We wrap up our series "Things Jesus Never Said" this week by exploring one of the most commonly held misconceptions in Christianity. The passage we will be exploring in John 15 reminds me of something C.S. Lewis once said, "We don't need to be taught new ideas so much as to be reminded of old truths." It will be the kind of message that might resonate with the skeptic in all of us. In preparation for this Sunday, let me ask you this: what things are you skeptical of and why?
I appreciate all the feedback we have received during this series, and I would encourage you to keep searching the Scriptures for yourself to see if what you are hearing is true - according to the word of God.
See you Sunday,
There is an ancient biographer by the name of Plutarch, who was born about a decade after Jesus. He once wrote that every crucified criminal was forced to carry the crossbeam to the site of their execution. This scene seems familiar to most Christians because a cross was forced upon Jesus shortly before His execution and He was commanded to carry it.
I wonder if Jesus had that in mind when He would, on numerous occasions, say to the crowds and His disciples alike, "Take up your cross daily." What do you think He meant by that? How does it apply to us today?
As we continue in our series, "Things Jesus Never Said," we will tackle a tough one this Sunday, and hopefully those questions will get us thinking a bit before we dig around in the scriptures.
Let me leave you with a famous quote by Plutarch, "The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."
See you Sunday,
When it comes to the things Jesus said, are there any teachings you disagree with?
Last week we saw how Jesus had some pretty tough teaching when it comes to forgiveness - is there anyone today who needs to know what forgiveness looks like?
Do you have any traditions in your family when it comes to the holidays?
What holiday tradition is your favorite, and what happens if, for whatever reason, you are not able to uphold it?
Let me encourage you to read Matthew 15:1-9, and ask yourself this question, "Are there any religious traditions you are holding on to that violate the command of God?"
Join us this Sunday as we explore another tough teaching from Jesus. - Bradley
Since the beginning of Christianity, some 2000 years ago, there has been an overwhelming amount of deceptive and destructive teaching out there in regards to who Jesus is, what he did, and what He said. Many of the New Testament letters were written in response to a lot of dangerous and false teaching. Many of the same wrong ideas the earliest Christians faced are still prevalent today, and I think you would be surprised at how many you might believe.
This Sunday, we launch a brand new teaching series we are calling - things Jesus never said. I am excited about this series and hope it will bless and challenge you.
We close out our series "Arrows" this week, but before we do I want to draw your attention to a couple of verses at the end of the letter. In chapter 4:12-13 we see:
12 Epaphras, a member of your own fellowship and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. 13 I can assure you that he prays hard for you and also for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis.
Epaphras is the guy visiting Paul (the author of the letter to the Colossians), and he is the one who tells Paul what was going on in his home church. We know from the context of the letter that the followers of Jesus in Colosse were under severe cultural pressures as well as facing the difficulty of false teaching about the nature and character of Jesus.
It would have been easy for Epaphras to criticize and complain about the problems at his church. But instead, notice what Paul says: he is praying earnestly and praying hard for others to be made strong and perfect, or more literally, to be absolutely sure about the truth of Jesus. The ability to recognize the real need of others is a demonstration of the spiritual maturity of Epaphras, and it serves as an example and challenge to us.
Is there someone in your life that could use a few prayers like that today? Who are you praying "hard" for today?
Hope to see you Sunday - Bradley
Tucked snuggly into chapter one of Colossians is a section of utter brilliance. Noted by many as the centerpiece of the entire letter it reads:
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. 18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ's blood on the cross.
Called by some as, "One of the great Christological passages of the New Testament." F. F. Bruce, it serves as a reminder that at the center of everything is our understanding, belief, and pursuit of Jesus. Regarded by many scholars as a hymn of the earliest churches, it would have served as a unifying, teachable, profound theology put to song and would have grounded the first followers of Jesus in the truth and power of His character. Not the kind of song you hear in the top 40 these days.
