It's Time To Surge

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Join me in praying for our students and teachers as they go back to school. 

Time for them to surge. 

Join me in praying for the MU students on campus, the professors, Christian Campus House, and the administration of the school.

Time for them to surge. 

Join me in praying for Forum and the other churches in Columbia. 

Time for us to surge. 

Join me in praying for our nation and our leaders.

Time for us to gather. To gather in prayer. To gather in thought and thoughtfulness. To gather and seek wisdom. To gather and seek understanding and peace. 

We need to “gather” and to “rest” as a nation so we can once again surge. 

This series of messages on “Resurgence” is so vital and relevant for every person. 

This Sunday we’ll look at a city where the church ignited a profound movement of change. The message of Jesus is transformative. It changes lives. It changes cities. If we let it, this message turns us towards the best life a human can have. 

It’s a message of hope. It’s a message of change. It’s a message that helps people to see other people as “created in the image of God” and of great value. 

It’s a message you need to hear. It’s a message your friends need to hear. It’s a message this town needs to hear. It’s a message this world needs to hear. 

I want to take a moment and say, “Well done” to our children’s ministry for putting together such a great event this past Sunday night for our families. Seeing so many families enjoying the night, seeing the BMX and motorcycle stunts, and hearing the message that “Jesus Saves” was truly a great night. 

Looking forward to a great time of worship with all of you Sunday. Invite a friend. See you then. 

re-sur-gence

This week we start a new sermon series called, “re-sur-gence.” If ever you’ve been to the ocean, you quickly discover the ebb and flow of the tides. Further, you can’t help but notice the perpetual pounding of the waves. Wave upon wave upon wave keeps coming in hammering the shoreline. Turn a blind eye to it and one could easily knock you over. 

This type of surge upon surge upon surge is the very type of momentum God uses in His kingdom. God would have His kingdom to advance, gather energy, advance, gather energy, and continue advancing. 

Synonyms for this type of resurgence include “revival”, “renewal”, “a comeback”, “regeneration”, or even “resurrection”. 

So over the next weeks, we’re going to look at anatomies of these types of turn a rounds and revivals. As a ministry, we will strive to surge, gather together in worship, and then make additional surges as we strive to reach Columbia for Jesus Christ. 

These types of movement (which is already happening to many degrees within this ministry) take a lot of spiritual discernment and discipline. It takes a lot of kinetic energy as a church works together in unity to connect people to Jesus. 

Friends, I’m so hopeful, connected to this fall and the ministry of Forum because I think the Lord has a lot of people He wants us to reach here in Columbia. 

This series “re-sur-gence” is a great series to invite friends, family, neighbors, and even total strangers to come and experience. 

Great Family Event Sunday Night: 

Connected to this very type of resurgence, there’s a great event for you to invite people to this Sunday night. It’ll be a night with BMX/motorcycle stunts, Kona Ice, food, inflatables, and other great stuff happening. You can go to the ForHim Children’s Ministry page on Facebook and get the details connected to this event. Use your Facebook page as a platform to invite friends to come.  

IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS

The ability to see God at work in the moment and in some of the smallest details of life is so very important. When we have that level of discernment, I find that our love relationship with God is more alive and vibrant.

It’s like when a husband takes notice of something his wife has done for him for years that’s he’s taken for granted. For him to suddenly realize, “Oh wow, she’s done this for me for years.” and to say, “Thank you for this - you’re amazing!” goes a long way.

It’s like when the parent of an adult child notices what a great job they are doing with their kids and affirms them.

Those things really don’t change anything in terms of what is going on, but they sure add a layer of vibrancy, thankfulness, appreciation, and quality of life.

I believe God is doing these types of actions in our lives ever day in ways we don’t fully understand.

Jesus said, “My Father is always at work…”

Over the course of this series, we’ve received numerous people sharing how they’ve seen and noticed God’s work in their lives. They’ve shared how they came into faith and some of “the little things” that led them there. Over and over again, a common denominator was a person in their lives - a parent, a grandparent, a friend, a coworker, or someone who invested in them.

So please, please, please get this: you can be one of those people to someone else. God IS working in your life. He is using you and will use you to His glory. Live out your faith. Be that agent of love, grace, and forgiveness.

Those things may show up “in the little things” such as you bringing someone an extra cup of coffee that you bought in route to work or you inviting a neighbor to the Activate event that features BMX biking (what kid doesn’t love to see bikes making jumps and aerobatics?), bounce houses, or ae you extending forgiveness to someone who truly hasn’t earned it.

