Tates Creek Christian Church

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Archive for the tag “Nic Skinner”

A Big Thank You

As most of you know, on November 4th, I begin my duties as the Senior Minister of Northside Christian Church in Georgetown. Our family is excited for all that God has in store for us there. God has already shown His hand at work in this transition, affirming the decision to move into this new role.

While exciting, this transition is also heart-rending as we move on from Tates Creek to this next chapter of ministry. Tates Creek has been our home for nearly 8 years. You all have meant the world to us. You have welcomed us into your homes, been there for the births of our children, encouraged us as we served, extended sympathy in times of loss, prayed for us, laughed with us, and worshiped with us. The list of memories could easily go on—we have made so many of them together. This makes it difficult to say goodbye.

As we go, we want to be sure to thank every one of our Elders and their families for their support over the years. These men are great men of God and have been such an encouragement to us.

We also want to thank Tommy Simpson and the church staff. We have loved being your teammates! Thank you to you and your families for being such a blessing and such great friends. We know this will continue always.

A big “thank you” goes out to all of the wonderful volunteers we have served with: every ministry team member, teacher, small group leader, ministry team leader, Elementary Worship Choir parent and volunteer, Children’s Ministry volunteer (you all have meant so much to our kids!), and many others. Thank you so much for every ounce of effort you tirelessly put forth! It has always been noticed and appreciated.

Finally, we want to express our deep love to our “Kentucky family”. You know who you are. J

We love you all!

Nic Skinner

Fall, Football, Freebies, & Faith

One aspect of fall that I love the most is football season. This comes as no surprise to those that have been reading my church paper column for years. I love the NFL and my Indianapolis Colts, but I especially love college football and my Purdue Boilermakers.
Recently, football season has not gone too well for the Boilermakers. Last year, our record was 1 win, 11 losses—the worst record in Purdue history. As you can imagine, attendance has gone down alongside the team’s record, and expectations are at the lowest they’ve been since before Drew Brees revived the program in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
As a result, for this season’s home opener against Western Michigan, Purdue’s athletic department “picked up the tab” on tickets so that all Purdue students could attend the game for free! (Please understand the immense pride I have to swallow to admit to these conditions. No laughing, Mike Allen.) Still, they estimate that only a little over 7,000 students attended the game. The overall attendance was estimated at 37,000 people, which is not good for a stadium that seats 57,236. (And just so you know, last fall’s student enrollment at Purdue was 38,788.)
Why do I share all of this? To show that people sometimes reject something even though it’s free. Sometimes it’s a mediocre football game, but sometimes it’s a gift as great as eternal life in Jesus Christ. Salvation truly costs us nothing, but cost Jesus everything. Still, despite the free gift of God’s grace, some reject the offer. The reason? It’s the same reason they reject a free Purdue football game…they don’t see value in it. Many aren’t even sure if there is an eternity, so why bother. The Bible, however, paints a much different picture.
So how do we compel others to see value in Jesus Christ and in eternal life? Answer: first let the Gospel grip you (Matthew 5:13-16). The best testimony to others is witnessing another life that Jesus has changed.

How is our story reflecting the value of Jesus Christ to others?

Nic Skinner

God at Just the Right Time

How many times have we encountered a problem in our marriage, trouble with our finances, or difficulties with raising our children, and needed some voice in the immediate aftermath to offer us clear, Godly encouragement?

How many times have these issues popped up in our lives, but the church’s planned Bible study on the topic is weeks or months away?

The fact is, life’s problems generally don’t follow the church’s calendar, do they? They pop up when we least expect it. Thus, as leaders in the church, we feel it is extremely important to equip every member of the congregation with the resources they need to persevere through the expected and unexpected events of life…resources we can utilize beyond just Sundays and Wednesdays.
Often times, the resources or encouragement we need “in the moment” come as a trusted Christian friend, a phone call with a Sunday School teacher or Small Group leader, an appointment with a minister or Elder, or simply reading our Bible and praying. These conversations with others and with God are tremendous in our time of need.
We also live in a time with unprecedented access to the Bible and other Christian resources online. That is why I am so excited about our trial period this fall with RightNow Media. It puts some of the best Christian resources where we need it, when we need it. It can be accessed via computer, mobile device, Smart TV, Roku, or Apple TV. And it is all provided to you by TCCC. If you have not yet received your email invitation from me to set up your free RightNow Media account, please contact me at nic@tatescreek.org to let me know.
Regardless of which biblical tools you utilize to help you through life’s challenges, please know that these, and many others, are there to help you experience God at just the right time.

