Tuesday, May 29, 2012


The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham. Matthew 1:1

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

You can learn a lot about a family just by reading its genealogy. A quick reading of the family history of Jesus is very insightful and helpful to understand who He is and who we are in Him. There are a lot of great names and heroes of the faith in Jesus' family tree. Names like Abraham and David, Isaac and Jacob, Solomon, Uzziah, and Hezekiah. These are the names of great kings and mighty warriors. Not perfect people by any stretch of the imagination, but people who achieved a level of greatness in their lives.

But there are also some gnarled branches in Jesus' family tree. Judah, who fathered Perez and Zerah by his daughter-in-law Tamar, whom he thought was a prostitute when he slept with her (see Genesis 38). Mentioned also in Jesus' genealogy is Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute living in Jericho, whose life was spared because she lied to protect the Israelite spies who came to check-out the great walled city (see Joshua 2). Then there is Bathsheba, who is not mentioned by name, but whose story with David is well known.

Perhaps my favorite is Manasseh who became the King of Judah after his father Hezekiah had led the people in a time of spiritual renewal and revival. Manasseh rebelled against the ways of his father and became one of Judah's most vicious, blood-thirsty and power hungry kings. According to 2 Kings 21, Manasseh also murdered many innocent people until Jerusalem was filled from one end to the other with innocent blood. This was in addition to the sin that he caused the people of Judah to commit, leading them to do evil in the Lord’s sight. (2 Kings 21:16 NLT). Manasseh's evil was so great the Lord removed him from the throne by having him captured by the Assyrians.

At first thought, one may wonder why you would put the names of such notorious people in the genealogy of the Savior of the world. Wouldn't you want to focus on His godly heritage to enhance His hero status? Why include these nefarious sinners? The simple answer is two words: GRACE and TRUTH. Each of these stories reflects the truth of Scripture and the amazing grace of God overcoming the sinful failures of man to the glory of God.

Manasseh's story is a supreme example of God's grace. While in prison in Assyria, Manasseh experienced the grace of the Lord and a transformation of life. He prayed to the Lord in repentance and the Lord restored him to the throne and he worked, in the latter years of his life, to overcome all the wrong he had done(see 2 Chronicles 33).

The Bible says that Jesus came in to the world "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). We see His nature and character reflected in His family tree - in the stories of the heroes and villains of the faith, we see God's grace and truth.   And the good news is, His story is our story. Jesus is still growing the family tree, and all who come to Him know His grace and truth. We are in the family tree because of God's grace and the truth of His Word.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Stumbling Block or Stepping Stone?

Am I a stumbling block or a stepping stone? Do I make it easier for people to know to Jesus, or do I create obstacles that make it harder for people to come to Jesus?

1. Stepping stones are people of grace. They are not shocked by the sins of others. They understand that people do what they do because they are what they are; they know that sinners sin. Stepping stones are not shocked when people fail. Stumbling blocks act as if other people's sins are worse than their own, and condemn others for their sins and failures. Stepping stones offer grace and point the way to forgiveness in Christ. Stepping stones live in grace, knowing that it is only by grace that anyone can be saved.

2. Stepping stones introduce people to Jesus. Stumbling blocks offer rules to be followed, a list of "do's and don't's" for people to live by. Stepping stones introduce people to Jesus and let Him write His commands on their hearts.

3. Stepping stones love unconditionally. Stumbling blocks put conditions on their love and acceptance. They say things like, "I will love you as long as you love me." Or, "We can have a relationship as long as you live up to my expectations and standards." Stepping stones love without conditions, not condoning the sins of sinners, but loving them in spite of their sins.

4. Stepping stones love Jesus with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength, making it easier for others to fall in love with Jesus as well. They love others to Jesus through their life of loving Him.

Am I a stumbling block or a stepping stone? Are others coming to Christ because of you?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Messiah in the Passover

Love God, Love Others, Reach the World

Hey Family, 

I want to encourage everyone to come out Friday night for our Messiah in the Passover event. Boris Goldin of Chosen People Ministries based in New York will be with us to share the Gospel through a Jewish Passover Seder. Chosen People Ministries is one of the leading ministries reaching out to evangelize the Jewish people, with ministry centers in 13 nations including multiple ministries in Israel. You can learn more about Chosen People Ministries at their website, www.chosenpeople.com. 

Friday night we will begin at 6 pm with a covered-dish fellowship meal. Toward the end of the meal, Mr. Goldin will share the various elements of the Passover Seder and explain how each one points to Christ and is fulfilled by Him. If you've never before seen the connection between the Old Testament Passover and the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in the New Testament, you are in for a real blessing. In presenting Messiah in the Passover, Mr. Goldin will also be presenting the Gospel of Christ, so if you have friends who are lost, please bring them with you. 

The Messiah in the Passover event is free, but we will receive a love offering for Chosen People Ministries during the evening. Child-care will be provided. Be sure to bring a friend or family member and food for the covered-dish meal. If you have any questions, give me a call. I look forward to seeing you Friday night at 6:00 pm. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

MVBC Connection 04-05-12

Love God, Love Others, Reach the World

Dear Family, 

Cannot wait for this weekend! It actually started tonight with a great time of worship, prayer and fellowship. We prayed over all the pews in the sanctuary, prayed for friends and family who are far from God, and nailed them to the cross (actually just papers with their names on them, lol). 

Tomorrow night is Secret Church. I still have a few study guides if you are available to come. The simulcast starts at 7 pm. 

Sunday morning is going to be unbelievable! We'll kick-off the service by baptizing three followers of Christ. We will have some wonderful special music, and our choir and newly formed drama team have an amazing presentation that will blow you away. We'll be bringing our Annie Armstrong Easter Offering to the cross during Pastor's Pals, so come prepared to give. I will be giving a clear presentation of the Gospel in the message and then we're going to end the service in a way that we've never ended it before! I can't wait to see what the Lord is going to do. 

After the service we will have our annual Children's Easter Egg Hunt. We've got prize eggs for each age group and lots of candy for everyone. Invite your family and friends to bring their kids and their Easter baskets and come on out!

Here is our Volunteer Ministry Team* for Easter Sunday: 
  • Ushers: *Bernard Bull, Jim Ellis, Scott Hickey, Brandon Wilmoth, Shawn Wilmoth, & Harold McCarter
  • Greeters: Stacy Self, Winston Large, Carmen Hall, Ryan Rice
  • Counters: Mike Heffner and Karen Rice
  • Audio/Visual: Andrew Wilmoth & David Hegel
*If you aren't able to keep your commitment, please contact your Team Leader.

There will not be any small groups this Sunday night, so you can enjoy the rest of the "Holy-Day" with your family.

Our family will be on vacation April 9-23. If you have ministry needs while I am away, please call on one of the staff members or deacons.  

Thank you for your service to the Lord. I'm praying for you, that you would experience God in a powerful, life-changing way this Easter!

Remember: God is able to do EXCEEDINGLY, ABUNDANTLY above all that we ask, or even think!

Friday, March 9, 2012


I had the privilege of attending Unleash2012 at Newspring Church (www.newspring.cc) in Anderson, S.C. and it was a great day of worship and encouragement. The whole day was a blessing but the morning worship service impacted me more than anything. I thought the best way to share it would be to share the notes I took. The message was preached by Perry Noble, senior pastor of Newspring, it is from Joshua 1;

Four Things God is Saying to Church Leaders
Joshua 1:1-11

1. Let Go (vs.1-2a)
  • "Moses my servant is dead..." It's time to let of the past in order to move into the future. 
  • Moses was a great leader, and his legacy should be celebrated, but now he is dead and it's time to move on. 
  • We need to talk more about our dreams than our memories. 
  • What, in your church, is dead that you need to let go of? 
  • If Joshua and the people of Israel had never let go of Moses, they would never have seen the great miracles of God that He performed on their behalf. 
2. Get Ready (vs. 2b-4)
  • Joshua didn't have all the details, but he told the people to get ready anyway. 
  • People think you are crazy when they can't see what you can see. 
  • Don't apologize for having a big vision. 
  • The church today has more potential to reach the world than it has ever had. 
  • We have to be passionate about the things God is passionate about. 
3. I'm Here (vs.5-9)
  • How many times in the Bible does God say - "I am with you?"
  • Even if people leave, God is still with you.
  • Every Sunday, our biggest obligation is to help people meet Jesus and realize that He is with them always. 
  • When you realize God is with you, you will have ...
                   ... Power to preach His word.
                   ... An increasing love for God's people - Moses cared more about
                       his people than he did his position.
                   ... An increasing love for God's vision.

