Value: Intimacy With Christ

Our church mission statement is: Apex Baptist Church is an authentic community of believers worshipping God EVERYWHERE we go, becoming more like Him EVERYDAY, and serving EVERYONE we meet.

We believe our mission statement comes directly from the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20

Our Missions Guides us. Our values define us.

Our values:

  1. Intimacy with Christ
  2. Missional Living
  3. Ministry Excellence
  4. Disciple-making community
  5. Generosity

These values help us fulfill our mission of being a New Testament church.

Intimacy with Christ is an imperative for every Christ follower and the first value of our church. Intimacy means closeness, togetherness, affection, confidence. If we do not walk in intimacy with Christ, we’ll never be able to join Him in the mission.

The key to intimacy with Christ can be summed up in one simple word: ABIDE.

To abide is to remain. It seems to suggest an effortless resting in the Lord.

In John 15, the Scripture says:

 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

If we want intimacy with Christ, this passage shows us that we must abide in Christ. Our heavenly Father will fashion us into who He wants us to be as we abide in Him. It will not always be easy or painless, but the resulting intimacy with Christ will be worth it.

All who desire to be used of God, must walk closely with Him. If we want God to use Apex Baptist Church in 2015, then we MUST intentionally focus on living intimately with Christ.

I can’t wait to see all God does in us and through us in 2015. We’re off to a great start. So lets continue to walk with Christ!!

Helpful Articles For Leaders

I sat in a freezing cold conference room (why are all conference rooms so cold?) as a 10th grade high school student when for the first time I heard the simple statement, “leaders are readers.” That simple statement made an impact on my life. Since that day, I’ve worked to develop a discipline of reading. Each day, I read the Bible, a chapter or section of a theological book and a chapter, section or article on leadership.

(I know, I know. I should broaden what I read to include fiction, biography, etc. One day it will happen.)

Along the way, I run into many helpful articles for church leadership and personal leadership. Check these links. I do not think you will be disappointed.

7 Ways to Draw Millennials to Your Church

Four Primary Tasks of a Senior Leader

Read or Get Out of the Ministry

The Pastor and His Culture

The Problem with the Harvest is Not the Harvest

Great Leaders Live By Strong Convictions

An Autopsy of a Deceased Church

 

Happy reading!

Holy Week Bible Reading Plan

Sunday, April 13 – Luke 19:28-44

Monday, April 14 – Mark 14:32-42

Tuesday, April 15 – Matthew 26:47-56

Wednesday, April 16 – Mark 14:53-72

Thursday, April 17 – John 18:28 – 19:16

Friday, April 18 – Luke 23:26-56

Saturday, April 19 – John 14:1-31; John 16:5-11

Sunday, April 20 – Matthew 28

Worship Music We’re Singing

Like I mentioned in my last post, God is moving in our worship services. Over the past few months, we’ve been intentional to sing songs to God. We call these songs, vertical songs. They are not focused on what is happening around us, but are songs that help us worship God for who He is and what He has done.

Each time we introduce a new song, I’m asked where to find the song. So, instead of just pointing people to Itunes, here are direct links to the song’s we’re singing:

We have sung these recently:

High King of Heaven

Forever Reign

Oh Our Lord

Lay Me Down

This Is Amazing Grace

Waiting Here For You

Christ Is Risen

We will sing these over the next few months: 

Victor’s Crown

Jesus Son of God

Great I Am

God and King

Build Your Kingdom Here

Song of Moses

Revelation Song

No One Higher

Come to the Water

These are great songs to worship all week long! Enjoy!!

Books I’ve Recently Read…

Since graduating from Seminary in December, I’ve finally been able to read books that were not required for a class. Here are a few I’ve read and recommend to you!

1. What God Wants Every Dad to Know – Dr. James Merritt
Honesty, passion, and encouragement fill the pages of this book. Merritt’s authenticity is refreshing as he shares highs and lows from his years of parenting. The book continually points the reader to Scripture for Biblical wisdom and offers encouraging words from a faithful father.

2. The Daniel Plan – Dr. Rick Warren; Dr. Daniel Amen; Dr. Mark Hyman
This book is a great look at getting healthy. It offers a theological foundation, thorough plan, and encouragement to honor the Lord with our health. For those of us who “need” to drop a few, this book is motivating and convicting!

3. Lloyd-Jones: Messenger of Grace – Iain H. Murray
I really enjoyed reading this book! Like any book, there are parts that I differ with Lloyd-Jones (especially some of his understanding of the timing of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit) theologically, but I love his passion for preaching and for people to live a Spirit-filled life.

