What Would Roy Say Now?

Roy is gone.  I miss him already. There have been many others who have gone from us after a lifetime of service in the Kingdom… but Roy was special.  I’ve known many elders in my life, but none who treated me like a son as Roy did.  Being treated like a son isn’t always fun, of course.  But Roy never let a negative situation linger.  He was always aware of people’s need for kindness and attention and he gave it freely to all. 

As I prepared for his memorial service, a question popped into my head. “What would Roy say now?” He said a lot of things while on this earth, some good and some less-than-good, but it’s worth considering if his thought process might have changed when he entered into the eternal state. There is a story in Luke 9 that might shed some light on this question.

 About eight days later, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 

What would Roy say now?  LISTEN TO JESUS!!  Stop letting the world have such a great influence on us.  Turn off the TV, the smart phone, the game board, the 24-hour news cycle, and any other thing that is sucking up our time and dragging our attention away from the Kingdom.  Read the word, especially the gospels.  LISTEN TO JESUS!!  Gather your family, and friends too, around a table.  While sharing the bounty of God’s goodness, talk about what you’re learning in your bible study time.  Pray together like never before.  And LISTEN TO JESUS as He speaks to you through His Spirit.  Treat every moment of every day as a gift from God.  But not as a gift for your own personal pleasure… rather, as a gift from the One who is making all things new through     Jesus Christ.  LISTEN TO HIM!!  He’s calling us into that world redeeming work!  If we listen, we may hear our own calling.  And that calling may well enable us to do what the world says can’t be done.  

Yes… Listen to Jesus.  That’s what Roy would say to us today.  Thank God for our time with Roy.  And thank God for our future together when Jesus calls us home as well.  

Service With A Smile

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Service with a Smile

Do you take your smile for granted? As children, we learned to take care of our smile by brushing every day. Toothpaste was readily available in our homes because someone made an effort to purchase it. However, if you are incarcerated, making a trip to pick up toothpaste is not possible, and your smile suffers.

Each year we partner with Tennessee Prison Outreach to provide inmates at Riverbend Prison a Christmas gift of items every person uses daily — toothpaste, soap, etc. This year we have been asked to provide 650 full-size tubes of toothpaste.

On your next trip to the Dollar Tree or when you see a grocery store sale, pick up a few extra tubes of toothpaste. Collection bins will be located in the church foyer. If you prefer to make a cash donation, those can be given to Jim Pounders, James Kelley, or Bill Walls.

The fantastic thing about smiles is that they warm the hearts of both the giver and the receiver.

A Special Tribute

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Last week Northside celebrated its 40th anniversary. It was a great day of celebration and reminiscing. I’ve only been around for 13 years of its history and have been eternally blessed in that time. Many of you have been a part of Northside for much longer, and some of you have been at Northside since the very beginning. We all sand on the shoulders of you two have been around longer than us working as faithful servants of the Kingdom. Thank You.

When I was hired at Northside 13 years ago, Roy Hooper was one of the elders who hired me. Roy was always a constant encourager and supporter of me and has been in my corner every day since those men hired me. When our boys were sick and in the hospital for months I went to the Elders concerned about how much work I had been missing. As I began to plead my case for why I hadn’t been doing the job I felt I should be, Roy spoke up and before I could even finish said, “You take care of your family, your wife and boys are your number one priority, that’s the most important thing to us right now.” If you knew Roy, these words don’t surprise you in the least. I didn’t know these men well enough initially to know if they really meant what they said, or if they just knew it was the right thing to say.

The Elders never once questioned my work during this time. They just asked about how Bekah and the boys were doing. I can’t express the weight those words took off my shoulders. There were many other times in our relationship that Roy offered great wisdom and understanding that I desperately needed as a young minister. This one probably stands out the most because it was Roy and those other men whose words kept me from making a big mistake that far too many men make. His words and actions spoke to show me, a young man with a new family, what was most important in life.

Thank God for Roy and people like Roy who have meant so much to so many. If you knew Roy, you were blessed. We love you Hoopers and we will certainly miss Roy, but we are confident of the glory he is now experiencing with Jesus.

2020Vision ~ Minister Search ~ Elder Selection ~ 40th Anniversary

We have a lot going on, don’t we? When we began this year, we knew we’d be busy in 2019, but we had hoped it would be stuff that would mostly transform our “appearance” to the community. We wanted a fresh face for 2020, and our prayers focused on renewing Northside for the next decade or more. So, did hell break loose, or what? That’s an interesting metaphor for how some of our years have felt, but I don’t think it’s a good metaphor. I’d be more inclined to say the Kingdom of God has broken loose!! Let me explain.

