Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Harvest of Righteousness

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. - 2 Corinthians 9:10

Multiplication. It is a powerful word. It speaks of significant growth, not just incremental growth. In a spiritual sense, multiplication comes from God. The Holy Spirit can do more in a moment than human effort can achieve in a lifetime. Only the Holy Spirit can bring a harvest of righteousness.

When applied to our material possessions, multiplication has only one purpose, that we might give more of our wealth so that we can join God in increasing the harvest of righteousness, seeing more people come into the Kingdom. I think this is why so many Christians struggle financially. They view their possessions as their own. Even Christians who tithe often think of the 90% they keep as their own. But that is not why God gives us material wealth. 

God gives us wealth so that we might use it to grow His Kingdom. If we could rethink our attitude and viewpoints regarding our wealth, we may discover that God gives us more to give away for His glory. How do you view what God has given you?
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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of New England. He has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Creating Authentic Mission Statements

In my ministry role I often assist pastors and churches trying to revision what the future might be for their ministry. Often they find themselves in a challenging moment and they know they cannot continue with the status quo. They know they need a fresh vision to take them to a new level of ministry. They often have an idea of what that vision should be but need help articulating it in a way that people can rally around.

I also get to work with a lot of new churches. These new churches are in a unique position where they get to craft a brand new vision instead of trying to rediscover or revitalize an old one.

Both scenarios are very exciting to me and it is fulfilling to watch a vision emerge from a group of people united in faith and service to Christ. Many churches, whether new or old, choose to express that vision with some catchy mission or vision statement that encapsulates all they are trying to express in some succinct way.

Normally these statements are catchy and creative, worthy of being on a bumper sticker or a twitter post. But I must confess, there are times when I find mission statements less helpful than they should be. For mission statements to be helpful, they have to actually express the real mission of the church. They can’t just be lofty theological statements that sound good to theologians but mean nothing to the community. It has to be a statement the typical person in the community who has not been to seminary and might not be particularly religious will understand. 

For example, recently I saw one that said "to the glory of God and for the advancement of his kingdom we will take the gospel to every corner of the earth." To a seminary student that actually sounds like a wonderful mission statement. But to the average person on the street who is not quite sure what the glory of God is or what the advancement of His kingdom means, it is just a bunch of nonsense words. Even to a long term Christian who understands what the words mean, there is a real question about whether this church can really take the gospel to the farthest corners of the world. If they are like most churches, they are probably thinking more about how they can solve hunger right in their own community or address homelessness in their own community, rather than around the world. I’m not saying that a church should not have a huge world wide vision. I’m just saying that an effective mission/vision statement has to be something the people in the community can grab hold of. Unless your community is an international community that thinks about the whole world, a world wide vision might communicate far less effectively than you think.

If you are going to craft an authentic mission statements, start with an examination of stuff your church has actually done frequently in the last six months. Then look at how your church spends it money. Those two things will reveal your REAL mission. If you real mission is not what it should be, a catchy phrase of what you wish it would be won't change much. You will have to go deeper and change your real values before you can create an authentic mission statement. That may take longer than you want it to, but it will be a better statement in the end, one you will actually work toward achieving.

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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of New England. He has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Faith or Stubbornness

There is the fine line between faith and stubbornness. faith is believing that God is going to do something even though there is no current evidence to prove that. Stubbornness is a determination to keep doing what I want to do even though all evidence tells me I should do something different. The two things are completely different and yet often they can be confused for each other.

I’ve met many people who were stubborn but thought  they were exercising faith. I have met people who were exercising faith but others thought they were just being stubborn. There is a fine line between the two that I think is absolutely critical to understand.

Faith looks forward to the future of what God is going to do. Stubbornness  looks to the past with a determination to keep doing what I want to do. Faith has a vision but stubbornness has nostalgia. Faith bears fruit that produces righteousness. Stubbornness produces fruit that looks more like the flesh. 

But it is easy to deceive ourselves when we want our way.
Stubbornness and faith might look alike in the beginning but in the end they produce very different results. 

Here is a challenging question: Are we exercising faith or are we just being stubborn?


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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of New England. He has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:
http://www.amazon.com/Dr.-Terry-W.-Dorsett/e/B00405U4NY

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Be a Blessing!

You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
               - 2 Corinthians 9:11



"God gives us more so we can give more.” That was the statement the businesswoman made as we had lunch together with friends. She and her family have been incredibly generous to our ministry for many years. She went on to share several stories of how God gave them supernatural discernment at crucial times in their business that allowed them to make a significantly larger profit than similar companies. She credited God for their success and believed that God gave them that success so they could give even more to His work. I do not recall ever hearing a businessperson share that perspective prior to my conversation with her. But since that conversation so many years ago, I've met many people like that lady. And they all agreed that if more business people took her approach, they would have more successful businesses.

But it is not just business people who need to rethink this issue. How do we, ordinary men and women trying to make a living, view our possessions? Do we see our possessions as a vehicle through which God can work? Or are possessions merely a means to make our own lives more comfortable?

In my experience, when Christians view their wealth as a means to bless others in the name of Christ, God gives them even more, which allows them to increase their giving in even greater ways. When Christians tend to focus on their own needs, they never quite have enough to accomplish all they want. But when they focus on giving to others, it frees up a spiritual pathway for God to use them to bless the work of God and those who work for God.

This is not only true for individuals, but it is also true for churches. When churches see their assets as tools to expand the Kingdom of God, the Lord gives them even more assets so they can increase their impact. When churches become tight-fisted, thinking only of how they can improve their facilities or enhance their internal programming, their financial situation often gets worse instead of better. 

God sees how we use our possessions, both as individuals, and as churches, and gives us resources to match that stewardship. Whether individually or corporately, God rarely gives us more if we have not displayed an attitude of generosity with what He has already given us. He has enriched us so that we can be generous. This is a key truth we must remember as we consider our personal budgets and our church budgets. What does YOUR budget say?
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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of New England. He has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:
http://www.amazon.com/Dr.-Terry-W.-Dorsett/e/B00405U4NY

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Grace of Giving

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
          2 Corinthians 9:7


It was an awkward email to read. A pastor I have known for over a decade wrote and asked to be removed from our mailing list. He was offended that a recent email had included a link recipients could use to make an online gift. He liked receiving our email newsletter so he could stay informed of what was going on in our area, but he did not want to be asked to give. I responded with appreciation for his past partnership and assured him I would remove him from the list. The following day a letter arrived from a couple I had met a few years ago at a meeting. I had not seen them in several years but we corresponded several times a year via letter. Their letter included an incredibly generous gift and a note thanking me for providing an opportunity for them to give. They also requested that I let them know about specific needs they might be able to help with in the future. 

The contrast between the two notes reminds me of how the grace of giving works. For some people, giving is reluctant, done out of duty, and often results in the smallest gift that still feels respectable. For others, giving is a cheerful experience. It brings joy and happiness because the givers know their gift is making a difference for the Gospel. They rejoice in knowing they were able to join God in His mission. 


In the two examples I gave, for one, giving was merely a duty, and perhaps not a duty that was enjoyable or fulfilling. For the other, it was an honor and privilege to give, and they excelled in the grace of giving. 

What I find amazing about people who excel at the grace of giving, is that they are often not the ones who have the most to give. They may not have a lot of excess to give, but what they have, they give freely and with great joy. Their level of giving often exceeds what is normal for people in their income bracket. Those with a heart to give find deep fulfillment and purpose in giving. Praise God for them!

As the person responsible for overseeing a small army of missionaries seeking to reach a spiritually barren region of the nation, I pray often for God to raise up cheerful givers that He can use to fund the army of missionaries I lead. Could you be one of those givers? If so, send me an email at tdorsett@bcne.net and I can share ways you can excel in the grace of giving. God is doing a great work in our region of the nation. I am never embarrassed to invite others to join in His mission through prayer, volunteering and through the grace of giving.

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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of New England. He has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

http://www.amazon.com/Dr.-Terry-W.-Dorsett/e/B00405U4NY

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Matthew 18 Forgiveness - Guest Post by Daniel Demars

Most people who have been following the Lord for a reasonable amount of time recognize the importance practicing forgiveness and mercy. They grasp the concept that in light of both the holiness and mercy of God, holding onto grudges or desiring vengeance is neither Christ-like or healthy. They understand that harboring bitterness towards anyone is not evidence of spiritual regeneration. We know all of this. Yet I’ve spoken with people who confided that although they believe they’d forgiven, still find themselves upset about a situation to the point that it affects their lives. It’s entirely possible to make an intellectual decision to forgive, and to no longer wish for “karma” to fall on someone we are angry with, yet fail to cast the hurt brought on by the offense. 
Forgiveness is not always a one and done, quick release formula. The Lord gives us an image of a continuous approach. (Mat 18:21-22) The God who created us calls us to love people in response to His kindness, with reconciliation and humility. I can attest that at times I truly believed I had forgiven someone, only to find that the bitterness from a particular past situation was still on my heart. I found this hurt manifesting itself in other areas of my life. This greatly impeded my walk, emotional and spiritual well-being, and attitude towards life. When the Lord opened my eyes through His word it brought a new sense of liberation that changed the way I approach EVERYTHING. 
We must remember that forgiveness is NOT pretending it never happened. It is acknowledging real hurt before Holy God, and finding comfort His goodness. Knowing that He hates whatever wrong has been done to us, and that it has been paid for, along with every sin we have committed, based solely on the blood of Christ. Our immediate concern shouldn’t be gaining peace, but being obedient to God and bringing Him glory. We will come out the other side of the experience with Godly peace, but the process may be a refining process requiring sacrifice and submission. 
We might need to repent for assuming we are entitled to convenience in life, and instead embrace longsuffering and denial. We should reach out and make peace with whomever we feel has wronged us. (Mark 11:25) This may involve some uncomfortable conversations, which the Holy Spirit can adequately handle. We should lift the other party up in prayer and recognize that the Lord went to the cross for them with the same passion He has for us.
When we are actively involved in praying for someone, it is tremendously difficult to harbor anger towards them. We also identify areas in our own lives where we have fallen short in living a life of sacrifice. If we feel insulted, we need to remember God sees us as redeemed. If we feel we’ve been robbed, we need to remember God provides all our needs and ask for a generous spirit. If we feel betrayed, we should proclaim that God will never leave us, and ask for a spirit of commitment to others. This is yet another process of being conformed to the image of Christ.
And in it all, we must give glory to God. 




