Staff & Elders
The goals of the church leadership are to help build up the church, promote the spiritual welfare of the fellowship, maintain the character of doctrine reflected in the services and ministries of the church and be custodians of church property and finances, all done to the glory of God.
Bill’s life purpose is helping people learn God’s Word and live it together. Before coming to Grace he pastored churches in Wisconsin and Oregon, taught Pastoral Ministry as a Seminary Professor, and deployed as a Military Chaplain. Bill grew up on a dairy farm (yep – a cheesehead!) and became a follower of Christ as a college student at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. A graduate of both Northwest Baptist Seminary and Dallas Theological Seminary, Bill and his wife Teri live in Manhattan and are the parents of four children; Rachel, Jenni, Anna, and Jon.
Clint longs to see the gospel of Jesus Christ understood and displayed as central and sufficient in every aspect of his own life and in the church. In addition to his daily pastoral responsibilities of teaching, prayer, counseling and administration, he provides pastoral leadership for family and small group ministries. A Kansas native, Clint grew up under the godly influence and discipleship of his parents on the family’s farm and ranch. God opened Clint’s eyes to see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6) while attending Kansas State University (B.S.). He is also a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with an emphasis in Biblical Counseling (M.Div.). Clint and his wife enjoy watching football and exploring God’s glorious creation with their boys.
Alan Gerling is the Director of Worship and Music at Grace. After graduating from Iowa Wesleyan College he taught band and choir for five years before deciding to minister in music full-time. Alan loves to play guitar and piano and has a passion to see all generations join in worship. His duties include the planning and coordination of all public worship services, development of teams within the worship ministry and technical support for the staff and website. Alan and his wife, Jodie, live in Manhattan. They have three children, Isaac, Abigail and Chloe. You can learn a little more about Alan, his family and the journey they have been on for the past year at their blog, http://ourchloeelizabeth.blogspot.com.
After a successful career in the corporate world, Dan provided leadership for the gospel outreach mission, Journey’s End Ministries, Inc., as Executive Director. He accepted the call to Grace Baptist in August of 2007. Dan has a deep affection for the Puritans, Reformers and “Mystics” and is a longtime student of theology and church history. He has a particular burden for leadership development, discipleship and evangelism. His daily responsibilities include supervision of staff, oversight of day-to-day church operations, support of ministry oversight committees and pastoral duties. Dan and his wife, Barbara, live in Manhattan and have four children: Halle, Netta, John and Andre.
April Bockus is the Office Assistant and Custodian. She has served Grace since 2002 with a servant heart and quiet spirit. April takes care of attendance and updating the data base, handles the bills and voucher system we use, maintains the files, graciously answers the phone, maintains records, printing jobs, and joyfully completes other tasks as assigned. April and her staff also keep the building clean, working around our busy activities here at Grace. She is also our troubleshooter. April’s elected position at Grace is Church’s Financial Secretary. April attended the Manhattan Area Technical College and earned a degree in Business. April and her husband, Bill have three daughters and two grandchildren.
Kay Bollman is the Visitation Coordinator and has a heart of mercy. She has served Grace since 1997 through visitation, counseling and prayer. She records information given by our guests and contacts them as needed, helps maintain the care group lists and assignments to those groups and assists in visitation ministry. Kay takes great joy in learning and doing new things. Kay serves on the Deacon/Deaconess board, which is an elected position. Kay has been involved in many different outreaches over the years and has been a great blessing to our fellowship. Her husband John passed away September 2 of 2011.
Jenner Carter serves as Family Staff Assistant and Nursery Coordinator. Jenner has a passion for organization, numbers, and planning, which she utilizes daily in her responsibilities at Grace. She and her husband, Eric, were brought to the Manhattan area by the U. S. Army in December 2002. Eric and Jenner hail originally from Arkansas–Woo Pig Sooie! They were married in August of 1996 and have been blessed with three children: Gabriel, Gillian, and Gracelyn. In her “spare time”, Jenner enjoys scrapbooking, puzzles, and football.
Jenny Humes serves as staff assistant. She and her husband Nathan have attended Grace since 2000 while attending Kansas State University where they met. They were married in 2002. They have two children, Hannah and Jack. Jenny’s gift of administration was used while serving as the AWANA Commander here at Grace Baptist Church for seven years before stepping down. She now utilizes these gifts to assist the Leadership of the church and execute various daily tasks to include: maintaining the buildings schedule, bulletins, design work, membership process, and baptism process. Jenny loves to laugh, cook, eat, read and cheer on her Kansas State Wildcats.
“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly…” 1 Peter 5:2
The congregation of Grace Baptist Church desires that the office of elder be held in high regard. Mark Dever, in his book The Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, writes:
“Elders serve as spiritual overseers of the church. They are intended by God to devote themselves to the ministry of the Word and prayer. Ministry of the Word. Elders are quite literally deacons of the Word. This is the central responsibility of elders, and it is absolutely central to the life and growth of the church. Elders are to lead God’s people by teaching God’s Word. This teaching must be by the public handling of God’s Word, the private counsel of biblical principles, and by an exemplary lifestyle that others may imitate. Prayer. Elders are also to devote themselves to prayer, both for themselves and on behalf of the whole congregation. Prayer not only counts as elder work, it is essential to the elder’s work. In the ministry of the Word and prayer, elders graze the flock on the Word, guard the flock from false teaching, and guide the flock on their homeward journey.”
Allen began attending Grace in 1986 when he came to take a faculty position at Kansas State University in Agricultural Economics. He began serving as Treasurer and on the Stewardship committee in 1987 and served for 16 years in that role. He began serving as an elder in 2003 serving three terms. He was elected again in 2010 and is completing his second term. He has taught adult Sunday school, lead Bible studies with the singles, taught 5th and 6th grade Sunday school, assisted his wife Lila in teaching 2nd grade and 3rd and 4th grade Sunday school. He is currently teaching 4th through 6th grade Sunday school. Allen was married to Lila in 1989. He and Lila have five children. Andrew (23) is currently working in Dodge City Kansas as a mechanical engineer. Sarah (18) is a senior, Nathan (13) is in eighth grade, Rachel (11) is in fifth grade, and Jonathan (7) is in second grade, all at Flint Hills Christian School. In his free time he enjoys going to his children’s events.
Dave has been at Grace since 1980. In the past he has served as a song leader, Bible teacher, on the Christian Education Committee, Missions Committee, and Board of Elders. He has been married to Carol for 41 years. We have three grown children, two daughters and one son. I am a retired public school teacher. In my spare time I like to read and spend time in our garden. My favorite author is Erwin Lutzer. I am currently reading The Cross in the Shadow of the Cresent.
My wife Janice and I have four children, Kristyne, Jason, David and Nathan. We have six grandchildren, ranging in age from nineteen to two years. We are currently the owners of the Candlewood Frame Shop. Janice works full time at Manhattan High School and I work there part-time as a substitute teacher also. We have a full schedule with church, our family & our work but enjoy traveling when we can. I enjoy reading and studying Scripture as well as several christian authors including Paul David Tripp and John Mac Arthur. I also enjoy a video series by Ray Vander Lann that I lead in Bible Hour.
I have been married to Beverly for 46 years. We have three grown sons and 12 grandchildren. I am a veterinarian and came to Manhattan in 1998 to serve as dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University. This move was a return home for Bev and me since I had grown up in Manhattan and we had met during college at K-State. My hobbies include spending time with family and quail/pheasant hunting with my bird dogs. I don’t seem to make time for much reading, so I don’t really have a favorite author or book. I plan to step down from being dean in 2015 and hope to find time to do more reading then.
I have been married to Connie for 22 years. We have been attending since 1994. We have 3 children attending Riley County High School: Julia is a senior, Josiah a sophomore, and Stacia is a freshman. I work at K-State as an Assistant Dean in the College of Engineering. I am responsible for Student Services and Undergraduate Academics. In my spare time (yeah right!) I like to fish, hunt and watch sporting events. My favorite author is C.S. Lewis.
Our family has attended Grace since 1981. Nancy and I have 3 grown children and 10 grandchildren. I am now retired from working at Cornerstone Family Counseling Center for over 25 years. I have very little spare time but when I do, I enjoy grandchildren, gardening, woodworking, fruit trees, helping family and friends with construction projects, travel, and family reunions. I read a wide variety of authors from Civil War, western history to inspirational . Over the years I have enjoyed some of the older ones like Dallas Willard, John Ortberg, Henry Blackaby. More recently I have been enjoying Randy Alcorn , Bruce Waltke, and Steven Miller.
Stan and his wife Karla have three grown children. Joshua, his wife Megan and their two children live in Overland Park, KS, Jason and his wife Stephanie live in Redlands, CA, and their daughter Jamie lives in Springfield, MO. Stan is scheduled to complete his graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Friends University in June 2014. His plan is to provide biblical based counseling within the Manhattan area after completing his degree. He spends most of his spare time enjoying his family, particularly his grandchildren and following Kansas State athletics. Go Cats!!! Karla and Stan have a passion for couples and enjoy being a part of the Young Marrieds Foundations ministry at Grace.
We believe that church membership is an important aspect of Christian discipleship. As we join together we are able to encourage each other in our Christian walks and hold each other accountable.
There are few steps in the membership process at Grace:
1. Attend Grace 101. A four week class that include topics on the Gospel, baptism, membership, and getting connected to the body of Grace.
2. Complete a membership application. You may fill this out and return it to the church office. Forms can be found at the Welcome Center, in the church office or mailed to you if you indicate a desire for one on our Connection Card.
3. Once we have received your application, you will be contacted to schedule a membership interview with two of our Elders and/or Pastors. This gives us a chance to get to know you a bit, hear how you came to faith in Christ, and for you to ask any additional questions about Grace.
After you’ve completed the above steps, our elders will review the application for approval. Baptism by immersion is a requirement for membership. We will then present you to the congregation for approval. We welcome new members to our church during evening services on a regular basis. We hope that you find it easy to get involved with what God is doing here. If you wish to call Grace your church home, we would challenge you to step in and covenant with us as members of this local church.
Click here to read our church Covenant.
Our Falll Bible Hour classes are at 10:00am. We pray that you will find them to be a great blessing to you and that the Spirit of God would use them to help you grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
School of Biblical Foundations – The Book of Second Peter – RM 101
Are the Scriptures really sufficient for all I need to follow Jesus? In what way? How can a Christian become more sure of his or her salvation? As we explore 2nd Peter we will also study 1st Peter and Jude in this discussion-oriented class. By the power of the Holy Spirit we will seek to understand and apply the truths found in this letter through an historical, grammatical, Christo-centric exegesis. The class is open to anyone with a willingness to study, apply, and obey God’s Word.
Teacher: Clint Antholz & Eric Carter
Christianity & Discipleship Explored – RM 118/119
An evangelism and discipleship course using the Gospel of Mark and the book of Philippians that answers the questions: Who is Jesus? Why did He come? What does it mean to follow Him? How do I make the Apostle Paul’s words my own? Each week we will view a brief video and have times of discussion. Come grow in your understanding of the basics of the gospel message – how you can share it and how it can change your life.
Teachers: Dan Learned & Mickey Zimmerman
Berean Senior Saints – Book of Galatians – RM 204 (Library)
A discussion format to emphasize truths from the Biblical text. One of the main themes of Galatians is to not allow works to creep into the gospel of grace.
Teacher: Bill Bockus
Young Marrieds – Truth Project – RM 117
We will view and discuss The Truth Project, a Focus on the Family DVD series that previews an in-depth Christian worldview experience.
Teachers: Stan & Karla Watt
Women’s Elective – Faith Lessons: That the World May Know – RM 203
Each week we will show an excellently produced DVD of Ray Vanderlaan as he leads us through the historical, geographical and cultural context of the Scriptures. Each session provides a “Faith Lesson” that we each can apply to our own lives.
Teacher: Alice Campbell and Mary Newkirk
Men’s Elective – “Taking God at His Word “ (Till March 15) & Canonization, Translation & Reformation (Begins March 22) – RM 107
We will be studying and discussing the book “Taking God at His Word” by Kevin DeYoung from Jan 11-March 15. Beginning March 22 David Huebner will teach on Canonization, Translation & Reformation.
Teacher: Bob Burton & Dave Huebner
Internationals – The Parables of Christ – RM 115
International students, join us as we walk through a series of The Parables of Christ.
Teachers: Leon Brown, Steve Graber
Young Men’s Fraternity – RM 109
A six week study on the purpose of work, work in a fallen world, escapism, vocation, recreation, rest, and the redemption of our work. The target audience is college age men from university setting, military or the working world. Series begins January 18.
Teacher: Bobby Randall
New Membership Class
Grace 101 (April 12 – May 3) – Fireside Room
A 4-week class that includes topics on the Gospel, baptism, membership, and getting connected to the body of Grace.
Teacher: Dan Learned
Wednesday Night Adult Prayer Meeting
Join us on Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm for a time of prayer. We meet in the Fireside Room to pray for our brothers and sisters, missionaries, community and other needs of many.
1. We believe in the Bible accepting fully the writings of the Old and the New Testaments as the very Word of God verbally inspired in all parts and therefore wholly without error in the original writings. We believe that they are the supreme and final authority in faith and life. [II Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:21; John 13:35; 17:17; Psalm 19:7; Isa. 8:20]
2. We believe in one Triune God eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. [Matt. 28:19; John 1:1; 4:24; 5:25-26; 10:30; Matt. 3:17; Isa. 45:21; Jer. 10:10]
3. We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and is true God and true man, that He died for our sins and on the third day arose from the dead and was glorified in the same body in which he suffered and died. He is now our High Priest in Heaven appearing before the presence of God as our advocate and intercessor. [Isa. 53:6; Gal. 3:13; John 1:1,14; 20:25-26; Heb. 9:24; I John 2:1; Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38; Gal. 4:4; I Tim. 2:5]
4. We believe in the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Triune God, who convicts of sin, regenerates, indwells, enlightens, empowers, baptizes, guides, teaches, and sanctifies all who become children of God through Christ. [Matt. 28:19; Gen. 1:2; John 16:8-11; I Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Rom. 8:14]
5. We believe that Adam was created in the spiritual image of God, that he sinned and thereby incurred upon the human race not only the physical death but also spiritual death which is separation from God. We believe that all those descended from Adam are born with sinful natures and, in the case of those who reach moral responsibility, become sinners in thought and deed. [Gen. 1:26-28; 3:1-24; Eph. 2:3; Rom. 3:23; 5:12; 3:19; John 8:42-44]
6. We believe in salvation by grace through faith. Men are justified on the single ground of personal acceptance of the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. [John 3:16; Acts 13:38; 16:31; Eph. 2:8-9]
7. We recognize the existence and personality of Satan as the powerful supernatural enemy of God, and his evil influence in the world. [Job 1:6; Jude 9; Rev. 20]
8. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust; in the everlasting bliss of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost. [I Thess. 4:13; I Cor. 15; Rev. 20:1-6; 11:15; Phil. 1:21-23; I John 3:2; II Cor 5:8; Matt. 25:46; Jude 13]
9. We believe in: a. “That blessed hope” – the Rapture [Titus 2:11-13; John 14; I Thess. 4:14-18] b. The personal and visible return of our Lord Jesus Christ to earth to establish His Kingdom. [Psalm 24; Isa. 9:6; 24:22-23; Zech. 14:4; Acts 1:10-11; Jude 14-15; Rev. 20]
10. We believe that baptism is the immersion of the believer in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, setting forth the essential facts of redemption – the death, burial, and resurrection to newness of life. All members of a local new Testament Church are to be baptized believers. [Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 8:34-39;16:30-33; Rom. 6:1-11]
11. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a memorial service and is the setting forth in a sacred and symbolic manner the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf. The emblems of the memorial service are not literally the body and blood of Christ, nor do they contain His blood and flesh. The service is for the participation of believers only. It shall be observed on a regular basis. [Matt. 26:26-29; I Cor. 11: 20-34]
12. We believe in the Church, which consists of all those who have been born again during this dispensation of grace and that they are members of the Body of Christ whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. [Eph. 1:10; 22-23; 2:21-22; I Peter 2:5, 9,10]
13. We believe that a local New Testament Church is a group of born-again baptized believers bound together for the purpose of doing the will of Christ, including fellowship, worship, mutual edification, and the winning of souls. We believe that a local New Testament Church is a self- governing body subject only to Jesus Christ and His Word. [Acts 4:18-19; 6:3-6; 5:29; 13:24; 15:22-31;I Cor. 12:12; Acts 2:41-47]
14. We believe that the Scriptures teach that Christians should set their minds on things above, not on things on the earth. [I Thess. 5:22; II Tim. 2:11-22; Col. 3:2-17]
March 7th, 2013 by Alan Gerling
Last week, Pastor Bill preached a message from Acts on the topic of baptism. You can hear the message here.
Prepare for Worship in the Word:
This Sunday we begin a new series on the Names of God with the Lord being introduced as “the God who sees” (Gen. 16; 21). Hagar was pregnant, desperate, and on the run until she realized there was a God who truly “sees” her and her problems, and cares enough to respond. Be encouraged! The same Lord who cared for that single mom in her time of need is watching over you today. You can cast all your cares on Him because He sees, and cares. (p.s. – don’t forget – we lose an hour for Daylight Savings Time this weekend!)
Prepare for Worship in Song:
Here are some of the songs that we will sing when we gather to worship this coming Sunday. (Hymn numbers refer to The Hymnal Project)
#232 I Stand Amazed
#188 His Eye Is on the Sparrow
#14 At Your Name (YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon)
#86 Behold Our God (YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon)
#223 Be Thou My Vision (YouTube, Spotify, Amazon)
Posted in Sunday’s Comin’
June 26th, 2011 by Bob Flack
Last Sunday evening Bernie Bald submitted to Christian baptism during our third-Sunday-of-the-month evening service. Before he and I entered the water, Bernie told his story to the congregation. Since only a few attended, I asked permission to publish his story on this blog. I reprint it below without editing as he read it last Sunday.
Bernie and his wife, Holly Jo, turned in their membership applications this morning. But in many other ways, this testimony has everything to do with my recent posts about church membership. As you will read, Bernie’s past represents what may be very prevalent in our churches, namely, people who have a religious experience and who profess to know Christ but have never been born again by the Spirit of God. Church attendance and even activity mask a spiritual emptiness. Appearance defies reality and disguises distract leaders from shepherding people to true life and health in Christ.
I appreciate the desire of this family to join together with us as they move back to the area. Bernie wants the leaders of the church to know his story and to hear how the gospel has now truly changed his life. He is demonstrating what it means to make it a joy for leaders to give an account for his soul (back to Hebrews 13:17!)
By Bernie Bald
For those of you who don’t know my wife and I, we both were members here at Grace Baptist several years ago, and got married in this church. Shortly after that we moved to Indiana so I could go to school. What all of you here today don’t know is my true testimony of faith. A testimony that has taken me a long time to be willing to share, but one that God has shown me the necessity in telling.
Growing up I was raised catholic. My father who was not even a religious man only made us go to church for traditions sake. His attitude about who God was turned me off completely to the things of God, and shortly after leaving home and joining the Army, I found myself living a life style totally dedicated to myself and my own pleasures. In the summer of 1999 while stationed in Germany, I became a practicing homosexual, a sin that I have struggled with for a long time and still deal with the ramifications of today. In the spring of 2000 shortly after coming to FT Riley, I had what I would classify as a religious experience. At that time I would have even told some one that I had gotten saved. What I would not have told them was about the sexual sins that were present in my life. For several years, I would go to church and do “Godly things” while all the time still sinning in my private life without any conviction over the things I was doing.
In the fall of 2002 the church I was attending went through a terrible church split and I said, “I am done with God! ”. I went back to living a life that was totally dedicated to the fulfillment of my own desires and allowed my lustful passions to rule over my life.
In the fall of 2003, shortly after breaking up with my then girlfriend of six months I decided to start attending Grace Baptist Church for reasons I am not entirely sure. In fact I actually became a member asserting both my profession of faith and baptism that happened in the spring of 2000. I met my wife in December of 2003 and after only 7 months we were engaged to be married. Still throughout this entire time I was still indulging in my sexual sins. A couple of weeks prior to the wedding It came to light what I had been doing. It was not that I had confessed my sins, but rather I had been caught doing them. At the time I repented outwardly, but only because I had been found out and wanted to save my own pride. Against the counsel of Godly Christian’s my wife and I still went ahead and got married. I did however decide to go to Christian counseling, which I did for the first several months we lived in Indiana. During that time, I remember living a very sanitized life. Outwardly I was sinning very little because I did not have access to pornography or other forms of sexual gratification. Inwardly however, I still loved my sin more than anything else. It was my Idol. I remember struggling with my sexual sins and think to myself, “Why did you have to create the world were this is a sin God. Can I not hold on to this and still follow you. I’ll give you anything else in my life, just not this.” This went on for almost 2 years.
I can’t exactly tell you the moment I got saved. But some time during late summer of 2006 God changed my life. The church my wife and I were attending at the time was a very good church and one were the gospel was preached faithfully every Sunday. Somewhere along the way, during those summer months I remember coming to the place where I finally realized that I loved Christ more than I loved my sin and that I truly believed that what I was doing was sin and that I need to forsake it and all other things in light of what Christ had done for me when he died upon the cross in my place. To quote the old hymn, “I once was lost but know am found, I once was blind but know I see”
I can’t stand here and tell you that at that moment I was free from the sexual sins that plagued my life, because I wasn’t. But God in exchanging my heart of stone for a heart of flesh brought me to a place where I hated the sin in my life and was willing to fight against it. Shortly after this time I started attending seminary. God used seminary in my life to really grow me. Through my studies, my church, and an accountability group of other seminary students God showed me that the root of my sin problem was my own pride. In spring of 2010 while taking a class on prayer, God broke me of my pride. He showed me that It was my pride that was keeping me from being honest and telling people about my past, and the sins I was fighting against in my life. At that moment, I started being very honest, and verbal with the people around me. Having a willingness to share specifically and not just vaguely about what I struggled with. Confessing my sins and being accountable to other believers became a genuine part of my life. After graduating from seminary my wife and I moved to Arizona in august of 2010 to work at a Native American Christian boarding school. God used this time to continue to grow me, and show me that I needed to let go off the pride that was keeping me from being honest with people about the fact that I was not saved until the summer of 2007 and since that is true that my baptism that took place in 2000 was not genuine.
Posted in Leadership Blog
September 6th, 2010 by Bob Flack
I changed my plans for the message this Lord’s Day. I have one more “stand-alone” sermon before I begin the fall series from Habakkuk. It’s a perfect opportunity to underscore the importance of world missions in the life of Grace Baptist. So here is an updated schedule for the message in the remainder of September.
September 12 “That Your Way May be Known” (Psalm 67; a message about our participation as a local church in the glory of world evangelization and missions)
September 19 “My ALL When All Is Gone” (A message introducing the Fall Sermon Series from Habakkuk and unveiling the book of the year for 2010-11; Baptisms at the lake; Church Picnic)
September 26 and forward “My ALL When All Is Gone” (Habakkuk Series)
I intend to be in Habakkuk through October and into November. I will be out of the pulpit on November 21 and hope to have information about whose speaking shortly. Four messages for Advent beginning November 28 will continue the annual series “Advent in the Old Testament” looking at how the unfolding revelation of God before Jesus prepares us to receive Him in all his glory. This year we will observe this theme from Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Job.
Posted in Leadership Blog
March 11th, 2010 by Bob Flack
Romans 1:16 declares that the gospel is the power of God. Today in Seek God for the City we pray that throughout Manhattan and this whole region, God will cause his power to be known and received through the proclamation of the gospel.
When it comes to the gospel, the church acts cowardly, ashamed of it and uncertain that it will, united with God’s gift of faith, save sinners and transform them. We cave into fears that people will reject us, or that it will take to much time to talk about Jesus well, or that we don’t know what to say.
The church is also confused, substituting other good things like social compassion or apologetic presentations or personal testimonies in place of the clear gospel. We lose touch with the message that Jesus lived to keep the law of God and died to accept its punishment so that sinners could have the righteous pardon they do not deserve and be welcomed into God’s family as forgiven.
The church also becomes careless with the gospel. We appeal to people as consumers in search of a good deal instead of sinners in need of truly good news. We reduce the essential gospel response to mere interest or self-righteous participation in a human activity like praying or joining a church. We skip repentance and cut down faith to mere mental assent. Those who don’t do this are so turned off by those who do that they cease to be intentional about propagating the news of Christ.
The church also becomes cold to the gospel. We forget our own sinfulness and so think of the gospel as something we needed long ago but now we’re on to better things. We may preach it to others but feel no need to preach it to ourselves.
The church also becomes cliquish with the gospel. We act as if it were only good for Americans or people who look and live like we do. We rob the gospel of its universal quality, diminishing the reality that it answers to the deepest condition which people share across the world as sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. We construe missions as importing the “good life” from our culture rather than announcing the good news that will be for all the peoples of the world that a Savior has been born for them who is Christ the Lord.
Father, bring us back to the gospel and first lead us to fall in love with it again. Then lead us to share it with integrity and authenticity wherever we can. Expose our ridiculous excuses for not being bold as followers of Christ. May our identity as Christians become the defining descriptions of our lives, more so than what team we follow or what job we do.
We thank you for the vast outreach of Christian media of all kinds. But we acknowledge as in the reading today, that You will often raise up one person who will witness in his circle of family and friends and soon a whole city knows the message of Christ and forgiveness of sins. Cause that to happen in neighborhoods and extended families all over our region. Do this in Africa where tribal loyalties are such a strong element in their societies.
Prompt your people to pray earnestly for those who remain outside of Christ. Press down on our hearts the eternal realities of heaven and hell. Fill us with an overflowing joy through your salvation that we will want to talk about what You have done and how others may know You in a personal way through faith in Christ. Fill your churches with genuine believers, those who have been truly born again and who will demonstrate that through public baptism. May we see hundreds or thousands converted to Christ in this year.
Posted in Leadership Blog
February 23rd, 2010 by Bob Flack
Purpose of Revival
This seventh day of the forty in Seek God for the City directs us in prayer for marriages, specifically, but in general for the realization of Christ’s resurrection power over sin in the lives of His people. The OT passage from the prophet Hosea draws a significant parallel between a third-day resurrection and God’s reviving of His people.
Lord, I recognize that you bring revival that your people may live before You (Hosea 6:1-2). So to live in the power of Christ’s resurrection is to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4). This is the truth to which our baptism points. We are washed clean in Christ’s blood and we live in his glorified, eternal life.
When we walk in our old, selfish ways, we betray the meaning of your work in our lives. We deny the resurrection even though we may affirm its truth. Convict us and heal us that we may walk in the newness of life that You have provided for us through Christ.
This Present Age
We pray in the name of the Living One who holds the keys of death and Hades. Jesus has the right to judge all. To Him all mankind must appear and give account. He is Lord of all. We live in the world to draw attention to Him and to call people to turn to Him now lest they be turned away by Him in that final judgment. Christ’s resurrection inaugurates an era of mercy in which You call all people everywhere to repent.
I so often live as if this life were all to living, that judgment is not ahead of us, that there is not a heaven to gain and a hell to avoid. I do not consciously interact with others as if the most important blessing I could offer them is a deeper more personal knowledge of Christ and his ways. Just as You needed to tear and strike your ancient people to get their attention and turn them from their futility, so you may need to do the same to me for the same purpose.
Hosea (in the next verse Hosea 6:3), urges me to press on to know You. How unintentional has been my spiritual pursuit. Pressing suggests earnest effort and focused devotion. It requires saying “no” to many things so that I may gain the best thing. Revive in my heart and the heart of you people a determination to know You in a more personal and powerful way. Renew the joy of private and family worship. Infuse corporate worship with a sense of awe and adoration.
As I pray for marriages today I am aware that we can make an idol out of a good marriage. We make romantic love a kind of holy grail for which we will do anything to possess. We have made the pursuit of a certain human relationship a more pressing priority than our relationship with You. This is dangerous to us and, more significantly, degrading to You. You are a jealous God.
Teach us to engage in marriage as a means to the greater end of your glory. Restrain us when we demand from our spouses what only You can provide. Show us that not even a great marriage can answer to the depravity of our hearts.
Yet we pray for the restoration of broken marriages because this relationship is a picture of Christ’s love for His people. You are glorified through godly marriages. Love between a husband and wife is a prime ingredient in strong homes. We pray for this blessing. Where husbands and wives are estranged today, openly or secretly, turn hearts back to you and so renew love even for the spouse who seems unlovely.
Beyond our Borders
The countries of the Americas (Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, and Montserrat) need a renwing of family life and a strengthening of marriages. But this blessing is no blessing if it is not founded upon a fresh outpouring of the gospel to plant within hearts a sincere love for Jesus Christ. Embolden the Church of your Son in these places to proclaim the gospel wherever they go. Let the lives of your people, beginning with their marriages and home life, adorn the gospel before their unbelieving communities.
Posted in Leadership Blog