The months of November and December promise to be a very busy time – in the life of the church, in the home, in the schools, and certainly in the community at large. It is very easy to lose sight of the meaning of the seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas with the hectic and exhausting schedules that most of us experience. While it may seem like something we say every year (and, yes, we do usually say it), why don’t we do something differently this year? Why don’t we commit to ourselves and our families that we will spend less money on each other, give the difference to worthy Christian causes that help people in need, and slow down enough to enjoy time with our family and friends and to spend more time with God in prayer, study, worship, and service? This would be a wonderful thing to do in 2018.

 Thanksgiving is a civil holiday – technically a secular holiday observed on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. The day, at least in the English tradition, has its roots in the English reformation. In the United States, we can trace the modern Thanksgiving holiday back to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts and to a similar event in 1619 in Virginia. The early settlers to the United States observed days of fasting and thanksgiving. President George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide Thanksgiving celebration marking November 26, 1789 as a day of “thanksgiving and prayer.” On December 26, 1941 President Franklin Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress officially making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday of November.

 We are well aware of the traditions of Thanksgiving – family gatherings, turkey and dressing, special church services, families traveling to parents and grandparents, great food and family fellowship, football and early basketball season, etc. Thanksgiving often gives us more time to enjoy our families and to enjoy a couple of days off from work – as compared to the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. Thanksgiving should also be a time in which we give thought to the bounty of the blessings that God has imparted to us – over the past year and over the course of our lives. It is a time to appreciate how truly blessed we are individually and collectively – and we need only compare our situation to that of others – particularly those in other countries around the world – to better understand how truly blessed we are.

 Then we move into the Advent season – a time of preparation and anticipation for once again observing the coming of God into the world in the form of His only begotten Son, Jesus, who was born of a virgin in Bethlehem, who became the God-man – the Incarnation or God becoming flesh – Immanuel or God with us – so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

 Christmas is more than the giving of material gifts, more than snow and Christmas glitter, more than Rudolph and Santa, more than “chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” Christmas is the celebration of the “Christ of Christmas.” It is that time of the year that we once again prepare our hearts and minds for pondering the meaning of the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago – when we once again are reminded that God has intervened in the course of human history by becoming man and living a human life – and then sending “His only begotten Son” to Calvary to die a sinner’s death so that we might have eternal life. He arose from the grave on the third day, ascended into heaven, and will return for His church someday!

 Let’s take this this season to give God all the praise, honor, and glory that He – and He alone – merits! He is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Savior and Lord, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, and the Messiah! Praise the Lord!

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AuthorKaleb Chowning

The months of September-October are the official end of summer in early to mid September and the full range of fall weather in October. This is my favorite season of the year as we experience the cooler nights and warm days, the beauty of the multi-color display we will see as the leaves change, the first frost of the season, and a very comfortable season to enjoy God's creation in its vast splendor. There is a return to something of normalcy in our family lives as our children and youth return to school, colleges and universities are in full operation, and we settle into a new season of church-related ministries and activities. Again, fall is an exciting and enjoyable time - at least in my life, I have always considered it my favorite season of the year and a time to meditate upon the majesty of God's creation.

Fall 2018 brings some important upcoming activities for our church and community. From September 9-12 at Campbellsville University's Tiger Stadium, 7:00 p.m. nightly, the "Heart of Kentucky Go Tell Crusade" will be held. Evangelist Rick Gage and others will be preaching each evening, and there will be uplifting worship services each evening. We express a word of appreciation to the local crusade committee who have been working for almost a year to prepare for the crusade. There are several members of Saloma Baptist Church who are involved in different crusade committees. We budgeted a generous donation in our annual budget to help defray the costs. Several individuals in SBC have made generous donations to the crusade. And we have been active in praying for the crusade for several months. And we are asking that our church members invite others - especially those who are unchurched and without Jesus Christ in their lives - to attend. There are many in the community and region who will not come through the doors of a local church at this point, but they may be willing to come to a football stadium on a September evening to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ being proclaimed. There have been two other community crusades - one in the 1990's and one in 2008 - that resulted in literally hundreds of people coming to first time decisions for Jesus Christ - and hundreds of others who renewed their walk with the Lord. During the weeks following the crusade, there will be great need for follow-up and discipleship of new believers in Christ - so pray for that phase of the ministry and may be ready to do our part.

