As we follow Jesus together this year, we want to focus on two things that everybody needs. Everybody needs to know how to read. Everybody needs a church.
Christ Community Church is affiliated with Acts 29, a network of churches that plants churches. Acts 29 is alive and well in Western Europe, and we are thrilled as a church to be involved with their ministry. Read their update on Christianity’s relevancy in Western Europe. Find out more about them at acts29we.org.
Richard Dawkins is probably the most well-known atheist in the UK. His organization, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, has recently published a national survey regarding the religious and social beliefs of British Christians. The survey reveals that, of the 54 % of British people who identify themselves as Christians, 49% do not think of Jesus as the Son of God, 4% doubt Jesus existed, and 6% don’t think that God exists.
Responding to the survey, Dawkins asserted that “despite the best efforts of church leaders and politicians to convince us that religion is still an important part of our national life, these results demonstrate that it is largely irrelevant, even to those who still label themselves Christian.”
We really can’t argue with that, can we? In a society in which Christianity is increasingly relegated to the fringes, many of those who align themselves with Jesus by name really have no idea who he is and what it actually means to follow him. Premier Christian Media recently published their “Report on the Mariginalization of Christianity in British Public Life 2007-2011.” One of the many findings of this 5-year study is that Christians in the UK believe secularism to be the greatest challenge to Christianity - greater than the threat of Islam. According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of UK citizens who identify themselves as atheists has risen to 1 in 4. Bible-believing Christians in such a culture can easily become nervous. Our numbers are fading. And fast! Christianity is, at best, a merely cultural religion. What are we to do?
Paul’s letters to the early Christians makes it clear: we are to devote ourselves to doing what is good. We are to love God, each other and the people around us, so that they would see the gospel of grace at work in us and glorify our Savior. What kind of witness is it to the world when Christians are most passionate about our own status in society? It is far too easy for us to speak up for ourselves and remain deafeningly silent about the millions of aborted babies or victims of the sex trade. We have the promises of Jesus and the hope of eternity; we need not fear the trampling of our own liberties. Our call is to serve the rights of others. We are to live gentle, considerate lives that commend the gospel, “so that close who oppose us may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:8). Yes, Christians are marginalized. But then, wasn’t Christ?
We believe in the local church.
After reading through the New Testament, we believe in local churches and their affect spreading the gospel in their local communities. The church is God’s idea. And though the people who make up a church are imperfect, He uses them as a people united in love to spread His story of resurrection and redemption.
That is why we believe in Christ Community Church in Athens, GA. That is why we believe in the importance of Acts 29 - a network of local churches looking to constantly plant more churches. And that is why we believe in giving a portion of the money we receive as a church to other churches.
So that is what we have started to do. We are happy to say that because of your generosity in tithing, we were able to give New City Church (Macon, GA) money to purchase chairs for their gathering space.
This is a note sent from Keith Watson, lead pastor of New City Church:
“Thank you so much for your help in our purchase of new chairs for New City Church! With your help we were able to immediately add about 60 seats to our venue. This will not only give us an opportunity to provide space in our main gathering for more people, but it will also allow us to set up a video overflow café in the art gallery providing another 50 or more seats. Thank you for partnering with us to see the gospel transform Middle Georgia and beyond!”
We don’t do this very often, but today we want to forward you on to a blog post by Justin Holcomb, a pastor from Mars Hill Church in Seattle (Mark Driscoll lead pastor). This was posted on The Resurgence blog, an organization committed to equpping leaders that are affiliated with the Acts 29 Network our church is a part of.
Holcomb’s post is about friendship. Since friendship is a part of our every day lives, this is an important subject that we don’t always take a lot of time to consider. We think of being a good friend as coming second-nature. Holcomb shares musings from Augustine and reminds us that Jesus Himself is our ultimate model of being a friend. Click the image to follow the link to his post!
Our church is hosting Pastor Mark Driscoll on Saturday, October 8 in the ClassicCenter. You don’t want to miss this!
For those of you who don’t know anything about Pastor Mark, he is the pastor of MarsHillChurch in Seattle, a church living on mission in their city and making a big impact. You can learn more about their church here www.marshill.com . Driscoll is also the founder of the Acts 29 Network that our church is a part of (http://bit.ly/4G6id6), a network that helps gospel-centered, missional churches plant more churches.
The topic of the conference is relationships. Who doesn’t love a good relationship talk? The focus is on marriage, but anyone ages 16+ is invited if they one day hope to be married. And for anyone who already is married; this is a must-attend. It will be the best advice you have heard on marriage in a long time. Mark will spotlight the importance of friendship within a marriage using the book Song of Solomon. Follow this link to watch a 5 minute clip with Driscoll for his heart on the subject: http://bit.ly/ngdSAJ.
Also, we promise that the Gospel will be the center of everything spoken this Saturday. Our God exists in a relationship in the Trinity and a relationship with us. Our God who knows and loves us has much to say on us loving one another.
Ticket sales are $26 for students, $31 for adults until October 1. We recommend buying them soon because on October 1, prices will go up to $31 for students, $36 for adults. Join us for this day of gospel-centered relationship sessions with Mark Driscoll in Athens on October 8!
Layout of the Conference:
9 AM – Worship with Christ Community Band
9:30 AM – Session with Driscoll / Q & A with Driscoll
12 PM – 1 PM – Lunch Break
1 PM – Worship with Christ Community Band
1:30 PM - 4:30 PM - Session with Driscoll / Q & A with Driscoll