Archive for the ‘Just Life’ Category


Did you know that most people who have stepped out of church have not lost faith in God? We have found that a physical move, a change in schedules, or being hurt by Christians or a church before have effected many when it comes to being in Christian community.

At The Shepherd’s Fellowship, we have a huge heart for those outside of church … especially those who have been hurt before. Many of us, including myself can relate due to our past church experiences.

However, we find it’s clear in the Bible that God has created us for community – to work together, encourage each other, enjoy life together, worship together, and help each other. We see that God adopts us into His family and not to be orphans in Christ.

What we have found that if you chase after Biblical community, there is a real beauty in the messiness of true relationships. Many who have not felt comfortable in other types of church communities have found a home at The Shepherd’s Fellowship.

With this in mind, we want to take a moment and invite you to “Back to Church Sunday” on September 18th. Our Sunday morning gathering will start at 10:30am and will include music, a study that’s life applicable,share in some ways to make big impacts in our community, and more! There will also be kid’s ministry going on with TSF Kids for babies – 5th grade for those who wish to plug in.

We don’t expect this invite to serve as enough to give you a feel for who we are and why you should give church with us a chance so please stop by our web-site at www.tsflife.com and learn more about us. If you have any additional questions, touch base with me through our leadership page and I’ll help any way I can. Hoping to see you!

Pastor Tom Hypes
The Shepherd’s Fellowship

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As the movie “Heaven is for Real” comes out on DVD, there is a renewed interest in the story of four year old Colton Burpo. While I am more a fan of the book than the movie, I will admit the movie is very entertaining and uplifting.

That said, let me address a couple things.

The main concern I have with the film is that it leaves out the most important point. The answer to the question “How do I get to go to Heaven?” They came close a couple times and in one scene had a great opportunity but missed the boat.

When Nancy from the church came to Pastor Todd, she asked him about her son that passed away and if he thought he might be in heaven or not. Pastor Todd’s answer was “Do you think God loves your son any less than he loves mine?”

The answer, of course, is God loves them (and all of us) the same. However, the implication is if God loves us, we all go to heaven. This is simply untrue.

God loves us all so much that He sacrificed His Son for us but it is up to us rather or not we accept His gift of reconciliation of reject it. Here’s the answer of how we not only go to Heaven someday but how we have a relationship with Him now….

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10: 8-13

The movie is a good start to the conversation but if we as the church do not complete the conversation, many will walk out of the movie not only with an incomplete thought but a dangerous one.

Here’s the second thing I want to throw out there….

I had a friend a couple weeks ago ask me if I believed the story was true. He asked me all kinds of questions about if I believed people looked that way in heaven, if they would act that way in heaven, and the like.

I do not know if Colton went to heaven or not. If God wanted to take him to heaven, He certainly could. However, that’s not the only answer.

Luke tells us in Acts  on ear2: 16-18 “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

Colton could have had a vision from God for multiple reasons including the book and the movie. God could reveal himself in a way that not only a four year old could understand but that would bring confirmation to his father Todd to bring him closer to God. While “pop pop” may or may not look like the  young man he was on earth in his heavenly body, God could surely reveal him that way so that Todd could later understand that there was confirmation within the vision.

So, am I against “Heaven is for Real”? Not at all! Go see it and/or read the book. However, bring bigger thinking and have deeper conversations about the message behind them.

Heaven is for real…. and God wants to bring you home someday. However, that is really up to you.

If you have any questions about heaven or having a relationships with Jesus Christ, feel free to touch base with me.

Pastor Tom Hypes


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Want to Help Us Move?


Calling all friends!

As many of you know, we sold our house and we are getting ready to move a few miles down the road. The following is information on our move if you would be willing to help us out.

We will be moving the bulk of our home on Sunday, 6/22/14 starting at 2:00pm (gives time for church and a quick bite to eat). At this point, we will not be moving the furniture but we will be moving all the boxes and what not. (The furniture will be moved by a company on that Monday)

This means nothing will be all that heavy. It’s mostly just a situation of where many hands make quick and light work and we could really use your help.

We will have a Uhaul but if someone shows up with a truck and a trailer, we may go ahead and move the riding mower and snow blower down too.

We will start at our house in the middle of Waldo and then drive about two miles to our new house to unload.

If you can help, please let us know. We would really appreciate it! Blessings!

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Discernment comes with spiritual maturity.

