Blog
Posted on January 9, 2019 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: General
Bob Bakke is an authority on revival and spiritual awakening. In a symposium in which I participated, Bakke spoke in detail about the movement in Scotland that spilled to America and exploded in Cane Ridge, Ky. The Cane Ridge Revival united whites and blacks, rich and poor, rural and urban for weeks. Known as the Second Great Awakening, the Holy Spirit had people praying and crying out to God. And God moved in their midst. 
 
Moving ahead from 1801 to 1970, the Asbury (Ky.) Revival began at a routine 50-minute chapel service at Asbury College and erupted into a time of repentance. Two students went to the west coast and shared their experience among California’s hippies. Known as the Jesus Movement, the Holy Spirit had people praying and crying out to God. And God moved in their midst.
 
Did you notice that two great spiritual movements of God in America happened in small towns rather than in cities? I was raised in Kentucky (Winchester) between Asbury (Danville) and Cane Ridge (Paris).
 
And I was a “Jesus freak.” The idea that God could use His people in a fly-over place like central Kentucky leads me to wonder why God couldn’t begin a new awakening in the Cincinnati Area? In your community? What would it take?
 
Is your church on its knees before the Lord? And look to the younger leaders to begin the movement! Bill Elliff, pastor, Summit Church, North Little Rock, Ark., said, “Older adults will not likely spark a spiritual awakening, but they can squelch one.”
 
God wants to move in our time. I’m deeply impressed that our posture before God to send revival is not a selfish pout, but a humble plea. It won’t come through a prayer that shouts and demands action from God. Instead, I believe that revival – even a great   awakening – will only come through a cry of the heart.
 
--Mark Snowden serves as Director of Missional Leadership (AMS) for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
Posted on August 29, 2018 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: General, Leadership
Journalists are notoriously a tough crowd. Some go to prison rather than divulge a source. A few are imprisoned or even shot for being mistaken as spies. They take the heat from important people for holding them accountable. And Christian journalists have no fewer pressures as they work hard to accurately explain how God is at work.
You may not be a journalist, but do you have a message of salvation from God? And how will you share it with those who need to hear it? Personal meet-up? Hand them a tract? Facebook them? Tweet it?
 
“The Lord sent Nathan” is how 2 Samuel 12:1 begins. The prophet, Nathan, told David a story and emotionally involved the King. David was upset that a rich man would take a poor man’s only lamb to feed his guest. Nathan stood and delivered one of the most famous judgments in the Bible, “Thou art the man.” David had caused Bathsheba’s pregnancy and her husband, Uriah’s death. Christian journalists and other thought-leaders have a “prophet” ministry not unlike Nathan’s.
 
When Nathan spoke, David repented and the Lord spared his life. When Christian communicators share their stories, they should expect change.
 
Print-only journalism is dwindling in readership across America. From 2003 to 2011, the Newspaper Association of America reported that advertising for newspapers in print and online dropped by half. Some studies say that print journalism will not stop, but it will rather find its niche like radio has done.
 
Newspapers will never again dominate the secular news industry. The hardened write-or-die reporters constantly face the reality that they need to look beyond the literate word to fully communicate. Journalists – print, electronic, social media – must see readers or viewers as audiences.
 
The Millennial age group (ages 19 to 36) have a far more oral learning preference than any other U.S. age segment. They are a communications force that is personally engaged in embracing what is genuine and foregoing the slick, the formatted, and the scheduled delivery. They thrive on “real.”
 
Christian communicators, especially journalists, can learn a lot from those with an oral worldview. Like Nathan standing before King David, they will tell stories out of their calling from God to their ministry. Will those reporting mojo stories let people who interact with their content (visual or story) draw out biblical truth? Users of smartphone and web-based media want to stay informed. They’re clearly blurring the lines of information and entertainment seeking a brave new world of entertainment.
 
The stuff we see, hear, smell, touch, and taste are gateways to our minds—and ultimately to our hearts.  The more senses that are engaged, the more effective the communicator will become. Brain theorists have noted that “emotions etch memories.” Experiential learning means more than “sitting and getting” whether it be by staring at ink on paper, text on screen, or via some other channel. As many pastors are starting to say, “Don’t turn off your smartphones, but text out to your followers and friends the truths that the Holy Spirit teaches you today!”
 
The bottom line is that church leaders must help believers become truth-tellers who craft their own stories of faith. Will churches empower communication in the hands of those who dare to communicate as God sends them?
What is God calling you to say? And how will you say it?
 
Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.
Posted on July 2, 2018 9:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making, General
I value vacations.  I would rather sit in a comforter than on a wooden bench.  I like the feel of pulsating steams of water massaging my tired back in a hot sauna.  Ah, yes, comfort can be a very good thing.  Yet, comfort can also be a very dangerous thing.  In the work of God, we can love our comfort a little too much if we are not careful.  The result is a neglect of the Great Commission.  A complacency about discipleship.  An apathy toward worship.
 
The dangers of being spiritually, too comfortable are many.  We can miss opportunities to experience God at work in and through our lives, if we get too comfortable.  We can choose the easy, softer choices of life and neglect God’s invitation to grow in our faith.  Being too comfortable can cause us to overlook the lost and disregard a brother or sister in need.  The 39-year-old man maybe comfortable living in his parent’s basement playing video games all day, but if he wants to live a meaningful life of purpose, he needs to leave that comfort to embrace the challenges of life.  In a similar way, we need to be challenged to leave the comfort of our current level of spiritual growth and usefulness, to begin pursuing the next.
 
Churches can also become too comfortable.  We can get accustomed to the comfort of being a certain size as a church and forget that God has placed us in the middle of a real mission field of people who need to be reached.  We would never put out a sign saying, “No New People Welcome Here,” but churches can still communicate that message in many subtle ways if they are too comfortable.  Even in a Sunday School class or small group, we can delight in the people we have, to the neglect of the people we need to reach.  After all, we have a nice comfortable feel to our class as it is.  Why work on reaching someone new?
 
To overcome comfortableness, we need to remember that spiritual growth flourishes in discomfort.  Discomfort caused Abraham to leave Ur and Moses to go back to Egypt.  Discomfort allowed Joshua to face the challenges of Ai and Joseph to become the leader he needed to become to “save many people alive.”  We need our discomfort to motivate us to strive for more.
 
We must remember that our purpose in life is to know and love God with all our being and to love people as Jesus loved people.  That challenges us to dive deeper into His Word and prayer.  That keeps us moving out of our comfort zone to touch lives we have never touched.  The potential of our lives and the impact we can make by God’s grace will be diminished if we remain in a state of continual spiritual ease.
 
We must be reminded of the brevity of life if we are to overcome our comfortableness.  All of us want to make a difference in this life.  We want to leave a positive, spiritual mark on our family, our friends and our neighbors.  No Christian wants to look back on their lives one day and see a series of wasted opportunities to influence others for Christ and grow closer to Him.  Psalm 90 reminds us “to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  Becoming too comfortable can be very unwise.
 
There is nothing wrong with having a lemonade under an umbrella on a beautiful beach.  We all need time to pause, reflect and meditate.  Times of rest are essential, but we also know that relaxation won’t pay the bills and advance us in life.  Likewise, in our walk with God, we need to enjoy our seasons of blessings, but remember that life is too short to be comfortable in our complacency.
Posted on May 15, 2018 9:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making, General
Every once in a while, someone will make a statement about the Old Testament as if it is old news, implying that Christians don’t really need to get too excited about its content.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It may be a little tougher to dig into the history of the Old Testament (OT) and understand the culture of that day, but the insights into life are worth the effort.  There are several reasons why the study of the “Hebrew Bible” is valuable to the New Testament Believer.
 
The Old Testament was the Bible Jesus and the Apostles used.  Jesus saw the OT as God’s inspired Word.  He and the Apostles both quoted from it in their speaking ministries and read and studied it in their personal lives.  If Jesus and the Apostles studied the OT, certainly that is enough reason for us to do the same.
 
The Old Testament is our heritage as God’s people.  The New Testament is grounded in the Old.  The OT gives us the prophecies of the first and second coming of Christ.  In fact, it could be argued, that the topic of the OT really is Christ Himself.  The flow of OT history is the completion of God’s plan of redemption, fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ.  The OT helps us understand the New.  It gives us insight into the blood sacrifice and what it really means that Jesus Christ is our “great High Priest.”  Without the OT, we would understand very little about covenants and the real significance of the cross.  It helps us to know who we really are in Christ.
 
The New Testament refers to the importance of the Old Testament.  First Corinthians 10 reminds us that the events of the OT were given to us as an example of God’s dealings with His people.  So, when we read of God’s judgments upon Israel, it helps us see how He deals with our nation.  The OT teaches us how to live the Christian life.  We learn what endurance looks like from Job.  We see what faithfulness really is when we study the life of Daniel.  We learn more about obedience when we read of the life of Abraham.  Our lives are enriched by the events and examples we find throughout the OT.
 
The New Testament Christian is blessed by the study of the Old Testament.  We use the Psalms extensively in our worship songs and our devotional lives.  Who is not blessed by a better understanding of Psalm 23?  How would we know about creation without Genesis?  The wisdom of Proverbs would not be able to challenge and shape our thinking today were it not for the OT.  The OT makes up the bulk of God’s inspired Word.  Without it, we would miss many blessings.
 
Studying the Old Testament helps us to witness to people who know little about the New Testament.  Chuck Swindoll challenged me one time on his radio program by asking this question, “Could you share Christ with a person using only the Old Testament?”  There are many unsaved people in our own communities that have a deep respect for the OT.  If we could help them see Jesus portrayed in the OT, they would be much more receptive to our message.
 
Yes, I am a New Testament believer.  I am not under the old covenant and I know Jesus has fulfilled all the law and has become the perfect sacrifice and High Priest of my soul.  But God speaks to us through the pages of His Word regardless of which book of the Bible we are reading from.  The study of the OT does have its challenges, but how inspiring is its poetry, how rich is its history, how precious are its insights.  I love the Old Testament because it edifies my soul and points me to Jesus.
Posted on May 1, 2017 7:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: General
Here’s how Baptist associations like CABA receive money: CABA only receives direct funding. We receive no Cooperative Program funds. We recommend 3% undesignated giving by churches to the association. Giving to CABA's Ann Dunn/ Joanne Hopkins Offering each May is similar to gifts to Ray Roberts Offering (SCBO), Annie Armstrong (NAMB), and Lottie Moon (IMB). And the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association greatly appreciates every contribution from our churches!
 
Now is the associational giving season! Every CABA church is invited to conduct a Week of Prayer for Associational Missions. The Ann Dunn / Joanne Hopkins Offering is included in that emphasis. If you observe other state, national, and international missions, then this completes your “Jerusalem” giving above and beyond the tithe and allocations from CABA.
 
The Dunn/Hopkins offering this year has a goal of $4,900. Please help us raise money for (1) libraries for bivocational pastors, (2) 10 kits for Backyard Bible Clubs, and (3) a prayer guide for Cincinnati’s least reached people groups.
Please give your offering to your church who will forward it on to the CABA Office. Praise God for co-operating churches fulfilling the Great Commission!
 
The Dunn/Hopkins Associational Mission Offering goal this year is $4,900. It is seeking to raise special funds for a prayer guide for unreached peoples in Cincinnati, Backyard Bible Club kits, and libraries for bi-vocational pastors in the Cincinnati Area.
 
Give your money to your church so that they can receive a blessing as you give together. But sometimes individuals want to give directly to the association. That's okay, too. Send your check to:
 
CABA
P. O. Box 54885
Cincinnati, OH 45254
 
Praise God! And thank you!
 
Mark Snowden
Director of Missional Leadership
Cincnnati Area Baptist Association
 
Posted on May 1, 2016 11:01 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: General
A new job, moving, and even acquiring a new car are among the top stressors in life. What the researchers evidently miss is how invigorating it is when done by the Hand of God! Mary Leigh and I are excited about getting to know you as we take on the new leadership role with you as a partner with CABA. 
 
The unanimous vote at the Spring Gathering was so humbling. I was led of the Lord to preach on Joshua 1:10-18 because three tribes could have opted out of partnering with their brother tribes. But the tribal leaders rose to the occasion. They accepted Joshua's challenge to lead the battle formation from the front. The three vowed not to take their rest until their brothers could have their rest, too. 
 
Many of our CABA churches have many challenges facing them. Other churches have, in a way, found their rest. Only when churches cooperate can we, by the Holy Spirit's power, achieve the Great Commission. What a challenge it is to explore the Cincinnati area and interact with those who Jesus died to save: 
  :: a Bob Evans waitress who requested God to work a miracle in her sister's health. 
  :: a real estate agent who is a nominal Muslim (Turk) who is very close to surrendering his life to Jesus. 
  :: a mattress salesman with terminal cancer, whose faith is in Jesus, and is prepared to meet Him soon. 
 
Stressors will always exist, but praise God that Jesus is Lord. God spoke clearly to Joshua and to all of us today that are engaged in kingdom work: "Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9 HCSB). 
 
(c) 2016 Mark Snowden