Worshipers Need the Church
by Pastor Paul Brown

My heart is overwhelmed with emotions as I think about the awesome privilege of studying, applying, and preaching God's Word week after week. It is incredibly difficult work and the accountability is high (James 3:1)...

but the rewards are out of this world! Thank you for making it possible for me to devote so much of my week to this vital task for the building up of the church (Acts 2:42; 6:1-4; 2 Tim. 4:1-5).
The more I study the Word of God, the more my conviction grows that on-going participation in a local church is essential, critical, vital, and yes, mandatory in the life of every true follower of Jesus Christ. A few years ago, we spent several months in a series on the church because there are so many passages that address the topic. Recently I have been grieved by the growing number of personal comments, blogs, and magazine articles from professing Christians saying they don't need the church in order to worship and serve God. I understand that a lot of people have had negative experiences in churches, but that does not negate the tidal wave of Scripture that calls for our participation in the visible expression of Christ's church here on earth.
Last week (1/19/17) I read one of the best articles I have seen on this topic. It was posted on "The Cripplegate" (a blog by a group of pastors), by Pastor Jesse Johnson. It is an excellent blog post that you can read here: 7 Reasons Worshipers Need The Church
If you don't have the time for that here is a brief introduction he gives on his seven reasons followed by a list of the seven reasons:

"Scripture gives seven basic components of this corporate worship gathering (fellowship, the ordinances, Scripture reading, giving, prayer, singing, and most notably preaching). But it is assumed that all of these happen under the leadership of the elders, and together make up the corporate worship of the church."

1. Fellowship as Corporate Worship. 
2. Ordinances as Corporate Worship. 
3. Scripture Reading as Corporate Worship. 
4. Giving as Corporate Worship. 
5. Prayer as Corporate Worship. 
6. Preaching as Corporate Worship. 
7. Singing as Corporate Worship.
He concludes his blog with: "In light of all this, it is simply impossible for a person to love God, but not worship. And it is difficult to imagine how a person could love worship, but not the church; after all, God has designed at least 7 ways of worship that can only be done with the congregation."
It is my prayer that all of us who are members and/or attenders at The Bridge Bible Fellowship will grow in our love for, commitment to, and active participation in our local church. May the angels of heaven rejoice as they see God's grace on display in our lives each and every time we gather together.
To God be the glory!
We Need YOU!
by Pastor Randy Leinen

If you did not read Pastor Paul's article, you should backup and read it! It is a great challenge for all of us at TBBF to consider how important the involvement of every church member is. Even the Greek word for church means "called out ones." We are those who have been called out to be part of the greatest organization in the world! And God wants YOU to be instrumental in the advancement and growth of this organization.

One of the ways we are involved in the church, in addition to those mentioned in Paul's article is by serving. Paul will be preaching on this at length when he gets to Ephesians chapter 4. In the mean time, we NEED YOU. Below are just a few areas where we need help. So if you are not already serving somewhere, please consider one of the areas listed. You can contact either Diane Brown or me to get more information.
  • Children's Ministry:  Many fun opportunities to serve kids in our new building and you don't have to be a teacher or do it every week.
  • Facility Maintenance: Many projects are going on where volunteer help would be much appreciated.
  • Security: On Sundays, we have a great need for people to be part of the security team and keep our campus safe.
  • Parking: We desperately need parking attendants to help people find places to park. It also helps visitors to feel welcome to our church.
  • Bridge Cafe: This is always a good place for someone to help before or after the service. 
  • Youth Ministry: This is the next generation of Christians. We need people who are willing to love on teenagers.
  • Special Events: All kinds of special events are planned and we need people to help make them great. There are many opportunities for different kinds of help.
  • Greeters: We have great greeters. We just always need more friendly faces around.
  • Ushers: With tight seating, having ushers who help assist people to their seats also makes TBBF a more welcoming place.
  • Tech Team: Sound, video, lighting, projection. If these words have meaning to you, maybe you can help our rapidly improving and expanding ministry.
  • Communications: website, social media, printed materials and graphics. If you have a talent for any of these things, we could really use your help as we try to make communication a strength of our church.
These are just a few of the areas in which we need help. Diane Brown will be sending out a survey in the next few weeks that will help us to understand your gifts and strengths. Look for that and please consider finding your place to serve in YOUR church.
An Example of True Worship
by Pastor Steve
The Precious Ointment
6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table . But the disciples were indignant when they saw this , and said, "Why this waste? For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor." 10  But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me. 11  For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. 12  For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. 13  Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her."

