Heartland Community Baptist Church is committed to a living New Testament Church modeled in Acts 2 and the mandate of Christ to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you". Matthew 28:18-19. We do this through our love for Jesus, our desire to be authentic in our walk with Him and our outreach within the community. Our desire is to provide an environment where all are welcomed and encouraged to grow in the knowledge and the grace of our Lord. We encourage our members to be actively involved in the church and with each other through Corporate Worship, Lifeline Sunday School, Shared Life Small Groups, Life 2 Life Mentorship and Prayer Life Ministries. We recognize the unique needs of a diverse people and rejoice in where God is at work in adult, youth and children’s ministries.
We take our vision to be Disciples Making Disciples in our World - One Heart at a Time very seriously. We don’t want to be merely "fans" of Jesus, but rather we want to be Followers of Christ. In order to do that, our foundation is built upon the Word of God without compromise and a devotion to prayer.
Preparing to Lead: Cleaning House
My mother used to say, it doesn’t matter how much money you have, rich or poor, there’s no excuse for those who don’t clean their house. She grew up poor from a financial perspective. As one example, the kitchen floor in her home was in disrepair so they scrubbed it, scrapped it and painted it. They couldn’t afford flooring of any kind so they did the best they could.
As you can imagine, my siblings and I had chores during our formative years. We learned to clean and take care of the house and keep the yard trim and raked. I remember many Saturday mornings, I can hear her voice even now, Mom would say, it’s time to “clean house.”
I’m sounding a clarion call. In fact, I’m crying out. Like my mother used to say, “it’s time to clean house.” Not in a physical sense, but it’s time to clean our spiritual house of false gods. If something or someone is a roadblock between you and Jehovah God, it’s time to clean house. It’s time to rid our lives, our families, our homes and even our churches of all altars of false gods.
God called Gideon to lead Israel in battle against the Midianites (Judges 6). However, Gideon belonged to a family that worshiped Baal. Knowing that Gideon was afraid, God assigned him the task of tearing down the altars at home to show him that He would see him through. After all, if we don’t practice our faith at home, how can we practice it sincerely anyplace else? Gideon had to take his stand in his own village before he dared to face the enemy on the battlefield.
As God was calling Gideon to lead, He ordered Gideon to “clean house” before going into battle.
JU 6:25 That night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it 26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of the stronghold here
Tearing down the strongholds in our lives begin with ourselves and our families. Gideon was living in his father’s household. He grew up witnessing the shrine and worship to Baal and Asherah.
The Lord gave Gideon a test of obedience. If Gideon was to deliver Israel from the Midianites, he must not only achieve military victory over the enemy but also must remove the cause of idolatry which initially led the Lord to give His people over to the Midianites. Why is Israel living in bondage to the Midianites? Judges 6:1 “They did evil in the sight of the Lord.” What does the Bible say about worshipping or serving other gods?
DT 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
EX 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them
Jehovah could not be worshipped along with the false god Baal. Whoever would serve the Lord must abolish the worship of Baal and all other gods.
Nothing or no one other than Jehovah should rise to the level of God. It is clear, there are no other gods. It is also clear, that anything that gets higher priority than Jehovah becomes a god to you. In any case, other gods are forbidden. Why? It is blasphemy, idolatry and a lie. There is only one God.
DT 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
So, as God was preparing Gideon to lead Israel into battle, the strongholds had to be destroyed.
Pull (tear) down
Baal was a fertility god who was believed to enable the earth to produce crops and people to produce children.
People would build altars and worship this god. But Jehovah, the one true God, tells Gideon to tear it down.
We may not have obvious altars to our false gods, but we have them. Our gods are things like money, power, prestige, fame, material possessions, hobbies, addictions and even family.
In any place or within any activity that God doesn’t reign supreme, you have an altar. God demands we tear them down.
As God is preparing you to serve and lead, you need to tear down the altars to these false gods.
Asherah functioned as the female counterpart to Baal in the fertility religion. This deity was normally represented as a carved wooden image with exaggerated sexual features. The sensuality connected with this worship was grotesque, immoral and degenerate.
We may not be as organized or define it as a religion, but our society is overwhelmed with its worship of sex. We have a major problem with pornography. It makes up the largest portion of sales on the internet. We also practice all forms of sexual deviancy and immorality. If your sexual behavior is outside the bonds of marriage, between one man and one woman, it is sin.
1 PE 4:3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do--living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.
This type of behavior depicts the worship of a false god. The false god is you as you feed the lustful desires of your flesh in defiance of God.
Gideon was not only ordered to pull down the altar of Baal but to completely clean house of all false gods. Just like Gideon, we need to root out the main false god in our life and then cut down the false gods next to it or associated with it.
What or who the gods in your life? You might want to start with looking in the mirror.
After we tear down and cut down our altars to false gods, God tells Gideon to build an altar to the Lord in the place where these altars to false gods once resided. God reclaims His rightful place.
It’s worth noting that true believers can’t build an altar to the Lord unless first they tear down the altars they’ve built to the false gods they worship. Our God is a jealous God (Ex. 20:5) and will not share His glory or our love with another.
Will you give God His rightful place in your heart?
If I concentrate for a moment, I can still hear my mother’s saying, “it’s time to clean house.” I hope you’ll hear the call to clean house of all false gods and tear down their altars.
A Work in Progress,
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This Week at HCBC
22 (W) 6:30 pm – Weekly Bible Study / Prayer (every Wednesday evening / at HCBC office during the summer – 1937 Hamilton Boulevard)
24 (F) 7:30 pm – HCBC Men lead worship at SCGM (500 Bluff)
25 (Sa) 1:00-5:00 pm – Madalen Larrabee (Assoc Degree) Open House (3101 South Nicollet)
26 (Su) 1:00-4:00 pm – Tony Copas (High School Grad) Open House (1510 South Irene)
27 (M) – Memorial Day – Office Closed
1 (Sa) 7:30 am – Men’s Bible Study & Breakfast (3305-28th)
3 (M) 5:30 pm – 101 – Discovering Church Membership class at the church office (1937 Hamilton)
9 (Su) 10:30 am (at West High) and 6:30 pm (at Southern Hills Baptist) – Missions Celebration with East Asia missionaries
11 (Tu) 11:45 am – Ladies’ Lunch Bunch at HyVee on Hamilton
15 (Sa) 7:30 am – Men’s Bible Study & Breakfast (3305-28th)
17-21 (M-F) – Children’s Camp (at Goodwill Camp in South Sioux)
28 (F) 7:30 pm – HCBC Men lead worship at SCGM (500 Bluff)