What You Missed

If you were not able to be at Three Forks church of Christ in Smiths Grove, Kentucky this morning you really missed something special. There were so many blessings packed into one morning that we shared as a family.

We started our worship at 9:00am with Bible study for all ages, nursery through adult, where we opened our Bible’s and dug a little deeper into God’s word. The adult class was blessed to hear about the mission work in Athens, Greece and how the school of preaching is making a difference in the lives of those from many nations.

When our worship continued after the Bible study hour, we were blessed with a change to our normal schedule to services with a young man who had decided to come forward and be baptized into Christ. This young man was a great example of faith to all of us as we witnessed obedience from the heart and celebrated with the angels in heaven!


 

 

 

 

 

 

We continued to a beautiful song service where we raised our voices and joined our hearts in praise and honor of our Lord and Creator. We offered prayers
together for those on our hearts and for the services we were joined in together.

 

 

One of our elders then stood to say a few words and read a scripture from God’s word as he presented a new sister in Christ (who was baptized this past Monday night) a personalized Bible. This tradition shows our dedication as a family to be there for her as she begins her new life in Christ. This month we have been blessed to see the family of God grow as three souls put on Christ in baptism and had their sins washed away by the perfect blood of Christ.

 

 

After a few more songs, we enjoyed hearing a portion of God’s word read as we focused our minds on what we were about to partake in. We joined in the New Testament command of breaking bread in remembrance of the sacrifice God made on the cross for our sins. We joined Him around the table to remember the body and blood of Christ and to proclaim to our common belief in Him. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” 1 Cor. 11:26. This moment allows us to share together and to teach one another about His sacrifice for the world.

 


 

 

We were blessed this morning to hear a message from God’s word taught by the teacher and missionary from Athens. During his message, he reminded our new brother in Christ, and all the brethren there at Three Forks that the family is much bigger than what our building holds. We have family that spans the globe and the ages. He reminded us all just what it means to be joined into God’s family!

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the close of our services our other elder came forward to make announcements. Before the congregation, he made the official appointment of our newest deacon. This man then came forward to close us in prayer and made a moving speech about the genuineness of the love and faith of the members there at Three Forks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To close out our morning we held a surprise birthday party for one of lovely ladies who will be celebrating her 95th birthday very soon. Her family was all able to join us for the event and she was surrounded by so much love and support.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight we will all gather back in that same building and hold our regular 5th Sunday singing service and afterwards will enjoy a snack in the fellowship building. It will be the close to such a blessed first day of the week.

I wanted to share this with everyone. To offer a small glimpse of what Three Forks has going on right now and to share the blessing of this amazing family. I want to invite you to come out and join us, visit with us, and see firsthand what it is like when we gather and just like the church which is described in the New Testament as we continue “steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)

I can’t promise you there will always be cake, but I can promise you love, friendship, and the bread of life.

We’re part of the family, that’s been born again; Part of the family whose love knows no end; For Jesus has saved us and made us His own, Now we’re part of the family that’s on its way home.” (God’s Family, by Lanny Wolfe)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All Authority

I am currently taking a course over the book of Romans for my degree and part of the water-waveclass requirements are forum posts concerning certain topics followed by replies to the posts others have made. This week questions came up regarding baptism and whether it was essential. If firmly believe that it is and will be happy to share scripture as to why I hold that belief.

This morning, however I lay in bed and realized there is a bigger issue at hand when someone tries to debate baptism, or any other commandment of God for that matter: authority.

Can I put out a thought to consider. Do we really believe the great commission Jesus gave in Matt. 28:18-30? “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Jesus Himself said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” If Jesus has all authority how much does that leave for anyone else. He is the God and ruler of all, He gave His life for us and founded His church which He commands us to follow His way. It is all His and it is a matter of trusting His authority.

He told them upon the truth that He has all authority to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”  If He commanded that all nations were to be baptized who gives us the right or the authority to question it. Where is any human’s authority to say it isn’t necessary. How are we allowed to say that a person does not have to obey a direct command from our Lord, who we claim to believe has all authority to tell us what to do and how to live.

Then He finished it by saying, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;”  Is baptism a direct command from Jesus? Yes, verse 19 He directly commanded it. If we are to teach people to observe all things He has commanded, how can we say there is any exception? How can we claim any authority to say, well if they don’t do that one part it will be okay in the end with Jesus because they believed and confessed His name. If they don’t do all aren’t they breaking the command?

Consider that along with these words:

James 2:10 “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

and

Rev. 22:18-19 “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

If we break one part of the law we are guilty of it all? And if we take away from God’s word, God will take away our part of the blessings He promised? Why would we even want to question the authority or the command of Jesus? Why is the issue of baptism even debated, Jesus commanded it, shouldn’t that be enough?

