Authentic – Here I Am

I’m sure you’ve not missed it…the past several months we’ve been focused on the vision of FBCO – Leading People to Become Fully Devoted Followers of Christ – that’s the big idea and the defining value of who we are as a church. It’s the heart behind what we do. Along with this we’ve talked about the nuts and bolts of the finances of our church – Biblical principles of stewardship, debt free living, tithing, generosity and sacrifice, a $5 million dollar mortgage and how God will provide for us individually and as a church in the future.

Let me take a moment to say THANKS – to everyone who helped communicate the truths of God’s Word during this time of Value the Vision and to everyone who has faithfully given financially to the church through the tithe and over and above the tithe. It’s always hard to talk about money at church. There are several reasons for this:

1. Money invokes a knee jerk reaction so that even when right things are being said about it people often hear something else.

2. There are shining examples of money being misrepresented or mishandled by leaders in all kinds of organizations, including the church. I’m honored to be a part of a church where this has not been the case and pray that God will continue to protect the integrity of how we handle these matters, both as a staff and as members, volunteers and leaders within the church.

3. As individuals, regardless of how much money we have it’s something we can always use more of and someone can always be found who has more than we do, whether they deserve it or not.

4. Money is a great thermometer that very publicly demonstrates where my heart is. In my Sunday School class someone said, “If I ask to see what’s in your wallet it’s an invasion of privacy. But if you take it out of your wallet, spend it on clothes, house or a car it becomes a status symbol to be shown to the whole world.” Interesting thought isn’t it?

For these reasons and others money is hard to talk about in church. And so, let me commend you. You have led well as we’ve discussed a topic that, at best, is difficult to approach. More than that, 291 families have offered up to God part of their income to make this church home a better place for everyone. 60 families have committed to begin tithing. And most important of all they have done this out of simple obedience to God and love for Him. And that’s what it’s really about. You’ve heard Pastor say, and it’s no cliché, that God doesn’t need your money – but we need to learn to give. That’s part of full devotion and in this you have led well. Thank you for leading well and obeying God.

In our discussions about all this we’ve attempted to redefine sacrifice – though I don’t think the definition has really settled in our hearts. The Biblical examples of sacrifice have been misunderstood and misrepresented. Here is the most accurate definition of sacrifice I know:

Sacrifice: Giving more than you think you can afford and trusting God to provide.

In our culture we associate sacrifice with loss – and some times it is. But from a Biblical point of view that’s not entirely accurate. Sacrifice is giving more than you think you can afford and trusting God to provide. It’s the second part of the definition that’s important. When you give more than you can afford, obviously you’re losing something…but if you trust that God will provide isn’t that really a gain? He may not provide the way we expect. But it’s been my experience that God always takes care of His children.

I think about Abraham and Isaac. God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Abraham responds, “Here I am.” get’s up the next morning and leads his son to the mountain where Abraham will strike him dead for the sake of simple obedience to God. Along the way Isaac says, “Dad, I’ve got a question.” Abraham responds, “Here I am.” Isaac says, “Where’s the sacrifice.” Abraham says, “God will provide.” You know the story. Abraham ties his son to the altar where he first intends to cut his throat, and then set him on fire. Just before the blow is stuck an angel of the Lord calls to Abraham and again Abraham responds, “Here I am.” The angel tells Abraham not to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham has past the test. He’s demonstrated that he loves God more than anything else in his life. God tells Abraham that because of his obedience he will be abundantly blessed. His children will be more numerous than the sands of the sea and in him all the nations of the world will be blessed. Abraham looks up, sees a ram with his horns stuck in some thickets. He takes the ram and offers the sacrifice. Did you catch it?!

Abraham was willing to give more than he thought he could ever afford and trusted God to provide. Abraham made the sacrificebut he didn’t lose a thing! That’s Biblical sacrifice. Offering a sacrifice will change your life…perhaps through loss, but always through the provision of God. Perhaps God is asking you to sacrifice something that causes you to sin. He certainly won’t give that back. But I can tell you from personal experience, the sacrifices I have made have never ultimately resulted in loss, rather I have gained more than I can even adequately describe. I am by no means rich with money, but I have known the blessing and provision of God in every area of my life. You can do the same.

Sacrifice is scary, really. And it’s never easy. When God called, Abraham simply said, “Here I am.” He said it when God told him to kill his son. He said it when God told him to NOT to kill his son. He followed God in simple obedience. He offered his sacrifice and he didn’t lose a thing – actually he became the father of our faith and through him salvation would come.

