Archive for March, 2015

Palm Sunday message from Associate Pastor Brent Longstreth…

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Titus 3

As we finish up the letter from Paul to Titus, we are getting to the heart of the matter! After exploring what the mature Christian walk looks like as well as how solid doctrine changes our life, we now see what we must be prepared for and why in our lives. It ay even expand your understanding of what a Christian really means!

We have been hearing multiple people talk about ways this study has been impacting their lives, relationships, and spiritual walks. We expect this week’s study to have similar impacts. Even if you are walking into the study for the first week, this stand alone message has truths for you that may make a huge difference in the foundation in this season of your life.

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If you are not aware yet, there is a new movie coming out on Friday, 3/20/15 called “Do You Believe?“. While I don’t always recommend films due to some cheesy options that come down the pike, this is not the case with this new film. It looks solid and their last film “God’s Not Dead” was of good quality.

However, that’s not the reason I am spending some time getting some information about the film out to the public. You see, it’s not just a good film but it’s a good film that needs your support! This is especially true if you live in the Marion, Ohio area.

The film first came to my attention when the manager of the movie theater put out a plea to the local churches. While she has a desire to bring Christian films to Marion, the last few movies have not done well (partially due to the “cheese” factor). This has concerned the owner of the theater chain thinking these is not enough interest in Marion to keep bringing Christian films to town. So much so that he has stated that unless our local theater sells 500 tickets in the first week (to break even), they will no longer be carrying Christian films. This is not some sort of persecution against Christians, it’s just we get what we support so we need you now.

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Titus 2

This is week two in a three week study on Paul’s letter to Titus.

In this chapter, Paul does a great job of giving us a practical self test that identifies areas in our spiritual lives that might be prime for more freedom. Rather you are young or old, male or female, leader or follower… he directs us to what our lives can look like through “sound doctrine”.

We also explore a three part rule of thumb from 1 Timothy 1:5 that drives us towards lives of love that make all the difference. We hope you join us for this study…

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Titus 1

This week we will be starting a new Bible study through the book of Titus. This is a shorter book of the Bible and we are looking forward to the next three weeks of covering it together.

This is a letter written from an apostle named Paul to a man named Titus who was left in the city of Crete to grow and lay the foundation for the new church. While it’s considered one of the “pastoral letters”, it has a great deal of everyday life lessons for us.

This week we will be looking at the difference between one who follows Christ and one who just says they do. All of us have met someone who comes off like a hypocrite and heard stories of the pain and confusion they cause. Of course, the real challenge is we can sometimes fall into that role ourselves.

How do we do a self test to make sure we are not missing the boat? What should the goal of Christian living that we are growing towards look like? Where does the change come from? The answers are not as “glib” as some may think.

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Close up view of the income tax return

A friend of mine asked me if they should tithe off of their income tax return the other day. It’s a question I usually hear every year so here’s my quick thoughts in case you wondering….

If you tithe off of your “take home” salary, then yes. This is finances coming back to you that you have not tithed on yet.

If you are like me and pay off you gross salary, then you have already tithed off those funds. For us, we still like to take a predetermined amount of the return and offer it as an offering and find areas to do acts in the area of generosity. It keeps us giving with a joyful heart and helps combat the desire of selfishness to try to just do things for ourselves.

(We tithe off our gross pay because we want to pay God first instead of paying the government first and then God gets His cut off the left overs.)

Now, let’s back up to explain some things for those who may be reading this.

Tithing is a Biblical command of giving back to God 10% of what He gives to us. It is to honor Him, follow Him, and help keep us from putting our hope and confidence in money instead of the one who provides for us. Anything that we give above the 10% is called an offering which we do as God leads on top of the tithe.

Some believe tithing is an Old Testament practice that was fulfilled with Jesus and no longer applies. What does apply (in this view) is that we are to give as God leads as we seek Him instead of following the command of the tithe. I can see how some would view things this way and I don’t beat up that view. However, if this is your view, then the answer on your income tax would be to pray over your income tax (as you do all your income) on what God would have you to give instead of just running out to buy a flat screen TV you have had your eye on.

Both ways, we should be mindfully seeking God on how we should be stewards on our finances and what part we play in providing resources to the work of the Church.


Pastor Tom Hypes

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A common question that many people have is simply “How do I study the Bible?” If we are honest, this can be a real struggle for many people. Some people find sections to be hard to understand. Some people find they can read an entire chapter and not remember hardly of it by the time they close the book. Some people see reading the Bible as a chore and often lose the passion to dig in.

At The Shepherd’s Fellowship, we are entering into a study season with the Bible that will follow a mindset that may easily help you if you struggle in this area. While there are different study methods, there is one that has really opened up the Word for many and we hope it will for you as well!

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