Growing Together in the Word

January is the time when many New Year's resolutions kick in, and many Christians resolve every year to read more of their Bible. Immersion in God's Word is important for us because it gives us the knowledge we need to navigate our lives, to make biblical decisions, and to grow closer to the God.

As Christians, we believe that the God who created the entire universe created humans in His own image. Part of being in God's image is the fact that we long to know God and feel His presence in our lives. To this end, God inspired and preserved His Word for us in a collection of writings we refer to as the Bible.

If we want to feel God's presence in our lives, grow closer to Him, and grow in faith, then digging into His Word is a necessity.

To help encourage you in your study, I am including a list of Bible reading plans in various categories with short descriptions. I hope that each of you find that one of these plans that works for you!

(I am currently doing the "5 Day Bible Reading Program" if you would like to join me!)


Josh Lynn, Family Minister

Read the Whole Bible in 1 Year Plans:

  1. One Year Plan - Genesis to Revelation
    1. Straightforward - read the Bible from cover to cover in one year.
    2. Easy to keep track
    3. Note: You won't get to the NT until October with this plan.
  2. 52 Week Bible Reading Plan
    1. Read a passage from each biblical genre each week (e.g. read from the Epsitles on Sundays, the Law on Mondays, etc.)
    2. Readings 7 days per week
    3. Pros: day to day variety, but moving through books as a whole.
  3. 5 Day Bible Reading Program
    1. Read the 5 days per week (catch up on your off days)
    2. Read passages from the OT and NT each day
    3. Pros: readings from different books each day keeps things fresh, moving through books as a unit helps you keep narratives together.
  4. 5 Day Per Week Straight Through Program
    1. Organizes readings into 5 days a week instead of 7 (allows you time to catch up or read other devotionals)
    2. Different than the 5 Day Bible Reading Program because it goes cover to cover (Genesis to Revelation) as opposed to mixing OT and NT readings.
    3. Online Helps Available
  5. Chronological Bible Reading Plan
    1. Read through the entire Bible chronologically.
    2. Each event is in order of occurrence.
    3. Pros: Gives you a great sense of the timeline of the Bible (e.g. reading Psalms of David with the stories of David at different stages of his life and reading the stories and epistles of Paul in order of their occurrences).
    4. (Note: Although the chronological reading is a great plan, you should note that you won't get to NT readings until October!)
  6. Daily Bible Reading Plan
    1. Read shorter passages from 4 biblical genres each day
    2. Keeps readings diverse each day

Just the New Testament:

  1. 5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan
    1. 5 minutes per day
    2. 5 days per week
    3. 5 ways to dig deeper
    4. Takes 1 Year
    5. Pros: Slower paced and encourages deep thought about the passages read.
  2. Chronological New Testament
    1. Read through the New Testament in order of occurrence
    2. Takes 92 days
    3. Online Helps Available

Intensive Plan

  1. 90 Day Challenge
    1. Read the ENTIRE Bible in 90 days!
    2. Approximately 45 minutes of reading/day
    3. Intensive and fast paced
    4. Online Helps Available

Simple Checklist

  1. Bible Reading Chart
    1. Colorful Chart shows you each book of the Bible and how many chapters they have
    2. Just check off the chapter as you read it and read at your own pace
    3. Allows for a lot of flexibility
    4. This isn't so much a reading plan, but can help you keep track of what you have read

Dear Church Family

Dear Church Family,

We hope that this day is filled with Joy, Peace, Family, and Food for you all! It is a truly wonderful time of year that each of us celebrate in a slightly different way. However you are spending your Christmas, we hope that it is a blessed day.

We also hope that in the midst of wrapping paper flying across the room, the heat from 12 dishes being cooked simultaneously, the hectic travel, and the much-needed naps that you take time to reflect on the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ.

Take a moment to share with the Good News of Jesus’ arrival with your family and friends. Read the Christmas Story from Matthew or Luke together. Share how the gift of Jesus’ life on the cross has changed your life.

His gift to us is what inspires all of the giving in this season.

Let’s all join in prayer for each other in this holiday season and give thanks for our Savior!

Merry Christmas,

Matt, Sam, and Josh

P.S. Thank you all for the kind Christmas wishes, cards, and gifts! We are all especially reminded of our thankfulness to be a part of this church family in this season!

"I Just Came By"

"A Minister passing through his church In the middle of the day, Decided to pause by the altar To see who came to pray.

