The Friday Five

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We are going to mix things up a bit for this Friday. The Friday Five will feature all sorts of different things. This week's five are things to think about, listen to, watch, and enjoy.

1. New Song

We are going to be introducing a great new song over the next three weeks entitled, "Raise a Hallelujah." You can check it out here - it's my kids' favorite as of late.

2. Great Quote

Henry Ford once said, "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right."

3. New Teaching Series

We are starting a new series this Sunday called "New Season." It's based out of 1 Peter chapter 1 and will last for three weeks. This is a great series to invite a friend to check out. 

4. RightNow Media

RightNow Media might be one of the best free resources that Forum provides for everyone who attends. It's like the "Netflix of Video Bible Studies" and has a HUGE library of faith-based videos that you can access whenever and wherever you want—on your phone, iPad, computer, or at home on your TV. Click here to check it out. You can get free access by simply emailing our Connections Minister - Jody Riley at jody@forumchristian.org

5. Sports Camp

We had a great Sports Camp this past weekend. Led by our children's ministry team (Rochelle Gerdts, Leslie Potter, and Jessie Spellman) and 116 awesome volunteers we were able to leverage what kids are already interested in and use it to connect them to Jesus. It was His people loving kids and each other that made this past weekend so amazing. Click here to see a fun recap video.


See you Sunday - 

Bradley


Do More with Less

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A simple definition of a powerful action: leverage. Archimedes (a Greek  mathematician/physicist/engineer/inventor/astronomer) once said, "Give me a lever long enough, and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world." To leverage something is any technique to multiply gains or losses. 

Jesus was a master at leveraging things in everyday life to explain, teach, and move people closer to God. His life and teachings are filled with illustrations of His day to draw out a more profound spiritual truth. He leveraged things in everyday life to multiply the impact and power of His teaching. 

In the gospel account recorded by Matthew, we read, "Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from the thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit." Two powerful images leveraged to accentuate a powerful truth. His point is that regardless of what people claim, their lives are a reflection of what they believe. He calls these false prophets wolves disguised as harmless sheep. The imagery is stunning. He is leveraging an important daily reality to draw out the deeper spiritual truth. Leverage can be an essential tool in how we help others draw people to God. 

It's this idea of leverage that we wanted to use to impact our kids during our upcoming sports camp. Our goal is to take the interests that our kids already have and help them to see how those interests intersect with their relationship with Jesus. 

The theme of the camp is "POWERED UP," which refers both to the sports they will be engaging in and to the way that the Holy Spirit fills us with God's power. On Friday, we will talk about how we need to "Seek God to Power Up." Just as we need preparation and practice to have success in a sport, we also need it to follow Jesus. We can seek after God and put in the effort to know Him better, and we will discuss ways to do that. On Saturday we'll focus on "Powering Up to Show God," We'll talk about the Fruit of the Spirit, and how that fruit in our life will help point others to Jesus.

Our sports camp will conclude with the ultimate #SundayFunDay. Sunday, August 11 from 4:00-8:00  Forum will be hosting a Pool Party at Wilson's Beach Club with free admission and an adult volleyball tournament (for some friendly competition).  As if all that weren't enough, we're also going to grill hotdogs and have chips & drinks for you to enjoy while getting to know others from Forum. Wilson's concession stand will be open as well for those wanting to purchase more options. Find all the details and more at myforum.me.

Hope to see you this weekend!


Bradley

The Application

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In the first three parts, we talked about why we lie, being honest with ourselves, and last week what it means to be honest with God. Now for the application: 3 things we can do each day to be honest with ourselves, with God, and with others. 

1. Morning Dependance

Almost three years ago we launched a building campaign, took pledges, and continued seeking God's guidance in how we care for the people God was bringing to Forum. A big part of that process was prayer. We encouraged everyone to join us in praying, and I personally set a reminder on my phone to alert me three different times throughout the day to pray. Little did I know that this simple practice would dramatically change my prayer life, my honesty with God, and would develop my faith as a whole. The first alert at 9:30 was to pray for our church and its leadership. 

As a team of ministers (and administers) at Forum, we gather at 9:30 each morning to pray. It seemed a fitting time to include a prayer for our church and specifically for the leadership at Forum. This first prayer is a prayer of dependence. A recognition of my reliance on God to move, guide, and lead our church. Prayers of dependance are built upon an acknowledgment of our lack of sufficiency and place us in a posture of leaning on God for our everything. This is a prayer of confession, a realization that we are by nature sinful and in desperate need of a savior. 

