Tates Creek Christian Church

Updates and Insights from Tates Creek Christian Church

Archive for the category “General”

Faith in Prayer

“And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well: the Lord will raise them up.”  James 5:15
Every day we hear or read heartbreaking stories of tragic illness and breathtaking accounts of God’s incredible healing.  Even if we don’t have the medical degrees or training to fix people or provide answers, we do have God’s power to love people and pray with them in their time of need or time of praise.  The need for prayer is always there.  The opportunity for prayer is always there.  Intentional, thoughtful prayer from your heart for those who are sick or injured, struggling with depression, or trapped inside a body or mind that is broken.  Pray for the sick, pray for the families and friends of the sick, pray with faith that God will make the sick person well, and trust that God has a plan for every life.
Angela Powell

Thankfulness is Contagious

Thankfulness Broadens Our View of God’s Greatness!

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I have shared before that I grew up on a farm.  On this farm we raised horses, and throughout the years we tried to train these horses to pull wagons.  In fact, for my sister’s wedding, my father had built his own buggy and trained a horse to pull the buggy.  We tried our best to train this young horse, but he simply became distracted too easily.  These distractions often led to him stopping in the middle of the trail until he could be refocused.     Along with the necessary equipment used for horse pulling there is one piece more vital than the others.  It is the blinders on the headstall.  These are located on each side of the horse’s face.  The role of the blinders is to keep the horse focused on the direct path ahead.    Have you ever noticed that when things start going wrong in our lives it feels like we have spiritual blinders on?  We start seeing the world around us in a closed off way.  We begin feeling like we are the only ones going through a difficult situation.  The more our blinders close in on our perspective, the further into a spiritual slump we feel.  This seems to be the devil’s system to lead us away from God’s greatness.    In the verse above, Paul offers a different option.  Instead of allowing the devil to close in our perspective he offers a remedy.  Rejoice, pray, and give thanks!  Immediately when our view changes so does our attitude.  We begin to open up our eyes to the power of God, the love of God, and the greatness of God.     It is amazing to me how this is the cultural norm of so many other cultures.  For example, anytime I interact with my friends in Liberia they often say the phrase, Thank God.  When they have done our team a huge favor, cooked a delicious meal, and fixed something we couldn’t figure out, we always tell them thank you.  This is when they reply- “Thank God.”  It’s as if they constantly speak to bring glory to God through their thankfulness.  Such a wonderful example of Christ-followers from one of the poorest places on the earth.

Matt Lee, Children’s Minister

Be Thankful

When I was growing up on the farm, the only benefit Thanksgiving provided my siblings and me was being out of school.  However, being out of school meant work on the farm.  Our family always worked on Thanksgiving Day.  Somehow, my Dad never received the memo about Thanksgiving Day being a labor free day.  Dad always saw that day as a great opportunity to get much needed work done in the crop.  So, the Thanksgiving holiday didn’t provide any real special break from the routine for our family.  My Mom fixed a special meal for dinner ~ on the farm dinner was at noon!

Thankfully, that all changed as the years unfolded.  Now, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays!  One of the reasons is that it provides a great opportunity for our family to be together.  Another reason is due to its simplicity!  There is a great absence of commercialism and busyness.  The third reason and the best reason for it being a favorite, speaks to the purpose for the holiday ~ to give thanks.  Hopefully, as Christians, our gratitude stretches far beyond the holiday of Thanksgiving!

For Christians, our spirit of gratitude should permeate our hearts!  In I Thessalonians 5:18, the Bible says, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  Gratitude is the difference between someone who is a grumbler and someone who expresses great joy!  Is there anyone who likes to be around a grumbler; someone who complains and gripes, groans and moans?  Anyone?  Unless they are of similar nature!  But, we really like being around people who are joyful!  People who are joyful attract other people!

Grateful people acknowledge that everything they have comes from God!  Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.”

