Monday, September 3, 2012


Good morning everybody. This is the beginning of an exciting week for me. I sent out a challenge a week or so ago, and ask people to study a part of scripture and give me some feedback on it. Well, so many enjoyed it, that I was asked to start an online Bible study. After some thought and much prayer, we, (God and I) launched the study today on facebook. I am excited and am looking forward to what God is going to do in this and through it. To God be all the glory.

I have posted some devotions in the recent past, attempting to bring some back down to earth as to how and what we think of ourselves. Considering this, and always being reminded of John 3:16, I feel as though God would have me to take this path this week. Let me go ahead and share some scripture that is being given to me.

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.” Luke 15:4-7 say, “ 4 "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' 7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” James 2:5 says, “Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” 1 Peter 2:9-10 say, “ 9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:24-25 say, “24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness--by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” Revelations 17:14 say, “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful."

So what are we to harvest from the above scripture? We start off with arguably the best known scripture to man and see that God loves us enough to give His One and only Son. We could stop right there and not say another word and have proof enough that we matter. How many of you out there would give your child for anyone else? Not to mention the fact that He foreknew some would still hate Him, turn their backs on Him and would never come to the saving grace He paid for with His life's blood.

We digress from John 3:16 and read on to see that, IF there was only 1 lost lamb, Jesus would have come to find us and bring us back to the fold. This helps to illustrate how valuable each ONE of us are to the Lord of everything.

The next few verses remind us that we are the CHOSEN of God. Do you really understand what that means? God has picked you and I to give His heaven, His peace, mercy, wisdom, knowledge, understand, grace and love to.

It is through the suffering, death of Christ, that He willingly endured, that He provided you and I with everlasting life, if we choose to accept it.

I assimilate these devotions with things I see in life. When I thought of this devotion, I thought about a conversation I often have with my wife when I see what I consider to be an ugly vehicle. For instance, I might see the Cube automobile painted some shade of brown. I often wonder, and ask my wife,” who in their right mind would've “picked” that thing new?”. [not to offend any cube owners] You see, someone, somewhere, felt like that was just what they wanted. It was their heart's desire, the apple of their eye. What was strange and ugly to me, was just what someone else was looking for.

What some look at, and label as strange, God values enough to send His One and only Son to die for. Those who may be picked last to be on a team or to be invited to the “hip” parties, God says He will make them the first in heaven.

When you feel down, discouraged, downtrodden, worthless, alone and of little to no value, be encouraged and re-read the above scriptures and KNOW that God loves you.

Remember: To the world, you may not mean anything, but to God and your loved ones, you mean the world.

Until next time, please pray for our country, the elections, as well as those running, each other and me, as I continue to pray for each of you. Love in CHRIST,

Brian Hanvey
Associate Pastor
Bethel Baptist Church

“BOTANY 101”

Good morning. I have to say, the past few days have been just wonderful. I pray you have been able to enjoy some of this unusually cool August weather and that you have taken advantage of the opportunity to be in church, go fishing, take a child to the park, have a picnic or whatever you like to do when the weather is not so hot. God has really given us a great break from the normally hot and very humid days of August.

Botany. Do you know what Botany is? What about Dendrology? I feel like Regis Philbin, and I'm asking you questions on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Before I lose you altogether, please just bare with me for a few minutes and you will see where I am going with this. I am going to jump straight into the scriptures.

Matthew 7:15-20 say, 15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 13:24-30 say, “24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' 28 He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us then to go and gather them up?' 29 But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn." Matthew 25:33-34 say, “ 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” Matthew 25:41 says, “41 Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:”

When I was in the eighth grade, I had a science teacher named Mrs. Irwin. She was 106 years old and as far as I was concerned, I could do nothing to please her. So, when I saw I was going to fail her class if I didn't do something quick, I decided to seek the help of a friend of mine that had been in her class the year before and get some help on the final project that would account for a big part of my final grade. The project, complete a leaf collection, identifying each one. I had no idea where to start from. Where to gather such a variety. How to identify them. Once I was given a little guidance, I got underway and ended up getting my only A+ in her class ever and passing by the skin of my teeth.

My point to all of this is, I did not know what Botany was, (the study of plants), or what Dendrology was, (the study of trees). My eyes had to be opened and I needed the help of another.

God, through His holy inspired word, is giving us the help we need to be able to discern the good from the bad, the wheat from the tares and the sheep from the goats. But, herein lies the problem. To gain this knowledge, we must spend time with God and His word to grow in wisdom and understanding. Just as I had to seek the help of someone with experience, we also must seek out pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers or other godly saints to help us find our way so that we will not be like sheep led to the slaughter.

