I can hardly believe that is has been two weeks since the start of my sabbatical. I do miss each and every one of and pray for you regularly. This week I've read a book entitled, Forgotten Salvation & Martyrs by Ronnie Brown, while visiting with my mother in PA. As I read about the salvation decision of men and women, I couldn’t help but be remined that God can save the vilest of sinners and the very pious steeped in their religion. God is "not willing that any should perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:26b)
Each of the stories of these testimonies followed a similar pattern but under different circumstances. That same pattern is available to any sinner who desires to be saved today. It begins with conviction. The understanding that you have sinned against a righteous and Holy God. That conviction come from the Holy Spirt of God. In John 6:44a Jesus states, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." This conviction should bring about a Godly sorrow for our sin. Our sin must become a burden, a weight, we no longer desire to carry. We must see it’s offensive, a stench in God’s nostrils. Godly sorrow leads to us viewing sin the way God does.
We then must confess our sins to God. Conviction of our sins should bring about repentance or turning from our sin to God.
Romans 10:9-10 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
That confession should push us to the point of turning from our sin and serving A Holy God in holiness. Just because we repent doesn’t mean the temptation to sin won’t happen again in our lives. We have to choose holiness and righteousness daily. When I repented of my sin, I intentionally decided to walk in holiness daily. That decision required that I change who I saw, where I went, who I invited into my home, the music to which I listened, and the movies I watched. I had to guard my heart, my eyes, my ears, and my mind every day. You may have to do the same things.
Romans 6:22 "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."
Our salvation brought on by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, leading us to confess or sin to God by repentance, should bring us to a point in our lives where we desire to live a Holy life for God. Separated from the world, but drawn close to God by our regular communion with Him. Giving us the power to live a Holy life, "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16.
2 Corinthians 7:1 "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
- Pastor David Carroll, Senior Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
Merci, Danke, Gracias, σας ευχαριστώ (that one was for Pastor James).
Thank you for the allowing me the opportunity to take this sabbatical. I already miss the times we share in the services, and the fellowship we have in Christ.
The first week of sabbatical was a busy time. I had some last-minute details to take care of for the church before embarking full time on my sabbatical. I then turned my attention to my "honey-to-do" list that I needed to finish before our guests arrived on Tuesday. I'm writing this sabbatical update from my mother's house in Pennsylvania. It has been good to visit with her and "catch-up" on life. It's been too long since I spent time with my mom. I feel that I have really begun the "rest," which is part of my sabbatical goals.
This week I have read (outside of my Bible reading), The Unbreakable Brain by Dr. Will Mitchell. What a great book! It's subtitled Shield Your Brain From Cognitive Decline…For Life. I have learned a lot about how the brain and memory functions. I also know now that diabetes and dementia are interconnected, and a lot of other useful things. Prayerfully, I will move them from my head to my heart (like we should do with the Word of God) and make applications to my life.
As I truly began to rest it allowed me to reflect and I came to this conclusion,
Instead of allowing the position of Senior Pastor to form the basis of who I am, I need to allow my position in Christ to shape my identity.
Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Because He loved me and gave himself for me, and now lives in me, my position in this life (the world) doesn't make up my identity. My identity is who I am in Christ. My position is not found in this world, but in heaven.
Ephesians 2:6 "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:"
I'm a child of God; God in me and for me. My position and identity in Christ is sufficient to sustain me no matter what title I may hold here on earth.
Having said that, I'm well aware of John 15:16 which states, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you" (that's my life verse).
And 1 Timothy 3:1 which states, "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work."
I'm thankful for the position God has called me to as the Pastor of Sharon Baptist Church, but that position no longer defines who I am in this world, Christ has already determined that for me.
Sharon Baptist church is an independent, fundamental Baptist church located in Hampton, VA.
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