Part Four: Learning How to Think


Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations.

Romans 1:4–5

This is the fourth part of a four-part series, the first three parts have shown us:

  1. The Bible tells us that without God intervening in our lives, in our falleness, we cannot understand God or the world He has created (Romans 3).

  2. God speaks through His word to bring understanding to those who believe in Him (1 Corinthians 2:14 and 2 Corinthians 4:6).

  3. Because scripture is God-breathed, it is the authority, not my own understanding (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Now we see that…

God is not just concerned with what we think or believe, real saving faith results in obedience
(Romans 1:4-5)

Romans is one of the longest and most complex books of the Bible. There is so much weight to everything that is said within. There is beautiful gospel truth in every chapter, and yet many are intimidated because of the complexity.

Being intimidated by the complexity may cause us to miss one of the clearest statements of personal purpose given by Paul. In Romans 1:5 Paul gives us a personal mission statement.

You may have missed it, I have for years, but it’s there.

In our age of obsession over simple guiding statements of mission, vision, purpose we should be thrilled to see that one of the most influential early followers of Christ has left us such a clear statement.

But what is it?

“to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations”

There it is, plain and simple. Paul is specifically defining his role as an apostle here, and in so doing gives us a glimpse of his biggest priorities. What are they?

  1. Faith

  2. Obedience

  3. Worship

  4. All peoples

Notice Paul is not merely concerned with belief. Isn’t that what the church in our age has emphasized most? Isn’t the goal of the church to get people to “just believe”? But Paul doesn’t speak of just belief here. He actually seems to believe that saving “faith” (a stronger word than belief) results in obedience.

What he is referring here is to an obedience that comes from faith.

Not faith that results from obedience.

The order here is essential. If obedience precedes faith, salvation is not by grace. But since obedience flows out of faith, we know that we are saved by Christ and Christ alone.

In addition, obedience has another purpose for Paul too, “his name.” Whose name? God’s name. Paul seems most concerned with the name of God being praised among all nations. In fact, that would be the biggest goal of his ministry, the name of God being praised. The work to bring people into the saving faith that leads to obedience is all for the sake of his name.

Evangelism is worship.

We tell others who Jesus is because we so esteem his name that we want others to know it and praise it also. That was what Paul saw and understood. He understood that people created in the image of this God would never be fully whole without a knowledge of his name and his work. So he labored to tell them. He labored so that they would respond to the message in faith. He labored so that their faith would result in obedience. He labored so that in their obedience they would lift a sweet aroma of praise to their creator.

This is what the life of a Christian looks like. Faith > Obedience > Worship > Mission

This is where I learn how to live.

God’s word has transformed my thinking. I couldn’t understand Him without Him. He gave His word so that He could give a miracle every time I read it. Those words have become my authority. And now those words are giving me purpose.

Faith > Obedience > Worship > Mission

This is what He has called me to. This is what He has called us to.

Now the question is who?

For Paul, his sights were set on bringing this message to every-one, all nations.

What if you just started with one? One person, one coworker, one family member, one family, one household.

Start somewhere. Start your mission for the sake of His name.




Part Three: Learning How to Think


2 Timothy 3:16–17

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

How much do I trust God’s word when it says hard things?

If you’ve traced the other parts of this article so far, you’ve seen that:

1. The Bible tells us that without God intervening in our lives, in our fallenness, we cannot understand God or the world He has created (Romans 3).


2. God speaks through His word to bring understanding to those who believe in Him (1 Corinthians 2:14 and 2 Corinthians 4:6).

So then how do we treat those words of God when they make us uncomfortable?

My fear is that some of us who know Christ might still value our own thinking over His speaking.

We are a society that constantly compares. Whether it be through the highlight reel of social media, comparing ourselves to people  we may not even know, or comparing ourselves to others that we see on a daily basis.

So it seems to make sense that we compare everything, including the Word of God, against our own understanding.

But is that right?

We interpret scripture out of what we think makes most sense for God to say. I recently experienced this issue when reading through a book on the apostle Paul.

The author complained about other commentators on scripture in saying, “in the cosmic talk show, Jesus and the apostles are respectfully interviewing them, not the other way around.”

Now perhaps you don’t see a problem with the view she is advocating. You may ask, “Why can’t we think critically about the words of Scripture?”

To be clear, I do believe we should think critically. We should question and evaluate the text to ensure consistency across the various authors and derive information about God and our life with Him.

My concern is that becoming too critical toward the words of God may change the seat of authority.

Think about it like this... you are the host of your own TV show. You regularly bring in guests to interview. One day you extend the interview to Jesus Himself to come on your show. You ask Him the questions, you drive the content of the conversation by asking certain questions but not others, you determine the length of the conversation, you may even hold the microphone and only pass it to Him when you allow Him to speak. In this way, you maintain control of the conversation. You sit in the interviewer seat. You have the authority.

I hope we can all agree that would be a disrespectful approach to the eternal Son of God. But isn’t that how we approach His written words to us?

When we are confused by His words, don’t we just change the subject and move to something simpler? Or shut the book altogether and go on with our lives?

If these are the very words of God, why not lean in instead of leaning away?

When we are uncomfortable with His words, don’t we try to conform them into what we think He must mean?

Maybe you don’t see this in yourself but think about the church culture as a whole. What happens if someone doesn’t like what scripture says about marriage, sexuality, sin, hell, or God’s wrath?

It seems in the culture of our day we can explain just about anything away. Some would say that certain truths of scripture were only true for a certain period in history or for a certain culture.

But who gets to decide that? Who is in the interviewer seat? Who is in the position of authority.

We should want God’s word to interview us. We should want God to have the authority to show us where we are wrong in our thinking, immature in our actions, selfish in our motives.

And we should believe that the Spirit of God works miraculously through the word of God to bring understanding to the people of God. We should desire the profit of being complete as written in 2 Timothy 3:16.

God teach me. Reprove me. Correct me. Train me. Equip me.

Complete me.

We at Fellowship BIBLE Church should be known as a community that puts a uniquely strong emphasis on God’s revelation of Himself in Holy Scripture.

I urge you today, how are you building your life on His word?

Come back next week for our last part in this series titled “Learning How to Live”



Part Two: Learning How to Think


None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. Romans 3:10-11

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14

Last week we saw how none of us could understand the beauty of God and His ways without Him making us new.

Here is something else I’ve been thinking about in reflection on these verses:

If I didn’t even know how to think before God made me new, why do I do so much thinking without Him?

Why do I try to solve problems on my own first? Why do I seek other resources to help my understanding before I seek Him in prayer or in His word?

Before you met Jesus, you could not understand Him and His ways. Now that you have met Him a miracle has happened. Maybe you know about the miracle of salvation. But what about the miracle of transformation? Do you know your mind has been transformed? What about the miracle of illumination?

His word says we are blinded from seeing the light of the gospel until God shines “in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). That’s the miracle of illumination.

At first, it happens when your mind is transformed and your eyes illumined; when you understand and respond to the message of Jesus. But now this miracle of illumination can happen daily…

If we let it.

Every time a believer picks up His book, God works a new miracle of illumination by shining a light of understanding on the page. This is a beautiful promise from scripture, and it's a promise for everyone who has responded to the call of the gospel and given their life to Christ. It's a promise that the Spirit will miraculously illumine the scriptures for you. A promise that God miraculously speaks today through the same words He miraculously spoke through thousands of years ago.


Every time you leave the book on the shelf you leave a miracle on the table.

So here we are just days after gathering together to celebrate the empty tomb. This is a time for us to reflect on Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and the empty tomb we left behind in final proof of His victory over sin, death, and our greatest enemy.

As you reflect, will you embrace the miracle?

Will you gaze again at the beauty of the Son of God who did not leave us alone in our suffering but descended to become like us in human flesh so that He could raise us to new life with Him?

