Sunday, July 28, 2013

Camp Meeting

“Those who welcomed [Peter’s] message were baptized, and that day about 3000 persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:41-42)

In the early 1800s, the American frontier was an untamed, unruly wilderness.  But the Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians soon found a way to reach the rugged frontier people with God's message of salvation: “Revivalism” with its hallmark, the CAMP MEETING, soon spread throughout the region. 

Hundreds (often thousands) of people would gather together from all parts of a territory to shout, sing, pray, and hear rousing preaching and personal testimony.  Often all of these would be going on at the same time in different parts of the camp, and people would drift from one speaker to another, listening and joining in whenever the Spirit led.  People would eat, sleep, and pray together under a tent or log-cabin often for weeks on end, and masses were turned away from sin and to Christ.

While it’s true that there are not as many real “Camp Meetings” around today, our church is blessed to continue to be part of one (Marietta Camp Meeting) that has been integral to our very history.  In fact, many years ago, our church actually developed out of one of the great revivals that took place there, and for many years we were known as “Campground Methodist Church.”

To honor this great heritage and tradition, Sunday July 28th we join with our spiritual “parents” at Marietta Campground to worship under the arbor across the street in ONE COMBINED 11am SERVICE (no 9:30am service), complete with old favorite hymns, informal dress, revival-style preaching, and great fellowship.

Like the early settlers of Cobb County, I hope you will take time to discover God’s blessings and inspiration as we celebrate both our heritage and that of many Christians today through “Camp Meeting”!  Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Transformed by the Bible

“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

According to a Gallup poll survey, 92% of all Americans own at least one Bible -- the average U.S. household has 3, and 27% say they own at least 5. But do we really know what’s in them? And do we really read them?  One pastor once remarked that “The Bible is the best-selling, least read, and least understood book”  in human history.

Consider, for example, some responses received by Ann Landers in a Bible test originally given in the “Vancover Sun” newspaper:
“--Noah’s wife was Joan of Ark
--Lot's wife was a pillar of salt by day and a ball of fire by night
--Moses went to the top of Mt. Cyanide to get the 10 Commandments
--The 7th Commandment is "Thou shalt not admit adultery"
--Joshua led the Hebrews in the battle of Geritol
--The epistles were the wives of the apostles
--A Christian should have only one wife.  This is called monotony.”
Obviously, there’s a great deal of misunderstanding about the Bible today (even among Christians)!

That’s why programs and opportunities like “Disciple” Bible Study are so important and vital to the life of any Christian congregation -- not only do they give us the chance to learn about and be informed about holy scripture, but more importantly to be transformed by holy scripture!  In worship today we celebrated God’s work in and through the lives of the participants of this past year’s “Disciple” Bible Study classes, and also learned about the upcoming class opportunities for this Fall.

If you've never participated in a “Disciple” class, I strongly encourage you to prayerfully consider doing so beginning this Fall.  Your life might just be changed by it!  Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

[For more information about our church’s “Disciple” Bible Study program and opportunities that begin this August, CLICK HERE]

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Love of God = 101%

“The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Several weeks ago, one of our staff members shared this during weekly staff meeting, and I wanted to pass it along to you as a reminder of our need to have the proper perspective about the love of God:

“From a strictly mathematical viewpoint, if…
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ is represented as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26, then…

K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E (11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5) = 96%, and…

H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K (8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11) = 98%, and…

A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E (1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5) = 100%, but…

L-O-V-E-O-F-G-O-D (12+15+22+5+15+6+7+15+4) = 101%

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that while knowledge and hard work will get you close, and attitude will get you there, it’s the Love of God that will put you over the top!

What does this simple manipulation of letters and numbers have to do with Christian faith?  Well, nothing and everything!  On the one hand, it shows that with clever maneuvering, the alphabet and number values can tell us some interesting things. 

On the other hand, it points out that not all things are reducible to logical, quantifiable, mathematically sound results.  We can’t simply put God in a box and force Him to play by our rules -- [like] putting the concept of God’s grace [and love] in a neat little definition which makes ‘sense.’  Thank God for providing freedom from the politically correct, fully explainable, awe-absent world we are a part of most of the time.”

The lesson is clear:  we don’t need to ever take the love and grace of God for granted!  Remember that you are a recipient of grace/love, so please be sure to pass grace/love along to others around you whenever you can (no matter how difficult they are!)  Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Safest Place In the World

“Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing.” (Hebrews 10:25, CEB)

One of our members passed this along to me via email this week.  Perhaps you’ve seen it before, but I share it again for a little light-hearted humor (with a serious point):

Where is the Safest Place in the world to be?

1. Avoid riding in automobiles because they are responsible for
20% of all fatal accidents.
2. Do not stay home because 17% of all accidents occur in the home.
3. Avoid walking on streets or sidewalks because 14% of all accidents occur to pedestrians.
4. Avoid traveling by air, rail, or water because 16% of all accidents involve these forms of transportation.
5. Of the remaining 33%, 32% of all deaths occur in Hospitals.
So, above all else, avoid hospitals.

BUT …You will be pleased to learn that only .001% of all deaths occur in worship services in church, and these are usually related to previous physical
disorders.  Therefore, logic tells us that the safest place for you to be at any given point in time is at CHURCH!

AND …Bible study is safe too! The percentage of deaths during Bible study is even less.

Attend church,
And read your Bible

This summer, when you’re not on vacation or out of town, be sure to make attending church and Sunday School/Bible Study a priority!  I hope to see you at here!   Remember, God loves you and I do, too!