Tates Creek Christian Church

Updates and Insights from Tates Creek Christian Church

Archive for the month “December, 2014”

Chuck & Brian are Making a Difference

What do a man that works for Toyota and a man that works for the United States Post Office have in common? In the case of Chuck Burress and Brian Long they have many things in common. They both are family men. They both have 2 daughters. They both love football. However, neither of them would have predicted they would have a passion to serve in one specific way. Both of these men are making a HUGE difference as leaders in the Kindergarten-1st grade Boys Sunday School class.
Chuck started serving earlier this fall as a new main leader of K1 boys. He wasn’t sure how well he would like it or if they would get along well. When Chuck and his family came to TCCC he first tried serving in the high school group since that’s where his sons were. He learned there that this wasn’t where he “fit” in service so when asked about trying the K1 boys he decided he would give it his best shot! In some ways he just jumped right in. The first few weeks were a little tricky as the boys tested him out as a leader and Chuck gauged how each boy was eager to learn. After about a month of being together though, Chuck figured out some secrets and the boys loved it when he just became himself. The result… Chuck loved it too!
Brian’s path was a little different. He started in the class as an assistant, but when there was a shortage one month he was asked to be a main leader. Brian wasn’t sure he was ready to lead, but knew God had something special for him. He agreed to lead and Chuck volunteered to assist him. From the sounds outside the door on Brian’s first Sunday leading though it was clear he had found his spot! The boys were laughing. They were connecting. The best part, because of Brian’s willingness to let God lead him… Brian was learning and laughing, too.
To say that as a children’s minister I am inspired by volunteers who “get” what we do in the elementary ministry would be an understatement. In fact, I LOVE IT! I love knowing that when Chuck and Brian are together something special is going to happen in the growth of the K1 Boys! God is using these two MEN to make a huge difference in the lives of 9 little boys!

Matt Lee

Sermon Outline, December 28, 2014, “Simeon and Anna”

Simeon and Anna

Luke 2:21-38

The idea of Waiting

             Waiting teaches us that:

God is in control of history.

God keeps His promises.

He will be faithful to all who follow Him.

 The idea of Timing

             The real message in this text is obedience.

 The idea of Truth

             How will you respond to Jesus?

Jesus…the Humble King

Many of us have heard and read the Christmas story from the Bible so many times that it almost, I did say ALMOST, has become cliché. With the commercialization of Christmas and the season surrounding it, it has become very easy to try to seek joy in material things rather than the wonderful gift that God gave in his son Jesus. Sometimes we struggle to find meaning around Christmas time outside of the meaning the world assigns to it this time of year. Well, maybe many of you have thought of this before, but I’d like to share something that has always stuck out to me about the story of Christmas and the birth of Jesus. It is a very simple thing, but for me, it applies to much of my personal life. I’m talking about how God sent Jesus as a humble king. There wasn’t really pomp and circumstance or fanfare surrounding Jesus’ birth. He was born in a stable and found his bed atop the hay in a manger. Not quite the scene you would imagine for the Son of God! But doesn’t the scene surrounding Jesus’ birth tell us so much about him? When we look at his teachings about the first being the last and the last being the first, about being humble and being a servant, doesn’t the scene surrounding His birth resonate with those teachings that he gave later in his life? From the very beginning, even though for us IT IS all about JESUS, for Him, it was all about others.
I think about the way Jesus interacted with lost people throughout the gospels, and I see how His humility helped win them over. He spoke the truth, but He spoke it in LOVE. We need to be people who reflect the humility of Christ. When we speak to lost people, we need not speak to them as one who feels like we have all the answers or have it all together. We need to speak as those who were lost but now are found. As those who have been changed by the blood of the one who is far greater than us. As those who once found OURSELVES in a place of separation from God.
Maybe through this holiday season you will even come into contact with family members or close friends who do not yet find their hope in Jesus. This year, let’s not use our words on social media or in conversations to complain about how Christmas has lost its meaning. Instead, through our humility, our service, and our love for others, lets point people to the humble king, Jesus Christ!

Mike Allen

God Values Us!

