Prayer changes things! We are seeking God to reach down and touch us, and help us to overcome the problems facing us. .. specifically this pandemic. If your health permits, join us in our fast on Mondays and Thursdays until 1:00 PM throughout the month of April. At 1:00 PM wherever you are at 1:00, we are asking you to take some time to pray. Pray at 1:00 and eat your first meal thereafter. (ref. Daniel 9:3, Luke 2:37, Mark 9:29).
May 3, 2020
WINNING BY LOSING
We live in a world where everybody wants to win. I watched the first few episodes of the recent Michael Jordan documentary, “The Last Dance,” and one of the things that jumps right out at you early on, is Jordan’s insatiable desire to win. He could not stand to lose—whether it was basketball, shooting pool, playing cards, or on the golf course. He was driven by a desire to win. I’m sure that Jordan is not alone. No doubt if you were to spend time with other professional athletes, business leaders and entrepreneurs, political leaders, and other successful people, you would probably find in many of them a strong desire to win and to keep winning; some no matter what the cost. The truth is, we all want to win. Nobody wants to lose. Well, here in Matthew 16:25, Jesus essentially says, “You’ve got to lose in order to win. Now, let’s understand the setting wherein Jesus makes this profound statement. Jesus had just told His disciples and others in the crowd, that He was going to Jerusalem, where He would suffer and die… Peter then pulls Jesus aside, protesting, “That can’t happen to You; You need to rebuke that thought!” Jesus turns and admonishes Peter; and then He says, “Whoever desires to save his life will lose it…” First, Jesus is saying to Peter, “I didn’t come to do what was good for Me; I came to do what was good for you.” “I did not come to do My will, I came to do My Father’s will.” “I did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give My life as a ransom for many.” Jesus was also sharing with His disciples what it means to belong to Him, and what it could cost to follow Him. “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Jesus is talking about winning by losing! Jesus is saying that “Winning by losing,” as paradoxical as it may sound, is really how we live lives that are vital, vibrant and victorious from God’s perspective. In order to embrace Jesus’ type of discipleship, first:
You will have to lose your fear of losing. We are taught to view losing as bad or unacceptable. A lot of us are terrified at the thought of losing. In Super bowl LI (51) the Atlanta Falcons had a 28-3 lead over the New England Patriots in the third quarter. And then they changed their style of play. They became conservative in their play calling. All of a sudden they were no longer playing to win, they were playing not to lose. Well, New England came back and won the game 34-28. Here’s my point: You can’t be afraid to lose. “I can’t lose my stuff.” “I can’t lose my job.” “I can’t lose my woman.” “I can’t lose my man.” The truth is: God sees things differently. He blesses us through our losses. Jacob lost his son Joseph for a time, but God returned Joseph to Jacob as a great leader and provider in a time of famine. God can use your losses to bless you. God can use losing to simplify your life. He can use losing to focus your life. He can use losing to purify your life. If you want God’s best for your life, you need to lose your fear of losing. “Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake…”
You must lose the desire to be in control of your life. Look closely at the text: “Whosoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Jesus offers two choices. You can live life as you see fit, on your own terms. You can be your own boss. You can call the shots, you can come up with your own plans and then try to work your plans; but in the end you will lose your life. The other choice Jesus offers is: To commit your life to Him. You can deny your own will, and surrender to His will. Let Him be your Boss. That involves dying to self, daily, as you take up the cross and follow Him (v.24). The Lord wants you to stop trying to control your own destiny, but to let Him direct you. If you trust your life to Him, you won’t lose your life!
It is those who give all who will get all in the end. When Jesus says, “…but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it,” He’s referring to those who have discovered their true purpose for living, and that is giving their lives in service to Christ, not living for themselves. Jesus makes it clear that following Him involves risking it all: Safety, security, satisfaction in this world and life. But He promises that in His economy, those who give all will get all in the end; not those who live for this life, but those who give up their lives for My sake. The losers will be the winners. How many losers are watching to today? Thank God that you are a loser! You’re not alone.
Jesus, by the world’s standards was also a loser!
When Jesus went to the cross and died for our sins, He won through losing!
Jesus didn’t take power, He gave it up—and then He got up!
Paul said, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus!
Ascension Family, please view this short video message from our pastor. We will see you, VIRTUALLY, Sunday morning. All services will be online until further notice!
Ascension Family, please view this short video message from our pastor. We will see you, VIRTUALLY, Sunday morning. All services will be online until further notice!
