Weekly Bulletin

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April 18, 2021

This Week @ The Creek:

A Special Thank You to Dr. John Ewart for the past 16 months of serving as our Interim Pastor. Today is Dr. Ewart's last Sunday with us and we are grateful for His example of being Defined by the Word, Devoted to Prayer, and Dependent on the Spirit.  

>> New to the Creek?  Want to find out more about Richland Creek, who we are and what we do? This three-week introduction will give you a brief overview of our church, our beliefs, and our goals. Join us for this class starting Sunday, April 18 at 9 am in the Backstage room.

>> Richland Creek is honored to participate in the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. We will start collecting Easter Sunday and through the month of April. CLICK HERE for more information. 

Through your gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® and the Cooperative Program, NAMB (North American Mission Board) supports more than 5,000 missionaries and more than 3,800 chaplains who serve in difficult places where the gospel is often not welcome.

>> CREEK KIDS: We will be leading the Creek Kids through our discipleship goals to Love God...Love Others. 

>> OVERFLOW STUDENT WORSHIP: Will meet in the Family Life Center at 6:30 pm.  Click Here for more information. Live stream available at rcstudents.church.online

>> INTERSECT MINISTRY: Will meet in the Fellowship Hall. CLICK HERE for more details on this ministry. 

>> ADULT EQUIPPING CLASS:  Will meet in the Worship Center at 6:30 pm. Live stream available at creek.church.online

>> ADULT EQUIPPING CLASS: Trusting the Bible When It’s Hard - Join us in the Backstage room at 6:30 pm. This is an on-campus class only.  The Bible is sufficient to guide us in every situation. Join us as we discuss how to better understand problematic emotions, and how to walk in joy, and how to deal biblically with life’s difficulties. Led by Mike Greene - Biblical Counseling Director

>> Stay connected by downloading the Richland Creek MOBILE APP today! With The Church App, you can easily watch and listen to sermons,  read articles and access prayer guide. Click Here to download the App. 

>> Service Opportunities: Looking for a place to Love Others...Through Our Ministry then check out our website at richlandcreek.com/serve. We have several ways to serve in Creek Kids, Special Needs, Student Ministry, Worship Ministry, and AVL/Communications.

>> Discipleship Ministry: We have men and women who would LOVE to connect with you and talk more about growing in our goal areas. These people have been trained through our Women Equipping Women (WEW) and Men Equipping Men (MEM) ministries. Click Here for more information. 

>> Joining a LIFE GROUP is key because there is no better way to get to know the Creek than by knowing its people. Life groups study the Bible together and encourage each other to Love God...Love Others. Click Here for a list of on-campus and virtual groups that are meeting. 

>> Everyone A Witness: One of our goals here at Richland Creek is to Love God...In Our Witness. We want to equip and encourage all church members in their evangelism growth by offering training about how to share your faith. CLICK HERE for more information

>> April 2021 Prayer Guides are available in the front foyer! Click Here to download copy. Make plans to attend our next Monthly Prayer Meeting on Sunday, April 25 at 6:00pm. 

CLICK HERE to REGISTER for next week's on-campus service!

Ministry Report: 

Worship Attendance: April 11

On-Campus: 613  

On-line: 326

Financial Praise Report: 

April 5 - April 11:  General Fund offering:  $47,343

Weekly Budget Need:  $66,802.54

Food Pantry Update: 

Our next Community Food Pantry - Saturday, April 24 (9am-11am) 

Saturday, April 10

265 Families were blessed with food from your gracious giving!

Our Community Food Pantry events are held twice a month on the second and fourth Saturday. Please contribute as you are able to assist us in helping families facing hunger. Items may be dropped off in the collection barrels both inside and outside the church near the office entrance. Thank you for your donations and compassion.

