Monthly Archives: June 2014

Break from Blog, Call to Prayer – Ramadan Day 3

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I have been looking for a good ‘season’ of time to take a break from blogging in order to (1) evaluate the blog’s format; (2) give my fingers a break; and (3) be intentional in the process.

Between now and August 1, I plan to do exactly that.

1. I want to examine closely and think through purposefully the format of the blog. I try to answer a question on Monday, walk through a passage from Timothy on Tuesday, meditate on a Proverb on Wednesday, throw out FBC El Dorado related on Thursday, and point you to 5 helpful “something’s” on Friday. I do this to (hopefully) fulfill the purpose of this blog (see sidebar, or at the bottom under the heading “Intentional Purpose”). ANY and ALL suggestions, thoughts, observations, or recommendations are more than welcome. Using the subject heading “Blog Thoughts” – send your thoughts (PLEASE!) to gail.beddingfield@fbceldorado.org. Thank you!

2. I want to give my fingers a break. I want to take a deep breath before heading into the Fall.

3. I want the blog to be intentional during the break.

If you are a regular follower, you will know that the Lord led FBC El Dorado to intentionally and purposefully engage with some fellow M’s in South Asia to strive to reach a people group known as Urdu Speaking Muslims (USM’s). In the city we are seeking to embrace, there are well over a million USM’s – with little to ZERO access to Gospel witness. FBC sent a team last winter and is in the process of sending another this Fall. You can read about this herehereherehere, and/or here. Today starts Ramadan. You can read all about it here, or I refer you back to yesterday’s post here. For Muslims, it’s like Christmas to Christians. It lasts from today (June 28th) to July 27th. Every day during Ramadan, I want us to pray for Muslims to turn from the lie that is Islam to the truth and Good News found in the Gospel of Jesus.

So, I want to you and me to intentionally pray for Muslims – specifically Urdu Speaking Muslims living in the Southern part of India – every single day of the Ramadan holiday. You will see this post appear every day for the next 30 or so days, pointing you to various links and references for this month long call to prayer (see below).

Enjoy the break from the blog, but please pray for these countless millions to know the Savior and Lord, Jesus.

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Click here to download a FREE prayer guide for Ramadan through the International Mission Board.

Click here to download a FREE prayer guide from LovingMuslims.com. Follow them on Twitter here.

Go here every day during Ramadan to pray specifically for Muslims to come to faith in Christ.

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5 recommended books to read during Ramadan to help you in your prayers and understanding of their need of the Gospel:

A Wind in the House of Islam by David Garrison

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi

Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World? by Tom Doyle

Which None Can Shut: Remarkable True Stories of God’s Miraculous Work in the Muslim World by Reema Goode

 

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Break from Blog, Call to Prayer – Ramadan Day 2

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Click here to download a FREE prayer guide for Ramadan through the International Mission Board.

Click here to download a FREE prayer guide from LovingMuslims.com. Follow them on Twitter here.

Go here every day during Ramadan to pray specifically for Muslims to come to faith in Christ.

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5 recommended books to read during Ramadan to help you in your prayers and understanding of their need of the Gospel:

A Wind in the House of Islam by David Garrison

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi

Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World? by Tom Doyle

Which None Can Shut: Remarkable True Stories of God’s Miraculous Work in the Muslim World by Reema Goode

 

Break from Blog, Call to Prayer – Ramadan Day 1

images-1

I have been looking for a good ‘season’ of time to take a break from blogging in order to (1) evaluate the blog’s format; (2) give my fingers a break; and (3) be intentional in the process.

Between now and August 1, I plan to do exactly that.

1. I want to examine closely and think through purposefully the format of the blog. I try to answer a question on Monday, walk through a passage from Timothy on Tuesday, meditate on a Proverb on Wednesday, throw out FBC El Dorado related on Thursday, and point you to 5 helpful “something’s” on Friday. I do this to (hopefully) fulfill the purpose of this blog (see sidebar, or at the bottom under the heading “Intentional Purpose”). ANY and ALL suggestions, thoughts, observations, or recommendations are more than welcome. Using the subject heading “Blog Thoughts” – send your thoughts (PLEASE!) to gail.beddingfield@fbceldorado.org. Thank you!

2. I want to give my fingers a break. I want to take a deep breath before heading into the Fall.

3. I want the blog to be intentional during the break.

If you are a regular follower, you will know that the Lord led FBC El Dorado to intentionally and purposefully engage with some fellow M’s in South Asia to strive to reach a people group known as Urdu Speaking Muslims (USM’s). In the city we are seeking to embrace, there are well over a million USM’s – with little to ZERO access to Gospel witness. FBC sent a team last winter and is in the process of sending another this Fall. You can read about this here, here, here, here, and/or here. Today starts Ramadan. You can read all about it here, or I refer you back to yesterday’s post here. For Muslims, it’s like Christmas to Christians. It lasts from today (June 28th) to July 27th. Every day during Ramadan, I want us to pray for Muslims to turn from the lie that is Islam to the truth and Good News found in the Gospel of Jesus.

