Church Life

August Newsletter

Dear Church,

“Pray without ceasing” is one of the more familiar phrases in the Bible. However, while many people know this Biblical truth, they do not know what it means.

We know that we should pray, but we don’t know how. We know that we ought to pray, but we don’t understand prayer. We even want to pray more faithfully, but we struggle to pray.

It is in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, when Paul makes this statement. It is the end of the letter in the midst of the apostle’s final instructions and blessings, when he encourages the church in Thessalonica toward prayer.

What does he mean? What is he instructing them to do? What does intend for their prayers to be like?

Does he mean pray more? Does he mean for them to never stop praying? Is that even realistic? While “Pray without ceasing” is a nice, little, godly expression, what really does it mean?

In short, it means to be more focused and faithful in our prayers to God. It means to be more Godward, more God-centered, more sincere in faith when we are praying to God.

It does not necessarily mean to pray more, although it may point us in that direction.
It does not necessarily mean to pray more often or to pray longer, although we may need encouragement in that direction.

It is not speaking as much to the quantity of our prayer lives as it is to the quality of our prayer lives. Christians are those who understand that our spiritual lives are not marked by all that we do for God, but rather our lives are marked by our dependence upon God.

With that said, I want us to be a praying church. I don’t want us to just talk about prayer – I want us to pray. And I don’t want us to just pray – I want us to want to pray. And I don’t want us to just want to pray – I want us to want the God that we are praying to. That is the heart behind praying without ceasing! May we never cease in wanting to call out to our God through prayer!

Once again, we are coming up on our 24 Hours of Prayer event. This event is one of my favorite things we do as a church. Please be sure to sign up for a time slot to pray!

With all sincerity,

Your Pastor, Josh

July Newsletter

Dear Church,

I hope that you have been enjoying our Sunday morning sermon series in Mark. I know that I am getting a lot out of it. I thank God that He is faithful to grow us through His word!

We are growing in our understanding of God’s word, and God is growing us in our dependence and commitment to God’s word.

We are currently in chapter 12, and the importance of God’s word is being challenged.

In verses 13-17, the Pharisees come and challenge Jesus with an attempt to trap Him in a question.

In verses 18-27, the Sadducees come and challenge Jesus with a question about the resurrection.

In verses 28-34, the Scribes come and challenge Jesus with a question about which commandment is greatest.

This chapter alone shows us how often people are challenging Jesus. They question him. They doubt him. They reject him. People have problems with Jesus. Our pride gets in the way so often. Even to the point of opposing God! Church, we must not fall into this error. We must not be so proud and rebellious.

At the conclusion of those three passages, Mark tells us this truth = “And after that no one dared to ask Him any more questions.” (12:34)

Jesus is Lord. His Word is truth. As he says in John 8:31, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.”
As Jesus says in Matthew 7:24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

It is my prayer that we would hear these passages and believe them. I pray that we would treasure them and take them to heart. May God find us as a church who is trusting on His word!

With all sincerity,

Your Pastor, Josh

 

June Newsletter

Dear Church,

Two of my biggest desires in life are to be a praying man and a family man.

I want to pray more, because I know that I am completely dependent upon God. I want to be a family man, because I know that God has given me my wife and children. I want to lead my wife and kids to know the Lord!

I enjoy praying with my children, and my children have grown to enjoy that I pray regularly with them. With that said, I sometimes fail at being a family man and praying man. I know that God is patient with me to give me endurance and encouragement to keep striving to be a faithful man.

Over the years, I have found these 5 Simple Ways to Pray more often with my family:

Before School I have the great opportunity to take my sons to school each morning. Each morning as we approach the school, we turn the radio off and I pray for them. I pray about all kinds of things: schoolwork, classmates, teachers, safety, athletics, projects, new students, friends, field trips, etc.  This routine has become such a key piece to our mornings together. Beginning your day by seeking the Lord is wise.

Big Events As the kids grow, life gets more and more full. This season of life and parenting is so much fun. It seems we are always headed to some special event. We have been to spelling bees, speech meets, ball games, tryouts, tournaments, programs, dance recitals, services, etc. Before we hop out of the car, I like to stop my family or child and pray with them, asking God to lead us and use us. Often times, we are walking into the event, and I pray as we walk with my arm around their shoulder.

