Posted by Connie Senturier on OP11er @ 11:02 PM


 I’ve had the good fortune to play on some very good basketball teams over the years.  It’s a joy to play the game when you’re on a team and all your teammates know their role and are ready to do their job.  To play to win and have success is an exhilarating feeling.

 “Teamwork” is the concept God had in mind when he formed the church.  The Bible says the church is a body – the body of Christ.  Each of us as believers make up the many parts of the body.  Each of us has a specific function or functions that the Holy Spirit has given us the spiritual gifts to be able to perform.  God expects every part of the body (every person in the church) to fulfill their function and do their job.  If anyone fails to do their job, then the body is disabled and severely handicapped.

 In Acts, chapter 6, we see the first steps the early church takes in functioning like a body.  Up to Acts 6 the apostles provided leadership for all the ministries of the church.  Now a new need has arisen and the apostles just can’t do any more.  Therefore they appoint “Deacons” to be in charge of the ministry to the widows.  As the church grows and ministries increase more people are required to step into leadership roles and to serve in the area of their giftedness.

 This Sunday we’ll learn about “The Art of Teamwork” and how important it is for every Christian be ready to serve Christ.  If we Christians, who make up the church today, don’t get into the game and learn to play as a team, then we’ll fail at the task Jesus has given us.  As Christians we’re not just playing for a trophy, we’re playing for lives that hang in the balance between heaven and hell.  We play as a team to win the game.  Find out your place on the team at First Baptist Riverside this Sunday, traditional worship at 9:00 a.m. or contemporary worship at 10:45 a.m.


Posted by Joseph Lutz on OP12er @ 12:40 PM

This year's election has brought into focus one of the biggest problems facing America today: a daunting lack of integrity among our country’s leaders.  We can certainly look back at American history and find presidents and other elected officials who showed a shocking lack of integrity.  However, I can't think of a time when we've been faced with a choice between two candidates whose moral and ethical failures have been exposed so blatantly and yet seem to feel no remorse, no need for repentance and give us no reason to think they'll change their behavior in the future.

It seems that many people have decided to hold their noses and vote for the candidate they consider to be the lesser of two evils.  It's sad to think our nation has sunk to such a level. 

While many of our political leaders are lacking in integrity, the same should never be said about followers of Jesus Christ.  We are to be Jesus’ ambassadors wherever we go (2 Corinthians 5:20).  As we grow spiritually, we’re to become increasingly holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:13-15).  We are to live our lives in such a way that if our actions are exposed publicly, we will have no reason to be ashamed (John 3:20; Ephesians 5:13-20).

This Sunday I’ll be preaching on “The Integrity Factor.” As Christians, we are a counter-cultural movement of Jesus followers and integrity matters! The story of Ananias and Sapphira gives insight into what the integrity factor is for Christians. I hope you’ll join us for worship this Sunday at our traditional service at 9:00 a.m. or our contemporary service at 10:45 a.m.

A Daring Faith

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OA9er @ 9:13 AM

Living for Jesus requires "A Daring Faith."  Our Christian faith is a movement, it's a cause to live for that's far greater than ourselves.  Christ makes a difference in the world.  In fact Christians are commissioned by Jesus to be world-changers.  If you think being a Christian is a nice quiet way of life, then go back and reread the Bible.  Christianity is a daring faith.

This Sunday our study of "ACTS: The Church Alive!" takes us to Acts, chapter 4.  Peter and John are arrested because they've been teaching and preaching about Jesus in the temple.  The next day they're made to stand before the most powerful leaders of the Jewish faith who tell them to quit talking about Jesus.  But Peter and John refuse to remain silent.  They will obey God rather than man.

If you want to add a little excitement to your life, then decide that you will obey God and live for him no matter what anyone else thinks.  That type of stand requires daring faith.  It requires courageous faith.  In our secular culture, people don't know what to do with believers who live wholeheartedly for God.  The world doesn't understand people who live uncompromisingly by Christian values.

