The Lies We Believe

For many of us, it is easier to believe a lie about ourselves than it is the truth. All of us, left to ourselves, will gravitate towards a lie whether it is an inflated opinion or one that is disparaging.

Because of our sinful nature, we don’t gravitate naturally toward Biblical truth. Statistics say that most of us have quite a negative view of ourselves.

The lies are just easier to believe.

In the lie, I don’t have to change- It’s just the way that I am.

In the lie, I don’t have to work- because it won’t work, I’m hopeless.

In the lie, I can ignore a greater truth of who I am because in my mind the lie is more believable.

At the root of the lies we don’t find Jesus, we find idolatry. In idolatry, we trade the truth of God’s word for a lie.

In Scripture we find an overarching word that Paul uses throughout the New Testament letters to describe believers,  “Saint.” (See Ephesians 1:1-2 )

This identifier is placed on us by God at the time of our salvation and it is not based on our behavior, but upon the sufficiency and the supremacy of Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross for our sin. (See Romans 5:6-11)

As a result, we take on that new identity as a saint. The Apostle Paul describes saints with truths that go against everything that our fallen flesh tells us.

Ephesians 1:3-14

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eph 1:3–14). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

These truths are not easy!

These truths mean that you and I are responsible to put to death the lies of the flesh. It’s not easy to change a mind that has been operating the same way for years. It is hard work!  It takes constantly reminding yourself of who you are and whose you are. You will always struggle with temptation, but temptation is not sin. As a saint, there is a way out! (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Work at renewing your mind with the Word of God. Remind yourself that you have a new spirit within you that can resist temptation.

If you need help, please seek it out. We have pastoral care and we have licensed professional Christian counselors that we work with.

As you study Ephesians 1 this week, consider these questions to journal:

  1. What does this chapter say about my identity in Christ?
  2. What assurances do the truths of Scripture give me?
  3. How does this change my outlook, attitude and reactions?
  4. How does knowing these truths change the way I see the world?

 

Rescources:

If you would like a 31 day devotional guide please click here.

Right Now Media:

Paul Tripp- Who Am I?

Identity Defined

Identity (Students)

Don’t have Right Now Media? Click Here to sign up. It is our gift to you.

Prayer and Evangelism

Prayer is foundational for everything that we as a church do! It is the beginning, the middle and the end. In Colossians 4 Paul is giving his final instructions to the church at Colossae.

 

Colossians 4:2-6 (ESV)

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. [1]

 

Here Paul shows several things in regard to Prayer and Evangelism.

As followers of Jesus, prayer is the foundational practice that we must pursue!

Paul tells us to continue steadfastly in prayer

  • This is a call for you and I to be firm and unmovable with our prayer life.
  • This means that you and I are to pray hard prayers and stay in prayer until we get an answer.

Paul then commands us to be watchful in prayer.

  • Remember that we are in a spiritual battle.

Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.[2]

  • Pay attention to what is going on around you.
    • Wherever God is working Satan will be working hard to attack and test the resolve of believers.

Paul reminds us to pray with thanksgiving.

  • Here we acknowledge God’s power and control over our lives.
  • Thanksgiving serves as a reset button over anxiety and control
  • Here we are reassuring ourselves that God is in control and we can trust Him!

Prayer and Evangelism work together

Colossians 4:3-4

At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

  • We need to pray for open doors for the gospel message.
    • In our neighborhoods
    • In our schools
    • In our parks
    • In local businesses

Declaring the mystery of Christ is the job of the church!

  • The church is an organism that spreads not an organization that sits.
  • We must pray for opportunity, willing hearts and that we may make it clear.

“Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.” 
― 
C.T. Studd

Individual engagement is key to the spread of the Gospel.

 Matthew 5:13 (ESV)

 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

As Christ followers we are to be prayer warriors who engage in spiritual battles!

Who are 5 people who you are praying for?

Pray for open doors.

Pray for the ability to clearly explain the gospel message.

Pray that their hearts may be softened to hear.

Pray for these people as a family.

If you are new in your neighborhood you could do a cookout or invite your neighbors over to get to know them. You will be suprised how well you can get to know someone over a meal.

 

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”


― 
Charles Spurgeon

 

Welcome Lee Goins! Interim Young Adult and Children’s Pastor

Who is Lee Goins?

