Grow: Mentor & Discipleship (Week 3)

#RIPPLESTARTER

 

II Timothy 2:2 These thing you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who are qualified to teach others.

I Corinthians 11:1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

 
 

 

Are You Ready?

 

Growth and Discipleship

  • Being Christ-Centered – Christ is in the middle of everything in your life – Spiritual Discipline
  • Being Christ-like – Having and Displaying to your qualities of Christ – Kindness – Forgiveness – Sincerity – Caring – Accepting

 

Great Commandments

  • Mark 12:30 –Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Are You?
  • Mark 12:31 – The second and greatest is this, Love your neighbor as yourself. Do You?

 

Great Commission

  • Mark 16:15 (TLB) Go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone, everywhere.
  • 28:18-20 – Go and make disciples of every nation.

 

21 Day Challenge

  • Learn to have a daily quality quiet time.
  • Learn to share your story in world.
  • Learn to live a life of joy.
  • Learn to be accountable to someone so you can be accountable for some one.

 

Ignite Passion, Purpose, and Faith in someone in their world!

 

Heb. 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

 

Four PRACTICAL WAYS TO BE A #RIPPLESTARTER

 

1. Desire to make a Connection

  • Look Up
  • Look Around
  • Use Your Sling Shot

2. Discipline to have a Conversation

  • Make the phone call, Send a text/private message, Email
  • Set a time and place

3. Delight when you find Common Ground

  • Ask questions
  • Look for where you are connecting

REMEMBER – #Ripplestarters ignite passion, purpose, and faith!

4. Determination to be Consistent

  • Cup of Coffee
  • Season of Life
  • Life-long Relationships

 

Think About This…

You cannot have a life-long relationship until you have a cup of coffee!

 

Let’s Start some RiPPLES

Wake Up

Stand Up

Speak Up

Rise Up

 

Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

 

 

Listen to Dan’s Message here:
 

 

 

 

 


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Grow: Discovering Love (Week 3)

“Our Response to His Rescue: Loving God With All Our Hearts”

Katie Kinnaird
 
Testimony:
1) Caleb

2) Young Life [deficit, busiest time of year,  emotional stress of caring for so many kids and leaders] = STRESS

Story: Jonah and his retainer!

How does it feel when you do something for someone you love and they overlook it? How does it feel when YOU know what you’ve done, how you’ve taken care of them, and they don’t realize of acknowledge it, or even worse, believe that someone else or they themselves did the thing you actually did?

 
We often overlook and fail to acknowledge God’s care for us. He has loved us and taken care of us truly beyond what any of us could comprehend. As our Father who has done everything he can to care and provide for us, God
wants us to love him in return. He wants our full attention, our passion, our appreciation, our deepest love. He wants us to love him with all our hearts, all our minds and all our strength- with everything we have.
 
Matthew 22: 34-40  Jesus told us that the most important thing in life is for us to love God with all our hearts, souls and strength. Many of us have heard this “most important commandment” hundreds of times. But what
does it mean? What does it look like to love God like that, to that extent?
Today we are going to go back to the Old Testament, to the passage that Jesus quoted when he told the people what the most important commandment was. Let’s look at the context of “Love the Lord your God with all your ____” so we can better understand what exactly that means.  And then let’s look at a Jesus story that puts some real life application to this most important commandment.
 
The context of this chapter: where have they BEEN. (Deuteronomy 6:21-24)
 
Moses is talking to the Israelites while they are wandering in the desert for years. They had been slaves in Egypt, oppressed as a people group for years until God miraculously saved them and sent them out on a journey to
a new place, a land that He promised would become their new home.
 
Slavery had been terrible; but they’d wandered so long that the people were in danger of forgetting what they had left behind. God did not want them to forget what He had done, where they had come from. Their suffering is just about over, and God is about to bless them beyond what they’ve ever dreamed. And God is warning them- when everything you’ve hoped for comes, don’t forget! Don’t forget that you didn’t do anything to earn this; everything you will experience is a gift (v. 10-12).
 
– God is giving them the full extent of his laws and commands. The previous chapter is the 10 Commandments. The first thing the Lord says before he gives them his 10 Commandments is, “I am the LORD your
God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.” The context for the commands he gives is that He is the one who rescued them, gave them the life they’re entering. It is the memory of what God has done for us that motivates us to obey and trust His commands.
– Are we motivated to obey God? When we think about what He has done for us, doesn’t it seem logical to TRUST that what he commands is best for us? When we think of his love and care for us, it should motivate us to listen to God and follow him wholeheartedly. We aren’t motivated by obligation, we’re inspired by our love for a God who has done EVERYTHING for us.
 
There is a critical theme in Deuteronomy 6 of REMEMBERING and not forgetting. This famous Scripture that Jesus quotes, Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is called the Shema, Hebrew for “listen”. All throughout the chapter, Moses says, “listen”, “be careful”, “listen closely” “Remember what you were before” “be careful not to forget the Lord”
 
God knows how weak we are and how easily we get distracted. Raise your hand if you get distracted easily? The truth is we all do. We can all be out-of-sight-out-of-mind, especially when it comes to God because He is always out of our physical sight. We go through something hard, and God takes care of us. And then soon after, when things are fine again, we forget what happened, we forget what exactly God did. [**when is a time this has happened to me?]
 
