We live daily in the power and spirit of the Resurrected Lord. So often following the high point of Easter Sunday, we return to the "humdrum" of everyday living. Unfortunately, our spiritual life often enters into a stale period as well following such celebrations as Easter. 

Join me in 2016 to making a commitment that we will not return to an apathetic approach to our relationship with Jesus Christ. We have the spiritual power as displayed in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have eternal life through our faith in the Risen Lord. The Holy Spirit indwells us once we have professed our faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord! 

Will we live daily in the power and spirit of the Resurrected Lord? Will we daily show the love and compassion of the Risen Lord in how we live and treat others? That is my prayer!

AuthorKaleb Chowning

The month of March is a busy and eventful time for most all people. From the "March Madness" that basketball fans enjoy with tournaments and championships at stake to the official beginning of the spring season to the remembrance of the passion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, March is a season of transition, transformation, and new beginnings. It is also a month in which we can go from snow and cold temperatures on one day to very warm temperatures and bright sunshine the very next day.

Easter Sunday is early this year - Sunday, March 27 will bring our annual celebration of our Lord's resurrection. From Palm Sunday on March 20 through Easter Sunday on March 27, we will observe what is called Holy Week in the Christian tradition. Holy Week is a very special week and should be a time in which we daily take time to consider that course of events that led to Calvary where Jesus Christ died for the atonement of our sins. In many ways, there is a very clear "road to Calvary" that we can follow through the combined accounts of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) in the Bible. It is important that we take time this year to study and pray for greater understanding of the "road to Calvary" and the impact this historic event has on our lives 2,000 years later.

On Easter Sunday, we will join together once again for a joyous celebration of the historical fact that "He arose, He arose, Hallelujah, Christ Arose!" But before we get to the empty tomb and the wonderful and transforming truth of the Resurrection, let's be sure we go by the "Way of the Cross that leads Home."

AuthorKaleb Chowning

February is the shortest month of the year. In many ways, it's a "bridge month" in that it connects January, which is typically the height of our winter weather, with March, which brings us multiple signs of spring. We will often see a mix of weather patterns in February - need we be reminded of last winter's heavy snow and sub zero temperatures during the last half of February - and let's hope and pray we don't have a repeat of such weather this year.

Rather than debating whether the groundhog saw his shadow or not and whether we will have six more weeks of winter weather, let me throw out some challenges for this bridge month of February:

•Make Sunday School-Small Groups a weekly priority every Sunday morning at 10 am.
•Be faithful in worship attendance. Join us as we continue in my sermon series on the fruit of the Holy Spirit based on Galatians 5:22-23.
•Support our ongoing collection of items for Zambia that is coordinated by our WMU.
•Attend our Winter Bible Study that continues on Sunday evenings at 5 pm. The study is on 2 Corinthians and is led by Dr. John Hurtgen.
•Support the Shoe-Per Bowl mission project in partnership with Audience 1. Donate new or gently-used shoes that will be sent to people around the world. Financial donations are welcome to help defer the shipping costs.
•Join us in observing Focus on WMU Sunday on February 14. Dr. Twyla Hernandez will share about her recent mission trip to Cuba which our church supported.
•Join us for Easter Cantata Practice on Wednesday, February 10 at 6 pm. We will be preparing a really powerful musical presentation for Easter Sunday. The children are also working on an Easter cantata. Bring your young ones to practice on Sunday evenings.
•Invite unchurched people to visit our church and then help in reaching out to them. Share Jesus with those who don't Him as Savior and Lord.

These are just a few of many ways in which Saloma Baptist is ministering to and positively impacting our community and world for Jesus Christ. We invite you to join us as we move forward as the people of Gof!

AuthorKaleb Chowning

A new year is always an exciting time in the life of Saloma Baptist Church. It brings a new season of mission and ministry and a time of new beginnings. We are in the midst of the winter season and may experience periods of very cold temperatures, snow, and bad weather.

However, the spirit of God is ever present in all seasons of the year. While many people indicate that they become depressed during the month of January and following the excitement of the holidays, I have long experienced a renewed sense of energy and consider the new year as a time of new beginnings and new opportunities - it is in essence a new season.

