The Witness – April 19-25, 2015

Forgiveness and Redemption

Ephesians 1:7 (NIV) In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

Ephesians 1:7 (NLT) He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.

Verse 7 contains two theologically rich words: forgiveness and redemption.

  • Redemption implies that someone is a slave or captive and needs to be ransomed.
  • Forgiveness implies that someone has acted improperly toward another and in so doing has incurred guilt that needs to be covered over or taken away.
  • Both require the payment of a heavy price. The sinner has offended God himself; the price is—or at least should be—the sinner’s life. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). But “in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us,” he did the unthinkable: God himself paid the price. He sent his Son to be our substitute, to suffer and die in our place. Through his blood we have been rescued from the captivity of sin and freed from its guilt. WOO HOO!!!!

In a million years we would not have devised such a plan. Rather, God devised it “in accordance with the riches of [his] grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” – Armin J. Panning,

We Labor Together With God, Wes

The Witness – April 12-18, 2015

First Time Guest – How Does It Feel?

I had a smile on my face as everyone walked into our new multi –purpose building. Some were looking for breakfast, others for their small group, and everyone was looking for a place to sit during worship.

I am sure it was a little uncomfortable for us all. Fortunately we had several folks available to not only show you the way but to actually take you to your destination.

We looked everything over. Mostly shaking our head in the affirmative, but I’m sure there were some that were shaking their head the other way. Everything was new.

We all were a little tentative as to where to park and what to do. We looked around for a smiling face to help ease the awkwardness. No doubt we were excited, but just the same we didn’t want to make any mistakes. After all it was our first time in the building for worship. We were all first time guests!

In just a few weeks everything will become routine and we will know exactly where everything is, and forget about what things look like. That is to be expected.

However, let me ask that you NOT forget the feelings you had as a first time guest. You see, what will become routine and intuitive to you will be a brand new experience for our guests. Let’s assist them as you were assisted. Let’s greet them with the same smile you were greeted with when you first arrived.

What a marvelous time to be a part of the plan and purpose of God for Walnut Street Baptist Church

We Labor Together With God, Wes

The Witness – April 5-11, 2015

Farewell and Hello!

There is no way I can even begin to describe the impact of the day Sunday. However I must make a few comments. Sunday morning was an appropriate farewell with many guests, remembrances, 3 baptisms, and much worship.

We registered 70 children for the Easter Egg hunt with a total of 150 in attendance on a blustery crisp afternoon! Sunday night’s farewell was shared by many. The food was great the fellowship even greater. We had opportunities to share from our heart. The day was truly described as “bittersweet” by several as we said farewell to Walnut Street Baptist Church and hello to our new beginning.

The words Pam White shared with us Sunday night is a challenge for each of us.

I see today as the launching pad for the future God has for Walnut Street Baptist Church. We are taking the steps which will be the next generation’s memories 50 years from now. As we move to our new location, we will face inconveniences and unexpected hurdles. I want to challenge the congregation to meet these with unity. When you see a problem that you can quietly fix without voicing a complaint–go for it! When you see a problem that you cannot fix, wait patiently without whining. Encourage those who have worked tireless hours to lead us this far, and follow their leadership with grateful hearts. God’s future for us is about far more than our comfort and convenience; it is about reaching others with the gospel and growing the kingdom. Together–let’s go get ‘em!

We Labor Together With God, Wes

The Witness – March 29 – April 12, 2015

 

Bittersweet!

I am excited! There is a lot going on this week and in the weeks to come. So please find a way to participate and join the fun and excitement.

Sunday will be a bittersweet day. We will have mixed feelings. There will be tears and smiles, sadness and joy as we say farewell to this building and journey forward.

I can only imagine that the emotions of those who moved from the original building to the one we have worshiped in since 1950 are similar to ours. I also imagine we all had similar purposes for building new accommodations: The present facilities were not adequate to meet the challenges of the day; The movement of the Holy Spirit in our midst led to the construction of a new building; Perhaps what weighed most heavily was the desire to effectively reach people with the gospel in our families and communities.

The building will not determine how effective we are in reaching people with the gospel. It will only be a tool. I pray that we use this tool and reach out in ways that we have never reached out in the past.

No need to wait, begin that outreach this Sunday. We have sent out personal invitations to over 2,000 households inviting them to join us on campus in searching for Easter eggs. Come, meet new friends and share a part of your Sunday!

We Labor Together With God, Wes