Smart Notes...From Bro. Jeff - June 2018

Developing A Culture of Evangelism

How could we as a church develop and as individuals grow to such a point that sharing the gospel would be a normal, everyday experience? How could we not only display the gospel but proclaim the gospel to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers?

First, we need to have conviction. Conviction is a burden or passion that sharing the gospel is important. If you have trusted in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, God's plan for you is to proclaim the gospel. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20 NIV) Do you have a burden or passion to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with family and friends who don't know Him as Lord and Savior?

Second, we need to understand people's destiny. A new abundant life comes from a personal, saving relationship with Jesus as Lord and begins immediately when a person truly believes in Jesus as Lord and repents of their sin. This transformation to the likeness of Jesus Christ continues as we grow in Spirit, truth and grace. Conversely, a life without Jesus as Lord is marked by worldliness, sin, selfishness and often leads to pain, suffering, and death. Separation from God through Jesus is eventually a life of hopelessness, emptiness, and despair.

Next, there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. The hope and reality of Heaven is worshiping and serving God forever, along with other Christians. Just as we know and walk with Him in this life, we will do so forever in a place called Heaven. For those who reject Jesus as Lord, they can do so not only in this life but be separated from His Lordship forever in a literal place called Hell. The Bible describes Hell as a place of torment filled with agony and despair.

Third, we need to have a desire and commitment to learn. How can we better learn to tell His story and our story of salvation? We need to be able to share the Bible basics of Man's sin, God's plan for salvation, Jesus' atonement and God's promise of life. Your desire to know God is indicated through your desire for and commitment to the Bible through the life and ministry of Jesus. If you don't have the Living Word within your heart and mind, you will struggle in proclaiming the gospel. You will be unprepared and fearful. The Holy Spirit uses the Living Word to remind you of the way, truth and life of Jesus.

Fourth, we need to be intentional, obedient and faithful. I am so blessed to hear many testimonies of our church family at Cook proclaiming the gospel each week. The gospel is being shared at work, social occasions, schools, local government, in times of joy and in times of sadness. Some are listening and looking for opportunities to share their hope through Jesus Christ. As people share their challenges and trials with us, we have a real opportunity to transition the conversation to the hope we have in Jesus.

A humble boldness to proclaim the gospel comes from the Holy Spirit and will exhibit humility, conviction, desire, intentionality, obedience, and faithfulness. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NIV) Join me in praying that Cook Baptist Church will receive this power of the Holy Spirit in developing a culture of evangelism.

I love you with the love of the Lord!

Pastor Jeff

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Smart Notes...From Bro. Jeff - May 2018

Jesus loved to talk about His church, especially the power she could unleash and exercise in the world. Nothing, He declared, would prevail against the power of His Church: “I will build My Church and the gates of hell will not overcome it.”

His Church does not exist for the sake of the church, but for the sake of the lost world she is called to reach. Our calling is not to stand on the other side of the chasm of sin that divides us and curse the darkness. Our mandate is to build bridges across the divide by the self-sacrificing power of the Cross of Christ, and to bring His light into the darkness.

How do we accomplish that? God will give us the specifics as we prayerfully follow Him in faith, but you can be sure that it will require an outward focus. We’ll have to be willing to do whatever it takes to reach people with the Gospel “where” they are and “as” they are. It will require more vision and prayer and flexibility and faith than ever. More of us as members will have to exchange our comfort zone for sacrificial service. But don’t be afraid – it’ll provide us more joy than we can contain!

My heart’s desire is that COOK BC becomes a church of irresistible influence, a church that seizes every opportunity to minister to our community, all for the glory of our Lord Jesus.

Through the grid of a New Testament blueprint, a church of irresistible influence comes clearly into view. It is:

  1. A church passionately committed to Jesus Christ and to the faithful proclamation of His gospel.
  2. A church of attractive lifestyles punctuated by moral purity and integrity.
  3. A church of radical love and selfless good deeds that makes the grace of God truly irresistible.

That’s the kind of church God wants us to be! I’m really excited about what God has in store for us in the days ahead. Each and every one of us ought to be anticipating and praying about how the Lord is going to use you in this great endeavor.

I’m looking forward to a great summer filled with many opportunities to achieve God’s purpose for COOK BAPTIST CHURCH in our community and our world.

Speaking of summer…. Here is my request to all of us as we approach summer here at COOK. Be faithful to your church. If this is your church, love her. Support her with your attendance, prayers, and your giving. People come and go during summer. That’s good! God loves to see his people getting the rest and recreation they need, but don’t go on vacation from Jesus and his people. Keep worshiping wherever you go, keep giving to your church, keep praying, and keep on loving. God has amazing things in mind for us as we enter this next season together!

