It is Time to Turn Back

WHY IS THERE SO MUCH VIOLENCE AND HATE?

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Bloodshed, violence, hatred, people displaying such horrible darkness, this is what happens when the world turns its back on the God of heaven and earth. We should not be surprised. What we should do…what we must do…is repent and return. Notice what Psalm 68 declares for the people who turn to God and the people who live in rebellion:

Psalm 68:1-6

  • Let God arise, LET HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED;
  • let those who hate Him FLEE before Him.
  • As smoke is driven away, so DRIVE THEM AWAY;
  • As wax melts before the fire,
  • SO LET THE WICKED PERISH BEFORE GOD
  • But let the righteous BE GLAD; let them EXULT before God;
  • Yes, let them REJOICE WITH GLADNESS.
  • Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
  • Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts,
  • Whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him.
  • A FATHER OF THE FATHERLESS
    • · A father to the fatherless offers protection and provision.
  • and a JUDGE FOR THE WIDOWS,
    • · A judge for the widows is an advocate for the defenseless
  • Is God in His holy habitation.
  • God makes A HOME FOR THE LONELY;
    • · Home means family, and family is the remedy for loneliness
  • He leads out the PRISONERS INTO PROSPERITY,
    • · Prisoners who have been held wrongly by strong powers.
  • ONLY THE REBELLIOUS LIVE IN A PARCHED LAND.
    • · A stark contrast to the promised land and eternal heaven.
  • (New American Standard Bible, emphasis added)

 

Dear people, please turn to God.

  • · Turn to Him for Salvation in Jesus the Messiah!
  • · Turn to His Spirit for guidance and wisdom!
  • · Turn to His Word for revelation and truth!
  • · Turn to Him in prayer for daily walking with Him!
  • · Turn to His Church for instruction and fellowship!

This Sunday, find a church where you can learn about God and His plan for you. Find a church that preaches and teaches from the Bible. Find a church that calls you to prayer and leads you in worship.

If you are in the area, I invite you to Wallingford Baptist Church in Wallingford, Vermont. We meet at 10:00 on Sundays. We would be happy to welcome you.

Blessings,

Pastor Dave

I Believe…

Apostles-Creed

I Believe
Romans 10:7-13
8 What does it say? ” THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, in your mouth and in your heart”– that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
11 For the Scripture says, ” WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him;
13 for ” WHOEVER WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

Introduction

Read the Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;

And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

The Difference Between a Large Map and the Inset on a Page

A Large Scale Map

  • Gives all the details of topography
    • Swamps
    • Bogs
    • Cliffs
    • Climbs
    • Etc

A Small Scale Map

  • Gives Smaller Details
    • Trails
    • Places to Stay along the Way
    • Interesting Sites to stop and view

The Bible and Creed

  • The Bible is a million word Large Map – Gives all the Details
  • The Creed is the Inset on the Page – Marks out the Trails

Review from Introduction

  • Creeds Define the Faith
  • Creeds Defend the Faith
  • Creeds Declare the Faith

Another Consideration:

Creeds were originally designed to be a statement of faith for a person who was about to be baptized. Over time these baptismal creeds were incorporated into the worship service for recitation by the entire congregation as an expression of their common faith. Later, creeds were used by a communion of churches to express their common understanding of the Christian faith.Because the Apostles’ Creed is a summary of Biblical truth, we should study it and be edified by the Biblical truths it contains and conveys.

The Crux of the Creed – I BELIEVE!

What are Some Things You Have Believed In?

  • Santa Claus
  • Tooth Fairy
  • Ghosts
  • Particular Political Ideology
  • The Undying Love of a high school Girl/Boyfriend

Many of these beliefs have let us down and fallen short in the crunch.

In Reality, those beliefs don’t require much investment or commitment.

What about God? Jesus? The Holy Spirit? The Church? Heaven?

