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Thursday, July 24, 2014

thinking for a change


Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.

Often we allow the things around us to adjust our thinking or change it all together.  The stuff that distracts us are things that keep us from accomplishing what is best and what God has for us.

It is evident that what many people, and what I have done, is turned my mind off to the things that really matter.  We get busy and find ourselves crashing rather than spending time with the people we care about.  We pick up the computer or our phone rather than spending time reading our Bible or praying.

Thinking for a change is something that we need to do more often.  Several of the books I have been reading and even some conversations have reminded me that my focus and my thinking is my choice.

Thinking is a choice just like stopping thinking is also a choice.  Our minds can either be wasted space or a place where creativity and making a difference is actively happening.

Gandhi said, “be the change you wish to see in this world”.  If we don’t change our thinking, we will not bring change to the world and people around us.

Change is a big deal.  Changing what we think about is a simple choice that will make a big difference in us and in the people around us.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.


back2school:

is 8 days away, and we are still in need of some school supplies.  Donate supplies (see what we need at this LINK).  Volunteer and PRAY!  To give click this LINK and select “back2school”. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

volunteer of the week JEANNIE HOPKINS

This week we honor Jeannie Hopkins as The Community Fellowship’s Volunteer of the Week!

 

Jeannie Hopkins, her husband, GB, and their family have been at The Community Fellowship for 2 years.

 

Jeannie takes care of our Emergency Food Pantry making sure that there is always food to be given to people in need when they come to us for help.  Being an avid couponer, Jeannie uses her skills not only to benefit our Pantry and the food ministries that she is involved in, but she also helps others learn to coupon and be better able to take care of their own families.

 

During our 2nd Saturday breakfasts Jeannie often volunteers in the kitchen helping prepare the meals and aiding those that need assistance.

 

Jeannie is involved in several areas of our back2school event.  She worked in the Pack the Bus Ministry recently, and she has been busy sorting and counting the school supplies as they come in.  On August 2nd Jeannie will be washing the children’s feet and ministering to them as they come to get their new shoes, book bags, school supplies and clothes.

 

In August Jeannie will join a group from our church going on a Mission Trip to Nicaragua.  She has been busy sewing dresses, by hand, to give to the people they will meet there.

 

Jeannie does outreach ministry in the community and recently was told by a formerly homeless woman she met through the REACH Ministry that it was because of her (Jeannie’s) stubbornness in wanting to help her that she is now getting disability benefits and attending church.  This lady also recently learned that she has a medical condition that would have led to her death if she hadn’t gotten medical attention when she did.

 

During her spare time Jeannie loves to spend time with her children, George, Nathan, Andrew and James.  Next Tuesday is Jeannie’s birthday as well, and we want wish her a great birthday!

 

Jeannie’s favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13 “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

 

We are tremendously happy to recognize Jeannie Hopkins as our Volunteer of the Week!  Thank you, Jeannie, for showing the love of God to our community!

 

 

***  for more information about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center call 276-647-8231 or email cmartin@thecommunityfellowship.org.  to give online click on this link https://tcf.ccbchurch.com/trx_submit.php?type=public_gift ***

back2school NOTES

Hey Community Family

 

Here are lots of notes for us to digest and share.

 

BACKPACKS WILL BE PACKED TUESDAY, JULY 29th @ 6PM at our new campus.  This will be a fun time of preparing for our event.  Be there!

 

VOLUNTEER TRAINING @ TCF THURSDAY, JULY 31st @ 7PM --- It is important for all our volunteers to be at this event.  Shirts will be given out this night as well!

 

SHOES HAVE BEEN ORDERED, yet we have learned that we will be missing a few sizes such as boys sizes 1 through 4.  If you would like to help find these shoes with us, please send me an email to mharrison@thecommunityfellowship.org.  Thanks!

 

SCHOOL SUPPLIES have been counted, and here is the list of supplies we still need.  Please pass this list on to others AND get these to church before Monday at noon.

 

back2school Supply List ---  WHAT WE STILL NEED 

Crayons, 189 MORE

Glue Sticks, 269 MORE

Wide Ruled Notebooks Or Composition books, 110 MORE

Wide Ruled Paper, 660 MORE

College Ruled Paper, 337 MORE

Pocket Folders, 428 MORE

 

VOLUNTEERS FOR SPECIAL NEEDS day, August 1st, are needed.  Please let Tracy Mosley know that you will help.  Call her at 276-340-8516 or email her at tracy_mosley_99@yahoo.com.  Volunteers will need to arrive at 8am as we will begin at 9am with 20 to 25 students per hour.  People are needed for ALL areas, especially foot washing and clothes closet.  If you bring your children, they will need to stay with you the entire time you are here.  Pass this need to others.

 

DAY OF THE EVENT.... watch for more details to come.

 

CELEBRATION will be Sunday, August 3rd at 6pm at The Community Fellowship. Please plan to attend this event and share with others.  Samaritan's Feet founder and leader Manny Ohonome will be with us that evening.

