Psalm 91 Night Terrors

Community Baptist Church • February 16, 2021

Psalm 91

Night Terrors

 

           Night terrors (vs 5) are excruciating and exhausting for the one experiencing them and the family surrounding them. Plague and pestilence create death and every family member is impacted. It is tempting to read this psalm as an assurance that nothing evil, nothing harmful nothing destructive impacts those who trust God.

           The opposite may be closer to the truth. Evil exists. Harmful things happen. Destruction occurs. These are consequences of the fall (see Genesis 3). Twice the psalmist references where he chooses to dwell or make one’s habitation (see vs 2, 9).

           The evil and darkness of the world around us is a natural result of the sin of Adam and Even compounded by generation after generation of men and women just like Adam and Eve.

These are not permanent conditions. Six times in the last section God promises that He will act – deliver, protect, answer, be with, rescue, and satisfy.

           In order to receive all that God has for us, though, we have to call out to Him. Sometimes the most effective prayer is the shortest one – ‘Help!’ All of us experience a variety of challenges. None of us are exempt from the consequences of the Fall. Every one of us is but a prayer away from God’s gracious promises.

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PSALM 88

Community Baptist Church • January 11, 2021

Psalm 88

“…abandoned among the dead”

(NOTE: I am beginning my series of reflections on the Psalms again after a month’s absence. This reflection is longer than many, but I need to share this with you.)

           Deep depression and paralyzing anxiety have been part of my makeup since I can remember. For many years I had no words with which to describe my condition. I have vivid memories of lying awake for hours, paralyzed by anxiety, unable to reach the light on the nightstand next to my bed. I can remember hours in my study unable to reach for the phone. I can remember seasons when I could barely function. Oh, I went through the motions. I showed up for work. I preached and led worship. I made visits with my church family. I led in evangelistic meetings. I collaborated with other pastors in community events. I spent time with my wife and kids. All the while at times my mind and heart were racing with anxiety and/or deep and often uncontrollable despair.

           I remember hearing more than once how believers, particularly pastors, should be so spiritually attuned to God that peace would totally prevail. So, instead of sharing my experiences I hid them, and when I couldn’t hide my actions I blamed stress for my failures.

           In the past thirty years I discovered several powerful resources. First, I spoke to my physician. He and I agreed on a course of medical treatment that has been helpful. Second, I make sure to stay in touch with a group of trusted believers with whom I can be totally transparent. Third, and perhaps most helpful I rediscovered the Psalms of the Old Testament.

           The prayers and songs composed by believers centuries before the birth of Christ voiced almost every emotion I have ever experienced.

           The 88th psalm begins not with a note of discouragement, but an pronouncement of faith - “Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out before You day and night.” (Psalm 88:1, HCSB). God IS the Lord of MY salvation. Without that anchor for my soul the darkness may well have claimed my life. As I immersed myself in the psalms, the prayer book of Judaism, I began to find fellow-sufferers who often voiced my deepest hurts and hungers to God. Using the their words I learned that I am not alone.

           Some would read Psalm 88 as a prayer of failure. Blaming God (vs 6, 14-15, 16-18) and expressing abandonment may strike some as words of a failed servant. I read them and pray them not as one who has failed, but as one who knows that God alone can rescue me from the pit of despair, the overwhelming paralysis of anxiety.

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Journey Through Luke

Community Baptist Church • December 19, 2020

Dec 19

Luke 19

You did not recognize the time when God visited you

 

           On Jesus’ last journey to Jerusalem He passed through Jericho with others headed to Jerusalem for Passover. Those who had been following Jesus were eagerly anticipating some sort of showdown between Jesus and the Romans. The kingdom which Jesus had been incessantly talking about was near. It was time.

           In Jericho people lined the route to see Jesus. Zacchaeus had to climb a tree in order to see “who Jesus was” (vs 3). Little did he know Jesus ‘saw’ him! The exchange between these two illustrate the nature of the kingdom, but few had the eyes to really see what it was about.

           Entering Jerusalem with the crowds gathering for Passover the eagerness for God to act intensified. Crowds began to acknowledge this Jesus (vs 38), full of anticipation for all that was about to occur.

           As Jesus drew near, however, He saw something entirely different. What He saw was a city overflowing with people eager to experience the kingdom of God, but people who were  completely missing the point. “If you knew…” (vs 42). Jesus grieved because it was clear they didn’t know.

           Entering the Temple all Jesus could see were hindrances and obstacles to the in-breaking kingdom of God. Clearing the Temple was temporary -  the real cleansing would occur in a few days. The kingdom was coming, just not in the way most people were eagerly anticipating.

           Christmas is less than a week away. What are you seeing as you look at the traffic, as you hustle and bustle through the stores? May God give us open eyes to see the truth: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

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Journey Through Luke's Gopel

Community Baptist Church • December 18, 2020

Dec 18

Luke 18

They understood none of these things.

           Pray with persistence. Pray in humility. Trust like children, be willing to give all for possessing the kingdom of God. Those who had been with Jesus the longest, the fishermen hed had called by name, the tax-collector whose life Jesus had disrupted, others He had identified as ‘apostles,’ none of them understood. Having heard Jesus teach, seeing His perform miracles for nearly three years, and they still did not understand.

           It all sounds so clear in our ears doesn’t it? Or does it? We still pray with little or no persistence. We still brag about our diligence and our accomplishments for God. We still act superior to those who act like children. We hold on to our ‘things’ and miss much of what God is really doing in our world.

           If we want to understand, then we need to trust completely like a child, let go of anything that is keeping us anchored to this world, and learn to live fully exposed before God. Then maybe we can begin to understand.

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A Journey Through Luke's Gospel

Community Baptist Church • December 15, 2020

Dec 15

Luke 15

“This man welcomes sinners…”

           A serious accusation is leveled against Jesus by the religious conservatives of His era. An obedient Jew, as defined by the OT and the centuries of interpretation, sought to be totally distinct from any hint of sin. Welcoming ‘sinners,’ and even more damaging to Jesus’ reputation – “He eats with them” (vs 2). To have a meal is to be in close, even intimate, fellowship.

           Jesus could have ignored this challenge. Instead He tells three stories (parables) to illustrate the deep and unending compassion of God for all creation. C. H. Spurgeon wrote of these parables

[God] has a deep sympathy with each stray heart…He grieves over each lost sheep, for he knows the misery that lies in the fact of being lost. … His compassion…[is]…the compassion of an infinite heart brimming over with an ocean of love.

A lost sheep, a lost coin, a lost son, and an unforgiving son all are ways Jesus illustrates God’s never-ending compassion for His own.

           We are never as far from God’s heart as we often think. Like the father in the parable of the two sons, God is eager to receive the repentant heart.  


C. H. Spurgeon, The Spurgeon Study Bible: Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN.: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 1400.

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Christmas Journey Through Luke's Gospel
Christmas Journey Through Luke's Gospel

Community Baptist Church • December 03, 2020

Dec 3, 2020

Luke 3

What then should we do?

           John the Baptist, challenging people to a different way of life, insisted that a person’s heritage was no guarantee of God’s blessing (see vs, 8-9). Those who listened wanted specifics – what should we do (vs 10, 12, 14)? Many thought perhaps John was the Promised One, the One of whom the prophets of old had spoken. With his rather sudden appearance as though out of nowhere, his striking appearance, and his startling message created waves of expectation.

           However, he quickly dispelled any speculation. He was NOT the Messiah, but the Messiah is coming! John’s preaching soon created the wrong kind of wave, and Herod had him arrested but not before he baptized Jesus, the Promised One.

           IF heritage doesn’t matter what does Luke record the genealogy of Jesus? The Messiah, whom had been prophesied, must come from the family of Jacob, through the line of King David of Israel. This long line of ‘begats’ is a reminder that God’s plan has been unfolding since creation (vs 38).

           Though John appears to have come out of nowhere, he really comes as part of God’s plan of the ages.

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 Reading the Bible Together
Reading the Bible Together

Community Baptist Church • November 02, 2020

NOVEMBER 2020

I invite you to join me this month in reading the New Testament

book of James. If we read one chapter each day during the month of November we will have read the entire book six times by the end of November.

1         James 1

2         James 2

3         James 3

4         James 4

5         James 5

6         James 1

7         James 2

8         James 3

9         James 4

10       James 5

11       James 1

12       James 2

13       James 3

14       James 4

15       James 5

15       James 1

17       James 2

18       James 3

19       James 4

20       James 5

21       James 1

22       James 2

23       James 3

24       James 4

25       James 5

26       James 1

27       James 2

28       James 3

29       James 4

30       James 5


Chuck Lawless, a professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary suggests:

  • Ask God to teach you something from His Word. God will simply teach you over and over again what the book is about while also challenging and convicting you.
  • Read slowly enough to grasp what you’ve read; absorb the reading.
  • Don’t skim or speed-read, especially as you read the book for the 5th or 6th time. The goal is to read thoroughly each time.
  • If you want to use a study Bible to understand the text better, feel free to do that—but focus on the Scriptures more than the notes.
  • Thank God for any insight you gain. Let your Bible reading be dialogue as you listen to God and respond to Him in gratitude, repentance, and trust.

Feel free to email me at sschenewerk@gmail.com; text me at 541-784-8901, or reach out on our Facebook pages (Winston Community Baptist Church or Steven William Schenewerk) with questions and/or comments as you read.

Looking forward to diving into God’s Word together!

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Fasten Your Seatbelt

Community Baptist Church • October 21, 2020

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Why I Give to the LMCO

Community Baptist Church • October 15, 2020



As Christmas season comes around again, people begin to think of decorated trees, tables and arches, mistletoe, manger scenes, and GIFTS! Eggnog, candy canes, cookies, luscious dinners, caroling, family visits, snow, ice skating, ski trips, tobogganing, and sledding. As an IMB SBC missionary for more than three decades out here — I pen these words on Oct. 5, 2020 in Chile, where spring has sprung — what do I think about? Well, for starters, heat, BBQ, watermelon, and firecrackers. Yes, we do put up a tree, and give gifts, but at the other end of the globe, and below the equator, it is summer. No turkeys are even available in most places where missionaries serve. What I think about more than anything is the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, the offering that Southern Baptist churches, partners, missionaries and their kids support at this time of the year, and which pays for our support and which keeps us, more than 3,600 missionaries and their children, on the field. At this time, of the year four key words come to my mind:

-GRATITUDE: How thankful we are for the billions of dollars that SBC churches and individuals have poured out over so many decades in an offering of gratitude and praise to the Baby in a manger. It is an offering of gratitude to the One who was incarnated, who grew up, set up His tent among us, led a sinless human life, and then gave His life for a lost world. He then rose again on the third day and ascended into heaven, where He intercedes at the right hand of the Father for all who believe in Him. We share Him with the lost world, and we do it because of faithful giving to the LMCO.