I wonder how you will respond when God calls your name. Will you say, “Here I am”? Will you get up and go and give up that which you love the most? It may be scary…it will be more than you think you can afford, but you can you trust God to provide and when He does, you and everyone around you will be blessed. This involves money…but it’s not about money. This is about your life. Will you live it for God? As for me and my house…”Here I am.”

Love y’all, God Bless,

Chad

BTW…to see word for word what the Bible says about Abraham and Isaac read Genesis 22

Notes to Notice

EASTER

Sunday, April 8th – Three Services with a Worship Venue in the Education Center!

7:30am | 9:00am | 10:45am

With Miss America 2006, Jennifer Berry! We’ll have a music team in Fellowship Hall to facilitate worship with those who attend in that area.

SPECIAL REHEARSAL – THURSDAY, April 5th – 6:30 – 8:00pm

In order to prepare for Easter we will have ONE special rehearsal on April 5th – this will take the place of our regular Wednesday rehearsal!

MARCH 9, 2007 – CLOSE CONCERT ROAD TRIP!

Hosted by NewSong, featuring Steven Curtis Chapman, Jeremy Camp, Hawk Nelson, Sanctus Real, Britt Nicole, Tony Nolan, and John Morgan; meet at the church at 5:00pm, we’ll go together. Tickets are $10, that night at the door. Bring a little extra $$$ we’ll get a bite to eat after the concert Sign up with Brenda. For information on the concert visit http://jamtour.com

SPRING FORWARD

THIS Sunday is TIME CHANGE Sunday! Be sure to set your clocks forward ONE HOUR before you go to bed Saturday night!

THE GOAL OF CAM

The goal of the Christians Arts Ministry is worship. Our desire is to teach Believers to delight the heart of the Father with every area of our lives, passionately expressing our love for God through the use of every talent and resource He’s given us for His glory and His pleasure.

RESCUE – the Prayers We Pray

SICK CHOIR – We’ve had a lot of people out sick the past few weeks!

Pray like this: “Father, make us healthy so we can serve you together

Don Huggins – A teacher’s (Jenna Mandell) 6 year old daughter is having surgery.

Pray like this: “Heavenly Father, bless this child with healing and health. Let the family trust You in this and give Don words of encouragement for them.”

Bruce Neal – A coworker’s girlfriend committed suicide.

Pray like this: “Father, bring comfort to Ronnie. Don’t let him believe lies about you or about himself as a result of this situation. Give Bruce the words to say to comfort and guide Ronnie.”

Bonnie Walters – Chris Walters – He’s home and doing well.

PRAISE: “Thank you, Father, for taking care of Chris. Help him to heal well and quickly.”

Several People – Military Service

Bonnie Walter’s brother, Brian

Casey & Desha Clawson’s son, Trey

Pray like this: “Heavenly Father, let these men and their families know Your peace, comfort and favor. Protect them in their service and assure them of Your presence.”

Previous Requests…

Tony Foster – Continued Recovery.

Pray like this: “Father, do a miraculous work in his life and the life of his family. Let it be known that you are healer and provider for Tony Foster.”

Vanessa Kehl – Great Niece, Isabella, 5 months old – She will have surgery to correct the problems.

Pray like this: “Father, bring healing to the Vanessa’s niece, bring comfort to the family.”

Melissa Tyndall – Ear Problems.

Pray like this: “Heavenly Father, let Melissa know Your healing. Make her healthy and able to do all you’ve called her to do.”

Cindy DeWitt – Sister-in-law is in Korea taking shots while pregnant.

Pray like this: “Father, you are Jehovah Rapha, the Healer. Let your healing come here.”

Order of Service

Sunday AM – 03-11-07

VTV – First Fruits – Daniel in the Lion’s Den

PRE-SERVICE

CD | Countdown

SERVICE START | Chad Balthrop

SPECIAL MUSIC

Smellin’ Coffee – F, CHART

CONGREGATIONAL MUSIC

Mighty King – D, LOJ – 25

WELCOME

Dr. Roger Ferguson

WELCOME VIDEO

Veggie Tales – Daniel Video – 3:00

CONGREGATIONAL MUSIC

The Lord is My Strength – WWW [we did this on 01-28-07]

Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus – Bb, BH – 485

CHOIR SPECIAL

More Than Enough – C > Db > D, BTGIW – 78

CONGREGATIONAL MUSIC

Let My Words Be Few – F, CHART

MESSAGE

Dr. Roger Ferguson

INVITATION

I Will Say Yes – G, CHART

OFFERING | ANNOUNCEMENTS

Leman Promo

Page Cole

CLOSING SONG

Smellin’ Coffee – F, CHART

REHEARSAL SCHEDULE

God is Working

Oh Praise Him

All the Way to Calvary

More Than Enough

Church Medley

It’s Amazing

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