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Friday, September 19, 2014

freedom is an incredible thing

This week we have looked at several portions of Scripture that celebrate the things that God says are truth about us.  One of those big truths is about the freedom that comes with the forgiveness of God.

It is through God’s grace and His gift of Jesus that we find freedom and forgiveness of sin.  To not apply this truth keeps us in bondage and in the middle of so many struggles.

One of the greatest songs of recent days that shares this truth comes from the Newsboys.  Here are some of the lyrics:

“I’m Free” by the Newsboys

Through you the blind will see

Through you the mute will sing

Through you the dead will rise

Through you all hearts will praise

Through you the darkness flees

Through you my heart screams

I am free, yes, I am free

I am free to run
I am free to dance
I am free to live for you
I am free, Yes, I am free

Through you the kingdom comes

Through you the battle's won

Through you I'm not afraid

Through you the price is paid

Through you there's victory

Because of you my soul sings

I am free, yes, I am free…

Who the Son sets free
Is free indeed

There is nothing that can compare to the freedom that comes from allowing God to lift burdens from our lives.  May we apply what God says and experience the freedom that God desires for us to live in!

John 8:36  NLT
So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Community's volunteer of the week DAVID TERRY

This week we honor David Terry as The Community Fellowship's volunteer of the week!

David Terry has been a part of The Community Fellowship family for 5 years and is involved in many ministries here.  He retired from the Henry County Sheriff’s  Office in June 2011 and currently operates his own business building Road/flight Cases for music instruments and band equipment.


Each Sunday David serves as part of our Worship Team playing the drums and singing.  David is also a encourager blessing as many as possible with a loving hug and positive encouragement as he truly loves his church family.


David volunteers in every area of our back2school Ministry, that is except for the hair cutting area.  He is willing to help wherever he is needed.  He enjoys playing with the children, talking with them and making sure they leave the event with a smile in addition to their new book bags, shoes, socks and clothes.


During the week, David does construction at our new campus and has spent many hours working there to ensure that we’ll be able to move in as soon as possible.  David is very excited about our new campus and the direction God is leading our church.  He says he cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for us.


David loves serving the Lord and says that serving with his wife, Jennifer Terry, as a Leader in our Youth Ministry is his greatest joy here at The Community.


In his spare time David enjoys playing drums, building road cases and other things such as fishing, boating, 4-wheeling, golf, socializing at Lowe’s and spending time with his wife, Jennifer and their children, Anna 15, Matthew 11 and Jeremiah 11.


David’s favorite Scripture is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”


Our church family is extremely blessed by David Terry, and we are honored to recognize him as our Volunteer of the Week! Thank you, David, for all you do here to serve the Lord and show His love to our community!



***  for more information about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center call 276-647-8231 or email  to give online click on this link ***

more powerful Scripture

This week I have pointed you to some verses that dig deep in to the things that God says are true about the people who fear and follow Him.  These are not solely New Testament truths as you see they are found in the Psalms.

Literally there is a thread of truth that runs from Genesis to Revelation that reveals the grace of God that we so deeply need.  Knowing the blessings, holding to the truth changes us.  Romans 12:2 says that God will transform us through the renewing of our minds.  God intends to use Scripture to renew us in every way possible.

As you read note the things that amaze you about God’s work in our lives.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
 So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
The Lord performs righteous deeds
And judgments for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, 
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
14 For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.

The notes from these verses don’t need a theological review or lesson written about them for us to understand how the love of God runs deep in our lives and by the mercy of God.  Here are my simple notes:

Don’t forget his benefits.  There are benefits to knowing and following God.

He forgives my sin.  Forgiveness brings freedom, strength and confidence.

God really does heal our diseases. 

We have been rescued from the pit.  This could allude to the pit of Hell.  It could also talk about the pit falls of life that God sometimes pulls us out of or keeps us from falling in them.  Redeems and rescues are words that go hand in hand.

God crowns us with His love and compassion.  He has placed righteousness in our lives that removed the penalty of sin and shame. 

All His actions are righteous and have intentions of saving, serving and lifting one or many people as he has saved each of us.

Our God is slow to anger and full of love.

