Family Worship Guide – 02/11/2018

Although we are always saddened when on occasion we have to cancel our Sunday morning worship service we believe that it honors Christ when we look after the well being and safety of those who regularly attend and occasionally visit Freshwater Church.

Since we are not able to meet together this morning due to unsafe driving conditions we encourage each Freshwater family to use this Family Worship Guide and worship the Lord together today. If you can imagine it if we all commit to lead each of our individual families in worship today (let’s say at 10:00 AM or so…) our church family will worship together; we will read the same Scripture, sing the same songs, pray together, and receive the same word from the Scriptures. We can worship together from our own homes.

Moments like these are a certain kind of challenge as we draw strength and encouragement from meeting together, but they also remind us that Christ is our very life, he is the head of the Church, he is worthy of our worship, and he is greater than our circumstances.

Welcome to worship!

Call to Worship

– Read our weekly Call to Worship passage together or have one person read it aloud for everyone…

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (CSB)
Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates. 

 

Worship in Song

– The worship set for this week is available on Spotify:  CLICK HERE

– In this set we will listen to / sing the first three songs

– Or you can use these links to play the song videos on YouTube (click on each song separately):

Swallowed Up Death

Revive Us Again

Come Thou Fount

 

Corporate Prayer

Take some time to pray together as a family. Each week we open up the church on Monday evenings from 6:30-7:00 for a time of corporate prayer. This morning use the prayer guide from this past Monday to pray together as a family. Here is this week’s prayer guide: FRESHWATER WEEKLY PRAYER GUIDE

 

Giving Joyfully

If you would like to keep up your regular giving this week you can give online at our website. We encourage all of our members and regular attenders to prayerfully consider giving regularly joyfully and sacrificially to see the Gospel advanced in our community and around the world. YOU CAN GIVE ONLINE HERE

 

Receive the Word of God

Dhati Lewis is a pastor in Atlanta and a radical disciple maker. In this short message he challenges us to recover the art of hospitality and use our homes for the advance of the Gospel. WATCH HERE

 

Worship in Song

– If you are using Spotify you can return to the playlist using the link above and listen to / sing the final two songs in the play list

– If you are using YouTube you can use the links below:

– Not for a Moment

– In Tenderness

 

Benediction

– Read this week’s benediction together or have one person read it over everyone…

– Colossians 3:16-17

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Prayer Guide – 2/5/2018

Evening Prayer: February 5, 2018

1. Take a moment of silence to calm and center yourself before God; before you begin to speak to God, first come to Him ready to quiet your heart and to listen. Allow the Holy Spirit to focus your attentions and affections as you begin.

2. Meditate on and consider Psalm 84 —

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise! Selah

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the Valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion.

O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed!

For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in you! (ESV)

 

3. This week the elders of Freshwater Church are asking for special prayer as we undertake to set out specific plans for Freshwater’s next chapter of church life and ministry. Pray that as we gather together that we would have wisdom from the Lord. Pray that as we seek feedback from the members of Freshwater that we would have ears to hear and that we would be all the more humble and considerate. Pray that we hear from God himself! It is our deepest desire to shepherd Freshwater Church well and we absolutely cannot do that apart from the Holy Spirit moving in us and through us. Pray that the elder council will have unity together and would continuously love and lay ourselves down for the church.

 

4. Take some time this evening to pray for Freshwater and all of our sister churches in our community. Pray that our ministry to our city would embody the full weight of why Jesus came into the world. Pray that we would love people the way that Jesus does. Pray that the joy of the Lord would be evident in the way that we live together as a community of faith across many local churches in front of our city. Pray that the presence of God would fill our worship services. Pray that many will hear the Gospel, and give their lives to Christ. Pray about who you will invite to church this year.

5. Pray Paul’s prayer from Ephesians 3:14-21. Pray this over our church family here at Freshwater. Pray this prayer over our sister and partner churches. Pray this over the globy Church across all nations.

