Through the Eyes of Wonder

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This past Sunday we concluded our “Hope” series by focusing on the hope of heaven being lived out today. What if the knowledge of our future hope impacted the way we live today? Bradley laid out what it might look like if we allow this hope to steer our lives today in moment-to-moment daily living. He spoke about the churches John addressed in the book of Revelation and their need to turn toward God and follow His precepts. Bradley asked the questions, “What if Jesus addressed a letter to Forum?” and “What if Jesus addressed a letter to you - what would show up in that?” While we have a hope for heaven, have you considered the hopes God has for you? It was a strong ending to this series. 

This Sunday we start looking at the Christmas story in a new series called “Reclaim the Wonder” where we focus on looking at the Christmas narrative through eyes of wonder. It’s so easy to get jaded and say, “I’ve heard this all before; there’s nothing new in this story” when it’s the timeless story of God interacting with our planet. Did you catch that phrase, “God interacting with our planet?” The Deity that made this entire world became flesh and made His life among us for 33 years. He showed us how to live, showed us how to love, and showed us the way to God. How astronomical is that truth? Let’s see the birth through fresh eyes of wonder this season!

This Saturday is our Hope for the Hungry event in the Family Life Center. We’ve got 500 people ready to pack 100,000 meals for Uganda. It should be a great day of fellowship and purpose as we come together to serve our world. Looking forward to serving in this event this Saturday from 4-6. 

Join us this Sunday as we worship our Savior.  Bring a friend to church with you this Christmas season and let them explore the Wonder - the wonder of Christ and His marvelous birth. 

-Scott

A Big Announcement

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I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me. - Jesus. 

This past Sunday we explored that central truth spoken by Christ. We realized how this is both an exclusive claim and also an inclusive claim. It says that while Christ is the way and the truth and the life - there is no way to the Father except by Him, and He is the only way to heaven. There is no other way to reach heaven than a relationship with Him. It’s exclusive in that way. But in terms of inclusiveness, it says that all who believe in Him will spend forever with God. It means it doesn’t matter who you are, your family status, your religious background, but what matters is your faith in Jesus Christ. It matters that we walk by faith and have the Spirit working in our lives in the here and now. 

This Sunday we are continuing our “Hope” series focusing on heaven and the hope we have there. Heaven is a reality and while Jesus brought heaven to earth, there is the future hope of heaven where things are perfect beyond our ability to measure. Jesus promised to go there to prepare a place for us, and in Revelation 21 we get a glimpse of this reality. Jesus is a promise keeper, and everything He said He would do, He does. 

I need to make an announcement connected to a leadership decision. The elders have unanimously approved a six month plan that will allow me to further recover and heal. I will remain as senior minister, but Bradley Williams will step in as the interim lead minister. This has been a very difficult health year for me and I need time to focus on recovery and healing. Bradley will be leading the staff day to day and leading out in the preaching elements of the church. The elders and staff are all on board with this. We will share this announcement in all services this Sunday. In addition, Bradley, the elders, and I will be available for an informal Q&A following the fourth service Sunday morning.

While we don’t know what the next six months hold, we know God has this church in His hands. I’m excited about the healing and recovery in front of me. I’m more excited about the church’s future and growth that will continue under Bradley’s leadership. Keep the church in prayer as these next steps are taken.  

-Scott

Hope Today

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This past week we looked at Jesus returning home and how amazed Christ was at the lack of faith by those in His hometown. Bradley asked a very penetrating question, “If Christ were to examine my life, what would amaze him? Would it be a lack of faith or would it be a great faith?” I pray we all exhibit and demonstrate great faith in our lives so the world can see Jesus. What would it look like if we all shine the light of Christ into this dark world each and every day? Would more people surrender to Christ? Would there be more people going into ministry? Would there be a revival in the land? You determine this by living out your faith and living for the glory of God. 