This weekend we continue in this series seeing Jesus involved in a very small exchange of money yet transacting this piece of commerce in a very unusual and profound way. To my recollection, it’s the only time in the gospels where we see Jesus paying for something.

It’s another great weekend to invite friends (which you all are doing in droves). You keep bringing and inviting and we’ll keep figuring out where and how to get them in. God wants people gathering around His word, around His table, focusing on His one and only Son.

Looking forward to another great encounter this Sunday.

The Egg Is Broken

“You have to crack open an egg to have an omelet.”  It’s not out of the Bible. Regardless, it applies.

The big work has started connected to our next building phase. This Sunday, we’ll all be inconvenienced to one degree or another.

I also want to both encourage and challenge all of us to step up our giving towards the building project now that it’s started. We’ve been consistently receiving good giving connected to this, but I know many of you have also said that your giving will coincide with the actual building project. It’s all good. But if you are starting your giving please earmark it on your check or use the online function. Thanks in advance for your sacrifice and faithfulness.

Big Reminders: Parking spaces are available at Boone Clinic across the street. Shuttles are provided.

Help: We could use some more shuttle drivers so the team can spread that around more. If interested, contact Mike Russum at mikerssm@yahoo.com.

The sermon Sunday talked about God, “The Little Things,” and God working in and through “The Little Things.” Specifically we talked about how God uses children and use us as we humble ourselves and become like children.

Talk about fitting this exact concept, here’s a picture of a “prayer chain” our children recently made that demonstrates prayers arising from them and their families.

This Sunday we continue talking about “It’s the little things” sharing how God uses that which some see as common and insignificant in wildly significant ways.

God has a great history of doing exactly that. And He continues to do it in your life and His church every day.

I’m looking forward to being in the word, around His communion table, and in worship with you this Sunday.

Be prepared - the physical grounds are greatly changed so leave an extra 5-10 minutes early to navigate it.

See you then. 

God's Exclamation Point

I attended a conference last week and heard a great sermon on vision from Tim Liston. He talked about how the church he serves outside of Houston had an attendance of 75 for the first 10 years he served there. Over the past decade and a half the church now ministers to nearly 10,000 people. This is a God honoring, Christ centered church. God uses those who honor Him.

I believe God is doing something similar at Forum. I believe God wants us to help transform Columbia, MO. As you are well aware, the world comes to Columbia to be educated. This past week, while Forum baptized 4 people into Christ, those who work in some of our international on-campus ministries were also baptizing people into Christ who are from China.

As we ordained both Parker Sutherland and Creighton Tamerius over the past two Sundays, I want to remind you that we are also a church that develops and invests in young men and women. I truly appreciate that each spring, Tyler Hensley has different students speak at youth group. And while all may not be called into vocational ministry, all of them are being equipped as ministers.

At the end of the month, we’ll also ordain our exceptional middle school minister, Blake Cohea, into ministry.

I think these elements put an exclamation point on our “NextGen” series. This series was planned out nearly 6 months ago. So once again, I have to step back in amazement with God’s providence.

Just an FYI, we had some behind the scenes things going on connected to our building process that have all now been fully solved. This build has been much harder than the last build due to both scope and city regulations, but at this point we should be in full throttle mode.

This Sunday, we close out our NextGen series focusing on the reality that the scriptures are God breathed. Here’s what I’ve personally experienced in life: God’s word breathes life into me. It’s new life. It’s abundant life. It’s a changed life. His word is so vital and vibrant. When we speak it, we are speaking the very thoughts of God. It’s the best advice you can share with your kids. It’s best when we live it out in total surrender in a whole-hearted way.

This type of surety gives us hope and inspiration to persevere. Over and over Paul says to Timothy, “Hang in there,” “Endure,” “You can make it.”

That encouragement continues to echo to this day in your life, and my life, our church, and God’s church throughout the world. It’s going to be a great day worshiping God and being in His word.

This would be a great Sunday to invite a friend or someone you know.

Really cool:

I was recently talking with a family that is very new to Forum. I asked how they found us (that’s a regular question I ask). They told me three different families had invited them over their first 6 months in Columbia and thought, “We need to go check it out if that many people are asking us to come.” Forum is now their church home. Keep up sharing what God is doing in your lives and in His church. 

