The Potter's Hands

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As the potter takes pliable moldable clay
There’s a mystical and almost magical happening
The potter will often take the clay, to an untrained eye, to a point of near perfection
The potter will then, seemingly out of nowhere, completely take the clay back down to an unformed state
The potter will then remake and rebuild the clay until in the trained potter’s eye, the vessel is finished.

So it is with our Lord. 

May I remind you of the Word of the Lord? 

The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there”.  So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. 4 But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. 
Then the Lord gave me this message:  “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand" -Jeremiah 18:1–6

Throughout this week, I’ve seen the Potter shaping lives all around me in beautiful ways. 

Sometimes those beautiful ways come in the form of the remaking. 
Sometimes those beautiful ways come in the form of redefinitions in a life or family.
Sometimes those beautiful ways come in the form of untold blessings. 
Sometimes those beautiful ways take the form of the hardest thing you ever experience in life that you look back upon and say, “The Lord used that time for me to lean on Him more.” 

This week we continue to let the Lord shape and form us through His Word. As we just heard: God’s word changes us, it sustains us, it is creating within us the image of Christ, and it remakes us. 

Sunday we’ll look at “Boundaries”. Have you ever had anyone take advantage of you? Have you ever had anyone who you feel crosses emotional lines with you on a consistent basis? Do you maybe have a family member who you feel is the constant “taker” from you and others in your family? 

So how do we deal with these types of matters? Is God’s word silent in these areas? As the title of the message would imply - it isn’t. So this Sunday, we’ll be in God’s word looking at healthy boundaries that arise from God’s word in these very types of matters. 

It will be a great shaping in the Potter’s hands. Looking forward to a great encounter worshiping with you Sunday. 

"Thank You" to our...

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“Thank you” to our policemen, Veterans, and a front and center eternal thanks to Jesus

As more violence devastated a church in Texas, please extend prayers for them. I am personally so thankful for our off-duty policemen that help keep our campus safe. Please give them ongoing appreciation for all they do. 

Just a reminder, Veteran’s Day is this weekend. If you have a Veteran in your family or friendship circles, please communicate our gratitude to them from you and our nation. 

This week I had the privilege of helping lead a minister’s retreat that Bob Russell Ministries puts on. It was another phenomenal week for me in that my son, Parker, attended as he is now serving as an associate minister (which is who this conference is designed for). It was great to hear of churches growing, making a difference, and advancing the kingdom. It is always with great levels of joy and pride that I am able to share what God is doing in the ministry of Forum and in your lives. 

God works in phenomenal ways. He desires the kingdom of God to envelop this world with His mission of love. 

This Sunday we continue to equip and tool ourselves for this mission. We continue in our “Magnetic” series looking at the incredible church at Thessalonica. This week we are looking at “Expressions.” We will be in 2 Thessalonians 3. It would be a great week to invite a friend to attend. 

Looking forward to a great Sunday! 


Now, to the “Need to know housekeeping items”. 

  1. Our parking lot is going through significant changes. I won’t bore you with the details, but here’s what you need to know: the parking lot lights will be off for about a month. We apologize in advance for that, but this is necessary for a time. 
  2. Please continue parking at Boone and on the gravel lot. 
  3. The lobby has additional seating during the second service if you cannot find a seat.

Defining "Success"


As people, many times we wrestle with defining success. What does success look like in my life? Do I define “success” by my earnings? By plaques on the wall? By what other people think of me? Do I define “success” by how well my children are doing? How might “pretty” people view my spouse? How do I look? How other people “value” me? How much stuff I’ve accrued? How much money I have at my disposal? How much land do I own? How many degrees I have? By having a nameplate on a building somewhere? 

If I were to ask you this one specific question, “What do you consider the greatest achievements in your life?”, how would you answer that?
 
I recently attended a high school reunion and while it’s fun to revisit some of those successes that happened in the 1900s, looking back, so much of what I valued in that stage of life has essentially ZERO meaning today.
 
This weekend, we continue in our “Magnetic” series looking specifically at “Accomplishments.” I’ll be transparently and painstakingly honest: this sermon came at a perfect time for me.
 
So here it is in a nutshell:
 
Do you want to be successful?
How do you define success?
What does that look like in your mind?
 
Ready for the punch?
 
Why?
 
Why do you want to be successful?
What is the motive?
 
Is it because you care what people think? That you want them to think you are successful?
Is it because you care what your family thinks? You want them to think you are successful?
 
And what is “success”? What is “achievement”?
 