These months also bring other points of emphasis to Saloma Baptist Church. We have finished our summer mission project which raised funds to purchase two donkeys for a village in Zambia and to provide 100 chairs for a pastor there to use in his church. From September 9-30, we have our Season of Prayer State Missions and the annual Eliza Broadus State Mission Offering. Then in October we will observe Global Hunger Sunday on October 14 and raise funds during the rest of October for the Global Hunger Fund. 

We are again sponsoring the Campbellsville University Bass Fishing Team and will host them in our October 7 Worship Service followed by a meal and fellowship hour with them. Coach Pete Hedgepath, one of our own, is doing a great job with the team - as evidenced by the recent national championship by Nick Ratliff. We are called to pray for these college students on a regular basis, to let them know of our love and our support, to support Coach Pete and pray for him, and to approach this as another outreach ministry opportunity for Saloma Baptist Church.

In closing, let me acknowledge another successful year of Sunday morning outreach at Saloma Baptist Church. This was our 22nd year, as best I recall, for coordinating the ministry - we took it over when a local ministry organization announced they could no longer do it. A special word of thanks once again to Deacon Mike Forbis and Associate Pastor Jason England for their help with this ministry. The services are held each Sunday morning, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, at 9:00 a.m. at the Green River Lake State Park campgrounds. We had excellent participation by several other churches and groups this year. We are thankful for this ministry and the thousands of people who have heard the Gospel proclaimed and shared through music, praise, prayer, preaching, creative ministries, etc. over the years. We look forward to another great year in 2019.

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AuthorKaleb Chowning

As this blog is prepared for the months of July and August, we are experiencing our warmest and most humid weather of the summer. Temperatures are in the mid-90's with a heat index in the 100 plus range. For those with respiratory issues and concerns, these temperatures and level of humidity made it difficult to be outside for extended period. As one who grew up in a farm house that had no air conditioning and who worked on the farm during summer, I often look back and then in consider all the modern conveniences that we enjoy in 2018 - and especially in such hot, humid weather, we are blessed by air conditioning in our homes, cars, offices, church buildings, and most businesses where we do business. The modern conveniences, that make life more comfortable and bearable, are in many ways wonders of modern technology and the ingenuity of humanity. 

We have made many advances in science and technology that enhance the quality of our daily living. Look around your house and make note of all the devices that you have that provide man conveniences that earlier generations did not have. And then consider all the devices that we have that are strictly for personal entertainment and benefit. In most American homes today, every family member has his, or her, own computer, smart phone, tablet, television, etc. We have become a culture that is seemingly attached to our devices - we even have devices like "Alexa" who can place orders for us. There is discussion of drones delivering Amazon orders to the residence of the customer. We can order most anything now and have it delivered to our house within 24-48 hours. The list of modern conveniences goes on and on.

However, the more change that modernity brings our way, and the more chaos we observe in the world, there remains one thing that is every constant. That is the love of God and His grace as expressed in the crucifixion and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. The more advances that are made, the more the mystery and sovereignty of God are apparent. The deeper we go in science and medicine, the more complex and amazing life really is. As our concept of space and universe expand, we observe the expanse of the universe and the complexity of the galaxies - with no scientific explanation available to tell us how it all came about. Dr. Frances Collins, the scientist who headed the human genome project, has stated that the more he learned about the genetic structure and framework of the human species, the more evident it became to him that there is a creator and higher power - and that it is God. Praise God!

As a pastor, I see the multiple miracles of God everyday.. There is the miracle of human life, the miracle of creation, the miracle of how lives are changed in Jesus Christ! I have the opportunity to lead a congregation where Jesus is the head of the body, and where He is using a wonderful group of people in ministering to our community and world. I witness the changes in the lives of people as they determine God's good and perfect will. Boys and girls, men and women being saved by Jesus Christ and giving them abundant and eternal life. Beloved, that is the greatest of miracles! And it is a miracle that science and technology will never explain! Amen!

 

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AuthorKaleb Chowning

We have made it through the last burst of winter weather here in southern Kentucky, and spring has finally become apparent. As this blog is prepared, dogwood trees are blooming as have redbuds - two of the true signs of spring. Tulips are blooming as are many other trees and flowers. Leaves are coming forth on the trees, and our lawns are having to be mowed at least once a week - if not more with all the recent rain we've had in our area. Spring has come forth - the beauty of God's creation in this season of recreation and renewal - is daily evident for those of who are of the Christian faith. It's certainly a great time to be alive and to enjoy the blessings of the beauty of God's creation.

During the next few weeks, we will go through another annual ritual and series of events. Students of all ages will be graduating and moving to the next level of their education or moving out into the real work of work, paying taxes, etc. if they're finishing high school and college. On Sunday, May 20, we will be honoring the graduates in our church family with special presentations during our 11:00 a.m. Worship Service immediately followed by a reception in their honor after the morning worship. We are very proud of all of our graduates at all levels of education and wish them the very best in the days ahead and pray that God will guide and protect them. It is truly a blessing to see our children and youth grow up and to become Christian servant leaders. When we see such young people crossing the stage to receive their diploma, we know that this is one more significant step in their lives and a move to more independence. And it is a reminder that the ministry we do in the life of our church and in our homes is hopefully providing them with the spiritual foundation and formation in Jesus Christ that will guide them all their lives.

Then we move into the month of June - vacations begin, young people have summer jobs, our Green River Lake ministry on Sunday mornings is underway (our 22nd-23rd year of coordinating the lake ministry and outreach), we launch our summer mission project (further details forthcoming), and families are often busy with travel and summer outings. Please pray for our summer outreach ministries such as that every Sunday morning at Green River Lake. Beginning on Memorial Day weekend and continuing through Labor Day weekend, hundreds of campers will hear the Gospel preached, songs of praise sun, and prayers offered. Seeds will be planted in the name of Jesus. Several churches and Christian groups are helping us this year. On Sunday, June 10, we will move our Sunday School and Worship to the lake - with a picnic gathering and fellowship. The weekly worship service will be held on Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time at the amphitheater area at the Green River Lake State Park campgrounds. Pray for all those who will be leading this effort, and for Bro. Jason England, Deacon Mike Forbis, and me as we coordinate this ministry.

All that we do at Saloma Baptist Church should be - and that is always our goal - done in the name of and for the cause of Jesus Christ. Our mission is to minister in His name to our community and world. Even during the spring and early summer months, we must be about His mission and ministry in our church family, our homes, our community, and around the world. Join us anytime at SBC - a warm welcome awaits you - and you are always welcome.

Posted
AuthorKaleb Chowning

We are in a special season of the year when we begin to see the signs of spring, the period of daylight is longer, we have switched to Daylight Savings Time, and we move through the Season of Lent. This is my favorite time of year. The beauty of the spring season reminds us that God is the creator of all things and that He sustains that which He has created. The signs of spring are everywhere - flowers are bursting forth in bloom, trees begin to bud and form leaves, and the grass is growing and reminds of the renewal of life. It is a special season of the year.

We are also in the period that brings our attention to the essence of our Christian faith. The Season of Lent directs our attention to the events of the passion of Christ - His final days of earthly ministry, His denial and abandonment by His own followers, His arrest and trial, and His crucifixion on "The Old Rugged Cross" at Calvary. It is, finally, the season in which we come together on Easter Sunday (which is April 1 this year) to celebrate that the Tomb is empty - that He is alive - that Jesus arose on the third day - that He truly arose!

These historical facts - that Jesus died on the Cross for the redemption for our sins and that He arose from the dead on the third day and that the tomb is empty - should direct our every thought and deed. We are people of the Crucified and Resurrected Lord. There were many others crucified on crosses during the days of the Roman empire - it was the most excruciating form of capital punishment - but there's one major difference in the case of the crucifixion of Jesus - He arose from the dead. And it is His intention that we live as people of the Resurrection - each and every day - not just on Easter Sunday - but every day of our lives.

May we be people of the Resurrection - in word and in deed!

Posted
AuthorKaleb Chowning

We are looking forward to what lies ahead in 2018 as we work together at Saloma Baptist Church in ministering to our community and world in the name of Jesus Christ. Although it seems that each year passes by more quickly - probably a sign of getting older, the new year is a time of renewal in many ways. The new year reminds us that we will have new experiences and opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A new year affords us the chance to begin anew and to correct our mistakes and failures of the past year as we go about serving the Lord. The new year reminds us that with each passing day, the sins of our past are forgiven and forgotten as a result of the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do we get the message God is sending us as we begin 2018 and move forward in serving Him and in serving others.

The post-modern world (forgive my use of that over-used phrase - no other description of these times come to mind as this blog is written) brings many challenges our way as people of faith. And 2018 will be no exception. There are days when it seems that we are falling further and further behind in terms of impacting the world for Jesus Christ and our beliefs are less acceptable and mainstream than in previous eras of history. Increased secularism and humanistic influences abound, and many of our Christian values and beliefs are scoffed at by "mainstream" culture. What are we to do? Are we to react militantly and defiantly? Do we raise our voices and try to scream louder than those who choose to oppose us? That seems to be the strategy that some in some leadership circles seem to choose. But it is what Jesus would do? What would He have us to do in 2018?

Returning to the more positive tone of my opening paragraph above, it seems to me that Jesus would have us to anticipate opposition, as believers have throughout the 2,000 years of the Christian movement, and react to it with grace and humility. Yes, there are times when we have to take a strong stand and not back down in terms of what we believe and how our beliefs are to be reflected in our actions. But in general, Jesus would have us to react with love, humility, and grace. The words of Paul in Colossians 3:12 remind us: "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." James 3:13similarly states: "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom."

In 2018, let's move forward with a positive, loving, compassionate, humble, gentle, patient, and kind spirit and attitude. May we live each day for the Lord - fully, joyfully, hopefully, and humbly. There will be many opportunities to do His work - and there will be multiple challenges along the way. Let's do the work of the Lord in unity and love, taking it one day at a time, and ministering to all people (regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, language, or economic status) in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. May your 2018 be blessed!

Posted
AuthorKaleb Chowning

The month of December is a busy time for most all people and especially for those of us who are believers in Christ and participants in the life of a local church. Here at Saloma Baptist Church, we have a very busy schedule of special services, cantata practices, outreach ministries, and special emphasis on the central message of Christmas – which is the Advent of Jesus Christ into the world. He is the Incarnation – the God in the flesh; Emmanuel – God with us; the Lord of Lords and King of Kings; the Son of Man and the Son of God; and our Savior and Lord.

We invite you to join us in our 2017 celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and as we seek to share the Good News of His birth and its profound meaning for us more than 2,000 years later! We have several ministry, mission, and outreach opportunities which have at their core, the goal of sharing the Christ of Christ with our community and world and ministering to others in the name of the Babe of Bethlehem. We will be glad to share more information on these opportunities – just contact us at salomabaptistchurch@windstream.net or call us at 270-789-0082. And you are encouraged to attend our special services that are listed on our website home page and in the website’s monthly calendar.

