It's Just the Beginning

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Wasn’t Opening Day just a great way to open up the new facility! Thanks to the over 150 volunteers who made it happen! Saturday, we had the opportunity to interact with people from throughout the community as they came to check out our new building. Sunday, Blake Cohea had a record number of middle school students in their new classroom for Bible study. It was truly a great weekend! 

And it’s just the beginning… 

We are going to continue to intentionally connect people to Jesus. That is God’s mission for us as a church. So please keep inviting people to church and allow God to transform them. We preach Christ with boldness and passion. We are intensely devoted to Jesus Christ and His power to take us and transform us.

We continue in our "Thrive" series this Sunday focusing on running the race of life without restrictions. It was for freedom that Christ set us free. We are not constrained by the law or legalism in following Jesus. We simply love and honor Him with our lives. We’ll talk about that this Sunday. 

And it’s just the beginning…

So I look forward to Sunday because it begins a new week worshiping the Lord. We come together to exalt the name of Jesus. We lay ourselves down as we seek God and worship Him. I can’t wait to worship together this Sunday under the name of Jesus - invite a friend to come with you. 

See you then! 

Scott


Opening Day

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We’re in a sermon series called Thrive and I believe that’s exactly what is happening in our church right now. God has us thriving. As a staff we sit down the first staff meeting of the month and talk about how and where we see God working in our church. The list for September was one of the longest lists we’ve ever seen. Baptisms, people getting involved in service, the unbelievable outpouring of volunteers for the Opening Day event, among many other great steps of faith and service all stood out and highlighted God’s work at Forum. 

This Saturday we are having our Opening Day event which will be a day filled with fun, laughter, and outreach. It happens from 2-6 Saturday and is free to all. It will be a carnival type event that will take place all over our grounds. This is the day we open the gym for our community and strive to reach out. There will be bounce houses and games for every age. There will be a raffle with many giveaways. This will be an incredible day to reach our community - ask a neighbor to attend. 

This Sunday we continue in the Thrive series talking about waiting on God’s timing and His providence to unfold. This is an area of struggle for many of us - we get ahead of the Lord, do our own plans, and then seek His blessing rather than waiting patiently on the Lord. In so doing, we create confusion and mistakes along the way. Mistakes that we own and don’t get out of, but it’s still the bed we made and therefore we have to lie in it. Scripture lays out a better way for us to follow. We’ll be talking about that this weekend. 

On a personal note, it’s great to be up and mobile again. As a congregation you’ve been an incredible blessing to my family and me. We came home from the surgery and our grass was freshly cut - a big “Thank You!” to whoever anonymously did that for us. We’ve received meals and notes and cards expressing prayer and cheer. We can’t thank you enough. 

Looking forward to a great weekend at Forum. 

-Scott

What's Missing

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My morning routine always ends with dropping off my two boys at school and then heading to a good friend's house where my daughter spends the day learning, playing, and laughing. Almost every time I drop her off I am greeted with sweet smiles from the four other little children who attend this toddler party. You might call it daycare, childcare, nannying, friend sitting, or any other common designation, but in reality, it is so much more. Before the customary greetings are shared between friends, there is a two-year-old standing at my feet eager to share the morning's latest news, which usually relates to the toy they are holding or the character displayed on their shirt. I am quick to squat down close to them and intently listen to the jumbled flow of excitement and random facts that come spilling out of their cherub faces.

On one morning in particular, I was warmly embraced by a bright-eyed two-year-old boy, who proceeded to show me a Mickey Mouse blanket he was holding, as if it was his greatest and most prized possession. Then I was directed to watch him as he threw it over his head (which ended each time with roaring laughter). My daughter at that point had enough of watching her daddy give undivided attention to someone else and rushed into my arms for another hug, which is better than all the money in the world, isn't it? I mean unprovoked affection from your children will just melt your heart, won't it? By this time the other kids were also clamoring for my attention, telling stories and showing me the toys they were clutching.

I tell you of my morning routine (quite routine in fact) because although routine, it is anything but common. That moment today struck me as exceptional, mainly because I was reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 18 when He was asked about who is greatest in the eyes of God. He responds so powerfully in verse 2:

2 Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. 3 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. 4 So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

There is something so alluring and convicting about the way Jesus responds to the human need for stature, for prominence, and for greatness. He points to a child and says - "It's like this!" As He draws out the main point of humility, to an admission of our dependence, to a simplicity and purity of heart I am sure that many in the crowd that day were shocked by how jarring that notion truly is. I caught the sense of what He meant (even if just in part) early this morning while standing in that loud, very crowded entryway, surrounded by the people thought of by Jesus as participants in the kingdom of God.

Maybe as we get older we start seeking the attention reserved for God and look for that attention from our friends, peers, spouses, and coworkers. We want to be noticed, to be seen, to be heard, we want to be recognized for our achievements and our sacrifices and all the while neglect the one thing that is missing...the humility to stand before the only One that inevitably matters most.

As I crouched this morning surrounded by two-year-olds I was reminded that this is how I should be today with my Heavenly Father. Not clamoring for self-importance or prominence, but rather earnestly seeking the attention of the One who not only crouched to hear me better, or to look at the latest 'thing' I am focused on, but the One who clothed himself in humanity to take my place on a cross.

Here is the part that really gets me worked up. I eventually left my daughter and her friends and headed for the office, but our Heavenly Father never leaves that spot, always ready to listen, always eager to hear all that we are thinking and feeling, always poised to show us an extravagant amount of love and devotion. The question then becomes, "are we as eager for His attention?" So let me encourage you with the words of Jesus as He talks about the benefit of coming to Him as a little child just one chapter later in Matthew 19:

13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” 15 And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.

Hear the invitation of Jesus to come, for He has an entire kingdom to share with you.

I look forward to seeing you all on Sunday - Bradley


Our Biggest Event Yet

Reaching out to our community is the heart and vision behind our “Opening Day” event on October 6. This carnival-styled event will feature activities for all ages including bounce houses, free food, yard games, and sports-related challenges. Our primary objectives are to bring exposure to not only our facility, but also to the loving presence of Christ that exudes from our church family.

This event is designed to serve and reach out to those in the Columbia community who aren’t connected to a church so be sure to invite some friends and join us for an afternoon of fun, food, and friends.

The Struggle We All Have

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The story is all too common, and it is a story we can all tell. Whether it was a day that went horribly wrong or the alignment of tough circumstances, we have all muttered under our breath or through gritted teeth, "Oh, what a day." Maybe you are fortunate enough to have someone in your life who will notice your demeanor and ask, "How was your day?" At that moment you are faced with the decision to unleash your true feelings and gush overwhelmingly about what has transpired, and in so doing paint a rather bleak picture of the day's events, or give the unenthusiastic and subdued general response of, "Pretty good, how about yours?"

We all have those days, we all face adversity, we all struggle, and we all have our way of handling it. For a lot of us, this is where our addictions, bad habits, and bad decisions find their origins. It's the circumstances, the things that happen to us, the stuff out of our control that so often determines the course of our days, weeks, months, and even years. 

So if adversity is unavoidable, and if our circumstances are unpredictable and unforeseeable, yet constant throughout our days and lives - do we have to be constantly shaken and affected so negatively? Does it always have to be a struggle? Maybe you can see where I am going with this. Let me say it another way: If I can't control certain things in life, what can I control? So let's resign ourselves to the reality that life is going to throw us curveballs, and focus not so much on what we can't control, and think for just a second about what we can. Now bear with me, I am a pastor so you know I am going to mention Jesus or the Bible somewhere, but I am reminded of dozens of verses that speak right into this conversation. Let me give you one that has helped me tremendously as of late. It comes from 2 Corinthians 4:15-17:

as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

Now the depth of these three verses is enough to write several books about, but let me encourage you as this passage has encouraged me. God is doing something in the midst of the struggle. In fact, I am convinced God uses the struggles of our every day to bring about something eternal, and I am usually just too wrapped up in the situation to even consider that harsh reality. I can tell you with all sincerity when an unavoidable situation or circumstance arises (inevitably) I instantly cling to this passage. It orients me towards the truth of God's wisdom and it grounds me in the work of God - despite my circumstance. This passage has been so helpful to me in the past that I have made it the background of my phone's home screen (you can find it at forumchristian.org/wallpaper, if you would like it) so that I can pull it out at a moment's notice. I guess it is just one small way to respond to the situations in life instead of always reacting (which is what I usually do). It's helped me, and I pray it might help you as well. 

As of late, I have watched one of my closest friends, mentors, and co-workers undergo a myriad of tough circumstances and unexpected struggles. I have seen him meet those severe obstacles with the kind of resolve and determination that Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians. I am so thrilled to tell you that after his heart surgery on September 10, Scott Sutherland is now at home and doing exceptionally. He would like to thank you all for your continued outpouring of love, prayer, and concern for him and his family. He is an excellent example to us all of what it means to follow Jesus in the midst of every circumstance. I would ask that you continue to pray for a speedy and full recovery. 

-Bradley

The Danger of Trying

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As long as I can remember I have been encouraged to try my best. Regardless of the outcome, whether in sports or academics or even in relationships, the same mantra has been reiterated over and over again - just try your best. I get it, whether it's trying hard even when we don't quite grasp the complexities of an equation, or whether it's playing hard when we aren't the most naturally gifted athlete, what can often be encouraging after a tough test or a rough game can be the phrase we have heard so often, "At least you tried your best."

While that might help us in some areas of life, it can be destructive when it comes to our faith. So much of the "if I just try my best" attitude can distract and alter our understanding of what it means to rely on God. In following Jesus, it becomes more a matter of faith, of trust, and of relying on what God has done, and on what God is continuing to do. Not trying to earn, please, or even appease God somehow by our actions. But rather, letting our actions flow from the love we have for God and for others.

Trying to please God by all the things we 'do' or all the things we 'don't do' becomes an easy trap for many of us to fall in to. Trying becomes then the anti-relying danger that many of us fall prey to when navigating the challenges of living out our faith.

What is interesting is that much of the New Testament is rooted in this very discussion. Many of the earliest followers of Jesus struggled to find the right balance between relying on what God has done and what God continues to do and what effect that has on what we do. I take some comfort in knowing the Apostle Paul struggled with this reality. In Galatians 2:19-21 he writes,

"For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die."

There is a bold invitation in the message of Jesus to reorient how we understand this idea of "trying our best," maybe we should think more in terms of "relying our best." I know that doesn't sound quite right, but you get the idea. Our faith is rooted in trust and a belief that I can't earn God's approval or love, that it is a gift, and that our proper response should be one of total reliance.

I look forward to seeing you all this Sunday as we continue with our new series "Thrive."

- Bradley

Thrive!

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We finished out Guardrails strongly, talking about finances and God’s design for your finances. We saw how God honored the request from Solomon to give to him wisdom for ruling the population of Israel. We saw how God as well said, “Because you have a heart for wisdom these other things that you didn’t seek instead will be yours as well.” Solomon penned the distilled wisdom into the Proverbs and we saw what an insight they are. We should seek God’s wisdom. We should work hard. We should live generously. Those were all brought to us from God’s word being opened by Bradley this last Sunday. 

This week we start into a new series out of Galatians called Thrive. God desires your life to thrive. He sent Christ for you to have freedom. Freedom from sin. Freedom from death. Freedom from the law. We’ll be looking at the book of Galatians for this outstanding study. As we open up God’s word, won’t you be open to it? Won’t you allow yourself to be shaped by it? Won’t you let God speak to you? 

It’s not by accident that you are here in God’s presence. He’s got a plan for your life and knowing Him and following Him are at the core of that relationship. God sent His one and only Son to this earth to establish a saving relationship with you. Will you accept that? Will you follow that? Will you seek Him? He’s sought you and He wants you to thrive in Him. That’s what we’re going to be talking about this Sunday.

-Scott

Surrounded by Godly Men

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Guardrails are for your protection. God placed guardrails in His word to keep you away from spiritual trouble. This past week Bradley opened God’s word and encouraged us to guard our hearts from evil. He spoke out of Proverbs 4 that tells us to “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” That instruction is similar to the words of Christ who says to “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” When you do this God adds to your stature. You grow in wisdom and knowledge and in so doing you protect your life.

This week we’ll look at God’s guardrails connected to money. Money is a vital asset in our current world and the system of this world. How does it work? Is there ever enough money? Should you pursue money at all? How should you handle the money you earn? The scriptures give us insight as to how to handle money and how to view money. We’ll be talking about these situations this weekend. 

On a personal note, the elders came and prayed over me Tuesday night connected to my upcoming surgery. They anointed me with oil and poured out their hearts before the Lord. What a joy it is to have godly leaders who try to live out the scriptures. Melody and I appreciate the prayers very much. 

Can’t wait to worship with you this Sunday.

See you then,

Scott

Something Great is Happening!

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It’s great to see God at work in the lives of so many people. It’s outstanding to see the church growing and thriving in the name of Jesus. This past Sunday we had the largest non-holiday attendance in Forum’s history. That’s the way to start off fall semester! To those who listened to the Guardrails sermon on sexuality, I hope it was meaningful to you. As you seek intimacy and the purity the Lord would have you to establish, the best insight I can share is this: “Live for Christ and His glory” and “Seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness.” 

This week we continue in the Guardrails series focusing on God’s guardrails for your heart. In scripture we are instructed to guard our heart. It’s an important thing to do to guard your heart. Deep within a person’s being is the heart. Christ said,  “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” Following Christ isn’t easy. Following Him takes our all. All that we are: heart, mind, and soul are to follow Him. We’ll be in Proverbs 4 this Sunday discussing a guardrail to your heart. 

And speaking of hearts, I’m going to be having bypass surgery on September 6 in St. Louis. I’d ask you to be in prayer for my family and me. That will mean I’m out of the pulpit again for several weeks, but know that we’re in good shape with Bradley, Tyler, and Blake preaching and teaching each week. I’m so grateful to have such a strong staff to fill the pulpit.

We’re on the cusp of getting into the new facility, which will mean ministry expansion once again. The parking lot will be accessible soon - including our entrance off of Nifong. This new family life center is going to add a new dimension to the ministry, beginning with the relocation of our youth areas as soon as the space is ready. Please be praying about all of the growth and movement occurring within the ministry. 

I can’t wait to worship with you this Sunday. Each Sunday Is very dear to me because I see life change each week. I see worshipers sold out to Jesus. I see families gathered around God’s word centering their lives on it. It’s a joy to be part of worship at Forum. 

See you Sunday! 

Scott

A Day of Possibility

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What a great day this past Sunday was! We kicked off our Guardrails series in strong fashion looking at wisdom as a guardrail. Dialing in to God’s wisdom is the way to go for this life. Seeking His Kingdom first is a great way to navigate life. Bradley did a solid job of pointing us towards God’s wisdom in Proverbs 1 on Sunday. 

We also had a great night as a fellowship at Wilson’s Beach Club. With over 500 people in attendance, it was a great night. The night was filled with water, sand volleyball, tennis, bounce houses, Kan jam, and hot dogs. It was truly a phenomenal night of fellowship. Thanks to our youth ministry team for putting it together.

This Sunday we look at the scripture guardrails connected to human sexuality and seek God’s wisdom for this. God created our sexuality. He’s the designer and author of life so it’s the righteous thing to listen to Him in these matters. We have an industry aimed at getting our attention through pornography. We have schools that hand out contraceptives. We have more people living together before marriage and “trying it on for size” (if they get married at all). Then there are the issues of same sex unions and alternative lifestyles. What does God say about all of this? We’ll look into these matters on Sunday. 

Let me encourage you to invite a friend to church this Sunday. The sermon topic will be relevant to people in our community, making it a Sunday filled with possibility. 

Looking forward to another stellar day of worship in God’s presence with you this Sunday! See you then,

Scott

P.S. It’s time for nominations for elders and deacons. There are forms at the Starting Point for you to fill out and submit in connection to these roles. 

Guardrails

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It was good to be in the pulpit Sunday closing out the “Pause” series.  This past Sunday we focused on pausing for cleansing. Saying unto God, “Have mercy on me oh God” and coming to Him with a contrite heart to make us clean is the place to start. Having six people come forward for prayer let me know God’s Spirit was moving in this church. Having Noah and Caleb Mayer baptized that afternoon was also a great example of how we can experience God’s cleansing. This week, go to God for cleansing. Bear your soul to the Lord for sins committed. Confess your sins to the Lord and receive His cleansing. 

This week we start a new series called “Guardrails.” Guardrails are a system put in place to keep vehicles from straying into dangerous or off limit areas. We are going to talk about God’s guardrails for our lives and putting them into place for our protection. This Sunday we’re going to look at God’s wisdom and having that in place in your life. This series could impact your thinking for years to come. It has the potential to help you with the definition for your sexuality. It has the potential to alter the way you think about money and your habits with money. It has the potential to change the way you speak and communicate. The goal is for us to be Christ-like. As followers of Jesus we should act like, talk like, live like, and love like Jesus did. We strive to imitate Him. This series is going to help you to do that. 

Sunday afternoon, you’re invited to join us for a pool party at Wilson’s Beach Club from 4-8. This is a no cost event for you and your family. There will be free food at the event as well. Also, get your life group or other friends together and register online to compete in the sand volleyball tournament. 

As ever, I’m looking forward to a great Sunday worshiping with you. I look forward to this new series of teaching that will be so very practical and insightful for your life. I look forward to the full tilt worship that we experience each Sunday. I look forward to it all. 

Can’t wait to see you Sunday,

Scott

Renewal and Cleansing

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Are you looking for renewal from God? This past week, Tyler Hensley did a terrific job speaking on pausing for renewal. Pausing for renewal helps us renew our strength like the eagle’s to the point where we walk and will not fall, and we run and do not grow faint. He talked to us about scheduling a sabbath because unless we plan it, it won’t happen. One of the best ways to pause for that kind of renewal is coming to church, being active in the Word and in praise in a corporate fashion. Don’t you feel rejuvenated after you’ve been in worship? Don’t you sense refreshing from that event? 

Speaking of getting out of the world and into the scriptures, I went out to High Hill camp yesterday and saw middle school camp in action. Our Forum team was doing exceptionally. Campers were having a blast playing games, worshiping, and hearing God’s word preached. It was a joy to see! This camp week arose because our middle school group was so large that the camp could not fit them all into the originally scheduled week early in the summer. Blake Cohea took the initiative to step forward and say he would put this later week together for our kids. It’s been dynamite for the roughly 90 kids who are attending camp. That wouldn’t have happened had Blake not stepped forward to put it together. Well done!

This Sunday, we conclude the Pause series looking at pausing for cleansing. God is in the business of forgiveness, and it’s important for us to confess and receive cleansing from God’s hand. This Sunday we will focus on this type of cleansing. We’ll take action steps towards this type of cleansing. 

Because of the topic we’ll be covering, this Sunday would be a great Sunday to invite a friend or family member to come to Forum. As ever, I can’t wait to worship the Lord with you this Sunday.

-Scott

 

Fresh Mercies

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Wasn’t Sunday a great encounter in worship and the Word? Bradley brought us to the cross in the sermon on pausing for confession and he reminded us that our sins are nailed there. I was having a talk with a congregant on Monday about the sin he needed to confess and in so doing, he found renewal. There is freedom in Christ taking our sins as far apart as the east is from the west. We pause for this kind of confession and cleansing. 

This Sunday we “Pause” for renewal. Psalm 103:5 says, “He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” God is good to renew us. When we pause in worship, when we pause for confession, when we pause to be in the Word, when we pause to pray, God renews our strength daily. Isn’t God great? Isn’t His grace in your life phenomenal? Isn’t it awesome God so demonstrates His love for you? His mercies are new every day. His love for us demonstrates and actualizes His forgiveness in your life. 

I got an email this week that says, “I LOVE the pause button, amen!” That is all the email said. I love the pause button too, because when I push pause to think about and to prioritize the right things, my world view comes clearly into focus. Suddenly God and the world make sense and all things are right with the world. I think through how many people are groping and in need of this type of focus. 

Sunday would be a great day to invite someone to come to church - so they can encounter the richness and fullness of God’s tender mercies. So they can “Pause” and worship. So they can “Pause” and meditate on God’s Word as it is preached. So the grace of God can be poured out on their life. 

As ever, I’m looking forward to worshiping with you this Sunday. 

-Scott

Let's Worship

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We push “Pause” to worship. This past Sunday we were instructed by the word of God to actively worship Christ in any given moment. Bradley took us through the word of God to watch and worship. Worship is a daily practice that can be ushered in at any given moment where we turn our hearts toward the Lord and express thanks to God for life and purpose.

 Speaking of worship, did you know we have a group of teens who lead worship for brothers and sisters at South Hampton Nursing Home the third Sunday of each month? I think it’s cool that we have this ministry that is an ongoing expression of worship in our community.

 Additionally, our senior ministry has a choir that performed a patriotic program at different assisted care centers around town over the past two weeks. We, as a church, exist to intentionally connect people to Jesus. We do this both on our campus and off of our campus in purposeful ways. Thanks to Tarry and Poppy Koutz for putting this into place. Join in prayer for the seeds of the gospel that were sown.

This Sunday we’re going to look at pausing to confess. Coming clean before the Lord is a beautiful thing. To know you’re completely and totally forgiven for sins committed is a freeing and audacious thing. We’ll look at Psalm 32, lay out our sins before the Lord, and rejoice in His forgiveness and renewal. There are times when I think we take this action of God for granted. I think we don’t contemplate our sins and need for confession enough. This Sunday will be a time of introspection, forgiveness, and transformation.

It would be a good Sunday to invite a friend to attend church because of the transformative power of healing and forgiveness being poured out. As ever, I cannot wait for us to worship God together.

-Scott

Are You Listening?

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This past week, we were encouraged to “Pause” for prayer.  Prayer is a God-initiated event. We should come in to listen to God. We should actively seek His Holy Spirit and walk in His confidence. Blake did an exceptional job encouraging us to listen for God’s prompting. First and foremost, God communicates to us through His written word. Psalm 62:1 says to us, “I wait quietly before God.” God speaks to us in His word, through people, through dreams, through promptings, through pain, and through creation. Blake asked in reference to our need for God, “Are you striving for God as much as you strive for the air you breathe?” Are you listening to Him? Are you hearing His voice in your life? Are you seeking that divine presence in your life?  I sure hope so. 

As a ministry, let’s be in prayer for the over 70 high school students from Forum attending Christ In Youth this week. Pray they encounter God and listen to Him. Pray they bond with one another. Pray for their leaders who are pouring into them. Pray for the unity of the group. Pray for safety as they travel. 

As I was typing this, our Senior Choir was in the lobby between gigs. They had just performed at one of the local assisted care facilities and were heading to another one. I think it’s awesome they are striving to intentionally connect people to Jesus through the gift of music. 

This Sunday we are going to “Pause” for worship. We are in the book of Psalms studying the heartbeat of God. The Psalms are a compilation of hymns, prayer, and expressions of worship to God, and we are looking at some of the major components of the Psalms. The Psalms were used as the book of hymns by the Hebrews as they corporately worshiped together.

I can’t wait to worship with you this Sunday. Nothing gives me greater joy on this earth than to be in worship with the church body at Forum. Nothing is as satisfying as the moments that we are gathered together as His church lifting up Christ, pouring our hearts out in worship. Nothing is finer than encountering His body and blood in communion. Nothing brings more meaning to my soul than His preached word. As I say, “I can’t wait to worship with you this Sunday!” 

-Scott

Helping Build Hope

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What a great weekend we had as a ministry! First, we had Crossroads Mission here to help us build a house for Habitat for Humanity. Over 160 people turned out to help build the walls of the three bedroom home in a little over three hours. The project was so very well done and the recipients of the house will be doubly blessed because their home has been prayed over. It was tremendous to see the outpouring of faith and service on Saturday morning. Thanks to all those workers who prepared the meals and orchestrated the site for the rest of us to come and participate. 

It was also wonderful having Stephen and Alisa Walton sharing about their work in Ireland. It’s encouraging to hear of their work and progress of spreading Christ and His mission in Ireland. 

Additionally, we started the "Pause" series out in strong fashion as Bradley taught from God’s word and gave us some vital tips for pausing for the word of God in our own lives. Are you pausing through the day to prioritize God? Are you taking the time to focus on His word? Are you aligning with Him daily? Remember the words of Psalm 1:3 regarding those who meditate on God’s word: “They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”

This week we focus in on Pausing to pray. What defines a vibrant prayer life? What aspects of prayer are often overlooked? Where can you recalibrate connected to your prayer life and implement change? Psalm 62 is a good passage to read as a backdrop for this. 

As ever, we’re here to worship Christ and this would be a great series for inviting a friend, coworker, or family member to come and try out church. This series is filled with so many practical applications that it will help anyone with day-to-day and moment-by-moment situations. 

I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday! 

Scott

Israel, Pause, Hope

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Melody and I just got back from Israel. The church gave us this trip for our 10th year of having served with Forum, and we just now got around to taking it. It was stellar! We went with a group from Southeast Christian Church and some friends, and it was wonderful! To walk where my savior walked, to see places He performed miracles, to experience up close and personal battlefields where David met Goliath was overwhelming and life-changing. So I say to you as a congregation “Thank You” for sending us on that trip. We’ll never be the same. 

