Category Archives: Service

Noah’s Proclamation

Noah must have been one of the most tenacious and single-minded people who ever walked the face of the earth. He lived at a time when God was all but forgotten; a time when wicked living was standard operating procedure everywhere. But Noah stood strong for what was right even though the whole world was against him. He was willing to speak the truth in a world that did not want to hear. Surely his life would have been easier had he simply kept his mouth shut, but he did not.

And Noah did more than speak the truth; he lived the truth. Noah’s faith was so strong that he not only worked to support his family, he also worked to build an ark according to God’s design and for God’s purpose. He was devoted to doing work that would please God and lead others to faith and deliverance.

So Noah proclaimed righteousness in a world of wickedness and he built an ark for safety in the day of God’s judgment. He did all this despite the apathy of his generation. How did he do it? How did Noah stand for truth and build for God under such difficult conditions?

One reason that Noah had such a strong faith was his conviction that he had received a word from the Lord. He had no app on his iPhone with multiple translations of the Bible and word-search capabilities. He had no TV preachers, Sunday school teachers, or conference speakers, but he knew that God had spoken to him.

And Noah was willing to live his life based on the word which he had received from God. Even though God’s word to Noah meant that he would be going against the strong tide of public opinion, Noah obeyed. Pleasing God was more important to Noah than getting along with everyone else.

Like Noah, we have a word from the Lord. Like Noah, we are called to speak for God and to build for God in a world that is unfriendly to God. And like Noah, we can choose to be silent and get along with the world, or we can decide to speak up and get the approval of our Lord.

Noah went through some tough times, but God was with him. In the end he experienced a great victory. God is calling us to proclaim his truth and to build his kingdom in a rebellious world. Going against the flow is not easy, but our Lord promises to be with us. And he promises that we will share in his ultimate triumph.

May the love of Christ compel us to say and do all that our Lord desires,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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Jesus found himself surrounded by hostility even in his own home.  His brothers did not believe in him.  Apparently they were embarrassed by Jesus.  They prodded him to leave home in Galilee and go to the big city, to Jerusalem, so that he could impress the world with his miracles and teaching.

Jerusalem was a dangerous place for Jesus.   Like Jesus’ brothers, the religious leaders did not believe in him.  He was a threat to their positions of power and privilege.  They were looking for a way to eliminate Jesus before he could build up a big following among the people.  These were the very men who would eventually scheme to have him crucified.

And the people!  The people were hopelessly divided in their opinions about Jesus.  Those who were sympathetic toward Jesus stayed silent out of fear.  They knew that the leaders were against Jesus and they did not want to endanger themselves.  As a result, Jesus had very few, if any, who would help him or come to his defense.

It would have been easier for Jesus to lay low and keep quiet.  He could avoid the conflict and keep himself safe from harm.  Jesus did not act foolishly, but neither did he back down.  He went to Jerusalem and he courageously and publicly continued to speak the truth.  He obeyed God and great things happened.

It would be easier for us to lay low and keep quiet in a world that is increasingly hostile toward Bible-believing followers of Jesus Christ.   But we should do as Jesus did.  We should not unnecessarily seek out conflict, but neither should we back down out of fear.

Like Jesus, we can trust God and courageously fulfill our mission in this age: to make disciples of all nations and to grow toward spiritual maturity.  Let’s reaffirm our commitment to unapologetically serve the Lord.  Let’s obey our Lord and we will see great things happen.

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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Faith: Finding Faith, Growing in Faith and Saving Faith

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (10:17, NIV).  This verse is speaking to all those who are followers of Jesus Christ.  It reminds us of our task and our method.

According to Romans 10:17, our goal is “faith.”  We serve together in order to help people find faith.  And for those who already have faith, we help them to grow in faith.  As we help others, we grow in our own faith, too.  God’s Spirit knits our souls together with him and with one another into a thriving community of faith that serves his Kingdom and enjoys his blessings.

The faith of Romans 10:17 is not just any faith, but faith that comes “through the word of Christ.”  The Bible tells us that some faith is in vain.  Faith in anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ is not saving faith.  Other faiths may be comforting faiths, or satisfying faiths, or popular faiths, or even impressive faiths.  But only faith in Christ is saving faith.

Faith comes from “hearing the message.”  We need not worry about finding a message; we have one already.  Jesus sacrificed himself as a sin offering so that all who place their faith in him will be completely forgiven and eternally blessed by God.

Faith comes from “hearing the message.”  The message is the word of Christ.  As followers of Jesus we have the great opportunity and challenge to tell the Good News about Jesus Christ.  We participate in God’s Kingdom work by making sure that every child and every adult possible hears and understands the great message of saving faith through Jesus Christ.

Every local church exists in order to help people find faith and to grow in faith.  As people are saved and strengthened in faith, the Body of Christ is built up.  And as we carry out our God-given mission we bring glory to God the Father who saves us through his Son Christ Jesus.

May the Lord empower us to grow strong in the faith,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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The Party of the Cosmos

Jesus did not die only to save us from our sins.  He also died to unite God’s people, removing the barriers that separate us from one another (Ephesians 2:14-18).  To be reconciled to God is to be reconciled to God’s people.  Jesus’ death has given us a new and living way into the holy Presence of God and a new and vital relationship with one another.

