PASTOR’S BLOG

 

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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What does college football tell us about the Christian life?

I would not label myself as a fanatic sports fan, but I do like sports (watching them not playing them). I like college football and pro basketball the most, but I do keep up with everything from golf to tennis to some degree. I enjoy going to college football games. I sometimes feel like I have attended at a radical church service. I hear “oh God” a good bit, and toward the end of the game, if it is a close one, people are praying and making commitments to God. It’s like a crazy Billy Graham crusade! I like post-game interviews with players and coaches, those can get religious as well. Coaches and players acknowledging that God wanted them to win (he willed the other poor guys to lose) and other big theological statements like that are made. Sports make our passions high, and during this passionate time I hope to clarify truths about God that will allow you to enjoy your favorite team and at the same time keep a correct view of God.
 
1.) You are right, God is real – One good things that comes from sports is people, on purpose or out of emotion, admit that God is real and sovereign. He sets up and takes down (Daniel 2:21). He really works all things, winning or losing, for His glory and your sake. This means that God keeps score differently than us. A team that wins may actually lose, and the team that loses may be the winners. He is God and what He does is right and every sports fan that loves God should rejoice in the outcome.
 
2.) You are right, God cares – God cares about the small things in life. God cares about the people on your favorite team and your fan base. I am not saying God is a sport fan, but God does care about sport fans. We can lay all the burdens of life on Jesus because He cares for us in all things (1st Peter 5:7).
 
3.) You are right, prayer works – James 4:2-3 sums up sport prayers. Prayer works, but only prayers that have God’s will and name at the center truly emerge as answered prayers. Praying that a team wins so your pride isn’t hurt, or so you can walk around others with pride, is certainly wanting prayer answered to consume upon your own lust. 
 
4.) You are right, sharing what you are passionate about can be good (Matthew 28: 18-20) – I am a South Carolina Gamecocks fan. Before you laugh or throw stones, understand I did not become a fan without help. A friend of mine was a Gamecocks fan as well. He wore the shirts, watched the games, and went to the University of South Carolina. When I became a college football fan I became a Gamecocks fan because he shared his passion for them with me. Christians should share their passions with others. We should share our “season passes” to church with all of our family and friends. We should want them to experience the atmosphere of worshiping and serving God. Sharing your passions can ignite the same passion in others!
 

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Purposed Affliction

2 Corinthians 4:17
 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
 
 
“Afflictions make the heart more deep, more experimental, more knowing and profound, and so, more able to hold, to contain, and beat more.” – John Bunyan
 
 
Affliction – For Your Good
Is it possible that sickness, pain, distress, and death are great gifts in the economy of God? I believe by faith this is true. Paul, the great Apostle, wrote from his prison cell,” For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;” (Philippians 1:29, emphasis added). The Greek word for “given” (χαρίζομαι) means to be “granted as a favor”. So, think about it this way. God gives his children two unlikely gifts: the faith to believe as well as purposeful suffering. Again Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3:21-22 that, “all is yours” including “life” and “death.”
Throughout Scripture, this theme is repeated through the lives of men and women that experience un-wasted affliction. It may seem that the situation they find themselves in is just a direct result of living within a fallen world, but as Joseph said to his brothers, “ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good“(Gen. 50:20).
But what about when the suffering isn’t merely isolated upon pages of Scripture but actively present within our lives? It s during times like these that we ask, “God..why?”
I don’t want to pretend like I have all the answers or that I can make sense of the pain you inevitably experience. But what I want to do is explain how the Apostle Paul could look at his suffering, your suffering, and mine, and as a follower of Christ say that God has the ability to purpose it for our good, His glory, while absorbing the weight.
 
Affliction – For His Glory 
The question is, “Why are afflictions, such as suffering and death, considered gifts from God?” Pain, distress, sickness, suffering, and death are really BIG issues here on Earth. They carry with them unbearable weight for the human soul. Yet, Paul tells us they are “light affliction(s)”. The Greek word for “light” (ἐλαφρόν) means “easily managed or not burdensome”! The Greek word for “affliction” ( θλίψεως) means “distress of anguish”. Stop! Hold on just one second! Is Paul saying, through the Spirit of God, that cancer, imprisonment, rejection, mental distress, and all the major trials are “manageable anguish” or “easy-to-carry loads”? Yes, that is exactly what Paul is saying. Afflictions are light when viewed with the rewards of glory to come. Suffering in this world, in this body, in this time is only manageable when viewed from the portals of eternal glory! 
Affliction – Through Your Present 
 Suffering in life; therefore, is at work for the glory of God and the sake of man. Even in the present God has a glorious purpose behind your most intolerable circumstance. Paul, in his letter to the Roman Christians, assures that “All things work together for the good..”(Romans 8:28). When we ask, “what things” the reply is, “life, death, tribulations, things present, and things to come. “What good are they accomplishing in the now?” Once again, we turn to scripture. Romans 5:3-5 presents the “domino effect” of tribulation. First, there is plain tribulation (affliction/distress), birthed from that is “patience” (endurance to remain under the challenge, to wait), waiting in tribulation brings about “experience” (approved character, proof of genuineness). Next, there is a genuine character has “hope” (anticipates with pleasure) the things of this life and the one to come, which leads to a person being “unashamed” (without confusion or frustration).
Upon the surface you may see a distressed person at first and finally sees a confident person without frustration. The tribulation does not change, but the person does! How does the person change? The radiance of God’s glory enters the soul of a man using the door of tribulation!
 
Affliction – Towards Your Future
Paul sits in prison and writes to the believers at Philip that the work of God is a process. It takes time and it begins within. The struggle, hurt, darkness, faith, repentance, and glory begins inside as a world wind of tribulation till it becomes settled glory. Today trust God’s Word, Trust God’s Work, and Look toward Heaven where there is “settled Glory” for your “light affliction”.

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A Gift for Christmas!

It is the Most Wonderful Time of The Year!

I am thankful for every person that attends, serves, watches online, receives our emails, and has been overall blessed by the ministry of Bethany Baptist Church. Bethany Baptist Church labors for the glory of God and sake of man.

During this time of the year I would like to ask you to consider making a one-time Christmas/End of the year gift to Bethany Baptist Church. Your gift is tax deductible and will help Bethany continue to reach people in our local community and launch us into the New Year in a very positive way.

 

If you would like to bless Bethany Baptist church in a financial way you can do so by:

Mail: P.O. Box 156 Barnwell, S.C. 29812

Online: http://www.bethanybbc.com/tithegive/

Text to give: 803-888-4118

 

Thank you for partnering with Bethany Baptist Church for the glory of God and sake of men!

 

2017 Accomplishments:

21 professions of faith

13 baptism

Community Family Picnic (300 served)

VBS (100 reached)

Friend Day (200 Book Bags with Supplies Given away)

Mission Week (Many man hours to help the needy in Barnwell County)

Fall Festival (500 served and money raised for Jenna Bodiford)

 

These are just a few things that Bethany has accomplished this past year and let’s continue to serve God in 2018!


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