Ephesians 3:14–21

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (ESV)

 

6. Pray on behalf of three specific people, entreating God to act on their behalf, to meet their deepest and most real needs.

 

7. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Be blessed as you go; know that the work of prayer is a work of eternal significance.

“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world” -Karl Barth

 

The Battle of Theologies

Do you ever have those books that you can’t stop reading because of the way they engage your imagination? That’s the way it’s been for me recently as I’ve read through the book of Job. I’m currently on my second read of the book in two weeks, and my mind is filled with more questions and reflections the more I read it. I wanted to share one of the reflections I’ve been having with you, since I think it’s incredibly relevant for us today.

The book of Job is the story of a righteous man who experiences a terrible series of events from the hand of God. Job has a vast amount of wealth (Job 1:3), a large family (1:2), and a devout heart (1:5). During an assembly of God’s angels, Satan (or the Accuser) enters into the meeting. God then asks Satan if he has seen his servant Job during his roaming of the earth, since Job is a man of exceptional integrity, one who “fears God and turns away from evil” (1:8). God then allows Satan to test Job’s righteousness through a series of tests, including the death of Job’s children, the loss of all his wealth, and debilitating sickness. The rest of the book of Job consists of his three friends attempting to “sympathize with him and comfort him” (2:11). Their first action is to simply sit with Job, not speaking a single word because of the weight of Job’s suffering (2:13). Their first fault comes when they start trying to give reason to Job’s suffering.

The rest of the book of Job is a battle of theologies, because Job and his friends debate the true reason for Job’s sufferings. Job is adamant about his own integrity, insisting that he is a righteous person. His friends cannot conceive of a world where a righteous person suffers from the same events that Job experienced. Rather, their belief is that God “repays a person according to his deeds, and he gives him what his conduct deserves” (34:11). The real clincher is that Job’s friends are not wrong (see 2 Corinthians 5:10!), but neither is Job. God announced from the beginning of the book that Job was “a man of perfect integrity” (1:8), so we know that Job is not being punished by God because of his sin.

My point in bringing this up is not to answer the theological/philosophical problem of evil (“If God is all-powerful and all-loving, then why does apparently meaningless suffering occur in the world?”). My desire is to point out that our world is full of competing theologies. We exist in a world where views about God abound, and we are in a constant battle with these competing theologies. Does it really matter what religion a person chooses? Don’t all religions point to the same God and the same salvation? We even struggle with questions that relate to the book of Job. Is God punishing me for my sin whenever I lose my job? Is my terminal illness really evidence of God’s displeasure? These are questions that we face from our culture and our own lives, and there are multiple answers to these questions. The real question is, “Which one of these answers am I going to believe?”

The book of Job teaches us two attitudes that we should have towards the development of our theology in the midst of the multiple theologies that exist. These attitudes work themselves out both in our relationship with God and to other people.

Confidence
Job made a conscious decision to bring his doubts, anger, and hurt to the throne room of God (16:18-22). Even when there was no mediator between Job and God and even when it felt like there was a dark shadow between earth and heaven (23:8-17), Job knew that his questions must go straight to God because man’s wisdom would not suffice. Brothers and sisters, take heart that in the gospel of Jesus Christ we have a firm foundation. We have a God who can handle our deepest fears and questions. We have a God who reigns supreme over all the earth. We have a mediator between God and humanity, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5), who gives us free access to God. We have a God who knows suffering because he took the form of a suffering servant named Jesus. This allows us to run to the throne of grace with boldness, so that we can receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

On the horizontal level we have confidence to proclaim our theology to other people. In the battle of theologies, our God has given us answers. Oftentimes, I am tempted to stay silent in theological engagements with non-Christians, thinking that anything I say would be unpersuasive or too pushy. But our God has given us answers. We can boldly proclaim the gospel of God’s goodness and grace to people, knowing that God has given us access to himself through Jesus. So brothers and sisters, proclaim the gospel with confidence, knowing that our suffering God empowers you through his Spirit.

