Shallowford Free Will Baptist
Sunday, December 17, 2017
For the Glory of Christ Alone
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What Is the Most Important Part of Our Church Vision?
 
 





Pastor's Page

 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                     December 12, 2017

 

Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches." Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?" Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

~Acts 19:11-16

+++++++++++++++

                I’ve tried to tell y’all for 6 and ½ years – there is a reason that SNOW is a 4-letter word! But noooooo! Nobody listened. Everybody wants the snow to fall and be out there playing in it. I say again, PLAYING in stuff that usually only forms when it is FREEZING outside. Sure it’s beautiful, but it also causes some significant problems. My family was subjected to the difficulties of northern living this past weekend as our snow-laced apocalypse came billowing down from the sky. Nearly 7 inches fell at our house, and I’ll admit that we were initially so excited about the prospect of a snow day, especially on the weekend. We ate a good meal, baked some cookies, and enjoyed some good old Christmas movies as we sat and watched the snow fall outside our windows. Until 9 o’clock hit…

                Around 9 PM, we noticed the power flickering and the sky started lighting up with that unmistakable electric flare. After about 3 surges, the power to the house went out completely. Thomas and Nathanael freaked out – thought the world was coming to an end…or that someone was about to give them a shot. So I went out to see if I could see what was going on. There on the west side of the church driveway was a large pine tree leaning on the power lines. It was sparking and smoldering, trying its best to catch fire. I immediately called 911 and after maybe 15 rings someone answered my emergency call. They sent out a police officer later on that let me know there was nothing that could be done about it. The fire department was currently responding to multiple house fires in the area. I watched helplessly as it burned through two lines and killed all the power to our church property.

                There is nothing so dismal and depressing as making that trek into a dark house where there is no power. I went to the refrigerator and foolishly opened it up to look inside. Yep, dead. In fact, we lost pretty much everything out of our fridge and freezer. I saw my nice TV just sitting there , lifeless and useless. Internet wasn’t down, but there was no power to run the router, so effectively speaking it was dead too. The heater is relatively new at the house, but it was useless just sitting there. Had plenty of propane, but there was no power to supply to run the igniter and blower to warm the house. We couldn’t cook or warm our food because none of our appliances worked. We couldn’t even take a hot shower because we have an electric water heater for the house. The church was still running minor power from the transformer until about 2:30 Saturday morning, but eventually that power was gone as well. We had no other option but to “abandon ship” and leave the house for the weekend until power could be restored Monday morning. For all the luxuries we had in our house, for all the nice things we’ve accumulated, without power they were all rendered meaningless. How lifeless things become when there is no power supplied to them…

                It’s not a mistake that this passage was on my reading list for this morning as I finally was able to go back to the office. In this passage we have a group of Jewish exorcists who had the bright idea to go around casting out demons using the name of Jesus Christ. But there are a few problems. The major issue is that they didn’t know anything more about Jesus than that He was a source of great power. They had no connection to Him; they just simply expected all things to bow to their harnessed power supply as they spoke His name. The seven sons of Sceva came across a particularly difficult demon who took exception to their paltry attempts at exorcism. “I know Jesus and I know Paul, but who are you?” The demon possessed man immediately turned on them, beat them, and sent them running away naked. I’ve laughed at this scene in my mind, but it’s not so funny in its application. When I started considering what was being said about my life and about my church, there was no humor to be found. There were only anxieties and tears. These exorcists were powerless to accomplish anything because they were not connected to the Power Source, the Lord Jesus Christ. And I wonder if the same thing can be said about me or about us today.

                First, they were not connected to the Lord Jesus Christ in any way. I’m not sure what their motivations were in attempting these spiritual feats like they were. Maybe they’d hoped for fame or notoriety. Perhaps it was just something interesting to them that fulfilled their need momentarily for a glimpse of the supernatural realities around them. But they were not Jesus’. Effectively they knew nothing of His power or His work. The same power to heal the sick and free those in bondage that was available to His people was not available to them. All of the elements were in place for a successful ministry (just like all of my appliances were in good working order), but the most important thing was missing – the power of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Spirit. And because they lacked power, they failed!

