Our Brains: A Tribute to God’s Glory – July 24, 2020

The brain is an amazing creation of God. Thousands of individual neurons fire electric pulses to surrounding neurons through synapses causing the various functions of the body and memory. Further the brain is divided into various regions which control various functions and communicate those functions instantaneously to the rest of the brain and body. All the while, the brain works simultaneously and mysteriously with the immaterial part of us, our soul. Scientists search aimlessly to explain how such a complex organism exists and works through evolution. However, we understand that someone far greater is responsible for all this amazing design. All of creation screams out the glory of God. Our complex brain function stands as a tribute to His amazing power and design. It also reminds us of God’s daily care for us. If God created our brains so complex and so perfect, why would He leave us or forsake us? God’s intricate creation argues not only for His power and sovereignty as Creator, but also His love and compassion for man. Often our anxiety lies at the feet of a faulty view of God. We forget that He is in complete control. We forget that He is good. We forget that He holds all power. So as you read this, and the neurons are firing in your brain, processing what is here, remember the all-powerful, all-loving, ingenious God who gave you this brain, loved you so much He sent His Son to die for you. What an amazing God we serve!

The Self Esteem Culture – July 17, 2020

Over the past few weeks, I have heard these terms used a lot: Self-Care, Self-Image, Self-Esteem, Authentic-Self, etc. These terms have drifted into christianity as well through many of the TBN preachers and the so-called girlfriend theology of individuals like Rachel Hollis. How are Christians to think about these things? If we are speaking of self-care in the sense that we are evaluating our problems and rooting out sin in our lives, then we would agree whole-heartedly. If we are talking about setting biblical goals regarding serving others or growing our relationship with God, then this is wonderful. However, if we are speaking (as Hollis and the TBN preacher are) of seeking to care for ourselves by demanding that the world conform to our happiness and setting self-centered hedonistic goals, then the consequences are eternally dire. For this fails to align with what God says about me. Romans 3 informs us that there is no one good, not even one! That includes me. I am not actually special. Except through Christ. When I find my identity in Christ, that is when I discover my immeasurable worth. Christ declares me valuable. Not because of my intrinsic worth, but because of the value He places on me. The result is that I should seek to pass that value on to others through sacrificial service (Ephesians 2:10). The best self-care, the way to come to a right self-image, or to build the best self-esteem, begins by denying myself and taking up my cross to follow Jesus. But when we do this, we discover the source of true lasting peace and joy. 
As a past script, I would recommend to all our ladies a helpful podcast for ladies produced by The Master’s University called Women’s Hope. You can find it by clicking here or on any podcast directory. 
~ Pastor Dave

You Are What You Consume – July 10, 2020

Every Sunday my phone gives me a report on my screen time usage the past week. This past week it made me wonder what today’s world would be like without the 24 hour news cycle or social media. The more these venues are consumed, the more it seems one’s anxiety is raised. I have observed that as this becomes the primary source of one’s information and determines one’s reactions they respond with either anger or anxiety. As believers we are called to something different. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 informs us that all of Scripture is inspired (created and determined) by God. As a result it is sufficient for us. It informs our thinking, addresses our failures, points us in the right direction, and equips us to follow that direction. Paul then tells us it is all we need to be completely equipped for the task God has called us to. As a result we are to give ourselves to the Word. Sadly, too many Christians don’t read the Word. day after day goes by without picking it up. We feed ourselves news and social media while ignoring the Word and then wonder at our anger and anxiety. Most of those that do pick up the Word either don’t actually read the Word (but instead read books about the Word) or do a quick five minute read and call it good. But is this sufficient? On the other hand, I have found that when I make the Word my primary source of information and allow it to determine what I think on any subject, I am amazingly calm. So what would happen in your life and in our church if we decided to make the Word central to our everyday lives? My goal this week is this: When I am tempted to turn on the news or look at social media, I will read the Word first. Will you join me?
~ Pastor Dave

God Bless the USA – July 3, 2020

Tomorrow we celebrate the founding of this great nation. While this year contained many disturbing events and celebrations this year might be a little different, we have much to be thankful for and to celebrate. Tonight and tomorrow, as we hear old classic patriotic songs like God Bless America or newer versions like Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA, we are reminded that we live in an amazing country. We continue to live in a country with unprecedented religious freedom. We are able to worship without fear of oppression or imprisonment. We have the privilege of participating in the governing of our country through our voting and advocating. We ought to take that privilege seriously. As election day draws closer, we ought to be as informed as possible with the commitment to participate knowledgably. We ought to regularly communicate with our elected leaders. We ought to advocate for the change of unjust laws. And we ought to pass on this patriotism to the next generation. Yet as Christians, we have a greater responsibility. The moral challenges we face as a country are not because sinners sin. The moral challenges we face are because Christians have not been interested in being Christian. We have been more concerned with relevancy than with holiness. We have been more concerned with nationalism than with evangelism. The greatest contribution we can make to this country is to live out our daily lives according the Word of God and to share the gospel regularly. If we love this country, let us seek its salvation through the Gospel. If we love this country, let us live and act like Christians. If we love this country, let us live for the Heavenly Kingdom. I believe that we live in the greatest country in the history of the world. So, let us celebrate joyfully with thanksgiving to God for allowing us to live in this great nation. Let us seek her good. And let us not be discouraged but celebrate with hope. 

June 26, 2020 – A Tribute To My Parents

Yesterday, my parents celebrated their 43rd anniversary. While they are by no means perfect, Growing up, I was able to observe their relationship and learn from it. I learned what a successful relationship entails: things like biblically resolving conflict, remaining faithful, exhibiting and receiving love, and sacrificially serving one another. I have watched by dad selflessly care for my mother through two battles with cancer. I have watched my mother pinch pennies to provide not just for the family’s needs but also many of our wants. I was directed towards spiritual growth through their commitment to God and the church. While my dad worked long hours year after year, both my parents did their best to be at my athletic events and my sister’s music concerts. A memory I will always hold dear occurred in my junior year of college. My college soccer team again competed at the national championship tournament in Kissimmee, Florida. As we warmed up prior to the first game I thought I heard my parents’ voices. As I played, I became more convinced I was right. Sure enough, when the game ended, there they were walking across the field. Unannounced, they had flown in for the weekend to watch me. In my desk I still have the picture taken at the end of that tournament, in which I am holding the national championship banner with my parents.
Why do I mention this? Because the nuclear family is the creation of God. God intended children to be raised by both their parents. Through this arrangement, the children naturally learn important life lessons. Specifically, how to interact with others and in the Christian family, how to interact with God. Husbands it is vital that you heed the commands of Ephesians 5 and 1 Peter 3. You must learn to lead your family towards Christlikeness. You must love your wife and serve her the way that Christ loves and gave himself for the church. You must learn to understand everything about your wife. Your children are watching. Mothers, you must also learn to heed the commands of Ephesians 5 and 1 Peter 3. You must learn how to lovingly submit to your husband’s leadership. You must care well for your family. You should be a picture of grace and care. You children are watching.
Many of the social ills our society faces today can be traced back to the breakdown of the family. Children are being raised without fathers and are left adrift to fend for themselves. Children are being raised without mothers and are failing to learn empathy and care. Left to fend for themselves, missing the God ordained structures, these individuals live out their own fleshly desires and chase the wind. Now we are reaping the whirlwind. If you are struggling in your marriage, there is no shame in seeking help. If you have a strong marriage, guard it well. For the sake of the next generation, let us be a church that values the family.
~ Pastor Dave

June 19, 2020

Dear Cambria Family,
Although we are now gathering together again, I have decided to continue this weekly update. It will be renamed the Pastor’s Pen and will be available on our website as a blog as well. It was a joy to gather together again with you all. I have missed hearing you sing, watching you fellowship, and interacting with you in person. I hope that this time away has infused in you a love for the gathering of the body. 
Sunday is Father’s Day. This day serves as a reminder to us of the importance of fathers in the lives of their children. Many of the social ills we face today are exacerbated by the fact that fathers have failed in their responsibilities. Often as dads we may look to those who have abandoned their families and pat ourselves on the back that we are still present. But many have practically abandoned their families while still being physically present. They see the raising of the children, the discipline of the children, and the teaching of the children as the mom’s responsibility. Yet, Ephesians 5-6 demonstrates that, as the head of the home, the father has the responsibility of leading his family in Christ-likeness. Too many father’s are busy advancing their careers, paying the bills, and playing at their hobbies to spend quality time with their children. But the day will come when their children are grown and lost to the world. Of what value then is their job or hobby? So dads, let me encourage you to begin to do three things:
First, lead your family spiritually. Establish a time where your family prays together and reads the bible together. Perhaps you will read a devotional book, or straight from the Bible. Be in church. Make it a priority. Why would your children follow God when you don’t make it a priority? And speak to your children about God often. In Deuteronomy 11:19, God challenges fathers to teach their children about God “when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many.”
Second, be with your family. Set aside that hobby or work your job around so that you can be with your children. Talk to them. Play with them. engage them. If they play a sport, be at their game. You cannot pass off the raising of your children to someone else. They are a gift from God, so engage in that gift. 
Finally, be patient with them. I believe that there is a reason that Ephesians 6:4 is addressed to fathers. We are our children’s protectors. And when we provoke them, we undermine that special place. So seek to guide them, not bully them. Love them and nurture them. In short, be a dad. 
I am thankful for the many great dads we have in our congregation. May God bless us as we follow him in this glorious task. 
Dave Locke
Senior Pastor
Cambria Baptist Church
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