Over the years I have asked parents (and myself) questions such as: How do you see your child 10 years from now? 15 years? 20? What characteristics do you hope are evident in your child’s life at that future age?
Most say (me, too) that they hope to see their child as a faithful follower of Christ, kind, loving, a good person and citizen, successful, happy. It appears that these aspirations for our children are pretty universal among parents.
Here’s the BIG question: how do we, as parents, encourage that transformation from that tiny bundle we bring home from the hospital to an adult who walks faithfully with the Lord? We wish it could be a simple 3 step process with a money back guarantee! According to research, it is not so much a process but a parents’ authentic walk with Christ being lived out before their children in the home and in the church! Soooooo where do we start? When do we start? How do we start?
Actually, we can begin to pray for our children to come to salvation and to grow in knowledge and love of God even before they are born! Scripture teaches us that He created us and knows us in our mother’s womb so when we pray as parents, He is already intimately acquainted with our child’s ways (Psalm 139). Laying a spiritual foundation can begin early by exposing our children to the Word of God at home and at church from babyhood forward and applying those biblical principles in the normal activities of life (Deuteronomy 6:5-8). If you’re like me that sounds exciting and terrifying at the same time! How can we build on this? We pray and ask God to help us see those opportunities to sow seeds of truth into our children. Good news! God is faithful to do this! As much as we love our children and desire them to walk with Christ, He loves them even more and desires a relationship with them! I confess Rick and I needed help along the way to know how and when and what and sometimes the encouragement just to keep on. I’m so grateful that our church comes alongside parents to provide opportunities to encourage spiritual growth in children of all ages! Stay tuned for info on upcoming opportunities that will help you grow in your own walk and help you build your children’s spiritual foundation (Watch for info on Facebook, SABC website, and next month’s Lighthouse!).
Summer Monday Night of Praise ~ “HymnSing!” was such a blessing! Thanks to all who came out! Thanks to Lynn Briley for his help in building the service, for Choir and The Chapel Class for participating in the survey of favorite hymns, for our amazing custodial staff who set the room up in a concert in the round format (which was really cool), to Derek Boggs for the IT work and the audio prep and ops, Malissa Fariss for her work with preparing the notebooks, IPads, and Order of Worship and Zac Barnard for moving over 200 hymnals to the Fellowship Hall. Thanks also to our gifted instrumentalists for the night, Lynn Briley, Yasha Brown, Sandy Rosengren, Cliff Webb and Tim Lloyd, for leading us with their talents. Special thanks to the John Vickers family for their part in the program! God bless you all for your efforts! The night was amazing and God was magnified, lifted high and praised through it all!
Summer Monday Night of Praise # 2 is coming July 30th! You don’t want to miss this special evening! We are calling it ~ “Behold Our God!” It will feature 6-7 songs by The Celebration Choir, 3 stand-alone Orchestra pieces, 2 duets, 2 solos, a Southern Gospel song by a men’s quartet, and a surprising creative beginning. This night will truly be unforgettable. Plan to attend and bring a friend!
One of our SABC soloists, TERRY BARTON, will be singing on July 30th! Terry has recently recorded a CD. Please read the following from him as he describes how he’d wish for God to use it:
“I am pleased to announce my first CD ‘Grace and Mercy’ is now available. It has 10 of my favorite songs including: ‘I Bowed On My Knees and Cried Holy,’ ‘Jesus Is Worthy,’ and everyone’s favorite, ‘Mary Did You Know!’ They will be available Sunday mornings after church service in the foyer or you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will just need your name and mailing address! These CDs are FREE! If you care to give a love offering, it will be appreciated!”
Hope to see you Monday, July 30th for “Behold Our God” at 6pm in the Worship Center.
Fifteen years is how long Bro. Doug White has served the Lord and us as the Minister of Music and Worship here at St. Andrew Baptist Church! Bro. Doug and Sheila have made an incredible contribution to the spiritual life and ministry of our church, for which we should all be very grateful, to the Lord and to them.
Bro. Doug has a heart for the Lord and for worship. He believes what he sings, and he sings what he believes. He is a man who is capable of putting on a big show (we will talk about that in a moment), but worship for Bro. Doug is never a show. It is the expression of his heart and soul to the Lord he loves and adores.
Bro. Doug has a heart for the lost. He delights in the sharing of the gospel and communicates a genuine caring for those without Christ. Sharing his testimony, inviting the unchurched on Sunday or one of our other events, making sure the gospel is shared as a part of every presentation are things Doug has done faithfully across all of his years of service.
Bro. Doug has a heart for missions. Doug has gone on mission to Brazil, to Ghana, with Bro. Mark and the teens to Mexico, as well as to Baltimore and ministering in our own Center of Hope. In addition to our Team Mission Trips, Doug has gone on several personal mission trips both in country and abroad.
I mentioned that Bro. Doug is capable of putting on a show, and don´t we all know it! The Panama City Passion Play is known throughout the Southeastern part of our country, and people travel many miles to attend. Although hundreds work as part of this production every year, the Passion Play is certainly “Doug´s Baby!” He gave birth to it after coming to St. Andrew, and he has nurtured it across the years. Strangers who go to the Panama City Passion Play who have attended Broadway Musicals say that the Passion Play is better! But Doug is not content to just produce “a good show.” He makes certain the gospel is clear in every script and presented plainly at every presentation of the play. Only the Lord knows how many have come to faith, how many have had faith re-kindled in their lives, how many have been drawn to a closer walk with Christ because of the way Bro.Doug has led us to present the life, death, resurrection, and message of Christ so clearly in the Passion Play.
You can probably think of other contributions to our church Bro. Doug has made. They are too many to write in this article, but you will have the opportunity to tell what you have seen and know. On Monday night, July 30th, following our Summer Monday Night of Praise, we will have a fellowship honoring Bro. Doug, Sheila, and their family. For two weeks prior to this, we will be receiving a love offering in which each of us will be able to express our great appreciation for Bro. Doug´s long and fruitful service to the Kingdom of God and to St. Andrew Baptist Church. Please bring your “Doug” stories and some finger foods to the fellowship. Buddy will provide the cake, and we will all have a grand time celebrating the ministry of this wonderful man of God.
The Shepherd Loves the Sheep,
As you read this article, our youth are completing a two week mission trip to Mexico! Our ministry moves forward on your prayers and my desire is that you’ll continue praying for youth leaders, students and myself as we strive to fulfill our call. Our mission team is was so large that we had to split it up into two teams! Each team worked in the same area but different neighborhoods for back-to-back weeks. This provided many challenges and opportunities. Church, will you join me in praying for the local church that we’ve served the last two weeks?
Pray for our missionary, Luis Martinez, in Mexico and the work that he does to support us. Pray for the local pastors and churches we will be working with. Pray for the youth and adults who have served on this mission trip and that it will have abiding fruit in their lives. Pray for me as I’ve been away from my family for 14 days. Pray for those who heard the gospel and responded that they will follow our Savior in the days to come. We’ve seen God do amazing things! As our work here ends, we know that it is just beginning for the local church as they follow-up. So, we are asking you to pray! Psalm 34:17 says “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.” I love my church!
We have an opportunity in the upcoming weeks to bless and reach some of the most important families in our community. This year, we have changed the way we are doing our school supply drive. Instead of just reaching out to the families at Lucille Moore Elementary, we are extending a hand to all of the elementary school age families in Bay County. On August 11th, we will be holding our school Supply Drive not at a school, but right here in our Kid Zone building. This gives us the opportunity to walk families through our building and talk to them about all the great things we have going on for children at St. Andrew. Our prayer is that God would use this drive not just for the sake of pencils and notebooks, but as a starting point for families who need Jesus, and a church home to help them walk with Him.
You may have guessed this already, but because we have extended this offer all over Bay County, we need God to come through in a big way. That’s where you come in!!! It may not seem like pencil sharpeners and erasers matter much, but if they give us a chance to reach these families, they have eternal importance. Through your Lifechange Group, we’ll be taking up school supplies the next 2 Sundays (7/29 & 8/5), and we are trusting the Lord to give us enough supplies to serve all of the families who show up on August 11th. As you shop for your supplies, please pray that God would use every last piece for His Glory, and that these families would come to know the love and peace of Jesus Christ.
Grace and Peace,
ST. ANDREW BAPTIST KIDS HAVE RETURNED FROM
There is nothing like a camp to give kids the opportunity to just enjoy being a kid. Kids today live in a fast paced world with fewer and fewer opportunities to just chill!
CAMP allows kids to get wet and messy, stay up late, and hang out with friends! At CentriKid the amazing staffers are high energy college students ready to lead the kids in wild and crazy fun activities!
CAMP provides many memorable experiences that kids will be talking about for years to come! A favorite camp memory this year was our group having the Wet Willie water slide reserved from 9:30 -10:30 at night! And near the top of the list would be the famous OMC (organized mass chaos)! But the best memory is leaving camp knowing God spoke specifically to them during their quiet time or Bible Study!
CAMP gives kids a time to focus on who is most important in their life…Jesus! They are still kids, and they may not be quick to speak up and say “This is how God spoke to me at camp,” but He spoke many truths to them through the word that was taught, sung, and modeled for them. Camp has made a mark that can’t be erased.
CAMP warms my heart when I see God working in, around and through our kids. And when one of our kids decided to become a follower of Jesus on the way home…well, it doesn’t get any better than that!
Thank you church family for making it possible for our kids to go to camp!
Building 4 Generations to Come is more than a name of a building project. Building 4 Generations to Come is also a mindset to helps us move forward. We have been blessed in this season with great leaders who began leading and serving in the 1950’s and 60’s. Those leaders have been instrumental in our growth by building a sure foundation on the Lord Jesus Christ that has prepared us for this time. Our leaders have provided the consistency that allowed us to weather tough and turbulent times and we are grateful for that legacy we benefit from today. These heroes of the faith have been leaders spiritually, as well as, financially. Some of these leaders have graduated to heaven while many remain leading and serving to this day! With that in mind, how is Building 4 Generations to Come a mindset that enables us to move forward?
All across the ages God has used men and women as His chosen instruments to join with Him in His work. He has elected to use men and women with warts, blemishes and imperfections so that His power might be recognized in His weak but obedient servants that have chosen to follow Him. Building 4 Generations to Come reminds us that God is looking for willing and obedient servants today that desire to show forth His power in their weakness. God is looking for men and women in all generations to be faithful, obedient servants that will join Him in His work. God is looking for men and women with this mindset that He might use them as His special instruments of grace to a world that needs to hear of His great love.
Building 4 Generations to Come is the name of our building project, however, it is so much more than that. I’m asking that you seek the Lord to see how you can become more faithful and obedient to Christ. I am. I’m hopeful that God will choose to use me in the same manner in which He has used others to build His kingdom at 3010 W. 15th Street in Panama City, Florida! I’m hopeful that He will call out men and women in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and older to join Him in His work here, across the street, and around the World. I’m hopeful that God will raise up a New Generation of faithful followers of all ages as we work through Building 4 Generations to Come.
Beginning Sunday, January 7, we will begin reading through the New Testament in 2018. Weekly we will read just six chapters:
Sunday, January 7, Bro. Mike begins with a message about the New Testament as a whole.
On Monday, January 8, we start reading the Gospel of Luke, one chapter a day, Monday through Saturday. Sunday, January 14, Bro. Mike will preach from one of those chapters we read.
In addition, during discipleship on Sunday nights, Bro. Mike will offer a class called “Digging Deeper,” a time to explore the chapters read during the week, ask questions, and share personal insights with the pastor leading.
This Advent Season, our prayer at St. Andrew Baptist is that the Lord would grow our understanding of the great love for us displayed in the arrival of his Son, Jesus Christ, to earth. He is our Emmanuel, God with us, born to take away the sins of the world. This is the first week of devotions to go along with Bro. Mike's first sermon in the Series, "The Miracle Promised." We hope that you and your family are able to learn about and worship our great God together through them!
Day #1 – Before Time Began – Revelation 13:8
Advent is a word that means “coming” or “visit.” In the holiday season, we prepare for the advent of Christ at Christmas. Our preparation includes remembering Israel’s hope for the coming of God’s Messiah to save, forgive, and to restore. It also includes our hope for the second advent of Christ when He comes again to call us, we who have placed our faith in Him, to be with Him forever in Heaven.
