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Growing Up Together 2020 Challenge
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Loving and Living Like Jesus in the Current Crisis

In light of the events of this past week, I wanted to take a moment to speak to you from my heart.
In times like this, it can be tempting for us to entrench ourselves in camps of our own creation where we feel safe. We feel a pressure within us to move to one side or the other, to listen to one narrative to the exclusion of another, to make assumptions of individuals and organizations that only foster division. As Christians, who are called to love like Jesus and live like Jesus, we must be willing to follow a different example, to confess and forsake all of our sinful tendencies.
The first “sign of life” that we studied in the first letter of John provides us with a much healthier pattern in this time of crisis. John told us that the very first and most important evidence of our salvation is the Spirit inside of us who testifies to the truth. The truth to which the Spirit testifies is Jesus’s identity as the Christ, the Son of God. The incarnation of Jesus Christ calls us to a better way in times of division.
The beautiful truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that though we existed in sinful rebellion against a perfectly holy and righteous God, he did not write us off in our rebellion. Instead, he pursued us in the most unique way imaginable. God clothed himself in humanity to dwell among us in humility and service. The fact that Jesus is both 100% God and 100% man means that he alone stands in the place where he can perfectly represent both parties. He steps into the fray to manifest God to man, and man to God and reconcile us to one another. As Christians, we have the privilege and the responsibility to be voices of light and love in seasons of darkness and division.
On the one hand, we can and must declare that hostility and bias against a person merely because of the color of their skin or the origin of their race is appalling and of the devil. We can say, without reservation, that the senseless taking of human life is a direct attack against the God whose image every single human being reflects. Therefore, we can speak the names of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, declare their value as humans beings, acknowledge the unjust nature of their deaths, and call for those with the ability and power to ensure that justice is served.
On the other hand, we can speak the truth that the apostle James declares, “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20) We can condemn the displays of violence across the nation in response to the death of George Floyd as dishonoring to the Lord as well as to the memory of Floyd himself. We can speak with confidence that though some police officers use their positions of power to prey on the people they are meant to serve, this is not a reflection of the majority of those who have committed their lives to protect and serve the citizens of their communities.  We can acknowledge our fellow citizens’ right to be both angry and heartbroken while encouraging them with the words of Paul, “in your anger do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26)
Speaking these truths is not doublespeak.  As the children of God and citizens of an eternal kingdom, we must rise above the earthly camps in which we tend to reside. We must be willing to declare the value of every life, advocate for justice in every corner of the world, and strive to make peace at every opportunity in which we are given. We are to live a better way but a harder way; the way of humility, service, and sacrifice that has been modeled for us by Jesus Christ.
As children of God who believe the truth about Jesus, we must now be willing to love like Jesus and live like Jesus. This is our opportunity to manifest Christ to the world around us as we step into the conversation not on this side or that side but to the best of our ability on God’s side. So let us honor him! Let us go before the Lord in confidence to intercede for our world in prayer. Let us pray for those around us caught up in sin and ask that “God will give [them] life” (1 John 5:16) and let us pray that the God of all comfort will come alongside those of our world who are hurting. Then let us come out of our prayer closets confident in who we are in Jesus and love like Jesus and live like Jesus for his glory and the good of our world.
God bless you and to him be all the glory!

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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Hey there SCBC family and friends!

In this morning’s video, we shared our plans to gather together next Sunday in two services at 9:00 AM and 10:30 AM with limited seating at each.  This is in keeping with our best efforts to provide the safest environment possible for you to gather together to worship the Lord.  For this to be a success we need your cooperation, understanding, and support.

To help us plan and make the morning as safe and successful as possible we are asking you to register for which service you plan to attend using this form.  

At this time, we will not be holding any Sunday School classes, providing nursery care, children’s ministry, or student ministry.  We will only be having “Family Worship” while we take the necessary time to discover the best practices for our large group gathering.  In time, we will begin to add these other ministries back into our Sunday routines.  But for now, we are intentionally keeping things simple.

For those of you who choose not to regather with us at this time, I want you to know that we support you in this decision!  We will continue to provide a live stream option of both services for you to worship along with us.  We have ordered equipment to make this option the best we can but due to the state of things this equipment is back-ordered and may not be here for a few weeks.  We are asking your patience with our production and promise that we are working to provide a quality live stream option soon.

We are excited that next week we are going to focus on the partaking of the Lord’s Supper together.  If you are planning to join us via the live stream next week, please make plans to have your own elements available for the believers in your household at this time.  If you would like, you may come by the church office this week M-F between 8:00 AM and 3:30 PM to pick up the prepackaged elements for your family and guests.

I am excited to see what the Lord is going to do next week and in the weeks to come.

The words of the prophet Joel are ringing in my ears today:

     15 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
           consecrate a fast;
        call a solemn assembly;
     16    gather the people.
       Consecrate the congregation;
           assemble the elders;
       gather the children,
          even nursing infants.
       Let the bridegroom leave his room,
          and the bride her chamber. 


     Joel 2:15-16

God bless and to him be all the glory!

-Pastor Will

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May 31 – Sermon Discussion Guide

Download “Confidence in Christ” Discussion Guide Here

Confidence in Christ

1 John 2:28-3:3; 3:19-24; 4:17-18; 5:13-15

28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. 1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
1 John 2:28-3:3

19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
1 John 3:19-24

17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
1 John 4:17-18

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
1 John 5:13-15

Digger Deeper

The Bible is clear that Jesus is coming again and this time that he is returning in judgment.  Spend some time reading through these passages about the return of Christ, the joy of being in his presence, and prayer.

  • 2 Chronicles 7:14
  • Psalm 66:18
  • Proverbs 15:19
  • Isaiah 59:1-2
  • Daniel 7:13-14
  • Matthew 13:24-30; 24:29-31, 45-41; 25:31-46
  • Luke 11:1-13
  • John 16:23-24
  • 2 Corinthians 5:6-10
  • Ephesians 3:11-12
  • Colossians 3:4
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
  • Hebrews 4:14-16
  • James 4:2-3

Digesting the Text

  • When you think about the return of the Lord, what feelings, thoughts, or concerns come to your mind? What is your general response to the truth that Jesus is coming back and this time in judgment?
  • In this series, we have noted that Jon identifies 3 “signs of life.” Can you remember what they are?  Read 1 John 2:23-24 and 5:1-5.  Pastor Will noted in this sermon the significance that these are “signs” of our life in Christ and not the “sources” of our life in Christ.  What did he mean by this?  Why is it significant?  Can you find support for this statement in John’s letter?
  • John writes not only so that we can have confidence before the Lord on the “day of judgment” but so that we can have confidence before the Lord now! How does John encourage us to practice this confidence now?
  • John tells us that we can know that the Lord hears our prayers but places two conditions upon them. What are these two conditions?  Do these conditions obligate or force the Lord to give us what we pray for?  If not, what is the significance of these conditions?
  • What is the condition of your current prayer life? What steps can you take to grow in your prayer life?

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An Important Conversation

Without question, our world is hurting.  There are so many issues, positions, and opinions creating division in the world, in our country, and in the Church.  Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matt. 5:9)  Jesus came to fulfill a mission of reconciliation, to make peace where there could be no peace.  He did so by sacrificing his life for that peace.  As Christians, we are called to be peacemakers by proclaiming the truth of this gospel of peace into the world. Essential to the proclamation of the gospel is the speaking of the truth so that we might shine the light of God’s righteousness into the darkness to expose sin and shine the light of his love that we might reveal what he values.

There can be no question or debate among the children of God that he values human life.  After all, humans are the only of his creations that are made “in his image.”  After all, humans alone among his creations are made “in his image.”  We are the unique reflections of God in this world.  We teach our children to sing, “Jesus loves the little children.  All the children of the world.  Red and yellow, black and white.  They are precious in his sight.  Jesus loves the little children of the world.”  If this is what we want our children to believe then we must not merely sing about it in the safety of our homogenous communities.  We must step into the public square and call the world to value every life just as God values every life.
Therefore, I want to commend to you the conversation that is being hosted by our brothers and sisters at Lifepoint Church here in Clarksville.  In the wake of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in GA (now compounded by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis), several pastors from our community stepped up to lead a conversation on the reality of racism.  This past Sunday, Pastor Mike Burnette as well as four other pastors from our community and one pastor from outside our community began a two-week panel discussion regarding racism in America today.  You can watch the first installment of their discussion here.
I want to encourage you to prayerfully listen to this conversation.  It’s a conversation that matters because an essential truth of the gospel message is that every life matters.  Christ came, lived, died, and was raised to redeem lives because God values us that much.  How can we, as his children, not also value what and who he values?  
If we want to be known as sons and daughters of God then we must be people willing to make peace in the difficult places.  John has been encouraging us in his letter that we know that we have been born of God when we believe in Jesus, love like Jesus, and live like Jesus.  Now is the time for us to do just that.
God bless you and to him be all the glory!
-Pastor Will

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Week 22 – Christ is King

19  and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20  that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21  far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22  And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23  which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Ephesians 1:19-23 (ESV)
Read through the passage of Scripture above several times and then reflect on it by answering the following three questions:


What is something that stands out to you from this passage of Scripture?  What is one truth that you can take from it and hold in your heart and mind this week?


How should you respond to this text this week?  What is a measurable step of obedience that you can take this week in response to what you have read?


Who is someone in your life who could benefit from what you have learned from this passage of Scripture?  Who does this passage of Scripture encourage you to pray for or engage with the gospel?
*I am using a “52 Week Bible Memory” plan as our selection guide for each week’s passage.  You can download it from this site.

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May 24 Sermon Discussion Guide

Signs of Life: Righteousness

1 John 1:5-2:6, 3:4-10

5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
1 John 1:5-2:6

4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:4-10

Digging Deeper

From the very beginning God has communicated his character and will to and for humanity through his commands.  His people are called to keep these commands throughout Scripture.  Take some time to look up these passages of Scripture about the commands of the Lord to develop a greater understanding of obedience and righteousness.

  • Deuteronomy 11:26-28
  • 1 Samuel 15:22-23
  • Psalm 19:7-11
  • Proverbs 21:3
  • Jeremiah 7:22-23
  • Matthew 5:19
  • John 14:15, 21
  • 2 John 6
  • Revelation 14:12

Digesting the Text

  • Why is it so hard for us to admit when we are wrong and give an unqualified apology? What is your typical reaction when someone confronts you with something that you have done wrong?  How does this reflect your perspective of yourself?
  • identifies the false teachings of the heretics regarding obedience and righteousness with the phrase, “If we say…” in 1:6-10. What are these false prophets claiming?  What is John’s answers to their false claims?  What steps does he teach that children of God will take?
  • Does John teach that Christians are immune from sin? What does John mean when he says that those born of God “cannot keep on sinning?”
  • Is confessing our sin enough? If not, what else does John expect to characterize the children of God?
  • As our advocate, Jesus is not trying to convince the Lord that we are more worthy than we are. Instead, he advocating his righteousness in our place.  How can this gospel truth free you from a tendency to try to “get better” before you come to the Lord in pray and worship?
  • The most significant fight against sin in the world today is in your own heart. What area of your life do you need to shine the light of God’s righteousness into this week in order to see your sins more clearly?  How can you incorporate confession into your daily walk with the Lord?  How can you turn from your sin and practice righteousness this week?

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