Saturday
Nov232013

This Week At Bristol - Service, The Ultimate Treasure

This Sunday our current teaching series, "The Church is Us” continues. These past few weeks, we have been looking at pillars of a strong church.

In the building industry a pillar provides stability. The rule of thumb is “If you want to go up high, you must go down deep.” When constructed properly, a pillar will hold up under pressure.

What is true in the construction world is also true in the church. If we want our church to be strong then there must be certain pillars firmly in place. Thus far we have studied five - SURRENDER, GIVING, DISCIPLESHIP, FELLOWSHIP, and OUTREACH. This Sunday we turn our attention to SERVICE and conclude next week with WORSHIP (the first Sunday of Advent).

Jesus had plenty to say about being a servant. He said, “If you want to be first, you must be last.” “If you want to be great, you must become small.” But Jesus didn’t just lecture the disciples, He showed them how to be a servant (Read John 13). I am not sure the disciples fully understood everything Jesus was saying when He was still with them, but as I read the Book of Acts, I know they finally got it.

Our lesson this Sunday is titled, “The Ultimate Treasure” and we will look carefully at Matthew 20:20-28 and supplement our study with John 13. Jesus’ idea is that we serve Him by being the servants of others. He said that in His kingdom the greatest one would be the servant of all (Matthew 23:11). The real test of a saint is not one’s willingness to preach the gospel, but one’s willingness to do something like washing the disciples’ feet - being willing to do those things that seem unimportant in human estimation but count as very important to God.

This Sunday we will look at this sixth important pillar - SERVICE.

I hope you will make a strong effort to join us this Sunday. I truly look forward to seeing you.

You are loved and appreciated!

Pastor Terry

Friday
Nov152013

This Week At Bristol - Going Fishing

This Sunday our current teaching series, "The Church is Us" continues as we look at another pillar of a strong church. Thus far we have studied four - surrender, giving, discipleship and fellowship. Yet to come are outreach, service, and worship.

Our lesson this Sunday is titled, "Going Fishing." Jesus used several metaphors to talk about the importance of reaching people - He said we are “the light of the world” and the “salt of the earth.” He also used the fishing analogy. To the first disciples He said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.”

Jesus’ final "marching orders" to His followers is found in Matthew 28, Mark 16 and Acts 1 (among others). His instructions were clear - they were to "make disciples” and they would find potential disciples as they fished. When He used the fishing image, the message He was sending was clearly understood because disciples understood the importance and necessity of fishing.

Let me illustrate by telling a story: There was a man in a community that had the reputation for always being able to catch fish. Regardless of the time of the year, or whether anybody else was catching fish, this man always managed to come back with a boat load of fish.

His brother-in-law, who happened to be a Game Warden, had always been amazed at his success. So, one morning the man agreed to take his brother-in-law fishing with him.

The game warden watched his brother-in-law take the boat out to the middle of the lake and turn off the motor. He was confused as he noticed that he didn’t pull out his rod and reel. Instead he pulled a stick of dynamite out of a sack, lit it, and threw it overboard. A few seconds later, there was a big boom, and almost immediately the surface of the lake was covered with stunned fish.

The game warden couldn’t believe what he had just witnessed. He immediately began reciting the fishing laws and regulations. But this didn’t seem to bother his brother-in-law. The man simply reached into the bag for another stick of dynamite, lit it, and tossed it to the game warden and said, "You gonna talk, or you gonna fish?" The game warden noticed the fuse was almost burned to the end and he quickly decided to fish.

Now that story probably isn’t true, but it really has a great storyline. His method of fishing was unconventional, but he fished for results! I wonder what would happen if God threw us a stick of dynamite and said, "Are you gonna talk, or are you going to fish?" What would we do? How unconventional would we be willing to become?

Outreach means that we understand the importance of making a difference by fishing for results. This Sunday we will look at this fifth important pillar - outreach - and see how it relates to us day-to-day.

I hope you will make an effort to join us this Sunday. I look forward to seeing you.

You are loved!

Pastor Terry

Thursday
Nov072013

This Week At Bristol - We are Family

This Sunday we continue with the current lesson series titled, “The Church is Us” as we study the fourth pillar of a strong and resilient church - FELLOWSHIP.

So far we have studied the pillars called SURRENDER, GIVING, and DISCIPLESHIP. In the next several weeks (the study concludes on November 24th) we will look closely at the three final pillars - OUTREACH, SERVICE, and WORSHIP.

Today’s pillar, called FELLOWSHIP, is a very significant pillar. The early church was known for their fellowship. In fact Luke, when writing the Book of Acts, uses the word “devoted” in Acts 2:42 to describe their commitment to one another.

The believers met in the Temple area to worship, and then ate together in each other’s homes. These Christians did not do this sporadically, but daily. As Warren W. Wiersbe says, “Their Christian faith was a day-to-day reality, not a once a week routine.”

In fact, the word “daily” is a significant word in the Book of Acts: They met daily (2:46); They ate together daily (2:46); They won people to Christ daily (2:47); They cared daily (Acts 6:1); They increased in number daily (16:5); and, they searched the scriptures daily (17:11).

Fellowship means much more than “being together.” It means “having something in common,” and we know that refers to their relationship with the Lord that caused them to care for each other. It is the same today!

This Sunday we are not going to just talk about fellowship in our worship time - we are going to practice fellowship. I hope you will join us at the conclusion of worship as together we enjoy the kind of fellowship the early church experienced.

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

You are loved.

Pastor Terry

Friday
Oct252013

This Week At Bristol - This Thing Called Giving

We are currently in this seven week series noting what a strong church looks like. Our SERIES OBJECTIVE (What is the ending point?) - With the proper pillars in place, our church will be a strong church. Very simply said, but very true!

There are seven pillars that work together to form a resilient church. Last week we looked at the first - SURRENDER. This Sunday we will examine the second, GIVING, and in the next few weeks we will study DISCIPLESHIP, FELLOWSHIP, OUTREACH, SERVICE, and WORSHIP.

You might recall Hamlet’s words, “To be or not to be?” spoken at a time when he was trying to figure out life. He was puzzled and dismayed and even wondering if life was worth living. The question for us, similar to Hamlet’s question, is “To give or not to give, that is the dilemma.”

This Sunday we will examine 2 Corinthians 9 and see what the Apostle Paul said to the Church at Corinth 2,000 year ago about this fascinating subject. What he said to them, he is saying to us. In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul was encouraging the Christians to do the right thing and help their spiritual brothers and sisters in far away places. He believed that if they properly understood the principles behind giving, they would then enthusiastically give.

Time and money are both almost priceless commodities everywhere - then and now. My guess is that there is a person or family, in our congregation, who is struggling with one, or both of them. Time and money cause a great deal of anxiety in our lives because we never think we have enough of either. The result of that kind of thinking leads to the rise of financial gurus who give sage advice.

In our world, money equals power and many people strive for it. They ask, “How can I get more money?” Very few ask, “What should I do with the money I have?” Even fewer ask, “How can I give more money?”

The answer to, “To give or not to give, that is the dilemma,” may best be addressed through a simple question: “How much do I love Jesus and what He did for me?” Paul stated to the believers at Corinth that because the Lord had given them an “indescribable gift” that when that was properly understood, giving would be a natural result.

I hope to see you Sunday as we continue our journey through this series and as we seek to understand the necessary pillars for a strong church. The Lord has something to teach us so let’s listen carefully to what He has to say.

You are deeply loved and appreciated.

Pastor Terry

Thursday
Oct102013

This Week At Bristol - The Importance of Staying Sharp

We have heard someone say to a Little Leaguer or a soccer player, or player in some other sport “Stay sharp.” What does the coach or parent mean when that is said?

My guess is that they are wanting to encourage the person to stay focused on the task at hand - hitting the baseball, or kicking a potential game winning goal, or scoring a basket. And that is what it takes - concentration to do the assignment well.

Such is also true in life and specifically in our spiritual life. When we lose concentration or focus, our mind is somewhere else and consequently that which needs to be done, that which is most important, never happens. Rarely does anyone succeed at anything in life without cancelling out the distrations.

Is this what the apostle Paul was saying in 1 Thessalonians 5:6? He was admonishing the congregation when he wrote, “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.” We are not to be like “others” who have grown tired and lost interest.

Peter said that we must stay alert because, “Your enemy the devil prowls around . . .” If we are not focused, the devil will have his way with us and havoc will be the result.

This week make an effort to stay alert ALL the time. It is natural to grow tired - it happens to everyone. Remember, the only way you hit homeruns or kick goals, or score points is by staying focused. 

Remember that you are loved and appreciated. Thank you for your involvement in the Bristol Missionary Church. You are loved and appreciated.

Pastor Terry