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Thursday, April 16, 2015

step of faith


This Sunday we will continue our series BUILT GOD TOUGH, and we will also celebrate baptism.  It really is an exciting time to be part of The Community Fellowship.  I challenge our church family each week to dream and to pray.  God has more in store for us and for our community.

Another important aspect of our church life is the outreach ministry.  Last Saturday we were able to serve over 400 people with food and clothes.  But we believe that God is positioning us in a place to serve even more people.  The back2school outreach for 2015 is being planned and a few other churches have already signed on to be a part.  Pray that more churches will join in.

It takes big steps to minister to those who cannot give anything in return, but isn’t that what God called us to do.  Far too often churches target or focus more on people that can pay well and look good.  That isn’t the group of people that we seek to serve, and that is a tough step.

Pastor Matthew Barnett said, “serve the people that no body wants and you will get the people every body wants.”  We have found that to be true, and it is our desire to keep on serving, keep on sharing and to keep on loving or literally demonstrating the love of God to our community by meeting needs and sharing Jesus.

A few weeks from now is Mother’s Day and our annual “free car care clinic” that will change the oil of many moms.  We will also be able to offer massages as well as manicures and pedicures.  It is a great time to serve, and we ask you to join in and be part of this great outreach.  Again, this might be a big step for you.

What are some of the biggest faith steps you’ve ever taken in your life?  It could be a move to a new place, a new job, volunteering in a new ministry or one of all kinds of things.  Faith challenges us to take steps forward and maybe leaps of faith.

As God gets a hold in our lives, we change.  The steps we take are used by God and show we have faith.  

Because of this, make every effort to add integrity to your faith; and to integrity add knowledge; to knowledge add self-control; to self-control add endurance; to endurance add godliness; to godliness add Christian affection; and to Christian affection add love. If you have these qualities and they are increasing, it demonstrates that your knowledge about our Lord Jesus Christ is living and productive.

“Make every effortmeans there is step you can take or something you have to do.  Stepping forward demonstrates you love Jesus and are ready to live by faith.  I challenge you to do what others have done and take steps of faith.

Are we willing to take steps?  It isn’t cheap.  There is a price to be paid.  Some things that we have to do make or steps we must take stretch us.   Our obedience proves we follow Him.  

God's work in and through us makes us more like Jesus.  It is time to take some steps!

NOTE: if you would like to be baptized this Sunday or be part of our Mather’s Day outreach, call the church at 276-647-8231 or email mharrison@thecommunityfellowship.org.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

volunteer of week CHINA BIGGS

This week’s volunteer of the week at The Community Fellowship China Biggs!!!

 

China Biggs and her parents, Wayne and Carol, as well as her sister Jenny have been part of The Community Fellowship family for almost seven years.

 

Though China is only 19 years old, she is very dedicated to not only being a valuable leader she is also a vital part of many ministries where she enriches and blesses the lives of others.

 

China has taken several mission trips including going to West Virginia when she was 13 years old.  She also has gone to South Dakota with the Youth Group and recently was part of a group that went to Nicaragua last year.

 

On Sundays China is a Teacher in our Pre­K Class. She is also available to step in and help wherever she is needed. China is active in our Youth Ministry on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 7:30pm.  China was part of the large groups of teens from The Community that completed World Vision’s “30 HOUR FAMINE” that raised close to $2,000 for hunger around the world.

 

During B2S (back2school) outreach China ministers in the Foot Washing area. She also serves as being a Runner, getting shoes, clean water or whatever may be needed to ensure that the children receiving new shoes, socks, book bags, haircuts and clothes are well attended and feel very special that day.

 

Each year, China volunteers in our Pack the Bus Ministry (part of back2school) which typically entails spending many hours greeting shoppers outside of area stores and asking their help in providing school supplies for the children that will receive them during B2S. She then regularly works to pack book bags with the pencils, crayons, markers, paper and other items that will help the children receiving them to start the school year well prepared and confident.

 

China is a part of REACH Ministry that provides a free meal each Saturday at 5 pm at the Martinsville Hotel. She has also volunteered at our 2 Saturday Meal and Clothes Closet where she is a tremendous help in the clothing area.

 

In her spare time China enjoys being a volunteer by coming alongside of those in need of a helping hand. She also enjoys traveling and knows that in the future she wants her career to be in the area of helping others.

 

China’s favorite Bible verse is Job 8:7 “And though you started with little, you will end with much.”

 

We are very excited to recognize China Biggs as our The Community Fellowship Volunteer of the Week! Thank you, China, for demonstrating your servant’s heart and your desire to show God’s love to others through the ministries you are a part of at The Community. Your church family loves you, and we are indeed proud of you!

