Shallowford Free Will Baptist
Friday, July 20, 2018
For the Glory of Christ Alone
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What Is the Most Important Part of Our Church Vision?
 
 





Pastor's Page

 
                                                                                                                                                                                  July 17, 2018

 

And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.

~Luke 14:14

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                I want to extend a great big, heartfelt “thank you” to each and every one of you who participated in our First Responders’ lunch this past Sunday. I’m not sure of the exact totals, but I believe we were able to feed somewhere around 50 firemen, police, and EMTs. Additionally we took 3 pans of pulled pork with buns to a few stations, including a GA State Patrol station. You did that – Shallowford Church did that! And we did it for the Lord.

                Someone might be inclined to ask why we’ve done that and what we hope to gain from it. Well, we did it for the Lord…and that is its own reward I think. Paul says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Col. 3:23). Our actions serve the Lord first and foremost. These men and women serve us in our communities. They are underpaid, overworked, and underappreciated. Furthermore when they do their jobs well, they’re more likely to incur the wrath of individuals than to receive their gratitude. How many of us would ever say with INTEGRITY, “Well, thank you, officer, for keeping me safe by writing me this ticket so that I will slow down?” Of course not! We’ll get mad! And that is the most likely response to them in that situation. But they keep doing what they do…and thank God for that. And so we wanted to honor them as a church, and I believe that we did.

                I had the chance to sit down with a Battalion Chief with the Fire Department and ask him what we could do for him as a community of believers. He said, “You are.” He went on to explain that they rarely ever get opportunities to see folks from other fire stations and even less frequently do they see personnel from other departments. It was good just to be able to sit back in a relaxed environment and have that fellowship that increases their brotherhood. They are paid to do their jobs…and they craze fellowship above all else. Standing against the tide of public opinion at times they just want the company of those who understand the struggle and can encourage them mutually in the fight. Wow! What an analogy to remind us of how much we as a church NEED the fellowship of the body of Christ as we stand against the swell of public opinion and fight the good fight.

                But I suppose the obvious question that needs answering is what we hope to gain out of the event. What’s in it for us as a church? Let me point out a couple practical realities before I get into what is really the most important thing. First, we’ve improved our relationships in the community. To the brave troopers who stood out at the road with a sign and waved at passersby, you let them all know that Shallowford is not dead. We are active and involved in the community, and we care about folks. There were a few honks, a few waves, and quite a few who ignored us…but they cannot help but to realize that we’re there as part of this community. The odds are that somewhere along the line someone will say, “Let’s try that church out because we saw them…” On the side of the road, at the food pantry, at a community egg hunt, at a back to school function? No idea what it will be or when it will be or who it will be, but the odds are that there will be some who respond to those efforts.

                But we’ve also increased our connectedness with the business community around us. When I was looking for the meat for this event, I checked with the local Kroger and the butts were $2.99/lb, and then we would have to cook them ourselves. I reached out to see if Bubba-Q in Woodstock could order the meat a little cheaper from their distributor. When the owner found out the reason we needed the meat, he quoted me a price of $1.49/lb AND he said he would be happy to smoke the meat for free! Those folks went above and beyond, even donating pans so that we could carry the meat back to the church. We developed a relationship with a community business that helped us perform the work of the Lord! I don’t take that for granted. There have been a few of those organizations through the years that have stepped in to help us fulfill our roles in the Great Commission. Every time that happens, every time we thank them for their service, we increase our favor in the community and increase the impact of the Gospel ministry in this community. That is a really, really good thing. By the way, I encourage you to go by and get you a BBQ sandwich from Bubba-Q and then go watch a good movie at the local GA Theater. They’ve taken care of us; let’s take care of them too! J

                Those are just a couple tangible results from our efforts, but the primary reason we do what we do occurs in a realm that we cannot see except with eyes of faith. The Lord tells us in the passage above that “they cannot repay you.” Who is they? They’re the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind. They’re the people of the world who are often forgotten and ignored. And yet loving people host a meal for them to honor their lives and to make them feel important. Jesus says, “Don’t invite the folks that can pay you back. Invite the folks that cannot.” Why? Because it leaves little room for any motivations except to do what God wants you to do. My motivations are corrupted at times because I want to see this church prosper. I want us to grow. I want us to have plenty of money for ministry expenses and such. And so I find myself at times working to try to make THAT happen rather than to fulfill only what the Lord wants out of us. What we do must be done for His glory and for no other reason. To minister to those who cannot repay you shows our devotion to His purposes alone.

