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Pastor’s Blog

April 1st, 2019

“We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
-1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

How does Jesus look at a Church? Paul in 1 Thessalonians gives us a pattern for a church.
A church is a place where people know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Our objective is to find people who are in need of the love and reconciliation through the saving blood of Jesus and share our experiences.
God wants a surrendered church, committed people. Thessalonians were not people who talked about it, but they were imitators. They did not just talk about their Christian experience, they lived it. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” In Ephesians once again Paul says, “Follow God’s example.”
The church was committed to one thing “Christ-likeness.” They were committed to being like Jesus, not to another individual with shortcomings.
A. W. Tozer said, “If you have a hundred pianos you want to tune and you start tuning one to the other, what a mess. But if you have a tuning fork, tune all the pianos to that one tuning fork, and they’ll automatically be tuned to each other.”
Paul says the Thessalonians’ church didn’t have it easy because Satan was not too pleased so he brought dissension. When a church that is saved and surrenders to imitating Christ, it is going to antagonize the world. There is going to be suffering but it will have the Holy Spirit to help it through its suffering.
The Thessalonian church was also a soul winning church–Thessalonians 1:6-8, “You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it.” Paul says because of your actions, people are talking about you everywhere I go. What a testimony for a church.
Heine, the German philosopher, once said, “You show me your redeemed life, and I might believe in your redeemer.”
The world saw such exemplary lives and dramatic transformation in their character, the world could not believe it. It created a platform for the church to go proclaim the power of God’s word.
The Thessalonian church was a saved, surrendered, suffering, soul winning church but they did not stop there. They also talked about the second coming of Christ. The Lord wants us to remind the world that He is coming again. But this time as a King and Judge of the world.
How does Jesus look at our church? A saved, surrendered, suffering, soul winning and looking forward to HIS second coming or otherwise? It is something to think about.
My desire is to be like the Thessalonian church, vibrant, enthusiastic, joy overflowing and others looking at us and saying we can see Jesus in full glory. “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” 2 Peter 3:14.
Have a wonderful spring, enjoy all the blessings God has given us and be grateful for His mercy.
God bless,
Pastor Shaker


March 1st, 2019

We take great pleasure and feel blessed that Jake Hahnemann has taken the position of Family Pastor here at First Baptist.  He will begin his ministry on March 1st.

Jake grew up in Wisconsin where in the third grade he received his first Bible and that is when he had first thoughts of becoming a pastor.

After high school, Jake attended Greenville University where he studied music and
in 2014 received a Bachelors of Science in Worship Arts.  It is also where he met Hannah, his wife. 

Jake has experienced, coordinated, and used his leadership skills in ministries such as worship, music, small groups, youth, community outreach, discipleship, and counseling.  He loves music–plays the guitar, bass, drums, piano, trombone and enjoys writing and recording his own music. His favorite worship album is Shane and Shane: Psalms 2. 

He is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Biblical Counseling at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

Hannah and Jake will soon be married 5 years and earlier in their marriage, they traveled around the country in a camper with a ministry doing outreach to carnival workers.  Hannah’s family lives in Anna, Illinois.  They have two beautiful children, Emma, almost 3 years old and James 3 months old.

Right now Jake’s favorite Bible verse is 1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.”

We welcome the Hahnemann family to the FBC Family of Faith.  Please pray for them as they move and transition to Murphysboro.

I love the church. She is Christ’s bride and the key to cultural transformation. In that sense, every church is great. But let’s be honest, there are a ton of churches that leave much to be desired when it comes to truly making a difference in their congregations and communities. So, when you plug into a church that is getting it done, it’s a true blessing.
Of course there are no perfect churches, but there are many that are pressing toward the high water mark we see in Scripture.
Here are 10 signs you may be going to a great local church :

1.  It is led by a team of godly leaders not a Lone Ranger pastor who gathers Tonto-type leaders around him to say “Yes, Kemo Sabe” to his each and every idea (Titus 1:5 -9 ) .

2.  The Gospel is central to every sermon, program and meeting (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).

3.  People are using their spiritual gifts not just watching the “stage team” exercise theirs (1 Corinthians 12:12-31).

4.  It, like the early church, is integrated, fully representing the demographic of the community in which it resides (Ephesians 2:11-21 ). By the way, my buddy Derwin Gray has a lot of great material (blogs, sermons, etc.) on this particular point.

5.  Love, demonstrating itself in friendliness, generosity, internal/external care programs and community involvement, dominates the atmosphere ( 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 ).

6.  Most likely there is a thriving small group program where members truly can have great biblical conversations, share struggles and pray with/for each other (James 5:16).

7.  The people are being inspired and equipped to share their faith.

8.  The teaching/preaching is biblical, theological and immensely practical (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 4 :1-4).

9.  Ministry to children and teenagers are top priorities, not afterthoughts (Titus 2: 1-8) .

10.  Intercessory prayer fuels everything. It’s the engine, not the caboose, of how the church rolls from top to bottom (1 Timothy 2:1-8).

These are 10 signs you may be going to a great church.  What are some other signs?