 

 

[ to learn more about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center give us a call at 276-647-8231 or email mharrison@thecommunityfellowship.org  Please give online by clicking this link ]

baptism this Sunday

This Sunday we will celebrate BAPTISM in our worship hour at 10:10am.  We are excited to be able to share how God continues to change the lives of people around The Community Fellowship.

Baptism is a step of following Jesus after you have been saved.  So far 10 people have expressed a desire to be part of this week's celebration. 

How about you?  There is still time and space for you to be a part.  Here is how...

Call the church at 276-647-8231 and speak with Pastor Michael or email Pastor Michael at harrison@thecommunityfellowship.org

We look forward to being part of more people stepping forward with Jesus and celebrating with your church family!  Pass the word, and we will see you Sunday!


[ to learn more about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center give us a call at 276-647-8231 or email us mharrison@thecommunityfellowship.org . Please give online by clicking this link ]

Bible verses we need


We have all seen the lists that are often titled “what to do when” or “Bible verses for special times”.  In what I do these things come up very often.  That is why I am taking some time to share some of my favorites with you today.

The following is not an exhaustive list of Bible verses to use in all cases.  These are verses that I have found myself clinging to when I am struggling with various things or verses that I share with people when they are going through specific tough times.

As you read through these I pray that God will use some of them in your life and even allow you and me to share them with the people we come in contact with that have something going on in their life that God has encouragement for.

Read on, pray through and seek God …

When you feel like you are carrying heavy burdens

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

When you are stressed or worried

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

When you have doubts and need faith

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

When we don’t think we are forgiven

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.

When we need strength

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

When we need wisdom

James 1:5  NLT
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

When we question if God can

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

That is just a few verses that can give us direction when we need it.  God desires to use us to encourage others, but if we are not encouraged, it is hard to speak in to the lives of others.

May God give us courage and strength today to hear from Him for us and to share with others!

Joshua 1:7  NLT
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

my shepherd provides!


Psalm 23:1  NASB
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Most of us have heard that verse many times throughout our lives.  In fact it has taken up a very important spot in my life because it teaches me about who God is and how God cares for me.

Take a few minutes to read through and think through this first verse of Psalm 23.  It might change your view of God.

“The Lord is my shepherd.”

David said the above words.  David as well as Jesus put our understanding on the line.  He painted a picture to describe God for us.  He humanized God or gave Him characteristics that we can see and hold on to.

But we have to be careful not to take this human view of God in a direction that removes the deity of God.  In the son, Jesus, God was completely God and completely man.  He lived to shepherd His people and brought so many truths in to our lives that we cannot miss how God provides in the way a shepherd would for His sheep.

Colossians 1:15-20 reminds us that our shepherd is more than a caregiver.  He is God.  He is the creator and the beginning of all things.  Everything is in subjection to Him.  God chose for the complete God to dwell in Jesus meaning that He could be for us everything.  The shepherd had a vital role with the sheep.  God has a vital role in our lives, and we must submit to Him.

Go look at any shepherd with his sheep and see how the caring is so very strong.  It is not only His job to protect and to provide for the sheep, but he goes far beyond to give the essence of safety and strength to each of his sheep.

The life of any sheep depends on the one who cares for it.  There is endless comfort and insight that the shepherd has and brings to his work with the sheep. 

Remember that sheep are not the smartest animals in the world.  Often they get themselves lost.  When their fur is to heavy and long, a sheep can fall over and not be able to get back on his feet.  That is another time the shepherd is so important to the sheep.  Do you see the between we humans and sheep?

“I shall not want.”

The next phrase is about the ability of the sheep to trust the shepherd.  When we trust God, we fully rely on Him.  That is something we all need.  To live in that way we will live much different than most of the people we are around.

The idea of not being in need is huge.  God provides what we need, but humans have a tendency to have big appetites.  Those things lead to confusion and compilation in life.  Trusting God will take us to places we could not go on our own because we will not fight others or go in wrong directions.

Some people preach and believe that God is in the business of blessing people with material things and money.  When people have a lot of things that money can buy, they often call those things “blessings from God.”  In one sense that’s okay, but in another very important sense, that’s a dangerous thing. 

God’s desire is for us to be satisfied and to trust Him.  People who say “I shall not want” have learned how to live with less and to trust God in more than a casual way.

May we find ourselves trusting God more.  May we live with less and allow our shepherd to guide and provide each day.  To put this verse in to practice is to live a changed life that only God can provide!