                To minister to people who cannot repay you also allows us to experience the Lord’s heart and passion for people. All too often a person approaches another with the anticipation that they will get something in return. And value is earned based on what we are able to give. We receive quite a few calls here at the office each week wanting something from the church…but not the Gospel. I remember getting a call from a vendor one time about wanting to give us an estimate on a particular service for the church. The quote would be “no obligation” and 100% free. I told them the likelihood we would use their services was nearly non-existent, but if they wanted to see, they were welcome. So I stayed on  the phone for a few more minutes listening to what they could do for our church and giving them information. Name, address, telephone number…and finally the church size. I told him we were averaging around 50 now. And he said, “50? Mr. Miller, I am so sorry, but I have wasted your time. Your church is much too small.” I laughed and said, “Wow! Did you seriously just say that to me?” I hope and pray that the Lord will bless us with another opportunity to speak when we are big enough. There’s still a little meanness in my heart that I need to be delivered from because I look forward to saying “no” to that company!

                So many times we enter into a situation wondering what we will get in return, but the Lord enters every relationship seeking only to love that person and to create them according to His divine purposes. Faith says yes, but the work of the Lord is His work from front to back. And that work is initiated simply because He loves that person unconditionally and irrespective of what they can do for Him. Can we honestly say the same thing about our church and her motivations? I’ve admitted to you that I often have to check my motivations because I make it about the church and not about God, but what about you personally? The Gospel is a message of grace to the least deserving, most defiled people in the world. That includes you and me. But are we operating in that kind of love and grace in our ministry in this community? When visitors come into our fellowship, do they feel love and concern…or do they sense our anxiety and disapproval? “They can’t repay you,” Jesus says. So what will you do knowing that they can’t? Will you love that person, those people, and this community enough to do what you do for the Lord…even if it never shows tangible results in this life?

                But Jesus doesn’t say that we won’t be repaid. He simply says THEY cannot repay you. But the Lord Jesus Christ fulfills His debts to His people. He says that you WILL be repaid at the resurrection of the just. Who will repay? God will. When will He repay? At the resurrection of the just. When you and I reach that state of eternal bliss, all of the sacrifices we’ve made in this world will be worth it. Eternity is what we’re working towards. In that place there is meaning and purpose and happiness and joy. There is satisfaction in knowing that nothing in this world can displace the rewards we’ve accumulated in the age to come. And it is sure and certain because God Himself promises it. The one thing that can’t be guaranteed is whether we will respond in obedience or not. Will we? Will you? Suppose for a minute that you entered into eternity tomorrow. You meet Jesus face to face. How would He view your deeds – with approval or with dismay? Suppose you had lived your life on earth as faithful as you possibly could, but never seeing tangible results for your efforts. What if you said to Jesus, “Lord, I did my best, but nothing came from it.” Maybe the Lord would smile at you, step aside, and let a line of people come up to you to thank you personally for your sacrifices on their behalf. Maybe there would be people there you never expected who had been impacted eternally because of something you did on the earth. They had no time to say it then, but in eternity they can make sure you feel their gratitude. Would that be worth it – to hear them say “thank you for loving me”?

                That’s why we do what we do – love for the Lord and love for people. In that order, and without compromise. To that we must dedicate ourselves. I don’t know what tangible results that this will yield, but I know that it is the right way. But by faith I trust that when our actions and our motivations are appropriate, the Lord will fulfill and uphold His role of blessing us with the right kinds of blessings for our church. I encourage your spirits together with mine on this journey. I saw a spirit of joy and genuine happiness in the faces of those who were here Sunday afternoon. It was work, but everyone seemed to love doing it for the Lord. I believe the Lord will honor that heart in us all if we continue that. So let us labor together to do on His behalf for those who have no obligation or opportunity to do for us. Let us, together, love Him and love our neighbors as ourselves. And let us all receive His approval and favor upon our lives and upon our work! Have a blessed week!

 

~Your Old Pastor…


 

Previous Postings                                                                  This Week's Sermons
July 17
July 3
                                                                                               July 15 (AM)
June 12                                                                 
"To the Least of These: A Lowly Fisherman"
June 5                                                                                               Luke 5:1-11
May 22                                                                                            
May 15                                                                                      
May 8                                                                                                
May 1                                                                                       

April 24                                                                                        
April 17                                                                                                                        
April 10                                                                                            July 18 (WED)
March 27                                                                                          Acts 13:1-12
March 20                                                                                       
March 14                                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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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

July 15 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Lowly Fisherman"--Luke 5:1-11
July 8 (AM) "To the Least of These: Peter's Mother-in-Law"--Luke 4:38-39
July 8 (PM) "No Longer Children"--Ephesians 4:14-15
July 1 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Demoniac"--Luke 4:31-37
July 1 (PM) "You Have a Place; You Have a Purpose"--Ephesians 4:11-16
 
June 24 (AM) "The Fruitless Tree"--Luke 13:6-9 - Rev. David Amburgey
June 24 (PM) "Becoming a Hero in the Faith"--Galatians 5:22-23 - Bro. Johnny Amburgey
June 17 (AM) "To the Least of These: Joseph"--Matthew 1:18-25
June 10 (AM) "To the Least of These: Mary"--Luke 1:26-38
June 10 (PM) "Leading Captivity Captive"--Ephesians 4:7-10
June 3 (AM) "With Us in the Fires"--Daniel 3:13-30
June 3 (PM) "One in Christ"--Ephesians 4:1-6
 
May 20 (AM) "New Testament Christians"--1 John 2:12-17 - Rev. Ronald Wallace
May 20 (AM) "More Than We Could Ever Imagine"--Ephesians 3:20-21
May 13 (AM) "Moms After God's Own Heart"--Hosea 11:1-11
May 6 (AM) "Great Grace for the Least of These"--Matthew 9:9-13
May 6 (PM) "Becoming the Church"--Ephesians 3:14-19

April 29 (AM) "When You're Tempted to Worry"--Psalm 37:1-9
April 22 (AM) "Can You See His Face?"--Luke 22:54-62
April 22 (PM) "Grace Is Worth It All!"--Ephesians 3:8-13
April 15 (AM) "What's It Really About?"--Mark 3:1-6
April 15 (PM) "The Way Is Open!"--Ephesians 3:1-7
April 8 (AM) "Is Salvation Fair?"--Matthew 20:1-16
April 8 (PM) "The Greatest in the Kingdom"--Matthew 20:20-28
April 1 (AM) "The Resurrection & the Life"--John 11:1-44
April 1 (PM) "Today in Paradise"--Luke 23:39-43
 
March 25 (AM) "It Is Finished"--John 19:29-30
March 18 (AM)
"Father, Forgive Them"--Luke 23:32-38
March 18 (PM) "I Thirst"--John 19:28-29
March 11 (AM)
"Forsaken for Us"--Mark 15:34
March 11 (PM)
"We Are the Church"--Ephesians 19-22
March 4 (AM) "If It Be Possible..."--Matthew 26:36-47
March 4 (PM) "The Peace of Christ"--Ephesians 2:14-18

February 25 (PM) "Remember Who You Were"--Ephesians 2:11-13
February 11 (AM) "Faith Is a Family Affair"--Deuteronomy 6:1-9
February 11 (PM) "There Are NO Inactive Church Members"--Ephesians 2:8-10
February 4 (AM) "The Glory of Christ"--Matthew 17:1-8
February 4 (PM) "Prepositional Christianity"--Ephesians 2:8-10
 
January 28 (AM) "Lord of All Creation"--Psalm 102:25-28
January 28 (PM) "Great Reasons to Be Thankful"--Ephesians 2:1-7
January 21 (AM) "I See the Lord"--Isaiah 6:1-6
January 21 (PM) "All in All"--Ephesians 1:22-23
January 14 (AM) "Let's Make 2018 All About Him"--Proverbs 3:5-6
January 14 (PM) "What Paul Prays For, Part 2"--Ephesians 1:15-21
January 7 (AM) "Time to Start Over"--2 Corinthians 5:14-21
January 7 (PM) "What Paul Prays For"--Ephesians 1:15-21
 
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2017!
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!