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  • Seek God through just one word in 2022!

    by Karen Blanchard MACOMB, MI – Are you tired of setting New Year’s Resolutions every year only to give up on them come the 3rd or 4th week of January? I know I am! In January of 2015, my husband introduced our church to the idea of choosing a One Word to define our year. He encouraged us to pray and ask God to lead us to a word that we can grow in spiritually and to choose a verse to go along with it. Almost every year since then, I have chosen a One Word to define my year. Through choosing a One Word over the last seven years, God has grown my walk with Him. Mike Ashcraft, a pastor in North Carolina who wrote the “My One Word” book, says: “We value initiative and effort in others and assume that’s what God values in us too. We qualify ourselves based on how hard we work. We evaluate our character based on how often we go to church, attend Bible studies, volunteer, or check other items off our religious resume. We carry the subtle belief that God helps those who help themselves. But, when you do all these things and yet little transformation takes place, what then: Work harder? Do better? Promise not to do this, or swear not to do that? No! We have to position ourselves to focus and depend on God’s work in our heart and in our lives.” So often in our lives we try to work hard in our own strength and make things happen. We think if we just try harder we can accomplish our goals. We should work hard to accomplish the things God is calling us to do, but we can’t do it on our own. We need to invite the Holy Spirit in our life and ask him to give us what we need to accomplish his goals for our lives. As each year comes to an end and I look ahead to a new year, I begin to seek God for what he wants me to learn and focus on in the coming new year. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” If we want to grow spiritually in 2022, then we have to be intentional with our growth. It will not just happen on its own. When we seek God to lead us to a word to define our year, then we can be intentional in seeking him through that One Word. Below are a few steps in seeking God through a One Word: Pray – Ask God to reveal to you what your One Word should be. When you pray for God to lead in this, it removes your striving to get it right. Ask God to open your eyes to what he has for you. Then he will begin to illuminate the word he has chosen for you. It is incredible the ways God has confirmed my words over the years. Make a List – Create a list of words that speak to you and that you would like to grow in. Is there an area in your character that the Holy Spirit has revealed to you that you need work in? If so, start there! Don’t be afraid of the words that seem difficult. If your word scares you, it is probably exactly where God wants to take you. You can have confidence knowing he is working through that word because you sought his guidance, and he led you there. Pick a Word – From the list you created and prayed over, choose a word. Don’t worry about picking the “right” word. God will use whatever word you choose to grow you in 2022. Again, it isn’t about what YOU do in the choosing, but it is about you seeking God through whatever word you choose. As you seek Him through this process, he will grow you! Stick With It! - When you have picked your One Word, be sure to stick with it through the entire year. This is where being intentional comes into play. Choose a book or devotional that focuses on your One Word. I search for verses and quotes, and I also like to wear my word on a necklace, bracelet, or shirt. By doing these things, I make sure my One Word stays in front of me all year long. I want to end this article with one final quote from Mike Ashcraft: “The goal this year is not for you to swear you’ll do better at ‘this’ or promise you’ll never do ‘that’ again. Sweeping promises inevitably breed feelings of failure. The aim is for you to use your One Word to get into a focused posture and remain there while you depend on Christ.” Change is possible. Focus is required. Seek God in 2022 through just a One Word. You will be amazed in the growth that comes. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Karen is married to Scott Blanchard, pastor of Lakepointe Church, and moved from Florida to Michigan in the summer of 2009 to plant Lakepointe Church in Shelby Township. She enjoys mentoring and discipling women and also leads women’s life groups through her church. She is passionate about helping women find their purpose in who God created them to be. She is on staff at Lakepointe Church and loves being part of what God is doing in the Metro Detroit area! #JANUARY22

  • The coming year in Disaster Relief Ministry

    by Bob Kiger PLYMOUTH, MI – Happy New Year! As we begin 2022, I would like to highlight some activities that Michigan Disaster Relief volunteers participated in during 2021 and identify plans for 2022. Once again, Southeast Michigan suffered another devastating rain event during June. Your DR volunteers spent several weeks helping homeowners in Macomb and Wayne County recover from the flood. Because of our past efforts, we were contacted by the governor’s office and the mayor of Warren asking for help. We then were requested to help with recovery from Hurricane Ida. A team went to Pennsylvania for several days cleaning out flooded homes. Upon returning home, most of the same volunteers went to Bambi to help cut down dead trees and beautify the property. As we embark on a new year, DR will continue to offer Basic Training and Unit Training. If your church or Association would like to conduct training at your location, please contact me and we will schedule a convenient time to offer the three-hour Basic Training or any of the Unit Training (Flood Recovery, Chainsaw or Feeding) sessions. We are currently planning to offer all training at Bambi in the spring. Because recent disasters have been affecting larger groups of victims, a greater need for chaplains has become apparent. We conducted one training event in 2021, and will continue this year to equip more volunteers with the skills needed to help hurting victims in the future. During times of disaster, people are more willing to hear about the love of Jesus, and we want to have more of our volunteers prepared to share that love. If all of this sounds exciting to you, please attend a training session so you can also be “the hands and feet of Jesus“. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bob Kiger became a Christian at age 12. He and his wife Rose have been married for 46 years, have 3 adult children and 5 grandchildren. Bob retired from Ford Motor Company as a Senior Partner and then began using his talents in Disaster Relief efforts all around the nation. Bob is the Director of Michigan Disaster Relief. #JANUARY22

