Tates Creek Christian Church

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Archive for the tag “Multiplying Workers”

Momentum…Rebuilding the Wall

The book of Nehemiah is one of my favorite Old Testament books.  Most of the 13 chapters of this book are told in a first person format as Nehemiah reflects back on this wonderful episode demonstrating the power of God when His people depended and trusted Him.

I almost hesitate to say anything about building or rebuilding a wall given our present political environment, but this story is too good to ignore.  This is a story of a man of God with a desire to rebuild the wall and gates surrounding the city of Jerusalem and his mission to give his life to do so.  Against many odds, the people rallied around Nehemiah to complete this monumental task in just 52 days!  This angered Nehemiah’s enemies even more.  Please don’t name your children Sanballat or Tobiah!  These are just two of the jealous men who worked against the workers led by Nehemiah.  There were others as well and the concerns were so great that half of the workers continued rebuilding the city walls while the other half took up arms to protect the workers.  People got behind this cause.  They had momentum.

Have you ever been a part of a work that grew due to momentum?  I have.  The church I served from 1993 through mid-2001 was such a church.  In 1993, the church averaged between 500 & 600 in attendance.  Five years later, the church averaged around 1,850—1,900 with some Sundays exceeding 2,100!  Against the odds of not having enough parking, parking on grass lots during the rainy season, parking across the highway (not a quiet street!) and dodging cars going 55 or 60 mph, we grew.  Against the odds of being understaffed, not having enough classroom space, and having to add more services because of parking problems, we grew.  Our building seated 1,100!  We could seat our congregation in 2 services, but had to add more services so people could find a parking spot.  In spite of a minister struggling with a drug addiction problem, we grew.  Why?  We gained momentum and those attending were willing to look beyond these problems and see that God was in the midst of this work.  People invited their friends and colleagues to come and be a part of this work that God was blessing.  Was it perfect?  Certainly not!  The church has now relocated and averages over 2,800 on Sundays!  Momentum is a valuable tool in God’s work and seeing beyond the “now” and seeing what can be in the “future”.

Don Seevers

Committed Workers

As we continue to read and study Nehemiah 10-13, we see just how well the people of Jerusalem served God.  They were committed to rebuilding Jerusalem, so the leaders signed the covenant to obey God’s law.  The people followed their leaders and committed to obeying these laws as well. They were all committed because they fully believed that God was their Lord.

Only two chapters later, in Nehemiah 13, we see the people who were so committed to follow and obey the laws of the covenant slip away from those laws and break the commitment they made.  We must be in constant communication with the Lord to be reminded of His word which keeps us from slipping away from the true will of God.  To know and understand the truth, we must allow the Holy Spirit to guide us because the world can pull us away from God and it can be easy for us to abandon our first commitment.

It is sometimes hard to find our place in what God has planned for us and we overlook the obvious.  God will lead us to our work, we just need to be committed to follow him and go where he leads us.  It may be that we have a calling to do big things; to travel the world in ministry helping and witnessing to the lost or serving the impoverished.  Sometimes our commitment and strength is supporting those who are committed to doing just that, by staying in prayer for them, showing them guidance, and showing them love.  We see examples of this everyday in our church and community and the commitment to pray for each other is a blessing.

In our family, our daughters are both committed to go where God takes them.  One, to Cambodia to the those who have been abused and sold into slavery.  She has been called to bring awareness about human trafficking, something that is hard to imagine and believe.  Our younger daughter has committed to work with children who are hurting physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally because of their impoverished circumstances.  She is committed to traveling to Ghana this summer to serve the children there.  They both inspire me as I watch them go where God leads.

As with the people of Jerusalem, we must be committed to serve and obey God wherever he calls us.  We are all sent with the Great Commission, to go out and make disciples of all nations, in whatever way God has individually called us. 

Laura Mullins

The Harvest

Right now in our nation’s center a yearly event is happening.  That event is the wheat harvest where  custom combine companies start in the south where the wheat ripens earliest and by summer’s end find themselves bumping on our nation’s northern border.  Many people in this part of the country are probably unfamiliar with what custom combining is all about.  If they are familiar with it, few have likely had the opportunity to witness three or more huge 32 row combines running side by side thru a 1,000 acre wheat field day and night.   It is a sight that is majestic and wondrous to behold.  What once would take a lone farmer a month to accomplish can now be accomplished in days or even hours.  Many farmers have determined not to invest in their own combine, which in this day and time could cost them more than their home.  They instead contract with a custom combining group to do it for them, and the combination of the size and number of the combines makes quick work of even the largest fields.

In Matthew’s gospel, the writer speaks of Jesus’ teaching considering the harvest, and central in that teaching is the idea that more workers are needed.  Just as farmers planting bigger fields found they needed more and bigger combines because of the enormity of the task, so also, Jesus clearly viewed the multitude of lost souls as an enormous task.  He told us to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send out workers into His field.  As beautiful and majestic as it is to see the coordination of combines harvesting wheat, it pales in comparison to the beauty and majesty of the saints coordinating efforts for the salvation of souls.  Brothers and sisters, the Lord never intended on us doing the work alone but rather together.  The multiplication of efforts and the multiplication of talents is the only way the task can be completed and it is the only way to keep us as individuals from becoming depleted.

Farming is far different today from the time the Lord spoke about when He spoke about the harvest, but the principle is the same.  Success depends on the multiplying of efforts and resources, not from working alone.  If not already a part of it, why not sign on to be part of the greatest, most inspiring and magnificent harvest.  That is the Lord’s harvest.

Kim Beckwith

In (Double) Honor of our Elders

The theme of this month’s Current and our Nehemiah sermon series is Multiplying Workers.  I’m sure my fellow staff members and ministers are going to write some articles on how we need more people to step up as workers for the kingdom.  We certainly do.  This is right and good.  But along with this I’d like to spend some time appreciating those who are already workers – specifically our present and former Elders here at Tates Creek.

1 Timothy 5:17 says, “Let the Elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor.”  As church members we need to constantly remember this verse.  These men not only volunteer much time to the task of leading Christ’s church, but also willingly take on a burden that many of us are glad not to have to bear.  That burden includes guarding the doctrine of the church (Acts 15:6; Titus 1:9), providing pastoral care for members (James 5:14; Acts 6:4), protecting the flock from wolves (Acts 20:17, 28-31), preaching and teaching (1 Timothy 3:2; 4:13; 5:17), and leading in holiness and family leadership by example (1 Timothy 3:2-7; 4:12).  The burden they are called to bear is a heavy one, and one for which the Lord will hold them accountable… and they have done this willingly.  So, as church members, let us consider how we may give them “double honor.”

Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.”

One of the ways we give them honor is by submitting to their God-given authority.  This means trusting them when they make hard decisions about the direction of the church.  It means not slandering them behind their back or constantly complaining about their work.  And, it means being humble and always open to correction or teaching from them on matters of doctrine and holiness.

Church: join me in praying regularly for our elders and also expressing appreciation to these men for the burden they have taken on.

To our current Elders, as well as those who have served in the past: may God strengthen and bless you and your families.  Thank you for serving us.

John Davis

Quality Workers – Nehemiah 7-9

Have you ever had the responsibility of leading and managing a group of workers or employees? If so, I am sure you have some definite ideas about the kind of people that make the best workers. I imagine your preference is for the person who is teachable. One who will accept the information, make it their own, and hold themselves to that standard or even higher. This person may require some investment upfront, but once established they are strong and consistent because they have expectations of themselves.

This is what we see from the ‘Quality Workers’ Nehemiah describes in chapters seven, eight, and nine.

Reading the beginning of chapter eight, it is striking to me that the people (these workers) asked Ezra to read the Book of the Law of Moses to them. They showed a hunger for the Word of God. They desired to know His expectations so they could apply it to their lives. Look at the picture painted by these excerpts from verses 2 and 3; “Ezra the priest brought the Book of the Law before the assembly, which included the men and women and all the children old enough to understand … from early morning until noon and read aloud to everyone. All the people listened closely to the Book of the Law.” If you read further you will see that they were standing for this three-hour period while Ezra read the Law to them. Their desire for the Word was stronger than their desire for physical comfort. This shows a great desire to know the standard.

Chapter nine then tells us how these workers applied what they learned in the Law. They separated themselves from all foreigners, confessed their sins and worshiped the Lord their God (verses 2,3). When they heard the Law, they evaluated themselves against God’s righteous standard. When they saw where they fell short, they confessed these sins and then they released this sin and guilt to God in worship.

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin, this pattern of learning, application, evaluation, confession, and worship is still an effective plan for us, as we desire to be ‘Quality Workers’.