So, I want to you and me to intentionally pray for Muslims – specifically Urdu Speaking Muslims living in the Southern part of India – every single day of the Ramadan holiday. You will see this post appear every day for the next 30 or so days, pointing you to various links and references for this month long call to prayer (see below).

Enjoy the break from the blog, but please pray for these countless millions to know the Savior and Lord, Jesus.

images-1

Click here to download a FREE prayer guide for Ramadan through the International Mission Board.

Click here to download a FREE prayer guide from LovingMuslims.com. Follow them on Twitter here.

Go here every day during Ramadan to pray specifically for Muslims to come to faith in Christ.

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5 recommended books to read during Ramadan to help you in your prayers and understanding of their need of the Gospel:

A Wind in the House of Islam by David Garrison

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi

Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World? by Tom Doyle

Which None Can Shut: Remarkable True Stories of God’s Miraculous Work in the Muslim World by Reema Goode

 

 

Five @ Free Flow Friday!

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First Baptist Church of El Dorado exists to dare nobly, in the Spirit’s power, to make known the commanding claims of Christ here and everywhere.

One way we do this, of course, is by taking the Gospel to El Dorado and North America.

Another way to do this is by taking Jesus to areas of the world that have little or no access to Him and His glorious Good News.

Through a unique set of ‘God-events,’ it became clear earlier this year that the Lord wanted FBC to help make known Jesus’ commanding claims in areas of South India to Urdu Speaking Muslims who live there.

More about that tomorrow. As a matter of fact, a big announcement for the blog will happen tomorrow. Be sure to tune in.

However, for now – since it is Friday and in effort to gear your mind for what is coming tomorrow – I want to point you to 5 places dealing with Muslims, the Muslim world, and the upcoming month long event known as Ramadan.

If we are going to obey the Lord in making Jesus known among them, we must constantly be keeping them before us – as we go before the Lord on their behalf. . .

Enjoy. . .

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#1. Why Muslims Are Becoming the Best Evangelists by Timothy C. Morgan and David Garrison 

Muslim background believers are leading Muslims to Christ in staggering numbers, but not in the West. They are doing this primarily in Muslim-majority nations almost completely under the radar—of everyone. In the new bookA Wind in the House of Islam: How God is Drawing Muslims Around the World to Faith in Jesus Christ, Garrison takes the reader on his journey through what he describes as the nine rooms in the Muslim-majority world: Indo-Malaysia, East Africa, North Africa, Eastern South Asia, Western South Asia, Persia, Turkestan, West Africa, and the Arab world. Muslims in each of those regions have created indigenous, voluntary movements to Christ.”

#2. Three Misconceptions Westerners Have About Muslims by JD Greear

That said, most of the Muslims you encounter—either in Western or in Islamic countries—are not violent people. They are kind, peaceable people and they are often embarrassed by the actions of Muslims throughout the world (as we are of some Americans, other Christians, and even ourselves at some point!). While there is a good chance they see world politics very differently from the average Westerner, you will most likely find them warm, hospitable, and peace-loving.”

#3. A Christian Convert, on the Run in Afghanistan by Azam Ahmed

For Josef, who has recently changed hiding places, the time passes slowly now, with little company other than his Bible. He can hear the muezzin calling Muslims to prayer, a reminder of danger’s proximity and the paradox he lives now.

‘When I threw away my convictions, it was hard to speak with people about it,’ he said, a red ember pulsing on the tip of his cigarette. ‘It was like an imaginary prison.’ He paused, the light from his propane lantern casting a long shadow on the wall. ‘Now it is the other way around,’ he said at last. ‘My body is in prison, but my soul is free.'”

#4. What An Average Day During Ramadan Looks Like from South Asian Peoples of the IMB

Ramadan, often known as the month of fasting for Muslims, begins before sunrise with a very early breakfast and ends with a meal after sunset. Find out what they do when the sun is in the sky.”

#5. What is Ramadan? from South Asian Peoples of the IMB

A time to re-focus on their faith, Ramadan is to Muslims what Christmas is to Christians.”

Help! My Family Needs the Lord’s Supper!

It’s coming.

Again. images

It’s coming, again – and I. CANNOT. WAIT.

It’s one of my FAVORITE things to do as a Christian, as a pastor, and now a dad who has a son who is a Christian.

What is it?

Wait for it . . . Let me “Throw It Out There” . . .

THE LORD’S SUPPER at First Baptist Church of El Dorado THIS SUNDAY!!!!

And if you think THAT is exciting, let me “Throw THIS out There” . . .