Often His love and forgiveness cannot be explained.  It may seem that a person deserves punishment, but they receive what seems like rewards and kindness.  In turn the sins forgiven has been removed and forgotten described by the concept of “as far as the east is from the west”.  That is forever and never to be found again.

He loves like a father loves and knows us well.  That is our God and is powerful truth that transforms our lives.

May we allow God’s word to renew and change our lives.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

it's a great feeling

There is power in applied truth.  Much like a tool that is left on the shelf and never used for the purpose it was credited for, we have powerful truth about us that needs to be used.  God created us with purpose, and that purpose is less about and more about the Savior.

I meet people almost every day that struggle with applying the truth of God to their lives.  They have barriers of one kind or another that need to be removed.  I have had to deal with some of those barriers as well.

The Bible is the place to start because it is God’s word and God’s love letter to us.  Simple facts about our identity and reality will change how we respond to life and to the confidence we will live with each day. 

Here is a passage packed with truth:

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.  My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt.  I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”  And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

FORGIVEN --- forgiveness is one of the most incredible things in the world.  I read an article earlier this week about relationships that thrive.  One of the main points of strong relationships is that both parties know how to give and receive forgiveness.  The same is true with our connection to God.  He has forgiven our sin because He knows that our freedom from the weight of sin makes a huge difference.  Have you accepted the full forgiveness of God?  Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive or offer forgiveness to?

CLEARED OF GUILT --- the feeling of getting clean is pretty amazing.  This doesn’t always happen with soap and water.  Something being cleared of guilt is the thing that lifts a huge weight off of our lives.  Maybe you deal, like many people do, with self-condemnation.  This is where you know about God’s forgiveness and have interacted with it, but it seems impossible to allow your conscious to be cleared.  Apply the truth of a guilt free life by believing what God says.  Or maybe you have an issue with giving up a certain sin.  Not until you give it up will you be cleared of the guilt.

REFUSED TO CONFESS --- sin will stick about and the consequences of sin will stick around as long as you allow it to.  Satan wants to pervert and twist our thinking that our issues are too small to really matter or that we are not worthy of God’s forgiveness.  Yet there are others who simply enjoy the wrong they are involved in too much to let it go.  By staying in sin, by refusing to confess and leave our bad habits, we forfeit the blessings of God.  It is our choice to choose positive or negative consequences.  When we refuse to confess our sin, we miss the best things God has for us.

CONFESS MY REBELLION…MY GUILT IS GONE --- this is the light bulb coming on over our head.  This is when we finally put out the trash or realize that we have found the best things of life.  God is offering second chances to any one who will walk His direction and leave the old stuff behind.

It’s a great feeling to apply the truth of forgiveness to our lives.  God is willing to forgive.  God is ready to lift us up.  God wants to embrace you and I and help us see the best possible days and blessings.  And all that keeps that from happening is to let the forgiveness of God fill us from head to toe and throughout life.  God really is good.

Acts 13:38  NLT
Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

letter from a friend serving in South Dakota

The following is a letter from a friend with a heart to share Christ and serve those in need.  If you would like to help, please contact Jerry using the info at the end of the letter.  At the very please pray for Jerry Hopkins, Ken Trivette, Jimmy Willard and all who are working with Pine Ridge.


Pine Ridge, South Dakota

Ken Trivette serves as the President and Director of Native American Baptist Missions and Pastor of Pine Ridge Baptist Church, Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

The Pine Ridge Reservation is home of more than 40,000 Oglala Sioux Indians and encompasses the entire County of Shannon, the poorest county in the United States. The unemployment rate is 80% with 97% living below Federal poverty line. The average family income is $3,700-$6,000 a year.

I went to Pine Ridge in June, 2014 on a working mission ministry trip to help with the building project of a small home for Brother Ken and his wife. After working with the many families there, I became burdened to help with the serious hunger problem.

I have partnered with Brother Jimmy Willard, Director of Disaster Relief Ministries, Bassett, VA, other area churches and churches in North Carolina to gather dry goods to fill a tractor trailer which will deliver the food to The Pine Ridge Baptist Church the first week of October, 2014. The food will be distributed by the Pine Ridge Baptist Church to needy families. I will personally be picking up any dry goods the week of September 29th.