And will you gaze into the beauty of the miracle of the transformed life? The beauty that in Him you are no longer a slave to sin? The beauty that in Him you are made wonderfully new?

And as you’re gazing on this beauty, will you take the time to pick up the miraculous book we all have?

Or will you keep solving your problems with your own understanding?

I think one of the reasons I try to solve my problems on my own, without His miraculous words, is because sometimes His word is hard to swallow. And I don’t just mean a little hard. It's excruciating.

And shouldn’t this make sense? If God is conforming me into the image of His son, shouldn’t I expect that ongoing process to be a little uncomfortable?

Come back next week and I’ll share more about what happens when we don’t like what God’s word says...



Part One: Learning How to Think

by: Tim Chaney, Lead Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church

None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. Romans 3:10-11

I preached that verse recently and was stunned. Stunned. Isn’t it stunning God would describe us that way? Four times?? Psalm 14 and 53, Ecclesiastes 7, and Romans 3 all say the same thing.

No one gets it. Not you, not me. No one. Not without Him.

That’s why this verse is beautiful. But how is it beautiful? Keep reading to find out...

You cannot get it without Him. You can get it with Him. He doesn’t expect you to get everything. But He gives you what you need to get it. And by “get it” I mean understand. We cannot understand the world without Him. We cannot understand our lives without Him. We cannot understand Him without Him.

We can try. Most of us have. We attempt to control our situation through our own understanding. We limit our lives to things we can understand because it makes life easier. I don’t understand how rockets work, so I’m not a rocket scientist. I don’t speak German (like my daughter, Eden), so I don’t make a fool of myself by speaking German to native speakers. I don’t do makeup either, so when Eden asks questions I point her to my wife, Jess. You see what I mean? I don’t put myself in the realm of things I don’t understand.

What happens when we don’t understand God? Do we limit ourselves to the realm of our understanding? Do we refuse to believe in a God we can’t understand? What if I told you many of us, even those of us who are Christians, do this very thing?

Sometimes we don’t believe in God at all because what we know of God does not seem consistent with what we think God should be like. Why so much suffering? Why so much evil? It’s difficult to understand how these things could be so prevalent if God is real, so therefore he must not be.

Some of us believe in God but limit our belief to the way we think God should be. The God we believe in should conform to our definitions of love and justice. So when we read His words we assume they can’t disagree with our definitions and we try to find a way to reconcile the two, often putting our assumptions over God’s word.

Other times we believe in God but limit engagement with Him to the things we readily understand. I understand that I should believe in Jesus because He died for me, isn’t that all I need? Why should I try to understand the hard stuff?

Do you see what happens when we limit our engagement to things we can understand?

“No one understands.” But now we do.

When the Holy Spirit enters a believer, new understanding comes. The gospel makes sense and God’s words come alive. This doesn’t mean you now know everything or even that you understand God’s ways completely. Many of us aren’t living in the miracle of a transformed mind in the way we long to. If you’re not experiencing the miracle of transformed understanding in the way you expect, don’t give up now. Commit yourself to Him in prayer. Ask Him to “transform you by the renewing of your mind” (Rom 12:2). Remember transformation is His work not yours.

Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll reflect more on what this miracle means.


Plead the Blood


Plead the Blood

     For those of you who so kindly requested a recording of Plead the Blood, here is a demo. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to and sing this song. I pray that you would live today in the reality that Jesus' blood cleanses sin, and grants you unrestricted access to God the Father. May this song be a reminder to you of the free gift of life that you can have through faith in Jesus. He bled once, so that we might truely live.

-Jason Hundley 

Click below to download the mp3. 

Plead the Blood



A Story of Calling

I love talking to young people about calling. I love when people ask, “how did you know God was calling you into pastoral ministry?” The truth is it was hard to miss. If I were to write about all of the circumstances and people God used to confirm His work in me, we would be here all day. Since I do not think anyone wants to read the whole story, I will not start from the beginning. Instead, I want to emphasize a few key events centering around significant individuals that played a role in shaping my life’s calling. In the end, maybe you will understand why I am reflecting on these events and individuals now. 

In high school I played basketball with some guys from church. We played on a rec league and for all four years of high school I played with the same core group. I had no idea how meaningful the relationships forged on that team would become in my life and future.

In college I stayed in town to study youth ministry at Union University and interned for my youth pastor, Keath. John, one of the other guys from the team, stuck around also. John played baseball for another school in town and chose to serve in the youth ministry as well. Six months into that internship the unthinkable happened. A high school freshman from our youth ministry died suddenly. Her name was Sarah Beth. She was John’s little sister. This is when my calling started to become crystal clear. 

Some of you may be wondering why I was already studying ministry if God’s calling was not crystal clear. Here is how I see it now. I knew in high school that I was called to study God’s word. I knew I was called to make disciples. I knew I was called to deep engagement in the local church because I have always loved the Church. We are all called to each of those things. We are called to know God in His word. We are all called to make disciples. We are all called to the local church. However, some are called to serve as shepherds of God’s people and Sarah Beth’s death confirmed that in me.

In that traumatic season I saw two shepherds, Jim and Keath, shepherd a family, a church, and a group of students well. I knew that was what God was doing in me. He was calling me to be present with people in their suffering. I learned that in a car ride from Murfreesboro to Jackson.

Just a few days after Sarah Beth’s death, a group of us went to Murfreesboro to watch some of SB’s friends play basketball in the state tournament. On the way home, John and I were quarantined to our own car because there was some fear that we had been exposed to the disease that caused SB’s death. For two and a half hours it was just John and I. I was present with a brother in Christ who was suffering. I have no idea what we talked about. He probably does not even remember the car ride, but I know God called me to that car on that day. It was significant because He didn’t just call me to that moment but He called me to be available to do it again and again and again. He was preparing me to walk with people through the hardest of seasons.

A few years later I moved away to work on a seminary degree, leaving behind my fiancé, Jess, to finish her undergraduate work. God again taught me more about my calling through tragedy, and he again used the same family.

On February 5, 2008, an EF-4 tornado destroyed two residential complexes at Union in Jackson. Jess was still a student and on campus that night. After the storm destroyed her home, she ended up at the home of Andy and Melissa Hall, John’s aunt and uncle. The Church of Jackson showed up in force on campus that night to rescue students out of the rain and give them warm beds, hot meals, and dry clothes. When I finally saw Jess the next day, she was wearing a t-shirt and shorts that belonged to John’s cousin William because she had nothing but bloody clothes from the night before. Looking back now I learned a lot about the function of the Church in the midst of tragedy from this storm. I felt God clarifying in me again what my ministry was to look like, and it looked a lot like Andy and Melissa.

Later in that same year Jess and I were married and began to navigate local church life as a couple. We joined our first small group together and God taught me another lesson about ministry within His Church. Guess what family was involved. 

That small group included Bill and Nancy Jane, John’s grandparents, Andy’s parents. In that group, our young marriage was encouraged and challenged by multiple generations. Bill and Nancy Jane had 50 years more marriage experience than we did. I still remember listening to Bill share his testimony in that group. In the group, we had a couple in their 80s, Bill and Nancy Jane in their 70s, multiple couples in their 40s and 50s and two young singles. Just this week I was sharing my passion for local churches to be intentionally multigenerational and almost forgot where that passion came from. That passion came from this group. Through that small group, God called me to serve a particular kind of local church, a multigenerational church. 

The truth is, I could say more about my relationship with this particular family and how God used them in my life to refine my calling. I could share about all the conversations John and I have had over the years in which God has taught me through his friendship. I could share about the integral part John’s wife, Becky, played in accidentally setting me up with Jess. I could tell how we returned the favor by setting her up with John from out of state. I could share about John’s parents, J and Tresa, and the ways they have treated me like family for so long. I could share how God used John’s cousin, Leah Claire, to spark Jess’ passion for ministering to young girls. I could even share how Andy, Melissa, Leah Claire, and William all accidentally showed up at the interview for my first full time ministry job at Fellowship Bible Church and gave me an impromptu endorsement for the job.

I am reflecting on my calling and the role this family has played because last week my friend and John’s grandfather, Bill Hall, went home to be with His savior. As Bill’s death has caused me to reflect on the role his family has played in mine, I am reminded of how grateful I am that God caused my path to intertwine with this family. I am grateful I saw God at work in three generations who loved Him and sought Him. And I am excited to see what He will do in the next generation.

Now my question to you is this: who might God be calling you to love and serve? Who can you love in the midst of tragedy? Who can you serve in your workplace? Does someone need a faithful friend? Does someone need to know the life-giving message of the gospel? Reflecting on this family and the role God used them to play in my calling, I wonder whose calling you may be impacting by answering these questions.

- Tim Chaney





Imagine being utterly and completely convinced of the existence of God, His holiness, and His justice while at the same time being utterly convinced of humanity’s sinfulness and inability to please God. At the same time you are also convinced of your own personal sin and God’s righteous judgment against it. Now, if you are in that position it would seem you are ripe and ready to receive the good news of the gospel.

Yet, imagine that you are also terrified of the judgment of God because the theology you have been taught has not given you a path to confidence or assurance in your own salvation. Imagine being in a state where you know that you know that you need salvation, and yet not having the ability to know whether or not you have received salvation. That is what Martin Luther was dealing with before an experience meditating on Romans 1 changed him and the history of the Christian church and Western world.

October 31st marked the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther, a German monk, nailing 95 statements of disagreement with official church teaching to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany. This event is widely considered to be the starting point of the Protestant Reformation, a movement that shook Europe for generations.

If you do not know much about the Reformation, your understanding may go like this: This was a controversy amongst the intellectual elites for power and control over the Church’s doctrine. Maybe you’ve heard that politicians soon got involved and it was no longer just a religious movement but a political one as well. Those things are true. But for Martin Luther, the linchpin of the Reformation was deeply personal and spiritual. It’s as simple as this, one minute he had no assurance of salvation, and the next minute he did. One minute all of his doctrine and study of the Scriptures had done nothing to assure him that Christ’s sacrifice had paid for his sins, and the next minute he was thoroughly convinced that he had received that it by faith. 

How did he come to this point? By studying Romans chapter 1.

 [16] For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. [17] For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Have you ever stopped to reflect on verse 17? In the gospel God’s righteousness is revealed from faith for faith. The righteous shall live by faith. In Luther’s day this passage was understood to refer to faith that is achieved. Meaning, in order to be right with God you had to live righteously in order to achieve a life of faith. Faith was proved by righteous living. So the quotation from Habakkuk that says “the righteous shall live by faith” means “if you want to live, you better live righteously.” But Luther was stunned and awed by the righteousness of God, although at first he did not see it in a positive light. He saw the righteousness of God as being unattainable for an unrighteous human. So then the gospel that had so much power in verse 16 actually went like this:

  • God is perfectly righteous and must punish the unrighteous.
  • Man must be righteous in order to live.
  • The way to receive righteousness is by exercising enough faith and righteous living in your day to day life.
  • Then, if you live righteously enough, you can be justified which Luther understood to mean “made righteous.”
  • Righteousness is the quality of being morally right or just.

But Luther came to disagree with this interpretation while meditating in his tower. The message that Luther discovered in what he would later call his “tower experience” has become the majority position of the Protesting or Protestant church since his day. And lest there be any confusion, we are Protestant. Some might say that because we are not a member of a Protestant denomination, we are not. Some may even argue that the label of Protestant is no longer even necessary because after all the reformation is over so get over your labels and seek unity. But I want you to see that as long as challenges remain to the core Biblical issues the reformers protested against, the word Protestant remains a helpful label in order to communicate where we, as a local body of Christ stand, on certain issues. We will describe those issues soon, but first let’s look at the linchpin issue of the gospel in Romans 1:16-17. What is the real message of Romans 1:16-17?

  • The gospel, or good news, displays God’s power to save everyone who believes.
  • This good news is available to everyone regardless of ethnicity, sex, or background.
  • God’s righteousness is attained by the gift of God.
  • This righteousness is received by faith.

Luther’s own words: “The righteousness of God is that by which the righteous person lives by a gift of God, that is by faith.”

So can man display God’s righteousness? Yes. Previous to this experience Luther would have said no, because of what he had seen in his own heart. He understood that living in righteousness was essential to right standing before God; in his mind it was unattainable.

But the difference is between achieved righteousness and received righteousness.

So here is the issue on which the Reformation started: justification by faith alone. But this wasn’t the only message of the Reformation. There were five core rallying cries or statements of the Reformation, all in Latin. It is important to realize that this was a movement of the people, some illiterate or uneducated, so these five statements were used to cut to the core issues. These rallying cries were called the “Solas” (sola being the Latin word for ‘alone’ or ‘only’) because each statement states the primacy of a key issue. I will list each of the “Solas” of the Reformation below with a definition of the key term, a description of what the statement says ‘yes’ to, and a statement of what the statement says ‘no’ to. There are many passages that can be stated for each. Rather than citing an exhaustive list, I have quoted one verse to give weight to each point.

1. Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone

  • Scripture – God’s written word, the Bible
  • YES – Scripture alone is our highest authority. Not Scripture is our only source of knowledge or authority.
  • NO – Church tradition or any tradition of man being on equal standing with God’s word. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 [16] All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

2. Sola Gratia – Grace alone

  • Grace – God’s unmerited favor, a gift.
  • YES – Salvation comes only as a gift.
  • NO – The need to either earn or deserve salvation.

Ephesians 2:8-10 [8] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, [9] not a result of works, so that no one may boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

3. Sola Fide – Faith alone

  • Faith – Trusting God and His promises.
  • YES – God’s gift of salvation is only received by faith.
  • NO – Good works being necessary in achieving salvation.

Romans 3:28 [28] For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

4. Solus Christus – Christ alone

  • Christ – Jesus the Messiah who is God’s Son and God Himself
  • YES – We receive Christ’s righteousness and that is the only way to be right before God. Christ is the only possible redeeming sacrifice and mediator.
  • NO – Other mediators such as saints or Mary or the need for further sacrifice or penance.

1 Timothy 2:5-6 [5] For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, [6] who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

5. Soli Deo Gloria – Glory to God alone

  • Glory – Praise and adoration for one’s significance and beauty
  • YES – We were created to bring glory to God and God only.
  • NO – Bringing glory to ourselves, our institutions, our traditions, or other humans created to glorify God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 [31] So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Ok, so those are some of the main points of the Reformation but the question remains, “why should we still care?” Are the issues of the Reformation still significant today? As I said earlier, I believe the label of Protestant and the movement itself remains significant as long as the issues it addressed are under attack. So the way to answer the question regarding the significance of the Reformation is to first ask, what attacks remain against the 5 Solas?

1.     Sola Scriptura – This issue is constantly under attack as people continue to seek out other sources of authority. Some attacks are easy to see, such as those who believe science or archaeology have disproven the Bible. Others attempt to usurp the Bible’s authority with psychology. Some churches have traded in God’s directions for the church and sought after secular marketing and sales techniques to grow their churches. Other churches are stuck doing things “the way we’ve always done it,” a modern form of church traditionalism that the Reformers fought against. Still others trust their own reasoning. The individualism of our day teaches people that they are their own authority; therefore, whatever feels good or seems right to them must be right. There are certainly numerous challenges to the authority of Scripture today.

