First Baptist Church Laredo
Sunday Worship 9-29-19
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        First Sunday Fellowship

        July 7, 2019 - 9:45 AM - 10:45 AM
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        First Sunday Fellowship

        October 6, 2019 - 9:45 AM - 9:45 AM
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        Men's Bible Study

        June 18, 2019 - 7:00 PM - 7:00 PM
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        Men's Bible Study

        June 18, 2019 - 7:00 PM - 7:00 PM
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        Ladies Bible Study

        August 13, 2019 - 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
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        Ladies Bible Study

        August 13, 2019 - 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
        New Ladies Bible Study, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness - Study on Judges” Join us every Tuesday at 10:00 am in room A7.
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        Wednesday Night Bible Studies

        August 7, 2019 - 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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        Wednesday Night Bible Studies

        August 7, 2019 - 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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        Estudios en Hogar para Damas

        August 22, 2019 - 11:00 AM - 11:00 AM
        Para mas información, favor de contactar a la hermana Juanita al 956-645-8170
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        Personnel Committee Meeting

        September 29, 2019 - 12:30 PM - 12:30 PM
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        Personnel Committee Meeting

        September 29, 2019 - 12:30 PM - 12:30 PM
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        Stewardship Committee Meeting

        October 6, 2019 - 12:30 PM - 12:30 PM
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        Stewardship Committee Meeting

        October 6, 2019 - 12:30 PM - 12:30 PM
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        Deacon Meeting

        October 6, 2019 - 4:00 PM - 4:00 PM
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        Pantry of Hope

        July 13, 2019 - 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
        Volunteers please arrive at 9 am through the back kitchen door. Thank you!
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        Pantry of Hope

        October 12, 2019 - 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
        Volunteers please arrive at 9 am through the back kitchen door. Thank you!
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        Mission Committee Meeting

        August 11, 2019 - 3:00 PM - 3:00 PM
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        Mission Committee Meeting

        September 8, 2019 - 3:00 PM - 3:00 PM
      • Psalm 71:5–6CSB

  • Thrive
  • I Am
      • Psalm 82CSB

      • Psalm 116:2HCSB

  • Jesus Firm Foundation
      • 2 Samuel 7:22HCSB

  • Great Are You Lord
  • Who You Say I Am
  • Read our theme verse with me.
    Psalm 34:12
    Psalm 34:12–14 CSB
    12 Who is someone who desires life, loving a long life to enjoy what is good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceitful speech. 14 Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it.
    We are in a series about how we can have the good life. We have said in order to have the good life you need to fear God and deal with temptation properly.
    Open your Bible to the book of promise you. It is in there. It is found in the minor prophets at the end of the Old Testament. They are minor prophets, not because they are insignificant, but rather they are minor because of the length of their writings.
    What I have found as I read the minor prophets is that their messages are so applicable to us today. The book of Amos was written in the 8th century B.C. The prophet Amos was inspired by God to speak against the the decay of the people’s worship and social structure. The northern kingdom of Israel had grown wealthy. Archeologists have performed excavations at the capital of the northern kingdom at Samaria. In those excavations, they have found many artifacts which attest to the wealth of the people described by Amos.
    As they grew wealthy, they forgot about God and his expectations. They neglected to worship God properly. They neglected to treat the poor justly. They exploited people to increase their own wealth. They were not seeking God and they were in danger of judgment.
    Amos
    Amos 5:4–7 CSB
    4 For the Lord says to the house of Israel: Seek me and live! 5 Do not seek Bethel or go to Gilgal or journey to Beer-sheba, for Gilgal will certainly go into exile, and Bethel will come to nothing. 6 Seek the Lord and live, or he will spread like fire throughout the house of Joseph; it will consume everything with no one at Bethel to extinguish it. 7 Those who turn justice into wormwood also throw righteousness to the ground.
    This seems pretty straightforward.

    Seek God and live.

    If you want the good life, you are going to seek God. Seeking other things and ways are tempting, but you only really live if you seek God. If you forsake God, you end up on the path of destruction.
    The people of Israel were on the path to destruction, the highway to hell, so to speak. They thought because their finances were stable and they lived in a time of relative peace that everything was okay. However, everything was not okay because they weren’t seeking God.
    Likewise, today, people think, maybe even you think, “Hey, I’m okay with God because I am blessed. My finances are pretty good. I have everything I need and even some things that I want. Generally, things are pretty good.” However, if you aren’t seeking God, then you are on the wrong path. Material blessings are not always indicative of God’s blessing in life. Likewise, difficult times are not always indicative of God’s curse on your life. God expects us to seek him. Seek God and live.
    Here is a principle and it is an important one. It is one we don’t think of much, but it is vital. Ready?