Throughout history, some of the most challenging events ever recorded often resulted in a renewal that opened new doors of opportunity for the people who suffered through those difficulties. Just consider a few from the biblical story: Abraham and Isaac at Mt. Moriah, Moses in a reed basket, Israel’s travel to the promised land, David and Bathsheba, Jesus and the Cross, the church in Jerusalem being driven out and evangelizing the world to name a few. If you and I were in any of those historical moments, we would have prayed that God would end that difficulty before the renewal was able to be birthed. We, humans, are most often unable to see how our pain and difficulties can be redeemed and bring about something that we would eventually be very grateful for. That’s just human nature!

But here we are. We had begun the year praying for God to allow us to bring about a renewal for Northside. Admittedly, our idea of renewal may have been a bit short-sighted but look at God!! He’s answered our prayers and opened doors for us that we didn’t even know we needed to walk through at the time! As the year 2020 rolls around, we will not only have some of the broken stuff repaired, but we’ll have a new preaching minister, a clear vision of our future, a new shepherding group to help us navigate that future, and a restored relationship with people who were once members at Northside but who have gone from us at some point in the last 40 years.must confess, when I first started talking about 2020Vision, I had NO IDEA where God would lead that discussion!

I know some of you are still feeling miserable about it all. I’ve heard people grumbling about all the talk about “money,” and they see the Vision Wall at the back of our worship center as a testimony... that money is all we care about. If you feel that way, you don’t really know what’s going on around here. Our prayer for you is that God will awaken you to the exciting adventure He has laid out in front of us. In just over three months, a new decade will dawn, and Northside will be stronger than ever before! This community will have an advocate before God like never before. But we’re not there yet. We still need your help!! We have a TON of activities already in the works, and we need volunteers. We have a TON of envelopes still holding on to that Vision Wall, and we need your help!! Don’t see the glass as half-empty, see the glass as too small for all that God has in store for us! And may you be blessed by hearing God say someday, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Encounters with Jesus

Today is the last day of our four-week study on Encounters with Jesus. I hope you have enjoyed this series as much as I have. As I’ve mentioned, it is impossible to cover in four weeks every encounter Jesus had in the gospels, and there is a good chance that we didn’t talk about one that is your favorite. What is your favorite encounter that Jesus had during his life? Is it oe of the ones we have discussed, or might it be another one?

The shepherds at his birth, Simeon, the teachers in the temple, the demon-possessed man, any of the Apostles, the paralyzed man, the Roman centurion, Jairus (and his daughter), the Pharisees, the crippled woman, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, the crowds. So many to choose. Just writing these down, I’m beginning to wonder if I even included MY favorite encounter! We are so blessed to have these written accounts of Jesus’ life.

The good news is you don’t have to wait on me to preach a sermon about any of the encounters of Jesus. You have the opportunity to open the word of God and study for yourself the amazing, life-changing, world redeeming, ministry of Jesus pretty much any time you want. My encouragement to you is to study some of these and more the encounters of Jesus.

While studying for this series, I have read stories that I have known for years, only to dig a little deeper into them and see all sorts fo deeper realities. I encourage you as well, to go to the gospels with new eyes and ears and see what God shows you in His word. One of the things I try to do as I begin in God’s word is to pray, read the story multiple times, and just let it sit for a day or so. I then start writing everything that stands out to me. Repeat this process. Then find a good commentary or article about that text and see how you might benefit from the collective knowledge of years of study. Then pray again that God would lead you to what you need to see and hear in that text. It’s incredible what you will begin to see and notice, and it’s incredible the way you will start to see God’s story unfolding before your very eyes, and how you have a role to play n the story that is continuing to be written.

Pray for Your (Current and Future) Shepherds

If you've ever served on any kind of committee (church or otherwise), you know how easy it is for folks to disagree. And Satan LOVES disunity and disharmony in the church.

That's what I love about serving with Kenny and Greg as your shepherds. We work together extremely well. We don't always agree on everything, but we work out our differences with discussion, prayer, and fist fights. Just kidding on the latter, of course. My two fellow shepherds are, as Ephesians 4 puts it, "humble and gentle" and wonderful to work with. As I'm sure any possible future shepherds will be.

However, we're just human. We have jobs. We have family responsi- bilities. We have church-related meetings. And meetings. And more meetings. So I ask that you keep us in your prayers that we may have the following:

Wisdom. Solomon asked for it in 1 Kings. Greg, Kenny, and I are no Solomons, but pray that we may have as much wisdom as possible.

Holiness. "Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord." - Hebrews 12:14

Endurance. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9

Humility. "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. " - 1 Peter 5:2-4

And pray for unity for all of our church family. "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." - Ephesians 4:1-3

Thanks again for your support, prayers, and the ability to serve as your shepherd.


Northside Interim Ministry




Have you said (or thought) those words recently? Have you been wondering why we’re without a pulpit minister for several months, yet there’s not been a single interview accomplished? Are you thinking that the elders are not doing enough about getting a new preacher hired? Does it feel to you like Northside is just slipping away?

Know this: these fears and anxieties are quite normal for a church experiencing the things Northside has gone through. We are all under stress, and all of us are experiencing the relational and emotional fall-out of a crisis. We are a family that is wounded, and we need to be careful about how we respond to each other during this difficult time.

Inserted into last week’s bulletin was a comprehensive list of things that have been happening for the past months. It was well written by Tim Woodroof and Dustin Darnall and documented the entire process we’re going through. Did you read it? I hope you didn’t just toss it. It was an essential document that was given to ensure that every member would know what is being done to hire our next preaching minister. It’s not possible to read that and still think nothing is being done!! And your role is important...you are being asked to be patient, to trust that things are being done in a God-honoring and effective manner, and to pray for everyone who is involved in this process.

You may not see anything being done in the hiring process, but you can believe that a LOT is being done all through the week…every week. EVERY WEEK groups are meeting to prepare Northside for our future. EVERY WEEK twelve people, who are not elders or staff, meet for hours planning the process that will eventually lead us to our next preaching minister. EVERY WEEK staff members attend planning meetings to help us ensure that we are all doing what needs to be done for Northside’s future. EVERY WEEK a small group of people is meeting to discuss our mission/vision for the future. And EVERY WEEK the elders are meeting to stay abreast of all the things mentioned above. You can’t possibly see all that from the viewpoint of a Sunday morning worship service. But you can believe it.

It’s like a journey toward a beautiful place. We had to begin in a deep and dark ravine, and we see in front of us a giant mountain with treacherous path that will test our mettle. We are on that pathway to a glorious future! We can, of course, step off that path at any time. It’s easier that way! But to do so means we will not get to see the place that God is preparing for us. We, the Northside family, are heading over that mountain top to enter into a place like we’ve never been before. That, my friends, is not hyperbole! It’s a reality!! Patience, my friends. God bless us all with the patience we will need to complete the task ahead of us.


New Beginnings

New Beginnings

Many of your children or grandchildren have started back to school in the last two weeks. With the start of every school year, or anything new in my household for that matter, chaos, anxiety, excitement, uncertainty and stress may be present until a routine or “normalcy” are created. (A lack of sleep is also present) Many of us as parents are experiencing that right now as we try to schedule our way through all of the new things as we begin a new year.

It is so easy when things are uncertain and somewhat chaotic, to allow ourselves to become anxious, stressed and to even worry. I have found that it is in those moments that Satan works on me and my family the most. Those moments where we are consumed with things we may not be able to change. Those moments when our focus is shifted and we try to place ourselves in control.

When you think of the words “new beginning,” what emotions or feelings are brought to your mind? Uncertainty? Anxiety? Stress? Opportunity? Success? Excitement? Some of you may view change and new beginnings very positively. Some may really dread it.

As I have thought about all of the new beginnings in my own household, I have also been drawn to think about the new beginnings in my Northside family. Individually, many of us are dealing with new circumstances. New “normals”. The death of a loved one, a cancer diagnoses, a new job. New beginnings and change come in all different forms. Northside as a body faces a new beginning as it begins to search for a new preacher. It is normal for us to be uneasy or anxious about that process. It is also normal to be excited about a new opportunity for this body.

This week I want to encourage you that no matter what “new beginning” you are facing, try to face it with positivity. Try to face it with prayer and with your focus on the only One who matters - God. He did not die for us to worry about those things we can not control. He did not die to give us all of the answers. If you are a “fixer” like me, this is especially hard. The unknown is difficult. How we choose to act in the unknown moments shows our character. Who do you represent in those moments? I’ve been reminded this week of different scriptures that I have held close.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and sound judgement. 2 Timothy 1:7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

I’m excited about the new school year for all of our kiddos, and I am so excited for the next chapter in Northside’s future. I pray that we all will choose to show Christ’s character of humility, kindness and grace throughout our “new beginnings” moving forward.


Adam Braseel Is Free

Many of you at Northside have been praying for Adam Braseel’s freedom for five years.I first met Adam in 2010, as Churches of Christ began a new ministry at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution.  Adam was 27 years old.  He was 24 when convicted of murdering Malcolm Burrows and assaulting Burrows’ sister.  Adam asked me to serve as his mentor at Riverbend and I quickly agreed.  From the beginning, Adam maintained his innocence and urged me to read his case, which I did.  We prayed a lot.

After the murder of Malcolm Burrows and the terrible beating of his sister, the person who then served as Sheriff in Grundy County went looking for a suspect.  Two  witnesses said that the perpetrator had red hair and drove a gold car. Adam was red headed and drove his mother’s gold car, so he was questioned by the officers.  Knowing that he had nothing to hide, Adam readily offered his clothing and his car for examination.  Even though officers found no blood evidence, and even though none of the fingerprints at the crime scene matched, Adam Braseel was indicted, tried, and given a life   sentence of 51 years. 

In 2015, a Knoxville attorney appealed Adam’s conviction based on a faulty photograph I.D. and testimony of witnesses not called in the first trial.  The Honorable Justin Angel, newly elected District Court Judge for the county, awarded Adam a new trial and set him free until he could be tried again.  Freedom was short lived, however.  The     Criminal Court of Appeals overturned Judge Angel’s decision.  

James Kelley, Adam’s new mentor, and the Northside church continued to pray.

By 2017, Adam had a new attorney.  Alex Little, convinced of Adam’s innocence, has been relentless.  Having discovered multiple new evidence, he asked Judge Angel for another hearing.  Having read the discovery evidence, the District Attorney of Grundy County offered Adam a plea deal before the hearing even began:  take an Alford plea  admitting to murder, spend four more years in prison, and go free.  Adam refused.  

In the new hearings, held in July and August of this year, the new evidence was presented by Adam’s attorney.  1) A deputy sheriff testified that Malcom Burrows wallet and money (the supposed motive in Adam’s conviction) was still on the body when      discovered. 2) A witness from the Tennessee Bureau of investigation testified that at the time of the murder, fingerprints were found in the car of the deceased but could not be matched to anyone.  In 2017, the fingerprints were run through the TBI system again.  They perfectly matched a known felon named Kermit Bryson, who had red hair and     resembled Adam Braseel.  This man was known to Malcolm Burrows.  He had later killed a deputy sheriff and then killed himself. 3) a third witness testified that the car Kermit Bryson drove was gold.  4) A fourth witness testified that she had done drugs with Kermit Bryson and that he had admitted to killing Malcolm Burrows.

A recess was called in the hearing.  We were told that negotiations were being held.  Eventually, Adam and his attorney appeared before Judge Angel.  A deal had been reached.  Adam took an Alford plea (allowing him to remain silent when asked if he had done anything wrong) holding him accountable for the beating of Burrows’ sister but not for the murder.  It was not a perfect day, but here is the result.  1) Adam Braseel is free.  2). He will not have to endure another trial which could possibly return him to prison. 3) Adam will be able to appeal his guilt of any charge relating to the crime and have the charges expunged.  4) He can never again be in prison for anything relating to these crimes.

Adam says he wouldn’t change anything.  He has taught and baptized many whom he met in prison during the past 12 years.  He will no longer endure incarceration for something he did not do.  He is with his family, and he will live his life honorably,    continuing to serve the Lord with a new vision of fighting for others who, like himself, were wrongfully convicted. 

We are thankful for your faithful prayers, and we praise God for his mercy and grace—providing just the right people at just the right time to give Adam freedom.

—Jim Pounders

Letter from the Shepherds: Running the Race

      I’m tired. Are you? I’m a runner and it feels like I’ve been running full blast with church activities lately in addition to my daily workouts. But that’s a good thing!

Heb. 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

      It’s certainly a business summer here at Northside. Vacation Bible School and Church Camp were both major successes. (Thanks to Megan Swanger, Chris Gannon, and everyone who worked so hard on both events).