A.W. Tozer once remarked, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." I think in some way that is the heart of these six verses. The Apostle Paul's way of helping us all with our view of Jesus, challenging us to go bigger, go deeper, and to go wider in our view of Jesus.
Let me encourage you to think through these six verses and consider your own view of Jesus. Let this ancient song shape your perspective about the true grandeur and majesty of Jesus.
See you on Sunday - Bradley
For the next couple of weeks, we are going to look at a couple of interesting things that emerge from the book of Colossians that I think can help us in our daily pursuit of Jesus.
In our current sermon series, we are exploring Colossians chapter 3, but today I want to point you to verses 9 and 10 of chapter 1. There we read:
9 So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
Paul, writing to a group of people he has never met and who live in a city he has yet to visit, now reveals a mighty prayer. It wasn't a prayer for their good health, for God's protection against the pressures they were facing, or a prayer about God providing material needs. It was a big prayer asking for God's transformative power to develop others in a profoundly spiritual way.
It gives us a window into what Paul ultimately wanted for the Christians living in Colossae - spiritual wisdom and understanding. When was the last time you prayed for spiritual wisdom and understanding - or better yet, prayed that for someone else?
Be encouraged today - as a church leadership; we are praying that same prayer for you today.
WARNING - MATURE CONTENT
I wanted to give you a heads up about our text this Sunday - it has some mature content that may be difficult for younger ears to hear and understand. There won't be anything graphic or explicit, but Sunday's text is going to challenge us in the area of sexuality. Here are the verses we are going to cover in Colossians 3:5-7:
5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don't be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world.
We won't shy away from tough passages that confront current cultural norms, and when the Word of God runs contrary to popular opinion or practice, we will remain faithful to the Scriptures. This week's message will be something I think every middle and high schooler should hear, and I would even encourage my almost 10-year-old son to listen, but younger than that might be a little too much. This advance notice is simply to allow you to make the decision you feel is best for the younger ones in your family this Sunday. Remember, we have a stellar children's area with age-appropriate activities and incredible volunteers ready to show your kids the love of Jesus every Sunday.
See you Sunday- Bradley
Here are a few upcoming opportunities to connect with others in our Forum community:
Connect Event - September 10 - 6 p.m.
If you have questions about what we believe or teach, if you want to get involved, or just want to meet some of our ministers, plan on attending our "Connect" event next Tuesday, Sept. 10. We will enjoy a catered meal and provide babysitting for those who bring their children. Visit my forum.me/connect-event to sign up.
College and Young Adult Ministry
Luncheon - September 8 - 12:30 p.m.
If you are a college student or a young adult, join us for a free lunch this Sunday in the Family Life Center. This is a great way to meet others at Forum in a similar stage of life and hear more about what Forum has to offer.
Sunday morning class - weekly - 10:15 a.m.
The main purpose of this class is to connect with other student believers and support one another at this important time in our lives. We'll share challenges we're facing, and pray for each other while studying scripture. The current study is "Gods at War: defeating the idols that battle for your heart" by Kyle Idleman. Join us each week in room 202.
Life groups - various days and times
Relationships to grow your faith and friends to live life with. Check out myforum.me/youngadultministry to see group options and get signed up.
Regardless of your age, how long you've attended Forum, or where you are in your faith there is a place for you to get connected. Go to myforum.me to find a study group, life group, or service opportunity that fits you!
See you Sunday for a new sermon series, 'Arrows' - Bradley
3 quick things to challenge you in your prayer life
A poet once wrote, "A man's reach should exceed his grasp." Are you stretching yourself out to God and praying with a desire not just to have God answer your prayers, but to know Him more?
2. Frequency vs. Length
We often regard a lengthy prayer of greater worth or more spiritual value than shorter prayers said more often. Praying is a way to connect to the heart of our Father in Heaven. As a father, I would much rather stay connected to my kids more often than for one single long conversation.
Do you pray with people? Do you know the lives of those around you well enough to know how to pray for others more specifically?