Don't be confused by big words, the lack of understanding or the trickery of man's doctrine. Read God's word. The Bible says that there is a comfort in a multitude of counselors.

Remember: To know what you are talking about, you have to know what you're talking about.

Until next time, please pray for our elections and all those running, 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, August 12, 2012


Good morning everyone. I hope you had a wonderful weekend and a blessed worship service Sunday. Our church celebrated our 26th annual homecoming this Sunday. We had a great service, a large crowd, an abundant lunch buffet and a talented group of guys to perform a concert to cap off our celebration. We are so blessed.

Our pastor preached on sin, and our need to repent of that sin. While meditating on this, an old commercial jingle came to mind. It was for the soft drink 7up. There use to be a man, who would come on TV and he would say, “never had it, never will”, referring to artificial flavorings. I thought how marvelous it would be if we as humans, could make the same declaration as related to sin, “never had it, never will”.

Indulge me for a moment to consider this. Almost all of us know the story of Adam and Eve. Adam was created by God from the dust of the earth and brought to life by the very breath of God, to have fellowship with God. To have rule over the earth. When God saw that Adam needed a helper, God caused a sleep to come over Adam and He took a rib from Adam and created Eve. These two were in a garden, the kind of beauty we can only imagine, created to fellowship with God and given only one rule. Had they kept that rule, how different life would be today.

The reality is that Adam and Eve did not keep the one rule they were given and sin entered the world at that point and has been running rampant ever since. I think about how we are created in God's image. We are God's children, whether you choose to accept Him as a Savior or not, we were still created by Him, thereby we are His. I think about how we choose to continue to break His rules to this very day. We sin everyday. Sins we know about and sins we don't even realize. Let's allow the scripture to shed some light on the subject.

Roman 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” James 4:17 says, “ So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” Romans 6:23 says, “ For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 4:30 says, “ And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption”. Hebrews 12:6-11 says, “6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives." 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Psalms 103:12-13 say, “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him.” Acts 26:19-20 say, “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.” Romans 10:13 says, “For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Well, what did we learn from this? First, we all have sinned, whether we knew it or not, meant to or not, we have. If we knew of a right thing to do and did not do it, that is sin. Next we see that the wages of sin is death. It only takes ONE sin to demand the payment of death. Then we see that our sin grieves God, just as our children's sin hurts us. Now God opens our eyes some. The scripture tells us why we go through some of what we are going through. Sometimes, it is God chastening, (disciplining) us. Just as we have had to use discipline to guide our children, God has to do the same with us from time to time. Next we see that God is faithful, to forgive us of our sins, if we ask Him. God will remove them from us as far as the east is from the west. Then in Acts 26 we see that when we repent of our sins, we are to turn away from the sin and toward God, and do works proving, (one translations puts it) our repentance. Then, the last scripture could have been the first also, comforts us by telling us that , “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved”.

Folks, this is not hard. We are made in God's image Our children are made in His and our images. We correct our children to teach them to do right and so God does the same to us. It would be nice if when the subject of sin came up, we could say, “never had it, never will”, but we cannot. So, we have to take steps to make things right between us and God, and then do our best to stay on the straight and narrow, confessing and repenting as we go along.

Remember: When old man death comes knocking at your door, and eternity hangs in the balance for you, I pray Jesus will be able to tell him, that the devil, never had you, and never will.

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

Brian Hanvey
Associate Pastor
Bethel Baptist Church 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Good morning. I pray your week has started off with a bang. We are in the last week of July already and this year like the past, is just zooming by. I also wish all of you had the Spiritual boost I am running off of today. I was able to attend two nights of revival at Crossland Ave. Baptist and then church at Bethel Sunday morning and now I am about to bust. LOL.

Today I want to talk to you about “The Cost”. I am talking about the cost of your life and your afterlife. With the prices of everything skyrocketing, do you ever stop to count the cost of your life? Has anyone ever told you that you will either suffer later from what you do now, or you will be rewarded later for the things you do now? Do you live a life with these thoughts in mind, or do you think you will think about it later, you have plenty of time to deal with that? Let me show you some scripture that comes to mind when I ponder this subject.