Education:

  • Bachelor of Psychology from Georgia State University, 2012
  • Pursuing a Master of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
  • International Mission Board, Field Personnel Training, 3 months intensive – Virginia

Groups:

  • Led men’s discipleship, evangelism, and accountability group ‘09-12
  • College Minister at PCBC from ’12-‘16
    • Led Bible study and worship for college students
    • Trained student leaders to facilitate Bible study in small groups
    • Led students overseas and at home to share the Gospel
  •  IMB in South Asia from ’16-18
    • Led Worship Team during Field Personnel Training
    • Member of a multinational Church Planting team in South Asia
    • Partnered and mentored national pastors to share the Gospel to their families, neighbors, community
    • Instituted accountability measures for pastoral discipleship groups

Children’s:

  • Children’s soccer coach at PCBC ’12 & ‘13
  • Preschool & Children’s Ministry at PCBC, ’13-16
  • Two trips to serve and lead VBS in Romania, ’14 & ‘15
  • VBS at PCBC, ’13-15
  • VBS at FBC Monroe, ‘18

Philosophy:

  • I want to disciple and empower volunteers and parents to share the Truth and love of Christ with the children of Mountain Park.
  • Through a team effort, my goal is to bring together families that will be able to minister to one another, the church, and the community while serving their children.
  • I want to see our children and parents excited about our Savior and daily living for Him together.

Family:

My wife, Susan, and I both grew up in North Georgia. We’ve been married for ten years and God has blessed us with two girls. Abby, our seven-year-old and Alex our three-year-old.

Susan is a die-hard UGA and Atlanta Braves fan. She loves painting, Dr. Pepper, and blueberry cobbler. Abby wants to be a scientist when she grows up, but for now loves playing soccer, wearing her cowgirl boots, and is totally in love with her daddy. Alex is a total mommy’s girl and loves growling like a monster, French fries and doing everything she sees her big sister doing. I love my family. We love to make music, play, and read books together. I enjoy running, cake, and British TV shows, but not always in that order!

Welcome Lee! We are glad that you are serving with us and we are excited about new focus on Children and Youn Adults in our church. To learn more about Lee’s plan for the next 90 days, please click here.

If you would like to meet with Lee or if you have questions please email him at lgoins@mpfbc.net

Mountain Park FBC Pastor Newsletter

Hello church family! This is my first update on all things Mountain Park FBC.

First of all, thank you all so much for your love and support that you have shown my family since we have come to this church. You are a wonderful church family that goes above and beyond to show that you care.  We are so thankful for all of you.

I wanted to take a minute to give you an update on things that are happening here on the campus.

Worship Center

As many of you know we have had some aesthetical changes to our worship center. You may have noticed that we have extended the lobby flooring up the ramp to the doors of the worship center and into the parlor. Also, we removed the red carpet on the stage and added a darker wood vinyl plank. Both of these changes offer a brighter, cleaner and updated look to our facilities.

The lobby and ramp are now much more open because we were able to take out the non-load bearing columns and clean up some of the unused spaces in the lobby. The future of the parlor will be to bring it back into use every week as a counseling area during the service, a pastor guest reception after the service and a place to fellowship between the services.  We are very excited about the possibility of being able to connect with our guests, new members and those in need of counsel on Sunday mornings. After these projects are over, we will be on a planned break from other upgrades or aesthetical changes for a period of time.

Two Services

On Sunday, April 7th we will begin our two service model. The 8:30am service will be the Classic Service, 9:30 will be our Life Group time and then at 10:45 we will have our blended/modern service. I am excited about having these two different worship styles here at Mtn. Park because it helps us to reach out to different groups in our community that need the gospel. I do realize that non-church people don’t care as much about the music, but I know that Christians in our community do. We want to create two different environments where no matter where you fit you feel comfortable bringing someone with you. People reach people, and we want to give you an environment of worship where you can invite your neighbor.

The Classic service will be 50-60 minutes long. In this service you can expect a meet and greet time, hymns, a choir with special music, preaching every week and most weeks we will close by singing the doxology. There will be childcare available during this service, and the initial plan is limited to babies through kindergarten. However, we will be evaluating our needs continually and will add as necessary.

The blended/modern service will be a service that will contain more modern music with a full band and multiple worship leaders on stage.  Some Sundays we will have a choir and some we will not. We will have more video elements, testimonies and preaching every week. This service will be a little louder and longer, approximately 75 minutes.

Policy and Procedures

I have asked our Management Team and Administrative Pastor to review all of our policies and procedures and update them accordingly. We have been out of date and out of compliance on many of our policies. A policy isn’t any good if it doesn’t work for and grow with our organization. Subteams are being put together now to review everything,  and I do mean everything. It is my hope that we will be finished with this behind the scenes project by the end of the year.   These policy changes will include but not limited to Child Protection, Personnel, Finance, Building use, and others.

