Remember Our Heroes

This is a photo I found of my father during WWII.  From what he told me this was most probably taken in 1945 on the Island of Okinawa.  His service company was stationed there.  Interestingly I think I can still find those overalls!

He joked once that he suffered from “shell shock”.  But he certainly had the advantage of a family that cared for him, and a community that nurtured him throughout his life.

Today however we have a significant number of our veterans who are struggling with PTSD.  Many of these veterans don’t have access to adequate help due to “Less Than Honorable” Discharges.

If you have a veteran in your life. Be there.  Just listen.  Just Love.

I read the story of one Vietnam veteran who struggled with addiction and his mom would simply fix him dinner everyday so that he could have something to eat until he recovered.

You can also educate yourself.  There is legislation to help our heroes get the help they deserve

HR Bill

You can also advocate and donate.  There are credible organizations that are making an impact.

Takeaways from our Eight Week Study of the Book “Called Together” by Jonathan Dodson and Brad Watson.

The Missional Community is continuing to grow in understanding and committed to sharing the Gospel. We have completed the eight week study in the book “Called Together” by Jonathan Dodson and Brad Watson. We went deeply into what is the Gospel, and what does the Bible show as Community and do we live in Community. The Gospel foundation has been set and our hearts are open to daily being on mission for Christ. We had to look closely at the definition of the church and its mission. We are all accustomed to saying, “let’s go to church.”  We had to stop and ask, “Who is the church?”  According to the scriptures the followers of Christ are the church. We are to spread the Gospel and keep His commandments. We also read and discussed Matthew 28:18-20. We looked at how the great commission is both Evangelism and Discipleship. We are being sent to the lost and to develop the believer.

We concluded our study with the understanding that as Christians we are always on mission. The Missional Community is a group of people on Christ-Centered mission together by loving God, loving each other, and loving our neighbor.  

As a new living community, we are moving forward with our goals. We have become closer as a group by listening to each other’s stories and helping each other in life events. We know that signing up to intentionally spread the Gospel together makes us a target of the enemy, but we are standing in victory expecting to be a blessing. We are expecting to reach those in need of a savior, and people who need to come back to Christ. We appreciate you continuous support for the MC.

We are learning. We are helping each other. With the help of God we are meeting needs, and we are continuing to spread the Gospel.

Called Together,

Willie and Rochelle

What are Missional Communities?

In the 21st century many of these questions are being answered through Missional Communities.  we will spread the Gospel to the unreached, lost and broken, and will describe the Church Plant structure, and organization.  The most effective 21st Church Plant are based Missional churches.  The Great commission calls for evangelism and edification.  Our Mission is to make and grow disciples through the spread of the gospel.  Matt 28:19-20 (KJV).  This scripture also calls attention to the Missio Dei (God’s mission):

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Background of the Traditional Church:  (1) Church life centered on Sunday Worship in a purpose built facility, (2) Lay leadership focused on admin responsibilities, (3) Staff focused on program dev. and and ongoing operations

About 65% of the Builder Generation are in a church each week. With the Boomers, it’s about 35%. You will find 15% of Gen X’ers gather to a church this Sunday. For Gen Y (Millennials), the oldest of whom turned 30 in 2010, it’s only 4%. And in the midst of this, we all seem to be getting the same sense from God about the way forward. But there was one problem: What does this look like?[ii]

Reggie McNeal puts it like this: “We must change our ideas of what it means to develop a disciple, shifting the emphasis from studying Jesus and all things spiritual in an environment protected from the world, to following Jesus into the world to join him in his redemptive mission.”[iii]

What is a Missional Community?  “A community of Christ followers on mission with God in obedience to the Holy Spirit that demonstrates tangibly and declares creatively the Gospel  of Jesus Christ to a specific pocket of people”[iv]

From his lecture “Contextual and Missional” at Urban Plant Life Conference in London, Tim Keller talks about the nature of a missional church:  A missional church gears absolutely every single part of its life–its worship, community, public discourse and preaching education–for the presence of non-believers from the culture surrounding it. A missional church’s congregation reflects the demographic make-up of the surrounding community–and therefore it gives non-Christian neighbors attractive and challenging glimpses of what they would look like as Christians.[v]

 

