Listen to Your Conscience

Michael WilburnChurch Blog


What is the conscience?
“The conscience is your consciousness of what you believe is right and wrong”
  1. Conscience produces different results for people based on different moral standards.
  2. Conscience can change.
  3. Conscience functions as a guide, monitor, witness, and judge.

Twenty Scripture Texts on the Conscience

  1. Acts 23:1
  2. Acts 24:16
  3. Romans 2:15
  4. Romans 9:1
  5. Romans 13:5
  6. 1 Corinthians 8:7, 20, 12
  7. 1 Corinthians 10:25, 27-29
  8. 2 Corinthians 1:12
  9. 2 Corinthians 4:2
  10. 2 Corinthians 5:11
  11. 1 Timothy 1:5, 19
  12. 1 Timothy 3:9
  13. 1 Timothy 4:2
  14. 2 Timothy 1:3
  15. Titus 1:15
  16. Hebrews 9:9, 14
  17. Hebrews 10:2, 22
  18. Hebrews 13:18
  19. 1 Peter 2:19
  20. 2 Peter 3:16, 21
A Prayer for Grace through the Conscience 
(found in Conscience by Andrew Naselli and J. D. Crowley)
Father, we are finite and sinful people, and for a complex of reasons that you know far better than we do, we disagree with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ on all sorts of disputable matters.
  1. Would you please give us grace to welcome those who disagree with us on various disputable issues?
  2. Would you please give us grace to not look down on those who are stricter than we are?
  3. Would you please give us grace to not be judgmental toward those who exercise more freedom than we do?
  4. Would you please give us grace to be fully convinced of our positions in our own consciences?
  5. Would you please give us grace to practice our freedoms and restrictions for your glory and to assume that other believers are doing the same?
  6. Would you please give us grace to keep disputable matters in perspective, knowing that we will all someday stand before your judgment seat?
  7. Would you please give us grace to not let our freedom destroy the faith of a professing Christian who is weaker on a particular disputable matter?
  8. Would you please give us grace to build each other up in righteousness, peace, and joy?
  9. Would you please give us grace to not flaunt our freedom or expect others to be as strict as we are?
  10. Would you please give us grace to live according to our conscience and experience your blessing?
  11. Would you please give us grace to follow the example of Christ, who put others first?
  12. Would you please give us grace to bring you glory by welcoming one another as Christ has welcomed us?
Lord, we are weak and selfish. We need so much endurance and encouragement to live with our brothers and sisters in this way of peace. You are the God of endurance and encouragement. Please grant us to live in such harmony with one another and in accord with Christ Jesus that together we may with one voice glorify you, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Naselli, Andrew David and J. D. Crowley. Conscience: What it is, How to Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ. Wheaton: Crossway, 2016.


Chinese Ministry – A Celebration of God’s Blessings

Geoffrey ChanChinese Ministry, Church Blog

Chinese Ministry
1890, the Chinese population in Richmond numbered less than 100 and Immanuel Baptist Church was a thriving congregation at Fifth and Leigh Streets.  That year, the church invited a group of Chinese people living in Richmond to attend a weekly Sunday School class and occasional worship services conducted by retired missionaries to China. This began Immanuel’s first official outreach to a people from another land – both at home and abroad.

At that time, the bulk of the Chinese population was centered in the heart of Richmond.  Immanuel’s central location at Fifth and Leigh Streets, and later at Pine and Grace Streets, was an ideal place for reaching out to Richmond’s Chinese population until the early 1940s.  As most of the Richmond Chinese population during this time had their roots in southern China, the Bible studies and worship services were conducted in Cantonese, the dialect of that region.

Moving forward 100 years from that first Sunday School class to the 1990s, much has changed.  Immanuel is now at Monument and Thompson and the Chinese population in Richmond has grown to several thousand.  Hundreds and thousands of Chinese students and visiting scholars are in the United States to pursue higher education.  Many have come to Virginia.  Not only China opened its door to the world, China has come to the United States, to Virginia and to Richmond.

During the 1992/93 academic year, I had the opportunity to go to the University of Virginia to lead Bible studies for a group of Chinese students. I met several visiting scholars and students from China and asked them the reason for their interest in studying the Bible. Their overwhelming answer was, “We had lost faith in a belief system that shaped our lives. Here in the US, we see the commitment of many Christians and we are impressed. We want to know what they believe in.” What a great opportunity to share the Word of God when hearts are hungry for the truth.

