I recently had the privilege to minister in the Flint area. While there, I passed billboards and viewed commercials that advertised the arrival of a display of Titanic artifacts at the Sloan Museum in Flint. It has been over a century since it’s tragic collision with an iceberg, causing over 1,5000 people to perish. Yet, the display of the ship’s remnants continues to draw large crowds wherever they are exhibited.
When deep-sea divers were searching the wreckage of the ocean liner Titanic several years ago, among the items recovered was a leather case containing 40 small vials of perfume oil. The little bottles, which probably would have been sold in New York as the ingredients for cologne, belonged to a businessman from Manchester, England. When they pulled the case from the water, the fragrance of the oils filled the air, even after being submerged for almost a century.
“To smell something that smells the same as it did on the Titanic before it went down is simply incredible,” said Graham Jessop, an expert in the retrieval of such artifacts. That must have been a high quality perfume. The quality of that perfume allowed for an undeniable and unavoidable aroma of wonderful fragrance.
One time a woman slipped into the dining room after dinner, carrying a small vial. She broke it open and poured it on the head of the honored guest. The room was filled with the smell of very expensive perfume. “What a waste,” some of the guests said. “We could have sold that and helped the poor.” (The perfume cost almost a year’s pay.) But, the man she anointed cut their complaints short. “She’s done a beautiful thing. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” And indeed it has!
The woman in the story was Mary of the village of Bethany and her story is shared in John 12:1-8. The world in which she lived reeked with the stench of political oppression, warring ideological factions, and blatant immorality. Survival involved keeping a low profile and avoiding controversy. Because of her love for Jesus, Mary risked rebuke from the crowd and gave the very best she had. Her motives were as pure as the oil she offered. Even now, two thousand years later, her sacrifice is still remembered. And the aroma of her sacrifice is as sweet now as it was then.
The current culture blows putrid winds across the landscape of humanity, leaving in its wake an angry wave of intimidation. This intimidation is especially directed towards those who embrace Biblical values. Like Mary of Bethany, the church of Jesus Christ has the opportunity to step forward and humbly offer the oil of sacrifice.
It is essential in a world steeped in the stench of sin that the church effuse a gospel-centric aroma. 2 Corinthians 2:15 shares, “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” Christians are further admonished in Ephesians 5:2 to “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
Christ calls us to give our best – our best love, our best service, our best offering. Our service is a sweet-smelling sacrifice to Him. “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) And because it is offered to Him, it will always be remembered. He deserves it. And He will notice!
You have His word on it!
The MARBC Council of 16 continues the development of a series of core values which were presented at last fall’s MARBC Conference.
The MARBC Core Values:
• Biblically grounded and doctrinally conservative
• Methodology that is progressive: understanding the culture in order to engage with biblical effectiveness
• Innovative: willing to try new ideas
• Non-hostile environments: love and unity are essential ingredients of church life
• Connecting with the community: creating contact points with the unsaved
• Accepting of differences: not every person/church must look the same
• Intergenerational: all ages worshipping together
A series of strategy meetings are scheduled for late February and early March in various regions of the state. The purpose of these meetings is to review these values and then spend quality time in an interactive discussion with those present. You are encouraged to attend one of these important meetings to assist the association in sharpening its ministry strategy.
Regional meeting dates and locations:
GRARBC (Grand Rapids Association) Breakpoint meeting: Tuesday, February 28, First Baptist Church, Lowell, MI, noon-1:30 p.m. (lunch provided)
EMARBC (Eastern Association) meeting: Thursday, March 9, First Baptist Church, Rochester, MI, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (lunch provided)
WMARBC (Western Association) meeting (please note updated location): Thursday, March 9, Shelby Road Baptist Church, Shelby, MI, noon – 2:00 p.m. (lunch provided)
SMARBC (Southern Association) meeting: spring meeting, Calvary Baptist Church, Battle Creek, MI, date TBD
CMARBC (Central Association) meeting: date and location TBD
NMARBC (Northern lower Association) meeting: date and location TBD
UPMARBC (Upper Peninsula): date and location TBD
MARBC Talents for Christ – Exciting and Time-Sensitive Information!”
We are pleased to announce that the MARBC will be conducting an in-state Talents for Christ competition this spring. We are grateful for the invitation by the pastoral staff and church family of Good News Baptist Church in Grand Rapids to host this year’s event. The competition will be held on Saturday, April 29.
MARBC teens desiring to enter the competition in individual and group categories must register online at the national Talents for Christ website by March 3.
Further details regarding the state competition will be available in an upcoming MARBC Messenger.
The SMARBC quarterly meeting will be held at First Baptist Church in Bronson on Thursday, February 16 . Refreshments will be served at 8:30 a.m. and the first session will begin at 9:00 a.m.
Joe Humrickhouse, President of Bible Prayer Fellowship, will be the speaker. He is the author of “The Life of the Vine in the Soul of the Church.”
The sessions are designed for both men and women. Lunch will be provided by the host church at noon.
The MARBC office has been contacted by churches interested in assisting a church in need of CPR assistance. The assistance offered includes both ministry and building related projects. Please contact the MARBC office soon so that projects can be coordinated with these willing churches.
We thank God for projects already arranged for this year that involve DVBS, outreach, and building projects.
Special CPR Project for your consideration
Pastor Scott Kroeger, Colon Baptist Church in Colon, shares that the church is preparing for a roofing project this spring. Would you and your church be willing to assist this sister church with funding, materials, and/or labor for this important project? Often several churches partner together to help meet such a need, which is the purpose of the CPR Ministry.
Men Modeling the Master, a day to spiritually strengthen men of all ages, will be held at First Baptist Church in Vassar on Saturday, March 4. Tom Graef, missionary to Romania (ABWE) will be the speaker. Tom’s messages will focus on the theme, “From Zero to Hero: Normal Men Being Heroes of God.”
Doors open at 9 AM and sessions start at 9:30 AM. Lunch and snacks provided. Cost is $15. Conference ends around 2:30 PM.
If you would like to pre-register, please send checks to Pastor Rick Yokel at Tabernacle Baptist Church 22323 S Chrysler Dr, Hazel Park, MI 48030. Please make checks payable to EMARBC, include the number of men and boys attending and their names.
Church Ministries Conference is scheduled Friday-Saturday, March 10-11
“Powered by Joy” is the theme of this year’s Church Ministries Conference, sponsored by the Grand Rapids Area Association. The conference will be held at Calvary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids on Friday-Saturday, March 10-11.
Ken Rudolph will be the keynote speaker. Dozens of practical workshops covering a variety of practical ministries will be a part of this popular conference.