Shallowford Free Will Baptist
Monday, October 22, 2018
For the Glory of Christ Alone
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What Is the Most Important Part of Our Church Vision?
 
 





Pastor's Page

 
                                                                                                                                                                                  October 16, 2018

 

Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,

supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

~Acts 14:19-20

 

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               Our Wednesday night Bible studies have proven to be quite valuable to me. When I prepare for a lesson or a sermon, I am essentially preparing for myself. I need to be able to hear what the Word is saying and to understand it as best as I can before I can adequately teach or reveal that to someone else. It is my responsibility as a pastor to equip the saints for the work of the ministry and to edify the body (Ephesians 4:12). But that will not happen if we are not first holding fast the pattern of sound words from the scriptures (2 Tim. 1:13). I try and hear the Word speaking to my heart and my circumstances before I start trying to help others understand it. And so I find myself growing more as I prepare to teach more. I start with myself.
               This passage is one that I can relate to, and I want to help you relate to it as well. For those of you who are with us on most Wednesday nights, this will be a refresher on some aspects of this story. It will be new ground for other. But I pray it is beneficial to each of us. Paul and Barnabas have made their way to the region of Lystra in Acts 14. Lystra is a city that is totally entrenched in the mythology of the Greek gods. The temple of Zeus greeted visitors on their way into the city; sacrifices and offerings to the gods were excessive. Legend and superstition drove the people to honor the gods as best they could with no real guarantees that the gods would heed their efforts. One particular legend taught the people that Zeus and Hermes had once descended to the earth in human form, but they were rejected by the multitudes in the village. Only a husband and wife team (Philemon and Bacius) would open their homes to receive the wandering gods. Judgment poured from Zeus’ wrath upon the entire village, but the husband and wife were honored to become guardians of the temple in their homes. So the people believed it entirely possible that the Greek gods could walk among the people in human form. And here were Paul and Barnabas, imbued with divine strength to be able to heal a crippled man (vv. 8-10). There was no mention of Jesus’ name so the people assumed that Paul and Barnabas were gods in their own right. Word spread to the Temple in a language that neither apostle understood. Eventually the temple of Zeus began to empty as offerings were brought and laid at the feel of the missionaries. Paul and Barnabas reacted STRONGLY to this idolatry. “Turn to the living God,” they preached, but the people were barely restrained from making sacrifices to them. Meanwhile the unbelieving Jews helped to turn public sentiment against Paul and Barnabas. The people seized Paul, dragged him out of the city, and proceeded to stone him to death. And then the people of God show up!
               It is the presence of the people of God that I wanted to take a few moments to focus on this week. The people of the city thought that they had killed Paul, but the church rallied around him. In my mind I can see the small group of believers huddled around his bleeding, ailing body and willing him back to health. Notice first that the church is not afraid of persecution. The same forces that stood against Paul would also stand against them. It would have been expedient for the church to stand silently to the side and let what happened happen. But they stepped forward and associated with their brother. Personal safety was not nearly as important as their corporate identity as the people of God. They stood WITH their brother when times got tough. They did not abandon him nor the work in the times of trial. I wonder what would happen if the world could witness a totally united church. What if Baptists and Free Will Baptists stood arm in arm with Methodists and Lutherans to show their solidarity and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to this lost world? Mankind would gladly do to one what they would not dare to do to fifty. Will the Lord find His people standing together in the hard times?
               Secondly, I wonder if the church rallied around Paul and PREVENTED his death. Could it be that the stones were continuing to be hurled when out of the crowd came members of Christ’s body to stand with the broken apostle? Imagine the scene. At first one person steps forward to cover Paul’s body with his own. The rocks begin to bounce off of his flesh when another steps forward to help shield. And then 5, and then 10. Who knows how many people stepped forward! I’m not entirely sure that they even stood between Paul and the stones, but there is a significant application is they did. They sent a message to the world that the church loves and cares for her hurting. Brothers and sisters, we still need to send the same message today. When attacks come from the enemy, let us stand in the gap with our wounded brethren and cover them with our lives. And yes, even when our brothers or sisters falter, let us show our love and grace and mercy in covering their weakness with our strength as Christ has done for us. There was no foothold for the enemy in Lystra on this day. The church was too bold and too powerful. They dispersed and left Paul wounded…but very much alive!
               Lastly, don’t miss the profound impact that the church had upon their leader. Paul was there on the ground, bleeding and broken, hovering over the knife’s edge of death. A shadow came over him and perhaps he thought, “This is the end, Lord.” But his vision did not see the gnashing teeth of an enemy. No, it was the face of a brother in Christ. And then another. And then another, until they were surrounding him with their love and concern. Perhaps they began praying in the Spirit for his wellbeing. Maybe they offered a few lines of praise in song to God. But something happened to Paul on that ground in the midst of that gathering of believers. Strength began to surge into his brokenness. Suddenly his frailty was not nearly as powerful as the Gospel ministry that had saved the souls of these now gathered around him. Righteous indignation flared within his eyes reigniting that beacon of hope and determination. I can see Paul – rolling to his stomach as he pushes his fists into the ground. Grimacing against the pain, he lifts himself up a little. He finally gets one foot up underneath his damaged frame and presses with all of his remaining strength, strength to stand against anything the enemy could throw at him. He wrestles against his frailty as he gains his feet. Looking at the eyes of his brethren, he understands the value and power in what he is doing in a new and real way. And don’t miss this – please don’t miss this. Far from running away and thanking God that his life was spared, Paul “rose up…and WENT INTO THE CITY.” Which city? The city of Lystra where waited the very mobs that sought to stone him. Paul would not give in and he would not give up. This battle was not going to be fought with flesh and blood, and flesh and blood most certainly would not defeat him. They were worth the fight. His brethren had supplied him with both the reminder of the need and the promise of the Gospel. The one who was supposed to be dead was far from it – he was more alive in Christ than he had ever been before!
               As your feeble pastor, I want you to know that this passage struck chords in my spirit that needed to be strummed. This ministry thing, it’s not a “one-man band.” It is a team sport. I’ve become all to aware of my need for as much help as I hope to give. And God has supplied to me the church as much as He has supplied me to her. I want to feel the power of God flowing freely through our corporate gathering. I long to rest not only in the arms of Jesus, but also in the comfort and concern of the people of God. I desire to know that I am not alone in these battles, that those stones are not just hitting me – that others have willingly placed their shoulders to the plowshare for the burden of the Gospel. And Lord, I pray, that I would be infused with a newfound passion and resolution to serve for the sake of the Gospel. I want to stand…even if right now I feel as though I am broken on the ground. There is a work yet to be done. And I desire to set my face against the very gates of hell that I may see the greatness of His power toward us who believe (Eph. 1:19). Alone I am nothing. But among Christ’s body, I believe I can do anything!

 

 ~Bro. Benjamin 

 

Previous Postings                                                                  This Week's Sermons
October 16
October 9                                                                                       October 14 (AM)
October 2                                                               "To the Least of These: the Bleeding Woman"
September 18                                                                                   Luke 8:40-48
September 11                                                                                 
September 4                                                                                   October 14 (PM)
August 28                                                              "The Separation between Darkness and Light"
August 14                                                                                       Ephesians 5:8-14
August 7                                                                                         
July 31                                                                                          October 17 (WED)
July 24                                                                                              Acts 17:10-21          
                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                   
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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


October 21 (AM) "To the Least of These: Jairus"--Luke 8:40-56
October 21 (PM) "Filled with the Spirit"--Ephesians 5:15-21
October 14 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Bleeding Woman"--Luke 8:40-48
October 14 (PM) "The Separation between Darkness and Light"--Ephesians 5:8-14
October 7 (AM) "The Greatest Love of All"--John 15:12-14
October 7 (PM) "Why Do We Wash Feet?"--John 13:1-17
 
September 30 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Gadarene Demoniac"--Luke 8:26-39
September 23 (AM) "Give Me This Mountain"--Joshua 14:6-14 - Rev. David Amburgey
September 23 (PM) "Is It Right for You to Be Angry?"--Jonah 4:1-11 - Bro. Jeff Baumann
September 16 (AM) "The Son of Grace"--Luke 15:11-24
September 16 (PM) "Walk in the Light"--Ephesians 5:8-10
September 9 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Sinful Woman"--Luke 7:36-50
September 9 (PM) "The Imitation of Christ"--Ephesians 5:3-7
September 2 (AM) "Bring Your Lunchbox to Jesus"--John 6:1-14
 
August 26 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Widow of Nain"--Luke 7:11-17
August 26 (PM) "Imitators of God"--Ephesians 5:1-2
August 19 (AM) "The Church Jesus Would Join"--Acts:2:40-47 - Bro. Joey Cosme
August 19 (PM) "
What the New Man Looks Like, Part 2"--Ephesians 4:25-32
August 12 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Centurion"--Luke 7:1-10
August 12 (PM) "What the New Man Looks Like, Part 1"--Ephesians 4:25-32
August 5 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Man with a Withered Hand"--Luke 6:1-11
August 5 (PM) "...What Now Is"--Ephesians 4:20-24
 
July 29 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Paralytic"--Luke 5:17-26
July 29 (PM) "The Baha'i Religion"
July 22 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Leper"--Luke 5:12-16
July 22 (PM) "What Once Was..."--Ephesians 4:17-19
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!