As our experience of Christ’s love grips us more deeply, our gratitude for the grace He purchased gradually overcomes the vise-grip of our self-centeredness, and we “no longer live for ourselves.”
[from The Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington, page 111]
Back, Then Forward “Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.” -Ezekiel 16:60
Notwithstanding our sins, the Lord is still faithful in His love to us. He looks back. See how He remembers those early days of ours when He took us into covenant with Himself, and we gave ourselves over to Him. Happy days those! The Lord does not twit us with them and charge us with being insincere. No, He looks rather to His covenant with us than to our covenant with Him. There was no hypocrisy in that sacred compact, on His part, at any rate. How gracious is the Lord thus to look back in love!
He looks forward also. He is resolved that the covenant shall not fail. If we do not stand to it, He does. He solemnly declares, “I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.” He has no mind to draw back from His promises. Blessed be His name, He sees the sacred seal, “the blood of the everlasting covenant,” and He remembers our Surety, in whom He ratified that covenant, even His own dear Son; and therefore He rests in His covenant engagements. “He abideth faithful; he cannot deny himself.”
O Lord, lay this precious word upon my heart and help me to feed upon it all this day!
[from Faith’s Checkbook by Charles H. Spurgeon, June 30 entry]
Each Sunday, I’m led to believe that it’s the best Sunday of my life! And then…the next Sunday, the Lord adds a cherry on top! ♪If it keeps getting better and better, O Lord, I don’t know what I’m gonna do!♪
Today started out with a nice family breakfast at IHOP. Let’s just say I really enjoyed my pancakes, but my sugar didn’t. I cut out of IHOP early to make some copies before Sunday School and get the announcements set up. To my surprise, I wasn’t the first one to arrive at church. A cute little couple in a shiny red pick-up truck was already there to greet me (aka: John & Alta Hatcher). Pancakes + Hatchers = It was going to be a good day!
After busy morning of copies and setting things up, at 9:59 a.m., I hopped in my car to drive down to the Sunday School building. Ah, it was wonderful to sing with young saints and listen to the things the Lord has revealed to them through His Word this week!
Sunday School | 1 Peter 2:11-25 | Bro. Steve Dawson “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” -1 Peter 2:17 Steve connected this passage to Titus 3:1-2, Romans 13:1, Daniel and Exodus 1:15-20. The one connected passage that popped out at me, though, was 1 Timothy 2:1-4: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Not only are we to honor our President and leaders, we are supposed to be THANKFUL for them. Authority is given by God and God has providentially placed leaders in authority FOR HIS GLORY!
Back to the main building, during the song service this morning, I was overwhelmed at the thought of God’s grace: how marvelous, vast, measureless, incomprehendable it is and the fact that He showed it to such a wretched, wicked sinner named Sarah. Wow! It is greater than all my sin (and that’s a lot)!
Sunday Morning | Colossians 3:20-21 | Pastor Steve Wainright “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” -Colossians 3:20-21
I am so thankful for the godly parents God has blessed me with. They have fully obeyed Colossians 3:20-21 and Ephesians 6:1-4 as well as fulfilled Deuteronomy 6:4-9 by teaching me God’s Word from an early age. (You all know my favorite verse is Psalm 19:14, one of the first Bible verses I could say, thanks to my parents!) They realized their most important job as my parents was to lead me to Christ and that is exactly what they did. They live the Gospel in everyday life and it was constantly preached to me. They have instilled a love for God’s Word me that only grows greater the more I dig and search! The Lord made them love me so much that they had the love to discipline me. I pray that I never take my parents for granted. I pray that my love for wisdom will increase and that this will make both my mother and father glad! (Proverbs 17:6, 29:3, 10:1, 15:20, 29:17) Okay, sentimental moment…here are a few of the main points from this morning’s message:
*Parents, teach your children godliness. The spiritual is what lasts forever. Put the highest premium on the Word of God, not education and hygiene.
*Children should want to obey parents BECAUSE it pleases the Lord.
*Is your desire to please the Lord? In ALL things? (Colossians 3:17)
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After a quick bite to eat (and some extra insulin for those pancakes!), we snatched the Hatchers to celebrate all the Lord has done through the Bratchers! It was a beautiful celebration you can read more about here. (Remember to pray for Bro. Harold and Sis. Marie on Monday as they travel back to Manaus!) I was so thankful to get a picture of the four of them together: a total of 210 years of missionary service in Brazil!