What does it mean in practical terms to have a daring faith today?  A daring faith means we're ready to talk to our family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and classmates about what our faith in Jesus means to us.  A daring faith means we're ready to serve Jesus openly for the whole world to see.  A daring faith means we won't be silent when others mock or ridicule our God.  A daring faith means we'll live by Christian values instead of compromising with the ways of the world.  A daring faith means Jesus is more important than anything else in this world and we'll follow Jesus wherever he leads us.

If you want to learn more about having "A Daring Faith" I hope you'll come worship with us this Sunday at First Baptist Riverside.  We have traditional worship at 9:00 a.m. and contemporary worship at 10:45 a.m.  Hope to see you there!

The Church Blesses Others

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OP2er @ 2:01 PM

When you become aware of a neighbor or friend who has a need and you're able to do something to help them - it feels good knowing you've made a difference in someone's life.  You may have an opportunity to help a complete stranger by buying a homeless person a sandwich - that feels good.  When you give to a charity that feeds the hungry or assists refugees or provides fresh drinking water for a village where children were getting sick because of an impure water supply - it's very satisfying to do something.

In Acts 3, our sermon text for Sunday, Peter and John encounter a lame beggar on their way to the temple.  He asks them for money, but they give him something better.  They tell him they have no money, but in Jesus' name they will heal him.  The man begged because he was disabled, so Peter and John met his deepest need so he could live a normal life.

My message this Sunday is "The Church Blesses Others."  Jesus taught his followers to, "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 12:27).  Jesus follows his command by telling the "Parable of the Good Samaritan."  Anyone can be our neighbor.  We love our neighbor by meeting needs and blessing the people we encounter.  The church exists to train and resource it's members to love their neighbors by blessing them.  Together as the church, we're to engage in blessing ministries right here in our community.

This Sunday we'll learn to slow down and recognize the needs of others around us - and identify not only their physical needs, but also their spiritual needs.  We'll learn how to help our neighbors in a way that shows them the love of Christ.  We'll also discover that blessing others is an important part of our witness for Jesus right here where we live.  I hope you'll join us Sunday, because blessing others isn't optional for believers, it's the very heart of what it means to be a Christian and the mission of the church. 

The Church Has Power

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OP6er @ 6:23 PM

This Sunday we'll continue our study of "ACTS: The Church Alive!" as we see what happened on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given to the believers.  Last week we learned the church has a mission to carry out the ministry Jesus started.  We are to be Jesus' witnesses to those who don't know him.  But in order to do Jesus' mission we have to have Jesus' power.  Jesus power during his ministry came from the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the power source for the church.

God makes the Holy Spirit available to every believer.  The Holy Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit in us.  The fruit are God-like qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts and abilities to serve God and do the work God created us to do on this earth.  The Holy Spirit is our guide through life, he inspires us and gives us messages from God.  As Christians we need the Holy Spirit, it's impossible for us to please God without him.

This Sunday you'll learn how the Holy Spirit was given to the believers on the Day of Pentecost, as described in Acts 2.  You'll find out what the Spirit did for these early believers.  You'll discover how you can receive the Holy Spirit today and what the Holy Spirit can do to help you serve God and become the person he wants you to be.  I hope you'll join us at Traditional Worship at 9:00 a.m. or Contemporary Worship at 10:45 a.m.

The Church Has a Mission

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OA9er @ 9:12 AM

Many Christians make the mistake of thinking that the church exists for them.  Don't get me wrong, every Christian needs the church and needs to be part of a church family.  We need our church to encourage us and build us up in our faith.  We need the teaching and worship ministry of the church to inspire us to become world-changers for Jesus.

But the church doesn't exist for Christians, the church exists for Jesus.  Jesus established the church to carry on the mission he began during his ministry.  This Sunday, as we start our new study of "ACTS: The Church Alive!" we'll discover that before Jesus ascended into heaven he proclaimed the mission of the church: "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).  The church exists for Jesus and our mission is to proclaim the good news about him to everyone who needs to know Jesus.

