About a year and half ago, I posted a collage of all the sermon and bible study artwork since Christ Fellowship began in 2009. I have complied another collage of the artwork since that time. Also I put together a collage of odds and ends artwork, most of which were announcement slides. It is always humbling to look back at something like this and be reminded of all the great things that God has done for our church. He is faithful indeed. Enjoy.
In a couple of weeks, Christ Fellowship will host a marriage seminar called “Strengthening Your Marriage” with Brandon Porter. Brandon is a very wise pastor and a man who loves to counsel people through using the Bible. So we have asked him to come and speak wisdom into our congregation about the topic of marriage.
So you might be thinking, should I go to that seminar at Christ Fellowship on January 28?
Well, I am glad you ask because there are certain people that this seminar is for?
1) Married Couples- We desire every married couple in our church to be a part of this event. It doesn’t matter if you have been married for 50 years or 50 hours, we can all be blessed by searching the Bible to see what God wants in our marriage.
2) Engaged Couples- What a great way to prepare for your marriage. There will be times in the seminar to ask questions and maybe to even here from other married couples. Take this Saturday night to help lay a foundation for the rest of your life.
3) Church Leaders and Their Wives- A man who can’t lead his family, cannot lead the church. We want leaders in our churches who are first leaders of their homes. That’s why I am excited about this seminar, I desire my marriage to be a great example in the kingdom.
4) Single People – For some people, maybe a candidate for marriage is not even on the radar. However, every decision that you make today is laying the foundation for your future marriage. The way you handle your responsibilities, the way you lead the people around you, and even the way you strive for purity is laying a foundation for your future marriage. Come to the seminar and receive wisdom that will help you in the future.
5) People in Community with Married Couples- Lastly, we need people in the church who can speak love and truth to one another (Ephesians 4). So if you are in community with other married couples come and receive wisdom from God’s Word. Our prayer is that the wisdom we receive will help us be wise counselors to fellow believers around us.
Well, I guess that covers about everyone. So I will see you January 28th at 3:00 pm and feel free to bring some friends.
We are really looking forward to our Marriage Seminar and want you to be apart of this event. The seminar will be on January 28th from 3:00 to 8:00 and will involve teaching from Pastor Brandon Porter, fellowship, and a meal provided by the church. See the information page here.
Also, I figured I would give you all some last minute gift ideas for enriching your marriage or some ideas of how to spend any Christmas cash that you might receive. I mean, what better way could you spend your money than investing in your marriage. (Also, great reading for single men and women who want a godly marriage in the future.)
1) The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Committment with the Wisdom of God – Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller
2) Sacred Marriage- Gary Thomas
4) Reforming Marriage- Douglas Wilson
5) This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence – John Piper
7) Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace – Gary and Betty Ricucci
Have you ever felt frustrated in marriage? You know the type of frustration that leads you to walk away from hard conversations or where you try to tune your spouse out during a heated debate. I hate to say this but I have.
I have struggled to want to pursue my wife. I have struggled to “live with my wife in an understanding way” (1 Peter 3:7). I have even failed to love my wife like Christ loved the church. (Ephesians 5)
What, Lance?! You haven’t loved your wife, as well as, Jesus loved his church. Yeah, I know it sounds shocking, but I haven’t. And I never will as long as I live. However, that doesn’t mean we are left without hope.
So my question to you is: How do we strive to make our marriages a blessing rather than living like they are a curse?
1) Give thanks to God for everything about marriage.
This doesn’t sound like the easiest task at hand. However, it is clear from Genesis 3 to 1 Peter 3 that marriage is a gift from God. All of marriage. That means we can give thanks to God during a disagreement and when we are in agreement. We can give thanks when we don’t want to be in the same room and when we don’t want to leave each other’s presence. We thank God when it’s hard and when it’s easy.
Why? Both of these are blessings of a sovereign God. In every moment, God is using our sin, suffering and sweet moments to make us more like Jesus. That’s the best place to be in the whole world. Not where it’s easy, but where the Lord is changing me.
2) Keep the gospel at the center of your marriage
Chances are when you have fallen out of love with your spouse, you really have fallen out of focus. The focus of marriage is that we bring God glory, by displaying the gospel to the world.
Jesus was perfectly patient when we were unloveable. He was gracious and forgiving even when we were rebels. He pursued us passionately with his love when we were passionately pursuing sin.
This is the glorious grace of God. And we have the opportunity to display his grace by the way that we speak to our spouse’s with patience. By the way that we pursue them even when they are not being loveable. And by the way we are gracious and quick to forgive when we have been wronged.
3) Die to yourself daily and live for your spouse daily.
One of the keys to making your marriage feel like a curse is making everyday all about you. All about your wants, your desires, your right way to do things, and your feelings.
When marriage becomes all about you, it displays how little you value your spouse and your Savior.
So the best thing you can do for your marriage is to kill yourself today. What I mean is, kill your desires, your demands, your have-to’s, your don’t question me’s, and kill all the “you” that gets in the way of your marriage. Instead, pursue your spouse. What does she desire today that will make her feel valued? How could I honor my husband in a way that he knows I care and respect him?
When we begin to give thanks for our marriage, keep the gospel the focus, and die to ourselves, we can be sure that Christ will be glorified and our days will be blessed.
**For more information about an upcoming marriage seminar at Christ Fellowship, click here.
When God shows up, cities are turned upside down. Over the last year, the pastors of Christ Fellowship have been preaching through the book of Acts and time after time we have seen God change cities. He has moved in power to transform the culture, heal broken souls, save the lost, build his church, and spread his fame to the ends of the earth.
The Spirit of God moves in Jerusalem and 3,000 souls are saved. The power of God is shown in Antioch when God builds a mult-ethnic church full of pagan people (Gentiles) who have trusted in Jesus. In Philippi, he saves people from the poorest slave girl to a Roman jailor. It’s in Ephesus that God frustrates the idol makers by changing the idolators hearts into Christ worshippers. Or in Berea were the people of the city search the Scriptures and believe in Jesus.
The Lord goes city by city as he turns the world upside down, and my question is “Why not Bowling Green?” Why could God not move in power among us?
Ray Ortlund shared on his blog the other day some thoughts from J I Packer’s book “God In our Midst.” Here is what he said happens when God brings revival:
1. Awareness of God’s presence: “The first and fundamental feature in renewal is the sense that God has drawn awesomely near in his holiness, mercy and might.”
2. Responsiveness to God’s Word: “The message of Scripture which previously was making only a superficial impact, if that, now searches its hearers and readers to the depth of their being.”
3. Sensitiveness to sin: “Consciences become tender and a profound humbling takes place.”
4. Liveliness in community: “Love and generosity, unity and joy, assurance and boldness, a spirit of praise and prayer, and a passion to reach out to win others, are recurring marks of renewed communities.”
5. Fruitfulness in testimony: “Christians proclaim by word and deed the power of the new life, souls are won, and a community conscience informed by Christian values emerges.”
So let us be fervent and pray for revival in our city. Let’s pray that the signs that we see above would be present in Bowling Green. For the glory of his name and for the joy of our city.
What do we say to someone in the midst of a tragedy? When tragedy strikes like a family member getting cancer or a tornado rips through the town, people long to know why God did or did not do anything to prevent it. As believers, it can be a difficult and weighty situation when speaking to unbelievers in the midst of tragedy. The follow blog was written by David Shrock over at the Gospel Coalition blog. It is a great example of how to speak mercy and truth to someone dealing with tragedy.
When the winds raged and the waves threatened, the disciples awoke Jesus with fear in their hearts. Jesus arose, stood on the storm-tossed boat and spoke three simple words, “Peace! Be still!” The winds ceased and the storm ended faster than it came (Mark 4:39).
