An Invitation to Lent

With the pace and chaos of life, it is easy for even the most important things to sneak up on us. Maybe you’ve experienced this with an anniversary, birthday, holiday or big appointment. You knew it was coming, but you still weren’t ready for it. The problem is that these moments might lose significance without anticipation and preparation. 

No events are more central to our faith than those remembered on Easter weekend. Good Friday looks back to the cross, where Jesus died for our forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God. And Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection, when Jesus displayed his victorious power over sin and death and gave us hope of life beyond the grave. As much as I believe in these events and as important as they are to me, Easter comes and goes quickly and I find myself unprepared to embrace and enjoy their significance. 

In years past, this has left me longing for a way to be more mindful and prepared leading into Easter. What I have been longing for is what many Christians in other faith traditions have found in the season of Lent—a period of 40 days of preparation that culminates on Easter. Lent provides a period of mindfulness and preparation through the practice of the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading, prayer and fasting. The purpose is to train ourselves to think often of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection, making it more and more a part of who we are. As a result, the celebration of these events on Good Friday and Easter Sunday will be all the more meaningful and magnificent. 

For the first time, BridgePointe will be observing Lent together, starting on Wednesday, February 14th and we encourage you to join us on this 40 day runway. Here is a brief description of the spiritual disciplines and how we will participate in them together.

Bible reading

A consistent rhythm of daily Bible reading will strengthen our faith and shape our lives. Coinciding with the teaching series we are in, you are invited to read and study the life of Jesus as recorded by Jesus’s close friend, John. Join us by using the First 15 guide, “40 Days in the Gospel of John.” 

Prayer

Because prayer is a conversation with the God who loves you, it is powerful and has a way of changing us. Throughout Lent, choose a time and place to talk to God each day. It could be on your drive to work, in the early morning when your house is quiet, or right after you finish your reading from “40 Days in the Gospel of John.” If you’d like to learn more about how to prayer, check our most recent teaching series on prayer, Our Father

Fasting

We don’t like depriving ourselves of anything, especially what we need or enjoy. Fasting is going without something for a given period of time. When you do this, you will think often of what you are missing, at which time you redirect your attention to God, who wants to be your greatest need and desire. Here are a couple ways you can join us in fasting during Lent: 

  • Give up something you enjoy—social media, chocolate or desserts, Netflix, etc.— for the season of Lent. When you feel a craving for this, turn your attention to Jesus and thank Him for what He means to you. You might also use the time you would have spent for Bible reading and prayer.
  • Participate in a church-wide fast every Wednesday during Lent by going some or all of the day without eating—skip a single meal or do a 24-hour fast (Tuesday dinner until Wednesday dinner). Let your hunger turn your attention to Jesus and thank Him for what He means to you. Replace eating with prayer focusing on a particular intention—a sin battle, a big decision, a person who needs Jesus, etc. Each Wednesday of Lent, we will post a church-wide prayer focus for those fasting with us. 

Day One

To kick off Lent, BridgePointe is hosting Day One at the BridgePointe Center from 6:30-8:30am and 11am-1pm on Wednesday. This will be a contemplative environment with self-guided stations that move you through Bible reading, prayer, fasting, and communion. Staff will also be present to pray with you, if desired.

I pray that this season of Lent will make you more mindful of Jesus and more prepared to celebrate together what His death and resurrection mean for us. 

Jared Cowgur
Leadership & Teaching Pastor

Perfect Match Wallpaper

We have created a series of downloadable wallpapers to go along with our teaching series Perfect Match. We hope that they will help you to to memorize our memory verse John 20:31: 

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Click through on each image to open up the image file and then right click or control click to save the image to your device.  If you have trouble reach out and we can help you. 

Desktop wall paper - click through to file

Desktop wall paper - click through to file

Mobile wallpaper - click through to file

Mobile wallpaper - click through to file

Glitter version Desktop - click through to file

Glitter version Desktop - click through to file

Glitter version for mobile - click through to file

Glitter version for mobile - click through to file

 

 

Baptism Celebration - February 4, 2018

Four people chose to be baptized as a public profession of their faith in Jesus last Sunday. Here are each of their stories in their own words. 


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CARMINE CAIRO

My life before Jesus was an up and down life. At times, it was a corrupted life hanging out with the wrong crowd. But God never gave up on me. Thats why I want to renew my relationship and faith in Jesus to praise Him forever. 

Only through accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior are my sins forgiven and I’m excited to enter my new life following Him. Thank you for praying for me. I am One. 


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Nicole Bathalon

As a child I was baptized and semi raised Catholic. I attended Sunday school and received my first communion. During the time of preparing for my 1st communion the priest told my mom that I wasn’t smart and that I didn’t deserve to make my 1st communion - this was the first time I saw my mom cry. Not too long after this the leader of the Sunday school told my mom that we (myself and my siblings) need to choose either to play sports or God. And at the time, we decided to choose sports.

