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

Friday
Sep112015

This Sunday at Bristol . . . "Grandparent's Day"

Maybe you have heard this little parable about four people named EverybodySomebodyAnybody, and Nobody.  

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.  

Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.  

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

This parable reminds me of a familiar story from the life of Jesus found in the Gospel of Mark 2:1-12. When you read the story you will see the connection.

When Jesus’ public ministry began, He used Capernaum as His “headquarters.” You recall that His hometown of Nazareth did not want Him around, so He obliged, and went to this fishing village on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee.

In our story, Jesus is in a home, likely the home of Peter, and a great crowd gathered to hear Him teach, and, I am sure, also hoped He would perform some miracle. The crowd was so great, that if you arrived late, you would not get close to Him.

Four friends had a friend who desperately needed to meet Jesus because, they believed, Jesus was the only one who could help him. Most likely these men had either observed first-hand or had reports that Jesus was able to do miracles - feed the multitudes, restore sight to the blind, cleanse the lepers, and even forgive sins - so they wanted to take their friend, who was paralyzed, to see Him.

But they arrived too late. All the seats were taken and there was no way to get their friend even close to Jesus. There hopes of having their friend healed were quickly dissipating. But these men improvised - they refused to give up. They knew that the homes in Palestine usually had staircases that led to the roof, so they carefully carried their friend to the roof of this home. They then proceeded to open a section of the roof and lowered their friend down to where Jesus was.

They did not wait for anyone to step up and help their friend. They took the initiative and because they did he was helped. They went the extra mile, unlike those in the earlier parable, and their friend was changed - physically and spiritually.

Our story in Mark 2 has the fingerprints of grandparents all over it. Just like these four men, grandparents are doers who are willing to do whatever it takes to help others, especially their grandchildren.

This Sunday we start the morning at 9:30 with a "Grandparent’s Reception" in the lower level. Everyone is invited and coffee, water, juice, and donuts will be served. During our worship, we will continue honoring these very special people.

I look forward to seeing all of you this Sunday as we celebrate Grandparent’s Day at Bristol.

You are truly loved in the Lord,

Pastor Terry

 

Friday
Aug142015

This Sunday at Bristol - "An Act of Devotion"

That is definitively what water baptism is - an act of devotion. This Sunday we will celebrate the baptisms of several from our congregation, but before that happens, during worship, we will look more closely at the Bible and what is said about baptism.

As Christians, we participate in two God-ordained ordinances that celebrate what the Lord has done for us: The first is Communion (The Lord’s Supper), and the second is Water Baptism. Communion is celebrated on an ongoing basis and baptism as a once-in-a-lifetime act.

Once a person turns to Christ for salvation some step must be taken to proclaim they are now a follower of Jesus and baptism is that step. I am convinced that baptism is important because, as I read New Testament, as far as I know, every convert was baptized, with the exception of the thief on the cross. I am not aware of an unbaptized believer (look at the illustrations in Acts 2, 8, 9, and 16).

Jesus commanded all His followers to prove their decision to follow Him by publicly demonstrating that in baptism. Among His final words was this universal command, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

I am so proud that Haley and Nathan are taking this step. They are to be commended as they follow the Lord. I hope you will come to the home of Michael and Jenni Hays and support them as they publicly testify their faith in Jesus and are baptized.

Following the baptisms, we will enjoy a church-wide fellowship. Bring a dish to share and enjoy the time together. 

You are loved in the Lord.

Pastor Terry