Should it really be called Good Friday?

Many people have asked & pondered, “What did Good Friday mean for Jesus?”

Obviously, we know it mean the cross, but what specifically was the day like for Jesus?

On this Good Friday, I encourage you to take a few minutes to read & meditate on what Jesus experienced as the sacrifice for our sins.

Read the biblical account of Good Friday.

The Scriptures include extensive details about this day. Here are the specific passages:

  • Matthew 26:47–27:56

  • Mark 14:43–15:41

  • Luke 22:47–23:49

  • John 18:2–19:27

Read or listen to a “Crucifixion Narrative.”

Over the past several years, I have listened or read the following “Crucifixion Narrative” by Rick Gamache, the senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church in Bloomington, MN. It has helped me immensely to remember & rejoice in all Jesus suffered for me.

You can listen to Rick Gamache read & preach this narrative. Or, you can read it for yourself.

Worship God.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “Abide hard by the cross and search the mystery of his wounds.”

Hymnwriter Philip Bliss helps us worship & stand amazed at the love of God revealed through this “Man of Sorrows.”

“Man of Sorrows,” what a name, for the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood;
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Guilty, vile, and helpless, we, spotless Lamb of God was He;
Full redemption—can it be?
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Lifted up was He to die, “It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in heaven exalted high;
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
When He comes, our glorious King, to His kingdom us to bring,
Then anew this song we’ll sing
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Come & celebrate Easter with us on April 21!

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There is no better day on the Christian’s calendar than Easter Sunday.

Wonderfully, Easter announces: Jesus is risen from the dead! And for the Christian, Easter announces: All the guilt for your sin has been erased & you have a completely new start!

More than that though, Easter welcomes us to a life-giving party. It begins now with new life. But, that is only the beginning. There is so much more to come in this life & the next…as we will celebrate this week.

If you are looking for a place to worship this coming Sunday, we’d love to have you. If you know someone looking, bring them along!

This Sunday, April 21 at 10:30am

Athens City Middle School

Also, on Saturday, April 20, we plan to go into the community to invite folks to church this week. Below are the times & locations if you would like to join us.

  • 9:30am—FoodCity (105 S Hill St, Athens, TN 37303)

  • 11:00am—Walmart (1815 Decatur Pike, Athens, TN 37303)

Kids albums you won't hate!

I can’t promise these songs won’t get stuck in your head, but I can promise you won’t hate them.

Kids are like sponges. They soak up everything they see & hear. That’s why kids’ albums can be so helpful to fill kids’ minds & hearts with the truths of God’s Word.

The first two are by SEEDS FAMILY WORSHIP. They have put out many Scripture memory songs (Scripture put to simple music) & these are two of them.

The second two are by SOVEREIGN GRACE MUSIC.

  • The Ology. These songs are based on theology (hence, the name!) & teach kids about God, people, sin, God’s promises, the Holy Spirit, adoption, sanctification, the church, Christ’s return, & the Bible.

  • Listen Up! These songs are based on the many stories & parables of Jesus.

I want to know the secret.

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Contentment is not a gift.

It is not a grin-n-bear-it attitude.

It is not feeling good when things are going well or feeling bad when things aren’t.

“It is not trouble that troubles, but discontent.” Thomas Watson

It is not realizing you have it better than others.

It is not even connected to our circumstances. Hard circumstances are hand-picked opportunities to rest in God’s wisdom.

“The wise God has ordered our condition. If He sees that it is better for us to abound, we shall abound. If He sees that it is better for us to want, we shall want. Be content to be at God’s disposal.” Thomas Watson

It is living with the settled confidence that Jesus is with us & will never give us what we can’t endure with his help. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

That’s the secret! It doesn’t mean Jesus will give super-human strength. And it doesn’t mean we can accomplish whatever we want with his help. It’s not often flashy. But, it (often slowly) sets us free from discontent & complaining to live a life of humility, faith, & gratitude.

WORK DAY!

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We’re grateful for ACMS & excited to serve them!

Athens City Middle School has graciously allowed us to use their facility each week. We are grateful! And we have this wonderful opportunity to give back to them & serve our community.

So plan on joining us Saturday, April 6 for a work day at ACMS.

Projects include: painting, spring cleaning, weeding & replanting flower beds, & more.

Here are a few details:

  • WHEN: 8:30am on Saturday, April 6

  • WHERE: 200 Keith Lane

  • WHAT TO BRING: Drop cloths, paint rollers, gloves, & square-point shovels

  • KIDS?: They are welcome to come if they’re willing to help!

Hiking together to Benton Falls!

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Spring is in the air!

Let’s get outside & enjoy it together!

This Saturday, we are going to hike to Benton Falls. It is an easy, 3-mile roundtrip hike at the Chilhowee Recreational Area. And, as you can see, the falls are beautiful!

Details are:

WHEN: this Saturday, March 23.

WHERE TO MEET: 9:30am at Athens City Middle School (200 Keith Lane).

WHAT TO BRING: walking shoes, lunch, & a few dollars to donate to the park.

WHAT (ELSE) TO BRING: a friend, neighbor, family member. All are welcome.

QUESTIONS: Call or email Jenn Larson (jenn2984 [at] gmail [dot] com).

One more note: Part of the road is unpaved but well maintained. It would be better to drive smaller vehicles.

Janelle Thomas's testimony of sustaining grace.

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Oftentimes life does not go as planned.

Last Sunday, Janelle Thomas shared her testimony about how she has met God & grown through the un-planned, tragic death of her father Kelly several years ago.

Read & rejoice, as she shares about how God has been at work:

As Taylor said, my name is Janelle Thomas. Jesus graciously saved me at the age of five. I thought that with Christ in my heart, there might be little bumps in life but nothing major and there would always be happiness around the corner. When my dad died four years ago, I was thrown a major curve ball. I had always been a joyful person but all of a sudden I felt anger towards God that I had never felt before. Does He really love us? Does He really care about me? If He does, why would He let my daddy die? These questions swarmed my head day and night. I was angry. I was sad. I hadn’t felt this pain before. But when I fell, God picked me up. When I stumbled, God held my hand. It may not look like He is there, but He is. I once read that “when there is just one set of foot prints in the sand, that is when Jesus was carrying you.” 

As I was preparing this testimony, I was reminded of Psalm 118:24: “This is the day that the Lord has made: I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I cannot rejoice that my dad died, but I can rejoice of the things that have come from his death. First, I rejoice in the church God has given me in Trinity Grace. I am so blessed by the friends I have. How well you take care of me and how much you and your families love me. I am also so thankful for the many godly men in my life, who love and take care of me and make me feel special when I am with them. For example, people like Mr. Chris who hugs me every time I step foot into his home, or playfully tugs on my braid. Or Mr. Stephen who when I am freaking out about playing bass on stage for the first time calms my nerves, and there are countless other who have blessed my life. And Mr. Daniel picks us up VERY early on Sunday mornings when we have set up. 

Second, I rejoice in the effect of my dad’s life on others. I have seen some of his students come to Christ because of his story and some of his colleagues pondering their faith because of his legacy. And I don’t even know all the people his life effected.

Third, over and above these things, I have learned to rejoice in God’s great power, His saving grace, and His great love. I have begun to learn how to turn from anger and selfishness to be a humble and joyful person. I have begun to rejoice in whatever the Lord brings into my life. As the hymn says, “When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say it is well with my soul.” I can finally say it is well with my soul! 

Chris Pritchett's testimony of understanding grace

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Last Sunday, Chris reminded us: We are not accepted by God because of the good things we do and we are not rejected by God because of the bad things we’ve done.

Chris is a serious gift to our church. He and his wife lead one of our Community Groups and serve in countless ways.

Last week, during our Sunday worship service, he shared how several years ago God opened his eyes to understand grace and how it has changed him completely. Read along to see.

I was not raised in church and grew up giving very little thought to God and what he thought of my life. Yet, nearly 10 years ago, God intervened in my life. He saved me. He forgave my sins and rescued me from a life of self-destruction.

However, I had made a number of bad decisions in my past that affected my life and those I love most. My worldly ways and lack of leadership in the past plagued my marriage to Cindy. My selfish choices tempted my kids and left them with memories that to this day I wish did not exist.

I so desired to have a healthy relationship with God, but I began to struggle as I saw that I could not escape these and other consequences of my sin. I struggled to feel close to God. I struggled to understand God’s love. Even though I would not have said it out loud, I basically concluded God could never completely love me.

The effects of this way of thinking and living were significant. There became an ungodly pattern in my prayers. I would often begin praying by saying, “God I am sorry for how I have failed you today.” I found myself running as fast as I could on the performance treadmill, attempting to correct my past, and attempting to earn a right relationship with God through the way I was living. And when things were not going well, I became depressed. Needless to say, this prevented me from enjoying and receiving God’s love.

I am very thankful for the many God-fearing men who were not afraid to speak gospel truth to me during this time. One friend explained how it was prideful of me to ponder on the mistakes of my blood bought past. Another told me that it was sinful of me to think that I should deserve more punishment than Christ did on the cross for my sin. That’s what I was doing—instead of receiving his complete forgiveness I assumed he would love me more if I held on to the guilt I felt for my past mistakes.

I slowly began to comprehend how it is not my power that makes an end to my sin, but it is God’s power, and it is because of Jesus that there is no more condemnation. God began to show me how my finest works are stained with sin, but his gospel gives me endless hope and peace. I began to understand that God’s grace and mercy is unmeasured and that my righteousness comes from the righteousness of Jesus Christ. It has renewed my heart and mind to know that God’s grace does not accuse me, and that my freedom is in Christ.

Even though I continue to walk through difficult situations because of some of my past mistakes, I can truly say that today my joy is in my salvation and in the promises of God.

Praise be to God alone!

Is 2018 really about to be over?

It has been such an exciting and good year for us as Trinity Grace Church.

By God’s grace, we are no longer an idea!

We began meeting each Sunday at Athens City Middle School in October. It has been such a joy to be here and to meet here each week.

It also been humbling to be part of what God is doing in Athens. We have received so much prayer and encouragement from other churches here. Thank you!

For as long as God allows us to be a part to Trinity Grace Church, 2018 will be a special year for us and October 28th will be a special day, as it was the day of our first service. Watch a video to see that first service!