This is true for anyone who...

I love God’s word. I am inspired, enamored, challenged, forged, shaped, and brought to higher places because God’s word leads us towards higher paths.

This is true for anyone who comes to Jesus humbly and follows him.

This week’s scripture rivets my soul.

Here’s part of it:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.  So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.

The Spirit of God is living in you.

That means the power of God is working in and through you.

That means the love of God is working in and through you.

That means you have the power to make self-disciplined choices.

We need never be ashamed to tell others about the Lord.

God’s word is alive. It’s active. It changes us.

I’m so looking forward to being around God’s table, in God’s word, worshiping together this Sunday.

On a personal note, thanks for all the great response to Parker’s ordination. He starts his first full-time ministry this Sunday as the Student Minister for First Christian Church of Newburgh, Indiana.

In 2nd service this Sunday, we’ll be ordaining CJ Tamerius into ministry as well. CJ is the son of Pam and Lance Tamerius. Lance is the campus minister at the Christian Campus House on the MU campus. CJ is a graduate of Ozark Christian College.

As ever, God is at the center of all we do and worshiping and encountering Him together is always transformative.

See you Sunday. 

God is Moving

Forward motion

I just returned from church camp at High Hill and it looked like both kids and staff were having a great time! I love our ministry to children. Forum has a really large and great group of campers and staff there. To hear the kids and the adults talking about what a great week it is and how much they are growing reminds me of why we encourage parents to send their kids to camp.

God is moving.

Over the past weeks, there have been many people expressing a desire to be baptized. This is such a Christ centered event in the life of a believer and it’s a joy to see someone aligning and uniting with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

As I have others, let me encourage all to be baptized into Christ because you have faith and submit to His lordship.

God is moving.

This Sunday in 2nd service, we’ll ordain my son Parker into ministry. Parker just graduated from both Johnson University with an MA and The Leadership Institute of Christ Church of the Valley.

Then, on July 2nd we’ll ordain CJ Tamerius into ministry. CJ is a recent graduate of Ozark Christian College and is serving as a worship minister in western Missouri.

God is moving.

Movement is happening on the facility. The next months will be fun and challenging. Some things will seem like they are moving fast, others will feel like they are taking forever.

We’re not going to get concerned about those things. We’re going to continue inviting other people to come to Forum. We’re going to intentionally connect people to Jesus.

God is moving.

This Sunday we continue in our NextGen series seeing how Paul gives Timothy, his apprentice, insight as to how to deal with the challenges and temptations in life. I personally find it beautifully providential that as we are in our NextGen series we are ordaining two of the young men from our ministry into ministry! God is so very good.

God is moving.

I hope you are focused on God working in and through you and His church. Can’t wait to worship with you Sunday.

The North American Christian Convention in Kansas City, June 27-29.

The NACC happens next week in Kansas City. It’s an event filled with great preaching, teaching, and inspiration. If you could get over to it for a day or even an evening, it would be a blessing to you. If you would like to see information about it, here’s the website: https://www.gotonacc.org

Building a spiritual legacy

This Sunday we celebrate Father’s Day with a message talking about spiritual legacy. Dads, I know this about every one of you: you want the best for your family. You want the best for your kids, for your wife, for your marriage, and just the best all-around in life.

This Sunday’s message is a message of great encouragement and challenge. Every dad and every person you know will benefit from this message. I’d encourage you to invite friends. We’ll talk about 8 steps toward building a spiritual legacy.

Building program update

What we all need to know:

 

Q: When are we starting?

A: The week of June 19th (next week.)

 

Q: Weren’t we starting earlier?

A: Yes. We’ve been in the design phase. While it’s too complex to go into, in summation: Forum and Nifong project and the city, the city and water retention, the need for another entrance, and working through all the financing.

Q: Are the numbers higher?

A: Yes. The initial estimates came in around $3.5 million dollars and the final bids are coming in at $4.5 million.

 

Q: Is that a good thing?

A: No and yes. One of the big added costs is a water retention system at $460,000. This water retention system is required by the city to manage excess storm water runoff. The upside is it will serve all current and future needs as we continue to grow.

 

Q: The leadership (elders) is on board?

A:  Yes. 100% unity, excitement, and desire because all of them know, by faith, this project is going to help us reach more people for Jesus Christ.

How can we help?