In light of the recent focus on the treatment of women in our world, I thought it would be important to recognize this event in the life of Jesus. While on earth, Jesus highly esteemed women. His treatment of women was in direct contrast to the culture. From obediently honoring His mother as a young man, and in the first miracle of His ministry, to making sure she was cared for in his last moments on the cross, Jesus cared for women deeply. He granted everyone, man and woman, equal access to salvation and eternal life, referring to our adoption as sons and DAUGHTERS.  He raised people from the dead, whether they were male or female. And in this instance, during one of His last days before His crucifixion, he declares that  "wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her." That is a pretty clear statement of His value of this woman and of women in general.

Now, I would like to examine the kind of worship that this woman offered to Jesus and to challenge us to consider if ours is like it. Her show of love to Jesus was characterized by three wonderful qualities:

1.  It COST her a lot! Biblical scholars have indicated that the value of this perfume may have been more than $2000 in today's economy. She believed that Christ was worth it. How much does our worship cost us? Remember, this was not merely a case of her singing a worship song; this was an act, in everyday life, of honoring Jesus lavishly. Can we look for ways in our everyday lives to do the same?


2.  It was a RISK. She did this in the context of what women were thought of in that day and she interrupted all that was going on. She wasn't concerned about what everyone else would think of her if she boldly worshipped Jesus. Are we as bold about truly, passionately serving Jesus, even if it's in our Sunday worship service? Or are we constantly holding back for fear of what someone else's opinion might be?


3.   She worshipped according to JESUS PURPOSE.   

12 "For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial." She wasn't doing this primarily as a good deed or even to persuade Jesus not to go to the Cross. She was acting in a way that she hoped would help Him be the sacrifice for our sins. How often do we do "worshipful" things that are really driven by some motive of our own?



One other observation here: it was the woman here who was humbly, brokenly offering true worship while the men stood around and criticized her. Guys, sometimes it's easy for us to sit back, fold our hands, and let "the women folk" lead, or even be involved, in worship. An example of this to me personally is how hard it is to find MEN to sing in choir or on worship team. If God's design for leadership in the Church is for men to lead, why aren't there more men setting the example of being a passionate, demonstrative worshipper? 

But an hour is coming, and now is, when the  true  worship ers will  worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His  worship ers.  John 4:23
News from Bridge Youth
by Joe Leinen

Happy New Years from Bridge Youth!

To give a bit of review, last month our big event was our Christmas party. We had a blast enjoying food, fun, and fellowship together as we remembered the birth of our Lord and Savior.
  We then took two weeks off from our regular youth meetings to give much needed rest and family time to our staff and students. But now we're back at it and excited for 2017! We can't wait to see what God is going to do in our group this year!

We are continuing to go through the book of James
 on Wednesday  nights and we have recently started a study through Acts  on Sunday  mornings.
Another HUGE event that is coming up soon is our Bridge Youth Winter Camp. Our camp will be  March 3-5  at Pine Summit, Big Bear. Our camp theme is Revive and it will be all about how God has revived man through His Son (Eph. 2:4-5).

Here are some things you can be praying for:
  • Our leadership team: that we would continue to be unified, have wisdom in decision-making, and faithfully serve the students.
  • Our students: that God would open the hearts of those who are unbelievers, and that He would grow those who are believers.
  • A student leadership team: that God would raise up faithful students who desire to be leaders in the youth group.
  • Winter Camp: that God would bring many students, that our group would be unified and strengthened, that we would be safe and have an awesome time together and, most importantly, that God would do an amazing work, save many souls and cause much growth in Christ.
So Heavenly Minded We are  of Great Earthly Good
by Pastor Thomas Herringshaw

