Monday, September 11, 2017

Church Gone Wild: A Fractured Family

Audio file if you would like to listen: Church Gone Wild: A Fractured Family
Good Morning. Alan Jackson: Where were you when the world stopped turning?

Story about unity from September 11th

1 Corinthians 1:10-17: Church Gone Wild: A Fractured Family

Every family has problems.

What is the nature of the disunity Paul faces?

It is described in verses 11–12.
For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, "I follow Paul," or "I follow Apollos," or "I follow Cephas," or "I follow Christ."

So evidently what is happening in the church at Corinth is that the people were beginning to polarize behind their favorite teacher. They isolated particular qualifications or strengths of their favorite teacher and began to brag about them. They elevated these characteristics to the point where they derived some sense of superiority from claiming this particular teacher as their own. We will see the evidence for this in just a moment.

Paul: doctrine
Apollos: preach circles around anyone
Peter: down to earth
Christ: Jesus

How does Paul undermine the basis of that disunity and attempt to build a foundation for unity?

He urges on the Corinthians three truths.

1. Christ Is Not Divided; He Is One
Verse 13: "Is Christ divided?" The answer is obviously NO! Now why is this relevant to the issue of quarreling and schisms behind different leaders?

Two reasons:
One is that we are the body of Christ!  Christ's body is not dismembered. It is whole. If we try to puff ourselves up over the other members of the body it would be a contradiction of Christ. The body is one. The fingers on the right hand would be foolish to boast over the fingers on the left hand because their leader is the right wrist and not the left.

The other reason it's relevant to say that Christ is not divided is that when a believer has Christ, he has ALL of Christ. No one needs to feel inferior or superior if Christ is really your great treasure. Christ is not divided. If you have him, you have all of him. And to have all of Christ is to have everything you need to be happy forever and ever. We all have Christ. There is no one inferior or superior.

2. Paul Wasn't Crucified for You; Christ Was
Now back to our text, verse 13. The third truth that will undermine the basis of disunity at Corinth (and Stanleyville!) is this: Paul was not crucified for you; Christ was. This what he means when he says, "Was Paul crucified for you?"

This truth should have two effects on us.

One is that when it comes to boasting about someone, let it be the Lord and not a mere man. Verse 31: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." Compared to what Christ has done in dying for us, the distinctives of our different teachers are as nothing. To elevate a human teacher to the point where the allegiance shatters the body of Christ means that we have lost sight of the infinite and overwhelming worth of a crucified Savior.

I wasn’t beaten for you. I didn’t die for you. I wasn’t buried and three days later rose to life for you. NO! Christ was. Don’t elevate me… look to Christ. IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS.

3. You Were Baptized into Christ's Name
The third truth that Paul gives to undermine the disunity of the believers is this: You were not baptized into my name; you were baptized into Christ's name. Again verse 13: "Were you baptized into the name of Paul?" Answer: NO! You were baptized into the name of Christ!

Evidently, one of the boasts of the Paul party was that they had been among the first converts who had actually come to Christ under Paul's preaching. Paul reminds them that he baptized only Crispus and Gaius and the household of Stephanus and maybe a few others. But he says (v. 14) he is glad he did not baptize more.

In other words, it's no big deal who baptizes you. The issue is what name was solemnly and prayerfully pronounced over you as you were baptized. Did you identify with Christ at that moment or did you identify with a preacher? You contradict the meaning of your baptism when you brag about the man who put you under the water. He is nothing compared to Christ.

Not about a preacher it’s about Christ. I exist to point you to Jesus. Eddie exists to point you to Jesus. I am just a big, loud, fat talking sign saying look to Jesus. We need to lift up JESUS.