IT MATTERS WHEN I SAY: I BELIEVE – CREDO

“I Believe” is Personal

  • First Person Singular “I”
    • I cannot speak for anyone else but myself.
      • My wife
      • My children
      • My congregation
    • Some creeds begin as a collective statement “We Believe”
    • The Apostles’ Creed Keeps it Personal, what I myself Believe

“I Believe” is Professional (It is a Profession of Faith)

  • Stirred to a Declaration

Matthew 16:13-16 (NASB77)
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
15 He •said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

  • Who do THEY Say I am?
    • A general overview of popular opinion
    • Not committing anyone to a particular belief
    • John the Baptist (recently killed by Herod)
    • Elijah (Who didn’t die but was transported off the planet)
    • Jeremiah (perhaps because Jesus was moved with compassion)
    • One of the Prophets (A general reference to teaching/miracles)
  • Who do YOU say I am?
    • Now it gets personal.
    • I picture some squirming, because people squirm when challenged
    • Peter rises to the challenge with a Passionate Profession
      • You ARE…(not might be or could be)
      • You are THE CHRIST…
      • You are the Christ, THE SON…
      • You are the Christ, the Son of THE GOD…
      • You are the Christ, the Son of the God, THE LIVING ONE.

“I BELIEVE” IS A PERSONAL PROFESSION OF MY BELIEF/FAITH

“I Believe” is Powerful

  • Believe/Faith – Pistos (gk)
    • Complete Dependence
    • Complete Reliance
    • Complete Trust
    • Another way of stating this is: “I am believing into…” (a common Gk. Phrase)
      • I’m leaning into God…dependence and trust
      • I’m leaning into Jesus…dependence and trust
      • I’m leaning into the Holy Spirit…dependence and trust
      • I’m leaning into the Church…dependence and trust
      • I’m leaning into Heaven…dependence and trust

Think back to what we once believed in:

  • Santa
  • Tooth Fairy
  • High School Sweetie

There may have been a measure of faith and trust, but not UTTER DEPENDENCE

  • I believe” is a POWERFUL Personal Profession of Utter Dependence

“I Believe” is Purposeful

  • Think About the ways we Demonstrate Faith Daily
    • I Demonstrate my faith in my car by turning the key.
    • I Demonstrate my faith in a chair by sitting upon it.
    • I Demonstrate my faith in a step by stepping on it
    • I Demonstrate my faith in a plane by purchasing a ticket.
    • I Demonstrate my faith in a physician my making an appointment.
  • I Demonstrate my Faith in God by looking ahead to Heaven
    • Something only He could Accomplish
    • Something only He could Make Possible
    • Something only He can Complete

Conclusion
A creed is a statement of personal belief. That is why it is so important that you know what it is that you are affirming. It does no good if you recite the words of the Apostles’ Creed but you don’t know what it really is that you are reciting, or worse, that what you are reciting is not an affirmation of what you truly believe.

A mid-western church rented a theater to watch The Passion of the Christ on opening weekend. Afterwards they gathered for dinner, discussion, and prayer. The pastor later returned home in a somber and contemplative mood, deeply reflecting upon the sacrifice of Christ.

When he opened his mail that night, the first letter was from a local church, inviting him to visit their “Special Community” They listed the ways they were unique:

  • No religious dogma: We encourage the freedom of individual belief.
  • A humanist view of life: Our faith is based on celebrating the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
  • Warm, accessible services: Our Sunday services typically include a mix of readings, music, moments of meditation or contemplation, and a sermon.
  • Our children’s religious education program: We teach our kids to be accepting of differing beliefs and the importance of each person seeking his or her own truth.
  • We study the world’s major religions and draw on the core values of each faith tradition.

“So,” the letter concluded, “if you’re looking for a congregation that cherishes freedom of belief and opinion, with a warm sense of community and fellowship, please visit us.”

The pastor had just watched the horrific suffering of Jesus and heard him say, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Hours later he opened an invitation to visit a group where truth doesn’t matter. The contrast was overwhelming.

Truth does matter. It matters a great deal what you and I believe.

Blessings,

Pastor Dave

I Believe: A Look at the Creed

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I KNOW WHAT I BELIEVE – WHY WE NEED A CREED
2 Timothy 1:12-14
12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; FOR I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED AND I AM CONVINCED THAT HE IS ABLE TO GUARD WHAT I HAVE ENTRUSTED TO HIM UNTIL THAT DAY. 13 Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

Introduction

THE APOSTLE’S CREED

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;

And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried;

the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic** church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Introducing The Creed

· A Basic Statement of Belief

· Needed due to false teachings from outside

· Needed due to false doctrine rising within

Acts 20:28-30
28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

The Word Creed—Latin Credo—“I Believe”

Why We Need a Creed

· Every Church requires some form of faith confession.

o Consider the Constitution of our Church

§ “Having been lead as we believe by the Holy Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.

o Each of us have a creed that declares what we believe

§ Sometimes this creed is spoken

§ More often this is a creed that is displayed in actions

· The Churches that do not have a creed are in Danger

o They do not have a foundation for their faith.

o They do not have a theological filter against error

The Purpose of the Creeds of Faith

Creeds Are Designed to Define the Faith
Church historian Philip Schaff wrote in his book The Creeds of Christendom that “the first object of creeds was to distinguish the Church from the world, from Jews and heathen, afterwards orthodoxy from heresy, and finally denomination from denomination.”