Here are two things to try:
a. After a conversation with someone say as part of your goodbye, "Is there anything I can be praying for?" You will be surprised at the reaction you get - and don't hesitate to pray right there on the spot for them. It's only awkward the first few times;)
b. We have something at Forum; we used to call a prayer chain, that we now call our Prayer Team. A team of people who pray regularly for those in need. It consists of our staff, elders, deacons, and anyone who would like to opt into the team. It is as simple as giving us your email. When a prayer request comes in for the Prayer Team, an email goes out with the details. If you would like to join, email firstname.lastname@example.org - put 'Prayer Team' in the subject line and include your first and last name in the email.
If you have a prayer request that you would like the team to pray over visit myforum.me to fill out the form.
Hope to see you Sunday as we close out our 'New Season' series.
Here are five important announcements.
1. We have a new Middle School Minister - Justin O'Dell.
Justin currently serves at a church in Michigan, but in late September he will be joining our team full-time. You can learn more about Justin by watching this short video.
2. We have a new Adult Education Minister - Scott Sutherland.
Last June Scott went on a three-month sabbatical, and in September he will be back with the team in a new role. He will focus on helping to advance our Sunday class environments as well as our Men's Ministry.
3. We have a new Sports Minister - Blake Cohea.
Blake is our current Middle School Minister. As we began to form our Sports Ministry program, we approached Blake about that position before we asked anyone else. He accepted, and we couldn't be happier.
4. Upward Basketball
Starting in January 2020 Upward Basketball will be a new ministry at Forum. The program previously hosted by Calvary Baptist Church (now Karis) will be integrated into our Sports Ministry. We are thrilled to begin registration for our first season starting September 1. Spots will fill up fast so I encourage you to get in early. Go to myforum.me for details.
5. Elder and Deacon Nominations
Each year we have the opportunity to nominate and affirm members of our leadership team. If you are a member and would like to nominate a qualified servant leader - nomination forms can be picked up at the Starting Point. All nominations should be turned in on or before Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019.
There is a lot going on at Forum and a lot of ways to be a part of what God is doing.
See you on Sunday - Bradley
We are going to mix things up a bit for this Friday. The Friday Five will feature all sorts of different things. This week's five are things to think about, listen to, watch, and enjoy.
1. New Song
We are going to be introducing a great new song over the next three weeks entitled, "Raise a Hallelujah." You can check it out here - it's my kids' favorite as of late.
2. Great Quote
Henry Ford once said, "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right."
3. New Teaching Series
We are starting a new series this Sunday called "New Season." It's based out of 1 Peter chapter 1 and will last for three weeks. This is a great series to invite a friend to check out.
4. RightNow Media
RightNow Media might be one of the best free resources that Forum provides for everyone who attends. It's like the "Netflix of Video Bible Studies" and has a HUGE library of faith-based videos that you can access whenever and wherever you want—on your phone, iPad, computer, or at home on your TV. Click here to check it out. You can get free access by simply emailing our Connections Minister - Jody Riley at email@example.com
5. Sports Camp
We had a great Sports Camp this past weekend. Led by our children's ministry team (Rochelle Gerdts, Leslie Potter, and Jessie Spellman) and 116 awesome volunteers we were able to leverage what kids are already interested in and use it to connect them to Jesus. It was His people loving kids and each other that made this past weekend so amazing. Click here to see a fun recap video.
See you Sunday -
A simple definition of a powerful action: leverage. Archimedes (a Greek mathematician/physicist/engineer/inventor/astronomer) once said, "Give me a lever long enough, and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world." To leverage something is any technique to multiply gains or losses.
Jesus was a master at leveraging things in everyday life to explain, teach, and move people closer to God. His life and teachings are filled with illustrations of His day to draw out a more profound spiritual truth. He leveraged things in everyday life to multiply the impact and power of His teaching.
In the gospel account recorded by Matthew, we read, "Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from the thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit." Two powerful images leveraged to accentuate a powerful truth. His point is that regardless of what people claim, their lives are a reflection of what they believe. He calls these false prophets wolves disguised as harmless sheep. The imagery is stunning. He is leveraging an important daily reality to draw out the deeper spiritual truth. Leverage can be an essential tool in how we help others draw people to God.
It's this idea of leverage that we wanted to use to impact our kids during our upcoming sports camp. Our goal is to take the interests that our kids already have and help them to see how those interests intersect with their relationship with Jesus.
The theme of the camp is "POWERED UP," which refers both to the sports they will be engaging in and to the way that the Holy Spirit fills us with God's power. On Friday, we will talk about how we need to "Seek God to Power Up." Just as we need preparation and practice to have success in a sport, we also need it to follow Jesus. We can seek after God and put in the effort to know Him better, and we will discuss ways to do that. On Saturday we'll focus on "Powering Up to Show God," We'll talk about the Fruit of the Spirit, and how that fruit in our life will help point others to Jesus.
Our sports camp will conclude with the ultimate #SundayFunDay. Sunday, August 11 from 4:00-8:00 Forum will be hosting a Pool Party at Wilson's Beach Club with free admission and an adult volleyball tournament (for some friendly competition). As if all that weren't enough, we're also going to grill hotdogs and have chips & drinks for you to enjoy while getting to know others from Forum. Wilson's concession stand will be open as well for those wanting to purchase more options. Find all the details and more at myforum.me.
Hope to see you this weekend!
In the first three parts, we talked about why we lie, being honest with ourselves, and last week what it means to be honest with God. Now for the application: 3 things we can do each day to be honest with ourselves, with God, and with others.
1. Morning Dependance
Almost three years ago we launched a building campaign, took pledges, and continued seeking God's guidance in how we care for the people God was bringing to Forum. A big part of that process was prayer. We encouraged everyone to join us in praying, and I personally set a reminder on my phone to alert me three different times throughout the day to pray. Little did I know that this simple practice would dramatically change my prayer life, my honesty with God, and would develop my faith as a whole. The first alert at 9:30 was to pray for our church and its leadership.
As a team of ministers (and administers) at Forum, we gather at 9:30 each morning to pray. It seemed a fitting time to include a prayer for our church and specifically for the leadership at Forum. This first prayer is a prayer of dependence. A recognition of my reliance on God to move, guide, and lead our church. Prayers of dependance are built upon an acknowledgment of our lack of sufficiency and place us in a posture of leaning on God for our everything. This is a prayer of confession, a realization that we are by nature sinful and in desperate need of a savior.
2. Afternoon Opportunity
The second alert is at noon. It reminds me to pray for an opportunity to share the gospel with someone new. This simple prayer can return some unique results, so I recommend this prayer with a word of caution. Be ready to watch God give you a chance to share, a chance to listen, and a chance to help someone in ways you might not be accustomed to doing. Again, this is a prayer of dependence. It is a recognition that we were designed for a purpose, a purpose to be lived out in everyday life. No matter where you are or what you are doing, we are surrounded by people that God is chasing after. He might use us to bring about change in someone else's life.
If you are like me, you tend to feel unprepared, and unqualified to be used for such a task - and you would be right. That is why God has promised to give us the power to accomplish His mission through His Spirit - it is done with His power and in His timing. Our job is to depend on Him for it all. To be honest with our selves and with God is to rely on Him to accomplish the work. We admit we can't do it on our own.
3. Evening Relationships
The third prayer is at 4:00, and it is for my wife and family. I have this one set 30 minutes before I pick up the kids and over an hour before I see my wife. This is where dependence, honesty, and living out our faith gets gritty.
To pray for my wife and kids before I see them after a long day, not only prepares me spiritually but also grounds me in the reality that I depend on God to lead and guide my marriage and parenting. Going to God each day with prayers for the hearts and minds of my wife and kids is a humbling exercise. It impresses a profound truth into my heart: these are God's kids entrusted to me, this is God's daughter I am privileged to share my life with and my primary role is to lead them all closer to Jesus. That can be a daunting task and one that most men (who are honest) struggle to accomplish. It starts with being honest about who I am, who I am not, and being honest with God about who I am, who I'm not, and how much I need Him.
These three reminders go off on my phone every single day. Do I miss these moments of prayer on occasion? Of course I do. Do I sometimes go into those times of prayer begrudgingly? You bet. But the good thing is that it has become a habit, a pattern, a rhythm in my daily life that keeps me honest. Not perfect, but in process, and just honest enough to admit I am not always honest.
It might be easy to say, "You are too legalistic, praying three times a day for these same things over and over again is like the vain repetitions that Jesus condemned." I would argue and say that the discipline of prayer is the best way to be honest with ourselves, with God, and with others. It is the starting point, the launchpad, the right first step to cultivating a life that reflects the truth of God.
My encouragement would be to do something easy to remind yourself to pray, to depend, to follow, and to surrender to what God is leading you to do. Make post-it notes and stick them somewhere you frequent. Set a reminder on your phone. Reach out to a friend and ask them to keep you accountable. Move towards an honest life in some practical way, and in a few days, months, or years, you might have a new honesty habit.
If you missed the last two parts - here is the recap. Living honestly reflects God in our daily lives, and it starts with being honest with ourselves about how dishonest we are. Part four gets real practical about little things we can do to be, stay, and promote honesty.
Alright, now that we have addressed the importance of being truthful with ourselves, we can approach God from that place of real, transparent, honesty. Let's get some insight from an unlikely place.
There is this fascinating story that Jesus told sandwiched in between a story about being persistent in prayer and the importance of accepting the kingdom of God like a little child. While addressing those who had a self-righteous view because of how good they thought they were, Jesus confronted their self-righteousness by telling a story.
This story involved two men, one a tax-collector (generally despised by the Jewish people) and one a religious guy who both went to the Temple to pray. While not a story usually associated with confession - it provides a crucial insight into the thinking of Jesus as He repeats a prayer the tax collector uttered. Jesus says in verse 13 of Luke chapter 18, “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner." A powerful admission is made in that prayer - I am a sinner. Jesus then closes the teaching by saying, "I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
There is something powerful in confession. Going before God in full admission of our guilt is a path of honesty seldom traveled, but richly rewarded.
One of the closest followers of Jesus, John, reiterates this throughout his letter of 1 John. Few places throughout the New Testament are as clear as 1 John 1:8-10, "If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts."
Being honest with ourselves about our sin doesn't absolve us, cleanse us, or do anything other than make us honest. Without making that confession to God, we are making, as John would say, a fatal mistake. Calling God a liar and proving His word has no place in our hearts. Our silence is an indication of our lack of reliance, trust, and faith.
In between two brutal statements about the silent killer, the dark side of an unconfessed life, is a beautiful promise of new life, of cleansing, and forgiveness.
That is the invitation to each of us today. Not that we would somehow make it through an entire day without sinning. But that we could make it a full day being honest about those sins, confessing those sins, and walking in the freedom God's forgiveness affords.
Next week we will wrap up this whole discussion and talk about practical tips for staying in a place of constant confession.
See you on Sunday -
Last week we began a 4 part series on honesty, lying, and how we can reflect the truth of God in our everyday lives. We started by looking at two prominent reasons why we lie: 1.) Self Preservation 2.) Others Self Preservation. Our self-preservation is focused on covering up the things that might make us look bad. Others self-preservation hides from others what might hurt them in some way.
Seeing the prevalence of our dishonesty helps us to see where to start - admitting to ourselves, we have not been honest. We will be tempted to overlook the value of this first step, tempted to diminish the truth about how untruthful we are. How we address our lack of honesty creates clarity about our sinfulness and our natural reluctance to admit we are lying in the first place. This exposes the very nature of sin, a sin that has separated us from God, and a sin that from the very beginning was introduced through...wait for it, a lie.
Now, this is going to get dark for a second, so bear with me. The devil, Lucifer, the chief adversary of God, is called the father of lies by Jesus in John 8:44. When addressing the religious leaders of His day, He said, "For you are the children of your father, the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies." Jesus made a big deal about this whole lying business, and the fact that we minimize it illuminates a powerful reality - lying is the devil's way, not the way of Jesus. We too often flirt with, give in to, placate to, and minimize our alignment with the devil and his schemes.
Reflecting the truth of God in our everyday life starts first with admitting to ourselves, we are not always honest. Now here is the hard part - to start looking in your daily life for areas where you are not totally, 100%, without any hesitation, without any justification, brutally, and totally honest, is difficult and not something we will naturally do. I had this moment just this past week as I was standing in the kitchen helping to make dinner with my wife. As I stood there, staring blankly at the stovetop, stirring a skillet filled with our uncooked dinner, I wrestled deeply with this idea. Mostly I just compartmentalized and justified why I didn't need to confess to my wife that I had lied. Within a few minutes, the pressure became too much, so I blurted out abruptly, "Honey, I lied to you today." My wife turned to me with a puzzled look on her face and asked, "What do you mean?" I replied, "Remember that story I told you about how this morning I was attacked by two wasps while letting the dogs out, and how I darted inside, grabbed the flyswatters, and then killed them?" "Yeah," she shrugged questioningly, "I think I only killed one, not two," I said with a strange level of conviction. She smiled with a breath of relief and said with a hint of curiosity, "OK." I then launched into an explanation of how the past few months, I had been wrestling through the letter of 1 John. The author calls things like they are, and more times than not is calling people liars. I explained how that has got me thinking a lot about how much we are or aren't being honest. You might be just like me and start to argue for degrees of lying, shades of truth, appropriate confession, justifying things like, "What difference does it make whether it was one or two wasps? That is so insignificant; you can't be serious?" It's at that point we begin to determine in our minds, and by our standards, what lie or truth is relevant. We become the judge about how far any deviation from that truth needs confession. Ultimately, we begin to position ourselves as judge of right or wrong, truth or lie.
I didn't hear Jesus say anything about the devil not being the father of little, tiny, seemingly insignificant lies. There emerges within the scope and teaching of Jesus, the apostles, and the scriptures as a whole, that any derivation from the standards set by God is sin, false, antiGod, the wrong way, the way of destruction. Has that path to destruction become standard for many of us? Has it become mainstream? Has it become acceptable
So regardless of what side of the debate you might land on, despite the various ways we justify and capitulate, we might all agree that lying is wrong and not God's desire for any of us. The starting place for many of us is simply admitting it.
These are uncomfortable questions to answer, but an area we will continue to push in to, both in our current sermon series "Prove It," and also in our next two Inside Forums.
We have all done it at some point in our lives; we have all justified the reasons why we have done it. We all have lied to someone about something. Hopefully, at this point in your life, you can say with confidence that lying is something you don't do anymore. If you were to say that, would you be lying?
Now I know that within the Christian context lying is not something we are supposed to do, and it is certainly not something we go around telling people we do. Not to mention it is something we are commanded on numerous occasions not to do. Then why is it so pervasive?
1. Self Preservation
In general, we want people to think we are smarter, healthier, more attractive, wealthier, and more successful in relationships and work than we are. Though on the surface we might all agree that we are human and everybody makes mistakes - we don't like to admit it when WE make them. So we bend and twist the truth (other words for lying) to cover up the small indiscretions, the imperfections, the mistakes. We know that to admit our mistakes might cost the trust of a friend or family member, it might cost us a business deal, or even our job.
2. Others Self Preservation
Many times the reason we shy away from the truth is to spare the harm it may cause someone else. What husband has not been put in that dreadful position of having to answer this question from his wife, "How do I look in this?", knowing the truth would hurt his wife's feelings? Many of the lies we tell, we would argue, are actually for the benefit of others. We can easily convince ourselves of our pure intentions and justify lying to make us feel relatively altruistic.