-LOSTNESS: I think of Kara and Bruno, Kara’s two-year-old boy. We met them on a prayer walk yesterday near our home in Chile. Kara was sitting on a bench. We approached her and found that she lives here and is married to a Chilean. She speaks English, and her father was a diplomat. She talked about how she often feels lonely, not knowing when she will see her family again. We gave her a tract, called “Steps to Peace with God,” and left. We now pray regularly for her and pray she will call us, or that we can meet again.

-OPPORTUNITY: Our Lottie Moon offerings — yours and mine — pay for missionary rent, missionary health care, medications, food, and fuel. They even pay for the tract I gave to Mrs. Kara yesterday. The offerings also pay for us to share Theological, Biblical and Pastoral training with pastors and leaders in the interior of a country. Many potential pastors have never been to the capital and cannot easily go there to study in the seminary. Many people, like Pastor Raul, studied that way. Pastor Raul is a seminary teacher and pastors three churches in Uruguay’s outback. He also serves as the Secretary of the Uruguay Baptist Convention All this happened because of gifts to the Cooperative Program and our faithful giving to LMCO.

-SACRIFICE: When God gave his son Jesus for a lost world, He gave his best. He gave his only, and He gave just what we needed. He so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son (John. 3:16). When I give my LMCO offering, I want it to be my best. I want it to be sacrificial, and I want it to be something that costs until it almost hurts. I make it my most expensive Christmas gift. I do not want to give to the risen Lord something as an afterthought. I want it to be well thought out, planned and sacrificial. Is that not the Spirit of Christmas? God gave us the best, His only and just what we needed. So why do I — an IMB SBC missionary of more than three decades — give to LMCO? Because I believe the offering is well utilized and administered, and I believe that I am privileged to do so.

Tim Kunkel Santiago Chile

OCT, 15 th 2020

Heb. 6:10

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Revive. Restore, Renew

Steven W. Schenewerk • October 14, 2020

Psalm 80


           Within a generation after the death of King David God’s people were divided. Ten tribes settled in the north of the Promised Land and two tribes remained in and around Jerusalem. The people of the north suffered a succession of families who wrestled leadership from one another. Samaria was built in order to be a capitol city. Their first ‘king’ of the created an entire religious system, borrowed from their own past revolving around golden calves.

           The southern ‘nation’ was ruled by descendants of David. Some were godly men, others not quite so much. Yet when Samaria fell to the Assyrians the tribes in the south felt the fall in a deeply personal way. Those ten tribes were family. To see family humiliated and exiled from their land and to see foreigners who knew nothing of the sacredness of the land take their place was heartbreaking.

           This lament, authored by the musicians of the Temple, reflects how deeply felt the fall of Samaria was experienced. Prayer for deliverance appears to be lost in the smoke of God’s wrath. Tears of sorrow, the agony of defeat while enemies rejoiced is out of character for the people whom God had rescued from Egypt.

           In our tumultuous times it can seem as though God’s favor has been transformed into wrath. Where we once experienced triumph and joy we now seem to see tragedy and despair. When we reflect on where we’ve come from and where we are headed, we feel shame instead of confidence.

           As the prayer of lament concludes the musicians pray for God to raise up one whom He can use to restore God’s people. Restoration, revival can only happen when God’s people affirm as one, Jesus (the One who is at the right hand of God) is Lord.

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Journey Through Luke's Gospel

Luke 4
Dec 4, 2020
“in the power of the [Holy] Spirit” (Luke 4:14)
           The ancient world was inhabited, or at least most believed, by all sorts of spirits – good and evil. These ‘spirits’ could be worshiped, feared, obeyed, and at times they showed themselves as in possession of individuals (see Luke 4:33). Both John the Baptist and Jesus were declared to have been filled with the Spirit of God from the moment of conception (see Luke 1:15, 35, 41).
           Luke tells us that Jesus was ‘led by the Spirit’ into a wilderness area. At the end of forty days a spiritual battle occurred (see Luke 4:2-12). The ‘devil’ pounced on Jesus, who after this ordeal was hungry, thirsty, and weary. Jesus, however, filled by the Spirit of God overcame each of the three challenges the devil threw at Him.
           Arriving back at home, ‘in the power of the Spirit’ (Luke 4:14) Jesus taught in the synagogues. One Sabbath, in Capernaum, an evil spirit (related to the devil) cried out, ‘Leave us alone’ (Luke 4:34). The evil spirit who had overwhelmed and possessed this man knew exactly who Jesus was, where He was from, and what His intention was – to defeat the powers of evil and darkness. Later on that same evening while staying with Peter and his family Luke records that a crowd had gathered. Among this crowd “demons were coming out of many, shouting and saying, ‘You are the Son of God’ (Luke 4:41).
           Luke 4 ends with Jesus in a ‘deserted’ place. Perhaps it was in these type of places Jesus could renew His sense of God’s presence and power. Perhaps Jesus just needed time away from followers and the crowds that gathered in His presence.
           As we prepare to acknowledge and celebrate the birth of Jesus let’s not forget: we still live in a world inhabited by spirits. But as one of Jesus’ followers would remind his readers decades after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension: “…the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4, HCSB)
 
Dec 5
Luke 5
“And the Lord’s power to heal was in him” (Luke 5:17)
           Most of Luke 5 shows Jesus hemmed in by huge crowds. Jesus’ words were refreshing. He spoke of a kingdom that would last forever, a kingdom that even the Romans could not conquer. Not only did He speak of such a kingdom, He demonstrated the power of this kingdom over nature, over disease, and over the worst disorder of all: sin. Jews knew that sin separated them from God. Their entire calendar was oriented around worship services aimed at reminding God’s people that forgiveness was accessible, that God would forgive sin.
           When four friends, unable to reach Jesus through the crowds, tore open the roof to lower their friend in front of Jesus, He paused. He didn’t rebuke them or the man lying on the pallet. Rather, Jesus looked at the religious officials who were perplexed by Him. He saw that the most challenging issue in the heart of a human being was not physical paralysis. The issue for everyone: sin. Luke 5:24 is one of the most startling sentences in the gospel. “The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” so, Jesus told the paralyzed man: “Get up, take your stretcher, and go home.”
           I can’t think of anyone I know who doesn’t experience some ache or pain. It may not be life-threatening or life-altering, but physical pain is simply part of life. We have a multitude of remedies in our homes – pain relievers, heating pads, icing pads, and so on.
           What we really need, though, is forgiveness. And there is the promise of Christmas. One has come who has the authority to forgive sin. By His death, resurrection, and ascension Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, advocating and interceding for us: sin is forgiven! We can heal most of our aches and pains with remedies we have on hand or those our physician can prescribe.
           Only Jesus can forgive sin. Trust Him today. Confess your sin. Receive His forgiveness.
 
Dec 6
Luke 6
           Jesus spent hours in prayer, in conversation with God. After one all-night prayer session, Jesus called twelve men from among the crowd that followed Him. These He named ‘apostles,’ or ‘sent ones.’ These twelve, and their example of faith, were called to be the foundation upon which Jesus builds His ‘church.’
           What strikes me, though, is the night before He announces His choice. Jesus spent the night in prayer. When life is hard, which these days descrbes all of our lives, it helps me to remember several things:
           - Jesus knows my name - (Matthew 6:8, 25-33);
- Jesus prays for me by name - “Therefore, He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:25, HCSB);
            - Jesus has an assignment for me – (Matthew 28:16-20; 1 Corinthians 12; etc…).
           Jesus usually drew a crowd wherever He went. Yet in that crowd were individuals. Jesus, God-in-the-flesh, who holds the universe together, cares enough to know me, call me by name, and find a place for me in His kingdom advance.
           Are you following close enough to hear Him call you by name? Do you have confidence that He “always lives to intercede” for you? You can choose to follow Him. You can be assured He always lives to intercede, to pray, to speak to God, on your behalf.
 
Dec 7
Luke 7
           Are You the one? John the Baptist’s disciples were tasked with asking Jesus this important question. John was in prison because of his confrontation with Herod over Herod’s marriage practices. While in prison, John must have wondered: has my life’s work of proclaiming the coming Messiah been in vain? Is this One whom I had declared to be the Lmb of God which takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)?
           Jesus’ answer was simple. Look around and see what is happening. In Luke 7 Jesus heals the son of a centurion (interesting: this Roman solider had quite the reputation among the local Jewish community – see vs. 4-5). Jesus interrupts a funeral procession and raises a widows son from the dead. Earlier Luke tells us that a great multitude had come from all over the area to “be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured” (Luke 6:17-18).
           There is a difference between seeing and observing. We can see with our eyes the circumstances unfolding around us. We can see the horrific impact of the pandemic. Take a moment today and look beyond what you see. Where is God at work? What is God doing in and around your life?
 
Dec 8
Luke 8
           Who then is this?
His closest friends and followers, many of whom were experienced fishermen, were frightened by a storm that threatened to capsize their boat. Jesus, however, calmly rebuked the wind and the Sea of Galilee became calm.
Jesus confronts a demon possessed man, a man who so frightened his own family that he was forced to live among a graveyard. Many had sought to shackle the man for the protection of others and to keep him from self-harm and been unsuccessful. With a simple conversation Jesus set this man free.
           Still followed by crowds, Jairus, a synagogue official begs Jesus to prevent his daughter from dying. On the way, a woman suffering from an incurable disorder simply reaches out to touch the end of Jesus’ robe and is healed.
           Who then is this? He stills a storm with a word. He heals just by being present. He has the power to set one free from a horde of demons. He exercises power over death. We have the benefit of 2,000 years of historical distance. Those early men and women, who were often overwhelmed by life, knew only that Jesus, is One who entertains crowds with parables, One through whom healing power flows, and One who is able to speak words that calm the sea, overpower the adversary, and restore life. Who then is Jesus to you?
 
 
 
Dec 9
Luke 9
He determined to journey to Jerusalem
           Deploying His disciples to proclaim the kingdom and heal the sick, Jesus prepares for the final confrontation. All that has happened in His life is but a prelude to the climactic events that unfold in Jerusalem. Peter’s confession that Jesus is God’s Anointed One, the Messiah, means that political and religious leader have to act. Jesus’ claim of a kingdom is a direct threat to Roman authority and Jewish accommodation.
           On the way to Jerusalem Jesus challenges His closest followers that sticking with Him will be costly, even to the point of costing them their lives. Peter, James and John are given a glimpse of Jesus’ glorious identity, and are overwhelmed into silence. While Jesus, Peter, James, and John are enveloped in the glory of God, the other disciples are stymied by a child experiencing demon possession. Jesus, knowing what is ahead wonders, will these followers be able to stay committed?
           And so the question remains. Knowing where God is headed (see Revelation 5-18), are we able to stay the course? Like the disciples we jockey for position, we avoid His presence, we make promises we are unable to fulfill. Can we stay the course? 
 
