ARTICLES

Why Can They Be So Scary?

Why are relationship struggles so disappointing? Why do the problems we have with other people affect us so powerfully? Why is relational disappointment one of the hardest disappointments for all of us to face? Let me suggest some reasons.

1. You were created to be a social being:

You and I were never designed to live in isolation. We weren’t wired to be distant from and unaffected by the people around us. In fact, since we were created in God’s likeness, desire for and participation in community is a fundamental part of our humanity. The God who made us in his likeness not only does community, he is a community!

To deny this aspect of your daily life would literally be to deny your humanity. There would be something dramatically wrong with you if you removed yourself completely from other people. What this means is that the hurts of relationships cut deep. In a real way they touch the essence of who God made you to be, and because of this they’re not to be taken lightly.

2. We all enter our relationships with unrealistic expectations:

Somehow, someway, we’re able to deceive ourselves into thinking that we’ll be able to avoid the difficulties that attend any relationship in this broken world. In the early days of a relationship we work to convince ourselves that we’re more righteous, and the other person more perfect, than they and we actually are.

This causes us to be shocked when an unexpected but inevitable difficulty gets in the way of the bliss that we had convinced ourselves we had finally found. Here’s where the Bible is so helpful. It’s very honest about the messiness and disappointment that everyone deals with in every relationship they have.

3. We all seek identity in our relationships:

What does this mean? It means that we tend to look for fundamental personal meaning, purpose and sense of well-being from other people. In doing this, we turn people into our own personal messiahs, seeking to get from them what no other human being is ever able to deliver. That other person is not supposed to be the thing that gets you up in the morning. They’re not to be what makes life worth living for you.

When they’re in this place, you’ve given them too much power and you’re asking of them something that no flawed human being can ever pull off. On the other hand, when you’re getting your foundational sense of well-being from the Lord, you’re then able to step into the inevitable messiness of relationships this side of heaven, and be neither anxious nor self-protective.

4. Our relationships are more about our little kingdoms than the kingdom of God:

Without being aware of it, our relationships are often about what we want out of our lives rather than what God wants for our lives. So we have an “I love you and have a wonderful plan for your life” approach to relationships with other people. Often we’re disappointed with a relationship at the very moment when God is producing through this relationship exactly what he wanted to produce. Our problem is that our agenda doesn’t agree with God’s!

So, there are reasons for our disappointments but there’s grace for them as well. The God who will take us where we didn’t plan to go in order to produce in us what we couldn’t achieve on our own will also give us the grace to hang in there as he uses the messy disappointment of relationships to change and grow us and others.

God bless

Paul David Tripp


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Mercy in the Mess

We all dream of the perfect relationship. You know, the one that’s free of disagreement, conflict, communication difficulties, power battles, anger and control. We can envision what it would be like. The problem is, none of us ever get what we were once able to imagine.

When we wake up from our dreams, we’re all greeted by the reality that all of our relationships live in the same location – the fallen world – and all of our relationships are with the same kind of people – imperfect human beings (I’ll remind you again, you’re one of those too!).

Now you just have to ask why God would choose to subject us to such difficulty and disappointment. Is there meaning in the mess? Is there mercy in the mess?

Maybe right now you’re facing things in one of your relationships you never imagined you’d face. Maybe right now you’re dealing with such deep hurt and disappointment that you simply don’t know what to do. Have you wondered what in the world God is doing? Have you been tempted to doubt his goodness and question his love?

Here are some things to remember:

1. God never gets a wrong address:

Acts 17 tells us that God determines the exact place where we’ll live and the exact length of our lives. Your life isn’t out of control. What you’re facing isn’t the result of God forgetting you. God hasn’t turned his back on the promises he made to you. I know it’s hard to grasp, but what you’re facing is the result of God being faithful to his promises to you.

2. God is in the middle of the mess with you:

Psalm 46 tells us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” If you’re God’s child, you’ve never been in a location all by yourself. If you’re God’s child, you’ve never been in a relationship all by yourself. You’ve never endured difficulty in isolation. Why? Because God is always with you and he’s there so that you would have a place to run (“refuge”) and help in your moments of greatest discouragement and weakness (“strength”).

3. God is up to something good in the mess:

Here’s the mistake we make in the way we attempt to make sense out of lives. We think that the mess is a sure sign that God isn’t working in our lives, because if he were at work, we wouldn’t be in such a mess.

The Bible tells us something completely different. It tells us that because God loves us so, he’s not satisfied with us as we are. He looks down at us and sees many areas where change and growth are needed. He couldn’t love us and be willing to leave us in our immaturity and weakness. So God takes us where we don’t want to go in order to produce in us what we couldn’t achieve on our own – character.

And how does he do this? He uses the difficult experiences of life to expose and change our hearts. One of his main tools is our relationships. These messy relationships expose our hearts, bring us to the end of ourselves and cause us to reach out for the help that only Jesus can give us.