In June 1998, my wife, Eunice, and I joined a Chinese Bible Study on the VCU/MCV campus, witnessing to a group of graduate students from China.  That September, sensing the great opportunity to evangelize and enlarge God’s kingdom in Richmond, Pastor Sparky Pritchard encouraged me to pray about leading a ministry to the Chinese at Immanuel.  At the January 1999 Board of Elders meeting, the Board endorsed the idea, and Immanuel began to pray for God’s will for a new Chinese Ministry.

By the end of the summer, we were confident that God had answered our prayers, and the preparation for a Chinese worship service began in earnest.  Brother Enguang Zhao single-handedly scanned the entire phone book, picking out all the addresses of anyone whose last name sounded Chinese.  We sent out over 1000 letters to the greater Richmond area inviting the recipient to come to the Chinese worship service at Immanuel.  And on December 5, 1999 the first Chinese worship service conducted in Mandarin, the Chinese national dialect, was held at the Mizpah Room, with over fifty people attending.

I want to share with you one story from that day that will forever be etched in my memory.  On that December morning of the first service, at about 11 am, a Chinese couple and their little girl was walking down Thompson Street.  They had just arrived from Australia three days earlier. They were staying at a hotel on the 3200 block of Broad Street, and were on their way to Hanover Avenue to look at an apartment.  Because the sidewalk did not continue on their side of the street, they crossed Thompson at the corner of Monument and Thompson.  One of our security personnel thought they were looking for the Chinese service and approached them with a big smile and enthusiasm, and ushered them to the Mizpah Room.  It was already 15 minutes into the service, so they sat at the back, and because they had an appointment to keep, they left before the service ended.  No one knew who they were or where they lived, and no one knew if they would come back the next week.  But that following Sunday, they were the first ones to arrive for the Chinese service.  QL and LC, and their little girl WS accepted the Lord as their Savior later in the spring of 2000, and were baptized on April 30, 2000.  Surely we saw evidence that God is at work.

After the Sunday morning Chinese Worship Service was established, Immanuel also assumed the leadership of the Friday evening Chinese Bible Study at VCU in October 2000.  These two meetings became the hallmark of the Chinese Ministry.   Evangelism occurred on Friday evenings through seeker-friendly Bible studies, as well as home visits and one-on-one meetings, and Sunday mornings brought worship and instruction through expository preaching and in-depth Bible study.

Most newcomers and non-believers were introduced to the ministry through the Friday evening meetings. For many Chinese students and scholars, and their families, this was their first introduction to the Word of God.  Our meetings began with a Chinese supper together, our discussions were generally evangelistic, and the relaxed and informal atmosphere gave ample opportunity for people to ask questions or raise issues.  As their interest in the Bible grew, seekers would begin to attend the Sunday worship services and eventually, many would turn to God and become a follower of Jesus Christ.

From December 1999 to June 2017, God has blessed the ministry with more than 120 professions of faith and 112 baptisms.  As these new believers finished their studies in Richmond, they found employment and moved to other parts of the United States, and even Canada and Australia.  Some returned to China, and it is gratifying to hear that they are also walking with the Lord and active in their local churches.

None of these would have been possible but by the grace of God, and the faithfulness of many Immanuelites who labored both in front of and behind the scenes.  As I read through 18 annual reports, and the well over 100 names of people who served the Chinese Ministry, I am just amazed at the goodness of our great God and am thankful for the partnership of everyone involved.

Since my retirement in July 2017, Brothers Hemin Yang and Jianmin Zhao continue to lead the Friday night Chinese Bible Study.  While the demographics of the Chinese students/scholars population is very different from 20 years ago, opportunities to witness for Christ continue.  “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;  therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).

Geoffrey chan
        Soli Deo gloria,
        Geoffrey Chan

Are You Ready?

Matt LavenderChurch Blog

Are You Ready?

Oh how I enjoy old, acoustic guitar blues music particularly gospel blues and I would like to introduce you to one I have enjoyed learning recently.

Gospel blues is a form of music that has been around since before World War II. It’s earliest influences were “spirituals.” Spirituals were religious songs created by enslaved African Americans that combined biblical truths and stories with African rhythmical and sonic elements. Possibly the most famous spiritual would be “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” With the increased common use of the steel acoustic guitar in the 1920’s and 30’s, gospel blues became more popular. Spirituals and gospel blues were expressions of religious faith that looked forward to a time of future happiness or deliverance from present tribulation. Gospel blues often utilize repetition to get across simple yet universal truths of living in a fallen world. One particular musician who could convey these truths and emotions was Mississippi John Hurt. His version of “You’ve Got to Die” was recorded four months before his death in 1966. I would like share the link below of his version, as well as the lyrics, and some spiritual reflections.

