Where Will Your Bones Be Buried?

“And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.  And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.” – Genesis 50:24-25

Joseph’s is a most fascinating life.  Loved by his father as a child but hated by his brothers.  Sold as a slave into the land of Egypt where he was cared for by God but falsely accused, imprisoned, and forgotten for a time.  Later, by God’s grace, Joseph is promoted by the Pharaoh of Egypt to an incredibly powerful position in the country and placed in charge of the agriculture and commerce.

During a time of great famine Jacob, Joseph’s father, sends his sons to Egypt to by corn in the only place that seems to have any.  Jacob’s sons go and stand before Joseph, although they did not recognize him.  Through the course of events, Joseph will reveal himself to his brothers and they will bow before him as he had dreamed many years prior.  Joseph will call for his father and the rest of the family to come to Egypt where he will be able to help supply for their needs.

When Jacob dies, Joseph asks permission from Pharaoh to go into Canaan to bury his father and not only is he granted permission but Pharaoh sends an entourage with him.  Joseph will return to Egypt along with his brothers, but they are afraid that he will take vengeance on them for selling him into slavery, now that their father is dead.  Joseph of course calms their fears, acknowledging that it was part of God’s plan for good.

Now Joseph is about to die, but before he does, he makes his brothers promise him something.  He believes that God will keep His promise to bring Israel out of Egypt some day.  He makes them to promise that when that day comes they will carry his bones out of Egypt with them.  It mattered to Joseph where he was buried.

What was the meaning of this request?  Why did it matter where Joseph was buried?

Joseph was making an incredible statement:

“I have lived most of my life in Egypt.”

“I speak the language of the Egyptians.”

“I have worked in the land of Egypt.”

“I have become wealthy in the land of Egypt.”

“I have had friends in Egypt.”

“I wear Egyptian made clothes.

“I eat the food provided in Egypt.”

But…

“I AM NOT AN EGYPTIAN!”

“I am a son of Jacob! I am an Hebrew.  I am one of God’s chosen people!”

My friend, we may live in this world, we may eat here, work here, and even sometimes play here, but we are not to be “of this world.”  We need to realize and make it clearly known, “this world is not my home.”

Joseph chose who he was associated with; the people he identified with.  You must make that choice also.  Where will your bones be buried?  Who do you belong with?  Which group of people are your people; those of this world, or the people of God?  It matters where your bones are buried!  Make the choice to be counted among the people of God.

 

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Obituary: Debbie Kay Christiansen

Debbie K. Christiansen

August 30, 1956 – March 22, 2016

Debbie Kay Christiansen, aged 59, of Dumaguete City, Philippines went Home to be with her Saviour on March 22, 2016. She was born August 30, 1956 in Ionia, Michigan, USA, the daughter of Donald and Lucille (Martin) Bates.

Debbie attended Ionia Public Schools, graduating from High School in 1974. She attended 2 years at Grand Rapids Baptist College. She trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour on September 12, 1976. Debbie married Scott A. Christiansen on August 12, 1978 in Ionia. The Lord gave them 6 children: Nathan (Melissa) Christiansen now in Cedar Lake, Indiana; Ruth (Mike) Morrissey in Temperance, Michigan; Micah (Abbie) Christiansen in Dyer, Indiana; Joel (Crystal) Christiansen in Ionia, Michigan; Amos (Lacey) Christiansen in Windsor, Maine; and Caleb Christiansen in Crown Point, Indiana. They are also blessed with 6 grandchildren: Jackie, Abbie, Nick, Faith, Beth, and Michael.

Debbie is also survived by three brothers: Mike Bates in Wyoming, Tim (Gena) Bates in Ohio, and Phil Bates in Michigan. She was preceded in death by her father, Donald Bates in 2011 and her mother, Lucille, in 2015.

Debbie was serving overseas as a missionary with her husband on the IndoPhil Team of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana in the countries of India and the Philippines since 2011. She served with her husband as he pastored churches in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana since 1979. Debbie’s body will be laid to rest at the cemetery of First Baptist Church located in Crown Point, Indiana.

Debbie was a loving wife, dedicated mother, and faithful Christian servant. She played piano for church services for many years, taught in Christian schools and home schooled her children. She was known for her kind and faithful spirit as she served her family and Lord. She bravely battled cancer in 2005 and again in 2015 when the cancer reoccurred. Her home was a happy place and she was diligent as she raised children who loved God and others. “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” (Proverbs 31:28).

