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Welcome to

Old Town Hill

Baptist Church


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Reynolds Rap
The Record

Keeping records is really a good thing to do. We keep records of attendance, finances, voting, wins, and losses. We keep records of individual accomplishments so somebody else can come along and break those records. Then there are the records that are not so good. There are driving records, criminal records, and employee records. Those are things that many wish did not exist.

I’ve watched as people are pulled over for a traffic violation and they find out they also have warrants for their arrest because of past criminal activities. Instead of a ticket or warning, they receive a very fine pair of bracelets and a trip to the grey bar motel. Those dreaded records.

When it comes to our lives, are we aware that the Lord keeps records? It is true. Everything that we have done and everything we will ever do is kept before our God. It really doesn’t matter if you believe in Him or not. He is not going away nor are the records of our lives. Think about it, every sin we have ever committed is waiting to condemn us. Just sitting there at the very end of our lives, like a freight train coming at us and we cannot get off the tracks.

Isn’t that a pleasant thought? To think that we will have to stand before the Great I Am and explain every action and thought that goes against the holiness of this God. Now if I was to end this blog right here you would probably not read another one and for that I wouldn’t blame you. There is this thing we call “Good News.” The gospel is the truth that the Lord Jesus Christ came as a man, dwelt among us, took all our sins, and nailed them to the tree that He chose to die upon. He then, on the third day, rose back to life. Those sins that Jesus died for can now and forever be forgiven and forgotten, our record totally expunged.

Psalm 130:3-4, “Lord, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But You offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear You.” The psalmist understood perfectly that if it was not for grace, mercy and love we would all be in big trouble. For those of us in Christ, we will indeed stand before the Lord. I’m sure the accuser of our soul will try to bring up every sin we have ever committed, but fortunately for us our records have been erased by the blood of the Lamb, never to be remembered or brought up again. Don’t we serve a great Savior! 

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Watchmen

Last year at Old Town Hill our sermon series was entitled “The Watchmen.” The idea is that contrary to popular belief, we are our brother’s keeper. That is, we have a responsibility to look out for one another. For the follower of Jesus that means we cannot have the attitude of, “I have mine, good luck to everyone else.” In the book of Ezekiel, the Lord told the prophet that the watchman has the responsibility to blow the trumpet to warn that impending danger was heading their way. Now if the people didn’t listen, their blood was on their hands. If the watchmen did not blow the trumpet of warning, then the blood of the people were on his hands. Ezekiel 33:6, “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman's hand.”

I know you are thinking that this refers to the nation of Israel, and you would be right. But I would also challenge us that it refers to anyone that has the opportunity to keep others from danger and refuses to do so. For those of us who have come to know Jesus as our Savior and Lord we have an awesome responsibility to warn everyone of the judgment that is to come. We stand upon the watchtower, and we know that Jesus is coming soon. How can we in good conscience look the other way while others slip into eternity away from God into that place that is called hell?

You may say, “I’ve tried, no one listens.” The receiving of the warning is not our responsibility, but the shouting of the warning is. Listen, I get it. Sometimes it just seems useless and why even bother? We bother because we are commanded to be bothered by the lostness of those around us.  Like it or not, we are all called to be watchmen. We are called to cry out warning.

My brothers and sisters, blow the trumpet of warning. Look around, the signs are everywhere. The Lord is coming, and I personally believe it will be very soon. Cry out the warning with all that you have, with every breath in your lungs. There may be one out there that may heed the warning and be saved. Wouldn’t that be a great feeling knowing that you helped lead one to salvation?

 

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Worship the Creator

If you have been to a morning worship service at Old Town Hill, you have probably heard me say more than once that we have been created to worship, and worship is what we will do. The question is who and what will we worship? In my devotions Monday morning I was in two books. The book of Ezekiel and the book of Revelation. It struck me as I was in chapters 8-11 of Ezekiel how Israel turned their backs on God and began to worship anything and everything except the Lord. Their reasoning was that they believed the Lord had left and no longer saw them. This of course was not true. We then read of the anger and hurt of God. This was after the conquest of Babylon and even the religious leaders lead many away from God.

I understand that a mistake many Western Christians make is seeing the United States in the scriptures, especially the Old Testament scriptures. Although the Old Testament was about the Jewish people, there are still truths of God’s character that is weaved throughout. One of those truths is that when the Lord blesses and presents Himself to a people there is an expectation to worship Him and Him alone. When a people choose to ignore God, it never ends well for them. In fact, the Lord was so angry at Israel in those chapters in Ezekiel He was going to bring the sword upon them.

