Sunday, July 20, 2014

Doing Your Own Thing

In those days there was no king in Israel,
but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Judges 17:6

The generation that followed Joshua did not set out to do evil. They did not think they were doing wrong. Rather, “they did what was right in their own eyes.”

That's the problem with sin; the sinner feels justified. Like the people in the book of Judges, they compromise with the world around them. They create their own religion keeping what they like about Christianity, dumping what they don't, and adding elements that feel right.

Part of the problem is second-generation syndrome. “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10

Previous generations did the hard work. Moses' generation endured the slavery in Egypt. They saw the Red Sea part and Pharaoh's army drown. They enjoyed God's provision in the wilderness.

Joshua's generation conquered the land. They saw the walls of Jericho collapse. They saw their enemies fall before them. They took the land, city by city, mountain by mountain.

On the other hand, the Judges generation entered into rest and comfort provided by their ancestors. Joshua told them, “I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.” Joshua 24:13

He admonished them further, “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14

The people said Amen but failed to honor a God they did not know. They married outside the faith and failed to take down the pagan altars. They kept the holy days and cultural artifacts of the faith but not the faith itself.

You cannot inherit faith from your parents. Each of us is called to account. Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except by me.” John 14:6

It is easy for those who have grown around the faith to fake it. They talk about being blessed and pray for things they want. They may, even, attend worship with some regularity but their walk is inconsistent. Like the Israelites in Judges they sin, feel sorry for awhile, then sin again.

There is good news: “To all who did receive [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Leaving a Godly Legacy

Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation,
he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. 
Acts 13:36 

Deacon Emeritus Max Brunnemann was laid to rest yesterday. He was part Baptist Temple Church of San Antonio for the 88 years of his life. He was born in the house that six next to the church's community ministries building that bears his name.

Brunnemann was many good things: family man, decorated WWII veteran, sportsman, athlete and businessman. He, also, served Baptist Temple in many capacities over the years but his legacy is more than a list of accomplishments. He “served God's purpose in his own generation.”

His legacy is seen in his family whom he raised to love and serve the Lord. Last year, his great granddaughter, Alexis, became the fifth generation of his family to be baptized at Baptist Temple.

His legacy is seen in a new generation of church leaders that he mentored. A group that is a able to connect a rich past with a promising future.

His legacy is seen in Baptist's Temple's fourth building, which houses the gym. As chairman of the building committee he led Baptist Temple into a major building project at a time when others were moving to the north side of the city. As the neighborhood began to transition, Brunnemann was among the leaders who sought ways to reach out to the community.

 He was known as a superior administrator and consensus builder. His wisdom and love of the lost enabled him to lead the church through troubled waters as they wrestled to make a decision to start a methadone clinic and ministry to addicts. Although there were some loud voices of dissent. The church voted with a greater than ¾th majority to launch this ministry.

 In 2011 the building that once housed his father's dry goods store was renovated and named after him. The building would now house Baptist Temple's community ministries; beginning with a thrift store. 
Max Brunnemann served God in his own generation. We honor his memory when we serve God in ours.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Urban Youth Help West Get Back on it's Feet

“The best mission camp trip, EVER,” is how Jessica Morgan (15) described this year's summer youth trip to West, Texas.

Ten youth and two adults from Baptist Temple/Family Deaf Church/Betel family of churches took part in Texas Baptist's first student disaster recovery ministry, BOUNCE. This new, pre-packaged student mission experience provides youth the opportunity to assist communities in their efforts to BOUNCE back from the devastation that exists after disaster has struck.

In West, Texas a fertilizer plant explosion in April 2013, killed 15 people, including a dozen first responders, and injured 160. More than 1200 Baptists joined the army of volunteers who have converged upon this small town from the beginning. A year later, the cleanup phase is done and the rebuilding is underway.

The Baptist Temple team joined several other churches in a variety of projects. One group framed a new house, while another group finished a house framed last week. Others worked on repairs, roofing and other projects.

Days were filled with meaningful work and evenings featured times of worship and reflection designed to help participants encounter and respond to God. Brianna Haddock (17) said, "I can't believe I took part of such an amazing project. The work in one week is absolutely astounding! If you're wondering, God is good and West is blessed!"

Team sponsor, Steve Grinnell reports that the town's people expressed gratitude for the Bouncers presence. FBC West's pastor told the teams, "You are doing more than just painting a wall, you are restoring lives. You are demonstrating what real Christian love looks like."

Heather Fisher, also a team sponsor, said that the teens felt they were doing something worthwhile in helping West recover. Carmen Zayasbazan (15) suggested that we register for next year right away so we can reserve a spot.

In addition to West, BOUNCE will also go to flood damaged Austin and Moore, Oklahoma, where a tornado struck last year.