Pebble-Kicking Skepticism

I have never been more excited about the direction God is leading Crestwood Baptist Church than I am today. We have asked Him for guidance, and He has answered with fresh insight and clear vision. For this we thank Him. As the Lord has led our church through this process, He has been leading me through a personal process as well. I’ve heard Him calling me further up and deeper in, watched Him increase my faith, and sensed an expansion of the vision he has planted in my heart. Through every twist and turn of this brief journey, one scripture has been whispered into the ears of my heart over and over. 

Matthew 17:19-20 says, Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, “Why could not we cast him out?” And Jesus said unto them, “Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

After their descent from the mountain of transfiguration, Jesus–along with Peter, James, and John–returned to the find the other nine disciples in a heated argument with the local scribes. When Jesus asked what the discussion was about an anxious man in the mob spoke up and answered, Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not. (Mark 9:17-18)

This helpless father had come to the church looking for answers, but all he found was confusion. When Jesus entered the equation, He confronted the darkness with light. Jesus ordered the fretful father to bring the boy to Him. In Jesus’ presence the tormenting spirit showed his true colors, tossing his victim around like a rag doll and throwing him to the ground in a violent rage. In the middle of the turmoil Jesus took the time to ask an important question to assess the situation, “How long has this been going on?” Jesus understood the importance of determining a time frame, because the length of the oppression determines the strength of the possession.

Without fear or hesitancy of any kind, Jesus commanded the spirit to come out of the boy and never enter Him again. Having been served his eviction notice, the demon had no choice but to pack his bags and find somewhere else to live.  It was when the disciples were finally alone with Jesus again that they asked, “Why could we not cast it out? To which Jesus simply answered, “Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

As I reflect on this story, I am struck by one glaring truth. Jesus told his disciples if you have a small amount of genuine faith you can command mountains to move; but most believers don’t even have enough faith to get a rock out of their shoe. I am convinced that, under the guise of being realistic, we have embraced pebble-kicking skepticism and ignored mountain moving faith. We like to label our doubt as caution and maturity, but sometimes God just calls it unbelief. 

I believe God is calling our church to greater things than our minds can fathom, but we will never know the power of His presence, or apprehend the fullness of His plan, until we learn to pray mountain-moving prayers in full assurance of faith. It’s worth asking, are you currently praying any God sized prayers?

It is God-sized petitions that get God-sized answers.

Why settle for a pebble-kicking recess when the mountain-moving dynamite of the Spirit is yours in Christ? Brothers and sisters, I encourage you to ask God for more, and quit settling for less.

In Christ Alone,
Pastor Benjamin Webb


Crestwood Baptist Church is committed to meeting both the spiritual and physical needs of our neighbors. Therefore, we are excited to announce a new opportunity we are offering to the families in our community. We are calling this new ministry IMPACT. This program will be offered to children, kindergarten through fifth grade. A Bible lesson, a meal, help with homework, and fun activities will be provided at each meeting.

IMPACT will meet Thursday evenings from 6pm to 8pm in the Education Building at Crestwood Baptist Church located at 530 Motor Road in Winston Salem. The first meeting is scheduled for March 1, 2017.

We have a limited number of spots available
and preregistration is required!

When our registration limit is reached all other interested candidates will be placed on a waiting list.

For preregistration or more information, please contact the Crestwood Baptist Church office at 333-767-0096. If you are interested in volunteering or contributing to this effort, please contact the church office as well.

In Christ Alone,
Pastor Benjamin Webb

Sing Me A Love Song

The phone rang and, to be honest, I hesitated to answer. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk to her. After all she was a friend. The problem was I knew she was discouraged and I didn’t know what else to tell her. Since that time, I’ve learned that I don’t always have to have the answers.  Sometimes the most encouraging thing we can do is just listen. Yet, that day I knew she needed something to hold on to, something to keep her above water until the storm calmed down.

I took the call and happily answered as if I was surprised to hear her voice. To my chagrin she immediately called my bluff, and of course I denied hesitating to answer. I was right about one thing though, she was down again, and I didn’t know how to help her up. She raced from point to point, barely taking a breath in between. The skies over her life really were dark, and it seemed like the sun had gone on an extended vacation. I wanted to say something, but what was there to say that I hadn’t said already?

The usual Romans 8:28 hadn’t even slowed her venting down. She was like a steaming kettle whistling under the pressure, and I felt like the range top fan trying to sift through the smoke. I discovered that my deep barrel of wisdom was really no bigger than a red solo cup and I had already poured out the last drop. With a sigh I offered a silent prayer. Why I had not done that sooner I can’t explain. “Lord, she belongs to you. Will you please give me something to say that will help her?”