  • Up – Building a personal relationship with Jesus
  • In – Discipling each other/accountability
    • Develop Missional Communitiy leaders.
    • Huddle – Missional Community leaders dedicated to discipling and accountability for each other
  • Out – Being a Witness for Christ and Serving the community
  • What is a Missional Community and its objectives
  • Resource: Pastor Chris Gonzalez (Missional Dei Communities in Phoenix, AZ)

Low control, high accountability.  This describes how missional communities lead, as well how the leaders are released to mission.  “The leaders of the MC are held accountable by the leadership of the greater church community, both for what they do and for the way in which they do it (i.e., character as well as task). “Low control, high accountability” is one way to describe relationships between the Missional Community and the church body and leadership.”[viii].  The best MC leaders are completely devoted to following Christ into the mission field, recognizing that, wherever they are, the fields around them today are white unto harvest.[ix]

 

Witness -Living witness to your Missional Community and Introduce Jesus to People that don’t know him

Service – Addressing the needs of the Missional community and Addressing the needs of the outer community

Conclusion:  As well, a Missional Community will go OUT together in specific missional activities, to serve and witness to their place of calling. Such events need to be regular and rhythmic, so that the group sees this as an integral part of their life together. It should be no more a ‘special’ than meeting to eat together or pray together is. (wikkipedia)

References:

[i] Todd Enstrom, http://toddengstrom.com/2015/08/23/group-formation-process-graphic/

[ii] Reggie McNeal, Missional Renaissance (Jossey-Bass, 2009), p. 16(as cited in Launching Missional Communities

[iii] Breen, Mike; Alex Absalom (2010-11-11). Launching Missional Communities (Kindle Locations 227-232). 3DM. Kindle Edition.

[iv] Restoring Your Community with Missional Communities, page 20, http://my.vergenetwork.org/restoring-your-city-with-missional-communities/

[v] Tim Keller, http://timmybrister.com/2011/02/tim-keller-on-the-nature-of-a-missional-church/

[vi] Todd Engstrom, http://toddengstrom.com/2013/10/14/crafting-a-vision-for-missional-communities/

[vii] “Missional Communities” in Wikkipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missional_community

[viii] “Missional Communities” in Wikkipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missional_community

[ix] Breen, Mike; Alex Absalom (2010-11-11). Launching Missional Communities (Kindle Locations 1236-1237). 3DM. Kindle Edition

Bibliography:

  1. Restoring Your Community with Missional Communities, Verge Networks
  2. Launching Missional Communities, Breen, Mike; Alex Absalom
  3. Leading Missional Communities Kindle Edition by Mike Breen
  4. Building a Discipling Culture Kindle Edition by Mike Breen
  5. Cultivating a Life for God, Neil Cole
  6. Total Church, Chester, Tim; Timmis, Steve (2008-08-21). Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community
  7. Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century (Invitation to Theological Studies Series) Kindle Edition by Dr Timothy Tennent (Author)
  8. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society Kindle Edition by Lesslie Newbigin
  9. 4 Ways to Keep Millennials in Your Small Groups, http://www.smallgroups.com/articles/2015/4-ways-to-keep-millennials-in-your-small-groups.html?start=2
  10. Developing a Church Planting Plan, http://web.kybaptist.org/web/doc/Church%20Planting%20Plan.pdf
  11. ECO Church Planting Manual, http://www.ecoplanting.org/mt-content/uploads/2016/08/eco-church-planting-manual-version-1.1.pdf
  12. Why the Missional Movement will Fail, http://www.vergenetwork.org/2011/09/21/mike-breen-why-the-missional-movement-will-fail-part-2/
  13. What Makes a Church Missional, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/march/16.56.html

Let’s Go! Missional Community Church Plants Spread the Gospel

The Missional Community Church Plant often begin with the study of the Gospel. It is recommended by multiple sources that you begin with the Gospel to create or maintain a strong foundation.

What is the Gospel?

The Gospel is a gift to you from Jesus that when accepted through believing gives you eternal life with Him.

The Apostle Paul writes: “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.”(1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NLT)

The Gospel of Jesus is that He died for our sins, He was buried and He was raised from the dead on the third day. This is the Gospel that Christians live their lives by. The Gospel is powerful and needed in this world. It is the greatest gift ever given to mankind. The gift that if accepted will change your life for eternity.

The scriptures say in John 3:16,
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”(John 3:16 NLT)

What is so wonderful about this gift is that it is free and we gain eternal life with Christ. We just have to accept it. We don’t have to be perfect, you can’t buy it, and you can even be just broken down in body and spirit. But, because Jesus died and rose again for everyone, you only have to accept it.

The Bible let’s us know that, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” (Ephesians 2:8 NLT)“

In fact, the Bible says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”(Romans 10:8-11 NLT)

What now? If you can believe and can openly declare that Jesus is Lord you are saved! Your sins are forgiven and you become a new person, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)

We pray that you open up your heart and receive the gift of eternal life from Jesus. We would love to pray with you and help as you begin a your new life as a child of God.

Please contact us at: pastors @HeartVisionChurch.org

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TOTAL SURRENDER Redemption’s Service

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:28

Redemption is defined as the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.

Today we celebrate redemption. All over the world Christians are singing and shouting, “Alive! Alive! Jesus is Alive!” The Holy Spirit is flowing through the church body and we are lifting up voices of praise to our savior. Do you remember the day that you first accepted Jesus into your heart? Do you remember the day of your total surrender when you accepted God’s gift of redemption?

It was a Sunday afternoon in New Jersey and I was riding in the backseat of my mom’s car as she was driving us up Route 29(River Road). The canal was right next to us and in a distance you could see the Delaware River. On the right we passed Washington Crossing Park and my ten-year-old mind often wondered, did he really cross here? It was a beautiful ride from the bustling city to a small spirit filled church on the mountain. When we arrived it felt like any other Sunday with family and friends ready to hear the Word of God. On this day, I was wearing my favorite navy blue dress. The buttons were trimmed slightly in white, and it has just enough flair. I came up the first few steps and entered the sanctuary. I always sat on the left side, but today I sat near the window on the right side. When you glanced out of the window you could see the house neighboring the church. I imagine that they have seen much praise throughout the years. Perhaps on this special night they will receive a great blessing. We prayed and sang until the wooded floors shook and ricocheted our praise back to our God. I don’t even remember what the message was that day, but we always had an alter call. I did not go to the alter, but instead, I knelt down with my face to the pew and began to pray. Tears began to flow uncontrollably down my face, and my arms reached toward heaven. I promised, and I promised, and I promised God that if he would forgive my sins that I would serve Him the rest of my life. In that moment even though the church was full, It was just me and Jesus. Not my will Lord but your will be done in my life. I surrendered my life for a life with Christ. The service was about to come to a close, and we were trying to pull ourselves together. My pastor stood up and told us that as I was praying she saw an angel of the Lord come and touch me. It was a night to remember. It was a night of redemption. I gave my heart to Jesus and there is no turning back for me. See what Jesus did for you.

Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus surrendered his will to the will of his Father (Luke 22:42), and He took on the sins of the world so that we could be saved. Jesus became the substitute for you and I on the cross. He gave up His life as a ransomed on the cross for us. Death on the cross was the cruelest way to die. They nailed Jesus to the cross, and they pierced him in his side, blood and water ran down. He felt the sins of the world while hanging on the cross. At the time of Jesus’ death, darkness came over the land because the sun stopped shining, and the curtain in the temple was torn into two pieces (Luke 23:44-45). Jesus committed his spirit back into God the Father’s hands. But, Jesus did not stay dead, for he had already told them that on the third day He would rise again (Luke 24:4-8)! He took back the keys of death from the grips of Satan. The saints walked the streets of Jerusalem as witness to our risen Lord. The world as it was would never be the same. We now have no more excuses. Through the precious shed blood of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection from the dead we can be saved from sin and destruction. We only need to have faith. Romans 10:9 states, ”If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” That’s it! It is His ultimate sacrifice on the cross for our sins that allows us to be saved by His grace. Despite what we deserve God has mercy on us and forgives our sins through Jesus. Do you believe?

Redemption came through Jesus sacrifice and with it came restoration as children of God. We were lost due to man’s sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:17). That very sin of disobedience separated us from the light and brought darkness into our souls. The pure fellowship with God was broken. Jesus restored that fellowship by breaking the bonds of sin. “For ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26 KJV

All over the world as we accept Jesus as our savior. His Holy Spirit is living within Christians and teaching us His Holy ways. For we are redeemed and restored, we are no longer lost to this world. We have been elevated from the depths of despair into the Love of our Lord. Eternal life with Christ Jesus is our reward. We look forward to day of His return. Glory, honor and praise to our savior!

Come Lord Jesus, Come!

