We all want to be healthier in our emotions! But let’s be honest, it is a struggle.

For healthy mental health, you must focus your mind on the right things — including these three specific things.

1. Think about Jesus.
You’ve likely heard the saying, “You become what you think about most.” If you want to become more like Jesus, fill your thoughts with him.

Hebrews 12:3 says, “Think about Jesus’ example. He held on while wicked people were doing evil things to him. So do not get tired and stop trying”.

2. Think about others.
The Bible says in Philippians 2:4, “Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing”.

Do you realize how counter cultural that is? Everything in the world teaches you to think about yourself and nobody else. But Jesus was counter cultural, and when you think about him, you’ll more easily think of others.

3. Think about eternity.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

When you start focusing on truths like that, all of your problems are going to seem inferior compared to the glory, the joy, and the pleasure of the things you have to look forward to in eternity.

Your mind is your greatest asset and also the greatest battleground. Ask God to help you make the choice every day to feed on God’s Word, free your mind of destructive thoughts, and fill your mind with Jesus, others, and eternity. Then, you’ll have won the battle.

Tammy and I are praying for you today! Email us with any requests that you may have.

God bless you!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

If you grew up in a Christian home, you may have learned this childhood prayer: “God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for our food. Amen.” While simplistic, that prayer covers one key characteristic of God: God’s goodness.

Is it really true that God is good all the time? Absolutely—but many people don’t live like they believe it. It can be hard to believe in God’s goodness for many reasons, including when we’re in pain. We forget it when we’re in conflict. We think it’s for everyone else except us when we’re depressed. And when we’re worried or stressed out, we can’t seem to find—much less think about—God’s goodness, even when it’s right in front of us.

So how can we trust in God’s goodness when we don’t feel it? His Word reminds us of His goodness over and over: “The Lord is always good. He is always loving and kind, and his faithfulness goes on and on to each succeeding generation” (Psalm 100:5).

Focusing on God’s goodness is so important to your life because it gives you perspective on your darkest days, when you need it the most. When you forget God’s goodness, it causes all kinds of difficulties.

God wants to give you a life of confidence, even on your most difficult days. He wants to give you assurance. He wants to protect you. He wants to give you a life of influence and abundance. He wants to give you a life filled with generosity. Who doesn’t want that? Who doesn’t need that?

When you believe and understand the goodness of God, it will revolutionize your life and your relationships. You won’t be the same!

Tammy and I cannot wait to see you this morning- GET UP AND GET IN CHURCH!

We are praying for you!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

In Israel, on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, there’s a canyon called the Valley of the Shadow of Death. In his day, King David probably traveled through it many times. Some of the canyons along the Jericho Road were narrow at the bottom and as tall as 800 feet. The only time you can see sunshine at the bottom is when it is noon and the sun is straight overhead. In the Bible, valleys are often a metaphor for difficult times, times of darkness, despair, defeat, or discouragement.

Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me”. The Bible teaches us that God is God not just a part of our mountaintop experiences. He is also with us in the valleys.

There are three things you need to remember about the valleys:

Valleys are a part of life. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 11:11, “The land you will soon take over is a land of hills and valleys”.

Valleys are inevitable. All of us just came out of a valley or we’re in the middle of one right now or we’re headed into another one, because that’s life. You can’t avoid valleys. Instead, you can count on them.

Valleys happen to everybody. They’re impartial. Good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people. We’re in a fallen and broken world, so we have problems. Nobody’s immune. Nobody has a pain free life. Nobody sails through life problem free.

“The good man does not escape all troubles—he has them too. But the Lord helps him in each and every one” (Psalm 34:19).

Valleys are unpredictable. You can’t plan them. You can’t time them. Problems typically catch you off guard. In fact, your valleys and your problems come usually at the worst time—when you don’t have time, when you’re unprepared and when it’s inconvenient. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could schedule all your valleys in life—when you’re caught up on your sleep, your health is good, and nobody is bugging you?

Proverbs 27:1 says, “Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring forth”.

We don’t know what tomorrow holds but we DO know WHO holds tomorrow!

Our Friday night service was AMAZING- DON’T MISS OUR SERVICES TOMORROW!

God bless you!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

Email us with any prayer requests- We love YOU!

You’ve heard this phrase over and over: “Forgive and forget.” There’s only one problem: You can’t do it. It’s impossible! You really can’t forget a hurt in your life. In fact, you can’t even try to forget it. Because when you’re trying to forget, you are actually focusing on the very thing you want to forget.

