The Season of Lent

This Sunday is the first Sunday in the season of Lent, which in the Church Calendar is the 40 days before Easter in which believers all over the world have fasted and prayed, meditating on their need for a Savior before rejoicing on the day we celebrate his Resurrection.

We as a church have opted to make this season a part of our worship, in the hopes to order our time throughout the year around the Story of the Gospel. For many of us, this is very different, very strange, and a little intimidating. Since holidays such as Lent or Pentecost (and even Easter and Christmas for that matter!) are not commanded in Scripture, they are not binding on people’s consciences. You are free to fast and pray and prepare your heart before Easter, and you are free not to. Neither will improve your standing with God or others or make your more – or less – spiritual.

We have chosen to incorporate this season in our liturgy and practice to give those who feel led in our church the opportunity to reorient their minds, hearts, prayers, and lives around the deep and abiding nature of their sin, thus making the sweetness of God’s grace flowing from the Gospel of Jesus Christ ever sweeter. Lent can be used as an aide to worship our Lord Jesus greater than before! We pray that regardless of how (or if) you choose to celebrate this season, that the Lord gives you His Spirit to worship Him in a deeper way than the year before. May this be our prayer every year!

Finishing the Task, Nehemiah 6:1-19

We are in a series in the book of Nehemiah called, Building People.  Nehemiah begins writing as the people of God are leaving exile in Babylon and returning to Jerusalem.  The city is destroyed, but far more has been lost than walls and sacred spaces.  The people of God have forgotten their first love.  In God's infinite wisdom he uses Nehemiah to unite the people in rebuilding the city, but the true purpose is rebuilding the hearts of God's people. 

Pastor Jeff continues our series this week and as we see Nehemiah's task nearing completion, the enemies are stacking up.

A Broken Community, Nehemiah 5:1-19

We are in a series in the book of Nehemiah called, Building People.  Nehemiah begins writing as the people of God are leaving exile in Babylon and returning to Jerusalem.  The city is destroyed, but far more has been lost than walls and sacred spaces.  The people of God have forgotten their first love.  In God's infinite wisdom he uses Nehemiah to unite the people in rebuilding the city, but the true purpose is rebuilding the hearts of God's people. 

Pastor Jeff returns and continues our series in Nehemiah by examining God's people who although out of exile, are still struggling to lean on one another.

The Rebuilding Starts, Nehemiah 3:1-32, 4:1-23

We are in a series in the book of Nehemiah called, Building People.  Nehemiah begins writing as the people of God are leaving exile in Babylon and returning to Jerusalem.  The city is destroyed, but far more has been lost than walls and sacred spaces.  The people of God have forgotten their first love.  In God's infinite wisdom he uses Nehemiah to unite the people in rebuilding the city, but the true purpose is rebuilding the hearts of God's people. 

Guest speaker, Michael Kidd, continues our series in Nehemiah by looking at who God uses to rebuild his city and the connection to that we share today.

A Message from the Children's Ministry

First, thank you for making time to get this information.  If you have asked to volunteer or are already on the list to do so, the Spring schedule will be posted on Planning Center and GROUPME as well, so make every effort to download and learn to use these apps on your phone or computer if possible.

TEAM LEADERS: 
As I mentioned in church last Sunday morning, I want to pass along the contact information for each of our team leaders to you for future reference. These ladies are ideally going to be rotating heading up the nursery each Sunday morning, giving you a point person to go to when/if questions, needs, concerns, and emergency situations arise. 

Renee Emerson
706-346-7820
thisquiethour@gmail.com

Sarah Francis
870-530-2692
perkinsarah@aol.com

Marie Morrison
205-789-2238
ml_morrison@hotmail.com

McLeod Satterfield
662-721-3543
mcleodsatterfield@gmail.com

Lori Wreyford
770-344-9077
lori@thewreyfords.com


VOLUNTEERS: 
We will have a training session for ALL VOLUNTEERS before the Sunday morning service on FEBRUARY 11th! This should help you feel prepared and ready to move into your volunteer role with confidence as well as giving you an opportunity to ask any questions you might have! I will send you our policies in an email a week before the training session so you can read over them beforehand.


Every volunteer will need to pass a background check through CheckR which partners with Planning Center. We use this system in order to protect our children. Everyone who serves in our nursery has been approved. It is a very easy process in which you will receive an email where you simply enter your personal information and then submit it. CheckR will send you a confirmation when you have completed the process. 

OTHER WAYS TO SUPPORT: 
I also want you to know that serving in the nursery on Sunday morning is not the ONLY WAY  that you can support the children's ministry. There are lots of other ways you can help. 
For instance, if you have the gift of prayer, we would love to have you commit to pray for our children, leaders and volunteers several times each month using our monthly prayer pattern. Our team would be incredibly encouraged to know that we have individuals praying over us and the specific needs of the ministry! If you have the gift of giving, maybe you could commit to providing money for snacks like applesauce and veggie straws or wipes. We have several additional items that could be purchased or donated for our nursery that would help us a great deal: 

an extra diaper changing pad cover
an extra sheet for the pack n play
another lifetime picnic table because our number of children is basically growing every day :)

If you are interested in this, I will send you a link to where you can purchase these items. Several of you have already given in this way back in the Fall, and I want to take this time to THANK YOU; your gifts have been a GREAT HELP to us! 

Thanks y'all! 

With love in Christ, 
McLeod Satterfield

A Cupbearer to the King, Nehemiah 2:1-20

We are in a series in the book of Nehemiah called, Building People.  Nehemiah begins writing as the people of God are leaving exile in Babylon and returning to Jerusalem.  The city is destroyed, but far more has been lost than walls and sacred spaces.  The people of God have forgotten their first love.  In God's infinite wisdom he uses Nehemiah to unite the people in rebuilding the city, but the true purpose is rebuilding the hearts of God's people. 

We continue our series by looking at Nehemiah's resolve to serve well while he mourns for his people.

Why I do "Bible In A Year" plans every year.

Why I annually do “Bible in a Year” plans

I'm sure everyone has been there.  The New Year is fast approaching, and you are feeling a mixture of both regret and possibility.  You desire to do something different, to make changes for this new year.  Maybe you have a number in your head that you want to weigh at this point next year.  Perhaps a number you will have in the bank?  For those of us who are trying to pursue Jesus, we share these, but perhaps might add the infamous "read the whole bible this year" goal.  There are any number of plans and schedules.  Read it forward, backwards, chronological, alphabetical (I made that up, I think).  You get my point.  Well, I've been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

I'd like to share why I have taken a long-term strategy in recent years, committing to reading the bible in a year.  More importantly, as someone who has in years past over promised and underperformed, I'd like to share why it’s working! 

Over the last two years, I have started a particular "read through the bible in a year" plan that I like, and, for the last two years, I have finished it.  I have a few caveats to my statement "finished it" that I would like you to consider.  I believe these caveats will set you up for long-term success as it relates to bible literacy and spiritual development.  

STRATEGY ONE   I don't always read the prescribed portion each day.  Whew! It feels so good to admit that, and, even better, not feel like a failure who might as well quit.  As a pastor, who I hear is supposed to be a bible professional, I also have many things going on at times which keep me from checking the box many days over the course of the year.  In fact, I've missed whole books in my quest to finish the bible!  Sorry Philemon!  This speaks to the goal of "long term" success and not just checking the box each day.   

I hope you don't hear me saying, "just do it when you feel like it."  Each of us has to make a choice to make pursuing God a priority over other things we like to do  (i.e. eating, work, TV, social media, etc.)  It should be an expectation for every Christian to meet with God each day, much like my wife expects me to acknowledge and perhaps even pursue her at some point each day.  Right?  It's a relationship, not simply a box to check.  Those who merely check the box will have their reward in checking but shouldn't expect much more than that.  

I decided about two years ago that I needed something to give me daily direction and structure in reading God's Word.  A relationship with God should also include other things, like prayer and further meditating on information already read or learned about the text, so I added those as well.  God speaks to us primarily through His revealed Word, but how we take it in might change day to day.  

What I have begun to see each year is that books and portions I missed the last year are covered the next or maybe even the next, but my overall bible familiarity has grown with each passing year.  So if and when you fall behind, just keep going.  Take a long-term approach to your growth.     Just think where you and I might be after 20 years!

STRATEGY TWO   Make a plan that challenges but fits best with your life season.  A book a day might get you done faster but probably isn't very realistic.  What plan you choose and when you plan to accomplish it each day are crucial parts to work out before beginning.  I have built in a few backup opportunities if my primary time and place are compromised.  One backup is that my bible reading plan can be found in an app that will read it for me in the car if I'm on the road.  I also know that I have grown to enjoy a plan that doesn't repeat (the NT or certain books multiple times throughout the year) and includes both the Old and New Testament each day.  

Look, someone out there could certainly coach me in all this, but I know for certain that I need to be in it every day to combat the darkness in my heart and around me.  I also know you need it as well.  I know that a group of believers committed to being with God, knowing, and applying His Word are a powerful force against the kingdom of darkness.   

This is how we build the kingdom and change the world, folks.

A fellow journeyman,

Jeff 

You can download the pdf of the plan I use from the ESV Study Bible or find it as one of the offered plans in the ESV Bible App.

 

Where We Begin, Nehemiah 1:1-11

We are in a series in the book of Nehemiah called, Building People.  Nehemiah begins writing as the people of God are leaving exile in Babylon and returning to Jerusalem.  The city is destroyed, but far more has been lost than walls and sacred spaces.  The people of God have forgotten their first love.  In God's infinite wisdom he uses Nehemiah to unite the people in rebuilding the city, but the true purpose is rebuilding the hearts of God's people. 

We continue our series by looking at Nehemiah himself and his response to the plight of his people.

How We Got Here, Leviticus 26

We start a new series this morning in the book of Nehemiah called, Building People.  Nehemiah begins writing as the people of God are leaving exile in Babylon and returning to Jerusalem.  The city is destroyed, but far more has been lost than walls and sacred spaces.  The people of God have forgotten their first love.  In God's infinite wisdom he uses Nehemiah to unite the people in rebuilding the city, but the true purpose is rebuilding the hearts of God's people. 

Our series starts looking before the exile in Leviticus 26 were the people of God are warned of the blessings and curses that accompany God's covenant with man.