Monday, April 13, 2015

lessons from the king


Sunday I shared a message with our church about King Hezekiah.  He wasn’t one of a kind, but he was somewhat of a rebel in his day.  The kings before him and after him cared very little about the things of God.

Similar to the people that Joshua addressed in Joshua 24 we must make a choice who we will serve.  Some have made poor choices to follow what other people say, but Joshua was forthright about what he and his family were going to do.  They chose to follow God no matter what.

Hezekiah did that as well.  His choices determined the results and had a great impact on the people around him.

He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done. He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan. He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him. For he clung to the Lord; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses. And the Lord was with him; wherever he went he prospered.

Remember that this memorial or history is recorded by the people who watched what Hezekiah did.  It has been passed down for more than a couple thousand years.  They said that Hezekiah “did what was right in God’s sight”.  That is a big deal.

The way we know what is right in God’s sight is by what we learn in the Bible.  God calls those who follow Him to respect God and others.  He tells us that our character is what comes out when life is tough.

Because of the choice Hezekiah made to follow God he led others to do what is right before God.  The example of the king led those under his care to follow what he did.  The same happens in our lives.  The people around us as we make important decisions are impacted by our decisions.  If we do what is right, others will do what is right.

This king trusted in the Lord from the start.  He was destined to do something very different.  His father and many before him chose to everything in their power to do what was opposite of what God wanted.  Many people repeat what their parents did.  That was not the case with Hezekiah.  He chose to start off in a new way.  He chose to please God, and that made things different.

Hezekiah looked at the future and understood the choices in the present would impact the future.  Not only were his choices and example for those around him and for future generations, but those choices were conduits of blessing.  There would literally be a return on his investment to do what honored God.

Finally, Hezekiah was known as a man, a king that prospered because he placed his faith in.  We learn from this one man’s choices that there would be great blessings for a long time for making the best choices today.

We learn from Hezekiah and know that the same is true today.  Our choices to do what is right will influence others to do what is right.  Also our righteous lives open up the opportunity for even more blessings on those who do right and on the people around them.

My desire is to see and hold on to the blessings of our God, but I also want my family, both current and in the future, we be beneficiaries of the same blessings from our gracious God.

Great and godly choices lead to blessings that only God can give!

Friday, April 10, 2015

shaped by our values


This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.

This coming Sunday we complete another session of COMMUNITY 101 which is a 4-week series where people can learn more about being a follower of Jesus and about The Community Fellowship.  It is always an honor to share the vision and history of The Community as well as to dream about the future.

What we have come to understand is that the foundation God has given our church is that we are to share the Gospel as often as possible.  Much of the time that sharing will be tied to meeting needs and serving those around us.  It is the same good news that changed my life that is changing others.

There are many people I am praying for God to get hold of their lives.  God can change anyone.  I am believing Him for even more changed lives.  In fact the Sunday after next we will have baptism in celebration of the lives God is continuing to change!

Realize it is all about Jesus.  Our lives are to focus on Jesus.  Our church is the body of Jesus made us of different people that He has a plan for.  Literally we find our purpose as we lose ourselves in serving others.  That is best summed up in our motto of demonstrating the love of God to our community

The Community has 7 core values that we have built on the premise that God set up His church to change the world.  Here are our core values:

COMMUNITY

We seek to build community in order to exalt God, influence people & encourage one another (see Acts 2:43ff)

RELEVANT 

By sharing God’s message that is as relevant today as it was in Jesus’ day because that message through God still changes lives (see John 14:6, 1 John 1:10)

ACCEPTANCE 

We show the love of love by accepting people as they are (see Romans 14:3 and 15:7)

CREATIVE 

We use creativity in reaching people (see 1 Corinthians 9:19-23) because God's church is be the most creative institution on earth because we have the greatest message to share (that statement is adapted from Mark Batterson).
  
AUTHENTICITY 

One of the best ways to influence people is to be real (see Hebrews 1:3).  When others know our struggles, they will allow God to deal with their struggles.

UNITY

The church should agree to share God's vision (see Philippians 2:1-5) and the message of Jesus.  Agree on the most important thing which is Jesus!

EXPECTATIONS

The church will reach new levels as we seek to hold each other accountable to what God’s word calls us to do and how He tells us to live (see 2 Corinthians 8:5).

Live what you believe.  Chose courage and not comfort.  Don’t hold back.  Don’t miss the best that God has for you and those around you.  What you are passionate about ought to be what you do each day.  My passion is to influence others for Jesus by meeting needs one person at a time.