Suddenly one line from a little-known verse written by an obscure Hebrew prophet came to my mind. After pronouncing pending doom and certain judgment the prophet Zephaniah said, “The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  (Zephaniah 3:17)

Then followed one of those moments that can be explained no other way than God did it. I am an analytical planner, nothing can be said without careful thought as to whether it is accurate, beautiful, and true. Yet, without even a second thought I blurted out, “Do you ever hear singing?” It was like someone pulled the emergency brake in her fast-moving anxiety express. For a moment she was silent. Finally, she said, “What in the world are you talking about?”  Again, I repeated, “Do you ever hear singing, music that you don’t know where it’s coming from?” She was intrigued. I had her on the ropes.

It was like a teleprompter flashed on in my head. The Holy Spirit enabled me to quote a verse I had never memorized. The words came so naturally as if they were my own, but clearly they were too good to be mine. I remember saying, “When God sings, He sings about the things He loves, and that includes you.” It was so simple, so elementary, but it was what she needed to hear. We talked on for a few minutes more about God’s love for her. She was thrilled by the fact that God was singing a love song over her.  I could hear the smile in her voice as she said thank you and hung up the phone. She thanked me, but I thanked Him; because, after all, He was the One who wrote the song.

There is nothing more stabilizing than love. To know you are loved is to know that you are not alone. To give love is to surrender the most sacrificial gift the heart can offer. To receive love is to receive the most honorable present the heart can cherish. The certain reality that we are loved with unconditional love that will never run out, thaw out, or fall out–by a God who will never walk out– provides our hearts a haven of rest.

It’s hard to imagine what an angelic choir sounds like; it’s even harder to grasp the magic that fills the air when God sings a solo. What is amazing to me is that when He opens His mouth He sings a song about sinners He has chosen to save. Of the 1,005 songs Solomon wrote, his best hit was a love song about his Shulamite bride. Our Shepherd King sings about His bride as well, and His lyrics make Solomon’s look like a kindergartener’s crayon-colored love note. If you belong to Him, He’s singing about you. When loneliness puts a chokehold on your joy, when anxiety stops up your wells of contentment, be still, and listen to our Savior’s soothing song. He sings about what He loves, and what He loves He takes care of.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?  I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)

-Pastor Ben Webb

Shut the Door Behind You When You Go

Working with Hospice taught me many unique lessons I would have otherwise missed. One such lesson found its way into my heart during a counseling session with a recently bereaved widow. She came into the office and took her seat opposite me. Unacquainted, we exchanged small talk before beginning our journey together. I asked her to tell me her story.

She paused pensively as if standing outside peeking into the windows of her own memories. Other than the sound of soft sobs the room was quiet. Her left hand clenched a damp crumpled tissue; tears carved long slow trails down her cheeks. She opened her mouth but at first nothing came out. It appeared as if her mind was frantically searching for the words her heart needed to say. He wasn’t perfect, but he was so much more than just another good man. He was her teenage sweetheart and the love of her life. They had been given what many only dream of but now her happiness had been laid to rest with him.

The frequent hospital visits her husband’s illness demanded had become an expected part of their routine. A brief scare, an unexpected rally, another trip home, this was the cycle she had come to expect. She reminisced, surely, he would pull through, he always did, but this time was different.

The memory of his dramatic final moments had become her tormentor. In the brief moment she had turned away from his hospital bed her whole world changed. His body shook like an autumn leaf pummeled by the wind. A team of nurses met her at the door as she hurried to find help. Looking back, it all seemed like a surreal nightmare. Slowly she retold the story of fading into a foggy background as experienced doctors and nurses rushed in and ushered her out. They worked feverishly to stabilize him, but even advanced medicine could not stop his advancing disease process. No one knows the power of the word gone until it is spoken in apologetic tones in one’s own unbelieving ears.

I can’t help but imagine her shuffling aimlessly back into his room in an almost robotic manner, stunned and in shock at how quickly her life had just unraveled. Otherwise chatty machines seemed reverently quiet, he was eerily still, and the hands she had held so long were already unfamiliarly cool. Although they were together again in that lonesome room she knew she was alone and he was gone. The sacred hour she spent with her husband before releasing his shell to the funeral home is not a thing to be lightly commented on. Those moments were her moments not to be shared. When it was time she packed her things and tearfully left the room shutting the door behind her.