“You’ve Got To Die” – Mississippi John Hurt (1893-1966)

“Well you just as well get ready, you’ve got to die
Oh you just as well get ready, you’ve got to die
You don’t know the minute or the hour
Just well to get ready, you’ve got to die

Yes I’m prayin to be ready, I’ve got to die
Well I’m prayin to be ready…..
Well I don’t know the minute or the hour
Prayin to be ready, I’ve got to die

Oh deacon get ready, you’ve got to die
Oh deacon get ready…..
You don’t know the minute or the hour
Deacon get ready, you’ve got to die

Oh preacher get ready, you’ve got to die, Uh oh!
Oh preacher get ready, you’ve got to die
Yes you don’t know the minute or the hour
Just well get ready, you’ve got to die”

Spiritual reflections:

  • The guitar playing has a way of lightening the mood of the lyrics, but the tone of the lyrics are somber. I am reminded that, “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” – Ecclesiastes 7:2
  • The lyrics are simplistic yet convey important realities we should all meditate upon:
    • Death is personal & universal
      • “I’ve got to die” and “You’ve got to die”
      • All have sinned and the wages of our sin is death (Romans 3:23 & 6:23)
    • Death respects no one
      • “Oh Deacon, Oh Preacher you’ve got to die”
      • It is appointed for mankind to die regardless of status, great or small, and regardless of spiritual condition, saved or lost (Hebrews 9:27 & Revelation 20:12)
    • Death waits for no one
      • “You don’t know the minute or the hour”
      • Life is a vapor and we are not guaranteed tomorrow (James 4:14 & Luke 12:13-21)
    • We must be ready for when death comes
      • “Prayin to be ready”
      • Lord make me know my end and the measure of my days (Psalm 39:4 & 90:12)
      • We live to the Lord, We die to the Lord (Romans 14:8)
      • Being “ready” is ultimately defined as having a personal relationship with God and the forgiveness of our sins through the finished work of Jesus Christ who gives eternal life to all who ask (Romans 6:23 & 5:10-11 & 10:9-13)

May these important truths cause us to see how fleeting life is and how much God has for us to do. May we all be reminded that our journey comes to the same end, as long as the Lord tarries, and that we should strive to live a life pointing others to the one who provides eternal life. Let us all pray to be ready for when that minute or hour comes. Are you ready?

Matt Lavender
      Matt Lavender

Pray for our Government Leaders

David AndersenChurch Blog

capitol cookout and prayer walk

Click to view full flyer.

Nero had just burned the capital of the empire, Rome, and had just blamed the Christians, igniting the greatest worldwide persecution the Church had ever known. Evidence shows that this was likely the background for Paul, the former foremost persecutor but now the greatest missionary, writing God’s will and solution for the Church for all time:

“I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks, be made for all men,  for kings and all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:1-4).

Thus, we are taught in the Scriptures to pray, even with thanksgiving, especially for our leaders, even if they may persecute us. As Jesus taught, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you” (Matt 5:44). Thereby we alone imitate our Heavenly Father as we “overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21). God’s Word makes it clear that prayer for our leaders is the means of our peace, (not only primarily public prayer in church [1Tim 3:15], but also private prayer as individuals). On the eve of the elections each year we gather to pray for all our leaders at our capitol and you are invited to join us on Monday, November 4 from 5:00 to 7:45 PM.

The covered parking under the Library of Virginia is free, as well as the delicious Brock’s BBQ for dinner. We will have the privilege of hearing from an outstanding statesman here in Virginia, the former Speaker of the House, Bill Howell. Please register by October 21 at under “events.”

We look forward to seeing you there!

David Andersen


David Anderson
State Chaplain, Virginia
Capitol Commission


World Day of Prayer Event: Baptist Mid-Missions Celebrating 100 Years of Ministry!

Michael WilburnChurch Blog

Baptist Mid Missions 100 years

This Tuesday, October 15th Baptist Mid-Missions will launch its 100th anniversary year with an international prayer event broadcast on Facebook Live. From the home office in Cleveland, Ohio, this event will be hosted by BMM President Vernon Rosenau and President Emeritus Gary Anderson. You can mark yourself as interested or going to this event HERE. The online event begins at 10:00 am ET.

Baptist Mid-Missions exists to strategically advance the building of Christ’s church, with his passion and for his glory in vital partnership with Baptist churches worldwide. The “Mid” in Mid-Missions refers to the Mission’s original focus reaching interior regions and countries left with little or no access to the church. William Haas, the founder of BMM, pioneered this strategy advancing the Gospel into the heart of Africa, which is now known as Central African Republic.

It has been my privilege to serve Baptist Mid-Missions as an Elected Council member since 2012. Working on financial and administrative governance allows me to support tangibly the missionaries I pray for regularly. My brother, John Wilburn serves as a career church-planting missionary with BMM on the island of St. Vincent. Missions agencies are vital for missionaries and churches because they provide crucial services for safe, ethical, and successful global missionary work.

Join BMM for the World Day of Prayer event on Tuesday, October 15th. Get to know this historic mission agency. Let it prepare our hearts for Immanuel’s international missions conference and remind us to pray for missionaries serving the Lord and representing us on the frontline of Gospel advance.

Like and Follow Baptist Mid-Missions:

Michael Wilburn


Pastor Michael Wilburn

What To Think About Kanye West

Michael WilburnChurch Blog

Kanye West Conversion
The news media recently reported Kanye West’s conversion to Christianity. West is a 42-year old rapper “who has long melded black gospel sounds with secular hip-hop” according to the New York Times. West has won 21 Grammy Awards, sold over 140 million albums, and has 29.2 million people following his Instagram account. He is perhaps best known for a controversial incident with Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, his marriage to Kim Kardashian, and his friendship with President Donald Trump. However, none of this is catching the media’s attention today.

Last week, West hosted a series of listening parties in Detroit, Chicago, and New York. The events, held in churches, showcased West’s new album, “Jesus is King.” The profanity-free album includes songs titled “God is,” “Baptized,” “Sunday,” and “Sweet Jesus.” Unbeknown to his audience, West invited a pastor to speak. In Detroit, Rev. Adam Tyson preached a 12-minute sermon from Isaiah 6. According to Christianity Today, he said, “I’m here to tell you that while our God is the judge over the universe, he’s also a God of mercy and he’s a God of love, and he sent his Son to die on a cross because he loves you.”

Tyson is the pastor of Placerita Bible Church in Santa Clarita, California and a graduate of The Master’s Seminary. West met Tyson after attending his church, which led to a Gospel conversation a week later. Describing his relationship with West, the pastor said, “I want to be faithful to a new brother in the faith, Kanye. I want to help him be connected to the Word of God. I told him, ‘As long as you’re exalting Christ, I’m 100% behind you.” Tyson continues to accompany West at performances but cautions that concerts don’t replace the church.

How Ought Christians to Think about Kanye West’s Conversion?

Christians may form quick opinions and react to a celebrity’s conversion story either dismissively or triumphantly. But before we hit retweet or delete, we need to sober our judgment with the soul’s worth and the Gospel’s power. How ought Christians to think about Kanye West’s conversion?

Be Hopeful, But Not Naive

First, the Gospel is powerful enough to transform anyone’s life. The Apostle Paul described himself as a chief of sinners, and he felt the cold shoulder of hesitant Christians unwilling to believe his conversion (Acts 9:26). Perhaps that is your reaction to Kanye West. A wait-and-see attitude with folded arms is quite different from a hopeful relationship started with an embrace. The Great Commission requires discipling when it says, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). This means that every profession of faith should be followed by faithfulness. You will know believers by their fruit (John 15:8).

Be Cautious, But Not Pessimistic 

Wisdom requires that Christians be cautious, and caution is a good virtue. Isn’t it good to be cautious when you drive through a traffic light? The answer is “yes” because caution equals safety. Salvation is an intersection of life and must be navigated with wisdom. Young believers need answers to questions, prayers for assurance, and good discipling before baptism. They need a church to love, teach, and protect them. Hostility, power, and fame are no match against the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God delights in rescuing sinners from the penalty of their sin and angels rejoice when a sinner repents.

Be Accepting, But Not Opportunistic 

As with every new Christian, fellow-believers must help, pray, and encourage their spiritual growth. 2 Corinthians 5:17 expects change, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” While all Christians can pray for Kanye West’s spiritual growth, Christians close to him should make it their aim to disciple him. A word of warning is necessary for Christians, pastors, and churches: we must never exploit fame for evangelism. Christianity never serves well as an adjective for celebrity. Christ needs no publicist. Our goal is not to make the Gospel popular, but to make it known.

