Church Activity

Thrice Denied

Matthew 26:69-75 records Peter’s denial of Jesus Christ before two young women and a group of people who stood outside the house where Jesus stood trial before the chief priests and scribes of Israel.

It’s easy to be critical of Peter for this sin against the Lord, and his spiritual weakness in this unimaginable moment. After all, Peter had walked and talked with Jesus for more than three years, had seen first-hand the miracles Christ performed, and had even seen Jesus in His glorified state talking with Moses and Elijah. Jesus had even warned him, and foretold this moment.

Yet, here stood Peter, the only disciple willing to take up arms to defend Jesus, huddling with the masses outside the house where Jesus stood trial, trying to blend in. Here stood Peter, denying that he even knew Jesus.

It’s easy to criticize Peter for this, being 2,000 years removed from the arrest, trials, and crucifixion of Christ. It’s easy to wonder how a man who personally witnessed Jesus do so much could suddenly turn his back to the Lord. It’s easy, because we get to review this incident 2,000 years later, in the comfort of climate controlled offices, studies, living rooms and bedrooms, while looking at the screens of our laptops, smart phones and tablets.

I tend to have compassion on Peter, mainly because I see a lot of myself in Peter. He was rash, prone to sudden decisions and outbursts, and he tended to live in the “here and now.” Peter “lived in the real world” and often placed practicality over spirituality. If I am to be honest, I am guilty of the same things.

When Peter stood outside as they put Jesus on trial, no doubt he was scared, disillusioned, and confused. So, as he tried to make sense of things, people inquired about Jesus, and in order to buy peace so he could return to his thoughts, he denied Christ.

Peter could’ve spoke up, could’ve preached the Gospel, could’ve told the people that what they were about to witness would be their salvation, but he didn’t. Out of convenience and fear, he remained silent, and denied Christ.

Are we ever guilty of the same thing? Do we ever fail to speak up for Christ out of convenience or fear? Do we ever give blessing to things the Lord wouldn’t bless, all to buy peace or favor? Do we ever deny Christ by our words or actions?

The good news for us, and for Peter, is that the Lord forgives and offers redemption. Just as Peter denied Christ three times, Jesus offered Peter three opportunities to proclaim his love for the Lord in John 21. Just as we often fail to speak up for the Lord, or to represent Him well, He often gives us second and third chances to do just that- to speak and to represent for Him.

Sunday, we’ll study this passage during morning worship. Sunday School at 10, morning worship at 11, and we meet at the Early Chamber of Commerce, 104 E. Industrial, Early, TX 76802.

Your Personal Invitation to Sunrise Service

 

The Community Sunrise Service is just that… a community-wide Easter Sunrise Service. If your church is not holding a sunrise service, and you still want to be blessed by this beautiful tradition, then please come worship with us.

The Community Sunrise Service will be at 7 a.m. Sunday, April 16, at the Depot Pavilion (where the above video was filmed) in downtown Brownwood. Come, and be blessed.

If There Is No Resurrection, Then Why Bother?

That is the point of 1 Corinthians 15, as written by the Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote:

But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (1 Corinthians 15:13-20)

The Apostle Paul was addressing a skeptical doctrine that was infiltrating the Corinthian church that there is no resurrection of the dead. In essence, the doctrine taught that, once you are dead, then you return to dust, never to rise again.

Paul’s objection to this heresy addressed the following key points:

  1. If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. This leads to the logical conclusion…
  2. If Christ is not risen, then Christianity is pointless. (Paul used the word, “vain,” meaning empty.) The premise of the Christian faith is that Christ rescued us from the judgment of God by taking that judgment upon Himself, dying on the cross, and then rising again to new life, conquering the grave and making eternal salvation possible to all those who believe.
    1. If there is no resurrection, then there’s no judgment of God, hence no need for Christ to die.
    2. If there is no resurrection, then Christ did not rise again, thus the grave still holds the final victory over us, and we have no hope for an eternity in Heaven beyond this life.
    3. If that’s the case, then we are stuck in the here and now, with no hope for deliverance. This is as good as it gets. That being the case, “We are men most miserable.”
  3. But, Paul reminds us that Christ did rise from the grave, so there is deliverance from God’s judgment, deliverance from death, and the hope of eternal life in His perfect Kingdom for all who believe.

