Tates Creek Christian Church

Updates and Insights from Tates Creek Christian Church

Archive for the tag “Multiplying through Addition”

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

Sharing the Light

I love to read.  I read all genres; mystery, contemporary, romance, historical fiction, dystopian.  All of it is fantastic (send me book recommendations!).  What I find interesting is that looking at the historical fiction, I notice a very strong theme in quite a few of the novels.  The church is extremely prevalent in the lives of the citizens of these books, and many have a very specific focus on prayer.  Let me say that these are not Christian literature, they are secular.  These writers are just making a point to put the facts in a way that correctly depicts the times as they were.  In contrast, the more contemporary secular books do not have these themes.  What happened?  Where did the shift start when those of us who have a very active life in the church were not the cultural norm but more the ‘odd’ ones of society?

While doing some digging around with Google, I found some different articles that mention the growing separation between church and state.  To be more clear, people are choosing to rely less on the laws of God and more on the laws of man.  While the Bible does tell us to obey the laws of the land (1Peter 2:13-17), the whole of the population has chosen to look toward only those laws and not God’s.  So what can we do?  How do we change this?  How do we turn people back to the church and to Jesus?  That’s a difficult task, to be sure.  We are in a post-modern and post-Christian society, especially in the United States.      We go outside our bubble.  We make ourselves invite friends, relatives, and neighbors who may not know the good news of Jesus.  That’s how our faith grew at the beginning, with the excitement and love those early Christians had for God and His Son.  Do you show that excitement and love in your day to day life?  Are you willing to step out and be a light to those around you?

~ Lesley Tipton, Preschool Director    lesley@tatescreek.org

Worship Ministry

We ended last season with great momentum in the Worship Ministry and we saw over 40 participate in our Summer Choir.  Now, as we gear up for the fall and Christmas seasons, please allow me to share  opportunities for involvement.  With several younger families attending our traditional service, we welcome younger singers and instrumentalists to become a part of our Worship ministry options.  We offer child care and children’s programming on Wednesday evening and Sunday morning, so you can participate knowing that they have wonderful care.

The Worship Choir is the most visible part of our ministry.  This choir has approximately 45 singers involved on a regular basis.  We provide choral music in our 9:30 AM service on Sundays throughout the year.  The choir sings a wide variety of music and also presents concerts for special seasons of the year.  We have participating singers that range in age from early 20’s to mid-80’s.  We would love to have you join this wonderful fellowship if you can sing a part and can commit to this important ministry of leading in worship.  We rehearse on Wednesdays at 6:30 PM from September through June.

T3CPO is the name of our church orchestra.  This instrumental  ensemble started in 2004.  We play monthly in the 9:30 AM service and usually accompany the Worship Choir in their special concerts.  With some of our members going away to college, we especially need the following instrumentalists to join us:  trombone, french horn or alto sax, trumpet, and clarinet.  We rehearse on Monday evenings at 6 PM throughout the academic year.

Our hand bell choir is named Rejoicing Ringers.  They ring monthly in the 9:30 AM service.  We are always looking for additional ringers and are in need of two new people to join the group this year.  The hand bell choir rehearses on Sundays at 4 PM.

We appreciate those who help with our Sound/ Video ministry in our Sunday morning services and special events (concerts).  We are always hoping to add more to the team.

If you are interested in any of these ministries, please contact me and I will direct you to those leading.

~ Don Seevers, Worship Minister     don@tatescreek.org

Our Historical Impact on the World

Throughout it’s 2000-plus year history, the church has been a revolutionary force throughout the world for one specific reason: our beliefs fuel our actions.  The things we do in the world, for good or ill, begin in our minds with what we believe to be true about the world and the people around us.   Did you know Christians have been perhaps the most influential social group in history in the push for education and literacy throughout the world?  Thousands of educational missions and schools were founded on the belief that reading is one of the most important skills a person can ever acquire precisely because God has revealed himself to us in a book.  The now skyrocketing rates of education among women in third-world countries can be traced back to Christian missionaries who believed that both sexes have an equal right to knowledge and the personal benefits that result.

