Tates Creek Christian Church

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Archive for the tag “Matt Lee”

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

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

Stretch 456

Preteen Ministry: Why It and You Are Important
If you were a child growing up in church a few years ago, you looked forward to the days that you would be in the Youth Ministry. On the other side of Children’s Ministry was a sense of freedom, adventure, and discovering your faith on your own. Children’s Ministry was fun and your foundation expanded on Biblical truths that started when you were one of the “littles” in the church. For many of us, it was in the Children’s Ministry that we began our personal walk with Jesus and were baptized. Loving and nurturing adults poured into our lives and made sure we didn’t fall away… completely. Following your baptism you were asked to serve, be a leader, set an example, guide the younger kids, and much more. The challenge was that we didn’t really know how or what it meant to be a leader or a church member. We really didn’t understand what this new person in our life that people called the Holy Spirit was, or what our identity in Christ meant. On top of these challenges were these weird emotions for the opposite gender, temptations creeping in, and dreams of what we would actually be when we grew up. We looked forward with anticipation to the days of Youth Ministry where we could finally get these answers!
All of these things are why Preteen Ministry is so important! Kids growing up in church still desiring to begin their walk with Jesus between 9-12 years old (preteen age). They still want to be leaders and walk with God. In the midst of the challenges we had, I would say kids today have so many more. Temptations are starting at much younger ages. These temptations include: the internet, cable television, smart phones, standardized testing, broken homes, drugs, alcohol, mental illness, pop culture and music, and the demands of extra curricular activities. Many of the preteen age kids are deciding if the “Jesus Road” is the path to take. The reality is that they are being pulled emotionally, physically, and spiritually in so many directions that their lives are a constant STRETCH!
Stretch 456 is about guiding kids along this part of their lives. It’s about adults of any age pouring and investing into them. It’s about helping answer their questions with Biblical truth, engaging them in genuine worship, and deepening their faith roots. The most important time for Stretch is Sunday mornings at 9:30 and 11 am! Come check it out sometime. They are a great group of 4th-6th grade kids who are hungry to learn more, eager to serve, and loud enough to change the world they live in! That means you, as parents and church members, reading this are also VERY IMPORTANT!

~ Matt Lee

Kids Serving at Sayre Christian Village

Early this year, our friends from Sayre Christian Village came to visit with our kids in Uptown to share about their ministry. They shared about what they do, how they serve, and even gave us a sample of playing Bingo together. At the end of the night we were challenged to take home Sayre Bears (little banks) to collect our spare change. The kids loved the visit, but they looked forward to the challenge of collecting extra money to help serve the wonderful people at Sayre. Each week the children returned their banks and the money added up to almost $50. Then, two weeks later we took the kids on an adventure to Sayre to visit and also paint with those living there. Our kids loved meeting the residents of the facility and helping them make amazing works of art on poster board.
As we entered the Spring session of Oasis, we talked about ways we could serve again. Together, we decided on two ways. We gave the spare change we collected to Sayre to celebrate one person’s birthday. We also began working hard to deliver a puppet show to our new friends.
Finally, the day came and our hard work was ready to be displayed at Sayre. The children worked as a team to carry all of the needed supplies to set up the puppet show. Once our sound challenges were fixed, we took over the stage. Our puppets (nearly 30 of them total) danced and sang to three upbeat songs. The audience loved it, and even requested to hear the entire program again! So we did. In fact, we were told they loved our visit so much, they recorded our performance to be played on every TV in their facility!
We truly enjoyed our time at Sayre, greatly enjoyed working with them, and look forward to visiting again on our next Truth Traveler adventure!

~ Matt Lee

Are You Producing Fruit?

About 4 years ago my neighbor and I began a simple gardening adventure. We had a spare space between our houses that was rarely used, was the last place to be mowed, and had consistent sunlight throughout the day. We talked at length about bringing back our country boy days and turning the space into a garden. For nearly a year we researched what we would need, what we would plant, and when we would need to get to work. We actually considered this to be a huge investment into the future of our families. Through our garden we would eat more healthy year round. To be honest, for me, it was more about getting my hands dirty and being proud of what we made. The first year we focused greatly on the garden. We made sure to till up the ground at just the right time, pull all the weeds, and plant what we thought would grow the best. We worked as a team and even had the kids excited about gardening. On my side of the space was a large garden area perfect for green beans, tomatoes, and peppers. We had enough space that we planted grapes and built stands for the grapes to grow around. On his side, we planted our herbs and some basic root vegetables. At the end of the summer we harvested a few peppers, lots of green beans, and so many tomatoes we broke the metal cages they were growing on. We considered our first year a success and began planning for year 2. The second year we were busy and comfortable. We tossed in some seeds, tilled when it was convenient, and just let nature do what it does when you don’t tend to it. The result: our garden was a mess. Our plants were nearly choked out by every weed imaginable, and our return was less than satisfying. Now, our third year is off to a decent start, but those pesky weeds need my focus before my entire investment is lost again.
In Galatians 5:16-23, Paul writes to the church in Galatia about walking in step with the Spirit. He shares with the church about the difference between being in touch with the world and ourselves and staying close to God through the Spirit. He challenges the listener to not focus on gratifying the desires of the flesh. Quickly he goes on to define what those desires are and explains how they are in direct conflict with God. He even provides a stern warning that if we give in to those desires we have no reward in Heaven.
A couple years ago, I was listening to a sermon by Kyle Idleman about this passage in Galatians. In the message he talked about these desires of the flesh as weeds in a garden. For many of us, we know that the desires are there and when they take up enough space or begin to choke out our walk that is visible to others, we decide to deal with the weed. However, we only deal with what we can see. We only tear enough of the weed out of our lives so that it doesn’t continue to damage the growth that others can see. The real problem is that we never dig into the root of the problem. Instead of ridding our lives completely of the desire and giving ourselves entirely to the Spirit, we decide to hold on to just a little bit. Then, over time the weed begins to get in the way again. It starts to cause problems in our lives, our families, our marriages, and our jobs.
So what should we do if we know we have something in our lives that shouldn’t be there and we know that it isn’t leading us to a more God focused life in the Spirit?
Colossians 3:5-10 says put it to death. That means we must rip it out, tear it out, cut it out, or burn it out. Do whatever you have to in order to be rid of it.
As we go through the next sermon series, I encourage you to take a look at your lives. In the American culture we have many things that might not be producing fruit in our lives. From the food and drinks we consume, to our friends we keep. From movies and music we listen to, to the words we say that we know we should not.
Are you ready and willing to multiply by subtraction so that God can do something special in you and through you. Your best days are ahead, so stay in step with the Spirit!!

Matt Lee

Memories for a Lifetime

Back in January, my wife and I traveled to Orlando, Florida for a Children’s Ministry Conference.  Since we were close to Disney, we spent a lot of our free time at Disney Springs.  While there, we ate dinner at The Rainforest Café.  This year’s theme for VBS (June 9-13) is Safari themed so I was curious to see how they brought things to “life”.  The environment and the staff were way above what I expected. From robotic moving animals to the sounds and a huge “erupting” volcano, I simply sat amazed.  As we were leaving, I told a manager that we were going to be talking to our kids in Kentucky shortly via Facetime, and asked what time the volcano would go off again.  His reply, “It goes off every 30 minutes, but if your kids don’t get to see it just let me know.  I will have them set it off again.”

To me this was crazy!  A guy I had never met cared enough about investing into kids he will probably never meet, to make sure they had that special memory.  Later, we called the kids and the volcano didn’t go off.  I sought out the manager, asked him about the volcano, and he immediately called his technician to set it off again.  The more amazing thing to me was that the man’s shift was nearly over, he had served his time for the day, and could have chosen to just walk away.  He didn’t.  He chose to make a memory.

When I left that night from Disney Springs, I wondered if this would happen at our church.  There is no doubt in my mind that we have an amazing team serving in our children’s ministry areas!  I also don’t question whether or not we have a loving and generous church.  We have people that are going above and beyond each week to connect kids to Jesus.  They willingly are on schedules that serve in either one month blocks, 2 week rotations, or once a month.  They serve at special events like Egg Hunts, Movie Nights, Vacation Bible School (July 9-13), drive buses for Day Camp, Pit Crew, or Party in the Park.  They are dedicated and they understand the reason why we do what we do in children’s ministry.

