Author Archives: Noble Baird

Step Four

Back to Reach | Devotion #5: Step Four
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

As a church, we have made it our mission statement and vision to Reach, Gather, and Grow. The cycle does not stop at Grow; we go right back to Reach. For many, they will hear this vision and think it is simply a three-step process. Once we work our way through Gather and finally start to Grow, some feel they have arrived. However, the most important part is going back to Reach! Matthew 28:19-20 is the foundational passage of all we do as a church, and it is where we find this concept of “Reach, Gather, and Grow.” This passage is often referred to as the Great Commission, and it was some of Christ’s final words before He ascended to Heaven. However, the story does not end there.

In Acts chapter 1, Luke records Christ’s call to all those who are gathered around Him and call themselves followers of Christ. Starting in verses 6-8 Luke writes, “So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’” Here, Jesus is giving us, His followers, the call and charge to go back and reach into all the world. He came and reached out. He gathered together with His disciples and followers constantly and helped them grow in their walk and faith. Then, just before He leaves, He gives the command to go right back and reach out just as we have all been reached at one point.

I love how Jesus gives the charge, “You will be my witnesses.” Wow, how awesome and powerful is it to think how our Savior has chosen us to be the ones to proclaim and stand for Him! Reaching out can be tough at times and even scary; however, if we take a look back at our life and our story of redemption in Christ, at some point, someone reached out to you and me. So, I want to challenge you not to simply stop and be satisfied with your Growth Communities and small groups. Do not just simply check off the gathering box every weekend. No, I challenge you to remember the call that Jesus gave us in Acts 1:8, truly going back to reach and being a witness for our amazing Savior!

Mighty to Save

Mighty God | Devotion #6: Mighty to Save
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

Back when I was just beginning to learn drums, one of the first worship songs I learned to play was, “Mighty to Save” by Hillsong United. I still remember my best friend Pete playing the opening guitar riff as he counted me in on the drums to begin what ended up being the first beat I learned. We were just a couple of teenagers playing in the youth worship band, but it was some of the most amazing worship experiences I have ever had the privilege of being apart. Within the chorus of this song, Hillsong wrote: 

“Saviour, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever Author of Salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave.”

In this new study, we have been going over the different names of Christ during this Christmas season. This week is one of my favorites, Mighty God. Although we only see the actual name “Mighty God” in Isaiah 9:6, we continually see our God’s might all throughout His Word. In 1 Peter 1:3-5 Peter writes about the words which we echo in the chorus of Mighty to Save, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Here, Peter reminds us of the hope we have in Christ through His death and resurrection. 

I love this song, because it perfectly depicts the Mighty God we have. During this Christmas season, it is not always easy. I know that there are those of you who dread and even hate this time of year, because of the pain and hurt that you are experiencing. However, I want to encourage you to remember the words of this chorus. Remember the Mighty God that we serve and have, never forgetting that He truly can move those mountains in our life and that no matter what, He has already conquered the grave for you and I. Yeah, we truly have a Mighty God and a mighty Savior!

Wonderful Christmastime

Wonderful Counselor | Devotion #5: Wonderful Christmastime
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

Christmas is always an exciting time of year. Being in Michigan, we are blessed with all four seasons, two of which are usually filled with snow! For those of you who know me, I love music. One of the greatest privileges I have ever received is being able to worship on the worship team at church together with my wife, Haley. Growing up, my father and I have always listened to The Beatles. Sadly, my wife does not share the same love for them as my father and I do, but there is still time! In 1979, Paul McCartney wrote a song titled, “Wonderful Christmastime.” It is a song about coming together during Christmas and simply enjoying the wonderful season together. 

By definition, “wonderful” means “to be excited.” In Matthew 1:20-25, we have the account of Joseph’s interaction with an angel of the Lord. Matthew writes, “But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.” There is no doubt that this time in Joseph’s life was scary, frightful, painful, then exciting and truly wonderful all at the same time! He finds his fiancé, Mary, pregnant. Then, he decides to end the engagement quietly; however, that is when God steps in, and he is given the wonderful news about Jesus.

The name “Wonderful Counselor” is only recorded once, in Isaiah 9:6. When we look at this account of the Christmas season, there is no doubt that it is truly a wonderful time! Joseph’s heartbreak was turned into exciting news about the truly wonderful Savior that was prophesied about for centuries! As we continue in this Christmas season, maybe you will even hear “Wonderful Christmastime” on the radio, I challenge you to take a step back and remember the truly wonderful season it is. Also, remember the Wonderful Counselor whose birth we celebrate during this time.


Reach | Devotion #6: Serving
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

For many years, serving was always on my list of weekly to-do’s, and I was always able to mark it off on Sunday mornings. Every Sunday for a majority of my middle school and high school years, I would find myself back in children’s church with my parents or Pastor Bonnie. You see, I honestly had no desire to sit in “big church” or listen to the pastor’s preaching, it just was not very fun. So, I asked Pastor Bonnie and my parents if I could help out in the children’s ministry and they allowed it. As I was escaping the big church and checking off my assumed “serving” box every week, I was missing the point.

Paul writes in Colossians chapter 3 about this concept of serving. However, he turns the tables and writes to us about it in a new light. In Colossians 3:23-24 he writes, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” I am not sure if it can be said any clearer or more simple. Paul reminds us as followers of Christ that in whatever capacity we are serving, we must remember the One we are doing it for, Christ.

Although for years I was stuck in the mindset of simply checking off a box, I am so thankful for the words that Paul wrote. It reminded me of the need to serve not simply to check off a box, but because of the One I was serving. I know at times it can be difficult to get up early to greet at the door Sunday morning or to have to get up early and welcome those coming to the Community Center for food. However, I want to challenge you not to have the box checked as the reason you serve. Instead remember the words Paul wrote to us when he said, “You are serving the Lord Christ.” So, the next time you get up early or are asked to stay a little longer than planned, keep these words of Paul near as we continue to serve our Lord together.


Reach | Devotion #5: GO!
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

Over the past couple years, I have had the privilege of stepping foot in prison yards all over Ohio. If you had asked me when I was in high school if I would ever visit a prison, I would have told you that you were crazy! However, after my first time going in with the team, God truly placed a need in my heart. All throughout my college career at Moody, I had heard of various prison ministries and even had opportunities to go to Cook County Jail in downtown Chicago. I was always hesitant because I had no idea how I could ever relate, greet, let alone begin a conversation with someone who was in prison. Honestly, I was scared.

In Matthew 25: 24-40, Jesus gives a list of physical needs which had been supplemented unknowingly by those who are followers of Christ. In verse 36, He says, “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” Within this passage, Jesus is giving us a clear and tangible picture of what it looks like to meet the physical needs of the lost. In this case, He very clearly mentions those who are in prison. He does not stop there. He ends this passage by saying in verse 40, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Jesus tells us plain and simple that when we visited the lost and broken in prison, we are doing it for His glory. 

Back in the summer of 2016, I went to Noble Correctional Institute for the first time (maybe a little biased, but this is always my favorite prison to visit). After we had finished playing our set and Pastor Jim finished his message; we had the opportunity to talk and pray with the inmates. I was quickly approached by a man named Trey and his friend who noticed my ridiculous faces I made while playing drums and they wanted to talk. Although we only had a few minutes together, I was able to hear their stories, and they both eagerly asked me for prayer. This past year in 2017, I was able to return to NCI. While I was playing, I looked out as we had over 1,300 inmates gathered around and sure enough there in the front I saw my friend Trey. When it came time for us to talk and pray with the inmates again, Trey ran over to me and gave me a big hug telling me all that had happened this past year.  

I honestly have no idea where Trey is today, if all went according to plan, he is reunited with his wife and his little girl, Layla. No matter, I do know one thing for sure, it is that Trey knows Jesus as His Savior. I have never forgotten Trey, and even though I doubt I will ever see him again during my time here on earth, I am excited to know that we will one day be reunited in the presence of our Savior and I cannot wait to get another big hug from him! So, my challenge is simple, GO! Jesus calls us in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples.” The only way to reach the lost is to get up, get out of our comfort zone, and GO! 

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