Living It Out – Apr 16

From Andrew Bee

Spring!

I see evidence that spring is here. That may be hard to believe knowing there is a good chance of snow for the day you’re reading this. Yet, even though the silence of winter has tried to hold on, spring is popping up.

Every year I am pleasantly surprised to see the evidence of activity going on beneath the surface. Life is emerging. Spring is popping up. It is an exciting time of year.

I’m sure you’re eager to get an update on Catch the Wave. There has been a lot of behind the scenes work to revise the plan for building renovations,  create a new partnership with a Converge Church planter in Clarksville TN, another round of church health evaluation using the NCD survey and some thoughts and dreams for healthier structures and teams. The LST, budget committee and missions team have also been working hard as we prepare to enter a new fiscal year. And we want to share all of this with the you, the fellowship.

We will be combining our Annual Fellowship Meeting with our Monthly Fellowship Lunch on Sunday, April 29th. This is an important meeting as we work to “get in shape”.



Living It Out – Apr 9

from Pastor Andrew

 We are all planners to some degree. Even if you’re a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of person, you still plan something. 

Have you ever had a plan not work? Then what? Plan “B” of course. We have plans for our plans. If plan “A” doesn’t work we have Plan “B”. 

In Galatians chapter 3, Paul reminds us that we make plans spiritually too. We are compelled to make a plan to address our sense of morality, eternity, and relationship. Most often Plan “A” is “do good”. Paul says Plan “A” ultimately ends in guilt and shame because we can’t ever be good enough. Plan “B” kicks in then, forget the rules let everything be relative and feel as good as possible. Paul says this Plan falls short by leaving us ultimately unsatisfied and without hope. He points us to God’s plan of faith in Jesus Christ as the plan that will work for everyone. But God’s plan is a plan you can miss because it’s the Plan (you can’t) “C”. 

Spiritual freedom and new life come through faith in Jesus Christ; faith in His life, death and resurrection. Faith, by definition, is trusting what you can’t see. Paul goes on to say that our freedom comes by faith and is then continually administered and empowered by the unseen Spirit of God. Life is found in the Plan (you can’t) “C”.

God’s Plan “C” is the way to new life, and the way of an ongoing abundant life. If you find that your best Plan “A” isn’t working like you hoped, and your fall back Plan “B” isn’t looking much better, turn to God and embrace His Plan “C”. The plan you can’t see, God’s plan of faith will change your life forever.



Living It Out – Apr 2

from Pastor Andrew

 I would guess most of us have not been secret agents, or military special ops. We have not heard the words, “Your mission, if you choose to accept it…” but maybe you’ve looked at a school or work assignment, a challenging situation, our a big goal and heard the Mission Impossible theme music playing in your head. Dunt-Dunt, Duh–Da, Dunt-Dunt, Duh–Da, Ba-duh-duh-dum. Jesus had a mission impossible.

On the cross, Jesus declared that he completed his mission by calling out “It is finished”. Those three words are the translation of one greek word, Tetelestai. In greek the word Tetelestai has two primary uses meaning it is complete or paid in full.

In that day, when soldiers would return from a mission, they would announce “TETELESTAI”. This communicated they had finished the job but also that they had finished well. They had been triumphant. It was a positive and celebratory word.

The other use of “Tetelestai” makes the meaning a bit more tangible. The other use is when a debt gets paid. Most of us have paid a bill of some sort. Some of us have paid off a big debt. Maybe you’ve paid off your car, your house, or a debt you never thought you would be free of. What a feeling! “Tetelestai”. It is finished. It is paid in full!

You’re not a bad person. You strive to make a positive contribution to the world. You love your family, you’re a good friend, you’re honest and kind and fair. On the whole you are a good person. But God requires perfection. I think I am a good person, and I think many would agree. But I know I’m not perfect. I have realized that I can’t be good enough, consistently enough, for long enough to measure up to God’s right requirement. It’s impossible. But Jesus did it. Then Jesus did the unthinkable. He traded His life for ours. He took our imperfection on the cross, and offers us His perfection. He declared “It is finished”; the mission is complete, the debt has been paid. To prove He was good enough and that God’s justice was satisfied, he rose from the dead!

God extends this offer to each one of us… keep trying to be good enough, to be perfect, or through faith, believe in Jesus Christ and accept His trade. It is that simple. Will you accept that it is finished?

Happy Easter!