Did you know the modern healthcare movement is a direct result of Christians who, contrary to the widespread asceticism of the early centuries, valued the human body and physical health as gifts from God?  They also led the charge in the development of modern medicine because of their belief that God expects us to have dominion over the earth and subdue it – taming it and using its resources for our own benefit and for His glory.

Did you know the “dream” of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement of the 1960’s grew out of one man’s deep love for God and for the Scriptures?  The long march toward racial equality and the end of segregation (that march still continues today!) began with the belief that every man and woman can trace their lineage back to one man and one woman, and the belief that, by his blood, Jesus ransomed people from every tribe, language, people, and nation.

And did you know the extreme growth of adoption and orphan care across the world is a direct result of Christians who believe not only that the care of orphans is central to our faith, but also the very gospel itself teaches that we have been undeservingly adopted by the most loving Father imaginable?

~ John Davis, Minister of Evangelism & Discipleship        john@tatescreek.org

God’s Providence

Do you ever wonder if you are making a difference for Jesus?  In Matthew 5:13 Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth.”  In Matthew 5:14 Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.”  Do you ever wonder if you are making a difference for Jesus?   I am convinced that Jesus uses each one of us to make a difference.  We may never see it or know it, but Jesus is using each one of us to make a difference for Him!  I am constantly blessed and awestruck with how God’s providence works.  God’s providence is how God interacts with the ongoing history of the world to accomplish His purpose and His plan.  God is involved in the details of our lives.  God places the right people in the right place at the right time to accomplish His purpose and His plan!  Many people believe in chance, but I am confident that God works in the smallest details of our lives.  Several stories in the Bible illustrate this.     One story, in particular, takes place in the life of Joseph.  While the life of Joseph contains several examples of God’s providence, there is a very small incident, that demonstrates God’s providence.  The story takes place in Genesis 37.  Jacob sends Joseph to check on his brothers and the flock.  Joseph thinks his brothers are in Shechem.  However, when Joseph arrives in Shechem, his brothers have left there.  Joseph has no idea where his brothers have gone.  It is not like he had a cell phone and could call or text.  Verse 15 says that a man found Joseph wandering around in the field.  The fellow asked Joseph what he was looking for.  Joseph shared with him that he was looking for his brothers.  The fellow then shared with Joseph that he heard them say that they were going to Dothan.  The Bible does not provide the name of this man.  And yet, this man provided information that Joseph needed.  Was the man there by chance?  I believe God’s providence placed the man there for Joseph.  Of course, Dothan became a painful memory for Joseph for it was there that Joseph’s brothers sold him to a caravan of Ishmaelites who took Joseph down into Egypt.  You know the rest of Jospeh’s story that illustrates God’s providence!   I am convinced that God’s providence has you where He needs you to make a difference in the lives of the people around you.  God’s providence works through the small and simple things of life.  Things like a simple greeting to someone or a smile!  Things like the people with whom we interact on a daily basis!  God is using you in each place to make a difference for His Son Jesus Christ.  As Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.”  God’s providence is glorious!

~ Tommy Simpson, Senior Minister


So Blessed

Last month we focused on subtracting “distractions” that keep us from being the servant of Christ we need to be. This month, we are looking at good ways to fill the gap provided by removing the items that distract us. We can all think of “things” that would be good to add, but today I am thinking about the people who are blessings.
When we look at the Beatitudes in Matthew 5, we find descriptions of people who need Christ. We should fall into at least one of those categories. As I look at the people described, I must focus on my interaction with each of these people described. Let’s take a look at each one:
Verse 3—How can I be an encourager to those who are “poor in spirit” or those who are discouraged?
Verse 4—When someone passes away, will I have a shoulder for “those who mourn” to lean on and know that sometimes I don’t have to say anything, but just be there.
Verse 5—We should encourage the “meek” or those who are enduringly patient. There are other definitions for this word, but we all probably need a little more “meekness”.
Verse 6—Wow! We need to hang around those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness”. Learn from them.
Verse 7—How hard it is to show “mercy”! How kind are we to people, even when it is difficult to love them?
Verse 8—Purity is so difficult in this world with so many polluted hearts. Pray for purity and holiness.
Verse 9—”Peacemakers”. We certainly need these people in our world and in our churches. Enough said.
Verse 10—Most of us do not know what it means to be “persecuted”. Many Christians outside of our country know this personally. We need to pray for Christians outside our borders and those who minister to them.
Verse 11—This verse hits the remaining areas: those who “insult” us, those who “persecute” us and those who “lie” about us. Do you feel blessed to know these people? This is a tough one.
Verse 12—REJOICE! For great is our reward.

