Guilt by Association

It is official.  The sometimes undercover lack of tolerance for Christians is officially out in the open.  The recent story about Tim Tebow speaking at First Baptist Dallas is enough proof.  It was such a significant topic that it was part of the Sports Talk Radio scene here in Memphis.

Here is the what all the fuss is about.  The Pastor of First Dallas has stood up on some biblical issues, dealing with homosexuality.  He said it was a sin.  He has also spoken out about Islam, Mohammed and Mormonism, saying it was a cult.  So an American Pastor has given public statements based on his beliefs and what he believes the bible says, and now Tim Tebow is a homophobe and closed minded if he is invited to speak to the church, not to speak on these issues mind you… but rather his faith in Christ?

We have gone from the person making the statements being slammed, bad enough, to those who just have any association (…Tebow does not attend church there, nor has he publically spoken on any of the topics mentioned above) with the group or person being torched as well.

Gone are the days of speaking the truth or even having the freedom to have differing ideas.  We now live in a culture where any stance on truth will be met with venom. 

So be prepared.  While we desire to be full of grace and truth like Jesus was (John 1), I’m not sure the culture is down with the truth side of the equation anymore. 

Can You Lose Your Salvation?

This week at the Fellowship we continued our new series based entirely on your questions, called Your Questions Answered.

We kicked off our first week talking about why there is pain and suffering in the world.
This past Sunday, we at whether or not you really can “lose” your salvation [here].

So what are your questions? What questions do you have about life, God, the Bible? Let us know. And come join us this Sunday at The Fellowship.

Serving Alongside,
Mat

Are You Knowin’ Where Your Money’s Goin’?

This week at The Fellowship we started a new series called Balanced.

We talked about gaining and maintaining financial responsibility. Our focus was on what that really looks like and how to attain it!

We also learned that when our finances are out of control it affects every area of our lives.

If you hadn’t heard, I handed out homework this week, too.

And I wasn’t kidding! My challenge to you was to print off the sheet and keep track of everything, yes, I said EVERYTHING, that you spend this week.

You can find the downloadable worksheets on our website.

If you weren’t able to join us, we have the whole thing here on video. You can even see my new “money” prop.

Join us this week as we learn to be Balanced!

See you on Sunday.

Serving Alongside,

Matt

Don’t just go to church, be the church.

Just a reminder to those of you who attend The Fellowship, and an FYI for those of you who might be new…

We will have a church-wide Serve Day this Sunday morning, Oct. 2. Impacting the community will be our worship service that day. For those of you able to join us this Sunday, we will be doing various service ministries and mission projects around the city. If you haven’t yet been able to get a SERVE shirt, they will be available for you when you arrive. They are only $5 and we want everyone to have one. We will take a Fellowship photo of all of us in our shirts before we head out.

Here are the details:

• Wear your bright green SERVE Shirt or purchase one when you arrive!

• You can still drop off all children at 9:15 a.m. at their usual destinations and we ask that you pick them up by 12:30!

• All preschool and children’s programming will remain the same.

• There will be no Lifegroups or Student gatherings that day, so that all of those present can serve.

• You will be able to sign up for a Serve Team when you arrive.

• Meet us in the worship center at 9:30 a.m.

• We will pray, I will say a quick word, and then we will head out.

• There will be someone on hand to assist with guests and visitors that day.

So again, why are we doing this on Sunday? Why not? Galatians 5:6b talks about, “faith expressed through love.” We want to show Christ’s love to our community this Sunday.

Romans 10:14-17 says, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!’ However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, ‘LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?’ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

Here’s the promo video clip! Enjoy.

Serving Alongside,
Matt

Are You in Love?

If you were able to join us this past Sunday, we have been continuing in our Love Out Loud series at The Fellowship. This week, we talked about being in love. Everyone likes the thought of being in love. But do we really know what it means to be in love when it comes to a relationship with Christ?

For those of you that weren’t able to join us, here are some of the highlights:

– Are you in love with Jesus?
The fact that God is an awesome God who doesn’t have to love you, but chooses to is pretty incredible.

– To truly be “in love with God”, you first have to understand faith. Faith, is complete trust or confidence in God’s grace. (Receiving what we don’t deserve.) It also means trusting Him in such a way that you have to take risks. Like doing whatever He says to do, or going wherever He sends you. Which can sound pretty crazy.

– Ironically, what most believers consider radical or crazy is what Jesus expected of all of His followers from the beginning. Like: giving 10% or more of your income to your church, taking your vacation to do a mission trip, quitting your job to go into ministry, and forgiving those who don’t deserve to be forgiven to name a few.

So here’s a question for you: what in your life is an expression of sacrifice and surrender that show’s your love for Jesus? Can you think of anything?

In the meantime, I’d love for you to check out our online video of Sunday’s sermon and see what you think.

I closed our time together with a quote. Quite a few of you asked if we’d post it, since you weren’t given enough time to write it down.

Actions based on an overwhelming sense of awe for who God is and gratitude for His grace that causes me to surrender and sacrifice everything in my life to bring Him glory. It’s not done out of guilt or obligation, but pure overwhelming love.

Serving alongside,
Matt

Today we pray…

May we all be in prayer for the people who have experienced loss during this past week due to the incredible storms that have swept through our nation.

Please keep these families in mind as they deal with the plans and decisions ahead. Most of all, let’s join together in prayer that they would feel the comfort of our Lord and Savior and that they would experience His peace. The peace that passes all understanding.

Matt

20 Days of Fasting & Prayer, Day 20.

DAY  20 – Finish Well.

READActs 27:1-2, 10-11, 21-26, 30-37, 41-43 & Acts 28: 7-9, 16-17, 21-24, 30-31

Paul is placed aboard a prisoner ship and is heading for Rome where he will stand before Caesar. Even though he is being held captive on water, his leadership skills, his character, and his care for humanity shine through. Throughout the voyage, he warns the shipmaster of the dangers that he knows lie ahead while at the same time caring for and calming the passengers and crew. During the shipwreck he takes charge and points out life-saving efforts. On the island he takes time out to minister and witness to government officials as well as townsfolk. And, finally, when he lands in Rome he continues to encourage fellow believers and share his faith with all he comes in contact with during his captivity.

How does this apply to me? There’s a saying: True character is what you are in the dark. It’s hard to imagine being calm, cool, and collected while being held prisoner, surviving a shipwreck and then finding yourself stranded on an island. But Paul managed. He not only showed those around him his true leadership skills, he proved by his actions that he was truly a man of God. More than that, he showed fellow believers how to finish well. No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, we should strive to maintain our strength, hold firm in our walk, and keep the faith. As we wrap up our 20 Days project, may this time that we have spent together looking at the new church and their journey, encourage each of us to fight the good fight, finish the race, and like Paul…finish well.  

Acts 28:31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praying Together: As we the family of The Fellowship at Two Rivers begin our new journey, may we pray for the strength and courage to run the race ahead and to more importantly, seek to personally finish well.

Generational Tension

During Catalyst Conference, Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.tv (Edmond, OK) discussed generational tension.

We have a spiritual enemy that wants to divide us by denominations, so that we don’t work together. And I also have a hunch he wants to divide us generationally, so that we don’t work together.

When it comes to generations in the church, division is bad, but the tension can be good because we need each other.

I am able to do so much of what I do today because of the wisdom of those who have come before me.

TO THE OLDER GENERATION

Do not resent, fear, or judge the next generation of ministers but believe in them and invest in them. They are not the church of tomorrow. They are the church of today. They are different just like you were different.

One of the reasons the older generation finds it difficult to invest in the younger generation is because of insecurity. When you lead from insecurity, nothing works well.

Delegate authority not tasks. Tasks create followers. Authority creates leaders.

The younger generation wants authenticity and someone who believes in them.

If you are not dead, you are not done. Your age and experience is not a liability. It is an asset. Embrace the season you are in.

One of the greatest honors I can have at this age to to become as a spiritual dad to the younger generation.

Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me
- Psalm 71:18

TO THE YOUNGER GENERATION

You need those who have come before you.

Business leaders describe the younger generation as entitled. You have been protected and encouraged, so you feel very entitled.

You tend to overestimate what God wants to do through you in the short run. This disillusions you and then causes you to underestimate what God will do through you in the long run.

Because the younger generation feels entitled so much, it is a generation that does not show honor well. Andy Stanley says, “Honor publicly leads to influence privately.” If you want to lead up, show honor.

Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.”
- Mark 6:4

One of the reason God is not doing more in churches today is because there is not a culture of honor. Jesus is not your homeboy. He is the King of Kings.

If you want to be over someone, learn to serve under people well. Honor values, respects, and highly esteems. Honor lifts up. Dishonor tears down.

There is a big difference between respect and honor. Respect is earned, but honor is given.
Some of you need to repent because you have dishonored those above you, and that dishonor is hindering you from being able to achieve what you need to do.

Be teachable.

You don’t need to have the same standard of living at age 25 as mom and dad. Don’t be entitled.

You are the most cause driven, mission minded generation in modern history. If you will come under authority and be teachable, you will be the greatest generation of our time.

God believes in you. You didn’t choose Him. He chose you.

Do not underestimate your future.

Give God glory by taking the the best of those who have come before us. Quit messing around in pride and arrogance and do something that glorifies the cause of Christ.