Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spiritual Myopia

Our church just finished week 6 of The Truth Project and there was a great lesson that I can't get out of my mind. All of us suffer from spiritual myopia. Myopia is more commonly referred to as nearsightedness. This means that people can see things close up but they struggle to clearly see things in the distance. I wear glasses for this exact reason.

Spiritual myopia means that we are focused on our piece of the puzzle, instead of the entire puzzle itself. We do not have the ability to see the masterpiece that God is putting together and how our piece fits in. If we are not careful, focusing on self will lead to depression and burnout. We need to understand that God has a much bigger plan and purpose and we do not need to question Him, we need to obey, no matter what. God does not need to explain anything to us. He deserves our allegiance and obedience. He has already done everything for us (Eph 1:3-14).

If we are not careful then we can become more concerned about "our ministry" than we are about the Lord Jesus. Do not be nearsighted in looking just at you. Understand that God is at work, even if you and I can't see it clearly.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

You Are Not Cool

Our American culture has led us to think that popularity is what life is all about. Remember in high school how everyone wanted to be "cool" and not be the dork? The truth is that if you are a follower of Christ you are never going to be cool or popular by the world's standards and you should be fine with that. We should be focused more on serving the Lord than what everyone else thinks.

There are believers around the world that are being sentenced to death because they are a follower of Christ. They are not concerned with popularity or fitting in, they are focused on obedience and allegiance to King Jesus!!

The church has always thrived when it has been persecuted. The sad truth is that we take the freedoms and rights we have in America for granted. Many of us have become lazy and complacent. We have replaced the power of the Holy Spirit with man, money, and organization.

I pray that we will all recognize our weakness and desperate need to be completely dependent upon the Lord for everything. You are not cool! Hopefully, as a believer, you are cool with that.

Do We Really Love People?

While it is easy to say yes, the answer is found in our actions, not our words. If we really love people, then we will want to share Christ with them. We will stop making excuses and we will start being the church and getting out and engaging our community with the message of Christ.

The truth is that many of us love people who are just like us and we feel uneasy when we are around people who act, talk, and live differently than we do. Jesus said in John 13:35 that a love for one another will be the way that people know we are His disciples.

I am grateful to be in a church where everyone is welcome regardless of what they look like. Our people are really more concerned with the inside than what is on the outside. They have to be or they never would have welcomed this city boy into their fellowship!! To have a love for people, we must seek the Lord. The more our faith grows, the more our love for others will grow and the more concerned we will be about spreading the Gospel and carrying out the Great Commission. That is what being a church is really all about!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday, Hallelujah!

What a great Sunday we had at EBC. It was the 2nd week in a row that we began our service with a baptism. We had 100 people in attendance for the second time in four weeks. God is moving in the midst of our people and it is extremely exciting to experience. This week, a relative of one of the newer Christians in our church commented that they are definitely seeing a difference in that person. It made me think of Matthew 5:16 when Jesus said that we are to let our light so shine that others will see it and give glory to the Father!

Sunday evening we completed week 5 of The Truth Project. It was fantastic. The lesson was all about science. It is amazing how the Lord has put together the human body. I find it hard to believe that some want to suggest that we evolved from monkeys or lake slime when God says that He created us and formed us!

Looking forward to a great week. Heather and I will be visiting with a couple on Thursday night. This will be a pretty busy week for me as I have to write a few papers for my classes. Pray for me, and please continue to pray that EBC will be a lighthouse to the Jane community and that God would draw people unto Himself!!

To God Be The Glory!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday Nights at EBC

Some of the students in our youth group  enjoying 
fellowship before service last night.
We are a unique church in that we actually have more people in attendance on a Wednesday night than we do on a Sunday morning in most cases. We have a tremendous ministry opportunity with kids and students. We usually have anywhere from 30-35 students in our youth group and 25-35 children in our Victory Kids ministry. We have seen 3 students come to Christ in the last week. We baptized one of them last Sunday and will be baptizing another one this Sunday. We thank the Lord for what He is doing in and through our students. We have two of the best youth leaders in the world and they do a tremendous job and they truly love their students!

Super Bowl Sunday night our youth leader and I went to talk to a 17 year old student named David. After talking and answering questions for almost 2.5 hours, David trusted Christ and we baptized him this past Sunday. This past Wednesday night we had another student trust Christ after admitting that she didn't have a relationship with Jesus. Our youth leader had talked to her and told her that only the Lord could reveal whether or not she was truly saved. After a few weeks of praying, she said the Lord made it clear to her that she wasn't saved. She came to Christ after the service on Feb. 8th. We are baptizing her this Sunday. We will have several visitors this coming Sunday with the baptism and others who have said they would be here after being invited by some of our members.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Hate Organized Religion!

How many times have we heard that, especially from lost people? The truth is, they are right! I also hate organized religion, but I love worship and fellowship with God's people. There is a BIG difference.

Religion is all about doing things that will hopefully please God. Religion places more emphasis on tradition than truth. Religion places all the emphasis on man instead of God.

A relationship with Jesus recognizes that we are all "wimpy" and can only please Him by faith (Hebrews 11:6). God's word is the sole authority and outweighs anything else. It also recognizes that Jesus has already accomplished salvation. I don't deserve it, can't earn it and would lose it if it were up to me to keep it. Praise God that we are kept by His power (I Peter 1:3-5).

I am so thankful to be part of a church that emphasizes relationship and not religion. Religion will take people to hell. A relationship with Jesus is our only hope! The world doesn't need religion, they need Jesus and there is a BIG difference. Your thoughts?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Gold Rush

If I were to tell you that you were guaranteed to find gold, would you go digging?

Currently, our church is going through The Truth Project on Sunday nights. This is a 12 week study and it is fantastic! One of the verses we looked at Sunday night was Hebrews 11:6:

"Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (NKJV)

In that verse God tells us that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him! That is better than finding gold. When we are diligently seeking God, He is going to reward us by revealing Himself to us. I am not suggesting that if we read our Bible then "good things are going to happen." I am saying that based on the authority of God's Word, when we seek Him, He will answer and it will be much more valuable than gold and it will last longer as well. Don't read the Bible today just to check it off of your "to do" list. Dig deep, seek God, and He promises to answer!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

About Me

My name is J.D. Arnold and this is my very first blog post. I thought I would take the initial post to introduce myself and give you a little biographical information.

I was not raised in a Christian home. My mom and dad were divorced when I was really young. Neither of them are believers today. I was raised in Florida and moved to Northwest Arkansas in 1995, three days after I graduated high school. I started working for Wal-Mart and my trainer was a Christian. I thought good people went to heaven. He helped me to see my sin and need for forgiveness. He told me that was only possible through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. On Sept. 6, 1995 I trusted Christ and was gloriously saved.

Not long after that, I felt called to preach. It scared me because I hated to speak in front of people. I am thankful that God gave me the gifts necessary to fulfill His call on my life.

Heather and I have been married for over 15 years. We have two children, Karlee 14, and Eli 12.

Currently I am pastoring in Jane, Missouri. Jane is a town just north of Bentonville, AR in the Southwest corner of Missouri. Emmanuel Baptist Church (EBC) is only 22 years old and I am the fourth pastor. God is really moving in the hearts and lives of people and it is totally by His grace. This past Sunday we had 97 people in attendance which is 25% of the population!

I am also finishing a Masters degree through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and will begin doctoral studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Kansas City, MO) in January 2013.

Why Diary of a Wimpy Pastor?

I confess that I can do nothing. I can't build anything, fix a car, etc. I have never changed my own oil and I have never touched a farm animal (I plan on keeping it that way!!). It is safe to say that this city boy is out of place, except that I absolutely love the people of EBC and it is a great joy to serve them!

Special thanks to my daughter Karlee, who designed the template for me!