Forgetting is not what God wants you to do. Instead, he wants you to trust Him and see how He can bring good out of it. That’s more important than forgetting, because then you can thank God for the good that He brought out of it. You can’t thank God for things you forget.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.

It doesn’t say that all things are good, because not all things are good. Cancer is not good. Disease is not good. Death is not good. Divorce is not good. War is not good. Rape and abuse are not good. A lot of things in life are evil. These are the realities of living in a world that’s been contaminated by sin.

But God says he will work good out of the bad things in life if you will trust him. When you come to him and say, “God, I give you all the pieces of my life,” he will return peace for your pieces. His peace in your heart comes from realizing that even if you don’t understand the hurt in your life, you can still forgive, knowing that God will use that pain for good.
You don’t have to forget the wrong thing that someone did to you. You couldn’t do it even if you tried! But God says you don’t have to forget it. You just have to forgive and then see how He will bring good out of it.

DO NOT MISS OUR SERVICE TONIGHT AT 7PM: IT IS GOING TO BE POWERFUL!

Email Tammy and me with any prayer requests.

Have a Fantastic Friday!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

The major cause of stress in your life is worry. You worry because you wonder if you will have what you need when you need it. But anytime you expect other people to meet your needs instead of God, you’re going to be frustrated and disappointed, because nobody on Earth can meet all your needs. Only God can do that.

If you want a cure for stress, learn to look to God to meet your needs.

Some people find their security in their job, and when they lose their job, they lose their peace of mind.

Others put their security in their marriage. Then their spouse dies or they go through a divorce, and they ask, “Who am I? What is my identity?”

Or maybe you put your security in your money. There are a lot of ways to lose your money.

I recommend that you never put your security in anything that can be taken away from you. You can lose your job, your health, your reputation, your spouse, and your mind. But you cannot lose your relationship with Christ.When you put your security in that promise, you can trust God to meet all your needs.

Romans 8:32 says, “Since he did not spare even his own Son for us but gave him up for us all, won’t he also surely give us everything else?”.

If God loved you enough to send Jesus Christ to die on the cross, don’t you think he loves you enough to take care of every other need in your life? Yes! Of course He does!

Every time you start to get stressed out, pause and say, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).

God’s going to provide. He’s going to take care of you. Instead of stressing out, look to Him to meet all your needs!

Tammy and I are believing that God is for YOU! Email us with any prayer requests.

Have a Tremendous Thursday and see you TOMORROW FOR FRIDAY NIGHT CHURCH!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

God is a good God, and he has good plans for your life. Other people have bad plans for your life, and you may make some bad plans yourself, but God only has good plans for your life.

Not everything in your life may be good—God didn’t promise that. He didn’t say everything that happens in your life would be good. Friend, we live on a broken planet. Nothing works perfectly. Your body is broken. It doesn’t always work the right way. Your mind is broken. It doesn’t think the right way. The weather is broken, the economy’s broken, relationships are broken. Nothing is perfect.

God did not promise us perfection. That’s called heaven! In heaven, there is no sorrow, sadness, sickness, or suffering. We should not expect heaven to be on earth, because the earth is filled with brokenness. But even in the middle of all this brokenness, God has a good plan for your life. He is greater than your bad choices, and he can fit even foolish decisions into a good plan. What a God! He can turn crucifixions into resurrections.

The Bible says in Romans 8:28, “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them”. This is not a promise for everybody in the world. Not everything is working together for good for everybody. But everything is working together for good for those who say, “God, I give you my life. I want to fulfill the purpose you made me for.” And even then, it doesn’t say all things are good. It says they all work together for your good—even the bad and even the bitter.

Have you noticed that when you make a cake, the individual ingredients don’t taste good? Flour by itself does not taste good. Raw eggs do not taste good. Vanilla by itself does not taste good. But mix it all together, and you can create a tasty masterpiece.

When you let God work all the “ingredients” together, God can take the bitter, put it in the batter, and make you better. Why? Because he’s a good God!!

The more you pray, the better you’re going to know your purpose. And the better you know your purpose, the more God can use everything in your life—even the bitter and broken things!

Tammy and I are praying for you this beautiful Wednesday! Email us with your prayer requests.

We are here for YOU!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

One of the Most Important Lessons we need to learn from God is this:  We must refuse to be offended.

Your emotional and spiritual maturity is largely measured by how you treat people who mistreat you. Do you try to get even when somebody does you wrong? If they hit you, do you hit back? If they insult you, do you insult back? If you do, then you are on the same level as they are.

The Bible says, “Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief” (Proverbs 21:23). When it comes to personal relationships, God says, “Don’t be so easily offended. Ask me to help you get over it.”