What Unites Us:
Here at FBCS we exist to exalt the Lord, evangelize the lost, equip the saints and encourage one another.
Exalt the Lord: Worshipful people. We desire white hot worshipers before the throne of God's grace
Evangelize the Lost: Talk more about it next week, but go outside the camp gossiping the Gospel
Equip the Saints: SS

Encourage One Another: CARE, visiting, life together

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Wednesday Worship:

Your Sin Will Find You Out:

… be sure your sin will find you out.– Numbers 32:23

In the news a couple of years ago I read a report from Kennebunkport, Maine that a fitness trainer had turned her business into an underground prostitution ring. I am not clear on whether there were multiple prostitutes available or just her, but the primary focus was on the “johns,” a variety of local men, some of them quite prominent figures, whose names were listed in the newspapers. The ensuing debate is over whether such a practice is appropriate. Won’t it ruin these men’s lives and devastate their families? The public shaming is part of the attempt to crack down on prostitution in the area.

I confess I’m not sure how I feel about the publishing of the names. I feel similar in my reaction to those who hang out in the parking lots of adult bookstores and strip clubs, snapping photos of the patrons as they come and go, to print their pics in the local paper, “outing” them. It’s an effort to “take back” neighborhoods, which I certainly sympathize with. In the latter example, nothing illegal (theoretically) is taking place, while of course in the former case, it is. And I guess I can also see the logic in publicizing the names of those soliciting prostitution as way of creating parity with other crimes, whose suspects are regularly named in the media.

And I suppose this is essentially a modern fulfillment of the biblical principle: “your sins will find you out.”

Your sins will find you out. You won’t get away with it. There will be justice. In this life or the next. Or both.

I think many of us who have tasted of the Lord’s holiness have a degree, some more than others, of the shame of sin. We envision the day when we will stand before the Lord to give an account of everything we’ve done. I recall preachers past suggesting a giant movie screen will play before God and everybody of all our sins, the ones external and internal, the ones we remember and the ones we don’t. Every single drop of bitterness, unkind word, every single second of lust, every hateful thought, every self-indulgent theft of the glory belonging only to God in stunning color and panoramic vision. Like a list of names in the newspaper or only infinitely worse. “This man! This man is a pervert” the broadcast will reveal.

But then there is the promise of my holy God himself—that his Son is not ashamed to call me his brother (Hebrews 2:11). He oughta be! But he’s not. He has satisfied justice by taking the endless list of my sins upon himself, bearing my shame on a public cross beneath a paper vindictively, sarcastically publishing his name. I stake everything on that promise and the promises from which it is derived. There is the promise that he will present me blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy (Jude 24). Oh, he will read a list, all right. He calls it the Lamb’s Book of Life. And because this ferociously holy and glory-jealous God has foreknown me, elected me, justified me, sanctified me, is sanctifying me, and will glorify me, my name will be found in it.

“This man! This man is a good and faithful servant” the broadcast will reveal. For I have been covered in the righteousness of my precious Redeemer. He has cast my sins in to the depths of the sea to remember them no more. (Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!)

Christian, be sure his righteousness will find you out.

One Another I Can't Find In the Bible:

The beautiful “one another” commands of the New Testament are famous. But it is also striking to notice the “one anothers” that do not appear there.

For example, sanctify one another, humble one another, scrutinize one another, pressure one another, embarrass one another, corner one another, interrupt one another, defeat one another, sacrifice one another, shame one another, marginalize one another, exclude one another, judge one another, run one another’s lives, confess one another’s sins . . . .

The kind of God we really believe in is revealed in how we treat one another. The lovely gospel of Jesus positions us to treat one another like royalty, and every non-gospel positions us to treat one another like dirt.  But we will follow through horizontally on whatever we really believe vertically.

Our relationships with one another reveal to us what we really believe as opposed to what we think we believe, our convictions as opposed to our opinions. It is possible for the gospel to remain at the shallow level of opinion, even sincere opinion, without penetrating to the deeper level of conviction. But when the gospel grips us down in our convictions, we embrace its implications wholeheartedly. Therefore, when we mistreat one another, our problem is not a lack of surface niceness but a lack of gospel depth. What we need is not only better manners but, far more, true faith.

