Wednesday, September 24, 2014

And Now We Begin….


Everything we have prayed for, looked to, waited for…we are now on the brink of seeing all of it fulfilled. So, I wanted to use this post to simply encourage and inform. I want to encourage you to be in prayer for our church family, the community in which we are preparing to plant our lives, and our church and city leadership as we continue to negotiate in regard to our new facility. Also, be in prayer regarding our sister church, Grace Bible who is so graciously allowing us to share their facility for the next four weeks or so until our building is ready to be occupied. As I have said before, I know of no other church that has attempted to do what we are doing, and there have been very few resources we have been able to call upon. However, it has been exciting to watch the Lord guide us and direct every step we have taken. I don’t recall a time in my life when I have been more excited, and anxious simultaneously. But I remember, we worship a big God who can do more than we think or ask. Please stay faithful in your prayer, attendance, service and giving during this huge transition.

I want to reiterate our schedule for the upcoming days. If you have any questions you can e-mail or call our staff. 
  • This Sunday will be our final service in our present building and we will only meet Sunday morning. 
  • October 5: Sunday morning we will meet at Grace and will continue to do so during the time our building is renovated and being made ready.  
  • We will have AWANA at Hope Sullivan Elementary on Sundays at 5:30. We will also have our student worship during that time. 
  • It is our prayer and desire that we will be in our building at least for worship within the first two weeks of November. 
The building will not be completed until some time in 2015 - it is a large building and an incredible tool for ministry, but it will take some time to get it fully prepared. I shared with you in our discussion regarding this that we were going to really set this building up as a tool for the community and church body. The company that we have decided on to do our children’s area as well as our student area is World of Wow (here is there website) http://www.worldsofwow.com/?gclid=CjwKEAjw14mhBRC0vdSNkI2l7CASJAC8OFS0WyBnPVTj5EYAzJRwnCmHi5-u7gzJzC3JNdv0VlAYKhoC0Uvw_wcB     Obviously, what they are doing for us will look different than the samples on their website, but I am sure you get the idea.  Again, if you have any questions, please let me know.  I am praying for us and excited to see what our Lord has in store for this faith family. It has been a long, rough, fun, and emotional journey to say the least... but God is preparing us for something great!  Let’s seek His face during this time. I love you and count it an honor to be your Pastor.

Summary of Schedule:
Tonight - Most BFGs are taking a short break until they begin meeting in home groups the week of 
                October 5th - 10th.  A list of the BFG locations/days is posted below. 

September 28th -
9:00AM Worship at Brown Missionary Baptist Church 
7200 Swinnea Road, Southaven

5:00 PM  Student Ministry will be having a "hangout" at Strike Zone Bowling $10
5:00 PM  AWANA volunteer training at Grace Bible Church, Olive Branch


October 5th -
9:00 AM  Worship at Grace Bible Church 
7145 Malone Road in Olive Branch (behind Shops of Southaven)

5:30 PM  AWANA Ministry at Hope Sullivan Elementary 
5:30 PM  Student Services at Hope Sullivan Elementary
7985 Southaven Circle West,   Southaven  


Week of October 5th - Most BFGs will resume meeting, but in homes and other locations:


  • Bubba Crowder's BFG - will be meeting Wednesdays at 6:15 PM at Stephen and Brea Lenox's Home.  Childcare will be for 3 and younger at Mark and Dana Hall's home. Childcare for 4 and up will be at the Lenox home
  • Michele Everson's BFG - will meet on Wednesdays at 5:00 PM at the Conger's home in Greenbrook childcare will be at the Conger home if needed 
  • David Leverett's BFG - will meet on Wednesdays at 6:30 PM in the Leverett's home 
  • Mark Avant's BFG - will be meeting on Wednesdays at 6:30 PM in the Avant's home
  • John Miller's BFG - will be meeting on Sundays following morning services at Brown's Senior Adult Housing units (7399 Trinity Cove)
  • Rosemary Miller's BFG - will be meeting Sundays following morning services at the Miller's home
  • Addie Smith's BFG - will be meeting Sundays following morning services at the Smith home
  • Peggy McCammon's BFG - will be meeting on Wednesday evenings at 6:00 PM at the McCammon's home     
  • Dr. McClatchy and Glenda McLearen's BFGs are TBA  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Excitement