Dec 10
Luke 10
An Abundant Harvest
           Nothing is more exciting than harvest time. Plowing, planting, weeding, watering, and waiting are over. Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of labor. As Jesus sends out teams of followers to every town He is about to visit He suggests a prayer: Pray for MORE laborers. The harvest is ready. There are NOT ENOUGH LABORERS. During our annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions one resource points out that some 1.5 million people are born every week into our world. On average believers share the gospel (across the world) less than 300,000 times. Do the math. The harvest is plentiful and the laborers are very few.
           As these teams went throughout the region Jesus observed God on the move and Satan on retreat. In the midst of victory that which is worth celebrating is that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Is your name there? Have you committed your life to Jesus Christ?
           One teacher of the law challenged Jesus. What does it mean to be a fully committed Jesus follower? Jesus illustrates with a well-known parable – The Parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus contrasts how religious professionals are often preoccupied with and miss the obvious needs around them. The Samaritan, part of a hated and despised group of people, saw what professional religious Jews missed. To fully follow Jesus is to learn to see the obvious AND to do whatever is necessary to meet the needs. What needs are obvious around you? What can you do?
 
 
Dec 11
Luke 11
Teach us to pray…
           Of all the disciplines prayer seems to me to be the hardest. I read my Bible daily. I worship with God’s people regularly. I study my Bible. I give financially to support the ministry of the church as well as several other organizations. I don’t share my faith as often as I could. Fortunately those first disciples shared the same frustration.
           In answer to their request Jesus offered a model, a pattern for prayer. I doubt that He meant for us to memorize this prayer and only use these words. The rest of Luke 11 helps us think through the pattern that Jesus shares.
           The nature of the One to whom we pray is described in Luke 11:5-13. Jesus wraps up this brief overview with a question: ‘How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?’ God is indeed generous and even eager to answer our requests.
           Praying requires a singleness of focus and heart (Luke 11:14-26). Divided minds and hearts make anything difficult.
           The last section of Luke 11 clarifies the theme of the prayer: the kingdom of God. God is up to something, the same thing God has been up to since, well, the beginning: revealing Himself and His design for how life can be lived. In many ways the ‘Pharisees’, the religious conservatives of first century Judaism are more a hindrance than a help to the unfolding of God’s kingdom. Jesus’ has some harsh words for any heart and mind that distorts the kingdom of God.
           To pray, then, is a privilege because God wants to hear us, God wants to answer, God wants to unveil His kingdom in our lives, families, churches, and communities. Nonetheless, prayer is hard work. May Jesus’ words encourage us and empower us to keep at the hard work.
 
Dec 12
Luke 12
Don’t be afraid…Don’t worry
           The biggest joy-stealers are fear and anxiety. Yet over and over God’s Word commands us to NOT be afraid and to NOT worry. This Christmas season we are confronted each day with reasons to fear and reasons to be anxious. The words Jesus spoke to His followers 2,000 years ago still apply.
           Don’t be afraid.
           Our worth is determined by God’s valuation. In His eyes each life is precious. Each life is valuable. Though we often value life by the clothing we wear and the foods we consume all we need to do is look out the window. The birds of the air, the grass in the yard are daily evidences of God’s compassionate concern.
           Don’t be anxious/Don’t worry
           “Your Father knows” (vs 30). God knows our need before we ask. He loves to hear us ask, much as we love it when our children (still young at home or grown and away from home) ask. There is nothing we need God cannot provide.
           God’s provision enable us to live with our eyes focused not on the past. Our sin is forgiven and gone. We no longer need to focus exclusively on the present. God will provide our needs. God’s provision allows us to live with joy as we eagerly wait for Him to bring His-story to conclusion by wrapping all things up with the return of Jesus Christ.
           Relax.
           God’s got this!
 
 
Dec 13
Luke 13
The glorious things He was doing
           Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem (see Luke 9:51-ff) illustrates what He teaches in His parables. In Luke 13 three parables offer hope. Jesus’ healing of a woman afflicted for 18 years calls us to persistence in spite of obstacles. Jesus reminds His listeners along the journey that everyone is accountable to God for their own sin, even king Herod. The last paragraph in the chapter shows us the depth of Jesus’ compassion for His own people.
           On our journey there are seasons when all news is bad news. There are phases when the best we can do is wait. There are days, weeks, months, and sometimes years when nothing appears to be happening but beneath the surface God’s truth is slowly creating transformation.
           Make sure that on your journey you look for the ways that God is working.

Psalm 91 Night Terrors

Community Baptist Church • February 16, 2021

Psalm 91

Night Terrors

 

           Night terrors (vs 5) are excruciating and exhausting for the one experiencing them and the family surrounding them. Plague and pestilence create death and every family member is impacted. It is tempting to read this psalm as an assurance that nothing evil, nothing harmful nothing destructive impacts those who trust God.

           The opposite may be closer to the truth. Evil exists. Harmful things happen. Destruction occurs. These are consequences of the fall (see Genesis 3). Twice the psalmist references where he chooses to dwell or make one’s habitation (see vs 2, 9).

           The evil and darkness of the world around us is a natural result of the sin of Adam and Even compounded by generation after generation of men and women just like Adam and Eve.

These are not permanent conditions. Six times in the last section God promises that He will act – deliver, protect, answer, be with, rescue, and satisfy.

           In order to receive all that God has for us, though, we have to call out to Him. Sometimes the most effective prayer is the shortest one – ‘Help!’ All of us experience a variety of challenges. None of us are exempt from the consequences of the Fall. Every one of us is but a prayer away from God’s gracious promises.

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PSALM 88

Community Baptist Church • January 11, 2021

Psalm 88

“…abandoned among the dead”

(NOTE: I am beginning my series of reflections on the Psalms again after a month’s absence. This reflection is longer than many, but I need to share this with you.)

           Deep depression and paralyzing anxiety have been part of my makeup since I can remember. For many years I had no words with which to describe my condition. I have vivid memories of lying awake for hours, paralyzed by anxiety, unable to reach the light on the nightstand next to my bed. I can remember hours in my study unable to reach for the phone. I can remember seasons when I could barely function. Oh, I went through the motions. I showed up for work. I preached and led worship. I made visits with my church family. I led in evangelistic meetings. I collaborated with other pastors in community events. I spent time with my wife and kids. All the while at times my mind and heart were racing with anxiety and/or deep and often uncontrollable despair.

           I remember hearing more than once how believers, particularly pastors, should be so spiritually attuned to God that peace would totally prevail. So, instead of sharing my experiences I hid them, and when I couldn’t hide my actions I blamed stress for my failures.

           In the past thirty years I discovered several powerful resources. First, I spoke to my physician. He and I agreed on a course of medical treatment that has been helpful. Second, I make sure to stay in touch with a group of trusted believers with whom I can be totally transparent. Third, and perhaps most helpful I rediscovered the Psalms of the Old Testament.

           The prayers and songs composed by believers centuries before the birth of Christ voiced almost every emotion I have ever experienced.

           The 88th psalm begins not with a note of discouragement, but an pronouncement of faith - “Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out before You day and night.” (Psalm 88:1, HCSB). God IS the Lord of MY salvation. Without that anchor for my soul the darkness may well have claimed my life. As I immersed myself in the psalms, the prayer book of Judaism, I began to find fellow-sufferers who often voiced my deepest hurts and hungers to God. Using the their words I learned that I am not alone.

           Some would read Psalm 88 as a prayer of failure. Blaming God (vs 6, 14-15, 16-18) and expressing abandonment may strike some as words of a failed servant. I read them and pray them not as one who has failed, but as one who knows that God alone can rescue me from the pit of despair, the overwhelming paralysis of anxiety.

Read more
Journey Through Luke

Community Baptist Church • December 19, 2020

Dec 19

Luke 19

You did not recognize the time when God visited you

 

           On Jesus’ last journey to Jerusalem He passed through Jericho with others headed to Jerusalem for Passover. Those who had been following Jesus were eagerly anticipating some sort of showdown between Jesus and the Romans. The kingdom which Jesus had been incessantly talking about was near. It was time.

           In Jericho people lined the route to see Jesus. Zacchaeus had to climb a tree in order to see “who Jesus was” (vs 3). Little did he know Jesus ‘saw’ him! The exchange between these two illustrate the nature of the kingdom, but few had the eyes to really see what it was about.

           Entering Jerusalem with the crowds gathering for Passover the eagerness for God to act intensified. Crowds began to acknowledge this Jesus (vs 38), full of anticipation for all that was about to occur.

           As Jesus drew near, however, He saw something entirely different. What He saw was a city overflowing with people eager to experience the kingdom of God, but people who were  completely missing the point. “If you knew…” (vs 42). Jesus grieved because it was clear they didn’t know.

           Entering the Temple all Jesus could see were hindrances and obstacles to the in-breaking kingdom of God. Clearing the Temple was temporary -  the real cleansing would occur in a few days. The kingdom was coming, just not in the way most people were eagerly anticipating.

           Christmas is less than a week away. What are you seeing as you look at the traffic, as you hustle and bustle through the stores? May God give us open eyes to see the truth: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

Read more
Journey Through Luke's Gopel

Community Baptist Church • December 18, 2020

Dec 18

Luke 18

They understood none of these things.

           Pray with persistence. Pray in humility. Trust like children, be willing to give all for possessing the kingdom of God. Those who had been with Jesus the longest, the fishermen hed had called by name, the tax-collector whose life Jesus had disrupted, others He had identified as ‘apostles,’ none of them understood. Having heard Jesus teach, seeing His perform miracles for nearly three years, and they still did not understand.

           It all sounds so clear in our ears doesn’t it? Or does it? We still pray with little or no persistence. We still brag about our diligence and our accomplishments for God. We still act superior to those who act like children. We hold on to our ‘things’ and miss much of what God is really doing in our world.

           If we want to understand, then we need to trust completely like a child, let go of anything that is keeping us anchored to this world, and learn to live fully exposed before God. Then maybe we can begin to understand.

Read more
A Journey Through Luke's Gospel

Community Baptist Church • December 15, 2020

Dec 15

Luke 15

“This man welcomes sinners…”

           A serious accusation is leveled against Jesus by the religious conservatives of His era. An obedient Jew, as defined by the OT and the centuries of interpretation, sought to be totally distinct from any hint of sin. Welcoming ‘sinners,’ and even more damaging to Jesus’ reputation – “He eats with them” (vs 2). To have a meal is to be in close, even intimate, fellowship.

           Jesus could have ignored this challenge. Instead He tells three stories (parables) to illustrate the deep and unending compassion of God for all creation. C. H. Spurgeon wrote of these parables

[God] has a deep sympathy with each stray heart…He grieves over each lost sheep, for he knows the misery that lies in the fact of being lost. … His compassion…[is]…the compassion of an infinite heart brimming over with an ocean of love.

A lost sheep, a lost coin, a lost son, and an unforgiving son all are ways Jesus illustrates God’s never-ending compassion for His own.

           We are never as far from God’s heart as we often think. Like the father in the parable of the two sons, God is eager to receive the repentant heart.  


C. H. Spurgeon, The Spurgeon Study Bible: Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN.: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 1400.

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Christmas Journey Through Luke's Gospel
Christmas Journey Through Luke's Gospel

Community Baptist Church • December 03, 2020

Dec 3, 2020

Luke 3

What then should we do?