Then the watching world might start feeling that Jesus himself has come to town:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Don't Hide Behind A Smiling Emoji:

I love using emojis in text messages. Most of us do these days; they serve as a quick and fun way to respond. The added whimsy, humor, or emotion can help us feel a little more connected to the person on the other side. But emoticons can conceal just as much as they reveal, just like beautiful Instagram and Snapchat accounts don’t always tell the whole story.

Fun emojis and perfect social media presences have a way of convincing us everyone else is doing great and fully succeeding in life, love, and happiness. Of course, this is rarely the case. But when we compare our actual reality to others’ online reality, we feel worse about ourselves, and we strive all the harder to keep up.

Idol of Social Media Perfection

Discontentment, fueled by comparison and striving for perfection, is relentless. In our culture it’s not enough to be successful in one realm. Perfection requires being the best in every realm. This means you always have to look the best (skinniest, prettiest, most muscular, best dressed), maintain the most exciting social life (with pictures to prove it), and be in a relationship with someone equally spectacular.

We often think an idol is something like the love of money or material goods, but it can easily be our appearance, acceptance, performance, perfectionism, status, or success. We make something an idol when we turn from God toward it to give us identity and worth. But those things can’t give us identity and worth—or at least, not for long. Capturing a moment of social media glory might fulfill for a little while, but eventually we need something more.

That’s why the highest number of likes or retweets you received on a post last year—or even last week—is probably not enough now. That’s why you have to keep working to get an even better picture with a wittier caption. There’s no staying power. When you tie your worth to human praise, you’ll always need more. Instead of attaining a beautiful, perfect life, we end up isolated and depressed as we perpetually miss the mark. And the more we try stuffing the emptiness in our souls with something other than God, the more expansive the emptiness becomes—and the more intense our drive to fill it.

Resting in Jesus’s Perfection

But Jesus gives a better way—the only way—to find life and satisfaction:

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. (Mark 8:34–35)

Jesus isn’t demanding we give up all worldly things or trying to motivate us through guilt. He’s teaching us what it means to truly follow him. To be his disciple means to find life in him, to find your identity wrapped up in his.

Trying to manufacture an identity in anything else will lead to constant disappointment. The happiness, success, and security we chase in counterfeit gods will always elude us. Jesus calls us away from seeking an identity in unreliable things because he loves us—and he knows true life is only available in him.

We need to know who Jesus is for us. It was his work—in life, death, and resurrection—that secured our right standing before God; it is his perfect performance that matters, not ours.  Because he measured up to God’s standard of a sinless life, those who are united to him through faith have been given his spotless record. God now sees us as he sees his Son—perfect, beautiful, and righteous.

This means you can stop trying to be perfect (or pretending to be) as a means of validation and worth. In Christ, you are filled. In Christ, you are enough. In Christ, you have “made it.” May you stand secure, filled with the joy and peace found only in him. And for that, there’s no emoticon.

3 Things Pastors' Kids Need From Their Church:

Original Article by Barnabas Piper
Original Article:

Everyone in church notices the pastor’s kids. People don’t think about noticing them, it just happens. I grew up as a PK, the son of John Piper, and even I notice PKs. It’s almost impossible to avoid. They’re like the first children of the church.

Don’t think you notice them? Here’s what it looks like.

You know things about their personal lives you don’t know about any other kid in the church: where they’re going to college, who they took to prom, that they just got braces, that they got pulled over for speeding last week. You make comments about their behavior to them or to anyone else. “Did you see his new tattoo?” “You can’t talk like that; you’re the pastor’s kid.” “Can you believe she wore that to church?” “Pastors’ kids should know better than to run in church.” You expect them to speak out in Sunday school, to pray, to lead. You have a tacit standard for them as PKs. You hold them to a higher standard than their peers in church, and you’re not even trying to do so.

What you might not realize is how this makes PKs feel.

