Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and welcome to the Friendship Bible Church BLOG, your source for announcements and information about what's happening at FBC.

For up to the minute information, follow us on Twitter.

And check out our main website, too, for everything else related to Friendship Bible Church in Randolph, Ohio -

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Turn Back the Clock

Have you checked out the church calendar lately? Our social committee has been hard at work and there are several events to look forward to.

A couple of important announcements for this week deserve mention.
  1. Tonight is our Elders and Deacons meeting at 6:30.
  2. This Saturday is our Haven of Rest service day, and as of now I have nobody who has volunteered to help with that. Please contact the pastor if you can invest 2 hours this Saturday to this worthy cause.
  3. This Sunday is the day we turn back the clocks. So you'll have one whole hour of extra sleep before church, and one whole hour's less excuse for missing the service! Don't forget our new Sunday School, which starts at 9:30.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Special Sauce

It was one of those on-the-street interviews. "Can you tell me the 10 commandments?" asked the interviewer. "Uh... don't kill, don't steal, don't covet your neighbor's wife... I can't remember any more." "OK, that's pretty good. Can you tell me the ingredients in a Big Mac?" "Oh yeah! Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun!"

Seeing this on a morning news program, I couldn't help but stop and think about it. Why can people remember the ingredients of a hamburger more clearly than the 10 commandments? One is meaningless, and the other supremely important.

Certainly one lesson is that television is powerful. Sadly, even many Christians today believe anything they see on TV. I saw a commercial recently that in extolling the virtues of a certain product concluded with "and we couldn't say it on TV if it wasn't true." Good grief. Almost nothing we see on TV is true. Imagine how much better off this world would be if people sought the truth of the Bible, learning and living the truth in God's Word, rather than letting themselves be brainwashed by the "gospel" that the world preaches on TV.

Of course, another lesson is that music is powerful. People remember that little ditty because it was taught to them as a catchy song. There are some pretty profound implications in that fact when we apply it to our church music programs.

So how 'bout you? Can you name the 10 Commandments? Can you name the ingredients in a Big Mac? Does your answer give you reason to want to read your Bible more today?

I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. (Psalm 119:59)

Friday, October 26, 2007

As the mountains...

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore. (Psalm 125:20)

Do you ever feel like the Lord has distanced Himself from you? Or like your prayers make it about as high as the ceiling and bounce right back in your face? Does your relationship with God ever grow cold and dry, and you find yourself, even though you truly believe the words of the Bible, wondering if it's all real?

Christians go through dry times, trying times. John Bunyan in "Pilgrim's Progress," wrote about a man named Pilgrim, and described his journey through the Christian life. At one time Pilgrim came to a place called "the slough of despond." It was a trying time when it seemed God was nowhere to be found, and he was just struggling along alone, slolgging through the mud of life.

But Pilgrim eventually learned that God had not abandoned him in the slough of despond. And we learn that God never leaves us, if we just keep trusting Him. Just as the mountains timelessly surround Jerusalem, our God is there, surrounding us, protecting us, and loving us, both now and forevermore.

Harvest Party!

Just a quick reminder this morning about our Harvest Party, scheduled for Sunday at 6:30 at the church. Come and join us as we celebrate this wonderful fall season around a warm bonfire, roast some hot dogs and marshmallows, and enjoy a little seasonal cider. Better yet, don't just come, but invite a friend or loved one to come with you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Entertaining Angels?

Don't forget tonight we have prayer meeting. If you can't join us, please pause for a minute between 6:30 - 7:00 this evening to pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ!

Here's another good devotional from Dr. David Jeremiah:

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:9)

Recommended Reading - Hebrews 13:1-2

In A.D. 600, Pope Gregory the Great commissioned a hospital to be built in Jerusalem to care for Christian pilgrims. The English word "hospital" derived from German hospes, or "host," and became the foundation for words like hotel, hostel, and hospitality. The idea of hospitality is best pictured as it was in A.D. 600 - refreshment and repose for the needs of those who journey to your door.

One of the most interesting verses in the New Testament deals with hospitality. Hebrews 13:2 warns believers to welcome and entertain strangers generously because the strangers might be angelic beings instead of human beings! Is that possible? It happened to Abraham when the Lord himself and two angels paid him a visit (Genesis 18:1-3; 19:1). Abraham's hospitality was exemplary - he set them under a shade tree, gave them water to wash their feet, and prepared a sumptuous meal for them. The principle to draw from Hebrews 13:2 is that since we don't know which strangers are angels and which aren't, we should treat every stranger the way we'd treat a heavenly visitor.

Be prepared for the Lord to interrupt your plans with a knock on the door. You never know who might be on the other side.

Hospitality should have no other nature than love. (Henrietta Mears)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What if it's true?

Listening to the news this morning as I dressed for work, I was intrigued to see that there is a new version of "The Ten Commandments" soon to hit theaters. This time it's an animated version of the amazing Old Testament story.