           John the Baptist, challenging people to a different way of life, insisted that a person’s heritage was no guarantee of God’s blessing (see vs, 8-9). Those who listened wanted specifics – what should we do (vs 10, 12, 14)? Many thought perhaps John was the Promised One, the One of whom the prophets of old had spoken. With his rather sudden appearance as though out of nowhere, his striking appearance, and his startling message created waves of expectation.

           However, he quickly dispelled any speculation. He was NOT the Messiah, but the Messiah is coming! John’s preaching soon created the wrong kind of wave, and Herod had him arrested but not before he baptized Jesus, the Promised One.

           IF heritage doesn’t matter what does Luke record the genealogy of Jesus? The Messiah, whom had been prophesied, must come from the family of Jacob, through the line of King David of Israel. This long line of ‘begats’ is a reminder that God’s plan has been unfolding since creation (vs 38).

           Though John appears to have come out of nowhere, he really comes as part of God’s plan of the ages.

Read more
 Reading the Bible Together
Reading the Bible Together

Community Baptist Church • November 02, 2020

NOVEMBER 2020

I invite you to join me this month in reading the New Testament

book of James. If we read one chapter each day during the month of November we will have read the entire book six times by the end of November.

1         James 1

2         James 2

3         James 3

4         James 4

5         James 5

6         James 1

7         James 2

8         James 3

9         James 4

10       James 5

11       James 1

12       James 2

13       James 3

14       James 4

15       James 5

15       James 1

17       James 2

18       James 3

19       James 4

20       James 5

21       James 1

22       James 2

23       James 3

24       James 4

25       James 5

26       James 1

27       James 2

28       James 3

29       James 4

30       James 5


Chuck Lawless, a professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary suggests:

  • Ask God to teach you something from His Word. God will simply teach you over and over again what the book is about while also challenging and convicting you.
  • Read slowly enough to grasp what you’ve read; absorb the reading.
  • Don’t skim or speed-read, especially as you read the book for the 5th or 6th time. The goal is to read thoroughly each time.
  • If you want to use a study Bible to understand the text better, feel free to do that—but focus on the Scriptures more than the notes.
  • Thank God for any insight you gain. Let your Bible reading be dialogue as you listen to God and respond to Him in gratitude, repentance, and trust.

Feel free to email me at sschenewerk@gmail.com; text me at 541-784-8901, or reach out on our Facebook pages (Winston Community Baptist Church or Steven William Schenewerk) with questions and/or comments as you read.

Looking forward to diving into God’s Word together!

Read more
Fasten Your Seatbelt

Community Baptist Church • October 21, 2020

Read more
Why I Give to the LMCO

Community Baptist Church • October 15, 2020



As Christmas season comes around again, people begin to think of decorated trees, tables and arches, mistletoe, manger scenes, and GIFTS! Eggnog, candy canes, cookies, luscious dinners, caroling, family visits, snow, ice skating, ski trips, tobogganing, and sledding. As an IMB SBC missionary for more than three decades out here — I pen these words on Oct. 5, 2020 in Chile, where spring has sprung — what do I think about? Well, for starters, heat, BBQ, watermelon, and firecrackers. Yes, we do put up a tree, and give gifts, but at the other end of the globe, and below the equator, it is summer. No turkeys are even available in most places where missionaries serve. What I think about more than anything is the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, the offering that Southern Baptist churches, partners, missionaries and their kids support at this time of the year, and which pays for our support and which keeps us, more than 3,600 missionaries and their children, on the field. At this time, of the year four key words come to my mind:

-GRATITUDE: How thankful we are for the billions of dollars that SBC churches and individuals have poured out over so many decades in an offering of gratitude and praise to the Baby in a manger. It is an offering of gratitude to the One who was incarnated, who grew up, set up His tent among us, led a sinless human life, and then gave His life for a lost world. He then rose again on the third day and ascended into heaven, where He intercedes at the right hand of the Father for all who believe in Him. We share Him with the lost world, and we do it because of faithful giving to the LMCO.

-LOSTNESS: I think of Kara and Bruno, Kara’s two-year-old boy. We met them on a prayer walk yesterday near our home in Chile. Kara was sitting on a bench. We approached her and found that she lives here and is married to a Chilean. She speaks English, and her father was a diplomat. She talked about how she often feels lonely, not knowing when she will see her family again. We gave her a tract, called “Steps to Peace with God,” and left. We now pray regularly for her and pray she will call us, or that we can meet again.

-OPPORTUNITY: Our Lottie Moon offerings — yours and mine — pay for missionary rent, missionary health care, medications, food, and fuel. They even pay for the tract I gave to Mrs. Kara yesterday. The offerings also pay for us to share Theological, Biblical and Pastoral training with pastors and leaders in the interior of a country. Many potential pastors have never been to the capital and cannot easily go there to study in the seminary. Many people, like Pastor Raul, studied that way. Pastor Raul is a seminary teacher and pastors three churches in Uruguay’s outback. He also serves as the Secretary of the Uruguay Baptist Convention All this happened because of gifts to the Cooperative Program and our faithful giving to LMCO.

-SACRIFICE: When God gave his son Jesus for a lost world, He gave his best. He gave his only, and He gave just what we needed. He so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son (John. 3:16). When I give my LMCO offering, I want it to be my best. I want it to be sacrificial, and I want it to be something that costs until it almost hurts. I make it my most expensive Christmas gift. I do not want to give to the risen Lord something as an afterthought. I want it to be well thought out, planned and sacrificial. Is that not the Spirit of Christmas? God gave us the best, His only and just what we needed. So why do I — an IMB SBC missionary of more than three decades — give to LMCO? Because I believe the offering is well utilized and administered, and I believe that I am privileged to do so.

Tim Kunkel Santiago Chile

OCT, 15 th 2020

Heb. 6:10

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Revive. Restore, Renew

Steven W. Schenewerk • October 14, 2020

Psalm 80


           Within a generation after the death of King David God’s people were divided. Ten tribes settled in the north of the Promised Land and two tribes remained in and around Jerusalem. The people of the north suffered a succession of families who wrestled leadership from one another. Samaria was built in order to be a capitol city. Their first ‘king’ of the created an entire religious system, borrowed from their own past revolving around golden calves.

           The southern ‘nation’ was ruled by descendants of David. Some were godly men, others not quite so much. Yet when Samaria fell to the Assyrians the tribes in the south felt the fall in a deeply personal way. Those ten tribes were family. To see family humiliated and exiled from their land and to see foreigners who knew nothing of the sacredness of the land take their place was heartbreaking.

           This lament, authored by the musicians of the Temple, reflects how deeply felt the fall of Samaria was experienced. Prayer for deliverance appears to be lost in the smoke of God’s wrath. Tears of sorrow, the agony of defeat while enemies rejoiced is out of character for the people whom God had rescued from Egypt.

           In our tumultuous times it can seem as though God’s favor has been transformed into wrath. Where we once experienced triumph and joy we now seem to see tragedy and despair. When we reflect on where we’ve come from and where we are headed, we feel shame instead of confidence.

           As the prayer of lament concludes the musicians pray for God to raise up one whom He can use to restore God’s people. Restoration, revival can only happen when God’s people affirm as one, Jesus (the One who is at the right hand of God) is Lord.

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Practical Idolatry

Practical Idolatry

Psalm 82


           “…while all the foundations of the earth crumble.” (Psalm 82:5, NET) These words, recorded thousands of years ago, just as easily might have been spoken this morning. What was once wrong is now right. What was once forbidden is now acceptable. What was once unthinkable is now the new normal.

           In an era now long past most everyone understood that the world was a deeply spiritual place – a place of spiritual conflict to be sure – yet a world under the control of God. Most everyone recognized that the sovereign God revealed in the Bible ultimately had the world firmly in hand. There have always been outliers, those who worship and serve spiritual powers of darkness who lay claim to be as powerful as God but in truth have no real authority.

           Much of the unsettledness of our day, as was true for the psalmist, lies in the practical idolatry practiced in our own lives. We say God is sovereign. We affirm, as the spiritual reminds us, “He’s got the whole world in His hands,” but we go about our lives as though we have full and complete autonomy. We recoil in shock if we are accused of idolatry. Often, though, we live as though God is distant and unconcerned.

           The substitutes for God are numerous. Political power, financial strength, social recognition, mastery over others are just a few of the idols that people chase. Those ‘so-called’ gods will ultimately fail. They may promise immortality, they may assure their followers of prominence and significance.

           Only the living God, as He is revealed in His own Word, will emerge victorious from the spiritual battle raging all around us. He will rise up. He will judge those living on this earth. He will exercise His creation based rights to rule because when all is said and done, we belong to Him.

Psalm 91 Night Terrors

Community Baptist Church • February 16, 2021

Psalm 91

Night Terrors

 

           Night terrors (vs 5) are excruciating and exhausting for the one experiencing them and the family surrounding them. Plague and pestilence create death and every family member is impacted. It is tempting to read this psalm as an assurance that nothing evil, nothing harmful nothing destructive impacts those who trust God.

           The opposite may be closer to the truth. Evil exists. Harmful things happen. Destruction occurs. These are consequences of the fall (see Genesis 3). Twice the psalmist references where he chooses to dwell or make one’s habitation (see vs 2, 9).

           The evil and darkness of the world around us is a natural result of the sin of Adam and Even compounded by generation after generation of men and women just like Adam and Eve.

These are not permanent conditions. Six times in the last section God promises that He will act – deliver, protect, answer, be with, rescue, and satisfy.

           In order to receive all that God has for us, though, we have to call out to Him. Sometimes the most effective prayer is the shortest one – ‘Help!’ All of us experience a variety of challenges. None of us are exempt from the consequences of the Fall. Every one of us is but a prayer away from God’s gracious promises.

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PSALM 88

Community Baptist Church • January 11, 2021

Psalm 88

“…abandoned among the dead”

(NOTE: I am beginning my series of reflections on the Psalms again after a month’s absence. This reflection is longer than many, but I need to share this with you.)

           Deep depression and paralyzing anxiety have been part of my makeup since I can remember. For many years I had no words with which to describe my condition. I have vivid memories of lying awake for hours, paralyzed by anxiety, unable to reach the light on the nightstand next to my bed. I can remember hours in my study unable to reach for the phone. I can remember seasons when I could barely function. Oh, I went through the motions. I showed up for work. I preached and led worship. I made visits with my church family. I led in evangelistic meetings. I collaborated with other pastors in community events. I spent time with my wife and kids. All the while at times my mind and heart were racing with anxiety and/or deep and often uncontrollable despair.

           I remember hearing more than once how believers, particularly pastors, should be so spiritually attuned to God that peace would totally prevail. So, instead of sharing my experiences I hid them, and when I couldn’t hide my actions I blamed stress for my failures.

           In the past thirty years I discovered several powerful resources. First, I spoke to my physician. He and I agreed on a course of medical treatment that has been helpful. Second, I make sure to stay in touch with a group of trusted believers with whom I can be totally transparent. Third, and perhaps most helpful I rediscovered the Psalms of the Old Testament.

           The prayers and songs composed by believers centuries before the birth of Christ voiced almost every emotion I have ever experienced.