      We have our preacher search committee chosen. Mikki Perry is chairing it. We’ll introduce the entire committee next Sunday morning, so be here.

      The shepherd selection process starts today with Charlie Hooks heading it up. We need everyone’s participation, so puh-leeze get involved as we look to add new leaders to help guide our church family.

      We’re also getting back on track with our 2020 Vision plans. If you’re not a part of these plans yet, contact Stan Cunningham, Kenny Wyatt, Greg Tolbert, or Yours Truly to get involved.

      I said I was tired, but I’m also excited about all the things going on in our church family. I have no doubt that our best days are ahead. In another running analogy: “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31.

      If this were any other church family, I might be nervous about all the changes taking place. But not with the Northside family. The years and months ahead with doubtless see us grow spiritually and in our efforts to reach a broken world.

      Kenny, Greg, and myself look forward to working with our staff and all of you, our brothers and sisters in Christ, to accomplish great things for the glory of God.

“So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” — Rom. 12:5

In Christian love,

Dennis Sellers

(writing for the Northside shepherds)

Dragging Our Way into LIFE

       Last week I mowed the yard in what felt like a 350-degree oven.  At one point, completely drenched in sweat, I had to sit down in the shade of a tree to catch my breath and cool down a bit.  I was feeling sorry for myself, and talking to God about it, when something moving along the ground caught my eye.  As I watched, I realized that it was a butterfly.  It’s wings, however, were dragging the ground and appeared to be moist and not fully formed.  This little guy was     crawling with absolute resolution toward a tree.  It was a difficult journey over sticks and rocks and hot dry ground, but it managed to climb into that tree to a height of about 2’ off the ground… and it stopped right there.  It was just high enough for a slight breeze to blow against its wings.  And I sat, utterly amazed, as I witnessed a miracle.  Its wings were droopy but began to unfold and straighten out.  As the moisture dried, the wings began to take form and more vibrant color. It sat right there in that spot, opening and closing its wings, until they were fully formed as God had always meant them to be.

      I had witnessed a part of transformation (metamorphosis) where a caterpillar sheds its cocoon and becomes a butterfly.  I did not see the cocoon, nor did I see the caterpillar.  But those past experiences were very real for that little fellow, and I had witnessed the difficult portion of its journey after escaping the cocoon, where it trudged across difficult terrain in blistering heat to find a place where its wings can dry off, expanding over and over again, growing in strength and stability, until finally it becomes able to lift off and fly into the sky to live life to its fullest as it was created to do!  What an incredible sight to see!

      God had given me a gift at a moment when I felt much like a soggy caterpillar wriggling along a broken and battered world, desperately trying to find a place where I can feel the wind of God blowing strength into my feeble body.  And, what’s most astounding to me is that a seemingly insignificant little butterfly is actually a type (or metaphor) of US.  Paul writes:  Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2) The word “transformed” in that text is actually the Greek word “metamorphoses”. As Paul was writing encouragement to the battered church in Rome, he had his mind on a caterpillar who would, through its own suffering, one day be given the glorified body of a butterfly.  God wants us to know that we are not meant for the cocoon, or even for the dry and parched ground of a sin-cursed world.  We were created to soar with God!  And we are, even now, through all kinds of difficulties and suffering, having our beleaguered bodies transformed into glorious bodies that will one day surpass all the butterflies in this world. And when that day comes, we will know what true LIFE is!

       That, my friends, is who we are!!  May you never stop believing that truth.  And may we never stop believing that God is not finished with us.  Thank you, Lord, for finishing what you start!!

God Is So Good!

As many of you are aware, this building was “transformed” as VBS took place last week. We had a regular nightly attendance of over 120 people, both children and volunteers. We sang praises, watched skits, and traveled back in bible times! I want to personally thank each and every person who helped with this HUGE project or volunteered in any way. I also want to thank the parents for trudging through the week with me and trusting me with your children!

The week was better than I could have ever imagined, but I wanted to give you a few highlights of ways that I saw God working in this body throughout the week.

  • After last week, your children KNOW that God is always good, regardless of the circumstances. Just say to them “When life is unfair….” and listen to their response! 

  • I saw big kids helping little kids, and TONS of sharing going on - rarely any fighting.

  • I had countless volunteers step up to the plate for last minute needs.