We need to have a rhythm of remembering the things that we’ve gone through, so that we develop these “muscles” of trusting God. v. 6-9, 20-24. We need to talk about what God has done. Remind ourselves, remind our kids, remind each other. It should never be far from our minds. How long has it been since you’ve thought back and remembered what God has done in your life.  Reflect on how different your life would be if not for him rescuing you.
[**how would MY life be different? what has God done for ME?]
 
Summarize Deuteronomy 6, and the Shema.!
 
As I reflect on what it means to love God with all our hearts, soul and mind, there is a story about Jesus that I think gives us a clear picture of what it looks like to love God that much.
 
This woman hears where Jesus is, and she comes to the house uninvited.  This setting is probably important, well-to-do people; not her crowd at all. I get the image that she slips in, goes straight to Jesus. Imagine what she is
thinking. I don’t think she had a pushy attitude, I don’t think she was thinking “I’ll show them, I can be here just as much as they can”. No, I don’t think she was considering who else was there at all. I think her sole focus was getting to Jesus. He was the only one she saw.
 
This woman was causing a little bit of a scene. Imagine it! First of all, she is not dressed appropriately for this dinner; that’s how they knew who she was to begin with, knew she as an “immoral woman”, because of her
appearance. When this woman brought in the alabaster jar, and opened it up, the smell would have filled the room, drawing even more attention to what she was doing. Rabbis weren’t even supposed to talk to women in public, and they definitely weren’t supposed to touch a woman, let alone a prostitute. She slips in behind him, on the floor, low as she can get, and starts to pour the perfume out onto his feet. And as she does, she begins to weep.
 
Imagine what she’s thinking. Why is she crying? What is it about Jesus that causes her to have this kind of reaction? I imagine they’ve met before, or at the very least, she has seen how he treats “people like her” and she is overwhelmed with gratitude. His love and kindness have made her feel something she has probably never felt before. Worth. Value. Not like a failure or an outcast. And that has affected her so powerfully that she doesn’t even care about how proper it is, she just desperately wants to thank him. And love him back.
 
Jesus tells this story to illustrate what the woman is doing. And he says her sins, which there’s lots of them, have been forgiven. And since she has been forgiven of SO much, she loves Jesus so much. And he says he who is forgive little, loves little. You know, I think we could even say it this way. The person who understands how much they have been forgive of, is full of love. But the person who doesn’t understand how much they have been forgiven of, their love is weak.
 
When you have a debt canceled, it can change your life. Jesus has canceled all our of debts- and some of us are very aware of just how big of a deal that is. And some of us don’t consider it that much at all. This woman knew. She was aware that if not for Jesus’ acceptance and forgiveness, she was hopeless, both in the world’s eyes and practically she had nothing to live for. Jesus gave her something to live for and she couldn’t HELP herself from placing herself at his feet, trying to think of an extravagant way to thank him and show her love for him.
Because she was aware of her debt.
 
So what does it look like to love God with all our hearts? We have to remember where we’ve come from. We remember what we have been rescued from and what debt was canceled. And when we remember, when we think about that, love comes easily and naturally.
 
“I am the LORD your God who rescued you from your place of slavery.”
 
God has rescued us and he has cancelled our debt.
 
 
 
Listen to Katie’s Message here:
 

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Belong: We are God’s Family! (Week 3)

Teaching the Next Generations

John 21:15-17

Guest Speaker:  Natalie Werking

These verses in John pick up after Jesus had been walking with His disciples on earth, died on the cross and then was resurrected and returned.  Peter had denied Jesus three times and here Jesus is bringing him back into fellowship.  Jesus asks Peter if he loves him three times.  You can tell it is hurting Peter that he kept asking…  Jesus doesn’t say “Feed my sheep” all three times.  The first time he tells Peter to “feed my lambs”, the young ones under 18.
 
Peter was not exactly youth leader material, right?  He has a hot temper and he denied Jesus three times!  What we have here is a picture of Jesus’ heart.  He asks Peter first to feed His young ones.
 
 
Today we are going to look at Generation Z.  Kids under the age of 20.  They are the majority generation today.  In fact they are the largest generation that has ever lived!  They are not the “next” generation, they are the current generation today!
 