4. Real-Life Discipleship – Jim Putman
Putman sounds an alarm for church leaders to train up disciples in the church. He wrote, “The church is supposed to equip its people (every person) to be an army released on its community.” I’m excited about the disciple-making strategies developing at Apex Baptist!

5. Why Church Buildings Matter – Tim Cool
At our church, Apex Baptist, we are beginning a building campaign to renovate the main level of our facility. Apex Baptist is a wonderful church with a long history. This book has helped me put into words and communicate effectively to the congregation the necessity of updating the church facility. Cool writes a helpful work, but keeps the focus on the Gospel. He wrote, “Church facilities and all the things associated with “story” and “setting” will not save a person from a life of sin and frustration. But the lack of attention to these things can indeed be the road block to reaching those people that need to hear the gospel message the most.”

6. Church Leadership Essentials – Greg Atkinson
This book is made up of 34 short chapters. Atkinson is a pastor and offers tremendous insight from many years of ministry. This book is helpful for pastors just beginning in ministry and can be a resource throughout his ministry when different situations arise.

How to Prepare to Hear Sunday’s Sermon

I’m writing my Ministry Project Report for the Doctor of Ministry program at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In the process of doing research for the report, I came across Thadeus L. Bergmeier’s book, Helping Johnny Listen: Taking Full Advantage of the Sermons We Hear. This book offers great tips that help people come prepared to hear preaching.

Here is a summary of the points in this portion of the book:

To prepare physically:

1. Come Rested – So many people race into church exhausted. Sitting still for the 30-40 minute sermon can be quite challenging when a person is not rested. (Although it is quite entertaining from the platform to watch)

2. Come Filled – Eat something before church! The enemy will distract you  with hunger. Come filled and ready to concentrate because God is speaking.

3. Come Healthy – Avoid situations and things that are going to produce illness that will keep you from coming to church and being under the preaching of God’s word.

4. Come Focused – It is very easy to become so engaged in other things rather than the sermon being preached.  When the sermon begins, lock in on it and tune out all other things.

5. Come Regularly – Church should not be an option for the person who claims the name of Jesus.

6. Come Thoughtfully – come prepared to read the Bible and take notes. Bring a copy of God’s Word that you can mark in it all that God is speaking to you.

To prepare spiritually:

1. Come Hungry – Yes, be filled with physical food, but we should come anticipating and hungry for spiritual food.

2. Come Worshipping – Worshipping God is not a light switch. It is not something that can be turned on at the right time. It is a lifestyle. We cultivate it all day, every day.

A.W. Tozer – “If you cannot worship the Lord in the midst of your responsibilities on Monday, it is not very likely that you were worshiping on Sunday!”

3. Come Praying – Pray for the service, the preacher and the sermon.

4. Come Expecting – We should expect God to move in our hearts and in our church. Could the reason sermons have had so little impact be because we did not expect to get anything from them while they were being preached?

5. Come Forgiving – We must forgive others because we have been forgiven  so much.

IT’S ALMOST EASTER

It is very hard to believe that Easter is a few weeks away. This year, Apex Baptist Church will have three Easter weekend services. On Saturday, March 30 at 6pm, our first service will kick off. On Sunday, March 31 at 9 and 11am, we will have our final two Easter services. Please notice the times are slightly different from our regular Sunday schedule.

Our hope is that this weekend will be a life-changing experience for everyone who worships with us.

At Apex Baptist, we believe that every member is a minister. It’s more than something we say. It’s something we truly believe. In Ephesians 4, the Bible teaches that the role of pastors is to equip the saints for the work of ministry.

Because of this biblical directive, we have identified three ways that every member can be a minister to someone this Easter.

1. PRAY
Please pray for the Easter weekend services. Many people will gather and need to hear from God.

On Wednesday, March 27, at 6:30pm we are going to have a focused time of worship and prayer in the Worship Center. Please join us for this special prayer effort!

2. INVITE
Research from Thom Rainer, President of Lifeway Christian Resources, notes that 98% of church members NEVER invite anyone to church. He also discovered that 83% of unchurched people are willing to attend church if they are invited by someone they know.

Next week, we will put an invite card in your hand so that you can invite your neighbors. I challenge you to bring one family with your family to one of the Easter weekend services.

3. EXPECT
Come Easter weekend with an expectant heart. Our Easter weekend services will consist of engaging worship, stories of life change and a message from the Bible. The goal of the whole day is to lift high the name of Jesus.

Be ready to worship and celebrate our risen Lord!

Mark 16:6 -“And he said to them,’Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen; He is not here. See the place where they laid him.'”