David Eversole

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

Spirit-Filled Church

A comment I hear from time to time about certain churches is, “That is a Spirit-filled church!”  Since those comments, I have been asking questions like, “How do we recognize a Spirit-filled church?”  “What does a Spirit-filled church do?”  And “Is Tates Creek Christian a Spirit-filled church?”

One mark of a Spirit-filled church is a focus on the person of Jesus Christ.  John 15:27 says, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me.”  Part of the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit is to testify of Jesus Christ.  A Spirit-filled church preaches and teaches the Person of Jesus, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and that Jesus Christ is Lord.  A Spirit-filled church also preaches and teaches His Work, His Gospel.  What is His Work, His Gospel?  The Work of Jesus Christ consists of His Death at the cross for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection.  A Spirit-filled church preaches and teaches His Word, the entirety of Scripture!

Another sign of a Spirit-filled church is a strong love for the Word of God!  Love for the Word of God is evident in the preaching and the teaching.  Love for the Word of God is evident by Christians spending time in the Word studying, learning, reflecting, meditating, and absorbing.  The Holy Spirit is the Author of the Word of God.  II Peter 1:20-21 says, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”  Do we hunger and thirst for the Word of God?

An additional sign of a Spirit-filled church is godly people.  How do we recognize godly people?  Godly people have a strong desire to do what is right.  Godly people desire to rid their hearts and lives of sin and to pursue righteousness.  Sin in the life of the individual Christian and sin in the Church greatly hinder the work of the Holy Spirit.  Sin hinders the influence and the movement of the Holy Spirit.  Godly people also reflect the fruit of the Spirit.  Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

Unity is also a sign of the Spirit-filled church.  The basis for unity is the Word of God.  The purpose of unity is reaching the lost for Jesus and helping new people in Christ to mature and develop in Christ.  Diversity in the church presents itself in a number of ways including, but not limited to, styles of worship.  Here at Tates Creek Christian we have three styles of worship: Swahili, contemporary, and traditional.  Though folks may have a certain flavor in regards to worship style, they hold fast in unity to the teaching of Scripture.

Another sign of a Spirit-filled church is a large part of the congregation involved in serving ~ whether in the church or outside the church.  The Holy Spirit provides spiritual gifts for every Christian.  Are we using the gifts of the Holy Spirit in serving?  One expectation here at Tates Creek is that every member and every faithful non-member be involved in at least one hour of service each week.  A goal recently set by our Elders desires that 85% of our people be involved in one hour of service a week.

Speaking of service, our next sermon series is entitled, “Multiplying Workers,” from the Bible book of Nehemiah.  Nehemiah certainly challenged all the people of Jerusalem to help rebuild the wall around the city.  In Bible days, strong walls around a city spoke of protection and safety.  Everyone was needed to help rebuild the walls around Jerusalem.  The same is true in the church.  Everyone in the church, whether member, non-member, older, or younger; is needed to help and serve.  There is so much work for our Lord to do!

There are other marks of a Spirit-filled church.  However, we must be very careful of trying to determine whether or not a church is Spirit-filled based on feelings.  While feelings may be very real, feelings can also be very deceptive.  To determine if a church is Spirit-filled, we must examine the evidence!

Tommy Simpson

Focused Workers – Nehemiah 4-6

In Nehemiah 4-6, Nehemiah is following God’s plan by rebuilding the walls to Jerusalem and facing trials in the process.  There are comparisons that can be made to the opposition that Nehemiah faced and what Christians face today.  During reconstruction, rival nations plotted against Nehemiah’s implementation of God’s plan to rebuild the city walls.  The rival nations made false accusations, spread rumors, and plotted to stop the reconstruction by force.  Though those rebuilding the wall had to guard against attack while working, Nehemiah’s workers remained focused on the mission before them.  If threats and rumors weren’t enough distraction, Nehemiah also contended with turmoil among the Israelites.  It seems the enemy was both outside and within the walls of Jerusalem.  Nehemiah was a servant-leader who humbled himself before the people and refused the perks of his position.  Though the threats were real and the stakes were high, Nehemiah kept the workers focused on the work at hand and the walls were rebuilt.

So, how do the trials facing Nehemiah and the people of Israel compare to the trials we Christians face?  We’re engaged in an important work for our Lord that involves reaching, teaching, saving, and serving.  Unfortunately, over the past few decades, followers of Christ have been increasingly ridiculed for the truth they find in the God’s word and are stifled from expressing their faith in school or the workplace.  That’s the distraction and threat from outside the walls of the Church.  There is certainly a lot of “noise” in media that tries to tell us how truths found in the Bible are wrong, hateful, and non-inclusive, because the truth makes some people confront the brokenness in their life.