Let’s look at some qualities that help to define Generation Z:

  • Tech Innate. They grew up in this age of technology.  (previously we were tech savvy, tech adept).  They don’t know a world without cell phones.  They can manage five screens at a time.  This is nothing for them.  They spend 5-8 hours a day on screens.  They are sometimes called “screenagers”.  They have access.  They can Google anything.  Their attention span is about 8 seconds (compared to a goldfish which is 9 seconds).  Technology is affecting all of us.  I used to go to Grandma’s house and make cookies and pies with her.  Nowadays she is checking Facebook.
  • Diverse.  They are the most diverse in history.   About half of Generation Z is non-white.
  • Women.  This is the age of women.  More females than ever are going to college.  Rates of females going to college soared last year.  We are seeing a resurgence of feminism.
  • Activists.  They are informed about what is going on in the world and they want to do something about it.  Millennials  before them were sometimes known as “slacktivists”.  They wanted to do something, they just really didn’t want to do something.   With Gen Z we are seeing incredible rates of volunteerism.  They are passionate about causes.
  • Success.  For the first time in history this generation says that their education and professional achievement are number one to them.  “Knowing who I” am is at the top.  Even hobbies and gender identity rank far above family, religion, race, money and politics.
  • DIY.  They want to do things themselves.
  • Morality Shift.  We see a shift in morality for the fist time in about 70 years.  Only about 34% would say that lying is morally wrong.   And they have enormously more choices than ever before.  If you sign up for Facebook you now have 58 gender options to choose from. By comparison, when Ellen came out in 1997 she lost her job and did not work for 6 years.  That wouldn’t happen today if a celebrity made an announcement like this.
  • 4%.   This is how many Gen Z kids claim to have a biblical worldview.  Remember that this generation is the largest in history.  So at a drop of 2% we are still talking about a very large number!
 
Generation Z is a blank slate.  They have no ideas about God.  30% are Nones.  When asked about their religious affiliation they say None.  They won’t grow up and come back to church because they were never there!  Knowing that going to church is the right things to do is becoming less and less – even in the “Bible Belt.”

In the 1960’s, there were 10 things listed as Biblical values.  The general population agreed with about 8 out of 10.  Now there has been a big shift and the distance from these values is much further.  Their questions are answered by Google and Alexa, not the Bible – not even their parents.

They are drawn to the supernatural.  And things are becoming darker.   They are looking for answers.  We are on the verge of a mental crisis.  They are losing their grip on skills for social interaction which makes them ripe for depression and all kinds of other problems.

The church can offer them hope and the answers to a lot of their questions.  We don’t want to be like the older brother in the Prodigal Son story and scorn them and say they don’t deserve better.  We want to reflect the Father’s heart.  We want to love them.
 

Matthew 18:10-14.    Where to Start?  The disciples have been arguing about who is the greatest amount them.  Jesus plops a child in front of them and tells them to be like the child.  He then tells the parable about the lost sheep and then he talks about kids again.  Is Jesus pointing us to kids?  Was anything Jesus said by accident?

He really cares about that one lost kid.  Leave the 99 and go out to find that lost kid.  There are lost out there.  Maybe it’s not about us.  Maybe it’s about them.

Barna’s Research tells us that most people (85%) make their commitment to Christ between the ages of 4 and 14.  From 15 – 30 only 10% and after 30 only 5%.   It’s almost as if Jesus read Barna’s research!

It’s not about us, but about the kids younger than 15.  Many Muslim countries forbid evangelizing kids under age 15.  They know that’s when it is most effective.  They allow adults to go to church – just not kids.  The fact is, if you want to change a country, you start with the kids.

 

 

John 21:3-6A New Reality.  After Jesus revealed himself the disciples were faced with a new reality.  Peter went right back to what his old ways.  He went out to fish.  It was what he knew best.  The other disciples joined him.  They didn’t catch anything that whole night.  Jesus showed up again the next morning and told experienced fishermen where to fish.  They caught more than they could handle.  Same boat.  Same guys.  Same strategy.  They just followed Jesus’ directions and changed location.

The end of John 21 is where I began today.  Jesus told Peter to feed His lambs.

We can stay here in our church and keep fishing, doing our thing.  What if all it takes is a slight location change.  An Easter egg hunt in the city park?  Dive at Parker School?  Where would Jesus have us cast our nets?

Cultural sociologists tell us we are on the verge of a major cultural shift like we haven’t seen since the 1940s.  Businesses are changing the way they reach this generation.  The army is changing the way they recruit this generation.  What will we, the church do to reach Generation Z?

We have a huge generation of young people that is globally connected, loves diversity, is passionate about activism and a good cause.  If we can reach them, I am convinced that they can complete the great commission in their lifetime!

 

Will we just go fishing?  Or will we obey Jesus and go fishing in a different location?  This generation is going to get fired up and change the world.  Will they do it for Jesus?  Don’t just go fishing.  Do whatever it takes to reach Generation Z.  Adjust a little bit for a miraculous catch!
 
Belong Week 3:  Listen to it here.
 
 

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Follow (Week 6): Lead Like Jesus

The Elder Team

Chris Logan

Welcome A story about Daniel. With that welcome I know that the term “elders” has been a touchy subject at various times in our 110 year history There are many pragmatic/practical reasons a church might have elders.
  • Help the pastors carry the burden of pastoral ministry
  • Bring a variety of expertise through various ages, experiences to bear on the issues every pastor faces
  • To hold the pastors and each other accountable
The list can go on and on of the helping ministries elders can perform according to each person’s abilities
With that said I would briefly like to share what the Bible says about Biblical eldership.  I would say the best and only reason to have elders in a New Testament church is that the New Testament says to.
 
