How to Live in Victory

Pastor Craig Carter Last week we looked at the opening verses of the letter of James where he writes… “My brothers and sisters, when you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy…” (James 1:2 NCV) The Greek word translated “troubles” literally means “trials, tests or temptations.” Another translation puts it this way: My brothers and sisters, be very happy when you are tested in different ways. (James 1:2 GWT) While most students aren’t very fond of tests, they can and do serve a useful purpose: They assess where we are in our grasp of the subject …

How to Live with Patience

Pastor Craig Carter My wife Lee is an avid reader. But I long ago gave up buying books for her because I discovered we use radically different approaches in selecting a suitable book to read. I tend to be drawn to books with catchy titles or fancy artwork on the cover. Yes, I’m a very superficial person! But Lee chooses a book, not based on its cover, but by its initial contents. She loves the “look inside” feature on Amazon which allows her to read the first few pages of a book she’s considering. She says she knows right away …

How to Live: Series Introduction

Pastor Craig Carter It’s sometimes said, “You are what you eat” (so don’t become a cinnamon roll!). That’s true to a degree, but it’s more correct to say, “You are what you do.” It’s not an oversimplification to suggest that if you help, you’re a helper or that if you encourage, you’re an encourager. On the other hand, if you complain, you’re a complainer and if you lie, you are a liar. You are what you do so if you do good things, you’re a good person. But if you do bad things, well … you get the picture, right? …

Essential: Becoming

Pastor Craig Carter What do you want to be? Ask that question of children and you’d expect them to say things like, “I want to be a firefighter or an astronaut or a baseball player or a dancer.” Ask that same question to the kids’ parents and you’ll probably get a radically different response: “I want my child to be kind, honest, hard-working, fair, compassionate, loving…” Parents are more concerned about who their children become as a person than they are about what they do as a profession. That sentiment is shared by our Heavenly Father. God is more interested …

Essential: Believing

Pastor Terry Tatum Last week, Pastor Craig touched on a concept that guided the church world for generations. The concept was BELIEVE, BELONG, BECOME. Those words in that order represent a process for people to fully develop in Christ. For much of the last century this was the formula that guided many churches as they sought to spread the Good News of Jesus. While that formula was responsible for much of the great foundation today’s Christians enjoy, over the last 25 to 30 years it hasn’t been as effective as it once was. In recent years, many people have been …

Essential: Belonging

Pastor Craig Carter This spring when government officials issued “stay at home” orders there was a great deal of debate about what were considered essential services. Remember, you couldn’t go to stores selling clothing, jewelry, or sporting goods, but you could still buy lottery tickets, liquor, and firearms (all deemed essential). You could get your car serviced or your pool cleaned, but you couldn’t get a haircut, have your nails done, or go for routine dental visits. Sorry to bring up those painful memories and start the debate all over again. As a pastor, I was glad that Florida’s Gov. …

Essential: God’s Anointing

Pastor Craig Carter As Christians, we oftentimes use language that is meaningless to the unbelieving world. I’m not even sure we even know what we’re talking about in many instances. Last Sunday, I quoted a verse from 1 John that reads something like this in many translations: Jesus Christ is the propitiation {RSV: expiation} for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2 ESV) Do you know what propitiation or expiation means? Neither do I! That’s why I used the New Living Translation: Jesus Christ is the sacrifice that …

Essential: God’s Forgiveness

Pastor Craig Carter One of the perplexing and troubling things about COVID-19 is its unpredictability. Some folks contract the virus and don’t even know it – they are asymptomatic. Others get it and suffer only mild symptoms. And others are severely affected by the disease and their lives threatened. Health care professionals are still trying to figure out why the coronavirus effects different people in such a wide variety of ways. But one thing is known: persons with a compromised or suppressed immune system are more susceptible. Folks with heart issues or diabetes, along with cancer survivors and organ transplant …

Essential: The Word of the Lord

Pastor Craig Carter I’m happy to be back in action following my “COVID vacation.” My daughter and I recently tested positive for the coronavirus and we’re fairly certain everyone in our household had it also. We thank God that our symptoms were relatively mild and we’re trusting the Lord that we will suffer no long-term effects. While contracting the coronavirus did provide me a break from work, it wasn’t necessarily fun or relaxing for me or anyone else in my family. But one thing we did enjoy was the prayers and expressions of love and support we received from many …

Essential: Unwavering Faith

Pastor Terry Tatum To say the last couple of weeks have been challenging would be an understatement. At times it’s been down-right hard and discouraging. Earlier this month we had our staff and their families tested for COVID-19 and three tested positive. Since then all three have tested negative and have shown no symptoms of the virus. But then earlier this week we found out that Pastor Craig and his household had been exposed to the virus and were experiencing mild symptoms. It was later confirmed that they did indeed have Covid-19 and are currently recovering in isolation according to …