Saturday
Dec202014

This Sunday at Bristol - The Story of God, A Lesson in Love . . .

This third Sunday of Advent, we continue with this brief series, “Christmas Profiles,” as we continuing looking at some of the significant Christmas story characters.

Two weeks ago we studied Mary, the mother of Jesus, who taught us about hope. Last week we took a careful look at Joseph, who taught us about courage.

Tomorrow we look at the Lord and His lesson about love. After all He is the best One to teach us this lesson. Even before the world was created, He had already devised a plan devoted to love so that we might be redeemed. He was thinking of us in eternity past and He still thinks about us today.

John 3:16 is, perhaps, the greatest verse about love. Add John 3:16, the words of 1 John 4:11, “This is the kind of love we are talking about - not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice . . .” Do you see it? Do you get it?

How do you measure the value of God’s gift? How do we judge its worth? Maybe by the size of the gift? Our is it by the weight of the gift? Perhaps by the cost of the gift? How do we measure the value of God’s Christmas gift to us? This Sunday we will explore this question and as we look at 1 John 4:9-11 and a few other assorted verses.

Throughout the narrative of the Christmas story, we find love, God’s love, clearly displayed. And that is our subject for this Sunday. 

Remember, you are deeply loved!

Pastor Terry

Saturday
Dec132014

This Week at Bristol - The Story of Joseph - A Lesson of Courage . . .

This Sunday we continue with this brief series, “Christmas Profiles,” as we look at some of the significant Christmas story characters.

Last week we studied Mary, the mother of Jesus, who taught us about hope. This week we take a careful look at Joseph who teaches us about courage. There is not much information about Joseph in the Bible, but what we read is very worthy of our attention. Some of the most important information about his life surrounds the Christmas story.

Joseph was a man of courage and that was clearly demonstrated in our text for this Sunday - Matthew 1:18-25. Before the angel spoke to him in a dream, after he had discovered that Mary was pregnant, his plan, because he was a noble and principled person, was to divorce her quietly. His desire was that she face as little shame as possible.

Then when he was told that the Baby she was carrying was a very special Child, the Son of God, he showed great courage in taking Mary as his wife and becoming the step-father of Jesus.

He knew the Baby was special because he was told to name Him, Jesus, Greek for Joshua, which means, “to save.” He was called Immanuel which means, “God is with us.” God had granted him the privilege of being the earthly father to His Son!

Throughout the entire narrative of Joseph, from Jesus’ birth until Joseph is no longer mentioned in the Bible, we find courage displayed in his life. And that is our subject for this Sunday. There are several lessons about courage that we learn from Joseph in the Matthew account and that is what we will explore this Sunday.

Remember, you are deeply loved!

Pastor Terry

Friday
Dec052014

This Sunday at Bristol - The Story of Mary - A Lesson of Hope

This Sunday we begin a brief teaching series as we study some of the persons of Christmas. We will call this series, “Christmas Profiles.”

A profile, according to the dictionary, is “an outline of something.” In this short series, we will examine the “outline” of some of the persons who are included in the Christmas story.

Every character is very important - from Mary, Joseph, the Wise Men, the shepherds, and others. And from each one we learn important lessons, not only about the first Christmas, but about life and how we should and can live.

A most important character, not only the Christmas story, but in the Bible is Mary - the mother of Jesus. What lessons can we learn from this teenage girl? Our text will be Luke 1:26-38 and 46-56. This will be an abbreviated lesson since our children 

Join us for this brief, month long Christmas journey as we look at profiles from this special story.

Remember, you are deeply loved!

Pastor Terry
Friday
Nov212014

This Week at Bristol - What is the Big Deal?

During the times that Jesus taught, He often used what was around Him to get His point across. Sometimes what He used were memorable and were intended to live beyond the moment of His teaching.

Take, for instance, the lesson Jesus wanted us to get when He brought a small child into the inner circle and told His followers the importance to have the innocence of a child. No pretense (like kids would be good at that anyway), just honesty. What a great way to leave an indelible picture on the minds of His hearers.

Then there was the time when He wanted His disciples to understand the value and importance of serving. He could have taught a great discourse that we all could read today, but He did not do that. While His disciples were arguing among themselves as to who was most important (certainly Peter, James, and John would have the inside track since Jesus spent more time with them than the other nine), He simple got up from the table (the Lord’s Supper has just been instituted) and took off His outer garment, picked up a basin of water, tied a towel around His waist, and began asking the disciple’s feet. WOW! What an eye and heart opener. No more arguments among the twelve.

There was also the time when Jesus wanted us to never forget why He came and died. So, what did He do? As His disciples sat around a large table, He took bread and said to them that the bread was a symbol for His broken body. I am sure that question marks swirled through the minds of His listeners. Then, He took a cup of wine and said that this was a representation of His blood given to become our sacrifice for sin. More questions marks, I am sure. But the one thing He said that is so important was, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26)

Whenever Jesus wanted to make a lasting impression, He gave us a visual. Because visuals leave a mark - the message is hard to forget.

When we come together this Sunday, we will celebrate the Lord’s death and resurrection by receiving Communion. I will be sharing briefly from Hebrews 9:22.

Please join me and others as we celebrate Jesus’ great gift to us of His life. When we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we do as Jesus said, we remember. 

You are greatly loved,

Pastor Terry

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