Winning the West is a weekly devotional that is written by Western Preachers geared toward Western Folk. The main contributor of this weekly devotional is Pastor Harvey Seidel, but will also include devotionals from other Preachers within the inter-mountain west. We trust these devotionals will be practical devotional thoughts that will encourage the reader and exalt Christ.
Winning the West
First Baptist Church of Thermopolis • August 10, 2020
By: Pastor Harvey Seidel
Church planting is different from any other church ministry. It just is. Witnessing is different with each person and every community is different in its own way. The key to being effective in anything is to analyze each situation and then build on that. When Paul went to Philippi, he did some survey work and learned what the “lay of the land” was. He learned several things: #1 he learned that preaching and teaching the Word got the ire of those who the gospel affected. The demon possessed girl lost her demon and the men, her owners, lost their revenue. And Paul and Silas ended up in jail. That didn’t stop them and because of their tenacity, they saw many saved, specifically the jailer.
He also found some folks down by the river who had some interest in the Lord and Paul stepped forth and began to preach the gospel and Lydia and her household got saved and as a result the church started in her house. All of this to say, that we have to be aggressive in our outgoing to accomplish what God wants to do with us. Sitting and waiting gets no results. One old preacher told me that “… if you want a wife, go places where a potential lady awaits. If you want a house, say “amen” with a hammer and nails. If you want to be used of God….be busy doing whatever God lays out in front of you.”
Andrew got saved and headed off to find his brother, Peter. (John 1:41) The woman at the well, immediately when she knew of the “water of life, the Lord Jesus” went into the city to tell the men about the Christ. Peter, when he was released from prison by the angel went to the church where they were praying to tell them God had answered prayer.
Action is a key factor in any ministry for the Lord. Don’t go the wrong way as did Jonah, who later went the right way. Don’t compromise and go into Egypt as did Abram and lose your testimony. Do stand with the men and women of old who knew what God wanted, and did it. Esther said, I must do something, and she did. God went before her and made a way.
The New Testament tells us that the things that happened in the Old Testament were written for our learning or admonition. Find out what God wants from you, search the scripture to find a similar situation and follow that advice. (Romans 15:4; I Cor. 10.6)
What shall we do? Good question. Answer: Watch, pray, and plug away. Sing to yourself the chorus:
Oh, God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way
Harvey Seidel recently retired as the Pastor of First Baptist Church of Thermopolis where he had pastored for 26 years. Before Thermopolis, he was the founder and director of Baptist Church Planting West where he spent 30 years in Church planting all over the West. Bible teaching and expository preaching define the pulpit ministry of Pastor Seidel. Making the Bible both real and practical is his goal in ministry
First Baptist Church of Thermopolis • July 20, 2020
By: Pastor Cole Howe
Joshua 24:14-25 (v.14-15)
Every one of us faces “giants” throughout our lives, and these “giants” must be dealt with. Some of them are “sin”, others are not; however, not dealing with them could potentially lead to some sin. The fact is, God’s people down the millennia have faced giants, both spiritual and literal, and won the victory.
We’ve heard the statement, “That molehill became a mountain”. What starts as something small can soon grow into something gigantic. We must be careful.
Beginning in Genesis 6:4, the Bible introduces us to the Anakims, or the sons of Anak – the giants. These had persistently plagued God’s people, Israel, for generations.
One of the reasons for the Children of Israel’s hesitation in entering the Promised Land was the giants. Forty years later, eighty-five year-old, Caleb, emphatically requests of Joshua to give him that mountain in Hebron as his inheritance, even though it was infested with giants (Joshua 14). Teenage David battled the giant, Goliath, in 1 Samuel 17 and won.
Making decisions can be quite difficult for folks, some even to the point being emotionally paralyzed by it.
The most intimidating moments of choice usually center around the transitioning in life-stages: high school to college, college to career, single to married, working to retirement, etc.
Here’s the important “rub”: no one can make decisions for us. They can pressure, influence, lobby, pray for, threaten, harass, buy, push, steal, or bribe, but they can never make a decision for us when the decision is ours and ours alone to make.
Joshua, toward the end of his ministry as leader of Israel, gives us some tips on decision-making.
Joshua to Israel (v.15), “…choose you this day whom ye will serve…” We will serve someone or something anyway, so let it be the Lord.
Typically, we have a tendency to think of the choice as being between BAD and GOOD, between SIN and RIGHTEOUSNESS. No doubt, there are definite instances of choices like these. Yet, for the Christian, the decisions are most generally between what is better and best.
Daniel “purposed in his heart” to serve the Lord (Daniel 1). Shadrack, Meshack, and Abed-nego resolved to serve the Lord regardless of the intimidating and daunting fiery furnace (Daniel 3).
WHOM are you serving?
We live in a complex world with real issues, hot topics, troubling circumstances, and weighty problems. This presses home the need for simplicity.
To simplify the decision-making process, let’s emphasize the WORD OF GOD. When it came down to it, Joshua sided with God, “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Remember, the Spirit of God will never lead us contrary to the Word of God, and the Word of God will never send us to shame the Son of God.
We live in a time when we must be emphatic about this: WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
This is a great way of saying, “What does God say about this?” This roots our decision-making, our choices in absolute Truth.
3. CHRIST – Joshua 24:14-15
With your decision, can you serve the Lord? It’s a simple question – it’s a can or cannot answer.
Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. once said, “Don't sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.”
Too many young people, and many adults too, have made decisions without any thought for the future, and CANNOT serve the Lord as He would have them.
In our decision-making, in our choices, may we have an eye for the future, our eyes in the Book, and our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Pastor Cole Howe is a Wyoming native and Hot Springs County High School graduate (1989). He has served as the pastor of Moab Baptist Church in Moab, Utah, since November 1998. Prior to moving to Utah, he ministered as the Assistant and Youth Pastor at First Baptist of Thermopolis. Cole, and his wife, Cindy, are the parents of three children - Caitlyn (Bob) Oswald, Catrina (Stefan) Christensen, and Caleb (soon-to-marry Makinna) Howe. They have four granddaughters and one grandson.