                Can we really say that we don’t have a little bit of a problem in this area? Too many people sit in the pews of the church having assuaged their consciences by attending and giving, but they’ve missed the essential component to any and all worship services. I cannot help but to be in awe at the power of the preaching of the early church. They didn’t teach self-help philosophies. They taught the Lord’s death, resurrection, ascension, and return. And people were responding to that message by the 1000s. But today we have cushioned pews, microphones, video displays, talented musicians, educated ministers…and I’m afraid that we’re no closer to the truth of Jesus than these men were on the day they tried to cast out this demon in their own strength. Is that to say this is a universal problem in our church? Of course not! But I believe it is a problem. Our number one priority must be preaching and teaching the Gospel. Whatever we can teach beyond about practical aspects of living for the Lord is icing on the cake. But we cannot allow our church to have all of the working components in place without the life-giving power that only Christ’s Spirit can provide.

                So I’m asking you this as much as I ask myself this: are you in Christ Jesus? Now before you get angry with me for daring to ask such an audacious question, let me reassure your heart on a couple fronts. One, the fact you’re reading this likely means that you are already in Christ. No one would dare struggle through my pathetic words if there wasn’t some reward at the end. “Suffering for Jesus”…I know! NOT THAT MY WORDS ARE POWERFUL by any means, but reading this and other correspondence from the church simply reveals a heart that wants to be involved in everything the church is doing. But more importantly, the Scripture encourages us to ask those questions of ourselves. “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you are disqualified (2 Cor. 13:5). Paul is asking each of his readers to take a moment to be sure that they are Christ’s. And so I encourage you to do the same thing. Look into your heart and soul. There is only one person on earth who can know the status of your life in Christ – that’s you! I’m not talking about moral perfection or anything of the like. I’m talking about a deep down, abiding knowledge that you are your Redeemer’s and your Redeemer is yours. Only you can answer that question. And if you can’t answer it positively, then I encourage you to stop what you’re doing right now and turn to Him this very moment in faith. Call upon His name and He will by no means turn you away. He will heal your brokenness and emptiness right now. But you must call upon Him!

                So, I’m going to proceed from this point assuming that your life in Christ is right where it needs to be. Great! But that doesn’t mean that we’re removed from danger. This Friday night we learned how being separated from the power source even temporarily can have a significant impact on our lives. I mentioned that we had power at the church for a few hours after the power went out. The essential lights and a few outlets continued to have power available to them. The transformer outside the building actually held some power so that these emergency lights could be run. I’m sure it is a safeguard against anyone getting trapped inside a dark church if the power went out. (I will say that you don’t want to be in the stairwell though – no power there!) But that was a limited supply that needed to be built back up before it could function effectively again. And so every light depleted the reserve and there was nothing to resupply it. Eventually, everything failed. There was no power anywhere.

                Dear reader, being separated from Christ and His life-giving power is not good for us. And yet I see that pattern in my life recurring over and over again. Maybe it’s only one day that I don’t read. Maybe it’s multiple days of not reading and praying enough. Eventually you just run out of power. There’s nothing left in the tank for us to keep going effectively. We get tired and frustrated, and we begin to falter. The power source was there, but we’ve unplugged from it temporarily. And every minute, we deplete what is in our backup tank. Eventually we will be left empty and lifeless if we don’t reconnect. We’re all susceptible to wandering away from Christ. That’s not to excuse it, but it is to recognize it as a reality that we must fight against. When you find your reserve power supply low, stop what you’re doing right then and find your way back to the Lord. Hit your knees in prayer and open your Bible. I assure you He will meet you in your efforts to try to find Him again for we are told to “draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8a)”. Don’t wait if you believe yourself to be there right now. Turn around and walk in the pathways where you know God may be found. There are far too many of us that are running on spiritual fumes because we’ve supplanted Christ for Christianity. You need Him at the center of everything you are doing.

                We need His power if we are to make a difference in this world. The sons of Sceva failed because they didn’t even know who Jesus really was. So I can also assure you that we will fail if Christ is not center of everything that we do. We’re approaching the conclusion of another year together. Are we where we desire to be as a church and as individuals? More appropriately, are we where God wants us to be as individuals and as a church? We cannot change one aspect of our past; God forgives but the past is still the past. But we can make a decision now to be plugged in to our Lord the way He demands. We don’t have to enter another year as the same ol people and the same ol church. We can be different because Christ allows us to make a decision for Him each and every day. Our reserves are depleted and draining fast, but there is a Christ on the throne ready to supply us with power that will not only sustain us but also prosper us in the future He has for us. But we have to make the decision to come to Him. All the beauty and potential in the world doesn’t mean anything without power. Are you ready??