· Has anyone ever asked why you are a Baptist?

· Have you ever stopped to consider why you are a Baptist?

I tell people that I am a Christian by birth (being born again) and a Baptist by Choice, discovering a church that believed and practiced what I believe.

· Consider for a moment that question. Why are you a Baptist?

Creeds Are Designed to Defend the Faithful

· As already mentioned, Creeds defend believers from

o False Teaching

o Doctrinal Deviation

· This Leads to Some Disturbing Questions”

o How can a Christian convert to a cultic religion?

o How can a Church with a strong heritage turn from truth?

o How can a pastor or church neglect teaching/preaching Bible?

§ The people have requested that their ears be tickled.

· This Also Provides an Encouraging Truth

o A Creed (i.e. The Apostle’s Creed) can defend the truth.

§ This simple statement addresses false/cultic claims

§ This simple statement addresses objections

§ This simple statement addresses our own doubts

Creeds Are Designed to Declare to the World

· How many of you are preachers?

o How many of you are called to preach the Gospel?

o How many of you are called to declare Christ to others?

o So…how many of you are preachers?

· The Creed Becomes a Simple Sermon

o As you will see through this series, it is a systematic message.

o As you will learn through this series, it is a simple message.

o As you will learn through this series it is a salvation message.

· Next time you’re Asked what you Believe…Remember the Creed

Conclusion

What is your creed? Could you write it down?

You will be able to before this summer is over.

FBCW – Pastor’s Report

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Philemon 1:4-7
4 I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love, and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints; 6 and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. 7 For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.

Looking Back

The previous year has been a year of challenges on a variety of fronts, personally and professionally. I am thankful for the support, love, and partnership of the church with me and my family. The church has demonstrated the love of Christ through prayers, generosity, and partnership.

That is one of the benefits of being a part of a church family. Sometimes you are the one being a blessing to others, and other times you are the one receiving the blessing. I’m including the piece I wrote for the Wallingford News earlier this year with regard to being a part of a church family to share the reasons why it matters, and to encourage you to invite others to be part of the family here in Wallingford.

Looking Ahead

My hope and vision is that Sunday School, special Bible Studies, fellowships, and ministry opportunities will increase in the coming year. I am also praying that the commitment that many have made to reading through the Word of God will have an impact on the life and ministry of the members and the church. Here are somethings to consider being a part of as they progress:

  • Wednesday Night Prayer via SKYPE.
  • Sunday School at 9:30 (September – May)
  • Bethel Camp Meeting (July 3-9 – Pastor Dave Preaching)
  • Vacation Bible School – “THE CAVE”
  • Women of Worth Ministry (periodically)
  • Ironmen Men’s Ministry (in planning stage)

Borrowing from Paul, I close with this prayer: (Philemon 1.6)

I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake.

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Points from the Pastor’s Pen

-Dave Bentley, Wallingford Baptist Church

Why does being a part of a church family make a difference?

I love the church. It’s the center of my life and has been since childhood. I grew up in the church. Every time the doors were open I was there. It’s the place where I was led to the knowledge of God, where I learned about the life and death of Jesus Christ, and where I gained the knowledge of salvation and eternal life through faith. It’s where I learned how to pray, how to sing, how to worship, how to love, and how to serve. It is where as a young man I experienced the leading of the Spirit of God directing me to a life of ministry. I met my wife through youth activities in church. We raised our children in the church, and now our grandchildren, too. The church touches every part of my life—in fact you could say it is my life.

People tell me that they are glad that has worked out for me, but it’s not for them. Many claim that they can’t find any relevance in the church to their life. I wonder, however, if people have really explored what is available to them through participation in the life of the church. Here are just a few things that the church offers, and that most people I know can benefit from:

  • A family to belong to.
  • Wisdom to live by.
  • Help in times of need.
  • Lessons that impact life.
  • Connection with something greater.
  • Knowledge of life and eternity.