In 2013 among a lot of other struggles, my aunt passed away from cancer right before Christmas. I was sad, I was angry and I had lot of questions. I decided for New Years 2014 that I would create 14 goals for myself. And to my surprise while I was brainstorming these goals, exploring my faith/attending different churches made the list. My aunt was a strong believer and attended church every Sunday so in a way going back to church felt like my connection to her. I started to attend Manchester Christian Church. I fell in love with worship and was surprised how real and down to earth the pastor was. The messages on Sundays were so relevant and relatable in my life - I finally felt like I was making the connection.

I was never taught that I could have a relationship with Jesus. I thought that praying had to be super formal. And I never thought that I was good enough to be accepted by Jesus. But all of these thoughts and feelings were changed when I joined BridgePointe. I was overwhelmed during my first visit with how friendly and interested in my story everyone was. I definitely would not be able to be anonymous at this church. I joined a Starting Point class and met some fantastic people and learned so much. I then started to serve on the First Impressions team and then joined a small group. I have and will continue to learn so much. I am blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people who truly and deeply care about about my relationship with Jesus and who help me learn more and more.

I know that I am not perfect and that this is a relationship that takes work and patience. I am excited to continue to strengthen and grow my relationship with Jesus and to trust in Him. Thank you for praying for me. I am ONE.


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Rachel Medeiros

I have been learning about God since I was young. I loved God and prayed, but I didn't realize how much God loves me or that He performs miracles everyday. Recently, I read a book about a Christian woman named Corrie ten Boom. Corrie ten Boom showed love and peace during one of the hardest times in history that only could have been given to her by God. Her story taught me how much God loves us and what He could do for us and others if we allow Him to be the most important part of our lives. I am committing to Jesus today because I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and I want to give my life and everything that I have to give to God. I can't wait to live every moment of my life with Him! Thank you for praying for me! I am one!


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Melissa Ramos

2017 was a tough year for me. I began praying and asked Jesus to forgive me because I felt unloveable. One of my prayers during this time was for someone to talk to, someone to listen and to take this new journey of Christ with, and God delivered. He sent Krystal my best friend whom I had lost contact with over the years and she introduced me to BridgePointe. 

When I first walked in, it felt like home. I’m putting my life back together and with God by my side I will be alright because His love is like no other. Thank you for praying for me. I am one. 

Sing Out to God

What we do to worship God throughout the week better prepares us for Sunday morning. Do we wait until Sunday to express our love for God? Or are there things we can do during the week?

A couple of months ago we started adding Spotify song lists to each message posted online. Take the time to create a free Spotify account and use the app to listen to these playlists as a tool to prepare you for Sunday so the songs are familiar. The more familiar they are, the more easily the words roll off our tongues and the songs become a prayer to God. 

Here is the playlist that features the songs we have been singing for the entire Sunday Reset series: 

In Sunday's message, "God's Glory" we were challenged to sing more because 1) singing reminds us of who God is – His supremacy, authority, incomparable greatness, perfect love and 2) singing reminds us of who we are – that we are NOT God.

Here are some tips to help you reset your worship and sing more this week: 

1. PRACTICE

If you've never been one to sing, start now by practicing! In the car, while preparing meals, while getting ready in the morning, while playing with kids, while just being still as you sit on the couch. You can use our playlists to sing along with (it's a little less awkward that way).

2. GO ACCAPELLA

If you always have music on, take a bold step and turn the music off and just sing! Allow your voice to sing those words without the extra accompaniment of instruments. It might feel awkward, but as we hear our own voices – the voices God has given us – profess truths of who He is, His power, His majesty, it can become a powerful moment of prayer to God. No sound is sweeter to the ears of God than for His children to declare their love, trust, and surrender to Him, the perfect Father.   

3. SING SCRIPTURE

As you spend time in scripture and as something sticks out to you, turn it into a song. It doesn't have to be "radio" quality. No one except God needs to hear it. It becomes your response to what the Holy Spirit has reveled, pressed upon your mind. Help it stick! Sing it out!

4. FORGET ABOUT FINDING THE PERFECT PLAYLIST

Worshiping is the posture of our heart, not the songs we sing. If we depend upon the "perfect song set" to make us feel fulfilled, we will often come away disappointed, because that is not the designed purpose for singing. That's putting us at the center of our singing, rather than reminding our hearts and minds about the truths of God. Naturally, we connect with some songs in a special way. But all songs that sing of the truths of God had value for our lives. 

Go sing!