They feel like people are always watching. The fact that you know personal things about them makes them hyper aware of you watching, listening, knowing.

They feel like there is no room for mistakes. People watch them. People tell them how to act. People have a standard for them. What pressure! They know they’re going to screw up, but how can they with everyone watching? They feel as if they have to have it all together, to have a firm faith and a solid family life. No room for questions or doubts. No chance to wonder or wander. No struggles allowed. And really, who could they ask any way?

But you can help them. You can encourage PKs. Here are three ways.

1) Let PKs be themselves.

For better and worse, let PKs be themselves. One of the hardest parts of being a PK is being what others expect you to be without ever being able to find out who you are. Remember how you came to faith? Remember how you’ve grown in faith? I bet it was through struggles, through mistakes, through seeing the profound grace of God when you needed it most. I bet it came when you connected with Jesus in the deeply personal way instead of trying to be perfect or live up to someone else’s expectations. That’s exactly what PKs need—the room to connect with Jesus like that. And it might be a winding road with mistakes along the way, in fact it probably will be. But that’s OK.

2) Don’t ask anything of a PK you wouldn’t ask of anyone else.

One of the hardest things about being a PK is being known of by so many people you don’t know. It’s compounded when you interact as if you’re friends even though they can’t even remember your name. When you delve into their personal life, it doesn’t feel like friends talking; it feels like an invasion of privacy. Even more so when you demand that they act a certain way. When seven boys are sprinting around the church lobby, why stop the PK? When all the high school girls are dressing a certain way, why call out the PK? Step back and realize that you might be unwittingly piling expectations and scrutiny on them even though your motives are pure.

3) Befriend them as a friend, not as a novelty.

PKs need friends they can trust, friends who care nothing about their last name and everything about their personhood. They need friends who will love them for who they are not because of their daddy’s position in the church. They need friends who will help them, push them, listen to them and not judge them. These kinds of friends are the ones around whom PKs can begin to figure out who they really are, who God really is, and what it means to love Jesus in a personal way, not just a way that meets expectations.

CREW September 2017 Parent Newsletter

Upcoming Activities:
1) Paintball: September 9th 9:00 am-2:30 pm. Cost: $30. I need to know if your son or daughter is coming before Wednesday at 8:00 pm.

2) Manicures & Board Games at Arbor Ridge: Wednesday, September 20th

3) Ridgecrest: Friday, November 17-Sunday, November 19th. Students who are going need to sign up before the end of the month. 

4) We will begin a new series to run during the month of September focusing on helping students thrive physically, emotionally and spiritually in the new year.

5) Don't forget to sign up for our text message communication: text: @1t412 to phone number: 81010 and follow me on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or Snapchat).

Dear Parents,

I know a lot of you are curious as to how I will handle the changes and new responsibilities which have been given to me in the new church year. I want to make sure I say this again and again and again: CREW Student Ministry is my number one priority. Your son or daughter will not be forgotten. Your son or daughter will not get second best. They are my number one priority! Let me say it again: CREW Student Ministry is my number one priority. Your son or daughter will not be forgotten. Your son or daughter will not get second best.

Also, I am 30 years old. I am young and have a lot of energy. It is not too much to ask to have me take on another responsibility. Men work and I have no problem working hard.

I just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page. Now on to September's Newsletter as to why EVERY good church is a messy church.

I have been in the church for over ten years now. I’ll never forget my first experience in a real Bible-believing, Spirit-filled, grace-singing church. I was surprised people enjoyed being there, floored that they knew the words to the songs, and freaked out that they talked about their faith when they weren’t at church. I saw spouses doting over each other, kids being respectful, and college students staying sober. It had a tremendous effect on me — I was sold on the church.

Ten years later, I have felt the pains of being in church. I have felt the pain of getting ground up in the gears of church politics, leaders leaving members in the dust on decisions, friends uttering harsh words, members ruining their lives in sin, and congregational meetings that almost seemed like an episode of Jerry Springer.

