Christmas Sermon Series at FBC Hallowell.

Refocusing Christmas-Generosity

Most of us have a love/hate relationship with Christmas. Some of the good things include delicious food, family time, parties, seeing the excitement of your kids and the story of Jesus. The not so fun part of Christmas centers on how commercial it has become. There are pressures with this holiday including the need to please, not feeling like you have bought enough, getting yourself into debt and trying to keep up with others. The true meaning of Christmas gets lost in all of the materialism. It’s time to refocus on Jesus because if you don’t this will be a time of year that you dread instead of a time of celebration. The Christmas season is an opportunity to pay it forward, show others the love of Jesus, put differences aside and be generous because of what God has done in your life.

Pastor Michael read scripture from Timothy 6:17-19 which talks about teaching those who are rich in this world to place their trust in God who richly gives you all you need rather than in your money which is unreliable. God wants you to rely on Him. Having more than your friends and colleagues causes one to feel rich. Rich is a moving target though and in a world of competition and comparison, it’s often challenging to feel rich. God has richly blessed you in so many ways and provides opportunities for you. One of God’s blessings is generosity, which was created in you when He sent Jesus into this world.

The world is deprived of the real meaning of Christmas. It is not about the presents. It’s about what Jesus did for you. God has made you rich by giving of His grace, love and forgiveness. You are a conduit to show others what God is like. Generosity empowers you to experience true life. Don’t let everyday life get in the way of your good intentions. Refocus on God, volunteer your time, donate money or gifts and be a light to others. When you act generously, you look like your Father in Heaven.

Together Sermon Series at First Baptist Church, Hallowell, Maine.

Together-What About Them?

Religion is mans attempt to connect with God that consists of a set of man made rules telling you how to behave, dress and what to believe. The church ends up creating a box that you have to stay in to remain connected to God. The box ends up turning people away instead of reaching them. You feel unable to measure up or that you have messed up too much and gotten too far away from the box. Once that happens, you feel you can’t go to church and begin to drift. Pastor Michael feels that religion leads to pride or despair. You feel pride when you follow the rules, but then life happens and you fall short leading to despair.

Pastor Michael read scripture about Paul and his thoughts on religion. Paul did everything that the system asked of him. He devoted his life to being good and following the rules. Paul felt that was a complete waste of time compared to knowing Christ personally. You can’t reach anyone with rules, but you can with relationships. Relating to someone can change their life. When you lead with relationships then you can see what God can do rather than telling someone what is right & wrong. The way to reach people is through truth and love. Jesus is a living example of God’s love for you. He is the religious system. Faith is what closes the gap and gets you a relationship with God.

A healthy church looks outside its doors. Those focused on the movement will fill up with Christ and then go out to make a difference in the world. The church is where you can use your burden to bless others. It’s where you can get your parachute packed and pack the parachute of others. Remain a light no matter what it costs and reach out to the lost, because through God you can change the life of one person.

Together Sermon Series at First Baptist Church, Hallowell, Maine.

Together-What About Me?

FBC’s purpose is to help you develop a personal relationship with Jesus, experience God’s word and to grow together to impact our world. One person can be strong, but there are areas of weakness. When we come together in Christ we can do anything. FBC wants to be a light for those who don’t have hope or aren’t part of a church family. With the support of a church family, we can grow together. You are important. We care about you as a church.

Pastor Michael read scripture from John 4:7-12 where Jesus asks a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. There were so many cultural differences between them that she wondered why Jesus was even talking to her. Jesus explained to the woman that if she would ask, He would give her the gift of living water. The woman didn’t get it and goes on to ask how He could provide better water than what she already had. Often times you may feel that you are a bad person or that you are too different, which keeps you from connecting with Jesus. There are always excuses for not having time for God. You may even wonder if He can really meet your needs or if He really understands your situation. Jesus opened the door for that Samaritan woman to experience forgiveness, grace and unconditional love but her excuses prevented that from happening.