The Christian life is one of serving and worshiping God together with other believers.  Once saved, we are fellow citizens in God’s Kingdom, so we share a common loyalty and a common mission.  We are fellow members of God’s family, so we share our individual lives.  And we are living parts of God’s Temple, so we share the indwelling Presence of God’s Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Followers of Jesus are like the various parts of a person’s physical body.  The parts are many but the body is one.  The individual parts do not all have the same function.  Each part contributes in a unique way to the health of the body.  Each part needs the body and the body needs every part (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31).

Each follower of Jesus is called and equipped by God to serve the Body of Christ and to be served by the Body of Christ.  Believers are equipped with spiritual gifts, abilities given by God’s Spirit like teaching, leading, or showing mercy.  No single believer has every spiritual gift, which means that every believer is dependent on other believers in order to live a healthy spiritual life.

Many of you know your spiritual gifts.  You know what God has called and equipped you to do in order to serve him in the local church.  Others of you are still seeking.  Please pray and search the Scriptures, especially Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4.  God has given you the ability to do something that will honor him, strengthen the church, and bless you.

In addition to a kingdom, a family, a temple, and a body, the church in the New Testament is also pictured as a bride.  All believers collectively are the radiant Bride of Christ, for whom the Lord is preparing a great feast: the wedding supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-8).  Our Lord Jesus is working toward the day when he will present his Bride, the Church, to himself without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-30).

My prayer for each of you is that you will take your place in God’s Kingdom, Family, Temple, and Body, and labor for the day when we will celebrate together with our Lord at the wedding supper of the Lamb.

May the Lord knit us together with the love of Christ and the power of His Spirit,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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Would You Wash Judas’ Feet?

Jesus spent time with his disciples just before his crucifixion.  John chapter 13 begins with the account of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet.  Just imagine how flabbergasted they were to see their Master on his knees with a towel and a bowl of water performing such a menial task!  Jesus had to argue with Peter before the proud fisherman would allow it.

After washing their feet Jesus returned to his place of honor at the table and asked his disciples if they understood what he had just done.  They learned three things which still apply to the followers of Jesus today.  First, if the Son of God is willing to perform such a humble task, then all who follow him should be willing to accept assignments that are less than glamorous.

Second, Jesus washed the feet of all twelve of his disciples, including Judas.  Judas had been treated like a close friend, walking side by side with Jesus and his other disciples for almost three years.  Nevertheless, he was about to shamefully betray Jesus, handing him over to his enemies for shocking and cruel treatment.  And yet Jesus washed Judas’ feet, too.  In following Jesus we will find ourselves sometimes serving those who are less than deserving.

Finally, Jesus’ footwashing was more than just a physical act of kindness.  Washing feet symbolized the cleansing of souls.  In fact, Jesus pictured his entire ministry with that one act of service.  When he took off his outer garment and left the table it pictured him setting aside his glory in heaven and stepping into human history at Bethlehem.  When he washed the feet of his disciples it pictured his humility on the cross outside Jerusalem, sacrificing himself to cleanse the souls of sinners.  And when Jesus stood up and assumed again his place of honor at the table, it symbolized his resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the throne in heaven.

In the same way that Jesus’ footwashing was filled with great symbolic meaning, our service is filled with great spiritual purpose.  We do not serve simply to make this world a better place, although our actions will often ease suffering and increase joy.  But much more than that, we are serving in a cosmic rescue mission led by an Eternal Savior who is pulling souls out of the vast kingdom of darkness and opening a way for them to have a permanent place in the everlasting kingdom of Light.

May we always represent our Lord Jesus Christ well through our humble service,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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Feed My Sheep

More than two years ago I started preaching through the Gospel of John during Sunday morning worship. Now I have finished, and in the concluding chapter of John’s Gospel there is a remarkable conversation between Jesus and Peter.

Jesus had warned his disciples that he would soon be betrayed and that they would all fall away. Peter had bragged that he would never fall away, even if all the others did.  Jesus assured Peter that before morning came he would deny even knowing Jesus, and so he did.

Now that Jesus was risen and appearing to his followers, proving that he was truly alive, Peter was a man torn in two.  On the one hand he was thrilled to see the Lord whom he loved so much.  On the other hand he surely wondered how Jesus could ever forgive him for what he had done.

Jesus made it a point to confront Peter in a loving and decisive manner.  As they ate breakfast together on the shore of Lake Tiberius, Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?”  Three times Peter told Jesus that he did.  Jesus allowed Peter to erase his three denials with three affirmations of love.

But Jesus did more than forgive Peter for his denials.  Each time Peter said that he loved Jesus, the Lord added a command. Feed my lambs.  Tend my sheep.  Feed my sheep.  Jesus’ sheep are his followers, the people of God; and he is the Good Shepherd.

To feed Jesus’ sheep is to care for Jesus’ followers, the church.  Peter was not just forgiven; he was reinstated to a place of service among Jesus’ followers.  Jesus would soon return to the Father, but Peter’s love for the Lord Jesus would still be evident through his service to the Lord’s church, his people.

Your love for the Lord Jesus is evident in the way that you serve God’s people.  What an honor it is for me to serve alongside you, my church family, as you demonstrate your affection for the Savior through your service in his church.  Like Peter, you have a commission from the Lord to labor in his Name.

As you examine yourselves, please prayerfully consider your place of service at your church.

Like Peter, each of us is called to a place of service among Jesus’ followers.  And like Peter, even our past failures cannot keep us from expressing our love for the Lord by serving him now.

May the Lord inspire and enable us to love one another,

Brother Richard Foster
Grace Baptist Church, Camden AR

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