The Three-A-Week Challenge (part 1)

three a week sliderHere at Eastman First Baptist we’ve issued a challenge to our congregation to do three things every week that will take their spiritual lives and the ministry of our church to a different level.  Every member is being challenged to commit to participating in at least one worship service every week; attending a small group every week and serving in some ministry every week.  Today I want to focus on the first of those three by looking at the importance of attending a worship service every week.

Why is making worship attendance a priority so important for your spiritual growth? Simply put, I believe that faithful, disciplined regular attendance in corporate worship is one of the simplest steps of obedience that any believer can take and viewed properly it is probably one of the surest safeguards against drifting away from the path of discipleship.

Billy Hanks has said that, “The essential definition of a disciple is one who has become a disciplined follower, a disciplined learner of our Lord.” The key to this definition is the word, “disciplined.” We tend to think of discipline in its corrective sense, but formative discipline is actually a powerful tool for godliness (1 Timothy 4:7-8). Those who drift off the path of discipleship rarely do so in one giant leap; it is usually through a succession of small steps of disobedience. As Geiger, Kelley and Nation write in their book, Transformational Discipleship,

‘Drifting and disobedience go hand in hand. Getting out of view of their parents, children are more likely to play by their own rules. All of the previous ‘don’t draw on the wall’ instructions simply vanish from the child’s mind…Drifting brings about a tolerance for distance…if we keep allowing ourselves to drift, we go farther and farther each time. With thoughts like, I’ve always made it back, and I can still see where I need to get back to, we tolerate the distance from God.  (Transformational Discipleship, 116.)

Now, to be sure, one can be legalistic about church attendance but this is not what we are advocating.  The spiritual discipline of worship attendance demonstrates that we understand the importance the body of Christ plays in keeping us focused on Him and lovingly calling us back to our Lord before we drift away.  When we get away from the church it gets easier to play by our own rules and fool ourselves into thinking we are not being affected by the world around us.

Consequently, it is God’s intention to use you to strengthen your brothers and sisters in Christ and to help them along the disciples path, so for the good of the church and your own spiritual good make worship attendance a priority in 2019. Prayerfully seek God in worship and be amazed at what a year of disciplined commitment can do for you!


Worth a Look! Weekend Edition

May 2, 2018

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOk. Here is one that will make you uncomfortable. Take this quiz to find out, Are You Addicted to Your Smartphone.

Have you ever been hurt in church? You may want to read, How to Keep You Faith When you Lose Confidence in a Local Church.

Denny Burk offers some clear and helpful teaching in What About Divorce and Abuse.

Parents, please take a few moments to read this post on the intersection of faith and science.  Even if these issues don’t concern you, your children will be challenged by them.  I work with college students and I can tell you that most of them have questions in this area and that most have been woefully unprepared to answer them.

Here are some good evangelistic principles in 5 Keys to Having Meaningful, Life-Giving Conversations With Non-Christians.

Ladies, you may enjoy, Women, Wonderfully Different and So Very Similar.

Chuck Lawless outlines 6 Reasons the Internet Makes it Easier to Fall.

File this one under, “Interesting to think about.” Read, Should You Get Into a Self-Driving Car

We have been doing a series on corporate prayer on Wednesday nights at Eastman First Baptist.  Thom Rainer says that Purposeless Prayer is a sign of sickness in the church.

A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.

C.S. Lewis


New Counseling Resources for FBC Eastman (pt. 3)

ExhaustedAs a chronic fatigue sufferer, life as you once enjoyed it has ceased. Fatigue can be brought on by a myriad of physical, emotional, or spiritual issues. But, whatever the cause, your entire world is now affected by your diminished physical strength.

David Powlison understands how debilitating and demoralizing a constant state of fatigue can be through his own five-year struggle after heart surgery. Powlison encourages sufferers that, unlike the world, God embraces the weak and provides strong, enduring resources through Christ for moment-by-moment strength. Readers will learn to adjust their thoughts and expectations and lean into the steady arms of Christ.

HomosexualityAs the conversation around homosexuality becomes increasingly hostile on all sides, it can be difficult to know where to stand as a Christian. You don’t want to compromise God’s Word, either by blindly following the culture or by treating others with hatred and contempt. How do you hold onto your convictions without projecting an image of Christ that is self-righteous and judgmental? R. Nicholas Black addresses both sides of this equation. Challenging easy assumptions about gays and lesbians, he encourages you to build the foundation of your conversation on God’s love for people created in his image. He also examines some of the most disputed passages regarding homosexuality and draws out the fuller story of God’s design for sexuality.

Children and Divorce.inddSadness, depression, anger, fear, anxiety, loyalty conflicts; your children are struggling with at least some of these emotions after your divorce. To make things even more difficult, you are struggling too. How do you help your child cope with the changes in the family, while you’re still adjusting?