As we round the corner toward another Summer full of activities from camps to Vacation Bible School we also are trying new things.  We desire to connect kids to Jesus; however we can!  We started a preteen ministry for 4th-6th graders this month, because we want them to know they are an essential part of the church.  We have named this group Stretch 456!  We are reprogramming things in Uptown so that our youngest Elementary kids are taught lessons at their level.  At VBS, we will do it as big as we can.  For all of these things… we need YOU!  Will you join our team and make memories that won’t just last a lifetime.  Instead, they will last an eternity!  Join us!

Matt Lee

A Preacher’s Legacy

Shortly after we returned from Liberia in 2009, I received a call from a church my family served for nearly 10 years during my upper elementary through high school years.  It was the last church my dad had served in full time ministry.  They asked if I could come in February 2010 to be one of the main speakers for their mission month.  I accepted the request quickly for 3 reasons.  First, I had rarely been asked to be a guest speaker for adults.  Second, the church was planning a year in advance so I had plenty of time to prepare.  Finally, this was an amazing opportunity to stand behind the same pulpit my father had.

As the time grew closer for me to speak, I remember thinking about what this really meant for me personally.  My dad was like a superhero to me.  He always preached with great encouragement and energy.  He was funny and engaging. He was very personable, and not too flashy.  He was the same person off the stage as he was on.  His messages were simple, yet challenging.  My entire life I had watched my father preach from behind the pulpit.  I had seen people come to Christ through the messages God had given him to share.  When I was much younger and we didn’t have a kids’ church area, I would sit with a tiny notebook to take diligent notes.  Each time I had nearly 3 pages in my little notebook.  After church and lunch my sister and I would go home and reenact the entire service.  She had a tiny little piano, so she plunked out the hymns. Then, she sat down at a little wooden pew my dad had made for her and I stood behind a matching pulpit that he had made for me. (These two items have been in every ministry office I have served as a reminder of the legacy.) When people asked me what I was going to be when I grew up, the answer was simple… I would be a preacher!

A year after the call, I stood behind that same pulpit.  I was nervous and scared, but most importantly, I was humbled.  Humbled to serve and share the truth of the Gospel to all who would listen.  In the audience that day was my hero, Doug Lee.  No matter what I said, he sat smiling from ear to ear.  He had been given a glimpse into the fruit of his legacy.

Since that day I have had other opportunities to teach in an adult service. Nearly every time my dad has been present.  Most recently, I traveled back to Indiana to share about the orphanage in Liberia.  This time though I was close enough to other family that my dad made sure the church was filled with familiar faces.  In the audience were my grandmother, aunt, cousins, both my parents, my sister and her kids, but most importantly… my two sons.

Matt Lee

Understanding Our Calling

Take a moment and think about the disciples that walked with Jesus?  I am sure you have done this lots of times before from several different perspectives, but this time I am asking you to think about them from the perspective of living a new life with Jesus.  Matthew, Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, James, Simon, and Judas.  Each of these men came from different backgrounds, but Jesus saw something in them.  He called them to follow and be fishers of men.  Jesus, God’s Son, called them.  He told them to leave everything behind and that they would suffer and be persecuted.  He told them.  He taught them how to love, how to serve, and how to lay down their lives for the cause of the Gospel.  As they were changing into these powerhouse messengers for the greatest message ever to be told, stop and wonder what they might have been changing from.  I don’t know for sure where all of these men came from in regards to their personalities, but I have an idea.

When I was in college I worked in a factory for a short time and also on a house framing crew for several summer and winter breaks.  Both of these work areas were tough places for me spiritually.  The conversations were often very offensive and degrading to anyone.  There were moments that I was fierce with my faith and worked hard to be a witness, but there were times when I also stumbled and fell on my face in my walk.  The wisest choice for me was to leave these areas.  Simply flee.

In the midst of these times I received my call to ministry.  It was a literal phone call.  I rejected it at first, but a year later accepted.  The call was to serve as a youth minister for a very small rural church.  I am pretty sure I was called by the church because of the example of faith my parents had set in the community. I would be in charge of all programming from birth through college age.  My first week in the ministry the seriousness of my calling became a reality.  The children and students that followed my example and leadership needed me to be something that I wasn’t in my every day life.  I needed to change. I needed to… accept my call.  To do this I had to know more about Jesus and allow Him to multiply inside of me.  He needed to have more space in my heart and push out the stuff that shouldn’t be there.  I had to learn to walk like I was worthy of my calling.

Now, take a look at Ephesians 4:1-6.  It is here that Paul reminds us of our call. Our call to be united. To be humble, gentle, patient, and bearing with one another.  As we search together I encourage you to allow Christ to multiply in you!  To change you from the inside before he mulitiplies your impact outside!

Matt Lee

Children’s Ministry News

Do you ever get so excited about something each year that when it’s over you start planning for the next time it comes around?  Maybe it’s a special vacation or family reunion.  It could be a special sporting event or activity like camping season.  In children’s ministry it really is the entire summer!  Each year when the summer is over we immediately start thinking about and planning the next summer, and this year is no different.

We love what happens at church on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, but what happens in the summer becomes an incredible boost of energy.

Before the summer gets fully underway, we prepare for The Best Egg Hunt In Town!  April 15th at noon will be super fun!  The prizes will be bigger, the organization will be better, and the team will be ready.  We are collecting eggs and candy all month long.  No peanuts please!  Next, comes Mother’s Day, Graduation, and Father’s Day!

Finally, the time we are most excited about… SUMMER!  By the time we reach June we have already begun building the set for VBS and kids have already signed up for church camp.  The dates for Day Camp are June 19-22.  It is geared for children 5-8 years old.  At the end of summer comes our 7/11 camp for children 7-11 years old.  This camp is an overnight camp set for July 23-28! (Special discount codes are available by emailing Matt@tatescreek.org).  We are expecting a HUGE group of kids to join us for camp this year so make sure you sign up early!

Tucked right into the middle of camp weeks is our favorite week of the year… Vacation Bible School.  Our theme this year is Jungle Safari (how fun is that?)  We will learn that God is our Creator, Protector, Provider, Savior, and King.  The dates for VBS are July 9-13!!

If you are reading this and think we are crazy… we are!  We love spending this time with your children and helping them grow!  Contact Matt Lee to join the teams for VBS or Egg Hunt, ask questions, get involved, and help a child grow!

7/11 Camp (7-11 years old; Overnight; Main focus on the gospel message)

Dates: Week 3- July 23-28;  7/11 Code: tatescreek711

http://bluegrasschristiancamp.org/summer/711-camp

DAY CAMP

(ages 5-9; 730 am-530 pm; shuttle bus from TCCC; Main mission/service focus)

Dates: Week 2- June 19-22;  Day Camp: tcdaycamp

(discount codes are available by emailing Matt@tatescreek.org)

Matt Lee

Multiply and Disciple

A couple of years ago, I was talking missions with a cousin. Our conversation was definitely arranged by God because it was exactly what I needed to hear. I was at a place with the orphanage that I didn’t know what to do. God had placed something heavy on my heart that I couldn’t just shrug away.
As we were talking, she told me a story about the organization she serves with and a dream the founder had. In the dream she was driving down a very busy road when a bus full of children drove off the road into the water. The bus was slowing going under. In her mind the woman thought about diving in and saving as many kids as she could. However, before she dove into the water she realized the number of cars speeding by her. Without another thought, she flagged down 5 other cars. These 5 cars flagged down others and soon nearly a hundred people were jumping into the water to save the children.
After my cousin’s story, I had a new realization for what I needed to do. I needed to tell everyone I knew about the need at the orphanage. The need was greater than I could meet on my own with my abilities and skills. If we were truly going to help the children it would take a team! Now a few years later the team has grown to a size I can’t even count. More people are connected to this orphanage than I would have ever imagined. Some are prayer warriors and others are financial donors.
This lesson I continue to learn daily about multiplying and discipling continues to be a method used in the children’s ministry. We are blessed to have nearly 200 people serving on rotations, but to be honest there are still more workers needed. There are more workers needed because there are still families in our community that don’t know the message of Jesus and we have to get to them before they slip away. There are families struggling to stay afloat in their marriages and the devil is working overtime to drown them.
For some reason, in the American church, we still struggle to get the idea of multiplying. Why? Is it because we don’t see the need of people slowly drifting away from the church and into death? Are we too comfortable in our pews and classes to look out the window toward the lost? Have we become consumed and focused on figuring out why the lost are lost rather than just going to rescue them, afraid they might reject us? Could it be that since we don’t know the exact time Jesus is coming back that we don’t think there is an urgency? Whatever the reason, it’s not an accident that our focus in 2017 is about multiplying. I believe the focus has been arranged by the Creator of our churches’ story!

Matt Lee

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