I know it’s hard to face the hurt and disappointment of a relationship gone bad. But there is hope. You’re never alone. The One who’s with you is up to something very good and because he is, there really is mercy to be found right smack dab in the middle of the mess!

God bless

Paul David Tripp


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Never Stop Being a Student

Do you think that you’ve arrived? Do you tend to think that you’ve learned what you need to learn and now know what you need to know? Or do you want to understand more deeply and more fully? Do you have a humble, open, and seeking heart?

There was once a time in the early years of our faith when we couldn’t get enough. We had a voracious hunger for truth. We lived with the humbling realization that there was so much we didn’t know. We loved to study the Word of God. We loved listening to peers and mentors who were further along. We were students.

But something happened along the way. Perhaps we got distracted by the world and began to live more like tourists than students. Perhaps we got discouraged and felt our study wasn’t helping. Or perhaps our hunger was blunted by a feeling of arrival.

Whatever your story, I say to you – never stop being a student. There are two reasons. First – the depth of God’s wisdom. It has no boundary. It has no bottom. It has no ceiling. If for ten million years you sat for 24 hours a day at His feet to listen, you would scratch only the surface of His wisdom.

Here’s the second reason – the danger of the world. Falsehood echoes more loudly and repeatedly than the sounds of wisdom. Every day a thousand voices speak into your life, and the majority of those voices have not gotten the flowers of their insight from the wisdom garden of the Lord.

You see, we live in the middle of a raging wisdom war. It’s so easy to be taken captive. It’s so easy to have divine wisdom corrupted by human wisdom. It’s so easy to breathe in the polluted air of a culture that no longer actually thinks that God is, let alone that He is wise.

I’ll say it again, never stop being a student. Morning after morning, bow your head and humbly pray – “Lord, please teach me your way.”

God bless

Paul David Tripp


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Something You Can’t Destroy


You and I have have this amazing ability: the ability to mess things up!

  • We mess up our houses, leaving dirt, scratches, cracks, and gouges in our path.
  • We mess up our cars, staining the carpet, tearing the seats, and denting the fenders.
  • We mess up our relationships, leaving a trail of hurt and conflict behind us.
  • We mess up our churches, finding our will and way more attractive than the glories of God’s kingdom and leaving a trail of division in our path.
  • We mess up our bodies, eating more than we should, more often than we should, while exercising less than we should.

The list could go on and on, and if you want some more examples, all you need to do is open the pages of your Bible.

I don’t know if you’ve realized this or not, but the Bible is a story of people who messed up again and again. The Bible isn’t a record of noble people who always made the right choice. The people of the Bible look familiar and human because they have the same attitudes that we do and take the same actions that we tend to take.

But here’s the beautiful thing about the messy people in the Bible – God’s plan of redemption continued to march forward. It’s something that they couldn’t destroy, no matter how many mistakes they made. Redemption was – and still is – rooted in God’s faithfulness.

Here’s a case study – Abraham in Genesis 15. God comes to Abraham and makes his covenant with him. He tells Abraham that he’s going to have descendants that number like the stars of the sky and that through his descendants every nation on earth will be blessed.

What does Abraham do? He goes right out and messes things up. He’s tired of waiting for an heir, so he has sex with his servant girl, Hagar, who has a son. Sarah, Abraham’s wife (who was part of the original plot) gets jealous, starts mistreating the servant girl, and Hagar flees into the wilderness.

What a mess! You would think that God would say to Abraham, “Now, there you’ve done it. You’ve destroyed everything I was willing to give you. You’ve messed up my covenant. It’s all over.” But that’s not what God says.

In Genesis 17, God comes to Abraham again and repeats his covenant promises, this time adding that this covenant is an eternal covenant. Why? Because God wants Abraham to know that the covenant isn’t based on Abraham’s faithfulness, but on His.

Abraham has finally met something in his life that he can’t destroy. Abraham has been invited into something that he doesn’t deserve and cannot earn. Abraham has been invited to experience grace.

What does this mean? It means security! It means hope! It means a future! No, it doesn’t mean that you can live anyway you want to live, because that is a horrible violation of the grace that you’ve been given (Romans 6:1-2).

If you’re one of God’s children, you’ve been welcomed into something you can’t destroy. The foundation of your covenant hope is not your faithfulness. The foundation of your eternal hope is God’s faithfulness. And since it’s impossible for God to be unfaithful, everything that he’s promised us is guaranteed and sure.

Let that hope get you out of bed in the morning!

God bless

Paul David Tripp


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He sat down

Below is a wonderful article from Paul David Tripp

There’s not a day when by thought, word, desire, or action we fail to demonstrate that we’re needy people. Maybe it’s a thoughtless word of gossip. Maybe it’s a flash of lust or envy. Maybe it’s an ugly moment of irritation or anger. Perhaps it’s a selfish choice that no one would notice.

Maybe it’s bending the truth to your own advantage. Maybe it’s an attitude of self-righteousness or pride. Maybe it’s giving way to bitterness and subtle thoughts of vengeance. Somehow, someway, we all demonstrate that we’re still in need of God’s daily grace.

