Friday
Nov142014

This Sunday at Bristol - Joyful Obedience

This Sunday at Bristol . . . our study of 1 John and the current series, “A Word from an Old Friend,” continues as we begin chapter five.

It is widely accepted that the apostle John is writing this letter to Christians living in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) who were experiencing division within the church probably due to the instruction of false teachers about who Jesus was.

Up to 1 John 5 the emphasis has been to “love one another,” but now that changes as he writes about a believer’s love for the Father.

One mark of maturity is obedience, and not just any kind of obedience, but joyful obedience (1 John 5:1-5). Have you ever considered that everything in creation obeys the Lord, except man? Why is that? God created us uniquely by giving us a free will. With that free we make choices - right choices and wrong choices. John was wanting his readers to choose right, to choose good, to choose wisely. If the Lord is a priority, then the choices made will be pleasing to Him and the result will be pleasant for the believer.

D. L. Moody often said, “Every Bible should be bound in shoe leather.” What did he mean? We show our love, not by empty words that are spoken, but by an anxious willingness to do what the Father says. That is the message John is trying to get across to these first century Christians. The best way to express our free will is to obey the Lord.

This Sunday we will begin our journey into the final chapter of 1 John. I hope to see you then. The Lord has some truth to teach us. 

Remember, you are deeply loved!

Pastor Terry

Friday
Nov072014

This Sunday at Bristol - What Getting Real with Love Really Means

This Sunday at Bristol we continue in our study of 1 John. The apostle John is writing this brief letter to Christians living in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) who were likely experiencing a church split (always painful). False teachers were instructing the people wrongly about who Jesus and that was causing dissension.

In our text for this week, 1 John 4:7-21, John returns to the theme “love” that has already been addressed four times in this letter. 

Why is loving so high on God’s priority list? Why does the Bible on twenty-seven different times command us (not suggest to us) to love one another? Jesus says in Matthew 22:34-40 that the greatest commandment is to love God AND love others.

We are removed from the time John wrote his letter (likely between 80 and 90 AD) by hundreds of years, but human nature has not changed. People still struggle with loving others. Why? My guess is that it is not that Christians don’t believe loving is important, but sometimes (maybe most of the time) it is most difficult so we just give up. We may easily forget that our demonstration of true love toward others shows the reality of our walk with the Lord.

This Sunday we will learn from John several reasons why loving others is so vitally important to us in our journey of following Jesus. I hope to see you Sunday. The Lord has something special to teach us. 

Remember, you are deeply loved! 

Pastor Terry

Thursday
Oct232014

This Week at Bristol . . . "Truth or Consequences"

Long before there was ever a radio and then television program called, "Truth or Consequences," the apostle John spoke about the importance of discovering truth or facing consequences. That is what you will discover as you read 1 John 4:1-6 (our text for this Sunday).

Just like today, in John's day there were false teachers who were propagating what they claimed was truth (which contradicted what the apostle was teaching). Unlike today where we can research a subject on the internet, or speak to a close friend about something that is puzzling, or ask the pastor about some new teaching, Christians in the first century were reliant on teachers telling the truth. After all if you could not trust a teacher to tell the truth, who could you trust?

There are three tests that John shares with his readers regarding this matter of discerning between what is true and what is not. Why are these tests important? Satan is a liar and therefore we must know the truth so we will not be deceived. Even though we are removed from the first century church by several thousand years, Satan has not stopped working to defeat and destroy followers of Jesus. He and his minions are busy at work, and will be until Christ comes.

We must be able to distinguish what is true from what is false, or we may fall into the devil's trap. We must be able to spot a counterfeit and the best way to do that is by studying and knowing what is real. 1 John 4:1-6 will be a tremendous help to us in this journey.

I hope you will join others and myself this Sunday as we continue with this current teaching series, "A Word from an Old Friend - A Study of 1 John." The Lord has something to teach us, so let's be ready to learn.

You are loved!

Pastor Terry

 

Friday
Oct172014

This Week at Bristol . . . Walking with Others

This Sunday at Bristol . . . we continue in our study of 1 John. John is likely writing this brief letter to the churches of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) and it is possible that those within the congregations were just not getting along and that, by nature, would create some turbulence and dissension.
 
We sometimes may feel like Linus, one of the Peanut’s characters, when he said, “I love humanity, It’s people I can’t stand.” People are sometimes difficult, so to be reminded how we should live is necessary, and that is what John does in this short letter. Maybe that is why John repeats three topics - love, obedience, and truth in this short letter.

He reminds us that love always begins with those with whom we share a common faith in Jesus. We discover the way the Lord expects us to live, and we respond with true love, which translates into a genuine love for one another.
 
When we have learned how to love those within the family of God, we are able to focus on those who are not believers - and there are plenty of them who need to see the love of Jesus displayed in our lives.
 
I hope to see you Sunday. The Lord has something special to teach us.
 
Remember, you are deeply loved!
 
Pastor Terry

 

Friday
Oct102014

A Very Important Event Is Coming!

There is not a committed Christian anywhere who does not know the effectiveness of prayer. We not only read the stories of answered prayers, but we are in some of those stories. God always does something special in response to prayer.
 
Prayer is not complicated. Prayer is like talking to your best friend over a cup of coffee. A friend has the capacity to “hear” what you are really saying even though you may not always know how to express yourself clearly.
 
Here is a simple story to illustrate. A heart-broken young girl knelt and began to pour out her heart to the Lord at the altar in her church. She did not know what to say as she knelt, but she did remember something her father had told her. He said, "God knows your needs even before you pray, and he can answer when you don’t even know what to ask for." So she began to say her alphabet - you know, A, B, C, D, E, etc. all the way through the alphabet.
 
A concerned adult from the church knelt beside her and heard her saying her ABC’s and inquired what she was trying to do. The little girl said, "I’m praying to God from my heart." But the person answered, "It sounds to me more like you are saying the alphabet!” "Yes," she said, "But God knows more about what I need than I do, and He can take all these letters and arrange them in just the right way to hear and answer my prayers!” WOW! What a powerful insight!
 
This Sunday evening, our church is having a “CONCERT OF PRAYER.” We are coming together for one hour (6:00 to 7:00 p.m.) to specifically pray for our world and nation, our community, and our church. We are just going to talk with the Lord, say our ABC’s, and I know He will answer the prayers of His people.
 
To guide us, everyone will have a prayer folder. Most of our praying will be done silently with a few audible prayers interspersed.
 
I hope you will make a strong effort to join others and myself this Sunday evening. God does great things in answer to our prayers!

Pastor Terry