  • Even when children were scared or uncertain or felt things were unfair, I saw the wheels in their head turning as they would say “but it’s ok Mrs. Megan…God is good and He will take care of us!”

Lastly, I want to let you know how important service work is to me. You see, I have this belief that if you can teach children habits or ways of thinking when they are young, they can carry them on through their life. I also believe that when children view us as adults doing something, they are more likely to follow suit. Service work is something that is important to me and therefore I want it to be important to our children. Some of us are better at things than others but we can all do something! If we use our God given talents and gifts for His glory and don’t “bury” them, it’s amazing what we can accomplish.

After learning about children in other countries this week, I challenged the children and their families to try to raise enough money to send one Pilipino boy to school. By the end of the week, the children and their families had raised $930, which is more than enough to send TWO children to school.  

Meet June and Christine May. 


Because of our children, they will be provided food, schooling, bible teaching, books, and uniforms for the next year. I am so very proud of our Children’s Ministry. Let the kids know how proud you are of them too!

Camp Food Donations Needed!

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It’s that time of year for us to start collecting food for Summer Camp! By bringing the items that we ask for, you are helping us keep the cost for our summer camp down. You may bring all food items to office 102 (place outside door if it’s not open). Thanks in advance & see Shannon Hudgins or Chris Gannon if you have questions.




Apple Juice


Pop Tarts

Breakfast Bars

Honey Buns

Little Debbie Snacks


Chips - small individual bags

Canned Drinks

Bottled Water

Individually Wrapped:





Milky Way





Kit Kat

Blow Pops

Letter from the shepherds: Full speed ahead

Despite the challenges we face as the Northside family, there are a lot of exciting things in the works as we look forward to 2020 and beyond. 

For one thing, we’re working with Interim Ministry Partners (IMP), an organization that helps churches fill the position of pulpit minister. The shepherds, staff, and our spouses recently met with a representative of the company — Tim Woodroof, whom you’ll see more of VERY soon — to discuss the hiring process and the results of the survey that our church family recently completed. We discussed the vision of where all of us want our church to go and began the process of filling the pulpit minister position.

On Saturday, June 6, Tim met with those invited to serve on a Northside committee who will work with IMP to fill that position. More on that soon. Meanwhile, David Swanger and Chris Gannon are on tap to preach in the weeks ahead, something we’re excited about.

Second: we’ll be starting a new shepherd selection process soon with Charlie Hooks heading this up. More on this soon, as well.

Third: we took a brief break, but now we’re back-on-track with our 2020 Vision plans. If you’re not a part of these plans yet, contact Stan Cunningham, Dennis Sellers, Kenny Wyatt, or Greg Tolbert to get involved.

Philippians 4:13 tells us that we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.” And He is certainly providing strength to the Northside family and will continue to do so as we grow individually and as a church family in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

In Christian love,

Dennis, Kenny, and Greg

When life is WILD, God is GOOD

"God loves me too much to answer my prayers in any other way than His way and in any other time than His time."

I've been reading a book lately that has really touched my heart. In the book "It's not suppose to be this way" by Lisa Terkeurst, she describes so many trials that she has faced recently and how our plans and ideas are not always how things turn out. She also emphasizes that even though life isn't always "good", God is ALWAYS GOOD.

It's funny how one thing can coincide with another or how things happen at the same time unintentionally. I chose our VBS theme at the end of the year last year before any changes, any books were read, or any new trials were faced. Our VBS theme for our children is "When life is WILD, God is GOOD"

I hope that you will invite all of your friends, your neighbors, and your family to join us July 14th - 17th from 6:00pm-7:30pm.

Throughout the week we will be going on a safari to discover how 'wild' life can be! We will be looking at the lives of the Israelites and Moses. We will see how when life is good, when life is unfair, when life changes or when life is scary, GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD.

 How can you help?

  • Pick up some of the flyers from the table in the lobby to hand out to your family and friends.

  • Check out the info sheet for snacks, and sign up to bring an item. Turn it back in to the table or Megan's office (Room 104)

  • Sign up to be a tribe leader and walk the kiddos around from station to station.

  • Show up each night and just be present. The kids see you. They love you. They appreciate you.

Thank you all for all of the love and support that you not only show this ministry, but to me personally. You touch my life in ways your will never know!


