Tates Creek Christian Church

Updates and Insights from Tates Creek Christian Church

Archive for the month “April, 2015”

Limieros in Tanzania

Because we have four children we are well familiar with the famous words from Dr. Seuss’ book, Horton Hears a Who. “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” As I’ve pondered this article regarding our family’s life in Tanzania, I want to modify Seuss’ words to read, “A family of God is a family of God, no matter where they are.”

Life in Arusha, Tanzania, is similar to life in America. Our two oldest kids, Caeden and Reeghan, attend a small Christian School in town. We load up backpacks, pile into the car, and talk with other parents as we drop the kids off.

I strive to meet job expectations, handle difficult staff situations, manage finances, and survive business travel. My wife, Doretha, manages the roles of wife and mother with the same ups and downs moms face in any nation on earth.

In these ways, we are no different than any other family of God on earth. At least, we shouldn’t be. You see, a family of God should live in the context of the ministry of Jesus Christ 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our location shouldn’t change that at all.

Because ministry is my career, my whole family can accompany me to a village for a week of camping and teaching. When families come to Arusha to attend our three month Church Planter Training, we live with them. We eat, worship, play, and pray with the students and their families.

Does this have to be something only a missionary family in Tanzania gets to experience? Of course not! While your family may not go to the office with you, don’t let this one distinction stop you from being a deliberate 24-7 family of God. Choose to serve your neighbors as a family. Pray for co-workers, classmates, and teachers as a family. Serve in the ministry of TCCC as greeters, nursery workers, or “servant-cleaners” together with your kids. Skip a meal out, give up satellite TV, or something special and give that money to God. Then, whether in Lexington or Arusha, we’ll discover that “a family of God is a family of God no matter where they are.”

Steve & Doretha Limiero
Caeden, Reeghan, Andwynne, and Rowan

Sermon Outline, April 26, 2015, “Pure Religion”

Pure Religion

James 1:27

Sympathize with the Distress of Orphans & Widows.

Their Distress is described by Loss.

~ Romans 12:15

Their Distress is described by Loneliness.

~ I Thessalonians 5:11

Their Distress is described by Fear.

~ I Thessalonians 5:14

Consider God’s Heart for Orphans & Widows.

Consider God’s Protection for Orphans & Widows.

~ Psalm 68:5; Exodus 22:22-24; Proverbs 23:10-11

Consider God’s Provision for Orphans & Widows.

~ I Timothy 5:4; I Timothy 5:9-10

Engage in meeting needs for Orphans & Widows.

Provide for their Physical Needs.

~ James 2:14-15

Provide for their Emotional Needs.

~ Colossians 3:12

I Believe…

I believe in the power of prayer. I have often asked for prayer for family members and for others.
In January 2014, after a two year battle with Leukemia, my cousin, Dennis went home to be with Jesus. Many of you prayed for him. He believed in prayer and told me thanks for praying and also thanks to my church family and the Deborah Circle for praying.

In April 2014, my brother suffered a broken hip and a fractured vertebrate in his back after a fall at his home. I requested prayer for him and again, many of you prayed. He died unexpectedly during surgery on Good Friday. When we learned what was happening in the surgical room, we prayed. We were surrounded by Christian friends that loved, supported, and prayed for us that day. Over the last few months, we have felt the prayers of many people who continue to lift us up in prayer. I can tell you that my family and I cannot get through each day without prayer. God hears those prayers and He has given us comfort and strength.

We are given opportunities here at Tates Creek to pray for others. There are prayer request sheets at the Welcome Center each Sunday. Our Sunday School class and Deborah Circle take prayer requests each time we meet. You can make a big difference in someone’s life by simply saying a prayer for them whether or not you know them personally. God knows them and He hears our prayers for each other.

Debbie Back

Serving & Sacrifice

Has anyone really served you in a way that truly required sacrifice from them? Have you really ever served someone else in this way? I’m not talking about finding a way to serve someone in a way that it was more about how you felt afterward than it was about the person you were serving. I’m talking about a time when someone really got into your life trenches with you. A time that your heart broke for someone and you put aside your own comfort, schedule, finances, and thoughts to love that person through good times and bad.

To be the hands and feet of Jesus means you aren’t just looking for ways to serve that you would enjoy. It really doesn’t even mean finding ways to serve that fit just perfectly into your schedule. To be the hands and feet of Jesus requires sacrifice. It requires time and resources spent on things of which you may never see the benefit. To help with this idea let’s think about some examples of Jesus serving from some very familiar children’s stories. When Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman, his team was surprised. When Jesus went out of his way to heal the 10 lepers, it wasn’t just crazy, it only resulted in one person returning to say thank you. When Jesus asked to eat dinner with a short little tax collector he was despised. When Jesus knelt down to wash the nasty, dirty feet of his disciples as The Teacher and The Lord, the disciples were shocked. What business did the King of Kings and Lord of Lords have serving people that were “lower” than the social position He had been placed in. He was the Savior of the world that was expected to rule, and rulers don’t have time for peasants.

Isn’t it interesting, this same king was born in a stable and died on a cross hung between two criminals. Isn’t it interesting, this same king said we are expected to do the same thing several times as HIS followers, and he even paints a picture with sheep and goats of how we will be held responsible for how we respond.

I am encouraged to serve alongside folks that are at least trying their best. To see 6 adults at JME, 3 adult leaders and 3 Jr. Leaders at Pit Crew, and to see countless people through the orphanage mission in Liberia giving of their time and resources to attempt to be like Jesus. These people aren’t going to get anything back from the kids they are serving… in this lifetime. It makes me wonder… what did Jesus really mean when he said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”? (Matthew 6:21)

Matt Lee

Pure Religion – James 1:27

Most people have heard the warning to avoid the topics of politics and religion in social settings and family gatherings. When we turn on the television, we hear of terrorists killing Christians and Jews in the name of religion. Religion has the potential to be among the most divisive words known to man. You can even look within the Christian community and find faithful followers who embrace Jesus, but renounce religion. And throughout the earthly ministry of Jesus there are seemingly countless examples of Jesus condemning the religious leaders of that time. But Jesus was not condemning religion. What he condemned was the hypocrisy of the religious leaders, as evidenced by their outward observation of the law, but inward spiritual void. In essence, they had defiled religion. So if that is what defiled religion looks like, what does undefiled (faultless) religion look like? And what kind of religion is pleasing to God our Father?

The Word of God answers that question. James 1:27 says this about religion – “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” So with that divinely painted picture of pure and faultless religion, we must each ask ourselves, ‘How close does that compare to the religion I embrace?’

There is no shortage of lonely, hurting widows. Most nursing home residents are widows, and it is estimated that 60% of nursing home residents have no visitors. Many are starving just for someone who will spend some time with them.

The world has no shortage of orphans either, both within our borders and in other countries. Our church has ties to several orphan-related ministries, and there are ample opportunities to look after orphans in their distress for anyone who is willing.

The final brushstroke in the picture James paints for us of pure and faultless religion is to keep ourselves from being polluted by the world. We should honor God, seek to bring Him glory, and not focus on selfish ambitions.

Keith Wertz

Sermon Outline, April 19, 2015, “Leadership is Service”

Leadership is Service

Luke 22:24-27

Effective Leaders serve with Integrity.

Integrity models Character.

~ I Peter 1:15-16

Integrity models Sincerity.

~ I Timothy 1:5; Hebrews 10:22

Effective Leaders serve with Humility.

Humility demonstrates Selflessness.

~ Philippians 2:5-7

Humility demonstrates Service.

~ Colossians 3:23-24

Effective Leaders serve by Example.

Leader Examples model the Pace.

~ Ecclesiastes 9:10

Leader Examples model with Reality.

~ I Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7

Learning to Give

Recently my family was invited to a birthday party of a friend. This friend asked that instead of a gift for her, donations be given to her favorite cause. Upon hearing this, my daughter immediately emptied her piggy bank and brought this to the party to give. It wasn’t much, but she wanted to help so badly that she gave what she could.

I find myself continually learning lessons from children. In this case, in regards to helping others, it doesn’t matter if it is a small act of kindness, or a small amount of money. You are still helping, and that goes a long way. Sometimes even the smallest gift can make the biggest difference in a person’s life. A hug, a dollar for a cup of coffee, or an encouraging word.

Our memory verse for the month of April in Critterland is:
Be Kind and Loving to Each Other” Ephesians 4:32.

Lesley Tipton

‘Spend’ing Our Lives

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Philippians 2:4-8 (ESV)

Jesus was a servant. In fact, Jesus was the model servant. As this scripture from Philippians tells us, he was a servant even to the point of death on a cross. Jesus was all about others. He literally spent his life for other people. My question for you today is: How much time are you spending on others?

I think the word “spending” is the right word in this context. When we choose to serve like Jesus, we have to choose to SPEND time, money, and energy towards those we are serving. It costs us something. I think this is part of what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 16:24-26 (ESV):

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

I think Jesus is calling us to make a grand transaction. We give up control, we become obedient to God, we SPEND our lives in service to Him, and in return we receive eternal life. Giving our life to Christ, being baptized, and serving in the church are all part of this process of giving our lives completely to God.

I challenge you to make this part of your prayers each day: “Lord, spend me on You today.” John 3:30 gives us another great way to pray this prayer. “He must increase, I must decrease.

This transaction is a process that happens over time. As we mature in our faith, we are able to give more and more of ourselves over to God. It is painful at times, but what a beautiful exchange it is!

Mike Allen

Leadership is Service – Luke 22:24-27

The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.” Luke 22:25, 26

The idea of servant leaders within the church is certainly not new. It is a theme that Jesus stressed over and over again. Sadly, the fact that He still needed to address the issue just hours before he went to the cross means the disciples still hadn’t gotten the message. Have we?

The type of service doesn’t matter. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet to make this point. And as Terry Morrison is always telling us in Sunday School class, “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.” Anything from shoveling snow, to preparing communion, to keeping the nursery, to visiting the shut-ins, to teaching Sunday School is service. It is impossible to name all the things that need to be done in Christ’s church, but all service done for Jesus and His church is significant. It is also a privilege.

It has always amazed me that Jesus has not only saved us but also has allowed us to have a part in His kingdom. He has allowed us to be an active functioning member of the body of Christ! Can there be any greater privilege than that? Let’s face it folks. Most of the things that we spend our time and effort on have no significance past the next fifteen minutes. What we do for the Lord and His church (no matter how menial the task) has eternal significance.

Leadership actively seeks ways to serve. It looks for ways to impact people and programs. It is constantly looking for ways to lift up the name of Jesus so that He can draw all men into His church, both here in Lexington and throughout the world.

Yes, leadership is service, but service is also a privilege.

Bill Clem

The Heart and Hands of Jesus

The Hands & Feet of Jesus

April 12, 2015

Mark 10:45

Look with Jesus’ Eyes.

Jesus refused to look Inwardly.

~ Philippians 2:3 – 4

Jesus intentionally looked Outwardly.

~ Romans 12:10, 16

Walk with Jesus’ Feet.

Jesus’ feet refused to walk away from needs.

~ Galatians 6:10

Jesus’ feet always walked toward needs.

~ Galatians 5:13

Serve with Jesus’ Hands.

Jesus refused to keep His hands away from service.

~ I Thessalonians 5:15

Jesus always helped with His hands.

~ Colossians 3:17

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