Michael Wilburn


Pastor Michael Wilburn

Really Good News!

Thomas SmoakChurch Blog

We look forward to our time with Thomas Smoak during Immanuel’s International Missions Conference October 18-20! Watch as Thomas gives a preview of what is to come:

Seeing and Serving God the Sender

Thomas SmoakChurch Blog

Immanuel baptist church richmond Virginia missions conference 2019

God is a missionary God. He is a sender of Good News. Whoever finds him and gets to know him quickly learns that his heart beats with the question, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”

During this year’s missionary conference we will listen for that call through Isaiah’s vision of heaven’s throne in Isaiah chapter 6. We’ll also hear it through the missionary call of others whom we serve as a church. Our theme is “Seeing and Serving God the Sender.”

As a young boy, I saw him through many of you at Immanuel. Growing up as a “sent one” from among you gave me a unique perspective on the worldwide fruitfulness of your faithfulness. At age 14 I said, like Isaiah, “Here am I. Send me.” Thank you for helping me see and hear the Sender and for serving him by sending Susanna and me on God’s mission for the past 30 years.

Not everybody is a missionary. It takes, on average, a hundred senders to pray and give and train and encourage each sent one. But all true members of Christ’s body are “on mission” – called to Christ’s mission in the world. His sacrifice cleanses our hearts of selfishness and our lips from speaking lies, making us worthy to speak Good News where it most needs to be heard. Every disciple follows Jesus into a world that needs him. All of us pray that his kingdom will come and give sacrificially like he did so that others “through his poverty might become rich.” We’ll talk more about that on Sunday afternoon, October 20th.

And it’s really Good News we bring! It’s a blessing for those who send, for those who go and for those who hear and believe. On Friday night, October 18th, our young people will gather to hear and discuss my friend Dr. Robert Woodberry’s research about how missionaries made the modern world (See his lecture at: His extensive research is overwhelmingly conclusive that, though it is far from perfect, the modern missionary movement that teaches conversion to Christ by faith has blessed every place it has touched. In fact the freest places on the planet almost always reap the fruit of missionary roots.

The whole world is filled with God’s glory. We’ll spend time listening to the seraphim proclaim that truth to us right up to the present. But the whole earth is not yet filled with the knowledge of his glory as the waters fill the sea. That’s the mission. That’s the promise. That’s the blessing of the mission.

Have you seen the Lord? Has his message of love and reconciliation ignited your heart with love for God and the world he loves? If not, I pray it will. If so, I challenge you not only to receive his cleansing touch for yourself but to hear him asking from his heavenly throne, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” And to answer with joy and hope, “Here I am. Send me.”

Thomas smoke


Thomas Smoak
International Director
Action International Ministries


Watch for more from Thomas as we prepare our hearts for our International Missions Conference, October 18-20.



Musical Reflections

Liz DillonChurch Blog

musical reflections by liz Dillon Immanuel baptist richmond

Music is such a huge part of our daily lives, that it is nearly impossible to imagine a full day without it, in some form or another. Radio, television, movies, advertising, even elevators and doctors’ offices, are full of that wonderful combination of melody, harmony and rhythm that we know as “music!” And so it is for those who worship God. In his Word, music is mentioned in the very first book of Genesis, and in the last book of the Revelation. In Exodus, we are told that Moses wrote songs. The lyrics to a song of the Israelites in Exodus 15 are as relevant today, as they were so many thousands of years ago. “The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him!” I believe God gave music to all mankind, just as he gave us speech, in order to glorify him and to share and enjoy with other people.

There are songs of rejoicing at a wedding. Songs of grief and of hope at a funeral. Songs of triumph after victory. Songs of remorse after sin. Songs of confidence in his promises. Songs that celebrate answered prayer. Songs of affirmation of God’s Word. Songs that praise his attributes.

In the church, music is also a huge part of our worship and teaching ministries. Our preschoolers learn the essentials of God’s nature through song. We memorize Scripture easier when we have a simple melody to accompany. Every time I’ve been around our IY teens, they’re singing. Each church gathering of adults and families, includes worship in song. Why?

