Was the Early Church the Perfect Church?

Many people seem to feel that the first church we read about in Acts was the perfect church. But was it? We talked about that this past Sunday at The Fellowship. We looked at some of the hindrances to the church being effective on its mission. Check it out. Then, join us this Sunday at either our Two Rivers or our Mt. Juliet location. See you then!

Acts Effect WEEK 4- Spiritual Integrity from The Fellowship on Vimeo.

Feeling a Bit Stressed?

Anxiety and Stress seem to be the normal markers of everyday life in America. We spend millions of dollars to cope with it, using and doing things that only temporarily relieve the issue. Fortunately, God’s Word gives us a gift. If we follow the instructions laid out by Paul, we can actually live an anxiety free life! Check out this message to find out how.

Fellowship at Two Rivers- 9/16/12 from The Fellowship on Vimeo.

Training Camp: Commitment.

As we continue the Training Camp series at the Fellowship, an emphasis we have been looking at is commitment. In sports, commitment is vital. It is an expectation! As the church, it seems we have lowered the bar in trying to appeal to the masses and have ended up excusing people from commitment. Commitment is need to accomplish the goals of winning games in sports and commitment is need by the members of the body of Christ to accomplish the task of impacting the world with the gospel and expanding The Kingdom!

Here at The Fellowship, we have looked at the fact that a committed follower of Christ is someone who is being transformed, someone who is becoming more like Christ. This past Sunday we looked at the fact that a committed follower of Christ is also someone who is engaged in the body of Christ. Being engaged in the body means there is connection, emotional involvement and commitment. The focal passage was 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.

Check out this past Sunday’s message from Training Camp and see what it means to be engaged in the body of Christ.

Engaged from The Fellowship on Vimeo.

Do You Have a Commitment Problem?

This week, in our Training Camp series at The Fellowship, we talked about commitment. There’s a lot of discussion these days on commitment phobias. Interestingly, most people don’t really have a commitment problem. They simply want to be committed to something that they perceive as worthwhile or important. With NFL training camp coming up soon, lots of folks will show their allegiance and loyalty to their beloved teams. When it comes to the church however, we tend to lower the bar. Why is that? Well, we talked a bit about this issue and more. Check it out, and join us this coming Sunday where we’ll continue this series. The topic this week will focus on the unique talents each of us brings to the game and how we can not only best use, but improve them. Worship is at 10:45 a.m. with LIFEgroups starting at 9:30 a.m. See you there!

Commitment from The Fellowship on Vimeo.

“Gentlemen, this is a football.”

As the story goes, each year at training camp, legendary football coach Vince Lombardi would hold up a football and say these words, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” It sounds odd that he would perform this ritual, but the point was, if you don’t master the basics, you can’t win the game. We talked about the fundamentals for us as a church this past weekend at The Fellowship. It was the first week in our new series Training Camp. Take a few moments to watch, then join us for part two this coming Sunday. Worship is at 10:45 a.m., with LIFEgroups at 9:30 a.m. See you there!

“Fundamentals” from The Fellowship on Vimeo.

Truth & Grace: Either way…It Can Get Messy!

This past Sunday at The Fellowship, we continued our Real Jesus series. We talked about grace and truth and what they actually mean and look like. Sometimes we lean heavy toward the truth side, while at other times we find ourselves wanting or needing a lot of grace. Either way, really loving and living like Jesus did can just get plain messy. Where do you find yourself? More on the truth side…or the grace side? Check it out. And we’ll see you this coming Sunday. Worship is at 10:45 a.m. See you there!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/41298816″>Real Jesus- Week 5</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/thefellowshipcc”>The Fellowship</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

What Does it Mean to Be “Clean”?

My wife Becky and I recently wrapped up what is called The 24-Day Challenge. During that time, I couldn’t have coffee. If you know me, that’s like not putting gas in the tank of my car.
Well, ok. Not that bad. But it sure felt like it. It took a lot of discipline and commitment to eat right, take the supplements and other items necessary to cleanse the body and get us going on the right track.

Lately, you may have become familiar with a new term out there: Eating Clean. Basically, it means avoiding processed foods, sodas, etc. Eating clean means eating what they call “whole”, or “natural” foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. It also means staying away from foods that include man-made sugar, hydrogenated, trans-fat, preservatives, white bread, etc. An easy way to remember it is this: “if man made it, don’t eat it.”

I got to thinking, we live in a culture today that teaches: if man says it, you can believe it. It’s harder to put our faith in a God we can’t always see. But the point really goes deeper than that. What if we were as disciplined in our daily lives to live “clean” for Him—our Lord and Savior. In other words, what if we really committed to live our lives with such deep devotion and love for the God that made us, we simply found ourselves living “clean”?

If anyone knows what is truly best for us, it’s our Creator.

As we go into the weekend, whether eating out or maybe meeting for coffee with friends, let’s take those moments to think about what living “clean” might mean for each of us in our own personal lives.

Serving Alongside,

Matt

Do We Really Love People Who Aren’t Christians?

I saw this post by John Acuff and had to share it with you.

“Dad, stand up so everyone can see what I’m going to look like in 20 years.”

That’s how I introduced my dad during the devotional meeting at work. And it’s true. I’m going to look like him, which means I’ll look like Anderson Cooper or Steve Martin. Those are the two people folks always think my dad looks like. (At Lowe’s one day someone approached my dad nervously, because they thought he was Anderson Cooper, and if he was in town a natural disaster must be about to hit the area.)

After, what I think was a pretty awesome introduction by me, my dad and I got to hear a guy named Al Andrews talk about dreams.

Al wrote an amazing children’s book called The Boy, The Kite and The Wind. In his speech, he said, “A dream never makes sense. We’re supposed to have crazy dreams. If what you dream is fairly possible, it’s probably not the dream you’re supposed to have.”

It was a really inspiring/convicting message. My dad and I talked about it in the car later that day, and here is what he said:

“I think my dream is to get Christians to love non-Christians.”

My first thought was, “That’s kind of silly. I’m great at that. That’s not a dream. We already do love non-Christians!” But then my dad continued to share his idea.

“We think we do. We think we’re doing a good job at that, but how do you really show someone love? You spend time with them. You stand with them. You be with them. I think that’s a big part of what love looks like.”

And suddenly, I could no longer judge the validity of my dad’s dream. The truth is, by that definition, I don’t love non-Christians.

I started to look at my life and realized I don’t spend a lot of time with people who aren’t Christians.

I work with Christians.

I live in a neighborhood that is largely Christian.

I go to church with Christians.

I go to dinner with people from church.

I go to breakfast with Christians.

Save for the person who cuts my hair, I was shocked at how insulated I had become from the world. If spending time with non-Christians is one of the signs you love them, then I’m not doing a very good job with love.

Now the easy response to this is “Yeah, but you live in the south. It’s different where I live.”

And maybe it is. The south is considered the “Bible Belt” after all. But even when I lived in Massachusetts, I didn’t live my life that differently. I worked with a lot more people who weren’t Christians, but I don’t necessarily know that I spent time with them. I tended to be the kind of Christian who liked to pray for far off people in far off lands, to say “God, give me a mission field! Give me people to reach!” And then I would sit down in my cubicle completely blind to the reality that God had already given me people to reach.

There was a building full of them. They were my coworkers. But it’s easier to pray for fictional people or the people you meet on a one-week mission trip than it is to pray for the messy, 3D people you work with.

What’s the fix? What’s the solution? To tell you the truth, I don’t know yet. This is a fresh thought that is unresolved. But someone did tell me a story that I thought was pretty interesting in the context of this challenge.

My friend knew a father who wanted to reach his local community. He wanted to step out of his Christian circle and spend time with non-Christians. We often think that’s complicated or difficult, but he found a really easy way to do it.

Every Monday night he and his son, who had graduated from college, went to a local pub in their neighborhood. For three hours, every week, they sat in the same spot. Week after week, month after month, they sat and talked. My friend went with them one night and said it was amazing. In three hours, dozens of people at this local bar came and sat with them. They talked, they shared, they listened, and they became friends. Weddings, funerals, unemployment, all stages of life passed through that small booth, and slowly but surely everyone there learned that these two guys wanted to spend time with them.

When the son later graduated from grad school, the guys at the bar threw him a party. They had become family. Why?

Time = love.

It’s a pretty simple equation, and it’s one we see Jesus live out in the Bible. I’ve written about that before. Jesus was a pretty ineffective communicator by our modern standards. He could have been speaking to thousands of people on hilltops every night. Instead, he “wasted time” on slow, long dinners with a handful of people everyone looked at as sinners. Why? Because time = love. And Jesus knew how to love people.

Question:
How much time do you spend with people who aren’t Christians?

Good stuff.
Serving Alongside,
Matt

Just What Exactly Is an “Ordinance” Anyway?

The word “ordinance” may be unfamiliar to some of you, but it’s actually a pretty simple concept. And this past Sunday at The Felowship we celebrated with two of them! Watch it here!

An ordinance isn’t a kind of church ritual that “saves” you if you do it. The Bible clearly states that through Christ alone we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 4:12; Titus 3:5).
An ordinance, however, is a command that the New Testament calls us to obey. In simple terms, church ordinances are visual aids to help us better understand and appreciate what Jesus Christ has done for us. The two we as a church observed this past weekend were baptism and communion. And what a great day it was! You can see it all here

Join us this Sunday as we begin a new series, Backwards. Worship at 10:45 a.m. with LIFEgroups at 9:30 a.m. See you there!

Serving Alongside,
Pastor Matt