This Week at Bristol - "The Law of Giving"

This Sunday we continue with the fourth lesson in this five week teaching series titled, “Living in the Sunshine.” The objective of these messages: “We need to learn how to live the Christian life in the most fulfilling and satisfying way so that the end result is John 10:10.” That is what Jesus said! Check it out.
Just as there are irrefutable laws of nature, such as: The Law of Polarity, or the Law of Relativity, or the Law of Vibration, so there are irrefutable spiritual laws. Jesus gives us four in Luke 6:37-38. He quickly mentions the laws of judging, condemning, forgiving, and then the law of giving (these four laws are connected).
This Sunday morning we will concentrate on the fourth law. Jesus does not expand on the first three, but He does on the fourth.
Within these four laws, there is what is called “reciprocity.” It is expressed with the phrase, “You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.” Or, someone sends you a Christmas card, you feel you must oblige by sending them one.
Reciprocity means, you do something for me, and I will do something for you. Reciprocity works this way: When we do something good, we receive good or we do something bad, something bad will follow.
Within the confines of these verses reciprocity means that if we judge, we will be judged. If we extend condemnation, it will come back to us. If we forgive, we will be forgiven, and if we learn to give, we will blessed.
What is the result of following the Law of Giving? Simply this, We discover what it means to have an abundant life! That is real reciprocity!
I hope to see you Sunday. The weather and sickness have been very uncooperative and many of you have had to miss multiple services this year. This Sunday the weather is supposed to be more “friendly” and hopefully that means you will be able to join us again.
You are loved,
Pastor Terry



This Week at Bristol - "God Will Make a Way"

Is anything too hard for the Lord? That is not a rhetorical question because too many people, even within the church, do not believe or are not sure that God is capable of anything. 

We have a Bible full of examples and stories about the might and power of God. If there is any question, then one should read some of those stories.

Ask that question - “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” - to Noah and he will tell you that God is capable of bringing together animals from everywhere in preparation for the flood, and then He caused the earth to open and sent rain from heaven. GOD IS ABLE!

Ask that question to Moses - “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” - and he will tell you how the Lord brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt, opened the Red Sea from them to cross over, and fed them every day until they reached the Promised Land. GOD IS ABLE!

Ask that question to Joshua - “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” - and he will tell you how the Lord opened the Jordan River for the people to cross over into the Promised Land and then showed His power with the defeat of Jericho. GOD IS ABLE!

Ask that question to the disciples of Jesus - “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” - and they will tell you how the Lord fed thousands with a very few fish and loaves of bread. They will also tell you how He raised Lazarus from the dead. GOD IS ABLE!

Ask that question to Zaccheus - “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” - and he will tell you how he, a tax collector and cheat became a man of integrity and honesty, because Jesus stopped by. GOD IS ABLE!

There is not room to remind you of Daniel, David, Peter, Samuel, Paul and many others. Each found the Lord to be more than able to keep His promises and do the impossible. GOD IS ABLE!

This Sunday we will look at a few verses from Romans as we examine the life of Abraham. Oh, by the way, he found the Lord to also be faithful in the giving of a promised son even though he and his wife were many years beyond the ability to have children. Yes indeed, GOD IS ABLE!

In fact, there is nothing too hard for God - GOD IS MORE THAN ABLE!

I hope to see you this Sunday (barring another snow storm) and we will have the privilege of learning and growing together.

You are loved!

Pastor Terry


This Week at Bristol - "Yes I Can Live to Win"

Almost eighty years ago a new philosophy or way of life became popular and still carries some of its popularity today. It is called Positive Mental Attitude, or PMA. PMA was first developed and introduced in 1937 by Napoleon Hill in the book, Think and Grow Rich. The book never actually uses the term, but developed the importance of positive thinking as a principle to success.
The shortened version of PMA teaches that you CAN if you really want to. In other words, within most people there is the capacity to accomplish more and live successfully because you think you can. There is a certain amount of truth to PMA. There have been many people who have succeeded in life because they believed they could. And because they believed they could, they tried harder, and hard work has its advantages.
BUT there is more to successful living than just trying harder. The apostle Paul taught the Church at Philippi that life is made up of hard work AND trust in the Lord. Read Philippians 4:13 where he writes, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." (NIV)
PMA says that if you try harder, whatever you want can happen. "If I can dream it, I can do it." PMA has you look yourself in the mirror everyday and say, "Every day and in every way I'm getting better."
But PMA has its limits and is a long way from Philippians 4:13. Please tell me how far you think PMA will take you when you receive the "pink" slip from your employer. Tell me how you go on when your spouse leaves you, or your son gets a young girl pregnant. Where do you find real hope when life crumbles about you? PMA will be no help to you because PMA has its limitations. It takes more than positive thinking to get you through the rough times in your life - it takes having Jesus inside you. That is what Paul is saying to the Church at Philippi.
This Sunday we will explore this important subject, "Yes I Can Live to Win,” as we continue with the current teaching series, "Living in the Sunshine." This brief series is about offering hope to everyone so that each person can live the dream of John 10:10. We can live life “abundantly" as Jesus says.
I hope you will join me this Sunday. It is going to be a great time as we gather together to learn from the Lord. Bring a friend because I am sure they too need to be encouraged from God's Word so that they can live a life of joy.
You are loved.
Pastor Terry



