VANDALS CAUGHT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

We at Central Baptist Church are happy to announce that those responsible for the vandalism of our church just about two weeks ago, have been identified and have made full confessions to the Menominee County Sheriff’s Department.  Charges are currently pending as the matter is referred to prosecutors for official charges.

As a church, we continue to pray that justice will be done to these individuals as the legal system now takes over.  But more than this, we want it to be clear that we have already forgiven them for what they did and we pray that through these circumstances and the punishment to follow, that they would come to know Christ as their personal Savior.  We pray that they would come to know the greatest of all forgiveness, and that is the forgiveness of sin that can only be found in Christ Jesus.

As a church, we want to say thank you to the Michigan State Police (Gladstone Post) and to Sheriff Kenny Marks and the Menominee County Sheriff’s Department.  Both of these law enforcement agencies did an outstanding job not only investigating what took place, but also pursuing leads until the perpetrators were finally caught.  Our community is honored to be served by these brave men and women!  Thank you!

Finally, to all of you in the community and to the sister churches that prayed for us during this time, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  The Lord has given our church a real sense of His presence during this time and has granted great grace through all of this.  Thank you for praying for us and for supporting us during the past two weeks.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Love in the Truth,

Pastor Ben

 

 

CHURCH UPDATE

Hi Everyone!

I hope that this email finds you doing well.  I wanted to update you again regarding both the church condition and the investigation into who may have done the vandalism.  First, the condition of the church building is still very rough.  The insurance adjuster was out yesterday and the cleaning crew arrived from Escanaba today.  I spoke with most of the deacons this morning and we have decided to cancel prayer meeting tonight.  The good news is that the cleaning crew working on the church feels very confident that they will have the main level cleaned and ready to go in time for our services on Sunday!  We are rejoicing in this good news.  The 5th Quarter activity on Friday will also be able to take place.  This is an answer to prayer and we thank the Lord for this good news!

As for the investigation, I can tell you that we have very specific details as to the the ages and number of individuals who did this.  The State Police and the Sheriff’s Office are both working to follow up on leads that have come in.  There was enough evidence left behind to allow them to created a profile of those that did this.  I would encourage you to please really any and all information you might have about who may have done this.  Your tip can even remain anonymous if you would like.

So, in summary:

  • NO PRAYER MEETING TONIGHT OCTOBER 8, 2014
  • 5TH QUARTER ACTIVITY FOR TEENS WILL STILL TAKE PLACE ON FRIDAY OCTOBER 10 AFTER FB GAME
  • NORMAL SERVICE TIMES FOR SUNDAY

Please pass the word to those that may not be able to read this.  A prayer chain did go out this morning but sometimes folks get missed.  As always, don’t hesitate to email or call if you have any questions or would like to pass on any information.  Thanks for your prayers and support.  May the Lord receive the honor and glory for all that happens because of this!

Pastor Ben

 

DAMAGE TO CHURCH (UPDATE)

Hi Folks,

I wanted to update everyone on what happened at church last evening.  Someone came into the church and sprayed the contents of 4-5 fire extinguishers throughout the main and lower levels of the church.  The damage caused by this malicious behavior is very significant.  We are unsure of the damage estimate exactly, but due to the highly corrosiveness of the chemical and because it is a very fine particle, there is equipment in both the church and nursery that is going to have to be thrown away entirely and replaced.

This is an ongoing investigation and I cannot comment on any suspect leads that we have.  I would simply ask that if you hear anything that might help the State Police find who did this, please let me know.  The  troopers have been very helpful and were at the church for almost four hours investigating and taking photos. Any information can be helpful.

Finally, I know that many of you are upset over what happened and rightfully so.  I want to assure you that we WILL have church, even if we have to meet at a different location until the building is clean and able to be used again.  We will keep you posted on this.  There are also a few other things that I want to encourage you to do:

  • It is a Privilege to Suffer for Christ’s Sake

Philippians 1:29 says, “It has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake…”  This is a chance for us as a church to shine for Christ during a very unfair and very malicious circumstance.  We have a right to be angered but we must also remember that things like this happen because of the gospel and at times because of conviction.  We must use this time to show Christ and to remain Christ-like in our response.  I want justice to be served and I believe it will be in time.  But may we not be guilty of sinning over this.

  • God Knows who did this

Proverbs 15:3 says. “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.”  God sees all and knows all and He will not allow someone to get away with this.  Vengence is the Lord’s and we can be sure that He will make sure that justice is served.

  • Judgment will come to the one who did this

Christ told the the church in Pergamum, “Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.” (Rev 2:15-16)  The reality of judgment in the Scriptures is very clear both for Christians and non-Christians.  Unless a person repents and confesses of their sin, God will make sure it is dealt with swiftly.  I would encourage all of you to pray to this end.  Allow the Lord to take care of this situation.  He can do it better than any of us can and I know I would not want to be the one on the receiving end of that judgment.  I think you would all agree!

Thank you for your prayers.  We will keep everyone informed as soon as we know more.  But please, remain encouraged in the Lord. Satan does not want us to move forward as a church but these sorts of events remind us that we are a threat to Satan but greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world! (1 John 4:4)

Pastor Ben

 

Caleb: The Picture of a Faithful Follower

Footprints in SandLast night in our prayer meeting, we took a few moments to examine the life of Caleb. I love to do character studies on the lives of those that we find within the pages of Scripture. I also enjoy reading loud reviews of great Christians great preachers. So, when I came across the life of Caleb, I was excited to learn from him and to see how God used him during his time on this earth.  What I found did not disappoint and I hope it will be as much of an encouragement and challenge to you as it was to me.

