Tates Creek Christian Church

Updates and Insights from Tates Creek Christian Church

Archive for the category “General”

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

Focus on Example

Recently my daughter came home excited about being chosen as the “bee buddy” for her classroom at school.  What is a “bee buddy?”  They are the student in each class that helps new students become adjusted to their new room, school, etc.  My daughter was chosen for this by her teacher because she was seen being thoughtful, caring about other students, helpful, and willing to play with those who might not normally have a friend.  I can’t tell you how proud I was.  But this isn’t the first time I’ve been told about these positive qualities.  Since she was in preschool I have been told how friendly and caring she is to her peers and teachers.  My son is beginning to be the same way, always making sure to get candy for his sister or his friends when he gets a piece, being appreciative of things he’s been given, and asking what’s wrong if someone is hurt.  I’d like to say that my husband and I can take all the credit for this, and we’ve worked with both of them, but we aren’t the only ones.  My children have numerous role models in their lives that they watch each and every day, and who care for them unconditionally.  Adults (and teens) who show them kindness, who treat them as human beings, who listen to them.  I pray that these people continue to stay in their lives into adulthood, so they are able to be led in a Godly way through their own teen years.     We have quite a large pre-teen group right now at TCCC, and they are in the absolutely capable hands of the Stretch 456 ministry.  But shaping those children goes beyond the walls of their Sunday classroom.  It extends to each and every one of us in this building, and I ask that you take the time to continue investing in this next generation of believers.  Trust me, it’s worth it.
~ Lesley Tipton

Focus on Serving

John 13:1-20

I remember as a boy of ten that Sunday morning in March 1957, coming forward to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior, to be baptized, and to receive the forgiveness of my sins.  I remember the joy I felt coming forward and practically flying down the aisle of the Maxwell Street Christian Church.  My worries were over, no Hell for me, I was saved by Jesus and I was Heaven bound.

Believing that I had it made, that I had done everything I needed to do to be saved and that there was nothing else to do, I did nothing, sorry to say, for too many years.  In those many years, I grew physically but spiritually I was still that ten year old boy; not realizing that when you are saved in Christ Jesus you are saved for a purpose.  That purpose is to serve God and to serve others, both non-Christian and Christian alike.  Jesus sets the example of serving others in John 13:1-20 by washing the feet of the twelve apostles.  Jesus, the Son of God, the Creator, Almighty God, washed the Apostles feet.  He even washed the feet of Judas Iscariot, the one who was to soon betray Him.  The task of washing people’s feet was usually assigned to a non-Jewish slave as visitors and guests came into a house after walking on dusty roads.

Jesus, after washing the apostles’ feet, said in verses 12-17, “Do you understand what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.  Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

This teaching of Jesus in John 13, whom does it benefit, the apostles only?  No, not only them, but also all of us who are in Christ Jesus, called by His name.  Our Lord and Savior is calling us to serve Him by serving one another.  To help our neighbors no matter how small or lowly the task might be.

Now, I encourage you, don’t be like me and waste years doing nothing.  Remember, in Christ we are a new creation, saved for a purpose, to serve God and others.  Oh and by the way, if you are like me, the time to focus on serving Him, is NOW!

Heavenly Father, may we serve you with a pure heart and cheerful spirit that you would receive the glory.

~ Larry Critchfield, Elder

Focus! Focus!

We have all heard this imperative given by our parents or a teacher.  As students, we are often distracted from keeping our focus on matters of importance by outside distractions in the classroom.  Not only do school students struggle with focus, but adults do as well.  I really like my iPhone 7, but I realize that I must keep attention focused on what is important at the time.  I confess that it is easy to become distracted when one or more chimes or sounds are emitted from the phone tempting me to look at it.  After all, studies show that most of use our phones more for other things than talking to someone!  We have work email, Facebook, and text messages, other apps, etc.  I also must say how aggravated I become when I am in conversation with someone and they make the phone their priority.  I understand that emergencies occur, but if we are honest, most of those “phone chimes” can wait.     Throughout my 40+ years of leading music and worship ministry, I have been asked on many occasions, “how do you keep your focus and still worship when leading from the platform?”  Well, I will be honest and tell you that it takes a lot of work!  On many Sundays, it is not easy especially when something goes wrong with the sound system, a CD won’t play, a microphone won’t work, a soloist is ill or people come to me with lots of questions and sometime concerns that probably could wait until after the service.  It does take work to worship!  It takes lots of work and not only for me, but for all of us.  As I move through the different responsibilities of being a leader in worship, I still must also worship.  It can be done and I can still enjoy worship.     I mention these two examples as a reminder that as Christians and as a Church, it is easy for us to be distracted from what should be our main focus.  We must focus on the lost!  Any church that forgets that will soon die!  We must focus on serving Christ and others!  A church that focuses on itself will also soon die.  We must focus on study as we open the Word and see what God has to say to us.   A church that focuses on other things other than the Word will die at some point.  Finally, we must focus on the example of Jesus Christ.  Some churches are distracted with doing good things in the community and around the world but forget to keep the focus on Christ.  May we all learn to focus AND focus on the right things.  Focus!  Focus!