It was so wonderful to see four of my heroes of the faith together!
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Back to church, after some fun with the Little Lifers, we got into the book of Exodus again!
Sunday Evening | Exodus 34:8-17 | Pastor Steve Wainright “And he said, ‘If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Your inheritance.'” -Exodus 34:9 vs. 6-7– Moses saw (heard) as much of the glory of God as he could handle. When we get a glimpse of the glory of God in the face of our lord Jesus Christ, what effect does it have on our being? vs. 8– Moses’ response. The effect of seeing God’s glory=worship! You cannot worship appropriately if you have no glimpse of His glory. vs. 9– Moses “reprays” (prays for the same thing he has a few other times: Exodus 32:31-32, 11-13; 33:12-13, 15-16; 33:14; 34:7; 19:5) He based his ch. 34:9 prayer on God’s promises. He is pleading on the promises of God. Your prayers will always be answered if you pray God’s promises because He always delivers.
-Moses is once again a type of Christ. (vs. 9: “OUR sin…” ~ “He became sin, Who knew no sin…”) vs. 10– Make=cut (God cut a covenant with Israel). God’s covenant with us: The blood is more precious and we have a greater Mediator. Why? For His glory!!!! (Psalm 96:3, Romans 16:26- people are obedient to faith for His glory.)
-As long as we are on this earth, we have a purpose. God is at work, therefore we need to be mission-minded. Why? So other might be obedient to faith that God might be glorified. vs. 11-14– Israel’s Responsibility in the Covenant: Don’t make a covenant with any other nation because the other nations have false gods=downward spiral. vs. 14– God shows a little bit more of Himself to Moses: He is jealous (Exodus 20:5- to be fiercely protected) He is protecting those He loves by demanding loyalty from them. If you love Him, you will want to follow His commands.
*What is it in your life that competes with your love for God?
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So this might be the record-long blogpost. Can you tell it’s SuMmEr?! I guess this day was just that edifying for me and I wanted to share it with you. To those of you who made it all the way through, congratulations…I think I owe you something! ;o)
Order of Services: *Prelude of Music, Photos of Ministry: Mickey and Shirley Hyder
*Welcome and Recognition of all churches present: Bro. Mickey Hyder
*Hymn: Great is Thy Faithfulness
*Prayer and Introduction of Speakers: Dr. Asa Mark Bratcher
*Scripture Reading: “The Great Commission” Matthew 28:16-20 by Bro. Jerry Bishop
*Baptist Faith Missions Report and Greetings: Bro. Dave Parks
*Music of Praise: “Grace Medley” by DFBC Choir
*Interview with Harold, Marie, Asa, and Stephen Bratcher
*Hymn: Blessed Assurance
*Message of Celebration: Dr. Wesley K. Smith (“Behold My servant, whom I uphold, My chosen, in whom My soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him;he will bring forth justice to the nations.” -Isaiah 42:1 > 1 Thessalonians 2)
*Music of Praise: How Great Thou Art” sung by Bro. Stephen Bratcher in English and Portuguese
*Laying on of hands Renewal: All ordained ministers present
*Closing Hymn: Send the Light
*Postlude: Kathy Matthews-Spencer
“The Bratchers of Brazil” by Dr. A.M. Bratcher On February 5, 1919 Dr. Lewis Malen Bratcher arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This event began a 90 year love ministry of the Bratchers in Brazil that continues to this day. For the next 35 years, Dr. L.M. Bratcher would labor faithfully in the cities and on mule trails preaching the “good news” (as boas novas) of the saving Gospel of his Lord Jesus Christ. In June of 1939, he traveled to the Amazon Valley to begin a long awaited and planned Amazon River missions trip with the pioneer Baptist missionary Erik Alfred Nelson. Soon after the trip began, on June 15, 1939, E.A. Nelson, 76 years of age, went home to be with his Lord. He served in Brazil for 48 years. After assisting at the funeral at the First Baptist Church of Manaus that Nelson founded in 1900, Dr. L.M. Bratcher decided to continue the river trip, this time having to inform the Brazilian people of E.A. Nelson’s death and “home going.” He stated in his memoirs, “Just Longing,” (Saudades) that he would never forget the reaction of the villagers at each stop. Tears would come to their eyes, and the sorrowful question would be asked “Now who will come and tell us about Jesus?”
