Tates Creek Christian Church

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Archive for the tag “Multiply”

Pure – Revelation 2:18-29

As a young nursing student at Marshall University, one of the first things I learned to do was to take a patient’s vital signs. That is because vital signs are used to evaluate a person’s general physical condition and are an important part of a nursing assessment. We were asked to practice these on a regular basis so that we could become proficient at doing them. In my current nursing job, I work with newborns and their mothers. Vital signs are also measured on newborns. Most of the newborns I see are normal and have strong vital signs, but from time to time we have a mother who has used drugs during her pregnancy. This can alter the infant’s vital signs and also their overall health. Unfortunately, this “impurity” in the infant’s body can harm him/her.
Likewise, this is true for us in a spiritual way. When we put things into our spiritual body that cause us to be “impure” then we can expect it to alter our vital signs and our overall spiritual health. In Revelation 2:18-29 the church at Thyatira was commended for their love, faith, perseverance, and doing more than they did at first. However, Thyatira had also been doing things that caused “impurity”. They were involved in compromise and false teaching. This made an impact on the spiritual health and vital signs of the church. The immorality and unrepentant spirit of Thyatira caused suffering not only for her but also for her children.
As a Christian, I want to do everything I can to live an upright and “pure” life before my Heavenly Father. This includes putting into my spiritual body those things that will strengthen me such as daily Bible reading and study, prayer, and regular church attendance.
In Revelation 2:26-28, the overcomers and those who do the will of the Father until the end, will be given authority over the nations and also will be given the morning star. May this encourage all of us to live “pure” lives.

Carol Ann Martin

…and a Happy New Year

These words conclude the familiar song we sing at the Christmas season in a concert or when Christmas caroling. I think we often place the emphasis on the lyrics, “We wish you a Merry Christmas” and forget that sharing hope for the new year is also important. We come to the start of another year and those of us who are growing a bit older really do appreciate those “new” years as they seem more precious.
Each new year provides the opportunity to evaluate our life and perhaps make some needed changes. Now, we know we can do that at any time and not wait on another calendar year to roll around, yet the new year does provide time for reflection of the past and setting goals for the future.
As I think of the word “multiply”, I remember the words of the late Roy H. Mays III, when he would often remind us as students at Cincinnati Christian University, that we needed to “multiply our ministry.” This was one of his favorite admonitions. Hearing it over and over again, it would start to sink into the fertile minds of those of us who participated in the university’s music ensemble or Come Alive programs.
Roy wanted to make sure we knew that he expected us to not just go and sing or enjoy fellowship on our school trips, but rather to invest our lives into the teens we visited in churches and camps. It really made us think about our actions around those people. What would they remember about us after we returned to Cincinnati?
As a music professor at CCU and later at Johnson University Florida, I enjoyed investing myself into the lives of many students, but I also realized that my time with these students was limited by time. I only had a certain amount of time with them, then they would graduate. I learned that ministering with people in the local church provided a greater long-term involvement in their lives. It has been enjoyable to look back over 40 years of ministry and see those lives and the fruit they have produced for the Kingdom of Christ.
Multiplying our ministry does take effort and purpose. It does not come easy as it involves our time, patience, and love. But, as I look back over many long-term friendships, that time, patience and love was well worth the effort. We need to keep investing ourselves in others. It is the Biblical plan!

Don Seevers

Strong Leadership – Revelation 2:12-17

In order for a church to be healthy and vibrant, the church must have strong leaders. So what are some of the characteristics of a strong leader? First, a strong leader not only believes in Jesus Christ, he/she must BELIEVE Jesus Christ. Read that statement again and let it sink in. This is key to strong leadership; a true leader not only has to have faith in who Jesus is, he/she must have faith in what Jesus tells us in His Word and ACT on it. Secondly, a strong leader leads based upon God’s ability and not man’s inability (Philippians 4:13). If we make leadership decisions based upon what “WE” can do, then we rob God of the opportunity to demonstrate His power in our weakness. Thirdly, a strong leader understands that the Church has been given a sacred mission by the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, and is committed to fulfilling it. That sacred mission is to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world and to bring as many as possible into His saving Grace (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). This mission must be considered first and foremost in every decision we make. Next, just as we must be committed to the mission of the Church, we must also be committed to standing firm in proclaiming the TRUTH that is found in the Bible (1 Peter 1:25). While we may need to change the methods by which we proclaim the truth of the scriptures in order to reach a new generation, we must never compromise or weaken the message of the Word. Speaking of change, strong leaders are willing to make bold decisions for changes in methodology when it comes to advancing the Gospel and reaching new people (1 Corinthians 9:22). Finally, a strong leader is one that leads in humility with a servant’s heart. Like the One we serve, we must sacrifice ourselves daily and serve the ones we are called to lead and to reach. Jesus was the ultimate humble servant (Philippians 2:8) and we should strive every day to follow His example.

