Word of Encouragement – 9/20/17

Allow me to follow up on the item I discussed in Sunday’s message about the “clear and present danger” of a church losing the flicker of her candlestick. To many readers, the language may seem a bit abstract — some even think it’s allegorical. But the seven churches in Asia Minor were actual churches. And the spiritual disaster at least five of them were experiencing were also very true to life, and any church in the world today can suffer the loss of their candlestick.

Although I have a nasty taste in my mouth today of much of the church growth movement, I want to share with you what seems to be a valid point concerning the life cycle of a church. She begins with a pioneering spirit, resulting in growth: Then she lapses into a plateau, followed by decline, and ultimately demise, unless the trend is reversed.

I shared with you a modern day candlestick removal in a church — it was Old Central Baptist in downtown Lubbock. In the late 1940s through the early 1960s, she was aglow with evangelistic fervor — there was excitement in the Lord. The church produced more pastors, pastor’s wives, missionaries, missionaries’ wives, denominational workers and vocational Christian workers than any church of which I have ever been familiar.

But long about the early 1970s, she experienced a plateau, followed by a gradual decline in attendance, conversions, and spiritual vibrancy. In the early 1970s, Central planted Southwest Baptist Mission in an area of town that was exploding with growth and development. Dr. E. Harold Henderson investigated moving the 900-seat, solid masonry building that was 48 feet tall at its peak, and had a concrete floored balcony. Dr. Henderson discovered a mover could encompass the entire structure with giant chains, have it flown with helicopters, from downtown to the southwest part of Lubbock, probably no more than 4 miles (as the crow flies) set it up with great precision on the property of the satellite church, without breaking one brick, for only $300,000.

But the men of the church said “no” to the vision. Today the original downtown location where Old Central was is now an auto dealership. The old building was razed — and the church is no more.

Only God in Heaven knows what old Central may have become in a new, thriving location. But when a church lapses into indifference, efforts to be much ado about church maintenance, and rejecting God’s vision for the church, you may be sure that church has signed their death warrant.

Oh God, may it never be said of First Baptist Church of Palmer!

“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Revelation 2:5.



Sunday, Sept. 24 — a special service at 6 p.m. in our church. Carolyn and Ruth Ballard will favor us with piano/organ duets. We will have other music as well, and an opportunity for God’s people to share how gracious He has been to them.

Thursday and Friday, Sept. 28-29 — we will meet at the altar in prayer for revival.

Sunday, through Wednesday, Oct. 1-4 We will have revival services with Bro. Grady Cashion, pastor of FBC Blooming Grove, preaching, and Bro. Steve Colburn, minister of music at FBC BG singing for us. Please set aside any other activities you possibly can, and be with us for these services. Pray to the Lord for revival.