June 16,2020

I just received an e-mail from a man who is dear to me and to our church. He has gone through serious surgery and treatment for cancer and now they have found more cancer. But God who brought him through the first time is using all of this to lift him up, fill him with faith, joy and confidence. Here is his e-mail to me with his name removed:

Received promising news regarding treatment options for the cancer that has returned on my neck. Turns out that the results from the biopsy show high levels of the PD-L1 protein which makes me a good candidate for Immunotherapy. It was explained to me that the high levels of protein present in neck cancer are very rare and the doctors seemed genuinely surprised and encouraged by these results. One doctor even said “for some reason your PD-L1 came back at a surprisingly high number”.
I have an explanation. I’d like to thank everyone who has been praying for me these past several months. God has performed a miracle by providing a treatment option that will be less stressful to my body (no hair loss, less nausea and fatigue, less frequent trips for treatment) while also providing the potential for a better outcome.
Thank you to all those who have been praying for me. I wanted each of you to know that your prayers have been heard and answered. My reverence and dedication to prayer has been strengthened; another blessing received.
Thank you, and your continued prayers appreciated,

God is so good,
Art

 
 
 
 
5/31/2020

Last week we shared that the virus was not the last thing to happen in 2020. Beginning late last year we have been observing that 2020 will be a horrible year for the world. (But a great year if you are in Christ). Not to let us down, the murder and following riots have been on everyone’s mind this week.

I.
There are a few thoughts that might help give some clarity to what is going on. First, the murder is a function of hate. Hatred will always find an excuse to inflict itself on others. It might be the color of a person’s skin, sitting in the wrong section in hockey game can get you beat up, it might be a person’s gender, political or religious persuasion, or even where they are born. But the excuses are not the problem. The problem is hatred. Don’t fall into the trap of using the excuse to label the hatred. It muddies the waters.

Just for instance, three of the four officers who lost their jobs because of the murder in Minneapolis are not white. The white cop who is charged with murder has a history of using his badge to express his hatred of people in the past.

The folks who are making this about race and who are rioting are also expressing hatred. Innocent people have been injured. Minority owned properties have been destroyed. The cities around the country are on fire. Some African Americans have just as much hatred as some Anglo Americans do. Racism at this point is a two way street. The problem is the unredeemed nature of all humanity. Without Jesus there is hatred.

II.
Another area of thing to observe with this tragedy is the nature of crime in the United States. There are half again as many whites killed by police as there are African Americans. Proportionately one might think the number should be higher, but even if it were, there is a problem with how we perceive the police. The idea that race is the dividing line in police departments is just simply false. Increasingly police departments represent the community they serve. Recently in Indianapolis we had a funeral for an African American officer killed in the line of duty. No riots for her. She was a focus of love and appreciation (as it should be).

Police have a difficult job in that they deal with the worst of us. And since they are fallen individuals as well, that job guarantees there will be less than ideal results. Pray for police. Do some departments desperately need reform? Absolutely. In Anderson we are blessed with a Sherriff who loves the Lord. The protests here are peaceful. But even here not every thing runs smoothly all the time. I am so grateful for our Sherriff department and our city police. Pray for police.

III.

Thirdly, there are several cultures of hatred in our land. You will find them where ever people think like slaves. One of the markers is corruption of language. Anything that subverts the good is celebrated. Language is not just crude but is also used to veil the intentions of those who use it. Slaves don’t want the main street to understand them. Language becomes the identifying feature of belonging. This is true of Antifa, White supremacists, and urban gang cultures.

Another feature of slave culture is do as little as possible, as little as is required to avoid punishment. Don’t make other slaves look bad by doing more than is called for. This promotes poverty and unproductivity as well as resentment toward any who actually accomplish something with their lives. For people born into this culture, one can hardly blame them for doing what they are taught by their parents example.

A third way to identify the slave culture is personal responsibility. A slave is not responsible for themselves. Some one else must be responsible to employ, feed, educate and care for them. This is a seed bed for hatred.

The solution to the slave culture is Jesus. He alone breaks the chains and sets the prisoner free. When you see the slave culture share Jesus.

IV.
Finally, in the United States, there is a threat far more dangerous to African Americans than rogue cops or departments that allow rogue cops to continue on the force. African Americans and Anglo Americans for that matter, are far more likely to be killed by an African American than any other group. This still is not a matter of race. But it is time for the African American community to take responsibility to clean things up. In Indianapolis there are several efforts to do just that. And they are doing a great job. This is not a matter of judgementalism. We need to recognize these efforts, support them and encourage them no matter what our skin color is. In Anderson there have been several efforts to do that. My good friend Rev. Early Dixon started the Impact center to do just that. Some of what he started still is active. The Crossing, Man 4 Man, the Christian Center, and Operation Love are just a few of these efforts that deserve our unconditional support.

Christians, today is the day of salvation. It is more urgent than ever that we reach out in Jesus name. Lives submitted to Him are our only hope.

love,
Pastor Art

 
 
5/31/2020
 
Last week we shared that the virus  was not the last thing to happen in 2020. Beginning late last year we have been observing that 2020 will be a horrible year for the world. (But a great year if you are in Christ). Not to let us down, the murder and following riots have been on everyone’s mind this week.
 
There are a few thoughts that might help give some clarity to what is going on. First, the murder is a function of hate. Hatred will always find an excuse to inflict itself on others. It might be the color of a person’s skin, sitting in the wrong section in  hockey game can get  you beat up, it might be a person’s gender, political or religious persuasion, or even where they are born. But the excuses are not the problem. The problem is hatred. Don’t fall into the trap of using the excuse to label the hatred. It muddies the waters.
 
Just for instance, three of the four officers who lost their jobs because of the murder in Minneapolis are not white. The white cop who is charged with murder has a history of using his badge to express his hatred of people in the past.
 
The folks who are making this about race and who are rioting are also expressing hatred. Innocent people have been injured. Minority owned properties have been destroyed. The cities around the country are on fire. Some African Americans have just as much hatred as some Anglo Americans do. Racism at this point is a two way street. The problem is the unredeemed nature of all humanity. Without Jesus there is hatred.
 
Another area of thing to observe with this tragedy is the nature of crime in the United States. There are half again as many whites killed by police as there are African Americans. Proportionately one might think the number should be higher, but even if it were, there is a problem with how we perceive the  police. The idea that race is the dividing line in police departments is just simply false. Increasingly police departments represent the community they serve. Recently in Indianapolis we had a funeral for an African American officer killed in the line of duty. No riots for her. She was a focus of love and appreciation (as it should be). 
 
Police have a difficult job in that they deal with the worst of us. And since they are fallen individuals as well, that job guarantees there will be less than ideal results. Pray for police. Do some departments desperately need reform? Absolutely. In Anderson we are blessed with a Sherriff who loves the Lord. The protests here are peaceful. But even here not every thing runs smoothly all the time. I am so grateful for our Sherriff department and our city police. Pray for police.
 
Thirdly, there are several cultures of hatred in our land. You will find them where ever people think like slaves. One of the markers is corruption of language. Anything that subverts the good is celebrated. Language is not just crude but is also used to veil the intentions of those who use it. Slaves don’t want the main street to understand them. Language becomes the identifying feature of belonging. This is true of Antifa, White supremacists, and urban gang cultures.
 
 Another feature of slave culture is  do as little as possible, as little as is required to avoid punishment. Don’t make other slaves look bad by doing more than is called for. This promotes poverty and unproductivity as well as resentment toward any who actually accomplish something with their lives. For people born into this culture, one can hardly blame them for doing what they are taught by their parents example.
 
A third way to identify the slave culture is personal responsibility. A slave is not responsible for themselves. Some one else must be responsible to employ, feed, educate and care for them. This is a seed bed for hatred. 
 
The solution to the slave culture is Jesus. He alone breaks the chains and sets the prisoner free. When you see the slave culture share Jesus.
 
Finally, in the United States, there is a threat far more dangerous to African Americans than rogue cops or departments that allow rogue cops to continue on the force. African Americans and Anglo Americans for that matter, are far more likely to be killed by an African American than any other group. This still is not a matter of race. But it is time for the African American community to take responsibility to clean things up. In Indianapolis there are several efforts to do just that. And they are doing a great job. This is not a matter of judgementalism. We need to recognize these efforts, support them and encourage them no matter what our skin color is. In Anderson there have been several efforts to do that. My good friend Rev. Early Dixon started the Impact center to do just that. Some of what he started still is active. The Crossing, Man 4 Man, the Christian Center, and Operation Love are just a few of these efforts that deserve our unconditional support.
 
Christians, today is the day of salvation. It is more urgent than ever that we reach out in Jesus name. Lives submitted to Him are our only hope.
 
love,
Pastor Art
 
 
 
 
5/3/2020
Dear First Baptist Family,
We are so excited!
 
We have a limited opening the church for service this coming Sunday! We are following the Governor’s directive to have face masks and to observe social distancing. When you come please bring your mask. If you do not have one we will have one for you. Also, if you did not come in the same car as someone else please keep six feet between you and them. Do not sit immediately behind or in from of someone else. The Governor suggests that people over the age of 65 worship online from home. We will not have Sunday School or youth group. The youth group will meet on line.
 
A few weeks ago we asked you to Stay home, be safe and worship with us on line. Hopefully that has been a blessing. We will continue streaming Sunday Morning, Saturday night and Sunday night. Online attendance has been very encouraging. The web site is www.firstbaptistanderson.org. There is also a giving link on the page for your tithes and offerings. Some may choose to mail their tithe instead of using the giving link. Please remember to include an offering of prayer requests. Also, there is a lock box next to the front door if you want to bring them.
 
As much as we want to see you, we want you to be safe. So even when the church is open this Sunday, we count on you to exercise good judgement. If you suspect that you have the virus, please stay home. If you are particularly vulnerable to the virus, worship with us on line. Every one wants to get out of the house, but make sure you are not endangering yourself or others when you do.
 
Finally, please take this opportunity to consider the changes this virus has brought us. It might be a good idea to maintain some of them. Has your Bible and prayer time become stronger? Protect them from sliding back to the old status quo. Do you value time with people after being separated for so long? Make sure you tell them you love them. And make sure they know that Jesus and only Jesus is the cure for what we face in life.
 
We are look forward to seeing you and resuming corporate worship. Meanwhile stay home and be safe. We love you.
God bless you,
Be fearless,
Pastor Art
 
 
 
4/30/2020
Folks are asking is the covid a sign of the end.
There are several things I pay attention to. One is the number 40.
 
*Lockdown began from march 25th at midnight … And now extended till 3rd may..*
*It’s exactly 40 days from 25th March to 3rd may…*
*Something is strangely biblical
QUARANTINE
The Latin root of the word “quarantine” is “forty”.
So what does the Bible say about 40?
The flood lasted 40 days.
40 years Moses fled Egypt.
40 days Moses stayed on Mount Sinai to receive the Commandments.
Exodus lasted 40 years.
Jesus fasted for 40 days.
Lent is 40 days.
40 days for a woman to rest after giving birth.
 
40 is a number made up of 5 times 8. 5 is the number of judgement, 8 is the number of new beginnings. The old has passed away, the new has come. So something new is on the near horizon when you see 40 take place. The old judgement is finished.
So what is drawing to a close and what is beginning?
 
Matthew 24 contains an outline of the end of the age of the gentiles. It is some times called the age of grace and the age of the church.
3 As [Jesus] was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 6 You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
 
Luke 21 adds: 10 Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, 11 and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
The tribulation which we endure is not the 7 year tribulation. Many people have gone astray not realizing that there are two very different tribulation. It is clear that Christians will not have it easy. At the end of the age it will be as bad as ever and as ever will be for Christians.
 
Matthew 24 continues: 25 Behold, I have told you in advance. 26 So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. 27 For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
29 “But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. 31 And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
 
So after this tribulation the rapture takes place. Some people like Pat Robertson believe this means a post tribulation rapture. What he doesn’t recognize (because he has missed the fact that there are two different tribulations) is that after the rapture all hell is about to take place. The pre tribulation rapture removes the church from the wrath of God poured out on the earth. We are not ruled by the antichrist. We are safe in the arms of Jesus when the 7 year tribulation begins.
 
So yes, the corona is a sign. It is a sign that the church age is drawing to a close and the rapture followed by 7 years of horror are about to begin. However, as signs go, covid is not very big. It has gotten our attention, but the consequences are pretty mild. In 536 two major volcanoes darkened the sky for a full year. Famines were massive and deadly. The bubonic plague swept across the land killing a majority of people.
 
The corona is an opportunity to call people to the Lord. So many other signs have been fulfilled that it appears the end of the age of gentiles is nearly fulfilled.
 
Get ready, we are living in exciting times.
Be fearless,
Love
Pastor Art
 
 
 
 
 
4/26/20
Dear First Baptist Family,
It is possible that we may be opening the church for service this coming Sunday. We will not open until we have the go ahead from our governor and state authorities. If the permission to hold congregational service has not been issued, we will not have congregational worship, but we will continue with on line services. The Diaconate will meet via Zoom on Thursday to give us direction about reopening.
 
A few weeks ago we asked you to Stay home, be safe and worship with us on line. Hopefully that has been a blessing. We will continue streaming Sunday Morning, Saturday night and Sunday night. Online attendance has been very encouraging. The web site is www.firstbaptistanderson.org. There is also a giving link on the page for your tithes and offerings. Some may choose to mail their tithe instead of using the giving link. Please remember to include an offering of prayer requests. Also, there is a lock box next to the front door if you want to bring them.
 
As much as we want to see you, we want you to be safe. So even if the church is open this Sunday, we count on you to exercise good judgement. If you suspect that you have the virus, please stay home. If you are particularly vulnerable to the virus worship with us on line. Every one wants to get out of the house, but make sure you are not endangering yourself or others when you do.
 
Finally, please take this opportunity to consider the changes this virus has brought us. It might be a good idea to maintain some of them. Has your Bible and prayer time become stronger? Protect them from sliding back to the old status quo. Do you value time with people after being separated for so long? Make sure you tell them you love them. And make sure they know that Jesus and only Jesus is the cure for what we face in life.
 
Whether it is this week or maybe later, we look forward to seeing you and resuming corporate worship. Meanwhile stay home and be safe. We love you.
God bless you,
Pastor Art
 
 
4/16/20
Just getting started. I’ve always thought that artificial intelligence was literally a tool of the devil. But here we are learning to use the web during this time of Corona lockdown. I’m not sure what kind of intelligence you may find here as this Pastor’s Corner develops, but I intend for it to be God driven. 
 
In the past, long ago, I’ve shared things I thought God was showing me. Lots of times I got it wrong. But there are some great opportunities to think of things a little differently. So, for today we welcome you here and look forward to great times together.
One thing that is pretty clear during this Corona lockdown is that people have a better opportunity to spend time with Jesus. So many of the things that distract us have been removed. Even television is getting old. There are only so many times you can watch Guardians of the Galaxy. (Perry Mason isn’t on my cable anymore..) 
 
So out of self defense if nothing else people are tuning into God. For instance we have had 1100 unique views of our services last week. People are spending more time in their Bible. People are using the phone to check  up on others. Prayer is more important than ever.
 
I noticed on Facebook a person who wondered how God could create an event like Corona. He didn’t . Corona is the product of a fallen sin sick world. What God did create is the caring response that comes from His people in the middle of this mess. C.S. Lewis observed that pain (or viruses I suppose) isn’t from God, but He uses it as a megaphone to get people’s attention. May the world see the care, compassion and heroism displayed by God’s people as the minister in this time.
 
Just a thought, but after you spend your time with God today, call someone you don’t usually talk to and check in on them. Maybe even share what you read in the Word or what the Holy Spirit impressed upon you.
 
As always we love you,  
Stay safe.
Be fearless.
God bless you,
Pastor Art