(864) 361-0584

Funeral Arrangements for Debbie Hill’s father

Funeral Arrangements for Debbie Hill’s Father, William “Heyward” Owens are set for this Wednesday, Nov. 20th.  The family will begin receiving friends and family at 12:30 pm, followed by the Funeral Service at 2:00 pm.  Pastor Ben Hill will be officiating.  Memorials can be made to Taylors First Baptist Church Missions Department.
Taylors First Baptist Church address is 200 W. Main Street, Taylors, SC  29687.

All By His Grace

Isaiah 35:8a – “And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness…”
In a short story in his book entitled, “The Way of The Wolf”, Martin Bell writes of “God’s Rag Tag Army”.
Where God is the “General” leading this Army down the highway of life to an irregular drum beat. He says that:
“I THINK God must be very old and very tired. Maybe he used to look splendid and fine in his general’s uniform, but no more. He’s been on the march a long time, you know. And look at his rag-tag little army! Listen! The drum beat isn’t even regular. Everyone is out of step. And there! You see? God keeps stopping along the way to pick up one of his tinier sol- diers who decided to wander off and play with a frog, or run in a field, or whose foot got tangled in the underbrush. He’ll never get anywhere that way. And yet, the march goes on.”
He describes the different “groups” in the Army, including one that marches holding hands; but the first “soldier” ends up holding the hand of the last “soldier” so they end up marching around in circles! And, of course, God has to stop and help them out. Then there is the who marches with their shoes in their hands and, you guessed it, God has to stop again and “help” them.
Bell near the end of the story writes the following: “If God were more sensible, he’d take his little army and shape them up. Why, whoever heard of a soldier stopping to romp in a field? It’s ridiculous. But even more absurd is a general who will stop the march of eternity to go and bring him back. But that’s God for you.”
Oh I know God isn’t “old” nor “tired” but the “rag tag army” is sadly a good description! Our life “highway” is long and winding, and littered with pitfalls and dangers, distractions, depressions, and disappointments etc. BUT we have a Father (a General) who will “stop the march of eter- nity” to find us, care for us, and restore us… ALL BY HIS GRACE!
Psalm 16:11 – “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” March On o “Rag Tag Army”!
In His love,
Pastor Ben

I’ve Read The Final Chapter: God Wins!

For Christ will be King until he has defeated all his enemies, including the last enemy—death. This too must be defeated and ended. 1Corinthians 15:25-26 (TLB)

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:57 (ESV)

Ah, Winning! It feels good doesn’t it?! Now everyone knows that I am unabashedly and unapologetically a Gamecock fan! So, needless to say, Saturday’s victory on the gridiron against Georgia felt oh so good! You Clemson fans… well let’s just say you should be getting bored with winning by now! (or not!) Needless to say, everybody likes to “win”. 

Sometimes, however, it feels like when it comes to our culture and our society; our world as we know it. When it comes to our convictions as Christian. When it comes to a call to do good, to love unconditionally, to advance the cause of Christ, it doesn’t exactly feel like we are “winning” does it? BUT, let me remind you that the best is yet to come! Oh, it’s true that things in this world will get worse before it is all said and done, but, make no mistake about it, in Christ the battle has already been won! Look at the graphic above… HE HAS WON!

Jesus IS coming back in victory to put an end to all of this hatred and fighting and discord to take us all home to live with Him in Heaven!

So why should I worry, why should I fret? In Him I am always a winner! Thinking of the classic Christian song:

Why should I feel discouraged
Why should the shadows come
Why should my heart feel lonely
And long for heaven and home
When Jesus is my portion

A constant friend is he
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches over me

I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches me.

Live expectantly, love freely, and do good!

In His Grace,

Pastor Ben

Agape – Unconditional

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:7-9, 11

Love”… How often do you say it? “I love ice cream!” “I love football!” I love boating!” I love reading!” “I love to study!” “I love YOU” “I love…” Well, you get the point. When it comes to the people in our lives that we love, can we really say it too much? Ever since she was a little girl, Brittany has ALWAYS ended even the shortest most insignificant phone conversation with me with, “I love you, bye.” (Now trust me, that has always made this daddy’s heart sing!) 

