Parkland First Baptist Church
January 3, 2021
      • Romans 3.23ESV

      • Genesis 4–7ESV

      • Genesis 8–11ESV

      • Job 1–5ESV

      • Job 6–9ESV

      • Job 10–13ESV

      • Download

        Worship Service

        November 29, 2020 - 10:00 AM - 10:00 AM
        If you are unable to join us in person, then watch us on our Facebook Page
      • Download

        Worship Service

        November 29, 2020 - 10:00 AM - 10:00 AM
        If you are unable to join us in person, then watch us on our Facebook Page
  • Introduction

    Welcome to PFBC and the first Sunday gathering of 2021
    Wow, we have been on a roller coaster ride since the first Sunday of 2020
    We began the year with such great expectations
    As individuals, you may have made resolutions. Did you?
    I made a few.
    But then as March rolled in, all my expectations changed.
    As we begin this morning, let’s look at a special passage to me: Philippians 3:12-14
    Philippians 3:12–14 CSB
    12 Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.

    Paul’s Goal

    What was the goal of Paul’s life? He says it was to ‘lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me’ (v. 12).
    Paul was keenly aware of Christ laying hold of him.
    He, Paul, was on his way to Damascus, secure in his belief that he was doing God a service by persecuting Christians.
    Suddenly, he was blinded by a bright light and knocked to the ground.
    There in the dust he heard the voice of the risen Christ.
    He realized that the Jesus he so despised was indeed the Christ, and that in persecuting Christians, he was in fact persecuting Christ (Acts 9:1–9).
    ‘Laying hold’ is an appropriate term for what happened to Paul (then known as Saul of Tarsus).
    He was there seized with the strong, unbreakable grip of the risen, sovereign Lord.
    Paul also knew that the Lord Jesus had a purpose in so seizing him.
    Yes, it was to make him a special messenger to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15).
    But it was for the purpose which Paul has already stated: ‘that I may know him’ (v. 10).
    The Lord Jesus seized and saved Paul in order to bring him into an intimate knowledge of himself, a knowledge that would increase throughout Paul’s life and culminate in perfect knowledge at death.
    This goal was also, therefore, to realize ‘the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus’ (v. 14).
    Paul’s goal was, then, to keep moving up and up in his knowledge of and fellowship with the Lord until he could finally hear the Lord say: ‘Come up here’ (Rev. 4:1; 11:12).
    We may not experience a salvation moment like Paul, but we are all without exception laid hold of by God, who opens our minds to see our sin and the sufficiency of Christ, and who grants us faith.
    Are we as Christians conscious to the degree that we should be, that we have an ‘upward call?’
    This is a call from heaven that will finally take us to heaven.
    It is a call that beckons us to keep moving forward and upward in our knowledge of the Lord.
    And the same goes for the church!
    God has called us to Love Him, Love Others, and Make Disciples
    We must never forget our calling that Jesus laid out for us in the Great Commission.

    Forgetting The Past

    As a church we have had a great past.
    Over the years, our church has touch hundreds of lives.
    It can be easy to just rest on our laurels and coast onward.
    However, there is always a danger of looking back.
    Too many churches have allowed themselves to become just shells of what they were formerly.
    When this happens, and a backward look is taken, too often, churches and church members just want to go on living in the past instead of striving in the present.
    John Claypool tells the story of “two Buddhist monks walking in a thunderstorm. They came to a swollen stream. A beautiful young Japanese woman in a kimono stood there wanting to cross to the other side, but afraid of the currents.
    “One of the monks said, ‘Can I help you?’
    “ ‘I need to cross this stream,’ replied the woman.
    “The monk picked her up, put her on his shoulder, carried her through the swirling waters, and put her down on the other side. He and his companion then went on to the monastery.
    That night his companion said to him, ‘I have a bone to pick with you. As Buddhist monks, we have taken vows not to look on a woman, much less touch her body. Back there by the river you did both.’
    “ ‘My brother,’ answered the other monk, ‘I put that woman down on the other side of the river. You’re still carrying her in your mind.’
    “How easy it is to be obsessed with the past at the expense of the future.”
    We need shake off the past and leave it behind and not let it drag us down.
    The Pandemic has changed so much in the past year in the way we do church.
    Think of all we have been through since January 1, 2020.
    Murder Hornets
    Covid- 19 and the subsequent shut down.
    Economic disruption
    Riots, BLM, civil unrest and injustices
    Impeachment of President Trump
    Finally, we have the vaccine.
    As a church
    We began the year with high expectations as we rebuilt our worship, renewed our people, and planned to reset our identity based on Ezra and Nehemiah
    We began the year with a growing attendance, giving going up, small groups, a youth group.
    We were making plans on a community wide outreach for Easter with great follow-up.
    Then the crash came.
    We were shut down from meeting at any time in person.
    That didn’t stop us, we just moved online.
    Thank God for technology and Facebook that allowed us to continue our services.
    It was and still is a steep learning curve, but with God’s help we are overcoming the difficulties.
    Our small groups moved to Zoom along with special services like Good Friday and Christmas Eve.
    God still blessed during that time.
    We sold the office house to TGSC.
    Remodeled the loft for the offices and moved in.
    Got the roof fixed so it doesn’t leak.
    We are prioritizing our next steps in remodeling the building.
    We had COVID hit some folks in our church, but they have/are recovering.
    Our giving is great, actually ran ahead of last year and we spent less as well.
    We are reaching people all over the US with our online services.
    For instance, Teresa’s sister in CA, who is not church attender has started watching with her husband and kids.
    Another of her friends in Everett watches when she can.
    People in Oregon, Arkansas, South Carolina, Florida, and India have all watched our service via Facebook or our website.
    Christmas eve we had close to 50 participate in that service on Zoom.