Before Meals This is a common prayer time for many people, but I want to remind us that it is still meaningful. Praying before your meal should not be neglected. Whether at home or out at a restaurant, we pause to pray and thank God for the food. We pray for the food wherever we are – in a gas station, at a park for a picnic, in the school cafeteria, in the car for a drive-thru, etc. If God has provided the meal, we want to thank Him.

At Bedtime Life is busy and fast-paced, and there are many nights when the kids are getting into bed too late. Honestly, there are many nights where I carry them to bed because they have already fallen asleep. However, as often as I am able, I love to pray with them before they go to sleep. Nearly every night, I will talk to them and then turn out the lights. Then I pray with them. Before bedtime is also one of the best times to teach them to pray and to lead them in prayers of their own. Ending your day by seeking the Lord with thankfulness is special.

In the Car We pray in the car all the time! On the way to an event, beginning a road-trip, ending a road-trip, thanking God for food, passing a bad accident, etc. When life is busy, there are not many times when we are together with peace and quiet. In the car is an excellent time to settle down and re-group. The car rides together have become a joy to our family.

With all sincerity,

Your Pastor, Josh

 

April Newsletter Column

Dear Church,

Life is moving quickly and with that, church life is moving quickly as well. Easter is now behind us. We are in the thick of 2016 already. We have had leaders in our church move on to new places. And we are seeing many new people come to be a part of our church. That is a lot for us to keep up with! It is good stuff, but it can be overwhelming.

While church life is full of activities and changes, one constant remains – that is the focus on the Word of God. The Bible is what unites us, and our devotion to it must be increasing!

It is with this in mind that I want to encourage you to focus on the preaching of the Bible. We are beginning a new Sunday Morning Sermon Series on the Gospel of Mark. Each Sunday morning, I will be preaching through the entire book of Mark verse by verse.

This is a great opportunity for you for many reasons. 1) You will learn the Gospel of Mark, 2) You will grow in your understanding of the Word of God like never before, 3) You will establish a weekly continual building of your faith as you pick up where you left off each Sunday morning, 4) You will learn the specifics of Jesus’s life, ministry and saving work, and 5) You will further understand what a true healthy church is and how the Word of God unites us.

At first thought these 5 points seem commonplace and understood already. And maybe they are for some of you. But I believe that we have not experienced them yet. And that is what we are desiring and praying for–for our church to be a people who long for God’s word and they are devoted to hearing it every single week. I want that from our church!

Hear the words of Paul to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:13 “give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.”

My prayer is for us to be a living picture of that devotion to God’s word. While there is a lot of coming and going, life is full and busy, may we be strong, focused and committed to God’s Word being poured into us each and every week!

With all sincerity,

Your pastor, Josh

Easter Schedule

Fri, March 25

Good Friday Service – 6:30pm – This will be a short service commemorating the death and burial of Jesus.

Sat, March 26

Third Annual Community-Wide Easter Egg Hunt – 11:30am – More details available here.

Sun, March 27

Easter Sunrise Service – 7:00am – On Easter morning, we will gather on the front steps of the church building to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. Breakfast will follow immediately.

Easter Sunday Worship – 10:45am – Our Sunday morning service will

NOTE: No Sunday School or Evening Service

March Newsletter Column

Dear Church,

Today is March the 2nd, and I am quite happy to welcome this new month. February was a heavy month for us. We need to realize that life can be very demanding at times. When life gets difficult, there is a temptation to want to at best, whine and complain and have a pity-party, or at worst, give in or give up. But those responses are NOT the Christian response. Complaining or quitting is not the way God has taught us to deal with life. Giving up is not the way the people of God handle adversity.

So, what is? How are Christian people to handle the heavy seasons of life?

Christians are to look to God’s Word to see what God has told us. We are to believe the Word of God and trust Him through the difficult seasons of life. In trusting God and His promises, we will see that God is able to carry us through the adversity. Let me share with you two passages that I have been leaning on the past few weeks.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all who labor & are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Romans 11:36 “For from Him and through Him and to Him all things. To Him be glory forever.”

I love these verses. They are a rock and foundation to me when life is heavy & hurtful. God wants me to know that there is rest in this life. But that rest is not often found in a physical place with the circumstances of life. Life doesn’t stop. It doesn’t slow down. It never stops coming at you with trials. As we often hear people saying, “there is always something!” So then, how & where can we rest?

We are to trust Jesus! We are to know that He is in charge. He is in control. We are to look to Him, hear from Him, and believe Him. In trusting Him, he will give us rest. Real rest. Rest that calms us. Rest that settles us down. Rest that causes our hearts and minds and bodies to be at peace. This past month has been a great reminder to me of these promises!

