Rick Zimmerman

Avoiding Distractions In Our Walk With God

Dear Central Members, Global, and Local Friends,

We are bombarded with pressing decisions and issues daily. Many of them distract us and get in the way of our ability to walk with God daily. How do we stay on track, and make the appropriate decisions, when we are faced with so many distractions?? I must admit that at times life can be extremely challenging. However, God has given us a good blueprint to keep us on track, if we would take the appropriate time to apply it in our daily schedule of life. I have learned the following principles that help to bring order to my hectic life schedule and would like to share those principles with you this week.

Here are a few principles that will help you to stay focused and not get distracted or taken off course:

Remember, God has a purpose in everything to bring glory to Himself. Any distraction that you didn’t create, or do anything to have it occur, stand firm on (Romans 8:28) Knowing that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
1. God loves you and takes your best interest to heart. (Matthew 7:9-11)
2. God’s view unlike man’s view of your best interest is always focused on the eternal life perspective.
3. God plans and knows your future for all eternity. Therefore, don’t allow temporary conditions and issues to get you off track. (Ephesians 1:5-13)
4. God sacrificed His Son, Jesus, to offer you a future with Him. (John 3:16) Most of the issues we are dealing with daily don’t involve your eternal future. Therefore, don’t get sidetracked by these earthly issues that have no eternal value. People love to put pressure on you about the things that drive their agenda, instead of what might be in your best interest long-term. Remember to be driven by eternal things, instead of things that have no long-term eternal value.

When we have enough courage to stand on the solid foundation of God’s truth, and you are walking closely by His side, you will remember to not allow issues to distract you and work to stay on course:

1. You will get the facts instead of relying on social media and friends.
2. You will not allow your emotions to get in the way of listening to the Lord.
3. You will be wise enough to ask other serious Christians for advice, like your family members, friends, and experts who will give you wise counsel.
4. Always pray and ask God for guidance daily to help you get through the maze.
5. Measure the issues and changes against what scripture says about the situation.

I pray you will implement the above suggestions to avoid distractions and stay on track in your daily walk with God!!

Desiring all the best for you and your household!!

Your Fellow Servant In Christ!!

Perry Stuckey

Rick ZimmermanAvoiding Distractions In Our Walk With God
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The Importance of Having the Gift of Discernment in “Walking with God Daily”

My Dear Central Members, Brothers & Sisters in the Body of Christ around the globe, as I pen this letter to you this morning on Friday, June 2, 2023, at 5:28 AM EST during my early morning devotion. My sincere heart’s desire is to see you accomplish all that God has called you to accomplish for His glory and honor!!

To fulfill this objective, one of the important spiritual gifts that we all need to ensure a successful walk with God daily is the “Gift of Discernment.” Please understand that when we are committed and surrendered completely to God, we become a target for the enemy of God!! One of the unique gifts that God grants in His spiritual arsenal to believers that is accessible to us is the “gift of discernment.” God has impressed upon my heart why this gift is extremely important to us as believers in this letter to you this morning.

The “Gift of discernment” is utilized by the elect of God to know good from evil, light from darkness, and truth from lies. The purpose is to guard against deception. The fool rushes into trouble, but discernment shows us when something isn’t quite right, so we avoid disaster. When we see the potential for danger, we can use discernment to change outcomes.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where Satan has a stronghold in our nation. This requires all “Believers” who love God and desire to see “His will done on earth as in heaven” must employ the gift of discernment to be effective in making the right decisions aligned with God’s Will. Allow me to highlight some brief principles below that you must apply daily.

The gift of discernment is one of the nine gifts given to the Church for edification and ministry (I Corinthians 12:7-10). One important principle that is essential to know is that when we question a person’s motives or even-certain choices they are making, discernment uncovers the truth behind the behavior.

Having strong discernment gives us the advantage over the enemy. Using discernment, we can determine if what we perceive from an individual or observe from a situation is fact or fiction. Satan is famous for deception and likes to make a “bluff” in a game of poker, the enemy uses deception to twist the truth and steal our blessings. As Christians and true believers we may unintentionally sacrifice our victories by falling for the bluff, but we can avoid traps using the gift of discernment.

When we know what’s true, we can effectively address the “Spirit” in operation. Truth gives us the upper hand against the devil and the enemies of Christ’s Good Works.

When we have the truth, the truth sets us free; more importantly, when we know the truth we judge righteously, avoiding a misstep. Just like a skillfully played hand in the game of poker, discernment essentially shows us when to call a bluff or fold the hand.