Often times, people tell me things like “I’m disappointed that God closed that door in that situation or relationship” or “Why would God have things be so hard in this situation since He led me here?”

Sometimes personal disappointment and hard days come from following God. Sometimes they come because we have messed up, taken a shortcut, not acted in integrity, or chosen the wrong people to draw close to us and then we attribute it to God.

Before you accredit God for where you are, make sure it was Him and not you. If it was Him, He will lead you through it and teach you in the process. If it is you, submit yourself to Him, turn around, and let Him lead you through the ripple effects and back to solid ground.

“I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.” Psalm 119: 125

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Well, it is pastor’s appreciation month again when all pastor’s secretly hope their congregation will remember them in some way to encourage them. My church has always done a pretty good job at remembering this month and it’s always appreciated. Last year, some gift cards and a surprise moment of honor was heart felt and went a long way. If you do not do a little something for you pastor at your church, I recommend you change that. It goes a long way.

At the same time, I felt led to post some things beyond gift cards that would help your pastor all year long. On top of that, they are Biblical and honor God too! This will make a HUGE difference if you really want to be an encourager and faithful.

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We have been reflecting at church (The Shepherd’s Fellowship) just how faithful God has been to us  and felt compelled to share it with others to document the movement we have been seeing of God’s faithfulness. Part of this goal is to celebrate what He has been doing but also to serve as a testimony of what happens if you hold to His Word and claim it for yourself. Let me explain…

About 14 months ago, we went through a very challenging situation at our church. It’s one of those things were everyone feels hurt, confused, and challenged. Some left, some considered but stayed on to see what would happen, and others committed to being here as we followed God through some tough choices. At that point, the church was struggling financially, feeling the pain of separation of close friends, and the outreach to the community around us came to a halt as we pulled in to communicate and love through the healing of the group. It was a very challenging time but they do come and God does lead us through them.

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This morning I want to jot down some thoughts on the three bridges we are trying to build at The Shepherd’s Fellowship (the church I pastor). However, let me first say I am not looking at building bridges with wood and nails but with love and truth.

You see, there are many people who have disconnected from church or were never connected in the first place. However, I am of a firm belief that the community of Christ is open to all and can bring freedom and love into hurting situations.

Here’s the three bridges we are trying to build….


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If you have not heard of it yet, there’s a great new radio station in the Bellefontaine, Ohio area called Shine FM. If you don’t live in that area, no worries…. you can listen on-line! I suggest you do, this is an awesome station with a great ministry heart and mix of music.

Now, I may be a little bias as I have been on the board of directors the last couple years working with a great team supporting the general manager, Mark Boyer and his vision. Mark is an old friend that I respect and love what he’s doing as well as his heart.

Today is the launch party for the station now that they have been on air for a little while. Mark held an open house at the station from 4pm-6pm and then a concert tonight with the new national band, Royal Tailor.

I went today for the open house to support Mark. In the midst of a busy week, there were other things that need attention but I wanted to be there for him. I also wanted to be there because it was the last event for me as a board member (for now).


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It’s always interesting when Christmas falls on a Sunday…. What does a church do? Do they still have services in the morning because that’s their tradition? Do they switch to another time feeling guilty that they are putting “family time” over “God time”? Do they cancel and do the whole service on DVD for people to watch at home losing the community feel?

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer here. Traditions can be good but should never take priority over the Holy Spirit’s leading.

For our church, we are enjoying a weekend of worship and encouragment through our social media outlets and then having the worship come to a head Christmas night. After a weekend of special moments through emails and video, we will get together at the church at 7pm Christmas night for a Worship Gathering!

If you are looking for a Christmas night option, feel free to stop by! We will be having music, original story, drama, Advent moment, and a message that is easy to apply to life. For the kids, they will have a special moment of a couple songs themselves and then head over to the kid’s barn for half of the time for thier own lessons and fun!

(For more information on our Christmas celebration, visit www.theshepherdsfellowship.org and click on the “Hope: A Christmas Gathering” link)

It should be a great night and you are invited. At the same time, if you can not attend our Christmas night worship, look around you as many of the local churches are having special services you can tap into.

Merry Christmas!

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Disney Wrap Up

The following is just a recount of our recent trip to Walt Disney World to help us remember all the details as time goes on. You may find some tips if you are planning a trip (especially at the end) but this is mostly for my memory =)


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