Grateful people trust God’s providence that He will bring good out of everything, including the terrible things that happen in life.  (Romans 8:28).  All that farm work on Thanksgiving Day, and every other day, sure made for a close family; I am most thankful!

Grateful people visit with those who are less fortunate and minister to them.     Grateful people count their blessings regularly and thank God for those blessings!     Grateful people refuse, absolutely refuse, to complain, gripe, or grumble!   A grateful heart brings honor and glory to God!

As Zella & I count our blessings, serving here at Tates Creek with you all is right at the top.  Thank you so much for the opportunity and the privilege of allowing us to serve our Lord with each of you!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tommy Simpson, Senior Minister

Are You Showing Gratitude?

Have you ever thought of how some of the toughest commands from the Bible are usually the ones that are the most straightforward and cut straight to the heart?  For example, “pray without ceasing,” “follow me,” “be joyful always,” and how about this one, “give thanks in all circumstances.”
To give thanks in all circumstances is tough, isn’t it?  There is no room for excuses or loop holes that give us a free pass.  God desires for our lives to be characterized by thankfulness, even when it is hard.  God longs for us to trust Him enough that we can be thankful even when it hurts and life doesn’t make sense!
To give thanks in all situations does not mean that we “fake it until we make it”. Instead, we are to have an attitude of gratitude that flows out of our hearts and is seen in every area and circumstance of our lives.  How we respond when tough situations hit speaks volumes. People are daily looking for purpose and meaning and we have an opportunity in the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ times with how we respond to point people towards Christ.
Consider this, we would have nothing good in our lives if it were not for God placing it there.  Do you realize that?  I think so often we take for granted the gifts that God has given us. James tells us that every good gift we have comes from God (James 1:17).
Every good gift!  It does not matter how big or small, every gift was given to us by the God of the Universe.  Here is an idea, as we enter this season, I challenge you not to wait until Thanksgiving Day to reflect on how thankful you are.  Instead, would you consider daily how much we have and give thanks with a grateful heart?  We have a Good Father who deeply loves us through the good and bad times. We have a lot to be thankful for daily!

Geoff Lawson, Student Minister

Rejoice and be Thankful

When times are hard, who is it that you turn to in your life?  Your spouse, your children maybe?  Friends?  Most importantly, do you turn to God?  With this season of Thanksgiving, I felt it would be appropriate to share verses that help through difficult situations.  They remind me that no matter what may be going on with my earthly problems, I can rejoice and be thankful for the things God has given me in my life, and especially for the greatest gift of all, His Son.
1 Chronicles 16:34 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Hebrews 12: 28 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”
1 Timothy 4:4-5 “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”

Lesley Tipton, Preschool Director

In Everything Give Thanks

In this season of focusing on thanks, we can reflect back on being part of a church or family group where we sat in a circle and told the others about those for whom we were thankful.  Or perhaps there were other items of thanksgiving shared such as a job, an item or an honor we had received, etc.  Many times we heard a lot of repetition as we went around the circle.  We certainly do not want to doubt the sincerity of those who participated, but I find that those who have faced adversity in their lives seem to have a better and deeper understanding of true thanksgiving.  We hear their testimonies of how God brought them through these adversities and we are moved to a deeper level of thanks for what we have and what God has done for us through His Son.

There are two people in Scripture that stand out to me as those expressing thanks through extreme adversity.  In the Old Testament, one who stands out is Job.  Most of us cannot even begin to imagine his life.  He is a good and prosperous man who loses everything that we all hold dear.  These losses include his offspring, his health and his property.  God allowed Satan to take these things from him and yet Job said these famous words:  “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.  The Lord giveth and the Lord has taken away;  may the name of the Lord be praised.”  Job 1:21  Later, God allowed Satan to cover Job’s body with painful sores from head to feet.  His wife wanted him to curse God and die!  His closest friends dialogued with him and yet Job preached back at them.  Read through all 42 chapters and you will see that God blessed Job again by doubling all he had enjoyed before his time of testing.  Job is an outstanding example of thankfulness.   In the New Testament, I think of the Apostle Paul.  Much of the New Testament was written as divinely inspired from God through the pen of Paul.  He wrote many of those letters from prison where he was beaten and suffered in chains for his faith and testimony.  Yet, Paul continued to praise God and share the Gospel with the churches in different cities where he had planted congregations.  After Paul had persecuted Christians, he went through a dramatic conversion and completely turned his life around to win thousands of people to Christ.  Paul, like many of the Old Testaments prophets, was not always popular.