 

~Bro. Benjamin

 

SCRIPTURE CHALLENGE

What golden images did the Philistines create before they sent the Ark back to Israel?

 

 

 

Previous Postings                                                                           This Week's Sermons
December 12
December 5
November 28                                                                                           December 4 (AM)
November 14                                                                                          "Be Still and Know"
November 7                                                                                                Psalm 46:1-11
October 31                                                                                            
October 24                                                                            
October 10                                                                             November 26 (AM) - Rev. David Amburgey
October 3                                                                                         "Impossible" - Luke 1:26-28
September 19                                                                         
September 5
                                                                          November 26 (PM) - Bro. Johnny Amburgey
August 29                                                                                 "A Great Race" - 1 Corinthians 9:25-27
August 22                                                                                             
August 15                                                                                              December 13 (WED)
August 8                                                                                                    
Acts 5:29-42                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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If you need a copy of any sermon from the past, email Bro. Benjamin with the date and title of the message listed below.
We will be happy to send you a CD of the sermon. Additionally sermons are available through the "Multimedia" Page

December 17 (AM) "The Child that Adorns the Manger"--Luke 2:1-7
December 10 - ALL SERVICES CANCELED DUE TO SNOW
December 4 (AM) "Be Still and Know"--Psalm 46:1-11

November 26 (AM) "Impossible"--Luke 1:26-38 [Rev. David Amburgey]
November 26 (PM) "A Great Race"--1 Corinthians 9:25-27 [Bro. Johnny Amburgey]
November 19 (AM) "Great Reasons to Celebrate"--Psalm 100:1-5
November 12 (AM) "He Must Increase"--John 3:25-31
November 12 (PM) "What Paul Prays For, Part 1"--Ephesians 1:15-21
November 5 (AM) "Help Us to See More Clearly"--Mark 8:22-26
November 5 (PM) "The Best Thing"--Ephesians 1:13-14

October 29 (AM) "Help Us to See More Clearly, Introduction"--Mark 8:22-26
October 22 (AM) "Deal with the Planks"--Matthew 7:1-5
October 22 (PM) "More Good Stuff"--Ephesians 1:9-12
October 15 (AM) "The Most Important Victory"--Luke 10:17-20
October 15 (PM) "Who Did It?"--Matthew 21:28-32
October 8 (AM) "The Whole Armor of God, Part 2"--Ephesians 6:14-18
October 1 (AM) "The Whole Armor of God, Part 1"--Ephesians 6:14-18
October 1 (PM) "In Him"--Ephesians 1:7-8

September 24 (AM) "Uphold God's Man"--Exodus 17:8-13 [Rev. David Amburgey]
September 24 (PM) "The Call"--Mark 1:16-19 [Bro. Johnny Amburgey]
September 17 (AM) "Know Your Enemy"--Ephesians 6:10-13
September 17 (PM) "First Things First"--Ephesians 1:1-6
September 10 (AM) "An Army of One"--2 Samuel 23:11-12
September 10 (PM) "Refresh My Heart"--Philemon 20-25
September 3 (AM) "When Satan Touches You"--Job 1:6-12, Job 2:1-8, Luke 22:31-32, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

August 27 (AM) "He Really, Really Does Love Us"--1 John 4:9-11
August 27 (PM) "Put It on My Tab"--Philemon 17-19
August 13 (AM) "Godliness with Contentment"--1 Timothy 6:6-10
August 13 (PM) "A Brand New Man"--Philemon 12-16
August 6 (AM) "Calling All Sinners"--Matthew 9:9-13
August 6 (PM) "For Love's Sake"--Philemon 8-11

July 30 (AM) "Good Things Are Coming!"--Acts 3:17-21
July 30 (PM) "Accolades to Pursue"--Philemon 1-7
July 23 (AM) "Our 'Lot' in Life"--Genesis 19:1-29
July 16 (AM) "A Gospel You Can Trust"--2 Peter 1:16-21
July 16 (PM) "Take Heed"--Colossians 4:16-18
July 9 (AM) "Look Ahead"--Isaiah 43:18-19
July 2 (AM) "As Close As His Hands"--Isaiah 49:14-18

June 25 (AM) "Who is the REAL Lord of the Sabbath?"--Luke 6:1-5
June 25 (PM) "Paul's Supporting Cast"--Colossians 4:7-15
June 18 (AM) "Will the REAL Family of God Please Stand Up?"--Matthew 12:46-50
June 11 (AM) "When Opportunity Knocks"--Romans 12:17-21
June 11 (PM) "Watch Your Mouth!"--Colossians 4:2-6
June 4 (AM) "Walking in the Midst of Storms"--Matthew 14:22-33
June 4 (PM) "New Relationships for the New Man, Part #2"--Colossians 3:22-4:1

