In the first book of the Bible and also in the first chapter of this Book of Genesis, we have what someone has called the Ten Commandments of Creation. If you will take your Bible and read the first chapter of Genesis and mark the ten times that the Holy Spirit records for us, “And God said, let there be” and then something would come into being. Of course in verse 14, we have this famous statement, “Let there be Light”. As one continues through both the Old and the New Testament one quickly observes that light is a key thought from the Word of God. In fact, Jesus said, “I am the Light” when speaking of Himself.
If I may, I would like to do a takeoff on this thought…”let there be light”. Someone recently in one of our services made a statement regarding turning on the lights for all our services here at the Lighthouse. The thought occurred to me of the many buildings on our campus, and how many rooms within each of the buildings. I also began to observe how many fixtures located within and without the buildings. The number of various outlets that are regularly put to use is quite staggering. Then I began to think of how many times each of these rooms are used both day and evening seven days a week while ministries are being performed. Plus there is the added heating and air conditioning as well. The PA system is quiet extensive even connected to various buildings.
Please take note of the next thought that comes to mind when one begins to think about, “Turning on the lights”. I’m sure many of us have thought to ask this question, “How much does it cost per month to turn on the lights here at the Lighthouse?” Please don’t stop reading until the end of this article.
When I asked this question of our finance department, it was an eye opener for me and somewhat of a shock. Are you ready for the answer? Yes, it is quiet staggering when you think of what it cost to “turn on the lights.” I was told that it was $10,000.00 and that it was the largest bill ever received. (September 2007).
The above article was written 7 years ago this week and was in our church bulletin.
Now for the rest of the story: I asked the same question this week 7 years later and the answer was this month we had the largest bill ever and the amount is $20,000.00.The cost has been doubled in 7 years. We are now approaching each month the cost of the large bill of 7 years ago.
We all need to be faithful in the command of stewardship so that the lights here are not only turned on but burns brightly both here and abroad. After all, we are the LIGHTHOUSE.
In observance of Columbus Day, there will be no Lighthouse Christian Academy or Bible Institute classes on Monday, October 13th.
We come now to the final major division of the Book of Acts. It is the Lord Jesus Christ at work by the Holy Spirit through the apostles to the uttermost part of the earth. In this section we see Paul’s first journey of four. You will remember that the key to the Book of Acts is the fact that Jesus said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me” (Acts 1:8). This was a command not only to the apostles but to each of us who has been entrusted with the gospel (! Cor. 5:18-21). Please take a moment to read this passage in Corinthians. This witness was to begin in Jerusalem then to all Judea and Samaria and then to the “uttermost part of the earth.” During the Jerusalem period we are aware that the new church is basically Jewish. During the next period we saw the gospel on the go to the Samaritans and we saw the conversions of gentiles as well. Now the gospel moves out officially towards the uttermost. Today we are the beneficiaries of the fact someone brought us the gospel. Now it is our turn to take the gospel further than where we found it.
In this surge of the gospel beyond the boundaries of Israel we find that Paul becomes the dominant leader and Peter seems to “disappear” from the scene. God had used him mightily. Paul is now the prominent one that God will use in his missionary journeys. Notice that Saul/Paul has come to Antioch and the church there sends out Barnabas and Saul. The church commissions the two of them to make this missionary journey. It is interesting that along the way there is a name change. The team now becomes Paul and Barnabas. Later Paul comes to stand alone so to speak. God has a way to moving his people as He will in the direction He desires. Within this party was also one John Mark who later chose to desert the journey and return home. Much discussion has been made regarding this move by Mark. The fact is Paul and Barnabas separated because of this incident. However we know that later Paul sent for John Mark because he was profitable for his ministry. By the way, he is the writer of the Gospel of Mark. Thank God for the second chance given to us.
Please take a moment and look in the back of your Bible for the maps located there. You no doubt will find and observe a map with the location of the three missionary journeys and Paul’s journey to Rome which will takes us to the end of the Book of Acts.
