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When God is present in us, it should be evident.

Like many of you, I have been experiencing a heap of stress lately; I’m feeling it from school, work, and even my wife (really, only from her because of what I see my stress doing to her!). I left my office recently, and told Linda, “If anyone is looking for me this afternoon, tell them they probably don’t want to talk to me right now!” I was tired, aggravated, yes—stressed. I was not in a good mood to relate to others. I also said to Linda, “I don’t think Leslie is even going to want to be around me today!” But, Leslie, being the good sport that she is, endured me for a weekend getaway. It was good for everybody!! One of the things I notice that stress does to me is make me even more selfish (self-centered) than usual. The bad thing is, I don’t need the extra stress to be selfish—the normal me is bad enough—it’s just built in to my fallen condition. It’s built into all of us.

In Eph. 4:28-32, Paul offers some words that hit hard at this condition. Several things are mentioned that, at first glance, don’t seem to connect. But, looking closer, I think they do. First, he says, “He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need” (v28). Remember: Paul has told them they are not to live like they used to because they have been changed by Christ. Thus, stealing must have been something they used to have done, but should do no longer. Obviously, people ought to work so that they can make a living for themselves, but notice the specific point Paul makes about it. He says, do it, so that you will have something to share with others in need. That is a very unselfish reason to work. Does that ever factor into your reasons for working? What would that do to our churches, and even our society, if we all worked with that mind-set as a significant part of our motivations. The second thing Paul says is, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (v29). Not only what we do (work) should have some benefit for others, but also the things we say. Sometimes, we as Christians appease our consciences by thinking that if we just don’t use profanity that we’re OK on this. In my years in ministry, I have heard some of the most hateful and destructive words come out of the mouths of those who claim to be Christians. Now, I know that this can happen with all of us on occasion, particularly when we are under pressure (as I mentioned before), but we sure don’t want this kind of thing to be the bent of our lives. We’ve all heard the term ‘fake news,’ floating around. That is false news being passed off as the real thing. Well, there are ‘fake Christians’ as well. They are professing believers living strictly in their own power, because that’s all they have. They’ve never encountered, been forgiven, changed, indwelt, and energized by God. The real Christian life is not natural, it is supernatural. It can only be lived through the power given by God. Paul describes in Gal. 5 the differences between those who are empowered by the Spirit of God and those who are not. The differences are frightful…and telling! Fake Christians can’t help it, but real Christians can also lapse into living in our own strength. When God is present in us, it should be evident. If it is not evident, maybe we should pause and ask ourselves, “Who is it that I really serve?” If it is not evident, it makes people wonder about the validity of our profession, and it really should make us examine ourselves. When it is evident, God is much glorified, people will know it, and we’re a lot more fun to be around! Let’s live like who we are in Christ, not like who we were.

Now, to practice what I’ve just preached…

MM

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Hope WRC 2017 Annual Fundraising Banquets

Hope WRC's 2017 Annual Fundraising Banquets will be held Monday, November 13th, in Stuttgart, AR at Park Avenue Missionary Baptist Church; Tuesday, November 14th, in McGehee, AR at McGehee Men's Club; and Thursday, November 16th, in Pine Bluff, AR at Watson Chapel Baptist Church.

Attend one of our gala events to eat a great meal, listen to a knowledgeable speaker and get up-to-date information about what Hope WRC is accomplishing in our communities. Don't miss out!

The keynote speaker, Kirk Walden, author of The Wall, is a former pregnancy help center director and an Advancement Specialist for Heartbeat International, the world’s largest supporting organization for the pregnancy help community. He is also a humorist, writer, and even a one-time professional golfer. Kirk comes to us from Nashville, Tenn., and we look forward to his unique perspective on the future of our ministry. http://www.kirkwalden.com/

To register to attend you can call 870-535-0811 or go to www.supporthope.org/events.

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HBA News

s Please pray for the following Pastorless Churches: Gould First; Grady First; Kingsland First; Matthews Memorial; and Sulphur Springs.

s  Harmony Baptist Association celebrated their 100th annual session Monday, October 23rd. White Hall First Baptist Church hosted the meeting. There were over 120 in attendance. Music was led by Bob Bailey, Minister of Worship at WHFBC and the First Baptist Church White Hall Worship Ministry. Reports were given by Darrel Ray of the ABSC, Debra Burchfield, Harvey Hibner, and Tee Uzoigwe. A video message was given by Dr. Bob Harper, ABSC Missions Team Leader and former Moderator and Pastor of Harmony Baptist Association. Former Associational Missionary Dewayne Tanton brought the celebration message. Rev. Josh Blevins, Pastor of Shannon Road Baptist Church is now our new moderator. Rev. Danny Allen, Pastor of Rison Baptist Church, was elected to be the new vice-moderator. Thank you for the privilege of serving in ministry. We look forward to what God has in store for us in the next 100 years.

s  Harmony Association Office will be closed for Thanksgiving Holiday November 22-24.

s  The Annual Harmony Christmas Fellowship will be held on Thursday, December 7th, at Shannon Road Baptist Church.

s There will be no Executive Board Meeting in November. The next Executive Board Meeting will be held Tuesday, December 12th at New Fellowship Baptist Church, 3706 S. Cherry Street,  in Pine Bluff.

s Hope Women's Resource Center is looking to hire a Client Services Assistant. For more information contact Debra Burchfield at 870-535-0811 or check their website supporthope.org.

 

In everything give THANKS! 1 Thessalonians 5:18

We thank God for you all! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

 

 

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