Tag Archives: The Bridge Fellowship

You determine your waste and your impact

Jim Johnston, a pastor at The Bridge Fellowship in Lebanon, Tennessee ended a sermon with two points I thought were very insightful.

They were intuitive and I related because I feel we generate so much waste in our lives. And I’m not talking about landfills. I’m talking about a perfectly good waste of our lives. Jim’s points were:

  1. Don’t waste your wait.
  2. Don’t waste your influence.

I have a confession. I’m guilty of both. In the time I’ve been waiting for something to happen with my passion of wanting to help others, I have been more dormant than I should have been. What Jim made me realize is while waiting for one thing, you should be working toward something else.

The other waste he talked about was that of our influence. We all have influence, but just in different degrees. In addition to influence, I have two other things: opportunity and connections. We all do. Through opportunities and connection, we can grow our influence. 

What are some things you are wasting in your life? Fill in this blank as it pertains to your life: Don’t waste your ___________________________________ .

This is one of mine: Don’t waste your impact.

There was an old man who lived in a retirement home who wouldn’t speak to anyone. Day after day he would solemnly look out a window from his wheelchair. Over time, his family quit coming around. They couldn’t connect. They felt he was a lost cause. No one could ever get him to speak – to the point where the staff gave up on him thinking he could no longer talk. For years he gazed out that window. No one knew what thoughts were going through his mind, if any.
One day, his health took a turn for the worse. He became bedridden as he tail-spinned into the last days of his life. He would slowly cock his head toward that window and keep the same position all day long. 
As his condition worsened, he slowly motioned for the priest who was there to read him his last rites. The priest doubled over to hear the faint whisper of the hoarse voice that had not made audio waves in many years. This is what he said:
“For years, I’ve stared out that window. Each day I ask my self what I could have done differently so as to not waste the life I was given. There were no answers in the trees, the sky, or the people walking by. As time went on, I began to feel sorry for myself. 
I have wasted a life that was made to impact, to serve, to build. My life is ending and all I have to show is regret. My legacy does not exist. But before I breath my last breath, let it be known I shall not die in vain.

Share this message with the world: Giving up is the most unacceptable form of giving. Give your life away to others to so as not to waste your impact.”

With that, he drew his last breath and passed peacefully.   

1000 Tips 7 giving up givingI know this: I don’t want to one day be an old man and look back on a life of regrets. I owe it to my children and those who I love and build  relationships with to not waste one minute of potential impact.

Why? Because I’ve been the recipient of such impact.

 

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
Follow us on Facebook: www.fb.com/leadmeforward1

The photo above is #7 of what will be “1,ooo Tips to Becoming a Better You.” You can see more at https://leadmeforward.com/1000-tips-to-becoming-a-better-you/

 

Coming Together for the Community Through Unity

Just about everything I need to know, I learned in kindergarten.

While this is true, I would like to add that most important theological truths I really needed to know I learned in the children’s songs I sang in Sunday school.

I can still vividly see my Sunday school teacher holding up a hand puppet with different color yarn on each finger. She would wiggle each finger as she sang:

color-puppetsJesus loves the little children
ALL the children of the world
Red and Yellow, Black and White
They are precious in his sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world!*

I remember how loved I felt. The warmth that engulfed me as the truth of God’s love entered my ears, traveled through my brain, and floated down to my heart where a lasting impression was made.

I grew up in a very small church in a rural town. The hard truth is, I was not surrounded by the very diversity I sang about. While I may have not been surrounded by diversity, I was taught to LOVE.

With our country seemingly becoming more divided, the Christian community should be working to point to the true source of the divide. It has been said, “this is not a race issue, it is a sin issue.”  From the beginning, sin has been the ultimate cause of every great divide.

When we focus on the true source of an issue, we will find a true solution.

We know the source… sin.

So, now what?

Phil Wilson, Lead Pastor at The Bridge Fellowship in Lebanon, TN, heard God loud and clear telling him to do something about that very question. When you’re listening, the Holy Spirit will usually lay it out for you. In this case, it was: If sin is dividing, then the answer is in uniting.

Knowing a triple-braided rope is not easily broken, Pastor Phil brought around 30 church leaders and staff members together. This was a group coming together that crosses denominational lines.

The idea?

He wanted to find a way to help community members of assorted local churches engage outside of church walls. He wanted to see interaction in the community, and that interaction lead to action. How do we help others reach across any barrier and come together for prayer with the end goal being unity? In most towns, neighborhoods, and cul-de-sacs, the problem of division is being talked about, but not acted on. In some parts of our nation, there is a boiling point where those who find themselves on opposite sides of an issue are separated and split by an event of violence, racism, or emotion.

The idea was to find a way to engage each other in the community to come together fortbf-oneinchrist prayer and unity.

The result so far has been that 16 churches have handed out bracelets for members to wear. If you see someone else in the community wearing the bracelet, they can be approached and  engaged to join in prayer.

bracelets-oneinchristWhat makes this unique? The bracelet consist of the colors red, yellow, black, and white fading into each other. The idea planted with Pastor Phil by the Spirit is taken from the children’s Bible song referred to above, “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” A hashtag has also been paired with the community campaign, #OneInChrist, which is also imprinted on the bracelet.

Community members wearing the bracelets have been seen in grocery stores, hardware stores, at schools, and gas stations. While it may not instantly solve the turmoil caused by division, it does start to break walls that divide us. According to Pastor Phil, the bracelet idea “allows one to seek out churches and Christ-followers, regardless of race or denomination, to connect and pray for the healing of our fractured communities and nation.” And as he further noted, “We are one chosen race. We are not defined by the skin color, zip code, or church we attend. Instead, we are defined by the saving, life-giving love of Jesus Christ.”