~ Don Seevers

Student Ministry

Mission Trips are always some of my favorite memories from my time as a student and now as the Student Minister. I love that we get the opportunity to serve a new community, make new friends, share the Gospel, and gain a new perspective about what it means to be a Kingdom Worker.
The Student ministry took a team to New Orleans the week of June 18-25th. We were blessed to be hosted by a wonderful church on the way to New Orleans that loved us like we were their own. At CIY Engage, they believe it is vitally important that as Kingdom workers we do things with, not for, people. To do that, CIY partners with locals referred to as “city connectors.” These partnerships give students the opportunity to serve alongside local ministries in each city’s unique areas of need.
In addition, each evening students heard from a different local Kingdom worker about how their faith impacts their daily lives. Throughout the week students were equipped to come up with their own action plans of how they will engage in Kingdom work when they return to their homes, schools, and communities.
We did experience a first in Student Ministry, we can now say that we we were part of a Tropical Storm and made it out safe! We were protected the whole time and only experienced rain and high winds.
Some of the highlights of our trip included serving the Lower 9th Ward. This was one of the hardest hit areas during Hurricane Katrina and they are still dealing with the aftermath. Through partnerships with churches and the local government, they have started restoring parks so children have a safe and fun place to play. Our students served primarily at a couple different parks within the Saint Bernard Parish beautifying, painting, cleaning, and doing general maintenance. We also partnered with the Capstone Community Garden doing some intense yard work. We hand cut waist high grass infested with fire ant hills. The grass that was cut would be used for bedding and feed for all the animals in their community garden.
Friday, we left New Orleans and headed to Gulf Shores Alabama for a couple of days of debrief and building relationships. I would like to thank Darrell McCarty and Amy Lawson as the other adults who served and sacrificed throughout the week. We are blessed to have many great leaders on our team.

~ Geoff Lawson

God Adds the Merciful ~ Matthew 5:7

One might say that Jesus was teaching the mathematical “order of operation”, multiplication precedes addition.

Jesus established an “order of operation” in doing His Father’s will. The Ministry of mercy and grace started with the Call to the disciples. The disciples would learn to teach and preach the good news of God’s mercy and grace unto salvation.

Matthew 5:7 (ESV)   “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

Mercy is a concept integral to an understanding of God’s dealings with humankind. In our English translations of the Bible, it comes to expression in phrases such as “to be merciful,” “to have mercy on” or “to show mercy toward.” (biblestudytools.com)

In the greatest sense, Jesus was the full expression of the mercy of God.  Jesus was teaching, those who are merciful will receive the divine mercy of God.  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Happy (Blessed) are those who receive the Gift of Mercy. Jesus stresses His demands for righteousness, a righteousness of heart that the law cannot provide.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and your neighbor as yourself. To express compassion in meeting the needs of others, exemplifies the Love of Christ. To show mercy is more than feeling sorrow or having pity for someone, it is an expression of Love in action. Like the Father, Jesus was moved well beyond feeling compassion on the suffering. He meet the need of those He encountered. One will discover the practical beauty of the Beatitudes or “blessed sayings” when his or her heart leads them to practicing them in their daily life.

The Sermon on the Mount contains the very heart of Jesus’ teachings, thus many have viewed them as the Ten Commandments of the New Testament.

Jesus is teaching that if we live as servants with humble and right hearts, we will be richly blessed here on earth, as well as in heaven.  Let the Joy of your salvation be seen, so others may ask why you are happy (blessed).

~ Charles Slone

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

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