May God richly bless you for any assistance you provide. 

In His Service,

Brother Jerry Hopkins 

Faith Baptist Church, Bassett, VA


sharing moments

Today’s post is a bit more personal in nature than usual, but I’d like to share some of my current happenings, hurdles, hopes and my heart.  This is a great time to be alive.

Our middle daughter celebrates her sixteenth year of life today.  I am still not ready for our kids to grow up, but it is happening before our eyes.  Seems like yesterday that baby Ruth was born, she took her first steps, she split open her head and had to get stitches, was baptized, began playing the clarinet, had her appendix out… and so much more.  I am so proud of her, and my prayer is that she and all three of our children will experiences huge blessings from God.

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.

Ten days ago I returned from a mission trip to Nicaragua with some awesome people from our church.  It has been over 13 years since I have been in Central America.  I had the honor to serve with an agency in 2000 that was building a hospital on the northern coast of Honduras, and this trip to Nicaragua has stirred once again the love for missions and pushing the church, the people I am blessed to serve, to go further and to do more.  Our lives change as we see life and people from a different perspective.

Acts 1:8  NLT
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

While I was in Nicaragua Julie and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary.  These years have flown by, and we truly are blessed.  Julie has brought things, experiences and love my direction that no one else could have helped me with.  She is a gift from God, and I confess that relationships aren’t easy.  But relationships are worth fighting for, working hard through and sharing with others.  Marriage has taught me a lot.  A couple of the things that stick for me as advise I would give others entering marriage; first, seek to be selfless as the more you give the more you will be fulfilled, and second, fight together with your spouse for your marriage and not against each other since we are really on the same team.  I am big time blessed to have Julie in my live, and the next 21 and more years will be even better.

The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.

There are so many pieces coming together in relation to the vision God has given us for the church I get to serve.  Some days I am simply impatient about our move in to the new campus that we have purchased, but when I slow down and look and listen, I continue to be amazed at the place God has us and of the future that is ahead.  This past weekend allowed us to feed people and share the Gospel in ways that led 12 people to accept Jesus.  That is what demonstrating the love of God to our community is all about.

I have said nothing about it to this point, but this week is the anniversary of the beginning of The Community Fellowship church.  Yes, we have just completed seven full years of ministry.  Take a look at what God has done and the people God has brought our way amazes me, and it leaves me in awe and wonder of our God.

He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.

I am convinced that every area of our lives are connected.  We must not seek to segregate our lives into our professional, personal or spiritual life.  It really is all connected, and it is God’s call on our lives to allow Him to slow through every part.  Literally God offers us the abundant life promised in John 10:10 as all of life is about Him.

Today I have spoken about my daughter’s birthday, the joy of a mission trip, reality of 21 years of marriage and the blessings of sharing ministry with others as God has given it to us.  May God allow each of to see His moving and to allow His work in and through our lives so that others will see Him and fall deeply in love with our incredible and compassionate God!

Monday, September 15, 2014

great story of a lady's value

A couple of the great stories in the Bible stand out to me as Jesus touched lives that others thought were not important.  Most of these are miracles, but they are miracles when we might have least expected them.  Or they were miracles for people who were not in the center of things.

The foundation of this series I am preaching at The Community , EVERY 1 MATTERS, is the fact that God loves people.  Everything He did, from the beginning of time seen in Genesis through the end of the story were read about in Revelation, God is constantly reaching out to people.  His most precious thing is people.  It is not miracles or projects, money or buildings.  People, individuals matter to God.

There are many stories that come to my mind, and one story is the lady with the blood disease. There was a huge crowd. Lots of people pushing their way in and touching Jesus, and Jesus and his pose were on there way to deal with another person that was in need.

Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around him. 25 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. 26 She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. 28 For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. 30 Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” 31 His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

But this one lady was different.  She looked for Jesus and found him. In her heart she know this is guy that could heal her. And Jesus healed her. Then Jesus sought her out.

Did you hear that?  Jesus sought her out.  He still does that. He sees the person in need, and He goes after them with compassion and love.  Notice the difference it makes when a person knows that faith is real

This lady sought Jesus out because she knew there was something about Him that was changing people’s lives, and there are still people seeking Jesus all around us.  Some are seeking in a more obvious way.  Others make their search for God, for hope and help much more open and obvious.

