Colossians 4:2 "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful."
In just a few days I will gather with family and share a traditional American Thanksgiving meal with Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes (and the McDermid family Sweet Potatoes with mini-marshmallows). We will take time at some point to share something we are thankful for and I always have a tough time picking just one thing (I'll probably choose my family).
But since I have time here, I will list a few more things
1. I am thankful for my church family. Over the past year we have felt loved and welcomed here as we settled into our new church home. My kids have made friends. We have been invited into people's homes. We have been sent notes of encouragement...we have felt very loved!
2. I am thankful for our servant leaders here at Six Points. This church has an amazing group of volunteer leaders who serve with willing hearts. They give their time, energy and effort to make this church a better place and I am blessed to work alongside them for the Kingdom. To my MLT and LBA leaders...thank you for your work for the Lord!
3. I am thankful for my co-workers. I love working with Vickie and Pastor Andrew here at the church and they are a blessing to me and to many. We are a team and their efforts make this a better church community.
4. I am thankful for the saints here at Six Points. You are a blessing to me. Your love for the Lord is an example to me. Your commitment to your faith in both good and bad times is inspiring to me.
Blessings on you this Thanksgiving
Pastor Scott McDermid
I have some great neighbors, but a few are a bit quirky too. One woman walks her dogs every day no matter the weather, but also chooses to sit down on people's grass if she gets tired and needs a rest. One mows his grass multiple times a week, even when it looks fine to me. One has clothes for their dog. But no matter how odd some of their behaviors seem to me, we take care of each other.
When I needed someone to water our garden while we were on our summer trip, a neighbor boy came and did it for free.
When a neighbor lost a tree in a big wind storm, several chipped in to cut it up and move it for them (including my 10 year old and I...I was proud of him that day).
We help each other out. We watch out for each other's homes. We are often willing to lend a hand or loan out a tool or let someone borrow that cup of sugar.
In Luke 10, Jesus commands the people to "love their neighbor as themselves" and then tells us a story about what this looks like as one man helps out another who is in a tough spot.
In this definition of neighbor, we realize that Jesus doesn't just mean the people we already know and like, but any fellow man (or woman) who we encounter and that love isn't a feeling but an action.
You may have been at church on Sunday to hear about a new opportunity we will have as a church to be a part of Family Promise of Hamilton County (www.fpofhc.org) where we can show our love in action to families in our community who are homeless and need some help.
I pray you will prayerfully consider making this ministry one that you support with your time and effort as we seek to be good neighbors.
Pastor Scott McDermid
In the ancient world, actors wore masks that clearly showed their emotions. The masks had big smiles or big frowns so that it was obvious to all what emotion the actor was feeling. Of course, that was just the emotion the actor was showing...we have no way of knowing what feeling the actor was really having behind the mask.
I spent some years in high school doing theater productions and I played parts from a jailer to a baseball player to a Mexican spy...but of course I am none of those things in real life, they were just parts I played.
Similarly, we often play a part in life. We pretend to be happy even though we are sad. We pretend to have it all together even though we are broken. We pretend to have a strong relationship with God even though we feel lost. We put on a mask and play a part.
Why? Why do we try to fool others? Why do we even try to fool ourselves and God? Maybe we think we will be judged or that others don't really care...but I want to be a part of a church where it’s safe to be real and vulnerable. I will work as the pastor to help foster that kind of atmosphere so that you can take off your mask and be the real you.
2 Corinthians 4:2 says "We have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception."
Let's be real, let's not keep secrets (that tend to grow in the dark) but let's bring the truth of our hearts into the light of God (and the church) and love each other; no masks needed.
It was Christmas Eve and I was about 8 years old. My family had gone to church for the candlelight service and now we were home getting ready for bed before the big day of presents but we had a few things to do first. We put on our matching Christmas pajamas (a tradition my mom loved but I hated), poured a glass of milk and got some cookies for the big guy. The cookies went a special plate (the kind you might buy at Hallmark) that we used every year. My sister carried the milk and I carried the cookies to put them on the mantle for Santa; but I tripped and the cookies and the plate went flying. The plate broke into many pieces and so did my heart. I felt awful for breaking the special plate and was worried I had ruined my chances for gifts from Santa who I was sure would be disappointed in me. My parents wiped away my tears and sent me off to bed with assurances that Santa was an understanding guy.
The next morning I was surprised not only by gifts, but by the sigh of that plate carefully glued back together. Once fixed the plate was never quite the same with obvious cracks in it, but we used it anyway year after year and laughed about the memory.
A few years ago, once I had my own family, my parents gave me
that plate and we use it year after year too. I love that plate. I love it because I know that my father stayed up late on Christmas Eve and carefully put it back together piece by piece because he loved his son. Now I tell my sons the story and watch as they carefully carry it to our fireplace (they haven't dropped it yet). I like it more because it was broken.
God, our Heavenly Father, seems to like to fix broken things. He says in Revelation 21:5 "Behold, I am making all things new!"
God can take us, broken as we might be, and make us beautiful again...and actually by his fixing we are more beautiful than ever before! Hallelujah, God loves us and through his love he is ready with the glue!
Have you seen the movies "Finding Nemo" or the more recent "Finding Dory" movies? If you have, you likely remember the little song that Dory (a fish with short term memory loss) uses to remind herself not to give up when things get hard, she repeats over and over again "just keep swimming."
