Janna and I love to take walks in our neighborhood. It gives us the opportunity to unplug, turn away from technology, focus on our family, and time to communicate. In our neighborhood, there is a particular item in which we marvel at the Lord's creation. It is a tree that sits in the middle of a neighbor's front yard. Roads meet in perpendicular intersection right across from the yard. If you saw this tree, you may not think anything of it, and you would probably be disappointed after I have hyped it up like this. You would say, "There is nothing special. It's just a tree." The reason for your disappointment is not the tree and it is not my "exaggerated" description of the tree. The reason for your disappointment would be the timing. If you saw this masterpiece now, it would look just like any other tree. However, in the fall, when the leaves change their colors, the Lord paints this tree in the brightest yellow leaves I have ever seen. The entire fall season, watching this tree, is much like watching a slow display of fireworks as the colors explode and daily change their display. Do not discount the beauty and identity of the tree just because you catch it in a different/difficult season. The interesting thing about this tree: when I walk in the neighborhood, I catch myself having great hope, anticipation, and excitement over the beauty that will shine forth from this tree in the near future.
Woodmont has had an incredibly busy and challenging introduction to the summer in 2018. Much like the seasons throughout the year, our church is experiencing change, and has been experiencing change for quite some time. In the middle of transitions, changing seasons and timelines, the Lord is preparing my heart (and hopefully yours) with great hope, anticipation, and excitement. Our identity is rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. I am excited for the Lord to display His beauty and the beauty of His Bride through Woodmont Baptist Church. I am excited to see how He works out situations for His Glory. To some, Woodmont may look like just another church, just another among the many. However, I believe that the Lord is shaping something in His church for a beautiful display of His glory and His purposes to help us reach people for Christ.
Chris Sonksen has written a book entitled "Quit Church! Because Your Life Would Be Better If You Did." In the book he outlines an interesting perspective for pastors and church leaders.
His premise is birthed out of conversations and research he's done over the last several years. The following includes a review of the book by Mr. Sonksen.
Regularly, he meets and trains pastors and church leaders from all over the country. The conversations carry a common theme - a lot of people who attend church are passive towards serving, giving and community outreach.
In most churches, 80 percent of the work is being carried out by 20 percent or less of the people. We've become a church of spectators and the pastoral staff is getting burned out.
According to his research, the problems are even bigger than the 80/20 principle.
Only 39 percent of active believers consider the Bible as the literal word of God. Less than 20 percent of professing believers follow the Biblical principle of giving. Only 5 percent have shared their faith with a non-believer. More than half of all church members attend church once a month or less.
Something has to change.
He goes on to say that casual attendance and the belief that others will serve, give and share the Gospel are tearing down churches across our country brick by brick. As believers, it's time that we are either all in or we get out. The solution is simple: quit!
That's right - quit! If we quit the casual way we approach God's principles can you imagine what would happen in our personal walks of faith and in our community of believers?
What if every believer exercised generosity? What if every Christian fought for loyalty in the local church? What if everyone served in their God-given purpose? What would happen if we stopped simply believing and started belonging?
If we would only quit the way we approach our relationship to Christ and our local church, the blessing, the reward, the joy, the fulfillment, the purpose, and the increase would radically transform our lives and the world. Together, we can revolutionize the church!
But the only way we can do this is if we quit.
Sonksen's conversations and observations over the past several years revealed the spiritual habits necessary for personal and church growth and revealed the "why" behind disengagement in the church.
The truth is, if we don't feel passionate about something we don't do it. If we don't like something that happens in the church, we find another one. If the spiritual practices don't fit our lifestyle, then we don't do them.
This mindset permeates our "I want it now and I want it my way" culture and is only enforced through social media, website choices, TV options and countless other platforms that have risen in prominence in our lives. This is not the way God intended the church to live.
The local church isn't a building - it's a body of believers fulfilling God's purpose in our lives. When these believers approach their individual involvement and commitment in a casual manner it weakens the entire body of Christ and the impact we are called to have.
As a result, we lose and so does the local church. God wants us to win, to thrive, to fulfill our potential in him. We will not experience the abundance he desires for us until we quit our current approach and we are all-in.
Once you go all-in on generosity, serving, outreach, discipleship and the other Biblical behaviors laid out in His Word then look out, because God will rain on your life with His Blessings like you have never experienced.
Jesus felt the church was worth dying for - it should be our mission as Christians to value living for it.
Under His grace,
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under Heaven
." E cclesiastes 3:1
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19
Fear of change seems to be innate. At least it is for me. I like predictability and safety, comfort and familiarity. If you're like me, you prefer to stick to the things you know, move in circles where you feel self-confident, and busy yourself with tasks that are sure to bring you affirmation and accolades.
Venturing into new territory can be terrifying to the point of crippling. And yet, sometimes you just know it's time. To resist change, solely for security's sake, is a disservice to oneself and to others.
Over the last few weeks, I have been very interested in what God's Word has to say on the subject of Change. There's not as much there as I thought...at least, not in bold and direct, black-and-white, instructional format, which is what I was rather hoping for.
But, in addition to the two verses above, there is one that has resonated most deeply. It penetrates my soul and invades my restless mind like a sedative each and every day. And it really isn't about me at all. Isn't that just like God, to remove me from the center of my own attention and put my focus firmly back where it belongs?
If you are facing some kind of transition in your life, let this verse--my new favorite verse about change--stabilize, strengthen, and de-stress you as it has done, and will surely continue to do, for me.
For I am the Lord; I do not change." Malachi 3:6
As I shared with you last month I had the opportunity to speak at a retreat and just wanted to go a little more in depth about what we talked about. So many times we act as if salvation is the end goal when really it is the beginning of our Christian walk and source of our daily living. The Bible tells us that this is the beginning of constant change that takes place in our lives where God continues to mold and shape us into who He wants us to be. So what is the next step after salvation? What do we do?
Ephesians 5:1 tells us
we are to imitate God; to imitate is to follow as a pattern, model, or example; to copy or to appear like. Paul tells us "
Therefore be imitators of God, as dearly beloved children, and walk in love..." (Eph. 5:1,2a). After we trust Christ for salvation we are to imitate God in His character and walk in love just as Christ modeled for us from His time on earth. So, then the question becomes:
How do we Imitate God?
Learn (watch His ways) & Do (follow His ways)
- From scripture; we see God's character in His Word, we see the example Jesus gave us when He walked on this earth.
- You can't imitate someone you know nothing about (example) My son is not going to imitate your dad or do the things your dad does, Why? Because he doesn't know your dad, he hasn't seen the way your dad acts, and he hasn't watched your dad closely to see the way he talks and lives...so how on earth could my son imitate your dad?
- The point is you cannot imitate someone you know nothing about!
- To know God and truly understand His character, and how to pattern our life after Him, we must read and study The Word to learn what it says for ourselves.
- So, we know what God is like and know we are to imitate Him, so now we put it into action. But can we do this by our own power? NO
- Power for Love - "Love others like Jesus does" it is easy to say, but harder to do.
- Once you come to know Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives inside you and gives you the power to love sacrificially.
- This is not something we can grit our teeth and make ourselves do
- We must pray that the Holy Spirit empowers us each day to love like Christ.
- Pattern of Love - "Love involves giving ourselves away for the good of another"; vs 2 says "Christ loves us and gave Himself for us"
- We have this wrong idea of love, we think that it is only a feeling....Love involves sacrifice and action
1 John 3:18 says "
Little children we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and actions.
- We can't just feel sorry for people and just talk about doing good things...Good thoughts and pity without action is not love.
The Bible gives command after command of how we are to take action:
Loving one another (John 13:34-35).
Forgiving others (Eph 4:32).
Spreading the Gospel (2 Cor. 5:14-21).
Being patient w/ others (1 Cor. 13:4)
Love those who anger you (Eph 4:26). Building people up with words (Eph 4:29)
- This is not a to do list. All this is not to be done just so you can tell people what great things you have done. These commands are not to be simply checked off so you can say you've followed all the rules. No, we do this as a sacrifice to God. We want to love others and put them before ourselves and serve them because that is the pattern of love that God showed us through Christ! And our goal is to imitate God!
We hope you plan to join us for an exciting adventure!
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" (Proverb of unknown origin)
The poverty rate
in Florence, AL is just over 24% which is 10% higher than the national average. People live in poverty due to various reasons - circumstances beyond their control, poor choices, generational values, and sometimes just because life happens. Our crisis ministry assists with utility bills, rent, medicines, gas vouchers for out of town Dr. appointments and other needs. However, this is often similar to placing a band aid on a gaping wound. Nothing really changes for these families long term.
In January, 2005, Woodmont Baptist Church started a new ministry in an attempt to assist families who were struggling with poverty due to various circumstances to become more financially independent. We had noted that many of these people were motivated and had a desire to change their lives. However, they lacked the means to do so. Only through education and/or job training are most people able to find better jobs which lead to a better and more secure life for them and their children and less dependency on our churches, government, and other resources. This ministry is called Allasso - a Greek word that means "to cause change" or "to exchange one thing for another." That is exactly what this ministry is designed to do - to exchange poverty and dependency for independence and self-sufficiency. We initially partnered these clients with Bible Study Connections classes which committed to assist with a determined amount monthly in order to give that person a hand up rather than a hand out. Money is not given to the client but rather a predetermined bill is paid, usually on a monthly basis. We currently have six classes who are sponsoring Allasso clients. We also have six other clients who are assisted by a miscellaneous Allasso budget which is funded by donations from church members. This budget is currently in major need of contributions to continue to support these six clients and be able to take additional applicants in the future. We are requesting church members to consider making a financial contribution of $20.00 monthly or however much you can give after prayerfully considering this request. This would be above and beyond your tithe and offering. You can just designate on your envelope "Miscellaneous Allasso." No amount is too small. Since 2005, we have had 24 graduates including a high school diploma, associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, two masters' degrees and other specialized certificates which provided a better job. Personal Ministries appreciates your consideration of assisting in this most worthwhile ministry.
City of Florence Bi-centennial Community Event McFarland Park
1:00 PM -4:00 PM
Woodmont Singles Ministry will be hosting a game/booth at this event.
Single Parent Family Beach Retreat
Singles Monthly Covered Dish Lunch
Gym following the service.
Please bring a veggie dish, casserole or dessert.
Family Life Ministry
The Family Life team will host a movie night on Sunday,
August 5th at 6:00 at the East Campus in the auditorium.
Friday night, August 17th
Saturday morning, August 18th
Retreat leaders: Bro. Chad and Janna Hess
More details soon
Thank you so much for all of your prayers, support, and encouragement over the last few weeks! I have been humbled and honored. I have known God's grace through the loss of our friend, Denise, in new ways, and I know, that rich blessing is solely because of the power of prayer.
In the month of June, we've been busy! We had Kids Kamp at Earle Trent Assembly, where our theme was "Be Brave: Joshua 1:9." We began a new Wednesday night series on the character we learn from God's attributes. And, we just recently got back from Centri-Kid camp. As a church family, you played a major role in helping our students get to Centir-kid. So I want to assure you that it was a solid investment! We laughed, learned, and had a blast. Even our chaperones, (Tyler Wilson, Demi Simmons, and Bradley Boak--Thank y'all again!) gained valuable resources, and were able to have unrushed coverations that gave us insight into what our students know, and ways we can encourage them. The kids were able to have Bible Study twice a day and take 2 track times where they learned new skills (things like archery, drawing, inventing, tennis, etc.).
Each night, the girls in our dorm, wanted to have a devotion time together before bed. One particular night, We were talking about Heaven and the topic of the resurrection came up.
I asked them, "Who knows when Jesus is coming back?" One of our adorable girls answered without skipping a beat, and said,
"Noah! Noah knows the day or the hour that Jesus will return!" :)
In that time, we were able to clarify for her, that the verse actually says, "No one!" The Bible says, "
However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. (Matthew 24:36, NLT)
That diligent student had heard the verse, and even memorized it! But, needed a little more clarification on what it actually meant. This precious event reminded me of the importance of two things found in this scripture:
Deuteronomy 6:4-8 says, 4.
"Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
My takeaways from this experience and this verse:
- Repeat truth. In the elementary phases of life students little brains are changing. They start off as concrete thinkers and are growing into abstract thinkers. They need the truth repeated to them often. As the scripture says, at home, on the road, when you go to bed, and when you get up. The truth of God's love through the Gospel is something that parents are commanded to reinforce constantly to their children.
- This same student was the one who suggested we have the evening quiet times. I think that is because it is being modeled for her at home. So kudos to her parents! Taking the time to read The Word together as a family is crucial. Some of the reasons I think our Lord commands us to do it, is because of this:
a. It is a unique bonding experience. An investment in your relationship that will reap
harvest as they face stronger temptations.
b. It allows the parents to be in on their spiritual growth and understanding. Not only are
you modeling for them how to grow as a Christian when you do this, but you get to
see first hand how the Holy Spirit is speaking to them! What a treat!
Thank you again for you prayers and support. Please continue to pray for us as we move forward and prepare for the fall. Also, I start back for the next school year this month, so please continue to pray for me to use my limited time wisely.
Most importantly, please pray for VBS this month! Our hope and prayer is to have many come who don't have a relationship with the Lord or a church home.
According to Lifeways stats of the SBC last year:
- 2.5 Million people attended VBS!
- 155,000 unchurched families connected to a church through VBS!
- 70, 000 kids made decisions for Christ!
We have so much potential here!! But we MUST pray! Thank you for joining me in this!
|Click on picture for online VBS registration.
55 and Older Join Us For These Upcoming Events...
- There will not be a monthly luncheon in July due to many of our Primetimers' working in VBS. If you have not signed up to work in VBS I am sure a job could be found for you. It is fun to work with the children as they learn more about God and Mission opportunities.
- We are not having Game Day during the summer months. Will resume in the fall. I hope you put the first Thursday of each month on your calendar and join us for Game Day.We have good food, fellowship, and fun playing Dominoes, Bridge, and Orbit. You are also welcome to bring your own game for others to share.
- Watch the bulletin for information on trips and events.
Have a nice summer!
|Christin Harris, Baptism
|Ruth & Bill Slattery, Letter
|Evan and Jennifer Thorton,
(Jace, Harley, Truit, & Abby) Letter
Calvin & Cindy Caldwell (not pictured)
Woodmont Baptist Church's
MISSION STATEMENT is:
"To do the Lord's will through prayer, worship, discipleship, service, missions
and evangelism - In His name, by His spirit and for His glory."
Bro. Chad Hess
Rev. Steve Thompson
, Assoc. Pastor/Min. of Ed/Admin.
Rev. Kevin Reese,
Interim Children's Minister
Singles and Families Minister
Becky Daughtery & Loretta Young
Personal Ministries Director
Communications Secretary/Education Secretary
King's Kids Director
Ministry Quick Links