PASTOR’S BLOG

 

Children and Salvation

How Do I Talk With My Child About Salvation?
Tara and I have four children. Isaiah who is 8 years old professed faith in Jesus over a year ago and was baptized a few weeks later. Elijah who is 6 years old has recently professed faith in Jesus as Savior and was baptized Easter Sunday. The church I pastor has seen more children around the same age make similar commitments and I feel like this trend will continue for the following reasons:
 
  1. Bethany Baptist Church has a growing children’s ministry (B KIDS Ministry)
  2. The Gospel of Jesus is taught and preached faithfully
  3. When a child is baptized from the children’s ministry the entire children’s ministry witnesses it
  4. Parents in the church are very willing to talk to their children at home about Jesus
 
The questions I get from parents about children are as follows:
 
How do I know my child is serious about salvation?
 
When a child starts asking about Jesus, baptism, Heaven, Hell, and death it is because they want to know the truth. Share the Gospel with your child every time they ask.
 
2. How do you share the Gospel of Jesus with a child?
 
Start with the 10 commandments (Exodus 20). Read each one and ask if they have ever taken the Lord’s name in vain and so on. Explain it to them in a way they understand. If they can agree they have broken a command of the Lord explain to them they have sin and the wages of sin is separation from God for eternity (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23a). It is hard to tell your child that their sin no matter how small deserves Hell, but it is what Scripture teaches. Then share with them the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus (Romans 6:23b). Explain to them that we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that God raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 10:9-13). Pray with your child.
 
3. Is my child ready for baptism?
 
If you have confidence that your child is a believer and they are ready to begin following the Lord in discipleship then I suggest baptism. If you are not confident in your child’s profession of faith then pray and keep teaching salvation as often as possible. If you are unsure have a minister talk with you and your child. Ministers witness many salvations and have biblical knowledge and guidance to offer.
 
4. What can I do after my child’s salvation and baptism?
 
Pray with your child. Make sure your child is in a church faithfully. Read Scripture with them. If they are old enough find service opportunities to do with them so they can express their faith in service to others.
 
What to do if your child has no interest in salvation at this time?
Pray for them daily.
Be faithful to a local church.
Do not force the issue but keep Jesus at the forefront of all things in your family.
Be patience each kid is different.
Trust God.

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You Can’t Fit Those!

 
Galatians 3:26-29
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
 
I have put on a little weight recently and my clothes have not grown at all (I hate it when that happens). I was recently getting dressed when I was told, “You can’t fit that.” The shape of my body has changed and I wear it as a badge (men should say “Amen” right there). We all have different body types but this blog isn’t about that. This blog is about the different life “sizes” or “shapes” that we have and how they change over time. Every person has a unique life shape and size. Today life may be one size and shape and in a year or two it will take on another form. I used to feel guilty about my life shape because it looks very different from those around me but today I view my life as a gift from God and I want to embrace with you the “odd” shaped life you have as well. I have found that our different life patterns, much like our different ethnicity, brings glory to God. 
 
My life shape and size:
  • I am a 33 year old pastor married to the lovely Tara with 4 children
  • I work mostly from home and have my two younger children with me three days a week, while Tara works as a home health nurse
  • We have one college student that lives with us.
  • Our weekends consist of Friday and Saturday. Sunday is considered a work day.Our house routine shifts regularly.
 
Your life looks different than mine and could include:
  • Stay-at-home mom
  • Stay-at-home dad
  • College student
  • Business owner
  • Travel a lot for business
  • Shift worker
  • Retired
  • and many other life shapes exist 
 
Why do I write about this?
 
I want you to embrace and enjoy the life Jesus has given you. It may look different than another person’s but it is still important and packed with abundant life promised to you in Christ. I want you to serve Jesus in your life. It is easy to look at others in your church and think, “Wow if I had a life like theirs I would do a b, or c for Jesus.” Your life is tailor-made as it is to do something for Jesus. Do not let what clothes you fit in determine if you are going to wear clothes! I desire that you walk through your life clothed in gratitude for all that Jesus has given to you. Bitterness sets in when you measure your life with the life of others and not the life of Christ. I desire that you see your life as united with others who believe in Jesus no matter how different the size and shape of your life. I pray that you embrace what life God has placed you in and appreciate the lives that others have as well.
 

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Church, I think It’s Awesome

My Churchgoing Credentials: (Sorted by Age)
1-18: On-again/off-again church attendance
18-33: Faithful churchgoer (Sunday Morning and night, mid-week, and anything special)
19-22: Baptized, Attended bible college, ministered in jails, youth ministry, did mission work, interim pastor, and lead pastor
23-33: Planted a church as Lead pastor
 
My résumé, I hope, verifies that I have been “neck deep” in church life all my adult life. My conclusion is that church life is pretty awesome. If I thought otherwise I would do something else. I’m aware that not everyone holds my conviction. However, in an attempt to help others better understand where I’m coming from, I want to list out a few reasons why my time at church is never wasted.
 
#1 – Church is Special to God – God purchased the church (followers of Jesus) at the absurd price of Jesus His Eternal Son. That qualifies the church as very special to God. According to the Bible, the Church is the Bride, Body, Building, and Family of God. Not everyone can identify with having an amazing biological family, but the church has been a family to me. Because of Jesus, it can be special to you.
 
#2 – It is Special to Me – The value of eternal life, right living, godly marriage, love, perseverance, strength, parenthood, and financial responsibility has been planted deep in my life through the church. I dedicated my children, was baptized, was married, and buried loved ones with and in the church. The church has always been a source of encouragement in life’s “ups” and “downs.” The church is special to me and because of Jesus, it can be special to you.
 
#3 – It is Real Life – I would venture to say you have heard some of the problems churches face. Tyrant preachers, unruly deacons, hypocrites in the pew, dangerous business meetings, and of course they always want that money! Your problems with the church are probably valid. But! Your problem with the local church is part of what makes it awesome. The church experiences real-life problems because it consists of real-life people. People with problems and people with a past. If the church was problem-less you wouldn’t fit in but because of Jesus, it can be special to you (even with your past and problems) too.
 
 
What Advice would I give churchgoers? (Glad you asked)
 
#1 – Appreciate your church– Anyone can focus on problems. Be different. In whatever tangible way that fits you best, highlight the people, places, and things that the church gets right. The church is the hope of the world regardless if we take notice, but I am praying that we will.
 
#2 – Consistently Attend Your Church – Go to church. It’s not hard. Be faithful to the God and His people in collective worship. God has set an example to the galaxy of his consistent faithfulness highlighted in the ministry of Jesus. May we respond to His faithfulness by being faithful to others (especially to those of the household of faith – Galatians 6:10).
 
#3 – Serve Through Your Church – Serve where you can, give all you can, worship God to your max. Every institution in this world will dissolve, but the church will march on through eternity. Give your life to something that matters.
 
#4 – Invite Others – Your children’s ministry may be small, but invite people anyway. Your choir may be non-existence, invite people anyway. The building may be small and outdated, invite anyway. A bigger church may be right around the corner invite people anyway. The purpose of inviting people to church is to introduce them to Jesus and encourage them to worship God. All that other stuff has a place, but it does not occupy 1st place! Make much of Jesus and never give up on inviting others!
 
I hope by now that I’ve convinced you that the church means the world to me… but remember, because of Jesus it can mean the world to you as well.
 
 
 
 
Brandon Dobson
 
Lead Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church of Lilburn, GA
http://calvarylilburn.com/

Robert Altman 

Lead Pastor 
Bethany Baptist Church of Barnwell S.C.
www.bethanybbc.com
Bethany Baptist Church

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Time Out

Do you ever wish you could call a time out in life? I know I do. In sports time outs are used for rest, encouragement, and to reset a play if a player or coach decides what they are doing needs to be adjusted. Sadly, we cannot pause the game of life. It keeps coming at us like it or not. The scripture has a lot to say about our time. One verse in particular tells us to “redeem the time” (Ephesians 5:16), or to make the most of the time you have. I will ask you something I have asked myself: “How can I make the most of the time God has granted?” I believe the answer is in making the following three measurements.

Measurement #1
Measure Time-
Christmas has recently come and gone, and good shoppers measured what they had in their account and made solid purchases based on what they could afford. The expense was measured by money on hand. Christians measure things they do by the amount of time we are given by God. This is why we pray for God to let us know the number of our days (Psalm 39:4). We are all human and one thing every christian and non christian alike knows is that our life is short.

Measurement #2
Measure the glory it brings to God-
I wanted to put this first because it is the most important. I placed it as the second measurement because I believe once humanity measures the importance of what we do by the limited time we have it awakens us to our immortality, which leads us to think about eternity and God (I may have over thought that because I do that often). Whatever we do as a Christian needs to be done with all our might as unto the Lord and not unto men (Colossians 3:23). We are to think of God in all that we do and do it unto God and not unto men because men are not fuel enough to keep us doing right.

Measurement #3
Measure the hope and help it gives to man-
As a preacher, I get stuck in the root of saying one thing and then having to explain it because, quiet frankly, it sounds contradicting. It seems, from #2, that men are to be thrown out of the equation when it comes to determining how to spend your time. In reality men are to be placed in the right place in the equation. When you do what pleases God it will not always please men, but it will always help and bring hope to man. Yes it is possible to give men help and hope of a sort and not glorify God, but you cannot glorify God without bringing help and hope to man. When Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves(Mark 12:30-31), He was telling us to spend time with our neighbor for the good of our neighbor. This was something that glorified God and brought help and hope to man.

Conclusion:
As the New Year moves along be sure to get the most of your time by measuring it out. How much of it do you have? Are you glorifying God with the time you have? Are you bringing hope and help to others with your time as you do for yourself? Get to measuring, removing, and adding what needs to be done in order to use your gift of time for the glory of God and sake of man!

Robert Altman
Lead Pastor
Bethany Baptist Church of Barnwell S.C.
www.bethanybbc.com

 

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To All My Fellow Dads

I am the father of four amazing boys. They are great kids with skills, love, personalities, and determination that amaze me daily. When I look at them I see great blessings and at the same time the weight of great responsibility to groom these young boys to be men of God. 
 
What worries Me about raising children (all boys for me)
1.) They will pick up my bad traits– I am a pastor of a local church which I love, but that does not place me in a category of perfect. I am far from what I need to be and the fear lurks daily that any failure, any crack in my character, will shatter them later in life if they live in what is simply small parts of my life.
 
2.) Technology– There is so much research out there that points out the dangers of technology. I do not want my children to be addicted to it, controlled by it, or learn life lessons from it. My children learning about sex, masculinity, how to treat ladies, how to view others, and all other things that have meaning in life I want in on. I fear it is to easy to give them technology and not raise them. 
 
3.) Being to Hard on them, and not being hard enough– I struggle with where I should allow them to be children, and disciplining them correctly. I try to juggle the punishment for wrong doing and what is simply boys being boys. I miss the mark often, although I am doing better as I grow as a father and learn the personality of my children.
 
Are Your Fears Similar?

What God has Taught me that Helps:
1.) God gave me my children- God thinks more of me than I think of myself. He gave me His Son for salvation and my children to bless me. He does that which is right, and my children are for me from God. I find satisfaction and confidence in God’s decision to give me the right to be a dad. (Psalm 127:3)
 
2.) I am growing up with my Children- I was 25 when my first son was born. I had (and have) growing up to do. My children are growing up and I am growing up with them. My imperfections as a father are as normal as my children’s imperfections. They have myself and Tara to correct them and we have God. I find encouragement in knowing I am not fully grown, but I am growing.(Ephesians 4:13)
 
3.) My Children Love me- Love covers a multitude of sin. My children overlook more of my flaws than I know, and then embrace me as dad and hero. It is a humbling thing. They love me like Jesus and I embrace that with a joyful heart. Their love gives me strength to do my best. (1st Peter 4:8)
 
So How about you? I would love for you to share with me. What are your fears as a dad? How has God helped you with those fears? 
 
May God strengthen you as a Father for His glory and your sake!
 
 

Robert Altman 

Lead Pastor 
Bethany Baptist Church of Barnwell S.C.
www.bethanybbc.com
Bethany Baptist Church

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