Now this need makes you spiritually vulnerable. First, it makes you vulnerable to SELF-ATONEMENT. That’s when you make yourself feel okay about your sin. How do you do that? By telling yourself that what you did wasn’t actually sin:

  • It wasn’t gossip, it was prayerful concern for another.
  • It wasn’t anger, it was a clear exhortation.
  • It wasn’t selfishness, just strong leadership.

When you justify yourself and call sin something other than sin, you won’t seek God’s forgiveness.

Your need also makes you vulnerable to the LIES OF THE ENEMY. He’ll come to you in those needy moments and tell you that you don’t have enough. He’ll try to rob you of the faith, courage, and hope that propels you to admit who you are, to seek Christ’s forgiveness, and to step forward in courage and hope. He works so that you’ll doubt God’s provision for you.

To fight these two areas of vulnerability, all you need to remember is these three words: “HE SAT DOWN.” These words are in the first chapter of Hebrews and are found in a phrase that says of Jesus, “After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:3)

He sat down! What amazing words! They can only mean one thing – that the work that he did for us was totally and absolutely complete.

You see, the Old Testament priests never sat down. Hour after hour, day after day they’d offer sacrifices. They’d be knee deep in blood, but they’d make yet another sacrifice. The stench of burning flesh never abated. Why? Because those sacrifices could never do the job. They were never able to fully pay the penalty. They looked forward to the coming of the Perfect Lamb who would pay the entire price in one final sacrifice.

After He made sacrifice (of himself), Jesus sat down! What does that mean? It means his provision for you is full and complete. It means he’s given you all you need to be right with him, to be what you’re supposed to be, and to do what you’re called to do.

So when you begin to doubt his grace or when you’re tempted to justify yourself, just say these three words to yourself – “HE SAT DOWN.” And celebrate the amazing grace that’s yours right here, right now.

God bless

Paul David Tripp


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I’M NEW HERE

Learn what we’re about and what you can expect when you come to Christ Community Church…
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Worship Services

[list type=”ul” style=”5″]We currently have one worship service on Sundays at 10:30 am.[/list]

At Christ Community we believe corporately “ascribing to God the glory due His name” to be our highest privilege and of the utmost importance to the health of our congregation.  We place a high priority on the vertical focus of our weekly corporate service.  To that end we seek to be God-centered and biblically grounded in all our worship expressions, whether characterized by the spoken word or in songs that we sing.  We understand corporate worship to be the outflow, or overflow of a believer’s personal worship and therefore, members are called to a radical, inward authenticity of worship and an all-encompassing pervasiveness of worship in all of life.


Location


Directions – How it works

Directions – If you want directions to our church, click on the directions link on the map and a new browser window will open. In the blank “A” box, type in the address your want directions from and click the “Get Directions” button. Your directions from point A to point B will then be processed.

Using Google Interactive Map
– You can use the up, down and side to side arrows to move the map. You can use the + and – signs to zoom the map out and in.

Other Views – You can click Map, Sat, Ter and Earth to view different map views.

Calling – If your mobile device / computer is compatible, you can click on the phone number and it will automatically dial the office number.


Preaching

We preach through books of the Bible and short, topical series. We believe in the exposition of Scripture, which means we desire to communicate the content of a particular text to instruct the mind and affect the heart.


Music

Music, as a tool, provides a vehicle for expressing praise to God and proclaiming the Gospel. At Christ Community, we seek to use only music that is God-centered and expresses biblical truth. In any given service, music may be led by a choir, an individual, a small ensemble, a band, acoustic instruments or combinations of each.


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GET CONNECTED TODAY

The first step to getting involved at Christ Community is joining a small group.
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20/20 Groups

We believe it is important for every Christian to be a part of a community committed to each other and towards growing in Christian maturity.  Our 20/20 groups are meant to be Gospel-Centered Missional Families and designed to move every member to maturity in Christ.

[list type=”ul” style=”5″] Gospel-Centered – Our 20/20 groups time is centered on the Bible and our Savior Jesus Christ. The good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is the focal point of history and we seek to understand the Gospel better and to apply it to our lives. We want our lives centered on this truth to the extent that we are speaking the gospel into each other’s lives continually.[/list] [list type=”ul” style=”5″]Missional – We understand that if the Gospel is at the center of our lives, then it will inevitably push us outwards to share the love that we have received in Jesus Christ. Our Gospel Communities are committed to serving consistently by meeting physical, as well as spiritual needs, of our city and consistently incorporating people into our lives.[/list] [list type=”ul” style=”5″]Family – We’ve chosen the word family because we think it best describes our commitment together as Christians. The Christian life is never meant to be lived alone and these smaller groups allow for greater care and accountability that we all need in order to grow.[/list]

If you have any questions or want to join a 20/20 group then just show up or email Pastor Nate at smallgroups@aldersgate-church.com


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EVENTS

See what’s going on at Christ Community Church.


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