EVERYDAY COMMUNITY

Hey there church,
 
Typically I like to recap the


FIRST PETER PREACHING SERIES

Hey there Flatwoods,
 
This past Sunday we started a new preaching series.  First Peter is a power book in the Bible for the church.  I hope to pull from First Peter how we can be an everyday church as we live as a diverse family under Christ who gathers and scatters.
 
Peter was an incredible apostle and disciple of Jesus.  The gospels paint a picture of a man who experiences a lot of highs and lows.  The high moments for Peter were extrodinary.  Peter laid down his fishing net to follow in the steps of his rabbi Jesus.  Peter walked on water.  Peter announced that Jesus was the Christ the Son of the living God, when asked who Jesus was.  Peter experience the mount of transfiguration.  Peter also tried to convince Jesus that he didn’t need to go to the cross.  Peter denys Jesus, not once but three times.  Peter takes up fishing again following the resurrection of Jesus.  The highs and lows speak for themselves.
 
However, Jesus shows mercy and calls Peter to allegiance on the otherside of his denial of Jesus.  Jesus delights in showing mercy, and calls us to allegiance.
 
Flatwoods, I pray that you will see the love of Jesus as he shows mercy.  The life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus declares mercy and grace for all who call upon him.  I pray you will hear his call on your life for allegiance to King Jesus.
 
________________________________
 
As we finish out this week as a scattered church I want to encourge you to lift up your eyes and look at Stone County.  Where can we serve in a way that showcases the gospel?  Who around needs to encounter love in action?  Who needs to hear the words of Jesus, “Come to me, all who labor and heavy laden and I will give you rest?”
 
If you missed last weeks sermon you can find it here…
 


MOTHER’S DAY RECAP

 
It was so good gathering together this past Sunday.  Taking a moment in our calendar year to celebrate the moms in our life is very special.  The shaping of the next generation is an important and tall task.  Flatwoods is very thankful to have moms who day in and day out pour time into training their children with gospel intentionality. 
 
The pressure in preaching this past week was very healthy.  God chose to declare His words to us through His written word, so communicating His word comes with pressure.  I desired to be sensitive to the women in the room, while communicating a message that was both relevant and applicable.
 
I shared a truth I hope will be a reality in the homes that make up Flatwoods.  Jesus is the hero of the story.  Culture, at times, declares a message that paints mothers as the hero of the story.  This is an unhealthy truth when compared to scripture.  Don’t get me wrong, mothers have a vital role to play in the narrative God is writing for their children.  However, the role isn’t to be the hero.  Scripture admonishes parents to rise up and carry the responsiblity. 
 
Mothers simply point their children to the hero who is Jesus.  Your work is to shape your home in such a way that your children sense Jesus at every turn. A gospel centered mother makes it her aim to trust Jesus, give allegiance to Jesus, and point her children to do the same. 
 
As you live in the everyday stuff of life reflect on the hero of the story.  As you carry the weight of responsiblity you must continuely find ways to remind you of the glorious gospel.  My admonition to you is this…
 
As your identity is rooted in Jesus (not culture) talk about Jesus and his teachings with your family (spouse/children), with a group of close church friends, and with those who don’t know Jesus.  When you begin to make this a purposeful effort, you will find that it is very neccesary for you to be with Jesus often.  Make time to be with Jesus in His word with prayer in the mornings, afternoons, or evenings.  Remember you are not adding something to your already busy schedule, you are taking what you are doing and beginning to do it with gospel intentionality.
 
Mothers, listen to God over culture.  Listen to God through His word where Jesus was and is always the hero of the story.
 
___________________________________________
 
BIG QUESTIONS
 
Who is the hero of your story?
Who is the hero in your home?
In what was are you shaping your home so that it is clear that Jesus is the hero?
 
 
If you missed last weeks sermon you can catch it online…
 
 


CONTENTMENT

 
Well, it has been far too long since I wrote last.  I enjoy this weekly effort of refreshing your memory of the word proclaimed on Sunday.  I too struggle with allowing other things to take priority.  As I type this I am reminded of a question I read years ago.  Are you controlling your calendar or is your calendar controlling you?  What a great question to keep in view.  
 
Over the past few weeks we have looked at different truths I hope are becoming reality for you and your family.  So far, we’ve said….
 
  1. Forgiveness must be stronger than bitterness.
  1. Commitment must be stronger than circumstances.
  2. Worship must be stronger than idolatry
  1. Chastity must be stronger than lust.
  2. Contentment must be stronger than greed.
 
We are prone to allow the sinful vices of greed, lust, and idolatry to be strongholds in our life.  It seems like a daunting task to be stronger in worship, chastity, contentment, and commitment.  However, you know that what you feed often wins the day.  Paul says if you sow to the flesh you will reap corruption, but if you sow to the Spirit you will from the Spirit reap eternal life.  
 
I hope you throw out the seeds of forgiveness, commitment, worship, chastity, and contentment.  The fruit that you will bare for your family and marriage will be sweet rather than bitter.  
 
This past Sunday I preached on contentment, looking at a few different passages that center on wealth and money.  As I mentioned, money is not evil but it is dangerous.  Clearly if we are not careful, money will become something that tears down rather than builds up. 
 
I left you will a small challenge for this week.  Paul stated, “godliness with contentment is great gain.”  Are you living content?  Are you able to stand with your sufficiency in Christ, rather than self-sufficiency?  My challenge was to see what you can go without this week.  Do you really need to buy something new?  I challenge you to buy only what you need this week, rather than what you want.  Be content with what you have, all the while thanking God in Christ for what you do have.  Contentment is not discovered in quantity of things, but rather the quality of your heart.  
 
King David wrote, “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want…”  The Lord is my shepherd, I need nothing else. The Lord is my shepherd, with Him I shall be content.  The Lord is my shepherd, let my find rest in Your pasture Lord.  The Lord is my shepherd, and no pasture culture has to offer will satisfy the cravings of my heart.
 
_____________________________________________
 
 
Want to catch last week’s sermon?
 
 
 
 
REMINDER
Mission Run  |  March 30
 
Sunday Night Connect Groups  |  March 31
enjoy the evening with your connect group
 
Connect Group Leader Training  |  April 7 @ 5:30
 
 
 
 
 
 


STRONGER

 
Hey Flatwoods family,
 
Mandi and I took an anniversary trip to Mexico about 4 months back.  We absolutely enjoyed our time together  at an excellent resort, beautiful location, and delicious food.  I took time to reflect on our marriage, our family, our new adventure in Mountain View, along with my role as a husband and father.  During that trip I watched as dads played with their daughters, wedding receptions were set up, and couples were enjoying time together.  God impressed on my heart the desire, if not the need to spend some intentional time teaching on marriage and family.
 
Our STRONGER series is not shaping up like I expected back in November, but it is shaping up in a way we need.  You see if we are not careful we will allow those things that should be weak in us to become strong in us.  If we are not careful what should be strong in us becomes weak.  
 
Therefore, we know forgiveness must be stronger than bitterness.  Although I know this to be true, I often feed the monster of bitterness rather than peace giving forgiveness.  We know that commitment must be stronger than circumstances.  However, circumstances tend to drive the pulse of marriage rather than the life giving covenant.  Throw into this mix the current pulse of culture and we can quickly have a mess on our hands.  
 
I am praying through this series you will understand that there is hope for marriage and family as we point to the gospel.  You see in the narrative of scripture God remained faithful to his covenant with Israel and humanity in the middle of the mess they had created.  He sent His Son, Kin Jesus, into the mess of the world to personally handle the mess.  This reminds us that Christ is present in the middle of our mess.  The Holy Spirit is working in our marriage and family as we walk around the piles of mess we have created.  God is bigger than your mess, Christ died for your mess, and the Holy Spirit is working in spite of your mess. 
 
Please know that I am actively praying for you all.  May the Father cause you to comprehend what is the breadth and length and height, and depth of His love.  May you come to know Christ’s love that surpasses all knowledge.  I pray you will fix your eyes on Jesus as you navigate the complexities of marriage and family.  Unto him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…
 
______________________________________________________
 
 
QUICK ANNOUNCEMENT
 
PRAYING TOGETHER & COMMUNION 
March 3  |  5pm
 
FINGER FOOD FELLOWSHIP
Match 3  |  following Sunday night gathering
 
Check out flatwoodsmbc.com for sermons, calendar, and blog.  


WE GATHER

Hey there Flatwoods family,
 
I pray your week has been filled with the realization that God is in charge no matter the circumstance.  Not only is He in charge, but he is a good Father!  His love is a firm foundation and we can put our trust in Him knowing that he will never be shaken.
 
Last Sunday was so good!  I am thankful for our worship team and Justin Cook who leads our church each week to make high the name of Jesus.  Our worship gatherings are a weekly reminder of who God is, what he has done, and what he has called us to.
 
Continuing in our series WE ARE FLATWOODS, we tackled almost two topics in one sermon.  First, we looked at who we are as Flatwoods.  It is my desire for us to have a statement we can hang our hat on, and live by.  
 
Here is that statement…
 
 
I truly believe Stone County needs Jesus more than any other need.  I truly believe Jesus is the answer to life transformation, and his story reshapes our story.  Pray with me that Stone County will be transformed by Jesus as we gather and scattered for His name and His glory.
 
We then tackled our first essential element, We Gather.  It is my prayer that we will continue to be a really good gathered church.  That means when we gather we must always be Christ-centered.  As Colossians 3:17 makes clear, “And whatever you do, in word or did, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  We are for His name, His glory, and His renown.   
 
May God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine on us, that your way may be known on earth, your salvation among that nations!
 
Grace be with you,
 
Jonathan Johnson
 
 
 
NEXT STEPS
  • Commit to gathering consistently with Flatwoods.
  • Commit to a Christ-centered attitude over entertainment, preference, religion, and culture.
  • Pray the prayer for Flatwoods – Psalm 67:1-2
 
 
 
 


WE ARE FLATWOODS

Flatwoods family,
 
I hope you truly enjoyed being together with the church this past Sunday!  Our weekly worship gatherings are essential, and allow the church to gather in order to remind ourselves that God is in charge, Jesus is King, and the Holy Spirit is sending his church to make disciples who make disciples.  Our time of worship was so rich, so true, and so right!
 
As you may know, last week your church staff tucked away for a 24hr retreat.  I am very thankful to serve with a church that encourages the staff to take time to pray and seek God’s desire for Flatwoods.  It was a rich and rewarding short retreat.
 
Sunday we started a new sermon series we are calling WE ARE FLATWOODS.  It is my desire to effectively look at Scripture to determine who we are, why we are here, and what God is calling us to.  So we will take 5 weeks to unpack this series.
 
This past Sunday I went a direction I wasn’t really expecting.  My question was what is God doing?  My contention is, if we want to decide what we need to be doing, we need to discover what God is doing in the world.  Let’s align our hearts with the heart of God, or said another way, let’s align our values with what God values.
 
One central piece to this sermon was a prayer for this series.  Here is that for Flatwoods…
 
 
Pray this prayer with us as we seek to be the church God has designed.  
 
Here are a few next steps I shared Sunday.  I hope these steps will serve as a practical way to apply this sermon.  If you didn’t catch the sermon Sunday, you will find it below.  
 
NEXT STEPS
  • Add this prayer to your prayer list – Psalm 67:1-2
  • Who/what are you worshiping?  If not God, how can you realign your heart to worship Him?
  • What is God saying through His word?  What am I going to do about it?
 
 
AROUND THE TABLE 
[creating conversation with your family around the breakfast or dinner table] 
  • Read Psalm 67 aloud.  What was your favorite part of what we read?
  • What is God doing in the world?
  • How can our family be a part of what God is doing in the world through Flatwoods BC?
 
 
 
 
 


A KING IS COMING

 
 
 
 
Flatwoods family,
 

It was great worshiping with you this past weekend.  Our worship gatherings are an ongoing reminder that we need the church and our worship should be for God’s glory not ours.  Through our worship gatherings we are pulled together for a common purpose and reminded of our common mission.  Also, as disciples of Jesus we need other disciples of Jesus walking alongside us as we continue to walk the ever changing path of life.   

This is one reason I was so excited to hear of so many spending time with their connect group Sunday evening.  I challenged connect groups to use Sunday night to grow in their love for Jesus, one-another, and others.  I pray Sunday night was a window into the beauty of connect groups and the vital role they play in Flatwoods.  Thank you for taking this evening serious and making time to be together! 

 

____________________________ 

 

I started a short 3 sermon series last weekend revolving around Jesus as King.  This seems fitting and right as we journey through the Christmas season.  It was my desire to look back to a time in Israel’s history where the anticipation of their coming rescuer King was apparent. 

Christ our King has come!  We can say these words with great confidence, however there was a time in history where the sentence had to be a question rather than an emphatic statement.   

When will our King come?  Israel, although a nation with kings in her history, was waiting for a King like no other king.  The Old Testament, with all it’s personal dialogue, historical narration, poetic prose, and words of wisdom, is full of anticipation of a coming rescuer, a coming King.   

The prophet Isaiah delivers one of the most specific prophecies concerning this coming King in chapter 7 of Isaiah.  “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”  The final word of this verse, which is the name of this King, gives us a clue into just how magnificent his coming will be.  He will be a man, but not just any man, this will be God with us or God with His people. 

Isaiah gets a little more specific as he continues his prophecy of this coming King.  He states, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be on his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  What a prophecy and what a statement.   I can since the weight of Isaiah’s prophect as He reaches across millenia to a time yet seen.   This King will be the king Israel always needed. 

These prophecies and many more give us a window into what may have been in the back of the mind of the Israelites, especially during their exile.   

During Advent we can for a brief season place ourselves in the shoes of Israel and ask, “When will our King come?”  We can since the darkness surrounding us with the current sin of our nation and our own lives.  We can feel the need for a Savior as we are continually pressured/tempted to find rescue in lesser gods and temporary substitutes to Immanuel. 

During Advent we wait patiently for this coming King, knowing all along that God is faithful and Christ has come just as Isaiah prophesied.  As you wait, spend time with Jesus.  Take time to talk with your children about the magnificence of this man.

I look forward to unfolding part 2 of our sermon series this Sunday!  
 
– Jonathan Johnson

 

______________________________________________ 
 
 

NEXT STEPS

Rest in King Jesus.  What is your strategy to find satisfaction in life? 

Listen to King Jesus.  Whose council are you listening to as you navigate life? 

Worship King Jesus.  What god/God are you worshiping this season? 
 
 
 
 
 


PATHWAY TO PEACE (part 2)

As I think back over our worship gathering this past Sunday, a word that comes to mind is WOW! What a great day we had together!
 
I think back over the months Flatwoods prayed for Ashley Dearien as she carried little Nash with concern in her heart. I think back over the flight to Little Rock and the many days their family spent waiting for Nash to be released. How awesome it was to see Matt and Ashley stand before our church to dedicate Nash to God and dedicate themselves to raising him in a gospel-centered home.
 
I think back over the 3 disciples of Jesus who were baptized. CJ, a man striving to straighten his life out, but knowing that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Robert, a believer for some time and his son Brandon, a young follower of Jesus, both declared their allegiance to King Jesus as they went through the waters of baptism painting for us a picture of the redemptive work of Jesus.
 
What a great time we had together Flatwoods!
 
If Sunday morning wasn’t good enough, we then gathered again to remember Jesus through communion and finished our time by praying together.  Sunday night I talked about sacrifice. This word has a thread that runs through the biblical narrative. In every case, a sacrifice was needed and a sacrifice was provided. Until one day the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world laid his life on the altar as a ransom for many. This was a sacrifice for more than one person, one family, or one nation. This was a sacrifice for the sins of the world. What a man!  What a sacrifice!  What grace!  What love!
 
As we enter into this Advent (coming) season, may we reflect on the first Advent (coming) of King Jesus and look forward to the second Advent (coming) of King Jesus! I hope we will be a family of families who prays together, plays together, rejoices together, worships together, and lives as sent ones together. May we be a church who lives everyday life with gospel intentionality!
 
God bless,
Jonathan

___________________________________

NEXT STEPS
1.  Practice Praying, Pray Often, & Pray Together
2.  How can you change your thinking as you reflect on Philippians 4:8-9?
3.  How are you responding to anxiety? What response needs to be replaced with prayer and supplication?
 
 


PATHWAY TO PEACE

Hey there Flatwoods family,
 
I really had a great time gathering with you all this past Sunday.  It was good to be back in the pulpit after an excellent 15 year anniversary vacation.  Our vacation was so good, so refreshing, and so relaxing.  
 
Sunday I jumped into chapter 4 of Philippians which began a two part sermon on peace.  Paul mentions peace twice in the first nine verse, which I think causes the word peace to jump off the page.  
 
Peace may not be a word we use often, but it describes the desire of our heart.  We desire our relationships to be at peace, our world to be at peace, our home to be at peace, and our mind to be at peace.  I believe God desires you to experience peace in all these areas, and if you know the God of peace through the Prince of Peace we can experience the peace of God.
 
I love what Paul encourages the Philippians church to do in Philippians 4:4.  Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.”  Coming off his discussion on conflict, Paul exhorts the church to rejoice.  Rejoicing is the verbal form of joy.  Joy is a fruit of the Spirit.  As we are rooted in Christ, the Spirit bears fruit in our life and one result is joy.  Rejoicing is not manufactured through pure grit, but is a result of the pure joy that comes from knowing the Prince of Peace.  
 
I am sure by now your mind is already thinking about Christmas.  With Christmas comes a lot of fan fare, but I also with it comes focus.  Let your focus be on the Prince of Peace.  Jesus, the long expected Savior and Prince of Peace, broke into the world fulfilling all of Scripture.  If you are in Christ and Christ is in you, then you have the Prince of Peace with you.  He desires for you to experience the peace that came through His sacrificial death.  Remember the Prince of Peace died in your place, paid the debt you owed, in order that you might be at peace with the Father.  
 
If you didn’t catch Sunday’s sermon the video is below.  I look forward to worshiping with you all this Sunday.
 
God bless,
 
Jonathan Johnson
 
_______________________________________________
 
NEXT STEPS FROM SUNDAY’S SERMON
1. Resolve conflict.  Is there someone you need to spend time with in order to resolve conflict
2. Rejoice always.  Are you living with a heart of rejoicing?
3. Be reasonable.  Are you reasonable and gentle as you live everyday life?