This weekend at TAF…

We hope you can join us tomorrow.
 
Our breakfast, Sabbath Schools and fellowship will begin at 10:15am.  Our worship service will begin at 11:00am.  Matt Stockdale will continue his sermon series — Naming Your Life.  This week’s sermon is entitled Your Name and Your Calling.  Join us for lunch afterwards as we are having lasagna.  
 
Don’t forget to check-in on Facebook each week.  TAF donates money for each check-in to worthwhile community service projects.
 
The end of summer is quickly approaching.  That means the beginning of a new school year is right around the corner.  We are collecting school supplies and backpacks this August for needy children in our community.  Please buy a new backpack and fill it with school supplies (see attached document for suggestions) and bring it to church during the month of August.  Consider filling one for both a boy and a girl (or as many as you want).  We will make sure they are delivered to needy children in our community.  Wendy Eglinger told me this morning that Aldi has backpacks for only $6.99.  She bought 20 of them and will bring them to church tomorrow to distribute to save you a step.  Thanks Wendy!!  
 
TAF will be starting an Adventurer Club this fall.  Registration will be held August 29 from 6:30pm to 7:45pm at the Outreach Center.  Please see Russell or Olivia Worthen if you have any questions.  
 
Make sure you visit our website to stay up to date on what is happening at TAF.  You can also download our mobile app for additional information.  
 
Please continue to support TAF financially and prayerfully consider increasing your support as we move forward and expand our mission — to present the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ.  You can now make donations through both our website and our mobile app.  You can choose to use the AdventistGiving platform (which requires registration) or a new, easier to use platform (which does not require registration).  You can also financially benefit TAF by using AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com) and designating TAF as your preferred charity.  The TAF Outreach Center is going to provide many opportunities to reach the community.  Please consider making a special donation to help defray the renovation costs.  
 
We hope to see you tomorrow!!
 


This weekend at TAF…

We hope you can join us tomorrow.  
 
Our breakfast, Sabbath Schools and fellowship will begin at 10:15am.  Our worship service will begin at 11:00am.  Our praise team will be taking over our service this weekend — you won’t want to miss this!  Join us for lunch afterwards as we are having lasagna.  
 
Each Facebook check-in this month will provide 14 meals for needy school-aged children this summer through Second Harvest Food Bank.  We provided 1652 meals last month!!  Let’s try and top that this month.  
 
We are now in possession of the TAF Outreach Center (500 Americhase Drive, Suites L and M).  We solicit your suggestions in how we can use this facility to further our mission and outreach in the community.  Your help (physical and financial) will be needed as we transform a blank canvas into the TAF Outreach Center.  A lot of hard work, but very exciting times are ahead!!
 
TAF will have an Adventurer Club (for ages 4 to 11) starting this fall.  If you are interested in your children being involved or if you are interested in helping with the Club, please see Russell or Olivia Worthen.  
 
Join one of our small group Bible studies.  Times and locations are listed on our church calendar        (www.triadadventistfellowship.org).  
 
Please continue to support TAF financially and prayerfully consider increasing your support as we move forward with our mission — To present the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ. 
 
We hope to see you tomorrow!!


YOU Can Make a Difference as WE Make a Difference Together

American Christians have been conditioned by our cultural surroundings in many ways, and none is more prominent than our shift from communal thinking to individual thinking. We love inspirational and motivational content that revolves around memyself, and I. That’s why we sell so many books about how I can be successful, how can get rich, and how I can be a better master of my own universe.

The Bible, on the other hand, speaks far more of we than of I. Two thousand years ago, Jesus gathered some ordinary misfits into a little community called the church. He trained them as His disciples, died for their sins, rose again and breathed life into them by sending His Holy Spirit. He commissioned them to go forth into every nation and share the gospel.

We usually interpret that commission individualistically. That’s why we have so many books and courses on how I can witness and share my faith. We think of evangelism as an individual enterprise and the church as merely an afterthought.

I even see a bothersome trend in church planting that encourages planters to hold off on planting a church and just “plant the gospel” and hope a church forms. So planters, without the benefit of a gathering community called the church, are winging it individually and getting discouraged after a year of waiting for fruit.

Bad News For Lone Rangers

The fact is, while God indeed chooses, uses, and blesses people in the fruitful telling of the gospel of Jesus, He does so when those individuals are in healthy community. There is no place in the body of Christ for an unattached part, or in the family of God for an estranged sibling.

Are there exceptions? Only in that God gives some an apostolic, pioneering gift mix and sends them into the completely uncharted waters of the mission field, but historically these individuals have usually had a supportive church back home rooting and praying for them from a distance.