As she explains the various responses you and your children may be having to your divorce, Amy Baker applies the gospel of Jesus Christ in practical and kid-friendly ways to the struggle your family is going through. As you share God’s Word with your children, your family will grow in faith and hope through this difficult time.

Porn MarriedYou feel emotionally isolated and sexually disengaged from your spouse. Could it be that the fantasy world of pornography has intruded upon your real-life marriage? Nicholas Black of Harvest USA, a ministry for people struggling with sexual issues, identifies four key ways that pornography negatively impacts marriages and encourages all who struggle to look to God for help.

Black’s three practical, biblical steps toward freedom help those who struggle to find lasting joy in loving God and their real-life spouse rather than the temporary satisfaction of pornography use. A growing relationship with Jesus will grow your relationship with your spouse and bring lasting change.

AbusePastors and church personnel often struggle to apply intentional and appropriate doses of both biblical grace and stringent accountability to victims and perpetrators of child sexual abuse. Churches can regularly be prone to turn the tables on survivors by applying a heavy dosage of conviction to victims and misguided clemency toward perpetrators. The mishandling of abuse incidents in the church will drive victims away from the community of Christ and further embolden offenders, thus debasing the name of our Savior.

Victor Vieth offers a deeper understanding of both abuser and victim dynamics so that church leaders can move past ignorance and prevailing myths to tackle this devastating issue with the power of grace and truth afforded by the good news of Jesus. He explains typical dynamics of how and when child sexual abuse is reported, gives an overview of dynamics of child molesters, and describes healing ways to represent Jesus to survivors. This timely resource will equip churches to wisely and accurately step in to take care of its most vulnerable members.

Note: All of these resources are provided free of charge and are located in the rack between the welcome center and sanctuary. 

Worth a Look! 5/2/18


All of us face failure and disappointment at some point in life. How do we deal with it biblically? I think that you may find David Murray’s Failure and Disappointment in Scripture helpful.

Incidentally, the article above comes from this months issue of Tabletalk magazine, which you can view for free this month. It is definitely worth a look.

Parents, read Make it Easy for Your Children to Love God.

Moms, you may  also want to check out, The Hope that Moms don’t Need.

Almost all of us know someone who is battling anxiety and depression. If so, you may want to listen to this short podcast concerning, How to Care for Someone Battling Anxiety or Depression

Given the historic meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas, you may want to check out 9 Things You Should Know About Christianity in Korea

You’ve probably seen several posts on social media about California’s bill to ban speech critical to LGBTQ people.  Some of these posts have been accurate and some have not.  It is a very troubling bill and you can read of some of the issues in Snopes Is a Sneaky Liar About California’s Bill To Ban Christian LGBT Talk.

A profound message of hope in, Death is a Vapor.

Every person, handicapped or not, is uniquely made in God’s image. Read My Son’s Down Syndrome Showed Me the Real Imago Dei.

John Piper answers the question, “Why Do We See so Few Miracles in the World Today?”

What must you believe to be saved? Take a moment to read, Of First Importance: What will be on the test when we die?

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”

Chuck Swindoll


New Counseling resources for FBC Eastman (pt. 2)

You feel betrayed. Someone close to you has hurt you deeply. You want to move past the pain and your obsession with what happened, but how? The usual strategies–trying to get even, trying to forget–just aren’t working for you. Perhaps it’s time for a different approach.

Jack Miller unpacks the different ways that people respond to betrayal and rejection and offers a new way to respond–forgiveness rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness doesn’t mean “forgetting” or acting as if nothing happened, but it does mean being free from hurt and able to be like Jesus and return good for evil.

Change GayThere are many voices weighing in on the question of whether you can change your sexual orientation. Yes, no, maybe so—it can be confusing and disorienting to sort through the mess. You want to follow God, but what does that mean when it comes to same-sex attraction?

With wisdom and compassion, David White helps you sort through the many voices and opinions to hear what Jesus has to say to those struggling with same-sex attraction. Offering solid biblical guidance, he uncovers the true nature of gospel change that goes far beyond sexual orientation, right down to the level of identity, and offers immense hope, encouragement, and support.

Someone you love is ill, your child is in trouble, financial problems mount, you lost your job, your spouse left you–the list of troubles we experience is both uniquely difficult and depressingly similar. In this world we will suffer, Jesus promised that. But he also promised us something of infinite value–he will be with his people in their suffering.

Steve Brown, a well known radio Bible teacher, writes honestly about his own struggles with suffering, but then also shares the hope he has found in the presence of Christ. It is in turning to him and remembering that he knows all about our struggles that we experience the power to endure in love and hope through the most difficult situations.

Dangerous worldEveryone is afraid of something. Fear is part of the human experience of living in a broken, fallen world. We try to manage our fears, but our coping mechanisms impact our faith. We hoard resources and stop praying for provision. We stockpile information and forget to seek godly wisdom. Yet we continue to live anxious lives.

William P. Smith explains that our faith should, instead, change our strategies for dealing with fear. He offers practical guidance on how to exchange fear for faith by learning to find security in our relationship with an all-sufficient, unchanging God.

womenWomen who struggle with sexual lust often think they are alone. Most of the time when they hear others talk about problems with sexual addiction, they are referencing men. But women also struggle with these issues, and they also need encouragement to bring their struggle into the open where they can learn about the forgiveness and freedom there is in Jesus Christ.

Sarah Taras points women away from “doing better” and “trying harder,” and toward taking their struggle with lust to their faithful Savior. As she unpacks stories from the gospel of how Jesus welcomed women caught in sexual sin, she gently steers readers to the forgiveness, acceptance, and transformation that flows from the cross of Christ to all who sin. Instead of making women feel even more unworthy, she guides them to find their worth and love in Christ alone, by faith alone.

Note: All of these resources are provided free of charge and are located in the rack between the welcome center and sanctuary.  






New Counseling Resources for FBC Eastman

One of the things we are passionate about at Eastman FBC is helping you to apply sound biblical doctrine to the real problems of life.  One of the ways that we do that is through our free selection of mini-booklets from New Growth Press & CCEF. We have fifteen new titles available Sunday and I will highlight the first five here with more to follow throughout the week. I hope you’ll make use of these great resources!

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, you might be feeling anger, discouragement, fear, or even panic. There are many reasons people struggle financially-job loss, unexpected expenses, poor decisions-but, whatever the reason, money troubles are serious, painful, and stressful.

When you are financially stressed, it is easy to become consumed by your worries and fears, so James C. Petty begins by reminding you that your all-powerful heavenly Father knows what you need and has promised to care for you. Then he helps you to examine the place money has in your life, encourages you to find your contentment in your relationship with Christ, and ends with practical steps for diagnosing your financial difficulties and implementing a plan that will bring you financial freedom.

Someone you love has been diagnosed with the neurological disorder Asperger Syndrome. You are already experiencing the social struggles, communication difficulties, and other challenges, but you are also looking for hope. Does the Bible speak to this struggle?

Michael R. Emlet, combining his experience as a physician and a biblical counselor, explains Asperger Syndrome and highlights the unique place each person, including those with AS, have in God’s family. He gives biblical, practical advice on how to deal with the spiritual challenges of AS and encourages with the truth that each person has inherent dignity and worth.

In our increasingly wired world, your children have access to people, images, and media that you don’t want them to experience. What’s a concerned parent to do? What does wisdom look like when technology floods into your home bringing access to pornography and other Internet dangers?

Providing extensive practical suggestions, Nicholas Black directs you in making a plan with your family for safety and clear boundaries on technology use. By reminding you of how Christ leads you to repentance and faithful living, he offers helpful advice on how you can help your children grow in purity, integrity, and dependence on Christ, as they navigate the world of technology.

 “If we’re in love, what’s wrong with having sex before marriage? And even if we’re not, isn’t everyone else doing it? Why should we be the only ones who wait?” Have you ever thought or said things like this? If your answer is yes, you have a lot of company. Most people in our world agree with you that, at least in some circumstances, premarital sex is okay. But do you know what God says about this issue?

Timothy S. Lane clearly explains God’s perspective on your sexuality and how it should be expressed. Many people think God says in the Bible that sex is inherently bad and sinful, but nothing could be further from the truth. God is not a killjoy; his guidelines for your sexuality are for your help and protection. This booklet’s forthright and honest look at sexuality, including a discussion of “How far is too far?” will be an invaluable resource for young adults and those who minister to them.

Living_Together__61550__37046.1520709118Past broken relationships, concerns about compatibility, and finances are just some of the reasons for the growing trend of couples living together without getting married. But marriage is not just a cultural institution by which people merge lives, bank accounts and homes, God is intimately involved in our relationships and his plan is for couples to express their love and oneness in their marriage relationship.

Ellen Dykas explains that marriage is about more than a husband and a wife. It’s a picture of the enduring relationship God has entered into with his people, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our commitment to each other mirrors God’s commitment to us. Marriage is hard work, but it is worth it, as glory to God and goodness in your life will come as you live out your faithfulness to God in your marriage.

Note: All of these resources are provided free of charge and are located in the rack between the welcome center and sanctuary. 







Worth a Look 4/27/18


Has anyone ever said to you, “That’s just your interpretation.” Ligon Duncan gives some helpful advice on how to deal with that objection. Find it here.

Here is a fascinating study on what Americans actually believe about God.

Eric Geiger writes about The Importance of Integrity in the Small Things. 

From Business Insider, Students Learn More Effectively from Print Textbooks than Screens.

For the next time the Jehovah’s Witnesses come knocking on your door. A helpful post from the guys at Stand To Reason.