Some Christians have acquiesced under the influence of culture (i.e., modernism) or succumbed to false doctrine that teaches what itching ears want to hear.  That’s the threat inside the walls of the Church.  Staying focused on our mission and purpose for Christ means that we must not allow detractors to get in our way or silence the truth.  We must be prepared to suffer ridicule for what we believe.  We must be prepared to state boldly what we believe, without condescension.  We should suffer the ridicule of the world for our Lord and consider it a blessing, not a distraction.

Stan Stack

Unselfish Workers – Nehemiah 3

As Jerusalem was in ruins, Nehemiah had a choice and decided to lead the people to rebuild and restore Jerusalem.  The response was not well received by many at first.  Nehemiah however, acted on God’s promise and set out to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls.

The high priests began section by section rebuilding the walls and many gates. At the time the high priests were considered the “leaders”.  As with any major job or project that requires many workers, success is possible when workers have strong leaders and work together.  As the Jews began to work alongside one another, what once appeared to be a daunting task was being completed by people working for a common purpose.  Rebuilding and fortifying the city was necessary for their protection, but they also believed that God would be with them.  This chapter illustrates the many people who worked to rebuild the wall and repair the gates.

“Next to them Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, goldsmiths, repaired.  Next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, repaired, and they restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall.” Nehemiah 3:8

Workers were organized by their trade to work, each section detailed as to what work was being completed.  However, all of this is being completed in unison, working together as noted each time “next to him” is recorded.  This is repeated throughout Chapter 3, people working together.  A common goal is often a reason for people to work together.  God’s church seems to be in a constant state of rebuilding.  Not only is there physical construction due to repairs or building additions, there is spiritual rebuilding and spiritual growth.  All of this is made easier when there are plenty of workers, working together.

There are many behind the scenes activities that go on every week at our church to prepare for Sunday morning services and Sunday school.  The workers that faithfully serve in these capacities are working to build the Lord’s Kingdom.  God has blessed us all with different talents.  There are many needs at the church where our talents can be used.   We can encourage others to use their talents as well.

David Straub

Willing Workers – Nehemiah 2

In 587 BC, the last homeland of the Hebrew people, the kingdom of Judah, was obliterated by the armies of Babylon.  Over 80% of its cities and villages were razed and the population of Jerusalem decreased from 40,000 to 1,500 according to some estimates.  The Babylonians gathered up all of the Jews who had useful skills and carried them off to Babylon leaving behind those with the least ability to care for the land.  Jeremiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel were among those who were forced to serve Babylonian masters.  Babylon attempted to transform the Hebrews into Babylonians.  The one Hebrew God was to be replaced by many Babylonian gods.  Hebrew culture was to become Babylonian culture.  Even the Hebrew language was to be exchanged for Babylonian Aramaic.  This was partially successful.  There the Hebrew people remained for a generation and it must have seemed as if this was the final destiny for a Jewish people who had survived Egypt, Assyria, and their own instability, but God sent them an unlikely rescuer.  In 539 BC, King Cyrus of Persia soundly defeated the Babylonians and inherited the Jewish people.  The Persians had a different approach to rule in that they respected other religions and allowed the people under their control to worship as they pleased with relatively few restrictions, but would they allow the Jews to return to their homeland and perhaps even rebuild it?  Nehemiah, a cupbearer to the king of Persia, was bold enough to ask and he was given permission.  The task was daunting.  He could not have known what the city would be like after so many years of abandonment.  Decades before, the Babylonians had utterly destroyed Jerusalem and time would not have improved its situation.  Think of the choice which Nehemiah and his companions had to make: stay in a land where you are slaves but comfortable or go to the home of your ancestors—one which you have never personally known—and build it anew.  Nehemiah and a few followers chose the difficult path and traveled to Jerusalem to begin rebuilding.  Imagine the despair felt by Nehemiah’s company as they neared the city.  Roads had become rough, barely recognizable trails.  The once-mighty walls were shattered.  The gates were burned and useless.  The glorious temple that Solomon had built was now a pile of broken stones.  All was ruined.  The natural response would be to return to the safety of a benevolent but pagan Persia, but in the coming weeks you will see how Nehemiah actually responded.  What would you do in his place?

Kevin Kennedy

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