We also encourage you and your family to take time, during this season of the year, to observe your own Christmas celebration in such a manner to help you to better understand the true meaning and the spirit of the season. We lose sight of the true message of Christmas with our hurried schedules and excessive commercialization of the season. As has been said, and allow me the freedom to paraphrase: “We buy too many gifts with money we really don’t have for people who don’t always appreciate what we give them and who don’t need what they receive…” Take time to read the Gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus with your family. Spend time as a family in basic family activities centered on the Christmas season.

You are encouraged to join a growing number of individuals who are choosing to minimize such gift giving and taking that amount of money and giving to a “good cause that serves other…” As believers in the Christ of Christmas, the Babe of Bethlehem, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity to take those funds and direct them to Christian nonprofit organizations who are serving others in the name of Jesus Christ. There are any number of outstanding organizations, in our community and globally, that are in need of more resources and who provide different ways of sharing meaningful information of where your donations will go. One practice that our family has adopted is the giving of a monetary gift to such a mission or ministry organization in the name of each family member – and then including in a card a description of where the funds are going. For example with the Baptist Global Response group that we support in our church mission budget, you can donate a certain amount of money to provide animals, or other items, for families in other countries – to help sustain those individuals and families who receive the gift. Let us know if you are interested in further details on BGR or other such gifting opportunities.

Finally, please support our Christmas mission projects at Saloma Baptist Church – Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for global missions, Toys for Kids, Prison Fellowship Angel Tree that provides gifts of toys and clothes to local children whose parents are incarcerated, fruit baskets for shutins, etc. And reach out to those in your own family and neighborhoods who are alone and in need. And do it in the name of Jesus! Let’s give to others this Christmas season in the name of Jesus just as God gave us the greatest gift of history as expressed in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.

Posted
AuthorKaleb Chowning

The months of October and November are an important time for us at Saloma Baptist Church. During October, our Brotherhood coordinates our annual Global Hunger Fund Focus beginning with Global Hunger Sunday which is Sunday October 8. 

The recent series of natural disasters, including hurricanes, earthquakes, and 500-1,000 year floods in our own country and nearby countries, as well as other disasters around the world, remind us how truly vulnerable many people are relative to food issues and hunger. In some areas, food shortages are a way of life and in other areas, the people are simply one drought or sudden natural disaster away from starvation. 

Undernourishment is particularly acute in many areas of the world including our own country. Around the globe in the course of a year, millions of children and others of our most vulnerable people, die as a result of hunger - malnutrition and outright starvation. 

The Baptist Global Hunger Fund is one way that we can be part of solutions. Every penny donated goes directly to hunger relief ministries. In our case, we forward our donations to our friends at Baptist Global Response (BGR). BGR then directs funds to various ministry and mission points around the world where food relief is provided for the neediest and most vulnerable of people. The Good News of Jesus Christ is also shared with the recipients, and we receive reports annually of several thousand people who come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord as a result of Baptist-sponsored Global Hunger Mission’s Work. 

We will provide Global Hunger Fund offering envelopes. Many of our members collect change during the year and bring in donations during October and November. Donations of all amounts are encouraged and appreciated. 

As Jesus taught in Matthew 25, one of the tests of our faith is how we treat “the least of these...” As we attend to the needs of the least of these, so do we minister to and serve our Lord Jesus Christ. 

This period culminates with the annual observance of Thanksgiving on November 23 as we gather with family and friends. Most of us will enjoy bountiful meals and fellowship with family and friends. We need to make it a time of truly giving thanks to God for all He has done for us. An important expression of Thanksgiving is by our sharing with those who are less fortunate - donations to Global Hunger Fund, donations to our local Food Pantry (which our church supports through quarterly missions find donations as well as periodic collection of canned food), support of disaster relief efforts as we have done recently for the Hurricane impact areas, sharing with those in our own community who are less fortunate and hungry, etc. 

Reach out and touch others in the name of Jesus during this season of the year! You will be blessed and you are fulfilling the teaching of Jesus. 

 

Posted
AuthorKaleb Chowning