One of the locations of the first journey is Antioch; this is not the Antioch that sent them out on this journey but Antioch in Pisidia. Paul visited the Jewish Synagogue and was given permission to speak. Just like Stephen the martyr, Paul began to speak of the history of Israel and coming to the death and resurrection of the Savior. Many time we seem to ignore this sermon given by Paul in the synagogue located in Antioch of Pisidia. However it once again points us to the major message of the New Testament church that is the message of the resurrection.
Please observe on the maps how many places that were visited and groundwork laid for a number of new churches. How exciting this must have been for these servants of the Lord to see the power of God open doors and save souls. As one continues to read of the places in the following chapters one will recognize the names of places that bear the names of many of our epistles in the New Testament.
The Bus Ministry’s Annual Country Fair will be on Saturday (10/11) from 11 am to 3 pm. Please see Associate Pastor Scott Northcutt (461-5561 Ext 137 or email email@example.com) to see how you can help with set-up, clean-up and working at the Fair.
These three verses constitute a historic note given to us by the Holy Spirit through Luke. Someone has rightly said that Luke was the first church historian. It is amazing to read and reread the Book of Acts and to see the many wonderful details of the early New Testament church. When we buy an object we are given diagrams and instruction how to assemble that object to be used in the manner it was meant to perform. In the Book of Acts we have the design and instructions here and now for the local New Testament church. It is amazing that in the 21st century that the writings of Luke in Acts are modern and up to date for the local church.
These three verses are interesting in that they actually make reference to Acts 8:1-4 where the word scattered is also used. Now we have the word reoccurring in these three verses. Perhaps the period of time between Acts 8:1-4 and Acts 11:19-21 is really a parenthesis of what is happening during this period of scattering.
If we remember correctly Acts 1:8 in the key verse of the Book of Acts where the Apostles and disciples are told what and how they were to carry out the Great Commission beginning at Jerusalem and proceeding to the “uttermost”. In this verse they are told where they should go and how they would perform the doing of it—by the power of the Holy Spirit. However in Acts 8:1 which is a reversal of the numbers in Acts 1:8, we discover that the believers are now under great persecution and are “scattered”. That is the reason we indicated that the verses between Acts 8:1 and as we now come to this Acts 11:19-21 the inner workings of this young church is a parenthesis. When one reads between these two portions of Scripture some amazing things do happen to and with these believers.
Read again Acts 8:1-4 and pick up on the word scattered. Notice also how they were scattered. Saul of Tarsus made havoc of the church. Saul was confronting these believers and taking them to prison. Now read verse four, “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.
Looking now at Acts 11:19-21, we make reference to the “scattering” of these new believers and their march to God’s command for them in Acts 1:8. However it took a scattering of them in 8:1 to cause them to obey the Lord’s command and instruction unto them.
As we close this study, please note some words found in verses 19-20. “They” is the first word. Who were they? When we return to Acts 8:1, we notice that they are not the Apostles but the rank and file. “Travelled” is the second word to observe. This word indicates to us “as they went they preached”. “Preaching” is the third word to notice in verse 19. This word means talking, speaking or gossiping. They had no pulpit; they had no prepared sermon they just told other about the Word and the Lord. “Some of them” indicate to us that they were not given a name in this particular place and time. The gospel is spread mostly by unnamed and unknown people. “Preaching” again in indicated to us. However this word preaching is different than the previous one. This word means “heralding or proclaiming”. This is the kind of preaching from the pulpit. The spread of the gospel story is both the talking and speaking and the heralding as well. May God help us to find our way BACK TO ACTS.