Now in the book of Revelation chapter four we see a different picture. We get a glimpse into the throne room of Heaven. In this throne room are 24 elders, and these elders are so overwhelmed with being in the presence of God that they fall and worship Him on a constant basis. Revelation4:11, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” The basis of their worship was just the simple truth that God is the creator of all things. That truth alone makes Him worthy of our worship. If He chose not to do anything for us, He would still be worthy of our praise.

Like I said previously, we as Christians want to see the United States in this and start talking about how as a nation we need to get back to our roots as a Christian nation. Well, there may be some debate as to whether or not the U.S. was ever a Christian nation to begin with. We for sure were built upon a Judeo-Christian foundation. Let me challenge us to stop looking at the mess our nation is in and ask who or what as a follower of Jesus am I worshipping? What is it that has priority in our lives? That is what we worship. I challenge us today to stop, take a breath, and ask the following question. Does my life reflect true worship of Jesus Christ the King?  

That battle my friends is real in all of our lives. Let’s just stop and cry out how good our God is, just because He is God and there is no other.   

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I Doubt It

I suppose everyone has had a time when you have tried to tell someone of an event and even though they listen you can tell by that look they are giving you that they doubt what you are saying is factual. I probably have that same look when my fishing buddies begin to tell me of all the fish they caught and how big they all were, and of course, the size of the one that got away. It was a monster.

Sadly, we live in a world where our first instinct is to doubt what is being told to us. Everyone has an agenda, from our “news” outlets to our political leaders. There seems to always be a narrative they want everyone to hear for their gain and purpose. So, we listen with the mindset of “sure” and if you are like me, you walk away not really knowing what to believe. I know that is a sad statement, but true all the same.

I wonder why then we don’t understand when we tell people about Jesus, and they look at us like we have a third eye growing in our forehead. I think we need to remember how fantastic and amazing the event of Jesus’ resurrection really is. In fact, it is so amazing that even Thomas, who was one of the twelve, had a hard time believing what the other disciples were saying about Jesus being alive. Let us also remember that our Lord was patient with Thomas even with his doubts. Jesus came to show Thomas exactly what he needed to see in order to believe for himself. If Jesus was patient with Thomas, who should have known better, how much more patient will He be with the skeptic today. Our job is not to convince anyone of anything, but to just tell the Good News. It is the Lord’s job to prove to the skeptic who He is.

I love watching those who are not sure what to believe at first, but after the Lord gets done with them, they can’t help but believe and trust in Him. I’ve watched as I was talking with a friend after church over lunch about the hope that is in Christ. As he began to ask questions about the evil one and what part he plays in all of this, the light bulb above our table began to flicker during the whole conversation. As if that wasn’t unnerving enough, we looked around and no other light flickered in the restaurant. This light did so until we changed the subject. Then it never did it again. I am happy to say that even though it took several months, my friend finally believed and gave his life to Jesus.

The challenge then is not to give up. Jesus is still in the business of revealing himself to those who really seek Him. Just tell the truth of the Gospel and watch Him work.

John 20:31, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.”

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Truth

We live in the days where truth is hard to come by. I guess the questions we have to ask are what is the truth, and would we know it if we heard it? We all know there was a day when a man’s word was his bond. There were no contracts or swearing on a grave. You just looked a person in the eye and gave truth.

Sadly, we live in times where it is hard to believe a whole lot. It seems everyone has an agenda, and there are those who believe in style points in how well they can deceive someone. We have scammers on the phone, on the internet, and those who will even come to our doors in order to try and take advantage of us.

What can we believe? This is the question Pilate asked during his interview with Jesus. Poor Pilate was put in quite a predicament. I’m sure he had heard about this Jesus, just about everyone had. He also knew that Jesus had done nothing deserving of death. He was caught between the Jews who wanted to get rid of Jesus and could cause an uprising during the Passover and his political ambitions. Then there was his conscience, knowing that he would be putting an innocent man to death. In his conversation with Jesus, Pilate was looking for any reason to let Jesus go. He even asked Jesus if He was a king. Jesus’ reply wasn’t exactly what Pilate was looking for. Jesus told Pilate that He indeed was a king, but that His kingdom was of another place. Jesus went on to explain that He came to give the truth. This brings Pilate to the question of all questions, “What is truth?” (John 18:33-38)

This is the question we all have to answer for ourselves someday. What is truth? Maybe I can help with that. Jesus tells us in John 14:6, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” I did a quick count on how many times Jesus used the phrase “I tell you the truth” just in the book of John alone, and it was about 40 times. Jesus is truth. Jesus goes on to say in His prayer right before His crucifixion in John 17:17 that the Father’s word is truth.