I love you with the love of the Lord,
Pastor Jeff

 

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Smart Notes...From Bro. Jeff - April 2018

I continue to be amazed year after year at the excitement around “March Madness.” This is basketball country, and just about everybody has a team to which they are loyal. And what emotion and drama we seem to feel as these young people use their talents and give it their all in hopes of winning an NCAA National Championship.

I find myself asking each year why we, as the body of Christ, don’t demonstrate as much enthusiasm and excitement about our faith as we do about so many other things in our lives. We have a living Savior, who is working moment by moment, changing lives for all eternity. We have salvation, through the blood of Jesus, free for receiving. We have the hope of heaven, which reminds us all in this world is temporary. Man, if anyone has reason to be excited about life in general, it is the child of God.

Let me issue a challenge. As you and I enjoy the games and pull for our favorite teams over the next several weeks, take time to make sure that your relationship with Christ is the first priority as it should be. Make sure that the real things that will last forever get the time and attention they deserve. We really do have a great deal to be excited about in our walk with Jesus Christ.

Mark your calendars for these upcoming events at Cook:

April 01 – Easter Sunrise Service, 7:15AM
April 01 – Easter Church-wide Breakfast, 8 AM
April 01 – Easter Connect Groups, 9 AM
April 01 – Easter Celebration Service, 10:15 AM
April 20 – Secret Church simulcast at Cook, 6 PM
May 6 – Prayer Conference with Gregory Frizzell

I look forward to seeing you and your family this Sunday at Cook!

I love you with the love of the Lord!

Bro. Jeff

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Smart Notes...From Bro. Jeff - March 2018

Paul says in Philippians chapter 3 verses 13-14 “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Paul intentionally uses the language of athletics and war to describe his spiritual journey. He pushes forward, refusing to look back, always keeping his eye on the finish line.

Recently, elements of war and athletics were tragically interwoven within sight of the finish line of the Boston marathon. Although those responsible for this horrific act have been identified, there may never be sufficient answers to “why”…. at least to satisfy our desire to make sense of such a tragedy or to squelch our fears of it ever happening again. So what are we to do? How do we live in the midst of such uncertainty?

We press on. We strain toward what is ahead, toward the goal to which Christ has saved us, heaven, of which we are already citizens. We do so with the understanding that our journey in this life with Christ is not a safe road to travel. Events such as the Florida shooting and 9/11 are staunch reminders of this fact. So too are the pains of cancer and Alzheimer’s and the like.

We are not safe. This is a fact. The control we feel we have over our life is but an illusion. None of us know what is going to happen even in the next few moments of our life. It is also a fact that we are not alone. Christ has promised to always be with us (Matt. 28:20), whatever may come. We do not run the race alone. We do not fight our battles single handedly. The God of Angel Armies is by our side (please watch Chris Tomlin video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0gu0nOaFsI). So press on. Run the race. Strive toward the goal. Fight the good fight. Christ is with you!

Mark your calendars for these upcoming Cook events:

March 07 – The LIFESHARE Blood Drive at Cook, 4:30 – 8:00 PM
March 11 – Church-wide Fellowship after evening worship.
March 12 – 16 – Senior Adult Branson, MO Retreat.
March 18 – Community Easter Service at Temple, 6 PM
April 01 – Easter Sunrise Service, 7:15AM, Railroad Park
April 01 – Easter Church-wide Breakfast, 8 AM
April 01 – Easter Connect Groups, 9 AM
April 01 – Easter Service, 10:15 AM
April 20 – Secret Church simulcast at Cook, 6 PM

I love you with the love of the Lord,

Pastor Jeff

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Smart Notes...From Bro. Jeff - February 2018

Our world’s idea of greatness revolves around power and prestige. For Jesus, greatness was wrapped up in serving others. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” Taking the posture and the attitude of a servant is one of the key virtues of the Kingdom of God. Servants don’t receive accolades or applause very often. But they serve quietly and faithfully none the less.

I was reminded of that this past week as I walked through the Cook campus and witnessed all the serving hearts of so many people within our fellowship. A few of them get frequent “pats on the back.” If you sing, preach, or teach, someone will tell you how you blessed them. But if you change diapers with the bed babies, or help out with the sound booth/media, VBS or children’s church, or with the greeter ministry, or dig water drains, or prepare food for an after funeral meal or associational conference, (and the list could go on and on) nobody applauds. If you are one of those anonymous servants, God sees! God knows about your service and God smiles!

I want you to know how much I appreciate ALL of you. Thank you for serving faithfully. Thank you for devoting your life to serving Jesus through His church. Your service matters! It matters to lost people who need Jesus. It matters to me as your pastor! Most importantly, it matters to God who will reward your service.

Exciting things are on the horizon at Cook Baptist Church in the near future, so stay tuned! I hope to see you and your family in worship and Bible study this coming Lord’s Day at Cook!

I love you with the love of the Lord!

Bro. Jeff

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