TFC Epistle for Jan 4, 2013

Dear TFC Body,

Happy New Year! 

New Years seems to be one time our culture actually invites a minimum of personal reflection that might translate into new disciplines to make yourself new. Don’t be deceived. Christ makes all things new. Our only hope in life and death is that we belong, body and soul, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ. And God wants to work Christ’s new life into yours this year as much as the past. Keep that in the forefront of your thinking, planning, and doing into this new year. And prayerfully consider how the following might be a part of what God might want to work in you this year. 

• ADULT MINISTRIES: All ministry programs begin again in the upcoming week. If you aren’t a part of the adult ministries Connection Hour following the worship service on Sunday mornings, this Sunday is a fresh start. Check out the new 4 week series Noah’s Ark: Myth or Reality? by TFC’s very own ark expert, Bill Crouse. (11:00 am, Room A3) 

• CONSIDERING TFC MEMBERSHIP?  Our “Step To Discover Real Life Together” six-week class explores what TFC is about and how you can join in. Join elder John Dupree and myself beginning Jan. 13 at 11:00 am. 

• WEDNESDAY NIGHT MINISTRIES AND MEAL:  All Wednesday programs resume on Jan. 9th. There is something for everyone: choir, men’s and women’s Bible Studies, youth Connection Groups, and children’s programs. And don’t forget the best dinner deal in town beginning at 5:30 pm in the fellowship hall. This year the Kitchen Ladies are inviting advance reservations to aid in their planning. Dinner is only $3 if your reservation is made in advance this Sunday or by emailing the Church Office by Sunday,, or $4 at the kitchen counter.  

And don’t forget about the church’s core purposes and vision themes guiding us into the new year. We aim to be a worshipping church with multi-generational reach.  We hope to be a fellowshipping community, strengthening our vertical fellowship with God through Christ in horizontal fellowship. This connects our hearts and affections with our growing knowledge about God. We desire to see the Spirit transform us individually and collectively while embracing the risks God invites us to share for such work. And we desire to grow more open and engaged to our community and world, using our witness to share the real life of Jesus Christ together.

One new challenge or project which ties together all of these components is the weekly catechism.

If you missed or overlooked last week’s epistle, I presented a brief explanation and history of catechism and introduced a plan to work through the new “New City Catechism” made available by Redeemer City to City (church planting network founded by Dr. Tim Keller and Redeemer Presbyterian church in NYC). Click here to read last week’s epistle.

Click here to go directly to the New City Catechism online resources.

Take time this week to review the first question (below), discuss it with your family, connection group, or  close friends, mediate on the supporting scriptures, and even take a stab at memorizing it.

PART 1: God, creation and fall, law.

Question 1:  What is our only hope in life and death?
Answer: That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.

Key Verse: Romans 14:7–8
For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

“Lord, here am I; do with me what thou pleasest, write upon me as thou pleasest: I give up myself to be at thy dispose…. The ambitious man giveth himself up to his honours, but I give up myself unto thee;…man gives himself up to his pleasures, but I give up myself to thee;…man gives himself up…to his idols, but I give myself to thee…. Lord! lay what burden thou wilt upon me, only let thy everlasting arms be under me…. I am lain down in thy will, I have learned to say amen to thy amen; thou hast a greater interest in me than I have in myself, and therefore I give up myself unto thee, and am willing to be at thy dispose, and am ready to receive what impression thou shalt stamp upon me. O blessed Lord! hast thou not again and again said unto me…‘I am thine, O soul! to save thee; my mercy is thine to pardon thee; my blood is thine to cleanse thee; my merits are thine to justify thee; my righteousness is thine to clothe thee; my Spirit is thine to lead thee; my grace is thine to enrich thee; and my glory is thine to reward thee’; and therefore…I cannot but make a resignation of myself unto thee. Lord! here I am, do with me as seemeth good in thine own eyes. I know the best way…is to resign up myself to thy will, and to say amen to thy amen.”

Keith Hileman

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