Living It Out – Mar 26

from Pastor Andrew

 I watch my 17 year old and remember days as a young man. I’ve concluded getting/staying in shape is harder the older I get. I
believe the same holds true for churches. Meadows Christian Fellowship is an older church. Here are five principles of
working out that will help us get in shape.
Be realistic. This is hard for me. I want to see big results in a short time. Often I start big and burn out quick and that does little good. Getting in shape is a process that requires honest evaluation and patient endurance. Ask yourself; “where does God wish our church was” and “what part can I play to get it there”

Set a goal and make the time. I’ve seen a billboard advertising a gym that says “fit people have more fun”. It has a picture of a dad playing with his kids, I want to be a fun dad, so I try set goals and make the time to get fit. In the kingdom “fit people have more
impact”
. Do you have a disciple making goal? Do you have a mentoring goal? Does your small group have goals? Set a goal
and make the time to start working on it.

Warm up. Simple things like getting into our 9:30am worship service on time, coming 4 Sundays a month instead of 3,
encouraging your small group to meet regularly, staying for the Know, Love Become hour, coming to prayer meeting, these are
all good ways to warm up and start getting in shape.  

Less weight, more reps. Pray for one person a week. Invite a family over for dinner or someone out for coffee. Send a note of encouragement, or make a phone. If your not giving, start small and be regular. If your not spending time in the Bible, start with a verse a day but do it every day. If your not sharing your faith, start with one comment or question. Small expressions of love for each other and simple disciplines, done over and over, will help us build strong, lean muscle and get us in shape. If your doing things like these consistently well, increase your weight, your reps or both.

Be accountable. Working out with someone else is a bit threatening but really helpful. Share your goal and invite someone else to get in shape with you. Let’s help each other Catch the Wave.



Living It Out – Mar 19

from Pastor Andrew

Recently I spent some time on the Gulf coast of Florida with my family. While it is still a bit cool in March, even in Florida, I couldn’t keep my kids out of the water. We did many things in the water; boogie boards, inflatables, kayaks, swimming and a new activity… Jellyfish dodging. It was a blast, and it reminded me how important it is to Get in Shape to Catch the Wave.

The elders have been working on “our fresh commitment to shepherd the Fellowship” through—

  • Focusing more intently on the Word and prayer
  • Providing hands-on spiritual care
  • Developing leaders to be equippers more than doers
  • Modeling a culture of love, encouragement and service
  • Guiding the process of structural evaluation

We’ve had two elder retreats, we have met with some small groups, we have administered the NCD (Natural Church Development) Survey, and we have worked with the LST, MGLs and Staff to evaluate our organizational structures and to revise our plan for the building renovations.

At the business meeting, April 22nd at 6pm, we will share some next steps of communication, feedback and implementation that will continue to help us Get in Shape through the rest of the year.

Please continue to pray each day for…

  • Monday: Relationships with God and others
  • Tuesday: Refreshing our structures and teams
  • Wednesday: Reforming our Systems
  • Thursday: Refocusing with a ministry mindset
  • Friday: Reaching our community
  • Saturday: Renovating our facility

Let’s keep working together to Catch God’s Wave!



Preparing for Worship – Feb 19

from Pastor Andrew

There have been events this past week that remind us in vivid ways, we live in a fallen world. Death and evil are real. The events of this week will also cause us to remember and talk about past events of violence and evil. The Bible lays out a different course of action for us in times of trouble. Psalm 77 is written during a time of trouble. A time when violence, evil and sin were prevalent. Instead of despairing and focusing on all that is wrong in the world, the
Psalmist chooses to focus on God by remembering what God has done.

The Psalmist begins his reflection by affirming that God, is the Most High God, and has been working in mighty ways for years (vs. 10). There are many examples of the work of the Lord. Pick one or two and actively think about them. 

As you remember the work of the Lord, reflect on the way of the Lord. There are two key words in the Psalm that speak to God’s way. God’s way is Holy. That means it’s the right way, it’s the pure way, it’s the set-apart way. It means that His way leads to Holiness, which is His goal for His creation. It also means that we may struggle to understand His way. The other word is “through”. God’s way is most often “through” not around. This is counter intuitive to our comfort oriented approach to life and religion. 

Finally as you reflect on the works of God, remember his promise. God made a promise to redeem the children of Jacob and Joseph (vs. 15). God has promised redemption from sin and of all things through Christ. In His time, in His way God will redeem.

The Psalmist was encouraged and strengthened in remembering the works of the Lord. We will be too. In these days of trouble chose to remember the works of the Lord.



Living It Out – Feb 12

from Pastor Andrew

For the last couple of weeks our Fellowship Bible Reading Plan has been in 1 Kings. I remarked to one of our kids that I enjoy reading the books of history. On one level the whole bible is wonderful history, but the history of the people of Israel can enrich our spiritual journey in at least three ways.

Old Testament history shows lessons to learn and patterns to avoid. One lesson to learn is, if the Word of the Lord (the bible in our case) has made something clear for you to obey, don’t let someone else or surrounding circumstances sway you from it. Trust God and walk in obedience. A pattern to avoid is keeping a little area of your life away from God. Whether we want to call that the “high places” that were so often left standing or an unsubmissive attitude that we see in so many kings, holding back from God never has a good outcome.