2.     Sola Gratia – The doctrine of sola gratia is under attack any time someone preaches a gospel of salvation coming by any means other than as a gift. I recently heard someone preach that the way to be right with God is to love God and love your neighbor in accordance with Jesus teaching. However, this message left out the fact that no human can perfectly do that. So therefore, in order to be right with God I have to have my sin atoned for and be regenerated or reborn. It is only after this rebirth that I can love God fully. Any effort to preach obedience without grace is an attack on sola gratia.

3.     Sola Fide – The uniqueness of faith is attacked when we put our confidence in what we see over what we cannot see. Many people object to the gospel because there is too much that they cannot see and explain. You cannot be saved by what you can see.

4.     Solus Christus – The truth that Christ is the only way of salvation is attacked by false religions in obvious ways, especially by those who say there may be multiple ways of earning favor with God. However, there are also some more subtle attacks. Any time we put ultimate confidence in a human we are creating for ourselves a false savior. Politicians can be false saviors as we hope in them to solve our problems. A friend or a family member maybe be a false savior if I trust in them for ultimate emotional support. Any time we trust in a created being for our wellbeing over Christ, we have created a false savior.

5.     Soli Deo Gloria – God created us to glorify. We are always looking to bring glory to something. For that reason many of us seek to bring glory to ourselves. In fact, I would say that every human heart wants to glorify itself. You can see it in a child when they walk for the first time, they long to be honored and celebrated. When they do something impressive and you do not notice, they are quick to tell you! Any time we seek to bring glory to something or someone other than God, we need to be reminded of our purpose in “Soli Deo Gloria.”

So trust me, the message of the Reformation is still vital today. In fact, it is likely more vital than ever. The growth of technology and the speed of communication have resulted in false doctrine being even more prevalent and pervasive. We need now more than ever to stand on God’s Word and defend the truth of the gospel in a world that is against us.

We stand for our faith with the assurance that Martin Luther once did not have. We stand knowing that we are saved not because of what we have achieved but because of what we have received.


Pastor Tim


Note: this article is a written version of a sermon preached on 10/29/2017. To listen click here



An Ordinary Sunday

Are you ready for an ordinary, average, run of the mill Sunday? I am. I can’t wait.

Come this Sunday for ordinary.

Last week was Easter. Man was it good! We had more people at a worship service here than we have had since 2012. Yes. You read that right. It was our largest worship service in five years! Easter is one of those extraordinary days. It’s the Sunday when visitors, extended family and irregular members come out to see what’s going on. And I love Easter! But here’s the thing…

The Church is not all about Easter.

Wait. What?! Shouldn’t we be all about Easter? Isn’t that the most important day ever? Shouldn’t we make Easter bigger and better in a celebration of the extraordinary, miraculous, world changing resurrection of the Son of God?

Yes. But…

We celebrate the resurrection everyday. I don’t know how other churches do it, but here at Fellowship every Sunday is Resurrection Sunday! Everyday is extraordinary, even the ordinary ones.

We tend to find ourselves obsessed over the big days and big events. Maybe you are one of the millions of Americans who gathers to watch the Superbowl every year after not watching a single NFL game. Or have you ever filled out a March Madness bracket after not watching a minute of college basketball all year? Has anyone else ever stayed up until midnight watching musicians you never listen to play from Times Square on Christmas Eve? Or watched an awards show to see movies you haven’t seen win awards? Maybe its just me, but I don’t really think it is.

Big events attract me. Sometimes I get bored with the ordinary too.

When did the movement begun at the resurrection of the Son of God become ordinary? Maybe its because so many of us have grown up in the church, been Christians for years, and just gotten used to the whole story. But literally EVERY ASPECT of what we believe is EXTRAordinary.

So how could a worship service become ordinary? Because we do it every week. When you gather 52 Sundays a year to celebrate the same message, worship the same God, learn from the same book, and interact with the same people it becomes ordinary. That is a good thing.

It is a good thing for the worship of the extraordinary King to become a regular, usual or ordinary part of your life. However, we must make sure we are using the right definition or ordinary. If your worship and obedience to the King is “of no special quality or interest, unexceptional and mediocre,” that’s not a good thing. Nothing done in the name of Jesus is that kind of ordinary. However, if worship and obedience becomes a “usual, customary, or normal” part of your life, that’s a really good thing. That is why I want us to be an extraordinarily ordinary church.

A group of ordinary people, worshipping an extraordinary God, bringing the extraordinary message into ordinary daily life. 

So this Sunday we will worship by praying, singing, and hearing God’s word. We will do the same ordinary things we always do, but…

The result of an ordinary worship service is always extraordinary. God always shows up. He always moves in His people. God is not more excited to meet with His people on Easter Sunday, He always wants to meet with His people. We are the ones that get more excited at Christmas and Easter. God always shows up.

In Jesus, ordinary people get swept up into an extraordinary, world-changing movement. We can live in the extraordinary even on the ordinary days.

So I’ll come back to worship this ordinary Sunday and bring the same excitement, gratitude, and expectancy I brought last Sunday.

And one more thing, God will be with us this Sunday. So you know what? I was wrong. There won't be anything ordinary about it.

Everyday is extraordinary.


- Tim Chaney



God's Presence, and why I became a weepy mess in front of my Church

     If you happened to be at Fellowship this Sunday, you might be aware of the fact that I kind of lost it on stage... In a good way. Frankly, what happened was an answer to a prayer that I have prayed over my own life for a number of years. I have long wanted to be undone before the Lord, and He just so happened to grant me that request Sunday morning in front of 250 of my closest friends. Throughout the morning, my heart was a strange cocktail of longing for Him, joyful abandon, and brokenness. The tears started coming when I hit brokenness. 

     Holy Spirit is a beautiful song, and I have sung it hundreds of times, but never with tears in my eyes. However, when we sang the line in the chorus, "Your glory God is what our hearts long for, to be overcome by your presence Lord." I realized something foundational.

We have a weak understanding of presence. 

     To begin to understand why I would say that, we first need to agree on something. It is healthy for us to be dissatisfied in our relationship with God. If He is infinite, then we can be infinitely learning who He is, and uncovering more beauty, grace, love, justice, etc. in His character. And most importantly, we must agree that He has not called us to be in a long distance relationship with Him. He is always wanting us to draw near to Him. 

James 4:7-8 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."

     Take just a second and paint a picture in your mind of what this looks like. Where are you? Where is the Devil, and where is God? Here is how it plays out in my mind. 

Psalm 16:8  "I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken." 

     So God is on my right side, and..

1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober minded; be watchful, Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 

     My enemy is circling me, and with every pass, he steps between me and God who is at my right hand. Now things are getting interesting, and I hope that you can feel the tension. However, we still need to ask some good questions about these passages to paint a clearer picture. 

  1. Why is the devil prowling like a lion? 
    1. He does not need to convert us to demonism in order for us to be effective for his kingdom and therefore ineffective for the Kingdom of God. He just has to scare us enough to stand still. 
    2. Our eyes are naturally attracted to movement [which is why we have moving backgrounds behind the lyrics on the screen on Sunday], and he knows that distraction is just as effective as fear.  
    3. God is often referred to as a Lion. It is important to know that our enemy can look LIKE a lion without actually being one. James Tealy said at a conference that I went to this past week, "The most dangerous things for Christians are not the enemies of God, but those that are almost God." He then mentioned that Jesus was tempted by the devil not through intimidation, fear, or empty threats, but by scripture taken out of context. We need to know why we believe what we say we believe, or something that is close to the truth is going to rob us of a relationship with the only one who is fighting for you.
    4. If he is LIKE a lion, than he has the appearance of something powerful, but we know that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus. [Matt. 28:19] Past tense. It is over. He has the authority. Period.
  2. What am I supposed to do? 
    1. Resist him. In both James 4, and 1 Peter 5, we are called to resist the devil. In the Greek, this word simply means to stand firm, or to hold your ground. This word can also mean "to forcefully declare one's personal conviction." When was the last time you actually declared something over your own life? For me, that was right before we rehearsed Sunday morning. I declared out loud that God has called me to shepherd His people for His glory, and to put words of life and praise into their mouths. By declaring truth over myself, and our team, I actively resisted the lie that we are unqualified to bring praise to our king. 
    2. Draw near to God. The Greek for this word simply means to approach or "extreme closeness, immediate imminence - even PRESENCE." Do you want to draw near to Him? Do you want to know that He is present? 