So as I’m preparing the message for this week, I had so many unique conversations arise from people in our community who are asking me a lot of questions. I’ll talk about those questions this Sunday because the questions being asked of me centered around the very concept of “success” connected to church and ministry.
 
So this weekend, we’ll open up God’s word in 2 Thessalonians 1 and look at God’s concept of achievement and success. This would be a great week - in fact, a phenomenal week - to invite an unchurched or de-churched friend or family member to attend.
 
Looking forward to a great focus and intensity this weekend as ever!


SAVE THE DATE

Next Friday, Nov. 3 is our annual Mission Auction where we raise additional funds for one time gifts for our supported missions. It’s always an excellent evening.

WOW!

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There’s an incredible movement of God happening at Forum! I see the Lord working all over the place in “big” and “small” and “in-between” ways.

  • People in the Men’s Ministry communicated how very challenged they were by Clarence Mends helping them to grow in the ministry of prayer.
  •  The Caring People continues to make a huge difference in the lives of single moms.
  • As I’m writing, our lobby has around 30 adults who are part of a new Bible study that happens on Thursdays.
  • Our 55+ ministry has 100 people coming to this Friday night's dinner.
  • Our Sunday morning services continue to reach more and more people and in so doing, equip more and more people as Christ’s disciples.
  • Our Children’s Theater is thriving and ramping up for a great Christmas production.
  • Our middle and high school ministries are soaring with greater numbers and stellar youth coaches.
  • The Women’s ministry continues to do a phenomenal job helping to equip and teach women.

It’s truly a movement of God.

Further, there have been great, great strides connected to the facility this week. Over the next weeks, we should be able to park on the gravel in the new parking lot. The new office area is taking shape. The walls on the family life center are continuing to be poured.

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This Sunday we have a great lesson arising out of 1 Thessalonians 5 as we wrap up Paul’s first letter to this very young church. God’s put a burden on me (more so than usual) connected to this message for whatever reason. If all of us can grow in this one area, God’s church will advance faster than we can even imagine. It’s an area that I know I need to grow in a lot.

...be there in 15 minutes.

An old friend calls and just happens to be passing through. They say they’d love to stop by and see you. They are 15 minutes away. 

What do you do? 

A.   Say, “I’d love to see you too - meet me at this coffee shop.”

B.   Say, “Perfect. We’ll see you then,” get off the phone and start yelling, “Clean, Clean, Clean.”

C.   Say, “Perfect,” brew some coffee and wait for their arrival. 

In our house, the answer would be either “A” or “B”. I do marvel at those whose homes are perpetually clean, straight, and in great shape. 

This Sunday we’ll focus on the Second Coming of Jesus. This will be the most significant event in the history of this universe since creation. 

Thoughts of it conjure ideas of apocalyptic events, totality, and finality. 

When some think of it, it evokes fear.

When some others think of it, they sneer and mock it.

When another group thinks about it, they almost gloat because “the big bad world is finally going to get what it deserves.” 

Theologians through the ages have had thoughts as well: 

Martin Luther said this: “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”  

Billy Graham said, “Bible teaching about the Second Coming of Christ was thought of as “doomsday” preaching. But not anymore, it is the only ray of hope that shines as an ever brightening beam in a darkening world.”  

But a quote that really resonates with me comes from A.W. Tozer: “When He returns is not as important as the fact that we are ready for Him when He does return.”  

This Sunday we continue in our Magnetic series talking about “Readiness.” I can’t think of a timelier message for us and for our world. It would be a great Sunday to bring a friend. It would be a great Sunday to bring a skeptic. We’ll be in 1 Thessalonians 5. 

Looking forward to a life-changing and challenging Sunday! 


HELP NEEDED


This Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. there will be a workday happening around the facility. As ever, we need a lot of people to help our ministry to continue striving for excellence. Thanks to Freddy Spencer and our deacons in advance for setting this up.

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And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world.  But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. -Jesus

Sounds like it’s ripped right out of this weeks headline’s, doesn’t it?

Of all the hopeful promises God gave to us, is the return of Jesus.

The scriptures talk about this as an event that gives us encouragement.

So why do so many Christians talk about this day with fear?

I think too many of us:

1.     Suspend reality - we live under a very false delusion that this world is going to last forever.

2.     Don’t believe God’s word when it says Christ will return. 

3.    Aren’t living according to the scriptures therefore we aren’t ready for the return of Christ.

This weekend we continue in our “Magnetic” series focusing on “Glory.” So here’s the truth and the future reality: Jesus is coming again. This will be the most glorious day this world has ever seen. This event that we commonly call, “The Second Coming” should be an event that we anticipate, cherish, and keep each other on track until that day comes.