Life is full of new seasons. Having just retired from my full-time role at Campbellsville University, I have begun a new season of my life in this new year of 2016. I'll continue on a part-time role at CU, an institution which holds a very important place in my heart and life, but I felt that the Holy Spirit was definitely moving me to a new season of life and a time of new beginnings. I'm truly excited about 2016, about what God is going to do in the mission and ministry of Saloma Baptist Church, and what lies ahead this year.

Will you join me in this new beginning? Actually, each new day is a day of new beginnings in Jesus Christ. That is truly something to be excited about! May 2016 be a year of kingdom advance for Saloma Baptist Church and for our individual walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.


AuthorKaleb Chowning

"All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet, 'The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel' (which means 'God with us')" Matthew 1:22-23 (NIV).

We are once again in the midst of the Advent and Christmas season. There are numerous special gatherings and observances, services at church, exchange of gifts in the home and place of work, and a hectic schedule of celebration. By the time Christmas Eve arrives, many people will be completely exhausted, bank accounts will be strained, and the spirit of Ebenezer Scrooge may be more evident than the true spirit and meaning of Christmas.

In contemplating once again the message of verses 22-23 from the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, there is a powerful and important message that cuts to the core of the real meaning of this season of the year. The prophecy from Isaiah 7:14 has been fulfilled in the amazing news of the conception of a baby by the Holy Spirit and that a girl by the name of Mary, who is a virgin, will give birth to a son and that he will be called "Immanuel."

Immanuel - God with us! Take a moment and consider the power of that simple summary of the meaning of the name Immanuel - God with us! That is what this is all about. It's not just about the secular manifestations of the season. It's not even just about the services we have at church in celebration of the season. And while we are called to minister to the "least of these" in the season and in all seasons of the year, it's even more than that! It is about God becoming man; God sending His only begotten Son so that you and I might have life eternal; God intervening in the course of history so that might have the opportunity to choose everlasting life; God Incarnate - that is God becoming flesh!

Will you join me, and our congregation, in considering the meaning of "Immanuel?" God with us! That, my friends, is a powerful and important summary of what Christmas is really about. God is with us - now and forever!

AuthorKaleb Chowning

The month of November is a very special time in the life of the church as well as in the lives of our families. It's a time of transition from fall to winter, a time of a few warm days and peaks of late summer and early fall coupled with periods of cold and even snow, and a time when families look to "home" and gather together in late November for a day of Thanksgiving and fellowship. It's one of my favorite months and seasons of the year. We have the joy of family, thanksgiving to God, great food and fellowship, and joy of the Advent and Christmas season a month away - without undue rush and pressure that comes in December.

 Let me share this passage of scripture that seems appropriate for all of us to ponder and reflect upon prayerfully during the month of November. From the NIV translation of the Apostle Paul's letter recorded in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, these words speak to us:  "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Please reread this scripture text and join me in a time of prayer and reflection on its meaning and application for us during November 2015.

Paul's words remind us on these primary points:

 ---"Rejoice always..." - In all situations and times, we are called to rejoice. The joy of Christ, as a fruit of the Holy Spirit, is not the same as happiness. Paul is speaking here of an assurance that is ours in Jesus Christ that in all situations, we are assured of His love, grace, and security.

 ---"Pray continually..." - Prayer is more than just a regularly scheduled private time of telling God what we think and need - it's more than the collective times of prayer we experience in worship in the church. Continuous prayer is a lifestyle, a state of mind, a heart that is at peace with the Lord, and taking time from the noise and clutter of daily living to listen to the "still small voice of God" (1 King 19:12). The Psalmist in Psalms 46:10 tells us to "be still, and know" that He is God.

 ---"Give thanks in all circumstances..." - Have you taken time in recent months, or even years, to sit down and write down and pray over all the many things for which you have to be thankful? We take much for granted, we are focused on material and temporal things, and we don't take time to give God thanks and praise in all things. You are challenged in this month and Thanksgiving season, to take time to inventory the many ways in which God has blessed you - even when you are dealing with challenges.

 ---"For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus..." - Paul is very clear in telling the early church, as well as the 2015 church, that it is God's will for us, as believers in Christ Jesus, that we are to rejoice in Him, that we are to pray continually, and that we are to give thanks in all circumstances. And so often, the lack of personal peace and joy is because we have forsaken our times of rejoicing, prayer, Bible study, worship, and giving thanks.

 Will you join me, and other believers in our church family and community in this special season and month of the year, to heed the words of the Apostle Paul to rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks to God in all things, and follow God's will for our lives?

AuthorKaleb Chowning

During the month of October into November, we will have an emphasis on hunger relief mission and ministry work. One of the truly inspirtational stories to be told about Baptist missions work that is being done around the world under the banner of "hunger relief." Sponsored by our Baptist Men, Saloma Baptist Church will once again be raising funds for hunger relief in support of the mission work of Baptist Global Response (BGR). Our goal for 2015 is $1,000. And we should have no problem in reaching this goal in the coming weeks.

Let me share some of the start statistics that illustrate the widespread nature of hunger in our 21st century world:

  • 840 million people are chronically hungry worldwide - that's 12 percent of the world's population.
  • About 3.1 million children under five years of age die each year of hunger and malnutrition -  that's about 8,700 children dying each day - and about one child every 10 seconds.
  • Hunger kills more people each year than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.\
  • There are more hungry people in the world today than the combined populations of the United States, Canada and the Europen Union.
  • Hunger is the world's number one health risk today.

These, and related facts, illustrate the depth of the problems associated with hunger and malnutrition around the world. They are made worse by poverty, drought, war and strife, natural disasters, and overt neglect by those who have plenty. Hunger is a real and important issue in the world today.

Saloma Baptist Church is a congregation compelled by the love of Jesus Christ, and our mission is to minister to our community and world in the name of Jesus Christ. We are already doing a lot in support of hunger relief - we recently sent funds to Zambia to help with hunger relief necessitated by the drought there; funds have been sent to help with the Syrian refugee crisis through the Baptist General Association of Virginia; we support the mission of Baptist World Aid of the Baptist World Alliance; we support our Taylor County Food Pantry run by the Taylor County Ministerial Association; we help local families in need with benevolence gifts; we support Baptist Global Response in our general fund mission budget; and now we are collecting funds to donate $1,000 to BGR for global hunger relief. Many of our families collect pocket change throughout the year and bring it in October and November to help support this effort. Others provide sacrificial gifts during this special mission emphasis.

Global Hunger Relief combines our gospel in action - bringing around 30,000 people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ around the world while providing food and empowerment to "the least of these, our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ..."

Will you join us in ministering to the "least of these" via our Hunger Relief Fund mission drive? Thank you for your support.

AuthorKaleb Chowning

September is a busy time for most families with the end of summer and schools being back in full session. Fall sports, including high school and college football, get underway. There are few things more enjoyable than a Friday night high school football game, or a Saturday college football game. Our favorite teams compete, and we are enthusiastic in our reaction as fans.

Fall also brings about the changing of the seasons and some of the most beautiful manifestations of God's creation. In late September and into October, we begin to experience one of the most beautiful sights with the changing of the colors and the brilliant array of gold, red, and orange! I cannot imagine an atheist or agnostic seeing this wonderful display of God's handiwork and remaining a nonbeliever.

What about the church? What does the fall season bring to the life of the church? There are numerous activities, and in many ways, we have come to gauge the vitality of a church in terms of how busy the people are. And while there is some relative truth to the point that a congregation needs to be active, the absolute number of activities and services does not necessarily illustrate the strength of a given local congregation of believers.

The real test of a church is whether we are manifesting the Spirit of Christ in all aspects of congregational life. Are we being the salt of the earth and light of the world? Are we impacting lives of individual people in our homes and neighborhood for the cause of Jesus Christ? Are we ministering to the "least of these" our brothers and sisters with particular needs? In responding to these questions, we begin to answer the question of what it means to be the church of Jesus Christ.

As we move forward in a new Christian Education year, and as we move toward the fall season, let's resolve to make certain that in the life of Saloma Baptist Church, we are influencing our community and world for Jesus Christ, we are displaying the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and we will affirm the love of Jesus Christ for all people! We are made in God's image, and we are the ultimate creation of God. So, let's be about His work!

AuthorKaleb Chowning