As she told her story the continual re-occurrence of the last time she saw him alive made one thing abundantly clear to me. She was being held hostage by the traumatic memory of his death. A life time of memories were being starved and suppressed by the torment of one traumatic moment. That unavoidable picture was the terrorist that haunted her sleep, chased the taste from her food, and posted a closed sign on the door of her heart. There were so many rooms in the house of her grief begging to be visited, but one memory locked her in and would not allow her to leave. We both knew it was time for her to go.

Sometimes to deal with a traumatic event or hostile memory it is necessary to seek professional counseling. Nevertheless, even an experienced provider cannot change the past. Among the most important forward steps in the journey of life is making the decision that you will not spend the rest of your days held hostage by the dark shadows of the past. For her it was a hospital room, for you it may be a conversation, a bad decision, an unavoidable event, or something else that no one else would ever guess. The past can be a terrible tormentor but it only holds the power we give it. If we are ever going to live again we must make the conscious decision to leave the past where it belongs and step forward into the future.

I would not be so naïve as to suggest that we can choose to forget our past, but I am confident we have the power to choose not to live there.

Overcoming a memory may take a lifetime; but not letting it take your life is a choice you must make. Whether it be our own sins or the sins of others, what if’s or I should haves, we cannot allow what was to decide what is.

Before concluding our time together, I encouraged her to make an intentional visit to the room where she had been held captive so long. Acknowledge what happened there and grieve what was not. I asked her to take the time she needed to observe her surroundings, rediscover those moments she had forgotten, and gather the things she would need for the future. Box up everything you want to keep and then say goodbye–not goodbye to him, but goodbye to that small cell that has held your life for ransom so long–and shut the door behind you when you go.

As we face this new year I encourage you to let go of what you cannot change and embrace the goodness and the mercy of God in the here and now. Don’t try to forget the past. File those lessons away that were learned from it, learn to see the grace of God in the midst of it, then leave it where it belongs and shut the door behind you when you go.

-Pastor Ben Webb

You Shall Call His Name Jesus

Jesus (Iesus/Yeshua=God is salvation) was a common name in Israel. There were probably numbers of little boys running around with the same name, but this One–this Jesus–was the first and only One ever able to live up to the name!

Joseph called Him Jesus; God called Him the Beloved Son in whom he was well pleased,

Peter called Him Master. Bartimaeus called Him the Son of David. A legion of demons growled at Him as they called Him the Son of the Most High. Pilate called Him The King of the Jews.

Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, called Him wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. When he wrote to the Ephesians, Paul identified Him as the chief cornerstone, the creator, the truth. In the Thessalonian letters, he said Jesus was He who delivers us from the wrath to come.

To Timothy, Paul referred to Him as our hope, our God, the seed of David, and the judge of the living and the dead.

The writer of Hebrews called Jesus the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, the Mediator of the new covenant, and the great Shepherd of the sheep.

When John looked upon Jesus in the revelation, he wrote that He was the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.

He has been called many things, but Jesus says it all!

There is no other name given under Heaven whereby we must saved.

Even now all who call on the name of Jesus in faith shall be saved.

Friends I encourage you, you who are lost, you who doubt, Jesus says to you, “Look unto me, and be ye saved all the ends of the earth.”

The ends of the earth includes you my friend.

-Pastor Benjamin Webb

*Excerpt from morning sermon on December 23, 2017. To hear the complete message, visit Pastor Ben’s sermon page here.*

He Shall Be Great

When the angel Gabriel came to Mary to announce that she would be the mother of the Christ, the Savior of the world, he told Mary these things: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” (Luke 1:32-33)

“He will be great.” That, my friend, was an understatement.

At twelve years old, He left the intellectual elite of the day scratching their heads in awe of His understanding. Later He altered the biological and chemical composition of water with only a word and without a lab. He gave sight back to the blind without an eye exam, He restored the leper without a pharmacy, and He cured terminal diseases without even charging a copay.

He defied the law of gravity without ever defiling the law of God. He spoke to the wind and it laid down like an obedient service dog.

He fed thousands with a snack pack. He made the dead get out of bed. He answered the unanswerable with wisdom beyond his years.

He was beaten for being good and died for those who had been bad.

In His death, He made our last enemy His first casualty. He was knocked down, but make no mistake, He got back up. He assaulted the gates of hell from the inside, assessed deaths holdings, made the down payment, and walked away with the keys.

He led a group of uneducated fishermen to start a revolution that spans across empires and ages. He ascended into Heaven and, in full confidence, approached the inapproachable God and sat down.

He was great, He is great, and He remains great forever.


