Two Questions

Two Questions to Consider 

I love good questions, they help us think clearly and grow wise.  Questions can inspire discovery and innovation.  Whenever I study a passage of scripture, I try to ask questions of the text because I believe those questions help me understand God’s wisdom, and apply that wisdom to my life.  Recently, I was studying Colossians 2:6-7, “Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, so continue to grow in Him, rooted and built up in the faith as you are taught, and overflowing with thanksgiving.”  Reflecting on this passage allowed me to consider two very important questions. Listen to the Feb 4 sermon, “Two Questions to Consider.”

  1. First question: Have I truly received Jesus Christ as Lord?  There is a difference between having an opinion about Jesus and making a commitment to Jesus.  Receiving Christ Jesus as Lord means more than just believing that He is the Son of God who died on the cross and rose from the dead.  It also means making a commitment to receive Jesus as my Savior and Lord, and to commit my life to Him by seeking to live as He would have me live.  This is what people mean when they talk about having a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”  It is more than an opinion, it is a relationship that requires an intentional decision to be committed.  In the same way that I committed myself to be in a personal relationship with my wife on our wedding day, I need to make sure that I have committed to be in a relationship with Jesus, and that I have made that decision clearly and earnestly.
  2. Second question: Am I continuing to grow in Him?  In other words, am I living out the implications of my commitment to Jesus.  A commitment to receive him as Lord implies a commitment to continue growing mature as a follower of Jesus Christ.  There is a difference between “trying” to become spiritually mature and “training” to become spiritually mature.  Christians are called to “train” themselves to become mature (1 Timothy 4:7).  This requires intentional effort and consistent discipline, so I must make sure that I make time in my daily and weekly schedule to invest myself in Bible study, worship, fellowship and service so that I can continue to grow.

These two questions really summarize the basic steps of the Christian life: making a commitment to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and then continuing the spiritual growth process implied by that commitment. In this way, we become the people we were meant to be, and make the best of our life for the rest of our life.

Pastor Mark Miller

What Would I Say to Tammy?

Tammy was a teenager who was part of the youth group in the church I served as a Pastor many years ago.  Once, while engaging the youth in a discussion about the importance of attending weekly worship services at church, Tammy challenged me.  She argued that church services were boring and a waste of her time.  She felt closer to God when she walked her dog in the park, and she explained that her relationship with God was “a private, personal thing between her and God.”  When Tammy finished with her short speech, I did not know what to say to her.  Now, many years later, I wonder where Tammy is and I’ve figured out what I wish I could say to her. Listen to the Jan 28 sermon, “What Would I Say to Tammy?”

I would tell Tammy that while our relationship with God is personal, it’s not entirely private.  There is a corporate and community identity that we share as part of the people of God (1 Peter 2:9-12).  When we gather on the Lord’s Day, with the Lord’s People, in the Lord’s House, it is a public profession of that personal relationship with God, and it is a reminder that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, we are connected to a bigger community of Faith where we worship, grow and serve together.  Participating in corporate worship on a regular basis helps us to remember who we are and Who’s we are.

I would also tell Tammy that corporate worship inspires us to serve others. I know it is possible to do kind deeds of compassion on our own, but the corporate nature of the Church allows us to pool resources, energy, and abilities in a way that allows us to do big things that impact many lives.  Over the year, my participation in the Church has allowed me to build hospitals, orphanages, dig fresh water wells, provide medical equipment, feed thousands, and do so much more.  Corporate worship is the place where we remember the call to serve the poor, hurting and needy.  Through worship, we are inspired to be servants of the Servant, who declared, “when you serve the least of these, you have served me.” (Matthew 25:34-40).

Finally, I would tell Tammy that attending Church exposes us to opportunities for spiritual growth that can help us become the people we were meant to be.  I am sorry that some Church worship services can be boring at times, but if they are led well, and if time and attention is invested in making the worship experience excellent, then few hours of the week can be more beneficial to our spiritual growth than the hour spent in public worship.  Perhaps this is why the Bible encourages us to be consistent in practicing “The Discipline of Assembly” and we are warned not to neglect gathering together (Hebrews 10:25).

Pastor Mark Miller

Eagle Eyrie Experience

Forty-six of our CREW middle and high school students headed to Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center in Lynchburg this fall for their retreats.  Brock Morgan, a national youth speaker, challenged the students to not listen to the lies of guilt and shame, realize that they were worthy to God and that the hope of the gospel was for them even if they felt they were far from God.  Carter Thornton remarked, “I have been going to Eagle Eyrie since seventh grade and it has changed my life spiritually and emotionally. I have become a more open person from going and meeting random people and my faith in the Lord has grown through these new encounters. I thank my church and Eagle Eyrie for making it possible and will definitely miss it (since this was my last year).”  The middle school retreat had cold weather but the time of worship and small groups was incredibly powerful.    On the high school retreat our students were up front in the auditorium and participated with excitement in everything offered.  The joy though, was almost all our students either recommitted their lives to Jesus or accepted Jesus as their Savior!   “I’ve been to Eagle Eyrie 7 times now, but each trip is unique and full of adventure. As I’ve gotten older I’ve begun to take it to heart more as it has truly had a lasting impact on my faith journey. Eagle Eyrie is a worldly reminder to continue on my personal spiritual race. This year, the food was amazing, the speaker was outstanding, and while the weather was cold, the hearts were warm. I’m overjoyed to have been able to attend one final time as a student, and I pray they continue to do works in the lives of teens for time to come,” Jake Brown.  These retreats are a highlight of our Student Ministry and your prayers and support are a gift to each student that attends.