Posts Tagged ‘Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church’


My daughter Lindsey shooting

I shot myself. It wasn’t deliberate. It was an accident. I was at my son-in-law’s place near Ft Scott, Kansas.

Having fun shooting at targets

It was the first and probably last time I was invited. Several of our grand kids were there. My other son-in-law had set up targets at various ranges, and we were very carefully taking turns shooting our various weapons at the targets. We had AR-15’s, a Remington .270, several pistols of various calibers. I had brought my AR-15, two other rifles, five pistols and even my compound bow. It was very hot, but we had fun practicing our marksmanship skills. I’ve always believed that the family that shoots together stays together.

Putting Guns away moments before shooting myself-notice all the grandkids

It was close to 4pm and we had spent most of our ammo. I had discharged all of mine, I thought. So everyone goes down to pick up the brass and pack away the firearms and bring them up to the cars. I started putting away my various weapons.

I was putting my Ruger P89c 9mm into the hard plastic case. The hammer was back which is common when all the rounds have been discharged. I made my first mistake at that point. You always assume the pistol is loaded. I did not check the chamber. If I had, I would have discovered a round. The next lesson I learned is the need to know each weapon you have, for they are all different. What I thought was a decocking safety, was in reality a decocking lever. Instead of safely withdrawing the firing pin and closing the hammer, it engaged the hammer and drove the firing pin into the live round in the chamber.

Engaging the Decocking Lever

The result is noted in the pictures. The bullet discharged and went through the hard plastic case, and then through my hand, which had been holding the case.

Bullet fires through the case

All I remember was the horriffic explosion, and dropping the case at the very same time. I did not immediately feel a pain in my hand. My wife started yelling, “You’re bleeding!” and that is when in a cloud of smoke I noticed my hand, blood streaming from a hole on top, near my thumb. I was in a daze!

My son-in-law, Ben, ran toward me, taking his shirt off as he ran. He tore a strip of the shirt off, and tied it directly over the wound, stopping the blood flow.

He said the closest hospital was in Ft Scott, 20 plus miles away. I was surprisingly calm. The only pain I felt was the discomfort of the tourniquet and the pressure slowly building in my hand. The drive to the hospital seemed to take forever, but I never grew queasy or lightheaded. I used my phone to track down the location of Mercy Hospital in Ft Scott.

Exit wound. Big John is holding the tourniquet tight!

I found out that when you walk into the Hospital and announce, “I shot myself,” they react very quickly. No “Have a chair”, no “please fill this out”. I walked right back to the ER room and laid on a bed. Next thing I know a big EMT named John is taking the tourniquet off and saying, “Yep, you shot yourself”. He then moved the tourniquet up my wrist and for the next 45 minutes twisted it tight. I really enjoyed talking with John. He is quite the hunter and fisherman. He didn’t make me feel stupid for shooting myself. The pictures tell the story. When they first dismissed me, we went to Walmart to get the pain pills and antibiotic. While I was at the window blood started gushing all over. The lady got me a couple Walmart bags to catch the blood.

Blood-soaked bandage. Notice the Walmart bags.

They felt there may have been an artery nicked, and told were not equipped to operate on my hand, so they contacted a Doctor at Olathe Medical Center who agreed to take me as a transfer patient. He was a Plastic Surgeon evidently skilled in hand surgery. So we drove for an hour or so to the Emergency Room at Olathe Medical Center. They had wrapped my hand in a pressure bandage, and even with pain medication, it was very uncomfortable.

The service there was quite slow. I would see someone every 45 minutes or so. As it turned out, I never saw the Plastice Surgeon, only Dr Roberts, an ER Doctor. Since the bleeding had stopped, and the X-Rays showed no bone damage, and the paper clip test (yes-paper clip) showed no nerve damage, he saw no need for exploratory surgery.

He did cleanse the would with a 18 gauge – no make that a 16 gauge (his exact words to the nurse) catheter. So some more shots in the wound. Finally about midnight I could begin the 40 minute journey home. We had some good friends, the Carrin’s and the Shelton’s come and visit us there. What do you say to someone who shot them self? “At least now you can Praise God with Holy Hands?” I really appreciated their encouragement.

More Lessons:

John keeping the tourniquet tight

Wrapped, drugged and ready to go

What else did I learn, besides the need for better gun safety? I learned that God is present, even in the dumb moments of our life. My heart was filled with such a joy, such an awareness of His presence. I found myself thinking of what it must have been like for Jesus Christ, a Roman spike tearing through his hand, and how he had to support himself for hours, all the time feeling the searing pain of that spike against his bones and his nerves. My experience was nothing compared to His, yet I could pray with Paul in Phil 3:10 that I was thankful I could share in the “fellowship of His sufferings”.

Most of all, I was thankful that I was the one hurt, and not my grandchildren.  God is Sovereign, and He could have led that bullet anywhere. I would much rather be the one who suffers. 

I am also thankful that the injury will not result in any permanent damage. I have already ridden my bike to see how it did, and it was OK. I plan to swing a golf club this week. I still plan on hiking Mt Whitney in August with my long-time friend Don Porter. God is truly wonderful, and His mercies are new every morning. We can praise Him in the good times, but most of all we can praise Him even when we shoot ourselves!

Entrance Wound

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Harriet Tubman said: “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world”.

