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FBCF Youth Snow Days


Today and tomorrow (and maybe more) there were Snow Days from school, so that means Youth hangouts! Here are a few pics from our trip to Cherokee Park. If you are bored this week and want to hang out with us, call one of the youth or call/text me and we’ll hook up and have a blast!

‘Hank



DNow “Resolved” Recap


This year’s Disciple Now officially came to an end yesterday morning. Not only did the 3 inches of snow not stop us, it was just another addition to an absolutely awesome weekend! Our Youth group turned out in force on Friday afternoon for a DNow weekend that showed us that God is resolved to save sinners by the person and work of Jesus Christ, and that because of the power of God’s spirit within us, Christians can and should be resolved to follow Him with all our hearts.

The Lord showed himself gracious yet again with providing amazing small group leaders to lead the small group Bible studies at our host homes, and powerful teaching and preaching by our weekend’s speakers. Our worship time with the band was convicting and humbling as we considered that “What we proclaim is not ourselves”, and our service opportunity at the homeless shelter was a great opportunity to put that to practice. Many youth shared their excitement over what God had begun to do in their hearts this weekend, and all of us were encouraged to see the power of God at work through the study of His Word.

The good news for us is that God not only works on DNow weekends (of course), but has been at work from eternity past, beginning, continuing, and eventually finishing the good work that he has purposed to do in us. There is nothing more awesome than a God like our God, and there is no hope like the hope that He has given us in Jesus Christ. “Thank you Lord, that you resolved to save sinners at your cross. Amen.”

(For more pictures click here and there are more coming soon!)

‘Hank



strangers & aliens…no more.


The book of Ephesians, chapter 2 is one of those chapters in Scripture that pierces your heart, and then binds you up all at the same time. The Apostle Paul does this kind of thing will many of his letters. First he wants us to see the brokenness of ourselves and our sins, because only then can we truly see the perfection and perfect gift of a Savior in Jesus Christ. Here’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. Oh man, so good…

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands– remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:1-22)

On that note, here’s a little free flow, free verse for your free time in honor of the free gift of everlasting life in Christ Jesus our freedom fighter.

===

what it is?
i’ll tell you what it is.
it’s rough stuff guys.
we’re in it deep, and we’re as dead as can be.
all that service of sin has yielded its wages, and its a payment we’d rather not receive.
go ahead and call us all Lazarus, cause we died a long time ago.
our king was ourselves, and our sin.
our prince, yeah – he’s known as the power of the air.
our status: children of wrath, sons of disobedience.
our hope: no hope and without God in the world.

what it do?
wrong question.
Who it do? that’s better.
what it is, has been changed by Who it do.
the Who, is Him. the God who said this is what it is “but”
but what? but who?
But a rich God of mercy.
But a gracious gift of God.
But a hostility breaker.
But a de-alienator.
But an atonement maker.
But a justifier.
But a sacrificer.
But the Who it is, changed the what it is, by the what He did.

now we –
brought near, blood stained and smiling
jew-ing and gentile-ling
our Savior reconciling
atoning for our defiling
by Spirit-ually applying
His dying
to my dead soul.

now that’s what it is.
and Christ is Who it do.
you feel me?

(W.Hank Balch (c) Nov 2007)



“You are a mist…”


“yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”  -James 4:14

These past few weeks have been very heavy and intense.  The Gospel seems very real to me these days.  Two weeks ago Carla Carnes (our pastor’s wife’s sister) passed away totally unexpectedly when she had appeared to be in great health. The doctors had no explanation.  A few days ago, a fifteen year old local high school football player died from heat exhaustion after a practice. There is no explanation.  And earlier this week, a 79 year old gentleman I know was only remaining alive due to life support so the family decided to take him off all support. Once they did, to the dismay of the doctors, he did not pass. He has since improved steadily and has been sent home. The doctors are amazed and have no explanation.

Life is short, hell is sure, and redemption through Jesus is sufficient.

Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Hebrews 3:15 “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”



Olympics & Jesus!


If you’re like me, then you have spent the recent days falling asleep and waking up to the Olympics.  I love the Olympics!  I feel like I can’t get enough of ‘em.  And there are many reasons why I feel this way which I will not discuss now. But one thought that I cannot get out of my head since the Olympics began is “what is Jesus thinking about these Olympic Games?”

I mean seriously, what is Jesus thinking about this?

I tend to think that Christ has an interest in them…and here is why.

Where else in all the world can you find countless different peoples and languages and cultures mixed all together in one single area interacting together?  Where else are there 200+ countries and territories gathered in one place with the rest of the world watching them?   Nowhere.