My dear ones, you want to know truth, believe in Jesus for He is truth. His word is truth, and this is the only truth that has hope and salvation. John 8:32, “Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”

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What do you see?

It is an amazing thing to come upon an event and ask those who are witnesses about what they saw. Depending upon the number of witnesses you may get the same number of different accounts. The truth is a lot depends upon the heart in which you look with. For instance, today in our news you can tune into one network and watch a news story and come away with a certain conclusion. Then you could watch a different broadcast about the exact same story and come away with a totally different conclusion. It really depends on which perspective you choose to see the event from.

The same holds true with the spiritual world. In John chapter 11 we see a great event in the history of Jesus’ ministry while He was on earth. The raising of Lazarus from the dead. It’s an amazing and powerful event with so many truths found in it. But I want to focus on John 11:40, Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?" Now this remark by Jesus is in response to Martha’s comment that if they were to open the tomb of Lazarus it was going to stink because he had been dead for four days. Jesus then challenges Martha’s faith it would seem. But that isn’t exactly the case. Jesus had already determined that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead and nobody was going to prohibit that. The question now is how will Martha see this miracle? Will she see it in such a way that she will grasp the glory of God?

You may ask, what are you talking about? Well, let’s look at another group of people that were at the grave as well. If you were to look at verse 45 and on you will see that there were religious leaders that had gone to visit the sisters. Some saw the miracle and believed in Jesus for they saw the glory of God, but others went to the pharisees after seeing the same miracle and saw a problem. The problem was that Jesus was growing in popularity and there was fear of what would happen because of the fear of the Roman government. Isn’t it so sad that a group of people can see the same miracle with their own eyes and yet come to two different conclusions? For one group they saw the miracle, the glory of God revealed and chose to believe, yet others saw the miracle and saw a problem.

What do I see when I see a miracle? I may not see it as a problem, but do I dismiss what the Lord is doing and in doing so miss out on witnessing the glory of God? How much do we miss on a daily basis because we let the daily grind of the world blind us to the glory of our God? So, come with me. Let’s pray that our eyes would be open to what our Lord is doing and see the glory of God in our lives and the lives of those around us. 

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Satisfaction

The Rolling Stones recorded a song back in 1965 called “Satisfaction.” In the lyrics of this song the singer tells us that information on the radio is useless information. The commercials on the television are useless and even when it came to his personal life, he can’t get any satisfaction.

Poor Mick, what he doesn’t realize is that there is no satisfaction in any of those things. I suppose that brings us to a great question. Where do you get your satisfaction? What is it that drives you, floats your boat, or makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside? I suppose for many it depends on the day. It could just be getting through a rough week or looking forward to a vacation. But what is it on a daily basis that satisfies that drive in your spirit?

For Jesus it was to do the will of the Father. In the Gospel of John chapter four Jesus has a divine appointment with a Samaritan woman at a well. The Bible tells us that His disciples had gone ahead to buy some grub. While they were gone Jesus has this eternal conversation with a woman who had made some not so good decisions in her life. This woman had been married and divorced 5 times and now she was living in sin with a man. Jesus took the time to do what no one else would do, especially any Jewish man, let alone a religious teacher. He talked with her, He spoke to her of the truth of who He is and the hope of eternal life through Him.

This woman went back to her village to tell everyone that she had met the Messiah. Meanwhile back at the ranch the disciples came back to bring Jesus’ food. Jesus tells them “Hey boys I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” Now being the spiritual giants they were, they thought Jesus was speaking about some secret stash of food that He had eaten.

Here is how Jesus replied in John 4:34, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.” In other words, my satisfaction does not come from filling my stomach, but to do what My Heavenly Father has desired me to do.

So, let me ask again, what brings you satisfaction? Because if you are looking at what this world has to offer, you will never ever find it. If we choose to see where the Father is working and choose to follow, then and only then will we truly find that which will satisfy our souls. What has the Father called you to? What is it that you were made for? Listen to that still small voice and then obey it. I promise you will find the adventure of a lifetime and will never again feel like life is empty. Unlike Mick and the boys, you can find satisfaction. 

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Prepare for Action

I am going to let you in on a little secret about me. I absolutely love action movies. I always have. From James Bond to John Wick, I like to put myself into the role of the protagonist, to be the hero. I understand that they are fictional heroes, and I should probably find better things to do with my time. I have just always wanted to be the good guy, to be a hero ever since I was a little tyke. The question we may ask is what separates a hero from someone who may not quite be hero material?