Summer Memories

When I think about summer, so many memories flood my mind. I remember the smell of the freshly cut grass. I remember catching lightning bugs in a jar and saving them for as long as I possibly could. I remember all of the late nights playing cards with my Ma. She always won. I remember FINALLY gaining the courage to jump off of the diving board. I remember the countless encouraging notes written and funny songs sung at church camp. I remember the late night praise sessions at UPLIFT. I remember choosing to follow Christ and be baptized.

All of these memories flood my mind when I think about the summers from my youth. You probably have similar ones, or maybe you have very different ones. The summer is such a fun time for so many. So many events and activities take place, and so many memories are made. Not only are the memories special to me, but who I made those memories with are even more special and important. The camp counselors who taught me and mentored me, the late nights with my grandmother, the long talks with my dad before deciding to be baptized, the moments of praise songs with hundreds of other students, those people had a huge impact on my memories and what they mean to me now. 

The people that we surround ourselves with play a role in those memories. Our youth and children will make memories this summer, and how exciting is it that we can play a huge role in those. What lasting impact will you have on those around you this summer? May I suggest some ways that you can make a lasting impact on the youth of this church this summer? In the coming weeks, our youth group and children’s ministry will be going in a million different directions, but there are ways that you can help. If you aren't able to physically help and be there for those memories, there are ways that you can make it easier for us this summer. In the upcoming weeks we would love for you to be praying for the youth of our congregation. Here are a few additional ways that you can help: 

  • Save your condiments from your fast food restaurants - they can be used at camp. 

  • Check the sign up sheets and consider walking around with the kids at VBS as a Tribe leader 

  • Check the “items needed” list located on the kids board for VBS snack items needed 

  • Provide scholarships for those who may need help attending camp (Help them make those memories!) 

  • Attend VBS 

  • Provide cookies and brownies for our girls and guys nights in June 

More than anything, we would love for you to be prayerful about our youth and children this summer. So many memories will be made this summer, and we pray that they are life changing. 


Pieter van der Horst, professor emeritus in the faculty of theology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and author of Studies in Ancient   Judaism and Early Christianity, suggests that the predominant world view toward poor people has always been negative. This has been a societal norm for as long as history records show. During the Greco-Roman world domination, leadership promoted the idea of philanthropy and benevolence, but those concepts were much different than today’s interpretation. Ancient philanthropy was always directed toward those who could reciprocate with a greater gift. Think about that for just a moment. Let me say it again…  ancient philanthropy was always directed toward those who could reciprocate with an even greater gift. What does that mean? It means that people of means were eager to give gifts to other people of means, and the recipient of any gift was socially obligated to respond to that giver by upping the ante.  I might give you a very generous gift, but you would have to give me something even more generous. Society frowned on those who broke the code. And, since poor people were unable to reciprocate appropriately, they were never considered as suitable objects for benevolent giving.  

God wished to change that. When He spoke the Law into existence for the people of Israel, He said things that were directly opposite of world view. While the world ignored the poor, and heaped societal obligations upon the rich, the Hebrew people were told things like, “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.” (Lev. 23:22).  This was a very RADICAL and WORLD-SHAKING command.  To give to someone who cannot give something nicer in return simply made no sense to people of the ancient world. 

But Jesus took it one step further. The poet Hesiod, around 700 BCE, had coined the phrase “Give to him who gives, but do not give to him who does not give.” This phrase well defined the attitude of giving. If the giver cannot be repaid with something even greater, then he should keep it to himself. Now hear the words of Jesus in Luke 14:12-14, “Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Did you hear how Jesus attacked the very core of societal norms concerning the poor? He strove to create a society that urged people to give to those who are totally incapable of giving in return. And by urging people to live with that kind of generosity in their hearts, He was urging His people to create a society where everyone is to be considered an equal, with equal possessions and equal opportunities. This was a RADICAL and WORLD-SHAKING idea. And it’s one that you and I, as ambassadors of Jesus Christ, are being urged to embrace. As 2019 fades into the next decade, this should become a primary focus of our church.  Let’s work hard this year with 2020Vision to prepare for a GREAT, RADICAL, AND WORLD-SHAKING future for our church family, and for the community around us.  

You Already Have Your Ticket

When Corrie Ten Boom, of The Hiding Place fame, was a little girl in Holland, her first realization of death came after a visit to the home of a neighbor who had died.  It impressed on her that someday she and her family would also die.  Like any little girl, she was frightened by that thought.