Church hasn’t always been pleasant. But while I’ve watched many people give up on the church and flee from it like a haunted house, nevertheless, I still love the church. What I am doing may confound people, but despite the imperfection and sin we see in the church, we still love the church.

No Surprises

No one should be surprised that the church is made up of sinners — it’s one of the admissions that opens the membership door in the first place: we are not perfect and never will be in this life. At its best, the church in this age consists of sinners who are sincerely but imperfectly following Christ. And inevitably, the church also has people who are not truly following Christ.

Even the earliest churches in the New Testament were this way. People were proud of their gifts (1 Corinthians 12:21), unloving, unwilling to associate with other races (Galatians 2:11–12), some were involved with lawsuits (1 Corinthians 6:1), some were getting drunk during communion (1 Corinthians 11:21), some were living in sexual immorality and even sleeping with their own family members (1 Corinthians 5:1)! Paul actually told one church their meetings did more harm than good (1 Corinthians 11:17) — that’s amazing.

Paul was not derailed by any of these things. And he certainly didn’t give up on the church. He said these differences are necessary to prove who is genuine in their faith (1 Corinthians 11:19). The mess was in line with what the apostles expected, and it should be with us, too.

So, why do I love the inconvenient, messy, and sometimes painful local expression of Christ’s body?

1. We are humbled by those who are hard to love.

God is bringing people of different backgrounds, nationalities, socioeconomic statuses, and spiritual maturity levels together (Ephesians 3:10). The church’s diversity is a beautiful thing, and part of the beauty is that it grows us by bringing us into orbit with people unlike us — sometimes with people who are hard to love.

Loving lovable people is easy. Associating with unlovable people in unlovable situations will always make us marvel at the love of Christ. It forces us to grow in knowing and sharing that love. In the mess, we will find beautiful displays of forgiveness, compassion, humility, and reconciliation. These never would have been seen apart from the mess.

2. We are warned by those who fall away.

Some of the worst things I’ve seen in the church were caused by people who had fallen away (or were falling away) from the faith. Seeing the results of their actions was sobering. When I first saw the problems in the church, I thought Jesus was the problem. I thought his work in our church was insufficient, or at least incomplete, and that he was the reason we faced the issues we did.

Then I realized most of those people causing scenes were struggling in their faith. This aroused compassion in me, rather than judgment, and it made me want to pray for and help them (Matthew 18:12). If I had left the church at the first glimpse of trouble, I would not have understood the root issue of the problems — or the vital importance of striving in faith side by side with other Christians (Philippians 1:27).

3. We are prepared to love outside the church.

I have become more gracious and less judgmental. I have learned to work through disagreement when it occurs. This lesson has been massive, not just in church settings, but for how I act at the office and with my family. I have learned to love better, more fervently and consistently.

If you have not had a reason to question loving the church, then your love has not been tested. Great lessons happen in the life of the church.

4. We learn to love what God loves.

The greatest and most important reason why I love the church is that God loves the church. Christ loves his bride, his holy ones for whom he died to purchase them with his own blood (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:22–23; Revelation 21:2, 9–10; 22:17). If the one who had to die to make us holy is not ashamed to call us brothers, how could we refuse to love those who are sinners like us (Hebrews 2:11)?

God’s plan to make his grace known to the world is not for a bunch of perfect people to live together in perfect harmony, but rather, for sinful people to cling desperately to Jesus, even in the hardest instances. God’s light may not shine in every corner of the church, but it still shines all around. When the church looks to Jesus for help in our weaknesses, powerful things can happen.

Paul saw the mess in each of the churches, and he still gave his life to building them (Acts 20:24). The reason we love the church, and all its mess, and all its baggage, is because it’s there that we see God’s amazing grace conquering our sins and transforming us to look like his Son. When the world sees that, even the mess of the church can make Jesus look great.

Reaching, Teaching & Releasing,

Pastor T Welch