Sometimes life is hard. Over the past few weeks I have heard story after story about church members and friends who are going through hard stuff. Some have diseases that aren't getting better, at least not quickly. Some have lost loved ones. Some are going through financial trouble. Some are lonely or feel like they aren't good enough because of mistakes they've made...but no matter the reason, it is tempting to give up.
I encourage you to think of Dory and her words to "just keep swimming" or even better to reflect on the words of scripture that share a similar idea. Galatians 6:9 says "let us not become weary of doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." or Psalm 37:24 that says "though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand."
So don't give up, God's got you.
Pastor Scott McDermid
One of my favorite people in the Bible is a guy named Joseph (not the one with the fancy coat or the one who raised Jesus) but nobody calls him that. Joseph was his given name, but his nickname throughout history is Barbabas (which means "son of encouragement").
Encouragement means the act of giving someone hope, support or confidence. It literally means to "give courage." So if you are scared, worried, anxious or nervous, a word of encouragement would help you find your strength
Barbabas must have been so encouraging that they decided to go ahead and make it his name and that's exactly what we see in his life through the book of acts, like in this scripture. "He traveled through the area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people" Acts 20:2.
I want to be that kind of person, who makes the others around me better through my words and actions. I want to give people courage so that when I am done talking to them they have more hope, faith or confidence...and not in me or even in themselves; but in God.
Let's reflect on the words of Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Let's encourage one another so that we are stronger individually and together.
Pastor Scott McDermid
Financial habits are learned early and I learned at a young age that I liked the power to buy things.
As a kid I didn't have much money, maybe a few dollars here or there for a good report card, but nothing to write home about until I was about 10 years old and got a weekly allowance of $10 for my chores (which included mowing the yard, cleaning my room and various other household duties as assigned). I thought that $10 was a HUGE amount of money and was already dreaming about all the things I would buy with my fortune. My parents, though, had other plans.
They instituted a rule of how I could use my money. I had to save some, give some and then I could spend some. I didn't like this rule but I had no choice so each week, I stashed some away in my piggy bank (later this turned into a real bank account), I took some to church and put it in the offering plate and the rest I spent...mostly on soda and candy as any 10 year old boy would do.
My parents were smart enough to realize that the financial habits I formed at a young age would be with me for the rest of my life and it's true, all these years later I still save some, give some and then live on the rest.
As we, as a church, look at God's advice on finances, let's not forget to help our kids learn wisdom when it comes to money from an early age.
Proverbs 22:6 says "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it."
Pastor Scott McDermid
This week we will launch a new class, one I am excited to teach, about the basics of the Christian faith. In just three weeks we won't have time to delve into hard theological issues or debate the pros and cons of different views on the end times or scriptural interpretation...in fact, we wouldn't dare because this is a class on the basics of what we believe, not the minutia. Sometimes it is vital to go back to the basics. Some people are new to the faith and need to learn from scratch...others may have been around a while but need a refresher; but no matter the reason it's always good to go back and start over.
There is a famous story about Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers that is worth sharing on this topic.
It was July of 1961 and the 38 members of the Green Bay Packers football team were gathered together for the first day of training camp. The previous season had ended with a heartbreaking defeat when the Packers squandered a lead late in the 4th quarter and lost the NFL Championship to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Green Bay players had been thinking about this brutal loss for the entire off-season and now, finally, training camp had arrived and it was time to get to work. The players were eager to advance their game to the next level and start working on the details that would help them win a championship.
Their coach, Vince Lombardi, had a different idea. In his best-selling book, When Pride Still Mattered: A Life Of Vince Lombardi, author David Maraniss explains what happened when Lombardi walked into training camp in the summer of 1961. He took nothing for granted. He began a tradition of starting from scratch, assuming that the players were blank slates who carried over no knowledge from the year before… He began with the most elemental statement of all. “Gentlemen,” he said, holding a pigskin in his right hand, “this is a football.”
Lombardi was coaching a group of three dozen professional athletes who, just months prior, had come within minutes of winning the biggest prize their sport could offer. And yet, he started from the very beginning.
Lombardi's methodical coverage of the fundamentals continued throughout training camp. Each player reviewed how to block and tackle. They opened up the playbook and started from page one. At some point, Max McGee, the Packers’ Pro Bowl wide receiver, joked, “Uh, Coach, could you slow down a little? You're going too fast for us.” Lombardi reportedly cracked a smile, but continued his obsession with the basics all the same. His team would become the best in the league at the tasks everyone else took for granted.
Six months later, the Green Bay Packers beat the New York Giants 37-0 to win the NFL Championship.
So we are going back to the basics too. If you would like to join our class for this session (we hope to offer this class twice a year) please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP so we can get you on our list!
Six Points Church
This Sunday we are excited to welcome Hunter Smith (former Colts Punter) to Six Points Church as our guest speaker...but even more importantly, we hope to welcome many new visitors to our church as well for our first ever Tailgate Sunday.
During the morning we will have music, games (cornhole, ladder golf and more) and hear from Hunter plus we will all have a chance to share a meal together afterwards (please bring a side dish or dessert to share).
Now, eating a hot dog with your friends may not seem like a big deal, but in the Bible sharing a meal was a key part of what the early church did together. There is something bonding about a community meal that brings people together and makes them feel welcome.
In Acts 2:46-47 we see the early church in Jerusalem regularly making time for worship and teaching, but also for sharing a meal together.
"Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
So, let's break bread together on Sunday (hot dog buns count, right?) and pray that God would add many to our number through our fellowship, through a meal and through the word that will be shared this week.
See you (and a friend!) Sunday for Tailgate Sunday!!!