My sincere desire is that each of you would seek God daily as you “Walk with Him Daily” and call out to him during your Daily Devotion, to bestow the “Gift of Discernment” upon you that you may not be mislead by the enemy and those that Satan uses to sow division among the members of the “Body of Christ” around the globe.

Holy Father as we seek your truth please grant us the gift of discernment in our daily walk to honor you. Amen!!

Your Brother and Fellow Servant in Christ!!

Perry Stuckey, Senior Pastor Central Baptist Church

Rick ZimmermanThe Importance of Having the Gift of Discernment in “Walking with God Daily”
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Allowing Anger to Govern Our Behavior

Dear Central Members and Friends,

I pray your week is going extremely well. But, if you are frustrated for some reason, I urge you to thank God for His marvelous grace in the midst of your circumstances. You may be facing a challenging issue right now. But remember that God has a supreme plan for your life and nothing can hinder that plan, if you obey His will for your life!

There are times when our intentions are to do what is right, but we allow anger, jealousy and other emotions to govern our behavior. This is what happened with the Pharisees (Please read John chapter 8:1-12). The Pharisees were so angry and frustrated with Jesus that they tried to ensnare Him in His words and find a justifiable reason to get rid of Him. The sad tragedy is the lengths they were willing to go to prove their point and get their desired outcome. They were willing to stone a woman, who had been caught in the act of adultery to her death! However, their issue was not with the woman for breaking the law. That was a smokescreen. Their real issue was with Jesus and their hatred for Him motivated them to use the woman as a sacrificial lamb.

You see, the Jewish law required that a person who committed adultery to be stoned to death. However, the Roman law would not permit someone to be stoned to death for such an act. So, if Jesus had said, “Stone her,” they would have accused him of being in violation of the Roman law. If He had said that she shouldn’t be stoned, they would have accused Him of violating the Jewish law, which Moses gave.

Jesus knew their real motives were to trap him, and in this case He made a profound, but simple statement: “Those of you who are without sin, cast the first stone.” They were all convicted by His statement and dropped their stones. From the eldest to the youngest, the crowd departed and the woman was left alone with Jesus. Jesus was the only person qualified to judge and punish her. Yet, despite the fact that she was in violation of Moses’ law, Jesus told her that He didn’t condemn her and to go and sin no more.

Jesus extends the same love, mercy and grace to us every day! All of us have sinned. But, thank God, forgiveness is just a prayer away (Please read 1 John 1:9)! By God’s grace, we are forgiven, and, if we ask Him, He will give us the grace we need to forgive others of even the most hurtful offenses.

Forgiveness is not optional for followers of Christ. It is an act of obedience that is necessary for our freedom and wellbeing. Our failure to practice forgiveness causes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual problems and hinders our ability to have healthy relationships.

The next time you are frustrated about something or frustrated with someone, pause and reflect on the love, grace and mercy that the Lord has extended to you, despite your shortfalls. Consider how Jesus modeled grace as referenced in John chapter 8. Just as it’s important for us to nurture our relationships with family and friends, it’s vital that we spend quality time with God. Doing so helps us overcome our frustrations and allows us to be led by the Lord instead of our emotions.

I pray that you will benefit from the slides and observations outlined in the slides on my Sermons page.

Grace & Shalom!

Pastor Perry

Rick ZimmermanAllowing Anger to Govern Our Behavior
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Four Principles For City Renewal

Dear Central Members & Friends

I hope your week is off to an excellent start and you are asking God to grant you the grace to walk in the footsteps He has ordered for you this entire month!! I am going to ask you to be extremely focused spiritually this entire month as we celebrate 100 years as a church body. What an awesome wonderful blessing and demonstration of God’s grace to achieve such a significant spiritual milestone!!!

This is truly a “Journey of Faith” as noted in Hebrews 11:6 which is our anchor theme and scripture for this Centennial Celebration!! I have attached the slides from the message I delivered on yesterday during our worship service with Fort Robinson, our partnership church in the Kingsport area. The message is practical truths about our future and what each of us must do individually and collectively as leaders as we move forward as a church on “God’s Agenda” to have an even greater impact on our future and the future of our city.

I would like for you to read and study the book of Nehemiah during your personal devotional and study time this month. Nehemiah is a great example for us all, of someone who stayed steadfast as a leader on God’s agenda, persevered during times of great opposition, had a caring heart and led the people during a critical rebuilding project!!   Nehemiah was a cupbearer, not a King or Priest, but a layman who served under King Artaxerxes, who ruled Persia from 464 to 423 B.C. Nehemiah’s name means – “The Lord has comforted.”