Humility
The book of Job ends with two speeches given by the Lord himself to address Job’s questioning. Much of Job’s tension has been driven by this question throughout the book: “Is God just in the midst of my suffering?” And the answer the Lord gives is a resounding, “Yes” (40:8)! Spoiler alert: because of this answer, Job gets totally humbled. Because even in the midst of great suffering, God is never unjust, and we can never justify ourselves. This is the most humbling fact of life. This can lead any person to the same confession that Job had: “I know that you can do anything and no plan of yours can be thwarted….Therefore, I reject my words and am sorry for them; I am dust and ashes” (42:2, 6). In our relationship to God, we can confidently bring all of our doubts and struggles to him, but we must always trust that the Lord is just and capable of doing what he wants. Even when we do not understand why our spouse is suffering from prolonged illness, we are threatened by unemployment, or we are dealing with the death of a family member, the Lord is just.

In theological conversations I am often tempted to feel that I must know every single answer to every single question. I am afraid that a person is going to ask me about an obscure passage from the Old Testament that I haven’t studied very much, and I’m going to have to confess, “I don’t know.” The book of Job frees us up in our theological conversations to be able to confess that very thing, though. When Job’s friends first came to Job, they sat in silence with him for seven days. Those were the best seven days of Job’s mourning, and it’s because at that point both Job and his friends were willing to live in the fact that they didn’t understand why Job was suffering. In fact, the Lord rebukes Job’s friends for not speaking the truth to Job concerning his suffering (42:7)! In the battle of theologies, we must be willing to confess when we don’t know the answer, because sometimes our theological ranting can lead someone into more error than truth. We must have a posture of humility to counterbalance our confidence in God’s presence.

My prayer is that the Lord would help us live in the tension between confidence and humility. My belief is that as we bend the knee before the Suffering Servant and Risen King, we will be able to see that these two postures are one and the same because they are embodied simultaneously in our unblemished King Jesus.

Grace and peace, brothers and sisters.

Corporate Prayer Guide – 10/4/2017

Evening Prayer: December 4,, 2017

1. Take a moment of silence to calm and center yourself before God; before you begin to speak to God, first come to Him ready to quiet your heart and to listen. Allow the Holy Spirit to focus your attentions and affections as you begin.

 

2. Meditate on and consider Psalm 130 —

1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!
2 O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
3 If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.
5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.
7 O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.
8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. (ESV)

 

3. One of the aspects of our faith that we often find difficult is waiting on the Lord to act in our lives. What are some things you long for the Lord to do in your life and through your life? Make your requests known to God and surrender those requests before Him according to his will, timing, and good purposes.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7

 

4. During the Christmas season amidst our celebrations and rejoicing we want to take time to remember that even though the joy of a born savior is for all people in all places that there are some who are especially burdened at this time of year. In our church family and certainly in our community there are those who are facing their first Christmas without a loved one that they lost this year. Let us remember that there are many in our community without the physical resources to provide the kind of celebrations many of us will enjoy with our families, and even more than that there are those struggling to provide the most basic of needs. God has sent Jesus into the world out of his great abundance of love and grace, and we should extend the grace of the advent of our Lord to those around us.

9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
-Romans 12:9-21

 

5. Take some time this evening to pray for Freshwater and all of our sister churches in our community. Pray that our ministry to our city during the Christmas season would embody the full weight of why Jesus came into the world. Pray that we would love people the way that Jesus does. Pray that the joy of Jesus’ incarnation would be evident in the way that we live together as a community of faith across many local churches in front of our city. Pray that Christmas joy would fill our worship services. Pray that on Christmas Eve many people who would not otherwise go to church would visit a local church, hear the Gospel, and give their lives to Christ. Pray about who you will invite to church this Christmas season.

 

6. Pray on behalf of three specific people, entreating God to act on their behalf, to meet their deepest and most real needs.

 

7. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

 

Be blessed as you go; know that the work of prayer is a work of eternal significance.

“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world” -Karl Barth

 

For Our Sister Churches – Evening Prayer 9/18/17

Every Monday night from 7:00-7:30 our church opens its doors for a time of corporate prayer. We believe that not only is prayer powerful and effective but we also believe that spending this time together is special and bonds our hearts together. We know that not everyone can make it out to the church building on Monday nights, and we would like to offer you the prayer guide that we use each week so that you can pray with the church from home this week. 

With Love,

Dave

 

Evening Prayer: September 18, 2017

1. Take a moment of silence to calm and center yourself before God; before you begin to speak to God, first come to Him ready to quiet your heart and to listen.  Allow the Holy Spirit to focus your attentions and affections as you begin.

2. Meditate on and consider this prayer from Ephesians 3:14-21:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. 

3. This evening we want to take some time to pray for our sister churches in the Bolivar community and for the pastoral leadership of these churches. Use the list below and pray that:

God would pour out His Spirit in power on the church and that the people would be revived to love each other well and to proclaim the Gospel boldly

• The pastors and leaders of the church would walk by the Spirit of God and lead with faith, vision, and courage; that they would equip and empower their people for the work of ministry

• The church would fulfill her calling to make disciples of all nations

Berean Baptist — Derek Lewright              Heritage Baptist Church — Gary Walton

First Baptist Church — Billy Russel            Southern Hills Baptist — Ted Bachman

Sacred Heart Catholic — Father Jose         Open Hearts United Methodist — David Collum

First Christian Church — Bill Nichols        Zion Lutheran Church — Tom Rhodes

Country Side Assembly of God — Gray and Michelle Nordan

St. Albans Episcopal — “Bishop Marty”      First Assembly of God — Gary Ankrom

Wellspring Baptist Fellowship     First Church of the Nazarene      Hwy 13 Church of Christ

Church of Christ — Darrin Chappell         Pentecostal Church of God — Daryl Miler

Bolivar Christian Church                             Seventh Day Adventist

New Life Community Church — Bill Jones          Central Church of Christ — Steve Stamatis

Mt Gilead Methodist Church — Hubert Parnell        Grace Fellowship Baptist Church

Mt Olive Baptist Church — Lindell Shelden

Calvary Missionary Baptist — Michael Calhoun

Maranatha Baptist Church — Keith Carnahan      The Heights — Matt Bunn

4. Pray that our church, Freshwater, would be a vessel of blessing to this community, that our fellowship would be bound together by the Holy Spirit, that we would be empowered and compelled to carry out God’s mission for us, and that by His mercy, God would release us from all our debts so that we might devote our resources more fully to the spread of the gospel  now and in the years to come.

5. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Be blessed as you go; know that the work of prayer is a work of eternal significance.

“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world” -Karl Barth

When in Israel

I would like to welcome Collin Campbell to the Freshwater Blog. Collin and his wife, Laura, are apprentices at Freshwater and they have been with us since coming to Bolivar three years ago. Collin can often be found behind the drums on a Sunday morning; he loves coffee, travel, reading and discussing theology, and he really loves the newlywed life!

Over the next several posts Collin is going to be writing for the blog to share his insights from their recent trip to Israel. I hope you enjoy reading Collin’s reflections as much as I have, and I trust they will be insightful and meaningful to you. Please welcome Collin to the blog.    – Pastor Dave

One week after returning from our honeymoon, my wife Laura and I found ourselves on a plane once again. This time we ended up in a part of the world that neither one of us would have expected a year ago: the land of Israel. Neither one of us knew quite what to expect from our time in Israel, but neither one of us expected the land to change our hearts so much.

Laura and I returned from our trip a little over a week ago. Many people have asked us how the trip went, and I wanted to be able to share some of the insights we gleaned from the trip for the whole church. In this post I want to explain the nature of the trip so that you can know the context of some of the things I will be reflecting on in later posts.

First, the trip was sponsored by the incredible organization named Passages Israel. Passages exists to educate Christian leaders from the United States about the historical roots of their faith and the modern geopolitical situation in Israel. While in Israel, we split our time evenly between these two topics. We visited ancient sites such as Capernaum, Nazareth, the Upper Room, and the Mount of Olives, being taught about the historical and biblical significance of these sites. These sites in Israel were no farther than a two-hour bus ride from where we found ourselves at any moment, reminding us just how small the space Jesus spent His life in really was.

On the geopolitical side of things, we heard from speakers from all over the spectrum. We heard from Palestinian journalists, a Christian pastor living in Palestine, a member of Israel’s parliament, and others to garner multiple perspectives on the current political conflicts in Israel. It dawned on me during that the land of Israel is inhabited by more than just Jews, and that the Jews compete with other ethnic groups for the right to exist in the land of Israel. Our group also made visits to Israel’s borders with other countries so that the complex political relationship Israel has with her neighbors could be visualized and understood. Prior to this, I was completely unaware that Israel is not always admired internationally.

In the next few posts I will describe some of the reflections I had while on this trip. One will focus on the misconceptions I had about the modern state of Israel, while two others will describe spiritual reflections I had while on the trip. The state of Israel is a beautiful but complex mess, like most of us. My understanding of the modern state of Israel, my theological/biblical stance on Israel, and my personal faith have all been deeply affected and altered by my time in Israel. Understanding this land and its people have deepened my hope in the gospel and made me more aware of my spiritual heritage.  I hope that these posts can function to encourage you and help you understand these things for yourself as well.

Hometown Boy

It’s hard to be the “hometown boy.” It’s tough to be the person that everyone assumes they know really well because what people think they know about you can, at times, put some severe limitations on what they believe they can know about you.

 

Jesus knew this pretty well.

 

In Luke 4, Jesus makes his return to his hometown of Nazareth, fresh off having caused no small miracle-driven uproar in Capernaum. This should be a glorious homecoming, and indeed it does begin with some fanfare as those whom Jesus grew up among have no doubt heard chatter about the things their hometown hero has done in neighboring communities.

 

But, at a certain point things go south pretty quick. Jesus senses the proverbial “familiarity” that breeds “contempt,” and begins calling it out by offering his oft-quoted pronouncement about how prophets don’t typically do well on their home turf; people like to think they’ve got others, especially those close to them, ‘figured out,’ so when the crowd who’d come to see a “hometown boy makes good” story get something other, something much harder to swallow from Jesus, things quickly run right off the cliff (pun intended).

 

It’s not uncommon for those of us today, those of us who have believed Jesus is exactly who he claimed to be, to read such stories and puzzle as to how people missed the signs. It is easy to be utterly baffled by the actions of Jesus’ community or to even look at them with contempt.

 

Yeah, that’s easy. What’s hard is realizing that we often live out the same script. Especially for those of us who’ve grown up in church culture or walked with Jesus for some time, it’s hard sometimes to see in ourselves that we assume ourselves so familiar with Christ that we no longer have space in our hearts for him to speak a prophetic word, to call us out, to shock us, to expose the fact that we aren’t as tuned into his mission (outlined via his remix of the prophet Isaiah early in Luke 4) as we might have always believed we were.

 

What does it look like for us to recover that space? What might it look like if we didn’t hem Jesus in under the strictures of our own limiting expectations, treating him as the “hometown boy” with whom we’re so familiar that anything shocking or challenging he might offer us is met with (at best) quick dismissal, dubious indifference, or (at worst) violent rejection akin to the first annual Nazarite Prophet-Tossing competition we nearly see in Luke 4?

 

For the record, it does no good to try and reject the challenging words of Jesus. If Luke 4 is any indication, he’ll simply go on about his mission, leaving us cliffside to work out our indignation.

 

Praying we’d let the prophet be prophet, that we’d have space in our hearts to accept Jesus’ words even when, as in John 6, they are “hard teachings.” For surely Peter was right that it is only Jesus who has the “words of life.”

 

Andy