There are only about 30 verses written in Scripture about Caleb.  Not very much when you consider who he was and what he did for God.  Nevertheless, the verses that we do have are power packed and of a great challenge.  Joshua 14:8-15 pick up at the end of his life when he is getting the inheritance that God had promised to him for his faithfulness. It is one of the shortest and yet one of the most powerful passages of Scripture describing one man’s devotion to God.

Here are some things that we see about Caleb’s life:

1.  He was a man of Conviction

Numbers 13:25-33 tell us that when it came time for the spies to give a report of what they found in the promised land, ten of the spies described it as a wonderful land that would be impossible for them to conquer.  Joshua and Caleb on the other hand believed God and encouraged the people to move forward and to do what God had told them to do.  This kind of conviction caused Caleb to stand out from the other spies and even the rest of the people.  The main reason for his standing out was his conviction to stand up for God.  This is true conviction!  Standing for God despite the obstacles and then being willing to put your words of conviction to action…just as Caleb and Joshua did.

2.  He was a man of Consecration

Joshua 14 uses a phrase three different time to describe Caleb (vv. 8; 9; 14).  That phrase is that Caleb “wholly followed the Lord…”  This word, “wholly” has the idea of “being filled completely or to fill and hand so full that there is no space left.” Caleb followed God in such a way that there was no room in his life for doing his own will or following his own desires. His only focus and desire was to follow the Lord and to do what God wanted him to do. What a summary of true discipleship! I hope that I can say this at the end of my life!  I hope that those that knew me would be able to put on my grave stone…”He wholly followed the Lord!”  What a testimony and what a challenge!

3.  He was a man of Courage

Joshua 14:10-11 tell us of the courage of Caleb.  It was a courage that never left him.  It was a courage that causes him to follow and fight for the Lord and then to wait 45 years to receive the blessings that God had promised him.  Now at the age of 85, he states that he would be willing to do it all again, even at his current age, because God meant that much to him.

God greatly blessed Caleb for his service.  The end of Joshua 14 tells us of at least three blessings that the Lord gave to him.  First, he received a long life.  Second, he received great blessing.  God gave him and his descendants one of the best portions of the land as a reward for his faithfulness.  Third, Caleb received peace and rest.  The rest of Caleb’s life was marked by peace and the land was at rest.  God allowed Caleb the chance to enjoy the blessings that he was given.

May the Lord help all of us to learn from the life of Caleb.  May these same characteristics be true of us for the glory of God!

VBS UPDATE: THURSDAY

IMG_4411We are thankful for another great night at Treasure Island. We had a total attendance of 30 children. Pastor Ben did not have to get a pie in the face once again for which he was probably thankful! This was our final night and it ended with great celebration. The pirates had gotten the key to the fair and as of Wednesday, there would be no fair!!  But alas, the good guys were able to recapture the key and all was well with the world once again! :)

There were many very good things about this week for which we are thankful. We were able to make contact with several new families and other families that previously had contact with our church. The children had a lot of fun learning songs about the Gospel and hearing the gospel preached each night. Pastor Ben would do an object lesson each night that related to our memory verse for the night and then challenge the children about the Gospel and about their relationship with Christ. We are happy to report that one young man came to faith in Christ last night after the lesson! The focus of this week was not on numbers for attendance or for salvation decisions. This week was all about gospel centered ministry and we are sure that ongoing ministry with families will take place as a result of what transpired this week and we praise the Lord for His work in that way.

Tonight, the parents are invited to come to our closing program where the children will be sharing the songs they’ve learned all week. Following the program, we have the VBS fair complete with games, prizes, a dunk tank, and a jumpy house. Please pray for us as we seek to develop Gospel focused relationships with these families and as we finish our VBS for good following tonight’s events.

Here are some pictures from last night as well as a few from earlier in the week. Thanks so much for your prayers!

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VBS UPDATE: WEDNESDAY

IMG_4411The Lord gave us another wonderful time at Vacation Bible school last night. Our attendance was down just a little from the last two nights. We had a total of 25 children with lots of fun and excitement. Still no pie for Pastor Ben. But the challenge is still on and we will see if the children are able to make that happen tonight. We need to have a total of 40 in attendance.

Some may read this update and see that we have only had 25 to 35 children and our Bible school so far this week. When I was growing up in Milwaukee, we would have Bible Schools that averaged 1000 kids! The area in which our church ministers is a small, rural area so these kinds of numbers are good and are about average for what we have had in the past. The most encouraging parts is nothing numbers but the new children that we have had come visit our church in the new contacts with parents.

Please pray for us tonight as we have our final night of VBS tonight. It should be a great time for the children and workers. We will be having our closing program and VBS fair tomorrow evening beginning at 7 PM. This will be a time for the parents to come and have a part in what we’ve been doing here at Central all week

Here are some pictures from Wednesday VBS:

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VBS UPDATE: TUESDAY

Black & White VBS SignWe had another GREAT night at Treasure Island! We had a total of 34 children in attendance.  Unfortunately, that meant that Pastor Ben did NOT get a pie in the face.  They missed it by six!  The challenge is still on and once again if we have 40 or more in attendance tonight, pie will fly!

Some of the other things that the kids have been doing include, crafts, games, and learning Bible songs.  This Friday night at 7pm, we will be having our closing program and VBS Fair.  The kids will be singing all of their songs, having one final penny competition, and enjoying some food and fun along with their moms and dads.  Everyone is invited to come and join us!

Here are just a few pictures of VBS.  Thanks for your prayers!

 

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