Let us remember that this plan of a Savior to come was set in motion before the beginning of time. God knew even before man and woman were created that they would be willing to abandon their lives in the garden of absolute perfection and so separate themselves from Him in their rebellion and sin. How could those separated from God by their choice to sin be forever reconciled to God to live with Him forever? There was only one way. A substitute was needed – someone without sin who would willingly pay the penalty for the sin of the world. Thus, from that moment, before time began, God the Son was given the title, Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world.
Revelation 13:8 – All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Let us recognize that the reason for Christmas, the hope of Christmas, and the promise of the miracle of Christmas was God’s plan before the beginning of time. Just as Israel looked expectantly forward to the first coming of Christ, we look expectantly forward to His second coming. In His first coming, Jesus was the suffering Servant. In His second coming, Jesus will be the conquering King. In His first coming, Jesus arrived in the humblest of circumstances. In His second coming, Jesus will arrive with the armies of heaven at His side.
Praise God for the hope that we have in the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, slain from the foundation of the world for our sins.
For Families with Children:
Have your family sit in a circle to play “The Miracle Message” game. Whisper one of the following statements to a child. The child then whispers the statement he heard to the person on his left. Continue in like manner until it has gone around the circle. Allow the last person to share the message he/she received. Share the original message. Play again using a new message and beginning with a different person.
Day #2 – The Promised Declared – Genesis 3:15
The miracle of Christmas was God’s plan for salvation before the beginning of time. He began to announce this glorious promise from the very beginning of time. In fact, as soon as man sinned, thereby separating himself from God, God announced the coming of the Savior. In the midst of God delivering the punishment for the sin of Adam and Eve, we find an amazing promise.
Genesis 3:15 – “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise you head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
God says in His first prophecy of the coming Savior that He will become man, that He will born of the seed of woman, that Satan would bruise His heel, but that the Savior would crush the head of Satan. Although Satan would “bruise the heel” of Jesus through the death on the cross; Jesus would “crush the head” of Satan as He defeated death through the resurrection. Genesis 3:15 is the first promise of hope for sinners. It is a promise that one will come to free those who are dead in sin. Even in the very beginning, God was planning to save His people. The Savior’s name would be Jesus!
As we approach Christmas, let us remember the promises of God. That even in the midst of judgment against sin, God promised that His Son, Jesus Christ, would come to be the Redeemer. We should be especially thankful during this season that God is a God of promises and that He is a promise keeping God even when we, like Adam, fail to keep ours. And remember, God has promised the coming of Jesus!
For Families with Kids
Introduce the “Good News/Bad News” game to your family. If the news you share is good news, have kids give a thumbs up and for bad news, thumbs down. (You can have kids stand up/sit down if you want the game to be more active). Discuss why the news may be good or bad. Here are some suggestions for good/bad news but feel free to add your own!
Day #3 – His Name Will Be… – Isaiah 9:6
Isaiah 9:6 – For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
In this text, Isaiah is given some beautiful insight. He is told that man’s hope and future does not rest in himself, but rather, the hope of the world is in this child that is to born and given for us. This child is Jesus, our Savior.
Isaiah beautifully describes our Savior. He calls Him Wonderful. The Hebrew word for “wonderful” means “beyond understanding.” He is Counselor. Jesus provides counsel that is beyond any understanding that we could achieve on our own. He is also called Mighty God and Everlasting Father. Jesus is God and is one with the Father. No other “god” could bring about this plan of redemption, to save us from the power of sin and reconcile us to the Father. And finally, He is the Prince of Peace. The salvation offered through Jesus would bring peace to our hearts because in Him, we are no longer under condemnation.
The Christmas season can be riddled with hectic schedules, with mounting pressures over what to buy and who to buy for, and with reminders of lost loved ones and past hurts. In the midst of this, we may ask, “Where is the peace?” My friend, it is where it has always been. Peace is found in our Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, and Everlasting Father. It is found in our Prince of Peace.
Let us recall this Christmas that these promises are given through Isaiah for the nations – for anyone who would believe, they are given for us. “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given.”