Remember the four principles I shared on Sunday and put them into practice in your life  from Chapter 2 of Nehemiah verses 1-20:

1.      Opposition is certain from within and without

2.      Prayer is essential

3.      People must be willing to work

4.      The leaders & workers must be determined to follow God’s agenda

As we examine our bible, we see it littered with people who failed because they submitted to their own agenda instead of God’s agenda with noble intentions only to realize too late the mistake they had made. Let’s start each day off determined to stay on God’s agenda instead of our agenda!!

I hope you enjoy the slide deck from the Sermons page and find it a useful tool in your deeper study of Nehemiah this month!!

Grace & Shalom!!!!

Pastor Perry Stuckey


Rick ZimmermanFour Principles For City Renewal
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Think About How We Approach God

Dear Central Members & Friends,

I hope this weekly note finds you and your family doing well!! If your week is like mine, it has been extremely busy. I am in D.C. this week returning home on Friday. However, as I was engaged in my morning devotion God impressed on my heart in this note to think about how we approach Him!! We have noble intentions in our prayers and devotions as people, but often what we pray about is all related to our desires for ourselves and what we want for other people. 

Most of our prayers center around God helping us, our family, friends and intercessory prayers for others. Very little of our devotional time is centered on asking God what He desires of us. If we shift our devotional focus to spending more time listening to God and asking Him what he desires of us, you will be amazed at what you will learn from God as He speaks to us through His Holy Word and the extra sensitivity and insight you will gain from being sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

I would like you to ask God three questions about yourself for the next several weeks and you will be amazed at what you will learn about yourself as God speaks to your heart.

Here are the three questions:

1. God, can you completely trust me to obey you? If not, what am I doing that I need to change??

2. God, as your servant, what do I need to do in order to enhance my relationship with you and please you more??

3. God, how can I become a greater blessing to others in my family and community??

Taking the time to hear from God about the three questions above will have a transformational impact on your life if you are honest and courageous enough to listen carefully to God’s instructions and obey Him.

Let’s go on this journey together of listening to God and discovering new areas of our lives in which we need to enhance our relationship with the Holy Father. Enoch comes to mind for me as a biblical character who is someone that had such a rich relationship with God that our Heavenly Father did not allow him to taste death but took him to heaven. Now we are unlikely to walk with God like Enoch did, however, we all have the opportunity to enhance our relationship with the Heavenly Father by being someone He can trust to obey Him!!

Let’s start this week on enhancing our relationship with the Heavenly Father as you are aware “Relationships Matter” !!!!!!!

Grace & Shalom!!!!

Pastor Perry Stuckey

Rick ZimmermanThink About How We Approach God
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What Really Matter Most In Our Lives?

Dear Central Members and Friends,

I am sending you this note just before 6:00 AM Tuesday morning here in Europe. I have a long work day ahead, ending with a dinner meeting with colleagues. However, I have learned to be obedient to God and wanted to drop you a quick note that hopefully will be beneficial to you.

The topic is, what really matters most in our lives??  We unintentionally jam so much in our lives and work so hard to accomplish, by the world standards, what we think is most important!!  However, if I am completely honest with you, what most of us chase in life is really not that important.

As I typically do during my early morning devotion, listen to what God is saying, here are some things He placed on my heart as your Pastor. The greatest gift you can give me as your Pastor and your family is a lifestyle that God is pleased with!!

One of the things that is extremely important to me when I stand before God to give Him an account of my work as your Pastor, is that I have pleased Him and done what the number one requirement is for all Pastors which is equipping the saints for the work of the ministry!!  What really matters most are the sermons we live more than the sermons we preach.

All of us preach a sermon each day by the way we live!! The question is, do our sermons make a difference in the lives of people?  See, most of us believe the sermons are left to Pastors and the ministry staff at our church. I have learned over the years that the sermons that matter most to people are the ones I live instead of the ones I preach. Why don’t you take time this week to start living a beautiful sermon before your family, co-workers and other people you come into contact with. Our sermons will not always be perfect; however, they will get better each day and each week as we become more intentional about honoring God in every aspect of our life.

Attached is the document which I placed in the bulletin this past Sunday and had Stephanie read to the congregation. An individual I referenced in the document was D.L. Moody, one of the greatest preachers and evangelist in the last one hundred years. What made D.L. Moody  special was his relentless focus on pleasing God. I had the wonderful privilege of working downtown Chicago back in the early 1990’s, and during my lunch break I would often take a six-block walk to the Moody Bible College bookstore and spend quality time reading and buying study material that would help me in my ministry in those early years. 

What I have learned that matters most to God is not what we know but what we do with what we know. What we must do is obey God. In the attached letter I quote D.L. Moody and I would like you to reflect this week on that quote and ask yourself the following questions:

1. What does your character reveal about you in the dark?

2. Are you spending the vast majority of your time being critical of people while overlooking your own faults?

3. What are you going to do differently to live your sermons instead of preaching your sermons? We all preach sermons whether we recognize it or not!!

4. What do you need to repent about and ask God for guidance on to walk in the footsteps He has ordered for you?

Now as I prepare to close this note and start my day here in the Netherlands,  let me make a few comments about Europe. I have been making this trip to this region for over twenty years now and one of the things that dramatically stands out is how diverse this region has become.  Europe is a lot more diverse than America, and there are people of all colors that have made significance progress. The technology in the transit systems has always been more advanced than America and still is today.

We can learn a lot by getting outside of our comfort zones and embracing the world around us in the same manner as Jesus!!!

I pray you will not allow yourselves to be incarcerated this week by a laundry list of activities, but you will focus on what matters most to God!! It will remove a lot of stress in your life this week!! I look forward to finishing strong this week in Europe and a safe return to the US on Saturday.

May your week be filled with His Grace!! 

Pastor Perry Stuckey

(04-08-18) From the Pastor’s Desk

Rick ZimmermanWhat Really Matter Most In Our Lives?
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The Messiah Betrayed By Judas

Dear Central Members,

Attached you will find the slides I covered during bible study last Wednesday. I have also included for you a pre-read that you need to read in advance of our lesson next week (April 4). As I shared with you last Wednesday there are individual Christians and Theologians who believe Jesus was crucified on Wednesday and spent three entire days and nights in the grave. I have included what this group believes and the scripture they utilize to support this belief. I have also included the traditional belief that Jesus was crucified on Friday and was resurrected on Sunday. The objective is not for you to get into an argument with anyone or take a dogmatic position. The intent of this reading material is for you to understand the different positions and why people hold those positions, so you can be better informed.

As your Pastor, my objective is to ensure you have the Truth of God’s Word and that you rely on the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and direct you into all truth!! We will open our discussion on April 4 with any questions you might have from the reading material and quickly go into our scheduled lesson. I hope you are growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, practicing Modeling Grace, Transparency and working hard to ensure that you are Enhancing Relationships with Fellow believers and non-believers as well as honoring our Lord and Savior.

Grace & Shalom!!

Pastor Perry Stuckey

The Messiah Betrayed By Judas



Rick ZimmermanThe Messiah Betrayed By Judas
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Holy Week Note

Dear Central Members & Friends

I hope that you are engaged like millions of our brothers and sisters around the world in various celebrations for Holy Week!! This is the greatest and most important weeklong celebration in the life of devoted Christians!! We Honor and celebrate our Lord this week for His sacrificial love toward us on Calvary!!

If we are not careful, this week can become like other weeks where we are engaged in a flurry of activities without real reflection and examination of how blessed we truly are because of the unconditional sacrificial love of Jesus Christ toward us!!  When I stop and reflect on this alone, just how much my Lord loved me that he died for me despite my sins, failures and shortcomings, I feel bad for complaining. If you have experienced His sacrificial love, then you understand exactly what I am talking about.

During my low points and believe it or not I have them just like you do, I take a moment to reflect on His grace, mercy and sacrificial love toward me!! During these reflective moments, I repent and apologize to God for my behavior and realize that no matter what I am going through it is small in comparison to what He did for us on Calvary!!

This week I am going to challenge and encourage you to do three things: 

1) Take several reflective moments throughout each day this week to thank Him for His grace, mercy and unconditional love toward you!! 

2) Secondly, be intentional about attending the appropriate Holy Week Celebrations that will be transformational for you and enhance your spiritual walk!!

3) Thirdly, do something nice for someone this week that is not in a position to do anything for you.

I believe if you do the three things above this week, you will feel better about yourself and in some small way make a difference in the life of someone.

Visit the sermon page and you will find my slide deck from the Sunday morning lesson “Preparing for the Difficult Seasons of Life.”