 

Thanks for helping.  There is more to come!!!  but that is enough for now

 


 

PASTOR MICHAEL

-- James 1:5

it's an honor to lead


If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?

I have spent several hours over the last few weeks planning to lead better.  In fact several people have come to have conversations with me about where our church is heading and how our leaders, including me, are helping others be who God made them to be.

It hurts my heart when I see people in my community in two different places.  The first people are those who are in need and have no way to help themselves.  The second is the people who have all they need and more but won’t do anything to help those in need.

That is why I believe God called The Community Fellowship to be alive.  We are to find needs and meet them.  By doing that we create opportunities to share our faith.

In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Our faith really is like light.  I have heard some people say that literally those who are in need have seen Christians shining light from their bodies.  God works through His kids, that’s us, and by serving and sharing others see and meet God.

Mark 10:45  NLT
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Jesus did it, and we must do it too.  Serving others is incredible.  But what is more incredible and inspiring to me is leading others to serve and care about other people.

We don’t serve to make ourselves feel better or to do penance.  We serve to honor God and share Christ.  It really is that simple.

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

Call it out.  It is an honor to serve.  For me it’s an honor to lead, and each of us have great freedom.  Use your freedom to serve others and not yourself.  That displays and lifts up and shares pure, unconditional love.

We are called to change our community which is not about telling people “come to church with us”, but it is about “sharing the love of God with no strings attached”.  Then, and only then, will God show Himself to others.  It’s an honor to lead.  So, lead others to serve as you are serving.


Pray:

Registration for our back2school outreach is over, and we are preparing for the big day August 2nd.  Volunteer or donate and PRAY!  To give click this LINK and select “back2school”. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I love these people


The back2school outreach event for 2014 is 10 days away, and it is consuming my time, energy and my heart.  This is one of the greatest things that our church and our partners get to be part.  I am so excited about the students and families that we are get to serve through this event.

As I looked around the gym of our new campus today there were about 40 people from all 5 of our partner churches working together to gather the school supplies we will share.  Looking a little further I saw other partners like local stores, other churches, a school system, friends and other agencies.  Really blew me away, but this is only the beginning.

Our group is about to experience even more as we prepare to serve and serve students.  Please join us all in praying for more students to register tonight (it takes place at all 5 churches from 6 to 8pm tonight). 

Working together makes all of us stronger.  We are able to accomplish more together than we could by ourselves.

Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together.  The Lord has spoken!

By working together God’s will get the glory, and people will see God.  That is the most important thing.  He will be revealed because of the unity that comes when churches come together not to fight or to serve ourselves but to serve people all around our community.

For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.

When we come together, we are not alone.  God is all over the place.  In fact prayers are being answered already.  Prayers like people being saved.  That happened today.  Prayers like enough supplies and shoes to share.  That is still happening.  Prayers like new partners and people interested in helping.  That keeps on happening, and I love to tell the story about what God is doing.

Psalm 34:3  NLT
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.

God is great.  One thing I love to see and hear is when our leaders step up to serve and come up with great ideas and solutions.  I am seeing that almost every day as well.  I am reminded that alone is not the place God called me to work.  His greatness is seen and experienced when we chose to work together.

I love these people.  From our partner churches some are Baptist and some are Pentecostal.  It takes all of us to make it happen.  I love these people that recently came to our church that have stepped up and are spending their time and energy to make this a great event.  I love these people like the peeps who help every year and make it all happen.

This is our 7th year, and it is going to be awesome.  Be reminded that it is by the call of God and His grace that we come together to do great things and see God do amazing things.  I love God, and I love these people!        

Acts 2:46  NLT
They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—


NOTE
back2school outreach event is 10 days away.  Volunteer or donate!  But most of all pray for all involved.  To give click this LINK and select “back2school”. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

focus on God


By focusing on God many things change.  Literally we change when our eyes, our minds and our hearts are pointing in the direction of the one who matters and the one who leads us to new places and into new connections.

The Apostle Paul was driven to focus on God because all the situations that he found himself in would have led to lots of grief, depression and even death if his focus wasn’t on God.  His focus was on the purpose that God gave him as well as time with God.  Time with God gives us perspective.

If Paul, or any of us for that matter, allow what people say or think to make us take our focus off of God, we are in deep trouble.  We will at that point find ourselves exhausted, depressed and feeling like a failure.

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God.  If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.

Paul’s focus as he states here is on pleasing God.  From his life and the lives of the people he was an influence on brought glory to God.  Literally that is what this is all about.  Without the presence of God and time with God, we will miss what is most important.

Our focus is God.  We agree on that, but that agreement cannot be superficial or hypocritical.  To know and believe what God says helps us to be real.  Proper focus makes a big difference.

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.

Jesus is our life.  He is holding my life and my future in His perfect hands.  Keeping my life and purpose set on Him means that success and greatness is based on what God says and not on others. 

What Jesus did for us is incredible.  Did you realize that Jesus died for our sins before we committed them?

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.

