Local Church Connection Jun - Sep 2015 Columbus GA

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What is the

Church? Local Local Church Church Connection Connection provides provides local local Christian Christian Churches Churches with with effective effective methods methods to to connect connect with with individuals individuals and and organizations organizations throughout throughout the the communities communities we we serve, serve, while while promoting promoting local local businesses businesses and and community community organizations. organizations.

Message From The EDITOR




s I sit here and write this, I am getting ready to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend by doing a little fishing with my sons. I love this holiday for a lot of reasons. Kids are getting ready to be out of school for the summer. The fast pace of all their activities slow down a bit, and it is basically the start of a summer break. While those are all good reasons to love Memorial Day, they pale in comparison to why we should all cherish this holiday in this country. I hope that everyone took the time to reflect on the sacrifices made by the men and women serving our country and especially their family members that have been left behind. One of my favorite summer activities is fishing. I grew up fishing in small ponds around middle GA, but it was not until about 5 years ago that I went salt water fishing for the first real time. I was hooked (pun intended) immediately. Since that time, I have subscribed to magazines that teach best methods for catching the various species of salt water fish. I have been” that guy” that goes to the marina to seek out the boat with the most fish to quiz them about how they caught them. Some people are quick to help and others not so much. I get it. They don’t want others knowing what they know because then there is more for them. More of what? Fish? Enjoyment? I know Jesus loved fishing! In the book of Mark it says that Jesus came upon Simon and his brother Andrew fishing on the sea of Galilee. He told them to follow him and he would make them fishers of men. They dropped their nets and went. Just like that they were hooked. The more they heard from Jesus the more hooked they became. As excited as I get about going fishing this weekend, I can only imagine how excited they must have been to be learning form Jesus how to fish for men. I know that it had to be a rush like no other to see people’s lives changed for eternity. Unlike some of the fishermen at the marina not wanting to give away their secrets, they were trying to give away their knowledge of how to catch men for Christ which would be way more gratifying than catching the biggest fish in the Ocean. They learned that the greatest feeling of all was the feeling of teaching someone something. Helping someone experience what they had experienced. I have learned many things over the last 5 years. The first is that I still don’t know nearly enough about this new found passion of mine, but what little I do know, I can share with those who know nothing. We can be the same way with our knowledge of God. You don’t have to know how to quote the bible to share what you do know about how your relationship with God has changed your life. I get more enjoyment in watching others catch fish than I do catching them myself. I have also learned that you should listen to those that have more knowledge than you do about how to be successful. The same goes for your walk with Christ. Seek those spiritually mature people around you to learn as much as you can about being a successful fisher of men. Study Gods “fisher of men” book, the bible, as much as you would a fishing magazine to learn from the most respected authority there is on fishing for men. As Christians, we should be as passionate about sharing the knowledge we have about Christ as we are the hobbies we enjoy. Try fishing for men this week, and see if you don’t get “hooked” by the feeling you get when you partner with God. Fish On! Hope you have a blessed Summer! Please remember to support our local advertisers as they are faithful in helping us distribute this magazine to your local community in an effort to help those without a church home to get connected with a church that will help them grow closer to the God we serve. Cover Photo by Caleb Money

For more information, please contact Sandy Ellingson sandy@localchurchconnection.com • www.localchurchconnection.com

What is the Church? An invitation to a conversation throughout this issue.


f you had asked me this a few months ago, my mind would have immediately gone to “It's a place where Christians gather to worship.....” and in today's culture that would have been more right than wrong based on our use of the term. But I have been challenged to really explore this question of late. It seems to be a central question that must be answered if I am to fulfill my current calling. As the newest member of The Local Church Connection executive team, it seems important to understand the term church if I am to help others make a local church connection! As someone who was raised in “the church” and considers herself an above Bible student, I was surprised at how much I had adopted the meaning of “church” to be a building. I needed an attitude reset before I even got started! Sandy Ellingson

When the church is first mentioned in the Bible, the term used is ekklesia. The meaning of this word refers to “a gathering or an assembly.” There is actually no building involved at all, just people! Translated......the church is a gathering or assembly of people. Now, it is not just a gathering of any people for any reason. It is a gathering of people with a common cause and purpose and with the Christian church that is Christ. So, if the church is a gathering of people and not a building, then should the question be, “Who is the church?” So this is where we will start the conversation about the what and who of the church. This months issue is devoted to helping us answer the question, “Who is the church?” Every article, every church posting, and every advertisement should help us identify “who” is the church. Enjoy the journey, and let us know what you think by going to our blog: http://online.localchurchconnection.com/what-is-the-church Blessings, Sandy

Mountain Shadows Community Church 114 Mountain Shadows Road Hamilton, Georgia

Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” If you don’t have a church home, we pray you will visit this Sunday and “GET CONNECTED.” Website: www.mountainshadowscc.org Email: info@mountainshadowscc.org


Sunday 8:30 am - Traditional (Hymns) Worship 9:45 am - Sunday School for all ages 10:45 am - Cafe Church (Summer in the Mountain Shadows Barn) 7:00 pm - High School Youth Meet Wednesday 6:30 pm - Gravity (Grades 5th-8th) 6:30 pm - Anchored Ladies Group (3rd Wednesday of Month)

The Church:

Full of Broken People Producing Amazing Results


By Linda Senneker Butler

believe the Church is a group of imperfect people coming together to learn, grow and change. No matter what the outward appearance of the person, we all are in need of a Savior.

I was born in Missouri and raised in a very loving Christian family. I was the third child. There were not many things I had to do for myself because my big brother (Dan) and sister (Judy) took care of me. They loved me deeply and as I grew, I clung tightly to them. I remember jumping in leaves, that my brother patiently raked up and piled over and over again, chasing the ice cream truck for that special treat, Saturday morning cartoons in our pajamas, reaching for the clouds as my 6’4” brother carried me on his shoulders, listening as my sister read book after book, and singing as she played her guitar – she was so beautiful. And then in 1974, my sweet baby sister, Valerie, joined the “Senneker crew”. One day, life changed in an instance. We were living in a quiet beach town where walking your friends home should have been a safe activity. In just seconds, a young girl and her friend who were out just having a “good time”, driving recklessly, lost control of her vehicle, and hit Dan & Judy with such force that it killed them instantly and threw their bodies nearly one full block away. How could our family breathe again? How could we wake up and face tomorrow? Why was I still here and not with them? I had always been with them! So many feelings of guilt and then I felt the second blow...another punch! I watched my parents visit that young girl (the driver of the car) They walked into her home, wrapped their arms around her, and told her they forgave her and they loved her! Are you CRAZY? How could they do that? Anger-Hurt-Tears-Pain-Resentment flooded my heart. Then Silence. I felt it. Those sun rays hitting me like a blanket of warmth over my body- God saying “My child – do you feel that? That warmth comes from Me . I am holding you in My hands. Come to Me and I will give you rest. I will heal your pain. I will restore you. Come to Me for comfort. You must forgive as I have forgiven you!” The ocean breeze on my face – He was whispering to me, “Linda, do you feel that? It’s My touch. I am here. I am in control of ALL things. You can breathe because I can give you peace. You can smile again because I can give you joy. Because I live, you can face tomorrow.”