I am excited about meeting you in bible study on tomorrow night and request that you bring a friend with you. I have a special surprise for you that I didn’t mention in this note.

We also look forward to you joining us at Central at the end of the week where we will have a marvelous Resurrection Sunday experience on April 1st.

Grace & Shalom!!

Pastor Perry Stuckey


Rick ZimmermanHoly Week Note
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Transparency As A Christian

Dear Central Members & Friends

As we focus on our bible study series regarding “Transparency as a Christian”, Proverbs 28:13 clearly indicates “He who cover his sins will not prosper”, we have to be very intentional about behaving differently than the world. In our society we are taught to hide our shortcomings and failures; however, God tells us to share and confess our sins. I have been engaged in ministry for over 30 years and  have discovered that one of the most difficult things for Christians to do is admit their shortcomings and failures!! Paul clearly tells us in Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This verse should help us see that we are all flawed individuals regardless how good we might think we are!! Because of Adam’s sin we are all born into this world as unrighteous, sinful human beings and we are all prone to cover up and create deception about our sins.

The key to becoming more transparent as a Christian is to admit we are flawed and to stop acting self-righteous!! We cannot “Model Grace” to others until we realize that we are as flawed as the individuals whom we encounter on a daily basis. In this series on transparency, we must allow the Holy Spirit to place us under the microscope and show our individual flaws instead of our focus on someone else’s flaws. We must practice transparency in order to improve, model grace and enhance our walk with Jesus and others.

On last night during our bible study, I shared the attached handout from the internet. I added seven questions on the last page that each of us should consider during our private devotion time, taking inventory of our own conduct, praying seriously, and asking God to give us the Grace to walk in the footsteps He has ordered for us. Additionally, I created the power point slide so that each of us can consider the walls we have created to cover our flaws and the masks we wear unintentionally.

The way to remove the unintentional masks we wear is found on the last page of the slide deck. We must seriously engage in the three (3) R’s and they are: Recognize, Repent and Return.

I hope this summary of our bible study from last night is beneficial to our in state and out of state friends on our mailing list and the members who were not able to attend our study on last night

May we each walk in the footsteps God has ordered for us!!

Your Brother In Christ,

Pastor Perry Stuckey

Senior Pastor, Central Baptist Church

Transparency as a Christian Slides

Transparency As A Christian – Lesson 2

Rick ZimmermanTransparency As A Christian
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The Battle For Our Mind

Dear Central Members & Friends,

As I type this letter to you, I am out of town on a business trip. God has been dealing with me about a number of topics lately and I am so grateful that I am better able to discern at this stage of my life, His invisible hand at work on so many fronts in our lives, community and even in our nation, despite the weekly chaos we are constantly seeing on television!!!

We are constantly engaged in a battle, which at times these battles are both visible and invisible. Satan is a very skilled solider and knows how to launch his attack against our nation and community, while also engaging personal attacks against us individually and collectively.

One of the things we need to understand is that typically his battles start with our minds. Satan is clearly aware that if he can control our mind, he can determine our actions. Our actions are directly related to what we believe in our minds!!

God has impressed within my Sprit to start a new sermon series titled “THE BATTLE FOR OUR MIND” on Sunday. I will start the introduction to this sermon series and please know we will be camped out as a church for a while on this series. I am confident that if you engage spiritually and put into practice the sermon material from this series,  that it will result in a transformational impact on your life and also in your relationship with people.

We must remember that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood but our war is against Satan. When people behave badly, they are just being used by Satan at that moment to work his darkness. He is the prince of darkness. Therefore, we must turn our focus from people to the real source of the problem!!! This doesn’t mean that you don’t address people when they are wrong. What it does mean is you don’t write them off because God’s grace is sufficient for us as well as for them!!

I informed the Bible Study students who were in attendance on Wednesday night that we will also be engaged in a new bible study series on Wednesday night. It will be required attendance for all leaders. I will share more about our plans for Wednesday night on Sunday morning.

Remember to go to bed a little early and your clocks will spring forward one hour at 2:00 AM so you don’t want to be late arriving for our Sunday service. I would encourage our out of state guest on our mailing list to acquire a copy of each message from this sermon series. All of our local members should be in attendance and bring a guest. You don’t want me to win the most invited guest award for the month of March!!

As I close please pray for our brothers and sisters who have been hampered by the major storm surges in the Northeast and my safe return home on Saturday evening!!

Grace & Shalom!!!!

Pastor Perry

Rick ZimmermanThe Battle For Our Mind
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