The times we were helpless were way after Jesus died.  There you have another reason for proper focus on God.  He made me whole before I needed it.  That fact gives us reason to rely on what God says rather than on what people say or think about us.  If we are seeking the approval of people and not God, we have our focus on the wrong person.

Join me in taking some time to focus on God today and this week!


Our back2school outreach event is 11 days away.  Volunteer or donate supplies AND pray for all involved.  To give click this LINK and select “back2school”.  Thank you for your help.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

pray on the 45's

Hello Community family and friends ---

I want to invite you... no challenge you... to join me and others to pray for our church family, those we serve, our outreach and our new campus each Sunday at 45 past the hour.  That's at:
 
  • 7:45
  • 8:45
  • 9:45
  • 10:45
  • 11:45

If you are in the building, join us to pray!  God is blowing us away with answered prayer and so much more.  He is and continues to change lives.  My desire is for more.  How about you?

Join me.  Let's pray!


With GOD as my guide,

Pastor Michael Harrison
-- James 1:5


***  for more information about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center call 276-647-8231 or emailcmartin@thecommunityfellowship.org.  to give online click on this link https://tcf.ccbchurch.com/trx_submit.php?type=public_gift ***

Friday, July 18, 2014

helping others


NOTE: much of today’s devotion was first shared in December 2011.

I am preparing to go to Nicaragua at the end of August with a group of people from our church.  We will encounter poverty at levels that is not seen in the area we will in, yet people in need are all around us.  We must be careful to open our eyes and even ask God to show us who we can serve.

Opportunities to help people will pass us by if we let it.  Being humans our normal mode is to put on blinders and only deal with our own issues and our own life while allowing situations and people to pass us by.  That reminds me of the time when someone saw a lady getting mugged on the street, yet they passed by after doing nothing to help.  Sounds like the story of the “good Samaritan” to me.

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?

We say that we love God, and we even go to church and can quote scripture.  Yet we see someone in need and move on.  How can we keep on doing that?  The excuses we come up with may be that we don’t have enough money or don’t have the resources the person might need, but we do have some of what they need.  We might even know where this person, another human loved by God, can get what they need.  But we too often walk on by.

Here is an example of what breaks my heart… American Christians are making a difference in many places here and around the world.  Our call is NOT to Americanize people, making them look like or act like we do.  God’s call on us and His church is to share the hope that comes from knowing Jesus.  Many times for people to hear what we have to say we have to meet their needs.  I believe the best way to meet needs is to go where people are.

For too long we have expected people to come to where we are, dress the way we want them to and talk the way we think they should talk.  Watch out!  Lost people often act lost.  Hello!  Hurting people act like hurting people.  It is time for each of us to take the love that God has given us and give it to others.

That might mean we have to get our hands dirty.  That might mean we have to learn another language or find someone who can interpret what we are saying.  It means we have to leave our comfort zone and go to where it is not so comfortable.  It means that we have to leave where we are and go somewhere else.  Know anyone who has done that before?  Think about this guy: JESUS.  He left heaven and came to earth. 

Love really does mean helping others.  I long to serve the people around me.  Often serving means I might not always be comfortable, I might not always understand, I might have to live by faith, I might have to join with others to help more people, I might have to give some of what I have away, I might have to put in to practice what I read in the Bible, I might have to … what?  What might you and I have to do so that we can show that we believe LOVE MEANS … HELPING OTHERS?

16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters… 18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

what I see


Joy or sorrow.  Happy or sad.  Those seem to be the stance that most people take as they look at the people around them, but what I want to draw out attention to today is the fact that God is the one who ought to set our feelings as well as our faith.

Too often we allow others to determine how we feel about ourselves and about life.  Take this a step further and notice that when we are not feeling good that taking our feelings out on others through our words or our actions is not a good thing.  When we aren’t happy with ourselves, it is easy to let that determine how we treat others.

… The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them.  People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Jesus told us that some people will try to remove a small sin from another person’s life before removing the big sin from their own life.  That’s a bad deal.  By focusing on others we are drawn away from looking at ourselves.  God’s desire is to change our heart and not our habits.  His love for us changes us from the inside out.

We have to be so careful that we check our motives and the reason why we judge or treat others in certain ways.  Do we try to look good to others when we simply don’t like ourselves at that point.

You blind Pharisee!  First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.

The mask that we wear and masking our feelings doesn’t help our faith at all.  Jesus said that we are fake when we don’t start with the inside.  What I believe Jesus meant by this, at least a part of it, is that how we look at others is dictated by the way we thin about ourselves.  Often our thinking is wrong, twisted, messed up and selfish.

Luke 6:37  NLT
Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you.  Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.

By forgiving and accepting others we begin to look more and more like Jesus.  When we accept others, we begin to get honest about and accept ourselves.

It bothers me greatly when I see people, even myself, treating others poorly because of the pain that is in their lives, in their mind and deep in their heart.  What I see is not what God sees.  Therefore it is time to live by faith and love people the way God loves them.