I think people want to hear about how significant their individual contributions to the world can be, but God calls us to carry out His assignments in groups, in communities called churches. In other words, YOU can make a difference in the world as WE make a difference in the world TOGETHER.

If you’re still waiting to become the rockstar at the top of your evangelical bubble, there are two things you need to know.

  1. You can’t do this by yourself.
  2. You shouldn’t do this for yourself.

It’s never been about you, or about me. It’s about Him using us together to reach as many of them as we can before He comes back.

Good News For Eager Believers

This isn’t so much a word of correction as it is a word of encouragement. Have you ever felt helpless as to what to do for a hurting friend? What to say to a lost soul? How to serve an unfortunate person you meet? Here’s a plan: bring them to the community!  The whole family can help!

We often miss out on the beauty of the church because we see the church as a place to show up, or an event to attend, or an institution that needs our allegiance and our money. But what if we really valued the church as a community of people on a mission together to tell the good news of the cross and resurrection of Christ to the rest of the world?

On a practical level, this sometimes means inviting someone to the weekend worship gathering to observe what your faith is all about. When they do come, they see a body of people, witnessing together to the truth about God in Christ.

It may mean involving them in a small group in a home or a coffee shop. And when that happens, you’ll be involving them in an extension of the life of the local body of believers to which you belong.

It could even mean asking them to serve, in the trenches, alongside you and your church as you serve the community. There is a kinship found when we meet the needs of others together, and people who don’t yet know Jesus need to see our love-in-action.

You don’t have to do this alone. And you shouldn’t try. The church, with all of its faults and imperfections, is God’s chosen institution for telling the redemptive story of Jesus and drawing people into life in His Kingdom. We get to do this together, and we’re always better together!

 
 by Brandon Cox


This weekend at TAF…

We hope you can join us tomorrow.  
 
Our breakfast, Sabbath Schools and fellowship will begin at 10:15am.  Our worship service will begin at 11:00am.  We will be hearing from Adam and Ariel Taylor and Mark and Thomas Andrews about their recent mission trips.  Join us for lunch afterwards as we are having burgers and hot dogs.  
 
Each Facebook check-in this month will provide 14 meals for needy school-aged children this summer through Second Harvest Food Bank.  1218 meals have been provided so far this month.  Awesome job!!
 
TAF is looking to start an Adventurer Club (for ages 4 to 11) this fall.  If you are interested in your children being involved or if you are interested in helping with the Club, please see Russell or Olivia Worthen.    
 
Join one of our small group Bible studies.  Time and locations are listed on our church calendar (www.triadadventistfellowship.org
).  
 
Please continue to support TAF financially and prayerfully consider increasing your support as we look to move forward with our mission — To present the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ.  
 
We hope to see you tomorrow!!


This weekend at TAF…

We hope you can join us tomorrow.  
 
Our breakfast, Sabbath Schools and fellowship will begin at 10:15am.  Our worship service will begin at 11:00am.  Matt will finish his series — The Bloody Bible.  This week’s sermon is Christianity vs. Islam.  Join us for lunch afterwards as we are having spaghetti.  
Each Facebook check-in this month will provide 14 meals for needy school-aged children this summer through Second Harvest Food Bank.  826 meals have been provided so far this month.  Great job!
 
Our next feeding at the shelter will be tomorrow night, May 21.  Please join us as we serve those who are less fortunate.  
 
Join us after church and visit the “TAF Outreach Center.”  God heard our prayers and opened the doors for this to happen.  Great things are coming!  Come dream with us as we explore additional ways to reach our community for Christ.    
 
Join one of our small group Bible studies.  Time and locations are listed on our church calendar (www.triadadventistfellowship.org
).  
 
Tri-City Christian Academy (TCA) will be offering a summer camp.  See the attached flyer and application for more information. 
 
 
Please continue to support TAF financially and prayerfully consider increasing your support as we look to move forward with our mission — To present the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ.  
 
We hope to see you tomorrow!!​


3 Things Churches Love that Kill Outreach

All churches love certain things. Some love fellowship, some worship, some prayer. Those are good loves. Some are neutral loves. Some are not. Other churches love their building, their history or their strategy.

Those can be good or bad, depending on what we mean by love and how we value those things. But, some things that churches love hurt their mission and hinder their call. Here are three I’ve observed from my work with thousands of churches.

1. Too many churches love past culture more than their current context.

It’s remarkable, and I’ve said it many times: If the 1950s came back, many churches are ready. (Or the 1600s, or the boomer ’80s, depending on your denomination, I guess.)

There is nothing wrong with the fifties, except we don’t live there anymore. We must love those who live here, now, not yearn for the way things used to be. The cultural sensibilities of the fifties are long past in most of the United States. The values and norms of our current context are drastically different and continue to change. The task of contextualization is paramount to the mission of the church because we are called to understand and speak to those around us in a meaningful way. We can learn much from the Apostle Paul’s example recorded in Acts 17:16-34.

So, a church on mission — in this time and place — engages the people around it. Yes, in some ways, it resembles its context — a biblically faithful church living in its cultural concept. But, if your church loves a past era more than the current mission, it loves the wrong thing.

2. Too many churches love their comfort more than their mission.

The fact is, your church probably needs to be less focused on what makes it happy and more focused on what pleases Jesus. This is an easy trap to fall into because it happens very subtly.

Most churches have worked hard to get to a place where congregational customers are happy — their needs are met. The problem is that we are not called to cater to customers. We are called to equip co-laborers. When we win the affections of those inside our circles, it becomes hard to pull away from the affirmation we receive. Again, this only becomes a problem when the affirmation of those on the inside works to the detriment of our mission to those on the outside. It is a lot easier to settle down with the people who are like us than to reach the foreigner or alien among us.

So, a church does not exist for the comfort of its people. Actually, the Bible reminds us again and again that we are to “provoke one another to love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24), to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2), and more. But, if your church loves its comfort more than caring for others, it loves the wrong thing.
 

3. Too many churches love their traditions more than their children.

How can you tell? They persist in using methods that are not relevant to their own children and grandchildren. Far too often, church leaders, in an effort to protect the traditions of their congregations, draw lines in the sand on nonessential issues.

This is not to say that “tradition” is wrong. It depends on how you define it, but I think most will know what I mean. Christian scholar Jaroslav Pelikan said, “Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.” Churches that love tradition that way will choose their traditions over their children every time.

Too often, churches allow traditions to hinder their ability to humbly assess their missional effectiveness. Moreover, they allow traditions to trump the future trajectory of their demographic. I know of several young pastors who have been exiled from their local congregations because they didn’t fit the mold of what had always been the ethos of the leadership. Sometimes this is because impatient pastors try and force change too quickly. Other times it’s because settled churches resist change so forcefully.

Undoubtedly, there are always times to defend the traditional stances of essential doctrines in the local church. But we should not have a cultural elitism that hinders passing the torch to a new generation of leaders. If your church loves the way you do church more than your children, it loves the wrong thing.

It’s time to evaluate your church.

Love is good, and everyone wants a loving church. However, loving the wrong things leads you the wrong way. Loving what is good, including our context, Jesus’ mission and the next generation (to name a few things), moves the church in the right direction. The church should be always reforming, that is, humbly looking at itself and assessing its ability to reach people with the good news of Jesus. Sadly, many of the people Jesus devoted His time to would not feel welcome in our churches.

What about your church? What does its posture, behavior, practices and activities communicate to your community? I think all of us want to understand the culture and community we are ministering in so we can communicate the gospel with absolute clarity. To do this, we need to ask ourselves the hard but needed questions.

Who are we reaching?
Are we primarily reaching people who are like us?
Are we primarily reaching people who are already believers?
Are we primarily reaching people who understand Christian subculture and taboos?
What about the people who don’t have a church background?
What about the people who are unfamiliar with Christian beliefs?

What about the people who don’t understand church subculture and behavioral taboos?
To say we are unable to reach the lost because of our traditions or preferences is simply unacceptable and antithetical to the mission of God.
 
Ed Stetzer


This weekend at TAF…

We hope you can join us tomorrow.
 
Our breakfast, Sabbath Schools and fellowship will begin at 10:15am.  Our worship service will begin at 11:00am.  Matt will continue his sermon series called The Bloody Bible.  This week’s sermon title is Slaughters.  Join us for lunch afterwards as we are having mashed potatoes and fried chicken.
 
Each Facebook check-in this month will provide meals for needy school-aged children this summer through Second Harvest Food Bank.  Last month, we provided disaster relief in Ecuador through Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).  Thanks for helping others while promoting TAF on social media.  
 
Join one of our small group Bible studies. Times and locations are listed on our church calendar (www.triadadventistfellowship.org).  
 
Tri-City Christian Academy (TCA) will be offering a summer camp.  See the attached flyer for more information.  
 
TCA is interested in partnering with local businesses in the Triad area about its new work/study program.  If you know of a business who has a need for qualified students that are ages 16+, please contact Stan Martin (984-888-6922 or stanmartin@hotmail.com).  
 
If you shop at Amazon.com, consider using Amazon Smile (smile.amazon.com) and financially support TAF in the process.  If you have any questions, see Matt.  
 
Please continue to support TAF financially and prayerfully consider increasing your support to help as we look to move forward.  
 
We hope to see you tomorrow!!


This weekend at TAF…

We hope you can join us tomorrow.
 
Our breakfast, Sabbath Schools and fellowship will begin at 10:15am.  Our worship service will begin at11:00am.  Matt Stockdale will continue his sermon series called The Bloody Bible.  This week’s sermon title is Sacrifices.  Join us for lunch afterwards.  
 
Each Facebook check-in this month will provide needed services through Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).  There have been 104 check-ins so far this month.  That’s amazing.
 
Join one of our small group Bible studies.  Times and locations are listed on our church calendar        (www.triadadventistfellowship.org).  
 
Tri-City Christian Academy (TCA) will be offering a summer camp.  See the attached flyer for more information.  
 
 
Home-cooked meal for 4 adults and only $15 (you can’t beat that price at any restaurant).  See the attached flyer for this opportunity from TCA.  
 
​​
If you shop at Amazon.com, consider using Amazon Smile (smile.amazon.com) and financially support TAF in the process.  If you have any questions, see Matt.
 
Please continue to support TAF financially and prayerfully consider increasing your support to help as we look to move forward.  
 
We hope to see you tomorrow!!


7 Bad Reasons To Leave Your Church

If you’re considering leaving the church you attend, there are a few things you may want to consider before making the leap.

The new year is always a time for big decisions, big hopes and big disappointments.

Churches are no exception.

For the next few weeks, gym memberships and diets will soar. Job losses and divorces will rise. Some people will decide to go back to church, while others will decide to leave their church. Some will leave for another church. Others will leave the church for good.

Those who choose to go back to church will have about the same success rate as diets and gym memberships. But those who decide to leave will probably succeed at it. Sadly, it’s one of the few new year’s resolutions that people almost always keep.

If you’re considering leaving the church you attend, there are a few things you may want to consider before making the leap.

Your current church may have more to offer you – and you to offer it – than you may realize.

Are There Good Reasons To Leave A Church?
 

First, let’s acknowledge that there are some good reasons for leaving a church. Here are just a few:

•  The church is stuck in dead traditions
•  They’re so determined to do new things, they’ve become unbiblical
•  The leadership is not leading
•  The leadership is overly controlling
•  You live too far away
•  The only thing they want from you is a warm body and an offering
•  You’re hindering the health, unity or growth of the church (yes, the problem might be you)
    and more.

But there are also some bad reasons to leave a church, even though they may seem like good reasons at the time:

 

Bad Reasons To Leave Your Church

1. Because It’s Small (Or Getting ‘Too Big’)

Many of us have bought into the myth that, if a church is not growing numerically, it must be broken. I call it The Grasshopper Myth, and it’s so prevalent I wrote a book about it.

If the ‘problem’ with your church is that it’s not getting bigger, I have good news for you. Small is not a problem.

Is it possible that the church’s lack of growth is a sign of deeper problems? Of course. If so, the church needs to address those reasons. But if the only issue you have with the church is its small size, that’s not a reason to leave.

On the opposite side of the church size coin are people who leave because the church is getting ‘too big’ for them. I may be a small church guy, but I don’t believe a church can get too big. Yes, some churches do unhealthy things to get big. But other churches do unhealthy things that keep them small. Either way, the problem is ill-health, not size.

The size of the church is never a valid reason to leave a good church.

2. You’re Not Being Fed

There’s only so much growth we can receive as passive church consumers.

As we grow spiritually, the amount we can take in from others – even from great sermons and programs – diminishes until we do one thing: start serving.

Expecting to grow spiritually by attending church but not participating is like expecting to get physically healthy by eating better but not getting off the couch.

In both 1 Corinthians 3 and Hebrews 5 we read about immature believers who wanted more “milk”, even though they should have been ready for “solid food” (some translations use the word “meat”). Often, church members will leave a church because they want meatier sermons. But, while sermons can always be better, I don’t believe we can ever get spiritual meat from sermons. Just milk.

What makes something milk is that it’s been through the cow. Someone else has eaten it, chewed it, processed it and fed it to you. Meat is something we have to chew on. It requires our work and participation.

If you’re a mature believer who isn’t being fed, don’t look for another church. Pick up a spoon and feed yourself. Then start serving and feeding others.

The church is not a marketplace where we pick the spiritual products we like. The church is a community that worships Jesus together. A family that cares for each other. And a team that goes out to bless others in Jesus’ name.

People don’t become giants of the faith by hearing better sermons. They do so by drawing closer to Jesus and living better lives as a result.

3. You Haven’t Found the Right Place to Serve

One of the good reasons to leave your church (see above) was if the only thing they want from you is a warm body and an offering.

But before you do that, be sure that’s really what’s going on. If the church leadership wants you to be involved, but hasn‘t found the right fit yet, keep trying.

I’ve known people to stay at our church for years before we finally found the right fit at just the right time. They were always glad they waited.

4. Someone Hurt Your Feelings

If you leave your current church over hurt feelings, you’ll leave your next church for the same reason. People are people. Feelings get hurt. Sometimes we’re too sensitive, sometimes the hurts are real. Either way, the solution isn’t leaving, it’s reconciliation. Or growing thicker skin.

Leaving a good church because one or two people offended you, only to go to another church where one or two people will offend you is not a solution.

5. The Church Is Changing

Every church needs to change. Not core theology. But methods, demographics, leadership styles and more.

Buildings need to be upgraded, new songs should be introduced, clothing styles fluctuate, demographics shift. And more.

Some people hit the brakes on every change, good or bad. If you have that tendency, you need to resist the temptation to assume that a change is bad just because it’s uncomfortable for you.

If the leadership of your church is changing things before you think they should, they’re probably being proactive instead of reactive. That’s good leadership.

Society is changing around us. Fast. If your church leaders are trying new ways to meet the needs of a shifting society, don’t fight them. Help out.

6. You’re Hindering the Health, Unity or Growth of the Church

I know this was listed above as a good reason to leave the church. But not always.

Before you change churches, ask yourself if what really needs changing is you.

You may discover that the change you feared in the church is the change you need in yourself. I know. It’s happened to me more than once.

After all, the Gospel is about change. From darkness to light, from death to life, from sin to salvation. And sometimes, from stubborn to teachable.

This may not be your time to change churches. It may be your time to let Jesus use your church to change you.

7. You’re Giving Up On Church Entirely

If you’re planning to leave your current church to stop attending church altogether, please reconsider this very dangerous step.

Very few decisions are more likely to cause long-term spiritual damage than leaving the church. Even for a little while. Because a little while almost always becomes a very long time.

Even deciding to ‘see what’s out there’ in other churches can be a dangerous practice. Church-shopping can become church-hopping, which easily leads to church-stopping.

Christianity was never meant to be lived in isolation.

We need you. You need us.

We need each other.


Risk, Refugees and our Compassion Responsibility

 

This has surely been an eventful week! Social media has been ablaze with discussion on whether Syrian refugees should relocate to the United States. Here is my take on it. Feel free to disagree. Let’s just keep it civil.

  1. Risk.

One of the most common responses many share is the element of risk. I get it. It is risky. All the vetting in the world will not guarantee that unsavory elements bent on destruction will be kept at bay.

Yet…before we refuse help to those that need it most, please consider this. The gospel is risky. So is following Jesus.

It was risky for missionaries to go to foreign lands where they were eaten, beaten and killed. They put their families at risk, many of them going to preach with a one way ticket.

It was risky for the disciples to share Jesus’ message across the world. Most died as a result.

It was risky for people in Nazi Germany to hide in their homes Jewish people. They put their families at risk of death.

There are many words to describe discipleship. Safe is not one of them.

  1. Responsibility.

Just because there is a possibility of harm, does not preclude me from the responsibility of loving and caring for the least of these. Pictures of that baby washing ashore eats at me every day. I have kids and grandkids. What if that was my situation? What would I do? It is my belief, and you may well disagree, that the choice is not between helping the least of these or keeping my family safe. It is between saving the least of these or following a biblical command. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am.

  1. Refugees.

We usually reject what we don’t know. Let’s do away for a moment with political rhetoric and posturing, tracking lists or rabid dogs analogies. These are people. Kids like yours. Women like your mom. Men like your brother. The bigger question I seldom hear asked is this: What causes people in that region to think blowing themselves up is a better choice than their lives? (thanks Yamil for that question) What is going on that they would think that putting your child on an overcrowded boat is a better idea than staying where you are? What a wonderful time to follow the many commands of Jesus regarding the least of these. Many years from now as people look back what will they say about the church? A post-Christian wrote me this week:

“You Christians are amazing. Although this is an unscientific poll, but a quick browse through my FB pages I see that many of the so called Christians, are the one refusing to accept the refugees, and the so called godless heathens are the ones calling for compassion and charity to them.”

Somehow, we need to find a way to do better. I believe we can.
 
Roger Hernandez