A service will be held on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at International Baptist Church, Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, Philippines.  A time of fellowship and refreshment will follow the service.  Debbie’s body will be returned to the U.S. and another service will be held at Memory Lane Cemetery in Crown Point, Indiana in April.

 

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Set-Apart

Pastor Randy DeMoville
Pastor DeMoville

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are not to be ashamed of Jesus or His gospel.  We are told in the Bible that we are both light and salt (Matthew 5:13-14).  Certainly, we are not to have the same qualities of darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14).  We are to add a distinct flavor to the world – whether or not the flavor is appreciated is not the issue, but that the distinction exists.

Men do not appreciate the light when they realize that it exposes their works of darkness (John 3:19).  Some do not appreciate the affects of salt as it draws many away from what they have passed off as flavorful.  Appreciated or not, it is important that we stand apart from the world and darkness (Ephesians 5:11).  This used to be a fundamental understanding among Christians, especially Baptists who have traditionally been known to stand separated from those who have moved away from our foundation.

Unfortunately, many have adopted the world’s ideas of success and failure.  They care too much abut the opinions of those who have a low opinion of our God.  They have sought acceptance from those who do not accept Christ or His Words.  They have emphasized the love of God but not His righteousness.  They have sung songs of His mercy, but less of His power to deliver from sin.  Deliverance begs the question, “from what?”  And if it is from sin and death, what constitutes sin?

Some would rather not enumerate sin, because they don’t want to make people, they hope to pull toward themselves, uncomfortable.  Not careful, we can become so afraid to lose the lost, we will compromise our light, lose our saltiness, dismiss our standards, or keep our convictions in the closet.

The church is the bride, not of this world, but of Christ (Ephesians 5:21-23,32).  How sad when she is more concerned with being attractive to the lost and not to the One Who is preparing a place for her (John 14:2-3).  She is occupied with others who would court her, not preparing herself for the One to whom she is betrothed.  Though He has promised to come for her, will she be looking for Him when He comes (2 Timothy 4:8)?  Will she be washed with the water of the Word, or will she be stained with the filth of this world (Ephesians 5:26-27)?

As for me and the church which God has placed me to pastor, we will work to stay set-apart. It may not be a popular position, but we are not in a popularity contest.  It may cause some to turn away, but when they turn away, is it really toward Christ, or to an imposter that claims to be Christ without holiness, without righteousness, without hatred for sin?

Salvation is the gift of God to all who would be delivered from the chains of sin (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Do people even know they need deliverance when they look at those who claim to be delivered yet appear to wear the same chains as those in bondage to sin?  That which is real is set-apart from that which is not, not imitating that which is not.  Difference makes a difference!

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Work the Works

Each year, I, as many pastors, select a theme for our church.  This theme reflects something that I believe needs to be emphasized throughout the next year and beyond.  This year, our theme comes from the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John.

Pastor DeMoville
Pastor DeMoville

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” – John 9:4

International Baptist Church is “a church that works.”  We believe in work because “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works…” (Ephesians 2:10).  Our works of righteousness have nothing to do with obtaining salvation – salvation is a free gift to us and there is no other way to obtain salvation except by faith.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

We were saved by the grace of God to do good works.  A Christian who is not working is a believer who does not believe the reason God saved them.  Our salvation is not just about where we spend eternity.  As I heard my college president say many times, “Some people are so Heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.”  We have a purpose on this earth as believers – a work that God has before ordained for us.  Our duty as Christians is to learn the will of God for our lives and to fully pursue it.  We must give ourselves to the work God has called us to do.

Each person in the church is different – made different by the One Who made him or her to work.  This is because each person in the church has something different to contribute to the overall work of the ministry.  No one person can do all of the work of the church, because no one person makes up the church.  Each person brings the gifts and talents God has given to them so that together we can function as a whole – as the body of Christ.  Just as the gears in a machine vary in size, each member of the church plays a different part, but no matter the size or place, each one depends upon the others to work.

For five years, IBC Dumaguete has been a working church and God has blessed it.  We often say, “God is working in Dumaguete!”  He is, and it is through those whom He has created to do good works.  May we increase in our productivity and in our attention to detail.  May we desire to be used more – to do greater works.  May we be patient with one another and help one another fit into the machine – to find their unique place of service.  May we work the works in 2016.

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