1.     Keep praying. Pray for people who don’t know Jesus. Pray for our community. Pray for our staff. Pray for our leadership. These types of projects are big, inconvenient, and they are costly.

2.     Parking is going to be very tight and at times, will even be weird. I’ll go into weird later. But in the meantime, as so many are doing, you can park at Boone. It’s a great shuttle ride or walk.

3.     We can all give faithfully and diligently to the building fund as we have committed.

What can we expect to see happening?

A lot.

By the middle of July, there’s a good chance that a brand-new playground will be finished on the south side of the facility that has a direct access from the preschool and elementary areas.

By the end of summer, there will be a completely new parking lot where the berm currently is on the Forum side of the property.

We may need people to help on Fridays and Saturdays, as logistics and our site will need to be monitored and maintained. There may be things we need to move, set up, etc. because the construction crews don’t always understand our Sunday dynamics, but we’ll keep you posted on those needs. 

 

Fake News

We started a new series Sunday called “NextGen.” We are one sermon into it and this series is already making a difference. I can’t wait to see how it will culminate. But, I’ve got a homework question for you:  

Who do you have:  

  • Below you?
  • Alongside of you?
  • Above you? 

Are you purposefully striving to develop yourself and others? 

These matters are so very important. 


CHARACTER MATTERS


And this Sunday, we talk about qualities of character. Character matters. You can’t fake character. Yet we live in a world with a lot of “fakes.” Fake news, fake online personas, and spin doctors seem to have way too much influence on our society. So how does God define character? What attributes does God look for us to develop? This message cuts through the smoke and mirrors of the world’s system and talks about God’s design for life, character, and leadership. 

Character connected to life and leadership matters very much. 

I also want to ask you to pray for our elders. We’re getting down to the nitty gritty before we begin moving the dirt connected to the building process. We’ve hit some cost projections and expenses that are both anticipated and unanticipated and the leadership will be praying through some decisions. Our elders meet this Monday night.  

I want to encourage you to invite friends and people you know to church. We had a “Connect Event” on Tuesday night and met several families who had been invited by current members. Keep it up! That’s so encouraging.  

Several great things happening: 

  • This Sunday night is a family event. Here’s what the ForHim children’s ministry page says about this event: We hope you can join us for our first in a series of stand alone nights of Activate 2017! Think #SundayFunDay fun with Activate energy. Meal provided at 5, festivities begin at 6!
  • Camp for students begins next week. People continue signing their kids up. I think we’re at around 100 campers this year - which is excellent. It’s a great time for your kids to form and grow deeper in friendships as well as learning the Bible and growing deeper in love with Jesus.  

Looking forward to an incredible day of worship this Sunday! 

This may be the most important sermon series ever.

This Sunday we start a new series called “NextGen.” The big picture for every one of us is this: what kind of a spiritual legacy do you want to leave?  

Let me personalize this.  

What kind of legacy do I want to leave: 

  • as a follower of Jesus
  • as a husband
  • as a father
  • as a minister
  • as a citizen
  • as a professor
  • as a leader
  • as an uncle
  • as a brother
  • as an alumnus 
  • as a church leader
  • and as a grandfather (down the road, if that is the Lord’s will) 
  • financially 

And while that’s not an exhaustive list, you get the picture. 

 

As I’m writing this, there is a father and son volunteering and mowing the grass at church (Tyler and Jack Wicks). There is a grandfather and grandson (Marlowe and Harrison Schlegel) planting flowers around our church sign. Right now, they are doing the very type of thing that we’re going to be talking about.

We’re going to look at Paul’s letters to Timothy as this phenomenal, innovative, adventurous older disciple (Paul) pours into one of his apprentices (Timothy) wisdom as well as being his encourager and cheerleader. 

This series is going to change the way we think about and do life. I’m fully convinced of that. Throughout this series, invite friends, neighbors, acquaintances to come to Forum because these are things we all deal with. It’s so practical and full of great practices for our lives - that I simply can’t wait to start preaching this series! 

I want to highlight both our children’s and student ministries for a moment. Currently, Forum has the most kids registered for camp out of all the churches that attend. We are at 90 kids going to camp this summer. It’s not too late to get registered. Further, there were 85 high school students at our lock in on Wednesday night. Thanks to Tyler and his team for putting together a great night for our students. And last, currently there are around 90 students and sponsors going to Christ in Youth. That’s outstanding! Loving what The Lord is doing in our lives and ministry. 

Can’t wait to worship with you this Sunday! 

Why I don't talk about buildings

As you may be aware, we’re about to expand our facilities.

You may have also noticed, I don’t talk about it a lot.  

You may also be aware, this probably isn’t normal.  

I’m okay, in this instance, with not being normal. Here’s why: 

  1. I find too many Christians and churches/ministries get more fired up about a building than they do Jesus. They talk, talk, talk about their new building as a cure all for anything and everything. I’d much rather we talk about and live for Jesus. These things aren’t mutually exclusive. However, I’d much rather hear of a member of Forum inviting people to church because “you’ll hear God’s word” rather than “come to our church and see our new building.”
     
  2. We are God’s building. The church is a living, breathing entity made up of saved humans. Our facilities help us come together to worship. And what a great thing that is. Never once have I come out of a great worship service saying, “Wow - that room/building/etc. caused me to want to worship.” However, so many times - seeing other believers sincerely worshiping stirs my heart and engages me to worship as well. And we’ve got some great worship leaders at Forum. People who are so very sincere. They help to draw me to focus on God. 
     
  3. I don’t talk about buildings a lot because I vividly know this: life can be tough on so many levels. Each week people come to us for prayer. People come and pour out their hurts and pains. You wrestle with the day-in day-out routines of life. We want to create a place of spiritual health and nutrition for you. Talking about our building program, while a good thing, isn’t the best thing we can talk about. Instead, we talk about and focus on Jesus and God’s power to save and change us. 

CHANGES ARE COMING!


All that said, ground is being moved even as I’m writing this. Over the next months, there’s going to be a lot of change to our physical campus and we’ll use this venue as a mechanism to let you know how you can best navigate the changes. I will encourage many of you to continue to park at Boone and even recruit others. It’s actually a great place to park - you can get a nice walk or ride one of the shuttles right to the door. 

This weekend we finish up “My Story” talking about how God uses the way He changes our story for His glory. We’ll be in John 9 talking about the healing of a man born blind. It’s a passage where Jesus changes a man’s story in a huge way. Our Lord is a change agent. He continues to change my life daily for His glory. He’s doing the same in your life if you let Him. 

Looking forward to a stellar time of worship with you this weekend! 

What Is God's Will For My Life

 It’s a question I get a lot.

“What is God trying to teach me right now? Life isn’t making sense right now, is He listening?” 

Valid questions. 

Are there answers to these questions? 

Yes, there are. We’ll be talking about God’s will for your life this weekend at Forum. 

So many people are so very very far away from God and don’t even realize they are living in the land of confusion. I know some people are resistant. I know sometimes some people don’t want to even be out in public or around people because their lives are hot messes. 

That’s the very type of person we are talking about this weekend. 

There are a bunch of people who truly need to hear this message. They are your neighbors, your co-workers, family members, and people you only casually know. 

I’m asking you to help them get to Forum this weekend. 

There is nothing greater you can do in this lifetime than to help someone to connect with Jesus. 


This Sunday we continue in “My Story” talking about “I was not worthy.” We’re looking at someone whose life was a mess. We’re looking at disciples who seemingly didn’t want Jesus even talking to this person. We’re looking at Jesus who walks into a wrecked life and helps that person connect with God. 

Sound familiar? 

It should - because I know that story is your story. That story is my story. And it’s the most beautiful ongoing story in the history of the world. 

Bring people with you this Sunday. It’ll be a Sunday of love, acceptance, and forgiveness. I’m intensely looking forward to it.

13 Reasons

Recently schools and youth workers across the country are helping parents and families arm themselves because Netflix released a movie called “13 reasons.” I’m personally choosing not to watch this movie - but several teachers I know and some veteran youth workers who are friends are pushing themselves to watch this movie that deals with teen suicide. 

I want to make some observations to try to help you as families. 

  1. Suicide is never to be glamorized or endorsed. I’ve had friends that killed themselves and the hole they left is tragic. 
  2. Ideation (the process wherein thought is introduced and then contemplated) connected to suicide is unhealthy for teenagers. Ruminating thoughts of this nature is simply not in the best interest of students. 
  3. If your student is interested in watching this, there are so many better options out there to watch. 
  4. Don’t feel guilty putting parental control settings onto your Netflix account. 
  5. Don’t be afraid to talk to your teen about the subject of suicide if they bring it up. Affirm your love and care for them. Let them know you are there to listen and love them. 