Exactly 20 years later almost to the day, Harold Foley Bratcher answered that question, arriving in the Amazon Valley on July 15, 1959, to begin a 50 year love ministry with the people of Brazil. Harold Bratcher, 82, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 24, 1927. His dear wife of almost 55 years, Hattie Marie Moore Bratcher, 82, was born in Richmond, Kentucky; they met while Harold was pastoring Newby Baptist Church, and were married on December 27, 1954. The Lord blessed their union with three sons: Dr. Asa Mark Bratcher, 53, of Manaus, Brazil, missionary to Brazil for 32 years; Pastor Stephen M. Bratcher, 49, of Ocala, Florida; and Joel Bratcher, now residing in “Glory,” who at the age of 6, drowned in the Amazon River on August 17, 1971. His body is buried in the St. John the Baptist Cemetery, Manaus, Brazil, only a few feet from the grave of Missionary E.A. Nelson, “The Apostle of the Amazon,” where both “await the sounding of the trump” on Resurrection Morning.
During these 50 years, Harold, with the help of his son Asa, has organized over 20 Baptist churches and many other missions in the Amazon Valley. Together they have baptized thousands of Brazilian people.
This afternoon, June 28, 2009, we pause to honor Harold and his beloved Marie Bratcher for their 50 years of faithful service to the Brazilian people. Behind many a great man, serves a great woman. Marie, while stating she “never received a specific call to be a missionary,” strongly affirms her call of being a faithful and loving wife to Harold, an endearing mother to her sons and an esteemed mother-in-law to Lucianilda Auzier Bratcher, 48, of Manaus, Brazil and Saleth Nunes Bratcher, 50, of Ocala, Florida. She is the loved Grandma to Marica Luciana Bratcher, 25, of Bridgeport, CT, Lucy Marie Bratcher, 23, of Boston, Massachusetts, and Stephen Matthew Bratcher, 17, of Ocala, Florida. She has a dog, Blackie, of Manaus, 4 grand dogs, Nina, Elvis, Walter and Otto, and a great-grand cat, Clooney.
Thus, please join me, Stephen, Pastor Mickey Hyder, and the David’s Fork Baptist Church in expressing your appreciation to this giant in the faith, one of those of Hebrews 11, “of which this world is not worthy of.” May our Lord see fit to give the Bratchers of Brazil many more years of ministry and love for the people of Brazil.
Miuto Obrigado (Thank you) Pastor Haroldo, “Apostolo do Amazonas” (apostle to the state of the Amazon) and Marie for 50 years of dedicated, loving service to the people of Brazil and to our beloved Savior, all glory and honor. Amen.
LAST UPDATED Sunday, June 28
Monday, June 29 -Review your notes from yesterday’s messages. 6:00 p.m.– Flyer Handout for Isaiah 58 Ministry
Tuesday, June 30 6:45-8:00 a.m.– Men’s Morning Meditations: Where God’s Word and coffee perk you up at your Pastor’s home!
–Pray for the Isaiah 58 Ministry that will take place tonight. 6:30 p.m.– Isaiah 58 Ministry (please get there early to help set up!) Happy Birthday to Virginia Goodpaster! Wednesday, July 1 7:00 p.m.– We will continue our “What We Believe Series.” The kids will continue studying the book of Mark.
Thursday, July 2 -Pray for your Pastor as he prepares for Sunday.
Friday, July 3 -Pray the Lord will wrap Sis. Becky in His loving arms today. Happy Birthday to Paul Johnson and missionary-to-Brazil Paul Hatcher!
Saturday, July 4
-Pray for the services tomorrow and prepare your heart for worship. Happy Birthday to Travis Grayson (and America)!
Sunday, July 5 10:00 a.m.– Sunday School (1 Peter 3) Devotion: please sign up… 11:00 a.m.– Sunday Morning Worship (Colossians 3:22-?) Ushers: Chandler Dawson & Roger Harden 5:30 p.m.– Little Lifers Kids’ Choir 6:00 p.m.– Sunday Evening Worship (Exodus 34:18-?)
Sunday, July 12 2:00 p.m.– Service at Thomson-Hood Veteran’s Center in Wilmore