4. Let's do this! (vs. 10-11)
  • God has a strategic plan for your church - "Listen to Me, believe Me, do what I say."
  • Illus. skydiving requires and incredible amount of faith; you strap yourself to someone you do not know, and then jump when he says jump. Following God requires faith to strap ourselves to Him and jump when He says jump. 
  • God specializes in destroying "I don't think that can be done" mentality. 
I hope the notes encourage you. A video of the sermon should posted on the Unleash2012 website by the end of the month. It's well worth the wait!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

MVBC Connection 03-08-12

Love God, Love Others, Reach the World

Hey Family, 

Looking forward to the weekend. Here are some things to keep in mind:
  • Daylight savings time begins this weekend. Be sure to set your clock forward an hour on Saturday night!
  • We'll continue our series, "Stories of Grace"; this week we'll consider what it means to be "Found!" Wes Adams will be sharing his story. 
  • Sunday night is small groups. Be sure to check the bulletin for times and locations. 
  • Our Operation Christmas Child Mission project for this month is: hygiene items, deodorant, combs, brushes, etc.

In the Future:
  • On Wednesday, March 14th we will have a special called Business meeting. The Campus Maintenance Team will be presenting a proposal to upgrade the lighting in our sanctuary. The meeting will be at 7 pm.
  •  The Youth are going to Winter Jam, Friday March 16th, if you would like to go, contact Adam Tilson.
  • It's time to "Say Yes to VBS"! There will be a VBS introduction/information meeting on Sunday, Mar 18th after the morning worship service for all those who would like to know more about our upcoming Vacation Bible School. 
  • Church-Wide Clean-up Day, Saturday March 24th. 
  • There will be a Missions Fair in the Fellowship Hall on Sunday, March 25th. Come learn more about how Magna View is involved in the Lord's work throughout the world.
  • Church-Wide Breakfast and Community Blitz, Saturday March, 31st at 8 am. 
  • Secret Church, Friday April 6, 7 pm - 1 am. The cost is $10. 
Ushers : *Harold McCarter, Jim Ellis, Scott Hickey, Brandon Wilmoth, Shawn Wilmoth, Bernard Bull
Greeters Today: Ron Wilson, Cathy Burchell, Dana Honnold and Austin Hall
Counters Today: Christina O’Brien and Shawn Wilmoth
Audio/Visual: Andrew Wilmoth & Adam Tilson
(If you are not able to keep your commitment, please contact your team leader)

C U Sunday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Love God, Love Others, Reach the World

Dear Family, 

Looking forward to another great weekend. Here are some things to keep in mind: 
  • It's finally here: Saturday is our Wild Beast Feast! Activities will begin at 4:30 pm and the meal will be served at 5:30 pm. Aaron Bell will be the guest speaker. Keith Lawson will be here most of the day cooking and getting set up, and he would appreciate any help he can get. We can also use folks as "minglers" Saturday night, welcoming our guests and making sure things run smooth. So plan to join us!
  • Sunday we will continue our series on "Love and Marriage" with "When Happily-Ever-After Isn't", what causes "trouble in paradise" and how can we overcome it? This Sunday is also "Pray for Marriage Day" across our nation!
  • We'll be baptizing Rebecca Hinson this coming Sunday!
  • Small groups meet Sunday night. 
  • Don't forget the Operation Christmas Child project - we're collecting soap, wash cloths, and small stuffed animals this month. 
  • Also don't forget that the deadline to sign-up for the Summer Mission Trip to Guatemala is next Sunday, March 4th. You'll need to turn in your missions application and a $100 deposit to hold your spot!

Our Volunteer Team for this Sunday is
Greeters: Jim & Gay Ellis and Sunny Hall
Ushers: *Jim Ellis, Scott Hickey, Brandon Wilmoth, Mike Heffner, Bernard Bull & Harold McCarter
Counters: Karen Rice and Jennifer Jackson
Audio/Visual: Andrew Wilmoth and Adam Tilson
(If you're not able to keep your commitment, please notify your Team Leader to find a replacement. Thanks.)

C U this weekend!

Friday, February 3, 2012

MVBC Connection 02-03-12

Love God, Love Others, Reach the World

  • Keep our Honduras Mission Team in your prayers - Bernard, Barbara and Dean
  • We start our new series, "Love and Marriage" this week. We'll be talking about "A Marriage Worth Fighting For." We're also baptizing Cindi Heffner Sunday morning. 
  • Not all of our small groups are meeting Sunday night so be sure to watch the bulletin. The college group and the youth group are joining together for a time of worship and then a Big Game Party. They will be meeting in the Children's Wing Sunday evening at 5:45 pm. Everyone is welcome to join them, just bring your own food!
  • The Hegel small group has been ministering to the Elliot Family of Dandridge, trying to help provide some reliable transportation. They are needing about $400 to repair an engine. We'll receive a love offering at the end of the service Sunday for anyone that would like to give to help out. If you'd like to write a check, just make it out to Magna View and put "Elliot family" on the memo line.
  • Saturday, Feb 11 is our next Hwy Clean-Up day. We'll start at 9:30 am and end with a lunch around 11:30 am. Be sure to let David Hegel know if you are coming so we have enough food for lunch. 
  • The youth are sponsoring a Valentine's supper on Saturday, Feb 11 at 6:30 pm. Registration forms will be in the bulletin on Sunday. The meal is free, but a donation would be appreciated. Proceeds go to the summer mission trip to Guatemala, July 6-13. The mission trip is open to everyone and We have applications for the trip available. 
  • We also have tickets to the Wild Beast Feast coming up on Saturday, February 25th. 
  • Be sure to check out the online calendar at our website (www.magnaview.org) to keep up with upcoming events. You can also access our sermon page from the website as well to hear previous sermons. 

I think that is all for now. Look forward to seeing you Sunday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

MVBC Connection 01-19-12

Love God, Love Others, Reach the World

Hey Church, 

Just wanted to remind you about the special weekend coming up. We will be honoring Sanctity of Human Life Sunday this weekend. Cathy Gleason of Life Outreach Center will be with us to share about the ministry of Life Outreach. We'll also be receiving a love offering for them, so come prepared to give. If you are planning to write a check, you can make it out to Life Outreach Center. Brittany and the choir will be sharing a special song that reminds us that our Father loves us and knows everything about us. Adam and Anna will also be providing special music as well. It's going to be a great morning! Please be praying for the service, for all those who will be involved and for those who will be there whose lives will be touched by God!

Our small groups will be meeting Sunday night. We have five groups that are meeting each Sunday, and we anticipate expanding that number soon. Be sure to check out the times and locations for the groups that will be meeting and get plugged in!

Next Sunday (Jan 29) will be Baptist Men's Day. Wes Adams will be preaching that morning and Gordon Johnston will be leading the music. We need all of our guys in choir practice this Wednesday night at 6 pm to prep for Sunday. Andy Beltz will also be sharing his testimony. Be praying for this special service and be sure to invite someone to join you there. 

The date has finally been confirmed for our Mission Trip to Guatemala this summer; July 6-13. The cost for the trip is $325+airfare per person. We've already started raising money to help off-set the cost. If you're feeling called to go, don't let money be the determining factor; God will provide. We'll have applications available soon!

We'll have tickets available this weekend for our Wild Beast Feast coming up on Saturday, February 25. TWRA will be bringing out trailers for pre-meal activities. Keith has lined up a great selection of various wild game. We're still finalizing plans for a guest speaker, but rest assured we will be sharing Jesus so make sure you get tickets to your lost and un-churched friends and family. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. The proceeds will go toward our summer mission trip to Guatemala, but the money isn't the most important thing, so if you have lost friends and family who can't afford the ticket, give them one anyway - we want them to hear the Gospel. Since our space is limited, tickets will help us keep track of the number who will be attending.

I look forward to seeing you this weekend! 

Monday, January 9, 2012


The world is all abuzz about Tim Tebow. The Broncos' one-play overtime win over the Steelers yesterday has caused quite a stir among fans and critics alike. I watched a good bit of the game (around small group last night) and was impressed with Tebow's play; it was probably his best game as a pro. In fact, it was probably the Broncos best game of the season, they seemed to be in a good rhythm all night.

I've never been a Broncos fan, even in the Elway glory days, but I am a Tim Tebow fan (have been even when  he was a Gator). Here's why:

1. He is a passionate player - I love people who go all in no matter what they are doing, and Tim Tebow goes all in. He plays with enthusiasm and energy and it inspires his teammates.
2. He's a winner - he is not the best football player to ever play the game. He is not, and probably never will be the best quarterback in the league. But Tim Tebow still finds a way to help his team win. Kyle Orton was the Broncos' starting QB when the season began, and by all accounts, Kyle Orton is a better quarterback than Tebow, but Orton couldn't consistently lead his team to victory. Tebow believes he can win even if he is not the best player on the field, and he's got his teammates believing they can win also; and now they are winning more than they are losing.
3. He's humble - say what you want about his performance on the field, but when he is behind the microphone, Tebow is consistently deflecting the attention away from himself and directing to his teammates and coaches. He is always heaping praise on his linemen, his receivers and his coaches for putting them in a position to win. He also gives a lot of credit to kicker Matt Prater whose field goals have led to many of the Bronco's victories. A lot of people are talking about Tim Tebow, but Tim Tebow is not one of them.
4. He is a follower of Christ - I'm sure you expected this one to be at the top of the list, but I decided to save the best for last (lol). Yes, I like Tim Tebow because of his public stand for Christ. I don't think it is cheesey when he bows on the field in a brief prayer (Tebowing), and I'm not bothered when he first "thanks his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" in an interview. I'm glad to hear the name Jesus Christ used as something besides a curse phrase in a movie. I don't think he does these things for show; it is who he is and he has been this way for a long time. I'm glad to see a follower of Christ who doesn't turn it off and on depending on the context he is in. Yes, it is going to rub some people the wrong way, and he is going to catch some flack for it from all sides, but so did Jesus. So, I for one hope he keeps winning and people keep talking about him and to him, because he will keep giving God the glory. The number one search on Google today was John 3:16 - if all the Tim Tebow hype can get 90+ million people searching out John 3:16 and perhaps reading it and at least being exposed to the idea that there is a God who loves them enough to send His Son so that they could have eternal life, then I pray he keeps winning and giving God the glory!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


For Christmas, my wife and I bought us a new GPS. Our old one had gone brain-dead a few weeks earlier and, though we don't always need a GPS, it comes in handy when we are traveling in areas we don't normally travel in. A GPS (Global Positioning System) is a small computer that enables you to get from point A to point B the quickest and most efficient way possible. It operates by satellite signals sent from high above the earth. If you program it correctly and follow the directions it will generally get you to your destination in a timely manner.

For the last couple of years I have been working on/from a spiritual GPS that I call a Spiritual Growth Plan (SGP). It is basically a goal-map that I develop (with the help of signals from above) at the beginning of each year and seek to follow it through-out the year. The ultimate goal is to grow spiritually, i.e. become more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15), the SGP is the tool that helps me reach that destination. Of course, spiritual growth is a life-long process, and I will never reach the ultimate destination until this life is over, but as a follower of Christ, I am called and commanded to be consistently moving toward becoming like Christ in every way.

For most of my Christian life I thought spiritual growth would happen naturally, like physical growth. But, as I have learned the hard way with physical growth, unless there is discipline and direction healthy growth doesn't just happen. Because I wasn't disciplined or directed in my physical growth as a younger person, I'm now having to make some significant changes in my behavior in order to improve my physical health. I also have to have the aid of medicine to keep my physical body functioning the way it is supposed to. Growth in my body occurred automatically, but health did not. A healthy body requires discipline and direction. Likewise a healthy spiritual life requires discipline and direction, thus the Spiritual Growth Plan.

On another page on this blog I have placed my SGP for the world to see. I'm a bit apprehensive about it, but I also realize that if I keep it just to myself, I have little or no accountability and can slide "off the wagon" anytime I want to. I'm hoping that the realization that other people in my life may read my SGP and may just ask me how I'm doing with it, will help keep me on track. So feel free to read it and check up on me throughout the year.

I also hope it will encourage you to pray about and begin to develop your own SPG. Yours will be different from mine, as mine was different from the person's who challenged me to develop it. Start by thinking about areas in your Christian life where you may need some work and then begin by praying about what the Lord would have you to do to strengthen those areas. For me, I saw a need to grow in the areas of Scripture, prayer and disciple-making, so that is where I am primarily concentrating this year. It will probably be a little different next year. Your areas may be similar to mine, but they may be different as well. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, and then follow His leadership.

One last thing about a Spiritual Growth Plan: it is important to remember that the SPG is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Sometimes when I am driving and using the GPS, I find that I become so focused on making sure I follow the directions to perfection, that I become overly stressed about the next turn and if I miss it, I nearly blow a gasket. I get so anxious about following the GPS that by the time I reach my destination, I'm too stressed to enjoy it. I have to remind myself from time to time that even if I miss a turn along the way, I will still eventually get where I need to go, because my GPS has this wonderful thing called "recalculating". So, even if I get off course for a little while, the GPS will get me back on track in a short time.

Spiritually speaking, we have a word for "recalculating"; we call it grace. Grace is that wonderful gift from God that allows us to get back on course even after we've missed a turn or two. So don't become so focused on fanatically following the SGP that you don't enjoy the journey. Even if you miss an element or two for a short-time, God allows for recalculating through His amazing grace.