Friday
Jan092015

This Sunday at Bristol - Model Living

This Sunday we continue with this current teaching series titled, “Living a Supersize Life.” My guess is that we want to live large. We want to experience all the Lord has for us. We do not want to be short-changed in any way.

There are a variety of people in the Bible who teach us about the life of a servant, but no one is better than the apostle Paul. From Acts 20:17-35 (our text for this Sunday), Paul retells the leaders of the Church at Ephesus how he lived a model life while starting a church in their town. Did he make mistakes? Did he stumble? I can only imagine. But a servant is not someone who is perfect, but rather a person who reflects Someone who is!

Here might be the best definition of a true servant spoken by John Wesley, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can. 

Imagine what would happen if we practiced that everyday - like I believe Paul did while serving in Ephesus. This Sunday we will explore the way Paul served the Lord and in doing so, we discover the secret of a life well lived.

You are deeply loved!

Pastor Terry

Friday
Jan022015

This Sunday at Bristol - Real New Year's Resolutions

This Sunday we begin a new four week teaching series titled, “Living a Supersize Life.” I would guess that each of us want to live this kind of life.

You might recall the words of Jesus in John 10:10, “. . . I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” We are the “they” that Jesus is speaking of. A full and complete life is God’s plan for us.

So often we start right, but life gets in the way and the finish is not what we had anticipated and this “abundant life” escapes us. This does not have to be the case as Paul states when writing to the Church at Ephesus.

This Sunday we will look at Ephesians 5:1-20 and the important words the apostle Paul shares. He starts out (verse one) by saying that the best place for the believer to get a great start is by becoming a follower of the Lord. That word “follower” is the word “mimic.”

If we want this new year to be a great year then let us make a vow that we will become more like our Father - we will mimic Him. You can never go wrong in imitating the Lord.

There are three resolutions that come from Ephesians 5:1-20 and we will look at each one and how following what he says will lead us to a full and rich life.

My invitation to you is to come this first Sunday of 2015 with a heart that is eager to learn and grow.

You are deeply loved!

Pastor Terry

Friday
Dec262014

This Week at Bristol - The Story of the Wise Men - A Lesson of Wisdom

Jesus had some interesting visitors following His birth in Bethlehem.

First there were the shepherds who were meticulously carrying out their duty of watching the sheep on the hillsides outside of Jerusalem. Those sheep were likely to be used in the temple sacrifices in the holy city.

They were Jewish but from one of the lowest classes of people so, therefore, no one associated with them (at least not intentionally). When they left the manger scene and told others about this special birth, no one knows if anybody believed their report.

Following the shepherds, some time later, the Magi (star studiers, astrologers) or as they are traditionally known in the Christmas story, Wise Men, from lands to the east of Palestine (likely Persia) came by to see this King of Jews. They followed a star that the Lord had placed in the sky to lead them first to Jerusalem and then the star reappeared and led them to Bethlehem where they would find Jesus, no longer a baby, but a very young child.

Tradition says, because of the number of gifts, that there were three men, but no one knows that for sure. What we do know is that their caravan was large enough that the news they brought caused a great stir in Jerusalem - especially with King Herod.

These men were, for certain, Gentiles, not Jewish. Is it not interesting that the Lord would advertise the birth of His Son to those who were not from His chosen people? This is a clear indication that Jesus is indeed “the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).

Warren Wiersbe says, “No scholarly person who follows the light God gives them can miss worshipping at the feet of Jesus.” I would add that is not just true of the wise, but of everyone.

It is also interesting to me that the Jewish priests knew exactly where the Messiah was to be born (Micah 5:2) yet ignored the scripture and, therefore, the King! About five miles separated Bethlehem and Jerusalem - the people of Jerusalem were that close to the King - but missed Him. How tragic it was back then and how tragic it is today that some people are so close to Jesus, but never take that step of faith to claim Him as their Savior.

This Sunday we will study the Wise Men and the lesson of wisdom.  This message will be the concluding lesson in this series, “Christmas Profiles.”

If you are not away this Sunday visiting family and friends, I hope to see you.

You are loved. 

Pastor Terry

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