Rachel Cowgur
Worship Arts Director

Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power
that your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing the praises of your name.”
— Psalm 66: 1-4

 

 

Talking About Groups: Vinnie DeBoer

Vinnie is wearing the blue flannel shirt towards the back of the group in the middle of a chaotic moment at his home group. 

Vinnie is wearing the blue flannel shirt towards the back of the group in the middle of a chaotic moment at his home group. 

Keith Cabral sat down with Vinnie DeBoer and asked a few questions about what it's like being part of a small group at BridgePointe.  The following is a transcript of their interview. 

Groups start up again the week of January 21st. Check out our Groups page for more information and to sign up. 

What were your first thoughts about joining a small group? 

When I was first asked about joining a small group I was kind of hesitant. I’ve been in church my whole life, I grew up Christian, and none of the churches I’ve been to ever did this kind of small group ministry. The idea of joining with a bunch of people at someone’s house who you don’t know too well and just sitting down and talking, I wasn’t sure it was for me. I wound up going ahead and doing it, and sticking with it, and found that it was really enjoyable. It was time well spent.

What did you find when you joined a small group? 

I found a community of believers in Jesus that just want to follow Jesus together. It’s great not to go through Christianity on your own, not to have to go it alone. It’s great to find like-minded people. They share their experiences when times are tough. The Bible says you weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice. They’ll be there for you in the tough times and they’ll be there for you in the good times to share those as well. It wound up being a great experience just to talk with people who want to follow Jesus together. 

What has small group meant for your faith personally?

Personally, it’s showed that I can help others in their difficulties. It's showed me that I do have something to offer helping others through their struggles and encouraging them to stick with it, to continue following Jesus.  I can help others know they’re not alone, that this is something we’re going to be in for the long haul, together. 

What has your small group meant to you?

It’s been like a small fellowship, just like Jesus had with his twelve disciples. Those twelve, they followed Him everywhere. They were a tightly knit bunch of individuals and that’s how I feel with the small group. We talk about our faith, we talk about Jesus. That’s why we’re here. We talk about leading others to Jesus, because that’s so important, and we talk about how we can accomplish that. This is our fellowship, just like Jesus had His. We still have these small fellowships today and we can band together to do our best to reveal the best of the Kingdom of God to this world around us. 

What would you say to someone who’s on the fence about joining a group? 

If you are not sure about joining a group but you think just maybe, then give it a shot. If you don’t like it just don’t come back, but you might wind up finding that it’s a real blessing to you and to your spiritual life in Jesus. What do you have to lose? Just give it a shot. 

A Big First for BridgePointe

Sunday, January 28, will be a milestone celebration for BridgePointe. Since the birth of the first churches nearly 2000 years ago, appointing spiritual leaders has been a reason for celebration and a source of health, maturity, and stability for churches. On this special day, BridgePointe will present and appoint the first team of Shepherds, also known as “elders” in the Bible. This is a huge step for the church and here’s what it means for us. 

Leadership in the Church

It has been said that everything rises and falls on leadership. We see this axiom play out in the world around us. A business, company, organization, or church can only be as good as the people who lead it. The Bible provides an ancient model for leadership that has guided, guarded, and gifted the church since its inception. This role has different names—elder or overseer—and uses one image that brings clarity to the nature and role of leader: shepherds.

The book of Acts (in the Bible) tells the story of the spread of the Gospel and the start of the church. As churches were started, elders would be identified, trained, and appointed to shepherd these faith communities. In Acts we read,

Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust
— Acts 14:23

And later, the pastor of the church on the island of Crete was instructed to complete the work by “appointing elders in every town” (Titus 1:5). Local, Biblical leadership would establish the church to be strong and sustainable.

BridgePointe Christian Church was started nearly 5 years ago on March 17, 2013. Last year, after 4 years of financial support from the planting organization, Restoration House Ministries, we reached financial independence as the generosity of our people fully provided for the needs of the church. And this year, we will take the final step toward independence and sustainability by doing what the apostles and Titus did for the churches in the first century— appointing Biblical leaders to shepherd the church. In keeping with the picture of leadership provided in Scripture, we will call these leaders “Shepherds” to reflect the role they will have in the church.

What Shepherds Do 

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
— Acts 20:28
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
— 1 Peter 5:1-4

Fulfilling the role of Biblical eldership, shepherds of BridgePointe:

  • Are passionate about their sheep—their leadership will always come from a deep love for the people entrusted to them.
  • Pioneer the way for the sheep—they will set an example of following Jesus and lead the church to be the body of Jesus and to carry out the mission of Jesus.
  • Provide for the sheep—they will ensure that the people of the church have ministries and care needed to thrive spiritually and grow as disciples of Jesus.
  • Protect the sheep—they will guard the church from anything that threatens its identity and mission including division, false doctrine, ungodly leadership, or spiritual darkness.
  • Prescribe care for the sheep—they will work with the staff and ministry leaders to provide care, counseling, assistance, and support for those who need special attention or care.
  • Pursue the sheep—they will work with the staff to go after those who are struggling in faith or wandering from the flock to restore them to God and His church.