Titus 1:5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint[a] elders in every town, as I directed you.
 
Acts 15:12 And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue.
 
Acts 14:23 When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed
 
Ephesian’s 4:12-13 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
 
1 Peter 5:1-4 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
 
There are many more passages that speak to the New Testament church and being elder lead.
FBC exercises a plurality of elders (def.; more than one) if anyone or group would like to discuss these Scriptures please reach out to us, none of us know what you are thinking unless you tell us.
 
We have open elder meetings the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 anyone is welcome
 
Closing:  Peter and Paul remind us that the churches we shepherd are not our own. We are overseers of Gods church, God’s flock. And so it is God’s Word that must have the final say. Jesus created the church. He died for the church. He is its only King and law giver. If we are committed to shepherding Christ’s church, and not our own, then we must be willing to do it his way.
 

Ed Bell

 
(This is a brief outline of what Ed shared)
When I was much younger I was shot by Debbie’s former boyfriend.
I grew to hate that man for what he did to Debbie and me.
You can’t follow Jesus if you hate someone!
Corey Ten Boom struggled with many things in life, one of which was fleas.  She learned to love fleas when God used them to keep the Germans from finding a hidden bible.  She also struggled with burdens in her life that were too big for her.  Her father taught her to let him handle those burdens.  He was built for them, she was not.
 
We try to carry burdens that are too heavy for us.  Like forgiving those who persecute us.  Those who hurt the ones we love.
G. Gordon Liddy says there are two kinds of people in prison and they are both stupid.  The convicts who deserve to be there and the prison guards.  The convicts did stupid things to get there.  The guards voluntarily choose to be there in a high-risk situation for minimum wage.  They choose to go to prison every day.  They are more stupid.
 
When I hold a grudge against someone who did something stupid I  “go to their prison every day” I am being stupid.  I am being more stupid than the person who hurt me.  When I carry that burden, I am shaming my Father who wants to carry it for me.  I am not built to carry that kind of burden.  I need to give it to Him.
 

Scott Underwood

(Scott did not get to share all of this because of limited time:)
Jesus was
Practical – met people in their daily needs and concerns, which lead into spiritual needs
Intentional – Jesus went where people were, specifically for the reason to engage them
Relational – Jesus acted in ways and used circumstances to build deep relationships with people.
 
Calling of Simon and Peter, James and John – from their boats –Matthew 4: 18-22
Calling of Matthew and Zaccheus – from the tax tables – Matthew 9: 9-13, Luke 19: 1-10
 
Practical, then Relational
Washing of the feet – John 13: 1-20
Cooking them breakfast – John 21: 1-22
 
Practical, transactional, but life changing and relationship starting
Woman at the well – John 4: 1-26
Healing lepers – Matthew 8: 1 -4.  Healed him, encouraged him to follow God’s commands
Restoring sight – John 9: 1-38
 
Scott shared about how he saw a man who looked destitute looking through a dumpster. he imagined getting out of his car, talking with the man, sharing the gospel, giving him some money and helping him on his way.  It was probably the Holy Spirit nudging him, but Scott never got out of his car.  He drove on.  Then he called on Tim to share a better example…
 
Tim Martin shared how God nudged him to pray for a lady he say in a restaurant.  He fought the urging for quite a while – until it was almost too late.  But he obeyed…and God blessed him and the lady (and her husband).
 

Daniel Kinnaird

(Outline)
Passage: Philippians 2:5-8
– Jesus patterned his life and leadership in a way that is completely the opposite of they way our culture teaches us to live.
– Temptation of power: most of us believe that we leverage power to accomplish important goals and causes.
– Example: daydreaming about winning the lottery — I dream about everything I might accomplish if I had power, authority, and money.
– These methods are flawed because we are broken people. We are corrupted by our own pursuits of worth, confidence, and value in the eyes of others.
– These methods are not the way of Jesus.
– christian leaders (and christian people) will look very different than the world if they pattern their lives from Jesus.
– The way of the christian leader is not the way of upward mobility in which our world has invested so much, but the way of downward mobility ending on the cross” -Henri Nouwen
– Leadership in the church moves from leadership built on power and into a leadership in which we listen and discern together where God is leading his people. It requires deep trust in God and trust in brothers/sisters in Christ.
 
(This is a summary by admin)
Philippians 2:5-8  You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped,  but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature.  He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross!
 
What kind of blueprint for life or leadership is this?  It is not a good one!  Who starts at the top with all the power and say that is not the way I want to lead my life?  The temptation for power, the temptation to feel important and be important is real.   I have been high and I have been lower than low.
 
I have been in places we would consider unimportant.  We all want to escape that kind of situation!  We all dream of being in a different place.  If only we had money, power and authority, we would do such good things.  That seems to be the reality of all of our lives.
 