Posted by Ascension Baptist Church on Thursday, March 26, 2020
March 22, 2020
A GOOD GOD FOR BAD TIMES
Nothing is known of the author of this book, other than that he identifies himself as Nahum, the Elkoshite. Nahum means “consolation” or “comfort.” The book of Nahum is one of the shortest and most often overlooked books in the Old Testament. This book has only three chapters and forty-seven verses. The focus of this book is its prophesy of the fall of Nineveh, the capitol of Assyria, one of the cruelest, vilest, most powerful, and most idolatrous empires in the history of the world. Nineveh sat on the Tigris River, very close to the modern Iraqi city of Mosul. One hundred years before Nahum’s call, Jonah had preached in the streets of Nineveh; the people heard God’s message and turned their lives around. One hundred years later, the city again returned to its evil ways, and Nahum pronounces judgment on this nation. But God intended for the message to Nineveh to be overheard by His people, Judah. For God’s people, the message of Nahum was a message of comfort. Their comfort would be in knowing that God is still in control. When we consider the difficulties we are facing here in Memphis and Shelby County, across America, and around the world, we need a message of comfort during a time of chaos, a message of hope during a time of despair, a message of tranquility during a time of trouble. We need the reassurance that God is still in control. To those who are feeling stressed and depressed, or who are feeling beaten up by difficult circumstances, I want to tell you that we have: “A Good God for bad times!” Notice what the text says:
The Lord is good…(The personality of the Lord). This expression speaks to the absolute goodness of God. It is God’s nature to be good. Goodness is part of the character or personality of God. It is important for all of us to know this, especially in seasons of adversity. When things happen in life that are not good, that does not mean that God is not good, and it does not mean that God’s goodness is not being experienced or is not flowing into your life. Some of you know that God can take the bad and bring the good out of it (what does Romans 8:28 say?) Don’t become suspicious of God’s goodness when adversity strikes. Even when things are bad, God has a purpose that is good, a plan that is good, and a reason that is good, because God is good. Can you testify to God’s goodness? So because God is good, we know we can endure difficult days.
A stronghold in the day of trouble…(The protection of the Lord). The safest place in South Florida during the hurricane season may be the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The structure consists of 10-inch concrete walls capable of withstanding Category 5-level winds of up to 185 mph. Because these storms come every year, the Center is there to provide a safe working environment for the people who monitor the weather and issue weather warnings. When other residents leave the area, they have to stay. And just like hurricanes, storms also come in our lives. Often they come without warning, and linger long enough to test the limits of our faith. But God has given us a place of safety in the midst of our situations. The text says, that the Lord is, “A stronghold in the day of trouble. In Psalm 46:1-2, the psalmist stated, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear even though the earth be removed.” The people of Nineveh thought they were safe in their fortifications, but their security was nothing in comparison with the comfort and safety that God provides for His people. It is not our strength but God’s strength that shields us during the storms of life.
He knows those who trust in Him (The personal walk with the Lord). The word “trust” implies relationship, and a personal walk with God results from placing one’s trust in Him. How reassuring it is to consider the fact that God knows those who trust in Him. Jesus said, I know My own sheep, and they know Me (John 10:14). God knows you; He knows your prayers, your tears, fears, desires, He knows what you are, He knows what you’re not; He knows all about you. And, in times like these, it’s good to know Him. It’s good to know that whatever is going on, we can depend on God to see us through. It’s good to know that we can hold to His unchanging hand. It’s good to know that in tough times He’ll never leave us or forsake us. He’ll prop us when we’re leaning, He’ll shield us from danger, He’ll enfold us in His love, and save us by His grace! I’ve got a feeling everything’s going to be alright!
2020 Theme: Embracing God’s Vision In 2020
A Church That’s All In
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your min, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
(Romans 12:1-2 NKJV)
Ascension M.B. Church
3000 New Allen Rd
Memphis, TN 38128
Willie S. Williams, Jr., M.S.; M.A.R.
Pastor & Founder
March 1-31, 2020
Order of Worship Service
(Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving)
Call To Worship
Scripture & Prayer
Praise & Worship
Recognition Of Guests
(Sis. Joyce Thomas)
Worship Thru Song
Worship Thru Giving
Worship Through Song
The Spoken Word
Pastor Willie S. Williams, Jr.
Call To Discipleship
Altar Call and Intercessory Prayer
Of The Fall Of Man
We believe that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker (1); but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state (2); in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners (3), not by constraint, but choice (4), being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil, and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin (5), without defense or excuse (6).
Enrichment Hour Adults — 9:00 AM
Enrichment Hour Youth — 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Couples Class – Every 5th Sunday — 9:00 AM
Morning Worship 10:30 AM
Prayer Service: Thursday @ 5:45 p.m.
Lesson For Life: Thursday @ 6:15 p.m.
Mass – Thursday Before 1st & 2nd Sun @ 7:30 PM
Youth/Young Adult – Thursday before 4th Sunday @ 7:30 PM
Male Chorus – 8:30 AM on Saturday Before 3rd Sunday
Praise Team – Tuesday before 2nd & 3rd Sunday
S/s Teachers – 4th Saturday – @ 9:00 AM
Ministry Leader’s Meeting — TBA
MESSAGE: Ascensionmb give
Ascension Family and Friends, Bible Study for Thursday, March 19, 2020 is cancelled.