  • For those called to GO, IMB wants to send

    by Myriah Snyder RICHMOND, VA – Jim works full time as an accountant in a global city. During his free time, he works with a missionary team to help them reach people with the gospel. He serves with the IMB as a part-time professional. Olivia attends school at the London School of Economics. When she’s not studying, she spends time sharing the gospel with the students around her. She serves with the IMB as a part-time student. Nick spends his days evangelizing and discipling his neighbors and friends through his local church. He works with the IMB as a full-time church planter. For those wondering if the International Mission Board has a place for them to serve into the Revelation 7:9 vision, the answer is probably yes! If an individual is Southern Baptist and aligned theologically with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, the IMB wants to help them discover how they can advance the kingdom. “No matter what their station in life is, no matter what their educational background is, there is a way to go with us to the field,” Scott Ray, IMB’s director of assessment and deployment, said. Ray said that every month the IMB conducts an interview conference. And at each one, he speaks with people from varied backgrounds – college graduates, seminary students, doctors, businesspeople, counselors, retirees. He said they once sent a rocket scientist overseas. For those who feel called to serve overseas, there are seven pathways for adults 21 and over who want to go longer than a couple months, many short-term trip opportunities, and a host of student pathways. Ray suggests asking two questions to find out which of IMB’s pathways might be best: How long do you want to go? Who is going to pay for it? MID-TO-LONG-TERM OPPORTUNITIES Team associate A team associate is not funded through the IMB but works closely with an IMB church planting team. This individual generally uses their trained profession overseas while they support church planting efforts. Team associates serve two-year assignments. Journeyman IMB offers a unique, fully funded, two-year missions opportunity for college graduates under age 30. Journeymen are sent by their church through IMB to join an international missionary team to share the gospel, make disciples, and help plant churches. For more information, visit https://www.imb.org/students/go-2-years-journeyman/. Macedonia project The Macedonia project is for individuals who have a long-term call but no seminary training yet. Those who sign up for this program go to the field, and while they are working on a church planting team, they also take seminary classes. The IMB pays for half of the degree, while one of the six Southern Baptist seminaries covers the other half. While this is a more difficult pathway, one of the many rewards is a debt-free seminary degree. There is no age limit for this pathway. Macedonia project workers serve 3-4 years and are funded through the IMB. Two + two The two + two program is another avenue through the seminaries. With this track, the first two years are spent physically at a seminary, and the last two years are spent working with a church planting team on the field. This opportunity, however, isn’t funded through a scholarship like the Macedonia project. The last two years of overseas service are IMB funded. International Service Corps International Service Corps is for anyone who wants to go but doesn’t want to go long-term. Through this pathway, an individual can serve for two to three years on missionary church planting teams. No college degree or seminary credits are required. Retirees who want to spend a few years on the field are encouraged to go through this route. This is IMB funded. Field support The field support role includes professionals who work in logistics, finance, or another role that directly supports church planters and other IMB personnel on the field. While they work overseas and still focus on sharing the gospel, the majority of their time is spent in their professional role. This is a fully funded IMB role. Career missionary A career missionary serves as a church planter. They begin their first four-year term as an apprentice missionary, working alongside an established church planting team. The next term they return as a church planter. A church planter’s full-time job is the core missionary task. They are fully funded, and this is a long-term pathway. Missionary associate A missionary associate does the same work as a church planter, but there is no seminary requirement. This role is ideal for someone who has pastored or worked in ministry for many years but has no seminary degree. The requirement here is a life experience requirement. This is an IMB funded, long-term pathway. For more information on any of these pathways, visit www.imb.org/go and chat live with an IMB employee about what pathway might be right for you, or email sray@imb.org. SHORT-TERM OPPORTUNITIES Adults wanting to take the gospel to the nations on a short-term trip, lasting anywhere from a couple weeks to a few months can find a plethora of opportunities at www.imb.org/trips. Here, there are group opportunities as well as individual opportunities. Medical professionals wondering how they can use their gifts for a short-term assignment can find more information on healthcare-specific short-term missions at www.imb.org/healthcare. STUDENTS For a student wanting to explore where they may fit in God’s plans to reach the nations, there are many options. GO IMPACT Groups of teenagers age 15 and up can join the long-term, strategic efforts of IMB missionaries already overseas. Trips will last between 8 and 14 days, and projects are available in Argentina, Belgium, Botswana, Chile, Germany, Kosovo, Latvia, Malta, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom and Ukraine. For more information, visit www.imb.org/goimpact. 1-3 week trips Whether it’s spring, summer, or winter break there are many ways for high school teams and college students to serve for 1-3 weeks around the world with IMB missionary teams. While some of the trips are pre-packaged, IMB student teams are ready to work with churches, campuses or ministries to create a trip that fits specific mission strategies. Whether it’s relief efforts, coffee shop ministries, sports camps or church planting, there are many ways for students to make an impact. To learn more, visit https://www.imb.org/students/one-to-three-week-mission-trips/. Summer mission trips Join with thousands of college students using their summer break to reach the lost with missionary teams. IMB has numerous, inexpensive ways to serve for 6-8 weeks each summer in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas, and many other places all over the world. Individual and team projects are available. To find out more information on Nehemiah Teams in Southeast Asia, Summer Sojourners in Central and South America, and Face2Face in South Asia and more options, visit https://www.imb.org/students/summer-mission-trips/. Hands On Hands On is an international semester missions opportunity for students and young adults interested in working alongside a missionary mentor to share the gospel of Jesus with unreached peoples. Members of Southern Baptist Churches can receive funding to cover half the cost to go. For more information, visit https://www.imb.org/students/semester-hands-on/. IMB President Paul Chitwood shared with Southern Baptist pastors, “The IMB is not in a season of calling missionaries home and downsizing. We’re in a season of growth. Because there are more lost people today than ever before, the needs are greater today than ever before in history.” Chitwood added, “More lost people will die today than in any day that has ever gone before us. The needs are there. The opportunity is also there to get to them as we work together.” ABOUT THE AUTHOR Myriah Snyder is senior writer/editor for the IMB. #JANUARY22

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  • Baptist Beacon

    Telling the story of Michigan Baptists TOP STORIES Seek God through just one word in 2022! The coming year in Disaster Relief Ministry For those called to GO, IMB wants to send After Covid’s impact, how do we get worshipers back? COLUMNS Jan 5 5 min Old trucks and old people by Tim Patterson PLYMOUTH, MI – As you may know, I tend to be drawn to nostalgia. A hundred new automobiles can pass me on the freeway,... Jan 5 5 min Baby steps, big achievements by Dr. Tony L Lynn PLYMOUTH, MI – Set some giant goals only to fail? I have too! Make you mad? Make you sad? Make you stop reaching for... Jan 5 3 min Words create worlds by Mike Durbin PLYMOUTH, MI – “Words create worlds!” Though the author of this powerful statement is unknown to me, I couldn’t agree... Jan 5 3 min A resolution really worth doing by Coye Bouyer LANSING, MI – Calibration is defined as an association between measurements – one of a scale or accuracy made or set with... Jan 5 3 min Grace has overcome by MIck Schatz ROSCOMMON, MI – Happy New Year from Bambi Lake! We anticipate 2022 being exciting as we witness God using Bambi Lake in... STARTING STORIES NAMB sees record giving, church planting success in 2021 Vance Pitman to lead NAMB’s Send Network Send Network churches make up one quarter of Outreach Magazine’s reproducing churches list More STARTING stories… STRENGTHENING STORIES Seek God through just one word in 2022! After Covid’s impact, how do we get worshipers back? What are you doing in Nana’s chair? God has been gracious Review & refresh: Women’s Ministry update “A hope deferred”; Jesus is coming More STRENGTHENING stories… SENDING STORIES The coming year in Disaster Relief Ministry For those called to GO, IMB wants to send Looking past fire and ash, a reminder of what’s important Michigan Campers on Mission - January 2022 update News from the Wild West Week of Prayer: Missionaries welcome efforts to push back darkness More SENDING stories… MICHIGAN STORIES Seek God through just one word in 2022! The coming year in Disaster Relief Ministry What are you doing in Nana’s chair? God has been gracious Michigan Campers on Mission - January 2022 update Classified Ads More MICHIGAN stories… SBC & OTHER STORIES For those called to GO, IMB wants to send After Covid’s impact, how do we get worshipers back? NAMB sees record giving, church planting success in 2021 Vance Pitman to lead NAMB’s Send Network Looking past fire and ash, a reminder of what’s important How to make New Year’s resolutions More SBC stories…