     I do. That is why I cried. I simply realized that He has shown up. He is there every week, but there are many of us who just come to church because that is what we always do on Sunday. He is simply asking that we resist, and press against the distraction and the monotony of our schedules just enough to remember that He is there, present with us in that moment. That we would just lean into that truth a little bit, and He will do everything else.

     That is why I read Psalm 18 in the middle of the song. Here David goes on and on about the miraculous way in which God has saved him, when all he did was to call to Him! And in verse 19, David tells us WHY God would go to such great lengths.  

     He delights in us! 

     He really does fight for us when we are helpless because He likes us. He actually likes us. Why is presence important? Because God wants to be near you. God actually wants to be present with His children in the same way that I want to be around my kids. Wyatt is really funny! He told me a joke today that went like this... 

Wyatt: Knock knock!

Me: Who's there?

Wyatt: A goat in a tree

Me: A goat in a tree, who? 

Wyatt: You sound like an Owl

     ... I don't know about you, but I want to be around comedy gold like that as much as possible. And Logan just said "Da Da" for the first time on Sunday. The best thing about a 7 month old saying "Da Da" is that he will only say it if he is happy. If he is sad or tired or pretty much any other unpleasant emotion, the boy is calling for "Ma Ma." I want to be there so I can here him call for me. We have a father who wants to be around. Please don't ignore that fact. Please don't assume that He doesn't want to make Himself known to you.

     Just take a second on Sunday or this week as you are reading scripture and simply say aloud, "I'm here." Press into Him just a little bit and see what happens. I did, and I will tell you now that it was not safe. I ugly cried in front of 250 people. We were also live streaming so it is now the internet for the rest of my life, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. This is not safe, but I am telling you now, I am pressing into Him again because He is good. He is worth it. 

     Jason Hundley



Djibo, Dr. Ken Elliot and Forgetful Prayer


This week I learned that a Fulani pastor whom we support has made the decision to move his family out of Djibo, a town in northern Burkina Faso. This was hard for me to hear. Let me tell you why.


Djibo is a small town in northern Burkina Faso where the dominate people group are the Fulani. The Fulanis are a nomadic tribe that spans multiple countries in West Africa. For most Fulani, to be Fulani is to be Muslim. The Fulanis were one of the first groups in Africa to convert to Islam, and their nomadic ways have allowed the religion to spread to new areas over many generations. Today more than 99% of the Fulani follow Islam and less than one percent have come to follow Jesus.


In 1972 an Australian doctor named Ken Elliott moved to Burkina Faso along with his wife Jocelyn. The couple set up a medical clinic and surgical hospital in Djibo and served faithfully for over 40 years. This is the only clinic of its kind in a region of about 2 million people.


On January 15, 2016 Ken and Jocelyn Elliott were kidnapped. A group known as the AQIM, a local division of Al-Qaeda, took credit for their capture. Jocelyn was released in February but Ken’s whereabouts remain unknown.


Ken has remained on our prayer list now for over a year. Occasionally we pray for him in our services on Sundays or Wednesday evenings. Maybe some of our members still pray for him. But my fear is most of us have forgotten. Sometimes I forget.


Don’t get me wrong, if at any point you over the year you came to me and asked if I remembered, I would have certainly remembered. But if you hadn’t asked me? I wouldn’t have prayed. I wouldn’t have even thought about Ken or Djibo or even the Fulani believers I met personally in 2014. You see I bring this up because it shows the shortness of our prayer memories. Sometimes in one season we pray intensely for a person, or a ministry, or a region. And then we forget.


I’m glad I now remember. I remember because the pastor whom our church has sponsored for years is moving out of Djibo in fear. He is fearful for the safety of his family.


So let’s think about this for a second. Who continues to preach the life-saving message of the gospel in Djibo? Ken Elliott? Jocelyn Elliott? My friend? None of those witnesses remain in this city.


So will you pray? Will you pray for the gospel of Jesus to be proclaimed in Djibo? Will you pray and earnestly ask God to bring people to Himself in this area? Will you pray for Ken? Don’t just pray for His release, pray for his ministry. Pray Philippians 1:13, that Ken’s captors would know the truth.


Will you pray for the ministry to Fulani believers in Burkina Faso? Will you pray specifically for this family being uprooted out of their home because it is no longer safe for them?


What else has touched your heart and one time and then been forgotten? What other forgotten prayer requests need to be remembered? 


- Tim Chaney



Within Us

     I have done something that I have always said that I would not do, I have gone back to school.

Kind of. 

     I am a firm believer that we should always be learning and sharpening our skills, particularly the ones that we can use to advance the Kingdom, so I have hopped into a series of online courses on worship, songwriting, worship tech, etc. It has been wonderful and exciting to refresh a lot of what I already know, as well as to be challenged with new ideas and opinions. One new idea that I had never considered before was this: "The whole book of Acts is basically the human race trying to figure out what to do with God within us." -Melissa Helser

     I like that a lot. We so often forget, or deemphasize the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and that one phrase challenged me. It is simple, yet complex, and everything within my doctrine tells me it is true, but it seems to wonderful to be reality. The truth is that we know God lives in us through the Holy Spirit, but sometimes it is easier to pretend otherwise. That is why I wrote the song "Within Us." 

     At first glance, it is more about the cross than it is about the Holy Spirit, but He is there. Without the cross, we have no access to God (Heb. 9:22). However, because Jesus defeated sin, death, and the grave, we can now have access. The Holy Spirit is more than that though. He is in us. He doesn't just load up his spiritual shopping cart with our praise and prayer and transport it to the Father, he does life with us. And when we listen to Him, he directs our attention to the Father, and causes us to praise. That is why I wrote these words:

"We give you glory, for you are worthy of all of the honor and our praise! To you, and you only, be power and glory! Your presence is with us in this place."

Presence. How beautiful is His presence? We praise Him. We affirm that He is glorious and powerful and HERE. I hope that God uses these songs to enrich your life and to direct your heart to Him. 

Feel free to listen and download any of these songs to keep with you on your phone or whatever. I also recorded a newer and cleaner version of One Cry. Here is that audio as well. 


Season of Hope


Season of Hope

     Just because the calendar turns to December does not insure that our hearts and minds turn toward the miracle of “God with Us,” Emmanuel. As Tim’s sermon series has pointed out, we must remember more than His birth. We must remember what God the Father, through writings He inspired, said about the coming of His only Son. John 1 reminds us He is the light that lights every man, and the glory that existed before anything was created. Philippians 2 reminds us that he set aside his position in the heavens to restore mankind into fellowship with the Godhead.

The Christ was born to die, as the very strips of cloth he was swaddled in were a foretaste of his burial.

     The glory he set aside in order to take on human form would not be his again until his ascension, after which he appeared to His disciples. This appearance to his disciples was a taste of the promise that they too one day would be with him in a glorious existence. What we celebrate this Christmas is not just a baby in a manger but a king on the throne who will come again to restore us to the glory we were created with, before sin marred the communion He made man and woman to enjoy in the garden. While we sing songs of Christmas and enjoy the time with family and as the gathered community, the Body of Christ, let us remember what we were made for. We were made to be image bearers, and despite mankind’s Fall, we were redeemed into an even nobler identity, becoming sons and daughters because of Christ’s death and resurrection. That is one of the implications of Christmas. God became a man so that in Christ, man could enjoy the relationship God intended between the Godhead and us (John 17:21, Eph 1:7-13)

Let’s not get lost among decorations, parties, and bustling around to find the right gifts, without also reflecting on the “beyond belief” story that God has written in His Son.

     C.S. Lewis said in his essay “The Weight of Glory” the following description of what God restoring a level of fellowship between man with God, through the birth and eath of Jesus, really means, and why we should be overwhelmed with the wonder of it.

     “I read in a periodical the other day that the fundamental thing is how we think of God. By

God Himself, it is not! How God thinks of us is not only more important, but infinitely more

important. Indeed, how we think of Him is of no importance except in so far as it is related to

how He thinks of us. It is written that we shall “stand before” Him, shall appear, shall be

inspected. The promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work

of Christ, that some of us, that any of us who really chooses, shall actually survive that

examination, shall find approval, shall please God. To please be a real ingredient in the

divine be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in

his work or a father in a son—it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our

thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is.”

     Jesus’ gospel is not man-centered. As Lewis says, it’s not what we think about God that matters most. The “good news” of His message is that God loves us and delights in us. Certainly we must respond to that offer of love and salvation. But the worth, the delight He assigns to His creations, is what matters. That is why peace and joy, those traits that are so often mentioned at Christmas, can rest on those of us who believe in Him, because we can be found by God, at the time of “examination,” as Lewis calls it, when we appear before God at the judgment, and be found righteous because of Jesus’ perfect life and sacrifice. (Philippians 3:9, Titus 3:5)

So if peace and joy are to be ours, based on the actions and character of God on our behalf, how do we exemplify the peace and joy that he creates in us?

     One way to demonstrate these gifts of peace and joy is to be thankful for our salvation. It is easy when we have celebrated many Christmases to focus on the birth story. But a “longing for a Savior” existed from long ago in Israel’s history. We would do well to remember He was fulfillment of hope, even as some failed to recognize it.

     A song that doesn’t appear among traditional carols is “Deliver Us,” written by Andrew Peterson, as part of his “Behold the Lamb of God” tour. Like Tim’s sermons, its lyrics reflect the story before the Luke 2 account, namely, of Israel’s wish for a deliverer. Those Jews living closest to the time of Jesus did not experience the same type of bondage as those during Moses’ time, but they were bound in their own way, looking for a Savior. Jesus did not enter history without a context; his entry as a baby was part of the salvation story God had begun from ages past among His own people.

Our enemy, our captor is no pharaoh on the Nile

Our toil is neither mud nor brick nor sand

Our ankles bear no calluses from chains, yet Lord, we're bound

Imprisoned here, we dwell in our own land

Deliver us, deliver us

Oh Yahweh, hear our cry

And gather us beneath your wings tonight

Our sins they are more numerous than all the lambs we slay

These shackles they were made with our own hands

Our toil is our atonement and our freedom yours to give

So Yahweh, break your silence if you can

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

How often I have longed

To gather you beneath my gentle wings

     One way to be thankful this Christmas is to thank Him for providing a deliverer for Israel, and thus, for the Gentile world. And praise Him that the baby King’s arrival means that “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) Here God promised Israel in this time period, if they obeyed Him, He would cleanse them. It was a preview of the obedience of Christ, in suffering and dying for our sin, cleansing us from sin.

Merry Christmas to all of us who hope in His coming!

- Dr. Bryan McIntosh


The Existence of Light

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The Existence of Light

Hi, my name is Matthew Gunn. Our worship pastor, Jason, asked me if I would be interested in writing this installment of the church’s blog, specifically regarding the presentation I will be giving on May 21st from 4-6pm. The presentation is kind of a book talk/class about the book I wrote last year and also kind of a forum about the subject I wrote on. The book is called The Existence of Light: A Layman Attempts Theosophysics and it discusses what it actually means to hold a literal interpretation of Genesis, which is usually termed the Young Earth Creation view of life, the universe, and everything else. (Links for ebook purchase are here and here)


The presentation I will be giving will be an apology for the Young Earth worldview as well as a discussion of Atheistic cosmology and Old Earth Creation theories, the challenges they present to the Young Earth view, and how Einstein’s Theories of Relativity help account for and reconcile some of the differences between all three worldviews. So, that’s kind of overwhelming. I understand that. You probably didn’t expect to read about this kind of thing in your casual church blog update. You might have even lost all interest in going to the event or ever picking up the book, so allow to not start there and see if that will help ease your mind.


This book began as an idea I had while reading a book titled Death by Living by N. D. Wilson. In it, one of the things he discusses is the nature of time. We often view time in a fatalistic way because it is so very clear that it is a limited commodity with no individually marked expiration dates, and, ultimately, Death is one of the few things that has served more people than McDonalds (though it should be noted that McDonald’s has likely contributed a number of notches to Death’s talley, which cannot be said for the other way around.) Because human suffering is due to human sinfulness and depravity, we most often view death as the final and greatest punishment for our wickedness.


[I have inserted this break as an opportunity for you to scourge yourself in your wretchedness if you’d like. Otherwise you may move on.]  


However, in Death by Living, Wilson blew apart my theological box, turned my theological table, and firmly place the shoe on my other theological foot when he said,


Time is a kindness…. Mortality is a consequence of sin.

But it is also a gift. A mercy. A kindness. Death is grace.


This seemed entirely unfair to me at first. I know people and have read news stories about people to whom death did not come kindly, easily, or quickly. But Wilson’s point answered mine: Would it be gracious for God to allow you to live eternally in your current state? Would the person dying of a disease prefer to live if it meant eternity with that disease? With that imperfection? Your imperfections, your failures, your heartache, your loss, your struggle. Would you like these things forever with a heaping side of vanity and never ending dissatisfaction with all that is under the sun? Or might I interest you in our soups?


            I realized that death, in all of its ugliness and pain and devastation is a mercy that keeps us from living eternally as the hurting and hurtful people that we are by nature. It is also grace to the believer who will not only end their suffering here but, through death, go on to live a whole life in the presence of God--the undoer of all ills and the satisfaction we can never quite find while here on Earth. These realizations led me naturally to the next logical step: physics. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “that’s exactly where I thought you would be going next! Oh, please tell me about the thrilling world of physics!” And while I appreciate your excitement, doing so would make this post lengthier than it already is. I will leave further explanations of the physics for the actual presentation.


I hope it will suffice, then, for me to say that shortly after reading Death by Living, I began an investigation into the concept of time and took an astronomy elective in school that talked about planets, distances, energy, matter, and our perception of these things. I, an English student, began talking with my professors about Einstein’s Theories of Relativity and elementary particles and other weird stuff way over my head. I was told that there were stars billions of lightyears away and a cosmic microwave background which indicated that the world was at least 13.7 billion years old. Needless to say, that data and its evolutionary implications conflicted more than a little with my morning devotional. The game, for me, was afoot to find a justification for a literal interpretation of Genesis because I deduced that, if the beginning of the book I’m staking my life on can be chalked up to mere poetry, I have little if any defense against objections to equally unlikely events like the incarnation, the resurrection, and other arguably important things of that caliber.


What I found is that regardless of the numbers we ascribe to the scale, Creation and Evolutionary cosmology agree on several things: both describe a beginning that can only be described as miraculous (whether you attribute the miracle to chance or the love of God), a movement from disorder to order, and an agreement on the selfish nature of man. Atheistic, evolutionary cosmology describes a world of fear, of selfishness, where might makes right, where you’re either lucky or dead, where you can be an agent in the onward-marching genetic progression or you can become the food that helps someone else move along in it. In this world, lying is never off the table. Stealing, rape, murder, and other questionable acts are not a question of morality, but of payoff. In this world, where we are no higher than the animals, the only thing that separates us from those animals is our ability to do and create things that make us think that we are somehow above them. 


My “Aha-moment” came when I realized that the Bible says a lot of things similar to this when describing the state of humanity. How much of human action is predicated on fear and selfish reasons. Do we not back-bite? Bark and growl at one another? Take advantage, overpower, and deceive? Never have I heard an argument that the Bible isn’t true because it was unbelievable to think humanity is capable of putting entire cities to death, calling for the murder of firstborn children for political security, or dashing their heads against rocks. The argument, instead, is always against God Himself for allowing these things to happen. I realized that both Atheistic and Christian explanations posit the ability of humankind to reduce itself to animal status. The difference is that one believes that we began as nothing more than animals and will continue to be so, while the other believes that we did not start here, nor are we meant to stay here. This is not to say that I have no other qualms with the Evolutionary worldview, rather this is the first and only one I can engage with in this space. But I think it important that we see how Christianity pivots on the assumption that we are horribly broken and sinful people who think in terms as selfish as the “survival of the fittest” mindset described in the Evolutionary worldview. But Christianity, believes that that has only and ever pointed to the savior we find in Christ. And in Christ, we found a rule change and a role change, from an old system of sinfulness and death by our own wills to a new system of righteousness and life, flagshipped by Christ.


This idea of role/rule change is incredibly important as we move into a discussion of Relativity and observe how it changes the reality we experience and helps explain other issues which remain between scientific discovery and faith. However, I will leave that discussion for my presentation on the 21st. If you’ve actually read this, thank you. I hope I haven’t offended too many of your sensibilities with my proposition and, if I have, would like to remind you that there will be time for questions during the presentation to address those grievances. And so, I hope to see you there.      

- Matthew Gunn 





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     Over the last 6 months or so, a theme has surfaced in a number of Tim Chaney's sermons. It is not usually the focal point of the sermon, but rather a thread that has been woven into the fabric of the last few series. If you listen back, you might be able to uncover a slow and steady admonition. He has challenged us over and over again to move from an attitude of somber remorse, to an attitude of victorious warriors and co-heirs with Christ. We as a church are guilty of being so overwhelmed by our sin, our family issues, our country, our finances etc. that we tread water week after week, just hoping and praying that God keeps our heads above water. We need a paradigm shift. We need the church to be a more than a crutch that gets us from Sunday to Wednesday and back again, but rather a catalyst that causes us to thrive in life. 

     Change will not happen because Tim is the pastor, or because we have hired two other yahoos to do the stuff of ministry here at Fellowship. The change will happen because the Holy Spirit will move and the people of God will respond. 

     Think about this, someone in China is battling cancer, and it is no different than someone battling cancer in the United States. In Europe, depression is no different than it is here in the good 'ole U.S.of A. Anger is the same, jealousy is the same, sexual immorality is the same. They are the same because the enemy uses the same tools no matter where he attacks. He is unified in his attack. Jesus himself said, "A Kingdom divided against itself cannot stand." [Matt 12:25] Worship Pastor Dustin Smith says, "There is a reason Satan's kingdom hasn't fallen on its own, and its because it's very unified, and its unified in one thing, bringing dishonor to the name of God. 

     We as a church [both globally and here at Fellowship] need to make sure that we are unified against this enemy. We need to know how to use worship as a weapon against the enemy. Because if the enemy's goal is to dishonor God, then when we bring honor to Him, we are doing damage to Satan's agenda. So let's talk practical battle plans. 

1. Your Heart - "Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life." Prov. 4:23

     Your heart is not something you can ignore. If you come into contact with a situation where God is clearly moving, and you come away unchanged, the first thing you need to do is to take stock of where your heart is. As a general rule, whatever you spend your time and money on is what your heart is invested in. How much of your heart is surrendered to Christ? How are you willing to let God change the way you do battle for Him? 

2. Your Mouth - "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks" Luke 6:45

     You do not have an excuse. You need to sing. I know this is weird coming from the worship pastor and can seem self-serving, but I am telling you, this is so important in spiritual warfare. There are multiple examples I could use, but I will limit myself to two examples of this.

(1) The demoniac in Luke 8 calls out to Jesus as soon as he sees him "What do you want from me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?" Clearly this is not the man talking but the "Legion" speaking to Jesus. Jesus of course, rebukes them and sends them into a heard of pigs. We have a nonbiblical understanding of how spiritual warfare takes place. We assume because we cannot see what is going on physically, that we should be able to "do battle in our minds." However, in every encounter with demonic forces, Jesus, or the disciples audibly SPEAK against them in the authority of Jesus. [click here for more on our authority

(2) If we are to worship in unity in order to do battle against the enemy and to restore the honor of God in our church and in the lives of the people who come through the doors, then it is not about any one person. As the worship pastor, of course I want you on a personal level to get something out of the music section of our worship service, but ultimately that is not the goal. We are at war. There is a big misconception that it is ok to "worship God in your heart." To the enemy, that is great news because he knows that there is power in your words, and if he can keep it contained within you then he has won a battle. You see, it is not about being a good singer, or about what people think around you, but about proclaiming truth over yourself AND over the person sitting next to you. Even if you don't "feel it" on Sunday morning, it is important to not allow the enemy to shut you up. Someone needs to hear your voice speaking truth and encouragement, and they are more than likely sitting next to you in the worship center. 

3. Your Emotions - 2 Samuel 6

     I won't take time to write out this whole passage, but take a minute and turn there. We can clearly see that David is a man who does not care what people think of him when he worships, and more than that, God doesn't care about dignity in worship, just authenticity (he punishes Michal with barrenness for trying to shame David [6:23]). Now, what I am not saying is that we should all don linen ephods, which are glorified whitey tighties, and dance around this Sunday. What I am saying is that your emotions are part of you. There is not a single person that in a meaningful relationship with another human being, has not felt anything. We claim daily that our relationship with God is the most meaningful and important relationship in our lives, and yet on Sunday morning, there is a definitive limit to what is ok to feel. Much less to act on those emotions. 

     I can hear the alarms going off in your head even now as I write. "But Jason, that is emotionalism! We are not supposed to be controlled by that!" To which I would respond: Emotionalism is controlling of your emotions. Keeping your arms by your side when God is calling you to lift your hands in surrender is emotionalism. I agree that you can't worship God just based off of your feelings, but we need to discover what it is to unlock our emotions and cause us to feel like worshiping. People of our church dictate the reality of the importance of our God by how they express themselves during worship. When my son shoots a ball into his little basketball goal, I don't go up to him and say "I want to tell you how good that was, but it is just not part of my personality to tell you that." NO! I am either going to act and tell him how great he did, or I am not going to do anything. If I do nothing, it communicates something to my son. It tells him that he is not important enough for my attention. Is God important enough?

     We are more concerned with excess than we are with lack. When I read Jesus' words, He is more concerned with lack. Are we doing enough? Are we lukewarm? Are we going to return to our first love? Love is a mind-altering drug, and causes us to act. Our emotions can really help us to capture the reality of who God is. It is impossible to gain a sense of wonder without emotions, and every person in scripture who walks away from a glimpse of God's Glory walks away in wonder. (Mt. Sinai, Jesus' Transfiguration, Isaiah, John in Revelation, etc.)  

     We claim adoption as sons and daughters, we claim co-heirs with Christ, we claim unlimited access to the Father, we claim that he pursues us, we claim Christ's death for us, we claim the Holy Spirit within us. What more could we ask for from God before we will go to battle for Him in His own house? Let us stand up this week and make a bold proclamation that we will be the ones to bring honor to Him.