"whoever shows up the most in peoples lives is going to win the battle of influence" --Matthew Barnett

May God use us to influence others for Him so that He can change even more lives!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

father's love letter


I shared this several years ago and a few times, but in a couple conversations this week I was reminded of the power that comes from knowing and sharing the truth.  This is called “The Father’s Love Letter” and is taken directly from the Bible where God reminds us of who He is and who we are in Him.

My prayer is that as we read through these facts that we take to heart the facts of our faith and God’s love for each of us.

My Child,



You may not know me, but I know everything about you. 
Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. 
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways. 
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. 
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. 
Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring. 
Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived. 
Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation. 
Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake, 
for all your days are written in my book. 
Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth 
and where you would live. 
Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb. 
Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born. 
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented 
by those who don't know me.
John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, 
but am the complete expression of love. 
1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 
1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child 
and I am your Father. 
1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. 
Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father. 
Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. 
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. 
Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. 
Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love. 
Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless 
as the sand on the seashore.
Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. 
Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you. 
Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession. 
Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul. 
Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things. 
Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, 
you will find me. 
Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you 
the desires of your heart. 
Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires. 
Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you 
than you could possibly imagine. 
Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager. 
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you 
in all your troubles. 
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted, 
I am close to you. 
Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb, 
I have carried you close to my heart. 
Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away 
every tear from your eyes. 
Revelation 21:3-4

And I'll take away all the pain 
you have suffered on this earth.
Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you 
even as I love my son, Jesus.
John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. 
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being. 
Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, 
not against you. 
Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression 
of my love for you. 
1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love. 
Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, 
you receive me. 
1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you 
from my love again.
Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party 
heaven has ever seen.
Luke 15:7

I have always been Father, 
and will always be Father.
Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…
Will you be my child? 
John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you. 
Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

(Father's Love Letter used by permission.  Father Heart Communications ©1999 FathersLoveLetter.com)

Watch the video that shares this truth at this link: http://www.fathersloveletter.com/videohd.html

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

helping those in need


I am very proud of our youth who continue to run with the DNA of our church in helping people who are in need.  This coming weekend many of our students and their leaders will be part of the 30 HOUR FAMINE sponsored by World Vision.

Each of our students are encouraged to raise money to help feed hungry people around our world.  They have shared that $35 will feed a child for an entire month.  That is a small amount to give to serve a child, but what is reality for The Community Fellowship is that we are helping hungry people eat every day.  What an honor it is to serve those who are in need.

Please take a few minutes to go to the 30 HOUR FAMINE website and give what you can.  CLICK RIGHT HERE for that website, or you can see any of our students or their leaders (Adrienne or Jennifer) to give your gift.  This pastor and dad is proud of my three children who have made a commitment from noon this Friday until 6pm Saturday to fast from eating to help those who are hungry.  Our students will be serving in various ways this Friday and Saturday.  If you would like to help with this project, CLICK HERE to email Adrienne Hubbard for more details.

Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!  The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble.  The Lord protects them and keeps them alive.  He gives them prosperity in the land and rescues them from their enemies.  The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health.

Years I have been sharing the journey of those who are hungry, hurting and homeless in our community.  Each year this journey gets closer to home and even more of a reality.  But what gets my attention the most is the fact that serving others in the name of Jesus is one of the most difficult things in the world.  Have you noticed that?

People will oppose you along the way.  But Jesus told us that would happen.  There will be times when you have to dig for resources and help.  But Jesus did that as well.  The more we try to help people the more people we meet who need help.  I love this stuff even if it is often frustrating.

Gaining perspective on a regular basis is a must.  We may acknowledge that there are hungry people and people with needs all around us.  The needs are also varied.  The stories I hear break my heart and even lead to some tears.  The toughest or hardest tears for me is when my heart gets attached to a person and I begin to share their journey.  I don’t always have what they need, but there is still hope.

The verses above are the real perspective we need from God.  Literally, God blesses those who serve the poor.  He will rescue them and be their nurse or helper.  It takes courage to really help people.  Did you read that?

It is easy to click on a website and give.  It is easy to hire someone else to go and do something good.  It is tough to leave our comfort zone and join the journey of those who are struggling, yet there nothing more fulfilling than being part of helping someone’s life change.

God didn’t call us to Americanize the world.  We aren’t looking to pack our churches with people.  We are seeking to make sure more people go to heaven.  That means people need real hope.

Why do we feed hungry people?  Who do we help the homeless?  Why do we get involved with those who are hurting?  We do those things because serving wins us the opportunity to share hope!

I challenge you to help our students raise money to feed people.  I ask you to help our church help hurting people (GIVE HERE), but what I really beg you to do is to get out of your comfort zone and spend some time with hurting people and offer someone the real hope that we and they need!

Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal.