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.

Living It Out – Dec 18

from Pastor Andrew

 Advent invites us to consider four realities Christ brings to our lives. Last week we focused on Hope and Love. This week we focus on Joy and Peace. 

Christ brings JOY. Joy is often said to be something like happiness but deeper and more resilient. It is a positive emotion of delight and exuberance that comes from a settled confidence. At Jesus’ Advent (coming) there came to the message of great joy because in Christ we can know God is with us. Christmas joy comes from the confidence that God has not forgotten us, that He knows our
deepest needs, that He is working out what is best for us because he loves us and that He will be with us through the process.
The wonder of Christmas JOY is that it isn’t just for Christmas time!

Christ brings PEACE. Christmas peace is a big part of the settled confidence of joy. Jesus Christ, through his life, death and resurrection, brings peace in three significant ways. Christmas peace means we have been declared righteous before God. Jesus Christ offers his righteousness in exchange for our sinfulness. This means we longer stand condemned in light of God’s holiness, but rather we’re adopted as God’s beloved children and welcomed into His family. Christmas peace means we are united with others. Christ came to bring peace through an experience of His grace so that as his peace permeates our hearts we can extend grace and live in harmony with one another. Christmas peace means we are made new and we’re being renewed, day by day. Christ came to reveal who we really are and who we’re really intended to be. We have been transformed to be a holy place where the power and presence of God is continually with us by His Spirit. And we can know everything we experience are tools being used to bring about endurance, character, hope, faith, maturity and comfort. 

The message of Advent is filled with Joy and Peace. It is an invitation to a new live through faith in the God who came,Jesus Christ.  Anticipate it, believe it, celebrate it.

Living It Out – Dec 11

from Pastor Andrew

Advent invites us to consider four realities Christ brings to our lives. We will consider these four in sets of two this week and next.

Christ brings HOPE. Both the Prophet Isaiah and John, the Gospel writer, point out that the Messiah (the sent one of God) will be one who brings light into to darkness.  Studies have shown that extended periods of darkness impact our sense of time, our physical health, our mental fortitude and even our ethical decision making. Darkness brings about despair and loneliness that leads to hopelessness. Most of us have not experienced long periods of temporal darkness, but many have spent years in emotional and/or spiritual darkness. A ray of light brings a ray of hope. A flood of light brings a flood of hope. Jesus Christ came into the world bringing a flood of light into the darkness of our sin-filled world and with him comes a flood of hope.

Christ brings LOVE. Another of our deepest needs as humans is to know we are loved. To have an awareness that you can never do anything that will make the lover’s perception of you greater or lesser. The Prophet Jeremiah wrote a letter to the Jewish people taken into the darkness of Babylonian captivity. In that letter we find a fairly well known verse, Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” In Jeremiah’s message of hope, we also find a message of love in Chapter 31:3. God declares to the Jewish people; “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” Even amid the people’s disregard and disobedience of God, He declares his love. Speaking to us today, Romans 5:8 tells us that even when we were enemies of God, He loved us. God demonstrated His love by sending Jesus Christ into our world to live, die and be raised again for us. 

Advent is filled with the message of Hope and Love found in Jesus Christ. Anticipate it, prepare for it, celebrate it.


Living It Out – Dec 4

from Pastor Andrew

What is Advent? 

It is a time of ANTICIPATION.

Since the 4th century, Christians have been celebrating Advent. Even before that, people of God have anticipated the coming of the promised One. In our advent devotionals this week, we read from Isaiah 9. We learned that Isaiah prophesied that God’s Messiah would come 700 years before the Messiah (Jesus) came. Yet that was not the first time God had promised to send the Messiah. In Genesis 3 God promised Adam and Eve that he would send a redeemer to bring salvation from sin. God’s people in the old testament anticipated the first advent of Christ. Now we anticipate Christ’s second coming. God’s people have always been people of anticipation and Advent is a time to be reminded of that.

It is a time of PREPARATION.

In the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas, it is easy to lose sight of what we really celebrate; the coming of Christ. In this time of year, as we think back over the year and get ready for a the New Year, it is important to center our lives afresh on the hope, joy, love, and peace that Christ provides. That, like the other details of our Christmas traditions, requires intentional preparation. While we should be mindful of this each and every day, Advent is a time set aside to prepare our hearts to celebrate and share the true meaning of the season.

It is a time of CELEBRATION.

Advent celebrates that Christ has come and will come again. Our anticipation and preparation result in a wonderful celebration of God’s Promise to us. The redeemer has come. He is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Advent reminds us that we live in light of that today and that He will come again making everything new. This is worth a grand celebration.