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Make Christ Known

What are Core Values?  

Core Values and Beliefs describe what God says are the most important priorities of our existence as a church and as individuals.  They are God’s Top Priorities!  Core values help us make ministry plans as a church and everyday decisions as individuals.

Core Value #1 – Make Christ Known to our Neighbors and Nations

What your testimony can do?

1.  Stir up a desire in others to know God.
Your testimony has the power to stir up a desire in the heart of people to want to know God. Jesus stirred the heart of the woman at the well when He explained that He could give her living water, John 4:10.

2.  Cause people to examine their life.
Our testimony has the power to cause people to examine their own life.  It’s human nature to relate what you hear to yourself.

3.  Reveal the presence of the Lord.
Our testimony has the power to reveal the presence of the Lord. They see God’s presence in us.  As we share the power of God in our life it will cause people to want God’s power in their life.

4. Prepare hearts to hear the Gospel.
Our testimony has the power to prepare people to hear the Gospel.  Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”  Matthew 5:16.  Gods Word is His Light.  Your word is your light.

How do I share my testimony?  

1.  My life before receiving Christ.

2.  How I became a Christian.

3.  What Jesus means to me now that I m a Christian.

Write out a few notes to help you share your testimony in 3 minutes or less.  I shared this “how to share your testimony” on Sunday.  On Monday, one of our members took the opportunity to share his testimony with a co-worker.  That same afternoon the co-worker came back and said, “I want what you have.  Would you please pray with me and help me receive the Lord as my Savior.”  We can say with the blind man, “Once I was blind, now I see!  Jesus made me see!  Once I was burdened and guilty with sin.  Jesus forgave my sins!”

Sharing your testimony WORKS!

A Journey of Faith, Part 2

Reprinted from Baptist Voice, Part 2

Ministry Lessons

Philippians 4:19Missions!  “If we take care of God’s business He will take care of our business.”  God blesses a church that is committed to the Great Commission.  We began supporting missionaries before we even chartered the church.  God has honored His promise to meet the needs of a missionary supporting church.

Acts 4:31Prayer!  “And when they prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”  Beginning a prayer partner program was one of the best decisions I ever made as a pastor.  Men and women commit to praying with a prayer partner for one year.  Upon inaugurating this ministry, God blessed us with three consecutive years of either someone being saved, baptized or joining the church every Sunday.  All to God’s Glory!  He seemed to be placing His stamp of approval on a ministry bathed in prayer.

Matthew 6:33Holiness!  God First!  Early in ministry I was challenged by the “Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards.”  As a 19 year old man, Edwards wrote down the resolutions to order his life.  As a result, God used him to spark the Great Awakening, prepare the colonies to establish a government based on Biblical principles, and change the world.  With that inspiration, I wrote down 31 personal life goals and principles to live by.  You can jot down your own list.

Give glory to God by maintaining a daily walk with Christ, Matt. 6:33

Surrender my will to Christ and desire His likeness, Rm. 8:29, 12:1-2

Love my wife as Christ loved the church, Eph. 5:25

Raise my children to love God, Eph. 6:1-2; 3 John 4

Serve the Lord with excellence in our church family, Col. 3:23, I Tim. 1:12

Honor my parents, Eph. 6:2

Share my faith with the unsaved, Acts 1:8

Live with Integrity, I Thess. 2:3-10

Regularly commit Scripture to memory, II Tim. 2:15, Psalm 119:11

Keep my testimony above reproach (Be a Daniel), Dan. 6:3-4

Be a godly influence on my Christian friends, Jms. 2:8; Gal. 6:2

Be honest, Phil. 1:10

Be pure, I Thess. 4:3

Choose a positive and joyful attitude, Gal. 5:22-23; Phi. 4:4

Be loyal to my church family, Heb. 13:17

Commit to excellence, Col. 3:23

Trust God daily, Prov. 3:5-6

Tithe on all my income, Prov. 3:9-10

Manage my time well, Eph. 5:16

Develop personal discipline, I Cor. 9:24-27; Gal. 2:20

Be a leader (be an example), I Tim. 4:6,16

Serve others, Gal. 5:13

Maintain excellent health, I Tim. 4:8

Have regular family devotions, Deut. 6:4-7

Have regular family activities, Eph. 6:4

Read ½ hour a day for additional study, II Tim. 4:13

Be kind and forgiving, Eph. 4:32

Develop concentration of power, Col. 3:23

Develop orderliness, Prov. 24:30-31

Increase my giving to God yearly, II Cor. 9:6-8

Control family spending and live by a budget, Prov. 23:4-5

Ephesians 5:16-17Balance!  Effective and Spirit-filled ministry needs constant attention and care.  More time with the family; more time in counseling; more time in soulwinning.  Without balance in life, you will fall and fail.  If you lose your wife and children, you lose your ministry.  Satan is very effective at removing men from the ministry.  Some “foul out,” some “rust out,” and others “burn out.”  There is one thing they all have in common – They are OUT!

Nehemiah 6:3Focus!  “I am doing a great work for God, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it and come down to you?”  No one ever built a statue to a critic!  Today is the day to love and serve God!  Nehemiah refused to come down off the walls and “discuss” the petty objections of his critics.

John 21:22 – Accountability!  It is a great day when you discover that you will give an account to the Lord for your life.  Peter asked the Lord, “What’s going to happen to John?”  I love Jesus’ answer – “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?  Follow thou Me!”  Daniel Webster said, “My greatest thought is my accountability to God.”  I couldn’t agree more!

Serving Jesus Christ in the ministry with my family is the greatest joy of my life!!!

A Journey of Faith, Part 1

Reprinted from The Baptist Voice, Part 1

On a hot summer day in 1975, God answered my mom’s prayers and my dad was wonderfully saved from a life of alcohol addiction.  At a service station, my parents picked up a church tract which resulted in our family attending Fairfax Baptist Temple.  After hearing Pastor Bud Calvert preach the gospel, I received the Lord as my Savior.  Under his preaching, I surrendered my life to do whatever God would have me to do.  Instead of becoming a pilot, I became a preacher!  At this time in my life, my two biggest fears were snakes and public speaking.  Snakes could easily be avoided, but not public speaking.  Many preaching opportunities brought on the affects similar to panic attacks.  It was through these hundreds of experiences that I discovered that God is greater than my weakness.

Pioneering Valley Forge Baptist Temple

Following Bible college and an internship, my home church sent me to the Philadelphia area to begin Valley Forge Baptist Temple in 1984.  My wife and I came to the area not knowing a soul.  After six months we organized with 21 people while meeting in a public school.  After 5 years we had grown to an average attendance of 90.  Our first of four buildings was constructed in 1989.  God blessed the growth of VFBT in an unusual way, doubling the attendance the first year in the new building.  We currently average just over 1,000 in attendance in double services.

Deep Waters for a Young Pastor

God showed Himself faithful to our family through our deepest trial.  My first wife passed away of cancer in 1993.  As a single father of two young boys, I found myself receiving much help from a very loving church family.  Through the deep waters God continued to bless the growth of the church.  I learned three powerful lessons about God during this time…

  • God’s way is perfect and He makes no mistakes.
  • God loves us with an everlasting love.
  • God is all-powerful to fulfill His love in our lives.

This is true of the Lord, no matter what the trial.  Then the Lord brought “a princess from Canada” into my life to become my new bride – Jodie Friesen, a pastor’s daughter.  We were married in 1996 in Ontario, Canada.  God has blessed our family with a total of five children – Matthew, Jeremy, Megan, Scotty, and Amber.

Many Hooks in the Sea

The Lord Jesus called us to “fish for men” not “guard the pond.”  As the church family matures in their faith, they become witnesses wherever they are.  To that end, we have many of the usual outreach ministries – bus ministry, VBS, camps, Reformers Unanimous, etc.  But we also have some “unusual ministries” – Chosen 300 (a ministry to preach the gospel and feed the homeless); Community Outreach days, and even a Rugby Team.  The Valley Forge Baptist Patriots are the first church rugby team in America registered with USA Rugby.  The main purpose of having a Rugby team is outreach – to share the Gospel.

The two foundational pillars of our church are:

The Glory of God, I Corinthians 10:31 & The Great Commission, Mark 16:15

These verses are etched in granite in the first two cornerstones of our church building to be a constant remind of the reason for our existence.

“A Church Crazy about Missions”

At our 2013 mission’s conference, Jeremy Pinero from Vanuatu said that “Valley Forge Baptist Temple is a church crazy about missions.”  I learned from my pastor that the Great Commission is for every church.  The Lord Jesus said that we are to be witnesses “BOTH in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  The command is to reach BOTH our local community and the world – at the very same time!  This can only be accomplished by partnering with missionaries who will go to the ends of the earth.  I believe one of the many reasons the Lord continues to bless our church family is our commitment to supporting missionaries.  Currently we support 180 missionary families and projects.

Rebooting Life

How many times have you had to reboot your computer because it was running slow or it froze up?  We have all had this “semi-painful” experience of having to turn off our computer and turn it back on.  Thankfully, most of the time our computer once again runs smoothly.  God allows events in our lives to remind us to reboot, that is, re-focus on the real priorities of life – God, family, church family, and the unsaved.

TC Stallings (co-star of “Courageous”) shared his testimony last month at a men’s breakfast to kickoff our book study, “The Resolution for Men.”  During the question and answer time he was asked the question, “What motivated you to turn to the Lord and serve Him the way you do?”  He quickly responded with a one word answer – “Death.”  Good answer!  You will become motivated to love and live for God when you realize that you will one day die and stand before God to give an account of your entire life to Him.  We will give an account to the God who made us and created us.

It is not a comfortable or enjoyable thought to think about our death.  I think that is one reason why we tend to block out those thoughts and fill our minds with other things.  But then we get that ache or pain.  Maybe the doctor orders a routine medical test or a “not so routine” test because of something “suspicious.”  He says something like this – “I don’t think it is anything, but I just want to rule out something more serious.”  You think, “More serious?  More serious?  What could be more serious?  A disease?  Cancer?  A heart blockage?”  Our mind begins to race to the “what if it is a more serious” scenario.  More serious could mean a change of lifestyle, leaving work, or even death.  Now we come back to TC’s motivation – a 33 year old healthy Christian young man with a loving wife and two small children just beginning his acting career following a successful football career.  Why would this young man be motivated by death?  Because not only will he see God, but he desires to please God.

I began to ask myself the question, “If the Dr. gave me the grave news, ‘You only have X amount of months to live’ what would I do differently today.”  Thankfully, I was at peace with exactly with what I was already doing – but I certainly would add to my day a little more patience, kindness, holiness, and love to God and others.  Do you need to reboot your life today?