For Families with Kids:
A name was very important during Biblical times. It described a person’s character, personality, or lineage. The names given in Isaiah 9:6 were describing the character and qualities of the coming Messiah. Can you remember some of them? (Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace)
Your name is very important, too! Guess what? God knows your name and you are very important to Him! Have you ever wondered what your name means? (**You can go to www.names.org or a similar website and find the meaning of each child’s name. You could tell your child why you chose that name especially for him/her.)
Day #4 – A Promise For All – Genesis 12:1-3
We can all understand the concept of a promise made. As kids, we often made “pinky promises” over silly and trivial things, and as adults, many have recited marriage vows to their spouse. God also made promises to His people and they play a huge part in the overall story of the Bible. In Genesis 12:1-3, we have one of the most important promises in the Bible, a promise that traces throughout the Old Testament, into the New Testament, and directly to us today.
Genesis 12:1-3 - Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
In Genesis 12:1-3 God calls Abram out of the land of Ur and promises him descendants, a land, and blessings. Through the succession of Abraham’s family, we see God’s promises take shape as Israel becomes a great nation and takes possession of the Promised Land. God also promised that in Abraham “all families of the earth shall be blessed.” Now all families have been blessed with the long awaited arrival of Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
This Christmas keep God’s promises at the center of your mind. When Jesus came on that first Christmas He fulfilled this promise. Because Jesus, through His death and resurrection, offers forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life to all who will trust in Him. This offer of salvation through faith in Christ is the blessing given to every family on the earth.
For Families with Kids:
(If possible have a flash light with you and let the children take turns holding it.)
In today’s devotional, we have been reminded that when God sent Jesus on that first Christmas, He was keeping His promise to all people everywhere. His promise means that Jesus came for our family, but He also came for our neighbors too. We are going to go outside and very quietly walk toward the house or apartment of one of our neighbors. We can pause on our sidewalk or driveway and there we can huddle together as a family and pray. Prayer: “Lord, Thank you for sending Jesus for everyone. We pray that you will bless our neighbors in a special way this season. Help them to know that God loves them so much, that He kept His promise and He sent Jesus! Thank you for offering salvation to all of us through faith in Jesus Christ.
Day #5 – A Miraculous Conception Foretold – Isaiah 7:14
God most clearly declared the promise of the coming Savior through the prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
God, who determined to send His own beloved Son before time began, declared to Isaiah that the Savior of the World would make His entrance into the human realm in a way no mere man ever had. He would be born of a virgin!
Let us marvel at the miraculous conception of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This is an event unheard of before, and unparalleled since, that a virgin should conceive and bear a son. Yet, Isaiah declared approximately 700 years before the event took place that it was to come. This statement in Isaiah 7:14 expands on what we were told in Genesis 3:15 as the first promise of a Savior concerned the “seed of the woman,” not the offspring of man.
Let us not fail to notice our Lord’s humble beginnings. His mother was described as “the virgin.” She was not a princess or prophetess, nor was she a woman of influence. How humble her position. How poor the man to whom she was engaged, to be betrothed to one who was pregnant with child. And how miserable the accommodations provided for the newborn King. Although truly man, and with very humble beginnings, this newborn King was also truly God. Jesus is God incarnate. He is our Lord and Savior.
This Christmas season let us remember that our Lord is Immanuel, God with us. With us in our nature, our sorrow, our punishment, and our death. Therefore, we can be with Him in His resurrection, ascension, triumph, and ultimately, His second advent.
Praise be to God for the miraculous conception of an even more miraculous Savior!
For Families with Kids:
If available, use a digital camera or your phone camera to make a selfie shot of your family smiling together. Then pass the camera or phone around for everyone in the family to see. As you pass it say, our family is joyful tonight because God sent His son Jesus. He is Immanuel and that means He is with us wherever we go! (If a camera is not available, simply use a paper and pencil and family members draw a picture of themselves wearing a smile. Stick people are fine!)
How to talk to your child about the Virgin Birth: One simple way to talk with a young child about the virgin birth is to say that God did a great miracle. He placed baby Jesus in Mary to grow until it was time for Him to be born. While you don’t have to tell all of the specifics, children are never too young to hear the truth about our Great God!
Sheep who Shepherd: