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I Went to Nicaragua in High School, and Now I’m Leading a Team.

[Guest blog post by Bailey Futrell]

The summer before my senior year of high school, I left the country for the first time ever.  At the time, I was a mixture of emotions including scared, anxious and super excited.  Even though I had done my research on Nicaragua, I really didn’t know exactly what to expect out of that trip.  However, I know that I did not expect to fall in love with a country and a people group the way that I did.  During the trip to Nicaragua that summer, God changed my life and my heart.

Fast forward two summers in the future, the summer after my freshman year of college at UK, where I was no longer attending Hardin Baptist Church regularly anymore due to distance.  But again, I found myself in Nicaragua.  This time for a month, serving as an intern for Partners in Christ Ministries, whom HBC travels to Nicaragua through.  One afternoon I was posting on Facebook about my day, and God brought an idea to my mind.  I thought about how amazing it was to be serving God overseas at such a young age and God had changed my heart for missions.  I thought that it shouldn’t just be me that God is changing, but other people my age should be experiencing this too.  At that time I texted a girl from back home who I knew would love to be a part of a mission.  I told her about my idea and just asked her to think and pray about it and if God really wanted it to happen, it would.

Fast forward again, to right now.  I’m now less than two months away from leading my first mission trip of a group of 13 other college students to Nicaragua through Partners in Christ!  I couldn’t be more excited to see how God is going to use us in the community and school we will be working with!   I ask that you either begin, or continue to pray for the group and I as we are still fundraising to help pay for our trip and our supplies we will need.  Please also pray for our hearts and the hearts of everyone we will come into contact with as we are in Nicaragua, and that God prepares us and them for His will.

Thank you to Hardin Baptist Church and all of its members, as this would not be happening without faithful givers and those with true hearts for the Great Commission!  Thanks and God Bless!

Bailey Futrell

If you would like to help support Bailey and the other college students, please visit their Go Fund Me page (http://www.gofundme.com/eui3o4). Pray. Give. Go.

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Philemon: When Sin Happens.

The Story of Philemon. 

1) Onesimus sinned against Philemon. 

8 Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you (Philemon) to do what is required (FORGIVENESS), yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you… for my child, Onesimus…

2) Jesus saved Onesimus.

Who’s father I became in my imprisonment. 11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.

3) Philemon must forgive Onesimus

15 “For this is perhaps why he was parted for while, that you might have him back forever as a beloved brother.”

4) Paul invested himself in their reconciliation. 

17 So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self.

The Bigger Story of the Gospel. 

1) We were Onesimus, rebelling against our Master in heaven.

2) Similar to Paul, Jesus Christ paid our debts so we could be reconciled back to God.

3) Like Onesimus returning to Philemon, we get to return to God who forgives us in Christ.

The Story of Everyday Life. 

Practically, what do you do when you find yourself in the shoes of one of these three men?

1) Wearing Philemon’s shoes. 

Someone has wronged you and now they are seeking your forgiveness.

  • Step 1 – Remember your own rebellion.
  • Step 2 – Remember God’s forgiveness.
  • Step 3 – Forgive, as you have been forgiven.

2) Wearing Onesimus’ shoes.

You have sinned against someone.

  • Step 1 – Go and confess your sin.
  • Step 2 – Ask for forgiveness.
  • Step 3 – Change.

3) Wearing Paul’s shoes.

You see others who need to be reconciled to one another.

  • Step 1 – Compel them to do what the gospel commands: be reconciled.
  • Step 2 – Invest yourself in their reconciliation.
  • Step 3 – Suffer loss for the sake of their gain.

(Image used from http://imgarcade.com/1/philemon-bible/)

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what did they see? 

This morning my wife and I were joined by these two guys for Resurrection Sunday worship. As Crider (6) and Finley (4) stood in the midst of it all, I couldn’t help wonder what their little eyes were seeing. After some reflection, here are a few things I hope they saw as we sang. 

1) My daddy really loves Jesus. I’m sure it’s pretty easy for my boys to notice the things I value. They saw me cheering for the cats last night, working in my woods, and washing my Jeep. I hope this morning they saw me loving SOMEONE even more. I hope their little eyes told their little hearts, “Wow, my daddy REALLY loves Jesus and he is singing louder to Him than he cheered for the Cats last night.”

2) My daddy really believes the gospel. I know my boys hear me talking all the time about what Jesus did for them on the cross, but today I hope they saw me loving the fact that I have been forgiven and given righteousness in Christ. I hope they heard in my voice how deeply I love what Christ did for me. 