~ Don Seevers, Worship Minister

Focus on the Word

“I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” (Psalm 119:15, ESV)

Look.  Keep looking.  Then look some more.  And when you’re tempted to stop, push past it and just keep looking.  That’s
focus.    There was once a very wise and respected professor who was approached by a student curious about scientific observation.  “Very well,” said the professor, taking out a huge jar.  “Take this fish and look at it.  Eventually I’ll test you. ” The student sat down and started looking at the fish.  After about ten minutes he thought he saw everything there was to be seen.  He looked for the professor but he was no where to be found.  So the student kept looking at the fish.  Thirty minutes passed.  An hour.  Two hours.    The professor returned.  “What have you observed?”  The student rehearsed it all.  The fleshy lips, the lidless eyes, the shimmering scales, the lateral line, the spinous fin, the forked tail.  The professor seemed disappointed. “You haven’t looked very carefully.  You haven’t even seen some of the most obvious features.  Keep looking.”   The student wanted nothing more to do with the fish.  He was miserable.  But he wanted to please the professor.  So he kept looking.    Slowly he discovered one new feature after another.  Soon time began to fly by as the student observed that fish.  He discovered all kinds of things he’d never noticed before.  He realized just how right the professor had been.  After an hour the professor returned to a new list.  “That’s good.  But that’s not all.  Go on.  Keep looking.”    And so for three long days he put that fish before the student’s eyes, forbidding him to study anything else, repeating the same chorus each time.  “Look… look… look.”   There are great rewards to those who will focus over the course of long periods of time.  This is especially true in studying God’s word.   David was focused in Psalm 119:15.  He vowed to fix his eyes on the word.  To look and to keep looking.  And oh, the riches he found there!  Read Psalm 119 for yourself and witness all the goodness and satisfaction that David found in God’s word.   In the same way we should commit to fixing our eyes on God’s word consistently, day after day.  Look at it.  Pour over it.  Meditate on it.  Ask questions of it.  Be amazed at what you find.  Rejoice in it.  And do it all again the next day.    In Psalm 119:96 David writes, “I see a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad.”  In other words, you can look and look and look at God’s word for the rest of your life and never mine all the gold that is buried under the soil of its words.  That gets me excited.  It’s like a project that is always satisfying but never completed.  A taste of eternal life here and now.   Simply reading the Bible… looking at the word of God over and over again consistently… will change your life.  It has changed mine.  And it will lead you to the greatest beauty and satisfaction in the whole world – God himself.    The Bible is unlike any other book ever written.  In fact, it is unlike any other thing in existence because it is the primary way that God has revealed himself to us.  That is a very big deal because God is the creator of the universe.  Your maker, the sustainer of all atoms and electrons, the ruler of creation, and the judge of all mankind has condescended to reveal himself to us in a book we can read.  So, we should spend a great deal of effort and time and energy into looking at this book.    Yes, it’s sometimes hard to understand.  Yes, there are times when it feels like we get very little out of our time in the word.  Yes, there are other things that seem to pay quicker dividends.  But over time, as we look, and look, and look some more, we find there is no greater beauty, satisfaction, or joy to experience than that which comes from knowing God through his word.    The Bible is not a vending machine where you go get your sugary snack for the day.  It’s not a spiritualized horoscope or magic 8-ball.  And it’s not a collection of hallmark card slogans meant to boost your self-esteem.  The Bible is where we meet God!  So look at it. And keep looking.  There’s always more of God to be found there.