This Sunday we look at one of the most endearing passages of New Testament scripture looking at the hope we have in Jesus as “the way, the truth, and the life.” Christ made this very exclusive claim that He IS the way. He IS the truth. He IS the life. No one comes to the Father except by Him. There’s great hope in that teaching and truth. You build your life and eternity upon Jesus. Like the wise man who built his house upon the rock in Matthew 7, you build your life upon the rock of Jesus and His teaching. You apply His life and teaching to your life. There is no alternate route to heaven. It’s only through His death, burial, and resurrection that we have hope and we place our faith in Him. We’re looking this Sunday at “Hope Today” and how Christ builds your life today as you apply His teaching and life example to your life.  

Looking forward to a great Sunday of hope and worship. Invite a friend to worship this Sunday and let them experience the hope and truth of the resurrected Christ. 

-Scott

Not the Same

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This past week we looked at the parable of the prodigal son and the father running  to the son. The son had traveled a great distance away from the father. The son had squandered the wealth given to him by his dad and had run away from home. When the son came to his senses, he worked on his confession, “I’ve sinned against heaven and against you.” The father reinstated him as his son, reclothed him in the finest robe, and threw a party for him.

What an incredible amount of forgiveness the father released, wasn’t it?

We’ve all wandered and sinned. Our heavenly father is waiting and watching for us to come home - to confess our sins and return home. He’s ready to embrace us. He’s ready to throw His arms around us and call us His children.

This Sunday we’re looking at Christ Jesus returning to His hometown; we will see how He is met. This will be a message of hope and insight connected to how we can face the adversity and difficulty in dealing with people who don’t see who we truly are.  This is a message about God’s work in your life in spite of people’s ability to see or notice it. It should be a great message to equip you for family time at Thanksgiving.

Let me encourage you to invite a friend who needs Jesus to church this Sunday. I can’t wait to hear this message. 

-Scott

Also, don't forget about Hope for the Hungry! Go to myforum.me and sign up to pack the meals we will be sending to Uganda on Dec. 8. At myforum.me, you can also donate money to help pay for the meals, as well as, see other ways this event can impact your family this Christmas season.  

Our Hope for Home

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We started our “Hope” series this past Sunday looking at placing our trust and perspective on heaven. This earth is not our home, and we live in eager hope and anticipation of heaven. Speaking of the hope of heaven, Evelyn Smith, mother of Joyce Miller, went home to be with Jesus this past Monday. It gives us great hope to know when we belong to Jesus, we enter into his presence when we leave this earth. Heaven is a wonderful place of hope.

Since our theme for this season is focusing on our hope in Christ, we are having a Christmas seasonal initiative called Hope for the Hungry, which culminates on Dec. 8 with the packing of 100,000 meals for Uganda. In order for this project to be successful, we hope you will participate in one or more of the following ways:

PACK - You can sign up on myforum.me to help pack 100,000 meals on Dec. 8 at 4:00pm in the Family Life Center.

PAY - You can help pay for the meals by giving financially at myforum.me.

PARTICIPATE - You can participate by choosing to share in a meal of rice and beans and be mindful of the poor and hungry throughout the world.

PRAY - You can pray over the meals as they travel and for the lives they will touch. 

For this Sunday, the message will focus on our hope for home. We’ll be exploring the story of the prodigal son found in Luke 15 and seeing the hope we have in coming home to our Lord. We’ll look at the hope we have in the restoration of God and His forgiveness. It’s a great message of repentance, hope for forgiveness, and coming home to the Father. Looking forward to engaging Christ with you and worshipping the Father this Sunday.

-Scott


New Hope

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This upcoming Sunday is time change Sunday so set your clocks back 1 hour. You get an extra

hour of sleep this Sunday!