Support for the Bus Days outreach will conclude on Saturday (10/4) at 9:30 am at the Welcome Center. This will be the last opportunity to support the bus captains before the Country Fair on Saturday, October 11th. All Adult Sunday School classes and ministries have been assigned a bus captain to assist in reaching new bus riders during the bus days. Even if you don’t have Sunday School class, please plan on joining the bus captains at the Welcome Center to head out to their assigned bus route areas. For questions or more information, please contact Pastor Scott Northcutt (461-5561 Ext 137 or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Lighthouse Christian Academy will host a special seminar called “Road to College” on Tuesday, September 30th. The seminar is open to all high school students and their parents. The purpose of the seminar is to inform students and parents about graduation requirements, how to prepare for SATs, how to apply to various colleges and their grants and other important information that students may need as they prepare for college. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. For questions or more information, contact the school office at 461-5561 Ext 117.
For several weeks we have called our articles “Back to Acts”. Today we want to revisit Acts chapter eight. I am amazed at the movement and activity within this one chapter. It begins with reference to the death of Stephen. It also makes reference to the fact that Saul/Paul is making havoc of the church. Verse four tells us the believers “went everywhere preaching the word or giving out the message of the risen Lord.” Phillip goes down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto them and Scripture records that many miracles occurred. I love verse eight, “And there was great joy in that city.” However, verse nine begins with this word “but”. When one reads the Bible one will soon discover many times that when this occurs the scene will immediately change. That is exactly what happened here in this city of Samaria.
The fact that so many verses are given to the account of the “conversion” of Simon the Magician means that this portion of scripture must contain some very important lessons. Again the opening verses of the chapter are full of triumph, progress and joy, for a great missionary movement was on foot, as we learn from verse 4; there was revival in Samaria; people were being converted, some were being healed and others were being delivered from evil spirits. What was the change? It was this: we are told in verses 9-11 that there was a man in Samaria who had a very powerful personality; he was a magician, a sorcerer and he exercised a great influence on the people. This man heard the preaching of Phillip and was greatly impressed and when he saw other converted and baptized, he too made a profession and was baptized. Then Phillip sent word to Jerusalem of all that was happening. With this news Peter and John came to Samaria. Peter and John we are told in verses 14-17 saw all these converts in Samaria and laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit just as others did on the day of Pentecost. Simon saw the power and presence of the Holy Spirit and desired this power for himself and offered to pay for it. Verses 19-24 give us the results of Simon’s desires and motives in this situation. What are some lessons that we could learn from this situation?
• When there is great darkness in a place, God will send someone to bring the light. This can be traced through scripture. A good Old Testament example of this can be found in the period of King Ahab. It was Elijah that God sent to confront and confound that period of darkness. Remember Simon had had a great hold on the City of Samaria with his sorcery. The chapter tells us that he had “bewitched” the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one.”
• We must also prepare sometimes for disappointment in the work of God. It must have thrilled Phillip when this well-known and outstanding personality, Simon, professed conversion and was baptized. However, the scene changed when Peter and John arrived from Jerusalem and laid hand on the Samaritans. They then challenged Simon conversion—read verses 18-24. The question appears, why do we sometimes receive disappointments such as this in the work of God? (1) Satan is very busy and active. Therefore we must always remember that we are engaged in spiritual warfare—Ephesians 6:12 ff. (2) we often make mistakes. Did Phillip discern completely this situation before him? (3) There are some lessons that we can only learn in the school of experience. Lord helps us not to make the same mistake twice or over and over.
If you are new to Lighthouse Baptist Church, please plan on joining us for a New Visitor’s Reception following the morning service (9/28) in room 203 (next to Bookstore). This a great opportunity to meet the Pastoral Staff and ministry leaders and get a better understanding of ministries & services that our church provides. A light lunch will be provided. For questions or more information, please contact Associate Pastors Scott Northcutt (461-5561 Ext 137 or email email@example.com) or Chris Chaney (461-5561 Ext 121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Support for the Bus Days outreach will continue on Saturday (9/27) at 9:30 am at the Welcome Center. All Adult Sunday School classes and ministries have been assigned a bus captain to assist in reaching new bus riders during the bus days. Even if you don’t have Sunday School class, please plan on joining the bus captains at the Welcome Center to head out to their assigned bus route areas. For questions or more information, please contact Pastor Scott Northcutt (461-5561 Ext 137 or email email@example.com)
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