But the way of Jesus is different.  His way is in opposition to money and power.  He voluntarily laid aside His God-hood and that is the invitation to all of us in our life and in our leadership.  Whether we carry a title or not we are all leaders:  of our lives, in our families, our friend-groups, in the places we work, and at school.  We influence ourselves and we influence others.
 
The way of Jesus is not the way of humans.  It’s not our way.  There is an author that I love who said, “The way of the Christian leader is not the way of upward mobility in which our world has invested so much but the way of downward mobility ending on the cross.”
 
The way of Jesus ends in death.  We talk about it figuratively like death to ourselves, death to our dreams, we lay that down for the sake of Jesus.  I think Jesus actually lived it literally.  I don’t like to think about it that way.  I really don’t!  It’s hard to think about that.  But that was the way of the one that we follow.
 
So I want to encourage all of us, as we live our lives, to look and to read scripture and model our lives after Jesus who lived lived completely differently – upsettingly differently than the way that we live our lives.  I want to invite all of us, including the leaders and elders to live in a way that sets down power and authority and trades it for love!    That we voluntarily forsake what seems to make sense, what would give us leverage to accomplish awesome things, good causes…that we lay that down in order to follow Jesus.
 
Because leadership built on power is not the way of Jesus and it can’t be the way we lead in the church.  We need to move from leadership built on power to leadership in which we discern together where God is leading His people.  That requires trusting each other and it requires humbly seeking God’s face in everything that we do.
 
Daniel then shared how God is pulling him out of being an elder and into Young Life where he can minister to young people.  He sees the leadership of Jesus in the hearts of those who work there.  They don’t do it perfectly because this is hard, but he sees how they sacrificially give of their time, that they lay down the power to love other people, make time for other people and make space in their lives to love other people who are sometimes very difficult to love.
 
Chris Logan then closes with a few comments.
 
Follow Week 6:  Listen to it here
 
 
 

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Follow (Week 5): Life On Mission

Pastor Jerry Ingalls & The Mission Team (Tiffany Lee)

Luke 19:1-10

 
Pastor Jerry shares about following Jesus and living Life On Mission. He shares from the story of Jesus calling Zaccheus to change his life. Tiffany Lee shares from the mission team for the National Day of Prayer and some upcoming events for the church sponsored by the Mission Team.
 
  1.  An introduction by Pastor Jerry Ingalls about being on Mission by Following Jesus.
  2.  Pastor Jerry shares about Zaccheus’ story of transformation when Jesus looked up and called him.
  3. Tiffany Lee then shared the following:
 
  • Pray for the persecuted brothers and sisters. Pakistan

 New Study Opportunity

WURMBRAND

The Voice of the Martyrs

Starting: Sunday January 6,2019

Time: 9am-10am

About: This is a six-session video(Tortured for Christ) curriculum based on the lives of Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand. That will help you be equipped and encouraged to become as bold as the Wurmbrands were themselves. Be inspired by the examples of the Wurmbrands and other persecuted believers as you learn to love and forgive your enemies and become bold witnesses for Christ. Through prayer, Bible study and purposeful fellowship with other believers, you will begin to see opportunities for the advancement of God’s kingdom all around you – even amid your own trials and tragedies. https://www.persecution.com/graphics/lp_specific/lp_201809_GS_trailer_preview.mp4

  • Missions Trip to Dominican Republic 2019

June 29th-July9th

Next meeting; November 27 @ 6pm

Location: Sandy Jones home

Deposit Extension Date: Nov. 18th

$200.00 Non-refundable deposit

Please contact Sandy Jones @ 765-524-4912

 

  • Matthew 28:19-20

            Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of age.

  • Acts 1:8

            But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witness in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

  • Romans 10:13-14

for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

  • Chronicles 16:23
Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day
 
Follow Week 5:  Listen to it here
 

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GATHER (Week 2): We Gather to Worship!

We Gather to Worship!

Thoughts from members of FBC’s Worship Planning Team on the purpose and importance of corporate worship.
 

Emily Hurst

You are joining us on the second week of a seven week series called “Why We Gather”. Today, we want to share about how we gather to SING and the importance of the music we include as part of our weekly worship service! If you regularly attend our service, you’ll notice that our service structure is “flipped” today, with several testimonies at the beginning, and our main worship set later in the service, as it’s designed to be an opportunity to respond to the message being shared today.

Those of us sharing today represent most of the members of the Worship Planning Team, which is a new ministry team that started meeting in the spring and officially took over the primary responsibility of planning our Sunday morning worship services on July 1. (We were introduced on that day…but don’t feel bad if you weren’t here. I’m on it and I wasn’t here!) If you have any questions about our purpose or what we are doing, please feel free to talk to any of us! But, our sharing today doesn’t have much to do with what the WPT is, but rather the hearts each of us have for the role that music plays in our services, and what God has to say about making music to His glory. Now, music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and some of my earliest memories of music are from church as a child. Music got me through some of the darkest times of my growing up years, and I hold two degrees in music, one in voice performance, and one in music therapy. The importance of music in our lives has never been in question for me, but I have spent a lot of time thinking about how music may strengthen my relationship with God.
 