3) My daddy is part of something bigger than himself. Looking past me, I hope my boys saw hundreds of other moms and dads just like me, gathered as one big family all worshiping our risen King together. I hope they got a taste of the kingdom of Christ. A kingdom made up of men and women who have died with Christ, and have been raised to walk in the newness of life. 

Ultimately this morning I hope my boys didn’t just see a group of people singing, but they saw the reason behind WHY we were singing. And that reason is because a man walked out of His tomb the first Easter morning. 

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You Are Barabbas (Good Friday)

15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16 And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. 19 Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!” (Matthew 27:15-23) 

This Good Friday I hope you see yourself as Barabbas. First, he was a “notorious prisoner”, who had broken the law and now was in bondage because of his crimes. Likewise, you have broken God’s laws and are living in bondage to sin as a result of your crimes against God. You may not be locked up in prison, but your sin has enslaved you and there is no breaking free.

Now see Jesus, the righteous and innocent. He was unlike you in that He always obeyed and followed the perfect will of His Father in heaven. He was never in bondage to sin because He never committed an act of sin. Jesus, unlike you, walked in true freedom with love and obedience to God.

Now see the exchange that took place on the cross. Barabbas the notorious sinner/prisoner was RELEASED to walk free, while Jesus the innocent was CONDEMNED and crucified. And in this exchange we hear the beauty of our own redemption song. That Jesus bled and died in our place of our sins, so that through faith we could be forgiven and set free in Him.

So thanks be to God, who sent His Son into the world to trade places with notorious sinners like us, so that sinners like us could trade our sin and bondage, for His righteousness and freedom. Now that’s a Good Friday. 

(Image from bridgechurch.tv)

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The Farm was closed, amen.

I am a note taker. During preaching I usually have my Bible open and my pen pressed to my Moleskine scribbling frantically to capture all the main points (and most of the sub-points) of the sermon. Yesterday however, instead of pen and paper, I had coloring books and crayons in my lap. Yesterday the Farm was closed due to weather damage, so this meant all the children were in main service, including my three boys who are all under the age of 6.

So yesterday my goal was simple, SURVIVE.

About 10 minutes into the sermon I heard an echo to my left. It was Crider (6) who was mumbling under his breath, “Amen” as he was trying to draw a panda bear with his colors. A few moments later, I said, “Amen” in agreement with Bro. Ricky’s (or dad’s, Papaw’s, etc.) point from the word, and immediately I heard Crider say again, “Amen”. It didn’t take long until his younger brother Finn (4) joined in the chorus of amens coming from the third row.

And at that moment I was grateful the Farm had been closed for the day. I love the Farm and I am glad my kids get age appropriate lessons while mom and dad sit in worship and actually listen and take notes (I’m a note taker remember), but today I was reminded of the importance of my children experiencing “adult” worship as well. For it is there, and only there, that my kids see the whole body, both young and old, praying, singing, and shouting “amen” to the preached word of God.

Christmas and a Funeral

These words were spoken at James “Bud” Crider’s memorial service 12/26/2014

Yesterday was Christmas and today, we are gathered for a funeral. It seems the contrast of those two could not be farther apart. Yesterday we gathered with family to eat, open presents, and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Today, we lay our friend, or daddy, or husband or granddad, or great granddad in the ground.

But today, I want to remind us that Christmas and funerals are not far apart because the first Christmas anticipated a funeral, not of James “Bud” Crider, but of the Lord Jesus Himself.

And His funeral, burial, and then resurrection, changes everything about this funeral today. For today we do not mourn over Papaw Bud as those who have no hope, but we mourn as those who do.

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#TME Day 25 – Christmas in the Curse

“This will be a year of firsts.” I’ve heard that a lot since my grandmother passed away this past October. And so it has been. Thanksgiving was hard, but tonight will be even harder because our family will gather at Mammie’s house, but Mammie will not be there.

I was thinking through my sermon outline Sunday when my phone vibrated as I pulled into the Church parking lot. The text said a family in our church had just lost their newborn baby, who had been born premature a few weeks earlier. Tomorrow before opening presents at my in-laws house, I will preach a funeral, my wife’s grandad’s funeral.

And today is the day everyone says “Merry Christmas” and sings “Joy to the World”. And today I will join those voices and sing those choruses. Because today is a merry day, not just because a baby laid in a manger, but because that same God/man doesn’t lay in a grave.

“But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.” (Matthew 28:5-6)

So today I will rejoice. Because though my heart aches in the absence of my own grandmother, my wife’s grandad, and the parents who have no baby to hold this Christmas; I have hope.

I have hope because Christmas turned into Easter that first Sunday morning when Jesus rose from the dead, which was the first fruits of the resurrection to come. And in that resurrection, I will rejoice again, with Mammie, Papaw Bud, and two parents reunited with their son.