I don’t need to remind you of the current headlines. It’s a fallen and tainted world out there. All these things remind us, “this world is not our home.”

I love my family. I love our church. I love my friends. It’s a good earth that God created.

But here’s the great news - we all, because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, get to go to an even better place. A place of beauty. A place of perfection. God calls that place “heaven.”

This weekend we’ll worship our glorious Lord. We’ll challenge each other to be ready for Christ’s return. This will be one uplifting encounter worshiping our Lord.

Prayer:
Please pray for the tons of kids and sponsors that will be attending SuperStart this weekend in St. Charles. We’ve got such a thriving Children’s Ministry so please be in prayer for Rochelle and her team as they have a fun and intense 2 days together. 

Holy Sexuality

I don’t know that we associate the words “holy” and “sexuality” together. Why? 

God as our Designer designed human sexuality for joy, intimacy, pleasure, and for our benefit. God desires that, as His followers, we have abundant life. 

As the Designer, if He truly thought sex was evil, He could have designed that human function to be so very horrible that you would really, really, really want to have kids so badly that you would simply go through that function. 

That’s not the case at all, is it? 

God designed this to be an incredible expression of love and affection. 

Satan and the system of the world, however, would pervert this beautiful gift. 

And pervert it, the world has. 

This weekend at Forum, we’re in our Magnetic series in 1 Thessalonians 4. There’s a lot of powerful teaching and insight we need to grab hold of for our lives. 

Perverted sexuality can be a deadly magnetic force that can allure and drag people in like a magnetic black hole. We see it connected to pornography. We see it in pathetic “art” (50 shades of sin and all). As Christians, we can buy into it with immodest dress as well as in our thought life. 

God’s righteous ways are better for us. They are better for your kids. They are better for your marriage. They are life-giving. They protect. They give us wise warnings. 

Come Sunday, we’ll boldly go through the scriptures together to gain God’s wisdom connected to our lives. 

It will be a PG-13 kind of Sunday in that God doesn’t pull punches in His word connected to our sexuality and holiness. I don’t think we should hold back in these matters in the pulpit either. 

Looking forward to worshiping our Great and Holy God with you this Sunday. This may or may not be a good Sunday to invite friends. I personally think it would be a great Sunday to invite friends, but this is one of those sections of scripture that - well - deals with sex and some people aren’t comfortable talking about these matters - so use your best judgment. 

But this I can assure you: we’re going to worship God, dig into His word together, and draw near to God and one another. As ever, God will help change us for the better. See you then.  

Dancing in the Streets

Globally, it’s been a very hard fall: 

• Multiple hurricanes creating great levels of destruction

• Bad earthquakes in Mexico

• North Korea going nuclear

• Unrest on college campuses 

Lately, it seems like it’s a bad news kind of world. 

These types of events are difficult to see happening and unfolding. These types of events are the very types of “labor pains” that Jesus said must happen within this world before his return. 

But there’s good news. In fact, it’s great news. This good news is that Jesus saves. The good news is “Jesus saves.” 

When we see this type of news, our souls cringe, and we are uncomfortable. Deep within us, those moments tell us “this life is temporary, and I don’t have control.” This world is not the eternal home of the human soul.

I’m hoping that somehow this email lands in someone’s inbox that doesn’t go to any church. They think “religion” is useless and a farce. They may be living a very very full and satisfying life. 

But at the core, something is missing, and something isn’t right. Deep down they know it. More money doesn’t make them feel any safer. More people telling them they are “great” doesn’t build them up in their soul. 

They are in need of a relationship with Jesus. 

That simple message of “Jesus saves” changes us. The promise of heaven inspires us. The joy of a personal relationship with Jesus gives us assurance. 

This Sunday we continue our “Magnetic” series looking at “Inspiration” from 1 Thessalonians 3. This would be a great Sunday to invite friends to attend. 

And speaking of Magnetic, as a ministry, and as individuals we are truly drawing people towards Christ. Let’s keep lifting him up in our lives.

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Now I’ve got some hard, yet great news:

Our dear friend Charlie Gehlauf went to be with the Lord this week. Charlie sure loved Forum and everyone in it. We’re going to miss his laugh, his mischief, and his presence. I’m sure that in his new body he’s dancing in the streets of heaven right now. God is good. 

Looking forward to sharing this message of change, hope, and transformation with everyone this Sunday. See you then. 

Crushing It

Fall is up and running and as a church, God is using us to crush it. God is working in our lives in so many ways that it’s simply mind boggling. Seeing and experiencing the excitement and the fresh truth of God as He changes us is truly life changing and awe inspiring.

