Pastor Nathan will be in Brazil for two weeks at the end of this month teaching local pastors in partnership with a group called Training Leaders International. We are so excited for Pastor Nathan to have this opportunity and we are praying for the Word of God to go forward in amazing ways while he is there. He is teaching a 9 day church history course to local Brazilian pastors. We are sure that the time with be fruitful and we can’t wait to here testimony of all that the Lord has done when he returns.
Be sure to check back as we get more updates and do join with us in prayer while Pastor Nathan is away. It is our joy and privilege for strong biblical teaching to flow out of Christ Church and into the nations. May the name of Jesus be lifted high above all names in this time of Gospel need!
Update 3/24/15: Pastor Nathan has already had good and fruitful times teaching the pastors in Brazil as well as preaching a Sunday sermon to a 1,200 member church. You can click here to see the video of Pastor Nathan’s message. He also sent a couple of pictures from Sunday as well:
Because of the bad weather recently and the Cross Conference simulcast last Friday we have delayed our monthly Potluck Lunch by one week. This Sunday the 8th we will join together after service for food and fellowship! Our prayer focus for the month of March is going to be United States. Be in prayer for our national, state and local officials. Also, pray for the gospel to go forth and be effective in the hearts of family, friends, and the people of our nation. Pray for revival and renewal in the churches of our city and nation. For the potluck plan to bring your family’s favorite food. See you there!
UPDATE: Just a reminder that the Cross Conference Simulcast is still on for tonight. It starts at 7:00pm at the Robinsons house, so let’s be there by 6:45 in order to get settled. Snacks and coffee will be provided. A few notes on the Robinsons house: Please park at the bottom of their driveway along the road. Carpool as much as possible since parking is limited. There still might be some snow on the ground so be very careful on your way in. If you have any questions or need directions feel free to call Abby or Becky.
This month our church will host a viewing of the Cross Conference Simulcast on February 27th at 7:00pm. Chuck and Becky Robinson have graciously offered to open their home for the simulcast to anyone who would like to join. We would love for you to save the date and begin now to invite your friends. Cross Conferences are aimed at college students/young adults but all are welcome to attend. Speakers this year will include Mack Stiles, John Piper, Thabiti Anyabwili, David Platt, Kevin Deyoung and Matt Boswell will lead a time of worship.
Psalm 96:1-3 says “Oh sing to The Lord a new song; sing to The Lord, ALL the earth! Sing to The Lord, bless His name; TELL of His salvation from day to day. DECLARE His glory among the NATIONS, His marvelous works among ALL the peoples!” We want to be a Church that is passionate to see Christ exalted among all Nations!
Be sure to check the website for updates and more info as the date gets closer. We hope you will join us!
It’s a New Year at Christ Church Knoxville and what better way to kick it off than with our monthly Potluck Lunch! We’re excited to see everyone back in town this week and we hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years. We can’t wait to hear all about what the Lord did over the break in peoples’ lives as they were with families and friends. Our Potluck Lunch is the perfect way for us to share and experience God’s grace and mercy in this way. As you prepare your dish for the lunch, we encourage you to be preparing your heart and your testimonies as we come together and fellowship in God’s Word!
Normally Potluck is on the first Sunday of the month but this month, to give people a chance to come back and re-settle from the holidays, it will be this coming Sunday the 11th after our Sunday Morning Service. Be on the lookout for an email from Becky Robinson with details about what to bring and how to be praying. If you are not on the email list then you can email us at email@example.com.
Be sure to invite your friends and family! There will be plenty to go around!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
We had such an amazing year in 2014 at Christ Church and we are praying for more of the Lord’s grace and mercy as we move into 2015. Jesus Christ truly is our focus as we grow as disciples, seek the scriptures to gain knowledge of God, gaze on His infinite beauty in worship and go forward with the Gospel to the nations and our neighbors. That is our vision for the local church and Christ has done great things in our midst as He equipped us for these works. We can’t wait to hear more and more testimonies of what God has done in this last year, especially as we move forward into 2015!
With the new year comes the full Christ Church calendar once again! We’re excited about some big events we have planned this year and we can’t wait to give you more information about those soon. As for January we are back on track with our weekly meetings. Here is a rundown of our regular schedule (be sure to check the Calendar Page for changes and updates):
- Sunday mornings from 9:30am to 11:30am – Sunday celebration service at the church
- Monday mornings from 6:30am to 7:00am – West Knoxville prayer meeting at the Tarrs’ house
- Wednesday nights from 6:30pm to 8:00pm – Encountering God service at the church
- Friday mornings from 7:00am to 7:30am – North Knoxville prayer meeting at the Aldredges’ apartment (location may be changing soon)
Also, don’t forget about monthly Potluck Lunches on the first Sunday of the month (except for January which is on the 11th)!
It’s time for the annual Women’s Christmas Gift Exchange! You read that right, this year we are switching things up a bit. Instead of doing a cookie exchange, let’s do a white elephant style gift exchange on Friday, December 19.
Here are the details:
What: We will be playing a game called White Elephant (how to play will be explained at the party). So, please bring a *nice* gift, but do not exceed a $20 purchase! Also, bring something old, funny, or weird from your house that you want to get rid of. We will incorporate these “gifts” into the game, too. You never know, one of these “gifts” may show up every year! Please bring both of them wrapped, without any names on them (be sure you know which is which!).
When: Friday, December 19 at 7pm
Where: Kelly Tarr’s house
Food: Please bring a salty or savory hors d’oeuvres unless I’ve asked you to bring a dessert.
Contact Kelly Tarr with any questions you may have. See you there!
Join us on December 10th for our Annual Christ Church Christmas Party! We love having this time together as a church to have fun, decorate some cookies and encourage each other in the truth of Jesus this holiday season.
The party is at Nathan and Devon’s house again this year on Wednesday December 10th at 6:00pm. Please contact Nathan for directions to his house. There will be snacks, hot drinks and of course the annual cookie decorating contest!
What a joy it is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ together as a church! We hope to see you there!
2 Corinthians 4:15 is worthy of reflection, and all the more at the beginning of this Thanksgiving week. Paul says, “For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.“
I. Putting the Pieces Together. Our first step of reflection is to picture three building blocks that make up the main pieces of this verse: grace, thanksgiving, and glory. Second, we ask how these three pieces are held together. Paul says that as grace extends, it increases thanksgiving; and thanksgiving results in glory. So if you are a spatial thinker (like I am!) it will help to put thanksgiving right there in the middle. Paul is picturing both what fuels and what flows out of our thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is fueled by grace. As grace extends to more and more people it increases thanksgiving. This increase seems to be both a broadening scope (more and more people are giving thanks), and a deepening intensity (with greater joy and understanding).
And as the current of this grace extends – broadening and deepening – it doesn’t pile up on itself and end at thanksgiving. Instead, thanksgiving channels grace and directs it to it’s final destination which is the ocean of God’s glory! As thanksgiving increases, God is receiving a broader and deeper glory. And notice it is God who receives it! This connects the end of the verse back around to the beginning and lets us see that the grace is recognized as coming from God in the first place. And when God is thanked for what He alone can give, He is glorified! Thanksgiving for His unique power and care and wisdom in our life shines a light on the divine perfections that make up the glory of God.
So Paul builds this verse out of three main pieces, grace, thanksgiving and glory. And the real power of this construction comes in how he puts them together. Grace comes to us from God. That experience of grace fuels thanksgiving to God. And when we publicly credit God for His gifts in our life, He looks as great and good as He really is! To use one analogy, thanksgiving is like the junction switch that directs the train bearing the freight of God’s grace to the station of God’s glory, rather than letting it wander into the siding of self. To use another analogy, thanksgiving is like the dam that doesn’t stop but directs and releases the river of God’s grace to its proper destination, the ocean of God’s glory, keeping it from getting syphoned off along the way.
The way you turn the gifts of God in your life into the glory of God that is meant to shine from your life is to give thanks! And in this culture there was no word for a private “thank you” to a benefactor. The way you gave thanks for a gift was to publicly testify to what you had been given. That is the picture here – and that is our opportunity this Thursday – a public testimony to all we have received by the grace of God.
What a powerful activity thanksgiving is! It is fueled by the grace of God and flows into the glory of God! This verse adds a joyful significance and a wonder-ful weight to the upcoming holiday! Understanding ourselves to be caught up in the divine life of releasing grace and receiving glory (and there we are right in the middle!) certainly should change the way we picture what is happening when we gather together this week! There are opportunities for application here not to be missed!
II. In the Context of Gospel Ministry. But this verse seems to demand a third step. It is introduced as a ground for what Paul has just said. “For it is all for your sake.” So the context of chapter 4 is brought in as the “it” Paul is referencing. And the fact that “it is is for your sake” is the reason Paul does whatever it is he has just described in the preceding verses!
When we look back up the chapter, we find it is Paul’s brand of gospel ministry that is being described. His “brand” of ministry rests on the conviction of vs 4, that the glory of Christ is to be encountered in the gospel. And it is sustained by the confidence of vs 17, that no matter what happens in this life, Paul will be raised to enjoy an inheritance of that very glory! The conviction that God can cause the glory of Christ can be seen in the gospel is vital because many in Paul’s life do not see anything glorious there. Some are hostile to it (4:3). Some are underhanded in their dealing with it (4:2). And his confidence that God will raise him to share in this glory is vital because his life is pictured as a clay pot that is regularly being thrown down and trampled on by those who hate the gospel (4:7-12).
What keeps Paul going, though he regularly suffers at the hands of veiled, hostile, and underhanded minds, is the grace of God. We tend to think of grace as a passive non-thing – grace is forgiving (not punishing) sin. But biblical grace is an active, powerful thing! God has the power to speak a mind-opening word that removes the veil and shines the light of spiritual understanding when the gospel is heard (4:6). And God has the power not only to preserve Paul for his inheritance, but to use the occasion of Paul’s “death” to release the resurrection power of Christ (4:11). This ability, this power, is the grace of God. This grace, in salvation, in spreading the gospel, and in securing his inheritance, is Paul’s only hope in life and death.
What does this gospel ministry context add to what we have seen in verse 15? Just this: the way God’s grace extends to more and more people is as Paul takes it to them in the suffering ministry of the gospel. Paul is able to be thankful for his own “death” because as he exalts Christ in all his clay-pottish weakness, the power of God made perfect in that weakness will extend to others. Namely, their eyes will be opened to see Jesus! That is why he says, “this is all for your sake!” I am living by grace (confidence in God’s power to open blind eyes, to bring life from death) so that grace might extend to you! I am willing to die once again so that you might be able to taste life for the first time! And as you receive eye-opening grace, thanksgiving increases – both yours and mine – to the glory of the God you now see and the God who has proven Himself once again to me!
Let this be an encouragement for those of us who are going into a holiday season that will put us in touch with friends and family who are hostile to the glory of God. Surely we all have someone in our life who will give our clay pot a good whack if we give thanks as we should! The grace of God freed Paul to take persistent, gospel risks instead of tampering with the truth to make it more palatable for them and comfortable for him. Belief in the power of God’s grace freed Paul to rejoice in the open statement of the truth! And despite the many times he was “thrown down”, he persisted in his practice because he believed there would be some who would have their eyes opened by grace. And as this grace extended to more and more people through his suffering, thanksgiving would increase. And this to the grace of God. May we be freed by this grace to take these same persistent, gospel risks. And may the grace of God extend to many of our families, even in our faltering, over this coming week!