           The 88th psalm begins not with a note of discouragement, but an pronouncement of faith - “Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out before You day and night.” (Psalm 88:1, HCSB). God IS the Lord of MY salvation. Without that anchor for my soul the darkness may well have claimed my life. As I immersed myself in the psalms, the prayer book of Judaism, I began to find fellow-sufferers who often voiced my deepest hurts and hungers to God. Using the their words I learned that I am not alone.

           Some would read Psalm 88 as a prayer of failure. Blaming God (vs 6, 14-15, 16-18) and expressing abandonment may strike some as words of a failed servant. I read them and pray them not as one who has failed, but as one who knows that God alone can rescue me from the pit of despair, the overwhelming paralysis of anxiety.

Read more
Journey Through Luke

Community Baptist Church • December 19, 2020

Dec 19

Luke 19

You did not recognize the time when God visited you

 

           On Jesus’ last journey to Jerusalem He passed through Jericho with others headed to Jerusalem for Passover. Those who had been following Jesus were eagerly anticipating some sort of showdown between Jesus and the Romans. The kingdom which Jesus had been incessantly talking about was near. It was time.

           In Jericho people lined the route to see Jesus. Zacchaeus had to climb a tree in order to see “who Jesus was” (vs 3). Little did he know Jesus ‘saw’ him! The exchange between these two illustrate the nature of the kingdom, but few had the eyes to really see what it was about.

           Entering Jerusalem with the crowds gathering for Passover the eagerness for God to act intensified. Crowds began to acknowledge this Jesus (vs 38), full of anticipation for all that was about to occur.

           As Jesus drew near, however, He saw something entirely different. What He saw was a city overflowing with people eager to experience the kingdom of God, but people who were  completely missing the point. “If you knew…” (vs 42). Jesus grieved because it was clear they didn’t know.

           Entering the Temple all Jesus could see were hindrances and obstacles to the in-breaking kingdom of God. Clearing the Temple was temporary -  the real cleansing would occur in a few days. The kingdom was coming, just not in the way most people were eagerly anticipating.

           Christmas is less than a week away. What are you seeing as you look at the traffic, as you hustle and bustle through the stores? May God give us open eyes to see the truth: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

Read more
Journey Through Luke's Gopel

Community Baptist Church • December 18, 2020

Dec 18

Luke 18

They understood none of these things.

           Pray with persistence. Pray in humility. Trust like children, be willing to give all for possessing the kingdom of God. Those who had been with Jesus the longest, the fishermen hed had called by name, the tax-collector whose life Jesus had disrupted, others He had identified as ‘apostles,’ none of them understood. Having heard Jesus teach, seeing His perform miracles for nearly three years, and they still did not understand.

           It all sounds so clear in our ears doesn’t it? Or does it? We still pray with little or no persistence. We still brag about our diligence and our accomplishments for God. We still act superior to those who act like children. We hold on to our ‘things’ and miss much of what God is really doing in our world.

           If we want to understand, then we need to trust completely like a child, let go of anything that is keeping us anchored to this world, and learn to live fully exposed before God. Then maybe we can begin to understand.

Read more
A Journey Through Luke's Gospel

Community Baptist Church • December 15, 2020

Dec 15

Luke 15

“This man welcomes sinners…”

           A serious accusation is leveled against Jesus by the religious conservatives of His era. An obedient Jew, as defined by the OT and the centuries of interpretation, sought to be totally distinct from any hint of sin. Welcoming ‘sinners,’ and even more damaging to Jesus’ reputation – “He eats with them” (vs 2). To have a meal is to be in close, even intimate, fellowship.

           Jesus could have ignored this challenge. Instead He tells three stories (parables) to illustrate the deep and unending compassion of God for all creation. C. H. Spurgeon wrote of these parables

[God] has a deep sympathy with each stray heart…He grieves over each lost sheep, for he knows the misery that lies in the fact of being lost. … His compassion…[is]…the compassion of an infinite heart brimming over with an ocean of love.

A lost sheep, a lost coin, a lost son, and an unforgiving son all are ways Jesus illustrates God’s never-ending compassion for His own.

           We are never as far from God’s heart as we often think. Like the father in the parable of the two sons, God is eager to receive the repentant heart.  


C. H. Spurgeon, The Spurgeon Study Bible: Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN.: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 1400.

Read more
Christmas Journey Through Luke's Gospel
Christmas Journey Through Luke's Gospel

Community Baptist Church • December 03, 2020

Dec 3, 2020

Luke 3

What then should we do?

           John the Baptist, challenging people to a different way of life, insisted that a person’s heritage was no guarantee of God’s blessing (see vs, 8-9). Those who listened wanted specifics – what should we do (vs 10, 12, 14)? Many thought perhaps John was the Promised One, the One of whom the prophets of old had spoken. With his rather sudden appearance as though out of nowhere, his striking appearance, and his startling message created waves of expectation.

           However, he quickly dispelled any speculation. He was NOT the Messiah, but the Messiah is coming! John’s preaching soon created the wrong kind of wave, and Herod had him arrested but not before he baptized Jesus, the Promised One.

           IF heritage doesn’t matter what does Luke record the genealogy of Jesus? The Messiah, whom had been prophesied, must come from the family of Jacob, through the line of King David of Israel. This long line of ‘begats’ is a reminder that God’s plan has been unfolding since creation (vs 38).

           Though John appears to have come out of nowhere, he really comes as part of God’s plan of the ages.

Read more
 Reading the Bible Together
Reading the Bible Together

Community Baptist Church • November 02, 2020

NOVEMBER 2020

I invite you to join me this month in reading the New Testament

book of James. If we read one chapter each day during the month of November we will have read the entire book six times by the end of November.

1         James 1

2         James 2

3         James 3

4         James 4

5         James 5

6         James 1

7         James 2

8         James 3

9         James 4

10       James 5

11       James 1

12       James 2

13       James 3

14       James 4

15       James 5

15       James 1

17       James 2

18       James 3

19       James 4

20       James 5

21       James 1

22       James 2

23       James 3

24       James 4

25       James 5

26       James 1

27       James 2

28       James 3

29       James 4

30       James 5


Chuck Lawless, a professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary suggests:

  • Ask God to teach you something from His Word. God will simply teach you over and over again what the book is about while also challenging and convicting you.
  • Read slowly enough to grasp what you’ve read; absorb the reading.
  • Don’t skim or speed-read, especially as you read the book for the 5th or 6th time. The goal is to read thoroughly each time.
  • If you want to use a study Bible to understand the text better, feel free to do that—but focus on the Scriptures more than the notes.
  • Thank God for any insight you gain. Let your Bible reading be dialogue as you listen to God and respond to Him in gratitude, repentance, and trust.

Feel free to email me at sschenewerk@gmail.com; text me at 541-784-8901, or reach out on our Facebook pages (Winston Community Baptist Church or Steven William Schenewerk) with questions and/or comments as you read.

Looking forward to diving into God’s Word together!

Read more
Fasten Your Seatbelt

Community Baptist Church • October 21, 2020

Read more
Why I Give to the LMCO

Community Baptist Church • October 15, 2020



As Christmas season comes around again, people begin to think of decorated trees, tables and arches, mistletoe, manger scenes, and GIFTS! Eggnog, candy canes, cookies, luscious dinners, caroling, family visits, snow, ice skating, ski trips, tobogganing, and sledding. As an IMB SBC missionary for more than three decades out here — I pen these words on Oct. 5, 2020 in Chile, where spring has sprung — what do I think about? Well, for starters, heat, BBQ, watermelon, and firecrackers. Yes, we do put up a tree, and give gifts, but at the other end of the globe, and below the equator, it is summer. No turkeys are even available in most places where missionaries serve. What I think about more than anything is the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, the offering that Southern Baptist churches, partners, missionaries and their kids support at this time of the year, and which pays for our support and which keeps us, more than 3,600 missionaries and their children, on the field. At this time, of the year four key words come to my mind:

-GRATITUDE: How thankful we are for the billions of dollars that SBC churches and individuals have poured out over so many decades in an offering of gratitude and praise to the Baby in a manger. It is an offering of gratitude to the One who was incarnated, who grew up, set up His tent among us, led a sinless human life, and then gave His life for a lost world. He then rose again on the third day and ascended into heaven, where He intercedes at the right hand of the Father for all who believe in Him. We share Him with the lost world, and we do it because of faithful giving to the LMCO.

-LOSTNESS: I think of Kara and Bruno, Kara’s two-year-old boy. We met them on a prayer walk yesterday near our home in Chile. Kara was sitting on a bench. We approached her and found that she lives here and is married to a Chilean. She speaks English, and her father was a diplomat. She talked about how she often feels lonely, not knowing when she will see her family again. We gave her a tract, called “Steps to Peace with God,” and left. We now pray regularly for her and pray she will call us, or that we can meet again.

-OPPORTUNITY: Our Lottie Moon offerings — yours and mine — pay for missionary rent, missionary health care, medications, food, and fuel. They even pay for the tract I gave to Mrs. Kara yesterday. The offerings also pay for us to share Theological, Biblical and Pastoral training with pastors and leaders in the interior of a country. Many potential pastors have never been to the capital and cannot easily go there to study in the seminary. Many people, like Pastor Raul, studied that way. Pastor Raul is a seminary teacher and pastors three churches in Uruguay’s outback. He also serves as the Secretary of the Uruguay Baptist Convention All this happened because of gifts to the Cooperative Program and our faithful giving to LMCO.

-SACRIFICE: When God gave his son Jesus for a lost world, He gave his best. He gave his only, and He gave just what we needed. He so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son (John. 3:16). When I give my LMCO offering, I want it to be my best. I want it to be sacrificial, and I want it to be something that costs until it almost hurts. I make it my most expensive Christmas gift. I do not want to give to the risen Lord something as an afterthought. I want it to be well thought out, planned and sacrificial. Is that not the Spirit of Christmas? God gave us the best, His only and just what we needed. So why do I — an IMB SBC missionary of more than three decades — give to LMCO? Because I believe the offering is well utilized and administered, and I believe that I am privileged to do so.

Tim Kunkel Santiago Chile

OCT, 15 th 2020

Heb. 6:10

Read more
Revive. Restore, Renew

Steven W. Schenewerk • October 14, 2020

Psalm 80


           Within a generation after the death of King David God’s people were divided. Ten tribes settled in the north of the Promised Land and two tribes remained in and around Jerusalem. The people of the north suffered a succession of families who wrestled leadership from one another. Samaria was built in order to be a capitol city. Their first ‘king’ of the created an entire religious system, borrowed from their own past revolving around golden calves.

           The southern ‘nation’ was ruled by descendants of David. Some were godly men, others not quite so much. Yet when Samaria fell to the Assyrians the tribes in the south felt the fall in a deeply personal way. Those ten tribes were family. To see family humiliated and exiled from their land and to see foreigners who knew nothing of the sacredness of the land take their place was heartbreaking.

           This lament, authored by the musicians of the Temple, reflects how deeply felt the fall of Samaria was experienced. Prayer for deliverance appears to be lost in the smoke of God’s wrath. Tears of sorrow, the agony of defeat while enemies rejoiced is out of character for the people whom God had rescued from Egypt.

           In our tumultuous times it can seem as though God’s favor has been transformed into wrath. Where we once experienced triumph and joy we now seem to see tragedy and despair. When we reflect on where we’ve come from and where we are headed, we feel shame instead of confidence.

           As the prayer of lament concludes the musicians pray for God to raise up one whom He can use to restore God’s people. Restoration, revival can only happen when God’s people affirm as one, Jesus (the One who is at the right hand of God) is Lord.

Read more
Psalm 91 Night Terrors

Community Baptist Church • February 16, 2021

Psalm 91

Night Terrors

 

           Night terrors (vs 5) are excruciating and exhausting for the one experiencing them and the family surrounding them. Plague and pestilence create death and every family member is impacted. It is tempting to read this psalm as an assurance that nothing evil, nothing harmful nothing destructive impacts those who trust God.

           The opposite may be closer to the truth. Evil exists. Harmful things happen. Destruction occurs. These are consequences of the fall (see Genesis 3). Twice the psalmist references where he chooses to dwell or make one’s habitation (see vs 2, 9).

           The evil and darkness of the world around us is a natural result of the sin of Adam and Even compounded by generation after generation of men and women just like Adam and Eve.

These are not permanent conditions. Six times in the last section God promises that He will act – deliver, protect, answer, be with, rescue, and satisfy.

           In order to receive all that God has for us, though, we have to call out to Him. Sometimes the most effective prayer is the shortest one – ‘Help!’ All of us experience a variety of challenges. None of us are exempt from the consequences of the Fall. Every one of us is but a prayer away from God’s gracious promises.

Read more
PSALM 88

Community Baptist Church • January 11, 2021

Psalm 88

“…abandoned among the dead”

(NOTE: I am beginning my series of reflections on the Psalms again after a month’s absence. This reflection is longer than many, but I need to share this with you.)

           Deep depression and paralyzing anxiety have been part of my makeup since I can remember. For many years I had no words with which to describe my condition. I have vivid memories of lying awake for hours, paralyzed by anxiety, unable to reach the light on the nightstand next to my bed. I can remember hours in my study unable to reach for the phone. I can remember seasons when I could barely function. Oh, I went through the motions. I showed up for work. I preached and led worship. I made visits with my church family. I led in evangelistic meetings. I collaborated with other pastors in community events. I spent time with my wife and kids. All the while at times my mind and heart were racing with anxiety and/or deep and often uncontrollable despair.

           I remember hearing more than once how believers, particularly pastors, should be so spiritually attuned to God that peace would totally prevail. So, instead of sharing my experiences I hid them, and when I couldn’t hide my actions I blamed stress for my failures.

           In the past thirty years I discovered several powerful resources. First, I spoke to my physician. He and I agreed on a course of medical treatment that has been helpful. Second, I make sure to stay in touch with a group of trusted believers with whom I can be totally transparent. Third, and perhaps most helpful I rediscovered the Psalms of the Old Testament.

           The prayers and songs composed by believers centuries before the birth of Christ voiced almost every emotion I have ever experienced.

           The 88th psalm begins not with a note of discouragement, but an pronouncement of faith - “Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out before You day and night.” (Psalm 88:1, HCSB). God IS the Lord of MY salvation. Without that anchor for my soul the darkness may well have claimed my life. As I immersed myself in the psalms, the prayer book of Judaism, I began to find fellow-sufferers who often voiced my deepest hurts and hungers to God. Using the their words I learned that I am not alone.

           Some would read Psalm 88 as a prayer of failure. Blaming God (vs 6, 14-15, 16-18) and expressing abandonment may strike some as words of a failed servant. I read them and pray them not as one who has failed, but as one who knows that God alone can rescue me from the pit of despair, the overwhelming paralysis of anxiety.

Read more
Journey Through Luke

Community Baptist Church • December 19, 2020

Dec 19

Luke 19

You did not recognize the time when God visited you

 

           On Jesus’ last journey to Jerusalem He passed through Jericho with others headed to Jerusalem for Passover. Those who had been following Jesus were eagerly anticipating some sort of showdown between Jesus and the Romans. The kingdom which Jesus had been incessantly talking about was near. It was time.

           In Jericho people lined the route to see Jesus. Zacchaeus had to climb a tree in order to see “who Jesus was” (vs 3). Little did he know Jesus ‘saw’ him! The exchange between these two illustrate the nature of the kingdom, but few had the eyes to really see what it was about.

           Entering Jerusalem with the crowds gathering for Passover the eagerness for God to act intensified. Crowds began to acknowledge this Jesus (vs 38), full of anticipation for all that was about to occur.

           As Jesus drew near, however, He saw something entirely different. What He saw was a city overflowing with people eager to experience the kingdom of God, but people who were  completely missing the point. “If you knew…” (vs 42). Jesus grieved because it was clear they didn’t know.

           Entering the Temple all Jesus could see were hindrances and obstacles to the in-breaking kingdom of God. Clearing the Temple was temporary -  the real cleansing would occur in a few days. The kingdom was coming, just not in the way most people were eagerly anticipating.

           Christmas is less than a week away. What are you seeing as you look at the traffic, as you hustle and bustle through the stores? May God give us open eyes to see the truth: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

Read more
Journey Through Luke's Gopel

Community Baptist Church • December 18, 2020

Dec 18

Luke 18

They understood none of these things.

           Pray with persistence. Pray in humility. Trust like children, be willing to give all for possessing the kingdom of God. Those who had been with Jesus the longest, the fishermen hed had called by name, the tax-collector whose life Jesus had disrupted, others He had identified as ‘apostles,’ none of them understood. Having heard Jesus teach, seeing His perform miracles for nearly three years, and they still did not understand.

           It all sounds so clear in our ears doesn’t it? Or does it? We still pray with little or no persistence. We still brag about our diligence and our accomplishments for God. We still act superior to those who act like children. We hold on to our ‘things’ and miss much of what God is really doing in our world.

           If we want to understand, then we need to trust completely like a child, let go of anything that is keeping us anchored to this world, and learn to live fully exposed before God. Then maybe we can begin to understand.

Read more
A Journey Through Luke's Gospel

Community Baptist Church • December 15, 2020

Dec 15

Luke 15

“This man welcomes sinners…”

           A serious accusation is leveled against Jesus by the religious conservatives of His era. An obedient Jew, as defined by the OT and the centuries of interpretation, sought to be totally distinct from any hint of sin. Welcoming ‘sinners,’ and even more damaging to Jesus’ reputation – “He eats with them” (vs 2). To have a meal is to be in close, even intimate, fellowship.

           Jesus could have ignored this challenge. Instead He tells three stories (parables) to illustrate the deep and unending compassion of God for all creation. C. H. Spurgeon wrote of these parables

[God] has a deep sympathy with each stray heart…He grieves over each lost sheep, for he knows the misery that lies in the fact of being lost. … His compassion…[is]…the compassion of an infinite heart brimming over with an ocean of love.

A lost sheep, a lost coin, a lost son, and an unforgiving son all are ways Jesus illustrates God’s never-ending compassion for His own.

           We are never as far from God’s heart as we often think. Like the father in the parable of the two sons, God is eager to receive the repentant heart.  


C. H. Spurgeon, The Spurgeon Study Bible: Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN.: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 1400.

Read more
Christmas Journey Through Luke's Gospel
Christmas Journey Through Luke's Gospel

Community Baptist Church • December 03, 2020

Dec 3, 2020

Luke 3

What then should we do?

           John the Baptist, challenging people to a different way of life, insisted that a person’s heritage was no guarantee of God’s blessing (see vs, 8-9). Those who listened wanted specifics – what should we do (vs 10, 12, 14)? Many thought perhaps John was the Promised One, the One of whom the prophets of old had spoken. With his rather sudden appearance as though out of nowhere, his striking appearance, and his startling message created waves of expectation.

           However, he quickly dispelled any speculation. He was NOT the Messiah, but the Messiah is coming! John’s preaching soon created the wrong kind of wave, and Herod had him arrested but not before he baptized Jesus, the Promised One.

           IF heritage doesn’t matter what does Luke record the genealogy of Jesus? The Messiah, whom had been prophesied, must come from the family of Jacob, through the line of King David of Israel. This long line of ‘begats’ is a reminder that God’s plan has been unfolding since creation (vs 38).

           Though John appears to have come out of nowhere, he really comes as part of God’s plan of the ages.

Read more
 Reading the Bible Together
Reading the Bible Together

Community Baptist Church • November 02, 2020

NOVEMBER 2020

I invite you to join me this month in reading the New Testament

book of James. If we read one chapter each day during the month of November we will have read the entire book six times by the end of November.

1         James 1

2         James 2

3         James 3

4         James 4

5         James 5

6         James 1

7         James 2

8         James 3

9         James 4

10       James 5

11       James 1

12       James 2

13       James 3

14       James 4

15       James 5

15       James 1

17       James 2

18       James 3

19       James 4

20       James 5

21       James 1

22       James 2

23       James 3

24       James 4

25       James 5

26       James 1

27       James 2

28       James 3

29       James 4

30       James 5


Chuck Lawless, a professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary suggests:

  • Ask God to teach you something from His Word. God will simply teach you over and over again what the book is about while also challenging and convicting you.
  • Read slowly enough to grasp what you’ve read; absorb the reading.
  • Don’t skim or speed-read, especially as you read the book for the 5th or 6th time. The goal is to read thoroughly each time.
  • If you want to use a study Bible to understand the text better, feel free to do that—but focus on the Scriptures more than the notes.
  • Thank God for any insight you gain. Let your Bible reading be dialogue as you listen to God and respond to Him in gratitude, repentance, and trust.

Feel free to email me at sschenewerk@gmail.com; text me at 541-784-8901, or reach out on our Facebook pages (Winston Community Baptist Church or Steven William Schenewerk) with questions and/or comments as you read.

Looking forward to diving into God’s Word together!

Read more
Fasten Your Seatbelt

Community Baptist Church • October 21, 2020

Read more
Why I Give to the LMCO

Community Baptist Church • October 15, 2020



As Christmas season comes around again, people begin to think of decorated trees, tables and arches, mistletoe, manger scenes, and GIFTS! Eggnog, candy canes, cookies, luscious dinners, caroling, family visits, snow, ice skating, ski trips, tobogganing, and sledding. As an IMB SBC missionary for more than three decades out here — I pen these words on Oct. 5, 2020 in Chile, where spring has sprung — what do I think about? Well, for starters, heat, BBQ, watermelon, and firecrackers. Yes, we do put up a tree, and give gifts, but at the other end of the globe, and below the equator, it is summer. No turkeys are even available in most places where missionaries serve. What I think about more than anything is the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, the offering that Southern Baptist churches, partners, missionaries and their kids support at this time of the year, and which pays for our support and which keeps us, more than 3,600 missionaries and their children, on the field. At this time, of the year four key words come to my mind:

-GRATITUDE: How thankful we are for the billions of dollars that SBC churches and individuals have poured out over so many decades in an offering of gratitude and praise to the Baby in a manger. It is an offering of gratitude to the One who was incarnated, who grew up, set up His tent among us, led a sinless human life, and then gave His life for a lost world. He then rose again on the third day and ascended into heaven, where He intercedes at the right hand of the Father for all who believe in Him. We share Him with the lost world, and we do it because of faithful giving to the LMCO.

