Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Good morning everyone. Merry CHRISTmas. I pray that while you exchange gifts, cards and visit friends and family, that you will take the time to wish our Lord and Savior a happy birthday. After all, that is why we have this special time of year.

Today, I want to challenge you to contemplate what actually happened some 2000 years ago. I want to get you to think about what was given up and what was endured so that you and I could receive this special gift.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Ecclesiastes 3:13 says, “and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor--it is the gift of God.” John 4:10 says, “Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." Acts 2:38 says, “Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:20 says, “But Peter said to him, "Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! “ Romans 5:18 says, “Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.” Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God”. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” 1 Peter 4:10 says, “ As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,” Acts 20:35 says, “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "

Let’s take a look at what God has given us according to His word. God gave us His Son. He gave us the Holy Spirit. He gave us the breath of life. He gave us spiritual gifts to not just benefit us, but to be used to help others. He gave us the gift of salvation. The Bible tells us that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above”. The Bible goes on to tell us that God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”. We also see from above that all these gifts are give freely to us and that we can/could not earn them or pay for them by any means. God gives them to us because He loves us, not because of anything we can, could have or will do.

Now that we have the knowledge of all the above, I want you to think about what it took for God to make these gifts available to you and I. God, knowing all, knew that nothing less than His Only Begotten Son could pay for the sins of the whole world, yours and mine. So, He sent His Son, who came willingly from the splendor of heaven to be born in a manger. This statement alone is more than most can comprehend. The Alpha and Omega, Creator of all, took off His crown and rob, stepped off His throne and came to earth, not to be born at the finest hospital with great fan fair, but to be born in a barn. He did not grow up in Trump Plaza and attend the finest private schools with some silver spoon in His mouth. He lived a life that most of us can relate to so that He could say, I know what you are going through because I have been where you are. Jesus then went on to endure a separation, loneliness and excruciating death to give us the gift of eternal life, should we accept it.

With all this to reflect on, I want to call your attention to the last verse listed. Jesus said, “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. He proved this over and over and still gives today. So, I ask you to look into that spiritual mirror and ask yourself, “what have I given, what am I giving and what can I give”. There are many materialistic people in this world who all they care about is what they can get out of everyone they come into contact with. This is not and was not God’s plan for man. The Bible teaches that we are to give, not expecting anything in return. We are to share what blessings we have, so that we might be a blessing to others. 1 John 3:17-18 says, “17 But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth“.

What gift can you give today? You may say, well I don’t have money for gifts. I would remind you that most of the best gifts cost nothing. The gift of a smile can lift someone’s spirits more than you may know. The gift of a phone call, a card, a visit or maybe just some of your time. I’m reminded of a story of a boy who wanted to spend time with his dad who always had to work. The boy ask, “dad, how much do you make an hour?” The dad said $8. The boy broke open his piggy bank an scraped together the money, went to his dad and ask, “can I buy an hour?”.

Remember: A gift given, brings joy to two souls, the giver and the receiver. What can you give today?
Until next time, please pray for each other, and me, as I continue to pray for each of you.

Love in CHRIST,

Brian Hanvey
Associate Pastor
Bethel Baptist Church

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Good morning. I pray you all are doing well, preparing for a spirit filled Christmas. With Jesus’ birthday just around the corner and considering what it took for Him to leave all of heaven and it’s glory to come down here and be born to live the kind of life He lived, I think it is a great time to do a real self evaluation.

This weeks topic was inspired by a friend’s post on face book. She posted a comment, that she was inspired to post and I thank her for inspiring me. Have you ever claimed to be, or known someone who claimed to be a “work in progress”? Let’s look at a few scriptures.

Hebrews 5:12-14 says, 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” 1 Corinthians 3:2 says, “I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able” 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Revelations 3:15-16 says, “15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth."

“A work in progress”. For this to be true, there has to be forward movement. The definition of progress is: a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage.

Looking at the above scripture lets see what we can learn here. According to Revelations 3:16, if you are stuck in neutral, God will “vomit” you out of His mouth. He does not want those who are cold or stuck in the middle somewhere. So to be hot, we must be moving forward.

Let me ask you this, are you a stronger Christian today than you were a week ago, or a month ago or even a year ago? What I mean by that is, do you spend more time with God today, than you use to? Do you still have the same foul words coming out of your mouth as you did before you became a Christian? Do you still watch the same movies or TV shows with that kind of language or nudity, that you watched before you were saved? Do you still smoke or drink, defiling the temple, like you did before you were saved?

Stop throwing rocks at me. I am not saying that when you get saved, everything bad stops. What I am saying is that you should see growth, “progress” toward moving away from these sins that separate us from God. You should see a steady forward progress where you see yourself doing less and less as time goes on. The Bible tells us that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; all things have become new”. Romans 9:21 says, “ Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel of honor and another for dishonor?”.

I don’t think we realize what we do to our witness and testimony when we try to tell others about how God has changed us and made our lives better, then we act the way we use to, say the things we use to and go to the same ole dives we have no place being.

Again, I AM NOT SAYING when you are saved you become perfect. Sinners, of which I am chief, struggle with sin everyday. In our walk through progressive sanctification, we should see victory over some sins and realize new ones that we should be working on overcoming. If before you were saved, you were a drunk, told lies, stole, cussed, dibbled in pornography, smoked and so on, then after you have been saved, you should be able to claim victory over one or more of these things and see how you have made improvements on the others, if you are a forward “work in progress”.

Remember: A lot of people learn just enough about a subject to be dangerous at it. Take the time to learn all you can about God and His word, then you will truly be a “work in progress”.

Until next time, please pray for each other and me, as I continue to pray for each of you. Love in CHRIST,

Brian Hanvey
Associate Pastor
Bethel Baptist Church

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Why Not Today?

Good morning. I pray your weekend was filled to overflowing with God, family, peace and happiness. I want to share a quick word of praise with you. God strengthened me enough to be able to make a trip with a friend to pick up his daughter from college.  It is the second longest trip I have taken since my wreck.

Why not day??? Are you a procrastinator? Do you have so much on your plate, that you don't know where to start or which way is up? Have you said, "I will do this or that when I get a round tuit"? Are you so consumed with daily activities that you cannot find time to fit God, family, church, service, or friends into your day? Can you remember the last time you just stopped for a moment and told someone you cared about them, what they mean to you or maybe gave a hug to someone in need of one?

This weeks topic was sparked by a conversation I had with a dear elder saint in my church.  This lady had just had a pace maker put in her chest. She was close to death and this had to be done for her to live. We talked about her brush with death and the several I have had over the past few years, and how that had effected us and how we look at things today. I am far from perfect and will never be perfect while in this body and alive, but I am light years from the person I was 12 to 20 years ago. This is in no means meant as a brag, but rather as a praise as to where God had to reach way down to get my attention and move me from.

I started drinking at the age of 6, to best of my faded memory. I broke the law and hung out with the "bad" crowd. I bullied and intimidated others to manipulate them to do as I wanted, or else. I became a power drinker, not caring about my new young wife and son. Working, friends, family, God, church and most of everything else did not matter to me. I knew of God because of my dear grandmother, but I thought He was just for the old people and I would live life as I wanted and when I got old, then I would work something out with Him. Boy was I wrong. In 1993 everything came to a head. I was totally out of control. I had sold almost everything I had of any value to buy booze with. I was separated from my wife and my son was with her. My home was in foreclosure. My lights had been turned off. I had been fired from my job and there was nothing to eat. I had seen hard times before, but I was at the point, that all I could do was look up and cry out to God for help. It would take about 2 more years for me to get into a church and be baptized and about 8 years later to answer the call to serve Him. In the past 10 to 12 years I have grown a great deal. In the past 2 years I have learned much. After speaking with my sister in Christ and she being a good bit older than I, we realized just how truthful James 4:13-17 is and how it applies to all ages. James 4:13-17 says, "13 Look here, you people who say, "Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit." 14 How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog – it's here a little while, then it's gone. 15 What you ought to say is, "If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that." 16 Otherwise you will be boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil. 17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." The old King James calls our lives a "vapor"

With this being said, does it really matter what we did or didn't do for God yesterday? No. We cannot live a life of regret of what we should have done, nor can we become complaisant and say I have done my part yesterday and I am not going to do anymore. By the same token, we cannot rely on whatever good intentions we may have about what we think we will do tomorrow. What if there is no tomorrow? John 15:16 says, "16 You didn't choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name". Hebrews 3:7 says, "7 That is why the Holy Spirit says, "Today you must listen to his voice." 2 Corinthians 6:2 says, "2 For God says, "At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you." Indeed, God is ready to help you right now. Today is the day of salvation."

