Blessed Are The Poor

As we continue the rollout and careful explanation of our newly clarified vision, I’m preaching through the measures we have established that will help us determine how we are doing in accomplishing the mission and ministry God has given us. For five weeks we’ve been looking at “developing a daily heart of worship,” which includes corporate worship, daily private worship, a growing prayer life, and developing an obedient and generous heart in regard to the tithe and giving.

It’s essential that we develop that generous and obedient heart, recognizing that God owns it all and we are merely managers. Remember: Tithing is not God’s way of raising money; it’s God’s way of raising children.

In light of that, I want to share some information I recently read in the Harvard Business Review, based on polling data gathered by Gallop from 132 nations. Analysis of the data shows that religious belief appears to be the main reason why people in poor countries see greater meaning in life than residents of wealthy countries. Where are those who see greater meaning in life? Among the nations with the highest sense that life has meaning are Niger, Sierra Leone, Togo, Ethiopia, Laos, and Ecuador. None of these countries are known for their great wealth. In fact, the opposite is true. These are among the world’s poorest nations. But many of the people in these countries connect their daily experiences with their belief system founded on God’s Word and trust in Him. In the midst of extreme hardship, they have found meaning because they trust God, the only source of meaning in life.

So the believers in these nations have much less than the average American Christian, but they have more fulfillment and meaning in life; while many Christians in the U.S. are busy trying to make or hold on to their wealth thinking that in it they will find fulfillment and meaning. Wealth and meaning in life are not synonymous. It seems that the Harvard Business Review has discovered the truth of what Jesus told us about the relationship between our hearts and money.

The article concludes: “What’s the meaning of life? Answers may vary, but the poor have a better handle on it than the rich. Not quite what you’d expect. Unless you take Jesus seriously.”

Matthew 6:19-21

Pastor Rod


Not Being Fed?

As we systematically unfold our newly refined vision, we’re spending time taking a good look at those things that will help us to measure our success in growing and in achieving the goals God has given us. One expectation God has for all of us is that we are able to feed ourselves from God’s Word and teach others to do likewise. But we too often hear evidence from people of the fact that we may have lost sight of that expectation.

Pastor James Emery White recently wrote: “How many times have you heard the line, ‘I just wasn’t being fed.’ ‘I just wasn’t growing there.'” Every pastor has heard some version of that sentiment. So, what’s all of that about? White says that there are two issues at the heart of the problem.

One is what he refers to as “spiritual narcissism,” which refers to a consumer mentality in the church that views the church as a feeding station that exists to keep the members stimulated and fed. The teaching at church is viewed as a food bar where we search for the things that appeal to us – things we like. The result is usually weight gain but little that produces energy for ministry and service.

The second issue is the distorted view of how “feeding” should take place. Though pastors are charged with the responsibility to teach, that doesn’t relieve individual believers of the responsibility to feed themselves and help feed others. We are called to share our lives as we encourage and urge one another toward spiritual maturity. Teaching in the church is needed, but we will not grow without one another and unless we take responsibility for ultimately feeding ourselves.

Colossians 3:16 states it clearly: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Does the church have some responsibility in feeding? Sure. We need one another in the church. But the ultimate responsibility lies with me and with you as individual believers. God has given us His Word, His Spirit and the charge to feed on His Word, allowing it to make itself at home in us.

So, the next time you are tempted to say, “I’m not being fed,” ask yourself what you’ve done to feed yourself, and, if you’re applying the truths you’ve already been fed. And ask, “What have I done to help feed the younger believers who really need it?”

Pastor Rod


Daily Personal Worship

Some 50 years ago, A. W. Tozer wrote: “The need for solitude and quietness was never greater than it is today.” If that was true 50 years ago, the need today is exponentially greater. With the constant noise and the interruptions throughout the day from emails, text messages, tweets, FaceBook and Instagram notices, along with instant access from others to our cell phones, the need for solitude is greater than Tozer could have ever imagined when he wrote those words.

We need solitude. But we need the solitude of time alone with God each day. It’s our greatest necessity and our only avenue to know God as we should and to live lives that honor Him. I hope you were able to be in worship this past Sunday for the third message on “Developing a Heart of Worship.” From the life of Daniel we looked at the why, when and how for a time of personal worship each day – or a “Quiet Time”. I encourage you to go to the website ( to listen to the message for the first time, or to review it if you were present on Sunday. I ask you to do so, not from self-promotion, but because I believe a Quiet Time each day in personal worship is the most important element to spiritual growth and victorious living as a Christian. We never move past the need for time in God’s Word each day, along with a time of prayer for yourself and others.

A consistent and effective Quiet Time begins with an attitude of determination, desperation, and dedication. Find a plan for reading God’s Word in a systematic fashion. There are scores of plans available. Many can be found at, which is the site where you can also find the sermon outlines each week for AMBC by looking under the “Live” tab and searching for Anderson Mill Baptist.

Then, you may find help in organizing your prayer time through a simple acrostic that has been around for many years:
A – Adoration (Give God praise for who He is)
C – Confession (Repent of those things the Holy Spirit brings to mind that need to be confessed and forgiven)
T – Thanksgiving (Thank God for His blessings and for answered prayer)
S – Supplication (Ask God for needs for your life and ministry as well as for the needs of others)

We have had a tremendous response from individuals in the church family who have made the commitment to begin a daily Quiet Time. I hope you will be part of that group, or among others who have been faithful for years in meeting God each day in personal worship.

Pastor Rod