Welcome To First Baptist Church Of Maggie Valley
Jerusalem Strong And Moving From Ordinary To Extraordinary!
A Special Message From Pastor Mike
Pastor Mike Odom
Romans 1:21 (KJV)
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
In Deuteronomy 28:34 we read these words:
“You will be driven mad by what you see.”
In plain English, there will be things that you will see and hear that you will not be able to believe. I truly feel this is happening today.
I must be honest with you, as I write these words it is hard for me to believe what I see taking place in the world today. Never could someone make me believe that just a few weeks ago all the sports would be closed down, business, restaurants, public places, social distancing, much less the corporate worship of the saints in God’s House.
I remember sitting in my study shortly after the churches were encouraged to cancel their services. For some reason, this cancellation felt much different from other cancellations for snow, extreme weather and such.
All of the sudden, I felt empty, out of place, and so greatly shocked at the prospect of informing FBCMV that all our services had been cancelled due to COVID-19.
As I sat in my chair praying and pondering what in the world is going on, I realized that the panic and fear was spreading so much faster than the virus itself. I felt that God was speaking to us, the Church, that this was a time for the Church to rise up and be the light unto the world.
Several passages came to mind, such as Mark 4:35-41.
Mark 4:35-41 (KJV)
35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. AND THERE WERE ALSO WITH HIM OTHER LITTLE SHIPS.”
37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
The disciples were in the storm fighting the winds and the sea, but they had forgotten that there were other little ships looking at the boat Jesus was in.
Just like today, we as a people of faith are in a storm, but please remember that the world is in the same storm and they are looking at the ship (church) that Jesus is in. This is why it is so important that the people of faith live by faith, sharing their faith, and telling others that Jesus can speak and calm the storm anytime.
Yet the passage that truly begin to burden my heart was Romans 1:21:
“…when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, NEITHER were they THANKFUL…” (KJV).
God began to stir my spirit. I began seeing things a little more clearly and differently than most. First, I am reminded that we as a nation have always professed there is a God, as you have heard me preach in the series that lasted almost a year titled, “We Want God to Bless America, but not One Nation Under God.” Our nation was founded as a Christian nation, and even though there have been battles to remove and silence the Church, we serve a mighty God!
Just as the disciples said in Mark 4:41:
“…What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him.”
Please hear me, Jesus Christ is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and this covid-19 will cease when He speaks, and not before!
Having said all that, I call your attention to the words in Romans 1:21:
“… NEITHER WERE THEY THANKFUL.”
This is where God got my attention. I, like many of you, sometimes forget just how blessed we are as a Nation. I believe we live in the greatest nation in the world. Even with all of its flaws, battles and divisions, we are still the greatest! Living in a Nation where we have so many PRIVILEGES that most other nations do not have, sometimes we forget to be thankful, or at least I do.
I think it is in times like these, that we need to pray, and not forget that the wisest man in the world, Solomon, once wrote:
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
I feel the Holy Spirit reminded me that this is a season that we should be seeking God’s purpose. It is always easy to pray for the storm to pass (and I do), but remember God is always at work and His purposes are higher than ours. God has eternity in mind, not just the temporal, as you heard me teach in the last couple of Sundays we gathered.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (KJV)
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Just remember God has eternity in mind.
Now let me share with you what I am reminded to be thankful for:
1st– the freedom to worship God personally, but also as a cooperate Body of Christ. How often do we use the phrase, “I have to go to church today,”? We have forgotten that it is a privilege to be able to gather and worship the TRUE GOD.
2nd – I am thankful for the freedom we have in this nation to travel, and go to our favorite places to eat. To walk in, be seated, for the servers that bring our meals, for the conversations we have openly and publicly without the fear of being locked up.
3rd– I am thankful for my call to teach and preach this Gospel of Jesus Christ to FBCMV. I think we may fall short in several places, but the LOVE for Christ and one another seems to be plentiful.
4th– I am thankful that God is teaching and reminding us how important it is to be thankful every day for ALL things. I am not thankful for the virus, but I am thankful for a God that is in control and will teach us and draw us closer during these days.
5th– I am thankful that just as every storm has a beginning, every storm has an ending. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!
6th– I am thankful and I strongly believe that when this storm passes, the church of Jesus Christ will rise up stronger, and more thankful! Could this be the beginning of a Holy Spirit – filled revival? We have certainly prayed for a revival for a long time. (I will address this topic next week.) Maybe this is the time for us to be “Jerusalem Strong.”
I will share more on this subject a little latter when we begin to gather back in the days ahead.
7th – I am thankful for God’s Word. I can study, worship and pray even while we are not meeting together.
There are so many things that come to mind that I am thankful for and maybe I can share more at a later date and time.
Question? Have you forgotten to give thanks for the great blessings of God we receive daily? Let me encourage you to make a list of things you have taken for granted, like I have, and begin to thank God daily. Who knows, maybe God has allowed this to remind us to give thanks.
As I close, let me encourage you to give thanks to God for His many wonderful blessings and privileges we have as a citizen of this great nation and, most of all, as a citizen of that heavenly city!
Always remember that God indicted the world because:
“… NEITHER WERE THEY THANKFUL.”
Psalm 100:1-5 (KJV)
1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
- 10:00 – Meals on Wheels
- 9:30 AM – Morning Bible Study
- 10:30 AM – Morning Worship
- 6:00 PM – Evening Worship
- 6:00 PM – Hispanic Ministry
- 6:00 PM – Prepared Meal
- 6:30 PM – Youth & Children’s Ministry
- 6:30 PM – Bible Study
- 7:30 PM – Choir Practice