But what is love? There are so many different meanings and levels of “love”. I’m confident that most of my readers have heard of “agape love”. To the Christian it carries particular meaning and comfort. But what is it? First, what is it NOT?

It is not romantic love. Anyone, regardless of faith, or even no particular faith, even atheist, can experience “romantic love”. Furthermore, agape is not brotherly love. The bond of close feeling or chemistry, a devotion to another of like mind. Everybody from members of a civic group to members of a criminal gang can and do experience “brotherly love”. Agape love is different.

Agape is not driven nor defined by emotion. No, agape love is unconditional. It is an act of the will. It is God’s love for you. It’s like John tells us, God loved (agape) us, even while we were rebellious and guilty of the very crucifixion of His Son, and yet He sent Him anyway. Unconditional! Agape! So, we may “love” sports, or reading, or eating, or anything… but verse 11 of 1John 4 tells us, because God ‘agape’ loved us, we then must ‘agape’ love others! UNCONDITIONALLY!

Listen friends, IF we really do that… love unconditionally… the world will see in us “Church Unexpected!”

LOVE YOU, IN Christ,

Pastor Ben

A Hand to Hold

A Hand to Hold

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10 (CSB)
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh!” he whispered. “Yes, Piglet?” “Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. “I just wanted to be sure of you.” ― A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
If you are like me, the endearing tales of Winnie the Pooh and his pals in The Hundred Acre Wood bring warm feelings and a gentle smile to your face. Pooh the “silly old bear” was at once a simple and kind misfit, profound philosopher, and consummate friend. In the above quote, an exchange between Pooh and Piglet captures the quiet comfort of friendship.
There are times, particularly in sorrow or uncertainty, when there is nothing more powerful than a gentle hand to hold. Sometimes in our effort to “minister” to someone in need we feel it necessary to “say the right thing” or offer the “perfect advice”, when, truth be known, just a reassuring hand to hold and quiet ear to listen is what is needed most!
Isaiah reminds us that no matter what we face, no matter what the circumstance, our God will never leave us! His Grace is always sufficient. His strength is constant. And… His “righteous hand” is ever extended. So, when life is tough, do like Piglet did with Pooh; “sidle up to The Lord”, “take His (paw) hand” just “to be sure” of Him!
Love like crazy!!
Pastor Ben

“Tell Me What Do You See?”

“Tell Me What Do You See?”

1 John 4:4 – 4 Lile children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who
is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? What is your focus drawn to? When you look at others, what do you see? What do you focus on? The sad truth is that for most, and most of the time, we see limitations, we see flaws, imperfections, short comings, we see the failures, deficiencies, mistakes, and the like. It seems that o$en mes it is hard to look past our perceived “disabilities” to see ourselves even as God sees us. To recognize that the truth is exactly what the Apostle said: we are “from God and have overcome them… greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world!”
It is easy to focus on our weaknesses and flaws; it is equally easy to focus on the weaknesses of others and to judge them as flawed and “not any be3er than ourselves!” Again, imperfecons or “disabilies” both seen, and unseen do not disqualify you or anyone else… they just need to be viewed through the right eyes, the right perspecve, from God’s point of view. The Bible tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”, “knit together in our mother’s womb”. In other words, we are God’s cra$manship. How do you see your “disabilities”?
Niccolo Paganini is considered by many to be the greatest violinist of all me. He was reported to do things with a violin that no other person could ever do. Such were his innovave techniques and skill with the instrument that he was said to have myscal powers. Actually, due to his gangly and strange appearance he was said to derive his ability from Satan; earning him the moniker of the “Devil’s Violinist”. It turns out that Paganini did have a disability. He suffered from either Marfan
Syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, where his long disproporonate fingers and limbs were abnormally flexible enabling him to finger the violin in remarkable fashion. A “disability” turned into an incredible gift!
What do you see when you look at you? Disability or the incredible gift you are in
Christ? What do you see when you look at others? …
Love the Lord, love others, and do Good!
Pastor Ben