In that moment, the terrified fishermen were more frightened by the man in their presence with the power to subdue nature than they were of drowning under the heavy waves. God’s Son in human form had just displayed his divine power, and that with a word. On that lakeside journey, Jesus stopped the storm with a sentence. On May 22, in Joplin, Missouri, he didn’t.
For the disciples, Jesus stopped the storm and it led to a question of his identity: “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (4:41). For the survivors in Joplin, the question is different. For them and for anyone staggering from a recent world-halting tragedy, the question is closer to that of the Psalmist, “How long oh Lord? How long will you hide your face from me?” (Ps 13:1). Because Jesus word did not stop the storm before it hit last week, there is now the need for Jesus word to come speak “Peace. Be Still.”
With such a need in mind, let me suggest four words from God’s Word that I pray may bring a biblical perspective to those bruised and broken by the storm, and to those ministering to them.
Read the rest of the blog here.
You may have heard the song from the 90’s, One of Us, in which Joan Osborne asks the question: What if God was one of us? While Osborne may have been able to write a catchy little radio hit, she was obviously ignorant of the story of Christmas. Someone should tell her, if she still does not know, that God did become one of us. Jesus is Immanuel – God with us. At Christmas we celebrate the coming of our God into the world in the form of a baby. We don’t have to ask the question of what God would be like, if he became one of us. We know. In Christ Jesus we know.
The promise of Immanuel comes from the prophecies of Isaiah. In chapter seven, Isaiah tells us of the days of King Ahaz who is ruling over Judah. At this time, the Syrian empire was increasing throughout the middle east and seizing the territories of the many smaller nations around them. Ahaz and all of Judah get word that the northern kingdom, Israel, is now in league with Syria and planning an attack upon Jerusalem. This of course causes great fear and concern. Judah is small and can easily be overtaken by the armies of Israel and Syria combined.
But the Word of the Lord comes to Ahaz, by the prophet Isaiah. The Lord assures Ahaz that this will not come to pass. God will be with Ahaz. He will be on Judah’s side. God then gives Ahaz a sign. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel,” (Isa. 7:14). How will Ahaz know that God is with him? That God is on his side? A son will be born.
Chapter eight then begins with the Lord telling Isaiah to get a tablet and write a name on it – Maher-shalal-hash-baz. What a name! How would you like to have this name? God is about to fulfill his promise. Soon there after Isaiah goes into the prophetess and she bears a son. And they name him, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, (Isa. 8:3). In the immediate context it appears that this is the son that Ahaz was waiting for. The word virgin can also mean young woman. Isaiah, himself says that he and his children are signs of the Lord (Isa. 8:18). It seems that God has filled his promise. Ahaz was promised to see the birth of a son in order to know for certain that God was on his side, that God was with him. And Ahaz has seen it.
But Isaiah sees something deeper happening here. Isaiah knows that while his son may have fulfilled the promise in an immediate sense, there is still a greater sense in which this promise is yet to be fulfilled. In chapter nine, Isaiah goes on to explain the son that he is waiting for. “For unto us a child is born; to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace,” (Isa 9:6).
Isaiah is waiting for a Savior. He is waiting for a son of man to crush the serpent (Gen 3:15). He is waiting for a son of Abraham to bring a blessing to the families of the earth (Gen 12:3). He is waiting for a son of David to sit on the throne and rule with justice and righteousness (2 Sam. 7:12-17). But why would he call this son “Mighty God, Everlasting Father.” Doesn’t he know that he is waiting for a human not God.
No. Isaiah sees in the promise of Immanuel something more profound. He sees a connection between this coming son and the Lord God – a connection so close that the son is called God. He sees the true fulfillment of Immanuel. He sees the coming of Christ – who is both God and man. Jesus, Immanuel – God with us. At Christmas we do not celebrate the birth of a great teacher, or a great prophet, or a mere man. No. Christmas is about God becoming man, stooping low, humbling himself to save his people. To redeem us. To be with us.