  • Church Planting: Not About Fame | Baptist Beacon

    CHURCH PLANTING: NOT ABOUT FAME OR FORTUNE Eric Stewart - ONELife Church Eric Stewart, lead pastor of ONElife Church in Flint Township, MI. FLINT — A little over a year ago God called us to plant a church in Flint, MI. Yes, that Flint… the one that shows up as one of the most dangerous cities in the world. It is honestly not that bad, and it is a city that I love. We had our beginnings as a pioneer work with just a handful of us meeting in our living room and dreaming of what could be. By God’s grace that handful has multiplied as we have grown and witnessed God producing fruitfulness through our ministry. We are not “breaking any records” but we have certainly witnessed God’s faithful hand in everything and this Sunday we will baptize our 20th person since launching just over a year ago (we don’t just baptize anyone that has a pulse either… we take our time and do our best to assess that they are actually regenerated). All of that to say this; I am certainly no “expert” when it comes to church planting. In fact, I have probably done more things wrong than I have done right. One of my favorite quotes upon starting the church came from William Carey, “The man who never makes mistakes never makes anything.” With my heels dug in the ground, by the grace of God, I have committed to saying, “Here I am, send me.” On that note, as I have been going I have learned a few key things about church planting. It Really Is Christ’s Church I know this sounds so simple, especially for my fellow Calvinist friends. We love to talk about the sovereignty of God, in particular when it comes to salvation. By talking, I mean we love to impress each other with our vast knowledge and insight on the topic! Intellectually I have never had a hard time grasping the sovereignty of God. On the other hand by planting this church I have slowly learned how to actually apply God’s sovereignty and ultimately rest in the words of Jesus when He said, “I will build my church.” (Matthew 16:18 ESV). In the early days of our church plant, Dan (Worship Pastor and Co-Planter) and I worked really hard and followed through on so many “right” things purely from a pragmatic and marketing perspective. We did get the word out through many different channels and we were even able to land a spot on our local news station. This led to us having a decent size crowd at launch to not knowing if we were going to make it another year a few months later as the crowd dwindled so quickly. It was at this moment that Dan and I, as leaders, had some pivotal decisions to make. Did we believe we were called to plant and were we going to rest in God’s sovereignty when it came to the fruitfulness of our church? We have chosen to continually rest in God. This does not mean that we don’t work like crazy though. The second thing I learned is that at the end of the day God works through “gospel-centered” leaders. Dan Dameron, Worship & Creative Arts Pastor and co-planter of ONElife Church. Gospel-Centered Leadership As the old adage goes, “Everything rises and falls on leadership” (John Maxwell). That is true in the ministry as well. God does not bless and use a sloppy and unprepared leader. Striving to grow as a gospel centered leader I have come to a few clear convictions of structures a gospel centered leader must build and continued actions he must take. First, a gospel centered leader is one who actually rests in the Bible and subscribes to building the church the way that God prescribed it in the Bible. This was something I was not clear on when we began, but I am emphatically clear on now. A true church is not one that meets critical mass of numbers and budgets, but one who has a plurality of gospel-centered elders with members actually following them. Paul’s instructions to Titus were not “Go to Crete and hit critical mass” but to ”appoint elders in every town as I directed you” (Titus 1:5c ESV). This was a valuable lesson for me as we walked our young church through the stages of being covenant members of a local body under the leadership of a plurality of elders. Second, I have learned that gospel-centered leadership (especially in a pioneering work) is being willing to pave the way for others to follow, and rejoicing in God that they walked with you. This has continually revealed to me that I need to always be growing as a leader, and that whatever I am asking my team to do I must do first. Here are five levels of leadership that I have learned I need to continually walk: Level 1: Follower - The person that is too big to follow is too small to lead. I meet weekly with a mentor to seek his wisdom and counsel to grow as a leader. On a side note, I am shocked at how few pastors/planters do this. Most are arrogant and think they know it all. Level 2: Server - The true test of a gospel-centered leader is not how many people are following him or are under his authority, but how many people is he serving. If serving is below you then leadership is above you. Level 3: Shepherd - In the CEO movement of pastoring and church planting this is lost. I have learned that God has called me to be a shepherd and to care for His flock. Level 4: Equipper - Be a talent scout. I have learned to search for people that the Spirit has set aside for leadership and pour as much time into them as possible to equip them to walk through the levels of gospel-centered leadership. Level 5: Equipper of Equippers - Find others that have the ability to equip others. By God’s grace and perseverance I strive to be this type of leader. Third, I have learned that I need to give leadership away as often as I can. This always makes sense on paper but it is always more difficult in practice because we are prideful men who love to be in control and have the praise brought to us. I have learned that you have to work through this by preaching the gospel to yourself and then entrust responsibility to those around you who God has called and equipped. This is the only way that the body will grow fruitfully and exponentially. Conclusion I have learned that church planting is not about fame and fortune (although many of us go into planting for that reason). We want to write and publish books like J.D. Greear and preach like Matt Chandler. Now I praise God for these men, but the vast majority of us won’t be like that. We will be slugging away in the trenches, faithfully preaching God’s words, and making disciples. I have learned to be content with that. God is sailing this ship and I am just along for the ride. Share ABOUT THE AUTHOR Eric Stewart is lead pastor of ONElife Church in Flint Township, MI. Prior to planting ONElife, Stewart served as an associate pastor for nearly seven years and proceeded to serve for several months as an interim pastor. During this time he preached over 500 sermons and gained valuable experience in leading, creating, and managing nearly all systems and ministry teams of the church. Please reload