Think about this.  For these quick two weeks, you and me and everyone else who is keeping up is being exposed more than any other time in four years to so many unique and interesting flags and people and traditions and looks.  It is fascinating.  I have not thought about Angola in years, and we’re about to play them in basketball.  I never knew Chinese men were so huge and ripped and muscular, and they are winning gold medal after gold medal in gymnastics.  And I have never even heard of Azerbaijan, Andorra, or Brunei.  This is incredible.  If it were not for the Olympics I would not even know of these places.

And now that I do…here is what I’m thinking (and this is why I’m writing)…Christ’ blood has purchased people from every last one of those places!  Jesus must have an interest in the Olympics!

You see,  most of us who aren’t as up to date on geography really struggle or fail to comprehend the fullness of God and His redemptive work!  Of course we know that Heaven is going to be full of all types, but that usually means blacks and whites and others, and english-speakers, spanish-speakers and others.  We fail to realize or remember that that means people from Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Andorra, Angola, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, & Azerbaijan (just to name the ’A’s).  And the Olympics reminds me of that.  In fact, the Olympics not only remind me of that.  They give me a picture of that. On TV this week I have seen so many different looking people who speak so many different languages who come from so many different places and cultures.

And Christ is so in tuned with all of that!  Jesus is no more American than He is Azerbaijan…and I have never even heard of that place.  How awesome is that!  Its too awesome!  Jesus is so complex, yet so simple.  He loves me, little ol’ me, Josh Greene. He knows slang english from southern USA.  I pray to Him daily in that language, and I read His Word daily in that language.  But He also knows Arabic, Mandarin, French, and whatever they speak and read in Azerbaijan.  And people daily pray to Him in those languages too and read His word daily in those languages too. And its not a problem at all for Christ. He planned it that way.  Jesus is amazing! Jesus is wonderful! The Olympics teach me that!

Jesus may very well take interest in the Olympics. And thats neat to think about,  But let us not forget He doesn’t take delight in them.  He loves the diversity of all the peoples in the world being together in one place.  But He isn’t glorified by them simply being there. No, He’s not.

He’s delighted when people humbly bow and worship Him because they know that He has taken their place in death and punishment.  He’s glorified when people believe in His death as a redeeming sacrifice for them. He’s worshipped when people joyfully accept His gracious love and forgiveness.

And there’s going to be a time when similar to the Olympics all peoples will be gathered together again.

The Olympics remind me of that time when all the peoples of the world will be assembled together, literally all the peoples. And they won’t just be there together, no they will be worshipping together.  And it may not be on a fourth year.  Its the future scene that John sees in between the openings of the 6th and 7th seals by the slain Lamb in the book of Revelation.  Its the scene where John looks and sees “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all the tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!””

That’s right!  Salvation belongs to Jesus, and one day every single type of human being EVER will humbly, joyfully, and mightily cry it out!

To speak an understatement, That will be awesome! The Olympics may be the closest thing to what that consummate moment will look like, (not be like for there is not and never will be anything like that) but it may be the closest thing to what it will look like.  All the different peoples gathered together in one place.  The Olympics have taught me and reminded me of that.  I thank God for the Olympics!

And as that large multitude says at another time “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!”

I can’t wait to be there!



What I’ve learned from Whitney Houston!


Growing up in the ’80s, I can remember those days when my mom would be cleaning house and playing the stereo so loudly that she could hear it over the vaccuum cleaner.  As I laid on the couch never thinking to help her, I would attempt to turn the TV up even louder so that I could still hear SportsCenter over Mom’s blasting stereo and vaccuum.  Well since then, a lot about me has changed.  I think ( i sure hope) now that I would vaccuum for my mom and allow her to rest. 

But one thing I remember clearly from those days is one of the songs my mom played so loudly.  Its been 23 years (1985) since Whitney Houston put out that great song “Greatest Love of All” and somehow I still know all the lyrics. 

What I learned though comes from the first line “I believe that children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.”  I agree with this line of the song.  Children are our future.  They are the future of our families, future of our country, future of our schools, and future of our churches.  The things we treasure and stand for now are totally dependent in the future upon the next generation. And I am mostly writing concerning our churches, our faith.  We must, absolutely must, we gotta, we have to, teach them well and show them how to lead the way.  If not, our churches will fall to laziness, half-heartedness, apathy, and indifference.

Over the last five years, God has really impressed this truth upon my heart. Young people are so important.  May we not overlook them. Please do not overlook them or minimize them or underestimate them. Remember, Paul wrote to Timothy encouraging him to “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” …in his youth.

I hope we believe that children are our future and that you will work to teach them well and let them lead the way.

-J Greene


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