Danny Branham

The Power of Multiplication

Math was never one of my strong suits growing up. I was never good at it and it only got harder for me as I progressed through school. I always struggled to grasp the concepts and it just never made sense to me. So obviously, I am no mathematician. My high school math teachers would laugh at the thought that I would have anything good to contribute to a conversation about math. But maybe it takes a simple-minded, mathematically-challenged Youth Pastor to see the more obvious.
Basic elementary math is made up of four different processes involving numbers: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Addition and Multiplication always increased the sum while subtraction and division caused a reduction. When it comes to the Kingdom of God we want to increase, and the greatest increases come when we multiply.
I once heard that addition is good, but multiplication is better. Addition produces incremental growth, but multiplication produces exponential growth.
When I look in scripture, I see that Paul gets to the heart of this idea of multiplication. In a letter he writes to Timothy, he says, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2) I see this as one of the key verses in the Bible pointing towards this idea of multiplying.
God invites all of us to join in this mission to multiply. His expansion plan for His people has always been accomplished through multiplication. As you journey through scripture from the very beginning with Adam all the way through the gospels and beyond, you will find this emphasis on multiplication. Addition is never the strategy God uses to populate the world with His followers. Multiplication is the tactical pattern the Spirit flows through to reach the lost.
As we walk into 2017, it is my prayer that as a church we would embrace the idea of Multiply. May we plow forward seeking to become Kingdom Workers focused on the harvest, who desire to be high-impact multiplying churches. I am excited that, as a church, we are striving to do this. Would you join us on this journey?

Geoff Lawson

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

Resilient – Revelation 2:8-11

Jesus told John to write to Smyrna, in Revelation 2:8-11. John wrote how Jesus knew of their good deeds, poverty (probably caused by the Romans), and about lies being told about them. It is easy to think God has forgotten us in times of trouble. But Jesus knows. He knew that the Jews in Smyrna no longer followed God. They were told to not fear the troubles that will come. God was allowing this attack so they could be tested and their faith would be proven. Of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation, only this one remains today. They would be faithful unto death and receive a crown of life as did Peter.
When Peter was escaping from jail he came upon a big iron gate, but God swung it open for the angel and the Apostle. When Peter arrived at the house where the others were inside praying, the servant did not allow him inside, and the others did not believe her. So I ask, “Do people believe we are followers of Christ? Do we get upset when we are going through troubles, being questioned as a Christian or when we realize a chance to work within God’s plan has been wasted?” God knows who claims to be a Christian, but never reads His word at home, much less follows, the word of God. We might hear what people believe but that may not actually be in the Bible and thus not what God has told us. Where the Bible speaks we shall speak and where it is silent we should be silent.
When the doctors told me that both of my knees had to be replaced, I had to give up my love of racquetball and instead headed for the pool for water aerobics. Having myself in as good of shape as possible made for less pain and a quicker recovery. The same is true for all of the trials that life brings our way. If you get in shape before the ordeal and stay in shape afterwards, you will have less pain and a quicker recovery. Praying, studying, and being around other Christians that can encourage you, are all useful in seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. That way we can have faith and hope that someday that sweet chariot will swing low and carry us home.

Kent Mason

Multiplying through Discipleship

In three years of ministry Jesus changed the world – but not in the way most would expect. Yes, he healed many. Yes, he performed miracles in front of thousands. Yes, he held the attention of great crowds during some of his sermons. But in the end he had a much smaller following than you would expect for someone who would prove to start a revolution.
No, it wasn’t through the crowds that Jesus would change the world, but through the twelve. For three years Jesus discipled twelve men. He walked with them, ate with them, and slept with them. He taught them how to pray, how to fast, and how to talk to unbelievers about God. He taught them first-hand what the love of God looked like in daily life. Jesus’ three year relationship with the twelve is the epitome of discipleship. It was essentially spiritual mentoring or apprenticeship.
When I was a freshman in college, in the dorms at UK an older, more mature Christian man asked me if I would like for him to disciple me. I had no idea what he meant. I also had no idea that this “discipling” would change the course of my life. For the next two and a half years he taught me everything he knew about following Christ – and I soaked it up like a sponge. Then one day, about midway through my junior year, he sat me down, gave me his old Bible as a gift, and said, “Now it’s your turn. Go find other men to disciple.” And I’ve been doing that ever since. Essentially he was saying, “Go multiply.”
Paul had a similar relationship with Timothy. In 2 Timothy he writes to his son in the faith,

“and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2, ESV)

This is biblical multiplication. Discipleship. Spiritual mentoring. Passing on your faith to others so they can in turn pass it on once again. This is Jesus’ plan for changing the world.

