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April 1, 2017, 8:27 PM

What is Your Truth?

We all want to be our own boss, but in reality everyone surrenders their authority to some “Standard of Truth.” We all at some point, turn to something to justify the reasons for our action. We all point to something as proof that our ways are right. But, is your truth the truth?

Not long ago I got into an argument with a three year old about whether or not it was too cold to wear her Princess Ana dress. She had good reasons for wanting to wear it. It wasn't too cold because she wasn't cold. It was pretty. It was her favorite. She looked pretty in it. She wouldn't get cold because she wouldn't let Elsa touch her. Lots of good reasons. But, I had the truth. It was too cold because the temperature was below freezing. I appealed to the almighty thermometer.

In life, we appeal to many different things. Many people appeal to their emotions or the emotions of other. The way certain things, activities, or ideas make them feel. But, emotions are very fluid and changing. Things like 'Truth' and 'Right or Wrong' are not fluid and changing. They are steady. 

Many people may point to their opinion or the opinion of others. But there is no standard or set opinion. Some opinions may be more educated than others, but they are still not grounding truth. Your opinion on certain topics will change. Other's opinions will change more rapidly. Even worse is that who’s opinion you value will change even more rapidly. 

Some may champion science as the ultimate truth. But in reality, science is the ever changing search for the already established truth. Recently, scientist were able to identify and spot the HiggsBoson particle. Before that, they knew that it should be there but were not positive because they could not positively identify it. But, before that, they did not even know where to look. Their ability to find, theorize, or even know to theorize did not change the truth that the HiggsBoson particle existed. Science cannot be our ultimate truth, because science is not truth itself. Science is the search for truth.

Jesus said: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.... In saying that, He claimed to be the steady and unchanging rock solid truth about life and ultimate reality. Jesus is the source of the already established truth that science explores. Jesus is the life changing truth that sets us free from our emotions. Jesus is the truth that provides solid ground for the wise man to build.

March 25, 2017, 12:45 PM

Dear Church,

As your Pastor, I want you to know about what I believe are some exciting changes that you can expect to see in the coming months. My main goal for 2017 is to see Desha First Baptist become an active church. That doesn't necessarily mean lots of activities and programs. It is very easy for a church to become overwhelmed with activities and programs. What I really mean by active church is that we are as an entire body “Serving Christ by Serving Others”. When we as a church begin to Serve Christ by Serving Others, we become a family of believers that is truly being the body of Christ.

We have certainly done a good job of that so far this year. I am very proud of the ministry projects that we have accomplished, and I look forward to many more in the coming months. But it is time for us to turn our attention to another aspect of activating our church, and that is incorporating more people and faces into the leading of our Worship Services. We “Serve Christ by Serving the Church” when we use our God given talents and gifts to lead others toward Christ.

When it comes to the worship service and its style, I believe that every church has what I call a “Heartbeat of Worship”. There may be a wide variety of preferences within a church, especially a church like ours. But in every church, when you mix all of the ages, styles, preferences, and traditions together, you will have a Heartbeat of worship. That heartbeat of worship may not fit any one style or preference, but when a church finds it, it will produce moving worship among that group of people. Worship that is alive. Worship that draws hearts closer to Christ, and that is what we want.

For our Christmas Day Worship Service, I put together a task force to plan something unique and moving, and I believe they did a great job. So, I have pulled them back together to come up with a plan to help our church find its Heartbeat of Worship. After much Prayer and Thought, I believe we have a plan that will work. But in order to pull it off, church, we need your gifts and your talents.

We don't want to change for the sake of change. We certainly don't want to change and become something that we are not. But at the same time, if our worship never grows or develops as our church grows and develops, then eventually we become something we are not anyway. So our plan is structured to allow the flexibility we need for our worship to grow and develop as our church grows and develops, but it is also focused enough to keep us true to our traditional roots.

We are a Christ Centered, Bible Teaching, Family Focused church; and we want our worship services to reflect that identity. Above all else, we want our worship to exalt Christ; anything else is unacceptable. We want our worship songs to drive deep the truths of scripture; anything else is untrue. We want our worship services to engage each member of the family; anything else is unwise.

So what's the plan?

Our plan revolves around putting different faces of all ages in front of the church leading in worship. Blending different preferences, styles, and sounds into one harmonious deceleration of God's Glory and Greatness.

Our plan is to put together 6-8 different “Praise Teams” that will lead worship. Each group will be a mix of different people which will inherently have its own sound and style. The group will be charged with planning the worship service for one week in a quarterly cycle. They will meet with the choir during choir practice 2 weeks prior to “their service” in order to plan and talk about the unique style they would like to add to the service.

Now, I don't expect things to go perfectly from the get go. Like anything in life, there will be moments that are great, and moments that we can learn from. But, I do expect that over time we will grow and develop a worship style that touches the Heartbeat of our church; and that worship will move the hearts of those in our church closer to Christ.

If you are interested in being a part of one or more of those praise teams or participating in any way, we will have a quick initial meeting after the morning service today in the choir loft.

In Christ
Bro. Josh


February 25, 2017, 5:23 PM

3 Principles for Understanding Marriage

* Today's Blog Post is an Outline from Bro. Josh's sermon notes on  2/26/17


Marriage Matters

Ephesians 5 & Genesis 1-3

3 Principles of Understanding Marriage

1.) Marriage is a Sacred Covenant with Secular Implications.
-God defines it

-God is glorified by it
-Sin profoundly impacts it
-Society benefits from it
-Society must account for it

2.) Boys and Girls are different
-They have different physical, spiritual, and emotional needs
-They have different ways relating to each other
-They have different responses

3.) Love is a Commitment that requires a Choice be made
New Testament
-Phileo Love is a relationship
-Eros Love is a desire/attraction/urge

-Agape Love is a Choice 
Old Testament
-Hesed sometimes rendered “loyalty” (2 Sm 22:26 rs), more often “steadfast love” (Gn 39:21) or “kindness.” Hesed is not an emotional response to beauty, merit, or kindness, but a moral attitude dedicated to another’s good, whether or not that other is lovable, worthy, or responsive (see Dt 7:7–9).



7 Love Languages – Gary Chapman

The Mingling of Souls – Matt Chandler on Right Now Media


February 18, 2017, 12:42 PM

New Identity

Which is better: Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, or doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. While I have faced many situations that called for both answers, the truth is neither one is better. The only right answer is doing the right thing for the right reasons. But the fact that we don't live is a right world has affected the way we approach this question. It has also affected the way we approach our relationship with God.

In Ephesians 4:17-32, Paul goes through 7 characteristics of our new identity in Christ. We will often look at these characteristics and react in one of three ways, but only one is correct. The other two are really close to right, but still totally wrong. 

The first wrong way is to view the characteristics as a check list that we have to follow. They are not simply rules to govern us. But, all too often, we view our relationship with God as a checklist of Do's and a checklist of Don'ts. This is harmful and called legalism. It is the trap of thinking that I can do certain things to earn God's approval. 

The second wrong thing is to ignore the weight of these characteristics. Some people struggle to understand that they are forgiven and don't need to earn God's approval. Others struggle to understand that just because they are forgiven doesn't mean that God approves of their sin. This is just as harmful as legalism. It leads to people who never deal with their sin with God. They misunderstand God's unconditional love for them as a type of unconditional approval of who they desire to be. This is most dangerous when the man with an anger issue excuses it as “just the way God made me.” 

There is a balance between understanding that we cannot earn God's approval and recognizing that we do not measure up to God's approved standard. The balance between the two is the Cross of Christ. The characteristics of the new identity cannot be strictly kept, nor can they be flippantly ignored. Instead, we must turn our eyes to the Cross. We must realize that we don't have to measure up because Christ already has. But, we must also realize that we are no longer a slave to sin. We can now live free because of the Cross of Christ. As we fall more in love with Jesus, we will become more and more like him. Then these characteristics will begin to shine through.

February 11, 2017, 7:41 PM

Kevin Taylor

Today we have a special guest with us, Kevin Taylor. Kevin is here as a potential full-time Youth Minister. Kevin is from Warren, AR, and is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Monticello. He will be sharing his testimony and passion for youth ministry with us during the sermon time today. 

Two things really impressed me about Kevin during the interview. The first thing was that he seemed to be an open book. He was very honest. Shared about his successes and his failures, but he didn't stop there. He shared about what he had learned from each situation. During the three hour interview, he never dodged a question. Even if he didn't have the perfect answer, he answered the question directly and honestly. Not many people interviewing for a ministry position are willing to do that.   

The second thing I noticed was that he seemed to be a very genuine person that truly cared about people. This was evident in his stories about reaching out to the shiest kid in the youth group. But, it was also evident in his stories about challenging the most popular kids in the group to be all that they could be. 

Here is an excerpt from Kevin's Resume about his vision for youth ministry:

My vision for student ministry is first and foremost, to see students come to know Jesus as their Savior. That is what my ministry will always be about. I believe that if we, as a church, do not reach the next generation, then the future of the church is very dark. My vision is to build up a student ministry where students are passionate about Jesus. I want the students to be excited about coming to church on Wednesday nights. I want the student ministry to be energetic, passionate, and faithful. I want to build up a student ministry that long after I have gone, the ministry is still thriving and changing student's lives.

I believe it is always more important to find the right person to fill a ministry position, than it is to find a person. I feel very strongly that Kevin is the right person for our church and this position. 

-Bro. Josh

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