Just then the back door opened, And a man came down the aisle, The minister frowned as he saw the man
Hadn't shaved in a while.

His shirt was torn and shabby,
And his coat was worn and frayed, The man knelt down and bowed his head,
Then rose and walked away.
In the days that followed at precisely noon, The preacher saw this chap, Each time he knelt just for a moment,
A lunch pail in his lap.

Well, the minister's suspicions grew, With robbery a main fear, He decided to stop and ask the man,

'What are you doing here?'

The old man said he was a factory worker And lunch was half an hour Lunchtime was his prayer time, For finding strength and power.

I stay only a moment Because the factory's far away;
As I kneel here talking to the Lord, This is kinda what I say:

'I Just Came By To Tell You, Lord, How Happy I Have Been,
Since We Found Each Other’s Friendship And You Took Away My Sin. Don't Know Much Of How To Pray, But I Think About You Every day.
So, Jesus, This Is Ben,
Just Checking In Today.'

The minister feeling foolish,
Told Ben that it was fine.
He told the man that he was welcome To pray there anytime.

'It's time to go, and thanks,' Ben said As he hurried to the door.

Then the minister knelt there at the altar, Which he'd never done before.

His cold heart melted, warmed with love, As he met with Jesus there. As the tears flowed down his cheeks,
He repeated old Ben's prayer:

'I Just Came By To Tell You, Lord, How Happy I've Been,
Since We Found Each Other’s Friendship And You Took Away My Sin. I Don't Know Much Of How To Pray, But I Think About You Every day.
So, Jesus, This Is Me,
Just Checking In Today.'

Past noon one day, the minister noticed That old Ben hadn't come. As more days passed and still no Ben,
He began to worry some.

At the factory, he asked about him, Learning he was ill. The hospital staff was worried, But he'd given them a thrill.

The week that Ben was with them, Brought changes in the ward. His smiles and joy contagious. Changed people were his reward.

The head nurse couldn't understand Why Ben could be so glad, When no flowers, calls or cards came, Not a visitor he had.

The minister stayed by his bed, He voiced the nurse's concern: No friends had come to show they cared.
He had nowhere to turn.

Looking surprised, old Ben spoke up And with a winsome smile; 'The nurse is wrong, she couldn't know,
He's been here all the while.'

Every day at noon He comes here, A dear friend of mine, you see, He sits right down and takes my hand,
Leans over and says to me:

'I Just Came By To Tell You, Ben, How Happy I Have Been,
Since We Found This Friendship, And I Took Away Your Sin. I Think About You Always And I Love To Hear You Pray, And So Ben, This Is Jesus, Just Checking In Today.'

A Great Week at SHBC

We have had a great week of Fall Festivities at SHBC! Check out some of the pictures from our Fuel Bonfire last Wednesday, the Baby Shower for Josh and Rachel Lynn, and our Church Bonfire last Sunday!

(If you have more photos from any of these events, email them to so I can add them all to the website!)


Fuel Bonfire Photos:

The youth group at SHBC had a great time cooking out and playing volleyball at Josh and Rachel's house last Wednesday!


Baby Shower Photos:

Rachel and I would like to again thank you all for the love and support from our church family as we embark upon this exciting journey. We feel truly blessed to be a part of this church family! - Josh


Church Bonfire Photos:

We had the perfect weather for our annual church bonfire night last Sunday!

The Role and Importance of the Deacon

Hello Church Family

   On Sunday morning the 28th we are having a special service in the life of South Harriman.  It is a Deacon Ordination Service that we will be performing for Bro. Edwin Underwood.  I hope that you will all be there for this wonderful occasion.  
    In thinking about that, I wanted to explain to you a bit about what is the role of a deacon and what the Bible says their duty is in the life of a church. In our church, deacons serve many roles.  They wear many hats.  But their ministry can be characterized by one word: Servant.  These acts of service can be things like making hospital visits, assisting the widows of the church, taking someone to a doctor’s visit.  These are duties that aren't going to land them the prestige of having their picture on the front cover of the newspaper.  They aren't going to be rewarded monetarily or ceremonially but this type of service is part of the “job description" of a deacon.  But it is not the rewards that a deacon seeks.  
    For a deacon at South Harriman, they have a high calling.  The way that our church is organized, it is the deacons that serve as sort of a governing board.  Not to lord over the people or the staff of the church, but to be there if difficult situations were to arise and offer sound, Christ-like leadership in those situations.  With that sort of responsibility, deacons are also held accountable by the members of South Harriman and ultimately they are accountable to Christ.  
    In 1 Timothy 3, Paul gives us the qualifications of a deacon.  He says first of all, that they must be dignified.  Meaning a deacon cannot be dishonorable in their dealings with their family, their careers, their finances, or their Lord.  Next, Paul says that deacons cannot be double-tongued.  Meaning they cannot be deceitful.  They must speak truth without any mixture of hypocrisy.  Paul goes on to say that deacons cannot be addicted to much wine.  This means that they are not drunkards.  They don’t allow the things of this world, in this case alcohol, to impede their judgment and harm their walk with the Lord and their reputation with others.  Paul then states that deacons “must hold to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience”.  This means that while no deacon is perfect in their walk with Christ, they are not allowing sin to continue to invade them and cause them to stumble.  That the deacon is striving to cling to Christ more than the sin in their life.  
    Paul ends this section on the role and qualifications of a deacon by saying this: “For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.”  The “good standing” is talking about how the church should view their deacon.  He is a man who is respected and appreciated for the work that he performs.  The “great confidence” is a direct result of the work of a deacon.  We see him live and walk with the Lord.  We see him selflessly serve and give of himself.  The church sees that this man puts the Body of Christ before his own wants and desires.  And because of this humble approach to ministry, it gives the church confidence.  Confidence in the faith, in the Gospel message.  Confidence that we as a collection of believers can see through the mission that we have been given.  And that we as individuals can make it over the steep hills of adversity and through the rushing waters of trials all the way to the Other Side to the place that the Lord has prepared for us.  
    So, as we prepare for this special service, the ordination of a South Harriman Baptist Church Deacon, I hope that you will take special notice of what this role means.  The significance that it holds in the life of our church. 

- Matt

Hymn of the Month: Olympic Medals and True Worth

Those of us who follow sports, even a little, are used to hearing athletes thank God for their victories or their abilities. It is nice to hear that spirit of gratitude and thankfulness in this culture where selfishness seems to reign.

But, this week I heard an expression that turned in a different direction. Two athletes diving in the Olympics in Rio, when asked about the pressure of the competition said, “When my mind is on this, thinking I’m defined by this, then my mind goes crazy, but we both know our identity is in Christ.” I was impressed with their boldness of professing their faith to the world and with the security of their worth in Christ.

Clicking Here To Watch A Video of This Testimony

All of this leads me to think of a hymn that you may not know, but that you really should. It is written by modern hymn-writers Keith and Kristyn Getty (who also wrote “In Christ Alone”). The title of the hymn is “My Worth Is Not in What I Own”. I have been thinking about singing it for months now. The bold statement of the Olympians faith and identity caused it to jump back into my mind.

Click Here to Listen to the Hymn (lyrics and more from Sam below)

My Worth Is Not in What I Own

My worth is not in what I own
Not in the strength of flesh and bone
But in the costly wounds of love
At the cross
My worth is not in skill or name
In win or lose, in pride or shame
But in the blood of Christ that flowed
At the cross
I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.
As summer flowers we fade and die
Fame, youth and beauty hurry by
But life eternal calls to us
At the cross
I will not boast in wealth or might
Or human wisdom's fleeting light
But I will boast in knowing Christ
At the cross
Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed - my ransom paid
At the cross

By Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Graham Kendrick
© 2014 Getty Music Publishing and Make Way Music (admin by

As any collector will tell you, whether it is coins, or comic books, or baseball cards, the worth of an object is determined by what someone is willing to pay for it. Anyone who has ever sunk cash into collecting “Beanie Babies” can now say Amen.

In times of discouragement or of failure we often wonder what we are really worth.
Our worth is determined by the price that was paid for us on the cross. We are not worth something because of what we can do, what we can earn, not because of how old we are or how young. Our value is not because of what we know. Christ has determined our value and was willing to pay that price of us on the cross.

There is however a paradox here, and it is called grace. On our own we are not worthy of the love of God. We can’t be good enough. Because of God’s grace He counted us worthy and was willing to pay the ultimate price.

So don’t worry, your worth is not based in this world but in the price God was willing to pay for you. Your worth was decided by God himself.


Hymn of the Month for June:

     The brothers John and Charles Wesley, while students at Oxford University, became disillusioned and dissatisfied because of the spiritual lethargy of the school. Their response was to form what they called a “Holy Club”. They developed methodical ways of living and study. These devout young brothers were commissioned to go the America to help stabilize the church in the the Georgia Colonies and to evangelize the Indians.