2. Afternoon Opportunity

The second alert is at noon. It reminds me to pray for an opportunity to share the gospel with someone new. This simple prayer can return some unique results, so I recommend this prayer with a word of caution. Be ready to watch God give you a chance to share, a chance to listen, and a chance to help someone in ways you might not be accustomed to doing. Again, this is a prayer of dependence. It is a recognition that we were designed for a purpose, a purpose to be lived out in everyday life. No matter where you are or what you are doing, we are surrounded by people that God is chasing after. He might use us to bring about change in someone else's life. 

If you are like me, you tend to feel unprepared, and unqualified to be used for such a task - and you would be right. That is why God has promised to give us the power to accomplish His mission through His Spirit - it is done with His power and in His timing. Our job is to depend on Him for it all. To be honest with our selves and with God is to rely on Him to accomplish the work. We admit we can't do it on our own. 

3. Evening Relationships

The third prayer is at 4:00, and it is for my wife and family. I have this one set 30 minutes before I pick up the kids and over an hour before I see my wife. This is where dependence, honesty, and living out our faith gets gritty. 

To pray for my wife and kids before I see them after a long day, not only prepares me spiritually but also grounds me in the reality that I depend on God to lead and guide my marriage and parenting.  Going to God each day with prayers for the hearts and minds of my wife and kids is a humbling exercise. It impresses a profound truth into my heart: these are God's kids entrusted to me, this is God's daughter I am privileged to share my life with and my primary role is to lead them all closer to Jesus. That can be a daunting task and one that most men (who are honest) struggle to accomplish. It starts with being honest about who I am, who I am not, and being honest with God about who I am, who I'm not, and how much I need Him. 

These three reminders go off on my phone every single day. Do I miss these moments of prayer on occasion? Of course I do. Do I sometimes go into those times of prayer begrudgingly? You bet. But the good thing is that it has become a habit, a pattern, a rhythm in my daily life that keeps me honest. Not perfect, but in process, and just honest enough to admit I am not always honest. 

It might be easy to say, "You are too legalistic, praying three times a day for these same things over and over again is like the vain repetitions that Jesus condemned." I would argue and say that the discipline of prayer is the best way to be honest with ourselves, with God, and with others. It is the starting point, the launchpad, the right first step to cultivating a life that reflects the truth of God. 

My encouragement would be to do something easy to remind yourself to pray, to depend, to follow, and to surrender to what God is leading you to do. Make post-it notes and stick them somewhere you frequent. Set a reminder on your phone. Reach out to a friend and ask them to keep you accountable. Move towards an honest life in some practical way, and in a few days, months, or years, you might have a new honesty habit. 

-Bradley

The Silent Killer

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If you missed the last two parts - here is the recap. Living honestly reflects God in our daily lives, and it starts with being honest with ourselves about how dishonest we are. Part four gets real practical about little things we can do to be, stay, and promote honesty. 

Alright, now that we have addressed the importance of being truthful with ourselves, we can approach God from that place of real, transparent, honesty. Let's get some insight from an unlikely place. 

There is this fascinating story that Jesus told sandwiched in between a story about being persistent in prayer and the importance of accepting the kingdom of God like a little child. While addressing those who had a self-righteous view because of how good they thought they were, Jesus confronted their self-righteousness by telling a story.  

This story involved two men, one a tax-collector (generally despised by the Jewish people) and one a religious guy who both went to the Temple to pray. While not a story usually associated with confession - it provides a crucial insight into the thinking of Jesus as He repeats a prayer the tax collector uttered. Jesus says in verse 13 of Luke chapter 18, “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner." A powerful admission is made in that prayer - I am a sinner.  Jesus then closes the teaching by saying, "I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." 

There is something powerful in confession. Going before God in full admission of our guilt is a path of honesty seldom traveled, but richly rewarded. 

One of the closest followers of Jesus, John, reiterates this throughout his letter of 1 John. Few places throughout the New Testament are as clear as 1 John 1:8-10, "If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts." 

Being honest with ourselves about our sin doesn't absolve us, cleanse us, or do anything other than make us honest. Without making that confession to God, we are making, as John would say, a fatal mistake. Calling God a liar and proving His word has no place in our hearts. Our silence is an indication of our lack of reliance, trust, and faith. 

In between two brutal statements about the silent killer, the dark side of an unconfessed life, is a beautiful promise of new life, of cleansing, and forgiveness.

That is the invitation to each of us today. Not that we would somehow make it through an entire day without sinning. But that we could make it a full day being honest about those sins, confessing those sins, and walking in the freedom God's forgiveness affords. 

Next week we will wrap up this whole discussion and talk about practical tips for staying in a place of constant confession. 

See you on Sunday -

Bradley


The Necessary First Step

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Last week we began a 4 part series on honesty, lying, and how we can reflect the truth of God in our everyday lives. We started by looking at two prominent reasons why we lie: 1.) Self Preservation 2.) Others Self Preservation. Our self-preservation is focused on covering up the things that might make us look bad. Others self-preservation hides from others what might hurt them in some way. 

