by Caleb Walters
we've changed...He hasn't
May 21, 2017
“…and the foolish man built his house upon the sand and the waves they came and washed it all away. Oh Lord, I want to be wise, but not in my own eyes lest Your words I despise…”
- Sounds Like Reign
Are you anchored in the Word of God? Above is the chorus to a beautiful song that portrays life as an ocean. The waves are powerful and will pull and pull at you. Just as the waves of the sea are continuous, the waves of temptation never cease. If we don’t have a firm foundation, we will be washed out into the sea of confusion- miles from that golden shore. When you’re lost at sea, everyone knows there is no greater joy than seeing the distant haze of rescue on the horizon. That’s the beauty of the gospel. God’s love for us is so intense that His waves of mercy actually pull us back toward Him! Just as in the story of the prodigal son being welcomed with open arms, the Father is ready to welcome those who choose to put their faith in Him.
2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
May 14, 2017
This morning, I wanted to share with you one of the most beautiful stories in the Old Testament, in my opinion. It comes from 2 Samuel, Chapter 4. King David asked Ziba, a servant of Saul, if there was anyone still alive from the house of Saul that he could show kindness to for Jonathan’s sake. This is because David was a good friend of Jonathan, who was a son of Saul. Ziba answered David and said, “there is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.” Mephibosheth was his name, and as a child he was dropped on his legs and, as a result, he lived his life crippled. However, because of His heritage, he was seated at King David’s table the rest of his life. I encourage you all to read the whole story if you haven’t. It’s such an inspirational passage. The story of Mephibosheth allowed me to see the story of my salvation more clearly. I was born into this world with a nature that hindered me from having eternal life. However, not because of anything that I have done or could ever do, but because of who the son of my heavenly father was and what He did, I now have a seat at The King’s table. Thank God for sending His Son and for the ultimate sacrifice that covers the sins I have committed. Because of His great love for me, He punished His perfect and sinless Son. I deserved the punishment, but Christ took it for me!
May 7, 2017
I wanted to take this opportunity to share my heart with you all this morning concerning our worship ministry. Thanks to the wonderful support of the First Family, several improvements have been made within our church’s worship ministry, including new sound equipment. Although there are a few more pieces of equipment that will need to be replaced, I am encouraged by the progress we have made. In addition to all of these advancements, the ministry team has grown significantly, and I believe this is only the beginning. For the past few weeks now, I have been approached by several members of the church body, sharing with me their desire to get involved with what’s going on. First of all, seeing this happen is very encouraging, and for those of you who have spoken with me, I appreciate your willingness to serve! Secondly, I’d like to inform you all that I am working very hard to develop a system that will not only maintain professionalism, but will also give equal opportunities to all those who want to use their musical gifts and talents for the kingdom. I know the worship service is different than it has previously been, but please be patient and continue to pray for me and for each other as our worship ministry continues to grow… “We’ve changed, He hasn’t.”
April 30, 2017
1 Samuel 17 tells us a story we are all familiar with: the battle between David and Goliath. This is the story of how FAITH overcame FORCE. When the Israelite army faced Goliath and Philistine army, they were afraid. They believed the giant was the true champion and no one could defeat him. In their lack of faith, the Israelites forgot Who was on their side. However, David, in his faith, approached the giant with a sling and five smooth stones. I used to always wonder why he chose five stones. Was it because he needed more than one try? The story proves that David only needed one, so why five rocks? Later on in 2 Samuel 21, the Israelite army defeats four other giants, all descendants of Goliath: Ishbi-Benob, Saph, Goliath the Gittite, and an unnamed giant with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. Could it be that David knew about these relatives of Goliath? Was he ready to fight them too? Despite the lack of evidence of David knowing this, he knew the one true God and had an immeasurable amount of faith in Him. May we choose to have faith and believe God is mightier than any foe that will ever come against us.
April 23, 2017
In Exodus 17, God commands Moses to STRIKE a rock in order to give water to the Israelites. Moses did as he was told, and the Lord answered the prayer of His people. Many years later, in Numbers chapter 20 (or just a couple books over for us today), God’s people prayed again for water. This time God commanded Moses to SPEAK to the rock and then the water would flow. Moses was frustrated with the people, and in his frustration, he smote the rock twice with his staff. Although God answered the prayers of the Israelites, He denied Moses access into the Promised Land. Last week, I listened to a devotional about these scriptures, and what was said amazed me. The symbolism in these two passages goes much further than just people getting water from a rock. Jesus calls himself The Rock. The Chief Cornerstone. The one the builders rejected. Jesus was crucified one time for all people. Our Rock was smitten only once. Now, all we have to do is speak to The Rock. It’s never too late to make a decision to follow Jesus. You have never gone too far, and you never will. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13 KJV
April 16, 2017
Throughout the past several days, I have spent a lot of time preparing for (and stressing over) today’s service. I had about a million ideas going through my head involving stage design, band set up, song selection, and order of service. In the midst of all my planning and wind chasing I kept hearing a little voice say, “Trust in me”. I pushed it away time and time again. I kept trying to tell God that if He’d just wait and see the finished product, He would certainly be impressed and pleased. I reached a point where I needed a cross as the final missing piece for the stage. I searched and searched until I finally found the perfect one in the white storage building behind the FLC. The only task now was to walk it over to the sanctuary.
It was around noon and I anticipated someone driving by and seeing this, so I waited until I felt it was the right time and carried the cross through the parking lot. I took big strides and tried to be as discrete as possible despite the bulk of the load. Though the distance between buildings was short, it felt like an eternity. It was then that I realized the sourness of my attitude. I quickly asked for God’s forgiveness and that’s when the little voice became clearer and said, “Take up your cross and follow me”. I began to feel the guilt of being ashamed of something that I should be proud of every day. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our lives and we work so hard for so long only to realize we’ve lost sight of the missing piece. But if our hearts are in the right place, people should see the cross shining through our lives and through our hard work. I encourage you all to take up your cross and embrace living for the Truth even when it’s hard.
April 9, 2017
Science Lesson! This morning, I want to share with you a truly divine testimony to the Easter season we are in. Ron Wyatt, a fellow brother in Christ and biblical archaeologist, made discoveries throughout the course of his life that are an inspiration to the Christian faith and are of great significance. Some of his discoveries include finding the location of Noah’s Ark and also locating remains from the Red Sea Crossing! In one of his later expeditions, Ron believes the Holy Spirit guided him and his crew to a place in Jerusalem where the Ark of the Covenant was buried. Years of work were spent in careful excavation of the site, and what was found underground that day tells a timeless story.
The Bible says in Daniel 9:24 that the Blood of our Messiah will anoint the mercy seat. Amazingly, dried and preserved blood was found in a crack in the earth that led right to the Ark of the Covenant. Ron took a sample of this blood to test it, and this is where it gets crazy! Generally, dried blood cannot be tested, but even though it was dried blood, it was not dead blood. The scientists testing the blood were able to get a chromosome count! Normally, a human has 46 chromosomes: 23 from the mother and 23 from the father. However, in the blood sampled from the Ark of the Covenant, only 24 chromosomes were found. This shows that 23 were given to Jesus from Mary, and one X chromosome was received from His heavenly Father. Leviticus 17:11 tells us that life is found in the blood. In the same manner, eternal life is found in the Blood of Christ.
I encourage you all to check out the full story at wyattmuseum.com.
April 2, 2017
We have a very special service planned for today. Our Children’s Ministry will be leading us in a few songs during worship! I wanted to talk about having child-like faith. The Bible tells us in Matthew 18:2 that we must “become as little children” to enter the kingdom of God. When you see the children lead us in worship this morning, you will find it easier to understand just what Jesus is teaching in that verse. Kids will believe anything that they are told.
When I was about 5 years old, my two brothers and I would go to our aunt and uncle’s house to play with our cousins. They had this electric piano that played the most annoying songs, and we loved to dance while it sang to us! We used it so much! Then one day, our cousin Chris said, “It doesn’t work anymore.” A few years later, I noticed the batteries were missing and discovered that we had been tricked. So, I replaced them! As we grow older, we start to question things. Most of the time, this is a mature thing to do, but a lot of times it is very dangerous. We should never let our own intellect come between us and the Father. Pray this week that the Holy Spirit will guard our hearts against attacks from the enemy that cause us to question the things we believe. Our faith is the most tangible reality there is.
March 26, 2017
Good morning FBC! Today we have special guest Kay Chesson from Oak Shade Baptist Church. I want to share the importance of working together in the body of Christ in hopes that we will see more unity among the churches in Cleveland. God has made us all one body through His son, Jesus.
Ephesians 4:11–13 tells us that Christ gave the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to build up the body of Christ until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God. Unity is crucial in a community, but just as there is a true unity; there is also a false one. The Bible tells us that Satan is masquerading as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Satan is working hard to bring all the religions of the world together to accept all beliefs. Though this may seem good from the outside, the Bible tells us there is only one way to the Father, which is through Jesus Christ. Pray this week that God would give us the strength to fight alongside our fellow Christian churches to spread the message of the TRUTH of Christ and His sacrifice.
March 19, 2017
I wanted us to remember today the significance of the Cross. When the first sin was committed in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were ashamed and hid themselves, hoping God would not see their guilt. They sewed fig leaves together to cover their bodies and, in their eyes, this was sufficient. God, however, was still looking for them. When they finally told God what they had done, He took and made clothing out of animal skins. This was God’s way of covering what they had done, and it was sufficient. Sometimes we have our own way of making things right, but it’s not God’s way. No amount of our own works could ever cover the sin that separates us from God. The only way to cover our sin is by the Blood of the Lamb. His righteousness is what God sees when He looks upon us. Let’s worship together this morning, thankful for the covering God has provided through His own Son, Jesus Christ.
March 12, 2017
Good morning FBC! Today, I wanted to talk about a story we are all familiar with. Genesis 8:7–9. This is after the flood in the days of Noah. The waters were receding, and Noah sent forth a raven and a dove to see if there was any dry land. Only the dove returned because there was no place to rest the sole of her foot. I always wondered why the raven never returned to the ark. I watched one minister’s Bible study online, and what he had to say about this passage was really interesting. The dove didn’t find a place to rest her feet, but given the amount of deceased victims from the flood, the raven probably found both food and a place to rest. God is calling each of us to something greater than ourselves. Though sometimes, like the raven, we are drawn to the desires of the flesh, God wants us to return to the safety of His arms. As we worship today, pray that God would help us to return to His side and turn away from the world.
March 5, 2017
I wanted to share a story about one of the songs we will be singing. Open the Eyes of My Heart is a worship song that has been around for quite some time, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally understood what this song is about. I had been selecting songs for a worship service I was leading and was looking for a video of this particular song on the internet. I stumbled across Christopher Duffley’s video online. Christopher’s mother was on drugs before his birth, and as a result, he was born blind and autistic. At the time this video was filmed, Christopher was only ten years old. I was deeply moved by his story, and I felt God was showing me something. We have a completely different set of eyes. Eyes that give us spiritual sight. With our physical eyes, we can only see the world around us, but Ephesians 6:12 tells us there is a spirit world we cannot see that is battling for our soul. Some people spend their whole life trying to see God and never do. When our heart’s eyes are opened, we can see God for who He truly is. I encourage you to pray for spiritual sight this week. Pray that God will show you things that you once were unable to see.
February 26, 2017
Today, I thought we’d have a little science lesson! We all have heard the familiar song of the bird in the early morning, but have we ever asked why they do this? Did you know that those songs contain notes that awaken the plants and tell them to breathe?! Below is a quote from Dan Carlson’s website (dancarlsonsonicbloom.com):
“Back home, entitled to the GI Bill of Rights, Carlson spent many hours in the University of Minnesota library, studying Horticulture, particularly plant physiology. Struck by the idea that certain sound frequencies might help a plant breathe better and absorb more nutrients, he experimented with various frequencies until, with the help of an audio engineer, he found one range that was consistent with the early morning bird chirping that helps plants open wider their stomata, or mouth-like pores.”
It’s amazing to consider the Master behind the masterpiece. God created everything with a distinct purpose and destiny. Just as the bird’s song causes the plants to open up and breathe, God inhabits our songs of praise to Him and opens our spirit to receive His breath to live the life He intends for us!
February 19, 2017
“Man is the weakest creature there is, but he is the only creature that knows how weak he is. That is where the glory lies: in his weakness. He is able to know how weak he is, and no other creature knows this.”
- A.W. Tozer, Experiencing the Presence of God
This is a great reminder that all of us are chosen and pursued by God. We are not His children by chance. Our lives have purpose and meaning. Some scientists are working day and night to try and disprove the One who made them! Today as we worship together through song, giving, and reading of The Word, remember that God made you in His image and that He bought you with a price none of us could ever afford to pay.
February 12, 2017
Today, we are singing the song, The Love of God, so I thought I’d share with you all an excerpt from Ministry Magazine’s Music of the Message concerning it:
“Down through the tedious ages of time, man's heart has been cheered at the thought of the boundless love of God, and in his soul there has often been touched a responsive chord to that wonderful love. So compelling is this love that it is often felt by the most unfortunate and seemingly hopeless of mortals.
Some years ago, after the patient in a certain room in one of the mental institutions of our land had found release from his pathetic earthly sojourn, and his room was being readied for another unfortunate occupant, the attendants found scrawled on the walls of the room the following profound lines:
Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade:
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.
In his saner moments this poor, troubled soul had poured out his simple heart of love to his God.”
This story is an amazing testimony to show one of the many ways that God works through His people. I sometimes find myself asking just what it is that we are singing on Sunday mornings. Who wrote the song? When was it written? What was taking place at that time? Knowing the story behind this hymn not only brings more power and meaning to the song, but it also shows how far God’s love can go: “Beyond the highest star and to the lowest hell.”