This Week At Bristol - A New Beginning

Charles Colson (who recently died) was the aide to President Richard Nixon who was sent to jail for Watergate. He was known as Nixon’s “hatchet man.” While incarcerated he became a believer. As as a result of his experience as a convicted felon and a new believer, Colson founded Prison Fellowship, now the world’s largest Christian outreach to prisoners and their families. Prison Fellowship has more than 50,000 volunteers working in hundreds of prisons in 88 countries around the world. A ministry that has blessed millions of people got started thirty-seven years ago because Charles Colson committed a crime.

God’s eternal purposes for Chuck Colson included even using the sin that sent him to prison. Mind you, God did not cause his sin, but God used his sin for good.

This Sunday we begin a new short teaching series, “Living in the Sunshine,” that explores how we can experience real joy daily. We begin this Sunday by looking at Isaiah 43:18-25 and other supporting verses. I believe it is the Lord’s will that we live a joyful life. We find this to be the case as we look at Old and New Testament followers of God. Some lived difficult and hard lives, yet their life was characterized by joy. In fact we discover in John 10:10 that the Lord’s plan is that we experience life at an "abundant level." What does that mean? You have to discover that for yourself.

The story that should matter most to you isn’t Isaiah’s story, or Paul’s story, or even Charles Colson’s story. It is your story. And what I want to say to you this Sunday morning is that the story of your life has not been ruined by your mistakes, setbacks, failures, and sins. You can have a new START (we will use that word in acrostic form to outline the sermon)!

God’s wonderful plan for your life is not buried under the bad stuff of the past. He does has a plan for your life, a wise plan, a loving plan, a sovereign plan, and that plan is still in effect. You haven’t missed it. He is working out that plan in your life today.

The big question: Will you believe that? It really is your choice!

I hope you will join me and others as we explore this subject of new beginnings, a new start, this Sunday. The Lord has something to teach us that will help us live an abundant life.

You are loved. It is a privilege serving you.

Pastor Terry


This Week At Bristol - Keeping the Main Thing, the Main Thing

We live in a very difficult time. Change is happening everywhere. Rebellion and anarchy make the news regularly. Government leaders in our country are so polarized and there seems to be little effort to find common ground for the good of the populace of our nation. As one person put it, “We seem to be approaching not just a political breakdown, but a cultural meltdown.”

In the midst of all of this, where is the voice of the church? What is our response? What should our voice be? Can the church really make a difference, or has the church become irrelevant? These are significant questions.

My guess is that the culture within which Paul was living was not much different than the culture of today. The people of the first century were facing similar problems and were probably asking these same questions. One of those churches was located in the city of Ephesus.

When Paul wrote his letter to them he was a prisoner in Rome waiting for a hearing before those at the highest level in the government - especially Emperor Nero. What does Paul write to this church about changing the world around them? Simply this: Fulfill your calling! Obey your orders! Don't deviate from the divine strategy! Follow your Lord! 

He says to them, "I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Ephesians. 4:1-3)

With those words, Paul reminds the congregation of their true nature and responsibility as a church. He was saying, “If we live like this then we will indeed be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” In the words of the title of this blog, we will then be “keeping the main thing, the main thing.” Life will be lived with purpose - just like Jesus (see John 5:19 and 30; 6:38; 8:28 and 42; 10:37-38; and, 12:49)

The words of Ephesians 4:1-3 remind the church then and now of its purpose. The church is not about us, but about the Lord - always has been and must always be.

Our “Vision Statement” reminds us of our purpose - Building bridges (that is evangelism) . . . Developing people (that is discipleship) . . . Enriching lives (that is connection). When we practice these three distinct and yet interwoven parts, we, too, will be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” There will be people around us whose lives will be changed because salt and light have that ability.

The church is an army under the command of a king. We are not an independent organization, doing what we do under our own strength. We don’t devise our own purpose since that has been mandated by our Lord (see Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8). If the apostle Paul were speaking to our congregation today, I believe he would say, “obey your orders and follow Jesus.”

I hope to see you Sunday. May I ask a favor? PLEASE make your presence at church this week a priority. As I speak about vision, I want you to catch my heart. The Lord wants to use us in a phenomenal way, but we have to be willing to listen and follow. A great place start would be in the worship service this Sunday.

You are loved!

Pastor Terry