Hebrews 9:14, 22, say, “ 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” “22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” 1 Corinthians 7:23 says, “ You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.” 1 Corinthian 6:19-20 says, “ 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's” Galatians 6:7-8 says, “7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Matthew 16:24-26 says, “24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Luke 14:26-28 say, “ 26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it--”

In the beginning, to be forgiven, you use to have to take animals to a priest and have them killed and their blood to make an atonement for your sins. After many years of this, God saw that it was going to take something more, and grace, (Christ) entered the picture and then His blood was required to cleanse all man's sin. You see, money couldn't pay this price. It took blood, and not that of some farm animal, but it had to be much more. See in the beginning if you sinned a little, you could bring a goat. Then the bigger the sin, came in lambs and then bulls. This is my paraphrasing by-the-way. But now, we are talking the sins of the world, not one man or his family, but the world. What blood could be worth so much to cover all the sins of mankind? Only the blood of a King and not any ordinary king, but that of a King who would live a perfect sinless life. The blood of Christ. It is the only blood valuable enough to pay for you and I, and Christ willingly shed it to purchase all those who would be bought. There is no other blood so valuable. There is no other Christ

Have you ever told someone you would die for them? Has someone ever told you that, and if so, did you believe them? I want you to stop for a moment and consider this. Christ did not just “die” for you and I, He willingly SUFFERED before He could even die. Does that change your mind? Would you tell the one you told you would die for before, now that you will suffer first, and then die for them?

We see that we were bought by the suffering blood of Christ. This is the price of our souls and it has been paid for those who choose to be bought. Once we have chosen to accept God's gift of salvation, we become His. The point I'm trying to make is our salvation cost you and I nothing, but it cost Christ His suffering, blood and life.

Now we see what it cost Christ to purchase our souls. The next thing to consider is what we are to do now. The Bible tells us that once we have accepted God's gift of salvation and His invitation to be part of His family, we are to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him. This is the part where most of us draw the line. We want God's “fire insurance”, to keep us out of hell, but to deny ourselves and do what He wants instead of what we want, I don't think so. Herein lies the problem.

Many of us have the false sense of security that just because we believe in God, or because we walked an isle and “accepted” Christ, or because we have been baptized, or because we try to live a good life, or because we try to treat others with respect, we are saved and on our way to heaven. This is not always true. Even the devil believes in God, but he will not be in heaven. The Bible teaches that it take more than lip service to be saved, it takes a change of heart. It take a real, everyday relationship with Christ where we “deny” ourselves and do what He wants us to do instead of what we want. You and I were not created to be happy, or to please ourselves or those around us. We were created to serve God and have fellowship with Him. If we do this, we will find a happiness like we've never known. Salvation is free, being a servant cost. ARE YOU WILL TO PAY THE PRICE?

Remember: God counted the cost of your soul and gave His Son to pay the price for you. Have you counted the cost of being a servant, and are you paying up?

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, July 22, 2012


Good morning everyone. I pray you had a wonderful weekend. We were able to enjoy a bit of cooler weather, if you can call the 90's cooler. At least we weren't in the 100's again and we got a little rain that was much needed.

Fasting. What comes to mind when you think of this? Do you automatically think you have to starve yourself? Do you think that fasting is solely devoted to going without food? Have you ever fasted? Do you know how to fast, or what you might fast for?

It is ironic that God would lead me to this subject. This past Saturday we had our monthly men's prayer breakfast. Here is how this ties together. While we ate a wonderful meal, we were meeting to pray, but the Bible teaches that prayer and fasting go together like peanut butter and jelly. Let's look at some scriptures.

Isaiah 58:5 says, “ You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord? Matthew 4:1-2 says, “ 1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.” Matthew 6:16-18 says, “16 “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get.17 But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face.18 Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Joel 2:12 says, “12 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.” Ezra 8:23 says, “ So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.” SCRIPTURES FROM THE NLT BIBLE

The Bible should be our ultimate authority for all of life. Anything and everything we will face in life, can be solved by the scriptures. Prayer and fasting are two things that some people seem to take lightly. I don't think any of us fully grasp the seriousness of what we are doing, or we all would melt into shame, realizing that we are calling on the most Holy of holy s, the Creator of everything. In old testament times, a priest would have a rope tied around his leg so that if he went into the holy of holy's, in God's presence to pray, and was unclean himself and died, he could be pulled out.

How and why do we, or should we fast? Some people cannot go without food due to medical reasons or maybe because of medications they may be taken. In these cases, you can choose to fast from something else. Maybe you will skip one meal a day. Maybe you will skip the news for so many days. Maybe you will give up reading the newspaper for a period of time. Maybe you will give up all electronic devices for a period of time. The point of fasting, is to give up something you will miss, and replace that with time with God.
If you skip lunch everyday for a week, you would use that time to read God's word and pray. If you decided to skip the nightly news, you would use that time to find quiet time for just you and God. You have to remember that communing with God is not just us always going to Him with this long laundry list of “stuff”, it is also reading His Word and giving Him time to speak to us and show us things that we may never otherwise realize. Most of us miss out on so much because we fail to give God His time with us. A time of silence, away from the TV, phone, computer, cell phone, tablets, IPod, mp3 players, video games and so on and so on. We try to squeeze Him in for a minute here or there and instead of giving Him our best, we give Him what's left.