Corrie’s dad comforted her with this thought, “Corrie, when you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?”  She answered, “Why, just before we get on the train.”  “Exactly,” her father answered, “And our wise Father in heaven gives us our ticket before we leave this world so that we know we have safe passage to where he will receive us.”

Fear of death is natural.  God understands.  So he regularly in his word gives us reminders that we have nothing to fear because of his love and the death of Jesus for our sins.  “Since the children have flesh and blood, Jesus too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who has the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”  Hebrews 2:14-15  And just a moment later, we read that Jesus made “atonement for the sins of the people.”  Hebrews 2:17

Adam and Eve were sinners.  Are they in heaven?  YES.  Abraham was a sinner, a liar.  Is he in heaven?  YES.  Rahab was a prostitute.  Is she in heaven?  YES.  David was, well David was a lot of things.  Is he in heaven?  YES.  Peter vowed that he had never known Jesus.  Is he in heaven?  YES.  The sinful woman from the streets who washed Jesus’ feet, is she in     heaven?  YES. The thief on the cross was a, well I guess he was a thief.  But he was a murderer too.  Is he in heaven?  YES.  


If you haven’t accepted Christ’s sacrifice for your sins, do you need to do that?  YES.  And God will safely bring you home to him forever when you die. 

Don’t worry about your ticket.  He has your name in his book.

What Is Your "Word"

We’re two weeks in to the new year. Have you kept your New Year’s resolutions? Did you make any? According to surveys done at the beginning of the year, the top resolutions were to be healthier and to save money.

Some people make resolutions. Some people simply decide on one word that they want to represent areas of their life over the next year. For example, someone may choose the word “content”. They may want to strive to be content in all areas of their life over the next year. Someone may choose the word “passionate.” They may want to strive to be passionate in everything that they do. Someone may choose the word “joy.” They may pursue being joyful in every circumstance over the coming year. Choosing a word for the year has become a new favorite thing of mine!

If I could choose a word for Northside over the next year, it would be “service.” Not only are we striving to serve together in the 2020 Vision campaign, but my hope is that we serve together in regards to those around us in the community and in the everyday lives of those in this congre-gation.

One word that MANY of us would use to describe Jesus would be servant. Jesus didn’t “go to church” and leave it at that. His life was a life of service. He didn’t simply preach, but He practiced what He preached. We are commanded to serve one another, and we are called to be like Christ. Are we living a life where others are captivated by our words but our actions are far from our words? If we aren’t serving in some way, how are we striving to be more like Christ?

Do you have a word for 2019? If you could think of one word to describe the change you would like to see in different areas of your life, what would it be? 

Don't Write 2019 in Olde English Script

     This is the first Sunday of the new year.  There has never been a 2019 A.D. This year is brand new. The calendar rolling over is always a chance to mentally renegotiate with yourself. There are certainly things of the past that we want to keep, cherish and honor.  For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne (whatever that means).

    But don’t stay stuck in the past with your same fears, bad attitudes and negative thinking. God is doing so many wonderful things in our church family right now. Make a resolution to joyfully join in and see what he will do this year in your life.

     Make some personal resolutions. Don’t worry about what you    haven’t gotten done yet in life. Pick up where you are! You are not too young. You are not too old. God is always making all things NEW.

     My favorite “Dear Abby” of all time went something like this: “Dear Abby, I have always wanted to go to law school. My family encourages me to go. But I am thirty-eight years old. In three years, I will be forty-one! What should I do?” Abby’s response is brilliant and so encouraging.  “How old will you be in three years, if you don’t go to law school?”  That’s great! Go for it! Let’s take that attitude with us into this year.

     Friday, I have a birthday. It one of the big ones. And no, I’m not  going to be a hundred.  But it is the one where I get to go on Medicare.  Actually, that does sound like a hundred. But life here with God, my family and all of you is still so great. I thought that I was finished with full-time preaching. God had other plans. And I am so excited about the future we have together.

     Most of you are younger than I am. Some of you are older than I am. That’s irrelevant. I want God to use you in powerful ways until he takes you home. I want you to be a thriving part of this church family. I want that for myself too. Don’t let age or physical limitations or lack of talent in some areas keep you from joyfully doing all you can do in the kingdom of God. You are part of the body. You are just like God needs you to be.  

     Do what YOU can. Celebrate that. Don’t worry about what others can or cannot do.  

     You be the best you in 2019. That’s what the church and God and YOU need from YOU.

     I just checked that Medicare card.  It’s not in Olde English script.