The question we don't often ask is “how can I be a person of integrity, of honesty, and yet be truthful about who I am and be honest to those around me?” I would push it one step further and ask, "How does God want me to reflect His truth in how I live?"
This question is the first of a four-part series on what we can do to be people who reflect the truth of God in the reality of our everyday lives. Next week we will explore the first of three action steps to counteract our tendency to drift towards self or others preservation and move towards living truth-filled lives.
Hello Forum Christian Family,
This past Sunday we held a special membership meeting for the purpose of affirming Bradley Williams as the next Senior Minister of Forum Christian Church. I know many of you have been praying and anticipating the direction our church is headed with regards to leadership. I am happy to report an overwhelming confirmation of Bradley as Senior Minister with a total count of 341 yes votes and 3 no. This result is evidence of great unity within our church body consistent with that of the Eldership as we recommended Bradley for this role. I am grateful for your confidence in him to take the helm and lead our church staff, body, and ministry as we continue serving God together.
We continue to be blessed by the solid foundation Scott Sutherland set and the vision he brought to our church more than a decade ago. Our mission of intentionally connecting people to Jesus doesn’t change, and Bradley’s readiness to step in as Senior Minister and faithful steward of our mission and vision is evidence of God’s faithfulness. The future looks bright and we are excited to explore new opportunities ahead under Bradley’s leadership as we strive to connect even more people to Jesus.
One observation made during the voting period involved questions regarding church membership: some people were uncertain of their membership status and others inquired about becoming church members. If you would like to verify your membership, please contact the church office. If you are a regular attender who would like to take that next step and become a member of Forum Christian Church, I encourage you to contact a staff member or simply fill out a Connect Card to start that process. Connect Cards can be found in the seat backs in the auditorium, on our website, or on the Forum app.
Please join the elders, deacons, and staff in congratulating Bradley and encouraging him during this transition as he leads us in serving God in fellowship together at Forum Christian Church.
A Few Ideas About Bible Study
Last Sunday was so encouraging to hear from Brice Wurdeman. Brice and his family have such an incredible story of faith and dedication to the mission God has in front of them. What he briefly mentioned towards the end of his message only scratched the surface of the trials they have faced while living out the very message he preached on. To see how far they have come and to hear the stories of how God has positioned them to make an even more significant impact in the Caribbean states is inspiring. If you would like to learn more about Brice, his family, the school they direct or the matching grant available to all donations, click here.
Now a few ideas about bible study. This Sunday we begin a seven-week teaching series called ‘Prove It.’ At its core, this series is a book study through 1 John. 1 John is only five chapters long, so that gives you a rough idea about the pace at which we will be moving through this significant little book tucked away at the back of your New Testament. 1 John will present us with many challenges, and some of those will be in how we approach the book as a whole.
When it comes to studying any book of the Bible, it is essential to keep in mind the authors intended meaning, or asking, why was John writing this book in the first place? What is its purpose, and what is John trying to teach/encourage these early believers to think about and do? Keeping these questions in mind as we study through any text will be beneficial for allowing us to see how a piece of literature written thousands of years ago can still speak powerful and transformative truth into people's lives today.
Here is one more idea about Bible study - context. As we study through any particular chapter and verse of the Bible (in our case 1 John), it is easy to lose sight of the broader context and narrative. One way to keep a handle on the immediate context is to examine the more general context - which is determined by the whole of the book, then even more broadly the entirety of the New Testament. Simply reading through the entire book a few times before we tackle any one verse can be very helpful in this regard.
Let me encourage you to read 1 John a few times this weekend. We are going to focus in on a few verses, phrases, and words through our time in 1 John. Reading the entirety of the book will help us all to see that 1 John is a giant call to action, but within the confines of some of the most radical teachings he had ever heard directly from the mouth of Jesus.
Looking forward to seeing you Sunday,