March 8, 2020
KEEPING YOUR FOOTING WHEN THINGS ARE CRUMBLING AROUND YOU
Just about every day something is happening locally, nationally, or globally that serves as a reminder that we are living in troublesome times. Any rational, reasonable person would conclude that the problems that we are experiencing in this country and around the world are concerning. We’re now wrestling with a global outbreak of the coronavirus, with no vaccine to treat it—that’s concerning. There is a toxic political climate in this country. Our leaders are fighting with each other, while the issues that are plaguing the nation—health care, education, good paying jobs, reducing crime, getting guns off the streets, are not being addressed—this is concerning. On a personal level, we have reason for concern. You can prepare yourself, map out your plans, and in the blink of an eye, things can go in a different direction. It can happen with your heath. It can happen with your marriage and your family. Just the other night, right up the road in Middle Tennessee, people went to bed with no idea that a deadly tornado was going to tear through their communities, and leave the lives of so many changed forever—that’s concerning. Things can happen that will cause you to come unglued, make you feel like the bottom has dropped out—I’m talking about things you can’t control. Yes, we are living in some very troubling times. And in this psalm David is also troubled by what was taking place in his world. We are uncertain of the historical setting of this psalm, but we do know that David was experiencing some terrible ordeal that was very concerning to him, because of the danger it posed for his nation and for the people of God. It appeared that the very foundations of the kingdom were crumbling beneath him. We can identify with what David was feeling, Can’t we? Now the question is posed to him, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” That’s a good question isn’t it? Well, let me ask you, “What can you do when it seems that everything meaningful is crumbling right beneath your feet?” Here are some things we learn from the psalmist:
Be careful of who you turn to for advice. When David’s crisis arose—and let me say this, even though David was God’s anointed, he was not exempt from trouble. You know that being a Christian does not exempt you from difficulties and trials. There will be times when we will have to face adversity. But in David’s case, when disaster struck, his counselors immediately advised him to leave Jerusalem and “flee to your mountain” (v.1). Listen, when adversity strikes, be careful of who you turn to for advice—be careful who you listen to. David’s counselors were not bad people; they were just walking by sight. In adversity, you need spiritual counselors. Peter was walking by sight when he tried to counsel Jesus not to talk about dying on the cross (Mark 3:32). That was bad advice. David’s counselors were afraid because they saw dangerous conditions and crumbling foundations. But listen to the psalmist, “In the Lord I put my trust; how can you say to my soul, ‘flee…” (v.1). David was saying, “I believe the Lord will see me through. How many of you believe that? We have to learn to trust God in all situations.
When things are tough, instead of giving up, try looking up. The psalmist says this in verse 4, “The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven…” The temple represents God’s presence amongst His people. His throne in heaven represents His sovereign power. When was the last time you thought about looking up? Isaiah looked up and saw the Lord on His throne, high and lifted up (Isa. 6:1). Instead of giving up, try looking up. When you look around, you see problems; but when you look up, you see the answer to problems. God will help you keep your footing when things are crumbling around you, because He is in control—“He’s in His holy temple, His throne is in heaven.” He’s sovereign, and His power is not diminished by anything that’s going on in this world or in your life. Instead of giving up, try looking up!
In the end God’s justice will prevail. Finally, when things seem to be out of hand, David offers some things in these remaining verses (vv.4b-7) that should enhance our perspective. First, God observes all that people do (v. 4b). Proverbs 15:3 says, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place…” And then God “examines both the righteous and the wicked” (vv. 4c-5). Some never consider their accountability to the Lord. They feel as if they can live their lives however they please and not be accountable to anyone. But God sees and God will examine or test every life. And in the end, His justice will prevail (vv.6-7). There will be a day of reckoning. The wicked will not win or get away. The wicked will one day stand before God, and face destruction—coals, fire, brimstone, burning wind is how the psalmist describes their day. But concerning the righteous, God tests will become a refining fire. In other words, God does not shield us from every trial, but He will use our troubles to bring out the best in us. And this is the result: David said, “The righteous shall see His face” (v.7).
It’s time for celebration now!
No matter what’s going on, don’t forget that one day, “The righteous shall see His face!”
When storm clouds hang low, remember the righteous shall see His face!
When your problems seem big, remember the righteous shall see His face!
When your journey seems long, remember the righteous shall see His face!
When you’re condemned and criticized, remember the righteous shall see His face!
Is there anybody here who wants to see His face?”
“If you trust Him, keep the faith, and live right, you will see His face!”
I don’t know about you, but I want to see Jesus!
Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith!
Jesus, who said I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, ye may be also!
Jesus, who died out on Calvary, but arose early Sunday morning!
March 1, 2020
A VISIT TO THE POTTER’S HOUSE
The Old Testament Parable of the Potter and the Clay is essentially a picture or illustration of how God works in our lives. In this parable the clay actually represented the people of Judah, but this representation can also be applied to you and I. Clay has no value in and of itself; but it can become something of great value if it is placed in the right hands. Nobody can calculate the potential of a life that has been touched by the Lord’s hands. Let’s take a trip with Jeremiah down to the potter’s house. As we stand in the doorway looking in, we see a craftsman sitting in front of two parallel stone wheels that are joined by a shaft. The potter is turning the bottom wheel with his feet and working a lump of clay on the top wheel. The potter is transforming a simple lump of clay into a useful vessel. As we think about how God deals with us, there are some of the lessons we can take from this visual of the potter working with the clay. First, the potter’s work on the wheel illustrates the fact that:
Our lives are in the hands of Someone who genuinely values us.
God shapes our lives with a vision in mind.
Real transformation results only from the Master’s molding ministry.