Friday
Apr012016

This Sunday at Bristol . . . "Jesus, Teach Us to Pray"

Let me start by saying that it is an amazing thing to realize that when we read the Gospels, we are reading the very words of Jesus. We have all heard teachers and preachers tell us about God. Some are accurate and some are not when they speak to us about Jesus and what He taught. 

Jesus, God in the flesh, is unique as a teacher. His teaching was special because what He said was the actual word of God, not just words of men about God. Jesus came to tell us directly what God expects of us.

So when Jesus teaches us about prayer, we should sit up and take notice. The disciples asked Him to teach them to pray and the result was what we call the Lord’s Prayer. That will be our subject this Sunday as we take a look at Matthew 6:9-13.

The Lord’s Prayer is known by millions of people and the prayer is often quote from rote, like learning the alphabet or some part of mathematics as a child. Consequently, many recite this prayer as a paragraph of empty words almost without any personal meaning at all. Many who quote the prayer do not even understand what they are saying.

Jesus intended the Lord’s Prayer to be so much more than words that were quoted in a worship service on Sunday morning. He did not give this model prayer to us as a script of what we should pray, but rather as an example of how we should pray.

I encourage you to read the Lord’s Prayer a half a dozen times before Sunday and see if you can pick out how Jesus says we are to pray. Understanding this prayer may revolutionize our prayer life and that is exactly what Jesus wants.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we continue with this second lesson in this teaching series, “Igniting the Flame - A Mandate for Prayer.”

You are loved in the Lord!

Pastor Terry

Friday
Mar252016

This Sunday at Bristol . . . "Easter Questions Must Be Answered"

JESUS IS ALIVE! This Sunday we welcome another opportunity to celebrate Easter - the greatest day on the calendar of the Christian Church. After all if Jesus did not come back to life then what He did on Good Friday means nothing. Because He lives, we live too. Not only is Jesus alive, but He is alive within His church today and He is alive at the Bristol Missionary Church!

We have a full morning planned beginning with breakfast at 8:45, followed by the Children’s Easter Egg Hunt (pray for good weather), then Matt Copeland will once again tell the “Resurrection Egg Story,” and we conclude with worship with a message from John 20:1-18. We will see the empty tomb from the perspective of Mary Magdalene.

BECAUSE THE TOMB IS EMPTY, WE HAVE FULL HEARTS! Because there is an empty tomb, we can have full hearts. Here is the important question - Do you BELIEVE in the resurrection of Jesus? More importantly have you RECEIVED the Living Lord into your life? Is He your Savior? It is very possible to believe in the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus and still be spiritually lost. Just saying, "I believe the tomb was empty" is not the same thing as confessing, "I believe Jesus is alive and is living in me!" The Apostle Paul wrote, "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." (Ephesians 3:16-17) Paul’s desire was for the living Jesus to live in the hearts and lives of these people - that is his and the Lord’s desire for us too.

May I encourage you, one last time, to invite your family and friends to join you for our Easter celebration? You will be glad you did and they will be too.

You are loved in the Lord,

Pastor Terry

Friday
Mar112016

This Sunday at Bristol . . . "Pauls Perspective on Prayer"

This Sunday we continue with the current teaching series, “Igniting the Flame - A Mandate for Prayer,” with a study from Ephesians 3:14-21.

There are two recorded prayers in this letter to the Ephesians spoken by the Apostle Paul. It is interesting to note that both prayers are very concise and to the point - the first one is found in 1:15-23 and the second in 3:14-21 - both can be prayed in less than a minute. Prayers do not have to be long to catch God’s attention.

Both are considered “prison prayers” because Paul is in a Roman jail waiting for his hearing before Caesar. The reality of his uncertain future did not hinder his praying, in fact, it probably intensified it. And when he prays, he does not pray for his well being or release, but for this congregation which he cared for deeply.

The way for us to experience the best the Lord has is to invest time with Him. Your personal circumstances may be less than desired, but God is right there with you. Paul understood that to be true even as he was confined to a lonely and desolate cell.

The apostle says that the way to experience all God has is to get close to Him. That is the time you begin to understand more fully what he meant when he said, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us . . .” (Ephesians 3:20)

Prayers often focus on physical or material needs, but this prayer focuses on the “inner man” (the real you) being strengthened and the deeper needs of the heart being met and Paul understood this to be the most significant.

This Sunday we will explore this prayer more carefully. To prepare better, I encourage you to read Ephesians 3:14-21.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday. It is going to be a great day in the Lord!

Never forget that you are loved in the Lord!

Pastor Terry

Friday
Mar042016

This Sunday at Bristol . . . "The Wall Came Tumbling Down"

This Sunday is Communion Sunday and our Bible text will be Paul’s words to the Church at Ephesus (Ephesians 2:11-22).

There are some historic walls noted in world history. For instance:

  •  The Book of Joshua, chapters 5 and 6, introduces us to the forty-six feet high wall that surrounded the town of Jericho - a wall that was considered impregnable. 
  •  There was also the absolutely beautiful blue-glazed, lion-etched wall of ancient Babylon.
  •  Consider the great Wall of China which is 3,700 miles in length – six horses could ride abreast - and the astronauts could see this wall from the moon.
  •  For about forty years the Berlin Wall separated the free and communist worlds (the “iron curtain”) of Berlin and it was President Reagan, in the late 1980s who said, “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear down this wall” and the wall did come down.
  •  In Washington, D.C. there is the Vietnam Memorial Wall that was completed in 1982 and has the names of 58,256 soldiers etched into the granite and honors the veterans who served in Southeast Asia.
  •  Finally, there is the Wailing (Western) Wall in Jerusalem that serves as a special place for Jews and non-Jews to pray. If you were to visit Israel, you would want to experience the ambience of the Wailing Wall.

People used to build walls to protect themselves as we read about in the Old Testament and in early America history, but now walls mostly provide privacy.

The Apostle Paul says, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility . . .” (Ephesians 2:14) Jesus came to demolish the most horrible wall of all - that wall that created a separation between us and the Lord.

When that wall was finally gone, everyone who accepted Christ as their Savior had open access to the Lord. That fellowship that was absent before is now present.

That will be the focus of this Sunday morning’s message - the wall of hostility coming down. The Lord’s Supper is a very special time for us to give thanks to Jesus for what He has done for us.

I look forward to seeing you this Lord’s Day as we have the opportunity to grow in our faith.

You are loved in the Lord,

Pastor Terry

Friday
Feb262016

This Sunday at Bristol . . . "The Model Church"

This Sunday we conclude the current teaching series, “God’s Blueprint for a Great Church,” with a study from 1 Thessalonians. In my estimation, this church is the one New Testament church that is the closest to the ideal church.

This congregation was the second church established in Europe. The Apostle Paul had no intention of preaching the Gospel in any other place than Asia Minor, but a dream (Acts 16) changed everything. When he awakened, he told his partners, Silas, Timothy, and perhaps, Luke, that the Lord was calling them to Macedonia.

The first stop was Philippi where the first European church was founded (again Acts 16). After bypassing several cities these traveling preachers journeyed about 100 miles to the city of Thessalonica where they spoke in the synagogue and after a short time (possibly three weeks) a church was born (Acts 17).

From the earliest days of this church they had become a beacon for the Gospel. They were young in the faith, but they wanted others to know about their Lord. In 1 Thessalonians 1, Paul says that this band of believers influenced the surrounding areas in such a way that wherever Paul and his companions went, they heard about the faith of these new believers. What a testimony!

In the first chapter of this first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul writes about the eagerness of these believers to serve the Lord. In detail Paul speaks about what makes a church great as demonstrated by the Thessalonian believers. This congregation did not have a corner on greatness, they just demonstrate for us, by their actions, what a great church looks like.

This Sunday we will explore the components of a model church. To prepare better, I encourage you to read 1 Thessalonians 1.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday. It is going to be a great day in the Lord!

Do not ever forget that you are loved in the Lord!

Pastor Terry