The Journey to Bethlehem

I wonder what it was like on that night,
Was Mary frightened?
Was Joseph enlightened?
The shepherds were brightened,
and angels lightened a sky whitened!
In Bethlehem.

The journey was long for the maiden,
This the ninth month of gestation,
Yet on they went without hesitation,
No prearranged hotel reservation,
So, a manger bed was the implementation!
In Bethlehem.

Heaven cheered as God was born,
Jesus the Christ came to save from sin,
To all of us, yes! We can begin again,
Feel the Spirit and that rushing wind,
There in the hay, the Savior of all men!
In Bethlehem.

I am one soul that has truly believed,
That the crude crib led to a cruel cross,
Because, like me humanity is so lost,
God took that baby and paid the cost,
Christmas child, You are Lord and boss!
In Bethlehem.

Pastor Larry Sparks

Larry Sparks in gratitude 12-24-18

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I Wonder…

Have we gone too far away from God?
Have our hearts become too hard, selfish and prideful?
Have we put our trust in government, Hollywood and media?
Have our churches lost their identity with the world?
Have we become immoral and culturally absorbed?
Have we coined an excuse for every sinful behavior that our grandparents blushed at?
Have we compromised by fitting in rather than standing up?
Have we completely lost sight of death and judgment?
Have we ceased to hear the widows plea and the orphans cry?
Have we picked over and chosen our pet verses of the Bible but ignored His call for holiness and righteousness?
Have we ceased to genuinely pray and purified our hearts through the shed blood of Jesus Christ?
Have the old time Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal and other believers of the true doctrines of the faith gone away?

I wonder, I wonder…

-Br. Larry… praying for the Light to shine again.

Pastor's Pen

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Walk With Me

Walk with Me

I woke unto another day,
with age an aches upon me;
The doubts and fears began,
all the gray my eyes could see.

I opened the Book to seek truth,
a light shown on my plea;
The voice I heard, my heart stirred,
“Today, come walk with Me!”

The hand reached out slowly,
my faith and spirit agree;
As I rose to move with the Master,
who bid, “Come walk with Me.”

The flesh will always worldly pull,
into sins immorality;
Yet, I have chosen to obey His voice,
and heed, “Come walk with Me!”

    -Br. Larry Sparks
             1-14-18

 

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Reading Different Translations of the Bible

Bible

I have used the King James, New King James, New International Version, English Standard Version, New American Standard, New Living Translation, Amplified (though too wordy), Revised Standard and the Todays English. I have a Jerusalem Bible, a Greek Study Bible, Phillips, Living Bible Paraphrase and The Message. I have others in a quad rendering of the New Testament. I have found Jesus Christ salvation in them all and preferences for certain passages in some.

People sitting out there in the congregation will have their various favorite in their hand or on their phone. Back in June we ordained six men and recognized two other men as active Deacons. They each had a varied translation that was their favorite and that’s what we presented them with. They are all growing in their faith. They read and study their Bible each day.

The problem is not the translation but the neglect of the word of God.

Did you get that term, “THE WORD OF GOD”?

He speaks to us through this ancient old book which has been translated into thousands of languages, passed through enormous scrutiny, attacked by many and translators killed for writing it in other languages. It is the most loved and neglected book in history. It is the most quoted and misquoted of all writings. It is the foundations for most of our basic moral laws in America and yet, being changed by liberals who do not want its set perimeters.

When the Bible speaks, God speaks.

Bibles are everywhere!

The Gideons place them in all offices, military, schools that allow and hospitals. But the word is ignored. When something is ignored, people become ignorant of that truth and ignorance then is a sin.

What possible excuse could you give God for not reading and studying HIS WORD?

A Christian desires the Scripture because their Father and Lord are speaking and the Spirit is explaining. Perhaps, then, the other question?

Are you a Christian?

1 Corinthians has an interesting verse… “But people who aren’t spiritual (or don’t have the Spirit) can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them, they can’t understand them but those are spiritual (know the Lord) can understand what the Spirit means.” 1 Cor. 2: 14

Pastor Larry Sparks

-Bro. Larry

 

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Politics…

politics

Looking for a political savior both in the U.S. and world wide is a suggested expectation among the masses in our emerging populous.

The problems are many and the answers are complicated as they carry further creation of other issues.

The greater good and common sense are shouted down by personal preferences and desires for selfish quick fix approaches.

Sadly, only one individual owns the solutions and His help is blatantly declined and apathetically scoffed at. That person is the Lord God Almighty, the one whose name is on this creative masterpiece and his divine finger alone rest on the button of judgment.

Politics are wrapped around voted personalities who share our likeminded liberal or conservative views. They are the champion or savior we seek to validate our cause.

In the process hostilities grow, nearly a pinnacle of hate emerges and tolerance to any who disagree is dissolved. So, back to the only venue of help, politics and political leaders who seem to hold the antibiotic of social woes.

The Bible, the Lord, and the change of the human heart is still the offered prize of change. Until our inner self changes we will continue to abuse others no matter who is in the captains chair of leadership. Real answers are personal and life changing no matter the crowds opinions.

I am one squeaky little voice but I am looking to the Lord and His voice of many waters sound of, “Listen to Me”. Speak Lord your servant hears.

Pastor Larry Sparks

 -Br. Larry Sparks

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Blackburn Chapel Baptist Church… Vision for 2018

Janus

Janus was the two faced god looking back and ahead, hence the name January.

We have looked back and counted the near 50 baptisms, mission trips to Guatemala and Houston, on going ministry in jails and prisons, new Bible Studies, Revival, ordination of six deacons, parking lot expansion, new steeple, new garage, musicals, deaths, new members, children and youth growth, Men and Women’s ministries expanded and financial blessings as all goals were reached.

Now to look ahead to 2018:

There will be another mission trip to Guatemala in February.

Revival in April with Dr. Mark Estep.

Dr. Paul Calmes will begin a Bible study on Sunday morning in Romans.

David Thomason will start a Bible study this month also with details this Sunday.

The women begin a new study on Tues Jan. 16th.

Easter musical is being planned.

Greg Ray will begin his Worship Guitar classes on Sunday, Jan 14th at 4:30.

Security Team will plan safety for the church.

Plans for a late model van.

Visitation and evangelism nights are coming.

New Men’s ministry studies.

Fellowship meal begins Jan. 13th.

THIS SUNDAY:

Communion on Sunday morning at 11 a.m.
Fill the building both in Sunday School and Worship this Sunday!

 

Pastor Larry Sparks

-Br. Larry

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The Year in Review

2017

The fires and the floods raged,
The hurricanes and tornadoes engaged.
The terrorist killed and destroyed,
Kim Jung Un with threats annoyed.

Sexual predators at work paid due,
A movement began saying, “Me too!”
The controversial President was elected,
Shootings were many, killers infected.

Military continued on foreign soil,
NFL players took knee and tempers boil.
Opioid became the new drug war,
Airbags failed in many new cars.

We lost some friends to heavens gate,
The old man drags and the infant waits.
Facing the Janus, the two faced man,
With 2018 looming, we’ll do it again.

Pastor Larry Sparks

 

 

 

 

 

Prayers for the new year…
-Br. Larry Sparks

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Sweet Sounds on Church Grounds…

The laughter of children and their shrieking energy as they play…

The bouncing of basketballs by the youth and their “Yukking it up!” in the parking lot…

The smiling conversations in the hallway of the church building as folk share and pray over other brothers and sisters…

The piano giving melodious sounds of Christmas carols and unrehearsed voices chiming in to sing…

The sound of Fisher Price toys from the nursery and chirping echos of toddlers at play…

The whispers of huddled voices in prayers from the pews of the sanctuary…

The rustling swish of thin Bible pages turning to catch a pronounced text is a symphony of concert to the Spirits ears…

The lingering of last words as the lights go out and folk slowly move toward their cars with a, “See you Sunday morning!”, good-bye.
Some people growl and complain about everything but I hear sweet and beautiful sounds around a lively church fellowship, which I believe trumps the snarl of devilish vacancy.

What do you hear?

Love my church and the presence of life every time we meet with, “God is good!” and in response, “All the time!”.

Pastor Larry Sparks
– Br. Larry

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Ponderings on a Wednesday…

1. Don’t worry about what others think or say. They do not own you. God does and He will fight for you.

2. Just because there is a need seen does not mean the solution is you. Let the Lord work before you step in, and He will guide your decisions by genuine intercession.

3. Look at the word of God, listen to the Spirit of God, and see the Lord Jesus as confirming model of behavior.

4. Sometimes we simply shake our heads in disbelief and frustration at poor choices people make. And then we realize how often we have done the very same thing in life.

5. Learning to listen and ask the right questions may be the most difficult task in life. Compound that with sincere inward compassion and hesitant motives will give pause to our words.

6. It’s only money, and not ours either, but Gods. He trust us with it and everyday is a test to see how we give what He has given.

7. Greater is the gift of inspired faith by someone that moves us to participate than the agonizing pull to let go.

8. Others lives will change you to hardness or brokenness, depending on how you feel and act in response to their attitude.

9. Take your time. Rest when possible. Turn off the television… there are real “close by” lives that need your attention. Open the BOOK and talk to the AUTHOR. Psalm 90:10 and Eph. 5:15-16 are worth a reminding read….again.

Pastor Larry Sparks

 

-Br. Larry Sparks

….just my thoughts and observations of today.

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Turtle on a Fence Post…

Turtle on fence post

Alex Haley, who was the author of Roots, which became a hit mini-series as well as best selling book, had on his wall in his office a picture.

The picture was of a Turtle on top of a Fence Post.

People would stare at the picture and finally ask the obvious question; “How did a turtle get on a fence post? and Why do you have this picture in your office?” Haley, with a beaming smile, would answer the two questions and give a life lesson comment.

“Well, someone had to put the turtle on the fence post and in that lofty perch.” and then Haley would say, “I have this picture to remind me that I did not get where I am alone or by complete self effort. Other hands help me get to this high position.”

Think about it… you and I enjoy what we have because others were the hands of God to elevate us and God’s own unseen hand lifted us to what we have.

I like the picture but I love the truth.

Some will push God’s hand away when He tries to bless but He wants to give us the best possible view.

Turtle on a fence post? That indeed is me!

James 4:10 “Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up in honor.”

Pastor Larry Sparks
            Bro. Larry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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