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April 18, 2017, 10:11 AM

"Cheerful Giving"


G’day Mate!

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” This passage spoken by Jesus is found in Matthew 6:1-4 and details the practice of giving. According to verse 1, giving is an expression of righteousness towards a person less fortunate than you. It is an “act of righteousness” which should not be confused as an act leading to righteousness, for in truth no one is righteous. However, in Christ we have been declared righteous in the Cross of Jesus. In addition, please understand that Jesus spoke these words under the Old Covenant. Under the New Covenant, once a person is born again, the only real righteousness to speak of is Christ Himself. As Christians we give out of thankfulness to God for saving us and even the very act of helping the needy is a role that God has already destined for us. We deserve no “pat on the back” for being obedient to the will of God. One could then ask, what is the reward that Jesus speaks of in verse 4? Simply completing the will of God with a sincere giving heart is a reward. Knowing that you have obeyed the Lord, there is a divine peace that is offered to you. If what you do in secret is rewarded, then it must also be rewarded in secret. Peace and joy in serving the Lord is one of the greatest rewards in this life. In saying all this, there is an important principle which concerns our motive for giving and the right practice of giving. If giving for the sake of man’s adoration, then that is all you will receive. If you do it out of thankfulness to God then your motive is sound and you can rest in God’s goodness and continued provision. In over 16 years of ministry I have personally experienced that the most generous givers are the ones who adamantly expressed their desire to remain anonymous. I recall on one occasion at a previous church where I was given a $5,000 check towards youth ministry and the individual was not a member of the church or even attended. I have also witnessed individuals and couples give large amounts to Church building Funds or paying large portions of already present mortgages. It was often anonymous and the generous givers wanted no recognition. They did not give for the praise of man but for the honor of God. As you read this week’s devotion, what is the Lord calling on you to do as one of His children? I would like to mention at this point that the “Impact Youth” of ABC are raising funds for a mission trip over summer. They will be having a Garage Sale at the church this Saturday, so perhaps you can visit and take a gander of their wares. Most if not all Christians today give towards the weekly offering that is collected every Sunday. Usually referred to as a tithe, it can be a tenth of what you earn or more. The Bible says, “The Lord loves a cheerful giver”. Christians committed to Christ and connected to a family of believers give weekly so that the ministries of the church continue. Most importantly, we give so that we carry on with the Great Commission given by Christ Himself and therefore we preach Jesus Christ and him crucified. We give out of thankfulness with the hope and belief that others will come to know Christ and therefore be saved. This past Easter Sunday with 200 in the main service, a young boy of 7 years of age came weeping at the invitation to accept Christ as Lord and Savior. And that folks is what it’s all about! I encourage you that if you are looking for a new church home or would just like to explore the Christian faith, please join us any Sunday at 10:00 am. I hope to see you soon…

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Matt Goodsell

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April 11, 2017, 7:30 AM

Happy Easter


G’day Mate!

May I declare a Happy Easter to one and all from my family to yours! But why would one be happy at Easter? Young children would definitely be happy at Easter due to the various opportunities for Easter egg hunts. I mean seriously, what person young or old would not be happy with a basket full of candy and chocolate! Can I get an Amen? Easter can also be a happy time for often families will get together for a gathering over a meal. There may be many other reasons why people would be happy this upcoming weekend, however, what is the real meaning of Easter? It’s not about the cultural phenomenon of the so called Easter bunny that miraculously delivers chocolate eggs to children. Easter is about Jesus the Christ and what he accomplished through the Cross on Good Friday and His Resurrection from the dead on Sunday. The meaning of Easter is Jesus Christ's victory over death. His resurrection symbolizes the eternal life that is granted to all who believe in Him. The meaning of Easter also symbolizes the complete verification of all that Jesus preached and taught during His three-year ministry. If He had not risen from the dead, if He had merely died and not been resurrected, He would have been considered just another teacher or Rabbi. However, His resurrection changed all that and gave final and irrefutable proof that He was really the Son of God and that He had conquered death once and for all. However, Easter did not always symbolize Christ's resurrection from the dead and the meaning of Easter was quite different than what Christians celebrate today. The feast day of Easter was originally a pagan celebration of renewal and rebirth. Celebrated in the early spring, it honored the pagan Saxon goddess Eastre. When the early missionaries converted the Saxons to Christianity, the holiday, since it fell around the same time as the traditional memorial of Christ's resurrection from the dead, was merged with the pagan celebration, and became known as Easter. The meaning of Easter was also changed to reflect its new Christian orientation. Today, the meaning of Easter, for millions of Christians, is that of honoring and recognizing Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead, and His glorious promises of eternal life for all who believe in Him. So why would you truly have a happy Easter this year? Hopefully, you have already been born again of the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross. And yet, you may have not been born again, but the claims of Jesus in the Bible and the successful Christian witness you have seen from those around you are starting to open your eyes to the truth of Scripture and the message of the Gospel. I would encourage you to join us at Ashland Baptist Church this weekend for one of more of the services that are offered to bring together the body of Christ to worship Jesus, our Risen Savior and King. On Good Friday, April 14th, we will offer a Good Friday service that will focus on the Cross, death and burial of Jesus, the Son of God and yet God in the flesh as John 1:14 states. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth”. On Resurrection Sunday we will offer a “Sunrise Service” at 8:00 am for the early risers, followed by a fully catered breakfast for those who attend the Sunrise service and for those coming early for the main service at 10:00 am. A hot breakfast will be served at 9:00 am in lieu of the regular Sunday morning Lifegroup hour. While the Fellowship committee furnish the main dishes for breakfast there are other church members that have offered to bring sides. I assure you that it will be a feast of celebration. The main Sunday service at 10:00 am will focus entirely on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and what that means for us today as believers and followers of Jesus. Please join us this weekend and experience the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. It will definitely be a Happy Easter for all who attend.

Blessings in Christ and Happy Easter

Pastor Matt Goodsell                                                     

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March 28, 2017, 8:34 AM

"Biblical Prosperity"


G’day Mate!

“But I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me. I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat. When I fed them, they were satisfied, when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me”. These verses are quoted from Hosea 13:4-6. The Words from God are very straight forward and easy to understand and apply. God through the prophet Hosea was declaring His previous comfort and deliverance of Israel, His people from slavery in Egypt. This truth in history should have prompted God’s people to turn back to Him in repentance. God continues to declare His provision of food and water in the wilderness journey. However, after being fed, thus being satisfied, they became proud but not of God. They became proud in themselves and what they could do and then turned away from God and began worshipping false god’s in the land of Canaan. The parallel to the universal church today is eerie and should be a warning, not for annihilation from God but temporal judgment from God, such as we read in the book of Revelation concerning the seven churches of Asia Minor. In those circumstances the judgment would be the removal of the witness to the truth of the gospel. In other words the Light of Christ would be removed and they would cease to be an evangelistic growing community of believers. Sadly today there is idolatry in many churches around the United States of America. The pastors of these “churches” are preaching a prosperity gospel, a false message that centers on what you can receive from God for your best efforts of obedience. That is in essence, idolatry, as the individual is really worshipping self and what they can accomplish on their own strength, while transforming God into some form of a genie granting wishes. While I do believe God gifts His people in many ways it is also absolutely true that terrible events happen to the greatest of people. The focus of a prosperity preaching church is not God, it is self. The true gospel message is that in Christ we are already blessed beyond measure. My definition of prosperity is simple and it has nothing to do with a bigger house, a new car, employment advancement or financial success, for as the Bible declares, those things won’t last. Jesus stated in Matthew 6:19, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal”. My definition of prosperity is, “Rich and deep fellowship with God out of the relationship we have with the Father through Jesus Christ”. Being prosperous has nothing to do with material blessings under the New Covenant. Our prosperity centers on our active and growing fellowship with God. Prosperity is experiencing the awesome Presence of God through all the events of life, good and bad. Prosperity is sensing a refreshing empowering of the Holy Spirit where the Joy of our salvation is true Biblical prosperity. Prosperity is when God’s grace is again enacted in us because we have indeed fallen again. Prosperity is knowing deep in our hearts the Love of God that will never leave us, but from time to time as we seek God more fully we are warmed again the never-ending Love of God. True Biblical prosperity has already been freely given in the Cross of Jesus Christ where your sins have been paid for by His blood. If you are born again…Praise the Lord! If you are searching for the truth I encourage you to not get sideswiped by bad teaching that is prevalent today. The focus must always be on Christ! And for the believer who is experiencing more than unusual blessings and gifts from God, then praise Him for it. However, the warning from Hosea is clear. Don’t fall into the temptation that the Israelites did many years ago. Don’t become proud of what you have accumulated for then you may forget to worship God and Him alone. I pray Biblical prosperity on every reader today. Want more? Please visit this Sunday at 10:00 am for more on the message in Hosea. See you then.

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Matt Goodsell

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March 21, 2017, 8:49 AM

"Are you in a Lifegroup?"


G’day Mate!

A vibrant church is a body of believers on fire for Jesus Christ. A loving church family is followers of Jesus together, supporting one another and building each other up in the faith. A practical way to achieve these goals can begin and be met with regular and committed attendance in a Lifegroup. Formally titled Sunday school, it is now titled Lifegroup to better reflect what small groups are all about. A Lifegroup is more than just Bible teaching, it is walking the road of faith in Christ in close fellowship with other believers. I believe it is imperative for Christian maturity and spiritual health that every believer is a part of an active Lifegroup. This past Sunday morning we recorded 110 in Lifegroup which I believe is why Ashland Baptist Church is growing so close together as a family. In the near future we plan to expand Lifegroups outside of a Sunday morning, such as a Sunday evening or evenings through the week. These will be potentially hosted in member’s homes, while the material that is taught would be similar or the same as what is used on Sunday morning Lifegroup. The reason for additional Lifegroups outside of Sunday morning is to make it easier for members and visitors to become involved. Ashland Baptist Church welcomes all visitors to get connected in this way after perhaps an initial visit to the 10 am morning service. The Bible declares in Hebrews 13:1, “Keep on loving each other as brothers”. The apostle Paul writes in Romans 1:11-12, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith”. There is no sounder expression to these verses that growing together in a Lifegroup. In a Lifegroup we mutually build one another up in the faith and sharing the ups and downs of life. Remember, that even Jesus had a Lifegroup! Peter, James and John were the inner circle of disciples that were present at key times in the earthly ministry of Jesus. The theme for the coming week in my Lifegroup that I lead is titled, “Victorious Faith”, with the key phrase, “My faith in God makes me victorious”. Who doesn’t want to live a victorious life of faith in God? I know I do and I am confident that the teaching points on this theme this week will encourage everyone. The setting of the Lifegroup lesson will be Hebrews 11 which has encouraged many believers in times of persecution and suffering. The word “faith” occurs 27 times, while the expression “by faith” occurs 21 times in the chapter. Chapter 10 concluded with exhortations that the righteous “will live by faith” (Hebrews 10:38) and believers are described as “those who have faith and are saved” (v.39). Figures of the past who by faith pleased God and were approved by God are used to motivate believers and to encourage them to persevere. At the 10 am service this week I will continue with the Radical Revelation Message series. This week I will delve into another of the Minor Prophets from the Old Testament, namely Amos. The dominant theme is clearly stated in Amos 5:24, which calls for social justice as the indispensable expression of true piety. Amos was a vigorous spokesman for God’s justice and righteousness which included the prophecy that God was going to judge his unfaithful, disobedient, covenant-breaking people. I am so glad that in the Cross of Jesus Christ has dealt with the disease of sin! Can I get an Amen? And God for whom Amos speaks is God of more than merely Israel. He also uses one nation against another to carry out His purposes. God is the only Great King who rules the whole Universe! Whether you know Him or not you are welcome to join the loving family of ABC any Sunday you choose. However, I hope to see you this week! Want to join a LIFEGROUP...CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Blessings in Christ,                                                                                               

Pastor Matt Goodsell                                                   

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March 7, 2017, 12:14 PM

"The Joy of Salvation"


G’day Mate!

Psalm 51 is one of my favorite Psalms written by King David. I believe I gravitate to the incredible message contained within its verses. For starters King David was far from perfect which I can relate to as a sinner. In fact he happened to be one of God’s followers who deliberately sinned against God over a period of time. The date of Psalm 51 equates to the events following God sending the prophet Nathan to confront David in his sin. The sin was David committing adultery with Bathsheba which included the murder of her husband in an indirect way. David through the entire sordid affair had broken many, if not all of the Ten Commandments. This confrontation through the prophet Nathan had humbled King David and brought him to his knees in confession and repentance. He begins in verse 1 by calling on God’s forgiving and merciful nature and character that he had come to know over the years. “Have mercy on me, O God”, David pleads. The word mercy is identified with compassion, in the sense of a willingness to forgive an offender. David understood completely that only God Himself could forgive him for what he had done. In verse 4 David writes, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight”. Sin is vertical, not horizontal! In other words, when you wrong someone by word or deed, you ultimately sin against God. David in the opening verses of this Psalm is calling on God’s revealed nature to show mercy and hence forgive him. David pens in verse 9, “hide your face from my sins”. God does more than that according to Psalm 103:12 which states, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” That is exactly what the Father has accomplished through the sending of His One and only Son, Jesus the Messiah. Jesus paid the price at the Cross for our redemption and forgiveness. Only in Him is eternal life offered! Now David also calls on God’s unfailing love. This is the love God has for His covenant people. It is God’s love revealed through His many and precious promises. It is the very essence of God’s nature. A comforting passage for the believer in Christ is found in Romans 8:37-39, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” David also calls on God’s great compassion to forgive and restore him to a right relationship with God. Compassion or pity is one of God’s virtues made evident through His mighty acts in history on behalf of his covenant people. In both Hebrew and Greek compassion is literally a “gut feeling” for the needs of others. The compassionate God is one of the essential marks of the Christian faith. So many verses can demonstrate this truth, but I will share Exodus 3:7 which reads, “The Lord said, I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.” God cares for the hardships of His people. As a Christian, God is very concerned and cares about everything we go through in this life. Perhaps you need to be encouraged today in your walk with the Lord that He still cares for you deeply. Or perhaps you could be challenged today with a question, “When was the last time you felt compassion on another person and acted on it?” Another major aspect of this Psalm was David’s desire for restoration after forgiveness and the joy of salvation that follows forgiveness. In verse 12 he writes, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me”. I wonder sometimes why I am not the most joyful person I know considering God revealed Himself to me and I am saved. It might be that I leak and need a constant filling of the Holy Spirit in my life? Before you think too much… that’s goes for every believer. This is a brutal world and we need more of God in our lives to not only live but to thrive. I close with 1 Peter 1:8-9, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Blessings in Christ, Pastor Matt Goodsell

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