O.T. history shows the character of God.
I have heard many say that the God of the Old Testament is an angry God. Yet, when we read the Old Testament history of Israel I see a very different picture. God is actually patient and slow to anger. Add up all the years of Kings that blatantly turn their back on God and lead the people into sin. God is a patient God. There is a limit to His patience, he will punish sin, but in the waiting God extends a heap load of grace and kindness hoping that His people turn back to Him.

O.T. history shows the wonder of the Gospel.
In reading through 1 Kings I have found myself being thankful for the Gospel. What a gift of grace and peace that Jesus,
willingly gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age and the wrath of God to come. Then He rose victorious, all according to the will and plan of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 

Read the O.T. and rejoice in the truth of the Gospel.

 


Living It Out – Feb 5

From Andrew Bee

Paul wrote the letter to the Galatians to remind them that it is by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ alone that they are saved and transformed. There were other teachers who had come in behind Paul encouraging the people that salvation came through Jesus, plus something. In the case of the Galatians, the something was old Jewish rituals, like circumcision. Paul, with passion and love, for them and the Gospel, fights for their lives of freedom in Christ.

Why should we focus on Galatians now? As we are focusing on “Getting In Shape” there are 4 reasons for us to spend the next few months in the book of Galatians.

  1. Galatians presents the Gospel of Jesus Christ in simple but powerful ways. “Getting In Shape” starts with the Gospel. We can not multiply disciples, leaders, groups or gatherings without a laser focus on the simple, true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  2. We are prone to fads. The “get’er done quick” or the “ten steps to…” methods usually sound good. If there is a shortcut or a “guaranteed” approach, we’ll take it. Spiritually, there is only one way to Get in Shape, by grace, through faith, in Jesus Christ. Are we centered on that?
  3. We are all prone to drift. In any diet or exercise plan I’ve done, there is always the temptation to skip this or nibble on that. Spiritually, we are also prone to try this or that or cut a corner here or there. We’ll get in shape best if we’re willing to examine if were applying the Gospel to our whole lives and living in true freedom.
  4. We desire to ride the wave of God’s kingdom multiplication movement. This is not just a catch phrase. I desire that our church be on fire and on mission for Jesus Christ. I desire to see people saved and set free. I think you desire that too. Galatians is a letter that forces us to examine our lives in light of the Gospel. People who’ve been set free by the Gospel and who live spirit empowered, Gospel-centered lives are ready to ride God’s wave.
 


Living It Out – Jan 29

from Pastor Andrew

Our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting is at an end. But as day 22 comes, I pray it is only the end of the beginning.

Submission is a Biblical mandate, there is no getting around that. I say that with the understanding that many have been hurt by the misuse of the term and application of submission. That is why it is vital that we keep submission and grace connected. Submission without grace is servitude and that is not Biblical submission.

God does not coerce us into submission, nor is he after simple compliance. God is most interested in an intimate relationship with each one of us. He pours out more grace on us so we can experience His love and care for us. He offers grace and lovingly calls us into willing submission to Him.  As we submit there is joy and deeper connection.

As we grow in our submission to God we are more able to move into submitting to authority and one another. Submission at every level is rooted in the grace and goodness of God. We submit to authority as an act of faith because we believe God is good and ultimately in control.  We submit to one another as a response to God’s grace to us, an expression of our hope in the power of the gospel and as an extension of God’s grace to and for others.

I pray we have begun a journey toward Biblical submission rooted in grace. I pray we will continue on this journey as we wrap up our 21 days and move into the rest of this year. 



Living It Out – Jan 15

from Pastor Andrew

Submission is at the core of all relationship.

In the Garden of Eden, before sin, man had a wonderful relationship with God. The relationship that is intended and desired by God. Relationship flowed out of man’s submission to God, trusting His Word and keeping His commandment. Adam and Eve’s sin was a revolt against God, a refusal to submit.

Submission and sin are almost antithetical. Each is almost the exact opposite of the other. Salvation is the solution to man’s sin. When we are born again by faith in Christ, it is a submission to God, to the authority of His Word, and to Christ as His means of salvation.

Submission is also at the heart of discipleship. Jesus calls us not only to believe in Him but to follow Him. A disciple is a learner and a follower, a student who has submitted himself to his teacher.

As a disciple, we are called to submission as the key to unity and harmony in human relationships. In the Godhead, in the church, in marriage, and in any relationship, submission is the basis for unity.
 
1 If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; 4do not [merely] look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:1-4).

This week ask God to examine your attitude toward submission. Confess to Him where you’re prideful and resistant to Him or to others. Ask Him to help you submit.