Last Sunday we closed out our “2:42: Devoted” series with a message on prayer brought to us by Tyler Hensley. He asked, “What are you devoted to?” He talked about what we give our time to. If I’m to give myself over to certain things how am I stacking up compared to the early believers? Tyler did a great job of talking about communication and it’s prominence in a committed relationship. He spoke about the need for prayer being as real as our need to breathe. Do we pray as though our lives are dependent upon this relationship? Prayer changes our hearts to align with the Father’s heart, and we should be devoted to it. 

We start a new series this Sunday called “Pause.” We’ll look at the Psalms and elements of being in God’s word and doing things God’s way. We’ll look at pushing the “pause button” in our lives for the things that are right for us to do. It’s time for you to put a pause in your life. It’s time for you to sit still and soak in God’s word. In this “hurry up and get busy” world we live in, it’s time for you to reclaim elements of rest and pause. 

We have a “Help Build Hope” missions event where we are helping to build walls for a Habitat for Humanity house that will be constructed at the north end of town, but we are building it at Forum. We’ll have breakfast and lunch for you on Saturday starting at 7:30. We’ll finish putting the walls together for the house around noon. Sign up at www.myforum.me  so we can have a head count for the meals. Sunday, after church, we invite you to go out onto the parking lot and write scriptures on the walls of the house and pray over it. 

Also, due to the increase in our parking lot capacity, we are no longer going to run the shuttles from the hospital parking lot on Sundays. There is space in the parking lot now that we’ve gone to 4 services and built another parking bay, so we no longer need to park across the street. 

I’m looking forward to another great Sunday of worship with you. Looking forward to having us “Pause” and focus on His word together. I can’t wait until Sunday. 

Scott

Why Should We Pray?

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Prayer can be one of those enigmatic and even paradoxical components to the Christian life. Ask ten people what their prayers are like, and you very well might get ten different answers. I often hear questions like:

  • "If God knows everything, why do I even need to pray?"
  • "How do I know God will answer my prayer?"
  • "Why does God seem to answer some people's prayers and not others?"
  • "The Bible says that the Spirit of God prays on my behalf - so why do I have to?" 

In all seriousness, I think those are all excellent questions and ones I am sure we have all asked (albeit privately) over the years. They help us to see the honest tension and complexity of prayer. Perhaps this is why the topic of prayer, our practice of it, and how to grow in our use of it is so difficult for us. I mean are any of us actually trying to grow spiritually right now in the area of prayer? 

Sidenote: If so, awesome, send me a quick email telling me what you are currently doing to grow. Email me at bradley@forumchristian.org - I would love to hear from you!

If you did want to improve spiritually in the area of prayer, where would you begin? Would you read a book about prayer, would you consult a minister, would you just start reading the Bible, would you ask a friend who can pray out loud really well? None of those options are wrong, and none of them would be a wrong choice, but if I could suggest one thing as a matter of first importance - it would be to ask another question, and one I have hinted at already, and the question is, "Why should I pray?"

Start there. It's simple enough, and you don't have to do anything except think to yourself. Ponder that question for a few days before you do anything else. Consider what the purpose of praying is? Then join us this Sunday as we answer that question from a biblical perspective. From there I think you will have a great starting place to develop a plan to grow in the area of your prayer life. 

See you Sunday - Bradley


SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

On Saturday, June 30th, Forum will be partnering with Crossroads Missions and Habitat for Humanity, to build a home in our parking lot. Habitat for Humanity will then locate the home in northern Columbia and donate it to a family who is currently living in substandard housing.  Your family can help build a house!
 
ALL AGES ARE WELCOME
BREAKFAST AND LUNCH PROVIDED
NO CONSTRUCTION EXPERIENCE NEEDED
COME AND GO AS YOUR SCHEDULE ALLOWS


Then on the following Sunday (July 1), you and your family are invited to write scripture and prayers on the walls in-between and after services.

The Fellowship

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What a great church! It’s inspiring to weekly gather and worship the Lord. This past Sunday, we looked at being devoted in fellowship. Blake did a phenomenal job of opening up the scriptures and instructing us. He taught us to be openhanded and view everything we have in light of God’s ownership. By doing so, we become collaborators in God’s kingdom agenda to carry out His design for the world. When we live out this principle, God uses us to add to His church daily. 