     Enroute to their field of service while crossing the Atlantic they found themselves on a ship with a group of German Moravians. The Moravians were a small evangelical group who were know for their missions work and their enthusiastic hymn singing. According to the Wesley’s journal , on January 25, 1736 the ship was caught in a terrible storm. Charles observed this group as they worshiped in the midst of the storm.

     "In the midst of the Psalm wherewith their service began, the sea broke over, split the main sail in pieces, cover the ship and poured in between the decks… A terrible scream began among the English. The Moravians looked up, and without intermission calmly sang on. I asked on of them afterward, 'Were you not afraid?' He answered, 'Thank God , No!'" This fearlessness had a lasting effect on the brothers.

     After a short and unsuccessful experience with their ministry in America, the brothers returned England. In Aldersgate , London they again were influenced by a group of these devout Moravians. It was here that both of the brothers accepted Jesus Christ as their savior (even though they had already been zealous in their work of the Church for years). From this time forward the ministry of the Wesleys took on a new level of power. They traveled through out Great Britain, conducted over 40,000 meetings, and wrote more than 6,500 hymns. It is generally agreed that Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley have been the most influential hymn writer in English Hymnody.

     On the anniversary of his conversion at Aldersgate, Charles Wesley wrote a nineteen stanza hymn entitled “For the Anniversary Day of One’s Conversion” (often referred to as "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing"). Many of the stanzas that dealt with the Wesleys' personal conversion experience are usually left out. An example from one such stanza is:

I felt my Lord’s atoning blood close to my soul applied,                                                             Me, me He loved- the Son of God-for me, for me He died.

     Usually, the seventh stanza is now sung as the first, and this is normally the one that we know this hymn by. This stanza was inspired by the comment of Peter Bohler who said, “Had I a thousand tongue, I would praise Christ Jesus with all of them. “ We know it by the lines:

Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing My great Redeemer’s Praise
The glories of my God and King, the triumphs of His grace.

     Even though it is a disturbing visual thought (as one of my pianists reminds me, each time we sing the song) It tells us that with whatever we have and whatever we are we should use all to praise and honor our God.  With God’s guidance and assistance we are to proclaim God’s name throughout the world.

(Click Here to Listen to the "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing")

- Sam Leslie, Minister of Music

Hymn of the Month for May: "This Is My Father's World"

The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, And night unto night showeth knowledge. (Psalm 19:1-2)

Have you ever heard the planets sing? How about the stars, have you ever heard them shout? I know you have heard the wind as it joins with the trees and the mountains to perform a magnificent trio. You certainly have heard the birds singing and the animals making whatever noise that God has given them voice to make. You may have even listened to the song of the whales.  So the psalmist was right, both heaven and earth declare the glory and presence of God.

Maltbie Babcock was an athlete. He was an baseball player, a championship swimmer and he loved to run to stay in shape. He was also a pastor in Lockport, New York. Some mornings he would tell his staff “I’m going out to see my Fathers world.” and then he would run. He would run to a hill about two miles away where he could look out over Lake Ontario. He stood, caught his breath, and marveled at the beauty of the God’s creation. Then he would run two more miles through a wooded ravine where over forty different species of birds serenaded him. The next leg of his journey brought him back to the church.

Maltbie was not only an athlete, he was a lover of nature and also a musician. It should not surprise you that one day following his run he sat and wrote these lines.

This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; his hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker's praise.
This is my Father's world: he shines in all that's fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass; he speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world: why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!

The beauty of nature around us is a shining evidence of our God. He is there to see in all that is fair and true and right. It is also an encouragement and comfort to know that he is still a ruler who still reigns. Even today in the turmoil of our world in the frightening day that may be ahead. Even when wrong is called right and men love hate. Our God is still king and all of heaven tells it. As children of God let us rest in the fact that “This is My Father’s World”.

- Sam Leslie, Minister of Music


Guatemala 2016: An Update for Everyone

Last night our Guatemala mission team met with Gary Eudy, our mission coordinator, as well as Jeff Harville, an evangelism trainer. Both work through the Tennessee Baptist Convention, and they joined us last night in order to help prepare for the upcoming work in Guatemala.

Mr. Eudy also spoke at last night's prayer meeting to give some general information and encourage our congregation to continue their overwhelming support mission efforts through whatever means they have available. Specifically through Going, Praying, and Giving.