It takes me back to a very deliberate tactic used in Gen 3 where Satan made Eve question just one part of God’s command. All he added was one word and it was enough to change everything. What are we trying to change?

God Opens Doors

Right at a year after decided to go Out On Faith and trust in God’s plan for my life He has opened so many doors. A dream of mine from my youth came true this weekend as I was blessed with the opportunity to teach God’s Word to a group of ladies at Green County church of Christ in Greensburg, KY.

Me speaking at Green Co.In the past year, God has opened doors for me to speak to ladies from surrounding congregations, to grow in my knowledge of Him and in my speaking experience. I feel so blessed by Him and thankful that I have been given the chance to grow in my walk and to teach others along the way.

This weekend the Ladies Day theme was Mary’s Heart, Martha’s Hands. It was a look at how we can learn to serve like Martha without the distraction and to find devotion like Mary. I pray the ladies who were present were able to be as encouraged by the lessons as I was by their presence and uplifting words.

Two wonderful women from Three Forks church of Christ were able to join me on this trip and I was so blessed to have them share in this memory. It is always a pleasure to share fellowship time with my sisters and friends in Christ.

I am looking forward to any doors God feels right to open in my life in the future!  Here am I, Lord send me!

Tiffany

Out On Faith

This year seems to have been all about stepping out in FAITH!  Faith in all areas in our Lord. Trusting Him to catch us if we fall. Faith that led us to step out and begin homeschooling our three kids. Faith to branch out in how I teach my Sunday school class at Three Forks.  Faith to make a new commitment in our Women of Worth ladies program.  Faith has always been such a big part of our lives.  Now it is leading me once more.  I am about to leap off a big cliff, all the while praying, “Lord let me fall where you need me.”  “Here am I, send me.”  Isaiah 6:8

No one is a big fan of stepping outside their comfort zone. keep-calm-and-take-a-leap-of-faith-6The fear of rejection and pain is too much. The dread of the “what if….”.  The horrible worry of failing keeps many, including myself, from beginning, from taking the step.  We fail before we ever start.

Not anymore!  A desire of mine for many, many years has been to be a ladies day speaker. I have been so wonderfully influenced by speakers I have heard through my life, I wanted to do that. I wanted to have the strength and ability to share my faith with others the way those brave women stood in front of crowds of women and shared theirs.

For over 10 years I have been a teacher at church. Even in my early teens at our small congregation I had to step up and teach the younger children simply because there was no one else to fill that role.  (Congregation size was about 20 on Sunday mornings, 5 of which were my family.)  I have taught all ages and have taught our women’s bible studies each month for many years.  Each time I prepare and give a lesson, I strive to be better.  I try to teach it as well as I can and improve on past flaws.  I seek constructive criticism, I want to grow.  I cherish the experience each class, each lesson, each opportunity has given me to grow closer to God and share His word with others in the process.

I worry, maybe I am not the right person. No one would really care what I have to say, would they?  What if I can’t control my nerves?  What if I turn out to not be cut out for it?  What if I fail miserably and embarrass myself, and worse yet, what if I fail my Lord?  I, I, I, me, me, me!  There is the problem!!! It isn’t about me, never has been, never will be!  It is about The God of Heaven who gave up everything to come here and die! IT IS About JESUS!

Every focus of our family is about Him.  Living for Him, raising our children to learn of Him.  What kind of example am I setting if I am not placing my trust fully in His help and His strength to keep me on my feet.  He is the help I need!

“Our help is in the name of the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 124:8

He is where our strength comes from.  Phil. 4:13.  So I am going to take that leap.  I can’t see the bottom, don’t know where I will land, but I know who is there Faithfully to catch me and He never fails!  He will never drop me!  I am putting my name out there saying, yes, I will be a ladies day speaker if anyone would be interested in hearing what I have to say.  I will have faith in my Lord and trust His hand to lead me where He may.  I will continue to pray for His help and guidance every day and hope I am leading my children by example.

leapoffaith

Faithfully,
Tiffany

I Will Go With You Daddy

This morning has been a busy one: picking up rocks and picking out weeds.  Yes, a busy hot morning, but a morning spent together as a family.  All five of us out there, working together, as a family, taking care of our home.  Now, granted there were a couple of little boys who would have rather been inside doing anything else at all, but they were there, doing something. Then there was little bit, happily working alongside her daddy!

“This is fun!” I heard her tell him once.  “Fun? Well I don’t know about that,” he replied.  She was so proud of herself as she walked in step with him pulling weeds and taking them away from the flower beds.  Fun?  Not exactly what the adults were thinking. Bending and pulling, moving wagons of rocks, while sweat dripped into our eyes from the heat, nope, not quite our idea of a fun way to spend the morning.  Definitely as far from fun as possible as our sons were concerned.

Fun.  That is how our daughter described it, however.  Even as we finished for the day and she was told she could go on inside and clean up if she wanted, nope, she was having fun.  “I will go with you, daddy,”  she said the the sweetest grin in her little not quite four year old voice. That is what made it fun!  She was working alongside her dad.  Feeling so big and proud as she heard him praise her for her help.  Following in his footsteps it would not have mattered what we were doing this morning, it was fun because she was with him, her father, who she loves! 

Oh that we had that same attitude.  Jesus gave instructions for us to become as little children, for us to be humble as they are humble (Matthew 18: 3-4).  When the apostles tried to send the children away, He called them back, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14.  And why not. Children love so completely, so innocently, they see the best and have no pride or hatred.  They trust completely.  Oh to follow my Father the way my daughter follows hers!  Such an example. So much joy in just being beside him, no matter the work. 

May I remember this example, may I look to my children for inspiration and remember to love and trust and follow my Lord as a child. To be there so close, just to be in His presence.  No matter the circumstance, having “fun” just because of the One I am with, the One I belong to is the One who loves me beyond all reason.

030Thank you Lord for my children who are always teaching me more than I could ever teach them!!

Tiffany

Don’t Put God On A Shelf

sewingmachineThis past week has been spent waiting on a new pedal for my sewing machine. It has bothered me so much that I have wanted to use it but have not been able to until it is repaired.  Then I began to think of how long that same sewing machine sat on the shelf in my closet, gathering dust, waiting for the moment I would take it down and use it for its intended purpose.

Then it hit me. All too often we treat God the same way. We put God on a shelf in our lives. We know where He is, but we don’t really pay Him much attention, until the time comes when we think we need Him. When things start to fall apart and unravel at the seams, we reach for Him then.  Even though He has been patiently waiting for us all along, wanting, desiring for us to reach for Him.

When we finally reach out for Him, we too often become impatient.  We want God’s help right then, we want His answers to our problems immediately.  We want Him on our time, instead of trusting and waiting for His time, His will, His purpose to be fulfilled.

We need to remember God is always there with us, for us. He wants our walk with Him to be a daily one. A close relationship, not an occasional reunion. We need to spend time with Him daily, growing closer to Him and His word.  In the Old Testament, the Israelites were to offer sacrifices daily to keep God and His commandments constantly on their hearts and minds. (Ezek. 46:13)

We should be like them and the New Testament Christians ourdailybreadwho were so engulfed in God’s word they did not cease, but daily worshipped Him and taught His word to others. (Acts 2:46; Acts 5:42).  We need to feed ourselves with His daily bread! We need to hunger for it and feel empty if we don’t get it each day. We never need to leave God on a shelf for “safe keeping”.  We need to carry Him with us everywhere we go!

Let us challenge ourselves, encourage ourselves to this.  Let our faith never gather dust!

God Bless You today and always!

Tiffany

 

Life’s Busy Season

For a really long time now I keep planning for things I will do when things here at home slow down a bit. When we get past this, I will have more time. Well, this week has a lot going on, when things slow down I will be able to…. (fill in the blank here.)  I am beginning to think things just are not going to slow down and if there are things I want to get done, I am going to have to make time for them. I am starting to think “life’s busy season” isn’t so much a season, as its own decade!

I often remember of one of my favorite bible stories, found in Luke chapter 10, when Jesus comes to the home of Mary and Martha.  As much as I want to say I would have the heart of Mary, that I realize the importance and need for sitting at the Master’s feet, I feel that if I am honest with myself I am afraid I would be Mary.  I tend to always find some “busy-ness” to be about.

I have placed so much on my plate again that I am afraid I am pushing to the side the most nutritious parts until sometimes it feels as though they are barely hanging on the edge. I have realized if I want to find more peace and calm in my life I am going to have to slow down enough to spend the time listening to my Lord instead of busying my hands with so much work. I am going to have to focus on Him, instead of being distracted by everything else around me. Once I put things in the right perspective, the rest will get done and if it doesn’t, as my husband says, in one hundred years it won’t matter anyway!  But in one hundred years my relationship with my Lord will still be all that has ever mattered!

I realize that right now it is not a big problem. That right now, it seems managable, I may run myself ragged and feel so tired I can sleep standing up, but I can see into my future (well, I wish but for now I can imagine) that if I don’t learn to say “no” to some things, I will lose my ability to say “yes” to the best things!  So I am going to learn to say “no” to that tv show, so I can say yes to extra time reading His word.  I am going to say “no” to that extra few minutes on Facebook, so I can say “yes” to a few extra minutes of cuddle time with the kids before bed.  I am going to look for other things that I can say “no” to, so I can have more time to say “yes” to the better things in life!

So tomorrow as I prepare for another busy weekend, I promise myself to make the time to say “Yes” to time alone in prayer, to time listening to my shepherd lead me through the distractions.  Won’t you join me during “NO”vember!

And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42