The conclusion I have come to is that: music is a love gift from God. In one of my classes for my music therapy degree called Psychology of Music, we studied a chapter on the adaptive purposes of music. One of the most interesting things I learned was that there is no real biological purpose for the existence of music. Certainly, we have found ways for it to be adaptive ( I would be out of a job if we hadn’t). Music, when used in the proper settings, has medical, spiritual, and emotional ways of changing us on an individual level. But, the bottom line is: if music had never existed, our survival as a species would not have been effected. The beauty of music is something God created for us in the same way that visual arts, colors, landscape, and climate are additions God made to his creation that we may experience beauty and variety. These are the largely unexplained invisible qualities we hear about in Romans 1:20: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Even in our fallenness, we find beauty. We constantly try to make connections between what we see and experience and the meaning behind it. Music has, time and again in my experience, been a way that God has reminded me “I am here. I never move. Just look for me.”
At the same time, God’s creation is intended to glorify Him! Psalm 100 says:
 

1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.

2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

3 Know that the Lord is God.

  It is he who made us, and we are his[a];

 we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

 and his courts with praise;

 give thanks to him and praise his name.

5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

 his faithfulness continues through all generations.

We sing because we have the opportunity to give God’s gift of music back to him as a way to worship and glorify him! This is why the songs we choose matter. The words in the songs we sing should line up with the Scriptures God has written on our hearts. And (now this one may sting) whether or not we “like” the music should have nothing to do with whether or not we choose to glorify God with it! 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
God has given us the gift of music to demonstrate his love for us. God did not create a utilitarian world for us to live in, but rather one that showed us how desperately he loves us so that we may love him in return! We are commanded by God to worship. I leave you today with this, echoing the apostle Paul in Romans 12:1, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
 

Brandon Atwood

Hey guys, my name is Brandon Atwood. I’m one of the worship leaders here at First Baptist Church, and today I am I’m not able to be here I’m out of town hiking on the Appalachian Trail so I just wanted to share a little bit this way. There are several reasons why we gather together and some of the other people in the church are going to be sharing some of those different reasons. My focus today is a special connection with God that we can really only get when we gather together and we sing and worship him together. We can and should sing by ourselves, and that’s a really good thing. Some of my best times with the Lord are just me and him, I’m at home and just worshipping Him, and those are really good times and we should all do that.

But, there’s just something that we can only get when we’re together. Psalm 89 talks about this, in verse 1: “I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord forever.” So verse one right there shows that singing together is a way that we can proclaim God’s love, we can proclaim His faithfulness, and we can worship Him together. The songs we sing are about God’s love, about His character, about His holiness, about how worthy He is, and about the things that He’s done in our lives. So songs are a way that we can focus on who God is together. When we gather together, it’s a special time that we can connect with God, and we can be drawn in by other people connecting with God. We can be drawn in and we can remember who he is and what he’s done in our lives, and as that’s happening with other people in the room, it’s helping us connect to God even more.

Verse 5 is another verse from Psalm 89 that I would like to share: “Let the heavens praise Your wonders, O Lord! Your faithfulness in the Assembly of the Holy Ones.” So there’s this special power that comes when we worship as the Assembly of the Holy ones. As the church, that’s us; we are the gathered together Holy people of God. This is something that we can’t get alone because it’s a group of people; we’re a body. We are a family. so when we gather together we’re creating that space to connect with God on this special level that we can really only get when we’re all here together.

The last verse that I would like to read from Psalm 89 is verse 15: “Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face.” There’s a word in this verse that’s not too familiar, and that’s the word festal. The word festal is describing celebration feast, and the word for people in this verse is not talking about individuals; the original word for people here is talking about a gathering of people. So, this verse is saying, “it’s the joint people of God who know the feast shout.” So what is what is a feast shout? It makes me think of, in the book of Exodus, the Passover; or in the gospels where it teaches about communion, where it’s a feast where we’re gathering together and there’s a joy that comes from this joint feast that we have sitting around the table.

Another way you can think about this is a wedding feast. You’re there with all of your friends and family and it’s all of your people. You gather together to celebrate the special occasion with so much joy, and that’s what a festal shout is. That’s what it’s talking about. And it’s really only something that you can get when you’re focused on who God is and what he’s done for you. It brings this joy, and it’s this song, this shout, that goes up to the Lord. And so, we gather together on Sundays to express our combined joy of experiencing God’s goodness. Together, we can connect with in a way that we can’t by ourselves.
 
You may watch Brandon share in video format by clicking on the video below:
 
 
 

Christy Ragle

I’m Christy Ragle, and you might be wondering why I’m up here because I’m not a music person, and if you sit by me you know that it’s like a joyful noise—I take that very very seriously. So I am on the worship planning team, but I’m not a musical person per se, so I’m here to talk to you about not singing. It’s pretty obvious that not all of us sing, and there are sometimes when I don’t sing. I just want to talk us through what that means, and what are some of the battles that I faced in my own life not singing.

So sometimes, when we aren’t singing, it’s because we’re new to this church, and the songs are different. Maybe we don’t know God the way that the people around us know God. That makes sense; you’re still learning. But, there are those of us that were raised in church, that know the songs, and still don’t sing. Why is that? These are the statements that I used myself and I’ve heard other people use. So we’re going to go through those:

  • I don’t like this song
  • I don’t know this song
  • I don’t feel like it
  • I’m not a good singer

So, what do all these statements have in common? They all start with the word “I”. So I’ve got some great news for you: it’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s not about the “I”. It’s about the Lord. David, in the Book of Psalms, in chapter 69, he shares about the sorry state of his life. He does that a lot: enemies are chasing him, people are mocking him, etc. He’s asking God for help and, in verse 30 of chapter 69, he says “Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with Thanksgiving for this will please the Lord more than sacrificing.” Did you heat that? —with singing. “That pleases the Lord more than sacrifice.” For some of us, singing praises is a sacrifice. You’re singing even though you don’t like the melody of the music. You’re singing even though you don’t know the song, even though you’re tired, even though you don’t feel like it, even though you’re not a good singer. My dad-okay I will say I can think sing better than my dad-he is a terrible singer! He cannot carry a tune in a bucket with a handle; but, that doesn’t stop him from singing praises to God. You know, without knowing it, my dad is an inadvertent worship leader because the people around him are like, “You know, if he’s singing I think I can sing!” Because, really, it’s not about him. It’s not about you.

 

So maybe you don’t know the songs; most of them kind of have a repeating chorus; just hum along. Read the words, concentrate on those words, and really try to make him part of your life. Something that helps me is listening to Christian music through the week. There are so many great resources for that; I’d be glad to share them with you. Honestly, it helps me through my week, because, you know, if I’m having a bad week, the best thing to do is to praise. You know you don’t feel like it. There have been times where they’re singing “I Surrender All” and I can’t say that because I’m carrying bitterness in my heart. So what do I do? I don’t want to just sing just to make the people around me think that everything’s okay. What if I prayed, “Lord help me surrender all”? You know, maybe you can’t mean the words that minute but that doesn’t mean that you can’t pray that God will bring that meaning to you.
 

Winnie Logan

When I took over the leadership role for the first Sunday worship team, I started thinking a lot about the songs that we sing, and the songs that we select. You know, God made us all different, and that’s wonderful. What I like to sing may not be what you like to sing, and vice-versa; so I really thought a lot about that, and I started thinking about what congregational worship should look like. What does it look like when God’s people gather together and sing?

 

The Lord took me to Revelation, and I really love this passage. We get a glimpse into heaven, and we get to see what’s happening in heaven right now and in the future. So I want to share that with you. Chapter 5 of Revelation, starting in verse 1, it says:
 

1Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits[a] of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll

    and to open its seals,

because you were slain,

    and with your blood you purchased for God

    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.

10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign[b] on the earth.”

11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,

    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength

    and honor and glory and praise!”

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb

    be praise and honor and glory and power,

for ever and ever!”

14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

 

That is what worship looks like in heaven, and we should have a little piece of that here. So we see this vast congregation singing to the Lord because of what Jesus did! And what he did is is told to us in verse 9: He died and He rose again and with His blood He purchased men for God. He bought us. Isn’t that enough to make us want to sing?

 

Another picture of what worship looks like in heaven is in Isaiah 12. Isaiah 11, before this, is talking about when Jesus will come to reign. Chapter 12 of Isaiah says:

 

1 In that day you will say:

“I will praise you, Lord.

    Although you were angry with me,

your anger has turned away

    and you have comforted me.

Surely God is my salvation;

    I will trust and not be afraid.

The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense[a];

    he has become my salvation.”

With joy you will draw water

    from the wells of salvation.

In that day you will say:

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;

    make known among the nations what he has done,

    and proclaim that his name is exalted.

Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;

    let this be known to all the world.

Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,

    for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

 

 So when we come together, we’re here to sing for all the Glorious things that he has done. When we think about all the Lord has done for us, we can’t even imagine and describe everything that he’s done for us. And so, sing, people of the Lord when we come together.

 

Kevin Stonerock (Coordinator)

I believe we can all agree that our worship should focus on God. But are there any other reasons…”side benefits”, as it were, why we should participate wholeheartedly in corporate worship?

 

Let’s look at some scripture. Because I believe it sinks in a little better if you read it for yourselves, I’m going to ask you to turn in your Bibles to Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “today”, lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”.

 

Next, let’s go to Ephesians 5:18-19 “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord”.

 

And finally, Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God”.

 

Bearing in mind that Jesus is the object of our worship, what’s in it for us?…for you and me as individuals… when we worship together? I can think of several things. Perhaps you can think of others.
  1. It strengthens our faith. How does it do that, you might ask? I would answer, by way of reminder. 2 Peter 1:12-13 says Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body,[a] to stir you up by way of reminder…” By our worship, by singing songs together that are based in scripture, we are reminded that it’s not about our works, it’s not about our performance, it’s not about US. It’s about God and his grace and mercy.
  2. It helps us to see God for who He is and to see ourselves for who WE are in His eyes. And may I add here that if you are a believer, God is not mad at you. If you have put your trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus as your only hope of salvation, you are His eternally and nothing can separate you from his love. If you don’t believe me, read Romans 8. This is big, and yes, it does effect our worship. Because of Jesus, you are FREE to worship God. You are no longer a slave to the devil’s lies, or your own flesh. You are a new creation and as unworthy as you feel (and we are, in our own flesh), God DESIRES your worship, and true worship produces a thankful heart.
  3. We’ve looked at a few ways that corporate worship helps us as individuals, but what about that person sitting next to you, or behind you or in front of you? Can your worship, or lack thereof, effect them? If so, how? I have a couple more scriptures for you. You can turn there if you want, or just listen.
 

Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “today”, lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”. The phrase I want to focus on is “encourage one another”. Personally, I am encouraged when I hear my brothers and sisters in Christ raising their voices in praise and worship. How about you? We are not all called to preach. I’m certainly not, but we can “preach the truth” or affirm the truths of scripture to those around us by our wholehearted, passionate lifting of our voices in praise and adoration. The singing we do here is not, or at least shouldn’t be, something we do ritualistically so we can get to the preaching. And It’s not about how well you sing or whether you can even carry a tune. Personally, some of the most encouraging times for me have been when standing within hearing range of a saint who is tone deaf but is lifting his voice in song from his heart. There’s something very touching about someone who is so focused on God that they are oblivious to what others around them might think about their singing ability. I believe God honors that. “For[b] the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7 If you really want to get a blessing, sit in front of the Durham family… especially when all the boys are home. Maybe there’s someone in your neighborhood who encourages you. Encourage THEM by telling them so. Or maybe you could be just the person to encourage someone else.

 

Ephesians 5:18-19 “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord”. Wouldn’t the logical time to sing to one another be during our corporate worship time? If you come up to me after the service and start singing in my face like we’re doing a scene from “The Music Man”, I’m probably going to be uncomfortable, and whatever you are trying to convey is going to get lost in my embarassment , so I think we can safely assume, in most cases, Paul was talking about corporate worship.

 

Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God”. Singing with what? Thankfulness.

 

You may say, “Well, I just don’t FEEL it today.” Hey, I’ve been there. But on those times when I have ignored my feelings and offered up a “sacrifice of praise”, as mentioned in the Hebrews 13, I usually leave this place with a whole new attitude because I have stopped focusing on my problems and have been reminded of the holiness, the worthiness and the grace of God. I believe that when we truly allow ourselves to enter God’s presence, we can’t help but be changed. Don’t wait until you FEEL it. Feelings come and go, but God never changes. The eternal truths about God; the promises of God; the faithfulness of God are not effected by our feelings. You may say “I don’t want to be a hypocrite.”. To that I say “Fake it till you make it”.

 

It’s kind of like swimming. You’ll never learn unless you just go ahead and jump right in. My dad taught me how to swim in Duck Creek. It took me a while to get past the fact that I might end up dead at the bottom of the creek with the leeches and crawdads, but eventually it dawned on me that my father wasn’t going to let that happen. I used to walk across the bottom on the shallow end of the swimming hole, flailing my arms, pretending to swim. My dad didn’t mock me or chide me (though I can’t say the same about the local teenagers). He encouraged me to go out a little deeper, until one day it happened. I nearly drowned. No….I started swimming. Not all that well, but I was doing it! You should have seen the look of pride and satisfaction in my father’s eyes.

 

How about our worship leaders? I’ll tell you a little secret. If you want your worship leaders to be better, give them some encouragement by smiling and singing with gusto. Can we get real? You should be up here sometime and see how you all look out there. It can be downright scary! 🙂 Also, if you sing really loud, you’ll help cover up our mistakes.

 

            Why DON’T we worship? What are some possible reasons? Well, I thought of a few. Again, you may be able to think of others.
 
  1. The cares and worries of the world weigh us down. We can all relate to that. Let’s admit, it can be hard to sing when your world is falling apart. But if we look at the Psalms, David didn’t necessarily feel bon vivant all the time. Some of his songs are downright depressing, but by the end, most times he had come back around to the fact that his hope was in the Lord.
  2. Perhaps there is disappointment with God. David was familiar with that, too. “How long will the wicked prosper?” He wasn’t afraid to pour his heart out to God and again, by the end of the Psalm, he ends up praising God.
  3. Or maybe it’s that we don’t feel worthy to worship. Anybody ever been there? I have. That’s why it’s so important to be grounded in biblical truth. The Bible says that God has MADE us worthy through the blood of His Son. The Bible also says that He has removed our sin as far as the East is from the West. We ARE justified, we are adopted. God desires our worship. God deserves our worship. And finally, let’s never forget that we are not here to witness to OUR goodness, but to HIS goodness.
 
 
 
Gather Week 2:  Listen to it here
 
 

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