Have I ever really taken a chance for the things of God? I don’t mean taking a job or ministry position.  I would say the biggest chance I have honestly ever taken, was coming to Trinity. I have taken mission trips, and as a family we have stepped out on faith in giving and certain other areas. But have I ever really stepped out into something that made no sense anywhere but the Word of God?   My tendency is to be secure, to take the known path - the one I am familiar with. Since the age of 17 I have been doing some work in the ministry in some way. I certainly don’t know a lot of things but, I do know Baptist people and churches and what things are tough to do in a church. But, here I am and here we are as a church body, embarking on something that may make no sense to anyone but God. I was meeting with a lawyer last week and she asked me a question, that while logical, I was kind of shocked she would do so.   She asked “I see where you guys are moving and I know there are a lot of people in the area (in fact the largest neighborhood in North Mississippi), but most churches have moved out of that area. Why are you guys moving in there?” Honestly, I was excited that I could articulate the “why” we were doing what we were doing.   I shared with her that this is the precise reason we are moving into that area...we need each other. The area needs a church - a place that gives the gospel and a church family to love them, and we need the area. We need to go into the fields and we need to actually DO some of what we talk about that a church is supposed to DO.  As a church body, we may need this area more than this area even needs us. We need to be invested in our community, we need to get outside the doors of a building and reach people, understanding that our needs are the same whether we were raised in church or not. First and foremost we need the gospel, then we need community.  There are scores of people in Desoto County that have never given serious thought to the gospel or some who have never even heard the gospel.  We see countless people who attend a church or claim membership somewhere, but the gospel has never been a reality that has changed their lives.  We have a hope that this world cannot give. My prayer is that we lift up our heads and see the fields that are white with harvest, and begin to pray for laborers to be in the field. My prayer is that we commit to be those laborers! 
 
Not everyone can travel to a foreign country to do "mission work"....but so many of us want to believe that THAT is where missions is actually done.  It is easy to pray for or even give to a mission trip "over there" somewhere....but it is uncomfortable to think that I am called to reach out, to meet needs, to go right here in my own community and town.  It is our prayer that this move will take us further away from programs and ignite a real passion within our hearts to see people come to our Savior. We are not vacationing on a cruise ship waiting for Heaven... we are on a warship in this battleground for souls.   The goal is not to be entertained until we get to the sweet by and by. Our goal is that we bring our Savior glory, we labor in the fields, and we all understand that we have responsibility to display the gospel as part of this Kingdom. We are not walking around seeing what suits us and meets our preferences, but we take responsibility and fulfill our calling.
This is where we are headed. 
This is not for the faint of heart.  
This is not church as usual. 
This is a high calling and the gospel is worth taking a chance on.
It is worth putting our comfort on the line for.  It is going to be work - it is not going to be easy. It is not going to be the typical “American Church” way. We won't be sitting back waiting on people to come through our doors and expecting them to like us because we have a building or because "everyone should go to church"...it will require us to get out of our pews and go out of the building - to go to them and bring the gospel to them.  To get involved in lives and give of ourselves, just to show the love of Christ.  Christ met people in the marketplace, at the well....the place where everyone came together - all types of people, from every walk of life had to go to the well.  Somehow as churches today we have gotten it so backwards - we expect them to leave the well and come to the church.   We have got to make a change.  It won't be easy...we want our comfort zone, we want our security of tradition....and unless we do something to shake us our of our apathy and complacency...we will always "do church" the way we always have.   But we really believe this is the way God has set before us, we will be able to say we are taking a chance, one probably bigger than most of us have ever taken individually but certainly bigger than this church body has ever taken. It is not Trinity’s name on the line, it is not my name on the line. We are doing this for the glory of God, we are doing this for the sake of the Gospel and it is His name that will preeminent in this endeavor. It is a shame that we have to say it, but this is a radical step for the church today... but in the end it will be worth it all.

 

While we are waiting to be able to make this move I want you to look below at our new schedule and locations for the interim period:
 
Sunday, September 21st
9:00 AM service at   Brown Campus - 7200 Swinnea Road
 
Sunday, September 28th
9:00 AM Service at Brown Campus - 7200 Swinnea Road
 
Sunday, October 5th
9:00 AM Service at Grace Bible Church 7145 Malone Rd, Olive Branch
5:30 PM AWANA begins at Hope Sullivan Elementary 7985 Southaven Cir W, in Southaven
5:30 PM Student Services will begin at a location To Be Announced soon
 
Wednesday, October 8th
Bible Fellowship Groups will be happening throughout the city in member's homes
 
 
During this interim time, the church office will be operating from various locations.  You will need to contact the church office either by phone at 662-349-3333 or contact our staff/administrative personnel via the church website and email addresses. 
 
 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

When Do You Leave?


As our church family has been walking through our new covenant, I was sharing with another pastor that I have been shocked at responses we have had. Overall, the responses have been positive but the ones that were not have been varied as to why.  Some are upset over what was not included in the covenant and think that our covenant should be more restrictive,  and others are upset over specific items that were included.  For me, both the positive and negative responses (and the dramatic differences between them) reinforced how seldom we as people of God really contemplate how we live and why we do what we do. Statements made ranged from “When I signed the covenant, it made me aware of how I need to really try to be in the Word of God more.” to “When I had to sign this I realized I haven’t been….”   When I look at our new covenant that our strategy team put together, I see a document filled with the Word of God  and expectations that are thoroughly biblical.  As we discussed it and preached through it, very few questions or comments came up about it and yet, when we had to stop to sign it, it became something we actually had to think twice about.
 
Some have asked why we "made so much" over our new covenant.   Simply - because it is the center piece in which we will strive to serve God together. This doesn’t mean we have all obtained each of these things, but it means our hearts' desire is to strive to do them.
 
Here is the link to our covenant, for those who are not members of our fellowship. http://trinitysouthaven.weebly.com/uploads/1/0/7/5/10753478/covenant__statement_of_doctrine_and_belief.pdf

During this time of preaching through church membership, I spent a great deal of time explaining why membership is biblical and what our responsibility is in membership. As a matter of fact, several of the blogs I have posted have even dealt with church membership. However, I don’t believe I have ever taken time to discuss why or when one should leave a church. We live in America and we love convenience, comfort and choices.  Generally, it is for one of these three (convenience, comfort or choice) reasons that people will look for another fellowship. Most genuinely believe they go to church primarily for themselves, rather than seeing the church as a body and the need for one another (although they might not admit that overtly).  I have heard of people leaving and even have had people leave over everything from music, to d├ęcor, to following family members who left. Pastors have aided in this in that we spend a great deal of time asking people to join our church by telling them about all our fellowship can offer, rather than giving them biblical instruction of the responsibilities of being a member of our fellowship. The importance of loving the difficult to love, being with people that are different than you, working biblically through differences and conflict, getting our hands dirty because we are sinners dealing with sinners...all of that is kept quiet as it isn't a great sales technique to get people to join your church in our American Mega Church, "meet my needs" culture.  Most want to know what kind of trips you will do for my student, who can keep me entertained with my style of music, who will keep the sermons to the right length and topic so that I can go and just “feel better about me.” So, when I came across this blog some time ago, I thought it would be fitting for me to post during this transition time for our church family. As I read it, I concluded that I know  very few who leave their fellowships with these as their motivating factors. 

http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA120/when-should-people-leave-their-church  (also seen below) 
 

Leaving a church is not something that should be done lightly. Too many people abandon churches for petty reasons. Disagreements over simple matters of preference are never a good reason to withdraw from a sound, Bible-believing church. Christians are commanded to respect, honor, and obey those whom God has placed in positions of leadership in the church (Heb. 13:717). However, there are times when it becomes necessary to leave a church for the sake of one's own conscience, or out of a duty to obey God rather than men. Such circumstances would include:

If heresy on some fundamental truth is being taught from the pulpit (Gal. 1:7-9).

If the leaders of the church tolerate seriously errant doctrine from any who are given teaching authority in the fellowship (Rom. 16:17).

If the church is characterized by a wanton disregard for Scripture, such as a refusal to discipline members who are sinning blatantly (1 Cor. 5:1-7).

If unholy living is tolerated in the church (1 Cor. 5:9-11).

If the church is seriously out of step with the biblical pattern for the church (2 Thess. 3:614).

If the church is marked by gross hypocrisy, giving lip service to biblical Christianity but refusing to acknowledge its true power (2 Tim. 3:5).

This is not to suggest that these are the only circumstances under which people are permitted to leave a church. There is certainly nothing wrong with moving one's membership just because another church offers better teaching or more opportunities for growth and service. But those who transfer their membership for such reasons ought to take extreme care not to sow discord or division in the church they are leaving. And such moves ought to be made sparingly. Membership in a church is a commitment that ought to be taken seriously.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

He Knows My Need


When I read this post by Paul Tripp it spoke to me on so many levels. I think it is also very appropriate for where our church body is, as we are determining a new place to worship. I hope this helps you and speaks to your heart as it did mine. 


 

Defining Your Needs


I’ve been spending some time reflecting on Jesus’ teaching from Matthew 6. I’ve laid out 3 Treasure Principles; I’ve explained the Exclusivity of Treasure Pursuit; and I’ve discussed some applications of Earth-Bound Parenting. Today I want to talk about the word “need” found in verse 32.

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” (Matthew 6:31-32, ESV, emphasis mine)

DEFINING NEED


I would argue that Jesus is teaching that we're not responsible for defining our own needs. Now, let's be honest - this doesn't make sense to us.

Think about it. Would you ever let a stranger go to the supermarket and purchase your groceries; let a relative select your outfit for the day; let a colleague plan your family vacation? Of course not: "They don't know what I need to eat or what I need to wear or what I need to enjoy my vacation."

Here's an important principle to remember: you and I struggle to give up control because we think no one else knows what we need more than we do.

Listening to the surrounding culture doesn’t help, either. Everywhere you turn you’ll find propaganda urging you to “chase after your dream” or “do what you want” or “don’t let anyone tell you no.” You're constantly bombarded with the ideology that no one knows you better than you know you.

Jesus counters this worldly ideology with heavenly theology: only God knows what you truly need.

EXISTENCE-BASED NEEDS


Now, I need to include a quick disclaimer. I'm not talking about the daily physical needs that are essential for human existence, like eating, drinking, sleeping, and adjusting your wardrobe to the climate so you don't overheat or freeze to death. Those are "existence-based" needs, and God has made you a steward over your body (Romans 12:1 and 1 Corinthians 6:15), so it's biblical that you take responsibility for them.

I'm talking about things - they can be physical, emotional and/or spiritual - that you tell yourself you "need" to be happy. This could be anything: increased income, a safer neighborhood, a more respectful spouse or child, a church that loves your ministry, and so on. You fill in the blank: "If only I had _______, my life would be better."

GOD KNOWS WHAT YOU NEED


Even though it will be a struggle, I want to encourage you to willingly and joyfully let go of the responsibility of defining your needs. Here are three reasons that should help:

1. God is Creator


You're not just handing over responsibility to your spouse or any old neighbor; the Creator of the universe is responsible for all your needs. Remember, God created us; we didn’t create us. It’s fundamental Sunday school theology, but it makes all the difference.

If you were an inventor and you came up with an innovative and complex piece of machinery, no one would know the project better than you. You could make it do things no one else could do, and you would know exactly what it needs to operate. After all, you built it from scratch.

The same is true with God; as Creator, he knows everything about your inner workings - physically, emotionally, and spiritually - so he knows exactly what you need. It just doesn’t make logical sense for a piece of creation to define its own needs over the Creator.

2. God is Omniscient


God not only knows everything about you, but he knows everything about everything. He knows what the weather will be, how the stock market will ebb and flow, and every other miniscule detail of the universe that will impact your life.

You can't predict the next five minutes. And not only that, you and I tend to live for the gratification of the here and now. How warped does that make our perspective? If the goal is to get immediate pleasure, we’re going to pass up on a better life tomorrow just to get instant (and lesser) pleasure today.

3. God is Omnipotent


God is all-powerful; you can barely control your hair in the morning! So, even if you were omniscient and knew what you needed, you wouldn't have the power to provide it for yourself.

By giving God the responsibility of defining your needs, you're placing your life in good hands. Not only does he know everything about you and everything about this world, but he's able to control it and provide exactly what you need in the exact moment when you need it.

HANDING OVER RESPONSIBILITY


Hopefully by this point you've noticed a theological mistake in my argument: since when is it human right to give anything over to God? Good observation: It was never, nor will it ever be, our responsibility to define our needs.

But that doesn't mean you and I will still try. We'll write up a shopping list of things we "need" to be happy, and when that list isn't met in a timely fashion, we'll be irritated, angry or depressed.

Jesus offers a much better way. He's encouraging us to give up control and let our soul be at peace, resting in the Heavenly Father.

God is creator; he knows how you operate. God is omniscient; he knows exactly what today and tomorrow hold. God is omnipotent; he can control every microbe of the universe. And on top of all those things, God is good. "He will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) All you need is the evidence of the Cross to know that God will meet your needs, for his glory and your good.