People spend so much time and effort finding reasons and excuses for not being part of a church family. If only they could invest a portion of that energy in looking for a church to connect with in their life, I am convinced that they would find a place to belong and a mission in which they could participate.

Perhaps First Baptist Church of Wallingford is not the church they would choose. Believe it or not, that is not my purpose. My goal is that people would find a place where they can connect with God and with other believers. On the other hand, perhaps FBCW is exactly that church for you. You will never know until you step out and try. Find the church in your area where you can connect, and commit to attending for a period of time, at least one or two months consistently. I know you will locate a family of God where you will be welcome and where you can connect and serve the living God.

Blessings,

Dave Bentley, Pastor

First Baptist of Wallingford

In The Middle of a Pity Party…

-Dave Bentley

A post this morning from my friend Terry Dorsett drew me into Psalm 46. I realized that I have been throwing a little pity party lately because of the physical and financial struggles that my wife and I have been facing. Looking at our struggles so closely has moved my focus from the “very present help in trouble” to just the trouble.

The financial hardship has been significant. The physical struggles, especially for my beloved, have been difficult. The troubles we face are large. However, God is able to work wonders, even in the midst of the troubles. He has seen us through and has provided what is needed at the moment it is needed. He has proven time and time again that He is my refuge and strength, and my very present help in trouble.

Wait….look at that verse again.

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

Did you catch that little word slipped into the message of that verse? It states that God s “a very present help…IN…trouble.” Now, I would much rather that God were “the present help keeping me out of trouble,” but His word assures me that, though I face hardship, He is there with me IN the difficulty.

Financial challenges of car payments, educational pursuits, and a variety of mounting expenses may loom large, but God is “a very present help IN trouble.”

Health problems such as dental expenses, slow recovery, extended illness, and unexplained pains are difficult to bear, but God is “a very present help IN trouble.”

The demands of life and work may seem overwhelming, the piles of unfinished assignments may be expanding daily, and the energy needed to complete the work may seem unavailable, but God is “a very present help IN trouble.”

The message for me, in the midst of all my worry, is that God is PRESENT and IN the midst of my life’s trouble. I do not need to fear, worry, or panic. What I need is to trust and rest in the One who is my REFUGE and STRENGTH.

Pray for me, and I will pray for you as well.

Blessings,

Dave Bentley

Prayer: Path to Revival

Jerry Falwell declared that “Nothing of eternal significance occurs separate from prayer.”  Because of this truth, believers must make prayer a priority.  This video offers and invitation and challenge that can transform your life and welcome in spiritual awakening. 

Click the link below.

Video Link

When Life is Unbalanced

WHEN LIFE IS UNBALANCED

A Bible study

Believe it or not, even the pastor’s life can sometimes seem “out of balance.” At times I’m pressured by the urgent to lose sight of what matters most. Priorities get out of line, boundaries get out of place, and my life gets out of sync. It’s subtle, but can have serious consequences if I let it go.

SYMPTOMS

Here are some of the symptoms that tell me there’s a problem.

  • I feel fatigued physically, mentally, and spiritually.
  • I’m more easily discouraged.
  • I get frustrated and aggravated by small things.
  • I lose sight of the blessings and focus on the burdens.

The answer to getting back in balance is found in a variety of places in Scripture.

  • Matthew 6.33 reminds me to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
  • John 15 reminds me that He is the vine, and I am the branch. I need to remain in Him.

DELIGHT, COMMIT, and TRUST

Psalm 37.4-5 offers me three quick keys to regaining balance when I find I’m spiritually unsteady.

4 Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.
5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act,

  • Delight – Find joy and pleasure abiding in the presence of God
  • Commit – Turn it all, everything, over to Him, because He has the best plan.
  • Trust – Patiently wait and watch as God works things out His way in His time.

REST AND REMAIN

Resting and remaining appear to be critical components in the spiritually balanced life. Frequently I’m tempted to rush about trying to fix things, worried about what people might think if they see my flaws and realize I am less than perfect. God invites me, then and always, to focus on His priorities, maintain healthy boundaries, and connect (or reconnect) to the Vine, the source of His purpose, presence, and productivity.

John 15.4: Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.

Potholes on the road can damage a car’s tires, causing the vehicle to vibrate as the auto is driven.  This happens because the damaged tire is out of balance and needs to have a skilled mechanic repair it and rebalance it. When life’s potholes get us out of balance, we need to pull up to the only one who can get us back in balance, and let Him have us for a while.