We finished out our “Thrive” series talking about that you reap what you sow and God’s law of

the harvest. How, if we sow seeds of the flesh, you reap according to the flesh. If, however, you

sow seeds of the Spirit you reap an eternal harvest of righteousness. God won’t be mocked. If

you are sowing seeds in alignment with His axioms you are blessed and reap those blessings. If

you sow seeds according to the flesh, you reap that harvest. Let me ask you, are you sowing

seeds of the Spirit? How are you doing that? How are you reaping that harvest?

We start into a new series this Sunday called, “Hope” in which we are looking at the hope we

have in Christ. We’ll talk about the hope of heaven, the hope of transformation, the hope of

forgiveness, and the hope God puts into our lives because salvation is now part of lives. This

would be a great time to invite friends and family to come to Forum and let them hear about the

hope we have in Christ.

Sunday we affirm our elders and deacons. If you are a member of Forum, let me encourage you

to stop in the lobby and give your affirmation. These men have been screened and selected

from among the congregation. They are people you’ve nominated for these roles, so let me

encourage you to cast your ballot to affirm them.

As ever I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday. As I mentioned, invite a friend to

come and hear about the hope we have in Christ. Looking forward to worshiping with you this

Sunday.

—Scott

Continuing to Thrive

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We had a great Connect Event on Tuesday night. The lobby was filled with guests and families as we spoke to them about the ministry of Forum. What a great church this is! God is working and moving in this ministry! His hand continues to be upon us. His Holy Spirit guides us and steers us down the best paths in ministry. It’s an exciting time at Forum Christian Church. As a church we continue to thrive. 

Towards that end, I want to thank you for the great welcome back to the pulpit I received last weekend. It was great to be back in the saddle again preaching to you from God’s word about the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. In order to thrive spiritually, you have to be led by the Spirit of Christ. Remember, the Holy Spirit was deposited into your life when you were baptized into Christ. The Spirit led you to your confession that “Jesus is Lord.” The Spirit produces fruit within your life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It’s a great thing to be led by the Spirit of Christ. 

This weekend we’ll focus on the law of the harvest. God won’t be mocked, you reap what you sow is the text from Galatians 6 which we’re going to look at. Do you realize your life is like a field to be filled with plants? What are you planting in life? Are you planting a spiritual harvest? Are you sowing seeds of the Spirit? We’re going to look at these elements this weekend. 

I can’t wait to worship with you on Sunday. Worship is my favorite part of the week. Singing and praising the Lord, sharing in communion together, and being in His word all inspire me towards heaven. Heaven is real and we get a taste of it each time we worship together. 

We are thriving in the name of Christ. Let me encourage you to bring a friend to the service this Sunday because the topic will do them good. I can’t wait to see you. 

-Scott

Continuous Learning

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For you to “Thrive” is what God designed for your life. God set up the church to be a place of freedom. You have freedom in Christ. You are freed from sin. You are freed from the law. You are freed from comparisons. You have been set free by Christ and His death. God has made it simple for you to follow Him. You simply love and obey Him and His word. Thanks to Tyler Hensley for bringing us that message last weekend.

This week we continue to “thrive” looking at the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. God sent His Holy Spirit into this world to equip us to follow the Lord’s leading. The Spirit enters your life as a believer when you confess “Jesus as Lord” and are baptized into Christ. Some people will ask, “How do I know the Spirit is working in me?” That’s a great question and we’ll answer it this weekend. 

As a staff we attended a leadership conference this week. It’s great being part of a staff that is constantly learning and equipping ourselves for ministry. The conference themed around family ministry and equipping parents for whatever life phase your kids are in. I want to thank publicly Rochelle, Leslie, Jessie, Blake, and Tyler for the work they do with our students and children. They give 100% of themselves towards ministry. It’s a joy to serve with them. It’s a joy to see their ministries thriving. It’s great to see so many dedicated parents striving to bring their children up knowing and following the Lord. 

Looking forward to worshiping with you this Sunday talking about the work of God's Holy Spirit in our lives. God’s ways, in our lives, are glorious. Can’t wait to share a time of worship with you Sunday. 

-Scott


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