Friday
May232014

This Week at Bristol . . . "The Evolution of Trust"

This Sunday we rejoin our current series, “Being Real in an Unreal World,” as we look at the second of our five Old Testament Bible characters. Today we join Gideon (Judges 6-8) and the lessons he teaches us through his personal experience. 
 
Judges 21:25 ends with these melancholy words, “In those days Israel had no king; Everyone did as he saw fit.” After years of leadership under Moses and Joshua, a new era begins for Israel. The land has been claimed and the Jews begin to settle down. But there is no single and unifying leader other than judges who would rule for a short time. Thus the words of Judges 21:25.
 
Of the fifteen judges, the first four were Godly, beginning with Samuel, but from the time of Gideon, the leaders began to decay until the fifteenth judge, Samson, who is the most unspiritual of them all (we will study him in a few weeks). Because the nation wanted freedom from the enemy without being dedicated to God, they did not deserve Godly leaders. As Warren Wiersbe says, “Sometimes God gives the people exactly what they ask for.”
 
The days in which Gideon was living were difficult days. The nation of Israel was annually under siege by the marauding Midianites - a nomadic people. Unrest was prevalent. It was so bad that people had abandoned their homes and were living in caves.

Gideon was the fifth judge. We discover in Judges 6-8 that he eventually learned that if he obeyed the Lord, even with some fear in his heart, the Lord would be with him and his faith would grow. God did something amazing with an army of three hundred people (started out as an army of 32,000) defeating an army of 135,000 - most spectacular is that the weapons for the Israeli army were trumpets, empty jars and torches. When God is with you, it makes no difference the strength of the enemy. This was one of the many lessons Gideon learned.
 
I wish the story had a fairy tale, “Happily ever after,” ending, but it does not. Unfortunately Gideon is an example of the phrase, “Win the battle, but lose the war.” The following events of his life, and those of his family, were tragic and unnecessary.
 
This Sunday we are going to learn a number of lessons from the life of Gideon - lessons that can help us live victoriously for the Lord - the way He wants us to live. There are lessons the Lord wants to teach us so that we can have faith and serve Him with confidence.
 
It would be a privilege to see you Sunday morning for our time of worship during this special Memorial Day weekend.
 
You are deeply loved!
 
Pastor Terry

 

Friday
May162014

This Week at Bristol . . . "Less is More"

Sometimes it takes only a few words to make a point. For instance, if someone screams “fire,” it is not necessary to consult a manual for instructions. When someone says in a loud voice, “watch out,“ we know that there needs to be caution. Or, consider a golfer who yells, “Fore!” You get the point.
 
Have you ever considered how Jesus said some very powerful truths with a few words? Read the Sermon on the Mount, or His conversation with the rich young ruler about eternal life (Mark 10). Reflect on the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16), or of the woman at the well (John 4).
 
You might be amazed how Jesus taught many eternal truths with very few words. Sometimes less really is more, and He proved it.
 
This Sunday we are going to take a few minutes (literally) and look at what Jesus said to His disciples when He inaugurated the Lord’s Supper on the last evening of His life. A reading of Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22 finds Jesus describing the importance of the Lord’s Supper using as few as twenty-eight words and as many as sixty words.
 
This Sunday is Communion Sunday and I hope you will join others as we focus on the importance of the bread and the cup as taught by Jesus.
 
You are deeply loved,
 
Pastor Terry

 

Friday
May092014

This Week at Bristol . . . Hannah, A Model for Motherhood

The Book of Judges ends with a sad commentary, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” (Judges 21:25) That is the world in which young Samuel was introduced to in 1 Samuel.

Hannah, our Bible character for this Sunday, was a Godly woman married to a very devout man. Elkanah chose to worship the Lord even when many of the Jewish nation were turning their backs on God. He annually took his family to Shiloh to the Lord's tabernacle.

Hannah was deeply saddened because she had no children. In a Jewish culture, if you did not have children you were considered cursed.

Well that all changed on one of those trips to Shiloh. She met with God and made a vow that if the Lord would give her a son, she would give him back to Him for His service all the days of his life. God answered her prayer and she fulfilled her vow. We read in 1 Samuel 2:21, “. . . the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.” Samuel was the last of the judges and the first of a new line of prophets after Moses. 

Her named is splashed throughout 1 Samuel 1 and 2, but then she disappears from the pages of scripture. Yet her greatest contribution to the nation of Israel, her son, Samuel, does not disappear. When you carefully study her life, you come to the conclusion that she is a true model for all mothers and all women of faith.

Hannah is a woman from whom we can learn some powerful life lessons. Such as: real Godly women have real problems; real Godly women know how to really pray; real Godly women experience God’s real blessing; real Godly women do what they really say; and, real Godly women know how to really praise the Lord.

I hope you will join us this Sunday, Mother’s Day, for a “Muffins with Mom” fellowship at 9:45 followed by worship as we study a slice of the life of Hannah.

Mothers, you are truly loved! Thank you for being who you are.

Pastor Terry

Wednesday
May072014

"Muffins with Mom" Fellowship this Sunday

Church Family:

This Sunday is MOTHER’S DAY and to help celebrate this special day we are having a special fellowship called, “Muffins with Mom.” We will start at 9:45 in the fellowship area. Muffins and drinks will be served at this family event.

This is going to be a fun time and a small way to celebrate Mother’s Day. Please plan to join us for “Muffins with Mom” happening just prior to our worship!

Remember, this is a fellowship for the entire family!

Many blessings,

Terry Powell, Pastor

Friday
Apr252014

This Week at Bristol . . . Jesus Gives Us a New Name

Upon reading the Bible, you find a variety of names in the Old and New Testaments the Lord gives or specifically calls those who follow Him. Such as: Christians, Sons, Disciples, Jewels (or Treasured Possession), Ambassadors, Friends, Servants, Stewards, Saints and Witnesses.

It is the last name we will examine more closely during our worship this Sunday. One of the places where this word stands out is Acts 1:8. Jesus’ last words to His followers, before His ascension to heaven, was to charge them with the task of taking the Gospel everywhere. As we read in our key verse that includes: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the whole world.

That task of taking the Gospel everywhere could only be accomplished if His followers were willing to do as He said and “Go.” They went and the result was astounding. In the Book of Acts you find words like “multiplied” (Acts 6:1, 7), and “added” (Acts 2:41, 47, 5:14, and 11:24) that refer to the outcome of their witnessing. People everywhere heard the Good News and followed Jesus.

The exponential growth that we read about in the early church happened because of the witness of the people - their undeniable obedience to the Lord. Following the formula in Acts 1:8 always works.

The lesson this week is a prelude to our “Mission Focus Sunday” next week when Jack and Alysia Kinney and family will be joining us. They will share their journey of following the Lord wholeheartedly as His witnesses.

I look forward to this Sunday. We had a GREAT day on Easter Sunday and we will have a great day this Sunday too.

You are loved,

Pastor Terry