eternal purposes must continually be adjusted and modified because human culture is always changing. Our message must never change, but the way we deliver that message must be constantly updated to reach each new generation.

In other words, our message of transformation must never change while the transformation of our presentation should be continual, adapting to the new languages of our culture.

Consider this: the word contemporary literally means with temporariness. By nature, nothing contemporary is meant to last forever! It is only effective for a while and only relevant in that particular moment – which’s what makes it contemporary.

What is considered contemporary and relevant in the next ten years will inevitably appear dated and tired in 20 years. As a pastor, I’ve watched churches adopt many contemporary styles in worship, programming, architecture, music, and evangelism. That’s okay, as long as the biblical message is unchanged.

But whatever is in style now will inevitably be out of style soon, and the cycles of change are getting shorter and shorter, aided by technology and the media. New styles and preferences, like fashions, are always emerging.

Let me give you a word of advice. Never attach your church to a single style – you’ll soon be passé, and outdated. One of the secret strengths of Saddleback Church is that we’re constantly adapting; we’ve changed styles of worship, programming, and outreach many, many times in the last 24 years, and we’ll continue to do so because the world keeps changing.

The only way to stay relevant is to anchor your ministry to unchanging truths and eternal purposes but be willing to continually adapt how you communicate those truths and purposes.

Our members are constantly on mission to bring their friends and neighbors to our weekend services, where we reach out to non-believers – particularly those who have no real church background – by singing songs they can embrace, by voicing prayers that help them relate, and by preaching messages they understand. We make Christianity available on an introductory level to any visitor to Saddleback.

You might wonder if we attract these visitors by watering down the Gospel, but we don’t; we simply communicate it in ways that non-believers understand! Jesus drew enormous crowds without compromising the message. He was clear, practical, loving, and he presented his timeless message in a contemporary fashion.

Lost people have a need for meaning, a need for purpose, a need for forgiveness, a need for love. They want to know how to make right decisions, how to protect their family, how to handle suffering, and how to have hope in our world. These are all issues we have answers for, yet millions are ignoring the message of Christ because we insist on communicating in ways that make little sense any more.

In a sense, we’ve made the Gospel too difficult for a changing culture to understand. Let me give you this analogy: Imagine a missionary going overseas and saying, “I’m here to share the Good News, but first you have to learn to speak my language, learn my customs, and sing my style of music.” You can immediately see why this strategy would fail.

Yet, we do that all the time in a culture that is in radical flux. If we want to reach people in the current century, we must start thinking differently. Paul said, “I become all things to all men that I may, in some way, save some.” And I think that means if you’re in California, you should have a California culture church. If you’re in Ohio, you should have an Ohio culture church. If you’re in Mississippi, you should have a Mississippi culture church.

But I also think that means if you’re in the 21st Century, you should have a 21st Century church. I believe the most overlooked requirement in the church is to have spiritually mature members – members who unselfishly limit their own preferences of what they think a church should look like in order to reach lost people for Christ. As Jesus said in Luke 5:38, “New wine must be poured into new wineskins!”

Here’s a simple tradition to break in the 21st Century: stop thinking of the church as an institution. Regardless of the language we’ve used, we boomers have tended to see the church as an organization, but the emerging generations – and a lot of us Beatle-era boomers – are desperately looking for community.

We need to present the church as a place where you belong, a family where, as they sang on Cheers, everybody knows your name. Now you and I may know that the church is a community, but emerging generations have never seen it that way. They’ve seen a list of rules, not a loving community. This is a prime example of an opportunity to re-state the eternal truths of the Bible in a fresh, contemporary way.

Emerging generations are also focused on the experiential, and that means we have to adjust the way we teach and preach because most traditional churches focus almost exclusively on the intellect. In the 21st Century church, we not only want people to know about God, we also want them to actually encounter God.

Of course, this means rather than preaching simply for information, we should also preach for action. Our message is not meant to just inform, but to transform the lives of those in our congregation. In almost every single sermon I preach every point has a verb in it – something to do. What are you going to do now that you know this godly truth?
Read the full article here.



Dig Deep into God's Word by Justin Marr from SmallGroups.com
The power of inductive Bible study for your group
Note: This article is excerpted from our resource Bible Study Methods for Groups.

"The Septuagint is paramount in understanding the Hellenized Jewish Diaspora," proclaimed the white-haired lecturer from behind a podium. I looked to my left and right and saw a sleepy glaze cover the members of my small group. I could almost see the unintelligible vocabulary of academia flying over their heads.

Our church had invited a biblical studies professor to come and give a lecture to our congregation. My small group was eager to attend and dig deeper into Scripture. We were hungry for something beyond surface level Bible reading, but unfortunately, we left with a lingering feeling of discouragement.

We are all intelligent people. We are educated and we take studying the Bible seriously. But many of the words coming out of the visiting professor's mouth were shrouded in mystery. He spoke of original Greek and Hebrew words like they were common knowledge. It made us feel like we were incapable of breaching the wall to deeper study. My small group had come and knocked, but despite this professor's best efforts, the door was not opening.

Biblical studies can be overwhelming. Words like exegesis and hermeneutics are tossed into the fray and it can feel like you need a seminary degree just to stay afloat. But luckily, you don't need a Ph.D. in biblical studies to glean meaning and application from Scripture. All you need is a Bible and the willingness to ask the right questions. The trick is to think inductively. If you pay attention to the details—the who, what, when, where, and most importantly, the why—then you have all you need to let the Holy Spirit bring the text to life.

Inductive Bible Study with Your Small Group

One of the best tools for studying Scripture is inductive Bible study. It is the process of interpreting and applying Scripture by focusing only on the details found directly in the text. This is an invaluable exercise for small groups. Since we all approach Scripture from a unique point of view, collaboration allows for more to be seen and shared.

It might be easier to look up a set of verses in a commentary, but discovering the details without these aids allows you to see God's Word through the lens of your own individual perspective.

Step 1: Determine Genre

The Bible is a complicated book. What other book was written by upwards of 40 God-inspired people over the span of more than 1,000 years? It is a true masterpiece. The variety in authorship and time, however, did not lend itself to consistency in genre. It is important to discover the literary genre when interpreting Scripture because it affects our understanding of the author's purposes. The intent of the book of Acts (a historical recounting of events) is very different from the intent of 1 Corinthians (a letter to a specific group of people). It's important for your small group to know what they're dealing with. Several genres are represented in the Bible:

Law (e.g., Leviticus)
History (e.g., 1 and 2 Kings)
Wisdom (e.g., Proverbs)
Poetry (e.g., Song of Solomon)
Prophetic (e.g., Isaiah)
Apocalyptic (e.g., Revelation)
Gospel Narrative (e.g., Luke)
Epistle/Letter (e.g., Ephesians)

Philemon, the book I will use as an example, is an epistle or letter. We know that letters are written to specific people for a particular purpose. Now we just need to know that purpose.

Step 2: Get Familiar
Read the rest of the article here.



Podcast: Reaching Those Far From God by Dave Ferguson from PreachingToday
People are interested in spiritual things, but they need help understanding the Bible.


The Problem with Pizzazz: an interview with Chuck Swindoll from CTPastors
Has entertainment replaced Scripture as the center of our worship?

A survey in 2009 asked pastors to identify the most influential living preacher. Chuck Swindoll came in second only to Billy Graham. How does one use that kind of cachet? Apparently to call the church back from its captivity to entertainment.

Dr. Charles R. Swindoll is the pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, the chancellor and former president of Dallas Theological Seminary, a prominent radio preacher on Insight for Living, and a prolific author.

His latest book, The Church Awakening: An Urgent Call for Renewal, outlines the dangers when churches seek the world's affirmation and copy the world's methods. Skye Jethani spoke with Swindoll about the use of entertainment values in worship.

Early in your book you say that when the church becomes an entertainment center, biblical literacy is the first casualty. So why do you think the church has become so enamored with entertainment?

We live in a time with a lot of technology and media. We can create things virtually that look real. We have high-tech gadgets that were not available to previous generations. And we learned that we could attract a lot of people to church if we used those things. I began to see that happening about 20 years ago. It troubled me then, and it's enormously troubling to me now because the result is an entertainment mentality that leads to biblical ignorance.

And alongside that is a corporate mentality. We're tempted to think of the church as a business with a cross stuck on top (if it has a cross at all). "We really shouldn't look like a church." I've heard that so much I want to vomit. "Why?" I ask. "Do you want your bank to look like a bank? Do you want your doctor's office to look like a doctor's office, or would you prefer your doctor to dress like a clown? Would you be comfortable if your attorney dressed like a surfer and showed movies in his office? Then why do you want your church's worship center to look like a talk show set?"

Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, "When the church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it. It is then that the world is made to listen to her message, though it may hate it at first."

Some time ago a group of church leaders decided that they didn't want to be hated. They focused just on attracting more and more people.

But if we're here to offer something the world can't provide, why would I want to copy the world? There is plenty of television. There are plenty of talk shows. There are plenty of comedians. But there is not plenty of worship of the true and living God.

You think it's rooted in a deep insecurity that we have as church leaders?

Yes, I do. I think you've put your finger on it. We want a crowd to make us feel important and liked. But why is getting a crowd our focus? Jesus never suggested that crowds were the goal. He never addresses getting your church to grow. Never. So why is that the emphasis today?

We can look back before modern technology entered the sanctuary and see the same values at work. The crusades of Billy Graham, the revivals of the Great Awakening, even all the way back to the Reformation, you see that Martin Luther used music and forms of worship that were relevant to his German culture. So what's wrong with taking relevant cultural expressions in the 21st century and using them in our worship?

Nothing, if they square with Scripture and if they honor the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is nothing wrong with using something new. We are called to sing new songs. I love them. Nobody sings louder in our church than I do—both the old and new songs.

But everything must square with Scripture. We must make sure that new things actually help people grow in the truth, that they edify the saints and build them up. Will it equip them to handle the world around them? Will it form them into the kingdom of God rather than the kingdom of this world?

In many cases we use new things because they are novel, not because they are helpful.

So the issue is not innovation or tradition, but why we're using a particular method or technology.

Exactly. I have been to church services, and you have too, where the only people who knew the songs were the band. I'm not edified. I'm just watching a show. And they're not interested in teaching me the songs either. They just sing louder to make up for the fact that no one else is singing. Loud doesn't help. Why do they do that? Do you want me to be impressed with how loud you are singing, how accomplished you are? I'm not. I'm not here to be impressed with you. I'm here to fall back in love with Christ.
Read the rest of the interview here.



Adjusting Your Daily Bible Reading Moves Your Horizon by Jesse Campbell from Explore the Bible Leader Extras

We asked Twitter about the quantity of Scripture covered in their daily Bible readings and the results are fascinating. While this poll is not scientific, it does reveal an urgent need. It provides a glimpse into how much of Scripture people read each day – of those who have daily devotions. The minority of church-goers read the Bible daily, but if these results are any indicator, nearly half of those who do will currently not finish reading the Bible in 10 years’ time. Here are the results:


Social Media Survey Results from @ExploreTheBible

There are over 31,000 verses in the Bible. Even if respondents’ interpretation of “A Few Verses at a time” is 8 full verses (the colloquial definition of “few” is around 3), the reader will not finish the whole Bible in 10 years. There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible, so the 31% of respondents who chose the second answer in the list above will finish reading the Bible through in about 3.5 years. Hopefully, those who chose these first two responses have read through the Bible in its entirety already and intend to do so again in the future, but are currently focusing on smaller portions at a time each day. Those who selected the fourth and final option are on-track to read through the Bible 5.5 times each year. This sounds amazing, but are they fully grasping everything Scripture has to offer as they move at such a pace?

There is a difference between reading through the Bible and having a daily devotion.

Each genre of Scripture calls for a different approach. For example, the first chapter of the book of James is a parade of life-changing verses in a row; each calling for meditation and introspection. Books like Ephesians that unpack doctrine deliberately and systematically need to be savored. On the other side of the spectrum are narrative and historical books that tell the story. If you ingest these only a few verses at a time over the course of days, you lose track of the narrative. You forget the setting, the tension, the context.

When I watch Ravi Zacharias speak, I pause it every few minutes to make sure I understand what he is saying. When I watch The Lord of the Rings, I pop my popcorn beforehand so that I don’t have to pause it and can let the story unfold. I have found benefit in the same approach to Bible reading. I read the Sermon on the Mount in deliberately sized portions at a time. I read the book of Acts in halves; Peter in chapters 1-12 and then Paul in chapters 13-28.

So, under the conviction that it is better for Christians to read the entire Bible, knowing that not all Scripture can be plowed-through quickly, and knowing that the Bible is a huge book, what approach ought we take?

For what it is worth, here is what I do. I read through my thin-line copy of the Bible each year and annotate it as I do; marking passages to return to for deeper meditation on them. Then, in my study Bibles, I dive deep and reflect on these few verses at a time. It’s painful sometimes to just stick a tab in my thin-line and move on, but the need to grasp the overarching picture of Scripture drives me forward in the text. My personal devotion times allow me to return to these markers and press their truths to my heart. This is when I memorize Scripture. This is when I incorporate Explore the Bible’s Reading Plan into my personal time in the Word.

Reading through the Bible quickly each year provides the literary context for my slower and more deliberate devotion times each day.

Consider the long-term ramifications of a lack of a plan. You could, as many of the respondents to our social media quiz likely will, go years without reading the entire Bible. You could neglect entire books of the Bible without realizing it; thereby missing the Christ connection between the books you know and the books you don’t. Consider what would change on your horizon, that is your future, if you adjusted your Bible intake higher and then lower. Are you speed reading through Scripture and missing the life-changing truths? Are you moving at a snail’s pace, forgetting the larger context, and projected to finish in 30 years?

A fusion of these fast and slow approaches has helped me see Jesus in every passage. It has been a beautiful blessing for me. Hopefully, it blesses you too, my friends.


2017 Bible-Minded Cities from Barna
We live in an age when the Bible is read and understood very differently in cities across the country. So how exactly do Americans from each region interact with the Bible? In the annual Bible-Minded Cities report, in partnership with American Bible Society, Barna explores how Bible engagement plays out regionally in the United States. The study, based on interviews with 76,505 adults over a 10-year period, shows how people in the nation’s 100-largest media markets view and use the Bible. Where does your city rank?
Find out more here.

Also from Barna...State of the Bible 2017: Top Findings
Many Americans are searching for beacons of hope and moral grounding amidst uncertainty and perceived moral decline. Barna conducted the annual State of the Bible survey, commissioned by American Bible Society, to examine behaviors and beliefs about the Bible among U.S. adults. The results show that Americans overwhelmingly believe the Bible is a source of hope and a force for good even as they express growing concern for our nation’s morals. These and other snapshots are included in our list of top 10 findings from this year’s State of the Bible report.
Find out more here.



