Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gushing Gospel Gratefulness on Thanksgiving!

As you celebrate this Thanksgiving with your family and friends, I pray that you will take the time to truly be thankful for what God has done and is doing in our Church family at Trinity.  I know for Michele, the boys and me, we are truly thankful for the opportunity to serve alongside you!  Know that we love you dearly and wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!  

We will "finish out" our staff blogs with a final offering of thankfulness from Bro. Brad Walker...hope you enjoy! 

From Bro. Brad:
When the holiday season rolls around, I often reflect on the things in my life for which I am most grateful. I have never gotten over the fact that a sinner like me was met by the saving hand of God and confronted by the truth of the gospel.  It is a divine exchange beyond comprehension: the righteous for the unrighteous, the innocent for the guilty, and Jesus ‘perfect record for my filthy rags (II Cor. 5:21).  Likewise, my Heavenly Father has called me to be a Pastor, and it is an absolute joy that I get to fulfill my calling at Trinity Baptist Church.

During a couple of week stretch in October, the student ministry had a Student Ministry Vision luncheon, Man vs. Wild (2 day boys’ campout), Pampered Pajama Party (2 day girls’ retreat), and a 5th Quarter (after football game student gathering).  During this time, I was reminded both of my inadequacy to do ministry alone, and the unbelievable joy to see the Body of Christ in action serving as a team at these events.  From all of the parents that spent the night as chaperones, to the ones that baked, or decorated, or served food, or did manicures, or set up, etc… I was overwhelmed by how blessed I am to have such a dedicated support system.  We had church members that kept our three kids (not easy) so that Elicia and I could serve at the spring break events.  We have had grandparents, student leaders, parents and people with a heart for students who have given up much free time to organize, plan, and to serve so that the teenagers of Desoto County will be impacted with the gospel.  I am so grateful for our Student Leadership Team of Mentors that believes and live out ministry with students, and for servants that serve in logistics behind the scenes where no one sees.    At our vision luncheon, many of our families were there, and I was reminded of the amazing work that God is doing in transforming lives and families in our midst.  Marriages are being restored, broken lives are being put back together, Dads are stepping up to lead their families and children are trying to honor them.  I am so grateful that I serve a group of students that are hungry for the Word and are eager obey it.  I am fully aware that I do not deserve such wonderful people to serve, and God has been more than gracious to allow me the privilege of serving at TBC.  

Few people on this earth wake up every day excited about their vocation, and I am one that is blessed to have such a job. While there are many challenges in student ministry, we absolutely love it! It meets the needs of my family financially and provides me the opportunity to fulfill my calling with joy.  This joy is enhanced by the Godly and talented staff team and pastors that I serve with. I am so thankful for Emily Beitz, my former assistant, who very capably assisted me with much skill and recently took a promotion as a “stay at home mom,” and for Jerebeth Mehler, who now helps me in amazing ways and has taught me much about authentic, compassionate ministry. The depth of fellowship that our staff has in the midst of spiritual battle is deep, and the fun we have is great. I am also thankful for a senior Pastor that is my pastor, boss, and friend.  There is no other pastor in the world that I would rather serve with than my Pastor.  

Finally, the number of acts of kindness, babysitting, notes of encouragement, cooked meals, and loving gifts that we have received from our church family are too numerous to mention.  Thank you TBC for loving me as one of the Pastors of your church body. Thank you for loving my family and serving us in a way that humbles and edifies us.  Thank you for extending grace for my many weaknesses.  Thank you for helping us to raise our boys. Thank you for keeping us accountable to God’s Word. Thank you for reminding us often of Jesus Christ and His work. Thank you for being our family. 

Bro. Brad

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankfulness - A Reminder from Bro. Jon Rushing

Before I turn you over to read Bro. Jon's blog, I wanted to let you know that I am now also found on Twitter.  You are welcome to follow me @Chad_everson  if you would like.  Now, enjoy Bro. Jon's blog!

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:12-17 ESV

And be thankful.  This is a command that I can joyfully obey.  When I look around with eyes opened to what God is doing in our midst at Trinity, I am amazed.  I see people of different ages, backgrounds, social standing, skin pigmentation, styles of dress and types of personalities all attempting to live with one goal:  the Glory of God.  It is seen not only as we gather to worship on Sundays, but in offices and homes, restaurants and coffee shops, ball fields and gymnastic studios.  Trinity is not about the building that sits at 7200 Swinnea Road.  Trinity is about the people that have covenanted together to share a lifestyle of worship around the Word of God which changes them and changes the world.  We are a people following Jesus on His mission of making disciples in the world.  For this, I am thankful.  God is changing us.  And to all who will see it, He is rebuilding His church in His image.  Praise Him!  My family and I are humbled and excited about the days ahead.  We do not want to be anywhere else.  Trinity is home.    

Looking back in gratitude.  Looking ahead with expectation.