Going, Praying, and Giving is something that our church is very generous with, and our summer mission teams could not be more grateful for your support through bake sales and other fundraisers. We will work to keep you informed about details of our trip as preparation continues and while we are on the field.

Click Here to learn about our mission effort, to see pictures from last year's trip, and to continue your support towards making Christ known to the ends of the earth by going, giving, and praying!

- Best, Josh Lynn


I originally started this post to give a recap and report of the two events from this weekend. As I was writing, though, my reflections took a different turn. I could share some details from the events - like the testimonies the speakers shared, how encouraging the "cardboard testimony" was, how much money was raised for missions at the pancake breakfast, or how great the music was throughout the weekend - because all of those things are so very true.

But, after such an exciting weekend here at South Harriman (with the "Tea & Testimony" event for ladies on Saturday and the "Men's Day" services on Sunday), I feel that it is more important to take a moment to share my reflections than to give a report. I do so with the hope that these reflections encourage you as we begin another work week.

I am always joyfully amazed when I look at the rich diversity of talents that the members of our Church Family display. What is even more impressive is the harmony that is so often achieved in the midst of such diversity. It is easy for us to walk into a service or event and have an enjoyable time and be blessed by the message, the fellowship, the music, or so much more. I would suggest, though, that it is even more of a blessing to see the prayer, the thought, the care, the time, the effort, and the skill spent by so many to produce events designed to be a blessing to the Church Family and to our community.

Know that when you walk into a South Harriman event, members of your family in Christ have prayed over it, thought it through, and worked hard to ensure that the it is a blessing and refreshing experience for all. We all share our talents whether they be decorating, cooking, sharing, making music, or picking things up and putting them down in other places.

I don't write this message to single out individuals as specially exalted, but to share with you the picture that I get to see from behind the scenes.

I want you to see, through my eyes, the joy of the Body of Christ moving in unity in order to serve and uplift those around them. So, the next time you come to attend an event, bake a casserole for a shared meal, or work behind the scenes of an event, please take a step back and look at the bigger scene unfolding. It is greater than a meal or good music or laughter. It is the scene your brothers and sisters in Christ serving one another, enjoying one another, and having the smallest of foretastes of the joy that awaits us in Heaven.

(One final note: our "Men's Day" Speaker, Mark Lewis, spoke about the joy of those in Christ that was a pain to him as he was lost in sin. Remember, joyfulness is a constant theme in God's word. We will have troubles, but our joy that extends from our security in the love and protection of Christ should set us apart from the rest of the world. Go this week and share your joy with those in need - your troubles are small, and our joy is great because we have each other, and we have a risen and loving Savior.)

- Josh Lynn



Click Here for Mark Lewis's Website (Men's Day Speaker)

Click Here for Leah Heffner's Encouraging Website (Tea & Testimony Speaker)

Click Here to hear more of Jennifer Bast's Music (Tea & Testimony Worship Leader)

Prayer and the Church

Last night in Prayer Meeting, I talked a little about prayer.  So, for those of you who weren't able to make it, I want to share with you some of the foundational aspects of prayer.  

1) God takes PLEASURE in our Prayer.  Sometimes we get in the mindset that the All Powerful, Creator of the universe isn't really concerned with the things that we have going on down here.  But as Believers, the Bible says that we are beloved sons and daughters of God and an all-loving, Holy God takes pleasure in the conversations with His children!

2) We pray to God out of REVERENCE.  Jesus said that if we ask anything in His name that He will do it.  Many people end their prayers with “In Jesus name I pray”.  The reason that we do this is because coming to God in the Name of Jesus means that we are saying that we have no righteousness, no salvation, no meaning in this life EXCEPT through Christ.

3) When we come to God, we come into His PRESENCE.  In the Old Testament, the picture of prayer is the incense before the alter that goes up and as it rises, it is a sweet smelling aroma to God.  Our prayers are just that, something that God wants from us and is sweet to Him as we stand before our Lord in prayer.  

4) God gives us HELP in prayer.  At the end of Chapter 8 of Romans, Paul tells us that even in the times that we don't know what to pray, that the Spirit of God prays for us “with groanings too deep for words”.  Paul is saying that in those difficult times that you don't know what to say to God, don't worry.  You just come to Him.  He knows your heart.  You don't have to have all the right words, just open up that line of communication to your Father.