Other churches have jumped on board as well, promoting the idea to connect past the borders we all have in our heads. Providence Church in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee posted on their website:

prov-quote

Who knew a simple, rubber bracelet could bring about unity and conversation. Rather than building walls, it can build relationships. Rather than bringing about unrest, it can bring unity. The colors of the bracelet run together and make a circle. This representation of cohesiveness and unending union serves as a reminder to all who wear it that there is a connection we share in common: unity in the love Christ has for all of us and we should, therefore, have for each other.

Growing up in a small church in a rural town kept me from diversity, but it taught me to love and respect everyone. From different colors of yarn based on children’s song lyrics, to a multi-colored bracelets – Jesus loves the little children, ALL the children of the world, Red and Yellow, Black and White.  It’s not the channel, but rather, the message. We were all made in His image… and that makes us more alike than different.

This post co-written by:
Erica Pearson, ericalovesbooks@gmail.com
Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com

*words by C. Herbert Woolston, music by George F. Root

 

Your glorious reveal

by Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com

watertowineThe current sermon series at my church is called “Last Call” in which Phil Wilson, Lead Pastor of The Bridge Fellowship, has focused on the miracle at the wedding in Cana, as seen in John 2:1-11.  This is where Jesus infamously turned the water into wine.

You know the story.  The wine didn’t last long.  Mary informed her son about the situation. She knew he could do something about it. But Jesus told her, “Dear woman, that’s not our problem.  My time has not yet come.”  To which Mary, earthly mother to the Son of God, overrode her son completely despite his objection, and told the servants “Do whatever he tells you.” Jesus then complied and performed his first public miracle.

Studying this Bible story and digging deeper into it got me thinking…  This was his first public miracle.  Mary was beyond confident her son could rectify the situation to save embarrassment to the bridegroom and his family.  I wonder: what was it that made her so confident (besides the whole virginal conception thing)?

I can only imagine Jesus doing some private mini-miracles throughout his adolescence and young adulthood.  You know, kind of coming into his own as Messiah.  Maybe something to lighten the chore load such as having an unending supply of bread and fish for dinners. Maybe having the trash not pile up to where he did not have to take it out.  Perhaps the laundry was the cleanest Mary had ever seen it because he used holy water to wash it.

These examples are a bit silly.  Realizing the Bible’s firm claim that this was his first public miracle, it’s fun to wonder if Jesus performed “practice” miracles to prepare for his “glorious reveal.”  Which, in turn, leads me to this question: what are you doing to prepare for your own “glorious reveal?”  In other words, what are you doing to prepare to reveal to others your role in God’s Kingdom?  What’s your specialty?  Your spiritual gift? Your talents?  Where do you put forth your efforts?  How do you spend your time?

Are you a recruiter?
A warrior?
A motivator?
A servant?
A leader?
A prophet?

We all have the opportunity to be someone special in God’s Kingdom.  Equally, we also have the opportunity to be not-so-special.  Just like Jesus had his glorious reveal at the wedding in Cana, we have to be prepared and ready to go when we are called to reveal ourselves in a big way.  If  we have not achieved our big reveal, we should be working towards it (the practice part).  Once we know it has been achieved, we build upon it – following the lead of the perfect leader.  We have been called by God and should be living a life worthy of that calling.

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord,
beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling,
for you have been called by God.

For there is one body and one Spirit,
just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

Ephesians 1:1,4

John 2:11 says the miracle of changing the water to wine was the first time Jesus revealed his glory.  The disciples saw this and believed him.  How can (or will) your glorious reveal make an impact on others?

Uncomfortable truths and useless servants

by Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com

Often, I’ll hear something I have to write down because it’s just that good.

This happened last year.  Actually, it happens all the time.  But in this particular instance, it was April of last year.  A particular phrase from a sermon by David Layne at The Bridge Fellowship in Lebanon, Tennessee made an impact on me.  He said:

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for God’s people to do nothing.”

Wow!

There’s some wisdom in those 16 words!  When Christians are complacent, evil is allowed to run rampant and invade us like the flu bug.  Our defenses are down and our immune system is low.  The worst of it is that it’s something we choose.  In a book I’m writing and hope to publish one day soon (ATTENTION: This is a first sneak-peek!), I briefly discuss our noncommittal attitudes and actions when it comes to our Christianity and whether we are answering God’s call for our lives.  I call this an “uncomfortable truth.” (This particular one is #4 of 5).

You see, intention without action is useless.  Sometimes our best intentions don’t add up to acceptable results.  A term used in the Bible for this is “useless servant.”

three servantsIf you recall the parable of the three servants, you may see where I’m going here.  In Matthew 25:14-30, we learn about the three servants who were entrusted with their master’s talents while he was away on a trip.  Each servant received different amounts as related to the scope of their abilities.  Two of the three invested the talents and worked to increase them, garnering positive results.  The third buried the talents keeping them safe, but not multiplying them.  When the master came back, he surveyed the results, praising the two servants who built further wealth and gave them additional responsibilities.  The third servant, well, he was not so lucky.  He was described as a useless servant (Matt. 25:30 NLT).

Is this not what we are when we commit to God by intention only?  We are often no different than the third servant.  He was a partial, useless servant.  Our attitudes and actions need to reflect our commitments and beliefs.  We can have the best intentions to do right by God and others, but unless we act, we allow the enemy to prevail.  We need to be all-in!  If we are a useless servant, we make it easy for evil to triumph because we are doing little to nothing to overcome it. Basking in the complacency of our Christianity falls way short of our spiritual potential.  God asks more of us and, quite frankly, we should be delivering.  And to be honest, I personally have some work to do.

Time for a little self-audit: Do you find a little bit of the third servant in you?   In what ways? (Challenge: Anyone brave enough to leave a comment specific to your own challenges in this area?)