Big Changes

We are relocating to North East Florida

2017 will be a very busy summer for our family. I have recently accepted a position as the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Fernandina Beach, FL. The church is situated on Amelia Island and serves families from Jacksonville, FL to the Southern tip of Georgia. I have been extremely impressed at the sincere heart for prayer that the church has demonstrated. The kindness they have shown to our family is remarkable. We will never forget the time we spent at Capshaw and the friends we’ve made throughout our time in North Alabama. Thankfully, through social media we will be able to stay in touch.

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Early in ministry, relocating was relatively easy. The kids were too young to have a strong opinion, Julie was a stay-at-home mom, and we just didn’t have very much to move. Today we have two teenagers, a nine year old, Julie owns a small business that is growing at amazing speeds, and we are homeowners. It was essential that we identify a place that would uniquely fit each of us, as well as serve the callings on each of our lives.

I’ve received several messages from people asking about how this move will impact the Maximum Life Podcast, YouTube Channel, etc. By God’s grace, our media ministry has become the largest audience that we serve on a daily basis. Around 2,000 unique users download our podcast monthly from all over the world.

 

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Thankfully, First Baptist Church has state of the art A/V capabilities and we should be able to continue unhindered. If you are not already subscribed, make sure to do so from your favorite podcast provider – http://zachterry.libsyn.com/rss

 

COMING SOON – the Maximum Life Podcast will include new, “in-between episodes” that will be in addition to the regular sermons. These episodes will provide commentary, interviews, and truth directed at the issues facing Christian families.

Please be praying for us during this busy season!

 

The Seed in the Stump

The King on the throne is the seed in the stump

Isaiah 6 tells the story of one of the most remarkable revelations of God ever experienced by a man. It was in the year of Uzziah’s death that the event occurred. Uzziah ascended to the throne in the midst of a collapsing economy, a weakened military, and growing threat of an Assyrian invasion. But under Uzziah’s godly leadership, things seemed to be turning around. The economy soared, the military grew strong and hope was alive in Judah. Uzziah was making Israel great again (I couldn’t resist.)

rememberFrom Genesis onward, humanity has waited and watched for the “Seed” that God would provide that would ultimately crush the head of the enemy. Throughout the Old Testament, we see hopeful prospects- Seth, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David… and now Uzziah. Could this be the one? Could it be Uzziah?

Then, at the height of power, Uzziah made a fatal mistake – he allowed the power and strength to go to his head, and he became filled with pride. God punished him by striking him with leprosy, and ultimately he died. Can you imagine how this felt for the average Israelite? Hope was deferred and their hearts were sick (Proverbs 13:12).

It was at this time that Isaiah has a vision of the eternal King sitting upon an eternal throne. In the midst of this revelation, Isaiah’s sin is magnified, then atoned for, and a question is raised. It seems God has a plan to radically change the world, and he desires a human instrument to accomplish his purpose. God asks, “Whom shall I send?” Isaiah volunteers. The mission to which Isaiah is called is bleak. He would see no fruit from his service to God, but earthly success didn’t matter – Isaiah had seen God and lived.

Isaiah 6 ends with a faint whisper of hope. In the midst of a tragic loss, that promises only to get worse, God says,

“And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled.” The holy seed is its stump.”

God’s answer to all of man’s problems wasn’t the forest, it was the Seed. And the Seed remained. The Seed in the stump was also the King on the throne, Jesus Himself. The glorious mystery of the nativity is when the God of glory will become the seed of Mary. He is the Seed that Israel and all of humanity had longed for.

A Good Name

Building and sustaining a good name.

Have you noticed that there are some names that bring a pleasant emotion when you hear them, while others bring a feeling of negativity? Remember the bully in middle school? The kid who drove to school, had peach fuzz on his face and always seemed to have a wad of big league chew in his mouth? Would you ever consider giving your child his name? NO! Because he has a bad name – a name that brings stress, frustration, and an array of bad feelings. Next, think of a person who unquestionably loves you and communicates it faithfully. Maybe it’s a parent or a significant other. Hearing their name brings peace and joy – and a myriad of positive emotions. They have a good name.

The emotions that follow a person’s name are the sum total of the residual effects that this person has had on you over the years. This is their name. But remember, a name is less like a resume developed and more like an emotion conveyed.

While there isn’t much we can do to affect the way people treat us, there is much we can do to change how we treat people. In other words, we have no power to change the “name” of others- but we have remarkable power over our own!

Here are some things to consider:

  • Take inventory on what causes someone to have a good name.
  • Write a list of practical ways people have treated you that cause you to have a pleasant response to their name.
  • Consider ways you can replicate their behavior in a way that is consistent and authentic in your own life.

Developing a good name is a worthy endeavor. King Solomon wrote – Proverbs 22:1 (ESV)

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.

In 30 Years How Will You Know?

A question worthy of consideration.

Senate confirmation hearing.

Senate confirmation hearing.

Senate confirmations hearings are not my typical prime time entertainment. I wasn’t really watching, but the hearings for President Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch was on. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb) asked a question that was potentially one of the best questions I have ever heard at such a hearing.

“When you look back on your career, how will you know if you were a good judge?”

Gorsuch said he seeks that same kind of reflection from his students when he asks them to write their own obituary. It’s not about how large your bank account is, or how many cases you win, he said. It’s about how you treat people along the way. Gorsuch said he would like to be remembered as kind and mild in private life, and dignified and firm in public life (paragraph copied from abajournal.com).

It was a politically safe answer, but I doubt that it was what he would have told his children if they asked him the same question.

What about you? How would you answer the same question? Considering your career, your calling, your family, your service to your local church – in 30 years, how will you know if you did a good job?

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Who ultimately determines if you were successful or not? Is it history, co-workers, family, or your Creator?
  • What is your purpose? How have you grown toward fulfilling that purpose? What is the gap between where you are and where you could be?
  • To what degree should material gain factor in to your evaluation of success? To what degree should intangibles (respect, integrity, love) factor in?

This sort of question deserves more than a quick answer. Take some time, sit  back, pray, dream, contemplate – but do yourself a favor and answer the question. 

You Preach Too Much

Repetition of simple truths is your most powerful asset

youdeservelove andyou willget it.Pastor – you preach too much. I do not mean that you preach too many weeks out of the year, or that you preach too long (although, those are probably true as well). You preach too much content – so do I, but I’m trying to do better

Consider the advantage of identifying a few mega thoughts and drawing them out of every text you preach. Imagine the long term impact of repeatedly showing your congregation the same truths over the course of years in new and creative ways each week.

As I near 20 years of preaching I’m beginning to see that the dynamics involved in steering a large group of people are very unique.

Practically every sermon I deliver will expand on one or more of these issues:

  1. God – I want to present a infinitely high view of each person of the Godhead (Father, Son and Spirit).
  2. Man – More and more I am seeing the need of explaining who mankind is, unpacking the implications of the fall, as well as the fact the are image bearers of God. Implications of gender are becoming more important. Clarity in regards to marriage, homosexuality, gender roles is needed more and more.
  3. Gospel
    • Micro Gospel – Show how the text helps us understand the work of Christ and how we should respond by faith.
    • Macro Gospel – That is to show the overarching Meta-Narrative of scripture from creation, the fall, Christ, and culmination (second coming).
  4. Pre-Evangelism – This would include apologetic work that sets the stage for the Gospel. For example, we spent five weeks last year delving into why we believe the bible. This could also include arguments for the existence of God from a philosophical or scientific perspective.
  5. Mission – Stirring the emotions and educating the mind of the congregation to engage them in mission both personally and corporately.
  6. Embodiment – Show how the truth of God’s word and work is fleshed out through our life, career, family, hobbies, etc.
  7. Church – What are the unique implications of the text for the local community of faith?

As I think through the last couple of years of preaching, practically every sermon I’ve preached has sought to move the congregation in a certain direction on each of those issues.

Is there anything you would add to that list? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

EXAMPLES of preaching by Zach Terry may be found on our YouTube channel.