I know there are times when there are intended and unintended results. In this instance, some of the unintended results are a very wide stroke of overall negative influence. 

Know that as a ministry, we pray for our families and the teens in our community hoping for all to excel and thrive. It’s a very tough and fallen world. We’re striving to bring God’s kingdom agenda to this earth. People hurting themselves is not part of that agenda.  


Two important pieces of information


  1. At our last elders meeting, the leadership also made a decision to level off the berm area and add roughly 80 more parking spaces to our existing campus. We want to help facilitate people being able to get into our worship services. 
  2. Switching gears, this month Tarry Koutz is transitioning to a part-time role in our ministry that will focus on reaching older people and doing elements of our pastoral care. Tarry has served Forum incredibly on and off for over 30 years. It’s been an incredible joy to serve with this great servant of the Lord. 

Tyler Morris will be the developer of our first service. He and his team will, as ever, do an exceptional job helping all of us connect to Jesus. People have asked me if there’s going to be dramatic change in our first service as Tyler will be leading it.

This one is a simple answer: No. 

This Sunday we continue in our “My Story” series focusing on how Jesus changes our story. We are going to look at a high capacity person with great status, who came to follow Jesus. One of the things I love about Columbia, MO is that so many people I meet are high capacity people. One of the dilemmas with high capacity people is this: if they aren’t already in relationship with Jesus - their busyness, their personal learning, and even their status can get in the way of coming to know Him. We’re going to strive to equip all of us a little bit more on how to talk to and share your faith with them. If you know any people who fall into this category - do everything you can to get them to Forum this Sunday. 

Looking forward to another great encounter with God and you this Sunday. 

Building Update

We start a new sermon series this Sunday called, “My Story.” 

As we move from “His Story” to “My Story” we’ll see how Jesus changes your story. We’ll see how our Lord moves and maneuvers in our lives. We’ll see people who come from very different backgrounds and situations.  We’ll explore how Jesus changed them. We’ll also see how Jesus used them to change other people’s story. 

That’s what God calls us to do as well. 

These next weeks will be great weeks to invite friends and family to attend because Jesus changing us is the central theme. Within that framework, we’re also going to help equip and train you to share your story with: family, people of status, your children, people whose lives are badly messed up, and people facing a health issue. We all know people in these situations. 

This series can truly transform your ability to share your faith and change other people’s stories. 


BUILDING UPDATE


Within the next 90 days, we’ll see equipment coming onto the campus, dirt getting moved, playground equipment being moved and a lot of action taking place. I want to continue to say, “Thank You” to Boone Hospital, our deacons, and everyone who has been helping by parking over at Boone.

So many great things happening here at Forum. God is working is such a powerful way!

I look forward to another transformative Sunday to worship together.

See you then. 

Creation, Change, and Transformation

God specializes in creation, change, and transformation.

From the void, He created the world through His Word.

He changed and transformed the dead, lifeless body of our Savior into the living, resurrected Lord.

And God continues to create, change, and transform.

This week we continue in our series “His Story.” We’ll look at the quantum leap of change that happened in the life of one of Jesus’ disciples, namely Peter.

His story changed Peter’s story. As we examine this together, we’ll see growth points from God’s word for all of us.

Thanks for all the great encouragement to me and our entire staff connected to our Easter weekend!

As ever we would all say in unity, “To God be the glory.”

Frankly, I was very emotionally overwhelmed when I walked into the lobby during 2nd service and there were around 80 people worshiping out there. Thanks for being so flexible. I know that’s not an optimum spot to worship but the auditorium was at 100% capacity during that service.

I also want to thank all those who parked at Boone. Your willingness made a huge difference in our ability to facilitate people new to the ministry to be able to park. 

 Many have asked me about numbers and attendance from Sunday. Rather than giving my usual, “God knows the numbers and that’s what counts the most” type of an answer, I’ll put it out there for everyone to read. For our Easter services we had 1788 in attendance. Our Good Friday service had 526 in attendance.

More importantly than the numbers, God knows every person who was here by name. He loves every one of us so deeply and dearly. He also loves the tens of thousands who weren’t in any house of worship this past weekend. He would desire and challenge every one of us to strive to intentionally connect them to Jesus.

Looking forward to another powerful time of worship together this Sunday!

Everyday Transformation

There’s been a lyric that we sing periodically that says, “the resurrected king is resurrecting me.”  This is a profound truth: the resurrection power of Jesus is alive in you and me. This power is transforming us every day.

When we pray, we pray to God through our resurrected Lord.

When we call on the name of Jesus, He’s alive.

When we struggle against sin, the resurrection power is at work in us.

Christ is truly changing us.

I love preaching and getting all of us to focus on Christ. I love that during one week of the year we focus intensely on, and celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, we’ll be doing exactly that!

 

Here’s a very important thing we need help with:

 

Parking

 

We have been operating a shuttle from Boone Clinic across the street for several weeks now and it’s working well. This week we need to use it to full capacity which means 50 cars can park over there. Those who have parked there and walked say it’s actually closer to park and walk from there to the facility than from the farthest part of the north lot. Those who have used the shuttles have noted how overall easy it is.

Just some easy, quick reference reminders:

7 p.m. Friday - Good Friday service

6 p.m. Saturday - Easter worship service

8:15, 9:30, 11 Sunday - Easter worship services

Let me encourage you to be bold and invite friends and people you love to come to church with you this weekend. 

Does God have a “vision” for this world?

Q: What do you want your child to do when she/he grows up?

A’s: “I’d like them to be happy.” “I’d like them to have a meaningful career.” “I’d love my child to be a researcher and cure cancer.” “I’d love it if my kids were pro athletes.”

Q: (to God) What do you want your son to be when He grows up?

A: I want Him to die a torturous death on a Roman cross.

Q: That’s your dream for your son?

A: Yes…it’s also my dream for lost people. I want them to be in my presence forever. That’s the way it will happen.

Does God have a “vision” for this world?

God’s vision for this world involves your salvation. It centers around a criminal’s cross. It overcomes sin.

People often ask me about my vision for the church. I assume when they ask that, they are asking me about Forum. And while I do have hopes and dreams connected to the way we do ministry, reaching people, impacting Columbia, etc. (a “vision” we work and exercise every day) primarily, I desire my vision for this ministry to be the same as God’s vision for this world.

The vision is we stay focused on Christ. We focus on His cross. We preach Him high and lifted up. We preach about the ignominy of the cross. We preach His suffering, His dying, and His resurrection.

Why?

Because this event is a shaming event pointing us to the reality of our sin. And while our sins are fully forgiven, may we never lose sight of those around us who still must hear of their lack and need. Further, may we never become so smug in our struggle with sin to think we are beyond the need to think about the cross.

This Sunday is Palm Sunday. Our kids’ choirs will be part of our worship services in all the services. This is a great Sunday to bring friends to attend. We will focus on the cross and our savior.

Easter week we’ll have many experiences to focus us upon the Lord. With a Good Friday service, a Saturday night service, and 3 Sunday morning services (with special things for children on that morning) we’ve got great opportunities for you to celebrate God working in our lives.


Last, I want to take a moment to highlight our youth ministry. This past week, upperclassmen went to Barbados to work with Windward Island School of Evangelism. They did a stellar job. Brice and Amanda Wurdeman (leaders of WISE) had this to say about our group, “Amanda and I were very impressed with the Forum youth that came to visit.  Their willingness to help, serve, and sweat (a lot!) was a blessing and testimony to the youth here and students at WISE.  Their time displayed the type of ministry happening with the youth at Forum.  We hope they'll be able to visit again! “

I also want to say, “great job” to Tyler Hensley for making this come together. To put together an international trip for that many students, to overcome some of the obstacles (apparently, the airlines can cause levels of challenge - as if we didn’t already know that), and to keep everyone working together in a very different environment is big. “Well done” to all involved.

Looking forward to an incredible encounter with God this Sunday with you.

Our Response Shapes the World

The word “substitute” to me is a loaded word with images that come to mind. A “substitute” teacher was code for “play day." Substitutes were also kind of a risk/reward type of a bingo. Most of our subs were older - but periodically we’d get a sub who was - well - kind of hot. Bingo! Those were days when questions would be raised every 3 minutes, when the pencil kept breaking and needed to be sharpened by her desk.

We go to a restaurant and we ask to sub this side for that side trying to tailor the meal to satisfy our true want. However, watch same restaurant run out of your favorite item and tell you when you sit down they are substituting another item, and watch your reaction.

Go to a theater and let there be a substitute player - one of the understudies - standing in for a main star or lead and watch the reaction of the crowd.

Take a star out of the basketball game and leave a sub in for the rest of the game and that too would be met with levels of frustration and even fan anger.

Most of the time, the concept of a “sub” points to something or someone lesser. Lesser qualified. Lesser talent. Lesser abilities.

This weekend we are looking at one who substituted for you and for me.

We did not earn or merit Jesus to stand in for us. While God communicates His love for us through this substitution, we can’t comprehend this action of amazing grace.

This weekend we’ll focus on this great action of love and grace. We’ll look at what it means for us. We’ll see how our response shapes the world.

It’s truly thrilling to see how God continues to move at Forum. I’m looking forward to another great time of worship and time in God’s word together this Sunday.

This is a great season to invite friends to come and hear the great news that Jesus saves. 

Prayer, Power, and Parking

“Watch and pray. Those are the two words you used on the video this week. You preached on prayer Sunday. The Tuesday night men’s group I go to is looking at prayer. It’s like God is wanting me to grow in this.” As John said that to me this morning at our men’s group, I was quickly reminded of the importance of praying and staying focused on the Lord.

It’s something we should perpetually encourage one another to do.

This week we’ll look at the incredible strength, perseverance, and attitude of Jesus as He endures through illegal trials, abuse, and horrifying human actions. I do believe that Christ’s prayer life helped give Him power to endure.

It is strength we can imitate. 

This past Sunday, it was great to have 4 people baptized into Christ during services.

Further, we had our largest single non-holiday attendance this past Sunday.

As many of you have noticed - our parking lots are at a point where they are overflowing - which is really great. 

Boone Clinic has agreed to let us park in their lot so we will be running shuttles to and from there to help ease our congestion. This will be an ongoing work in progress so give us grace as we work out details. Let me encourage many to try it out and use it to make it easier for those who are new to Forum to find parking.  Below are the details.

 

SHUTTLE SERVICE

 

Pickup/Drop off at Boone Clinic is north side of parking lot, along Nifong.

Pickup/Drop off at church is the covered awning at front door.

9:00 - 9:45

  • First pickup at Boone Clinic, then drive the loop between church and Boone

10:30 - 11:15

  • Pickup at Boone Clinic

12:00

  • First pickup at church, then drive the loop between church and Boone Clinic

12:30

  • Last pickup at church. 

Thanks to our deacons for putting this together. It’s great that God is growing our ministry in such amazing ways! 

Looking forward to another great time of worship this Sunday. 

What a great thing God is doing!

God continues to work in wonderful and amazing ways within our ministry!

  • Our elders had the joy of ordaining Jared Wortman as a minister last tonight (3/16). Jared served as an associate minister at Forum with me for 4 exemplary years. As a young man, he had been baptized in our baptistry. It was great to have our leaders surround him and pray over him and endorse him as a minister. We did that with his father, Seth Wortman (a minister in Springfield, MO) and his grandfather Lloyd Palfrey (preacher, professor, former President of Central Christian College of the Bible). It was great as well to see Katrina and their two kids, Clara and Benjamin. Jared serves as the associate minister at Peachtree Christian Church in Atlanta, GA. They are thriving as a family. 
  • Bradley has been working on once again transforming some of our online communications, printed materials, and processes. As a ministry, we are constantly seeking to improve the way we keep you informed and connected at Forum.
  • Many people in our church and many of our high school students and sponsors will be leaving for mission trips to Barbados to help serve at the ministry of WISE. Brice and Amanda Wurdeman serve as the leaders of this vibrant ministry. We’re praying for safety as well as great effectiveness as the two different teams serve.
  • This weekend, there will be many people being baptized into Christ. What a great joy! If you’d like to make a similar decision, we want to help you do that. Simply send an email to me at Scott@forumchristian.org. 

This weekend we continue in His-Story looking at the prayer life of our Lord Jesus. Who better to imitate than the greatest human who has ever lived? God is truly growing and stretching us as we go through this series. This past Sunday I spent time in prayer with a person who said, “I want to be more like Jesus but I’m not listening to the Holy Spirit. Would you pray for me?” After we prayed I asked if I could share their words. They agreed. 

I love that we are a ministry and church where someone can be so very very honest and transparent while being open enough to ask for prayer. 

What a great thing God is doing here! 

John 17 is where we will focus this Sunday if you would like to read it and pray in advance that you’ll hear the voice of the Lord.