While we have plenty of Old Testament examples of corporate and individual singing—in addition to the hundreds of Psalms of David—the New Testament church, as it was being established in the early years after Christ returned to heaven, received directives regarding the use of music. The apostle Paul instructed believers in churches to use psalms (songs of Scripture) and hymns (songs directed to God) and spiritual songs (songs of application), to enforce the Word in our hearts, to teach each other, and to give thanks. (Eph 5 and Col 3) Therefore, singing in church is obedience to his Word. Beyond this instruction, however, we don’t have detailed guidelines regarding the “How?”

The music of our church should always reflect the nature of the God we worship. Knowing him, understanding his nature, and believing on his name, are all integral to true worship music. Our music needs to be saturated in Truth, also. When it reflects him and his Word, he is greatly glorified.

I am often asked questions regarding musical preferences and styles and the use of different instruments. As I have objectively (I hope!) formulated my own personal music philosophy, I try to keep in mind that most of what we hear today, connects specifically to this particular time in history, stylistically speaking. And each generation of the church has had their own “sound.” For instance, the earliest church fathers rejected the use of any instrumentation whatsoever. Instruments were considered entirely sensual, secular and pagan (I’ve often wondered what their thoughts about David and his instruments were?!). It was about 1,000 years before the organ was accepted for congregational singing—and not until around 1930, that the piano was seen as a beneficial addition to that! God, his Word, and his attributes, will NEVER change, but it’s obvious that our expression of worship does indeed change with the generations. The church music your grandparents heard on Sunday mornings has a different sound than the music you hear today, and today’s worship sounds different from what your grandchildren will hear.

As we learn the many facets of God, we express worship in a variety of acceptable styles. God’s Word doesn’t prescribe any certain style of sound. I personally believe that worship music should sound distinctly “Christian.” But I understand that may even differ, according to your background, experience or culture. You’ll notice that I like to blend older hymns with newer songs of faith. You’ll also notice we use the keyboard instruments, along with strings, wind instruments and rhythm. Immanuel is blessed to have many skilled musicians who are excited to be exercising their gifts for his glory in the church, and a congregation that loves to sing! It is my hope, that the worship music at Immanuel encourages your own singing, reinforces the truth of the messages from the pulpit, and reminds us of the greatness of the three-in-one God we serve.

If you have musical experience and skill that could be used in our music ministry at IBC, please let me know!

Liz Dillon Music Director Immanuel Baptist Richmond


Liz Dillon
Music Director


Tom SmithChurch Blog, Men's Ministry

Authentic Manhood Bibe Study Immanuel Baptist Richmond Virginia

If some thing or some word is mentioned often in God’s Word, it is wise to assume that it must be important. Such is the case with the word TRAP or SNARE. These words appear over 70 times in Scripture. By definition, the words mean almost the same thing: To catch or involve by trickery or wile; A position or situation from which it is difficult or impossible to escape. Our enemy Satan knows that we are usually too smart to fall for an open or obvious trap or snare. Who in their right mind would step on a steel bear trap, right? So, Satan must use trickery, deception, and lies to find our weak spot and get us caught in a trap. Then, as the definition suggests, it is difficult or impossible to escape! 

To that end, Immanuel’s Men’s Ministry will be studying a series this fall called ‘A MAN AND HIS TRAPS’ (Wednesday evenings, 6:45 PM – 8:15 PM). This is part of the 33 SERIES from AUTHENTIC MANHOOD and is based on what we need to learn about Jesus’ life in the 33 years he spent here on earth. 

Our enemy knows that we as men, are vulnerable to being trapped and he knows exactly what “bait” to use in his traps. Unless we are constantly alert to those traps, we can be lured in and snared – often to the point of great peril and cost to us and those around us. What is interesting is that Satan knows EXACTLY what “bait” to use for each man. The bait that attracts me to a trap may not be the same as what attracts other men, so it is critical that we know and be on guard to our individual weaknesses. Satan knows what they are and will try his hardest to TRAP and SNARE us! 

Here are some of the ‘TRAPS’ we will look at: 

Idols – Anything from self to substances
Empty Promises – Personal Integrity
Battle Plan – Guarding and defending against traps
XXX – Pornography
Control – The quest for power in every situation
Significance & Comfort – “It’s all about me!” 

God’s Word is very clear in it’s warning to us: 

Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (AMP) 

There is an old saying that states “Nothing unites humans like a common enemy”! Unite with our men’s group this fall as we band together to get on the defensive against our ‘common enemy’! 

Together In The Battle… 

Tom Smith Immanuel Baptist Richmond
Tom Smith
Men’s Ministry
IBC Richmond