Do it Anyway

Over the past few years, I’ve seen many people become burnt out trying to serve God in the church.  Many times, it’s not the actual serving that wears them out but the frustration that comes with dealing with people.  That’s something that I think we can all struggle with, I know I do.  We have a grand idea that is shot down so we quit trying.  People don’t come alongside us to support us, so we quit.  The people we serve don’t appreciate what we are doing, so we quit.

This may come as a surprise, but quitting is not a fruit of the spirit.  God may give us a calling or a tug on our heart to do something and if we are bold enough to obey, we quit as soon as things don’t go our way.  We rationalize it by saying that God would have cleared the path if this were His will. We must not quit, but remain obedient.  If God calls us to walk around a city 7 times we must not quit after each pass.  It seems like many of the things God instructed those in the scripture to do seemed completely illogical.  Walk around a city 7 times, dip yourself in the river 7 times, hold your hands up, etc.  God didn’t need those physical actions to accomplish His will.  If He didn’t need them then why did he require them?  They were for us.  He wants us to be obedient.  He wants us to be a part of His awesome power in action.  Even when things don’t make sense, even when it doesn’t seem to be making a difference, we don’t stop obeying, we don’t quit.

I’ll leave you with a gem that you may have heard before.  I recently heard it in a John Maxwell study but it was originally penned by Dr. Kent Keith.  It is called the Paradoxical Commandments.

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered; Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives; Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies; Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow; Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable; Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds; Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs; Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight; Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them; Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth; Give the world the best you have anyway.

 

Love you guys,

Chris

Update from New City Church

As you know, Ewing Road Baptist Church has been supporting New City Church in New York through monetary gifts and sending groups on mission to their location.  This week we receive an update from them that I wanted to share so we can see the good things God is doing with them, through us.  Enjoy.

 

Dear Ewing Road Baptist Church,

Thank you for donating to New City Church. Because of your investment we have seen our congregation continue to grow and expand our influence for the Gospel.

This past year we have helped to launch New City Korean, a service specifically for Korean speaking families in our neighborhood.  We have also built a partnership with Global Mission Nepali church in Queens.  Through our financial and administrative support we are ale to help this ministry speak the Gospel to the 40,000+ Nepali people in our surrounding area.

God has also opened the door for us to partner with the Care For Aids ministry in Nairobi, Kenya.  Through this ministry we are partnering with a Christian church located in one of the poorest ares of Nairobi to helps with AIDS prevention and Gospel expansion.

Locally, we are seeing new people come every week to our worship gatherings and have experienced many people surrendering their lives to Christ this year. Your faithful support makes these things possible!

Sincerely,

Patrick Thompson, Pastor

New City Church

Over-Commitment

If you guys don’t know who Chris Brown is then you need get acquainted with him soon.  No, not the controversial artist Chris Brown but the loving Pastor/Radio Show Host/Inspirational speaker Chris Brown.  He is a part of the Dave Ramsey team but he is definitely not a Dave Ramsey clone.  In every way that Dave can be harsh and cold, Chris is caring and compassionate.

Wait.  I thought this post was about over-commitment and you talking about Dave Ramsey (again).  Well, I follow Chris Brown on twitter and he really put a gem out there that I want to share with you all.  He said:

“Over-committing is the fastest way to make serving others a burden rather than a blessing.”

I don’t know about you guys, but this is me.  We need to be more intentional about what we say ‘yes’ to.  Just because it’s a good thing, doesn’t mean it’s what God is calling you to do.  You can be so busy doing other things that you don’t leave room for doing the thing God made you for.  Of course, there is the opposite side of this where we do nothing because we aren’t sure if this the ‘thing’ God wants for us to be spending our time on.  So what are we to do?

Ask God.  Ask God through your prayers and ask God as you study His word.  You will never know what God wants you to do unless you talk (and listen) to Him.  You must have a healthy relationship with Him.  Remember too that God uses his people to talk to his people so when someone asks you to volunteer for something you should prayerfully consider it, even if it makes you uncomfortable.  Worried about over-committing?  Set some boundaries on your time when you say yes and be fully committed during that period.  Be clear with the leader you are volunteering with that you are going to reevaluate your service in # months.

We all need to be serving but let’s make sure we are serving where God wants us.

Love you guys,

CMR

Let’s try something new

“Let’s try something new.”  Wow, what an exciting and scary sentence.  Change is something some of us love and some of us really don’t like messing up the current routine.  We’ve all heard that change is inevitable but changing just for the sake of change isn’t.  Sometimes we can control it, other times we can’t.  What we can control is how we react to change.  We can fight it, we can run from it, we can adapt to it, or we can embrace it…the choice is yours.

We are going through a lot of changes here at ERBC.  People are doing things and serving in ways that they never expected.  Church looks different than it did a year ago and it’s going to continue to change in the coming days.  So how are you going to react to it? Fight? Run? Adapt? or Embrace?  I pray that you will support those around you by embracing the changes.  All changes are going to require adjustment and refinement so please come alongside us and help us make the changes we need to reach our community for Christ.

Chris M. Roberts

Hi, my name is Chris Roberts and I’m not perfect

Hi, my name is Chris Roberts and I’m not perfect.  I am ill equipped, under qualified, inexperienced, and often insensitive.  I’m also not going anywhere.  Why?  Because I feel called to be here, to serve this church, to serve God and the be a good steward with his blessings.

Because of this, I’m going to do my best to equip myself and the leaders of this church as best as possible.  If you need help in your area of service, let me know and I’ll do my best to find you the help you need.

I’m going to do my best to surround myself with qualified leaders both inside and outside of the church who can impart on me the wisdom they’ve gained during their careers.  I love to learn and I know I don’t have all the answers so I’m going to do my best to learn from others.

I’m also going to do my best to be more compassionate.  This honestly will be my greatest struggle.  Not because I don’t care but because I’m oblivious.  So please, give me lots of grace or be extremely blunt, I promise, I won’t get offended.

One last thing, in case you haven’t figured it out, I’m not a very good writer.  As Jessica often says about me, “Words are hard”.  Regardless of that fact, I’m going to try and update this blog as often as I can in hopes of communicating to everyone what’s going on, what’s been put on my heart, and who knows what.

Chris M. Roberts

An Open Letter from Westgate

Dwayne Terry, pastor of Westgate, was kind enough to send us an open letter after the decision not to move forward with a merger at this time.  Please take the time to read it in its entirety.

 

Dear ERBC Church Family,

Thank you so much for the opportunity that you gave us to share our heart and vision with you. It was an honor and a privilege. We have come to love and appreciate you and the community in which you minister.

We believe the vote of your membership was Providential. A majority of your congregation voted ‘yes’ because they sensed the need for change to fulfill God’s purpose for your congregation. But, God also used the high minority percentage who sensed Westgate was not the agent to bring about that change. In His Plan, this prevented Westgate’s leadership from accepting the majority decision. We accept all of this as God’s Will and believe it was not intended for us at this time.

Westgate had a unanimous vote among the Elders to decline the offer from ERBC, and all our administrative leaders supported this decision. The time we spent in prayer and fasting gave us confidence in our decision. But, that did not mean the decision was easy. We truly have come to care very deeply for you and your community. Therefore, if God would ever lead you to entertain the idea of joining us in the future, we would remain prayerfully open to the consideration. Certainly, once God’s direction becomes clear to you in regards to your leadership, we would be willing to consider partnering with you in future outreach possibilities.

We also believe the time we spent in service with you was Providential. God has used this situation to strengthen our resolve to reach the community where He has us with as much energy as He will provide us (Colossians 1:29). It has unified us in our efforts to see God’s Glory revealed in reaching the lost and serving those in need. As a church, Westgate has grown together in vision and focus through this process. We hope that it has affected you as profoundly as it has us.

The first Sunday I spoke at ERBC, I shared that in light of Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37), the road to Jericho goes directly through the ERBC facility. God has blessed you tremendously with your community and outreach possibilities. This is not an accident, a fluke or a mistake that He has entrusted this to you. It is God’s Sovereign Will. But it isn’t normal. Your opportunities for outreach are extraordinary for a local congregation. You have great Kingdom purpose there with the schools and the women’s shelter. We know it is your heart to reach those people and to make inroads with the gospel in every way possible. And we want to encourage you to serve God with all your heart and serve those He has entrusted to you with just as much passion.

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted … your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in. (Isaiah 58:10, 12 ESV)

He has already blessed you with many generations. In agreement with His Word, our prayer is that as you continue to grow in obedience, He will raise up the foundations of those generations. As you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, our prayer is that one day soon we will see His promise fulfilled to raise up your congregation as a restorer and a repairer. You will be that city set on the hill whose light cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14-16). Praise God! What tremendous promise, opportunity, and responsibility.

Thank you once again for allowing us to join you in a portion of that journey towards His promises.

 

God bless each one of you,

Pastor Dwayne