  • Column: Antiques | Baptist Beacon

    COLUMN: ANTIQUES by Tim Patterson – BSCM Executive Director/Treasurer FENTON, MI – Sabrina and I enjoy visiting and shopping in antique stores. Probably 99% of what we do is shop and talk while purchasing involves only 1% or less of our efforts. This past weekend, the Patterson’s, Lynn’s and Durbin’s visited a vintage expo at Crossroads Village in Flint. We had a great time strolling through the antiques and centuries old buildings even though it was cold and sleeting in the middle of May. (Gotta’ love Michigan!) ​ It became very evident to us that people have become very proud of their old stuff and are functioning under the delusion that grandma’s old discarded junk is now worth more than a new Mercedes. Old things have become big business and the nostalgic has become very fashionable. I particularly like digging through the old woodworking tools and examining their purpose, and how the years of wear and grime have embedded themselves in each piece. As I pick up one of the old wooden planes or carving tools, I try to imagine where it has been and in whose hands its unique appearance and character has been developed. I wonder what piece of furniture was crafted using each tool or how many homes were made more appealing and livable because some craftsman applied it with care and skill. I imagine how some withered and age-worn carpenter might have sat in his small barn or shed in the early hours of the morning as he prepares to continue his work on a chair. I can see the rays of light slipping through the cracks and crevasses in the old wooden walls as they illuminate the fine particles of dust that fill the air. The smell of freshly cut pine and other hardwoods saturate every breath. The A wood planer, hand tool of a craftsman. (Photo courtesy popularwoodworking.com) steam from his freshly poured coffee trails off into the morning light as he takes a sip from a milky-green glass cup. His scarred and rough hands carefully follow the contours and curves of the tree that has now become a work of art in progress. He reaches up toward the left hand breast pocket of his bib overalls and removes the flattened pencil and marks the areas that need his attention. He is creating something brand new out of that which had grown old. Years from now the fruits of his labors will still be enjoyed by those who have the privilege to own them. Now I am in an antique shop looking at his tools and quite possibly the very chair he made, and considering how these old items might become new additions to my home. Not all of the creations and works of the past are worth keeping. The mistakes, the bad cuts and the broken pieces have been discarded and forgotten. Yet even the old things of our past and those former experiences can add freshness and fill our lives with the sense of being new everyday. Nostalgia at times beckons us to live in the past. It tries to tell us that life would be better if we could just go back and live during that period of time. Just remember that those who were living in the “good old days” were themselves reminiscing about the “good old days”. It is a good thing to remember and to learn from the past. Collect antiques, reminisce and recall the good old days, but we must live our lives in the present. Yesterday is gone so we must live for today, and prepare for tomorrow. A story I heard illustrates this point quite well. Years ago a thunderstorm swept through southern Kentucky at a farm where six generations had lived. In the orchard, the wind blew over an old pear tree that had been there as long as anybody could remember. The old retired doctor was grieved to lose the tree on which he had climbed as a boy and whose fruit he had eaten all his life. A neighbor came by and said, "Doc, I'm really sorry to see your pear tree blown down." "I'm sorry too," he said. "It was a real part of my past." "What are you going to do?" the neighbor asked. He paused for a moment and then said, "I'm going to pick the fruit and burn what is left." That is the wise way to deal with many things in our past. We need to learn their lessons, enjoy their pleasures, and go on with the present and the future. Share ABOUT THE AUTHOR Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board. Please reload 1/3

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