  • Our Children’s Theater kicked off in a huge way last Sunday night. We’re praying for them as they will ready themselves to lead us in a Christmas program.
  • Our middle school life groups have been kicking off and the numbers of students involved are higher than any we’ve ever seen before. Now, the importance of this isn’t the numbers but long term, new friendships will be formed in a fun, friendly, and Christ focused environments.
  • We’ve got more youth workers serving in high school and middle school ministry than ever before – thanks for continuing to step up.
  • The women’s ministry studies and ministries are up and running and it’s so exciting to see so many women diving into God’s word together.
  • The men’s ministry had a great night watching the Chiefs beat the Patriots. Several guys told me what a great time they had meeting people new to them and the fellowship they had.
  • We’ve had great feedback from some of our life groups who are using the companion material for “Magnetic”. The goal is for all of us to sharpen one another to become more like Jesus. You don’t have to go to a life group to experience and use that material either. It’s easy to use solo using the Forum App.
  • The communion meditation Tyler Morris gave last week really spoke to a lot of people as well. Our worship of the Lord continues to be a powerful, transformative experience for us.

This Sunday we enter into 1 Thess. 2 talking about how to amplify the message. There’s a section in this passage in verse 15 that is really hammering me hard. I think this message is going to hit a lot of people where they need to be forged. It would be a great week to invite friends.

Looking forward to a great encounter with God and with you this Sunday! Between now and then – be magnetic.

UPCOMING

There is still time to sign up for the marriage conference. These have been stellar. Melody and I are looking forward to it and hope to have lots of couples tuning up in your marriage that weekend.  

All New Starting This Sunday...

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New Series. New Children’s opportunities. New Fall programming. New Life Group options.

Sunday we start a new sermon series called, “Magnetic.” It is the study of a very attractional, regionally impacting church in the city of Thessaloniki. It comes from 1 and 2 Thessalonians. This series will help you to have greater influence in your life. God would have you to make a difference in every facet of your life and this series is going to stretch you, to challenge you, to wake you up in some ways, and to push you toward a more abundant and effective life.  

As ever in ministry, we strive to change, adapt, create, and help make it easy for you to help connect people to Jesus. Toward this end, we have developed companion material you can use during the week to accentuate what’s happening on Sunday. We’ve put these companion materials in various places for you to access. We hope some of our life groups will use these. You can do it solo if you aren’t part of a life group. The goal is for all of us to become more magnetic and attractional in our lives. So, there are several options for you to get this material. We have it on DVD. We’ve developed a Roku Channel (Forum Christian Church). The material is available for Apple TV.  You can get it from our website, also available through our mobile app for your smartphone and tablet. The goal is for you to use the videos as a discussion starter (or personal thought/devotion) and then use the scripture studies to grow deeper.  I know that’s a lot of information in one paragraph. This has been a lot of work and I want to thank Bradley for shooting, editing, and creating the videos and getting the material out there. I also want to thank Tyler Morris and Ben Rogers for helping get the Roku channel up and running. In terms of how to get it – if you hit any snags you can contact Jody Riley, our Connections minister, at jody@forumchristian.org and he will help you figure out which platform is easiest for you to use.

This Sunday Forum launches into our fall programming. This is my favorite season of the year because so many people get connected to Forum and to Jesus during this season. People are getting into their fall routines and it’s a prime time to invite people to Forum.

Here is a list of all children and youth programs and the Facebook page where you can find out more about what is going on:

At 8:15 on Sunday we will offer full children’s programming. (ForHim Children’s Ministry)

Children’s Theater is kicking off. (ForHim Children’s Ministry)

New middle school programming is happening. (ForHim Student Ministry Middle school)

And fall programming is happening for high school students. [ForHim Student Ministry (High School)]

God is working in amazing ways in the ministry of Forum Christian Church. It’s an incredible joy to see how He continues to grow His church here.

This Sunday we will focus on “Magnetic: Impact” from 1 Thessalonians 1. Fall of 2017 will be an incredible fall. Looking forward to sharing with all of you.

It's My Birthday

As I write this, I’m celebrating my birthday. I’m writing it in a minister’s office. The office holder is my son Parker. He’s the student minister at FCNewburgh in southern Indiana. I love this about his heart: Parker went to a church that is “coming back” from a very very tough situation. I know the ministry there will ultimately thrive in the long term. I’m praying for his lead minister and the entire staff as they strive to reach the hundreds of thousands of people in that area. 

I ask of you to indulge me for just a moment. Another trip around the sun causes me to be reflective. 