-LOSTNESS: I think of Kara and Bruno, Kara’s two-year-old boy. We met them on a prayer walk yesterday near our home in Chile. Kara was sitting on a bench. We approached her and found that she lives here and is married to a Chilean. She speaks English, and her father was a diplomat. She talked about how she often feels lonely, not knowing when she will see her family again. We gave her a tract, called “Steps to Peace with God,” and left. We now pray regularly for her and pray she will call us, or that we can meet again.

-OPPORTUNITY: Our Lottie Moon offerings — yours and mine — pay for missionary rent, missionary health care, medications, food, and fuel. They even pay for the tract I gave to Mrs. Kara yesterday. The offerings also pay for us to share Theological, Biblical and Pastoral training with pastors and leaders in the interior of a country. Many potential pastors have never been to the capital and cannot easily go there to study in the seminary. Many people, like Pastor Raul, studied that way. Pastor Raul is a seminary teacher and pastors three churches in Uruguay’s outback. He also serves as the Secretary of the Uruguay Baptist Convention All this happened because of gifts to the Cooperative Program and our faithful giving to LMCO.

-SACRIFICE: When God gave his son Jesus for a lost world, He gave his best. He gave his only, and He gave just what we needed. He so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son (John. 3:16). When I give my LMCO offering, I want it to be my best. I want it to be sacrificial, and I want it to be something that costs until it almost hurts. I make it my most expensive Christmas gift. I do not want to give to the risen Lord something as an afterthought. I want it to be well thought out, planned and sacrificial. Is that not the Spirit of Christmas? God gave us the best, His only and just what we needed. So why do I — an IMB SBC missionary of more than three decades — give to LMCO? Because I believe the offering is well utilized and administered, and I believe that I am privileged to do so.

Tim Kunkel Santiago Chile

OCT, 15 th 2020

Heb. 6:10

Read more
Revive. Restore, Renew

Steven W. Schenewerk • October 14, 2020

Psalm 80


           Within a generation after the death of King David God’s people were divided. Ten tribes settled in the north of the Promised Land and two tribes remained in and around Jerusalem. The people of the north suffered a succession of families who wrestled leadership from one another. Samaria was built in order to be a capitol city. Their first ‘king’ of the created an entire religious system, borrowed from their own past revolving around golden calves.

           The southern ‘nation’ was ruled by descendants of David. Some were godly men, others not quite so much. Yet when Samaria fell to the Assyrians the tribes in the south felt the fall in a deeply personal way. Those ten tribes were family. To see family humiliated and exiled from their land and to see foreigners who knew nothing of the sacredness of the land take their place was heartbreaking.

           This lament, authored by the musicians of the Temple, reflects how deeply felt the fall of Samaria was experienced. Prayer for deliverance appears to be lost in the smoke of God’s wrath. Tears of sorrow, the agony of defeat while enemies rejoiced is out of character for the people whom God had rescued from Egypt.

           In our tumultuous times it can seem as though God’s favor has been transformed into wrath. Where we once experienced triumph and joy we now seem to see tragedy and despair. When we reflect on where we’ve come from and where we are headed, we feel shame instead of confidence.

           As the prayer of lament concludes the musicians pray for God to raise up one whom He can use to restore God’s people. Restoration, revival can only happen when God’s people affirm as one, Jesus (the One who is at the right hand of God) is Lord.

Read more
If Only

Psalm 81


           Three times a year Jewish men and their families were expected to appear ‘before’ the Lord in Jerusalem at one of the major worship gatherings. One of those festivals commemorated the years God’s people wandered in the wilderness wandering in tents. Once settled in the land, God’s people built homes, created villages, established trading routes, and other necessary structures for community life. Reverting back to tents for a few days each year was to recall the transitory nature of life, the feeling of dependence on God, and the sense of community created by close living quarters.

           Re-enacting this decades long experience in just a few days, however, was more often than not a reminder of failure. How many times did God’s people drift from their allegiance to Him as they wandered? An entire generation of adults died in those 40 years because of one massively wrong decision.

           As God’s people would gather for the Feast of Tabernacles one can almost hear God say, as the psalmist suggests… “If only my people would obey me! If only Israel would keep my commands!” (Psalm 81:13, NET).

           If only…. What might our lives have been like ‘if only’ we had made different choices? Where would be living ‘if only’ we’d chosen another path? Though we all have regrets about past choices, God’s promise is for today. If only we obey Him today, our enemy would be subdued, our adversaries would be cowering in fear, and we would experience fullness instead of the gnawing sense of emptiness that often characterizes our lives.

           If only…

           We cannot change the past, but we can determine our direction for today.

Psalm 91 Night Terrors

Community Baptist Church • February 16, 2021

Psalm 91

Night Terrors

 

           Night terrors (vs 5) are excruciating and exhausting for the one experiencing them and the family surrounding them. Plague and pestilence create death and every family member is impacted. It is tempting to read this psalm as an assurance that nothing evil, nothing harmful nothing destructive impacts those who trust God.

           The opposite may be closer to the truth. Evil exists. Harmful things happen. Destruction occurs. These are consequences of the fall (see Genesis 3). Twice the psalmist references where he chooses to dwell or make one’s habitation (see vs 2, 9).

           The evil and darkness of the world around us is a natural result of the sin of Adam and Even compounded by generation after generation of men and women just like Adam and Eve.

These are not permanent conditions. Six times in the last section God promises that He will act – deliver, protect, answer, be with, rescue, and satisfy.

           In order to receive all that God has for us, though, we have to call out to Him. Sometimes the most effective prayer is the shortest one – ‘Help!’ All of us experience a variety of challenges. None of us are exempt from the consequences of the Fall. Every one of us is but a prayer away from God’s gracious promises.

Read more
PSALM 88

Community Baptist Church • January 11, 2021

Psalm 88

“…abandoned among the dead”

(NOTE: I am beginning my series of reflections on the Psalms again after a month’s absence. This reflection is longer than many, but I need to share this with you.)

           Deep depression and paralyzing anxiety have been part of my makeup since I can remember. For many years I had no words with which to describe my condition. I have vivid memories of lying awake for hours, paralyzed by anxiety, unable to reach the light on the nightstand next to my bed. I can remember hours in my study unable to reach for the phone. I can remember seasons when I could barely function. Oh, I went through the motions. I showed up for work. I preached and led worship. I made visits with my church family. I led in evangelistic meetings. I collaborated with other pastors in community events. I spent time with my wife and kids. All the while at times my mind and heart were racing with anxiety and/or deep and often uncontrollable despair.

           I remember hearing more than once how believers, particularly pastors, should be so spiritually attuned to God that peace would totally prevail. So, instead of sharing my experiences I hid them, and when I couldn’t hide my actions I blamed stress for my failures.

           In the past thirty years I discovered several powerful resources. First, I spoke to my physician. He and I agreed on a course of medical treatment that has been helpful. Second, I make sure to stay in touch with a group of trusted believers with whom I can be totally transparent. Third, and perhaps most helpful I rediscovered the Psalms of the Old Testament.

           The prayers and songs composed by believers centuries before the birth of Christ voiced almost every emotion I have ever experienced.

           The 88th psalm begins not with a note of discouragement, but an pronouncement of faith - “Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out before You day and night.” (Psalm 88:1, HCSB). God IS the Lord of MY salvation. Without that anchor for my soul the darkness may well have claimed my life. As I immersed myself in the psalms, the prayer book of Judaism, I began to find fellow-sufferers who often voiced my deepest hurts and hungers to God. Using the their words I learned that I am not alone.

           Some would read Psalm 88 as a prayer of failure. Blaming God (vs 6, 14-15, 16-18) and expressing abandonment may strike some as words of a failed servant. I read them and pray them not as one who has failed, but as one who knows that God alone can rescue me from the pit of despair, the overwhelming paralysis of anxiety.

Read more
Journey Through Luke

Community Baptist Church • December 19, 2020

Dec 19

Luke 19

You did not recognize the time when God visited you

 

           On Jesus’ last journey to Jerusalem He passed through Jericho with others headed to Jerusalem for Passover. Those who had been following Jesus were eagerly anticipating some sort of showdown between Jesus and the Romans. The kingdom which Jesus had been incessantly talking about was near. It was time.

           In Jericho people lined the route to see Jesus. Zacchaeus had to climb a tree in order to see “who Jesus was” (vs 3). Little did he know Jesus ‘saw’ him! The exchange between these two illustrate the nature of the kingdom, but few had the eyes to really see what it was about.

           Entering Jerusalem with the crowds gathering for Passover the eagerness for God to act intensified. Crowds began to acknowledge this Jesus (vs 38), full of anticipation for all that was about to occur.

           As Jesus drew near, however, He saw something entirely different. What He saw was a city overflowing with people eager to experience the kingdom of God, but people who were  completely missing the point. “If you knew…” (vs 42). Jesus grieved because it was clear they didn’t know.

           Entering the Temple all Jesus could see were hindrances and obstacles to the in-breaking kingdom of God. Clearing the Temple was temporary -  the real cleansing would occur in a few days. The kingdom was coming, just not in the way most people were eagerly anticipating.

           Christmas is less than a week away. What are you seeing as you look at the traffic, as you hustle and bustle through the stores? May God give us open eyes to see the truth: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

Read more
Journey Through Luke's Gopel

Community Baptist Church • December 18, 2020

Dec 18

Luke 18

They understood none of these things.

           Pray with persistence. Pray in humility. Trust like children, be willing to give all for possessing the kingdom of God. Those who had been with Jesus the longest, the fishermen hed had called by name, the tax-collector whose life Jesus had disrupted, others He had identified as ‘apostles,’ none of them understood. Having heard Jesus teach, seeing His perform miracles for nearly three years, and they still did not understand.

           It all sounds so clear in our ears doesn’t it? Or does it? We still pray with little or no persistence. We still brag about our diligence and our accomplishments for God. We still act superior to those who act like children. We hold on to our ‘things’ and miss much of what God is really doing in our world.

           If we want to understand, then we need to trust completely like a child, let go of anything that is keeping us anchored to this world, and learn to live fully exposed before God. Then maybe we can begin to understand.

Read more
A Journey Through Luke's Gospel

Community Baptist Church • December 15, 2020

Dec 15

Luke 15

“This man welcomes sinners…”

           A serious accusation is leveled against Jesus by the religious conservatives of His era. An obedient Jew, as defined by the OT and the centuries of interpretation, sought to be totally distinct from any hint of sin. Welcoming ‘sinners,’ and even more damaging to Jesus’ reputation – “He eats with them” (vs 2). To have a meal is to be in close, even intimate, fellowship.

