This Week at Bristol . . . Walking with Others

This Sunday at Bristol . . . we continue in our study of 1 John. John is likely writing this brief letter to the churches of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) and it is possible that those within the congregations were just not getting along and that, by nature, would create some turbulence and dissension.
We sometimes may feel like Linus, one of the Peanut’s characters, when he said, “I love humanity, It’s people I can’t stand.” People are sometimes difficult, so to be reminded how we should live is necessary, and that is what John does in this short letter. Maybe that is why John repeats three topics - love, obedience, and truth in this short letter.

He reminds us that love always begins with those with whom we share a common faith in Jesus. We discover the way the Lord expects us to live, and we respond with true love, which translates into a genuine love for one another.
When we have learned how to love those within the family of God, we are able to focus on those who are not believers - and there are plenty of them who need to see the love of Jesus displayed in our lives.
I hope to see you Sunday. The Lord has something special to teach us.
Remember, you are deeply loved!
Pastor Terry



A Very Important Event Is Coming!

There is not a committed Christian anywhere who does not know the effectiveness of prayer. We not only read the stories of answered prayers, but we are in some of those stories. God always does something special in response to prayer.
Prayer is not complicated. Prayer is like talking to your best friend over a cup of coffee. A friend has the capacity to “hear” what you are really saying even though you may not always know how to express yourself clearly.
Here is a simple story to illustrate. A heart-broken young girl knelt and began to pour out her heart to the Lord at the altar in her church. She did not know what to say as she knelt, but she did remember something her father had told her. He said, "God knows your needs even before you pray, and he can answer when you don’t even know what to ask for." So she began to say her alphabet - you know, A, B, C, D, E, etc. all the way through the alphabet.
A concerned adult from the church knelt beside her and heard her saying her ABC’s and inquired what she was trying to do. The little girl said, "I’m praying to God from my heart." But the person answered, "It sounds to me more like you are saying the alphabet!” "Yes," she said, "But God knows more about what I need than I do, and He can take all these letters and arrange them in just the right way to hear and answer my prayers!” WOW! What a powerful insight!
This Sunday evening, our church is having a “CONCERT OF PRAYER.” We are coming together for one hour (6:00 to 7:00 p.m.) to specifically pray for our world and nation, our community, and our church. We are just going to talk with the Lord, say our ABC’s, and I know He will answer the prayers of His people.
To guide us, everyone will have a prayer folder. Most of our praying will be done silently with a few audible prayers interspersed.
I hope you will make a strong effort to join others and myself this Sunday evening. God does great things in answer to our prayers!

Pastor Terry



This Week at Bristol . . . The Best is Yet to Come

This Sunday at Bristol we return to our study of the Letter of 1 John. This short letter, written by the apostle John, likely to the Christians of Asia Minor, is full of wisdom regarding who we are in Christ and how we are to daily live. In our text for this week, 1 John 2:28-3:10, John emphasizes the impact of truly believing Jesus is coming again will affect how we live our life.

Throughout the centuries, going back as far at 110 AD, people have speculated as to when Jesus would return. This we know - many who thought they had the timing of the return of Christ figured out were wrong. This we also know - Jesus will come again for the believers. Why? Because He said He would (John 14), the angels confirmed that Jesus would return (Acts 1), and the apostle Paul explained what His coming would look like (1 Thessalonians 4) for the believer. Yes, He is coming again. That is the great hope of every believer.

In our text, John explains how focusing on our final destination, Heaven, will help us in our spiritual journey.

When we focus on Jesus’ coming again we are empowered and motivated to be fully devoted followers of Jesus because we know the best is yet to come.

I hope to see you Sunday. The Lord has something special to teach us from the pen of the apostle John. 

Remember, you are deeply loved!

Pastor Terry


This Week at Bristol . . . The Importance of Remembering

This Sunday at Bristol . . . is Communion Sunday. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper (another name for Communion) about seven or eight times a year. Why not just once a year? Or every quarter? Why you ask? Because we have a tendency to forget.

Reminders are important. None of us is infallible so forgetting something - something that may be very important - is a possibility. 

How many have you missed an important meeting (or shown up late) because you forgot? Has your son’s soccer game or daughter’s band concert, or our spouse’s birthday ever slipped your mind? Often our memory serves us well, but sometimes . . . 

It was no different in the first century for the disciples of Jesus. He knew the tendency His close friends had to forget so He gave them some ways to remember the really important stuff. He washed the disciples’ feet so they would remember the value of serving one another and living a life of humility. He spoke often of “lost” people and the importance of reaching out to them (in fact these were His last words before He returned to Heaven) 

One of the clearest reminders He gave was regarding the importance of His death. So that we would not forget what He did for us on the cross, He gave us the Lord’s Supper, or Communion. Much later, Paul, the apostle, likewise reminded the Church at Corinth of the importance of Jesus’ sacrifice so he wrote about the Lord’s Supper repeating what Jesus had said to His disciples. 

We all need reminders for the routine and occasional as well as something so important as Jesus’ death. So we have Communion. As we celebrate Communion at Bristol this Sunday, there will be the reminder of the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for us when He died on the cross. The bread is symbolic of His body broken and the cup represents His blood given for our salvation.

I invite you this Sunday to come and express your personal gratitude to the Lord for His sacrifice by celebrating Communion. Michael Hays, one of our deacons, will be sharing the Communion meditation.

Remember, you are deeply loved!

Pastor Terry


This Week at Bristol . . . Living an Authentic Life

This Sunday we continue with this new teaching series, “A Word from an Old Friend,” that began last Sunday. We are looking at key passages in 1 John and lessons that the apostle John has to share with the first century churches of Asia Minor and with us.
Image has become a big deal for some people. No matter how disingenuous a situation may be, we want others to think highly of us. Consequently some often choose to live a lie, and when this route is chosen, it never ends well.
When you look at the last few verses of 1 John 1 and the first two verses of chapter two, you discover that John’s readers were struggling with this image problem too - about 2,000 years ago. John’s counsel to the readers was to choose to be real. Dishonesty never wins. Masquerading is always the wrong route to take.
A life that is real cannot be built on a foundation of deception. It is foolish to deceive others because God already knows everything there is to know about everyone. And it makes little difference what others think of you because what is most important is what God knows about you.
My invitation to you is to come Sunday with a heart that is eager to learn and grow. Guess what? God will fulfill your desire.
You are deeply loved!
Pastor Terry