-Pastor Ben Webb

A Politically Correct Christmas

At the beginning of every election cycle, in the middle of every new scandal, and at the end of each administration one thought subconsciously travels through the minds of both conservatives and liberals alike: If only the right man were in office he could fix all of this. Yet, across the world on every political stage the battle rages on to find someone—anyone—who can bring stability and harmony on earth. Every few years our hope for a good government seems to erode a little more as the flood of partisan politics and alternate agendas beat away at the shores of expectation.

Many are convinced that the good ole days are gone forever. Anticipation has been replaced by disappointment and cynicism. Still the seed planted deep within, the root from which the bud of restless longing grows, is in itself just and good. Someone is coming to make all that is wrong right again but he’s not coming from the right charging in on an elephant; nor will he appear from the left with a donkey’s clumsy steps. He will burst through the eastern barrier of the realm he means to rule riding on the back of a bright white stallion. When he comes to take office, all that is wrong will be made right again.

God opened the curtains of time and allowed Isaiah to look into future. A dark immovable cloud of pending doom rested over the nation Israel. Yet, as God’s man stared at the black backdrop of judgment, a bright spot appeared in the darkness. God told him a child would be born and a Son would be given who would restore Israel and reverse her misfortune. Of this child, Isaiah said His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.

With careful colors Isaiah painted a lovely description of the living Hope he saw.
“The government will be upon His shoulders.” “Of the increase of His kingdom and of peace there will be no end.” Of all history’s mighty men, none has ever been able to carry the weight of world on his own shoulders.

Yet Jesus can, Jesus does, and Jesus will.

Christ’s first coming at Bethlehem was both an act of war and a declaration that the war was coming to an end. The King entered the arena through a virgin womb and was wrapped in reprehensible rags rather than royal robes. This same child celebrated by shepherds and saints endured unimaginable injustice at the hands of soldiers and sinners. While He suffered to redeem the enslaved servants of His realm, over his head hung the all too true words, “Jesus, King of the Jews.”

What would have been the game’s end for any other ruler was a strategic move toward checkmate for He who was born King. As surely as He kept His promise to come the first time to redeem, He will keep His promise to come the second time to rule. His first advent may have been humble, but His second will be with glory, judgment, and honor.

Among the first judicial acts of His coming kingdom will be the reestablishment of original intent. When He takes the helm, He’ll turn the ship around. Effectively He will reinstate His design for government. The Creator will rule over man and man will rule as co-regents over His creation. His will be the first government that exists only to promote good rather than to punish evil. His administration will be without default, deficiency, or deficit. Consider the obvious blessing that have fallen on nations ruled by good and godly men. Imagine the peace, prosperity, and progress that the whole earth will enjoy under the righteous scepter of God himself.

Think about the advances scientists will be able to make when the heavy fog of humanism and evolution has been burnt away in the light of the Son. The depths of understanding and the heights of philosophy man will attain when Wisdom incarnate sits enthroned cannot even be comprehended by the intelligent elite. Oh, the art that human hands will forge when imaginations are unshackled by the curse of sin! What might industrious men achieve in manufacturing when the government promotes the harnessing of natural resources?

God’s good government as intended in Eden will be restored in all the earth when the right Man takes His seat on the throne of His father David in Jerusalem. The whole earth will raise its voice and sing the sweet song of Peace when our Prince becomes our King. Words like election, impeachment, and coup may very well be removed from our vocabulary because Jesus will never earn criticism or merit complaint. The sun will never set on His kingdom when the Son sits on the throne.

Now we look forward with anxious expectation and exceptional hope, waiting and wanting to celebrate Christmas finally at home with Christ. It’s an exciting thought to think of a white Christmas in a place where white is not just a color on the spectrum but rather the very state of our souls. When the right Man establishes His rule on earth, mankind will finally and fully enjoy the serenity of a true Politically Correct Christmas. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
-Pastor Benjamin Webb

A Time to Die

High school football, chicken stews, Thanksgiving dinners, and cooler weather make Fall my favorite season. The changing of the leaves is the part I look forward to the most. It’s always so exciting to watch the dark greens transfigure from common to extraordinary. Bland, grass-colored mountains burst into fiery orange landscapes splattered with mixtures of sunrise yellow and candy-apple red.

As much as I love to see autumn come, I hate to see it go. As the leaves fall so does my spirit, because as the winter moves in, the color moves out. For the next few months everything becomes bleak and bare. It’s a strange thing to realize that it’s really death that makes Fall so beautiful.

Solomon said there is a season for everything–a time to be born and a time to die. In other words, death is a part of life. In fact, without death there is no life. You see, death is not an end; it’s only a door to a new beginning. As surely as the leaves fade and fall to the ground when spring comes around the dogwoods will bud again. The burning colors of autumn are the precursors to the bright colors of spring.

There are so many clear parallels between our current season and our Christian hope. As surely as we lay down to rest we will rise to live again.

Every fall I plant a fresh crop of tulips. Over four hundred bulbs are spread throughout various parts of my yard. Every time I cover those brown bulbs with dirt I think to myself, I’ll see you in spring. Sometimes the winter is long, but it never lasts forever. Like clockwork every year sometime towards the end of February, if you take a walk through my garden and you will find numerous pea-sized nobs barely pocking their heads through the soils surface. In only a few short weeks those nobs turn to full grown trumpets of God’s glory.

To those who are hurting and grieving, may I say, winter won’t last forever. God promised as long as man lives on earth the seasons will continue in their given order. Better days are coming, and the flowers will bloom again. During the holiday season I encourage you to take heart and rejoice in our hope that as surely as we have planted the shells of those we love beneath the soil, they will rise again more beautiful than before. As Christians we don’t look forward to dying, but we have no reason to fear death. We rejoice in the fact that though we are buried as a bulb we will rise as flowers. Be encouraged, fall is here and winter is upon us but spring’s not far away.

-Pastor Benjamin Webb

Broken Crayons Still Color

Recently, while traveling down the interstate, I noticed a billboard I had passed many times before, yet never really read. Bold white words stamped on a soft baby-blue background read, “Broken crayons still color.” At first I only smiled and continued driving, but then, in the same way a warm breeze can bring back a long lost memory, the big white words transported me back to a wooden table situated in a dimly lit dining room.

When I worked for hospice I often said that I was paid to play, but honestly I learned some very valuable lessons about life, love, and loss while coloring submarines and drawing dragons. This time I had been called to meet with a seven-year-old boy whose dad had been murdered the week before. This particular visit taught me a lesson I never want to forget.

As we sat there rummaging through my box of crayons looking for particular colors to complete our masterpieces. My little friend and I discovered that many of my crayons were bent and broken. I had a bad habit of leaving my coloring box in the car on hot days. I should have remembered my childhood discovery that crayons don’t react well to heat. I had learned this the hard way as I scraped splattered crayon from the roof of my grandmothers microwave after attempting to make finger paint by heating crayons in a Styrofoam bowl.

I apologized to the boy that my crayons were in such poor shape. I remember saying, “I should probably throw all the broken ones away.” He looked at me with a confused expression, selected a broken cherry red Crayola that was missing its wrapper, and said, “Why would you do that? Broken crayons still work.” Whether he realized it or not, this seven-year-old taught me a much-needed life lesson. Broken and useless are not synonymous.

We’re all broken in different ways. Some of us have been broken by the consequences of our own choices, while others have been broken through no fault of their own. We acknowledge that brokenness is an unavoidable part of our world and our lives, yet it seems inescapable and leaves us feeling worn down and sometimes even worthless. Do broken things have a place in God’s kingdom? Can all the pieces ever be put back together again?

The answer is yes. Jesus is the good news in the middle of our mess. He came to make good out of what sin made bad. Great beauty can arise from great brokenness when placed in the hands of a skilled artist. Looking back, I remember the final strokes my little friend added to his picture. I can still see him hard at work, his tongue barely sticking out of the corner of his mouth. When he finished, he proudly held up his picture for my approval, and I have to say it may have just been the most beautiful red rose a seven-year-old boy ever imagined onto paper; and to think it was done with a broken crayon!

In much the same way, God has a way of making a masterpiece out of a mess. He can take the shattered, disorganized pieces of our lives and build a breathtaking stain glass display of grace. I’ve learned not to be so quick to throw away the broken ones because they may be just the color needed to perfect the masterpiece. Broken can be made beautiful when placed in the hands of the Master Artist. Broken crayons still color.

-Pastor Benjamin Webb

Studying Psalm 23

On Sunday, April 23, our adult co-ed Sunday school class will begin a study of Max Lucado’s book, Traveling Light, which examines Psalm 23 in the context of helping us to “release burdens [we] were never intended to bear.” Just think, if the Lord is present in every facet of our lives, what do we need to carry? The answer is, we don’t have to carry anything alone. I love that, don’t you?

We invite you to join us this Sunday at 9:45 as we dig into Psalm 23–quite possible the best known chapter in the Bible–and are guided to relinquish all our unnecessary, burdensome baggage and cling to the promise of 23:6 – “…I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

In the meantime, enjoy this musical video by the late Keith Green, The Lord is My Shepherd.