Nic Skinner

My Story

As we complete our journey through “The Story” this month, I thought it would be appropriate to share with you, briefly, the story of how God led me into the ministry.
I was born in Indianapolis in 1981 and raised in the western suburb of Plainfield, Indiana. I was fortunate enough to be raised in a Christian home with parents who loved the Lord. I was baptized into Christ at the age of nine.
As I approached junior high, my parents decided to transfer our membership from the Baptist church we attended to Hazelwood Christian Church in Clayton, Indiana. We’ve never been big on the idea of
“church-hopping”, but in this one case it was a good move. I had struggled in my relationships with other kids at our previous church simply because we weren’t in the same school system . . . I was an outsider. Moving to a church with friends from the school I attended, as well as members of our family, helped me have greater motivation to want church as a part of my life. At Hazelwood Christian Church, other students my age reached out to me, loved me, and included me. The result was a kid who couldn’t get enough of being at church.
In our high school youth group, God drew out my leadership characteristics. I was asked to preach for youth Sunday. I loved hosting youth group parties at our house. Would you believe that I even tried to organize a small group Bible study among some of my other friends? (I know, that’s such a stretch for
some of you to believe!) I didn’t recognize it then, but God was using these experiences to shape me for service in His kingdom. It all culminated one day in my youth minister pulling me aside and saying, “You have the heart of a minister.”
There would be a few other refining experiences yet to come, including a year at Purdue University, before I would fully settle on my calling. But it was these preparatory experiences from my youth that would serve as guideposts ultimately leading me to where I am today.

Nic Skinner

Interdependence

The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays of the year. As a child, I can remember my mom, dad, brother, and I sitting out on the upstairs deck of our home in Plainfield, Indiana, as we watched the fireworks display put on by the local Elks Club. In later years, our family would make it a tradition to visit my Uncle Mike and Aunt Cathy in Lafayette, Indiana, to have a cookout and swim in their pool. After we had done all the eating, swimming, and sparklers we could, we’d all go over to Slayter Hill at Purdue University and watch the city’s fireworks display. Those were days I have cherished greatly. Even today, I still look forward to spending the Fourth with my wife and girls, watching the fireworks together here in Lexington.
Here’s an observation. Have you ever noticed the way we most often celebrate our independence as a country is by gathering together with others?
There is a myth about independence often prevalent in our American culture, and even sometimes in church culture, which seeks to convince us that our own self-determination and willpower are all we need to succeed. It’s the kind of go-it-alone mentality that says, “Just pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” to overcome life’s challenges. While it is true, biblically speaking, that we are each personally responsible for our choices in life (Ezekiel 18:20; Galatians 6:7-8), it is also true biblically that when we do decide to overcome significant obstacles, we cannot do it alone. We need God, His Son, His Holy Spirit, and His people.
Proverbs 27:17, Ecclesiastes 4:12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Acts 2:42-47, in particular, illustrate for us the interdependence we have on others. Surrounding ourselves in deep Christian relationships helps to sharpen us, strengthen us, equip us, and support us. The truth is, I need others in my life that will extend to me the grace that I cannot often give myself. And it is this interdependence that ultimately leads to a greater experience of the freedom we each have in Christ.

Nic Skinner

Where Are You Men of Courage?

That famous line from the movie “Courageous” is a challenge to many of us as fathers to stand up and be godly examples for our families, and others around us. Today, in a very similar way, I want to take that challenge and make it much more specific to a serious issue of spiritual growth and a fight that all men face: the fight for sexual integrity.
For most men, each day is an all-out visual assault of sensual images: TV, billboards, magazines, etc. It’s been well documented that the increased presence of the internet in our lives today has made this worse with the increased availability of pornography. To add to the challenge, more and more people use smartphones and tablets. The internet and all that comes with it now fits in your pocket, and is with you everywhere you go. A lot of men feel trapped by this situation, caught in behaviors that the Holy Spirit convicts them to hate, but too overcome by shame to seek out the help they desperately need.
If you are in this situation today, I want to first offer you hope.
1 Corinthians 10:13 states, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” If you are caught in this struggle today, know that God only allows temptations He knows you can overcome together, and that He always provides a way out.
The second thing I want to offer is direction to the way out. I’ve always been told that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” So, what’s your plan for battle? The book, “Every Man’s Battle” by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker, and websites such as Covenant Eyes and XXXChurch are good places to start for battle plan ideas. Christian counseling is another option. Additionally, myself and the other ministers on staff are always willing and available to meet with you confidentially and help you start out on this path.
So, where are you men of courage? Are you ready to stand and fight?