           Jesus could have ignored this challenge. Instead He tells three stories (parables) to illustrate the deep and unending compassion of God for all creation. C. H. Spurgeon wrote of these parables

[God] has a deep sympathy with each stray heart…He grieves over each lost sheep, for he knows the misery that lies in the fact of being lost. … His compassion…[is]…the compassion of an infinite heart brimming over with an ocean of love.

A lost sheep, a lost coin, a lost son, and an unforgiving son all are ways Jesus illustrates God’s never-ending compassion for His own.

           We are never as far from God’s heart as we often think. Like the father in the parable of the two sons, God is eager to receive the repentant heart.  


C. H. Spurgeon, The Spurgeon Study Bible: Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN.: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 1400.

Read more
Christmas Journey Through Luke's Gospel
Christmas Journey Through Luke's Gospel

Community Baptist Church • December 03, 2020

Dec 3, 2020

Luke 3

What then should we do?

           John the Baptist, challenging people to a different way of life, insisted that a person’s heritage was no guarantee of God’s blessing (see vs, 8-9). Those who listened wanted specifics – what should we do (vs 10, 12, 14)? Many thought perhaps John was the Promised One, the One of whom the prophets of old had spoken. With his rather sudden appearance as though out of nowhere, his striking appearance, and his startling message created waves of expectation.

           However, he quickly dispelled any speculation. He was NOT the Messiah, but the Messiah is coming! John’s preaching soon created the wrong kind of wave, and Herod had him arrested but not before he baptized Jesus, the Promised One.

           IF heritage doesn’t matter what does Luke record the genealogy of Jesus? The Messiah, whom had been prophesied, must come from the family of Jacob, through the line of King David of Israel. This long line of ‘begats’ is a reminder that God’s plan has been unfolding since creation (vs 38).

           Though John appears to have come out of nowhere, he really comes as part of God’s plan of the ages.

Read more
 Reading the Bible Together
Reading the Bible Together

Community Baptist Church • November 02, 2020

NOVEMBER 2020

I invite you to join me this month in reading the New Testament

book of James. If we read one chapter each day during the month of November we will have read the entire book six times by the end of November.

1         James 1

2         James 2

3         James 3

4         James 4

5         James 5

6         James 1

7         James 2

8         James 3

9         James 4

10       James 5

11       James 1

12       James 2

13       James 3

14       James 4

15       James 5

15       James 1

17       James 2

18       James 3

19       James 4

20       James 5

21       James 1

22       James 2

23       James 3

24       James 4

25       James 5

26       James 1

27       James 2

28       James 3

29       James 4

30       James 5


Chuck Lawless, a professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary suggests:

  • Ask God to teach you something from His Word. God will simply teach you over and over again what the book is about while also challenging and convicting you.
  • Read slowly enough to grasp what you’ve read; absorb the reading.
  • Don’t skim or speed-read, especially as you read the book for the 5th or 6th time. The goal is to read thoroughly each time.
  • If you want to use a study Bible to understand the text better, feel free to do that—but focus on the Scriptures more than the notes.
  • Thank God for any insight you gain. Let your Bible reading be dialogue as you listen to God and respond to Him in gratitude, repentance, and trust.

Feel free to email me at sschenewerk@gmail.com; text me at 541-784-8901, or reach out on our Facebook pages (Winston Community Baptist Church or Steven William Schenewerk) with questions and/or comments as you read.

Looking forward to diving into God’s Word together!

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Fasten Your Seatbelt

Community Baptist Church • October 21, 2020

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Why I Give to the LMCO

Community Baptist Church • October 15, 2020



As Christmas season comes around again, people begin to think of decorated trees, tables and arches, mistletoe, manger scenes, and GIFTS! Eggnog, candy canes, cookies, luscious dinners, caroling, family visits, snow, ice skating, ski trips, tobogganing, and sledding. As an IMB SBC missionary for more than three decades out here — I pen these words on Oct. 5, 2020 in Chile, where spring has sprung — what do I think about? Well, for starters, heat, BBQ, watermelon, and firecrackers. Yes, we do put up a tree, and give gifts, but at the other end of the globe, and below the equator, it is summer. No turkeys are even available in most places where missionaries serve. What I think about more than anything is the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, the offering that Southern Baptist churches, partners, missionaries and their kids support at this time of the year, and which pays for our support and which keeps us, more than 3,600 missionaries and their children, on the field. At this time, of the year four key words come to my mind:

-GRATITUDE: How thankful we are for the billions of dollars that SBC churches and individuals have poured out over so many decades in an offering of gratitude and praise to the Baby in a manger. It is an offering of gratitude to the One who was incarnated, who grew up, set up His tent among us, led a sinless human life, and then gave His life for a lost world. He then rose again on the third day and ascended into heaven, where He intercedes at the right hand of the Father for all who believe in Him. We share Him with the lost world, and we do it because of faithful giving to the LMCO.

-LOSTNESS: I think of Kara and Bruno, Kara’s two-year-old boy. We met them on a prayer walk yesterday near our home in Chile. Kara was sitting on a bench. We approached her and found that she lives here and is married to a Chilean. She speaks English, and her father was a diplomat. She talked about how she often feels lonely, not knowing when she will see her family again. We gave her a tract, called “Steps to Peace with God,” and left. We now pray regularly for her and pray she will call us, or that we can meet again.

-OPPORTUNITY: Our Lottie Moon offerings — yours and mine — pay for missionary rent, missionary health care, medications, food, and fuel. They even pay for the tract I gave to Mrs. Kara yesterday. The offerings also pay for us to share Theological, Biblical and Pastoral training with pastors and leaders in the interior of a country. Many potential pastors have never been to the capital and cannot easily go there to study in the seminary. Many people, like Pastor Raul, studied that way. Pastor Raul is a seminary teacher and pastors three churches in Uruguay’s outback. He also serves as the Secretary of the Uruguay Baptist Convention All this happened because of gifts to the Cooperative Program and our faithful giving to LMCO.

-SACRIFICE: When God gave his son Jesus for a lost world, He gave his best. He gave his only, and He gave just what we needed. He so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son (John. 3:16). When I give my LMCO offering, I want it to be my best. I want it to be sacrificial, and I want it to be something that costs until it almost hurts. I make it my most expensive Christmas gift. I do not want to give to the risen Lord something as an afterthought. I want it to be well thought out, planned and sacrificial. Is that not the Spirit of Christmas? God gave us the best, His only and just what we needed. So why do I — an IMB SBC missionary of more than three decades — give to LMCO? Because I believe the offering is well utilized and administered, and I believe that I am privileged to do so.

Tim Kunkel Santiago Chile

OCT, 15 th 2020

Heb. 6:10

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Revive. Restore, Renew

Steven W. Schenewerk • October 14, 2020

Psalm 80


           Within a generation after the death of King David God’s people were divided. Ten tribes settled in the north of the Promised Land and two tribes remained in and around Jerusalem. The people of the north suffered a succession of families who wrestled leadership from one another. Samaria was built in order to be a capitol city. Their first ‘king’ of the created an entire religious system, borrowed from their own past revolving around golden calves.

           The southern ‘nation’ was ruled by descendants of David. Some were godly men, others not quite so much. Yet when Samaria fell to the Assyrians the tribes in the south felt the fall in a deeply personal way. Those ten tribes were family. To see family humiliated and exiled from their land and to see foreigners who knew nothing of the sacredness of the land take their place was heartbreaking.

           This lament, authored by the musicians of the Temple, reflects how deeply felt the fall of Samaria was experienced. Prayer for deliverance appears to be lost in the smoke of God’s wrath. Tears of sorrow, the agony of defeat while enemies rejoiced is out of character for the people whom God had rescued from Egypt.

           In our tumultuous times it can seem as though God’s favor has been transformed into wrath. Where we once experienced triumph and joy we now seem to see tragedy and despair. When we reflect on where we’ve come from and where we are headed, we feel shame instead of confidence.

           As the prayer of lament concludes the musicians pray for God to raise up one whom He can use to restore God’s people. Restoration, revival can only happen when God’s people affirm as one, Jesus (the One who is at the right hand of God) is Lord.

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REPUTATIONS

Psalm 79

Where were you on Sept 11,2001? Most people over the age of 30 vividly remember planes flying into the World Trade Towers in New York City and the Pentagon. We remember audio from Flight 93 as the plane was turned towards Washington DC, targeting either the Capitol Building or the White House. Shock, horror, fear, anger, burst forth all at once.

           Asaph, a singer in the Temple court of Israel watched as an enemy devastated Jerusalem and desecrated the Temple of the God of Israel. He sings of his fear, anger, frustration, and shock.

           Asaph wonders aloud, “How long will this go on, O Lord? Will you stay angry forever? How long will your rage burn like fire?” (Psalm 79:5, NET). Though Asaph could point to a specific example – the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonian army; though we can point to events like 9/11/01 – all of us experience seasons that cause us to ask the same question – How long, O Lord?

           Two notable features of this song. First, notice the pronouns Asaph uses –

O God, foreigners have invaded your chosen land; they have polluted your holy temple and turned Jerusalem into a heap of ruins. They have given the corpses of your servants to the birds of the sky; the flesh of your loyal followers to the beasts of the earth.” (Psalm 79:1–2, NET).       

Second, the psalmist sings, “Help us, O God, our deliverer! For the sake of your glorious reputation, rescue us! Forgive our sins for the sake of your reputation!” (Psalm 79:9, NET) His concern is not with the nation’s reputation nor the standing of the servants.

When we ask, How long O Lord, are we asking for God to protect His reputation or ours?

Psalm 78 Learning from the Past?

Learning from the Past?

Psalm 78


           This extended meditation on the failure of past generations and hope in the present generation is a powerful reminder that history must be communicated. Every generation has an assignment to tell the coming generations of their failures – and their successes. The primary teachers of the Israelites were not professional educators but parents. Parents were charged by God to remind succeeding generations of the works and ways of God.

           Daily we are reminded of our history as a nation. Most of what we hear are the failures:  failure to address slavery, failure to create an equitable economy, failure to provide appropriate educational opportunities for all, regardless of race or ethnicity.

           As the psalmist reminds readers of the past he also highlights God’s faithfulness to His covenant - “Yet [God] was compassionate; He atoned for their guilt and did not destroy them. He often turned His anger aside and did not unleash all His wrath.” (Psalm 78:38, HCSB) Remember though just  because God often ‘turned aside’ His anger, however, His people suffered terrible consequences of unbelief and rebellion (see vs 56-66).

           The psalmist ended his meditation with the assurance that God’s choice of David, of the tribe of Judah, would change the trajectory of Israel’s future. We who have read the Old Testament know that those hopes did not materialize. Israel, as an independent nation, did not survive long after the death of David and his son, Solomon.

           More days than not I wake and grieve for our nation. The deep divisions that fill our daily news appear to be growing. The upcoming election (Nov 3, 2020) and the choices offered may make the divisions deeper.

           I have no insight into the future. What I do have, I offer:

Learn from the past; listen to God’s Word;  live in the light of His words