Seeing the prevalence of our dishonesty helps us to see where to start - admitting to ourselves, we have not been honest. We will be tempted to overlook the value of this first step, tempted to diminish the truth about how untruthful we are. How we address our lack of honesty creates clarity about our sinfulness and our natural reluctance to admit we are lying in the first place. This exposes the very nature of sin, a sin that has separated us from God, and a sin that from the very beginning was introduced through...wait for it, a lie. 

Now, this is going to get dark for a second, so bear with me. The devil, Lucifer, the chief adversary of God, is called the father of lies by Jesus in John 8:44.  When addressing the religious leaders of His day, He said, "For you are the children of your father, the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies." Jesus made a big deal about this whole lying business, and the fact that we minimize it illuminates a powerful reality - lying is the devil's way, not the way of Jesus. We too often flirt with, give in to, placate to, and minimize our alignment with the devil and his schemes. 

Reflecting the truth of God in our everyday life starts first with admitting to ourselves, we are not always honest. Now here is the hard part - to start looking in your daily life for areas where you are not totally, 100%, without any hesitation, without any justification, brutally, and totally honest, is difficult and not something we will naturally do.  I had this moment just this past week as I was standing in the kitchen helping to make dinner with my wife. As I stood there, staring blankly at the stovetop, stirring a skillet filled with our uncooked dinner, I wrestled deeply with this idea. Mostly I just compartmentalized and justified why I didn't need to confess to my wife that I had lied. Within a few minutes, the pressure became too much, so I blurted out abruptly, "Honey, I lied to you today." My wife turned to me with a puzzled look on her face and asked, "What do you mean?" I replied, "Remember that story I told you about how this morning I was attacked by two wasps while letting the dogs out, and how I darted inside, grabbed the flyswatters, and then killed them?" "Yeah," she shrugged questioningly, "I think I only killed one, not two," I said with a strange level of conviction. She smiled with a breath of relief and said with a hint of curiosity, "OK." I then launched into an explanation of how the past few months, I had been wrestling through the letter of 1 John. The author calls things like they are, and more times than not is calling people liars. I explained how that has got me thinking a lot about how much we are or aren't being honest. You might be just like me and start to argue for degrees of lying, shades of truth, appropriate confession, justifying things like, "What difference does it make whether it was one or two wasps? That is so insignificant; you can't be serious?" It's at that point we begin to determine in our minds, and by our standards, what lie or truth is relevant. We become the judge about how far any deviation from that truth needs confession. Ultimately, we begin to position ourselves as judge of right or wrong, truth or lie. 

I didn't hear Jesus say anything about the devil not being the father of little, tiny, seemingly insignificant lies. There emerges within the scope and teaching of Jesus, the apostles, and the scriptures as a whole, that any derivation from the standards set by God is sin, false, antiGod, the wrong way, the way of destruction. Has that path to destruction become standard for many of us? Has it become mainstream? Has it become acceptable

So regardless of what side of the debate you might land on, despite the various ways we justify and capitulate, we might all agree that lying is wrong and not God's desire for any of us. The starting place for many of us is simply admitting it.

These are uncomfortable questions to answer, but an area we will continue to push in to, both in our current sermon series "Prove It," and also in our next two Inside Forums.

-Bradley

Why We Lie

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We have all done it at some point in our lives; we have all justified the reasons why we have done it. We all have lied to someone about something. Hopefully, at this point in your life, you can say with confidence that lying is something you don't do anymore. If you were to say that, would you be lying?

Now I know that within the Christian context lying is not something we are supposed to do, and it is certainly not something we go around telling people we do. Not to mention it is something we are commanded on numerous occasions not to do. Then why is it so pervasive?

1. Self Preservation
In general, we want people to think we are smarter, healthier, more attractive, wealthier, and more successful in relationships and work than we are. Though on the surface we might all agree that we are human and everybody makes mistakes - we don't like to admit it when WE make them. So we bend and twist the truth (other words for lying) to cover up the small indiscretions, the imperfections, the mistakes. We know that to admit our mistakes might cost the trust of a friend or family member, it might cost us a business deal, or even our job. 

2. Others Self Preservation
Many times the reason we shy away from the truth is to spare the harm it may cause someone else. What husband has not been put in that dreadful position of having to answer this question from his wife, "How do I look in this?", knowing the truth would hurt his wife's feelings? Many of the lies we tell, we would argue, are actually for the benefit of others. We can easily convince ourselves of our pure intentions and justify lying to make us feel relatively altruistic.

The question we don't often ask is “how can I be a person of integrity, of honesty, and yet be truthful about who I am and be honest to those around me?” I would push it one step further and ask, "How does God want me to reflect His truth in how I live?" 

This question is the first of a four-part series on what we can do to be people who reflect the truth of God in the reality of our everyday lives. Next week we will explore the first of three action steps to counteract our tendency to drift towards self or others preservation and move towards living truth-filled lives. 

-Bradley

Inside Forum

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Hello Forum Christian Family,

This past Sunday we held a special membership meeting for the purpose of affirming Bradley Williams as the next Senior Minister of Forum Christian Church.  I know many of you have been praying and anticipating the direction our church is headed with regards to leadership.  I am happy to report an overwhelming confirmation of Bradley as Senior Minister with a total count of 341 yes votes and 3 no.  This result is evidence of great unity within our church body consistent with that of the Eldership as we recommended Bradley for this role.  I am grateful for your confidence in him to take the helm and lead our church staff, body, and ministry as we continue serving God together. 

We continue to be blessed by the solid foundation Scott Sutherland set and the vision he brought to our church more than a decade ago.  Our mission of intentionally connecting people to Jesus doesn’t change, and Bradley’s readiness to step in as Senior Minister and faithful steward of our mission and vision is evidence of God’s faithfulness.  The future looks bright and we are excited to explore new opportunities ahead under Bradley’s leadership as we strive to connect even more people to Jesus.

One observation made during the voting period involved questions regarding church membership: some people were uncertain of their membership status and others inquired about becoming church members.  If you would like to verify your membership, please contact the church office.  If you are a regular attender who would like to take that next step and become a member of Forum Christian Church, I encourage you to contact a staff member or simply fill out a Connect Card to start that process. Connect Cards can be found in the seat backs in the auditorium, on our website, or on the Forum app.

Please join the elders, deacons, and staff in congratulating Bradley and encouraging him during this transition as he leads us in serving God in fellowship together at Forum Christian Church.

Darren Grayson
Elder Chairman

Prove It

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A Few Ideas About Bible Study

Last Sunday was so encouraging to hear from Brice Wurdeman. Brice and his family have such an incredible story of faith and dedication to the mission God has in front of them. What he briefly mentioned towards the end of his message only scratched the surface of the trials they have faced while living out the very message he preached on. To see how far they have come and to hear the stories of how God has positioned them to make an even more significant impact in the Caribbean states is inspiring. If you would like to learn more about Brice, his family, the school they direct or the matching grant available to all donations, click here

Now a few ideas about bible study. This Sunday we begin a seven-week teaching series called ‘Prove It.’ At its core, this series is a book study through 1 John. 1 John is only five chapters long, so that gives you a rough idea about the pace at which we will be moving through this significant little book tucked away at the back of your New Testament. 1 John will present us with many challenges, and some of those will be in how we approach the book as a whole. 

When it comes to studying any book of the Bible, it is essential to keep in mind the authors intended meaning, or asking, why was John writing this book in the first place? What is its purpose, and what is John trying to teach/encourage these early believers to think about and do? Keeping these questions in mind as we study through any text will be beneficial for allowing us to see how a piece of literature written thousands of years ago can still speak powerful and transformative truth into people's lives today.

Here is one more idea about Bible study - context. As we study through any particular chapter and verse of the Bible (in our case 1 John), it is easy to lose sight of the broader context and narrative. One way to keep a handle on the immediate context is to examine the more general context - which is determined by the whole of the book, then even more broadly the entirety of the New Testament. Simply reading through the entire book a few times before we tackle any one verse can be very helpful in this regard.  

Let me encourage you to read 1 John a few times this weekend. We are going to focus in on a few verses, phrases, and words through our time in 1 John. Reading the entirety of the book will help us all to see that 1 John is a giant call to action, but within the confines of some of the most radical teachings he had ever heard directly from the mouth of Jesus.

Looking forward to seeing you Sunday,

Bradley

Two Things

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I will make this short.

Thing One

We ended our Divine Direction series last week, and the feedback we have received has reinforced the reality that many of us are looking for some divine direction. It's not easy, and it is not often instantaneous, but to know the direction God wants us to go is vital to living a life of faith. Let me encourage you with the three core elements we discussed:

1. Today is an opportunity to make the little necessary decisions to be the person God wants you to be.

2. Be open and honest with God and yourself about those primary barriers that are preventing you from seeing and hearing the direction in which He is leading you - confront, confess, and repent of the sin in your life.

3. Ask yourself, am I handling this situation or decision with wisdom and discretion? Am I asking the right questions, and am I inviting others to pray with me about it?

Thing Two

For many of us, there is a disconnect between what we believe and how we live. It's not an intentional disconnection, and it may bother us to some degree, but ultimately because we are not sure what to do about it, we struggle to make any progress. Then when confronted with the question, "Does my life look any different than that of someone who is not a follower of Jesus?" we can shy away from the idea altogether. We know following Jesus should look different, we want it to, but don't know what the next step should be. 

Thankfully Christians for thousands of years have wrestled with that question, and even around the time of Jesus, some of His earliest followers struggled as well. On June 30, we begin a new series called Prove It. This series will be a study of 1 John and will focus on what has us disconnected and how we can create new ways to live out our faith. 

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday,

Bradley

Inside Forum

To the Forum Christian Family,

I’ve got some significant news to share with you. Since December of 2018, as I’ve been working through recovery from my stroke, Bradley has functioned as the Interim Lead Pastor and has continued to do a great job. The elders recently reviewed my recovery and have decided to utilize me in a new role in the area of adult education. The elders have unanimously decided to put Bradley forward as the next Senior Minister. Church members will be asked to affirm Bradley Williams as the new Senior Minister for Forum Christian Church by vote on June 30. This is the right decision. A decision that is going to move the church forward and advance the kingdom of God, and I am fully endorsing it and the role for Bradley, for the church, and the ministry.

The future looks bright for Forum Christian Church, and the ministry will continue to reach people for Jesus Christ. Bradley will be a great steward of the vision and mission of the church. He will do a spectacular job of leading the staff and leading the church in ministry. I’m looking forward to seeing the church continue to grow and thrive, and I fully support and embrace this decision.

Melody and I have been blessed by the elders with a sabbatical over the next 3 months in order to let Bradley fully lead out with me cheering him on in prayer. Though I will be away on a planned family vacation on June 30, I fully intend to cast my vote to affirm Bradley for this new role. Forum continues to intentionally connect people to Jesus, and I look forward to serving under Bradley’s leadership.  Melody and I are so grateful for the way the church has prayed for us and blessed us during this time of adjustment. 

Please keep the ministry of Forum Christian in your heart and prayers. Pray the ministry continues to intentionally connect people to Jesus. We look forward to being back with you in the fall and serving in a new role. 

Sincerely,

Scott

Help Build Hope

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It's not too late to join us!

This Saturday we have a fantastic opportunity to put our faith into action right in our own parking lot. In partnership with Help Build Hope, we'll be joining together as a church body to build the walls of a home for a family at Show-Me Christian Youth Home.  It doesn't matter what your skill level is, how strong you are, what your age is, or even if you've pre-registered - you can contribute!

Come to the Family Life Center at 7:30 Saturday morning for breakfast, team assignments, and instructions. Stay for as little or as long as you'd like. If you can't be there right at the start, come when you can, check in at the Operations Center tent in the parking lot, and we will put you to work.

Signing up at www.myforum.me will help us prepare for breakfast and lunch. 

What a blessing it will be to work side-by-side to change lives!

Divine Direction

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This past Sunday we closed out our “What’s Next?” series looking at the willful determination of the early church leaders to move forward. We looked at the countercultural mindset of “What can I give into this situation?” that stands against the “What’s in it for me?” attitude. Pouring ourselves into situations elevates the circumstances of life. We saw how we are part of God’s unfolding plan to change the world to follow Christ. We looked at how we can change from being self-centered into being others-centered. We looked into the reality that the community of believers was united in heart and mind because they were mission driven, spirit empowered, and community supported. The church grew immeasurably due to this process playing out in their lives. When the church moves forward in unity there is a beautiful growth that occurs within ministry. We have this type of blessing as a ministry. God continues to grow His church at the corner of Forum and Nifong. 

This upcoming Sunday, we start a new series entitled “Divine Direction” where we will explore how we can know the direction God wants us to go. Throughout the Scriptures, God at times reveals Himself to people in unique and sometimes powerful ways. Often when we find ourselves amid hardship, trouble, or when we have to make a difficult decision, we turn to God and look for His divine direction. The question then becomes, how do we know what direction God is leading us? How do we know the divine direction? This series will explore those questions, and through our study of Daniel, we will be challenged and encouraged.

This Sunday we get the opportunity to ordain my son, Justin Sutherland, into ministry. Justin has taken a ministry leadership role with Bright Church in Bright, Indiana, in the role of lead youth minister. He finished his Master’s Degree from Johnson University in May and is ready to help lead a church. As his sending church, Forum gets to be a part of his ongoing ministry story and we will share in this Sunday. 

This Sunday will be a great encounter in terms of worshiping God and getting re-centered on Him. It’s great that we have a Christ centered church, isn’t it? A church focused in on God’s word, His holy communion, the fellowship, and prayer. It’s God’s design and we continue to follow His pattern that He set up nearly 2000 years ago. It’s a privilege to carry this message forward. Can’t wait to worship with you this Sunday. 

-Scott

Unhindered

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This past Sunday, we looked at what to do when life causes you to have an interruption. We saw how the church started out and how they faced an immediate interruption coming at them from the Jewish leadership. Peter and John were doing a good and right thing, healing a lame man. The Jewish leadership had them arrested. These leaders told them to stop preaching and teaching in the name of Jesus. We read of Peter and John stating firmly and boldly, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him?  We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” They had an overcomer’s attitude as they lived their lives. They went about doing the mission God called them to do in spite of the obstacles placed in front of them. Do you have an overcomer’s attitude? Do you stay on mission in spite of life’s interruptions? What do you do when adversity comes your way? 

This Sunday we’re going to look at God’s ongoing mission in the life of the church. We’ll be in Acts 4 looking at the mission God has called us to do in His name. The book of Acts ends in a way that feels incomplete because Paul is in prison. But the last word in the book of Acts is a very telling word. It’s the word “unhindered” in the original Greek. The verse says, “And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.” There was no limit to the movement and preaching of Paul and the mission of the church. The mission of the church has remained a constant throughout the 20 centuries it’s existed. We continue to live that mission daily as believers in Christ. The mission of Christ reaches people in his name. When you extend a smile to another person, you are doing the mission of Christ in your life. When you help someone out, you are doing what Christ would have you to do. When you ask someone to church, you are spreading the gospel. When you teach someone about what Christ means in your life, you are on mission for Christ.

This Sunday would be a great Sunday to bring a friend or an acquaintance to attend church. We’ll lift up God’s word and preach and teach Christ Jesus as Lord. Looking forward to worshiping with you this Sunday. See you then. 

Keep Going

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This past Sunday, Blake opened up the scriptures and led us through the mission that God has in front of us. Using the life of Paul in Acts 19 and the book of Ephesians, we saw the mission of God and the purposes of God for our lives unfolded in a very clear way. Are you discipling anyone? Are you leading anyone towards a life-changing connection with Jesus? We saw God using the church to accomplish God’s purposes as the church was in its infancy. God’s mission prevailed in the life of the early church. Here we are today, nearly 2,000 years after the church started, still celebrating and living out this vital mission. The charge from Paul to the Ephesians still holds true today. Ephesians 1:9-10 says, “God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.” God is working through Christ to bring everything together under the authority of Christ, and He accomplishes this through His church. You and I are the church that God uses to glorify Him. We preach and teach Jesus Christ in a passionate and loving way each week to the glory of God. 

This Sunday, in the “What’s Next?” series, we’ll look at what happens when you get interrupted. The early church was off to a great start with 3,000 people being baptized into Christ when the church began. What happens next? The early church experiences opposition to the mission of God. Shouldn’t they expect this? After all, Christ told them, “I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith.  For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God.” (John 16:1,2) So the early Christians should have expected turmoil. How do you deal with opposition? How do you deal with it when people in life threaten you? Do you stop doing what you know to be true and trustworthy, or do you keep going? We’re going to look at the early church leaders and how they dealt with opposition this Sunday.  

Looking forward to worshiping with you this Sunday. It would be a great Sunday to invite someone to come to hear the word of the Lord, and for them to experience God’s church singing praises to the Lord. Be on mission! Invite someone to encounter a real experience with our church that is sold out to Christ. I’ll see you Sunday. 

- Scott

Community

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Are you being led by the Holy Spirit of God? This past Sunday, Tyler Hensley did a great job of leading us through “What’s Next” in terms of looking at the Holy Spirit leading the church. Jesus told his disciples to go to Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came on their lives. They obeyed Christ’s lead, and the Holy Spirit was deposited in their lives in a phenomenal way. They then preached Christ to the large crowd, and 3,000 people confessed Jesus as Lord and were baptized for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. What an incredible “next” in the history of the world. Jesus said it was better for him to go away so that the Spirit may be distributed (John 16:7). Do you realize the power of God at work within your life? Do you comprehend the amount of spiritual stamina God gives to you to keep going? Do you think about the reality that God’s Holy Spirit is living inside of you? It’s a blessing we fail to recognize in our lives. But this I know, if you have made Jesus your Savior and been baptized in his name - his Holy Spirit lives within you. He guides you through that Spirit. You walk with Him in your life. God is changing you to be like Christ through His Spirit working within you. 

This Sunday we’ll look at the community of believers God establishes in the early part of the book of Acts. We’ll see how they met one another’s needs and how they shared together with their possessions. We’ll see how the early church was devoted to the fellowship (the church) and to the breaking of bread (communion), and to prayer. We’ll see this is the pattern and lifestyle of believers that we pattern to this day. We strive to follow the ancient paths laid out to us by these early believers. God’s church is the hope of the world today, and you are part of it. It takes a faithful group of people to proclaim God’s truth and His word to the world. We strive to do that each Sunday. We strive to intentionally connect people with Jesus Christ. That’s our mission, and I pray we are being faithful with that call of Christ upon our ministry.

Hope to worship with you this Sunday as we look at the church and God’s established community of believers. See you then!

- Scott

It Begins!

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To submit to the Lordship of Jesus and His resurrection stands as the cornerstone of your faith. Christ gave the disciples the command, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.”  (Matthew 28: 18-20) Christ stands as the authority behind this command. He called on us to make disciples of people, teaching people to obey all he has commanded. One of the primary commands was for us to baptize or immerse people into his name. Sunday we focused on these elements of following Christ. Bradley asked us the question, “How are you doing with that one thing?” Let me encourage you to make the name of Christ first and foremost on your lips. Let me encourage you to tell others of Christ. Let me encourage you to pour into people the love of Jesus. When you teach people about Christ, you honor God with your speech and your life. 

This Sunday, we’ll look at what comes next in terms of the kingdom of God and the movement of God. We’ll look Sunday at God establishing the church. We’ll see Peter preaching about Christ and his resurrection. We’ll see thousands of people respond to this message by stepping up and being baptized in the name of Christ. We’ll see the beginning of the church in terms of the historical narrative. We’ll see the early church begin thriving as people accept Jesus as Lord of their lives. This is a climactic time in the kingdom of God. His earliest disciples were on fire for the name of Jesus and they preached with great passion and authority with the Holy Spirit leading them. This is an exciting message of the beginning of God’s church in this world. It’s a pattern we strive to replicate as a church. 

This Friday and Saturday, let me encourage you to come and see our children’s theatre perform  “WE ARE UNITED”. It’ll happen at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and at 2 p.m. on Saturday. This is a great event that our kids have worked so hard to learn and it’s outstanding. Melody and I watched the dress rehearsal on Sunday afternoon and it’s delightful. Come out and support our children by attending this great event. 

This would be a great Sunday to invite a friend to come to experience Forum as a church. We strive to create a great environment so people feel welcomed and accepted. Looking forward to the movement of God happening here at Forum on Sunday. 

-Scott

What's Next?

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Easter weekend was phenomenal! 

Great job to the worship team and Tyler Morris for adjusting to the strained circumstances of no power in the facility and putting things together for us to worship God in the Good Friday service. Everyone adjusted well to the extreme circumstances and God was praised in a mighty way. The lack of electricity brought an intimacy to the room in an uncanny, and God-uplifting way. Bradley's message on Good Friday connected the suffering of Christ to the reality that you are worth dying for; this truth continues to change lives today. It was great worshiping in the dark with you on that Friday night.

Then Easter morning, as we celebrated Christ’s resurrection, it was truly a day to be remembered. We live streamed the message down to the new family life center, where over 100 people were gathered in second service.  We repeated the live stream during third service for over 130 people worshiping in the family life center. The worship timed out well and to see Bradley give the message live via video stream was outstanding. To all the servants who helped pull off this very big day, we say, “Thank you for serving Christ in the way you did.” Whether you were helping in the children’s area, driving a shuttle, serving in the Guest Services ministry, serving as an auditorium host, serving on the worship team, or serving in any other fashion, Christ was glorified through the whole of the morning. With 2218 in attendance hearing the word of God proclaimed, the morning was truly indescribable. To God be the glory for the great things He is doing at Forum Christian Church! 

This Sunday we start a new sermon series called, “What’s Next?” This series will focus on what happened after Christ rose from the dead, what came next? This series will look into the early church and her mission to this unsaved world. We’ll see how the gospel message that Jesus saves is a message that changes hearts and minds. This is a message that transforms the world if we let it. Allowing Christ to be the focus of our life changes everything. We’ll be looking at the transforming power of Christ in this series.

This would be a great series to invite a friend or acquaintance to attend because we’re talking about the transformative power of Christ to change entire regions as well as individuals. In the early church, people were accepting Christ by the thousands because they heard the truth, and God’s truth changed them forever. God is in the change business. When we give our lives to Christ, we’re never the same again. Looking forward to great worship with you Sunday. 

-Scott

I am the Alpha and Omega

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“I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This hallmark confession stands at the center of our faith. It was excellent hearing of the Old Testament background connected to Christ as the anointed Messiah in last Sunday’s sermon. We learned, from John 11, the crowds surrounded Jesus and treated him as a victorious king as he rode into Jerusalem.  As the Israelites awaited their coming king, they had so many expectations and thoughts about who and what this king was to be. These expectations went unfulfilled in their minds, as a group of people, and as a city. The crowds turned on Jesus and crucified him after hailing him as a triumphal king just the week before. How do we cope with situations when it seems they aren’t going the way we think God should handle them? Do we turn on Him and question Him, or do we stay focused on God and His ways? God sees the bigger picture and always has the best plan.