5) We come to God in prayer with the right kind of HEART.  Psalm 66 says “If I regard iniquity (sin) in my heart, the Lord will not heart me”.  1 John says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.  This means that we keep short accounts with God.  Constantly confessing our sin to Him.  We shouldn't let an hour pass by before we seek repentance for what we do wrong.  God knows us.  He knows our sin.  But He wants us to confess it to Him and seek obedience.  That is having the right heart in prayer.  

6) We pray for our NEEDS.  When we endure suffering, hardships, struggles, heartache, problems, and worries, we bring them to our Lord.  God wants us to bring to Him to big needs and the little needs.  The big concerns and the little ones.  So we pray for all things, physical and spiritual, great and small.  

7) We are THANKFUL to God in our prayers.  We thank Him for everything.  Our family, our church, our health, our safety, our possessions, the ways that He has blessed us, the struggles that He has brought us through.  As Psalm 136 says, we gives thanks to the Lord because He is good!

8) We pray for OTHERS.  We aren't selfish in our prayers.  We don't put the spot-light constantly on ourselves, but we pray for the needs and struggles and lives of those around us.  We pray for the Gospel to be heard by the lost, for the Word to be understood by the saved.  We pray for people who live in our homes, who go to our church, for our neighbors and friends.  We pray for all those that God has put into our lives.  

9) We pray with STEADFASTNESS.  Don't give up in your prayers.  In the parable of the persistent widow, you had a crooked judge and an old widow who kept coming to him for justice.  The judge continued to deny her but that did not stop this woman.  She was persistent in her petition.  Finally, the crooked judge has enough and gives the widow what she was seeking.  Jesus ends this parable by saying, if this evil Judge can answer the needs of the woman, how much more will a Holy, Good God be willing to answer the prayers of His children?  Some of you have prayed the same thing for years and God delights in the fact that you continue to trust in Him so much, that you are relentless in your prayer!

10) Sometimes in our prayer requests, God says “NO”.  There is always a reason that God says “no”.  Maybe it will hurt your walk with Him, maybe it will hurt you, maybe you don't need it.  There is always a plan at work in our lives and we rarely know all the details of that plan.  So we have to understand that when God says “no”, it is for our good.  

11) Our prayers have POWER.  God is sovereign over this world.  He is in full control of everything and everyone around us.  In saying that, we must also understand the power that our sovereign God has given us in prayer.  That when we go to Him, He listens.  That the prayers of Believers have the ability to reach our Father who can do things, change things, intercede in things for us.  We have to understand that there is great power in prayer.  


So, the challenge to you is this:  make time for prayer.  Every day.  Find a quiet place to go to Him.  Set aside time to get with the Lord and lay it all out to Him.  Draw near to Him and you will be amazed at what God can do!


Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs

For a while the staff has talked about providing more content to our website, which provides me a special opportunity to share some of the things that I dearly love, namely, our “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19). My plan is to provide encouragement, information and inspiration from what we sing so that those songs will more personally affect your worship.

At our community Palm Sunday service, sponsored but the Harriman Music Club, we sang a simple yet familiar hymn, Come Christians Join to Sing. A perfect place to start our series.

"Come, Christians, join to sing Alleluia! Amen!
Loud praise to Christ our King; Alleluia! Amen!
Let all, with heart and voice, Before His throne rejoice;
 Praise is His gracious choice.Alleluia! Amen!
Come, lift your hearts on high, Alleluia! Amen!
Let praises fill the sky; Alleluia! Amen!
He is our Guide and Friend; To us He’ll condescend;
His love shall never end. Alleluia! Amen!
Praise yet our Christ again, Alleluia! Amen!
Life shall not end the strain; Alleluia! Amen!
On heaven’s blissful shore, His goodness we’ll adore,
Singing forevermore, “Alleluia! Amen!”

First of all, I encourage you “Come to Sing!" Come into worship with the intention of singing. The title is not, “Come Christians Join to LISTEN.” You have a wonderful responsibility to physically participate in the corporate worship of your God. You can proclaim as in the song, “Alleluia! Amen”. That is to say “Praise the Lord” “Indeed” . “God inhabits the praises of His people” so take the opportunity praise Him audibly with your voice. Nobody else can do that for you. Sing to your God “Alleluia! Amen!"

Encourage one another in the faith. We are blessed in this country that we are not alone in our faith. We have the privilege of being able to join with the family of God on a regular basis. Each week we are going to lift our voice together and to encourage one another as well. We exhort the body to “ Let all with heart and voice, before the throne rejoice”  and to “let praises fill the sky” “Alleluia! Amen!”

