Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Disagreeing Biblically

We have read Why Church Buildings Matter, by Tim Cool. We have even brought him in as a consultant. This blog does such a good job of concisely explaining the importance of having strong convictions but understanding that those "3rd tier" issues that fall into "personal convictions" should not be a reason to divide under any circumstance.   Hope you enjoy.



argue between two businessman
If you have been on this earth for any length of time, you have…or will…find yourself in a situation where someone has an opinion about a topic that is diametrically different than yours.  It may be a moral or legal issue…and those tend to be a little bit more black and white and the “correct” answer is usually obvious.
But what about the areas that are not so cut and dry? What about those issues that are left to a person’s own interpretation based on their personal preferences, background and paradigm? What about those items that really have no wrong answer and yet you find yourself an opposite ends of the equation with another person who is equally as passionate about the matter…yet views the item through a different lens ?
Our (or maybe I should just say “my”) tendency is to bow up and dig our heels in.  We quickly develop rationale to make our point and to possibly discredit the other opinion.  We will then seek to rally support for our stance from those that are either part of our tribe or that we know will support our conviction.
After living in a pastor’s home and then serving the church world for almost my entire life, I have seen this far too often in the church. Some of the most divisive I have been witness to have been:
  • Should we allow people to eat in the basement of the church?  
  • Should we build or not?
  • Should we relocate?
  • Do we add modern music to our worship?
  • Should the choir still wear robes?
  • Is it acceptable to preach from a translation other than the King James?
  • Is it wrong to smoke, drink or chew…or date girls who do? (could not resist)
As I look at that list…all I see are personal preferences and convictions. I am convinced that we could find some scripture somewhere to justify either side of these arguments. We could pontificate for hours on the righteousness of either side.  And yet, in the scope of eternity, does it really matter.  The key for me, is which side furthers the Kingdom of God and serves that local church…the body of believers…the best as they fulfill the vision they believe God has called them to.  THAT…is the real issue. On most of these types of issues, I am not even sure God would have a preference…and I am convinced he would not waste a breathe dealing with such.
I was recently reading a passage written by John Maxwell were he references Romans 14and how Paul addressed this exact thing with the Church in Rome. In this chapter, Paul speaks  not of eternal issues or absolute truths, but about “gray areas”—subjects that are questionable and maybe even fuzzy similar to the list above. Christians can differ on these issues and still be part of the same organization. On these issues, no scripture declares an unequivocal right or wrong.
Mr. Maxwell went on to provide a list of ways that Paul gave as a guide from which to address these issues:
  1. Be open, not condescending (vv. 1–3).
  2. Remember that everyone answers to the Lord, not to you (v. 4).
  3. Cling to your own convictions (v. 5).
  4. Whatever your values, your motive should be to please God (vv. 6–9).
  5. You are ultimately accountable to the Lord (vv. 10–12).
  6. Do not cause anyone to stumble (v. 13).
  7. Don’t let others impose their values on you, and vice versa (v. 14).
  8. Make love your highest aim (v. 15).
  9. Major on the majors and minor on the minors (vv. 16–18).
  10. Pursue peace and adding value to people (v. 19).
  11. Don’t destroy anyone by imposing your values on them (vv. 20–22).
  12. Anything is wrong that is not done out of personal faith (v. 23).
Good stuff…I have a long way to go!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"It's the Beginning of Something Big..."

For those who have not seen it yet, Trinity's move to the Colonial Hills neighborhood was the lead story for the Channel 3 Memphis news today.  I'm attaching the link below for you to be able to see it, but we feel like it gave a good reminder of why we are doing what we are doing - this area needs a church home and, more importantly, needs the Gospel.  We have been so encouraged by the positive reaction of people to our being there and in the interest people have shown as we have walked the neighborhood, going door to door letting them know we are moving in.  

Lord, let us be faithful witnesses for you in our new mission field!  Thank you for sending us a new facility and a community to unite with - let us glorify You in this endeavor.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Normal Days

I was working on this blog and thinking about how crazy our life is as a church family...everything from our final Sunday in our former auditorium, to working to redo our website, setting up how our schedule will run over the next month, preparing to meet with the City regarding our future facility, having staff meetings in a home, and just "craziness" in general. Then, I realized these were just normal days over the last 9-10 months.   I would venture to say that few, if any churches will experience what we have gone through by the time all this is said and done. There are have been parts of this year that have been overwhelming, other parts that have been frustrating and a few parts that have actually been fun…or tolerable at least. 

One of the many things in transition right now for TBC is our website and technology.  While making sure all our content is in order for our website, we have asked different people to be in charge of writing specific parts. One of our members who has been part of TBC since before I arrived, was asked to do the “Our Story” section of our website. We gave her very little direction, and below you will find her “assignment” and to say the least, it is amazing. So, special thanks to Amy Rainey for letting me post this on my blog today.  Also, after her article you will find a reminder of our schedule.

TBC - Our Story
In a culture where churches strive to build bigger temples and expand its wall, most look at our church and question why...well, the "why" or shall I say the "who", is what our story is all about.....let me explain:

Our story, for most, is confusing at best and down right stupid at its worst...no wait, let's try that again...

Once upon a time was the greatest love story ever known....hmmm not exactly what I was going for...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...well, that's actually pretty true but that is not our story.....

You see, our story began at the moment The Gospel collided with our lives. This gospel brought us to salvation but it didn't stop there...no, it's work had just gotten started.  As the grace of the gospel started to work in our lives we were stretched and strained as we began growing in our knowledge of The Lord.  Though our footing seemed shaky at first, we were finding that the foundation of our theology was getting stronger. The gospel began to move from our mind to our hearts.  Within all the inadequacies of our messy lives....God was working.  As we began to learn the hard truths of biblical manhood and womanhood...God was working.  As we were teaching  the hearts and training the minds of our children...God was working.  As we struggled to become peacemakers in a world filled with conflict....God was working. Then finally as we used the Word of God to strengthen our church and covenant....God was working.  As we grew alongside other believers, we not only learned to give grace but also how to receive grace.  It was evident through trials and tears, through joy and years of love and fellowship, we were becoming a family.  The gospel continued to move and permeate every area of our lives.  We began to experience the highest expression of worship from the outflow of our love for God and His body....and it was amazing.  

With fresh eyes we have a clearer vision and a new passion to move outside our walls...to share that same gospel with the world around us. We were commanded to "Go"!  In obedience, our desire is to be intentional in our walk with Christ....In the community...in the commonplaces...where we live life.  That is where we go, where we minister, where we build, where we love...where we are planted. In this time of sweet surrender, our hearts cry out together. That we "may with one voice glorify the God and Father of The Lord Jesus Christ"(Romans15:6).

Our desire then is this....That we will not be casual Christians but we would be a white-hot passionate people of Christ, that we may fully know Him, following hard after Him. May we never again be a body trapped within our walls, waiting for others to come but may we be The Church!  A church overflowing life and light to a dying world. To God be the glory forever!

Sunday 9:00am worship at Grace Bible  
7145 Malone Road in Olive Branch, MS 

Sunday 5:30pm AWANA—Hope Sullivan Elementary
7985 Southaven Cir W in Southaven, MS

BFGs are meeting in various homes right now.  Please see the church website for more details: