From the Pastor's Desk
Friends One of my highest honors is to be addressed as pastor. I count it a privilege to serve as the pastor of Beulah Baptist Church in Fruitland FL. The term "pastor", in the Baptist Church is one of two offices the church, deacon being the other, and is considered synonymous with "elder" or "bishop.” I am pleased to serve with the other servants of the church at Beulah. The pastor gives the sermons the majority of the time and It is my great pleasure to preach and to teach. As the leader of the congregation, the pastor also gives advice and counsel to people from the community or congregation. I am thankful for the opportunities afforded to me. I look forward to serving this great congratulation and community. Please do not hesitate to call me
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A Note From the Pastor
The Story Money Tells Jesus did not and does not call all his disciples to give away their last pennies. But he also knows that none of us can enthrone the true God unless in the process we dethrone our other gods. If Christ is not Lord over our money and possessions, then he is not our Lord. The principle is timeless: There is a powerful relationship between our true spiritual condition and our attitude and actions concerning money and possessions. The early church exemplifies this connection. The depth of transformation in the early Christians was clearly evident in their willingness to surrender their money and possessions to meet each others’ needs. 32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common. 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. (Acts 4:32-35). It was no more natural for these Christians to cheerfully liquidate and disburse assets they had spent their lives accumulating than it would be for us. And that’s the whole point. Conversion and the filling of the Holy Spirit are supernatural experiences that produce supernatural responses—whether in the first century or the twenty-first. Although private ownership of property was still practiced by the early Christians, the joyful giving and sharing of this property became the new norm of supernatural living. The study of the early church, the poor widow, the rich fool, Zaccheus, the rich young ruler, and many other Bible characters shows that our handling of money is a litmus test of our true character. It’s an index of our spiritual life. The stewardship of our money and possessions becomes the story of our lives. If this is true of all people in all ages, doesn’t it have a special application to us who live in a time and place of unparalleled affluence; who live in a country where the “poverty level” exceeds the average standard of living of nearly every other society in human history, past or present? If you have sufficient food, decent clothes, live in a home that shields you from the weather, and own some kind of reliable transportation, you’re in the top 15 percent of the world’s wealth. Add some savings, two cars (in any condition), a variety of clothes, and your own house, and you have reached the top 5 percent. You may not feel wealthy, but that’s only because you’re comparing yourself to the mega-wealthy. Consider someone who works from age twenty-five to sixty-five and makes only $25,000 a year. Forget the huge value of benefits provided, interest earned, pay raises, and other income sources, including inheritance or Social Security. Even without these extras, in his lifetime this person of modest income will be paid a million dollars. He will manage a fortune. Because we all will eventually give an account of our lives to God, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10), one day everyone must answer these questions: Where did it all go? What did I spend it on? What, if anything, did I give it to support? What has been accomplished for eternity through my use of all this wealth? We will be held accountable for what we do in this life, including what we do with our money. If we are generous with our possessions and faithful in our service, God will reward us beyond our imagination! If we live only for ourselves, hoarding our money and focusing on our earthly comfort, we will lose the eternal rewards God had planned for us. As Christians, we are saved by God’s grace—but what we do in this life will matter for eternity. This is the law of rewards: While our faith determines our eternal destination, our behavior determines our eternal rewards. In the account of the poor widow, Mark writes, “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury” (Mark 12:41). Notice that it doesn’t say, “Jesus happened to see . . .” No, he deliberately watched to observe what people were giving. How close was Jesus to the offering box? Close enough to see that some people put in large amounts. Close enough even to see two tiny coins in a shriveled old hand and to identify them as copper. Jesus was interested enough in what people were giving to make an object lesson for his disciples. This passage should make all of us who suppose that what we do with our money is our own business feel terribly uncomfortable. It’s painfully apparent that God considers it his business. He does not apologize for watching with intense interest what we do with the money he’s entrusted to us. If we use our imagination, we might peer into the invisible realm to see him gathering some of his subjects together this very moment. Perhaps you can hear him using your handling of finances as an object lesson. The question is this: What kind of example are you?