~ John Davis, Minister of Evangelism & Discipleship

Looking Forward

While growing up on the farm, cultivating crops required intense focus.  I had to concentrate and give full attention to the task of cultivating.  I disciplined myself to look forward!  The cardinal rule with cultivating was “Always look forward!  Never look back!”  Looking back was always disastrous for cultivating crops.  Just as sure as I would look back, I would plow up some of the crop or some of the garden which did not set well with Dad or Mom!   Cultivating crops reminds me of the teaching of Jesus!  Jesus said, “No one, after putting his hand to the plan and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).  It is impossible for a follower of Jesus to work in His Kingdom and still be holding on to his/her past life whether the past includes worldly friends, sin, or negative habits.   The same principle is true for a church.  It is impossible for a church to go forward and be effective while trying to live in the past.  For example, implementing traditions are well and good as long as those traditions continue to fulfill purpose and meaning.  If traditions are perpetuated just because that is ‘what we have always done,’ then the church becomes inward focused, ineffective, stale, and stagnant.  Who wants to be a part of a church with those characteristics?  No one!  On a regular basis, every program/ ministry of the church should be examined to see if that program/ministry is fulfilling the purpose the Lord has given to the church.   Our next sermon series is entitled, “Forward with Focus.”  We will examine the goals that speak to the purpose that our Lord has given to the church!  One of the purposes that He gives to the church is evangelism.  The goal for Tates Creek in this purpose is thirty baptisms!  Once a person becomes a Christian, there are three goals a Christian should pursue.  Those goals may be stated as: one hour in worship, one hour in study, and one hour in service each week.  Christians should involve themselves in one hour of worship every week.  Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.”  Christians should also involve themselves in one hour of study whether that is one hour in Sunday school or one hour in small group.  The third goal Christians should involve themselves in is one hour in serving each week, whether that is service in the church or outside the church.  Remaining committed to these three goals strongly assist us going “Forward with Focus!”   Press On!

~ Tommy Simpson   Senior Minister, tommy@tatescreek.org

Can the Church Change a Culture?

Several years ago, Terah and I attended a Jesus Culture concert at Northern Kentucky University.  The concert was great and lots of fun with friends, but when I left there I wondered about the above question in our American culture.  During the concert a main speaker took the stage and he answered this question about what God is doing in China.  He told the story about a young couple that wanted to make a difference in a mall.  They began a simple prayer booth.  This was a small place for people to go if they needed to pray with someone.  The result in changing the culture was evident almost immediately.  The speaker went on to explain the police decided to leverage this prayer group for their benefit.  When they caught someone breaking the law they would give them a choice.  The violator could either be detained and taken to jail or he could agree to go to the prayer booth for prayer.  Nearly every time the choice was easy.  Go to the prayer booth.  What happened next was a little on the crazy side.  The prayer booth started to grow and take up more space.  More people stopped by and the crime at the mall went down considerably.

Can a church change the culture?  If it couldn’t, I would not be in children’s ministry telling the kids that through Jesus ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!    TCCC is a place committed to changing the culture.  The investment at Julius Marks Elementary hasn’t gone unnoticed by the community.  On August 10th a couple people joined the FCPS and Commerce Lexington to receive an award called the Golden Apple Award, (see page 16).  In fact, nearly every time I visit JME to say hi or eat lunch with a child I am told by at least one person, “I don’t know what we would do without your church.”

So why don’t we see more churches changing their culture or why have we not seen an even greater impact?  I think the answer is simple, we aren’t trained to look for what God is doing and give Him praise for His works alone!  Praise the Lord for the opportunities He has given our church family.  Praise the Lord for willing servants who tutor, give funds for backpacks, serve at Party in the Park, or have accepted the challenge to adopt a JME staff member.    The future of our community is brighter because we shared our Jesus light with the community!  As the world around us grows more dim with sin, our opportunity to shine brighter grows even larger.  Flip on your light and let it shine!

~ Matt Lee, Children’s Minister        matt@tatescreek.org

Something to Ponder

I don’t know if you all ponder things such as I do, but one of the things that I have pondered all the years of my life is: how can we, during these summer months, put salt in our ice cream freezers to cause the ingredients to freeze and then turn around in the winter months and put that same salt on our roads and sidewalks to melt the snow and ice?  I’ve pondered that for as long as I can remember.  Now, I know I could ask people with more education than me to explain it, and there would be a scientific explanation for sure, but I prefer to ponder this amazing fact.  To know all the scientific processes would take all of the amazement out of it for me.

One of the things I’m certain would amaze our Heavenly Father, if He could in fact be amazed, is how we have the capacity to bless, encourage, and influence men toward Him.  Instead, we often operate in just the opposite way.  Jesus himself addressed that potential when He said, “Let your light so shine among men that they might see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”  In simply saying that, He also acknowledged the possibility that we could do just the opposite.  Now, with the freezing of ice cream and the thawing of ice and snow, there is a reasonable scientific explanation, but what is the reasonable explanation for our acting contrary to the purposes of God?  There is no reasonable explanation is there?  We who have been called to a higher purpose too often fail to do so.  Perhaps we need to ponder more.  Ponder the riches we have in Christ Jesus.  Ponder the grace we have received in Christ Jesus.  Ponder the needs of people who don’t have Christ Jesus, and after pondering, expect to be amazed at the impact we can make for Him if we live for that higher purpose.
The Pondering Preacher,
~ Bro. Kim Beckwith, Senior Adult Minister     kimbeckwith@tatescreek.org

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