With all sincerity,

Your pastor, Josh

 

 

February Newsletter Column

Dear Church,

Time is passing us by quickly! We are already a month into 2016! And as you have heard me say often this year, our intensity and urgency must be increasing. I am sensing the power of God working in and around us.

Lately, my heart has been heavy burdened both for the people of our church and for our community that we are aiming to love and serve. I take that to be a good thing. God is leading us to draw near to Him as we walk by faith. I strongly sense that God is leading our church to focus on Him. I ask you to look fully unto Jesus and follow Him faithfully.

I want us to pray! I want us to focus on prayer and commit to praying. I want us to learn to pray and then pray expectantly. I want us to surrender all to our great God and father and boldly ask him to work through us for His glory.

Let me share with you a verse that we should all memorize. Romans 12:12: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

I challenge you to shape your faith around this verse. I encourage you to live a life that embodies this verse.

In two weeks, we will have the “24 Hours of Prayer” again here at church. That is February19-20. Please sign up. Make it a priority. Let’s seek the Lord!

With all sincerity,

Your pastor, Josh

 

 

 

24 Hours of Prayer

Our 24 hours of prayer will begin at 5 pm on Friday, February 19, and end at 5 pm on Saturday, February 20. We need 4 people to pray in each hour. A sign-up sheet will be on the bulletin board by the church office. Prayer guides will be available as well.

January Newsletter Column

Happy New Year!

Dear Church family,

2016 is a new year and with a new year comes expectation. We are expecting God to use us for His glory this year. And while that is our prayer and heart’s desire, we must humbly admit that we do not know how God will do it. We do not know what this year will bring. James teaches us “you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life?” (James 4:14) And if we do not know about tomorrow, then we surely do not know about the upcoming year.

Not only do we not know what this year will be like for us, we do not know much at all about what this year will be like in regards to anything or anyone. There is always a bit of uncertainty about the future.

This thought has me thinking about what could happen in 2016. The Carolina Panthers could win the Super Bowl. I could lose some weight and try to get in shape. Valeria and I could have another baby. The church could get upset with me and fire me. Only some of the church could get upset with me and then start some drama and split the church. God could bless our church so much this year that we see many lives changed. We could see people believing and repenting. Many saved. Families restored. Lots of baptisms. God may very well do that! Or, I could die. It could happen. Honestly, any of that could happen. It may not, but it could. We have to trust God. Only He knows!

But you know what else could happen in 2016?

Jesus could come back!!!

He really could. I hope he does! So many people have not even considered that possibility. He really could come back this year. Do you remember how he ended His word? In Revelation 22:20 He says, “Surely I am coming soon.”

So while we do not know what will happen in 2016, we can be prepared for the possibilities. And if our Lord does return, please be ready!

With all sincerity, Pastor Josh Greene

 

 

 

 

December Newsletter Column

“Merry Christmas!”

Dear Church family,

The holiday season often stirs up wonderful childhood memories. I thank God for my mother and father and the Christmas memories my sister and I cherish from growing up.

I am not sure how you feel about Christmas. And I am sure that not everyone has the same fond memories that I do. But I do genuinely hope that you will have a Merry Christmas this year. I want that for you. I pray that for you. I am hoping and desiring that for you and your family.

I encourage you to look afresh this year at the Bible’s telling of the Christmas story. I ask you to read it again. Let it be fresh to you. I pray that it will make you merry.

I want you to remember a young couple seeking a place to stay the night. I want you to imagine their struggle. And I want you to remember that it was in that lonely outdoor setting that God came to us.

I want you to remember the Shepherds. Just another night on the job, standing in the field, taking care of the sheep. And then recall their amazement and excitement when the angels told them about the Savior’s arrival. Isn’t it fascinating to re-read and re-hear that story?

I want you to remember the baby, Jesus, lying there in the manger. Animals all around. Hay all around. Then remember that the Shepherds came and bowed down to worship Him. Why did they worship Him? They worshipped Him because He is the Savior. I want you to remember that the baby Jesus of Christmas is God. I want you to remember that God came to earth so that He could die for you and your sins. I want you to think upon that truth. I want you to believe it. I want you to smile thinking about the Christmas story, and I pray that God’s word would bless you so!

Christmas is here, and I love the Christmas story. I hope you will hear it in a fresh way, and I pray that you have a Merry Christmas!

With all sincerity, Pastor Josh Greene

 

 

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