I've heard it said that the church doesn't exist for believers, it exists for those who are not yet believers.  If people who don't know Jesus are going to get know him, it'll be because the church is doing it's job of being Jesus' witnesses.  The church is the hope of the world.  The church is God's Plan A for evangelizing and changing the world and there is no Plan B.

"The Church Has a Mission" to carry the message of Jesus to the ends of the earth. Every Christian has a complementary mission, to make sure that we're sharing the good news of Jesus with the people in our "oikos" - our family, neighbors, friends, and people in our community at work or school or wherever we are.  "The Church Has a Mission" and we are the missionaries!  Are you ready to embrace your role in accomplishing the church's mission?

Do you want to learn more about Jesus' mission and how you fit into that mission?  Come and worship with us this Sunday at First Baptist Riverside, Traditional Worship at 9:00 a.m. and Contemporary Worship at 10:45 a.m.

Kickoff Sunday - September 11 at FBR

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OA10er @ 10:28 AM

This Sunday is Kickoff Sunday at First Baptist Riverside for "ACTS: The Church Alive!"  This will be one of the most important studies our congregation has ever embarked on.  Acts tells the story of the early church from Jesus' Great Commission (Acts 1:8) to Paul's arrival in Rome.  Acts reveals God's plan and purpose for the church throughout the ages.

This Sunday I'll kickoff our study of "ACTS: The Church Alive!" by portraying Luke, the author of the Book of Acts.  We'll get to know Luke and discover why he wrote Acts.  We'll also identify some of the key themes that run through this important transitional book between the gospels and the letters in the New Testament.

"ACTS: The Church Alive!" is important for every believer as they seek to determine their place and purpose within the church.  This study is especially important for our FBR family because God has given us a 20/20 Vision for our church.  During the course of "ACTS: The Church Alive!" you'll see our vision reinforced in our study of the Scripture almost every Sunday.

Kickoff Sunday on September 11 will have a different schedule than we normally have.  Traditional Worship will run from 9:00-10:00 a.m.  We'll have an all-church brunch (it's free!) for everyone from 10:00-11:00 a.m.  Contemporary Worship will be from 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon.  I hope you'll choose to join us on Kickoff Sunday and then come back for our sermon series that will be supplemented by our Bible classes and small groups that will also study "ACTS: The Church Alive!"

ACTS: The Church Alive!

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OP3er @ 3:04 PM

After Jesus completed his work on earth, God's plan to carry on the ministry Jesus' started and build his kingdom on earth was the church.  The church is God's plan to fulfill the Great Commission and there is no Plan B.  The Book of Acts tells us the story of the beginning of the church and describes God's blueprint of the church.

Beginning Sunday, September 11th, First Baptist Riverside will begin a six month study of "ACTS: The Church Alive!" in our Sunday sermons and in all our small groups and classes.  We invite you to join us if you believe in Jesus but don't have a church home, or if you want to know more about the Christian faith and how to live for Jesus.  God's expectation is for every believer to be in a church family.  1 Corinthians 12 says that each of us are a part of the Body of Christ (the church), so a Christian without a church is like an arm or a leg or an organ cut off from the body - you can't live apart from the body.  We're also taught that every Christian has spiritual gifts necessary for the functioning of the "Body of Christ," so the church is handicapped by Christians who choose not to participate.

In our study of "ACTS: The Church Alive!" we'll discover God's purpose for the church: to change the world one person at a time.  God wants each of us is to become world-changers.  We'll learn how God gives us power from the Holy Spirit to do the work he wants us to do.  We'll learn how prayer is the power by which we engage God in the work we are doing.  We'll discover the importance of fellowship and caring for one another as a church family. 

Sunday, September 11th is Kickoff Sunday for "ACTS: The Church Alive!"  Our schedule on the 11th will be a little different than normal.  We'll have Traditional Worship at 9:00 a.m., at 10:00 a.m. there will be a free brunch - everyone is invited to attend, then at 11:00 a.m. is our Contemporary Worship Service.  Dr. Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, will be our guest speaker, telling us why he wrote this important book of the Bible.  Plan now to attend on Kick-off Sunday, September 11th, to discover God's purpose for the church, and accept the challenge to become a world-changer.

When Courage Is Required - God Is Good!

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OA9er @ 9:59 AM

In Sunday's sermon we'll learn about Daniel's courage in serving the Lord.  In Daniel 5 the king of Babylon sees the writing on the wall.  Daniel job is to tell him what it means.  It turns out the writing is a message from God stating that the king's time has run out, his evil behavior demands judgment, and he will die that night.  For Daniel to proclaim that message to a king could result in instant execution, but he faithfully told the truth.

It takes courage to live like a Christian today.  Jesus never said it would be easy to be a Christian.   Jesus says, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23).  Jesus goes on in the next verse, "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it."  It sounds like being a disciple of Jesus can be pretty dangerous!  What are some ways it takes courage to be a Christian?

It takes courage in many parts of the world simply to follow Christ.  Christians are being physically persecuted, oppressed and even killed because of their faith in Jesus in places in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.  Christians are even being targeted in our own country, as seen in the recent church shooting in Charleston where nine people were killed.

It takes courage to speak the truth about faith and morality.  In our culture people believe there are many spiritual paths that lead to God.  People don't want to hear the New Testament's message that Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6).  Behavior the Bible teaches is sin has become acceptable and is even accorded the status of a civil right.

It takes courage to witness to those who don't know Christ.  We may face rejection and ridicule from people who don't want to hear what we say.

It takes courage to tithe.  The Bible teaches that God's standard for faithful giving is giving 10% of our income to the Lord's work.  We're afraid if we make that commitment  we won't be able to pay our bills or buy the things we want or do the things we want to do.  We have to have courage to believe that God will provide.

It takes courage to give our time and energy to serve God.  People may not agree with what we do and oppose us.  An example is our church's GUMBO Homeless Ministry, where city and business owners have opposed our members serving the homeless in the various sections of town.

It takes courage to be a Christian, but God, if we have the faith to serve him, gives us the courage we need.  Find out more about having the courage to live our faith this Sunday at First Baptist Riverside, traditional worship at 9:00 a.m. and contemporary worship at 10:45 a.m.

Daniel - God is Good!

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OA10er @ 10:54 AM

This Sunday in worship I'll begin a three-week study of Daniel.  The theme of the series is "God is Good!"  Daniel is an interesting character.  When he was a young man Babylon conquered Israel and members of the royal family and noble class we're marched off into exile in Babylon.  Daniel was one of the exiles, and arriving in Babylon he was selected for training to serve the king of Babylon.  He was also called by God to be a prophet. 

In the first six chapters of Daniel we read a number of stories and see the challenges Daniel faced as a foreigner and follower of God who was also an advisor to kings.  Often the things Daniel did took amazing courage.  There were times when his life was threatened, but he never compromised his faith or his commitment to God.  What Daniel found out was that when he trusted God in difficult times, God is good.  God was always there to provide what Daniel needed in every situation.

Over the course of this sermon series I want to make the case that when we are faithful to God, God will be faithful to us and show us his goodness in every situation.  This Sunday we'll learn that "When Life Changes... God is Good!"  In Daniel's teen years his life changed dramatically, multiple times, due to circumstances beyond his control.  Daniel discovered through all these changes that God is good!  There are things in our lives that change, we don't always like the changes, they're often beyond our control.  How do we deal with those changes?  Do we complain?  Do we harken back to the good old days?  Or do we face the changes with confidence that God is with us and will help us.  When we trust in the Lord we will discover that God is good!

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