BridgePointe's First Team of Shepherds

Because of the role and responsibility of Shepherds, it is essential to ensure that the right people are being placed in this position. The Bible presents the qualities and character that is desired and required for shepherds to serve the church well (see 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9).

BridgePointe has conducted a careful and prayerful process, spanning nearly two years, to clarify the role of Shepherd for the church and identify people willing and able to serve in this role. Five men, possessing the Biblical qualities of elders, have been identified, prepared, and presented as the first Shepherds of BridgePointe Christian Church.

Unlike most positions of leadership, these men aspire after this role not because of what they can get for themselves but because they want to give of themselves for others. They love the people of this church and desire to lead them toward the vision God has for us. Please pray for these men to lead with wisdom, courage, love and faithfulness for the good of the church and the glory of God. And please know that these men are praying for you!


Learn More

If you’d like to learn more about the Biblical role of elders in the church,  listen to the message “Selfless Leadership” from the series Made to Last. 

For Families: 4 Ways to Connect on a Snow Day

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Snow days present a unique opportunity to connect with your children in a way that can bring the family closer to each other and to God. This month, the elementary classroom will be learning all about Commitment which we have defined as "making a plan and putting it into practice". Here are some ways you can help your child practice commitment, prepare for Sunday's lesson, and have some fun while waiting for this storm to calm down.

1. Make some goals for the New Year

The best part of setting goals is the feeling you get when you accomplish them. Give your kids the opportunity to experience that by helping them come up with a realistic, yet challenging commitment. Also, help them set the time frame to accomplish it. The hope is to give your child the win of a completing a commitment, and not just another thing to do.

2. Chore Scavenger Hunt

Challenge your child to go around the house and look for things they can fix or help out with. Dishes, watering plants, vacuuming, prepping for dinner - find things they can do. Once you have found a chore, set how often they will help with it through February. Your kids will feel more ownership because they found a way to help instead of just being told to do another thing.

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"Let me help!" 

Kids love to help, so let them get involved! 

3. Tackle a Home Project

Since most, if not all, of the family will be home today, take this as a chance to fix, enhance, or accomplish something cool. Have a laundry party, complete an art project, rearrange the layout of a room, or do a bit of "winter" cleaning. No matter what, do it as a family, and commit to finishing it today. As for me, my family is going to finally finish painting some ceramic Christmas houses that have been on stand-by for a month.

4. Complete a Puzzle

Nothing says commitment more than doing a puzzle. Dust off that old box, dump it onto a table, and have at it. Once your done, post a picture so everyone can see the fruit of your commitment. Hopefully all the pieces are there.

We cannot wait to hear about the fun ways your kids showed commitment on Sunday. Show us a picture or tell us a story, we would love to hear about them.

Enjoy the snow!

Mike Moran
Children's Ministry Director

Top Ten Messages of 2017

Happy 2018!  We are thankful for all that God has done at BridgePointe in 2017 as we look forward to 2018. Here is a collection of ten not-to-be-missed messages from 2017.

Whether you missed them, don’t remember them, or could benefit from a refresher, take time over the next month to revisit some of the high points from God’s Word through these selected teachings.We hope this top ten list will encourage and challenge you as you head into the new year. 

 

1. Hidden Kingdom, "Reward" (Jan 8, 2017)

BIG IDEA: God gives eternal life based on His grace rather than our effort.
TEXT: Matthew 20:1-16

BIG IDEA: Through baptism, Jesus made a commitment to us and we make a commitment to Him.
TEXT: Matthew 3:13-17

BIG IDEA: Through the Holy Spirit, God gives us the power for victory over sin.
TEXT: John 15:4-5

BIG IDEA: Prayer is a conversation with the God who loves you.
TEXT:Matthew 6:5-9

BIG IDEA: If everything belongs to God, all we have belongs to God
TEXT: various

 

6. Friend of Sinners, "Come Closer" (Aug 13, 2017)

BIG IDEA: To be like Jesus, we need to let people who don't know Him come closer to us.
TEXT: Luke 7:36-50

BIG IDEA: The church should be the beginning of the belonging we will have in heaven.
TEXT: John 14:1-6; Revelation 7:9-17

BIG IDEA: The church needs selfless leadership to be made to last.
TEXT: 1 Timothy 3:1-15; Titus 1:5-9

BIG IDEA: The church values hospitality because every person has value to us.
TEXT: 1 Peter 4:8-9

BIG IDEA: The church is a community of faith committed to making disciples and reaching the lost.