Many years have passed since my brother and sister left their earthly home for heaven. I still have many things to learn, but there is one thing I know to be true. God is the answer to everything! I watched my parent’s live it out in their lives. He is the reason they were able to forgive. He is the reason they have peace and joy in their lives today. He is the reason they have given over 50 years of their life to telling others about Him. He is the reason that I share my store with you today. So the Church is filled with people who are far from perfect of which I am one. It is not about us, IT IS ABOUT HIM! Today I live in Hamilton with my husband, Don Butler, Jr., who is the Pastor of Mountain Shadows Community Church. We are blessed with three beautiful children, Brett, Mandy and Harlie. Don and I founded Light Up This City ministries in 2010, an evangelistic effort to reach our world for Christ. Editors Note: “The Church” often does things that seem impossible, forgiveness is just one of them.



“The Church” Within Events


The Gathering of Sarah’s Daughters By Julia Sermons

he Ministry of Sarah’s Daughters held their quarterly Gathering, April 18, 2015 at Christ Community Church in Columbus, GA. The speaker was Pastor Kimberly Jones-Pothier aka as “Real Talk Kim”. We were humbled that Kim agreed to be our speaker. Kim is a highly sought-after conference speaker, life coach and mentor. As a true worshiper, her heart’s desire is to lead others to the very heart of God. Her willingness to be transparent in her testimony of “Conquering Hell” has caused hundreds of thousands to connect with her ministry through social media. As a child, Kimberly heard the voice of God and was given the assignment to reach the masses. Now, she travels the world preaching, teaching and leading people to the love of God. She embraces the assignment simply “to love people back to life.” She believes that God has a specific plan for each individual’s life. In order to truly embrace the plan, they must release the past, in order to connect with the future God has for them. Kimberly serves as the Music Pastor, as well as Executive Pastor alongside her husband, Mark Pothier, at The Harvest Church in Fayetteville, Georgia. She is also the mother of two wonderful sons, Morgan and Lyncoln. We would love to invite you to learn more about our local ministry. Sarah’s Daughters embraces the vision of connecting, serving, uplifting and encouraging women. Our mission is to put God’s love into action by giving back and leading people locally and globally into a relationship with Jesus Christ while promoting positive change, enhancing self-worth and strengthening the family unit. Pastor Kim did an excellent job of furthering the vision and mission through her testimony. She shared biblical wisdom for everyday life and specifically those in crisis. She was very transparent and detailed about the crises that she has encountered, and how she endured. We look forward to having return as a speaker for Sarah’s Daughters Quarterly Gathering in 2016. Details for the 2016 Gathering are not complete at this time. Sarah’s Daughters next Quarterly Gathering will be held @ 11:00 am, August 15, 2015 at Columbus Baptist Association, 3679 Steam Mill Road, Columbus, Georgia. We would love for you to join us. Sarah’s Daughters invites you to visit their website, www.allsaraisdaughters.com, email them at saraidaughters@gmail.com or call 706-426-1305. Editor’s Note: Sarah’s Daughters is a great example of how “the church” shows up in places all over our community. It doesn’t take but a few minutes to catch the contagious passion that Julia and her team have for serving others in our community. What is the church? The church is this group of ladies serving other ladies in our community and beyond.


What is the Church? It’s Who We Are! Beth Ohr Messianic Congregation


By Rabbi Brian Hawkins

n this day and time there are many views as to what or who the “church” is. Some people believe a church is where you go, while others believe that it is who we are. I believe the latter is correct. It is who we are that makes us the Church, yet it goes so much deeper than that. In Romans 11, the Apostle Paul speaks of the Church as being a mystery. The Church is Jew and Gentile worshipping together as "One New Man". This is the great mystery that has been revealed to the saints. The Greek word for church in the New Testament is “ Ekklesia ”, which means “to be called out” or “the called out ones”. Yet who exactly are the called out ones? You have to ask yourself, “what am I called out of” or “what am I being called out from”?. There are many people who have been lost without any hope in life and then suddenly are called out by Yeshua (Jesus). Just what does that mean in this day in age? Is this part of being a called out believer? The very best place for us to start with any definition, is from the very beginning. The word “church” in the Old Testament, is the word “ Kehilah ”, which means “assembly” or “to assemble”. In Exodus 19, while the children of Israel were in the wilderness around Mt. Sinai, they were “called out” for Yahweh. We call this, the Church in the wilderness. Yes, the church began in the wilderness. Unfortunately, the mainstream church today, has erroneously taught that the church began in Jerusalem during the Feast of Pentecost, which occurred in the book of Acts. The Church began at Sinai and was empowered during the Feast of Shavuot (The Feast of Weeks, which would later come to be known as Pentecost in the New Testament). The Church was born at Sinai, while Moses gave the Word of God unto the Children of Israel. Many have come to believe that “the blood” was a New Testament concept, not recalling that the blood was present in the wilderness as well. The blood that Moses sprinkled on Israel, was symbolic of the blood that would be shed for us on the cross some 2,000 years later when Yeshua the Messiah of Israel would go to the cross and die and shed his blood for our sins. Yeshua died, rose again and He ratified the Law of Moses which is now called, “The Law of Messiah” or “The Renewed Covenant”. The Renewed covenant is mentioned first in Jeremiah 31:31. Nowhere in this verse, does it say that God made a New Covenant with the Church… He made the Covenant with Israel and the House of Judah. So what exactly does that mean? It means that if you want to become part of His “ Assembly ”, you must go through the most well‐known Jew of all… Yeshua The Messiah. He will save you and place you into the commonwealth of Israel. That doesn’t mean you become a Jew per say, but you become a called out one. While the word Jew is derived from “one from the tribe of Judah”, the word Jew (which is “Yehudi” in hebrew), means “praiser of God”. Therefore spiritually speaking, anyone who is part of the commonwealth of Israel, should not be ashamed, to ever be categorized as being one with the Jewish People. You are no longer living as a Gentile or Pagan but living as a Biblical Believer following the Commandments of God! The Church is also the “ Prepared Virgins ”. Following God’s Word is what a prepared virgin is called to do. In Matthew 25, Yeshua reminds us to have our lamps trimmed and full of oil. This means to continue in His Word, which is the lamp and be filled with the Holy Spirit, which is the oil. Once we are prepared, Yeshua will return and gather us unto Himself, to become His Bride. There is so much depth in the significance of becoming the Bride of Messiah, contrary to what some well‐intended Bible teachers have taught. The Bride can be found throughout the book of Revelation. The Bride is they who have the Testimony of Yeshua and guard the commandments of God. We do not keep God’s commandments in order to gain salvation, rather we keep and guard them because of our salvation; for they are the fruit and evidence of whose we are. John 14:15, tells us, “If you love me you will keep my commandments”. What commandments was He talking about? All of the commandments from Genesis to Revelation. Remember, when Yeshua gave us this command, the New Testament had not yet been written; he was clearly speaking of His Instructions (His Torah in the hebrew) which can be found in the Scriptures. Sounds hard to keep, but it really isn’t, for we have the power of the Holy Spirit to help us follow His commandments! The Bride are those who Have the Testimony of Yeshua; they that have come to the knowledge of the fact that they need Him to save them and He becomes Master of their lives. Once you become a believer though faith and repentance, you are going to want to be obedient to Him. (continued on next page)


What is the Church? It’s Who We Are! Beth Ohr Messianic Congregation

By Rabbi Brian Hawkins

Unfortunately not everyone is going to be part of this Bride which is why we are called a remnant. We are going to be very surprised as to who is with us when we see Yeshua. It says that “broad is the way that leads to destruction and narrow is way that leads unto life (Matthew 7:13‐14)”. We become a remnant when we choose to follow His Word, in a world where nobody else wants to follow Him. We are living in a Laodicean Era, where the great falling away that is spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2, is taking place. A falling away must happen before Yeshua comes again! Are you a part of the remnant? Remember, being a believer is not a popularity contest, rather a long race which tests our endurance. He who endures to the end SHALL be saved (Matthew 24:13). Editor’s Note: While this article may have been a little “heavy” for some of you, the importance of our connection to our Jewish friends should not be missed. The term Messianic Jew means that the person was either Jewish by birth or by religion and then recognized Jesus as their Messiah. We will share more about this in the future.



What is the Church? A Group of Connected People


By Merrie Roberts • First Baptist Church, Warm Springs, Ga

hen first approached about creating a ministry for our 20 and 30” somethings,” I was intimidated. At 62, how could I hope to create a program to entice and inform? This is my story.

I realized my first mistake was in believing this initiative was about me. I heard God’s voice reminding me that these Millennials were his children and securing them in the body of Christ his act of love. This new work would be a permanent addition to the life of our church no matter how many participants we might have because it was necessary and proper. When I understood my attempt at ministry to be an ongoing work of obedience, I found my confidence. The following steps unfolded through God’s leadership and our pastor, Dr. Bob Patterson’s vision. • Take time to identify those in your church and larger community who need this ministry. • Provide the opportunity to connect in many venues…Facebook, PowerPoint presentations, calls, texts, and invitations. • Begin your format with fellowship. We held two causal suppers the first month with no attempt to further structure the relationships. Bonds and friendships formed. • Include participants in discussions on curriculum for Bible study, meeting times, and other concerns. We decided to meet for Bible Study at the traditional Sunday morning hour despite other suggestions so we might have access to children’s programs, and also to strongly connect with the church family as a whole. • Find a comfort level between expectation and understanding for your participants. It is not wrong to share accountability with each other, nor is it wrong to demonstrate understanding for the challenges each person faces weekly. • Be consistent regardless of participation. These ministry members depend on our faithfulness as they form their family and faith in the 21 st century. • Last, do not fall prey to the bullying nature of our current culture. Christian leaders do not need to agonize over looking relevant or in tune with culture. Rather, apply a sincere and natural respect for the world our Millennials face each day, and then take heart that the Holy Spirit knows all too well how to woo God’s Beloved with truth and love.

“do not fall prey to the bullying nature of our current culture.”

Our Connections Ministry has doubled in size over the last five months. This group has taken responsibility for much of the programming and leadership while I provide teaching, some oversight, and an occasional opinion! These amazing men and women are making their own gifts and uniqueness, as well as their faith, felt in our fellowship. Surely we are one step closer to the church of God’s heart. Merrie Roberts is an ordained Baptist minister serving First Baptist Church, Warm Springs, as Associate Pastor. Her ministry emphases include Spiritual Formation, Prayer, and the Connections Ministry. Her blog, “Anam Cara,” can be viewed at merrieroberts@wordpress.com . Editors Note : The phrase “the church” to the 20‐30 year old individuals brings to mind a very different image than it does for the baby boomers. The Connections Ministry is exposing this age group to the real “church!” Thanks Merrie, for being courageous and stepping outside your comfort zone.


Blessed Assurance Baptist Church 5603 Luna Dr. Columbus, GA 31907 (706) 561-1128

Morning Worship Sunday 8:00 am Evening Worship 6:00 pm (first Sunday of each month) Corporate Prayer Tuesday Morning 6:30 am Tuesday Night Bible Studay 7:00 pm Men & Women’s Fellowship 2nd Saturday of each month 11:00 am Vacation Bible School June 22-26 • 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm 6th Church Anniversary July 12, 2015 at 3:00 P.M

“This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.” Psalm 118:23

Church of God Reformation Lutheran Church 1045 US-27 - Cataula Center Cataula, GA 31804 (706) 610-5889 www.rlcoc.org office@rlcoc.org

Sunday School – Sunday 9:30 am Worship Service – Sunday 9:30 am VBS is coming! “Camp Discovery” will run June 15th-19th 6:00 – 8:30 pm. All children 4-12 are welcome!


Cordially Invites You To Our

Annual Fellowship Meeting Thursday, June 25 @ 7:00 PM Friday, June 26 @ 10:00 AM & 7:00 PM Saturday, June 27 @ 10:00 AM & 7:00 PM Sunday, June 28 @ 10:00 AM Church of God 1516 5th Avenue Columbus, GA 31901 www.churchofgodincolumbusga.com For mor info, contact: Darius Stevens (706) 393-0911 Hannah Moore (706) 464-7312 or Jasmyn Burton (706) 573-5129

The Tuesday Night that Changed My Life By Michael Apple


hile working at a former church, our Pastor and a group of us geeks took a road trip to visit Andy Stanley’s church. We watched a 722 service from the controlroom and then toured the facilities.

As we walked into their KidStuff theater the two story Technicolor 3D set seemed to wrap its way around us. Or moment of awe was shattered when one of the kids that had traveled with us turned to our guide and said, “Man – this is so cool. The other churches around here must really hate you.” I cringed and tried to slip to the rear of our group as our guide responded without missing a beat, “No ‐‐‐ we aren’t in competition with other churches here – we’re in competition with other forms of media”. It took weeks for that to completely sink in. But once it had – it changed my life and my perspective in ministry. The church is up against not only more messages each day, but more conduits each year. The church must be as dynamic as the Gospel itself. Today people are the most well connected yet most isolated individually. To stand out in the communication clutter we must be attractive. I am speaking of an attraction to the very substance of who and what we are as the body of Christ. Whatever we do should be done “as unto the Lord”. And that means with excellence and a motive of Love. God’s Love. Once we have attracted their attention we must pass another test. Whatever we do must be found to be authentic. 1 John 4 begins, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” Spirits here refer to people. The Greek word dokimazo is a verb that means to test (literally or figuratively). In metallurgy it is the concept of assessing the purity of a metal. By implication it means to examine carefully to see if you approve and accept.

“We aren’t in competition with other churches here, we’re in competition with other forms of media”.

We don’t have to encourage the world to test the Church. They are natively suspicious and questioning. We live in a time without heroes. We have seen disappointments in every area of public and private life; sports, Hollywood, politics, and yes, even the church. We have been hurt by even those closest to us. We have a culture of cautious fear. Fear keeps us from trusting. The world today doesn’t reject the church – they just don’t accept it. Those outside the church care can less about what we have to offer until it is something that impacts them. When they find hearts and hands that are devoted to Christ there is an attractive difference. We can’t just “say it” – we must “live it” to make an impact. Christ followers who are speaking and doing the truth in God’s love are found worthy of trust. None of this can be done in our power or it will be ineffective. When we live out God’s love His love is made complete in us and His love is seen by the world (1 John 4:12). Once that love is found to be authentic there will be acceptance. 1 John 4:18a “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. . .” With fear removed there can be acceptance of the Gospel. That acceptance leads to attachment. Jesus called His Disciples to be fishers of men. These principles of reaching the world simply parallel getting a fish on the line. We must be attractive to get their attention. We must be authentic to earn their acceptance. We must be accepted to gain their attachment.


Wynnbrook Baptist Church Journey Off the Map VBS When: June 15th – 19th Time: 9:00am-12:00pm

For Children who have completed K-5th Grade Registration on-line at www.wynnbrookbaptist.com Or Contact Denette Harkins at Wynnbrook Baptist Church at 706-323-4374 14

The Church:

In The Life of Someone In Crisis


By Denny Bundy

hen I was asked to share my testimony with a focus on what the church is to me, I thought about my definition based on my life experiences and knew that to me the church is not a building, but a person being used by God.

At a very young age I remember going to church with my parents; however, I have no memory of the services, the people or even what was said by the Pastor. I probably attended a few more services, but I never stepped into a church building again until I was about 27. I grew up living a lifestyle of parties, drinking, money, cars, and drugs. I jumped from relationship to relationship, and was in and out of jail. I found myself doing the unspeakable things I said I would never do….but I did! At 17, I was in a terrible car accident and died twice. You would think this would have been enough to get my attention that my life was going the way wrong. But, no, it wasn’t. Through the next several years I tried many rehab programs, even Alcoholics Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous. Yes, it would work for a while, but then I would go right back to the same bad lifestyle. My girlfriend was trying to help me and took me to church. I even walked the aisle and for a short time thought I was saved. But, I now know I was not. Shortly after this, I went down the darkest road I had ever been down and was desperate for help. Then, my roommate told me about a local faith-based addiction recovery program. So, I ended up in what I thought at the time was just another program. But, this time God was working or maybe He was always working. I believe this time I was ready to listen and in a place where I was exposed to truth. While in this program on August 15, 2014, I totally surrendered my life to God and now I can say He is my Lord and Savior! Anyone that knows me, knows how I struggle with guilt, shame and feeling I am not worthy of being used by God. BUT, I am here to proclaim to you Jesus saved me. Not because I am some great guy with everything all together, but because His grace, mercy, and love is enough to save even someone like me. The good news is God's gift is available to everyone. Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Now “going to church” for me is being with people in a building who are the church. In recovery, environment is important. The enemy would love for me to go back to the same playground, playmates, and places. Now instead of my old playgrounds, I attend Cascade Hills where I am in an environment with like-minded people. I see Christians who are happy, having fun and serving God. My life is changed! God has blessed me with a full-time job and I am attending Liberty College, as God has called me into ministry. Now, I am the church! If you just picked up this magazine, and you are where I used to be, God can change you too. If He changed me, He can change anyone. Jeremiah 29:11 says ”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I am proof God’s word is true. Editor’s Note: The church exists inside non-profits, individuals, and buildings we call churches. Denny Bundy’s story shows how the church in various forms gives hope and changes lives. Revelation 12:11 says, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” We all have a testimony. We all can be the church for someone else. How are we sharing what God has done in your life?


The Church: In Small Business


ometimes you meet “the church” even when you are not expecting it. While standing in line at Iron Bank Coffee Shop, I met Greg Wilson. Greg is the owner of Dreamscape Media Group and works to connect small businesses with each other and success. As an entrepreneur from and early age, he takes his experiences both good and bad and uses the life lessons to help others. But he is much more than a small business man. Greg is the church! You don't have to be around him long for his faith to show up. You immediately sense that he cares more about you than about himself. You begin to learn that his work is his service to God. He's the one you know would get up and do what he is doing everyday because he loves it, not because he is paid to do so. Greg also has an online radio show and hosts a local event for small business professionals each week at Iron Bank. In talking with Greg, he said, “We realize that the single most viable resource to our economy at the local and national level, is the small business owner. Whether it is a small business with 50 employees or a “mom & pop” business operated by a husband and wife team, success and the need for information is the same. They have different operating dynamics, but very similar needs. CSBJ (Greg's Magazine) is proud to be a resource for the small business owner and small business community in Columbus, GA.” Besides being a husband and father, Greg also spends his time volunteering in a jail ministry that seeks to reach those with little hope with THE HOPE that can change their lives forever. I encourage you to check out the Power Hour meetings each Tuesday at 11AM at Iron Bank Coffee. The connections are great, the information informative and the coffee is always awesome!




The call comes in at 2:00am and I fumble for my phone. The on-call nurse is on the other end. “Our patient in Macon has died, and the family is having a difficult time. Would you be able tomake a visit?” “Oh, of course”, I say in a groggy voice. I throw on a dress, a little makeup, and I’m out the door to make the visit. I roll back into the driveway around 5:00am to catch a little more sleep before a new day begins. Though not every day starts off this way, flexibility is the key when it comes to the life of a busy hospice chaplain. There are many needs in hospice work, often urgent, and I know that I can be pulled in any direction at a moment’s notice.