This week we will focus on being devoted in communion. Communion draws us together in a beautiful way. We are focused on this ancient practice because it centers on Jesus. As we gather around elements that represent Jesus’ body and blood, it gives us deep inspiration to contemplate the life and death of Jesus. It’s imperative that we examine ourselves as we do this each Sunday. Scripture gives us this challenge. “So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 11: 27, 28) That is why we should examine ourselves before eating the bread and drinking the cup. Jesus asks us to remember Him in this way. 

Communion is such a vibrant and integral part of our worship. We are devoted to it and place it centrally in our worship service. May we never lose sight of this vital practice. May we commit ourselves to it each time we gather in the name of Christ. 

CAMP 23: It’s been exciting seeing all the students and sponsors from Forum at Camp 23 at High Hill Christian Assembly. It’s a blessing seeing Tyler Morris leading worship for these stellar kids. We’ve got over 80 kids attending camp this summer which goes to show the solid work Rochelle and Jessie are doing in our children’s ministry. (If you don’t have access to ForHim Children’s Ministry page, simply add it to your Facebook account.)

Come join in the fellowship and share in communion with us this Sunday,

Scott

 

Are You Living a Devoted Life Today?

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When my 2:42 alarm started broadcasting on Monday, it came as a bit of a surprise. But it was great to take a minute and focus on God’s kingdom and His work in that moment. I hope and pray your moments and days are filled with significance. Focus on Christ and they will be filled with Christ at the center of it all. 

Acts 2:42 is at the heartbeat of this church and ministry. It says, “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.” This past Sunday, we kicked off our 2:42 sermon series focused on being devoted to the apostles’ teaching. As Bradley so poignantly pointed out, the teaching that dominates the book of Acts and the letters, centered on Jesus. Specifically - who He was, what He did, and what He said.  We lift up Jesus. We center on Jesus. We place Jesus as the main element in all of our church life. 

Being devoted to Christ should be all encompassing. It should define your life. Minute by minute, you should be conscious of His presence in your life. 

This Sunday, we continue in this series focusing on the fellowship into which Christ calls us. Fellowship denotes many things to many people. Some people consider it fellowship when people are simply gathered together. You’ll see on Sunday how the fellowship meets many deep needs within your life and within the lives of those with whom you fellowship. You’ll hear some of the responsibility that comes with being devoted to the fellowship. 

Sunday promises to be another great fellowship in the name of the Lord. We gather around Jesus and center on Him. We lift Him up. He is our focal point. We exist to intentionally connect people to Jesus. 

Additionally, we are excited to welcome Leslie Potter to the ministry team at Forum. With Jessie Spellman moving to part-time, we entertained a search for a new Children’s Minister and God led us to Leslie Potter. Leslie is a 2012 and 2018 graduate of University of Missouri with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in agricultural education. She has served in the Children’s Ministry for several years. Her passion is to help children to know Jesus. We welcome her enthusiasm and energy to the team. 

I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday. It’s another great day to invite someone to the fellowship. Make it a point to be devoted to the fellowship and be here on Sunday.

See you then,

Scott

Devoted

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God is so very good to us. This past Sunday Tyler Hensley concluded “The Elephant in the Room” series by talking about Paul’s devotion. He talked about how Paul was under house arrest yet became the elephant in the room by talking about Jesus all the time.  He spoke about Jesus enough that the whole palace guard heard about Jesus. He was relentless in talking about Jesus. As Tyler emphasized, Paul relied on Jesus and he represented Christ all the while rejoicing about Christ.

We start a new sermon series this Sunday called “2:42”. It’s time to be devoted as the early church was devoted. The verse we’re going to focus on arises out of Acts 2:42 which says, “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.” It’s time for the church to be serious about these elements of devotion. At Forum, we seek to have a Christ-centered church. We seek to lift Him high in the pulpit. We seek to draw all people to Him by exalting Him in the preaching and teaching. Teaching on Christ is always the right place to start and the right thing to emphasize.

Bring an unchurched friend or family member this Sunday. It would be great exposure for them to come into contact with the living Christ as we worship and adore Him.

Looking forward to worshiping with you on Sunday. See you then.

Scott