    God cares about the way in which we seek him.

    God demands that we seek him in the way he wishes to be sought and worshipped. God doesn’t approve of ways which are outside of his approved way of seeking him. The way in which we seek God is important.
    The people of northern Israel deluded themselves into thinking they were okay in how they were worshipping God and seeking him. The only place of proper worship was in Jerusalem where the Temple was located. It was the only prescribed place to offer atonement for sins. It was the place where God dwelled among men. However, the kings of northern Israel didn’t want their people traveling to Jerusalem, in the southern kingdom. They thought it would create of conflict of interest in the people of Israel, so they set up a new place of worship in Bethel.
    <show picture>
    They set up an altar in Bethel and a golden calf for the people to worship and to bring sacrifices. Bethel literally means “the house of God”, but now it stood for idolatry and external religious rituals.

    God is not to be sought through idolatry or empty rituals.

    Do you realize that you could be here this morning, just going through the motions of worship and it is worthless to God? Did you prepare to worship God this morning? Did you just put it on autopilot as something you know you are supposed to do, but you don’t really want to do it?
    Have you ever considered that perhaps you have set up a false image of God in your life and heart? Perhaps you have made God into a genie who grants your wishes. Perhaps you have reduced God to uninvolved clockmaker who wound up the world and just let it go. Perhaps you have made God into a malevolent dictator just waiting for you to step out of line or you have gone the other way and God is your teddy bear. You see, we can do the same thing the people of Israel did. God is not to be sought through idolatry or empty rituals.
    Amos 5:
    Amos 5:4–5 CSB
    4 For the Lord says to the house of Israel: Seek me and live! 5 Do not seek Bethel or go to Gilgal or journey to Beer-sheba, for Gilgal will certainly go into exile, and Bethel will come to nothing.
    Do not seek Bethel, a place of idolatry and empty ritual. Do not seek Gilgal. Gilgal was the place where Israel had originally entered the land after the Exodus. It was a traditional place of pilgrimage and sacrifice. Beersheba was another place where people would make pilgrimages to the shrine for the patriarchs. Here the prophet is saying that God is not to be sought through empty traditions.

    God is not to be sought through empty traditions.

    This is not to say that traditions are bad or harmful. Many traditions are helpful because they keep us focused and on track; however, simply doing the thing to earn merit with God is not the way we are to operate.
    Simply following traditions can be a very dangerous thing. There was a family who had a tradition of only naming their children after biblical names. Anyone have that tradition in their family? The newly married couple agreed to follow in the family’s tradition. They wanted to use uncommon biblical names, so they chose Cain, Lucifer, and Judas. I am sure the three boys are quite the blessing. Be careful what you ask for, right?
    We have traditions here. We have things we do all the time and these things can become empty traditions. These things can become ways we think we can use to manipulate God to work on our behalf. Our tithes and offerings can become an empty tradition. Are we supposed to give at least 10% of what we earn to further God’s work on earth? Yes, God has commanded his people to give tithes and offerings, but the giving of tithes and offerings is not a way to manipulate God to bless you. We should think, “Well, I gave my money, so God is going to bless me.” We don’t give to receive.
    In just a few minutes, we are going to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Communion can become an empty tradition. It can be just something we do, rather than something that brings us closer to God.
    Really, any part of church life can become something we use to try to manipulate God to work on our behalf. Check your motives. Why do you do what you do? God is not to be sought through idolatry. God is not to be sought through empty traditions.
    Amos said, “Seek God and live!” He exposed how the people were seeking God improperly. How, then, are we to seek God? What does it mean to seek God?
    The word seek, in Hebrew, is the word “darak” and it was used in hunting. It was a word to indicate linear movement. It meant to take aim.

    Seek (darak) - linear movement; to take aim

    Learning to take careful aim is important. I remember my first experience hunting here in South Texas. I was on a ranch on a ride on-top truck. We were driving along, looking for the deer. Finally, we found the deer. I got out my rifle and took, what I thought was careful aim. I pulled the trigger and BAM! I missed. I thought what every hunter thinks, “Something is wrong with this rifle”. I steadied my breathing, took aim again, and BAM! I missed again. Now I know something is wrong with the rifle. There is no way I could miss twice. Then, the man I was with, who has much more experience than I have, told me what I was doing wrong. I wasn’t allowing for the height of the vehicle and the sway of the truck in the wind. So, I took aim again, steadied my breathing, waited for the wind to lessen, aimed a little lower and BAM! This time I got it.
    You might be thinking, “Nice hunting story, but how is this about seeking God?” Here it is. Learning to take careful aim is important.

    You seek God by taking aim at what he values.

    You seek God by moving in the ways he wants you to move.
    Amos 5:4–7 CSB
    4 For the Lord says to the house of Israel: Seek me and live! 5 Do not seek Bethel or go to Gilgal or journey to Beer-sheba, for Gilgal will certainly go into exile, and Bethel will come to nothing. 6 Seek the Lord and live, or he will spread like fire throughout the house of Joseph; it will consume everything with no one at Bethel to extinguish it. 7 Those who turn justice into wormwood also throw righteousness to the ground.
    What does God value? The two things Amos specifically mentions is that God values justice and righteousness. Jesus repeated this in the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew 6.
    Matthew 6:33 CSB
    33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
    God values justice and righteousness; therefore, as his people, we are to value justice and righteousness.

    Seeking God involves seeking justice and righteousness.

    The good life is about being just and righteous. Justice in Amos’ day and I believe in our day as well has been turned into wormwood. Wormwood is an extremely bitter plant. In other words, justice has been made bitter. If you are a person of means and status, you can avoid prosecution and jail. If you are of a certain intersectional strata, you are immune to the standards. If you know the right people, you can get want you want. Our political representatives are corrupt. Our courts are corrupt. Justice has been made bitter. Righteousness has been thrown to the ground.
    Brothers and sisters, we can’t allow the bitterness and cynicism around us to stop seeking justice and righteousness. I am not talking about this phony social justice being peddled today. The world’s social justice is no justice at all. It is exploitive. It is not rational and it is fundamentally flawed. God’s justice is what we seek. We can’t turn on the news or read social media to find out what it just and right. We go to the Scriptures to find out what is just and what is right.
    How do you know what is right? How do you know what is just? You go to the Scriptures. Is it just and right to support politicians who fund and receive funding from those who would rip a baby from the womb of the mother? It is not. Is it just and right to turn a blind eye to corruption because the person fits my particular leanings? It is not. Is it just and right to encourage the exploitation of the vulnerable? It is not. Is it just and right to squander the precious resources of this earth that God entrusted to us to manage? It is not.
    How do I know these things? It is not a party platform that determines what is right and just. It is not my social circles who determine what is right and just. It is not some talking head that determines what is right and just. It is God alone who determines what is right and just. People of God, we must return to being people of the Bible and followers of the Way. We have been seduced by our culture into perverting righteousness and justice. We have followed pied pipers who have led us astray. The only way back to seeking God is by valuing what God values. You know what God values by reading and studying his Word. Are you seeking God? Do you value what God values? Do you even know what God values? Today, make the commitment to seek God with your whole heart.
    Write this verse down and remember it.
    Deuteronomy 4:29–31 CSB
    29 But from there, you will search for the Lord your God, and you will find him when you seek him with all your heart and all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, in the future you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 He will not leave you, destroy you, or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them by oath, because the Lord your God is a compassionate God.
    Deut
    Let’s bow our heads in quiet and self-reflection.
    Let’s bow our heads in quiet and self-reflection.
    As Christians continue to pray, perhaps you are here today and if you are really honest, you can’t say with integrity that you are seeking God. You can’t say it because it is not true. Jesus is not first in your life. You know about Jesus, but you haven’t given Jesus control of your life. Jesus is not your Lord and Savior.
    As Christians continue to pray, perhaps you are here today and if you are really honest, you can’t say with integrity that you are the Lord’s servant. You can’t say it because it is not true. Jesus is not first in your life. You know about Jesus, but you haven’t given Jesus control of your life. Jesus is not your Lord and Savior.
    Jesus was born of the virgin Mary and he was born without sin. He is the Son of God. He was the only person who could be the perfect sacrifice for our sin. He died for you and he was raised from the dead. Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved and forgiven.
    There are those of you here today who need to surrender to Jesus. You do not need to clean up your life first. You don’t need to get better and stop doing bad things. You come to Jesus just as you are. When you come to him he will change you from the inside out. He will forgive every sin you have ever done and will make you brand new.
    There are those of you who recognize that you are not serving Jesus. You are serving yourself, but today, you will say, “I am turning away from my sin and giving my life to Jesus.”
    If that is you, will you pray this prayer with me, “Heavenly Father, forgive me for my sins, make me new. I ask Jesus to be my Savior and to be the Lord of my life, first in every way. My life is not my own, I give it to you. Thank you for new life. In Jesus’ name, I pray.”
    Brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s get really practical. Are you seeking God? Do you value what God has said that he values? Where are you getting your values? Is it from God’s word? Are you reading and studying God’s Word? In order to help you create the habit, in your bulletins this morning is a Bible reading plan for the next 30 days. How many of you will say, “For the next 30 days, I will commit to spending at least 20 minutes a day in Bible Study and prayer?” You don’t have to use the one I provided, but you will spend at least 20 minutes a day in Bible Study and prayer. You can use your lunch break. You can get up a little earlier. You can do it before you go to bed. Find a time that works for you and do it. Let God’s word change you from the inside out.
    Close in Prayer.
    Our deacons will be coming forward to pray with you and for you. If you prayed to receive Jesus, please come and let us pray with you and celebrate your new life in Christ. If God is dealing in your heart and life right now, don’t let this moment pass.
    As you stand and we sing together.
    <after closing the time of invitation>
    Perhaps you didn’t come forward for one reason or another, but you really do want to talk with us about what is going on in your life. Perhaps you need help, prayer, or you just want to know more about being a follower of Jesus. I would encourage you to do one of two things. After we are dismissed, just stay where you are. One of our deacons will come and talk with you and pray with you. The other thing you can do is check one of the boxes on the Connection Card. Put it in the offering plate as it passes. We will get in touch with you this week. You see, this church exists to minister to one another. We are here to support you in your walk with God.
      • Psalm 34:12–14CSB

      • Amos 5:4–7CSB

      • Amos 5:4–5CSB

      • Amos 5:4–7CSB

      • Matthew 6:33CSB

  • Jesus Is Lord Of All
  • Nothing But The Blood (Plainfield)
  • When I Survey The Wondrous Cross (Hamburg)
  • Grace Greater Than Our Sin
      • Download

        First Sunday Fellowship

        July 7, 2019 - 9:45 AM - 10:45 AM
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        First Sunday Fellowship

        October 6, 2019 - 9:45 AM - 9:45 AM
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        Men's Bible Study

        June 18, 2019 - 7:00 PM - 7:00 PM
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        Men's Bible Study

        June 18, 2019 - 7:00 PM - 7:00 PM
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        Ladies Bible Study

        August 13, 2019 - 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
      • Download

        Ladies Bible Study

        August 13, 2019 - 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
        New Ladies Bible Study, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness - Study on Judges” Join us every Tuesday at 10:00 am in room A7.
      • Download

        Wednesday Night Bible Studies

        August 7, 2019 - 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
      • Download

        Wednesday Night Bible Studies

        August 7, 2019 - 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
      • Download

        Estudios en Hogar para Damas

        August 22, 2019 - 11:00 AM - 11:00 AM
        Para mas información, favor de contactar a la hermana Juanita al 956-645-8170
      • Download

        Personnel Committee Meeting

        September 29, 2019 - 12:30 PM - 12:30 PM
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        Personnel Committee Meeting

        September 29, 2019 - 12:30 PM - 12:30 PM
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        Stewardship Committee Meeting

        October 6, 2019 - 12:30 PM - 12:30 PM
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        Stewardship Committee Meeting

        October 6, 2019 - 12:30 PM - 12:30 PM
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        Deacon Meeting

        October 6, 2019 - 4:00 PM - 4:00 PM
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        Pantry of Hope

        July 13, 2019 - 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
        Volunteers please arrive at 9 am through the back kitchen door. Thank you!
      • Download

        Pantry of Hope

        October 12, 2019 - 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
        Volunteers please arrive at 9 am through the back kitchen door. Thank you!
      • Download

        Mission Committee Meeting

        August 11, 2019 - 3:00 PM - 3:00 PM
      • Download

        Mission Committee Meeting

        September 8, 2019 - 3:00 PM - 3:00 PM

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