WORSHIP SONGS

Your Grace is Enough - Chris Tomlin 

Graves Into Gardens - Elevation Worship 

Blessed Assurance - Elevation Worship 

Come As You Are - David Crowder 

SERMON TITLE

Dr. John Ewart (Interim Pastor) 

Been There, Done That, Now What? How to Stay on Track After a Transition (Colossians 3:1-23) 

Missed last weeks sermon? All previous sermons are available online for viewing - click here to watch or listen. 

 

Sermon Notes:

April 18, 2021: Dr. John Ewart - Interim Pastor 
 Been There, Done That, Now What? How to Stay on Track After a Transition

Interims are unique historical moments during which historically unique opportunities occur.

We now celebrate the beginning of the next chapter. My prayer is that you will not experience another transition for many, many years. Thank you for the privilege of serving you. We love you and will be praying for you.

Anything good that has happened, give glory to God, and love your leaders. Anything bad, just blame and lay on me and cast me into the wilderness. I am glad to carry it away to be forgotten and forgiven. 

I am so very thankful God has called His new man in an unanimous, united way. 

Pray for Dr. Powers and his family. 

Please welcome, love and cherish them well. Be their great encouraging uplifter as they too make a historic transition for their family. As one who has put his family through such moves multiple times, I recognize the great need for prayer and support they have. Give him time to learn you and to love you and you do the same. 

The potential of your future together is unbelievable. But do not forget the lessons of the past or our time together. We have attempted to move through several crucial phases and goals. Healthy churches know how to constantly move through these five phases. They know everything revolves around God’s Mission, His plan and desire.

Remember...The Discipline of Why? 

Always ask the right questions in the right order: “Why?” must precede “Who?” which precedes “What?” which precedes “How?” 

We must know why we are doing what we are doing, Who it glorifies, and who we pray it helps us to become then we can determine the what’s and how’s.

Your student ministry engaged in a DiscipleNow Conference this weekend with the theme of being a living sacrifice as expressed in Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."

Their goal is for students to present themselves as living sacrifices as an act of spiritual worship. This is a fitting summary for all we have been through together for the past year and a half. 

God has always had a preordained plan for Richland Creek Community Church. Like train tracks. We do not lay the tracks; God has already put them into place. 

He always knew you would go through this experience and that Dr. Powers was coming. He knew exactly where you would be at this moment. We do not decide His direction; we are defined by His Word.  His Word and Will are the train tracks leading to the fulfillment of His Mission to bring Himself glory and to redeem the nations. 

We sought to fulfill that Mission by first conducting an extensive Assessment process including an historic and current quantitative and qualitative analysis of your community and congregation.

Where and who have you really been? Where and who are you now?

We engaged in interviews and a survey with hundreds of church members, and you perceived yourself as only marginally healthy with several areas that needed improvement. Some statistical areas were also stagnant or in decline.

Your community is lost and theologically confused with over half not attending any church. The harvest around you is ripe, plentiful, and ready. 

We summarized the Assessment phase with a list of the top 9 primary issues. These included leadership, membership, discipleship, worship, prayer, evangelism, and other key areas that needed to be addressed. 

We began to address these issues as we moved into Identification.

Assessment reveals who and where we have been and really are while Identification challenges us to recognize the definitions and goals for who we should be.

We need biblical definitions and expectations of church, church membership, and discipleship. I preached through the book of Acts to help us see biblical standards and practices. 

Your leadership developed key discipleship goals, presented them to you, and I preached a sermon series concerning them as well.

These discipleship goals are now being implemented on each age level where they will create an expectation and measurement for spiritual growth and accountability. To accomplish these goals and continue our work on the Assessment issues, all ministries and schedules had to be evaluated and executed to lead members to achieve them. 

This is called Vision Development. 

The plan to be who you are supposed to be in your current context and toward your new future. How do you build the proper contextual train to run on God’s tracks? To develop a practical vision plan that is connected in synergy running together in one direction. 

Remember, your option is bumper cars! People love them. They are fun. There is a lot of activity and busyness.Tons of flash and noise, even large crowds. But in the end, they just go around and around in a circle competing for time, space, and energy. They do not actually go anywhere or accomplish any goals toward real spiritual maturity. 

