How To Prepare For Sunday, 05/19/2019

Get ready for this Sunday by reading Colossians 1:15-20. We’re taking a break this week from our current series on parenting to look at The Preeminent Christ from this powerful text.

Here’s a few specific ways to prepare for Sunday:

1) Pray and ask God to work in you for His glory.

2) Read and meditate on Colossians 1:15-20, our text for Sunday’s sermon.

3) This Sunday we’ll be praying for the nation of Mali. Learn how to pray for them personally here.

4) Below are the songs we’ll be singing on Sunday. Click on the links to learn any you don’t know so you’re prepared to sing.

Goodness Love and Mercy

Ancient of Days

Come As You Are

Christ is Enough

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

My Jesus I Love Thee

Have a blessed Sunday!

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On Baptizing Children

If you’ve been around our church at all over the past 2 1/2 years you’ve probably noticed or heard that your pastor has struggled with the idea of baptizing young children. It’s partly due to my own story–baptized at six but not truly born again until 21. It’s partly due to how flippantly many Baptist churches have approached the baptism of kids–instead of being cautious some churches have looked like the wild wild west. And yet because of these reasons and more, I’ve spent the better part of two years being cynical. But isn’t it amazing how God can change even the cynical heart of an insecure pastor?

Recently through my own study of Scripture, the loving counsel of fellow pastors, and the gentle correction from our faithful deacons God has been steadily changing my views on this very important issue. Although nothing I’m about to share with you represents a change on any official position at PBC, they do represent the very real changes in my heart and mind over the past few months.

First, let’s consider what is clear in Scripture about baptism: While the Bible says nothing explicitly about the baptism of children, there are several clear principles of Scripture that can help local churches navigate this sensitive issue. These include the following:

Baptism is for believers. It’s the first step of Christian discipleship (Matthew 28:18-20), the believer’s public profession of faith (Acts 2:37-38), and the symbol by which a believer identifies with the Christian community (Acts 10:47-48).

Baptism does not save, but is the believer’s public profession of faith that salvation has occurred. An individual does not have to be baptized to be saved (e.g., the thief on the cross in Luke 23:32-43), but those who sincerely desire to follow Jesus usually also desire to follow Him in baptism (Acts 8:34-38, 16:33, 22:16).

Baptism generally occurs quickly after an individual repents and believes. The early church seemed to baptize as soon as possible after salvation (Acts 2:41, 8:12-13, 8:34-38, 9:18, 16:33, 19:5, 22:16).

Baptism is generally connected to church membership. In other words, when someone was baptized, they were also welcomed into a local church family that would oversee their discipleship (Acts 2:41). The Ethiopian eunuch who was baptized alone with Philip along a desert road is the one clear exception (Acts 8:26-40). But this instance appears to be an exception for pioneer missionary contexts where there is no local church.

Sometimes the church baptizes wrongly. Sometimes even well-intentioned churches baptize individuals who are not truly saved. Consider Simon Magus, who was baptized in Antioch even though he was later condemned as a false convert (Acts 8:9-23). In many ways this is unavoidable, since the church cannot see the heart of those desiring baptism. One of the things Jesus promises to do upon His return is to separate genuine converts from false ones (Matthew 7:21-23, 13:24-30, 25:31-46).

The possibility of false converts should lead churches to be cautious, but not cynical. Yes, churches should be careful to examine individuals requesting baptism. However, caution can easily turn into cynicism. This cynicism can lead us to prevent people from being baptized (cf., Acts 8:36, 10:47) until they’ve demonstrated “enough” knowledge or fruit. We believe that baptism should not be withheld from those (1) with a credible profession of faith (i.e., it’s believable that this person truly has repented and believed in Christ as Lord and Savior), (2) with a clear understanding of the Gospel, and (3) with a desire to unite with this church.

Sometimes entire households are baptized (Acts 16:15; 1 Corinthians 1:16)This does not mean, as some claim, that infants were baptized along with their parents. Instead, it seems more likely to conclude that every member of the household believed and then was baptized (e.g., Acts 11:14, 16:31-34, 18:8). It is not clear, however, the ages of any of the individuals in these households. Were children included? The text simply does not say one way or another.

Second, let’s consider what is not clear in Scripture about baptism. Most importantly, how do we apply the above truths to children desiring baptism. Since Scripture is silent regarding the baptism of children, we must rely on principles of Spirit-filled wisdom.

First, we believe children can be genuinely saved, just like adults. Scripture says “whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13), and this certainly can include children (see also, Matthew 18:3-4, Mark 10:13-16, Acts 2:39, 2 Timothy 3:15).

Second, we believe children can make false professions of faith, just like adults. However, children of Christian parents may be more likely to profess faith out of a desire to please mom and dad in a way that adults would be less tempted. This should lead us to exercise a bit more caution before baptizing children, but we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the baptism water and refuse to baptize children entirely. Instead, we should look for the same three criteria in children that we look for in adults: (1) a credible profession of faith, (2) a clear understanding of the Gospel, and (3) a desire to unite with this church.

Third, we believe the church should be cautious, not cynical. In other words, we should work very carefully with children to ensure the above three criteria are met. We should err on the side of patience and caution. But we should not do so in such a way that we are cynical towards the possibility of a child being ready for baptism and membership.

Finally, we believe the baptism of children should be connected to church membership. This means that baptized children should be added to the membership list and placed under the spiritual care and oversight of the local church. Practically, this also means the following:

  • Since parents are the primary earthly authority of young children, the church (and specifically, the elders) will seek to come alongside the child’s parents as they seek to disciple their child.
  • Instead of a membership class, the church will provide basic material for parents to instruct their children regarding baptism, church membership, etc. Parents are responsible to teach these truths to their children prior to the child’s baptism.
  • Prior to the child’s baptism, the child will sit down with one or more elders for an interview. In this interview the child will be asked about his/her understanding of the Gospel, testimony of conversion, and basic understanding of what it means to be a part of a church (see #2 above). One or both parents can be present, but they must be careful to not answer for the child.
  • If the elders interviewing the child believe he/she is ready for baptism, they will present the child’s testimony to the church for approval. Once the child has been baptized, he/she will be added to the membership list.
  • As members of the church, baptized children should be encouraged and equipped to fulfill the duties of membership in age-appropriate ways. These can and should include faithfulness in attendance, serving, discipleship, and more. However, members under the age of 18 do not have voting privileges at PBC. In this way we hope to preserve family unity by avoiding situations where children and their parental authority could be voting in contradictory ways.
  • While the child remains under his parents’ authority, any need for church discipline for the child would initially go through his parents. For example, if a teenage member were caught in unrepentant fornication, the elders would first address the issue with the parents and would only proceed towards excommunication (Matthew 18:17) if parental admonitions to repent had failed.
  • Unless providentially hindered, every PBC member should complete the Discover Class before turning 18 years old. This will further prepare the child for the duties and responsibilities of membership as they transition out from under parental authority.

I hope these words bring light and understanding to you as you read them. And as always, my door is open to you to hear your questions and concerns. Thank you for being patient with me, your pastor, as I strive to be daily transformed to the image of Christ.

Christ Is All,

Pastor Hopson

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How To Prepare For This Sunday, 05/12/2019

This Sunday we’re continuing our sermon series, Faithful Parenting in a Fearful World. Get prepared this Sunday by reading Deuteronomy 6:6-9 and come prepared to learn why the greatest tool for shaping the hearts of children is the Word of God. Learn with us as we discuss four steps to using the tool of God’s Word faithfully.

Reminder: this Sunday is Mother’s Day! We hope you spend some time thanking God for your mom, as well as the women who have been spiritual mothers in your lives. And ladies, don’t leave PBC this Sunday morning before receiving your gift from us. And because of the holiday there will be no evening service this Sunday.

Here’s a few specific ways to prepare for Sunday:

1) Pray and ask God to work in you for His glory.

2) Read and meditate on Deuteronomy 6:6-9, our text for Sunday’s sermon.

3) This Sunday we’ll be praying for the nation of Maldives. Learn how to pray for them personally here.

4) Below are the songs we’ll be singing on Sunday. Click on the links to learn any you don’t know so you’re prepared to sing.

Blessed Be Your Name

His Mercy is More

I Cling To The Cross

Great Are You Lord

Crown Him

There Is A Redeemer

I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday!!!

–Pastor Hopson

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How To Prepare For This Sunday, 05/05/2019

This Sunday we’re continuing our new sermon series, Faithful Parenting in a Fearful World. Get prepared this Sunday by reading Deuteronomy 6:4-6 and come prepared to learn why the heart of parenting is shepherding the heart.

Then at 6PM we’ll be presenting a report from our April Mexico City vision trip. Please join us!

Here’s a few specific ways to prepare for Sunday:

1) Pray and ask God to work in you for His glory.

2) Read and meditate on Deuteronomy 6:4-6, our text for Sunday’s sermon.

3) This Sunday we’ll be praying for the nation of Malaysia. Learn how to pray for them personally here.

4) Below are the songs we’ll be singing on Sunday. Click on the links to learn any you don’t know so you’re prepared to sing.

Do It Again

Jesus Messiah

Rock of Ages

The Stand

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday!!!

–Pastor Hopson

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How To Prepare For This Sunday, 04/28/2019

This Sunday we’re launching a brand new sermon series, Faithful Parenting in a Fearful World.

Get prepared for this Sunday by reading Deuteronomy 6 and come prepared to learn why parenting is a community project. In other words, whether you’re single or married, young or old, a parent or not, God’s Word has something you need to hear about the formation of faithful parents. Don’t miss it!

Here’s a few specific ways to prepare for Sunday:

1) Pray and ask God to work in you for His glory.