  • You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis
  • “Dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you.” Marsha Norman
  • “Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.”
  • “Dreams are like stars…you may never touch them, but if you follow them they will lead you to your destiny.”
  • “The inability to open up to hope is what blocks trust, and blocked trust is the reason for blighted dreams”. Elizabeth Gilbert

Nearly two thousand years ago a solitary man hung on a cross, suspended between heaven and earth. His crucifixion was the manifestation of a dream that God had before time began[1]. That dream to restore mankind to God[2] resulted in God Himself being born as a defenseless baby in a forgotten manger, to parents of no standing or reputation[3]. That baby dreamed dreams not of success, not of comfort, not of adventures, but of a horrible death, death on the cross. Instead of visions of fame and riches, he had visions of the floodgates of the sins of all humanity being opened upon Him[4]. Instead of dreams of the love of his father and mother, his dreams were of becoming the vilest creation in the universe, and becoming forsaken by his Heavenly Father[5].

As Jesus hung on the tree, Scriptures says “He became cursed for you and me”[6]. While He became cursed for us, He was beloved by His Father[7], because he was being obedient[8], and He was acting on His Father’s behalf[9]. Jesus had come to earth to set things right. He had come to restore righteousness and justice[10] to a world in the grip of an evil overlord who was bent on enslaving man for himself. He had come to take back this world from satan and from sin, and return God’s Justice to the world[11]. When Jesus ascended to heaven in view of over 500 witnesses, He was holding a huge IOU signed by God[12]. That IOU gave Jesus ownership of the world, of the nations[13] and of all those who trusted in Him as their Savior.

God wrote an IOU to His Son, a huge IOU, and some day Jesus will return to claim it!

The Father is delaying the return of Christ[14] so that more people can be redeemed from the curse. He is delaying the return so that the Bride of Christ can be prepared[15]. Moreover, here we are on the cusp of a new year. Will this be the year our Lord returns to claim His IOU? Will this be the year the vision of Isaiah comes to pass?

Isa 43:19  “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert”.

God will do a New Thing, and when it springs forth, the way through the wilderness will open up, and there will be rivers running in the desert.

As we stand on the crest of a new year, I believe God wants us to listen to what His plans are. Behold, God wants us to give ear to Him!

Isaiah 42:8-9 “I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them”.

We are so pre-occupied with our life, our problems; our interests that we fail to look to God and see what He is doing. Most of the time we walk around so absorbed with what we have going on, that we lose our sense of God and His plans for our lives. Only when we are in a real bind do we look heavenward and call for a lifeline!

God has been challenging me of late. He has challenged me to lift up my Eyes[16] and Dream, Dream of What He wants to do. I Have A Dream for 2011.

Solomon described the type of church I want to pastor:

Proverbs 14:11 The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.

In order to flourish and thrive, we need to focus on our Almighty God; we need to focus on what His plans are for our church and for our lives. We need to be focused on Him!

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

We need a vision of God, a vision from God, and that vision will grow out of our love for God’s Word.

We need to be little Samuel’s, and say, “Lord, Speak, for I am Listening!” The reason Samuel was born was to restore the Word of the Lord to Israel:

1 Samuel 3:1 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.

We need to have visions from God. We need to have messages from God! We need the Power of God’s Word in our lives and in our church! But He will not speak if we are not listening and willing to obey!

We need to be like Isaiah, that when we look into God’s face and we hear Him say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

We need to stand and say, “Here am I! Send me!”

When we are dreaming alone it is only a dream. When we are dreaming with others, it is the beginning of reality. – Dom Helder Camara

I do not want to dream alone, so would you listen carefully and share in my dream?

I HAVE A DREAM

Ninety Nine Score years ago, the Son of God, in whose church we stand today, canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. That momentous decree disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities, and shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. (Colossians 2:14-15) The cross has become a great beacon of hope to billions of souls who have been enslaved by sin. Resurrection morning was the joyous daybreak that ended centuries of captivity to satan.

However, one thousand nine hundred and eighty years later, billions still are not free. Mankind is sadly crippled by the manacles of sin and the chains of satan.

One thousand nine hundred and eighty years later, multitudes are enslaved.

One thousand nine hundred and eighty years later, mankind languishes on a lonely island of spiritual poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.

One thousand nine hundred and eighty years later, mankind finds himself an exile in God’s own country.

Therefore, we have come here today knowing this world is in a shameful condition.

Our only Hope is that someday Jesus Christ will return to cash in the IOU he gained on the cross. When Christ blotted out our sins by nailing them to the cross, He was signing a promissory note that every man woman and child could be heir to. That note was a promise that all men, by faith, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of eternal life, liberty from sin and the pursuit of God.

It is obvious today people of this world have failed to take this promissory note by faith. Instead of honoring a risen Savior, people have accepted a bad check from Satan, a check they believe promises freedom, but in reality enslaves them to sin and condemns them to hell.

But we refuse to believe that the dream of our Savior is faded and forgotten. We refuse to believe that he has insufficient power to reign over a defeated satan.

We refuse to believe that the bank of Heaven is bankrupt and without resources to bring men to salvation.

So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom in Christ and the security of justification before God!

We have come to this hallowed place to remind ourselves of the fierce urgency of now!

This is no time to engage in the luxury of complacency or to take the tranquilizing drug of apathy!

Now is the time to make real the Promises of Jesus Christ!

Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of indifference to the sunlit path of God’s Redemption Power!

Now is the time to lift our neighbors from the quick sands of sin and selfishness to the solid rock of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now is the time to make redemption a reality for all of God’s children!

It would be fatal for this church to overlook the urgency of the moment. This freezing winter of mankind’s sinfulness will not pass until there is an invigorating Prairie wind of forgiveness and freedom from sin. Two Thousand Eleven is not an end, but a beginning.

Those who hope that the people of Pleasant Prairie will be silent and apathetic will have a rude awakening this year. There will be neither rest nor tranquility until we have freed our enslaved neighbors all around us. The whirlwinds of the Holy Spirit will continue to shake the foundations of our community until the bright light of Jesus Christ emerges in glory!

However, there is something that I must say to each one of us who stand on the warm threshold that leads into the Heavenly palace. In the process of winning souls for Christ, we must be conscious of our testimony for our Savior. We must be careful not to satisfy our thirst for God by drinking from the cup of self-effort.

We must forever conduct our struggle in the power of the Holy Spirit of God. We must not allow our passion for the lost to degenerate into selfishness and personal distractions.

Again and again, we must look upon Him who is invisible and rise to the majestic heights of walking by faith. The marvelous Holy Spirit must engulf our church and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, and cause us to rise up with the wings of eagles. Our freedom is inextricably bound in the freedom of the Spirit. We cannot walk alone!

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always press toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus. We cannot turn back, we cannot turn aside, and we cannot be distracted. Some of you are asking, “When should we be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as one man remains the victim of the unspeakable horrors of sin.

  • We can never be satisfied, as long as our brothers, backslidden with sin, turn their backs on fellowship with God’s saints.
  • We can never be satisfied as long as the needs of our neighbors go unmet because of our callousness and selfishness.
  • We can never be satisfied as long as children are stripped of their hope and joy by parents who fail to teach them of their loving creator God, and the Savior who died for them.
  • We can never be satisfied as long as our neighbors think there is nothing beyond the grave but darkness.
  • We can never be satisfied knowing our neighbors will face the judgment of God without our Savior Jesus Christ and be cast into the lake of fire for all eternity.

No… no…, we are never satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until salvation rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have faced great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from personal tragedies. Some of you have been battered by the storms of tribulations and others have staggered through personal trials of faith.

May we remember God’s promise: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you”!

I encourage you to count all things as loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and to keep pressing toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. May all your trials be the means of knowing Jesus, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. Every trial and tribulation you endure is more precious than gold!

Let us go back to Belton, go back to Peculiar, go back to Cleveland, go back to Freeman, go back to Raymore, go back to your homes and neighborhoods, knowing that the salvation of your neighbors, of your children, of your grandchildren can and will be achieved through the power of the Holy Spirit. May we never wallow in the valley of despair or defeat.

I say to you today, my friends, even though we face difficulties in the year ahead, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the quest of the Son of God.

I have a dream that one day “All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God”. Psalms 86:9-10

I have a dream that one day throughout our nation God will put His laws into our minds, and write them on our hearts, and He will be our God, and we shall be His people. (Heb 8:10)

I have a dream that one day the nations of this world, nations sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of persecution and oppression, will be transformed by your throne, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants”. (Ps 89:14)

I have a dream that my children, their spouses and our grandchildren will one day dwell in the New Jerusalem because their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!

I have a dream that each of you and each of your loved ones would enjoy the mansion that Jesus is building for you, because your hearts have embraced Him as your personal Savior.

I have a dream that Pleasant Prairie will be a place of giving people because we trust in the power of God to generously provide all we need. We will always have everything we need and plenty left over to share with others.

I have a dream that God will say of our church, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

I have a dream that Pleasant Prairie will be known as a house of prayer for all peoples, and that all who enter here will sense the Joy of God’s presence.[17]

I have a dream that Pleasant Prairie will be a place where husbands learn to love their wives and wives learn to respect their husbands.

I have a dream that Pleasant Prairie will be a place where children can come and find Jesus Christ and grow in His grace and His Word.

I have a dream that Pleasant Prairie will be a place for Families to be strengthened as they grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

I have a dream that Pleasant Prairie will be a people of God’s Word, and to God’s Word they turn daily for it is our bread of life

I have a dream Pleasant Prairie will send out gospel teams ministering to the needs of our neighbors in the Name of Jesus Christ.

I have a dream that Pleasant Prairie will send out gospel teams to Africa and Asia and wherever the Lord burdens our hearts to go!

I have a dream that the folks of Pleasant Prairie will simply be willing to GO!

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which we enter 2011. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of uncertainty a stone of precious Hope.

With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of sin and selfishness into a beautiful symphony of the Spirit’s Power.

With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to witness together, to stand up for Jesus Christ together, knowing that our Savior will be returning soon!

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning,

O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise, the glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace!

My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim, to spread through all the earth abroad the honors of thy name.

He breaks the power of canceled sin, he sets the prisoner free; his blood can make the foulest clean; his blood availed for me.

And if Pleasant Prairie Baptist is to be God’s church, this must become true. So let the freedom of the Gospel of Christ ring from Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church.

Let the freedom of the Gospel ring from the front yards of Belton.

Let the freedom of the Gospel ring from the hilltops of Peculiar.

Let the freedom of the Gospel ring from the rooftops of Raymore!

Let the freedom of the Gospel ring from the backyards of Cleveland!

Let the freedom of the Gospel ring from every hill and valley of our great nation. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we proclaim the freedom of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, when we let it ring from every village and every town, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black and white, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and in the words of Psalm 98,

Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

And one day, when we finally behold the precious Lamb of God, “every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God our Father!” and we will sing a new song as Jesus claims His IOU!:

“You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”

And we will finally be able to shout:

“Free at last! Free at last! Thank Christ Almighty, we are free at last!”


[1] 1 Pet 1:19-21

[2] 2 Tim 1:9

[3] Phil 2:6-8

[4] Isa 53:10-11

[5] Mark 15:34

[6] Gal 3:13

[7] Matt 12:18

[8] Heb 5:8

[9] John 17:21

[10] Ps 37:6

[11] Isa 53:10-11

[12] Rev 5:1-5

[13] Ps 2:8

[14] 2 Pet 3:9

[15] Rev 19:7

[16] Isa 60:4

[17] Isa 56:7

Additional Verses which form the foundation for the Dream:

1 Peter 1:19-21 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Philippians 2:6-8 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:10-11 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—

Matthew 12:18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.

Hebrews 5:8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.

John 17:21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Psalms 37:6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

Revelation 5:1-5 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Psalms 2:8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Revelation 19:7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;

Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 42:8-9 I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

Jeremiah 2:13 “For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me— the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!

Isaiah 60:4 4 Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.

Proverbs 14:11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

1 Samuel 3:10 And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

1 Samuel 3:1 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.

Jeremiah 11:14 “Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.

Jeremiah 6:10 To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen; behold, the word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it.

Isaiah 6:8-9 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “ ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’

Colossians 2:14-15 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Hebrews 12:26-29 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

Luke 11:4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

Isaiah 40:31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

1 Thessalonians 1:5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Isaiah 35:6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;

Isaiah 43:1-2 But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.

Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Psalms 86:9-10 All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.

Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Psalms 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.

Revelation 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

2 Corinthians 9:7-9 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

Isaiah 56:7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”

Ephesians 5:25-28 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Ephesians 5:33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Mark 10:14-15 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Matthew 4:4 4 But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Luke 3:5-6 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ”

Hebrews 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Psalms 98:1-4 Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; his holy arm has shown his saving power! The Lord has announced his victory and has revealed his righteousness to every nation! He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel. The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. Shout to the Lord, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy!

Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Philippians 2:10-11 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Isaiah 45:23 By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’

Revelation 5:8-10 When he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders prostrated themselves before the Lamb. Each of them had a harp, and they had golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. They sang a new song and these are the words they sang, “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”


This past weekend was LOOP Sunday for the folks of Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church. Pastor Jim Tompkins has been leading the church through a study of the Good Samaritan, asking “Who is my neighbor?” The church discovered that we must get close enough to people to discover their needs, and then do what is needed to meet those needs, sacrificing our time and resources. To serve our neighbors, Sunday church services were cancelled on Oct 24th, and the Pleasant Prairie family went to work.

Service projects took place the entire weekend, and included tree felling, tree trimming, fence line clearing, brushhogging, painting, ramp building, wall and flooring repairs, food baskets to the needy, and even a ladies tea to several homebound ladies. We also had the opportunity to serve the Missouri Baptist Children’s home on J Highway with trimming, painting, fence screening and storage organization.

Services were conducted at Raymore Rehabilitation Center as well as at Beautiful Savior Nursing Home. First Responders (Police, Sheriffs, Firefighters, EMT’s and Life Flight) from Belton, Raymore, Cleveland, Peculiar, Harrisonville and Freeman were honored with large bushel baskets chock full of homemade breads and other goodies prepared by the ladies of the church.

LOOP stands for Love on on Purpose, and represents intentional acts of service and love for our neighbors in the name of Jesus Christ. The Loop in our logo represents the infinity symbol. When we ask “Are you are in the LOOP”, we want to know if you will be spending eternity with Jesus Christ.

The weekend was exhausting, and as Pastor Jim remarked, “It is easier just to go to church!” However, many commented this was the most rewarding weekend they had experienced in their Christian walk. Several firefighters mentioned they had already had a rough morning, and the Baskets of Appreciation were just what they needed. One veteran policeman mentioned this was the first time he had ever received any appreciation from a church or other organization.

Without exception the people of Pleasant Prairie commented that we need to do this every year. How do we show our neighbor’s the reality of Jesus Christ? By getting close enough to them to discover their needs, and then doing whatever it costs to meet those needs.

Some of the pictures:

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This outline was the basis of our “Covenant Sunday” We began the process of revising our archaic Church Covenant over six months ago, and finally arrived at a church covenant that was relevant and applicable for our church, that was also in harmony with the teachings of Scripture. After reading the new Church Covenant, all members affirmed their support of the Covenant with their written signature.

I. The Church is Built upon a New Covenant

  • Matthew 26:27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you,
  • Mark 14:24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.
  • Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you

Hebrews 9:15-17 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive.

The New Covenant is Conditional

Hebrews 10:26-31 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The Purpose of our Church Covenant

Our Covenant Reinforces the Conditions of this New Covenant with Jesus Christ

Our Covenant is the Practical Application of God’s Word to our Church Family

It is a Promise of how we will live our lives in the Church, in our Family, and in the World

It is a Summary of our Family Values

It is our Commitment to each other as a Family of Followers of Christ

It is our Ethical Statement to the World

It is our Biblical Standard for our Family

A.  Basis of Membership (Partnership)

  1. The first century church transformed the way believer’s thought, lived, and used their resources of time and money.
  2. A bond united genuine believers and exposed those who were not a part of the body of Christ. Acts 5:13
  3. The Distinguishing factor between those who were part of the fellowship and those who were not: 1 John 2:19-20

1 John 2:19-20 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. (anointing is the word charisma “the special endowment of the Holy Spirit”)

B. Basis of Discipline

1. Fellowship was so vital and valuable that early discipline was to be disallowed from fellowshipping with the church.

1 Corinthians 5:13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

2. Loss of fellowship was so powerful that it would produce great sorrow.

2 Corinthians 2:6-7 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.

C.  Basis of Mutual Edification

1. Ultimate purpose of the body is to edify one another so that each believer can come to full maturity and a unity in faith.

Ephesians 4:11-13 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

2. Primary purpose is to provoke one another to do good works.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

  • Twenty five “one another” commands in the N.T. are listed in our new Covenant

Our Church Covenant serves to unite our family together as the Body of Christ meeting as Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church. He is our Head and we are to function and grow as His Body. Our Covenant is the practical statement of how our body will work together and live together and relate with each other. Our Covenant is what distinguishes our family from the families around us. Our Covenant also provides the basis for dealing with problems in the family. The purpose of the Covenant is not to chain people together, but to promote growth with one another in Jesus Christ. The wellness of the body is the chief aim. Our Church Covenant is to serve to Edify the body meeting as Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church.

II. The Power of Edifying One Another

A. The Goal of Fellowship is to produce spiritual maturity through mutual Edification.

Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

The Church is to provide opportunities for believer’s to give testimonies of God’s Working in their lives.

Paul testifies to the Power of public testimonies:

1 Corinthians 14:23-25 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”

    • Secrets of his heart will be exposed
    • Conviction of sins
    • People falling to their face and worshiping God
    • Knowing God is among you

Teaching of the Apostles was the ‘rhema’ of the Word, not the ‘logos.’

  • John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words (rhema)that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
  • John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words (rhema) abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

A “RHEMA” requires confirmation of two or three witnesses

2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word (rhema) be established.

Paul gives further instructions about the importance of sharing what God is doing in your life:

Strengthens the Body

1 Corinthians 14:26-27 26 What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.

Provides Training in Godliness

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

  • Testimonies-Psalm, message in sacred song
  • Instruction from Scripture
  • Personal rhema from the Word.
  • Insight into Christian living
  • Report on how truth was applied.

B. Specific Types of Edification

  1. Build faith by sharing rhemas – Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema) of God.
  2. Glory to God for Answers to prayer (Psalms 50:15 “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”)
  3. Sharing fruit from building spiritual disciplines in your life.
  4. Sharing your growth from salvation
  5. Sharing about others coming to Christ
  6. Testifying to the truth of God’s Way of Life – problem in life and how obeying God’s Word has resulted in life.
  7. Dealing with Sin and the illnesses it causes
  8. Sharing the rewards of suffering, or thanking God.
  9. Wisdom gleaned from wise men
  10. Results of good works
  11. Benefits of Godly standards
  12. Praise others for their example

C.  Powerful Potential of Fellowship

  1. Testimonies often reveal needs that the Holy Spirit then impresses others to meet.
  2. Builds ‘koinonia’ -partnership, interaction.
  3. Fellowship of the churches in Macedonia

2 Corinthians 8:1-5 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.

Our New Church Covenant:

The Foundation

Believing that Jesus Christ is the head of the church, and the church is the body of Christ, and that only by the Holy Spirit is one made alive to God and placed “in Christ”, I make the following two affirmations:

  • I have been born again by the Holy Spirit, having personally repented of my sin before God, received His forgiveness, believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ—crucified, buried, and resurrected—as my one and only Savior.
  • I have identified myself publicly as a Christian and have followed my Lord in baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The Promises

Having given ourselves to God by our faith in Jesus Christ, and having adopted the Word of God as our rule of faith and practice, and as members of this local Body of Christ, we now give ourselves to one another in this solemn covenant. We hereby promise:

  • To be committed to each other in seeking to love and obey Jesus Christ; and for His sake love, accept, and forgive each other with affectionate care and watchfulness.
  • To join with fellow members to seek God’s will in our common decision-making; to allow every member the privilege of seeking to influence the church in its pursuit of God’s will; to accept congregational decisions without grumbling; and to work to prevent division in the body.
  • To help one another grow in Jesus Christ by building up one another, bearing one another’s burdens, encouraging one another, exhorting one another, praying for one another, confessing our sins to one another, speaking the truth in love to one another, admonishing one another, teaching one another, comforting one another, submitting to one another, serving one another, patiently bearing with one another, being hospitable to one another, being kind and tenderhearted to one another.
  • To work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry in this church, as we support and sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines. As we are being built up we will reach out to the lost and to the fallen and through our love and service seek to bring them into fellowship with Jesus Christ. Through self-denial, faith and good works we endeavor to grow together in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • To practice Biblical stewardship of our resources, and to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel to all nations.
  • To seek, by God’s grace, to live carefully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to be an example in our speech and conduct, purposing to lead new and holy lives in the power of the Holy Spirit, especially with regard to the following:
    • To use chemical substances such as alcohol and drugs only as informed by the teachings of the Bible, wise medical counsel, and the dictates of the law.
    • To flee sexual immorality; to shun pornography; to reserve sexual activity for one man and one woman united in the covenant of marriage;
    • To initiate divorce proceedings only when there has been clear and continual violation of God’s Word regarding divorce and marriage. Anyone in such a situation agrees to consult with church leadership and seek Christian counseling.
    • To protect and defend the lives of our children from the moment of their conception; to bring up those in our home in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and by a pure and loving example seek the salvation of our family, teaching and encouraging them to love, follow and serve God.
    • To practice justice and compassion toward all people, especially the poor, the sick, the disabled, widows, and orphans.
    • To conduct all business in honesty and integrity, counting it our chief business in life to extend the influence of Christ in society.
  • To submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and pursue the fruit that He brings forth and to work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, that the Kingdom of God may come, and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

The Protection:

We enter into this covenant voluntarily and affirm the ambitions of this covenant as our own. We realize that we can only fulfill this covenant through the power of Jesus Christ living in us. We invite fellow members to pray for us, teach us, correct us and rebuke us, if necessary; in a spirit of gentleness and humility should we stray from the Lord’s commands. We voluntarily submit ourselves to one another and to the biblical authority of this church. If we fail to live up to this covenant, we commit to yield to correction with meekness, to seek forgiveness and reconciliation, and to turn from our sin, relying on God’s grace to lift us up. Should church discipline ever be required, it will always be undertaken for the purpose of restoration to fellowship with God and with this covenant community – and it will always be done in accordance with Scriptural procedures in Matthew 18:15-22 and Galatians 6:1. We further commit to never refuse forgiveness and reconciliation in the face of Godly repentance.

If we find ourselves unwilling to try to fulfill this covenant, we commit to remove our self from this congregation. If relocation outside the community prevents us from fulfilling this covenant, we commit to unite with another congregation and to continue to pursue growth as a Christian.

The Blessing

May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit Be With Us All. Amen.



I had a call this week from the daughter of a couple that lives near our church. Many of you would recognize her parents name. Seems her parents have been living together the last 20 years or so and never got married. Now they are thinking about making it legal and are looking into having a quaint church wedding. She said that because I was the priest they would want me to do the wedding. I corrected her of course, but I said that as Pastor I take marriage very seriously.

For Your Information I have four prerequisites that must be met before I will bless the marriage of a man and woman.

  1. The couple must believe that marriage is a Covenant Vow before God
  2. They must not be living together
  3. They must go through premarital counseling before I agree to marry them.
  4. They must have the blessings of both sets of parents.

We see the church out of focusSome of you are thinking, Brother Jim, that seems pretty harsh. After all, they have been living together and need to make it official. Plus they are our neighbors, and this is a chance to reach out to them. I understand your thoughts, but consider this: Do we ever have an excuse to take God for granted? NO! God is Holy, He is Righteous. He has standards and He reigns in Heaven whether we acknowledge Him or not. One day everyone will have an appointment with the God who created them and will answer for why they took Him for granted. If we can’t ever take God for granted, then we can’t take Jesus for granted. And if we can’t take Jesus for granted, we can’t take His wife for granted. And the church is His wife. Now when it comes to the church, the bride of Christ, we see a Universal application, but we also see a local application.

I believe Pleasant Prairie Baptist can be a great church. I believe we are sitting in a mission field. And we need to start taking our church more seriously. We can not take it for granted, just as we wouldn’t dare think of taking God for granted. I believe the community around Pleasant Prairie takes us for granted. They see us as a qaint little country church instead of seeing us as the powerful Bride of Jesus Christ. I think that is because we have failed to be a church, we have failed to be a bride, we have taken the Word of God for granted.There seems to be a couple problems in America:

  • We are extremely self-loving.
  • We dishonor the Word of God.

Because we love ourselves we tend to do what we want when we want it. Because we dishonor God’s Word, we dishonor God, we dishonor the church, we dishonor preachers, we dishonor pastors. When you dishonor God’s Word, you start to dishonor everything about God and what God says is important. We dishonor marriage, we dishonor the family, we dishonor our relationships with each other.

So for the next two weeks I want us to see from God’s Word Why Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church was put here on the corner of 215th & Y, and then I want to see from God’s Word what we should be doing so that we do not take God’s Word for granted. To do so we need to answer 2 Questions:

  • What Makes a Church?
  • What is Membership All About?

First, let’s look at Black’s Law Dictionary and see what our Courts say a church is.

A body or community of Christians, united under one form of government by the profession of one faith, and the observance of the same rituals and ceremonies. Black’s Law Dictionary 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th eds.

jesus keys to peterLet’s see how this meshes with how Jesus Views His Church:

  • He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, THOU ART THE CHRIST, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, THAT THOU ART PETER Petros (stone), and upon this rock petra (Christ is the great foundation, the “chief corner-stone,”—Vincent’s) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:15-19

1. Jesus says the church is something He is Building.

  • Jesus is the Architect, the owner, the developer, the reason there is a church.

2. Jesus says His church has Great Power.

  • Stronger than Hell, Able to Bring Heaven down to Earth

3. Jesus says His Church is built upon Stones that all Declare the same Message.

  • Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. The Church is all about Jesus and His Living in us, empowering us to reach out to those who are without Jesus.

1. The Church is a Living Building of “Called out Ones”

Jesus says “I will build my church”

  • Church Universal
  • Church Local

Church made of Living StonesChrist appears here, not as the foundation, but as the architect: “On this rock will I build.” The church is a collection of pieces of living rocks that when combined by the power of God are impenetrable. Peter was the first, just as Abraham was the first.

A. Jesus Selects Living Materials:

  • John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
  • John 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
  • What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19

church is an altarB. Jesus Transforms “called out believers” into “LIVING STONES”

  • To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious. Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:4-5
  • And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 2 Corinthians 6:16

The church is to be like the altar of stones upon which the Jews sacrificed to Holy God.

  • Exodus 20:24 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.

C. Jesus Uses Special Stones to Build the Church

  • And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: Ephesians 4:11-1

2. The Church is the Power of Christ to an Enslaved World

We have the AUTHORITY & POWER of our King.

  • King Jesus Will ReignMatthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
  • Ephesians 1:22-23 And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but [that] the members should have the same care one for another.

We follow an unseen King, and obey His commands. That obedience keeps us in His Kingdom and not in the devil’s. As long as we obey our King, we have our King’s Authority in this world.

reconciliationWe are ON MISSION to be Ambassadors to the World

Since Jesus is reigning in an undisclosed location, and since He is still seeking more living stones to keep building His church, He needs you and me to be Ambassadors to this enslaved world.

  • Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 jesus pierced cross

We are always on mission. This world is always watching the King’s people. We are to go into all this world and hold up the Good News of Jesus Christ. But we are not to merely say it, we are to show it!

3. The Church consists of Believers in a Covenant Relation with Jesus Christ.

  • We Have a Responsibility to Each Other because We are in Christ.

We are not a collection of lonely islands. No we are a collection of stones that are made into a huge rocky peak, by the power of God through our Belief and Confession of this Blood Covenant.

  • From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:16

I can’t see it, I can’t even feel it sometimes, but there is a bond that is stronger than anything else I’ve ever faced. That bond is my marriage with my wife. That bond may be just a piece of paper filed in the Jackson County Courthouse. But it is a bond designed by God to be so tough, that if you ever break it, it will mess your life up and leave scars that only Jesus can heal.

God_cuts_covenant-abrahamWhen you come to Jesus because His Holy Spirit has convicted you of your sin, and has spoken into the wee small crevices of your heart, a bond was forged between you and God. God says that bond will never be broken because He places the seal of His Holy Spirit within your life. You may not feel it, you may not sense it, but GOD LIVES IN YOU! And if you turn away from God, you neglect His word, it will mess you up! If it doesn’t mess you up to ignore Jesus Christ and neglect Him, there never was that bond.

It’s like marriage, you know it when you neglect it and turn away from it.

Now because of this Bond we have with God through Jesus Christ, we have a responsibility to love and pray and support others who have entered into this relationship with Jesus. The easiest way to take care of one another is through a local Bible Believing, Bible Preaching Church. The local church is built by Jesus on the Power of our Communion with Him through our Covenant Confession with Him.communion-WITH-JESUS-HANDS

I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. 1 Corinthians 10:15-17

My wife and I have experienced the Power of our Covenant Relationship in Joining in the care of our Children and now our grandchildren. We have begun our own body of Tompkins, and I pray that we will all be built upon Jesus Christ.

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 1 Corinthians 12:12-26

  • We Have a Responsibility to Build Strong Marriages and Families because they Reflect the Power of Christ to the World.

The Church is the Bride of Christ:

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Ephesians 5:21-33

The Church (those written in the Book of Life) is the Bride of Christ

bride christ marriageAnd there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:9-27

We See that as far as God and His Plans are concerned, the Church is central, it is key.

So Why is it important to Join a Church? When we are born again we become members of the church universal, we are baptized into one Body. Why do we need to join a Local Church?

How Important is Church Membership?

The leadership of Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church considers membership to be important from a polity and relational perspective.

  • Polity: only members are allowed to have a say in the direction of our church by voicing their concerns and by voting.
  • Relational: Membership enjoins us to certain responsibilities and obligations as detailed in our church covennt.

We believe church membership is very important for our Spiritual Well-Being, as the following illustrates:

Five Proofs of the Mandate for Membership in a Local Church

Each of these proofs reveal that lack of membership would minimize or deny our spiritual growth in Christ.

1) The Metaphor of the Body

Church membership is implied in the metaphor of the body in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. The original meaning of the word ‘member’ is member of a body, like hand and foot and eye and ear. That’s the imagery behind the word ‘member’ in the text. Verse 12: “Just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”

So the question this imagery raises for the local church that Paul is describing in 1 Corinthians 12 is: Who intends to be treated as a hand or foot or eye or ear of this body? There is a unity and organic relationship implied in the imagery of the body. There is something unnatural about a Christian attaching himself to a body of believers and not being a member of the body.

2) Christians Required to Submit to Their Leaders

Church membership is implied in the biblical requirement of Christians to be submitted to a group of church leaders, elders, or pastors. The point here is that without membership, who is it that the New Testament is referring to who must submit to a specific group of leaders? Some kind of expressed willingness or covenant or agreement or commitment (that is, membership) has to precede a person’s submission to a group of leaders.

Consider the way the New Testament talks about the relationship of the church to her leaders.

  • Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. (Hebrews 13:17)
  • We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)
  • Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17)

How is this leadership and this submission going to work if there is no membership defining who has made the commitment to be led and who has been chosen as leaders? If we downplay the importance of membership, it is difficult to see how we could take these commands to submit and to lead seriously and practically.

3) Shepherds Required to Care for Their Flock

shepherds care for the flockChurch membership is implied in the way the New Testament requires elders to care for the flock in their charge. Of course elders can extend their love to anyone and everyone, and should, within the limits of their ability. But the question is whether the Bible tells elders that they are to have a special responsibility and care for a certain group—a group of members. Consider Acts 20:28 where Paul tells the elders how to care for their flock.

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. Acts 20:8

This verse does not say elders cannot visit unbelievers or those who are not yet members. But it does make clear that their first responsibility is to a particular flock. How are they to know who their flock is? Who are we as elders and pastors responsible for? For whom will we give an account to God?

The way Peter speaks to the elders in 1 Peter 5 is even more clear on this point. Verses 2-3: “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.”

“Those in your charge” (your portion, your lot) implies that the elders knew whom they were responsible for. This is just another way of talking about membership. If a person does not want to be held accountable by a group of church leaders or be the special focus of the care of a group of church leaders, they will resist the idea of membership. And they will resist God’s appointed way for them to live and be sustained in their faith.

4) The Church Is to Discipline Its Members

Church membership is implied by the way the church is supposed to discipline its members. Consider the implication of Matthew 18:15-17 where “the church” (ekklesia) appears to be the final court of appeal in matters of church authority as it relates to membership.

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

If there is no church membership, how can you define the group that will take up this sensitive and weighty matter of exhorting the unrepentant person and finally rendering a judgment about his standing in the community? It’s hard to believe that just anyone who showed up claiming to be a Christian could be a part of that gathering. Surely, “the church” must be a definable group to handle such a weighty matter. You know who you mean when you “take it to the church.”

5) Excommunication Exists

Church membership is implied by the simple fact that excommunication even exists. Paul implies this in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 where he deals with the necessity of putting someone out of the church. He says, “What have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you.’”

There are two implications here: One is that there is an “in the church” group and an “outside the church” group. Being in the church is definable. The other implication is that a person can be removed from being “in the church.” Such a formal removal would not be possible if there were no such thing as a clear membership—who is an accountable part of this body, and who is not?

Expectation for All Believers

So for these five reasons and more we believe that membership is a New Testament expectation for all believers. Each of us should be a member of a local body of believers.

  • We should take responsibility to discipline those of the body who do not repent from public sin that brings reproach on the name of Christ.

  • We should declare ourselves part of the body so that if we are wayward, we ourselves would be liable to such exclusion.

  • We should take our position under the leadership and authority of our church leaders.

  • And we should find our place in the organic whole as a body part—a member—of a local body of Christ.

That is God’s plan for us and for Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church. That is what we mean by membership. All of those aspects of membership are rooted in the truth that the local church is an expression of the universal church. Part of what it means to belong to the body of Christ is to belong to a local body.

A Blood-Bought Gift of God’s Grace

Church bought through the crucifixionThe New Testament tells of no Christians who are not accountable members of local churches in the sense that we have just seen. “Lone-Ranger Christians” are a contradiction because becoming a Christian means being united to Christ, and union with Christ expresses itself in union with a local body of believers. It seems to us that in the New Testament, to be excluded from the local church was to be excluded from Christ. This is why the issue of membership is so important.

Are you an accountable member of a local church? Not just: Is your name somewhere? But, are you committed to discipline and being disciplined according to biblical standards? Have you publicly declared your willingness to be shepherded and to be led by the leaders of a local church? Do you see yourself and your gifts as part of an organic ministering body? Do you show by your firm attachment to Christ’s body that you are attached to Christ?

Church membership is a blood-bought gift of God’s grace. More than most of us realize, it is a life-sustaining, faith-strengthening, joy-preserving means of God’s mercy to us. We urge you not to deprive yourself of this blessing.

Jim and Clare TompkinsWhen I was about seven years old, my mom went away for a while. I did not know what was going on, but I found out later that there was problems between my mom and dad. Dad was a traveling salesman, gone 4 and 5 days a week, and Mom was raising three rambunctious boys. I think something serious happened, because Mom went away to Texas to live in a Psychiatric Hospital. She had a nervous breakdown. She went through electro-shock therapy. I had to go live with a strange family for a while because my Dad still travelled. My Mom and Dad almost didn’t make it. Somehow, Mom came back home and started dragging us to the Prairie Baptist Church down the street. She started making friendships with good caring friends. A couple men started visiting my dad. Glenn and Merl faithfully called on my dad, and didn’t judge him when he smoked and drank in front of them. They just kept inviting him to church. Finally he went, and went and went. Something different was going on in my family. Mom and Dad weren’t fighting like before. Before I knew it, Mom and Dad joined the church. Dad started taking a leadership role. He was different! It was that church and Jesus Christ that made a difference in our family, and the same has continued to make a difference in my family and now my kid’s families.


The church is Vital and Powerful and is used by Jesus Christ to transform sinners into the children of God!