Gentiva Hospice is located in Warner Robins, but we serve patients all over the middle Georgia area. Some of our patients live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, but many also live in their personal homes under the watch of family and friends. It’s our job as nurses, nursing assistants, social workers ,volunteers, and chaplains to provide the best medical, social, and spiritual care possible to the patient where he lives. But hospice care is more than just care for patients. It is also care for the patient’s family, and we approach both with equal seriousness. The primary responsibility of the hospice chaplain is to provide spiritual and emotional support to the patient and family. In essence, the chaplain is the hand of Christ outstretched to reach out with love to those who are hurting, and to comfort those who mourn. Each patient has unique needs and different circumstances. The chaplain’s job begins with meeting the patient and family shortly after they come on service to assess the unique em tional and spiritual needs that exist. Chaplains ask a variety of questions to determine their church or religious background, the level of support they have from their church, and if they are comfortable with their present spiritual condition. They also inquire into matters such as a patient’s favorite scriptures, and if a patient or their family has particular spiritual concerns. This information helps the chaplain know how to best provide for the needs of that specific patient and family.

... the chaplain is the hand of Christ outstretched to reach out with love to those who are hurting, and to comfort those who mourn.

We both recognize our roles as chaplains as that of coming along side of the patient/family at a crucial time in their lives. Facing a terminal illness is not easy, and the hospice team’s responsibility is to try to prepare and support everyone involved, easing a difficult transition. We work hard to do that in whatever way necessary. Hospice care is often seen as end of life care, but it is so much more. It is quality of life care, it is emotional support, it is providing chronically ill patients the comfort and ability to stay in their own home, and it is em tional support for those who have lost loved ones. Editors Note: Janet Smith is a Chaplain at Gentiva Hospice in Warner Robins, GA along with Coleman Dumas, III. You may contact Janet or Coleman at Gentiva Hospice, 478-953-1016. They are the church to those who can't physically get there!




At RiverTown Church Our Mission is to Transform Lives into the Likeness of Jesus Christ

RiverTown Church 6953 Schomburg Road Columbus, GA 31909 706-221-0777 Pastor David Rathel www.rivertownchurch.com Service Times: Sunday 9:30 and 11:00 am Wednesday SUMMERCHURCH. Meal, Music, Message, Ministry 7:00 pm


Nazareth Baptist Church 526 Radcliff Drive Columbus, GA 31907 June 8-12, 2015 6 pm - 8 pm

What is the Church: A Pastor’s View


By Cameron Shiflett, Executive Pastor • Rock Springs Church

hat is the Church? Google says that the church is “a building used for public Christian worship.”

Respectfully, I disagree. According to the Bible, the church is an assembling together of believers. The church is formed when God’s people come together for His glory and to make known His name. It’s not a building or a structure, but a body of Christ’s followers. Over and over, we all see that people are lost & hurting and they need hope. It is the mission of the church to be the “light of the world. A city set on a hill” that cannot be hidden according to Matthew 5:14. We must assume the responsibility of being the “hands and feet” of Jesus to reflect His love and care for everyone that we come in contact with. I heard a portion of a poem written by Annie Johnston Flint that says, “Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today. He has no feet but our feet to lead men in the way. He has no tongue but our tongue to tell men how He died. He has no help but our help to bring them to His side.” In my opinion, that is the function of the church. My prayer, is that this writing will be a simple reminder to you, that we must be the church that God has called us to be. It’s not about you, it’s about others. As being a part of the church, we must exist to reflect Christ to a lost and dying world that’s groping for answers in the darkness. May God bless you, Cameron Shiflett Executive Pastor • Rock Springs Church


What Is The Church? By Dr. Carolyn C. Carlisle, Senior Pastor Holsey Monumental Christian Methodist Episcopal Church


f you ask this question to any number of persons, you will probably receive a plethora of answers. Let me begin by saying what the church is not. The church is not the building! People – not buildings, conduct fellowship, ministry, and worship. Many people revel over the building and gladly invite people to join them at their church building location. The church is not the building! Jesus never operated out of a building. Jesus went around from villages, cities, and towns interacting with the people he met offering hope, forgiveness, salvation and providing guidance and instructions. In Mark’s gospel, Jesus healed Blind Bartimaeus on the roadside as Jesus is leaving Jericho on his way to Jerusalem. Jesus met a Samaritan woman in John’s gospel in a town called Sychar, at a well and offered salvation to her. A careful study of the word “church” will reveal that “church” often means “a calling out.” Thus, the church is an individual or group of individuals that have been “called out” to continue the work of Jesus. The individual or group of individuals are set apart for providing hope to all of humankind. They are to minister to the least, the lost, and the last…those marginalized, ostracized, and excluded. They are to speak out against the various injustices of our day. The church is based on the person and work of Christ. The church is to love the unlovable, meeting people where they are but never leaving them in the shape they were found; the church is to be compassionate, caring, loving and nurturing to people – ALL people.


As those who are “called out” spend more time in God’s presence, God will reveal to them how the church is to operate and provide continuous guidance for nurturing. It is my prayer that as a “called out” group of individuals, the church will get busy and make disciples, worship God, nurture God’s people, and reach out to a suffering world with the saving message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Editor’s Note: I love that “the Church” is made up of every nation, every race, every gender, and every personality type. Pastor Carolyn is an infectious christian that will change your life just by having met her!


The Need For Addressing the Issues of Guilt and Shame Associated with Domestic Violence By Dr. Carolyn C. Carlisle


ecently, a series of public service announcements have aired with celebrities and professional football players articulating their commitment to advocating against domestic violence. In these announcements, they have expressed that they will no longer accept excuses for domestic violence, while simultaneously no longer provide excuses for not getting involved. These recent public service announcements resonated in my inner being, immediately prompting my thought, “If only pastors would also make a commitment to addressing domestic violence in the local church and provide support ministries for survivors of domestic violence, the impact would be profound.”

As a pastor, I joined the celebrities and professional football players in their denouncing of domestic violence and vowed to bring awareness into the church. Domestic violence is an epidemic worldwide and affects persons of all genders, ethnicities, cultures, and economic statuses in every church denomination. And yet, many of our pastors are silent on the issue. In a recent book by Ron Clark, Setting the Captives Free: A Christian Theology on Domestic Violence , he states that, “Churches should be talking about abuse because statistically some of our men are abusing women and it is time for pastors to finally shatter the silence on domestic violence. The community of faith must deal with domestic violence because it has penetrated our families, our neighborhoods, our community, our churches and our world.” It is the church’s duty to confront the issue, showing love and compassion for those who are being abused, while simultaneously holding perpetrators accountable. Consequently, the church is called to address all immorality and evil; not just selective issues. “Domestic violence is not only a crime against humanity; it is a sin against God… Yet a greater crime exists. It is the crime of apathy and silence.” says Clark.