John 3:16 is very familiar to most of us, if not all of us. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (NASB) This verse strongly proclaims God’s unconditional love for all people, and in doing so, declares the worth that God places upon each person. God highly values every person He has created. Another verse which captures God’s heart for every person is Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (NASB) This verse reminds me of the story of a little boy who went to the pet store. While he was there, he asked the owner if he had any puppies for sale. The owner brought out several puppies. While these puppies were running through the aisle, one little puppy lagged far behind. He was making his way, but keeping up with the other puppies was impossible. The puppy that lagged far behind caught the attention of the little boy. He asked the store owner how much that particular puppy cost. The owner of the store shared with the boy that because the puppy had a physical handicap and could not run and play like the rest of the puppies he could just have him, free of charge. The boy was a bit indignant. He said the little puppy was just as important and valuable as the rest. Again, the owner shared with the little boy that he could have him for free. At this point, the little boy lifted up his pant leg to reveal a brace on his leg. Then, the boy said that he understood where the handicapped puppy was coming from and was going to pay full price for the puppy. The owner of the store completely understood now how the little boy was thinking and accepted full payment for the handicapped puppy. As sinners before God, we are all handicapped by our sin. God’s love highly values us and takes care of our sin handicap through His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the simple message of Christmas!
John 3:16 also carries with it a very special memory for me. It was the very first Bible verse I memorized. I learned it by heart for a part in the Children’s Program in the little country church where I grew up. I memorized the verse because my Dad & Mom would have it no other way. I would not be reading the verse, but saying it from memory! In addition to quoting this verse, there are many other ways to communicate God’s unconditional love to people ~ learning their name; a smile; a handshake; a touch on the shoulder; a hug; a visit; a note; a meal shared together; an invitation to church. When we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate God’s unconditional love! We celebrate His immeasurable grace! We celebrate His Son, Jesus Christ! May our celebration communicate God’s unfailing love for people!

Tommy Simpson

Sermon Outline, December 21, 2014, “Shadow of Bethlehem”

Shadow of Bethlehem

Isaiah 53:4-6

The Reason for the Shadow of Bethlehem is Sin.

Sin is a Reality.

~ Romans 3:23; Ecclesiastes 7:20

The Results of Sin are a Reality.

~ Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 6:23

The Revelation of the Shadow of Bethlehem is our Substitute.

Our Substitute is Jesus Christ.

~ I John 2:1-2

His Work as our Substitute is Unsurpassed.

~ Romans 5:9

The Result of the Shadow of Bethlehem is Grace.

The Opposite of Grace is Justice.

~ Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 6:23

Grace Provides:

Forgiveness   ~ I John 1:9

Peace   ~ Romans 5:1

Joy   ~ Luke 15:10

Freedom   ~ Galatians 5:1

Fellowship   ~ I John 1:7

Righteousness   ~ II Corinthians 5:21

Eternal Life   ~ Romans 6:23

The Father’s Gift

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. The word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” John 14:23-24

In the midst of our discussion on obedience last month I was struck by one of the students mentioning that at times it was easier to obey their grandparents than their parents. The reason was the role the grandparents had was to spoil the grandkids, while parents had the task of putting rules and limits on their children. The student wanted to please their grandparents because of everything they had given them, but resisted the restrictions of parents. As we talked about this, it struck me that God’s preferred method of relating to us is as a father and not a grandfather.

During Christmas we see Jesus as the gift that God offers to us, and that is rightly so. The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus is a gift, and our salvation through Him is a gift that we could never repay. The giving doesn’t end there, though. God’s gracious gift is not merely a handout. God calls all of us to be His children.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Romans 8:14

If we are all uniquely called to relationship with God through baptism, then it is true that God has no grandchildren. And part of the gift of salvation is that we are called to obey His commands, such as the command to make disciples in Matthew 28:18-20.

Perhaps obedience is the best gift we can give back to our Father this Christmas!

Brad Haggard

Don’t Miss It

It is hard to believe that the Christmas season is already upon us. The days are getting shorter, the store hours are getting longer, and the number on the scale is getting higher because it seems all we do between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is eat. This time of year is … well… just exhausting. Think of all the things that have to be done. Everything from running the kids to Christmas program after Christmas program, waiting in line to see Santa, followed by countless get-togethers, and not to mention the hours of “last-minute” shopping. Too many things to get done and not enough time to do them. This is the average Christmas season for many Americans today. When it is all over, we blink, and we wonder where it all went. This is way too common today, so this Christmas season I beg you not to miss it. Do not miss it!
But, I’m sure the first Christmas was busy too. Think about it, all those people trying to get into Bethlehem at once. I can imagine it now, one wife saying to her husband, “Sweetheart, we are running late. We need to leave for Bethlehem tonight.” Her husband then saying, “Darling, we don’t have to be there for another week, it’s only a day’s journey.” I say this jokingly, but people were busy during that time as well. There was a census that was taken, and everyone had to be somewhere. People were so focused on the tasks that needed to be done, that no one would help a pregnant woman in labor. These individuals missed out on the greatest birth to ever take place because they were concerned about tasks and comfort. They missed it. They absolutely missed it.
During my time at Tates Creek Christian Church, I’ve learned many things. But the greatest thing I have learned is time management and priorities. It is easy to get into the monotony of everyday life and forget the reasons why you perform certain tasks in the first place. It is at that moment when it’s time to step back and reflect on why these tasks are taking so much time. Are they as important as they seem to be? What is the greater purpose? This is something that I’ve learned during my internship. What are my priorities, and does my time reflect what I deem my priorities to be? Or, am I missing it? Don’t miss the true meaning and importance of this Christmas season because of the overwhelming tasks and events on the calendar. Just don’t miss it.

Kyle Knarr

Lessons from Behind the Scenes

Working in a church full time has been a great and challenging journey. Some days are fast paced and full of high energy. Other days seem slow and things just aren’t working the way you planned. One of the things that I never saw from the outside was how much work ministers do. As a kid, I always thought a youth minister’s job was to just hang out with kids and have fun. I realized this understanding wasn’t wrong, but I never took into account the other 40 plus hours of the week they worked.
One of the most important things I have learned at Tates Creek is to keep yourself spiritually fed, never stop yearning to grow. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in “Doing” and forget about “Growing”. When I came to Tates Creek, I was challenged to read scripture for 1 hour a day, and it has been such a key to the ministry that I have done here.
I have a better understanding of the verse in Matthew 18:3 when Jesus says we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless we become like little children. Kids are carefree and not ashamed. Working with the kids has made me rethink my views on immaturity versus purity and innocence. We may look at what kids do as immature and silly, but it may be pure innocence. I think that’s what Jesus wants from adults who have a disconnect with the ability to be free like a child.
Lastly, I learned that it is ok to say “I don’t know”. Growing up, I said this phrase so much, my mom said it would be etched on my gravestone. I have learned, however, that sometimes we are not given answers and ministers are just followers of Jesus like every other Christian. Reading through scripture there are many references that tell us we can’t know everything or that God’s thoughts and ways are different and higher than our own (Isaiah 55:8-9). Coming to terms with this gives me a peace that even though I do not know all the answers, I follow a God who does.
As I head back to Johnson to finish up school, I will take many of these helpful lessons, apply them to my life, and hopefully help other people as I continue in ministry. During this Christmas season, I challenge you with another important lesson I have learned here, which is service. Service is helping where there is a need. Jesus showed us this example in John 13:1-20. Continue striving to grow in Christ and striving to be more like Him in all you do.

Justin Miller

Sermon Outline, November 14, 2014, “Glory of Bethlehem”

Glory of Bethlehem

Isaiah 9:6-7

 The Purpose of the King is Worthy of our Worship.

The Purpose of the King is Deliverance for His People.

~ John 1:29; Matthew 1:21; Luke 19:10; Acts 4:12

With the Purpose of the King come Blessings for His People.

~ Romans 8:31-32

The Character of the King is Worthy of our Worship.

The King is our Wonderful Counselor.

~ Isaiah 53:5; I Peter 2:24

The King is our Mighty God.

~ Zephaniah 3:17

The King is our Eternal Father.

~ John 10:11

The King is our Prince of Peace.

~ Ephesians 2:13

The Reign of the King is Worthy of our Worship.

His Reign is marked by Peace.

~ Romans 14:17

His Reign is Legitimate.

~ Matthew 16:18

His Reign is Built upon a Solid Foundation.

~ I Corinthians 3:11

His Reign is Eternal.

~ Hebrews 12:28

Teaching Christmas

We will most certainly be talking about the Christmas story during the month of December in Critterland. While the story always remains the same, we try to tell it a little bit differently each year. This year we are focusing on different people telling others about Jesus. “Why is Jesus special?” Easy, right? “Because Jesus is God’s son!” Such a simple message, but there are still those who don’t know this truth.

The children in Critterland may be small, but they know there are people that don’t know who Jesus is, and they are always very excited to tell others what they know. We are teaching them a very important verse this month for their memory prizes, one that always helps open doors to the story of His birth.

“God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son.”
John 3:16.

Remember to help the little ones with their verse so they can receive their special prizes.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic New Year!

Lesley Tipton

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