He spoke boldly the message of the Cross to those who were his enemies.  He also had his mysterious “thorn in the flesh.”  Yet, in many of his epistles (letters) Paul offered genuine
thanksgiving to God.  You can read his prayers of thanksgiving throughout his letters, including Philippians 1:3-5.

And today, I think of those who are suffering for their faith around the world.  So far, we have it pretty easy in the United States as Christians.  Then there are those who are suffering physically and especially those who are ravaged from cancer.  In my own family, my brother Mark, and his wife Cheri, are both dealing with cancer.  Here in our church family, we have many suffering from disease and especially cancer.  One of my good friends at Tates Creek was struck by cancer earlier this year at age 29.  I have witnessed his testimony of appreciation and thanksgiving for those who have ministered to him through his posts on Facebook.

Now, remember the group where we sat in a circle?  If we were to do that today, I would hope that we would be able to sincerely express our thanks in a deeper way.  Yes, it is very difficult to be thankful through the hard times.  But the hard times can make us stronger and more thankful for the important things.  This song, from the pen of Lanny Wolfe, is a great reminder to us.

In Everything Give Thanks

In everything give Him the thanks, all the thanks. In the good times, praise His name, in the bad times do the same; In everything give the King of kings all the thanks! With all the good things that had come his way, It’s no wonder you could hear Job say: ‘The Lord giveth and He taketh away, I’ll give Him thanks;’ But when the tables were all turned around, And Job’s world came crashing down, His faith in God caused Job to say, ‘I’ll still give Him thanks!’ When troubles come, and there’s no one around, Satan tries to tell me that God’s let me down; Through every dark hour the best thing I’ve found Is to give my God thanks; For He has never failed me yet, so why should I start now to worry or fret? In everything I won’t ever forget to give God thanks!
Don Seevers, Worship Minister

Kill Your Sin with Thankfulness

“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.  Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.  For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Ephesians 5:3–5, ESV)   In the Bible, cultivating a heart of thankfulness toward God is not just a nice suggestion, it is a strategy for killing sin.  Far from the sentimental feeling suggested on holiday greeting cards, thankfulness is one of the absolutely essential offensive weapons Christians must use to put to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13).    Look at the passage above from Ephesians 5.  Notice how Paul challenges the Ephesian believers to fight against sexual immorality, impurity, filthiness, and the like.  He tells them to replace those things with thankfulness.  But why?  He gives us a clue in his list of sins by including covetousness.    At the heart level, every sin springs out of the covetous desires of our hearts.  We want what we are not supposed to have, and we are not content with what we do have.  It is no coincidence that James writes, “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” (James 4:2, ESV)    Even though the Ten Commandments include laws against both stealing and adultery, the last of the ten reveals that coveting in the heart is the sin that precedes them both: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:17, ESV)   So one of the ways we fight and kill sin in our hearts is by cultivating thankfulness.  We need to take regular time to thank the Lord for all that he has given us.  When we sing “Count your many blessings, name them one by one,” it’s not just feel-good sentimentality… them’s fightin’ words.
~ John Davis, Minister of Evangelism & Discipleship

Effective Prayer

In Joshua 10:12-14 we read about Joshua asking the Lord to have the sun and moon stand still.  After reading this passage, I began to think about how audacious Joshua was to pray such a thing and fully expect God to grant such a request.  I mean he was asking God to do the impossible!  Can we expect the same from God when we pray?  I looked up scriptures about prayers and how we can be assured that God hears them and will answer them.  Here is what I found:

1.  We should have Faith   Mark 11:24, Matthew 21:22

2.  We should live a Righteous life  1 John 9:31, James 5:16

3.  We should Stay in the Word John 15:7

4.  We should pray with Thankfulness  Philippians 4:6

5.  We should be Forgiving of others Mark 11:25

6.  Pray According to God’s Will  1 John 5:14 – 15

7.  Pray with Confidence  Hebrews 4:16

8.  Ask in Jesus’ name – John 14:13

9.  Be Watchful – Colossians 4:2    Yes, we can expect God to listen to us and grant our request, no matter how audacious, if it is in accordance with His will.

Gail Morrison

Focus on Study – Psalm 1

How do you navigate through life?  Where do you go to find guidance through this corrupt world we live in?  Where do you find wisdom and direction?  Where do you go to find peace in the storm?  We all have difficulties and trials we have to face every day.  Each day is filled with decisions, some easy, others more difficult, some are critical.  All can be life changing as they will set a direction for the future.  Where you go for help with those decisions can make all the difference in the world to the outcome of those decisions.  For clear guidance and truth, you must go to the Scriptures.  God has given us His Word as our guide through life and life’s decisions.  It is there we can find His will and His plan for our lives.  It is there that we can distinguish between God’s values and the world’s values.  It is there that we grow and strengthen our faith and relationship with Him.  Failure to read and study His Word and to receive the Spiritual nourishment we need to grow our faith is equal to failing to eat food that provides the physical nourishment our bodies need to live.  It is Spiritual starvation.

The psalmist puts it best, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night.  That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.”  Psalm 1:1-3

“Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies.”  Psalm 119:98

“Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”  Psalm 119:105

Get into His Word, study it’s truths, live a life filled with God’s wisdom and find peace in knowing His will for your life.
~ Danny Branham, Elder

Student Ministry

It’s unbelievable that we are already into the fall semester of 2017!  Summer was great and the student ministry had a lot of fun.  As summer fades and fall nears, I am excited for all that we have planned for this semester.     As you read this, we have already had our High School Fall retreat and fall kickoff and have lots more planned.  If you haven’t grabbed a copy the fall calendar for either the Middle School or High School groups, please make sure to pick one up.  Copies can be found in each area and have also been posted in our Facebook group for students and parents.   For Middle School ONLY, I wanted to highlight our Nerf Wars coming up on Wednesday, October 4th from 6-10 PM.  This event is for all students in grades 6-8 and totally FREE.  Students can bring their own gear.  Please make sure to label all personal gear that is brought.  Please RSVP to geoff@tatescreek.org or send me a text at 859.221.5605.    The second event I would like to highlight for Middle School ONLY is the fall retreat October 20-21.  Any middle school student is invited to join us as we head to Camp Calvary for a weekend of fun.  Early bird registration is $35 and any registrations after September 30 jump to $45.  Sign up with Geoff as soon as possible.   The High School ministry has lots of activities planned as well.  Periodically through the fall semester, the High School Ministry will meet off-site on Sunday nights.  For the fall semester, we will meet at home of Russell & Lora Brown from 6-8 PM.  These nights are set aside as opportunities to build relationships in a different environment.  See the HSM calendar for specific dates!   Both groups will be having Operation Christmas Child (Samaritan’s Purse) packing parties.  We will have the opportunity to demonstrate God’s love in some very tangible ways to children in need around the world through filling shoeboxes with gifts.  Please plan on purchasing supplies for a shoebox.  Our goal for the Student Ministry is to pack 35 boxes.  See both calendars for specific dates and times.   Lastly, if your student is involved in anything extracurricular, I would love to come and support them.  Please share calendars or event dates so our student ministry can come support our students.

~ Geoff Lawson,  Student Minister

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