Domestic violence is an epidemic worldwide...

There is urgency for pastors to establish ministries within the local church to address domestic violence and create ways to help survivors of domestic violence because God does not condone domestic violence. Yet, when women leave an abusive relationship, the church is usually not the place where help is readily available. One of the most crucial times for survivors of domestic violence is when they leave an abusive relationship. Women survivors of domestic violence often leave abusive relationships bruised, emotionally scarred and ove whelmed with guilt and shame. Rarely are there support ministries within the local church to address the aftereffects of guilt and shame. Survivors4Survivors, Inc. is a nonprofit, faith based organization whose focus is addressing the aftereffects of guilt and shame associated with surviving domestic violence. We strive to meet survivors where they are with the intention of walking beside them to initiate healing. To accomplish this goal we offer six week groups sessions, along with workshops at local churches, and seminars on dating violence. For more info, Contact Dr. Carolyn C. Carlisle at survivors4survivors@live.com.


First Presbyterian Church 3310 10th Court Phenix City, AL 36867 Phone: (334) 297-1537 Pastor: Rev. G. Taylor Brown JOIN US Church School - Sunday, 10:00 a.m. Morning Worship - Sunday, 11:00 a.m. Presbyterian Women - 1st Sunday, 4:00 p.m. Covered Dish Luncheon - 2nd Sunday, Noon Session Meeting - 4th Thursday, 7:00 pm Fellowship Breakfast - Last Sunday, 9:00 am 22

The Church in Political Activism:


One Person Can Make A Difference!

ow many times have you seen something that you thought should be changed and thought, “I am just one person. I can't have an impact.” Unfortunately, in many cases this doubt is lived out by inaction! Because we think we can't effect change, we never try! But on occasion, there is a rare person who says, “I know this is a huge issue and I am only one person, but I believe I can make a difference!” That is the story of Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center for Sexual Exploitation. (NCSE) I had the privilege of meeting Dawn at the 2015 National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention. She immediately caught my attention as I saw her working her booth on the trade show floor. Many of the attendees of the conference are radio and TV people. NRB members provide biblical content through radio, TV, and the web all across the world. Seeing Dawn's booth caused me to step outside of my comfortable bubble and realize that while I was surrounded by amazing people providing amazing family oriented and safe content, but there was a big world with media outlets that did not meet these safe family friendly standards. There are people who intentionally prey on others using the same mediums. Before I ever introduced myself, I watched as she spoke with others passing by, passionately expressing her position on morality in media and the damage that this lack of morality was causing. To say I was filled with hope is an understatement. I felt so blessed as I watched this young woman taking a major stand, on an issue that seems so huge, and doing it with such confidence. There was no hint in her demeanor or conversation that she wasn't confident that we could overcome these problems.

“... I am only one person, but I believe I can make a difference!”

The President of the National Center for Sexual Exploitation said this about Dawn: “From the imagination and hard work of Dawn Hawkins, a nationwide movement against sexual exploitation has been formed and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation recognizes that accomplishment by honoring her today. In her tenure at NCSE, Hawkins’ initiatives have led to sweeping changes of policies that foster exploitation for targets such as Google, Groupon, Verizon and the Department of Defense. Hawkins has organized many grassroots campaign efforts including a highly successful nationwide letter writing and email campaign targeting executives from the major airlines, which led to policy changes prohibiting pornography viewing on planes. Through her leadership, NCSE has grown a network reaching hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, including organizing a national Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation comprised of 280 groups purposed to defend dignity and oppose sexual exploitation.”

What a statement about just ONE person, one young person, who believed that she could make a difference. Dawn Hawkins is a passionate defender of human rights who has dedicated her life to fighting against societal harms that threaten the dignity of others. Her energy, creativity and mobilization skills have revived the anti-pornography movement. Many of us are seeing (or not seeing) the results of her efforts, but will never know her name or her contribution. What is the church? Maybe as we go on this journey of answering this question, we really are seeing that the question is not “what” but “who.” Dawn Hawkins is the church in action. She is a defender of our faith, our safety, and morality through all mass mediums. As a boomer, I love to celebrate the contributions of millennials like Dawn and know our future will be impacted in a mighty way as more young people like Dawn step up to the plate and are the church in all areas of our world. Editors Note: Many people believe that “the church” and “government” should not interfere or infringe on one another. If we believe that “the church” is a collection of individuals working together towards a common cause, then I say “the church” and “government” need more opportunities to collaborate to make this word a better place.


Be the Un-Offendable


By Marti Sullivan Tidwell

everal weeks ago while Jason and I were visiting Georgia, our Sunday School teacher at Northway Church, Jack Gregory, asked a basic but thought-provoking question… “What are you most afraid of?”

The answer for me was immediate: Anger. I’ve never been a fan of anger. I don’t care for confrontation. I am of the “hold it in until you blow” faction. In most cases, I would rather lose my way than get into an argument. I’m a people-pleaser type. I don’t like raised voices, awkward moments, and I am terrible with verbalizing my thoughts and emotions inside of an argument. It’s just not my thing. I’m certainly not suggesting this is healthy.

There is such a thing as good confrontation. Marriage has been just the training ground I needed for that realization and, admittedly, I have witnessed how healthy confrontation leads to growth in a relationship. I still don’t enjoy it, but I see that it has purpose. My answer to Jack’s question, though, had nothing to do with healthy confrontation inside relationships. Rather, my answer came from a heart aching and quite frankly frightened for a world that I see more and more destroyed by that powerful little word: anger. For so many of us, both individually and corporately, life has not turned out the way we had hoped. One of my favorite quotes, by William Shakespeare, says it best: Expectation is the root of all heartache.

Expectation is the root of all heartache.

Perhaps our heart aches because we were treated poorly, or did not have the upbringing and advantages that many had. Perhaps we worked tirelessly towards a career goal that has left us empty and frustrated. Perhaps our family has disappointed or betrayed us. Perhaps you have no family, and loneliness is more than you can bear. Perhaps a dream you longed for has never been realized. Perhaps you or someone you loved has been wronged in an enormous and undeniable way, and no one ever bothered to try and make it right. Perhaps the difficulty and stress and danger you constantly encounter has left you jaded and bitter… And angry. The truth is, we can all find reasons to be angry. The real question is…what will we do with it?