John Davis

A Healthy Church

In elementary school and high school, math was one of my favorite subjects. One aspect of math that fascinated me was multiplication. Multiplication communicates growth. The same principle is true with church growth. Jesus started with twelve men. On the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) that number grew to three thousand. In Acts 5:14 the text says, “And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women” (NASB). The early church grew explosively! Just a few years ago, someone asked me the question, “Do you want to be the minister of a mega church?” I responded by saying, “I would like to be part of a healthy church!”
What is a healthy church? How would we describe a healthy church? One sign of a healthy church is unity; unity that stands together on the truth found in the Word of God. Unity of purpose; bringing people to Jesus and then helping them to grow closer in their relationship with Jesus. Also unity of love; where the members of the church care for one another.
One prominent sign of a healthy church is evangelism where Christians are bringing people to Jesus. One of my frequent prayers for Tates Creek requests the Lord to grow His Church here at Tates Creek numerically. The prayer request for numeric growth is not for numbers sake, but because there are many more lost people who need Jesus Christ. Lost people are all around us; family members; neighbors; co-workers; classmates; grocery store clerks; bank clerks; waiters and waitresses. I pray we are becoming more and more sensitive to the lost people around us and that we are courageous to invite them to church or share our testimony for Jesus.
Another prayer request I pray for frequently is for spiritual growth; that Tates Creek will be spiritually strong and stable and faithful to Jesus until He returns. It would be absolutely awesome for the Tates Creek Church to remain strong in the Lord until the second coming of Jesus Christ! Becoming strong in the Lord is the result of studying the Word. There is no silver bullet to becoming strong in the Lord other than learning and studying the Word of God. In a healthy church the Word of God is preached, and the Word of God is taught in Sunday school and small groups.
Equipping newer Christians to serve is another sign of a healthy church. Equipping Christians begins with mature Christians who willingly teach, train, and trust newer Christians to do the work. In a healthy church, Christians who have been serving for a long time are always looking and identifying newer Christians to serve. In an unhealthy church, Christians who have been serving for a long time are usually reluctant and even unwilling to step aside and train newer Christians to carry on the work. It seems as if their identity and their self-worth is strongly tied to their service at church. If they were to pass that service on to someone else, they would be lost with regard to their identity. At some point, newer Christians at the church become frustrated because they are not being included in the work of the church, and then they leave. Mature Christians realize that the service and work of the church is not about them; it is about developing newer Christians to carry on the work. In a healthy church, mature Christians are always stepping aside because they are training newer Christians to serve.
Another essential element for a healthy church is strong godly leadership. Churches rise and fall with leadership. Families rise and fall with leadership. Marriages rise and fall with leadership. Strong godly leaders love the Lord, and they love His Church! Strong godly leaders are grounded in the Word of God. They have a strong faith and are willing to take bold risks. They know Jesus Christ, the devil, sin, forgiveness, and God’s grace. They also have the attitude that they want to do what is best for the church; not for their own personal agenda. They know commitment and are loyal to each other. They are positive about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the change the Gospel brings to people. They are positive about the church. They are positive about each other and do not criticize other leaders or the church. A negative, critical leader is the devil’s tool.
Another sign of a healthy church is generosity. Christians tithe ten percent of their income and above because they love the Lord and they love His Church. They give because they want to invest in the work of the Kingdom of God. They give because they love people and want to provide for the needs of people.
We could list other signs of a healthy church. Throughout 2017, we will address many of these signs in the sermons. The overall word that describes a healthy church is the word, ‘multiply.’ We will begin 2017 with a sermon series focused on the messages that Jesus sent to the seven churches in Revelation. Jesus identifies the positive points about each church, and then He addresses the things each church needs to change in order to be healthy. May Tates Creek Christian become more and more healthy for Jesus Christ.

Tommy Simpson

Authentic – Revelation 2:1-7

One definition of authentic from Merriam-Webster is: Conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features. This is a good definition as it relates to how we are called to be authentic in Revelation 2:1-7. This passage was originally written to the Church in Ephesus, but our church today has many of the same challenges that the Ephesians faced and it definitely applies to us. Jesus starts off telling the church the good things he has noticed them doing. One of those things is their investigations into those who claim to be apostles. The church is therefore authenticating those who claim to be apostles, and they find some of them to be false. In other ways the early church shows their authenticity by their ‘deeds, your hard work and your perseverance.’

On the other hand there is a way that they were not being authentic. Jesus describes it as having ‘forsaken your first love.’ Perhaps he is saying that they no longer were showing the original love they had for one another and Christ. If so, they were not being authentic by definition; they were not conforming to the original (Jesus) so as to reproduce (his) essential features (love).

Verse 7 of this passage is a challenge to the church to hear what the Spirit is telling us. Let us hear it now. May we not lose the good practices of the Ephesian church, and may we heed the words of Christ and not forsake ‘our first love.’ If it is the desire of our hearts to be authentic, let us pray to God that we will hear ‘what the Spirit says to the churches’ so that we can ‘eat from the tree of life.’

David Feltner

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