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FEB

20

TUE
Easter Preparation
Psalm 103: Several years ago, Kathleen Young gave me a kitchen timer and challenged me to spend ten minutes a day “counting my blessings”. Like King David, Kathleen knows that people have short memories. As v2 puts it, we're quick to forget our benefits. Now, saying “thank you” for ten or more minutes requires effort. It's easy to recall all of the present blessings like my family and the way God provides for my needs. Then I start to recall the many different ways God has acted in my past for my good. How he has involved me in some incredible times of ministry. If I'm really bold, I start to thank God for the way he has forgiven specific sins and strengthened specific weaknesses. Choosing to recall my sins and errors is very humbling. Apart from the grace of God, I'm a pretty rotten person. I'm angry and addicted, quick to blame others and to lie in my own defense. Without God, my family would have been torn apart years ago. I don't like to think on the man I would be apart from God, but that kind of reflection has an unexpected benefit. It makes me much more compassionate and patient when I see the weaknesses in others.
Our assignment today is to “count your blessings” and I would recommend that you start with how God has forgiven specific sins and strengthened specific weaknesses. God is transforming us day-by-day, making us more and more like Jesus. I want to nurture your compassion because we're going to deal with how God transforms sinners this Sunday... and it's important that we all remember that we are sinners, saved by the grace of God. Without the active help of God, we would be just as miserable and lost as the “worst of sinners”. I pray that this exercise will fill you with gratitude for the God who loves us in spite of our sins and who grows us into the wholesome, holy people we are becoming.
As you pray, remember Faye Jenkins who was recently moved to an isolation ward due to a bad infection. Pray also for Kristen Sneed as she is tested today for a suspicious growth under her ear. I was talking with Pam Arp last week... Pam continues to suffer with debilitating migraines and her daughter Aleshia has been sick with the flu for over two weeks. There are several families that have talked with me about their need to be in church... and none of them made it this last week. We know that the enemy is trying to keep them away. We also know that the enemy can be defeated through prayer and through our acts of love. Lastly, I urge you to pray about the roof offering. God wants to pour out his blessing (what we most need as individuals AND what we most need as a church), but we have to “open up” so we can receive. Praying about what to give and then giving it is one of the ways we can open a little wider to the bountiful blessings of God.
I love you! Have a fruitful day!
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Why Chattanooga First?

I asked this question for the first time when I interviewed at First Church back in 2008.  I wanted to know why people would drive past all the other wonderful churches in Chattanooga to make our church their "home". 

For some, the answer is relational.  Chattanooga 1st is home to five generations of Nazarenes.  We're a "family" church and work hard to stay connected.  This sense of inter-connection is reflected in our worship... we "blend" our worship style so that everyone from the "grandparents" to the "children" enjoys our time of celebration.  It's seen in our acts of service... children and teens often work alongside their parents and seniors.  It's felt during the hard times when people show up to help and support one another.  The most incredible part to this is that you don't have to be born into First Church to be part of the family.  You just have to choose to make her your "home".

For others the answer is theological.  Nazarenes are part of the Holiness Movement that so strongly influenced our nation during the late 1800's.  We have a very optimistic faith.  We believe that God not only forgives sin, but can give people victory over sin... he can give us the strength to walk away from the actions and attitudes that once controlled our lives (see the article titled "Entire Sanctification" under the Salvation Tab at the top of this page).  This optimism (this confidence in God's transforming grace) is what helps us believe that God can re-create a life and make us fruitful sons and daughters of God... it's what helps us believe that God can renew a community and drive back the moral corruption that erodes our society.  We really do believe that God can make our part of the earth a reflection of his heavenly kingdom --and we eagerly join him in that work.

Others have joined our church because they believe in the "vision".  We believe that God is calling us to be the "heart" of the South Brainerd community.  We are trying to become a "community church" at a time when almost all churches are drive in churches.  We believe that God would have us make a practical difference in the lives of the people who live around us.  So we're looking for ways to help our neighbors recreate by creating playgrounds, sport fields and walking tracks.  We open our gym to sport leagues and we're working to become an emergency shelter.  We've hosted community senior activities and children camps.  We're starting after school programming (we're still very limited at this point) and look forward to the day when we can offer inexpensive childcare.  We want our neighbors to know that they are "welcome" --that they will be loved, encouraged and helped.

Chattanooga First isn't for everyone... but if part of what you've read stirs your heart, I encourage you to join us for worship or give me a call.  I'd enjoy meeting you and telling you more about our lovely church!

-Pastor Eric

 

 


 

Contact Us  
Chattanooga First Church of the Nazarene
5455 North Terrace
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37411
Map  •   Directions
Phone 423-893-7756
Regular Schedule  
Sunday
  • Sunday School
    – 9:45 AM
  • Morning Worship
    – 10:45 AM
  • Evening Worship, Groups & Choir Practice
    – 5:00 PM
Tuesday
  • Women's Prayer Group
    – 11:00 AM
Wednesday
  • Adult Worship
    – 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
  • Dinner
    – 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
  • Men, Women, Youth and Children Groups
    – 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Affiliations  
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