Free Materials and Equipment
Sound Equipment
The following equipment has been donated and is available to any church in need. Please contact the SRBN office at 916.863.5426 or email us at srbn@scabaptist.org for more information.
1 - Yamaha MG166C Mixer
1 - Williams Hearing Imp System/4 receivers
1 - Tascam CD-RW Audio Recorder
2 - Sennheiser E835 Mics
1 - QSC 850 Amplifier
1 - DI Box (Instrument/Guitar)
6 - Misc Cords XLR
4 - Cords (1/4") (25')
2 - Cords (50') (Spkr - 1/4" shielded)
1 - Music Cart w/ power bar
3 - Cords (RCA) (2 @ 6', 1 @ 20')
2 - Stands (Mic-boom type)
2 - Kustom 100W Speakers
1 - Music Stand (Manhasset)

The Gospel Project for Adults
FBC Lincoln has both leader guides and learner study books from the original 3 year series of The Gospel Project for Adults.  We would be happy to donate them to any small group wishing to study through the scriptures. 

“Some people see the Bible as a collection of stories with morals for life application. But it is so much more than that. Sure, the Bible has some stories in it, but it is also full of poetry, history, codes of law and civilization, songs, prophecy, letters — even a love letter. When you tie it all together, something remarkable happens. A story is revealed. One story. The story of redemption through Jesus.  The Gospel Project is a Christ-centered curriculum that examines the grand narrative of Scripture and how the gospel transforms the lives of those it touches. Over a three-year plan of study, each session immerses participants in the gospel through every story, theological concept, and call to missions from Genesis to Revelation.”

Email webadmin@FirstBaptistLincoln.org or call the church at 916-645-2428 if you are interested in receiving these materials. 

Job & Ministry Opportunities
Pastor
St. James Holy Missionary Baptist Church (St. James HMBC), Sacramento
Seeking a full-time Pastor to provide spiritual guidance, outreach and administrative leadership to the church body. We are looking for a strong; sincere bible based leader that is led by the Holy Spirit. The Pastor must have an extensive understanding in biblical doctrine and must uphold the beliefs and standards of the Baptist faith and the St. James HMBC Church Covenant and By-Laws. In addition, the Pastor must be an excellent communicator, strong administrator; teacher, visionary; serve as a mentor and provide spiritual guidance to the body of Christ. The Pastor should also emphasize evangelism and the importance of lifestyle witnessing. In addition, the church is looking for a leader to guide us towards a deeper, more meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. A successful candidate needs the ability to relate biblical truths to everyday life and challenge all ages through their sermons. In addition, the Pastor must have vision for the youth and encourage and work with youth ministries. The ideal candidate will have a strong calling for pastoral ministry, and show willingness to reach out to our community wherever they might be in their relationship with Christ. We affirm both men and women in ministry and leadership roles.
The Pastor should hold a degree from an accredited seminary or divinity school and at least six years of experience preaching the word of God.
Interested candidates should review the Statement of Baptist faith at http://www.sbc.net/bfm2000/bfm2000.asp and must submit the application, cover letter, resume and personal statement of faith by July 2, 2017 (applications postmarked after July 2, 2017 will not be considered) to:
St. James Holy Missionary Baptist Church
Attn: Pastors Search Committee (PSC)
3624 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95820
For more information, email St.JamesHMBC@yahoo.com

Youth Leader Internship
First Baptist Church of Winters (FBCW) is seeking a Youth Leader Intern.
The job requires about 15 hours of work each week, offers a competitive salary along with a generous budget for Youth activities. The youth group consists of 10-20 students at the Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday gatherings.
For more information, contact the church at 530-795-2821 or fbcw@fbcwinters.org or you can contact SRBN.

