Friday
Oct232015

This Sunday at Bristol . . . "The Best Is Yet To Come"

When you read the Bible, you naturally think of God’s promise to send the Messiah into the world. The Jews of Malachi’s day looked forward to that time also. They believed that when the Messiah arrived He would establish His Kingdom on Earth.

Malachi uses, five times, the small phrase, “the day” to address the first AND second comings of Jesus. In the Hebrew language the verb “bā” is translated “coming,” and is an active verb. What the prophet writes indicates that the Lord has set the coming of “the day” in motion.

The interpretation of “the day” is a successive fulfillment - which means that since He came the first time (in Bethlehem), He will come a second time (in the clouds). These two climatic events are dynamically connected.

That thought will be the basis of our study for this Sunday. For the believer, who is expecting Jesus to come again, the best is yet to come.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we study these important verses from the Book of Malachi.

You are truly loved in the Lord,

Pastor Terry

 

Friday
Oct162015

This Sunday at Bristol . . . “God, Are You Serious?”

When you read the Book of Malachi, you come across questions the people are asking God. These questions are asked after the Lord speaks to them regarding some issue. We notice that in the verses we are studying this Sunday from Malachi 3:6-12 (why not read these verses several times prior to Sunday?)

It seems the people are clueless about the shallowness of their spirituality. It has been about 100 years since the Jews returned from captivity. It would not be a stretch to surmise that when their great-grandparents arrived back in the Promised Land, they were zealots for the Lord (read Ezra and Nehemiah). It was during this time the Temple was rebuilt and the fallen city of Jerusalem was rebuilt.

Several generations then pass and now we arrive at Malachi’s day (about 400 years before the birth of Jesus). The people had become very lax in their faith - they had grown lukewarm, at best. Malachi, and the other prophets, were called to stir the people spiritually and bring them back to the Lord.

One place where the people had been forgotten God was in their stewardship. The Jewish people were no longer practicing financial faithfulness to the Lord. They had forgotten what the Law said about tithing and Malachi was to remind them of the covenant their ancestors had made with the Lord hundreds of years earlier.

Even though Malachi specifically speaks about money, his message goes deeper. The real issue is not money, it hardly ever is, but a willingness to admit that the Lord is the Owner of everything. In our verses for this Sunday, the Lord is calling the people to return to Him, because they had strayed away. They were not honoring the Lord with the tithe. One way to return to Him starts when we acknowledge our dependance on Him.

As Warren Wiersbe says, “When we obey His Word and bring our gifts as an act of worship with grateful hearts, it pleases Him.” And, I would add, He then blesses our lives.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we study these important verses from Malachi 3:6-12.

You are truly loved in the Lord,

Pastor Terry

Saturday
Oct102015

This Sunday at Bristol - God Said It and that Settles It

This Sunday morning we continue with this brief teaching series from Malachi - “Are You Listening? - A Short Study of Malachi” - as we look primarily at Malachi 3:1-4.

Just when we think we have life figured out, the unexpected happens and our world is turned upside down. The best approach to life is to find out what God has for us and move forward from there. If only the people to whom Malachi is writing would have heeded that advice.

Transformation is the subject of our verses for study this Sunday. Unless something happens from within the kind of change God desires for our lives will not happen. Just like the people of Malachi’s day, we, too, can resist what the Lord has for us and subsequently miss out on His blessing.

If only the people would have submitted themselves to God’s plan, life would have been so different and better. Not only was that true 2,500 years ago, it is still true today!

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we study what God has to say about true change.

You are truly loved in the Lord,

Pastor Terry

Sunday
Sep272015

This Sunday at Bristol . . . "So We Do Not Forget"

In Chuck Swindoll’s book, Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, he tells a story that took place following at the end of WW II in the European theater. The continent was devastated by the effects of a war that touched almost every country and reached into many villages, towns, cities, and homes. Perhaps the ones hurt worse by this devastation were the children who, many, were now homeless.

A U.S. soldier was driving his Jeep down one of the ravaged streets and he spots a young boy with his nose pressed up against one of the few businesses still in operation - a pastry shop. Inside the baker was busy kneading dough for another fresh batch of donuts. The boy was licking his lips as though he could taste these freshly baked treats.

The soldier’s heart went out to the lad and he walked up to him andsaid, “Son, would you like some of those?” The boy, quite startled by the soldier, said, “Oh, yes, would I.” So the G.I. stepped into the small shop and bought a dozen for the boy. He walked out, smiled at the boy, and said, “Here you are.”

As the soldier turned to walk back to his Jeep, he felt a tug on his coat. He turned and heard the boy quietly ask, “Mister, are you God?”

Well, the soldier wasn’t, but he was acting like God. He was doing something for someone he did not know, simply because he cared.

That is exactly what the Lord did for us when He commissioned His Son to be our Savior. Different from this story from World War II, He knew us. He knew we did not deserve His kindness, but that did not stop Him.

As we celebrate Communion this Sunday may we once again understand the kindness of our Lord when He willingly His Son for our salvation. The bread and the juice that we will eat and drink is a visual reminder of the value of that sacrifice.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we consider the magnitude of God’s great gift.

You are truly loved in the Lord, 

Pastor Terry

Thursday
Sep172015

This Sunday at Bristol - A Unique Ministry

Jesus said, “Then the King will say to those on his right . . ., ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’” (Matthew 25:34-36)

These people who choose to help will not remember seeing Jesus in need and ministering to Him, but their heart has the propensity to reach out and help. Their motive is not reward, but faithfulness - doing what Jesus says.

If a person listens to Satan, they will end up where he is. On the other hand, if a person listens to the Lord, they will end up where Jesus is. The role of a jail ministry is to help individuals make the choice to follow the Lord and reject Satan.

I realize that not everyone will volunteer to work at the jail, but everyone can be involved by praying, giving, etc. so the ministry can be ongoing and successful. So, people like Cory Martin, Chaplain at the Elkhart County Jail, who will be speaking Sunday, and others can reach out and help in the name of Jesus. 

I look forward to seeing all of you this Sunday as we focus on missions in our own backyard.

You are truly loved in the Lord,

Pastor Terry

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