Saturday
Jan092016

This Sunday at Bristol . . . "Where Do We Want to Go?"

Or maybe a better title would be, “Where Does The Lord Want Us To Go?” After all the direction He has for us is always best - just ask Abraham, Moses, Joshua, or Paul.

This Sunday we begin a new sermon series titled, “The Blueprint of a Great Church,” and we will be looking at an Old Testament passage, Nehemiah 3.

Nehemiah was the cupbearer for the King of Persia living in exile from Israel, as were many other Jews. He heard from some friends who had just returned from Jerusalem that the City of David was in shambles. The wall had been knocked down and the gates had been destroyed (this happened during the siege of Nebuchadnezzar). This broke his heart, but that brokenness led to him to Jerusalem to begin the task of city restoration.

Nehemiah was a great leader. Where he learned his skills, I do not know. When you read the first half of the Book of Nehemiah, you discover over twenty leadership principles of Nehemiah. Such as: He established a reasonable and attainable goal; He had a sense of mission; He was willing to get involved; He prayed at crucial times; He displayed God's confidence in facing obstacles. And he used these skills to finish the work of restoring the city.

Nehemiah 3 is a play-by-play description, a “How-To Guide,” to complete the work the Lord has given. In this third chapter, you discover plenty of names you cannot pronounce and people that you will never read about again. But these were motivated by Nehemiah and together they completed the assignment in fifty-two days. Imagine that! In fifty two days the walls were restored and the gates were rebuilt. Jerusalem was once again a fortified city.

How did they do it? That is the gist of the message this Sunday. One of the lessons I learn from Nehemiah AND the people is that, “we really do need each other.” For the church to do what needs to be done (read Matthew 28:19-20 for a refresher) we will need each other. Nehemiah could not have completed the restoration on his own. He had to have a volunteer army who would make his dream, their dream.

I am excited about his new teaching series. I hope you plan to join me and others this Sunday at Bristol.

Never forget that you are loved in the Lord.

Pastor Terry

Friday
Jan012016

This Sunday at Bristol . . . "A Great Way to Live"

When we read the words of Jesus, we do not have to read very long until we come to one of those “AHA” moments - you know when Jesus says something very profound and you need to sit up and take notice.

We have begun a new year and I thought it would be fitting to share several of Jesus’ most powerful statements that will provide for you a great foundation for 2016 as you follow what He says.

Here are a few:

  • When you are overwhelmed, Jesus says, “Take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
  • When you need to be reminded of your task as one of His followers, Jesus says, “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.” (Matthew 9:37), “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14), and “You will be my witnesses.” (Acts 1:8)
  • When you need assurance regarding your past and are sometimes haunted by how you lived, Jesus says, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9:2), “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6), and “If the Son has set you free you are free indeed.” (John 8:36)
  • When you are too timid to ask something of the Lord, Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will. Knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
  • When you are tempted to become anxious and worrisome, Jesus said, “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink . . .” (Matthew 6:25) 
  • When you are facing a difficult situation, Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) 
  • When you think you do not need the Lord, Jesus says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
  • When you need to serve (which is all the time), Jesus says, “The greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11)
  • When you are afraid, Jesus says, “Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27)
  • When you are faced with an impossible situation (at least it appears that way to you), Jesus says, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) 
  • When it comes to living for Him, Jesus says, “If you love me you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15)
  • When you think about your eternity, Jesus says, “I am coming soon.” (Revelation 22:7) and “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3)

I could go on and on with other words from Jesus, but you have plenty to consider (twelve, in fact, one for each month of the year). The Son of God - who is God - said these words. He spoke each one of them. And each one reveals truth and life to us. Every word Jesus said has life-changing value.

Do you think that if we really understood the magnitude of the words of Jesus and truly believed them that they would change the way we lived our life? Perhaps the confidence we have? The assurance in which we find hope? Maybe the big question is, “Which of these statements of Jesus do you need to apply to your life today and all the days of this new year?”

I hope to see you this Sunday - the first Sunday of this new year - as we worship the One who has words to transform our lives.

You are love in the Lord,

Pastor Terry

Friday
Dec182015

This Sunday at Bristol . . . "A Message That Will Lead To Praise"

Our current teaching series, “Living a Life of Praise,” continues this Sunday as we take a look at the Christmas story through the eyes of Luke.

In this Sunday’s study we shall consider the good news which was brought by the angel at the birth of Jesus in the town of Bethlehem. What a privilege it was for this unnamed angel to be selected by the God of the Universe to come to earth and give this birth announcement of the Savior. This angel was chosen for the task and commissioned to leave the courts of Heaven and fly to earth with a great message for the ages.

And while that was indeed a great assignment, it is even a greater assignment that we have to proclaim the Gospel - that Jesus has been born to be the Savior of the world. This pronouncing angel had never sinned so he could not fully understand or appreciate grace, but we have sinned and can speak from personal experience of the saving power of Christ.

Why is the gospel such good news as the angel declared? That will be our theme for this Sunday. In Luke’s Gospel, there are seven reasons given as to why the Gospel is indeed Good News. See if you can discover them. They are found in Luke 2:10-14.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday.

You are deeply loved in the Lord.

Pastor Terry

Friday
Dec042015

This Sunday at Bristol . . . “His Love Endures Forever”

In his book, The One-Minute Manager, Kenneth Blanchard recommends developing the practice of "one-minute praising," where the manager or parent, or spouse, or coach, or Sunday school teacher, etc. tries to "catch someone doing something right" and then invest a full sixty seconds praising that person for the good deed.

This is a lot more difficult than it appears. Some might not find it difficult to criticize someone for sixty seconds, these same people find it almost impossible to praise someone for sixty seconds.

And, unfortunately, this is sometimes true for the church as well. It can be hard to genuinely praise the Lord. People can list the prayer needs, but may find it difficult to come up with praises to give to the Lord.

King David was all about giving God praise. Maybe because he had witnessed the Lord working wonders in so many situations in his life (read the historical accounts in 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles).

It is absolutely impossible to read the Book of Psalms without acknowledging that this man was a man of praise. For instance, when you read Psalm 138, our text for this Sunday, you discover King David saying, “I will praise you God with all my heart.” Four times in eight verses he uses the word praise, and says he will praise the Lord with everything he has. David can teach us about praise because praise was a legitimate and normal part of his life.

We are currently in a teaching series titled, “Living a Life of Praise,” that will continue through the Advent Season and I invite you to join me and others as we explore this important subject again this Sunday.

You are loved in the Lord,

Pastor Terry

Friday
Nov272015

This Sunday at Bristol . . . "Saying Thank You"

Previously I have made mention that Thanksgiving and Christmas are great times during the year to consider the blessings we enjoy. One person said, “Consider the art of thanksgiving as actually being gratitude in action.”

Here are a few reasons I am thankful (you can compose your own list) . . .

  •  I am thankful for the taxes I must pay because it means I am employed.
  •  I am thankful for the clothes that sometimes fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
  •  I am thankful for being called to serve at my church because it means I am trusted.
  •  I am thankful for a lawn that needs to be cared for, windows that need cleaning, and other items that need attention because it means I have a home.
  •  I am thankful for the parking place that is not close to the entrance of the store because it means I am able to walk.
  •  I am thankful for my monthly electric and gas bills because it means I can turn on lights, watch television, charge my electronic devices, and keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
  •  I am thankful for the privilege to give financially at my church because it means I have learned the importance of being obedient to the Lord.
  •  I am thankful for the people in church who sometimes sing off key because it means I can hear.
  •  I am thankful for the grandchildren who make a mess of the house when they visit because it means I have loved ones near.
  •  I am thankful for the car that occasionally needs attention because it means I have a way to get to places.
  •  I am thankful for the weariness at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.

You can add your own personal items to the list.

In his book, Jumping Hurdles, Hitting Glitches, Overcoming Setbacks, Steve Brown writes, “The most unhappy person in the world is not someone who didn’t get what he or she wanted. The most unhappy person is the one who got what he or she wanted and then found out that it wasn’t as wonderful as expected.

The secret of a happy life is not to get what you want but to live with what you’ve got. Most of us spend our lives concentrating on what we don’t have instead of thanking God for what we do have. Then we wake up, our life is over, and we missed the beauty of the present.”

How correct he is. I have personally been blessed and that is something, in the hectic pace of life, I, sad to say, sometimes forget. James wrote, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father . . .” (James 1:17)

Take a moment and thank the Lord for each good gift He has given to you.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we continue the currect teaching series, "Living a Life of Praise" and we celebrate the Lord's Supper - a great way to say THANK YOU to the Lord for providing for us a way to Heaven through His Son, Jesus.

You are loved in the Lord.

Pastor Terry