What’s keeping you from turning to the Lord?

If God called you to Himself, what would keep you from turning to Him? Please know – He is calling you to Himself. He desires that you have a right relationship with Him.

You might respond, “Well, I’ve done too many bad things to be right with God.” No, you have not. True, we have all done too many evil things to have a right relationship with God, but His Son came to save and restore all who turn to Him. Thus, if you are still breathing, you still have an opportunity to know and follow God by turning to Him.

You might respond, “I don’t NEED God.” Yes, you do. We all do. Life might seem great for you right now, but what is next? What happens when this life is over? Are you certain of what your future holds? Are you certain of your eternal destiny? God is, and He alone can assure you of eternal life.

The simple reality is – we can either turn to the Lord in repentance and faith before this life is over, or we will experience His righteous, eternal wrath.

There are many more reasons people give for why they refuse to turn to the Lord than I can address in this post. I cannot help but wonder, though, how many of the reasons are rooted in fear? Are you refusing to turn to the Lord because of fear of what others might think? Are you fearful of God’s call on your life? Are you fearful of how things might change? Are you fearful of not knowing all the answers? Are you fearful of surrendering your all to a God you cannot see? Are you fearful of trusting in a God you cannot yet understand?

If we feared God like we should – the God of creation, the God of judgment, and the God of salvation – we would turn to Him without hesitation. Instead, though, the temptation is so often to fear everyone and everything except God. What an eternally dangerous mistake!

On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will begin a new sermon series through Zechariah called NEW. God is able to make all things new, and He wants to renew and restore you. For this first message, I will preach through Zechariah 1:1-6 about what it looks like to be “Renewed and Returning.”

Is fear holding you back from turning (or returning) to the Lord? The name Zechariah means “the Lord remembers.” What a great name for a prophet of God who authored a book about God remembering His promises and faithfully keeping those promises!

Do not let fear hold you back from trusting in the Lord with all your heart. If you do turn to Him, the amazing promises declared in the song below are yours to embrace. Praise be to God!

Silas and Sahari follow Jesus!

This past Sunday morning, I had the amazing privilege of baptizing our son Silas and niece Sahari. Praise the Lord! Also, our dear friend Preston Thompson got to baptize his daughter, Charli. You can watch the testimonies and baptisms below (or skip ahead to any particular one by clicking HERE and following the linked notes from the video)…

What a week in Tennessee!

We had a blast in Tennessee over the past week, spending time with our dear friends the Fries family, followed by vacation with Marsha’s parents, sisters, and their families. Praise the Lord for the amazing gift of family and friends!

To see some photos and videos of our trip, click HERE.

Cliff jumping with the Fries family and white-water rafting with Marsha’s family were probably the two favorite highlights (for most of us) from the trip.

Guatemala Highlights

Noah and Levi had the great privilege of going on a mission trip to Guatemala earlier this month with Marsha’s parents and eleven other members of our church family. Below are some of their highlights.

NOAH’S TESTIMONY OF FAITH

You can also listen to Noah’s quick testimony about the trip that he shared with our church family by clicking HERE.

LEVI’S TESTIMONY OF FAITH

PICTURE MEMORIES

NOTE: Some of the pictures are cropped below but can be seen fully by clicking on the image.

THANK YOU

A huge thank you to our church family and others who supported Noah and Levi through prayer, encouragement and financial assistance! This mission trip was obviously a life-changing experience of which they are beyond grateful to have been a part. Thanks be to God!

Discipleship affects marriage.

If your faith and your marriage are not intertwined, then at least one of the two really does not matter to you. I would even argue that, according to God’s Word, neither truly matters to you, or at least you are sadly mistaken about the purpose of both.

During our morning worship service with Richland Baptist Church this morning, I preached on “Marriage in Discipleship,” challenging people to view and value marriage like God views and values marriage.

We don’t have the option of redefining what God has already established and defined. Furthermore, you will never be fulfilled and satisfied in life if you are not living for what God created you. This certainly includes your marriage (and even how we treat the marriages of those around us).

We were created and purposed for joy and contentment in life, but if we try to find that joy and contentment outside the will of God (as defined by the Word of God), we will always fall short.

Just as a child (like Micah below) is truly satisfied by the simple things in life, like swinging at Papa and Mema’s house, so can we be truly satisfied in and through a daily walk with Jesus Christ. That daily discipleship in Jesus affects everything, including our relationships.

Micah on the swing

The Heart of the Matter

What is the root of our most important calling in life? What is the reason someone faithfully follows Jesus? How is someone able to do so?

During our morning worship service at Richland Baptist Church today, I preached through Mark 7:1-23 on “The Heart of Discipleship.” My challenge: does your heart gladly reflect the heart of discipleship?

Frankly, one can “successfully” come across as a faithful follower of Jesus in the eyes of others. He can be devoted, zealous, consistent and committed. Yet, he can be headed straight for hell, relying on himself and looking “good” while doing so.

That is what I addressed in my message this morning. We need to understand the heart of discipleship, knowing that a genuine relationship with God is not earned by our obedience but rather a result of our humble surrender. Salvation from sin and death is not a result of what we can do, but rather the result of trusting in what Jesus Christ has already done.

When we were on family vacation at the beginning of this month, one of the fun things we had the privilege of doing a few times was a ropes course. The “Leap of Faith” was one of the obstacles at the course, and there were seven of us from our group of 27 who attempted the “Leap of Faith.” Four of us were able to complete the task, which involves climbing up a 20-foot telephone pole, figuring out how to turn around and stand on the top with only a rope on your back, and then leaping as far as you can to grab a trapeze bar.

If someone can successfully complete the “Leap of Faith” as seemingly easily as 13-year-old Noah did (see the below video), then it might be assumed that person is not afraid of heights. What we cannot see when watching someone do the “Leap of Faith,” though, is the condition of his heart.

There might be adventure and excitement consuming someone, and/or there might be fear and dread. There might be confident assurance, or there might be absolute horror.

The reality is that life is a lot like the “Leap of Faith,” but much harder. Really, we cannot do anything by merely “willing ourselves” to do so. We may be able to appear as if we have it figured out and are confidently moving along, but we are never at a point where we do not need the Lord.

Sure, you might successfully complete several “leaps of faith” along the way, but you also have several failures (We all do!), particularly when compared with a perfect, holy, righteous God.

So, what is the condition of your heart? Are you trusting in what you can do, or are you trusting in what Jesus has already done? Are you depending on your own abilities, or are you humbly surrendering to the Only One who paid it all?

Noah & Levi’s Baptisms

In the past year, Noah and Levi have both publicly professed their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Although the gospel and discipleship in Christ have been regular discussions and processes since they were little, Marsha and I made clear that they each had to make individual decisions of faith and repentance. Because they made those decisions, have a clear understanding of what it means to follow Jesus and expressed their desire to be His disciples, I (Nick) had the incredible privilege of baptizing each of them in our local church.

Below are their short testimony videos and baptism videos. Praise God for His work of salvation in their hearts!

 
Noah’s Testimony

 
Levi’s Testimony

 
Noah’s Baptism

 
Levi’s Baptism