~Jon Rushing        

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Message of Encouragement and Thankfulness from Bro. Greg Stringfield

As I reflect on the past year, like most everyone, we have had some tremendous “highs” and we have weathered the storms.  Like Nehemiah, we as the body of Trinity Baptist Church, need to rely on God’s supernatural power, provision and guidance when faced with problems, storm or goals that seem unreachable.  At the same time, God has blessed us with incredible members and we need to use all our skill, energy and abilities as God directs in each situation.  We need to find the balance that Nehemiah found between work and trust.  While we work and trust, we must also realize that every success we achieve is because of God’s hand of blessing.  Let’s make sure, as Nehemiah did, that we give God the glory for it all.   

As most of you know my role on staff deals primarily with budgets and day to day needs throughout the church, so naturally I see the movement and grace of God in our fellowship in a very poignant way!  As we were preparing the 2011 budget we had to make some difficult decisions knowing that, without a supernatural movement from God, we would not be able to fully meet our expected needs.   Month after month this year God continues to “show up” in a big way and meet the needs we have.  We have taken the steps necessary to be very diligent and resourceful, but God truly receives the glory as time after time He has met and exceeded our expectations!   What Trinity has experienced during 2011 is only an expression of God’s grace and love!  I’m so thankful that God has led many to respond for the first time in being faithful to their tithes and offerings.  God is doing a great work through our fellowship, so let’s continue to be faithful to the tithe and allow God to provide and bless us with the desires of His heart.   Pastor has just led us through Malachi 3 and taught us how easily we can be consumed with the world and our material wants - and when that happens, we are tempted to rob God.  Let’s continue to be known through our community as a very giving church.   

Thank you Trinity for your desire to have a deeper intimacy with Christ and because of that, we are experiencing growth in our tithes and offerings, growth in our desire to serve, and we are experiencing the fruits that come from a strong Biblically driven church.  It is a rarity today to attend a church like Trinity; a church that is dedicated to presenting the Gospel correctly to our neighbors, and around the world.    

In Him and Through Him Always,

Greg Stringfield
Pastor of Administration

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Word of Thanksgiving from Bro. Jeff Summers

A Word of Thanksgiving from Bro. Jeff Summers:

2 Corinthians 4:15
“For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.”

I must confess, far too often, I focus on the potential problems that lie ahead rather than taking the time to give thanks for what God has done and is doing amongst us.  In the midst of giving thanks, I am able to reflect on God’s plans and achievements that otherwise may get overlooked by more pressing agendas and if you will, the “squeaky wheel” that out shouts those things God is doing.

Pausing to reflect on what God has done and is doing in our faith family, I can’t help but think of the increasing spiritual growth and hunger that I see at Trinity, and even more so since I first joined this body.  Specifically, I see a hunger in parents wanting to know how to lead their children spiritually. One of our children’s teachers, in response to the call to help equip and encourage parents, has begun to reach out to the moms of the children she teaches by offering up her home for them to meet and disciple one another. There was a great response!  All of our children’s teachers, of whom I am so thankful for, not only love to teach our children, but are seeking ways to encourage and help parents be that primary faith teacher for their children.
A similar effect is happening among our men and fathers as we meet in our Men’s Fraternity each week - at the break of dawn I might add...and I am not a morning person! But we are hungry to be the husbands and fathers God called us to be. God’s grace is moving in and through these men, and the benefactors are our families! Our praise goes to our Lord for the work of His Spirit amongst us.

As a family pastor, I am thrilled to see God’s Spirit doing a work in the hearts of moms and dads who have an increasing desire to raise up a Godly generation! I am thankful for a church, our senior pastor, and ministerial staff who all have the shared vision that our church partner with parents and families to raise up the next generation to know the Lord. We have dedicated teachers and other leaders in our various children’s ministries who are not only faithful to deliver God’s Word to our children, but are seeking ways to equip and encourage parents.  I’ve mentioned our Sunday School teachers, but our AWANA leaders and directors see children growing to know God’s Word in a tremendous way, and our parents are a vital part of this growth.  Tim Wyatt, and his team during D6Live Kids Worship, is not only equipping our kids with God’s Word each week, but he is supplying resources to our parents, and involving our parents in kids worship. I am so thankful to all our teachers and leaders who serve in Sunday School, AWANA, kids worship, our KidCare, nursery captains, and Angie and Pam who so lovingly serve our families not only on Sundays but through our Mother’s Day Out Ministry.