Children’s Ministry

As I have stated Children’s Ministry is a BIG DEAL for the future of our church! We need to build an environment that is safe, engaging and evangelistic. You may have some preconceived notions about children’s ministry. Let me address those here. It is not babysitting and it is not entertainment. We will be intentional in reaching the next generation and preparing them to be the future leaders in our church. We need strong pastoral leadership in this area. We need someone who can ensure that our child protection policy is followed to the letter. Our volunteers need to be pastored, trained and prepared every week. We strongly believe that the major part of discipleship happens in the home.  That is why we are asking that this Pastoral Leadership Position have a major focus on caring for and preparing our young families to best disciple their kids in the home.

During this time of change and preparation for the future, I have asked Rev. Lee Goins who has a plethora of ministry skills and experience in developing teams and reaching people with the Gospel to help us out during an interim time. I have asked that Lee agrees to at least 90 days to help us get on the right track. If we feel like Lee is a good fit for us and we are a good fit for him, we have the option to bring him before the Management Team and then the church to hire him full time. The Administrative Pastor will be doing continual reviews because getting this right is of the highest priority for me.

If you would like to meet with Lee one on one please email him and set up a meeting. lgoins@mpfbc.net

On April 14th we will have a parent meeting right after church in the FMC (lunch provided). Here you will find out more after Lee gets his feet wet and has a better idea of things that need to be handled first.

To help in this transition and to make our Children’s Ministry all that it needs to be we need help from you. If you are a member and would like to help out in some capacity click HERE TO SIGN UP!

What’s next?

We are building toward community partnerships and saturating our 5-mile radius with the Gospel.

April 18–Parkview Cluster Community Concert.  If you are free to greet please contact William Sadler to sign up.

April 20–Mountain Park Easter Egg Hunt at 4:00 pm at Mountain Park Park. We need all hands on deck for this event! Please go here to sign up!

April 21–Easter Sunday! Who are 5 people in your sphere of influence you can begin praying for and planning to invite to our Easter services?

On a Sunday in the near future, we will be broadcasting the preaching portion of our service live on Facebook. Please be on the lookout for it. We are doing this so that those traveling, sick or homebound can worship along with us.

There is a lot more to come here at Mountain Park FBC. God is up to some great things and I look forward to serving Him with all of you.

Keith Savage

Family… the struggle

Family relationships are hard! How is it that the people we love the most make us the most crazy? No matter what your family make up is there are going to be trying times. There are going to be times when you want to walk away and never speak to “those people” again. I believe that Scripture teaches us how to interact with our families in a way that is healthy, healing and God honoring.

 

The first thing we must do is build our relationships on the foundation of truth. This truth isn’t subjective; it is the authority of Scripture. The truth of God’s word should be the base on which all of our personal and familial lives are built upon.

 
 

The truth of Scripture gives us more than our do’s and don’ts. It is the filter through which we see the world and make all of our decisions. It is top priority!

 

For this to happen Scripture must be a part of your life!

I would suggest:

• Read the Bible daily

• Discuss what you are learning with your family

• Have a family devotional and prayer time

• Journal how you are applying Scripture to your life

• Be able to show another family member how to study the Bible on their own

 

The second principle that Scripture teaches that we must have to build healthy relationships is to experience and give grace.

 

If you are a follower of Jesus, you have experienced grace! A lot of it! If we who have been immersed in the grace of God cannot freely give it to others, have we really experienced it?

 

 

Truth is powerful! It is necessary! Truth alone can lead to a harsh and unforgiving environment. We have truth as our standard, but in our relationships we must not forget that we are sinners and we are doing life with sinners. Failure will happen. When failure happens, grace picks up. We must give ourselves grace and offer it to others. Are there still consequences to our failures? Absolutely! Grace says even in the midst of consequences there is forgiveness and restoration.

 

Challenge: Make a list of your areas of weakness. What areas of your life do you have a continual propensity toward sin?

In this area you need to lean into the grace of God. This will keep you humble and act as a reminder to give grace to those around you.

 

Just remember that anything that you have done or has been done to you has been paid for on the cross of Jesus.  

 

2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”

 

Finally, real love must permeate our familial relationships. I say real love because we get different views of what love is. Most of the time love gets defined as how someone makes us feel or it’s something that they do for us instead of what Scripture teaches. Love is action on our part regardless of what is done for us. Love is something that we choose to do. It always demands action. It is not reactionary.

 

Combined with truth and grace, the choice of acting out love to our family (even when we don’t feel like it) is a powerful and solidifying factor that is not easily broken.

 

As believers in Jesus we must not forget that there is another realm to this world. There is a devil who is powerful and wants to use our own feelings and idols to destroy our families. If you and I will build our lives on truth, experience and give grace and always choose to love we can overcome anything that is thrown at our families.

 

What does it look like to choose love?  

 

Paul explains it best in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

 

Love is patient, love is kind.

Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 Love never ends.

To choose to love is to choose to move powerfully and intentionally in the best interest of the relationship. It is not always the easiest thing to do, but it is the right thing.

As you and I practice love, offer grace and live in truth we can see God do amazing healing in our families. We can witness him build stronger relationships and overcome generational sin. Our families will be healthier and the Kingdom of God will gain strength here on earth.

 

The same Jesus Who turned water into wine can transform your home, your life, your family, and your future. He is still in the miracle-working business, and His business is the business of transformation. ~ Adrian Rogers, Pastor

 

 

 

Christlikeness

Recently our staff did our written reviews. I was pretty confident going into the review. It had been a great 6 months. I was able to accomplish a lot so I was pretty sure I was going to kill this thing. So, I start taking it and about half way through the first page the wind is taken out of my sails with one section where I have to rate myself.

Christlikeness: am I becoming more like Jesus?

It’s a 0-5 scale; 0 being anti-Christ and 5 being Jesus’ twin brother. On my best day I don’t know how to scale myself on this one. If I’m a 1, I’m an unbeliever. I can’t be a 5 because Jesus is humble so that disqualifies me. My best-case scenario is a 3.

Maybe it’s where I was at that day, but this question made me reflect on all those accomplishments and goals I had achieved and come to the conclusion that I had become pretty good at doing Christ-like work even when I didn’t always have a Christ-like heart.

Many of you have been there; we can do the day to day Christ-like work in our sleep. We can put on the pastor voice, do the concerned eyes and even give good solid Biblical advice. We do this while deep inside it has been a while since our hearts have really been bent toward heaven.

As I search Scripture I’ve come to the conclusion that:

“It is the bend of our hearts that drives our Christ-likeness, not the work of our hands.”

The best example of this is the life of Jesus. There is a particular example right after the feeding of the 5,000 in John 6 and Matthew 14. It’s here that I think Jesus gives us a great example of keeping our hearts bent toward our heavenly Father in the midst of successful ministry pressure.

You may know the story. Jesus has been teaching. It starts to get late in the day. The disciples want to release the people so they can go eat. Jesus tells them to feed the people. It sure looks like in John that they steal this kid’s lunch but I’m sure Jesus wouldn’t allow that. Jesus blesses the food and they feed all of these people on 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, with plenty of leftovers. It is obviously miraculously multiplied.

John ‪6:14-15‬‬‬‬

When the people saw the sign He had done, they said, “This really is the Prophet who was to come into the world!” 15 Therefore, when Jesus knew that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He withdrew again to the mountain by Himself.

The first thing we see that Jesus does in the midst of great pressure to be elevated is to stay humble.

Jesus was very aware of the people around him; their ulterior motives, but more than that he knew the will of the Father for his life and he didn’t deviate from it when what could have been seen as a better offer came up.

Jesus didn’t have insecurities like we do; he didn’t have daddy issues- so when the push came to make him king- he could walk away.

How do we respond to ministry pressure? Sometimes my arm isn’t long enough to pat myself on the back or to seek the accolades of others.

 

We have to fight to stay humble.

As soon as we lose our humility, we become the idol. We become the driving force of our doing Christ-like work and that in no way is Christ-honoring.

“It is the bend of our hearts that drives our Christ-likeness, not the work of our hands.”

The second thing we must do to maintain our Christlikeness is to escape from the crowd.

(John ‪6:15‬) ‬‬‬

15 Therefore, when Jesus knew that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He withdrew again to the mountain by Himself.

To care for our own souls we must escape from ministry at times.

Jesus had to be exhausted. He was teaching, ministering and just being drained by caring for people. We’ve all been there. You and I both know when we get exhausted and don’t withdraw we get burned out. When burnout comes, our hearts turn cold to the very people God has called us to care for. Jesus escaping here was the best thing he could do for those people because he was exhausted.

I remember my first church when I was young in the ministry and excited to just be in full-time ministry. I was at everything! Every time there was an event or the doors were open, I was there. I took no time off. Before long the ministry I had been so excited about became just a job to me, and one my wife resented.

