Saturday
Oct312015

This Sunday at Bristol . . . "The Benefits of Praising the Lord"

There is so much in the Bible that speaks to giving praise to the Lord. The word “praise” occurs over 360 times and the phrase “praise the Lord” can be found 185 times. You would not have to think very hard to recall Bible personalities whose lives were an example of praise.  

Verses like Psalm 30:4, “Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name” and 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” make it clear that because we belong to the Lord, that is a good reason to give Him praise.

Another verse about praise is Hebrews 13:15, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” This will be the focus verse of the sermon this Sunday morning as we launch a new series, “Living a Life of Praise.” This, the writer says, is a says is a spiritual sacrifice. Within this verse are several benefits we receive when we praise the Lord. 

This verse teaches us that it is only through Christ, and only because of Him, we have the right to come into the Lord’s presence. Jesus made all that we are and have possible and for that we should give Him praise. As Marlin Hotle said, “And when we realize that all of this was provided for by a plan which originated in the heart of God, we should have nothing that thrills us more than to come before Him to offer our heart-felt praise.” When we consider everything the Lord has done for us, should we not give Him praise?

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we begin this new series on praising our Lord.

You are truly loved in the Lord,

Pastor Terry

Friday
Oct232015

This Sunday at Bristol . . . "The Best Is Yet To Come"

When you read the Bible, you naturally think of God’s promise to send the Messiah into the world. The Jews of Malachi’s day looked forward to that time also. They believed that when the Messiah arrived He would establish His Kingdom on Earth.

Malachi uses, five times, the small phrase, “the day” to address the first AND second comings of Jesus. In the Hebrew language the verb “bā” is translated “coming,” and is an active verb. What the prophet writes indicates that the Lord has set the coming of “the day” in motion.

The interpretation of “the day” is a successive fulfillment - which means that since He came the first time (in Bethlehem), He will come a second time (in the clouds). These two climatic events are dynamically connected.

That thought will be the basis of our study for this Sunday. For the believer, who is expecting Jesus to come again, the best is yet to come.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we study these important verses from the Book of Malachi.

You are truly loved in the Lord,

Pastor Terry

 

Friday
Oct162015

This Sunday at Bristol . . . “God, Are You Serious?”

When you read the Book of Malachi, you come across questions the people are asking God. These questions are asked after the Lord speaks to them regarding some issue. We notice that in the verses we are studying this Sunday from Malachi 3:6-12 (why not read these verses several times prior to Sunday?)

It seems the people are clueless about the shallowness of their spirituality. It has been about 100 years since the Jews returned from captivity. It would not be a stretch to surmise that when their great-grandparents arrived back in the Promised Land, they were zealots for the Lord (read Ezra and Nehemiah). It was during this time the Temple was rebuilt and the fallen city of Jerusalem was rebuilt.

Several generations then pass and now we arrive at Malachi’s day (about 400 years before the birth of Jesus). The people had become very lax in their faith - they had grown lukewarm, at best. Malachi, and the other prophets, were called to stir the people spiritually and bring them back to the Lord.

One place where the people had been forgotten God was in their stewardship. The Jewish people were no longer practicing financial faithfulness to the Lord. They had forgotten what the Law said about tithing and Malachi was to remind them of the covenant their ancestors had made with the Lord hundreds of years earlier.

Even though Malachi specifically speaks about money, his message goes deeper. The real issue is not money, it hardly ever is, but a willingness to admit that the Lord is the Owner of everything. In our verses for this Sunday, the Lord is calling the people to return to Him, because they had strayed away. They were not honoring the Lord with the tithe. One way to return to Him starts when we acknowledge our dependance on Him.

As Warren Wiersbe says, “When we obey His Word and bring our gifts as an act of worship with grateful hearts, it pleases Him.” And, I would add, He then blesses our lives.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we study these important verses from Malachi 3:6-12.

You are truly loved in the Lord,

Pastor Terry

Saturday
Oct102015

This Sunday at Bristol - God Said It and that Settles It

This Sunday morning we continue with this brief teaching series from Malachi - “Are You Listening? - A Short Study of Malachi” - as we look primarily at Malachi 3:1-4.

Just when we think we have life figured out, the unexpected happens and our world is turned upside down. The best approach to life is to find out what God has for us and move forward from there. If only the people to whom Malachi is writing would have heeded that advice.

Transformation is the subject of our verses for study this Sunday. Unless something happens from within the kind of change God desires for our lives will not happen. Just like the people of Malachi’s day, we, too, can resist what the Lord has for us and subsequently miss out on His blessing.

If only the people would have submitted themselves to God’s plan, life would have been so different and better. Not only was that true 2,500 years ago, it is still true today!

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we study what God has to say about true change.

You are truly loved in the Lord,

Pastor Terry

Sunday
Sep272015

This Sunday at Bristol . . . "So We Do Not Forget"

In Chuck Swindoll’s book, Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, he tells a story that took place following at the end of WW II in the European theater. The continent was devastated by the effects of a war that touched almost every country and reached into many villages, towns, cities, and homes. Perhaps the ones hurt worse by this devastation were the children who, many, were now homeless.

A U.S. soldier was driving his Jeep down one of the ravaged streets and he spots a young boy with his nose pressed up against one of the few businesses still in operation - a pastry shop. Inside the baker was busy kneading dough for another fresh batch of donuts. The boy was licking his lips as though he could taste these freshly baked treats.

The soldier’s heart went out to the lad and he walked up to him andsaid, “Son, would you like some of those?” The boy, quite startled by the soldier, said, “Oh, yes, would I.” So the G.I. stepped into the small shop and bought a dozen for the boy. He walked out, smiled at the boy, and said, “Here you are.”

As the soldier turned to walk back to his Jeep, he felt a tug on his coat. He turned and heard the boy quietly ask, “Mister, are you God?”

Well, the soldier wasn’t, but he was acting like God. He was doing something for someone he did not know, simply because he cared.

That is exactly what the Lord did for us when He commissioned His Son to be our Savior. Different from this story from World War II, He knew us. He knew we did not deserve His kindness, but that did not stop Him.

As we celebrate Communion this Sunday may we once again understand the kindness of our Lord when He willingly His Son for our salvation. The bread and the juice that we will eat and drink is a visual reminder of the value of that sacrifice.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we consider the magnitude of God’s great gift.

You are truly loved in the Lord, 

Pastor Terry