Ain’t No Mountain

You remember this song. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. It starts with the bass and then that unmistakable sound of the drumsticks. “Ain’t no mountain high, Ain’t no Valley low, Ain’t no river wide enough”

This is the perfect picture of Jesus. He is looking for us. From the garden of Eden up to today.

The song goes on to ask “Remember the day I set you free”? I remeber that day. I was in front of Hines Chemistry building. I told God I would give Him my life, and I felt like a thousand pounds was lifted from my shoulders!

Yes, some days I try to pick that weight back up, but I have to keep reminding myself: “I’m free”.

Back to the song. Can’t you imagine Jesus showing up on the scene with a Motown theme: Horns, Strings, Angelic chorus. And Jesus is there, nothing is going to stop Him from getting to us. He shows up as a little baby.

Luke 2:8-11 (KJV)

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Remember and Trust

There is nothing in this world that Jesus has not already taken care of for us. We just have to step back, remember and trust! Hallelujah! Jesus has overcome the world. We sing, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest grain but wholly lean on Jesus name!” Remember tribulations, I have peace in my Jesus! Grab hold to your peace, it is a gift from Jesus!

John 16:33 (ESV) I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

God Is In Charge of Our Lives

God is in control of our circumstances!

“So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it. As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.” Gen 37:23 – 25 (NIV)
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God is in control of our circumstances.  When we look at the story of Joseph we see that God is in charge.  What circumstances are you in.  Realize God is in charge of your life, before trouble starts.
I love this part of the story when Joseph’s brothers have thrown him in this pit, and Joseph  is waiting, and the the slave traders show up.  TheBible says they are from Gilead.  God arranged this. Look at your life and your situation.  You are in a pit, and God shows up with some slave traders.  Unlikely heroes in the story. But not only were those slave traders the means to save Joseph, they were the means to save the nation of Israel.
Don’t over think this.  we are not telling you to pick bad company.  The point is God is in charge of the circumstances.
Finding yourself in a pit?  Your deliverance is on the way.
Let’s talk about Joseph’s attitude and our attitude.  If Joseph had know what was coming, he would have been thankful instead of anxious.  But God does not usually tell us the future.  But He does tell us to trust Him, because He holds the future.
The song writer Albert B. Smith wrote:
I know who holds the future, And I know he holds my hand;
With God things don’t just happen ev’rything by Him is planned.
So as I face tomorrow with its problems large and small,
I’ll trust the God of miracles, Give to Him my all!

Honduras Mission Trip – Feb 2015

This summer, the Costner Honduras Mission Team traveled to Honduras for a medical mission. This team is connected to the Baptist Medical Dental Team IMG_1583International (BMDMI) which has full time missionaries & sends short term missionaries year round to Honduras, Nicaragua & Nepal.  Specifically, the team is made up of volunteer doctors, dentist, nurses & others from NC, SC & Tennessee. Also,  the team collected & donated 250 pocketbooks & 150 stuffed animals which were distributed in various clinics along with other team member donations to women & children in Honduras)

Team statistics for the February 21-28, 2015 trip

**824 children attended Children’s Church

**880 teeth pulled by the Dental Team

**2,245 patients examined in the Medical Clinic

**13,625 medication prescriptions filled by the Pharmacy Team

**30 “Project Life Patients” (Our team has committed to pay for their needed blood work, xrays, surgeries, therapies & special medications

**900 families received a 2 week supply of food (beans & rice)

**Over 1200 Spanish Bibles & Tracts distributed

**214 Professions of Faith (Salvations) 51 of the salvations were at my Nursing station
 
Again, thank you, the money donated to me from your ministry was used to support the Beans & Rice Ministry which provided a 2 week supply of food (beans & rice) to 900 Honduran families.
 
Currently, I am collecting new & gently used pocketbooks & stuffed animals for the 2016 trips. The next mission trip is February 20-27, 2016

Angela Imes 

Preparing for the Day

Morning Deli. Everyone is preparing for the day. Lots of activity, pans are steaming, orders are being preparedn they are even cleaning the walls. Remember what your grandmother said “Don’t touch the walls!”

How do we prepare ourselves. I love to stand outside and feel the weather and hear God. No phones, or interruptions. Just me and God.

Why is this important. I go back to something I heard Joyce Meyer say. She said that she understood that she needed God during those times that she was “in over her head”, but she also realized that she is “in over her head”, everyday.

So am I.

Let’s listen together to get the strength for today’s challenges.