I wish someone had told me to escape, to take a vacation, to take a day off. I didn’t know and I want to warn you that it is the bend of your heart that drives your Christ-likeness, not the work of your hands.

Friends, We must fight for humility and fight to escape.

The last thing I believe Jesus shows us we must do to maintain our Christ-likeness is found in the parallel story in Matthew ‪14:23.‬‬‬‬

Here, Matthew lets us in on what Jesus did when he withdrew.

He went up on the mountain to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.

Here on the mountain Jesus engaged with the Father. Notice the author’s emphasis on the time and Jesus being alone.

It doesn’t say that this was a 15-minute quiet time. Many times when we are so busy we run through quiet times like pre-trip vehicle inspections. We do just enough to make sure we can drive it hard. Jesus takes a much different approach here; he engaged.

We get so busy that we live off short quiet times and check off our boxes, but we never engage. We never really get connected in worship. When we get there our Christ-likeness gets weak and frail.

I see it all the time with pastors and staff. They get frustrated and worn out, so this glorious work becomes a job that uses more skill than heart. I know many of you have great worship services, but that cannot be your only time in worship. If you are like me on Sunday mornings I hear and see everything that is wrong or that should be done first. Many times Sundays are distracting and draining. Let’s call it what it is, a workday. You and I must retreat into our closets and get alone with the Father. That may look like journaling, praying, listening to music and of course reading Scripture. Get to a place where you can get lost for a moment in just being with the One who has your days in His hands.

Our hearts need a reset, a realignment and that only happens when we connect with the Father.

Friends, it is the bend of our hearts that drives our Christ-likeness, not the work of our hands.

If you are like me, you may need to take some time and repent of where your heart has been, escape the madness and get alone with your heavenly Father.

5 Love Languages of a Sending Church

Several years ago Gary Chapman wrote a book called “The Five Love Languages.” If you are married and a part of a church chances are you have read that book, been to a book study on it and still use some of the language surrounding that book in your marriage today.
From the study of this book, we found out that we all communicate love in different ways. We all have a love language; gifts, acts of service, physical touch, words of affirmation and quality time. If you work with church planters, that partner and planter relationship can sometimes be a difficult one to negotiate. It can be easier and more fruitful if we as partner or sending churches will just remember those Five Love Languages and weave them into our relationships with the planters.
Gifts: Church plants need resources. Just the idea of the word plant gives the idea that there isn’t much there. Most of our churches have many resources that we can share or gift to a church plant. Spend some time thinking through the different people you know in your church that provide services, own businesses or just have extra stuff.  I like to think through the skills and services that our staff and church planters can provide and figure out a way to leverage those resources to support our planters. Here are some things that we have given away: Legal services, counseling for planters and their teams, chairs, block party trailer, sound systems, copiers, printing, subscriptions to online services, a shared Dropbox where they can share files, etc.
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Words of Affirmation: Church planters need to know when they are doing a good job. Many of these guys are hard chargers who believe that God has called them to plant a Kingdom-minded church in an area without an adequate Gospel presence. They are bold, but they are also fragile. They need us as partners to give them encouraging words when they are at their lowest and ready to quit. We must continually point these brave Kingdom warriors back to their calling and sufficiency in Christ.
Quality Time: If we want to know best how to support our planters we must spend time with them in their area. By spending time with them on their field of battle you will understand their context better. This will allow you to know what questions to ask them as you coach them. It will also give you specific people and places to be able to pray about. This involves you in the mission. The more that you can serve side by side with your planter the more your heart will be drawn into his work and the more apart of that work you will feel.
Acts of Service: Serve alongside of them! One of the best ways we can increase the faith and growth of our church members is to work alongside of church planters. Your church members’ faith will be stretched. They will begin to be bought into the vision of church planting, evangelism and missions. Your church planters will be encouraged. You will see their faith grow. They will know you care and feel invested in.
Physical Touch: Don’t make this weird… Your church planters will benefit from you being present with them, one on one. You need to put an arm around them, sit knee to knee and have a real conversation. This real conversation is not about church planting! They need to know you care about them. Ask about their time with the Lord. Are they growing in their faith? Are they still being challenged by prayer and Scripture? What are they praying for and how is Scripture changing them?  Get to know their wife and their kids’ names. Ask them about dating their wife and spending time with their kids. Care more about them and their health than the plant.  Grab their arm and pray for them.
If you can practice these things, your planters will be healthier, your faith will grow and your church family will grow in their faith.