This Sunday we will celebrate Easter in a big time way. We’ll have all four of our services at their normal times, but we will have additional, simultaneous services in the new Family Life Center at 9 and 10:15 with live music in both of those services. The message will be live streamed to give everyone a great experience. We’ll also have overflow parking at the Boone Hospital building with vans shuttling people to and from campus. Consider possibly parking there to make more room for visitors. 

On Good Friday, we’ll have a celebration of Christ in which we will lift up Christ in song and hear a message on the hope of Christ. We’ll celebrate communion together as we think about Christ dying on a cross for our sins. “Good Friday” is a message of irony and paradox because the event that brings good news to the world was marked by the death of Christ Jesus, our Lord. We praise Christ together in word and song throughout this entire weekend. 

Let’s make this an Easter that counts in terms of our lives. We’ll be studying the name for Jesus, “I am the Alpha and Omega” focusing on Jesus being the beginning and the end. When Christ spoke from the cross, “It is finished,” he completed God’s plan of redemption for this world. It’s such a grand story in which we can participate. I’m looking forward to sharing Easter with you this year. We’ll see you Sunday. 

-Scott

Jesus is the Christ

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Isn’t it great to know there is a God in heaven, maker of heaven and earth, that you can call “Father”? Isn’t it wonderful to know that God loves you more than you can even fathom? As we learned Sunday, “And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:6). We can call out to God at any moment, “Dad” and He listens to us in our moment. No matter what that moment may entail. It may be one of your highest points in life, or it may be one of the lowest points you’ve ever experienced. It may be anywhere in the middle, emotionally speaking. God is your Father who hears when you can cry out to Him in any situation. 

This Sunday, we are going to look at the name given to Jesus, as God in the flesh, as Christ. Does the name “Christ” mean anything to us today? We make the good confession when we give our lives to Jesus that says, “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God.” What does this term Christ mean? How does it have relevance for us today? How does the name Christ reveal the nature of God on this planet? What does it mean to follow the Christ? This week, we’ll explore the nature and revelation of Jesus as the Christ, the son of the living God, in a way that will help you draw close to him. 

We serve and worship a living God. He’s not made of stone or wood. He’s living and active. He rules the universe. He revealed himself to us in Jesus. This Sunday, we come to worship at his feet. We lift Him up on high. We adore Him. We desire to help you connect to Jesus. Why not invite friends and family this week to attend Forum as a place of worship? We will be revealing the nature of Jesus, and they will be blessed by hearing the good news of the gospel message. See you then. 

-Scott

Dad

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Is your view of God big? This past Sunday, as we heard Bradley talk about getting a larger view of God, the message had to stretch your vantage points of God. To see the pattern we as humans fall into is quite humbling. We are humans who are bound to our feelings and emotions. Put us into tough situations, and we tend to crack. Thus, the Israelites complaining about their lack of water and turning it onto Moses, rings very true and typical of human behavior. I know it rang true of my life. Ultimately, we tend to blame God for the life circumstances we are going through and lodge our complaints there. But to have an attitude of dependence upon God in every circumstance is to have a bigger view of God. To go to God when in the highs and lows of life glorifies Him. Having that type of dependent attitude is where God would have our hearts.

This Sunday we look at God as our Father. We cry out to Him, “Abba - Father.” Some hear that word and start thinking about the song “Dancing Queen” (from the 1980’s group ABBA), but it’s a Syriac or Chaldean word that means “father.” It’s a term of affection and of intimacy. It’s like calling out the word, “Daddy.” Isn’t it great to know the God of the universe is that close at hand? We can cry out to Him in a moment’s notice, and He listens to our concerns and cares. I think about the time Jesus taught his disciples to pray. What a revolutionary statement it was to hear Jesus teach the phrase, “Our Father, which art in heaven” because the word “Father” is such a term of endearment because of close family ties. When you approach the throne of God, you approach God as His child. What a great position to be in as a follower of Christ! 

This Saturday morning starting at 8 a.m., we’re having an outdoor workday to get the grounds up to speed for the spring and summer. Come at 8 a.m. ready to work, and we’ll point you in the right direction for that work. 

Looking forward to a great day of worship with you Sunday. This is a great message of God’s position in your life. It would be a great Sunday to invite someone to come and hear about the intimacy they too can have with God. I’m excited to be here this Sunday to hear this message. 

-Scott