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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mother's Day Car Care Clinic --- correct date

Hey COMMUNITY family and friends ---

Our Mother's Day Car Care Clinic is Saturday, May 10th and not the 3rd as the last email said.  Please help us pass the word.  Also help us find those who would like to serve and those who need to be serve.  Thank you and see you all Sunday!

With GOD as my guide,

Pastor Michael
-- James 1:5


*** to give online click on THIS LINK.  For more information about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center or back2school go to www.thecommunityfellowship.org, email cmartin@thecommunityfellowship.org or call 276-647-8231 ***

don't miss the sweet stuff

Hello COMMUNITY family and friends!!!  Last Sunday was Easter, and it was awesome.  God is setting us up for what we are soon to know as MORE.  Join us in praying for MORE.  MORE lives to be changed.  MORE resources to share with others.  MORE experiences and sweet time with Jesus.

Before we head in to the weekend, we'd like to share with you some of the things you can be part of in the weeks to come.  None of us can do it all, but chose to serve.  It is gonna be good.

WORK DAY @ NEW CAMPUS

Each Saturday from 9am until about noon there will be people working at our new campus (700 Commerce Ct., Martinsville , VA) to prepare for our future as well for a mission team that is coming the last week of May to frame up our new facility.  Bring your work gloves, brooms, shovels, wheel barrels and more.  

COMMUNITY 101 BEGINS SUNDAY

There is room for more of you to be part of our membership and deeper understanding class.  If you wish to know more about your salvation and more about The Community Fellowship, this is the place for you.  It begins this Sunday and will happen for one hour after worship the next four weeks.  Lunch will be provided for those in the class.  Let us know you want to be a part by emailing Pastor Michael atmharrison@thecommunityfellowship.org.  This is always a great time of getting to know more people and growing closer to God.  This is also the class one must take to join the church.  Hope several of you will join us.

MOTHER'S DAY CAR CARE CLINIC

It will be Saturday, May 10th from 9am until noon.  That is the same time as our 2nd Saturday FREE Community Meal and Clothes Closet.  We will begin to take reservations this weekend and seek to serve 60 or more ladies with FREE OIL CHANGES and general diagnostics.  We need mechanics, helpers and folks willing to work.  We will also offer manicures and pedicures. That means we need some ladies who like to serve in this way.  Let us know this Sunday how you want to serve as we demonstrate the love of God to our community in this special way.

MISSION TEAM, MEMORIAL DAY WEEK

We are excited about the beginning of greater work at our new campus.  Memorial Day week we will have more than 60 workers converge on our community to begin the process of framing out the new campus, especially the children's and sanctuary areas.  Please pray for the things needed to help this happen.  Pray for finances and resources.  Pray for permission and permits.  Pray for our contractor, Kenny Locklear, and all the workers who will work before, during and after.  God really is setting us up for more.

WORK WITH OUR COMMUNITY KIDS

Would you like to help with preschool or children's ministry?  There is a place for you to help.  Please see Julie Harrison to let us know that you want to help our kids grow in Christ.  Write Julie atjmand3r@gmail.com to get involved.

THIS WEEKEND ... LET'S WORSHIP

This Sunday will be week 2 of our BROKEN series.  We will talk about how God takes us when we are broken and begins the healing process as well as uses us for His good.  God has never given up on us.  Don't give up either.  Invite someone to come with you to church this Sunday.  It all begins at 10:10am Sunday morning.  See you then!


*** to give online click on THIS LINK.  For more information about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center or back2school go to www.thecommunityfellowship.org, email cmartin@thecommunityfellowship.org or call 276-647-8231 ***

wisdom of God


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.

Ask God for insight and do you know what you will get?  God will give you an answer and help.  That is His promise to His children, to you and me.  Not only is our God real, but He is active in the lives of His children.  Why is it that we miss Him at times or even fail to hear His voice?  It could be because we are not looking for an answer or asking for His help.

There are times that we have unplugged ourselves from God.  It could happen because of pain in our lives or even from experiencing good times.  I don’t believe that we step away from God.  We simply make choices that takes our focus off of Him, but that isn’t that our enemies plan?

He wants to distract us and remove from our lives the possibility of God taking us to the next level.  Why you haven’t moved to the next level might be because you have allowed the distractions of this life and your enemy way too much influence.  That is a big reason we need the wisdom of God.

19 years ago I began a search that led me to study in depth Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.  It really was an eye opening experience!  Come to find out, some of the same notes I made then have been of huge value to my work and to my life now.  God is always working.  He gives us His best.  It is our opportunity and choice to make to listen and look to God for wisdom and for help.

One of the best tools I found, other than my Bible, was a small book I bought during that time I of study.  Yes, I read some of it, and then placed the book on the shelf.  Several years later I began reading another book by the same author.  I compared my notes from the two books, both written by Peter Kreeft, I saw some huge truths God has been placing in my life.

Kreeft wrote much that blew me away, many things that made me stop and think as well as a lot of things that God used to give me insight into His heart.  Here is one short passage from How to Win the Culture War (page 118-):

"Because truth is stronger than falsehood, light is stronger than darkness.  Whenever the light shines into the darkness, the darkness cannot comprehend it: it cannot understand it, cannot surround it and cannot put it out... The blood that saved the world two thousand years ago still flows and still accomplishes the same work.  Insofar as we let ourselves be Christ's blood bank, we will save our society and our world."

Hear my thought: the world needs Jesus, and we need God's wisdom to give Jesus to the world.  It really is that simple.

Are we willing to set aside our own agenda and our own desires so that people will go to heaven?  It isn’t easy, but it is our purpose to be part of God's plan in sharing His truth.  In Proverbs I found some more wood for the fire, ammunition for the gun, thought for our minds and more push to place us in the presence of God.  Read on (and may we get more of God's wisdom):

Proverbs 2 (nlt)
Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.  Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.  Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.  Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God.  For the Lord grants wisdom!  From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.  He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.  He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.


NOTE: much of this post was shared in February of 2007.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

shoes and feet


Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.

This was an incredible day as some of our back2school team was able to go to Charlotte to celebrate with our ministry partners, Samaritan’s Feet, for their 10th anniversary.  This will be our 5th year of partnering with these awesome people who have a big vision to share hope with children around the world through the vehicle of giving shoes and washing feet.

It was a blessing to meet Manny and Tracie Ohonme who are the visionaries and leaders of this great ministry.  For the last 10 years they have pushed forward and experienced God in wonderful ways.  Over the last several years I have heard stories of how shoes have been given to children across the United States as well in many countries across the globe.

Yet in a more personal way we have watched hundreds of volunteers in our area serve children by washing their feet, talking to them about their hopes, and giving them brand new shoes.  There is nothing like watching a child be opposed to having their feet washed to being humble enough to talk and go through this precious process.  Then turn to look at our servant volunteers as they are engrossed in this project with many of them in tears as their hearts have been touched.

As Manny shared today, “washing someone’s feet is one of the most intimate and humble acts because feet are one of the dirtiest parts of our bodies.”  Jesus washed the feet of those closest to Him that included Judas, the one who betrayed Him.  There is no greater position to take than serving people who cannot serve you in return.

That really is why we do what we do.  That is why we serve the people in our community.  By using whatever resource we have, that might be food or clothes or school supplies or a number of other things, we win the right to share Jesus with people and see lives changed.

Jesus is still in the business of caring for people right where they are.  Today we were in a room of 200 plus people committed to making a difference in our world.  Businessmen, pastors, benefactors, families, friends, ministry workers and more came together to celebrate what God has done through the last 10 years that Samaritan’s Feet has been alive and to set the course for the years to come.

Shoes and feet is one place we chose to serve the people around us.  Seeing people as God sees them will change us and change each of these precious people we get to serve.  I cannot wait to see how God uses the various outreaches we are part of as well as our ministry partner, Samaritan’s Feet.  Pray for more lives to be changed and more people to say YES to serving people in the name of Jesus!

Luke 22:26  NLT
But among you it will be different.  Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.

NOTE: if you would like to help fund or serve with our back2school outreach, please send me an email to mharrison@thecommunityfellowship.org.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

happy moments


Acts 11:23  NLT
When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord.

Thank you for spending some time with today’s devotion, but I am going to take some time today sharing personal moments from Easter weekend.  I am calling them “happy moments” because I saw the hand of God that also brought big encouragement my way.

Soon time after worship ended on Easter Sunday one of our children’s teachers came up to see me with one of our young guys.  What I heard next was worth more than you may know.  Logan had accepted Jesus as his Savior in our children’s worship.  That made our Easter celebration incredible. 

A few minutes later I was talking with two ladies.  They are the same age, and when we moved to Virginia, almost 13 years ago, both helped baby sit our girls.  They have grown in to two beautiful ladies with kids of their own.  I am proud of the Christ followers they continue to be.

Before our Easter worship began I was talking with several people visiting our church.  One of our men introduced me to a friend that he had been praying for and sharing with for some time.  The friend took steps to follow Jesus that day.  Several others introduced me to friends they invited and brought to church as well.  That’s a happy moment!

The weekend began with some conversations that aren’t very easy for parents to have with their kids, yet this conversation in particular took a turn in a better direction.  Let me say that I am proud of my children.  Proud of their decisions.  Proud of their hearts.  Proud of the people and Jesus followers they are becoming.  I pray they will see in their mother and I vision for God’s best for them and for our family.

You might think that I am always up, joyful and full of nice things to say, but that is not always the case.  Late last week I got a note from someone that I rarely hear from, and it was not very nice.  But my desire is always to turn things from negative to positive, to be kind when others are seeking to do harm.  The choice I had was either to hand back harshness or to be kind.  I chose the later, and I have spent time praying for a difficult situation and those in it.  Haven’t seen any change as of yet, but I am believing God for lives to be turned toward Him.

On Friday morning I got an email from one of Raceway Ministry leaders about our friends Ron and Jackie Pegram whose son, Pat, had seen missing for several days.  Since then I have gotten a report each day from Ron, and his son has yet to be found.  My heart breaks for this precious family.  I have watched Ron over the years minister to lots of people in the racing community and through our friends at Samaritan Feet.  Jackie is gifted in sharing Jesus with kids.  My life and ministry is stronger because of what they have poured in to my life.  Pray for this special family and that their son would be found.

Turning in another direction that is much more positive I was so excited to hear how God worked in so many churches over the weekend.  Some of those churches are local and some are a long way off.  I heard about hundreds of people who gave their lives to Jesus.  I also heard of some new churches that kicked off this weekend that I pray will do great things leading and serving people in Jesus’ name.

I close with something that rings in my mind that makes me more excited than anything else.  It is about men who are seeking Jesus and allowing their lives to shine for Jesus.  I talked to a man whose dad died last week, and his biggest concern is family members who do not know Jesus.  I was touched and am praying for their salvation.  I watched one of our young leaders at church step up to serve, and what came to my mind was the time I watched him begin to follow Jesus.  In another direction I see a lady who began serving with one of our outreach ministries and is now passionate about helping people meet Jesus.  Those stories don’t end.

God’s love is not tied up in what we own.  God’s love is tied up in us.  He loves people.  He loves us.  He loves you and me.  We must be the same in loving people more than we love anything else.  It ought to make our day when we see someone begin to walk with Jesus.  Those really are the happiest of all moments.

May God bring more happy moments our way!

The humble will see their God at work and be glad.  Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sunday & the empty tomb


…Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?  He isn’t here!  He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee,

Friday was one of the most difficult days for those who followed Jesus.  I refer to the day we call “Good Friday” which didn’t seem very good from the outside looking in.  It was the day that Jesus died.  Yet without Friday we wouldn’t have Sunday.

The verses above came up on Sunday morning.  Women had gone to the grave to finish preparing Jesus’ body for burial, but as they arrived Jesus’ body wasn’t these.  An angel from God appeared to them and shared the dialogue we read in that verse.  Think about if you would had been there and how shocked and out of breath you would be.

Without Jesus’ death and resurrection we would not have the salvation that God offers to those who will accept it.  Passion of the Cross and the empty tomb signify for us the love of God sealed for us making our salvation real.

The Easter story is one of a love story between the creator and the people He created, between God and man, between hope and the hopeless, between Him and me, you and Him.  I pray that you will be so overcome with His love that you have to share it with others today and along your way.

Jesus’ life and death sealed for us what God did for us.  Here is a verse that stuck out to me in preparing for yesterday’s sermon:

But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. 
He was beaten so we could be whole.  He was whipped so we could be healed.

He made us whole.  He completed us by His taking our sins on Him.  That was God’s plan from the start and continues to be God’s plan for changing lives today.

I ask that you spend some time reading through the following verses and contemplated what Jesus did and how God’s love completed us. 

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.  Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human, being.
 When he appeared in human form 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised from the dead to make us right with God.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Jesus set aside His divinity to become human so He could take away our sin. 

He did not retaliate when he was insulted.  When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.  He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds!

Pull apart those truths.  Each of those verses is laced with the love of God that completes us.  It takes us from death to life, from condemnation to forgiveness.  That is how big God’s love is and how sweet the truth of our Easter holiday is.  May we be so touched by His love that we cannot stay the same!

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.  But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

Friday, April 18, 2014

EASTER: it's Friday


Easter is the best time for those who chose to follow Jesus.  That seems like somewhat of an ironic statement, but it is not.  Jesus’ life, death and finally His resurrection are what our salvation is completely hung upon.  Without the grace of God to take our sin and place it on Jesus, we could not and would not be offered salvation.

This week of history known as the last of Jesus’ life was wrapped in the celebration of the Passover.  This was the time to remember what happened when God’s people were in captivity, and it was the time when all first-born children were being killed.  Yet if a family followed the plan of God placing the blood of a lamb over the doorpost of their homes, the death angel would pass over their homes.

That is what Jesus became for us.  He shed His blood on the cross, and thus Jesus became our Passover Lamb.  Before His death we find ourselves on Friday.  It was the day that He died.  It was the day that we began to live.  It’s Friday.

29 They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. 31 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified. 32 Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross.

The road was busy all the time that Jesus had to carry His cross down.  It had to be heavy.  It had to be very difficult.  That’s when an innocent bystander was asked to get involved.  Simon didn’t know that his faith would need to be seen that day.

It was hard to carry the cross because Jesus had been beaten within a few minutes of laying down His life already.  Everyone seems to have turned against the man who had for a couple years turned the kingdom upside down.  He healed the sick.  He raised the dead.  He made waves and lives were changed because Jesus didn’t live for Himself.  It’s Friday.

35 After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.

Calvary or Golgotha was the end of their walking trip.  It was the place where executions took place.  Literally it was a hill outside of Jerusalem’s city walls where people could see what happened and tell their kids that this would happen to anyone that broke the law.  Yet our Jesus isn't and never was a lawbreaker.  In His own words He came to fulfill the entire law. 

By the nails in His feet and hands the sentence continued to be carried out.  His life meant much, but religious and government leaders wanted Jesus gone.  Many called this the battle between Jews and the government, but really this was the battle between Satan and God. 

Jesus took on darkness to bring us into the light.  Max Lucado wrote (and I loosely quote), “Jesus went to Hell for us so He wouldn’t have to go to Heaven without us.”  It was Friday.  Friday changed everything because of what Jesus did.

46 At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” … 50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, … 54 The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

God turned His back on his son on Friday because in the time between Jesus’ death on Friday and His resurrection on Sunday our sins were paid for in full.  Friday was and always will be an important day.

It’s Friday, and we celebrate the life of our Savior.  Spend some time today following Jesus with all your heart.


(If you live near us, join us this Sunday for Easter Worship at The Community Fellowship at 10:10am)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

living proof


The greatest man to ever live was Jesus.  His plan given to Him by His father was to let the entire world know of His love.  God’s plan is clear and is for us.  What we understand this week, the week before Easter, is how important this story really is.  When a person gets it, the story gets them and radically changes us.

2 Peter 3:9  NASB
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

John 3:17  NASB
For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

God chose Jesus to be the sacrifice for sin and the savior of the world, but God chose our sharing of His story to be the way that people come to know Him.  Those two things, Jesus’ sacrifice and our sharing, are eternally linked to the life change that continues to happen in this world.

Not everyone gets this story.  It really is useless or foolish if a person doesn’t see their need for Jesus.  That is why I pray God reveals Himself to the people we come in contact with.  Easter is a revealing time.

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction!  But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.

It is the power of God, yet life isn’t easy.  We have found that to be true.  We read the stories of others throughout history who have found that knowing God and following Jesus is the most difficult thing in the world. 

Get some perspective.  Eternity is a really long time.  Our short life on earth and all the suffering cannot compare to the time we will spend in Heaven and with God.  Jesus lived that truth and was living proof for all to see.  He keeps on living that truth.

Romans 8:18  NASB
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

The enemy is real.  His way is to distract us and to shade the truth.  If Satan can get our mind off of God and change our direction from following Him, we will miss the purpose God has for us and the abundance He wants to bless us with.  Who are we allowing to fill our lives?

The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.

I close today’s thoughts with a verse that continues to baffle me.  I shared it Sunday with our church.  It is strong.  Strong because the good news is that Jesus is our life.  It is strong.  Strong because Jesus and others have become living proof that Jesus is what life is all about.

For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true.  And you know that the way we lived among you was further proof of the truth of our message.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter is Sunday. Who are you inviting?

Who are you inviting to come with you to church this Sunday?   It is Easter.   It is the time we celebrate Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.   Worship is at 10:10am, and we will have a great time and a surprise as well.  Think about your family, your friends, neighbors, co-workers or others who might need some encouragement!  Invite each of them to come to church with you this Easter Sunday!!!!

*** to give online go to THIS LINK.  for more info about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center call 276-647-8231 or email us at cmartin@thecommunityfellowhsip.org ***

Easter quotes




This is not just another holiday.  It is a holy day.  It is another day that culture has twisted, shaded and pointed in another direction.  It is the day or the weekend that we remember the death of the greatest leader of all time.  It is the time when we walk back in to the tomb and find once again, same as last time, it is empty because our Savior is alive and well.  It is a day that lifts and celebrates the radical change that Jesus Christ continues to bring to this world.

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.  Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.  Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

Think about this incredible point of history, this Spiritual mountain and this day of salvation …

A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world.  It was a perfect act. --- Mahatma Gandhi

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song. --- Pope John Paul II

The great gift of Easter is hope - Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake. --- Basil Hume

Easter was when Hope in person surprised the whole world by coming forward from the future into the present. ---  N.T. Wright

And he departed from our sight that we might return to our heart, and there find Him.  For He departed, and behold, He is here.  --- St Augustine

If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn't rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead. --- Timothy Keller

There you have a few quotes from respected Christian leaders.  Each quote or thought digs us in a little deeper to the truth behind our Easter celebration.  Jesus is God’s son.  Jesus is our Savior.  Jesus is hope and grace and life and so much more for those of us who chose to follow Him. 

May this week lead us to think about and worship Him even more.  Easter gives us a reason to let our faith soar for our Savior is alive and well helping others be the same.


Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.  Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die…