Looking Back, Looking Forward

     The end of the year always brings both reflection and anticipation. Looking back we reflect on both the victories and the losses of 2015. Looking forward we anticipate what could happen in 2016. Unfortunately, for many of us, looking back can be a painful enterprise. As we reflect backward, all of the could-have-beens come into focus and the should-have-beens wound us afresh. The losses experienced over the last year suddenly seem to have healed less than we once thought. The pain throbs like it once did.

     Looking forward, however, seems to be a much more exciting exercise. Perhaps 2016 will be better, brighter, more profitable, more fulfilling. For me, I always find the new year exciting. I enjoy pondering the possibilities and dreaming of the potential blessings to come. Spiritually, I believe looking back and looking forward is an essential discipline for each of us. We must never forget what lies behind us, both in terms of blessing and trial, and we must always look expectantly forward to what lies ahead. For me an unexpected and well-known story in Scripture helps bring the beauty of this discipline into focus.

Simeon’s Story

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,

according to your word;

for my eyes have seen your salvation

that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

a light for revelation to the Gentiles,

and for glory to your people Israel.

Luke 2:29-32

     I think God intentionally gives us very little information about Simeon. We don’t know much about his background, his family, or anything he did throughout the whole course of his life other than this one huge day. We know he was righteous; he was devout; he knew the Scriptures and was anticipating the coming Messiah and restoration of Israel; and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Don’t let that last fact pass by so quickly. The Spirit of God filled Simeon at a point in salvation history in which that was not common. We see the same thing to be true of Elizabeth and Zechariah in the Christmas narrative, but they seem to me more important to the story, at least from our perspective. From God’s vantage point, however, Simeon is playing a significant role of both reflecting and anticipating the work of God. I see Simeon seeing three important phases of God’s work.

     First, he sees God’s past faithfulness both to himself and to God’s chosen people Israel. “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word…” Simeon recognizes that in the child he now holds, God has fulfilled a personal promise made to Simeon that he would see the Messiah before he passed. But the child does not just fulfill a personal promise. The child also fulfills a series of ancient promises made to a people, God’s people. Simeon recognizes that God has once again proven himself faithful to his people. Just like he did with Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and David, God has once again kept his promises.

     Second, he sees God’s present blessings. “…for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples…” In these words Simeon recognizes the uniqueness of his place in the history of the world. For him salvation is not just a past memory or a future expectation; salvation is literally in his hands. The child in his hands was named “God saves,” and the fact was not lost on Simeon. He was literally gazing into the eyes of God’s plan of salvation prepared in eternity past. This salvation was not just for him, but for God’s people also. But the salvation was not just for them either.

     Third, he anticipates the blessing God has prepared for the future. “…a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel…” Simeon knows what few had grasped in his day: that because of this child, salvation would soon be available not just to Israel but to all nations. He knows the Scripture well enough to see the basics of the plan. He listens to the indwelling Spirit carefully enough to see the role of both Israel and the Gentiles in this plan. And he knows the character of God well enough to speak with boldness that this plan will come to fruition.

Your Story

     The outline of Simeon’s song has challenged me to discipline myself to gaze deeply into the unfolding plan of God as it intersects with my life. How might we adopt this discipline as we prepare for the new year?

Seeing God’s Past Faithfulness

   Can you remember all of the incredible things God has done within your life? Start small. What has He done in 2015 to bless you, provide for you, answer your prayers, open doors, resolve conflict, heal wounds? Now go deeper. What about the last five years? Or the last ten? Or your entire life? In what unexpected ways has He come through for you? When did He bring light into the darkness of a painful situation?

   Now think beyond yourself and into the plan of salvation for all of God’s people. How has your salvation been a part of God’s plan for all eternity? In what ways can you recount all of His faithfulness?

   What stories of God’s faithfulness have you neglected to tell? God wants us to tell others about what He has done, not just for all people but for us individually. People around you want to hear your story. What story are you not telling them?

Seeing God’s Present Salvation

   Sometimes when we look at our present situation, it is easier for us to think about what could be better rather than express gratitude for the beauty of how far God has brought us. How is where you are right now a product of the blessings He has provided? Where would you be without His salvation?

   As God’s child you have been adopted, accepted, loved, cleansed, declared just, purified, made holy, and redeemed. Have you taken these things that are now true of you for granted?

   Where is the darkness in your life right now? Where do you still need the light to shine and God to move? Use this time of reflection to petition God to finish what He has started in you. If all of your life is a story, then the most painful times come when chapters are unresolved. Ask God to finish your unfinished stories and bring your life to the resolution He has purposed, not the one you have planned.

Anticipating Prepared Blessings

   What are you longing to see God do in the year ahead? What brokenness might He heal? What personal failures might He redeem? What closed doors might He open?

   Where might God take you that you don’t expect to go? How might He be moving in ways you have not yet recognized?

   How might He exceed your expectations for the year ahead? How might He do immeasurably more than all you can ask, think, or imagine?

   When have you been disobedient in the last year and how might God in the year ahead provide opportunities for you to trust Him where you were once disobedient?

   Who might God bring into your life this year that needs to see the light God has entrusted you with? To what dark corner of the earth might He be leading you to shine his light?

   When might you be united with your Father, King, and Creator? Are you longing for that day? Are you anticipating the coming of the Bridegroom as a bride awaits the coming of her beloved? Are you longing for eternity and allowing that longing to shape your life now? What might God do through you if your eyes were constantly set on his coming consummation and the eternal weight of glory you are being prepared for?


     I hope Simeon’s song will inspire you to gaze deeper into the plan and promises of God and how they intersect with what God is doing in your life right now. May 2016 be a year of new blessing in part because you see more clearly how God is moving around you.


Tim Chaney



Faithful Love


Faithful Love

     Our current sermon series takes place in 1 Peter. It only takes one read-through to realize that this book is mostly about suffering Christians. I think that it is hard to come to grips with the fact that God calls us to suffer, and even to suffer like Christ. It is kind of a tough pill to swallow for me. Here I am, raised in a comfortable, Christian home, never hungry, never threatened to be killed for my faith, and fairly regularly encouraged to pursue my relationship with Christ. Now, I have certainly had my fair share of people bashing my faith, and calling into question what I believe, but I have had far more influences in my life to point me towards Jesus, than those who would be audacious enough to try and pull me away. 

     That being said, I have experienced suffering. Not in its physical manifestation, but in the form of broken relationships, loss, and disappointment. Christ suffered the cross, for our salvation and for us to enter His Kingdom, but his suffering was deeper than the physical as well. "Forgive them Father, for they do not know what they are doing!" He cried out on the cross. He grieved over his murderers. Jesus wept for Lazarus. Many times in the Gospels, we see the phrase "Jesus had compassion." The word for compassion in Greek implies the same kind of emotion that we feel that makes our stomach flip. We are called to suffer in this way as well. 

     At first glance, the book of 1 Peter is a little bit depressing. However, in chapters 1-2, Peter gives us a key. He takes some time to address his suffering audience with a reminder of their identity before he calls them to suffer well. I believe it is a mistake to skip forward to chapters 3 and following without making absolutely certain that we understand what came before. We are strangers and exiles. But we are also royalty, priests, children of God, God's people, and most importantly, holy. 

     That is why I wrote this song. It is a reminder to myself that when things are tough, I am His. When I am overcome with grief, I am His child. When I am overwhelmed, I am defined by what He says about me, and what He says about me remains true forever. 

     Why? Why would He do this for His children? I believe the answer is found in 2:9

          "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."

     He called you and saved you THAT YOU MAY praise him. You see, praise is part of our identity too. Dive headlong into that truth and mine its depths, just as we have been studying the other truths about ourselves, and you will suffer well. 

If you would like to download FBC's new song, "Faithful Love" for free and listen to it anytime you would like, just click HERE

     Jason Hundley