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Matthew 1:18-23



Sunday Morning Sermon

August 16, 1998

Fair Avenue Baptist Church







First, I want to thank everyone for the surprise party last Sunday night, and I mean surprise, celebrating my 12th anniversary as Pastor of this fine church.  I also want to thank Tim Sicking for taking some of our teenage girls shopping and buying me the best suit I’ve ever owned.  I’ve never had a suit nice as this one.  It’s got those fancy suspenders and everything.


Twelve years ago today, August 17, 1986, I preached my first Sunday morning sermon as pastor.


Twelve years ago last Sunday morning, August 10, 1986, I preached for the second Sunday in a row at the Fair Avenue Baptist Church.  That afternoon my family and I ate lunch with the Melton’s and Mrs. Young.  After the evening service, the church voted to call me as Pastor.  Bro. Boyd Sikes came out to the car and gave me the good news.


When I was reading my Bible several months ago in my Bible reading time, I wrote down a thought or two from Matthew 1:23.


I thought about that phrase, “God With Us.”  I thought about the word Emmanuel.  I then thought of the Immanuel Baptist Church in Decatur, Texas, where Bro. Jackson is the pastor.


God With Us


Those words are refreshing, aren’t they?

They speak volumes, don’t they?


God With Us


God has been with the Fair Ave Baptist Church these past 33 plus years, as well as the past 12 years.


When we stop and think about all that God has done, we must stop and realize that truly, God is with us.


During the past twelve years, He has been with us through the good times and the bad times.


He was with us in those early days when Billy Melton suffered a stroke, and He was with us with Bro. Melton went home to glory on Sunday, November 23, 1986.


God was with us through the difficult times.


He was there when Boyd Sikes went home to glory in January 1988.


He was there when Mrs. Cliff Massey passed on to heaven, and several years later when Bro. Massey took his final journey.


He was there when Charlie Self died as a young man of 31.


He was with us when Maggie Burrow passed on to glory.


God With Us


God was with us through those difficult times of death and tragedy for others associated with our church family, most recently with the passing of Bro. Peyrot’s mother this past week.


God has been with us.


In the past twelve years, God has been with us through the many weddings we have had here.  The wedding music, the beautiful brides, the families, the ceremony, the sweetness of marriage, God has been with us.


I’m still looking forward to having one of our young ladies who grew up in this church as a child, as a teenager, as a bus kid, who finds the right young man, and who walks down this aisle to get married.  A young lady who walks down the aisle in a white dress and means it.  I think Mary Crisp would make a good candidate, don’t you?  How about Christina Sinaz?


That’ll be a blessing, won’t it?


God has been with us through a major building program and several renovations.  And, Lord willing, He will see us through another building program in the future.


In the past twelve years, God has been with us when we had only a handful of people for a Sunday morning service to our record attendance days of close to 400.


God With Us


There’s no other way you can explain it.


Look at how God has spoken to so many young adults and young people.


Jamie Baldwin, surrendering to preach, in Bible college now preparing his life, with Shelli and the kids.


Mark Jones, surrendering to the mission field, about to enter his senior year of Bible college with his wife Michelle, and next year at this time they will be starting deputation for the field of Canada.  And they will be using the Fair Avenue Baptist Church as their sending church.  Won’t that be great?  The first person in our church’s 34 year history to go to the mission field from our church.


Daniel Jones, surrendering to the mission field, about to enter his junior year with Lisa and Micah and one day headed to Mexico.


Johnny Stephens, and his family, attending Bible college preparing their lives for the Lord’s work.  Please pray for Mrs. Stephens’ who is recuperating from surgery.


Rachael Way, about to enter her second year at Oklahoma Baptist College, to prepare her life for full-time Christian service.


Along with several others who have heard the call of God on their lives.  I can count eleven young adults who have heard God’s call on their lives in the past twelve years. (David and Delinda Ward, Heather Hamer, Andy Moyer plus those listed)


How do you explain that?


God With Us


What about the other young people who have yielded their lives to God’s call?


If you are in our Youth Department and you have surrendered to your life to full-time Christian service, please stand.


Jana Martin,

Ashlie Martin,

Leslie Ward,

Kristian Stephens,

Kenneth Reiter,

Mary Crisp,

Bridgette Sorrell,

Jacky Lambert,

Richard Way,





How many is that?  _________


How do you explain that?


God With Us


And there are several others, some younger and some older, who have heard the call of God on their lives.


That makes at least ______ who have heard God’s call on their lives in the past twelve years.


I challenge you to go home, get on the phone, call any church you want to call, I said, call any church you want, and ask them how many students they have in Bible college right now preparing their lives for full-time Christian service. 


Remember, I said, preparing their lives for full-time Christian service, not if they are going to Baylor.


Then ask them how many teenagers they have that are planning on attending Bible college to prepare for full-time Christian service. 


Don’t ask them how many teenagers they have going to a Christian college, ask them how many are planning to prepare for full-time Christian service.


Ask them how many young people from their church have grown up and entered full-time Christian service.


Don’t be surprised if you get a “ZERO” or an “I don’t know” for an answer to these questions.


And don’t be surprised to find that you won’t even come close to the number in this church.


God has been with us.


God With Us


I was trying to figure out the other day how many people who are here now have been saved and baptized right here in this church.


If you have been saved and baptized in this church in the last twelve years, please stand.

How many is that? ___________


Praise the Lord!


I always think of Diane Martin when I ask that question because she was the first person I baptized as pastor of this fine church.


Are you aware of the fact that over 1,500 people have been saved here in this building during the past twelve years and almost 500 have followed the Lord in Scriptural baptism?


God With Us


In our Revival with Dr. Joe Boyd the first week of June we saw 64 walk the aisles for salvation and 49 baptized in one week.


You’ve never seen anything like that in your life, and neither have I.  Some of you have been in church for 35-40-45 and even 50 years and you’ve never seen anything like that.  I know I have never seen anything like it.


How do you explain it?


God With Us


When I look back over the past twelve years,


And when I look at all my mistakes and shortcomings,


When I see how many things I messed up,


When I see how many times I really stunk,


All I can do is shake my head and say, “God With Us.”


There is no other explanation.


It has been a wonderful twelve years,

Some bumps in the road, yes,

Some ups and downs, yes,

But God has been good,

God has been really good,

And I am thankful,

Truly thankful,

I am blessed,

I am a fortunate man,

I am undeserving of God’s goodness.


When I think of all the men who have struggled and failed when they tried to pastor,


Men who have seen defeat after defeat in their ministries,


Men who have never known a good pastorate,


Men who pastored two, three, or four times and have never seen any success in the ministry,


I am thankful.


I have no other explanation than, “God With Us.”


And we have no other explanation than, “God With Us.”


And we can’t explain God’s great salvation.


Why does God love us?

Why did God send His Son to die for us?

Why does God take care of us?

Why does God provide for us?

Why has God been so good to us?


We can sum it up in three words, “God With Us.”

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