Daniel Demars lives in central Massachusetts. He is in the food distribution business and in his spare time enjoys driving for Uber where he says he is “cruising for cash and making friends along the way.”

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Freedom Isn't Free - Guest Post by Jim Fontaine


“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. (Galatians 5: 13)

     On Independence Day, we always celebrate the freedom that came hundreds of years ago to this country. Freedom was bought through the blood and sacrifices of many…and we owe those brave men and women a great debt of thanks. It is a reminder that freedom is not free, either for the one who buys it or the one who receives it.

     The same is true of the freedom Jesus bought for us 2000 years ago on Mount Calvary. The freedom Christians enjoy came at a very great cost since Jesus gave His life to make us free from sin. Through accepting the Name of Jesus in faith and receiving what He did on the Cross for our salvation, we have eternal life, full and free. Our behavior, therefore, should always reflect who we are, not who we were. Our behavior should reflect how grateful we are to God for His precious and undeserved gift.

     But, there are many who abuse their freedom as Christians, claiming that the freedom they have in Christ now allows them to live any way they want, even if that means living in sin, living the same way as they did before they were saved. They say things like, “I believe in Jesus! And since I do, I can live however I want because He’ll forgive me of all my sins!” The problem with that kind of thinking is that Jesus calls us to be more like Him (Romans 8: 29); to become holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1: 16); to put on the new self, which has been created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4: 24).

     How can we say we are Christ-like when we are living in sin? Is that the kind of freedom Jesus has called us to? Can Christians sin as much as they want now that their sins are all covered by the blood of Jesus? The answer is an emphatic NO! Yes, we are called to be free! But, we are also called to be more Christ-like every day. We are not to live in sin anymore. Freedom in Christ is NOT the freedom to do what we want when we want; it is the freedom to do what God wants and to please Him because we love Him.

     After the evacuation of troops from Richmond, Virginia on April 4, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln walked the streets of the city with his son Tad. Former slaves gathered to meet the President, thanking the man who had set them free. President Lincoln stopped at one point to address former slaves. In his book, Life of Abraham Lincoln, author Clifton Nichols wrote down the President’s challenge:

My poor friends, you are free – as free as air. You can cast off the name of slave and trample upon it; it will come to you no more. Liberty is your birthright. God gave it to you as he gave it to others, and it is a sin that you have been deprived of it for so many years. But you must try to deserve this priceless boon. Let the world see that you merit it, and are able to maintain it by your good works. Don’t let your joy carry you into excesses; learn the laws, and obey them. Obey God’s commandments, and thank him for giving you liberty, for to him you owe all things.” [1]

Much of what Lincoln said to former slaves, Paul said to the Galatians and to us. If you have professed faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, you ARE free! God has given it to you as a precious, undeserved gift of His grace. Freedom is your Christian birthright!

     But do not use or abuse your freedom in Christ by continuing to live in sin. Do not dishonor the Savior who died for your sins by thinking that it is OK to sin. Freedom in Christ is NOT freedom to sin. Instead, show that you are free in Christ by living the way God wants us to live, in obedience to His commands; by loving and serving one another in the body of Christ; by loving and serving our neighbors as an outflow of the love of God that is in our hearts. Contrary to what the world would tell us, freedom is not the ability to do what you want, when you want to do it. Freedom in Christ is a gift from God…and there are boundaries to that freedom. Let us always glorify the Savior who freed us by living lives that truly honor the sacrifice He made on our behalf.


[1] Clifton Melvin Nichols, Life of Abraham Lincoln (Springfield, OH: Mast, Crowell & Kirkpatrick, 1896), page 232.


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Jim Fontaine became the pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Brimfield, MA in July 2016 after completing a 13-year pastorate at Burncoat Baptist Church in Worcester, MA. Jim has been married to his wife, Paula, for 24 years and has four children.