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Pastor's Points - August 2021

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Dear Church Family,

It is hard to believe how fast this year is moving and that we are at the start of another school year in just a short time. Summer has been amazing for ministry, and I thank God for all that He has done, especially in our children’s and student ministries.  Our camps and VBS were full of kids being challenged with the truth of the Gospel! And by God’s grace we have seen kids come to faith in Jesus Christ and follow in baptism.  God has been so good to us. But as our kids make their way back to school another season of ministry will begin, as fall approaches, in the life of our church.

Very soon you will hear about an emphasis on our Adult Life Groups.  We have On Campus Life Groups still meeting every Sunday during the 9:30 am service. But soon we will have our Off Campus Life Groups beginning on September 12th. Through the season of Covid it was hard on our groups to meet. We found creative ways to keep meeting, but it was challenging. Some people have not been able to meet in their groups at all, some have gotten out of the habit, and now we want to reenergize our groups by promoting our on and off campus groups to try to get as many of our people plugged back into a group as possible.

One of our “core values” is to BELONG.  It is very important that we have a group of brothers and sisters in Christ to do life with, and this best happens in the community of a Life Group.  We can get to know others, be ministered to, and study God’s Word together.  This helps us to truly “Belong” and invest ourselves together in our church family.  There will be an information table about our on and off campus Life Groups in our foyer beginning August 8th to help you find a group that will work for you. Please be looking for details about this churchwide emphasis so we can truly “Belong” to our church family together.

One last thing; I want to encourage you to save the date of August 29th for our “Worship on the Lawn” at North Campus. This is a great time for us to fellowship together and invite others to come with you as well. This will be a laid back, enjoyable time of food, fun, fellowship, and worship together. Feel free to bring a picnic meal with you or buy your food from one of the food trucks that will be present.  I am already looking forward to this special day!!

I love you and I love being your pastor!!

 

Posted by Alan Scott with

Spare Change - August 2021

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Recently I was given the opportunity to fill the pulpit while Pastor Alan was on vacation.  There was a part of the sermon that I had to cut for time.  I know you probably thought I could have cut more for time...just kidding.  I really enjoyed getting a chance to preach and was honored to bring you a word from Galatians 5:16-25.  In this sermon I spoke about how we can walk in the Spirit.  We do this by participating with the Spirit in killing sin (mortification), seeking to place Christ first so we could live in a new spirit filled life (vilification), cooperating with the work of the Spirit by feeding our souls the right kind of food (focusing on spiritual disciplines, specifically reading and studying God’s Word).

There was one more helpful thing about walking in the Spirit that I was going to mention but cut for time.  This is the idea that when we walk in the Spirit we must realize we are free from our past; but that doesn’t mean our past shouldn’t be acknowledged.  We are not supposed to forget our past sins but we are also not supposed to be held captive by them.

One of Satan’s biggest spiritual devices is to accuse us or pile on guilt after we have sinned.  It works like this: he often tempts us to sin, then we make the choice to sin and he turns around to accuse us.  He tells us how bad we are and how we will never amount to anything.  This shouldn’t surprise us, his name means accuser!  Living within this guilt forever will severely hurt our walk with the Spirit.  Some Christians have let their past sins cripple them.  Now I’m not saying that recent sins or sins that have great consequences don’t need to be dealt with.  There is a time of healing and repentance that must occur, but past sins do not put a black mark on you forever.  If so, the grace of God is not worth very much, is it?

So how do we deal with our past?  We must acknowledge it, learn from it, use it as a testimony, and move on to live for the Lord.  We can not let the ghost of our former self haunt us today.  This makes me think of that oak tree out in the front of our church that I mentioned during the sermon.  Remember how I talked about it being infested with oak galls?  I used it as an illustration of how we need to take in the right spiritual food to grow.  The oak tree has been injected with a special mixture of insecticide to kill the bugs and fertilize the tree over the past couple of years.  To give it the mixture the tree experts have to drill little holes all around the base of the tree.  The tree has recovered beautifully but there is some scarring at the base of the tree where they inject the mixture.

This got me thinking about the scars of our past.  In the spirit filled life we will have the scars from our sinful past but that is not who we are today.  A scar doesn’t mean you are not healthy, it shows a past trauma that you have overcome. The sins of our past scar our lives but they do not define who you are….you find your spiritual health, your identity, new life, your everything in our Savior, Jesus Christ, not your past.  Instead of being held captive or discouraged about your past, be in awe of all that God has brought you through.  Your past scars give glory to God, let them be a testimony of His grace in your life.

Do not let your past keep you from doing ministry and following God’s will in your life.  Walking in the Spirit means following God to do whatever and go wherever He calls you to go.  God has redeemed me from much brokenness in my past, I bear the scars of many mistakes but that has not stopped me from following God in my life.  Everything good that I have, everything that I have is all because of God and it is all for His glory.  It is the same with you!  So live in the freedom that Christ gives us and walk by the Spirit!

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

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