I think I Peter 1:13 helps give me insight to how a hero thinks, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Peter tells me that a hero must prepare their minds for action. That means to spiritually be prepared for the battle that lies ahead. If you ever get the chance to hang with law enforcement, military, or even firefighters, they all have one thing in common, they train. They don’t just exercise, but they actually run training scenarios. If I go into this situation, how do I approach it, and if this happens how do I react? Already determining in their minds how they will react will hopefully keep them from freezing up in the middle of a real situation and save their lives and maybe even the lives of others. That is what heroes do, they prepare their minds for action. They don’t sit on the couch eating potato chips daydreaming; they prepare.

You see a hero does not have the luxury of being lazy or unconcerned. They must be alert and vigilant so they can react to a situation. As a follower of Jesus, we are called to be heroes for King Jesus, to leap into action at moment’s notice. To respond to someone who is hurting and in need of hope or to a neighbor who doesn’t understand their need for a Savior. To meet needs wherever they may arise. We must already be prepared to jump into action. We do this by preparing our minds and hearts to do what so many are unwilling to do.

Let me ask you a question, do you want to be a hero or a zero? To be a hero for Jesus let us prepare to jump into action. Look for ways to be a hero and go for it. Be in the word, be on your knees, and if you want to you can even throw on a cape. I don’t recommend it, but hey you do you. Just be you for the Lord. 

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Trouble

It sure seems that wherever we look these days there is not really a whole lot of good news. In fact, it can get down right depressing when we hear that crime is up. There seems to be shootings every week in big numbers. This means that there are lives out there that are being destroyed in senseless violence. Then of course there’s the report of another variant of that wonderful Covid that we all love so much. I am sure if I had the time, I could list a number of problems and issues in our world and in our society that could send us into a nice depression.

The truth is that if we were to dwell on all of these things we really could get bummed out. How does the church respond to all of this? We have choices. We can simply ignore them and hope they go away, we can stay up all night scared to death of what lies ahead, or we can take courage and move forward with strategy the Lord has given us. What strategy? That we go out into all the world making disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It really depends upon what we want to keep our focus.

I love what the Psalmist had to say in chapter 46:1-2, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea.” There my friends is the answer. We must remind ourselves that we have a Heavenly Father that is in complete control of everything. When we are afraid and need strength and help, we can run to Him for He is our refuge and strength. It is in Him that when we cannot seem to go on, He strengthens us to take that next step.

I do not know of anybody that has not had days where they wonder how they will even get out of bed in the morning for fear and pain of what the day may bring. That is when we must call upon the Rock of our salvation, our mighty fortress, The Great I Am. He my beloved, is still in the business of rescuing.

Let me remind you that this world cannot bring anything upon you that the Lord cannot handle. In fact, I have read the end of the book and it has already been handled. Now go in the strength of your Lord and God and conquer in the name of the King of kings and Lord of all lords, Jesus the Christ. It may be the darkest of night where you are in your life but let me remind you a new day is coming; the sun will shine again. So, let us climb together to the mountain top and shout out together the victory cry that comes from being a child of God. 

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Serve

I believe the ability and opportunity to serve is something we as followers of Jesus have taken for granted. Sadly, we are living in a society that has an entitled mindset and it shows by how we treat one another. I believe that is why when you go to a Chick-fil-A, and you receive your food and say “thank you” the words that you hear back (“my pleasure”) are so refreshing. They usually do this with a smile which makes me almost believe they are sincere with their words. It is like they are truly pleased to serve. Isn’t that a novel idea?

As a follower of Jesus, we should find pleasure in serving the King, but that is not what this topic is really about. NO, I want to look at the truth about why we are even able to serve the Lord in the first place. Hebrews 9:14, “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Isn’t it interesting that in this text the emphasis of the blood of Christ is not about our salvation, or the opportunity to live eternally in Heaven, but the emphasis is that the blood of Christ was shed so that we would be able to serve the Lord? The focus than goes from serving ourselves, to serving the Living God.

The sad thing is that before we come to Jesus for salvation, we cannot serve God because of the wicked creatures we are. No matter how hard we try, our acts of service would not have any value to the Lord. It is almost as if the writer is saying that the ability to serve God should be thanks enough for our salvation. Serving the Lord should be pleasure enough, yet, the Lord chose to not only allow us to serve Him, but to spend eternity with Him as joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Can I get an Amen?

So, the next time we are given an opportunity to serve, let us remember that if it were not for the precious blood of Jesus, we would not even be able to do that. Then look at the opportunities to serve our God as a gift not a punishment. Then with a sincere heart we can serve with the mind set of “my pleasure.” For it truly will be. 

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Service Times
SUN
Sunday School
Sunday, 9:00am
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Worship
Sunday, 10:00am
SUN
Youth
Sunday, 6:00pm
WED
Wednesday Bible Study
Wednesday, 6:00pm
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