Nic Skinner

Living in 3-D

I am writing this article on a Thursday. Literally, just an hour or two ago, I got a call from my wife, Elizabeth. Her first comments to me were, “Was anything wrong with the van when you drove it last night?” You can probably already sense the sinking feeling I had in my gut. Thankfully, as it turned out, everything was okay. It was a warm day and she had run over a soft patch of new asphalt without realizing it (If you’ve been up our way on Leestown Road recently and seen the construction, you know why.). That asphalt on the tire was causing the car to feel out of balance. However, as she continued driving, it eventually fell off, and the van regained smooth handling. Having balance is important in cars. It is also important in relationships.
When it comes to our relationships, how biblically balanced are we? Are we firing on all cylinders, or just wobbling along?
In Luke 6:12-19, we get a snapshot of the three essential relationships of Jesus’ life and ministry. In verse 12, we see Him taking time to nurture His “upward” relationship with God. In verses 13-16, we see Him choosing to live “in” a purpose-filled fellowship, not isolation. In verses 17-19, we see Him focus “outwardly” on loving others in need. These three relationships were the constant core of Jesus’ ministry, and have remained the constant core for His people today (Acts 2:42-47). Authors Mike Breen and Steve Cockram refer to these three relationships (UP, IN, and OUT) as “The Triangle” for deeper relationships in their book, Building a Discipling Culture. When our lives have balance in these three areas, we can develop much fruit for the Kingdom of God!
So how’s your triangle look? Most people (and churches) tend to excel in two out of three of these relationships, often naturally, while finding the third to be more difficult. Meat Loaf, the singer, would say “…two out of three ain’t bad…” To the Holy Spirit, however, it’s spiritually debilitating. It’s time for us to kick the tar off the tires and start living life in 3-D!

Nic Skinner

Front Porch Evangelism

On a recent trip to my parent’s home in Indiana, I took note of a book they had lying around which featured various sorts of residential architecture that we see in America today. It’s not unusual to see these types of books around my parents’ home since they’ve done a lot of remodeling over the years. Their home was built in the late 1960s.
The book included pictures of various types of homes as well as a little history of each particular style. The book ran the gamut of every style you could think of…Greek Revival, Victorian, Cape Cod, and even more contemporary styles. However, my favorites homes are, and always have been, houses with very large front porches.
The book detailed how the “front porch” is largely gone from most new American homes these days. As lifestyles have changed, homes have changed to reflect this. As we have grown increasingly isolated from one another, people have opted against the open front porch in favor of a backyard deck surrounded by a yard with a privacy fence. Gone are the days of sitting on the porch and socializing with the passersby and community around us.
This reflects knowledge already documented by social research. In 2006, a study was released by the American Sociological Review illustrating that from 1985 to 2004, “the number of people saying there is no one with whom they discuss important matters nearly tripled.” The need for more “front porch” opportunities is great in our society…a need the church can fill.
How awesome would it be if in the neighborhoods where we live, our homes were known as the “front porch” of the neighborhood…inviting neighbors for cookouts, being outside (in the front yard) and visible, or stopping to talk with neighbors as we’re out on a walk? What great opportunities might the Lord bring about through those encounters? I know that we are still in the midst of thawing from this crazy winter, but perhaps being a “front porch” could be a goal we all set for the warmer months of 2014.

Nic Skinner

The Goal of Discipleship

No, I’m not talking about the city in Nebraska. (Sorry Rich and Bev Cary!) Nor am I talking about Omaha Steaks. “Omaha! Omaha!” is the familiar “audible” that quarterback Peyton Manning calls at the line of scrimmage often during his NFL football games. A quarterback “audibles” when he decides he needs to change the plan to be effective. I am calling an audible.

This year, I had planned to use a collection of articles to give tips on leading an effective Bible study, and if you are still interested in that information, please let me know and I can get it to you. However, I believe that there are some broader, deeper, and more personal discussions that should take place in this space—and I want us to take advantage of that together to be most effective.
This month, I want to ask the question, “What is the ultimate goal of discipleship?” For some, discipleship is equated with classroom and book-learning. However, as I heard one person say recently, “Going to Sunday School doesn’t make us any more a disciple than being in a garage makes us a car.” In short, having the knowledge or just showing up on Sunday doesn’t make us a disciple. It is having the knowledge and living it out. It’s the tried and true message of Matthew 7:24-27, James 1:22-25, John 14:23, 1 Samuel 15:22, and many other passages. It is living in obedience to our Lord.
If we are following in obedience to our Lord, then we are not only concerned with being a disciple, but also intent on making more disciples. One of Jesus’ most
clear commands is the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20, instructing us in our responsibility to make disciples of all nations. Evangelism and Discipleship are not two separate issues. Evangelism is a natural outgrowth of lives lived in total obedience to the King.
So let’s challenge ourselves with this question today, “As a disciple, am I producing other disciples that produce disciples?” And leaders, “Are we equipping those in the groups we lead with the practical resources and opportunities to do so?” Or do we need to call an “audible”?

Nic Skinner

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