Watch the news, it’s everywhere. This people group warring against that people group…this family warring against that…this company warring against another…this person warring against that establishment. We have become programmed to become offended…to look for reasons to get angry. We are angry at our loved ones an dfriends, angry at the curch and all they ways we believe they are getting it wrong. Heck, I got angry at Salsaritas last Sunday because they didn’t open until 1:00pm and I wanted lunch at 12:30! Seriously. I’m talking to Christians here…where is Christ in that? Several years ago I met with a woman whose marriage was crumbling was in no way qualified to counsel her, but a friend wanted me to meet with her and just talk, so I consented. It didn’t go well. And let me tell you why…expectations, the root of all heartache. To make a long story short, this woman was withholding love from her husband because she felt as though he was withholding intimacy and time with her. Neither would budge. They were both hurt and angry, and no one would make the first move towards healing. No one would extend grace… “I will do that when he/she does this…” Does anybody see the tragedy there? All somebody had to do to BEGIN to break down that wall was cry uncle and give…give when it hurt and give til it hurt for the sake of the (continued)


Be the Un-Offendable By Marti Sullivan Tidwell

marriage, the family. All someone had to do was demonstrate with actions, with giving, that this relationship is important to me and I’m going to be a good husband /wife even though I believe he/she doesn’t deserve it. I’m going to catch them off guard with my kindness and my generosity and show them they are worth more to me than my pride and being right. Maybe it wouldn’t happen overnight, but my life has shown me that very few people can continue to be ugly to someone who is intentionally and genuinely showing them kindness and grace day after day. Nobody would budge. Divorce was inevitable. Here’s my question: Where would we be if Jesus didn’t give til it hurt? Where would we be if He treated us as we deserved? Where would we be if He insisted on an apology from us before He hung on the Cross? Where would we be if He treated us as we treat those that have offended us, hurt us…made us angry? Hell is where we would be and Hell is where a lot of us are…in our own homes, at work, in our nation and culture. We won’t give, forgive, extend grace, because THEY HAVE TO BE FIRST… Listen, I get it. You may be angry for a completely righteous reason. You may be anger for a situation that is screaming for justice. But if you entertain that anger and you allow it to give way to bitterness… That’s where the tragedy lies. “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Hebrews 12:15 The poisonous root of bitterness is a devastating problem in our families and communities and in our nation and world. When we choose bitterness, we poison not only ourselves but those around us, those we have contact with daily, those we love the most. And we are missing, we are falling short of, exhibiting and extending the grace…the undeserved favor of God. When we decide to let our anger give birth to bitterness, even if we are angry for good reason, we just blew it. A life filled with anger and bitterness will never grow in Christ, will never realize the incredible and unfathomable plans God has just for you to bless this world. Bitter work for even a righteous and good cause yields nothing but poison. People will let us down. Always. They will disappoint us, they will hurt us. This world will always fall short.

This world will always fall short..

It’s why we need Jesus… The First, the Last, the forever and always. The same yesterday, today and tomorrow. We don’t slip His mind and He doesn’t fall out of love with us. He won’t leave us or abandon us. He won’t retire or resign. He won’t get cancer or Alzheimer’s. He is unchangeable and He loves you and has plans for you better than you could ever hope or imagine, and that will never change. His eyes are always on us and He always does the perfect thing at the perfect time. He will never ever ever let you down. If He allows a hardship, a hurt, an offense… it is somehow destined for our own spiritual growth, His glory, or the growth of His Kingdom. Your hurt matters to Him. It will without exception yield beauty in time if you trust Him with it. He IS our sure thing. We can give each other a break. We already have our sure thing and we can’t lose Him. So, go ahead…let it go. God says vengeance is his alone. There is nothing anyone can do to make that hurt better but Him…let Him have it. Choose joy. Treat people just as He treats you…better than you deserve. We can change the world, y’all. Be un-offendable. Choose joy. Extend grace… Forgive just as you have been forgiven. Forgive when it hurts and give til it hurts…for the sake of your marriage, your family, your church, your community, your nation, your world. Leave the rest to God. - Ephraim.


The Unnamed Servant By TREY DICKERSON


e are told in Genesis chapter 24 that Abraham was well advanced in age, and, therefore, found it necessary to find a bride for His son of promise, Isaac. Therefore, he called the oldest servant of his house (who is left unnamed), and made him swear that he would find a wife for his son from the country and family he left. Well, we see in the remainder of this chapter how this unnamed servant traveled to Abraham’s former country and how his journey brought him to Rebekah. After the Lord confirmed that she was indeed the bride that He had chosen for Isaac, Abraham’s servant adorned here with beautiful jewelry and led her back to the dwelling place of Isaac to become his bride.

In this story, we have a beautiful type and shadow of this new and better covenant you and I live in. Now we understand that Abraham was a type of our Father-God and Isaac, His only begotten son of promise, was a type of our Lord Jesus. But, saints, today I want us to talk a little bit about the lost man in this story- Abraham’s eldest servant. I believe that this unnamed servant is a type of the Holy Spirit. Someone might ask, “Why would you think an unnamed servant of Abraham was a type of the Holy Spirit?” Well, first of all, you do understand that “Holy Spirit” is not His name, correct? No, He is the Holy Spirit- the unnamed Spirit of God. On top of that, He is the One who was sent from heaven to serve, and not to be served just as Jesus was sent to serve and not be served. And more specifically, He was sent to this earth to find a bride for Jesus, the Son of God.

No, He is the Holy Spirit the unnamed Spirit of God.

My brothers and sisters, this is the ministry that He has here on the earth- to draw those who were afar off into a loving relationship with their Christ. He first draws us to our Lord and then is responsible for revealing Him unto us- guiding us into all truth, teaching us all things concerning Him, and reminding us of the things Jesus has already said. This is the Holy Spirit’s ministry! But although He is this important in the life of the believer, I consider Him to be the most disrespected and dishonored person on this planet. And, you know, one of the main reasons I believe this is because the vast majority of the church today doesn’t even see Him as a person. Many churches rarely even acknowledge Him and the churches who do acknowledge Him only see Him as a feeling or a goose-bump. This leads many believers to refer to Him as an “it” if they refer to Him at all. Let me ask you a question: What if you were to walk in to the church I pastor and I acknowledged your presence by saying- “There it is! If it so wonderful to have it with us today!” Do you reckon you might be a little offended with me if I referred to you this way? No, me referring to you this way would certainly not bless you. But too many churches do just that with the Holy Spirit… They sing songs like “Send it on down, send it on down, Lord, let the Holy Ghost come on down.” Now, thank God, the Holy Spirit is not easily offended and is not quick to get His feelings hurt, but the bottom line is that He is not an “it”; He is the Third Person in the Godhead- with divine characteristics and a divine personality that we should appreciate and acknowledge. Jesus taught us this in His last message to His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion... In John chapters 14-16, Jesus began to instruct His disciples on many vital truths which included a strong focus on His replacement- the Holy Spirit. (continued)


The Unnamed Servant By TREY DICKERSON

Some might think- “Replacement! Nothing can replace our Messiah!” Well, I am not referring to a replacement in regards to us not needing Jesus anymore. I am referring to the words of Jesus Himself in John 14:16 when He said of the Holy Spirit- “And I will pray to the Father and He will send you another Helper…” You see, Jesus also mentioned in this, His final exhortation to His disciples, He would be departing. So here He was providing them with the comfort of knowing that He was not going to leave them comfortless. In other words, He was letting them know that He was not leaving them helpless, but was sending them “another Helper.” Now what is of extreme significance in this phrase “another Helper” is the word “another.” The Greek word used here to translate “another” is the word “allos” and this word describes “another of the same exact kind, a duplicate, or a twin.” So a good question then is: Who was the original “Helper”? Of course, Jesus was referring to Himself here. Therefore, what Jesus was saying was that the Father was going to send another just like Him to be a Helper to His disciples. In other words, Jesus was the original “Helper” and the Holy Spirit is “another Helper” just like Him. Jesus went on in these three chapters to explain the myriad of benefits that the Holy Spirit would bring to His disciples, but my point is that in these three jam-packed chapters, Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit with a personal pronoun a whopping 22 times in a nine verse span! (I do not have the space in this article to list them but go look it up for yourself in John chapters 14-16) So through Jesus constantly referring to the Holy Spirit as “He, Him, Whom” we can clearly see that He is a Person, and as a member of the Godhead, He certainly deserves our honor and respect. But, saints, the main point I wanted to leave you with today is that He deserves our respect and honor more than just by us acknowledging the fact that He is a divine person; He is worthy of us actually learning to acknowledge His presence on the earth today and He is worthy of us taking full advantage of His ministry in our lives today!

He certainly deserves our honor and respect.

Far too many churches leave the Holy Spirit out of their gatherings. Perhaps this is out of the fear of the unknown, but as the well respected minister R.A. Torrey was quoted as saying, “If the Holy Spirit is a divine person and we know it not, we are robbing a divine Being of the love and adoration which are due Him. It is of the highest practical importance whether the Holy Spirit is a power that we, in our ignorance and weakness, are somehow to get hold of and use, or whether the Holy Spirit is a personal Being who is to get hold of and use us...” Saints, He wants to be to you today what Jesus was to His disciples then. He wants to be your Helper- present to help navigate you through this life’s turbulent waters. He wants to be that unnamed servant whom on this journey to the marriage supper of the Lamb reveals to us who our Groom truly is. His ministry is to reveal to you and I all the things that eye has not seen nor ear heard which God has prepared for all who love Him. But in order for His ministry on this planet to take full effect in our lives, we must learn to acknowledge Him in all our ways. We must learn to communicate with and depend upon Him every day. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. Trey Dickerson is the pastor of High Point Church located at 2963 Hollis Rd, Macon, Ga 31204. For more information on Trey Dickerson’s ministry, you can visit his websites at www.treydickerson.com and www.highpointmacon.com. Also, Feel free to contact Pastor Trey at trey@treydickerson.com and request to be added to his monthly teaching newsletter. Be blessed!


Local Church Connection ...connecting individuals to local churches

Local Church Connection is growing up and out. We are adding many new features to the magazine and website. Presently each issue of the Local Church Connection reaches 12,000 individuals, as well as a website receiving 100K visits per month. You will not want to miss the opportunity to join our community and be part of the June relaunch. Imagine what God will do with a God sized dream to establish new territories in cities across the country to strategically position ourselves to accomplish Kingdom building!

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Wrapping It Up: What is the Church?


By Sandy Ellingson

hroughout this issue we have been on a journey to answer the question, “What is the church?” We've heard from people of all walks of life, age, race, and background. The overarching theme, that has been supported by the biblical historical definition, has been that the church really is a group of people. No where is it defined as a building or location. Being from the south with a husband from the northwest, an easy way for me to understand this is BBQ! If I use the word BBQ, I am talking about a noun! It's what I cook on the grill. If he uses the term BBQ, he is talking about something he is going to do, “Let's BBQ!” Over the last 2000 years, we have built buildings and called them churches and now many people based on their experience and areas where they have been raised equate the church with a building. So just as my husband is wrong when he uses the term BBQ like it is a noun (haha!), we are wrong when we use the term church as if it is a building. I think it would be nice, and more correct, if instead of saying we are going to church, we said, we are going down to the building that houses the church! Or, we are going to the place where we meet as a church! This magazine is distributed in over 150 locations. Thousands of people will pick it up and read it. The reasons for doing so are just as varied as the people who do it. Some of you may have just been intrigued by the picture on the cover. Some may have just been bored to tears while sitting in a doctor's waiting room. Some of you may have actually been looking for a church and the name of the publication got you! Here's what I hope you walk away from this issue knowing: • The church is a group of people that meets together with a common cause, sometimes in a building, sometimes in a mini-strip, and sometimes in a home. The physical building does not matter. • The church is a group of imperfect people. Don't be fooled. There is not a single perfect person within any church group. You don't have to be perfect to join. • The earthly group of people that identifies themselves as a church is filled with those who believe in Jesus, those who are searching, and those who don't believe at all. So often we forget this. You don't have to believe to get involved. • Just as there are many flavors of ice cream, there are many flavors to church groups and there is one that is right for you. Not all people are alike so not all church groups are alike. • You are wanted, welcome, and needed. There is not one group of people, meeting as a church, who are not in need of something and that something might be you! We hope you will continue this journey with us through additional issues. We'd love to hear your feedback via our website. You can find future issues of Local Church Connection online at http://www.issuu.com. Just search for Local Church Connection. Our goal is to connect individuals in a local community to a group of people, (the church) in a local community so that they can serve each other, Christ, and the world.


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Artwork by Helen Brooks A native of Columbus, Helen Brooks is a mixed media artist who enjoys expressing her faith through art. You may view and purchase her artwork at www.helenbrooksart.com. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook to see her most recent work. Helen was inspired by Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece….” Title: “Eyes to See” Medium: Mixed Media on vintage book pages and fine art paper. Photograph by Matt Gillespie MJ★Gillespie Photography Columbus, Georgia 706.442.3456 http://www.mjgillespie.com