In 1977 country music singer/songwriter Johnny Cash released his album  The Rambler . The album did not have much commercial success, but the lyrics of one of the songs on the album give voice to a thought that has been echoed ever since then. I'm sure the familiar saying will jump out at you as you read the lyrics to the song entitled, "No Earthly Good" below:
Come hear me good brothers, come here one and all
Don't brag about standing or you'll surely fall
You're shinin' your light and shine it you should
But you're so heavenly minded you're no earthly good
No earthly good you are no earthly good
You're so heavenly minded you're no earthly good
You're shinin' your light yes and shine it you should
You're so heavenly minded and you're no earthly good

Come hear me good sisters you're salt of the earth
If your salt isn't salted then what is it worth
You could give someone a cool drink if you would
You're so heavenly minded and you're no earthly good
No earthly good you are no earthly good
You're so heavenly minded you're no earthly good
You could give someone a cool drink if you would
You're so heavenly minded and you're no earthly good

If you're holdin' heaven then spread it around
There are hungry hands reaching up here from the ground
Move over and share the high ground where you stood
So heavenly minded you're no earthly good
No earthly good you are no earthly good
You're so heavenly minded you're no earthly good
Move over and share the high ground where you stood
So heavenly minded and you're no earthly good
No earthly good...
Johnny Cash was making the argument (as many people past and present have) that Christians can often times be so preoccupied with heavenly, eternal things that they lose sight of the good they can do in the present on the earth. Yet in Colossians 1:3-5a we see that the Apostle Paul would disagree with that assessment.
Although Paul had never met the Colossians, he gives thanks to God (1:3) because he has heard a report of their faith and love (1:4) from a man named Epaphras (1:7-8). In his thanksgiving to God for the gospel's impact upon the Colossian saints, he mentions their faith, love and hope, a triumvirate of Christian virtues that he mentions often in his letters (cf. 1 Cor. 13:13; Rom. 5:1-5; Gal. 5:5-6; Eph. 4:2-5; 1 Thess. 1:3; 5:8). These three virtues of faith, hope and love are intertwined and lead to one another and in this passage in Colossians, Paul makes it clear that the Colossians love for others was " because of the hope " laid up for them in heaven.

Hope is an interesting mindset. When we have hope, it feels like nothing can go wrong and when hope is absent from our lives it feels as if nothing can go right. When we speak of the believer's "hope" we are not speaking of the typical American usage of "hope." We typically use the word to speak of something we are not quite sure will happen, e.g. "I hope my team wins the Super Bowl." Our usage of "hope" has a connotation of uncertainty, but Paul does not use the word in that way. For Paul and the other authors of the New Testament, hope is a confident expectation of something that is not yet realized. It is an assurance of an invisible, future reality. Paul's usage of the word expresses certainty rather than uncertainty. The author of Hebrews connects hope with faith in Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

So if we go back to Colossians, we see that the motivation for their love of others was the confident expectation (hope) that they had of their future in heaven. And it was their heavenly mindedness, their understanding of the hope laid up for them in heaven, that motivated them to love others here on earth. Their future hope gave them a present boldness, that led them to be more willing to love sacrificially and radically during their time on earth. This is what Epaphras reported to Paul about the Colossian believers and what was true for them is also true for us as believers today.

Having a heavenly mindset, one that meditates upon and lives in light of our imperishable inheritance kept in heaven for us (1 Pet. 3:4), motivates us to live for that inheritance rather than "our best life now." Indeed those who are heavenly minded are the best at carrying out good on earth, and those who are earthly minded actually do the least heavenly good. When we are heavenly minded we are willing to sacrifice our time, talents and treasures for the good of others. But when we have an earthly mindset, we are unwilling to give and love sacrificially to benefit others.

If we were to evaluate ourselves in light of Colossians 1:3-5a, what would be the verdict? If others were to give a report of our faith in Christ, would our love for others because of the hope laid up for us in heaven be spoken of as well? Has the hope and assurance of the gospel led us to a greater concern and love for others? May the Lord increase our faith, grow our love for others and strengthen our hope so that we are SO heavenly minded that we are of GREAT earthly good.
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18644 Sherman Way, Reseda, CA 91335
phone: 818.776.1500 | fax: 818.881.0327