God has chosen us, you and me, to share our story of how God changed our lives with others who need Him.  We have met the people who are seeking God.  They are lots of similarities.  In fact the ways that we are similar to some of these points to the simple fact that the best person to meet a need is a person who has been in need before.  This person understands and can speak with confidence about their encounter with God.

The lady in this passage of Scripture had an encounter with God that changed her life.  For 12 years she battled illness, and nothing helped her bleeding get better.  As the Bible verses said, the money she spent and the doctors she visited didn't help.  In fact she only seemed to get worse.  Meeting Jesus was somewhat of a last resort.  She thought that if any thing was going to change it would have to come through a miracle only God could give.

This lady thought she was insignificant.  I bet the people around, close friends and family as well as others, thought she was not important.  But that is not true as God reminds us that everyone, you and me included, are important to God.  He doesn't over look people, and He doesn't walk away.

What an awesome story!  This lady was changed, she was healed and everyone began to hear what had happened.  This story reminds me that people are important.  Everyone is important to God.  It is our calling to share that fact with the people we come in contact with!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Saturday OUTREACH events. Your help is needed!!!

This is a great weekend to be part of The Community family as we have two sweet events to serve people in Martinsville and Henry County.

FIRST, it our 2nd Saturday FREE community meal and clothes closet.  From 9am until noon at our church in Collinsville volunteers are needed, and we will be ready to serve those who have a need and are hungry.  Volunteers arrive at 8:30am.  Pass the word to those who are hungry!

SECOND, our REACH ministry is sponsoring a great event at the Martinsville Farmer's Market uptown.  See the picture above for details.  There will be free food, fun for kids, music by great worship leaders and bands, messages from God's word and more.  Please pass the word to others.  Volunteers are needed.  Setup begins at 1pm and clean up will be just before 6.  The event is from 2 to 6pm.  Please come out and enjoy this event.

This is another chance to demonstrate the love of God to our community and beyond through sharing with and serving those who we are around.  Looking forward to see you as well at Sunday's COMMUNITY WORSHIP at 10:10am.  Our "Every 1 Matters" series continues!  See you soon!

***  for more information about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center call 276-647-8231 or email  to give online click on this link ***

stop & pray

Prayer is one of the greatest ways that we stay connected to God.  As we understand and believe that we are Christians and followers of Jesus, we recognize that there are several ways to stay connected to God.  One is by being part of a church that speaks the truth of the Bible.  Another way is to have relationships with Christians who are seeking God.

Prayer makes staying close to God a reality and makes us stronger.   We hear from Him and share our hearts with God through prayer.  It is something often overlooked and misunderstood.  Yet when we have a better understanding of prayer, we will use it each day and more.

A simple conversation is an easy way to understand prayer.  Just like you are talking to a friend that you care about, it is a conversation that goes both directions, listening and speaking.  Prayer connects us to God, and we don’t have to use big words or Bible words like Thee and Thou or have to be able to pronounce Bible names and places so we can connect to Him.

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.  I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.  Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come.  God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.

This prayer came from Paul and includes powerful pieces that will give us a stronger prayer life and greater understanding.  Paul prayed “that your hearts will be flooded with light” which is something that can only come from God.  Again, light is the opposite of darkness, and light gives us insight that we can’t gain a part from God.

In the same prayer Paul said “you can understand the confident hope he has given” to us who know and follow God.  We can be confident in who God is and who we are in Him.

We can “understand the incredible greatness of God’s power” because we miss what God does when we are not expecting and looking for His greatness.  Further, Paul confesses that “God has put all things under the authority of Christ” who is our connection and path to God.  We are lost without Jesus Christ.  Jesus is our confidence.

Prayer will change us when we allow our lives to grow stronger with understanding that comes from God.  I want greater confidence and strength.  The connection I have with God I wouldn’t trade for anything.  That is why I want to make it stronger. 

Prayer gives us a great connection to God.  A stronger connection comes with understanding.  I did not say that you and I will get more of God or be better Christians with stronger prayer lives.  Prayer connects us to a better understanding and stronger connection to God.  I want that!  How about your?

NOTE: this post was first shared in February of this year.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

remembering September 11th

Where were you on that day?  I was sitting at my desk preparing for the next Sunday’s sermon when the phone rang.  A friend called to ask me to pray for his son who was missing at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.  A few minutes later I walked across the street to our home where I watched the events of the day unfold … the second airplane hit the tower, the plane crashing in rural Pennsylvania as well the crumbling of both towers.

Most churches were full the following Sunday as our nation was gripped with fear, and even that night a prayer meeting took place at our church with many people seeking God for answers.  That night I shared these verses:

Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, 
nor the arrow that flies in the day. 6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, 
nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
 though ten thousand are dying around you, 
these evils will not touch you. 8 Just open your eyes,
 and see how the wicked are punished. 9 If you make the LORD your refuge, 
if you make the Most High your shelter, 10 no evil will conquer you;
 no plague will come near your home.

We have nothing to fear when God is our hope and help.  He has everything in His hands.  Our life and death are in His control.  Not ours.  Our success and our understanding are also in His plan for us. 

I don’t have a clue why God would allow such terrible things like this event and others to happen, but I do know that it is times such as 9/11 that draw us closer to God and allow our faith in God to grow.  Remembering what happened that day will bring us to a place where we are stronger and have influence. 

Remember those who lost their lives on that day.  Remember those who served, sharing and giving to help those who hurt and lost.  Remember the families of both.  Remember that God cared then, and God cares now.  We will not forget, and therefore, we remember. 

The pain of 9/11 reminds us that we serve a compassionate and loving God who holds us when depression, disease or disaster strikes.  Nothing can compare to the greatness of our God.  May we allow this September 11th, 13 years later to help us lean on God and remember how good God is now and was then as well as how good God will be in the days ahead.

NOTE: this post was first shared in September of 2012.

funeral for Catrina Lawless

Please continue to pray for the family of Catrina Lawless as she passed away Tuesday morning.  Pray for Dennis, Ashlyn and Alex as well as the rest of their family and friends that are struggling.  

VISITATION will be Friday from 6 to 9pm at Freedom Baptist Church.

FUNERAL will be Saturday at 1pm also at Freedom.

Dennis and Catrina have been part of our church family for several months now and many of you have been praying for her.  Healing comes in this way as well since Catrina is fully restored and enjoying the presence of God in Heaven.  

Please pray for and reach out to this family to encourage them.  Write Dennis at 216 Ridge Road, Collinsville, VA 24078.

***  for more information about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center call 276-647-8231 or email  to give online click on this link ***

volunteer of the week JULIE HARRISON

This week we honor Julie Harrison at The Community Fellowship’s volunteer of the week.


Julie Harrison has been a part of The Community Fellowship church since its beginning in 2006.


Recently Julie became the leader of our Children’s Ministry.  She has a heart for the youngest of our congregation and is well qualified to serve them as she has been a pre-school teacher since moving to this part of Virginia 13 years ago. 


Julie is originally from Georgia and is currently seeking her licensure to become an Early Childhood Teacher after receiving her Master’s degree in teaching and learning from Liberty University almost 18 months ago.  She is employed at Stanleytown Elementary School as a special population paraprofessional. 


Also, Julie serves on our Leadership Team and feels her main ministry for the past 21 years has been to be Pastor Michael’s ministry partner and wife.


Julie volunteers during our back2school event each year and has served in the Story Area, she has been a Runner, worked in the Foot Washing area as well as being available to offer her help wherever she’s been needed.


Other ministries Julie has been a part of include being a Small Group Leader, singing in the Praise Band and serving in the Ladies Bible study.


Julie loves the entire book of James, but her favorite Scripture is James 1:2-4, Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” 


Julie is involved in many ministries and activities within the church as well as in our community, but she says the best and most important job she’s ever had has been to be the mother to her three children: Rebecca 17, Ruth 16, and Ryan 11. 


We are extremely proud to recognize Julie Harrison as our Community Fellowship Volunteer of the Week!  Thank you, Julie for all you do to lead, teach and serve! 



***  for more information about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center call 276-647-8231 or email  to give online click on this link ***