Branch News

April 2016

02
Apr

Go and Tell

One guy came to the door with an irritated expression. We had just woke him up and he had a bad headache. One lady had just been diagnosed with pneumonia. Another lady thanked us for coming. Yet another lady’s dog tried to bite me.

Overall, people were really nice (even the guy with the headache) and yes, we encountered lots of dogs. Only one of them tried to bite though. We handed out Easter flyers and invited folks to the program. Honestly we found houses that I didn’t know were there. And these were close to Branch.

We need to get out more.

“Then the master told the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and lanes and make them come in, so that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23, HCSB)

We need to get out into the hedges and highways and compel them to come in. Sure there will always be those who make you a promise and don’t show. There will be those who won’t commit to anything. But there are also some folks out there who are open to the things of God and they are hungry for something different.

We need to get out there and find them.

That is what a shepherd does. He goes and finds his sheep. Jesus often used that picture when he talked about His love for people. He looked out at the multitudes of people and he had compassion on them because they were like “sheep without a shepherd.” People are lost. They need Christ. We have an opportunity every day to share Christ in some way.

John R. Rice said it this way, “Winning souls means that we can take the Bible and show people that they are sinners, show people that according to the Scriptures God loves them, that Christ has died on the cross to pay for their sins, and that now all who honestly turn in their hearts to Christ for mercy and forgiveness may have everlasting life. And we can encourage them to make that heart decision that they run from sin and trust Christ to save them. So winning souls means getting the Gospel to people in such power of the Holy Spirit that they will be led to turn to Christ and be born again, be made children of God by the renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

Jesus gave us this command, “… Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15–16, AV)

The question is not whether we should go or which of us should go. The question is will we go? We have been commanded to carry the Gospel to all people. It starts with the people living in your own house, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers and classmates and it extends to every man and every woman and every young person who is lost in your world today.

Will you allow yourself to feel that horrible fate that awaits those who are lost? Will you allow yourself to think about their hopelessness? Will you let yourself be touched by the feeling of their weaknesses?

Will you join me this week in praying that God will saturate your world with His presence? Will you join me in praying that God will give us opportunities to share Christ? Will you pray and ask God for His power to be a witness for Him? Let’s fill the house up!

Praying for a harvest!

Your Pastor,

Bro. Tim Hobbs

02
Apr

Glory Revisited

I have been so blessed over the past week. The Glory of Easter has come and gone and we are still basking a little in its effect on us and our church. We had one precious person who prayed to receive Jesus (that we know of). All that work and labor, heavy lifting and sewing, cooking and watching kids, practicing lines and harmonies – is all worth it if even one person comes to Christ.

That’s kind of how I see the cross. God knew what the outcome would be when He sent His Son to die for our sins. He knew who would come. Yet somehow I feel as though He would have done it if you were the only one.

So what did we learn this year? Well, we start with Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was amazing (and Diane was pretty incredible also) and I think I gained some fresh insight to how she might have felt at various points along the way through the story of her son. She displayed great grace and courage in the limited views we have of her in Scripture.

The thief on the cross reminded me of some precious truths. One is that I am just like him. Well, I would rather be like him than the other thief. Really, we are all going to identify with one or the other. Either we turn to Christ and receive Him as our Savior and Lord (Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom) or we reject Him and choose our own sin and suffering (If you are truly the Messiah then save yourself and us!).

What about Jesus? Did we find anything new or different in the Son of God? For me, I can only say that Daniel’s portrayal of Jesus this year helped me to better sense how Jesus might have felt as He offered Himself to Israel and was rejected by their leaders. It is somewhat horrifying to think that their true king, their Messiah, came and stood before them… and they killed Him. They rejected Him and what He stood for. They crushed Him.

Yet I also see that Jesus is the Cornerstone, the Rock, the builders rejected. Yet He was the Chief Cornerstone. All who stumbled on Him would be broken but all upon whom He falls will be crushed. Jesus confronted the evil in those men. He didn’t avoid the battle. He welcomed it.

The story of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection is so powerful. Each year we try to tell it from a different perspective. But it is the same story. It is the same story that you heard when God spoke to your heart and called you to be saved. It is the same story for all who come. God has no favorites. We all come the same way. The ground is level at the foot of the cross.

One older gentleman who came shared with me after the service, “You just can’t imagine what an impression this program has made on me.” Well, if we are truly hearing it with the eyes of a sinful, condemned man then it made quite an impression on us as well. The only ones who weren’t impressed were the Pharisees who thought they didn’t’ need anything from Jesus.

So I can imagine this older man’s impression. I still can feel the weight of my sin, my hopelessness, my loneliness, my confusion – when Jesus saved me. I still feel it and I still kneel before Him to say, “Thank you.”

Your Pastor,

Bro. Tim Hobbs