Church Life

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

 

 

November Newsletter Column

“that we love one another” – 2 John 5

Dear Church family,

The Bible is full of passages that exhort us to love one another. That expression is not something that is new to you. I am sure you have heard it before. Lately, I have been thinking about love a lot.

As you know, two of the key leaders in our church have left. These announcements from Troy Harrison and Josh Wamble have brought to mind how much I love each of them. Both Josh and Troy have been exemplary friends, encouraging brothers and excellent partners to our church and to me in life and ministry. I am going to miss them. I am reminded of how much I love them.

I want to ask you two questions:

1) Do you love your church family? And 2) Do you let your church family love you?

Do you love your church family? Are you working on getting to them know better? Are you growing in your relationships with church people? When someone is not here, do you miss them? Do you let them know that you missed them? It is my desire as the pastor that we would genuinely and sincerely love one another. In order for you to be obedient to God and in order for you to be a key part of our ministry here, loving your church family is essential.

Do you let your church family love you? Are you working on being known by others? Are you growing closer to people? Are you around enough for people to get to know you better? Are you working on being a friend to others in order that they may be a friend to you? Are you striving to do unto others as you would have them do unto you? When you miss church do you miss us? When you miss church do people reach out to you?

Jesus came and helped us understand love in such a real and personal way. It is my prayer that as you are growing in Christ you will be focused on loving one another and being loved by one another. Church, for the glory of God, lets be good at this!

With all sincerity, Pastor Josh Greene

 

 

October Newsletter Column

Thinking About My Grandkids

 Deuteronomy 6:1-9 – “that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son…”

Dear Church Family,

I must admit that I have rarely, if ever, thought about my grandchildren. For clarity, I do not have any grandkids. And I do not know if I ever will have any. I feel like I just became a father, and I have yet to figure out how to parent well. And besides that, I am having a hard enough time with being 35 years old and dealing with these new gray hairs.

But the other day I was reading again that family-focused-super-rich passage in Deuteronomy 6. I am in awe of the heart, diligence and focus God has for parents in verse 7 of chapter 6: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”  Every time I read that passage, my heart is stirred to love and lead my kids well. Again, my kids.

But as I was preparing to lead our parenting community group for church, I was struck by verse 2: “that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son…” Wow! That stopped me! God is thinking about my grandchildren! God is teaching me to think about my grandchildren. God is saying that who I am now will impact my grandchildren. God is saying that how I teach and lead my son will impact my grandson. God is saying that how I teach and lead my son will influence how my son teaches and leads his son, my grandson.

Incredible! That hit me hard. As I learn the word of God and by faith obey it, I am growing in my love and fear of my Lord & Savior. And that in turn will carry over into my parenting and therefore my son’s life and faith. And that in turn will carry over into my son’s parenting and therefore my grandson’s life and faith.

God is mindful of my grandkids!  And now I am too. May God be gracious to us and our family.  For my sake, my sons’ sakes, and my grandsons’ sakes! To God be the glory!

With all sincerity,

Pastor Josh Greene

September Newsletter Column

Dear Church Family,

My heart and burden for us, God’s church, is that we would be near to God.

This desire is the desire that outweighs all other desires. God is what we need!

And lately, this is the strongest thought in my mind. I am not sure why. Maybe it is because we are at a crossroads for our church. Maybe it is because we are growing. Maybe it is because I know you all well. Maybe it is because I am near to your wins and losses and your encouragements and your discouragements. Maybe it is because God is about to move mightily in the life of our church.

Or maybe it is because I have been here so long that we may begin to get complacent. I sure hope not. We get complacent when we lose sight of God. When we lose perspective, we begin to go through the motions. We just attend. We don’t worship. We neglect our duties, our devotions and our disciplines. We get complacent when Jesus becomes routine for us. And this is scary. It concerns me for our church.

Too many churches have too many people who are involved but are not close to God. I do not want that to be us. And I do not want to pastor a church that is not close to God. I want to pastor God’s people. And God’s people are to be zealous for God, passionate about Jesus changing lives in the world. The Glory of God is an all-consuming fire, and I want to be a part of many, many people drawing close to God.

Please be warned to look for your sins. Find them. Address them. Repent of them. Turn from them. Look to Jesus. See how great He is. See how gracious and patient He is with us. Run to Him. Believe in Him. Go follow Him. Live a life that is an all out effort to get close to God.

Psalm 73:28 says “But for me it is good to be near God”

I challenge you to believe that verse and then to make that your life’s desire. James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Again, my desire is for us to be a church that helps people get near God. Let’s focus on that. You and me both. All of us together. May God draw near. May God bless us. May God fill us up.

I love you guys!

With all sincerity,
Pastor Josh Greene

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