An evidence of God’s grace spreading through many, and the shared vision of the partnership between the church and parents, is the increasing number of children asking about wanting to follow Christ as their Lord and Savior. This is not an accident. As parents teach their children at home, and the Church teaches the family, the Spirit of God begins to bring children to a point of salvation! Praise the Lord!
As I turn to reflect on our church’s responsibility to carry out our mission to the world, our church is making great strides in growth toward realizing that we are all called to make disciples starting in our own neighborhoods and extending to the unreached and unengaged people groups around the world. We have had multiple families not only host block parties in their own neighborhoods during Halloween, but other families committed to being at home just so that they can be a witness to their neighbors!  This is what making disciples means! From a consistent team of people serving the homeless in Memphis every month to men discipling one another, to our church sending teams to other areas around our world so that others may hear and be reconciled to Christ. We have been able to expand our partnership with other ministries and missionaries. The grace of God is at work in our church accomplishing His purposes in our families and enlarging our hearts and wills to reaching people for His Kingdom.

I want to thank the Lord for the men I serve with every single day. I am honored and privileged to not only call them brothers but to be serving with men who love the Lord enthusiastically and love his church, I am simply humbled. As the least of these men, I thank God for his providence of placing me here with them to serve His church.            Finally, I want to express my deepest appreciation and thanks to Carol Ann and our children for their support, for their growth in Christ, and love in spite of my many, many failings. I love you guys!

The sad thing is this: I don’t say thank you enough to my Lord or to you. Thank you for loving my family, thank you for responding to the Lord and growing in your faith, thank you for serving our Savior, and being an encouragement to me. Know this, that my thanks to God is great because I see the grace of God abounding to more and more people within our family of faith, and extending outward to those who have yet come to know that amazing grace.

In Christ, 
Bro. Jeff

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Relections of Thankfulness....

Our second staff blog is from Bro. Bubba Crowder.  Hope you enjoy!  
From Bro. Bubba:
It's interesting to see how thankfulness grows over the seasons of life.

As we walk through year two with our first child (Harper), the milestones she has gone through have been neat for two reasons.  The first reason being simply how fast things change; from scooting, to crawling, to walking seemed to happen overnight.  The second reason these milestones are neat is that in this stage of life growth and development is taking place SO QUICKLY.  Could you imagine if developmental changes happened so quickly for a 50-year-old? It's just incredible to see how God grows a child.

The same thing has happened in the life of our church... God has done a tremendous work in growing the depth of the people in our church.  One of the things I attribute this to is the way He has used the commitment by our BFG teachers to lead their Bible Fellowship Groups.  From teaching God's Word well, to having fellowships, to using their group as a vessel to do ministry, our BFG leaders and members have truly been "the Church".

As this has evolved greatly over the last year, my thankfulness continues to grow with it.  It's hard to look around at what God has done in the life of our Sunday morning BFG's and NOT be thankful.  From combining classes of different ages to multiplying growth in other classes, there has been an obvious work of ministry happening on Sunday mornings.

I'm also reminded weekly of how thankful I am for the volunteers in our Media ministry.  If you were a visitor to our church you would probably think our lights, sound, and video were all run by paid professionals.  Quite the opposite:  our committed volunteers do so because they understand the value of clearly communicating the Gospel, which they help by doing an excellent job of making sure the elements of Worship are all presented well.  They are a blessing to our church!

On a personal note, I'm thankful for the people who weekly go out of their way to minister to my wife and child.  It's an incredible blessing to know that they're being ministered to and they have a place to minister while I'm running around in a thousand different directions on Sundays and Wednesdays.

It's my prayer that each of us take time to sit down and look at all the ways God's blessed us in this past season of life, and in return we give Him all the praise and thanksgiving for what He has done!

Bubba Crowder

Monday, November 7, 2011

Heading into the Holidays!

As we enter into the “holidays” and especially toward this Thanksgiving time, I wanted our staff to have an opportunity to express what they are thankful for and what Trinity means to them.  I hope you enjoy these next few blogs and know that we, your staff at Trinity, love you wholeheartedly and pray that God will continue to grow us, as a body, into full maturity in Him!  We pray that we continue to grow in grace and that His grace would be evident in each of us as believers!  

From Bro. John Miller: 

This past year, I have been blessed by the Men’s Fraternity study. Seeing men come together at 6:00 a.m. to take part in the quest for authentic manhood has been uplifting, even if it is at 6:00 a.m.!  Thank you,  Bro. Chad for leading this study.

Rosie and I have had our health difficulties over the past 6 months…and many folks have shown their love in many different ways, not only to Rosie and I, but to other folks who are in need. When there is a senior adult death or a senior adult in the hospital, so many of you are serving and ministering to meet the needs. This is truly an evidence of grace.  Trinity is a church that cares about people.   John 13:34-35    “Reaching upward, Always Growing” is our motto and goal for the senior adults. I’m thankful to know there has been growth in the senior adults by learning the truths of the gospel through Sunday School and worship service, and by serving in the church and outside the church this past year.

What a pleasure it is to see young, and older men and women step up and take leadership opportunities, to help in anyway or any place of service that is needed. This is taking place at our church and God is blessing.

I’m thankful to serve with an awesome staff - one that is in one accord. A staff with family ministry, missions and reaching the lost in our hearts. “Pray without ceasing” for your pastor and staff.
Bro. John