Currently literally hundreds and hundreds of people are wishing me a happy birthday through cards, texts, emails, and FB posts. 

Currently, our kids are all thriving in life. All of them serve actively in the kingdom of God helping to point people to Jesus. 

I work with an incredible staff that all love the Lord who strives to bring to the Lord their best every day. 

I have a great group of elders who surround me and lift me, our staff, and the entire flock up in prayer as we seek to intentionally connect people to Jesus. 

Currently, we are going through the 2nd largest building project I’ve ever been through as a minister because we need more space. Further, the new spaces are going to create new environments to connect new people to Jesus. 

Currently, in my personal devotions, I’m going through Philippians - and it’s such a joy filled book. 

And currently, the wife of my youth and I have been happily married for over 32 years. 

On a very personal note, I feel as though I’m among the most blessed of men on the entire planet. I see the hand of the Lord working in every element of my life. 

And while all those things are so very very good, those things would be hollow if it were not for my Lord Jesus taking my sins, my guilt, and my shame and nailing it to a cross in his body. The personal relationship with Jesus stands at the center of all. 

This weekend we’ll finish out our “Resurgence” series seeing the incredible comeback that God orchestrated by using Nehemiah. Thanks so much for the constant encouragement connected to the preaching of God’s word. 

God’s word is alive. 

God’s word changes us. 

God’s word is right. 

God’s word is the truth. 

God’s word is transformative for individuals, for communities, and for entire global movements. 

Make sure to be at Forum on Sunday as we see experience the power of God’s word working in our church.

Phenomenal growth!

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Among my all time favorite books is When God grows a Church by Bob Russell. Bob talks about the movement of God in the local church. He talks about how God used and is using the church he served in Louisville to be a transformative body of Christ, that impacts that community with the saving message of Jesus Christ. He talks about God’s word being central to that ministry. He talks about how the preaching and teaching at every age group centers on Christ.  

Friends, we continue to see God growing this ministry at Forum.  

  • This past Sunday was (by far) the all time high attendance at Forum (non-holiday). 
  • Wednesday night nearly 150 middle school students and parents attended a dinner to talk about the fall. 
  • This past Sunday we had a worship choir who helped lead us in phenomenal worship and praise. 
  • This Sunday after 3rd service we are offering the college students a luncheon as we talk about new opportunities for them, as well as what is available this fall. 
  • Our Children’s Theatre is about to get started over the next few weeks. We are looking forward to their involvement in worship and the coming production. 
  • The new playground is nearly fully finished (the equipment is up but tables and sitting areas will yet be installed), but it was great to see about 40 kids playing out there on Wednesday night.
  • Construction continues as we, as leaders, are well aware of the growth that continues here at Forum. 
  • I’m so excited about what God is doing in this ministry.  
  • How can you help?  
  • Step up in prayer. Christ calls us to be people who are constantly praying. Pray we advance the message of Jesus in a strong and powerful way here in Columbia. 
  • Step up in ministry. We constantly need teachers, room assistants, security workers, van shuttle drivers, and people who are simply willing to serve anywhere. 
  • Step up in giving. I know many are giving sacrificially to this project above your tithes and you are giving sacrificial offerings. That’s awesome for those who are doing this. Thank you.

This Sunday we continue in the “Resurgence” series looking at “Overwhelmed!” So many times we don’t know where to start or what the next step is. In this message you’ll get great insight that gives you a spiritual template of how to take next steps in your life. It will also give you great insight as to how to overcome the challenges you face when you launch out into something new. 

As ever, I know this Sunday is going to be a great encounter with God and with you as we worship together. See you then! 

It's Time To Surge

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

Time for them to surge. 

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

Time for them to surge. 

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

Time for us to surge. 

Join me in praying for our nation and our leaders.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

re-sur-gence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great Family Event Sunday Night: 

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

IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking forward to another great encounter this Sunday.

The Egg Is Broken

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you then. 

God's Exclamation Point

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Really cool:

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

This is true for anyone who...

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

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

This week’s scripture rivets my soul.

Here’s part of it:

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

The Spirit of God is living in you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you Sunday. 

God is Moving

Forward motion

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

God is moving.

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

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

God is moving.

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

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

God is moving.

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

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

God is moving.

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

God is moving.

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

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

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

Building a spiritual legacy

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

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

Building program update

What we all need to know:

 

Q: When are we starting?

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

 

Q: Weren’t we starting earlier?

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

Q: Are the numbers higher?

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

 

Q: Is that a good thing?

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

 

Q: The leadership (elders) is on board?

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

How can we help?

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

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

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

What can we expect to see happening?

A lot.

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

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

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