I will still continue the “Help! My Family is Messed Up!” series. And to add to the merriment, the plan is NOT to tag the Lord’s Supper on the end as an “afterthought.” Nope. My aim this Sunday – as we anticipate coming to the table together – is to show how the Gospel (i.e., the Lord’s Supper) directly impacts the way we relate to our family members.

That’s right. The Gospel (the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for our salvation – NOW and FOREVER) has deep, drastic, and daily transformational effects on our family interactions. So as we celebrate what Jesus’ body and blood accomplished, is accomplishing, and will accomplish for us – we will tie it in to how it, when embraced rightly, takes a direct hit in our most important of relationships: our family.

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In case you missed it, let me “Throw It Out There” one more time:

THIS Sunday, June 29th, 2014 – the Lord’s Supper at First Baptist Church;

AND

the “Help! My Family is Messed Up!” series continues.

We’re messed up. We need Jesus. Hallelujah – He has done everything for us.

I can’t wait to see you Sunday morning.

 

 

When You’re Thirsty – Water is So, So Good

Like cold water to a thirsty soul,
    so is good news from a far country.

Proverbs 25:25

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If you live in South Arkansas and are reading this on the date it goes public (June 25th, 2014), do me a quick favor.

At about 1:15 PM, go outside. Run around your house or your place of employment 15 times without stopping. Go back inside. When the heavy breathing ceases, fix and drink a large glass or big bottle of cold ice water.

Or, if running around the house isn’t your thing – after lunch today, mow your grass. . . with a push mower. Then go inside and drink a big container of ice water.

It’s awesome, isn’t it?

I don’t like water. I admit it. I don’t. I would rather have Diet Coke or Tea or some Mio squirted in a bottle.

Unless. . .

Unless I am thirsty and hot and sweaty. THEN I want some water. Some nice, cold water.

What cold water does to your thirsty self is what good news does when someone has come a long way to give it.

It’s one thing when your neighbor calls to remind you that Sonic has milkshakes at half price. That’s good news, to be sure.

But it’s another thing to get some life changing news from someone who came from another time zone.

Think about this Proverb. Good news from a distant land is like cold water to a thirsty soul. Think about what your soul did when the Gospel finally made sense to you. When Jesus went from being pointless or boring or a punk or your “Homeboy” to being the all-glorious, all-satisfying King and God and Savior that He is. Think about that.

He came from a far country to give it to you.

A far, far country.

He was in the form of God, yet He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. He made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

He came from heaven to earth, to show the way.

In other words, He came from a land far, far away to give water to your thirsty soul. As a matter of fact, the water He gives will make you never again want any other kind of water.

It is wise to go to a far country to give Good News.

Jesus did it for your soul. Someone came to you to give you that living water.

Could it be that the thirsty souls who have no access to the Good News are waiting for someone (maybe you?) from a far country to give it to them.

There’s probably a Coke machine there.

But what they need – oh how they need it – is water.

Why I Love the Local Church: The Gospel

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

He was manifested in the flesh,
    vindicated by the Spirit,
        seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
    believed on in the world,
        taken up in glory.

1 Timothy 3:14-16

Paul puts his cards on the table. He shows his hand. He tells Timothy (and the church in Ephesus . . . and us) why he is writing the letter.

He writes this so that God’s people will know how to behave. God’s people – the church – execute their lives on a different playing field. The church operates out of a different realm. Our beliefs drive our actions. Doctrine dictates deeds.

But Paul takes it farther than that. He goes deep. He doesn’t just say that the church should behave differently. He says why. It’s why I love the local church.

#1. The local church is a family – “household of God.”

#2. The local church is where God dwells – “church of the living God.”

#3. The local church promotes and protects the Gospel – “pillar and buttress of the truth.”

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When Paul says “pillar and buttress” of the truth he is using architecture language. A pillar “shoots” forth from the building’s floor or foundation. A buttress supports and upholds a wall to reinforce it. Pillars are very visible. Buttresses reinforce. The church – the local church – is THE means God has given us and the world to protect and make known the truth of the Gospel.

It’s why he closes chapter 3 the way he does, proclaiming the Gospel in poetic form:

He was manifested in the flesh,
    vindicated by the Spirit,
        seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
    believed on in the world,
        taken up in glory.

The church defends this valiantly.

The church proclaims this passionately.

The church displays this purposefully.

We are who we are because of Jesus.

We do what we do because of Jesus.

We are moving forward the way we move forward because we are going to Jesus.

We are a people infused with, dripping with, overflowing with, and marinating in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus – or we are nothing.

Every real and authentic and genuine – Holy Spirit drenched church – is a church that protects and promotes the Gospel.

THIS MUST BE THE GOAL. 

Every decision driven by the Gospel.

Every dollar spent because of the Gospel.

Every ministry planned due to the Gospel.

Every member geared around and for the Gospel.

I love the local church because God designed it to be a “pillar and buttress” of the truth of Jesus.

Is that why you are a part?