That does not mean there is something wrong with large and noisy crowds. Large events that attract people can be very useful, but you must know why you are conducting them, who you pray they produce, and have a plan for follow up and assimilation. 

Running parallel to all of this was the Pastor Search Team training and process.  

They needed some of these phase pieces completed first so they would know the proper candidate profile they were seeking to fill for your healthiest future. Praise the Lord for their Holy Spirit driven, unifying success!

You have already met some of the 9 top Assessment needs already and your Pastoral Body is organized into working teams engaging the rest along with your staff. Your deacon ministry has developed a new plan for ministry and member care as well. 

And please do not miss how God has blessed during a difficult time. 

We have watched God save people; seen people obedient in baptism; observed people joining the church; gathered for prayer; learned to engage a virtual world with folks listening from other countries and parts of our nation; supported missions through an historic international missions offering; had groups of people go out on missions together, and served hundreds of families through ministry here in the midst of a pandemic.

His hand is still upon you. God has a Mission. 

You now still face Adjustment. Changes must continue to be made to best fulfill your future so please do not fight it.

Embrace the fact that your new Vision and Preaching Pastor will have new ideas and new ways. That is one reason you have called him. Help him, love him, support him! Embrace adjustment, as God leads, with passion and excitement. 

Work with your new pastor and leaders to deal with these top issues and new opportunities including the work of the future alignment of both positional and personnel structures.

Eventually you will Implement these new adjustments and immediately begin Assessment again.

It must never stop because Satan will never stop. He will seek to get you off track so you must never stop. How? How do you stay on God’s tracks after a transition in the healthiest manner? 

Colossians 3:5-8

5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. 8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 

I. You Must Review Your Attitudes

A. The Burden of Luggage - Watch what you carry.  Put off 

If you are to get on board and move forward, you cannot bring everything from the past with you.

There are things back there you need to leave, back there. Attitudes, opinions, judgements, sin, poor motive attribution, and gossip. 

Do not pile the luggage of the past on your new pastor or on your future.The first things he needs to hear from you is how you are looking forward and not backward. Draw a line and move forward.

Colossians 3:9-10

9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 

B. The Barb of Lies - Watch what you believe.

We must walk in His truth, not a lie. We must be honest and transparent with one another. We must trust and we must also hold each other accountable.

Believe in the biblical definitions of church, membership, and discipleship we have discussed. The practices of the old self will not help you stay on track. You need the mind of Christ, our Creator, to do that.

Colossians 3:12-14

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

C. The Blessing of Love - Watch how you behave.  Put on 

Luggage. lies or love? Which do you choose to wear? 

Holding on to past grudges and not letting grace release and free you will force you off the tracks. Move into this new chapter as the church in the book of Acts did – as ONE.

Your unanimous vote to call Mike Powers is a fantastic beginning. Hooked together in synergy, on the same set of tracks all moving in the same direction. 

II. You Must Realign Your Actions

Colossians 3:1-2

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

A. Determine Your Priorities - Where is God working?

Upon what or Whom is your mind set? You, the things of this world happening around you, or God? 

You must allow Him to realign your priorities to the things above.

  • What does He want?
  • Where is He working?
  • Will you join Him?
  • What does He want you to do? 

Colossians 3:10, 16

10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

B. Dwell On Your Principles - What do you really believe?

Upon what are you dwelling? What dwells within you?

Evaluate the principles by which you are making decisions and living your life.

  • Is it Christ’s Word or your own?
  • Do you live and learn with grace in your heart? 
  • What is guiding your knowledge and the way you seek knowledge?

Colossians 3:17, 23

17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 

C. Do What You Profess - How are you living?

  • For whom are you living?
  • Whose praise do you seek? 
  • What is your motivation for your actions? 
  • Do your actual actions match your actual beliefs? 

Let us seek His glory and approval! His future!

III. You Must Release Your Abuses 

Colossians 3:1-2, 5, 8

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.

A. Discard the Dead - What must you put off?

  • What specifically in your life is going to hinder you from personally moving forward with this new pastor and this church? 
  • Is there a secret sin that you must get off the tracks? 
  • Anger toward the past or others? Hurt? Your own pride and ego? Fear?
  • What thing of death must be removed so that you may live? 

Colossians 3:2, 12-14

2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

B. Replace with Righteousness - What must you put on? 

True repentance requires replacement as I have shared over and over again. 

  • What must be replaced in your life?
  • What missing fruit of the Spirit or characteristic of Christ must be adopted into your daily life? 

Above all…put on love! That is where the perfect bond together is found. That is what will hold the train together. 

We must Love God and Love Others. 

Colossians 3:15

15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 

C. Practice Peace - How can we live? 

Let, permit, seek peace, to rule in your hearts. Called in one and thankful.

What kind of church member are you going to be for Christ and His new undershepherd?

  • The encourager of peace? 
  • Will you be the one to bring about peace and harmony and oneness and encouragement? 
  • Will you make it your goal to make his ministry and that of your other leaders, one of JOY!

IV. You Must Recognize Your Advocate

Colossians 3:3-4

3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

A. The Person of Salvation - Who can save me?

Christ is your life! I love that.

My life is not mine; it is His. Only He can save me. I am hidden in Him, covered by His blood and righteousness.The Father does not see my filthiness as a sinner, He sees the sacrifice of His Son for me. He deserves to be my life!

This church must see Him as her life.

  • He must have the highest seat.
  • He must be the reason you gather and go.
  • He must be the true Head of the Creek!

Colossians 3:3-4, 24

3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 

B. The Promise of Salvation - What will I receive?

When Jesus returns in glory, I too will appear with Him.

I will receive a new body, an eternal home in glory. I will receive what has been promised as my inheritance as a true child of God.

We serve the Lord, the One with all authority in heaven and on earth. We can be certain of our reward! We can KNOW.

No other faith teaches this! I can KNOW! I do not guess or wonder or hope I will go to heaven.

I know beyond any shadow of doubt that I have been saved by Christ and I will spend eternity with Christ, because of what Christ has done.  

Colossians 3:1, 3-4

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

C. The Process of Salvation - How can this happen?

  • I must be raised with Christ.
  • I must recognize who He truly is.

Seated at the right hand with all authority and power, Jesus alone has the power to save.He covered me on the cross and He guaranteed me through an empty tomb.

  • I must surrender to Him, His leadership and Lordship over my life.
  • I must offer myself as a living sacrifice because just as our students have been studying, He offered Himself for me.

Romans 12:1

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

Richland Creek, your potential is unlimited if you will allow God to own and lead His church.

But that is now up to you and Him. Will you offer yourself?

I cannot make you become all that you are supposed to be, but I can pray for you and will. Please do not miss the future God has for you. I beg of you!

God deserves it and this world needs your testimony. 

It begins with each of you allowing God to remove the obstacles in your personal life so you can then help others to respond to God as He removes the obstacles in their lives.

  • What must you personally do to get fully on board and stay on track? 

Your personal and corporate future demands it. There are also others who still need to come, who need you to help clear the path for them. 

  • What are you willing to do to clear the way for others to get on board?

It is urgent work; time is of the essence. It might be hard, sweaty, and muddy work and they may never even know your name, but if you will offer yourself as a living sacrifice, God will use you in His Mission and you will be able to bring Him glory and watch Him redeem the nations, even those across the street or town.  

Be a living sacrifice, a path clearer, a stone remover. 

Isaiah 62:10

Go through, go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway! Take out the stones, lift up a banner for the peoples!

We lift up Christ, and Christ crucified and risen, now sitting in full authority at the right hand of the Father, interceding on your behalf. Tell them, tell them all Richland Creek!

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