May 28 (AM) "Remember"--Luke 24:13-35
May 21 (AM) "The Effect Calvary Had"--John 19:16-20 [Bro. Larry Morelock]*
May 14 (AM) "Hope for the Future"--Genesis 3:20
May 7 (AM) "What We've Got, We Give"--Acts 3:1-10
May 7 (PM) "New Relationships for the New Man, Part #1"--Colossians 3:18-4:1

April 30 (AM) "God First"--Haggai 1:1-15
April 23 (AM) "Sheep Among Wolves"--Matthew 10:16-26
April 16 (AM) "Look Unto Jesus"--Hebrews 12:1-3
April 9 (AM) "But the Gift of God Is Eternal Life"--Romans 6:23
April 9 (PM) "Six Absolutes for the Christian's Life, Part 3"--Colossians 3:12-17
*April 2 (AM) "Forsaken"--Mark 15:33-34 [Bro. David Amburgey]
April 2 (PM) "Elements of Revival"--Ezekiel 37:1-10 [Bro. Louis Durbin]

March 26 (AM) "One Way or the Other"--Matthew 7:13-14
March 26 (PM) "Six Absolutes for the Christian's Life, Part 2"--Colossians 3:12-17
March 19 (AM) "The Only Cure for the Human Condition"--Luke 5:27-32
March 19 (PM) "Six Absolutes for the Christian's Life, Part 1"--Colossians 3:12-17
March 12 (AM) "He Really Does Care for You"--Matthew 10:29-31
March 12 (PM) "Put On the New Man"--Colossians 3:10-11
March 5 (AM) "The Keys to Salvation: Repentance & Faith, Part 2"--Mark 1:14-15; Galatians 3:5-9
March 5 (PM) "Put Off the Old You"--Colossians 3:8-9

February 26 (AM) "The Keys to Salvation: Repentance & Faith, Part 1"--Mark 1:14-15; Psalm 51:1-9
February 26 (PM) "Put Them Out of YOUR Misery"--Colossians 3:5-7
February 19 (AM) "Sufficient Grace"--2 Corinthians 12:1-10
February 19 (PM) "Look Up!"--Colossians 3:1-4
February 12 (AM) "We're ALL Part of Something Bigger"--1 Corinthians 12:12-27
February 5 (PM) "Free Really Does Mean Free"--Colossians 2:20-23

January 22 (AM) "Are You All In OR Not At All?"--John 6:60-71
January 22 (PM) "Christ: the True Substance of Our Life & Worship"--Colossians 2:16-19
January 15 (AM) "Practical Implications of Our Justification by Faith"--Romans 5:1-5
January 8 (AM) "Know Who You Are"--Philippians 2:12-18
January 1 (AM) "Just One"--John 1:40-51

*Recording Unavailable

 
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2016!
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2015!
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2014!

Click here for a list of available sermons from 2013!
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2012!
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2011! 

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About Our Pastor
 
 
Bro. Benjamin Miller began his ministry at Shallowford Free Will Baptist Church in August, 2011. Prior to pastoring our church, Bro. Benjamin pastored at New Home FWB in Colquitt, GA. He received his B.A. in History from Welch College (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College) in Nashville, TN. He then received his M.A. in Biblical Studies from Lipscomb University, a Church of Christ graduate school in Nashville. Bro. Benjamin enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and fellowshipping with the people of the church. He is a HUGE Braves fan! Our pastor has dedicated himself to becoming a student of the Word and to preaching the Word with passion, integrity, and real-life applications.
 
Bro. Benjamin married Jara in June 2002. She is a special educator at Mount Bethel Elementary School here in Marietta. She is a tremendous part of his life and quite active in our church. 
 
They had their first son, Thomas, in June 2008. Thomas was born prematurely, and is a testimony to God's amazing grace and provision. He is now a 3rd grader, and does well in school. His greatest ability is to reach out to those in his class in concern and in love.
 
Bro. Benjamin and Sis. Jara welcomed Nathanael in March, 2014. His name means "given by God" and he is absolute reminder of God's ability to bless individuals beyond measure.
 
We hope you'll take the opportunity to get to know our pastoral family!