As we sing the middle stanza we focus on some of the attributes of the one we worship. Christ is our “guide” as well as our “Friend”.  I found the phrase “To us He’ll condescend. “ a little unusual so I had to think on it a while. In our world the term condescend has a negative connotation. We think of the term as having to do with an air of superiority. However in this case it means to waive the privileges of rank.  Which is what Christ did in being God and taking the form of a man to bring to us salvation. "The word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14).  To that we sing “Alleluia! Amen!”

Then there’s the “heaven stanza” . It says “Life shall not end the strain” . Our songs, our praises our rejoicing will not end just because this earthly body quits working. We, as the children of God will have an eternity to praise him “Singing forever more.” So It’s about time we got started!

So…..“Come Christians Join to Sing Alleluia! Amen!”

-Sam Leslie, Music Minister


Coming this Sunday! - Pastor Matt Edwards


Hello Church—

Yesterday was a wonderful Easter service here at South Harriman!  We had 298 people joining us in celebrating our Risen Savior!  I want to thank each of you that invited a friend of family member and I hope that you will continue to encourage them to join us in the future.  Also, a special thanks to Sam, our accompanists, choir, and A/V team for their outstanding job this week.  I think we had the best music in East Tennessee this Easter!

For this Sunday, we will be back in the book of Romans, and I really hope that you will be here for what I believe will be a very special sermon.  It is entitled Church & State and if you want to do a little reading ahead, check out Romans 13:1-7.  I believe that learning this passage comes at a perfect time in our nation being that we are nearing a Presidential election.  So, be prepared to hear some things that you may not be used to hearing very often in church as we learn about the Biblical view of government!

Have a great week!

"Love Is Alive" and More at South Harriman Baptist Church for Palm Sunday - Sam Leslie


We are in the midst of the Easter season and I hope our thoughts go beyond chocolate bunnies and colored eggs. Easter should bring to mind …. and empty grave, a resurrected Savior, hope, and forgiveness…. but one word echoes throughout the Easter story, and that is Love.

It was because of God’s love that sent His son to be born. It was God’s love that lead the sinless Savior to the cross to pay for the sin of man. It was love that conquered death and hell. And it is that same love that brings eternal life. That love is still alive in us, and that is why we can joyously celebrate Easter.

This Sunday morning during the AM Worship Service (begins at 11:00) the Adult Choir will present the resurrection celebration, “Love is Alive”. It is a celebration of the love of God through music and the proclamation of that same love that can change lives. Be sure to come and invite your friends to rejoice in a love that is ALIVE.

Also remember that this Sunday we will host the Harriman Music Club's annual Palm Sunday event. Each year through the efforts of the Harriman Music Club our community joins together and observes Palm Sunday. Each year in a local church we sing of the gift of God’s son and his saving grace. This year we are privileged to host the 46th Annual Palm Sunday Service here at South Harriman Baptist Church. Churches from different denomination and traditions will join together and lift their voices in praise. It is always an uplifting event. Be sure to come and participate at 2:30 this Sunday.

Sam Leslie

Practical Christian Growth - Pastor Matt Edwards

Hey everyone-
Yesterday morning I spoke from Romans 12:9-13 about some of the practical aspects of how we grow in Christ.  Specifically from verses 12 and 13, I mentioned 5 different areas that we can focus on to get us out of a “spiritual rut”.  
They were:

  1. Rejoice in hope (the confidence that we have as believers that we will see Jesus one day)
  2. Be patient in tribulation (patient in times of trouble)
  3. Be constant in prayer (living with a mindset of prayer)
  4. Contribute to the needs of the saints (giving financially and of your time to the church)
  5. Seek to show hospitality (showing kindness to your brothers and sisters in Christ)

As I said yesterday, if we will apply all 5 of these things to our life, we will grow in our walks with Christ.  I hope that each of you will think of ways that you can, starting today, implement all 5.  

Use this table to fill in different areas that you can work on in your relationship with Christ to begin a closer walk with Him.  Maybe you need to start a daily devotional time where you focus on prayer, write that down in the “Be Constant Prayer” column.  Maybe you need to start serving in an area of ministry at the church, fill that in the “Contribute to the Needs of the Saints” column. So, think on the areas that you need to work on in your life and ask the Lord to guide you in the steps that you need to take!

See you soon