It is hard to believe that we are a few short weeks away from Easter 2019! Together we have shared two Easter experiences in our brief history and those are filled with great memories. The first Easter that we shared I was serving as the interim pastor at New Life. A few weeks later you would give me the honor to become the lead pastor. During the Easter season however we were in the process of praying together concerning the potential merge between our two churches.
Have you ever wondered why God created families? Thankfully, the Bible provides answers to this important question. In fact, at the very beginning God said that it is not good for man to be alone. So He created a helpmate suitable for him. (Genesis 2:18) The purpose of family is deeply ingrained in the creative purposes of God. Family provides relational community, and helps provide aid and support as we live out the purposes of God. The family also provides the context to display the character of God as relational harmony is expressed through love, forgiveness and encouragement toward one another.
As a kid growing up in a Southern Baptist church, I remember when Sunday evenings were dedicated to discipleship. As a teenager, I remember that many of my Sunday afternoons were spent setting beside a deacon going through discipleship training. I was not a Christian at the time, but God allowed that experience to become very formative part of my spiritual growth later in life. By God’s grace that discipleship training experience created a love and appreciation for God’s Word.
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17
I absolutely love serving as a volunteer at One Night. This years event did not disappoint! By God’s grace we were able to serve the special needs community as well as their families and caregivers throughout the Tri-County.
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. Colossians 3:1-2
It is joyful to dive deep into God’s Word over a period of time! We are headed into Week 7 and I don’t know about you, but my curiosity concerning the church at Colossae continues to grow. I am reminded from these early believers that this walk with Jesus is not easy, but it’s awesome; and I pray that as you open the Word today that He will speak directly to your heart and mind. Much like Paul, I pray you will be captivated by the Love of God through Christ Jesus as we learn what follows our decision to make Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. If He is Lord, then there will be notable change
If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” Colossians 2:20-21
This Sunday, as we continue the series in Colossians, we are going to approach the topic that Paul has been directing our attention throughout the early part of the letter. In fact, Paul has laid the foundation of establishing our identity in Christ and now he is going to reveal how legalism erodes our faith in Christ.
"Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Colossians 1:25-27
"For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself." Colossians 2:1-2
"so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." Colossians 1:10
As we have started working through Colossians we have discovered that it is essential to create a healthy culture where people can mature in faith and demonstrate love for one another. Paul puts an emphasis on “bearing fruit in every good work”. At New Life, one of the primary places we demonstrate this type of mutual care is in the context of Community Groups.
"We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven…" Colossians 1:3-5
For those of you that hang out at New Life, you may know that a vital part of being a member comes from belonging to a Community Group. If you are new, you may not know why we do groups or the reason we stress the importance of group life. It’s possible that even our long time members have forgotten the reason we place great value on connecting with a Community Group. Hebrews 3:12-14 challenges us to encourage one another daily so that we won't be hardened by sin's deceitfulness and Hebrew 10:24 tells us to "consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds." At New Life, we believe Community Groups provide practical opportunities that allow us to put these commands into practice.
Our Pastor writes most of the blog posts we publish, however, occasionally some of our other church leadership (some staff, some volunteer) who also contribute to the New Life blog.