Have you ever consider how many times the stories of the Bible have been told and retold? Even sin-centered Hollywood has to concede that these stories are fascinating to the human mind. As literature, the Bible is unmatched. For exciting drama, the Old Testament towers over every other source of entertainment you will ever find.

Read the stories. Watch the dramatizations. But through all of it ask yourself one very important question - "What if it's true?"

The world will always consider these things fun and great story-telling. But God says they all happened. It's all true. And if it's true, it has tremendous implications for your life and mine.

"What if it's true?" Have you thought through the implications of that in your life?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

As long as you're not cold!

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. (John 17:14-15)

I had been sitting outside in my tree stand for a long time, since long before daylight. It was cold out, and I was pretty bundled up. After a few hours of being in this environment, a thought occurred to me - it's not so bad being out in the cold, as long as you're not cold!

This world is cold toward all things Christian. We shouldn't be surprised by this, for Jesus told us all about it. He said, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first." (John 15:18) And in another place, He warned that it will only get worse and worse the closer we get to the end times - "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold." (Matthew 24:12)

America is less and less Christian, and often openly hostile to Christianity. It's getting colder and colder.

But I'm encouraged by Jesus' prayer in John 17, where He prayed for our protection when things get cold, not for our removal. He wants you and I to keep right on being salt and light in this cold world until He comes. We don't have to succumb to the cold just because it's all around us. We are in this old world, but we don't have to be of it. We can bundle up in His Word and prayer. We can take advantage of the heat that's generated when the church gathers together. We can stay warm by working ever harder no matter how cold it gets! And just as the longest winter eventually must give way to spring, so for the church will come that glorious warmth when the winter is over, and we are with Christ.

Are you looking forward to that?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Back to Bethel

I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. (Genesis 31:13)

I spent Friday and Saturday in the southern Ohio woods, hunting that most elusive of creatures, the Whitetail deer. I saw a few, but none came close to my stand. So I returned home empty handed. Sunday afternoon, I rested after church by climbing into a tree on the in laws' farm, but as darkness fell I had seen no deer. It was a frustrating end to a frustrating weekend, which filled my mind as I drove home in the dark. I ruminated on the poor attendance in Sunday School and church earlier in the day, and that only added to the little black cloud that had been building all weekend. Even this morning's Bible reading and prayer time didn't seem to dispel the feelings of thumb-suckiness which enveloped me, so I readied myself for work and stepped outside to begin my morning commute.

And there they were...

Standing right in the middle of my backyard...

Stately, beautiful, amazing examples of God's creative genius...

Four beautiful whitetail deer, right in the middle of my yard, smiling at me and mocking me!

I watched transfixed as they bounded away, and as they disappeared into the woods my thumb-sucky attitude seemed to go with them. Something about seeing them reminded me of all the good things in my life, and chastised me for letting minor disappointments and strifes get me down.

Yesterday's Sunday School lesson spoke of Jacob, and his time at Bethel, when he saw his vision of a ladder reaching up to heaven, and where he vowed he would serve the Lord forever. Later in his life, he would return to Bethel. Sometimes we need to step away from all the issues of our lives and return to our Bethel, remind ourself of all that God has done for us in the past, and claim His promises for all He will do for us in the future. No matter how down in the dumps you might get, the story is just simply not over yet!

Need some encouragement this morning? Go back to Bethel and think for a while on all God has done for you. And just as those four whitetails faded away into the underbrush, so too will your discouragement.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

God's Thoughts

The poster hung in a prominent place on my co-worker's office wall, dominating his workspace. You could not help but be drawn to the eccentric likeness of Albert Einstein depicted therein. God has made few faces like his. And underneath the somewhat bemused visage of this great physicist were the words, "I want to know God's thoughts."

I do too.

Albert Eistein was a smart guy, brilliant even, but he didn't know everything. He admitted that he didn't know the mind of God.

You and I can know God's thoughts. They are contained in God's word, the Bible. And they are more important to us than any scientific knowledge, any worldly education, or any brilliance we might possess in other areas. Education and knowledge in other areas is good and worthy, but education in God's word is more so. Solomon said it like this, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." (Proverbs 1:7) Knowledge of God is the starting point.

And one of the psalmists said it like this, "I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation." (Psalm 119:99)

Do you want to know God's thoughts? Spend some time in God's Word today, and watch how it improves every other area of your life as well.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Praying Always

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:18 NIV)

We need to pray for one another, brothers and sisters. We need to pray in the privacy of our personal prayer time, and we need to pray as a group everytime our church meets together. The group dynamic in prayer cannot be over-emphasized - it is all through scripture. One example is that of Peter, who was imprisoned for his Christianity. An angel came and broke him out of prison. You can read all about it in Acts 12. But the important verse for today's consideration is verse 12, where we find that after his prison break, he came to Mary's house, and found a group prayer meeting taking place! "... he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying." (Acts 12:12 NIV)

While every service at RCC is an opportunity for us to exercise our praying muscles, Wednesday evening prayer meeting is a special time, dedicated just to that very thing. And tonight we will be trying a new format for that prayer time. No Bible study - just prayer. You can come anytime between 6:30 - 7:00 and pray. Prayer lists will be provided, and prayer requests will be accepted, and prayers will be offered. You can pray silently, or you can join in praying with a group - the choice is yours.

Will you join us tonight in praying for all the saints?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Two Opportunities

Just a quick reminder about two important things happening this weekend at RCC -

  1. Haven of Rest service day - Saturday at 10:00. We're short on help this month, so why not give it a try?
  2. Operation Christmas Child - Sunday during the worship service. We'll hear about this ministry from Tim Single, who joins us from the Chapel in Akron. This is a great opportunity to share in a missionary outreach at Christmas time. You won't want to miss Tim's presentation.

Mary's Silence

We were approaching the climax of the Mark Lowry concert this evening, and Mark was introducing his great song "Mary Did You Know?" As he talked about the song and the inspiration behind it, he made a very profound statement. He said that "the silence of Mary at the cross is one of the greatest proofs that she knew Who He was." I thought about that statement throughout the rest of the concert, and all the way home in the car.

The fact is, the Bible does not record her saying anything at the cross. She just watched as He died. Because she knew Who He was. She knew why He came. And she knew that the cross was the only way. So she didn't speak up and try to stop it - but remained silent.

If you wonder Who Jesus is, may I challenge you to think about His mother's silence at the foot of the cross?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Sample Prayer

Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:12-14 NIV)

The disciples said to Jesus one day, "Lord, teach us to pray." We, too, need to learn how to pray, and the Bible is filled with examples to help us. The prayer of the psalmist, here, gives us 3 wonderful prayer requests to consider:
  1. Help me see my own need. (vs. 12) We don't always see our own sinfulness, do we? The writer of this Psalm knew this when he talked about his hidden sins, and asked God to point them out to him. This was not an exercise in self-loathing, but rather an honest desire to be clean and right before God. It is both God's and the godly Christian's mutual desire, that nothing come between their relationship. It is a prayer for protection before the fact.
  2. Keep me from my own sinfulness. (vs. 13) Then again, sometimes we do see our sin, and are even willful in committing it. It's easy to allow things in our lives, to get to enjoy them, and to continue to sin even when God makes it clear to us He does not condone the behavior. This is dangerous ground, and the psalmist prays that God would protect him from it ever happening, and he also prays that God would deliver him from it when he's in the midst of it. This is prayer for deliverance in the midst of battle.
  3. Help me to be GENUINE. (vs. 14) May what we SAY be the same as what we THINK. May what people see about us be the same as what God sees. May we be people of integrity, genuine, REAL. Zig Ziglar said, "The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity." If we would reach our community and our world for Christ, we need God to help us be GENUINE.
I'm praying this prayer today. Will you pray it with me?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What it Takes to Win

(Dr. David Jeremiah provided these insights:)

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27)

The documentary film Road to Paris provides a behind-the-scenes look at the grueling training undertaken by seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. High in the mountains of France, on a freezing cold, rainy day, Armstrong pedals his bicycle alone, mile after mile. His team director, following him in a car, says, "This is what it takes to win the Tour de France - training in this weather. Nobody sees this."

For all great athletes, the grind precedes the glory. The spectators only see them cross the finish line; they never see them behind the scenes putting first things first. First comes the discipline and exercise, then comes the victory. The same is true in the Christian life. Behind the scenes come the spiritual disciplines: prayer, Bible study, a disciplined life, and focused priorities. Then come the spiritual victories made possible by spiritual disciplines. If you long for more victory, take stock of your life behind the scenes.

You can't get second things by putting them first; you can get second things only by putting first things first. (C. S. Lewis)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Get In the Battle

... as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 2:3)

I'm reading a book entitled "Eternal Impact" by Phil Downer. Phil will be speaking at the men's conference in North Canton on October 19-20 (see our church calendar). In reading his book I came across this nugget of wisdom. I share it with you in hopes that we all learn to stay in the battle - to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
I believe every Christian is called to be a soldier for Christ on the front lines; if he stays in the rear, he will see his life detoured, discouraged, and even defeated. I tend to ascribe to the "soldier and donut" principle: a marine is trained to be a fighting man, not to sit around eating donuts. If he is assigned for long periods of time to the rear, he only gets into fights, gets drunk, contracts venereal disease, and gets busted. This happens because Marines are trained to stay in the battle. That's where their equipment works best, where their training is fulfilled, and where their lives are most useful.

The same is true of the Christian soldier. Our lives are best lived in the battle of winning and discipling businessmen - if that's our calling - or ministering to children, the aged, the infirm, or the imprisoned, if God directs that way. A Marine away from the battlefield constantly has to be reminded to keep his weapon clean, instructed on the chain of command, and counseled with respect to the important of teamwork and the countless other aspects of soldiering. however, one flash of enemy fire calls the Marine to war. All other problems are suddenly solved in a millisecond when he inhales the scent of battle.
Are you in the battle Christian, or are you in the rear, waiting and eating donuts?