    Looking Ahead

    Back to verse 13, Paul was doing his best to live for Jesus.
    He was pressing forward or run after a thing in order to lay hold of it.
    His life wasn’t a hit or miss thing.
    He was all out for Jesus.
    Nothing else mattered as much as living for the Lord.
    Personally that should be our way of living.
    Look at this passage the new year.
    In Ephesians 5:8, 10, Paul writes, “Live as children of light...and find out what pleases the Lord.”
    We should aim to make God smile everyday.
    No one brings pleasure to God by hiding their abilities or by trying to be someone else.
    You bring God enjoyment by simply being you.
    After all, He created you on purpose, for a purpose.
    In the movie Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell says, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel God’s pleasure.”
    In the new year, I pray that we will feel God’s pleasure by using the gifts He has given us for His glory.
    As a church we need to pursue that goal, the calling we have from God to obey the Great Commission here in Parkland, Lakewood, Tacoma, Graham, or wherever you are.
    Live up to our purpose to Love God, Love Others, and Make Disciples.
    That’s our goal for 2021.

    How Are We Going To Get There?

    Great question.
    If you thought 2020 was hard, in some ways 2021 is going to be harder.
    Don’t want to burst your bubble.
    For us as a church, why is going to be harder?
    Our momentum is gone, when we shut down our momentum stopped.
    We will to build it back up slowly.
    Get our feet underneath ourselves again and get going.
    Bad habits have become entrenched.
    For a lot of people, not going to church and watching online has become a habit.
    Not bad, but it is expected that church attendance will be down by 30% post-pandemic.
    In fact only 6% of churches will reach their pre-pandemic attendance levels.
    Uncertainty remains.
    Will the vaccine work?
    Is there something else out there?
    Yet the call of God and His help is fulfilling and comforting.
    Lastly, we are exhausted.
    Even if you didn’t do or go as much as in previous years, aren’t you tired?
    Mentally and emotionally, we’re spent.
    It will take some time to recover.
    So how are we going to press toward the prize?
    Several things the pandemic have taught us that we should capitalize on in the future will help us reach our community for Christ.
    First, as a church we were already thinking about how to revitalize our church.
    We have taken stock of where we are and were taking steps to see us move forward.
    90% percent of churches coming out of the pandemic will realize that they need to be revitalized - we are already working on that.
    Second, as we gather together once again, we need to realize that not everyone will feel comfortable coming back for a while.
    As a result, we need to enhance our digital presence, online presence, to foster community to compliment what we do in person here at our building.
    After the Zoom on Christmas Eve, it was so rewarding to watch everyone say “Hi” and wave to each other.
    That told me we need each other.
    You could say we want to go from Social media to Social ministry.
    Develop ways we can connect in small groups, online groups, or outdoors as the pandemic subsides.
    Third, we need to reach out to our community.
    How will we do that? I’m not sure, please pray with me for God to show us a way.
    Two things that I’d like for us to do: Pray and Go
    Please pray for our church and the community that you live in.
    Bless Every Home and Pray and Go emphasis
    Invite on person, not to come if that’s intimidating, but just watch us.
    Share our service, create a watch party, like our page.
    As we move ahead, the best thing for you to do is pray.
    Ask God what part does He want you to play.
    Then live out Ephesians 5:8 and 10.
    Live as children of light…and find out what pleases the Lord.”
    Together this new year, let’s pray that we will feel God’s pleasure by using the gifts He has given us for His glory through our church.
    Church History Class Starts Sun. 17 in person unless someone wants to be on Zoom.
    Youth Group starts Tues. 19 at 4:00 virtual to start
    PBSM on 2 Timothy starts Wed. 20 at 6:00 Virtual and in person.
      • Philippians 3:12–14CSB

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