What is the living water? It is Jesus Christ. It is the thing in your heart that gets filled with Christ and never runs dry allowing you to stay focused on God through the ups and downs of life. It bubbles inside you and changes you. It spills out onto the people around you. The church is a conduit through which you can find the living water. The church will provide you with so many things including healing, hope and encouragement. There is always a support system for you with someone being able to give you what you need at the time. The church is full of people that can “pack your parachute” by investing in you and blessing you. There is no harm in being a part of the movement of Christ, only good will come from it. Who are you going to bless today?

Together Sermon Series at First Baptist Church, Hallowell, Maine.

Together- My Burden

Are you a sheep or a goat?  If God is in your heart and calling on you in your mind, then you are probably a sheep.  A sheep is one that serves the people who have not experienced God’s grace.  These are the people who are tired, hungry, hurt, broken and lost.  They need someone to show them the light.  A sheep responds with love.  A goat serves himself.  A goat knows what the right thing to do is, but doesn’t feel it in his heart.   A goat does not bother to reach out to the lost because they are not like him.  God has a burden in his heart for the people who don’t know Him, so we should too.  God has a plan for us to do good things and wants us to rise up and meet the needs of the lowest people.

Pastor Michael told a story about a lost girl who was finally convinced to give FBC a try.  She sat in the back of the church and he could tell she was scared.  She was dressed different from the rest, which caused the deacon’s wife to approach her before Pastor Michael had a chance to welcome her.   She was told that she needed to dress her best for Jesus along with some other not so nice things.  The girls left and never returned.  Pastor Michael’s heart broke for her.  The deacon’s wife was a goat because she turned one of God’s lowest people away.  This girl desperately needed what the church had to offer, but because of that one person, the church failed her.

God lets you feel His burden.  It’s not easy or fun and burdens often hurt.  You will feel satisfied and at peace when you serve the lost.  If you really believe in your mind that you are a follower of Christ then act on it.  We are called to be sheep.  We are called to love those that do not look or act like us.  By reaching out to them with love, they can learn to experience God’s forgiveness, grace and unconditional love.  They just need someone to show them the way.  FBC wants to create a Home for Good so the lost will have a place to gather and you can use your gifts to serve.  You will never feel more alive than when you help right a wrong in someone’s life.


Time is the most precious asset you have.  Normal people will pack in as much as possible and never seem to have enough time.  The outcome is a busy life where you work more, relax less, and retire older resulting in feeling rushed and stressed.  That is the enemy at work, as he wants you to fill your day with meaningless things so you don’t have enough time to spend on important things.  The question is: are you really enjoying your life or are you too busy to even notice the blessings God has given you?

Pastor Michael feels that the real issue isn’t having a time problem.  It’s really a priority problem.  He told the story about Martha and Mary when Jesus came to visit.  Both of them had the same opportunity, which was to spend time with Jesus and soak up His words.  Martha was consumed with preparing the house and food while Mary sat in anticipation of His arrival.  Martha was convinced that she was right and Mary was just being lazy.  She even asked Jesus to tell Mary to help.  Mary chose to sit at His feet and listen to what He was saying, which changed her life forever.  Martha chose to be preoccupied.  Jesus told Martha that Mary had made the right choice.  Martha wasn’t doing anything bad.  She wanted to make everything perfect, but she chose not to embrace what was most important.

Often times what is most important doesn’t seem the most urgent.  The urgent can be quiet and can also be right in front of you.   You have to make a choice to slow down.  Being preoccupied and busy all the time will cause you to miss the blessings.  You should think about the reasons that you do what you do.  If you are not careful how you prioritize your life can become filled with good things, but not the best things.  Ask yourself what is wise when it comes to choosing how to spend your time.  You can’t do it all and you only have a certain amount of time, so what really has to fit into your life?  The next thing to consider is making a “to don’t” list.  There are so many options in life that can fill up your time.   The result is not completing things or not doing them well.  In order to find out what God wants to do in your life, you need to give up some things.  Try approaching how to spend your time with an “or” mentality.  Instead of saying yes and adding everything to your busy schedule, pick between two choices.

Don’t allow your life to pass by you because you are busy being a Martha.  Stop spending your time like normal people do.  Become weird with your time so you can experience the fullness Jesus has for you.