This Sunday at Bristol - "An Act of Devotion"

That is definitively what water baptism is - an act of devotion. This Sunday we will celebrate the baptisms of several from our congregation, but before that happens, during worship, we will look more closely at the Bible and what is said about baptism.

As Christians, we participate in two God-ordained ordinances that celebrate what the Lord has done for us: The first is Communion (The Lord’s Supper), and the second is Water Baptism. Communion is celebrated on an ongoing basis and baptism as a once-in-a-lifetime act.

Once a person turns to Christ for salvation some step must be taken to proclaim they are now a follower of Jesus and baptism is that step. I am convinced that baptism is important because, as I read New Testament, as far as I know, every convert was baptized, with the exception of the thief on the cross. I am not aware of an unbaptized believer (look at the illustrations in Acts 2, 8, 9, and 16).

Jesus commanded all His followers to prove their decision to follow Him by publicly demonstrating that in baptism. Among His final words was this universal command, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

I am so proud that Haley and Nathan are taking this step. They are to be commended as they follow the Lord. I hope you will come to the home of Michael and Jenni Hays and support them as they publicly testify their faith in Jesus and are baptized.

Following the baptisms, we will enjoy a church-wide fellowship. Bring a dish to share and enjoy the time together. 

You are loved in the Lord.

Pastor Terry


This Sunday at Bristol - "You have to be Kidding, Right?"

The Sermon on the Mount is a treatise on how followers of Jesus are supposed to live. From the opening in Matthew 5 to the closing in Matthew 7, we find Jesus passing along hard thoughts on living life this side of eternity. And what He has to say cuts deep.

Matthew 5:20 seems to be the summary statement of these three chapters. It is as if Jesus is saying, “You want to live life at the highest level, then here is what it will take.”

Jesus was never danced around anyone’s feelings. He just “told it like it is.” There is never a place in the Gospels where that is any more clear than in Matthew 5-7.

This Sunday, as we continue this study, “If It Matters To Jesus,” we will discover what Jesus says about loving those who are unlovely. You know the person I am talking about. The bully at school or in the office. The one who thinks it is their role to put you down and humiliate you. These people were alive and well in Jesus’ day and they are still with us today.

Our Lord does not say we are to ignore them. Or give them attitude. He never says treat them like they are treating you. No! He rather says, “love them” and “pray for them.” That takes a special grace that none of us have without the Lord.

In relationships with people, the Kingdom citizen is to be like the Father. We are called to abandon the temporal values of this world and cling to the eternal values Jesus gives. You can never go wrong in following the Lord.

I hope you come this Sunday as we examine Matthew 5:43-48. These few verses, like the entire Sermon on the Mount, will challenge our faith.

You are loved in the Lord.

Pastor Terry


This at Bristol - "Why Me?"

As we continue this Sunday with this summer series titled,”If It Matters to Jesus,” we will examine further how Jesus wants His followers to live. We live in a corrupt world where people are mostly concerned about themselves. In Matthew 5:38-42, Jesus instructs us to live a totally radical life that is different that the world. They put themselves first. Jesus says that a Christian is to put Him first, others second, and ourselves last. WOW!

What Jesus tells us to do in these verses runs contrary to the way we have been taught to live and this Sunday we will look at what Jesus said about doing that which is difficult. When you read the text for today, you discover that Jesus is telling us that to live righteously means living life differently.

In these verses, He instructs us on how to live right, even if it costs us something - which it usually does. We have all been there and when reading these verses, we have a fairly good idea of what Jesus expects. But how hard it is to get past the “slap on the face,” “the giving away of what belongs to you,” and “going the extra mile.” Yet Jesus says this is the way to live a life that is for His glory and our good.

Jesus calls us to a different standard and a different life. Sometimes that will involve tough choices, but those are choices we need to be willing to make for the sake of Jesus whom we love!

I hope you come this Sunday ready to be challenged. Jesus has something special to teach us that will help us live a more full and complete life.

I truly love you in the Lord!

Pastor Terry


This Sunday at Bristol - The Joy of Being Free

The United States of America . . . is a blessed nation. On Saturday we will celebrate our 239th birthday. No small feat.

Our founding fathers were willing to put their lives, if necessary, at stake to make  the United States of America a reality. This is what John Adams said, “Whether we live or die, sink or swim, succeed or fail, I stand behind this Declaration of Independence. And if God wills it, I am ready to die in order that this country might experience freedom.”

It was that kind of patriotism which led men like Adams, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Paul Revere, Sam Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and others, armed with nothing more than hunting rifles, to engage in battle with what was, at that time, the most powerful nation on the globe. In the closing words of the Declaration of Independence are these words, “With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

These early leaders knew that if they were going to prevail, God must be on their side. Throughout the writings of these men, again and again they make reference to the Lord. Patrick Henry said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians - not by religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Without a doubt, our founding fathers, proved their dependence of the Lord.

The nation of Israel need to be reminded of the solemn warning to not forget the Lord when they left their bondage in Egypt. Read Deuteronomy 8:6-14. The Lord knows that our propensity as a nation was also to forget, therefore a reminder, like these words in Deuteronomy and Proverbs 14:34, and the anniversary of the birth of our nation, provide just that.

I hope to see you tomorrow as we celebrate our independence as a nation and as a people who love God!

You are loved in the Lord.

Pastor Terry


This Sunday at Bristol - Jesus' Perspective on Integrity

This Sunday we continue our current summer series, “If It Matters to Jesus,” with our fourth lesson. Our scripture text will be Matthew 6:33-37.

Some believe that Jesus’ teaching can be summarized in the Sermon on the Mount. When reading Matthew 5-7, we come to understand that Jesus had some very difficult things to say. He addresses subjects like: Living Godly in an evil world, divorce, giving, murder, adultery, prayer, trust, and more. This Sunday we will examine what Jesus had to say about integrity.

We live in a world where people are seldom believed anymore. People have been lied to and defrauded so many times that when someone speaks, it is not expected that the person speaking is truthful. How sad!

This was problem in Jesus’ day, especially the religious leaders, and that is why He addressed this important subject. In some cases righteousness was not working in the daily lives of some people because they were not letting godliness work. The Pharisees used all kind of shenanigans (trickery) to sidestep the truth and the rank-and-file knew this.

Jesus teaches us, in our Bible text for this Sunday, that our words are to be always honest. We do not need anything, other than the truth, to get people to believe us when we are people of integrity. As Warren Wiersbe says, “Words depend on character, and oaths cannot compensate for a poor character.” How true.

The big question: Can people believe what we say? Does our “yes” mean “yes” and our “no” mean “no”? If we say we are going to do something, do we do it? If we say we are going to be someplace at a certain time, are we there? Simply put - Do we keep our promises? That is the gist of what Jesus is saying in these verses from Matthew 5. And it is a good reminder for today!

I look forward to seeing you Sunday as we focus on Jesus’ perspective on integrity.

You ARE loved in the Lord!

Pastor Terry