2) Read and meditate on Deuteronomy 6:1-9, our text for Sunday’s sermon.

3) This Sunday we’ll be praying for the nation of Malawi. Learn how to pray for them personally here.

4) Below are the songs we’ll be singing on Sunday. Click on the links to learn any you don’t know so you’re prepared to sing.

Worthy Is Your Name

Great Things

Boldly I Approach

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)

Revelation Song

All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name

I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday!!!

  • Pastor Hopson

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How To Prepare For Sunday, 04/14/2019


You can get ready for this Sunday by reading Esther 9:29-10:3. We’ll be concluding our study through the book of Esther by learning how to leave an Esther-sized legacy in a secular age.

Here’s a few specific ways to prepare for Sunday:

1) Pray and ask God to work in you for His glory.

2) Read and meditate on Esther 9:29-10:3, our text for Sunday’s sermon.

3) This Sunday we’ll be praying for the nation of Macedonia. Learn how to pray for them personally here.

4) Below are the songs we’ll be singing on Sunday. Click on the links to learn any you don’t know so you’re prepared to sing.

God Is My Rock

Hear our Praises

Hosanna (Praise is Rising)

Behold Our God

That’s Why We Praise Him

O Worship the King

I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday!!!

  • Pastor Hopson


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How To Prepare For This Sunday, 04/07/2019


Get ready for this Sunday by reading Genesis 39. This Sunday we’ll hear from Peter Hess, the pastor of Christ Fellowship Church in Williambsurg.

Here’s a few specific ways to prepare for Sunday:

1) Pray and ask God to work in you for His glory.

2) Read and meditate on Genesis 39, our text for Sunday’s sermon.

3) Below are the songs we’ll be singing on Sunday. Click on the links to learn any you don’t know so you’re prepared to sing.

Our God Saves

I See the Lord

Rock of Ages (Ward)

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)

More Than Conquerors

To God Be the Glory

Have a blessed Sunday! – Pastor Hopson

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How To Prepare For Sunday, 03/31/2019


You can get ready for this Sunday by reading Esther 9:20-28. This Sunday we’ll look at the Feast of Purim and the importance of rejoicing and remembering. Great rescues lead to great rejoicing. But the greater the rescue, the greater the need to remember.

Here’s a few specific ways to prepare for Sunday:

1) Pray and ask God to work in you for His glory.

2) Read and meditate on Esther 9:20-28, our text for Sunday’s sermon.

3) This Sunday we’ll be praying for the nation of Luxembourg. Learn how to pray for them personally here.

4) Below are the songs we’ll be singing on Sunday. Click on the links to learn any you don’t know so you’re prepared to sing.

O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing   

O God Our Help in Ages Past

Strong God

Defender (Call Upon the Name of the Lord)   

Your Grace is Enough   

Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross

I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday!!!

  • Pastor Hopson
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How To Prepare For This Sunday, 03/24/2019

You can get ready for this Sunday by reading Esther 8:1-9:19. This Sunday we’ll look at Esther’s second visit to the king without an invitation and the rescue and rest she wins for God’s people.

In the evening, please join us for our Members’ Meeting this Sunday at 5:30 PM. Please bring a pot of soup or stew to share. You can find a Members’ Meeting packet in the lobby this Sunday morning.

Here’s a few specific ways to prepare for Sunday:

1) Pray and ask God to work in you for His glory.

2) Read and meditate on Esther 8:1-9:19, our text for Sunday’s sermon.

3) This Sunday we’ll be praying for the nation of Lithuania. Learn how to pray for them personally here.

4) Below are the songs we’ll be singing on Sunday. Click on the links to learn any you don’t know so you’re prepared to sing.

Holy, Holy, Holy

Christ Is Enough

All Glory Be to Christ

Great Things

Grace Greater Than Our Sin

I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday!!!

–Pastor Hopson

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How To Prepare For Sunday,03/17/2019

Begin to prepare for Sunday’s sermon by reading Mark 5:1-20. I’m excited to invite my friend Mark to preach to us this Sunday about the best place to plant Gospel seed.

Second, on Sunday night we’ll hear about Mark’s ministry, Regions in Need. This ministry is focused on reaching and teaching people in some of the most unreached places in the world. You are NOT going to want to miss what Mark has to share with us!

Here’s a few specific ways to prepare for Sunday:

1) Pray and ask God to work in you for His glory.

2) Read and meditate on Mark 5:1-20, our text for Sunday’s sermon.

3) This Sunday we’ll be praying for the nation of Liechtenstein. Learn how to pray for them personally here.

4) Below are the songs we’ll be singing on Sunday. Click on the links to learn any you don’t know so you’re prepared to sing.

There is No Rock/Rock of Ages

Blessed Be Your Name

Come As You Are

Only a Holy God      

What a Beautiful Name

Like a River Glorious

I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday!!!

  • Pastor Hopson
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