For a successful fast you need to remember a few things. You should only do this if you are feeling led by the Holy Spirit to do so. First, you must seek the Spirit's leading to clarify what it is you are fasting for. Is it for spiritual renewal, for guidance, for someone else? He will enable you to pray more specifically. Remember, through prayer and fasting we humble ourselves before God so the Holy Spirit can stir our souls and awaken our churches. Second, you should start reasonably. Don't set your goal too high. Do not rush into a fast. Prepare yourselves for what you are going to do, so that you will succeed rather than fail. Third, stay committed. Don't give up. See it through to the end and God will reveal things to you, like you have never known. Forth, start your fast with resolve. Keep God's Word open, listen, give Him the opportunity to show you things. Fifth, stopping your fast. If you have given up food, ease back into eating again. Don't binge eat. If it is something other than food, ask yourselves if you really need to spend the time doing what you fasted from. Finally, if you sincerely humble yourselves before the Lord, repent, pray and meditate on God's Word, you will experience a heightened awareness of His presence, (John 14:21). You will find yourself to be mentally, physically and spiritually renewed, (Romans 12:1,2).

Ultimately the key to prayer and fasting is a sound confidence in the Word of God. Making the study of God's Word a priority will enable you to pray effectively.

Remember: Fasting is between you and God. If you expect to get something from Him, you have to do it His way, and that is private.

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


Good morning. I pray this finds each of you cool on this hot summer day, feeling well and enjoying all the blessings God continues to pour out on us. It is the time of year when many churches are planning to have, or are having spring revivals. I ask you to keep them in your prayers. Our church is participating in a “cluster” revival this week that combines several denominations and we covet your prayers as well.

This weeks topic is "Open Eyes". Why is it, that so often we refuse to see things that are right in front of our face? It's like, if we keep our eyes closed, and pretend something is not there, or going on, then maybe it isn't. Well, just because we don't acknowledge something, doesn't make it more or less real.

Let's take a look at what the scripture says. Matthew 7:13-20 says, "13 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits. 1 John 3:4-10 says, "4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
The Bible tells us how to recognize those who really are God's. The world's response to Christians calling things black and white is "you're judging me". In Matthew 7:20 we are told, "So then, you will know them by their fruits". We don't have to guess, or as some say, "judge". The Bible tells us we will know them by the good, God's good, or the bad, the world's way. 1 John 3:10 makes this clear, "By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother". 1 John 3:4 says, "sin is lawlessness. Lawlessness is used here in its broadest sense--defection from any of God's standards.
Verse 6 of 1 John 3 helps us to understand that the lifestyle of the believer who keeps God's commands (abides) will be obedience, not sin. The lifestyle of the one who keeps on sinning demonstrates that he does not know God. Verse 8 says, "practices", one who continually practices, sins as a regular way of life. In verse 9 we should understand that God's people cannot sin habitually. Habitual actions indicate one's character, and if God's seed abides in us, this nature prevents the Christian from habitually sinning.
In no way am I inferring that a Christian is perfect, or that his actions will be without wrong doing. What I am saying, and what God's word is telling us is, that many claim to be children of God and choose to continually practice sin, (committing the same sins over and over) proving that they really don't know God and His seed does not abide in them. Those who have accepted the gift of salvation and have a genuine relationship with God, will learn from their sins and grow and overcome and have victory and be able to stand and face other sins in their lives. We will grow, learn and know these things if, we have open eyes.

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

Love in CHRIST,

Brian Hanvey
Associate Pastor 
Bethel Baptist Church

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Good morning to all of you out there in cyber land. I hope you were in the house of God Sunday and that you can say you had a true encounter with the Holy Spirit. If you are not attending a house of God where you can feel Him as soon as you drive up on the grounds, you need to find a new place of worship, or you need to ask yourselves if you are going with an open heart to experience Him, or if your heart is filled with so many other things you cannot hear Him anymore.

Broken Hearted” Have you ever had your heart broken? Have you ever broken the heart of another? Do you remember what that felt like to have your heart broken? Have you ever said, I would never wish that pain on anyone?

I really feel like God is wanting someone out there to take a good look at me and my situation. This is the third week in a row, He has given me a message to share with you, that kind of relates to me. This week I'm referring to the loss of use of my legs. The reference is, you don't miss something until you don't have it.

By this point, you are probably asking what is he talking about. This Wednesday I was able to attend church. While sitting there, I was beside a man in his 80's. This man of God, has never missed Sunday's church in over 50 years. As I looked at him, I was overcome with emotion. Here sat a man, with so much knowledge, so much wisdom. He has taught Sunday school. He has been a deacon for I don't know how many years. He has loved his Lord and served Him for decades. Now the years have caught up to him and his shell is giving out on him, yet here he sits, with a giant print Bible, trifocal glasses and a super magnifying glass with a light that will only show about one word at a time, trying to read his Bible. He is going blind. His eyes are going fast.

I am broken hearted. I am sure this man has read his Bible forward, backward and any other “ward” you can come up with, and still he hungers for God to speak to him, so he “works” at reading God's holy word. You see, he is trying to use what sight he has left to get all of God's word in he can, before the light of his eyes is turned off. He will be unable to read his Bible and that is what he will miss the most. The loss of his eyes, even at his age is devastating him. He is already regretting what he will no longer be able to do for God. Just as I think often of all that I would be doing if I could walk. I think about this man that cannot get enough of God's word and soon will no longer be able to read it, and how many leave it on the shelf to collect dust and and don't realize what they are missing. If you were told you sight was failing would His word be important to you then? What if God treated you like Paul and took your sight instantly?

James 4:13-14 says, “13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
Romans 12:3 says, “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Ephesians 4:30 says, “ And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Genesis 6:6 says. “And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Psalms 34:17-18 says, “ 17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.”

Where is your heart today? Is it harden by this world we live in? Has circumstances caused you to build a wall around your heart so no one, or nothing can touch it? How long has it been since you have given thought to what the sins in your life are doing to the heart of God? Does it matter to you? The next time your child does something that makes your heart ache, stop for a moment and reflect on how God feels about the things you have done that day, week and so on.

Lamentations 3:21-23 says, “ 21 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. 22 Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”

While my heart breaks for my friend and brother in Christ, I know that one day soon, he will meet his Heavenly Father face to face and not need glasses of any kind. He will be in the presence of the Word and the Word will be with him. Praise His Name.

Remember: If your heart breaks, the best one to fix it, is the One who made it. Seek the Lord and He will never fail you.

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

Brian Hanvey
Associate Pastor
Bethel Baptist Church

Monday, July 2, 2012


Good morning to everyone. I hope you are enjoying some of the activities available to you during the summer times without getting too hot. The temperature is climbing and I pray you take the necessary steps to avoid the damage of too much sun or heat.

Today's topic, “Spiritually Paralyzed”, has hit me hard this week. While I wait on the Lord to reveal His thoughts to me, so that I may share them with you, I try to discern which ideas are His and which are mine. It is my pray and heart's intention to first and foremost serve my Lord and then to feed you His word.

This past week, the need arose to find volunteers to assist one of the widows of our church. The event had been announced for a few weeks, so there was plenty of time for others to plan for it. Because of a lack of volunteers, I was ask to seek out those who might help. I made many calls. I had ONE to commit to help.

Last week I used myself as an example and I am going to do that again. I can feel nothing below about four inches above my bellybutton. From that point down I am still alive, blood flows, toenails grow but I feel nothing. My point is, God is showing me that many of our heart's are the same way. They are pumping blood, beating and doing their jobs, but dead. Let me show you what God is telling me.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Revelations 1:5 says, “and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood “ 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.” Matthew 15:8, 19 says, “ 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me” “19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” John 8:47 says, “He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God." James 2:17-19 says, “17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble!” 1 Corinthians 1:17-18 says, “ 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

So, let's review what we have read. God created us for “good works”. He washed our sins away with His own blood. If we have truly accepted Him as our Savior, we are to STOP living our lives to please ourselves, and seek to please Him. We talk a good talk but God, the One who looks at the heart, knows that while we offer good lip service, our hearts are truly far from Him and His. From our hearts. God sees what is really important to us and why we do the things we do.

He knows our intentions, sees our loyalties and all the things that go on behind closed doors. Again, if you are truly His, you will hear His word and want to do His will. Faith without works is dead. The Bible tells us even the demons believe, but that doesn't mean they are children of God, or that they will get to heaven.

With all of this knowledge, what does that say about you and I? We cannot argue that God created us. And if we have been saved, asked forgiveness for our sins and ask Christ to come and live in and through us, then we were bought by and washed in His blood. We were created to do His “good works”. Not to do anything and everything that pleases us. Don't throw stones at me, I'm just sharing His word, not my own. I am not saying God expects us to be miserable, I'm saying if we are doing what He has called us to do, we will find a satisfaction, a gratification, like we've never known. We can talk all day until we are blue in the face about God and how much we believe in Him, but if we are not doing the things He wants us to do, we are just putting on a show.

If you frequent a convenient store and run into the same man each afternoon and he has paint on his clothes, you can surmise he is a painter. You don't need to hear him tell you he is, there is evidence. The Bible tells us you can tell a tree by the fruit it bears and by their fruit we shall know them. If you are a true child of God, there should be fruit, evidence. We should be able to recognize each other without having to make some proclamation of who and what we are.

The intent of this writing, is to get you to look into the mirror and examine your spiritual health. Is there evidence that you are a child of God? If God followed you around for a day, for what would you be ashamed of? If He called you home today, what regrets would you have over lost opportunities?

You may say none of this pertains to you. I want to challenge you to be 100% honest, and for one day, make a journal of everything you do, For one day, other than Sunday, write down what you spend your time doing. Then I challenge you to be honest enough to message me back and say either yes, I am doing more of what God would have me to do, or no, I am failing God and spending more time pleasing me. I will not share with anyone, anything that any of you send to me, I am just looking for honest answers and whether you are honest with me or not, God already knows.

If we are not being the Holy Spirit filled people God created us to be, what are we teaching our children? If we are teaching them to be slack and to compromise a little here and there, how much more will they teach their children to do the same and more?

Remember: If you are suffering from Spiritual Paralysis, seek God's R-E-H-A-B. Repent—Evict all the bad—Hold to the good—Accept responsibility—Be ye a doer of His will.

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


Good morning to everyone out there today. It was so nice to get out on this father's day and make it to church. I talked with my son by phone 5 or 6 times, (he lives in GA.) and felt very much appreciated and loved. Our pastor delivered a powerful sermon, relevant to the day and the music was just what was needed to prepare our hearts.

It's Time To Put Up Or Shut Up”. Have you ever said that, or maybe heard someone say it to you? What do you think of when hearing this? Would the statement offend you if someone said it to you?

I have been in my chair five years and nine months. I have not, am not and will not ever complain about being in this chair. The alternative was death and while I am ready for that trip, I am thankful for each day that I have to spend with my family and to do my best to serve my Lord. I am on borrowed time and maybe that is why I think of this statement to much. But, I am not the only one, on borrowed time.

James 4:13-14 says, “13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” Matthew 9:37-38 says, “37 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." John 9:4 says, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” Matthew 6:19-21 says, “ 19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
James 2:15-26 says, “ 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

So, what have we read from God's word? Our lives are but a vapor, so don't plan to do things tomorrow, do them today. There is more than enough work to be done. We must work now, because death is coming and then the time for work will have past. We need to be doing the work for which we were created so that we store up our treasure in heaven, not here. And we need to stop giving lip service about what we were “going to do” , what we “meant to do”. We don't get brownie points for intentions. The Bible tells us, “faith, without works is DEAD”.

Why do you think God told Abraham to take Isaac up the mountain to be sacrificed? God wanted to see that the child He had promised him for so long, was not more important to Abraham than service to God. I say this, to pose the question to you, what are you allowing to prevent your service to God? How many times have you felt God lead you to do something, or seen a need with your own eyes, or had someone contact you with an opportunity to do a service for God, and you put ___________, in front of Him. What do you think matters more to God, that you spent all four Saturdays of the month cutting your grass, of if you missed one to cut the grass of one of the church's elderly? Do you think it will matter more to God that you signed up your child to play ball every Wednesday, teaching them to skip church or that you take a stand and show your family that being in church is more beneficial and pleasing to God?

Think for a moment about all the good and things you see that need to be done in your church and around you. Now, ask yourself, what is preventing me from doing this. I'm not saying you should leave your family out. Include them. Get your spouse, your children or your friends to help out. Instead of allowing others to pull you from His service, pull them into service with you. I tell you, I sit in a chair knowing what I use to do, and seeing what needs to be done and I know it grieves God at the lack of commitment and enthusiasm from those who have no physical limitations to please Him. We were never created to please self. I'm going to close this weeks thought with a poem. Enjoy.

Today, upon a bus, I saw a lovely girl with golden hair, I envied her…she seemed so gay…and wished I were as fair. When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle; She had one leg and wore a crutch; But as she passed…a smile! Oh, God forgive me when I whine, I have two legs. The world is mine!

I stopped to buy some candy. The lad who sold it had such charm. I talked with him He seemed so glad. If I were late ‘twould do no harm. And as I left he said to me, “I thank you. You have been so kind. It’s nice to talk with folks like you. You see,” he said, “I’m blind.” Oh, God, forgive me when I whine, I have two eyes. The world is mine.

Later, while walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue. He stood and watched the others play. He did not know what to do. I stopped a moment, then I said, “Why don’t you join the others, dear?” He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear. Oh, God forgive me when I whine. I have two ears. The world is mine.

With feet to take me where I’d go, with eyes to see the sunset’s glow, With ears to hear what I would know…Oh, God forgive me when I whine. I’m blessed indeed. The world is mine.

Remember: When it comes your time to go home, it won't matter what you meant to do, but what you've done.

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

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Good morning. I pray you are as enthusiastic and excited about God and this week as I am. I just finished filling in for our vacationing pastor for the past two weeks and am planning a signing ceremony for the group who completed the “Honor Begins At Home” Bible study, for this Sunday. God is great and any time I get to do something for Him I feel more alive than ever.

Today's topic, “Topic Of Conversation”, is one that hits close to home for me. I really don't know if it would have six years ago, but I see it almost daily now, and wish I could do something about it.

When you see a person with a limitation, what do you do or say? Do you look away? Do you say to whoever may be close something like, “don't look now, but so and so is coming”? Do you turn quickly and go the other way, hoping you were not noticed? Why is it when we see someone blind, deaf, on a cane or a walker or in a wheelchair, we tend to think they are contagious, or somehow of less value than the rest of us? We don't want to include them in things with us for fear they will not be able to keep up. We don't want to talk to them because we think they have enough problems of their own. Let me share a bit of scripture that comes to mind when I think of this.

John 3:16 say, “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.” Matthew 15:30-31 say, “ 30 Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus' feet, and He healed them. 31 So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.” 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." Exodus 4:10-11 says, “10 Then Moses said to the Lord, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." 11 So the Lord said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?” Philippians 2:3-5 says, “3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,”

So, what have we learned? The Bible tells us that God came to save us all. Whether we are blind, deaf, mute, lame, slow of speech or just not pretty, God came to save us all. But the last of the scripture is probably the hardest for us, “let each esteem others better than himself”. That is the last thing we want to hear in this very self-centered, selfish world we live in today. You want me to esteem other better than me, and to look out for their interest also? But, “I know so and so, and I know I am better than they are”. This is something Jesus could have said, but didn't. Then you say, why should I? No one else is doing it. But the last verse seals it for us, “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Isn't He suppose to be the example we follow? Your friends may not be doing this. Your church, your Sunday school teacher, maybe even your pastor is not following this scripture, but we will not answer for what they do or do not do, only for ourselves.

You see, God is looking on the inside. He is not looking at our limitations, but our capabilities. He sees how we can be of use just the way we are, and then He looks to see if we are willing to let Him use us like we are or if we are whining about our infirmities.

God can and will heal us all, of whatever we suffer from, whether it is a physical limitation or a mental limitation, when the time is right for Him. Whether it is on this side of the Jordan, or the other, God is the same God and has not weakened over the years. He can do the same in either world and works in His time frame and not ours.

The point I am trying to make is, don't shun people with limitations. Think of us as you would anyone else. We just want to be treated like everyone else and we want to be given the same opportunities to help, serve, work and take part in all the things that anyone without limitations can do. We want to be friends to you and you with us, not just a “Topic of conversation” at the lunch table.

Remember: If you are listening to someone talk to you about someone else, that same person is probably talking about you to others as well. Be accountable, stop the gossip bug at you.

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

Brian Hanvey
Associate Pastor

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Good morning. Once again, I would like to thank you for taking the time to allow me to share what God has laid on my heart. I pray that you had an excellent weekend and that if you work, you are one of the lucky ones to have today off. Sunday is that one day a week when everything is suppose to stop, our focus is to turn to the Lord and worshiping Him and fellowship with other believers. O what the majority of the world is missing by choosing to to observe this Holy day.

Today's topic comes from something I heard at a singing sometime back and I still hear the man on the radio say it form time to time. IF, God answered everyone of my prayers for the last six months, how would the world be different. It made me stop and think of areas in my own life where I am lacking to please God, and that it's not all about me.

In the book of Acts, chapter 3 we read about a beggar, lame from birth, who was sat daily at the gate of the temple to beg for alms (or money) for his support. He had been doing this for many years. On this particular day, Peter and John were on their way into the temple to pray at the appointed time when they saw this beggar and this is what the scriptures tell us. Acts 3:1-8 says, "1 Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; 3 who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. 4 And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, "Look at us." 5 So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." 7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them--walking, leaping, and praising God."

You see, this beggar thought he knew what he wanted and/or needed, money. But God knew he needed healed. James 4:3 says, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures."

I challenge you today to examine your prayer life, your wants, needs and request that have been made lately. Then I want you to think of what you have done for Him lately, or what excuses have you made for not doing what God would have you do. Now, I wonder, what kind of shape we would be in, if when we went to God with our long laundry list of "wants and needs", He gave us back some of the excuses, we pawn off on Him.

PRAYER: "Lord please help me with my rebellious child?" GOD: "Not today, I'm too tired from hunting yesterday, maybe next week. PRAYER: "Lord help me with my finances?" GOD: "Maybe in a week or two, but right now I'm just too busy enjoying this beautiful weather." PRAYER: "Lord help my mom or dad past this trial they are going through please?" GOD: "I would, but I didn't realize it was Sunday already and I have made some other plans. You understand don't you? Maybe later." PRAYER: “Father please spend some time with Mr. Smith, he is so lonely?” GOD: “I was going to do that, but it is baseball, softball, football, basketball, soccer season and I just have to many irons in the fire right now.”

You say, "this is ridiculous" right? But it is the same bologna we give God daily. Now before you start throwing stones at me, I am not saying that you have to do for God, for Him to do for you, but what I am saying is how can we go to Him and "expect" action and results, when we give little to nothing in return.

Just as God knew and provided that lame man what he needed through Peter, He will do what is best for us. So let's make a commitment today to seek God's will and what pleases Him, and as we are told in Matthew 6:33, "these things shall be added to you". It is not about what " I want", but what He knows is best, and we will be the better for it.

Which do you think the lame man would rather have looking back, a coin or two, or his body whole? Do for God because you love Him, and see how He blesses you.

Remember: "I want", no, it is what He wants and we will be the better for it.

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

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Good morning to all. I pray this finds you happy, healthy and prosperous. I hope you were able to take advantage of the beautiful weekend we had and attend the church of your choice.

If you are like me, you probably are not quite old enough to remember when people use to stand on the street selling newspapers and shouting “Extra, Extra, Read All About It”. Their purpose was not only to draw attention to themselves, but to draw our attention to some specific news.

Well, the news today is, “Churches are Dying”. Does this surprise you? Did you know this was happening? Have you been out driving and passed a building that use to once house the church? How do you feel about this news? Does it effect you in any way? Once again, I am going to look to the scriptures for some help on this topic.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 say, “3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,” 2 Timothy 4:2-4 says, “2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” Ephesians 4:14-16 says, “14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ-- 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” 2 Timothy 3:13 says, “13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

This topic saddens me greatly, as I'm sure it does our Lord. The church is the people, not the buildings, but the buildings are closing up shop and dropping of the face of the map because the people are leaving in droves. I know of two country churches on the same road within a mile or two of each other that have been closed for a long time now. One was sold to a biker gang and is now painted black and has skulls and cross bones on it. The other church has been remolded and now has someone living in it. Some churches are trying to hard to please congregations and are cutting Wednesday night and Sunday night services. Somehow we have condoned the transition from the Sabbath Day to only needing to celebrate the Sabbath Hour. This is not, was not and never will be God's plan, yet we just smile and roll along with the flow.

Does reading this trouble you? Are you one of those that has left the church? Do you know of some that have decided to leave the church?

People are fleeing in flocks. Is it because God has changed? Has His rules, commandments, law or judgments changed over the years? Has the bar been elevated higher than it use to be? The answer is NO. It is we who have changed and cluttered up our schedules to the point that we have no time to fit God in.
We are too concerned that God or church may interfere with baseball, football, soccer, basketball, softball, cheer leading, dance class, our favorite TV show and the list could go on and on. Tell me, when we meet God face to face, do you think He is going to be impressed by any of the time spent or accolades earned by these activities that took time away from Him?

How did we lose so much ground in just two or three generations? Two or three generations back, people went to church and not because they were drug or because they were being punished somehow, but because they wanted to. Because they loved God, knew that all good things come from Him and wanted to not only spend time with Him, but to give back to Him a little for all He had done for them through the week. A few generations back, people planned their schedules around the church. Now we think we should take God and force Him to come to us and melt into the cracks of time where we may have a few minutes here or there throughout the week.

To tie all this in with the subject title and scriptures mentioned, I want you to look around. God's churches are closing doors at an alarming rate, while men are opening doors and calling them churches. God's word above tells us that when people are no longer willing to endure the truth of sound doctrine, they will find people who will tell them what they want to hear, follow them, make up their own rules as they go along so that everything is tolerated and condoned and in so doing they become deceived and deceive others as well, all in the name of “church”. People are choosing places of entertainment, where they can be made to feel good about themselves and the lives they live, where there are activities to keep themselves and their children occupied rather than a place to learn and hear the real word of God preached and taught. We have no trouble finding 15-20 people to make up a softball team, but cannot get three or four to go out on visitation. Do you not think this is grieving the Holy Spirit?

Somewhere we have forgotten what a privilege it is to be able to go to a house of God and worship without the threat of death as some in this world still have. We have forgotten that it is our duty to work the activities of life into the “life” God has given us, not to ask Him to accommodate our schedule. We are told in the Bible that we are to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. This means He is to be our first love. Is the life you're living showing God that He is your first love? Are you one of the ones responsible for a church closing?

Remember: There are two types of people, leaders and followers. Look at yourself and decide which one you are and what results that has on those around you. Living and dying, are you helping or hurting?

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