I have said all of this to ask you this, "Why not today?" If you are in need of a Savior, why not today? If you are saved and need baptized, why not today? If you have been saved and baptized, then you are a child of the King and as we read in John 15:16, we have been appointed to produce fruit, are you today? Matthew 3:9-10 says, "9 Don't just say, 'We're safe – we're the descendants of Abraham.' That proves nothing. God can change these stones here into children of Abraham. 10 Even now the ax of God's judgment is poised, ready to sever your roots. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire."

Why not today, to become a child of God, or do what He wants you to do? Will it take a near death experience for you to turn to Him? What if it is not a "near death" experience, and you die. There is no second chance after death. Why not Today?

Remember:  We cannot relive yesterday and we cannot make promises to do something tomorrow when we are not guaranteed to see tomorrow.  So, whatever you are going to do, DO IT NOW, TODAY!

Until next time, pray for each other and me, as I continue to pray for each of you. Love in Christ,

Brian Hanvey
Associate Pastor
Bethel Baptist Church


Good morning. I pray that all who read this has had a great spirit filled Sunday in church and that you can see God moving in every area of your lives. I am so thankful to have another opportunity to share what God has laid upon my heart and that you would take the time out of your day to read this. Thank you and thank You my Lord.

Today, I want to ask you, “What is your purpose?”. Before you shoot some quick answer from the hip, I want you to ponder the thought for a moment. Have you ever said, or heard someone say, “I was born to do this”? Or maybe you’ve heard someone say, “I just don’t know what I am here for”. God’s word, once again, has all the answers.

Jeremiah 1:4-5 says, “4 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 says, “14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” Psalms 37:22-23 says, “22 For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth, But those cursed by Him shall be cut off. 23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.” 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.” 1 Peter 1:14-19 says, “14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”  17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

We see from God’s word, that God creates us, know us and plans our future. It is His will that we choose to live for Him and not for ourselves. The Bible tells us that, “the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his ways”. We are to be ambassadors, trophies for Christ. We are to be “obedient children”, striving for holiness in all our conduct. Then we are told to conduct ourselves throughout the time of our stay here in fear. For Christians, this phrase should be understood as something between terror and reverential awe. We need to remember that God is both our merciful Savior, and our holy judge.
You may say, “if all this is true, then why is the world and so many people in it so messed up?”. The answer is easy. It is S E L F. We are so caught up in pleasing self, doing what we think we need to do for us, doing what pleases us and those around us so that others will be nice to us, that we cannot see what it is God would have for us to do.

Living for God is not this monster of a yoke so many make it out to be. All God wants from you and I is, a relationship, something you would work at like you found your one and only true love. He wants honesty. He wants you to do the right thing. He wants you to share with others the things He has done for you and in your life. Just tell your story. I promise, there are those that need to hear it.

What is your purpose? You may not like to hear this, but, you purpose is not to be is not to be the CEO of Opec, unless God has placed you there. Your purpose is not to be the finest chef in France, unless He has placed you there. The point I am trying to make, and maybe doing a poor job of it is, that just because you are doing something you like to do or something you think you are good at, does not mean that is what your purpose is, unless you know that God has placed you there.

Remember: If you would remember to conduct yourself in everything you think, say and do, as if a preacher were walking every step with you, and it was your sincerest desire to please him, you will find and fulfill your purpose. By-the-way, Jesus, the greatest preacher is right by you every second of everyday. How does that make you feel about some of the things you have thought, said or done lately?

Until next time, please continue to pray for each other and me, as I continue to pray for each of you. Love in CHRIST,

Brian Hanvey
Associate Pastor
Bethel Baptist Church