Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Deceitful Thrill of Living Dangerously

Not long ago my wife and I took our grandchildren to an amusement park in New Hampshire. We had a great time. Without question, our granddaughter’s favorite ride was the log ride. She had this love/hate feeling going on about the steep drop into the water where she got all wet. She said “I loved it, expect the part I didn’t like very much.” Whether you are 4 or 40, such rides can be a lot of fun. Perhaps they are so much fun because they scare us, even though deep inside we know we are safe. It is almost like seeing just how far we can go into danger, without actually getting hurt. For most of us, that is actually a caricature of our lives. 

We like to live on the edge, seeing just how far we can go before getting in trouble. That desire to embrace danger while denying the potential for hurt is actually part of our fallen sinful nature. No, I’m not saying amusement parks are sinful. I’m saying that tendency to see how close we can get to trouble - without actually paying the price for it - comes from our sinful nature.
While rides at an amusement park might be safe, even if they scare us, when we toy with sin and live dangerously close to sinful life choices, there is no way to keep hurt and pain from finally impacting us.

The ugly truth is that sin destroys us. While our sinful nature wants to live on the edge, hoping the thrill will outweigh the cost, it never works out that way. Sin always takes us farther than we wanted to go, keeps us longer than we wanted to stay and costs us far more than we thought we would have to pay. We must determine to live holy lives and not get caught up in sin.

Lord, help us keep our hearts turned to You so that the wiles of the world do not lure us into harm’s way. Amen.






Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the executive director of the Baptist Convention of New England.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Mannequin By the Pond

“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,” Colossians 2:13

Last Sunday my wife and I were out for an afternoon drive. We were enjoying the fall foliage when we happened upon a lovely scene near a campground. At the entrance to the campground there was a river that emptied into a pond, a lovely covered bridge, and several historical items on display. But what caught our eye the most was the lovely mannequin of an old man fishing. It was meticulously set up beside the covered bridge and looked like it had been there many years. We pulled into the small parking lot and took in the whole scene. It was amazing.

And then we got a shock that took our breath away. The mannequin moved! Suddenly we realized it was not a mannequin after all, but a real, live elderly gentleman who was actually fishing beside the bridge. He had been standing so still, and looked so poised in the scene, that we didn’t even realize he was alive!
I wonder how many churches are viewed by their community just like we viewed that old man? Churches often are in central locations in town, with meticulous buildings and stately lawns. But perhaps it has been so many years since the community has seen any real movement, any meaningful activity, that if the church actually did something, it would be a shock to anyone watching.

We may appear to our community to be dead as a church. If that is the case, then we need the Lord to make us alive again through His Spirit. The community should not be shocked when our church actually does something good.

Lord, help us to find life in You and be active in serving You. May the life within us be evident to all who are watching us. Amen.




Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the executive director of the Baptist Convention of New England.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Happy Spiritual Birthday Fanny Crosby

On November 20, 1850, a blind Fanny Crosby underwent a dramatic spiritual conversion at age 30. After attending a series of revival meetings she responded to an invitation to pray at the altar. While kneeling at the altar the congregation began to sing "Alas and did my Savior bleed." The words struck deep into Crosby's soul. The Holy Spirit captured her heart and she was never the same again.

Fifteen years later, she began writing her first hymns. Eventually she wrote the words to over 8,000 hymns. She often used fake names to publish her hymns, for fear of becoming prideful. Many of her hymns  remain popular today, including "Rescue the Perishing," "Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross," "All the Way My Savior Leads Me" and "Tell Me the Story of Jesus."

She was saved at 30, started writing hymns at 45, and ended up authoring over 8,000 hymns that continue to impact millions of people around the world. What a testimony!

So, if you didn't grow up in a Christian home and got saved later in life, or you were a Christian when you were young but did not get called to ministry until later in life, or you are facing some type of physical disability but fervently love Jesus, don't despair, God can use you to do great things. Give yourself fully to Him and watch what He can do.

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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett 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 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