The importance of the resurrection to the Christian faith is so paramount, that the Apostle Paul tied belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the salvation of the believers (Romans 10:9-10).

This Sunday, we commemorate and celebrate the single most important event in Christian, and world, history. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Community Sunrise Service will be held at 7 am Sunday morning at the Depot Pavilion in downtown Brownwood. Come worship with us, and be a part of a truly moving experience.

The Resurrection: That DID Happen

Those who reject Christianity do so for a number of reasons. Some believe that to accept the Christian faith is to reject logic and intellect. Others reject the Christian faith due to perceived hypocrisies among Christians. One of the biggest reasons for rejecting Christianity is a disbelief in the miraculous events recorded in scripture.

Such was the stumblingblock for Lee Strobel, an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune. A self-described atheist, Strobel rejected Christian beliefs as superstition, fairy tales, and logic defying crutches that served as emotional supports for unstable people.

Stobel’s assessment of Christianity was challenged, however, when his wife, Leslie, professed her faith in Christ during a service at the Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. Troubled by his wife’s new adherence to what he thought was a superstition, Strobel set out to disprove the most important doctrine of Christianity, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Strobel chronicled this journey in his book, The Case for Christ, now a motion picture that has been released on 1,200 screens nationwide.

Instead of disproving Christianity, Strobel stumbled upon a mountain of evidence that supported the fact that the resurrection of Jesus Christ really existed. Such evidence included thousands of manuscripts of the New Testament, eye-witness accounts of the resurrection of Christ, historical documentation, and medical evidence of the cruelty of the beatings Christ endured, and the cruelty of crucifixion.

When standard journalistic investigation, historical research, and logical processes were employed, the resurrection stood on its merit. It really happened. Confronted with this truth, Strobel was forced to face the fact that, in this instance, he was wrong. He repented and accepted Jesus Christ as His personal savior.

The resurrection indeed happened. It is proven by the empty tomb, the multiple eye-witnesses to seeing a resurrected Christ (including the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the testimony of the disciples, the fact that the Apostle Paul was confronted on the road to Damascus by the resurrected Christ, the testimony of the 500 mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15, and the fact that resurrection is the only logical explanation for sightings of Christ post-crucifixion.)

The resurrection is central to the Christian faith, because it is through the resurrection that Christ conquered the grave so that we can all be resurrected when the Lord establishes His Kingdom on this earth. It is through the resurrection that Christ rose to be at the right hand of the throne of God, where He secures our salvation through his intercession (advocacy) on our behalf. It is through the resurrection that we have assurance that we have eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Sunday morning, we will celebrate the resurrection of Christ during our Easter Sunrise Service, which will be held at 7 am Sunday at the Depot Pavilion in downtown Brownwood. Come worship with us.

#TBT – Grace Pointe’s First Community Sunrise Service

1965521_10152327402373866_6208462195972903433_oEaster 2013 marked the beginning of our Easter tradition of hosting a community sunrise service at the Depot pavilion at the Depot Center in Downtown Brownwood. It was a blessed day, with good weather, lots of friends, and encouraging fellowship. Pastor Leland Acker preached the message, and Bro. Vince McClure led the music. Following the service, we gathered and visited beneath the pavilion, and many of us went on to grab breakfast together at McDonalds.

Since then, the Easter Sunrise Service has become one of the most anticipated events on Grace Pointe’s calendar. We are really looking forward to it, and we hope to see you there.

The Community Sunrise Service will be at 7 a.m. Sunday, April 16, at the Stuart and Margaret Coleman Plaza at the Depot Center in downtown Brownwood.

Grace Pointe Announces Sunrise Services

Once again, Grace Pointe Missionary Baptist Church will sponsor a “Community Sunrise Service,” at 7 am, Easter Sunday, April 16, at the Stuart and Margaret Coleman Plaza at the Depot Center in downtown Brownwood. The public is invited to come out, sing praise hymns A Capella with your friends and neighbors, and enjoy an inspirational Easter message from Grace Pointe Pastor Leland Acker.

Grace Pointe Missionary Baptist Church has sponsored the Community Sunrise Service at the Depot Center since 2013.

The Point Radio Show Gets Facelift

Listeners to “The Point” radio show will soon embark on a journey through the Bible. Pastor Leland Acker announced plans this past week to begin a “Through the Bible” series, which will take listeners through the Bible beginning in Genesis, and ending in Revelation. Previously, episodes of “The Point” paralleled Grace Pointe’s sermon series. Upgrades to the show include a new introduction, new introduction music, and new closing announcements. The show airs at 8:30 am on Sundays on News/Talk 102.3 KXYL, and also at the same time on KXYL 1240 AM.

Grace Pointe has sponsored The Point since 2012. In 2013, the show moved to News/Talk 102.3 KXYL (1240 AM) in Brownwood, TX. The show brings theology and Bible study to the secular airwaves. It serves as part of Grace Pointe’s outreach ministry.

If You Asked God What He Wanted for Christmas, What Would He Say?

Christmas 2014“What do you want for Christmas?”

It’s a common question. Santa asks it of the kids as they sit on his lap at the mall. Office workers ask it of each other as they plan their secret Santa gifts for the company Christmas party. And, even though you’ve turned 31, your mom will probably ask it of you.

Christmas is a time of giving, and a time of receiving. Exchanging gifts around a Christmas tree is one of the simple joys of the holiday. Everyone can identify with having a Christmas wish… but what about God? Has anyone ever asked God what He wants for Christmas? I mean, after all, He invented the holiday, didn’t he?

(Okay, yeah, I realize that Christmas is a man-made tradition to bring heathen holidays in compliance with the Christian religion. Humor me, will ya?)

After all, it was God who sent Jesus Christ, His only Begotten Son, to be born of the virgin, Mary. Jesus would go on to pay for the sins of the world on the cross so that we could be saved and live eternally with God in His Kingdom. Maybe that has something to do with God’s Christmas wish.

From the beginning, God’s desire has been to dwell with His people. If you look in Genesis 2, you see the picture of God walking along with Adam in the Garden of Eden, teaching and talking with him as Adam named the animals. When Adam sinned against God in Genesis 3, that close fellowship was broken. However, God immediately began taking the steps to restore that fellowship.

When God ordered the construction of the Tabernacle in the book of Exodus, His goal was to be able to dwell among His people. When His people rebelled, He had His Tabernacle moved out of their camp.

The construction of the Temple was, again, about giving God a place to dwell among His people. All of this was the foreshadowing of God’s overall plan to put an end to sin, and live with His people forever. It’s a dream that will be fully realized in Revelation 21:3, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Christ will come again, establish His Kingdom on Earth, and the Lord will dwell with us forever. At that time, all pain, suffering, illness and strife will be gone, and we will live in a perfect world forever.

What’s God’s Christmas wish? To live with us in a perfect world. However, God isn’t just sitting around hoping it shows up under the tree. He is busily working to bring that dream about.

And that is the significance of Matthew 1:23, “they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

Come visit with us Sunday, and see the blessings of “Emmanuel, God with us.” We meet for Sunday School at 10 a.m., Morning Worship at 11 a.m., inside the Early Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Incubator Facility at 104 E. Industrial, Early, TX, 76802.

God bless you this Christmas season,

Leland Acker, Pastor, Grace Pointe MBC.

Christmas Is About Hope

Christmas 2014Thanksgiving is behind us, and we survived the madness of Black Friday. At this time, we begin hanging our Christmas lights, and start a month-long celebration of Christmas. Every year, the retail industry celebrates their biggest sales months of the year, while Christians commemorate the birth of our Lord and Savior.

A more scholarly preacher might be tempted to lament that Jesus wasn’t really born in December, and that this celebration arises out of man’s traditions. I, on the other hand, prefer not to be a killjoy. While we don’t really know when Christ was born (some do offer good theories), the fact of the matter is that He was born. His birth was so important to God that He inspired Matthew and Luke to write about it. If God celebrated it in two different books of the Bible, and foretold it in the Book of Isaiah, then it makes sense that we should celebrate the birth of Christ today. Further, it makes sense that the celebration should last an entire month. In fact, it doesn’t really bother me that we begin rolling out the Christmas stuff in September… all the more opportunity to bring attention to our Lord.

When you read about the birth of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1-2, and in Luke 1-2, you will notice the writers pay special attention to pointing out the Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled by the birth of Jesus Christ. From that fact, we learn that Christmas is about God keeping His promise, and that we can draw hope from the Lord, knowing that God keeps His promise.

In Isaiah 9:6, the Bible says “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” In that verse, God made a promise to the nation of Israel, and more specifically, the southern kingdom of Judah. His promise was, though the nation was in decline due to sin and idolatry, He would send Christ, who would bring salvation, and restore the Kingdom. The birth of Christ is the beginning of the fulfillment of this promise.

So, every time you see a Christmas decoration, a Nativity scene, a banner proclaiming that “Jesus is the Reason for the season,” remember the promise God made, and kept.

Furthermore, Isaiah 9:6 is the key verse for our Christmas series this year, “And His Name Shall Be Called.” Join us as we learn of God’s promise and hope, by studying the names attributed to Christ around His birth. We hope to see you there.

Grace Pointe Missionary Baptist Church meets for Sunday School at 10 a.m., Morning Worship at 11 a.m., at the Early Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Incubator Facility, 104 E. Industrial, Early, Texas, 76802.

In Christ,

Pastor Leland Acker

Why Our Mission Involved The Early Pioneer Days

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Bro. John Melancon demonstrates Bible artifacts to a festival-goer at the Early Pioneer Days.

Saturday at the Pioneer Days celebration in Early, Texas, festival goers enjoyed angus beef hamburgers, kettle corn, fresh-squeezed lemonade, and balloon animals. As they strolled through the festival booths, they came upon our booth, featuring Bible archaeologist John Melancon. Bro. Melancon demonstrated the artifacts that he collected during archaeological digs in the Holy Land, related them to scripture, and then discussed Bible truths, particularly the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins.

Some may wonder  why a church would go through the expense, time and effort of hosting a festival booth at a local carnival, without the benefit of a fund-raiser. It’s really quite simple. It’s part of our mission at Grace Pointe.

The day is coming when we will all stand before the Lord, who will judge us and determine whether we are received into His Kingdom (Heaven), or whether we are condemned for eternity (Hell). He will judge us based on two criteria… (1) Have we broken God’s law? and (2) Has the penalty for our sin been paid?

We have all broken God’s law. We have all sinned. We have all told lies, we have all taken something that didn’t belong to us, we have all failed at one point in our lives to love the Lord and worship God. By the definition of the law given in the 10 Commandments, we are all guilty of breaking God’s law, and sinning (Romans 3:23). Scripture declares that the penalty for sin is death and condemnation (Romans 6:23). So, on that part of the judgment, we will all be found guilty (Romans 3:19).

The question will then be the status of your punishment. When Jesus died on the cross, He not only suffered for a cause, and stood His ground as a noble leader, He took the punishment for our sins from God. Isaiah 53:11 says “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”

While He was on that cross, Jesus endured the wrath of God that was caused by our sin. He took our punishment for us (1 John 2:2). The question is, whether that payment for sins has been credited to your account. Such a transaction happens when you repent of your sins, and trust Jesus Christ as your Savior (Romans 4). If you have been found to have your sins paid, because you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you will be received into Heaven. If the payment for sins has not been credited to your account, because you have not accepted Christ as your Savior, you will be condemned to an eternity in Hell (John 3:36).

It’s that last part that propels our public outreach at local festivals. We’re not there to ruin a good time, and we are not there to make a name for ourselves, or raise funds. We are there to get in touch with people we would not otherwise get to meet, so that we can warn all people to flee God’s wrath and be saved by trusting Jesus Christ as their Savior.

It’s our prayer that all who hear our presentation of the Gospel will repent and trust Jesus Christ as Savior.

Sunday morning, we will study Luke 16, and learn about Hell by expounding on the passage about the rich man and Lazarus. Service starts at 11 a.m. We hope to see you there.

Grace Pointe Missionary Baptist Church meets at the Early Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Incubator Facility, 104 E. Industrial, Early, TX 76802.