Education Internship
Education internship with stipend, housing, and airfare at Lake Tahoe, California
August 9 through December 22, 2017
4 Preschool interns and 4 School age interns needed.
We are looking for energetic, diligent, and happy people to join our team. We need leaders who possess strong character, are teachable, and who have a heart for working with children.
We will train you and invest in your life. All our lead staff have been either summer or semester staff. You will work with a team of eight other college students.
For more information, contact Debbie Wohler Reasoner at 530-583-2925 or530448-9359 or www.tahoeministries.com or debbie@fbctahoe.com
Apply at:
https://fs25.formsite.com/firstbaptisttahoe/form3/index.html

Youth Director
New Hope Community Church (NHCC) in South Sacramento is searching for a part time (20 hr/wk) youth director. The position will report directly to the senior pastor and offers a competitive salary and some flexibility of work hours. The intent is to grow the position to full time and eventually a pastoral position. Some Bible college or seminary study is a plus, and candidate must be a self-starter.
For a full job description and other information, please contact NHCC board of deacons: deacons@newhopemeadowview.com
or
Board of Deacons
New Hope Community Church
1821 Meadowview Road
Sacramento, CA  95832

Camp Volunteers


Calendar

July
8      2nd Saturday Outreach

        www.thegracenetwork.org
        10 AM - 1st Time orientation

9-12   Kids Camp, 4-6 grades, $155 

11   Pastor and Staff Lunch
       12:00-1:30, bring your lunch
       Roseville Baptist Church, 1301 Coloma Way

10-8/5 Centrifuge at Jenness Park
           $333 per person, weekly youth camps

13-15 Kids Camp, 1-3 grades $140 

16-20 Middle/High School Wilderness Camp
          Session 2, Camp Alta, $225 

23-27 Middle/High School Wilderness Camp
          Session 3, Camp Alta, $225 

August
4-5     Free Women's Conference
          Country Oaks Baptist Church

7-10 Special Ministries Camp
        18 & older, $280, (volunteers free)

8   Pastor and Staff Lunch
     12:00-1:30 pm, Bring your lunch
      Roseville Baptist Church, 1301 Coloma Way 

10-11 Global Leadership Summit simulcast
         $189, http://willowcreek.com/events/leadership/

12    2nd Saturday Outreach
        www.thegracenetwork.org
        10 AM - 1st Time orientation

September
7-9   Disaster Relief Chaplain Retreat 
        $100 per person. Register online here.
        More information at http://www.csbc.com/events/dr-chaplains-retreat 

9      2nd Saturday Outreach
        www.thegracenetwork.org
        10 AM - 1st Time orientation

12   Pastor and Staff Lunch
      12:00-1:30 pm, Bring your lunch
       Roseville Baptist Church, 1301 Coloma Way 

30   Prepared to Answer: Where Faith and Culture Collide, Simulcast
      
with Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg, Inciite Events

October
5-7   Beth Moore - Living Proof Live and You Lead Training
        
More information: lifeway.com/livingproof  or lifeway.com/youlead
         or call 800-254-2022

10   Pastor and Staff Lunch
      12:00-1:30 pm, Bring your lunch
       Roseville Baptist Church, 1301 Coloma Way

13-23  Malawi Mission Trip with Internatonal Commission
          
Contact Sonia Burnell  at soniab@IC-World.org or 916-784-2372

14    2nd Saturday Outreach
        www.thegracenetwork.org
        10 AM - 1st Time orientation

24-25  CSBC Annual Meeting
           Magnolia Church, Riverside, CA
           For More information: http://www.csbc.com/events/csbc-annual-meeting-2017

November
7   Minister and Staff Lunch
     12 pm to 1:30 pm, bring your own lunch
     Roseville Baptist Church, 1301 Coloma Way

11    2nd Saturday Outreach
        www.thegracenetwork.org
        10 AM - 1st Time orientation

December
1-2  Disaster Relief Roundtable for Cal Blue Caps
       
More details: http://www.csbc.com/events/dr-blue-caps

5   Minister and Staff Lunch
     12 pm to 1:30 pm, bring your own lunch
     Roseville Baptist Church, 1301 Coloma Way

9   2nd Saturday Outreach
     www.thegracenetwork.org
     10 AM - 1st Time orientation

28-30  Ignition Student Conference
          Sacramento Convention Center
          Learn more: https://www.studentignition.com/




and one more, just for fun!


 

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