You need to pray, “God, give me a tender heart and a tough hide.” Most of us are just the opposite. We’re thin-skinned and tough-hearted. When somebody looks cross-eyed at you on the freeway, somebody cuts you off, or somebody is rude to you, don’t let it bother you. Don’t get upset about it. You know that person is just having a tough day. Ask God to give you thicker skin!

The Bible says, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11).When you understand people’s background and their current condition, it’s easier to show mercy.

God wants to give you wisdom and patience to overlook their offense!

Email Tammy and me with your prayer requests.

Have a Terrific Tuesday!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

Twenty-nine years ago, God brought Tammy and I to Bethlehem Church with a vision to change the spiritual landscape of Gastonia. During this time, we have seen unchurched families come to know Jesus and people blessed throughout Gaston County.

With our 2020 Vision, we dared to believe God could do unfathomable things. In the last four years, we have seen astonishing progress in every area of our vision:

  • 888 people gave their lives to Jesus
  • 74,000 lives were touched one-on-one in our community
  • 430,000 hours were spent serving our community
  • The world impacted through our partnership with Convoy of Hope and Operation Christmas Child

As we fulfill our 2020 Vision, we are setting our sights to go all in to accomplish even more. While we have made much progress, we have much to do. Now we are in need of space and resources to make room for more students.

We had a very special announcement this weekend at all of our services about what God is doing in our Church for 2020 and beyond.

We are coming together to provide a new facility soon for our Students and also announced a name change for 2020 and beyond.  We will be known beginning in January as “City Church.”

Let me share with you our “Frequently Asked Question” sheet that we handed out at all of our Services:

What does our New Name; “City Church” mean?

Our new name was chosen with great intentionality.  We wanted our new name to clarify both our mission and our message.  Our Church has been very intentional for years about serving and blessing our City.  This name change will reflect that.

We are a Church.

Matthew 16:8  Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

The original Greek word for “Church” means “to call out of”.  We are “called out” by God to do something!  It implies movement!  Our church is more than a building and more than a gathering – Our Church is a Movement of God to Change our City!

We are a City.

We are a City within a City.

Matthew 5:14“You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

We realize our Mid-Size North Carolina Town/County doesn’t remind most people of a Big City.  “City” doesn’t refer to where we live.  It refers to HOW we live.  Jesus has called our Church to be a place of hope and healing in our Community.

We are a City sent to a City.

Jeremiah 29:7  “And work for the peace and prosperity of the City where I sent you in exile.  Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.”We will seek to be a blessing to our City where God has placed us.  We will always Pray for our City, seek to Serve our City, and to always LOVE our City in the hope of seeing people come to Christ.

We are a City longing for a Better City.

We are a City longing for a Better City.

Hebrews 11:10  “[Abraham] was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.”

Hebrews 11:16  “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”

Hebrews 13:14 “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.”

No matter how much we love our City, this City is not our Home!  What keeps us going in the midst of brokenness, pain, and disappointment is our confident expectation of a CITY that God has prepared for all those who know Him!  We want to help Everyone get prepared for Eternity!

What was the process for deciding on a new name?  This was a directional decision by Pastor Dickie and our Elders/Staff.  We have been prayerfully discussing this for over a year.

What if I don’t like the new name?  The Good News is none of us attend this church because of the name!  We love what this church has meant for our Family.  For our Marriage.  For our Kids. For our Community.  And most importantly, for our Relationship with Jesus.  That’s why we love this Church!

We could call it anything we want and that would not change!

A name is important, but it is not why we attend our Church.  Remember, Jesus is the name above every name!!

How will changing the name help our Church fulfill the Great Commission?  Our Church was originally named “Bethlehem” because it was located on the street next to CarMax in Gastonia named “Bethlehem Avenue”.  We want a name that reflects our Mission!!  We want our Community to know we are working for the prosperity of our City!

We also felt that a New Name, as we enter a New Decade, would better help us reflect the Mission and the Message that God has given us to share with the World.

What will our Campuses be named?
Our “South” Campus will be renamed:   City Church: New Hope Campus
Our “West” Campus will be renamed: City Church: Fairview Campus
Our “North” Campus will be renamed:   City Church: Separk Campus

What will happen to the North Campus?  The North Campus is presently for sale.  The attendees at the North Campus presently have a service on Sunday at 8:30AM.  Once the North Campus sells, we will continue an 8:30AM Sunday service at one of our Campuses.

Tammy and I appreciate YOU! Email us with any prayer requests you have.

We Love You!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

The major cause of stress in your life is worry. You worry because you wonder if you will have what you need when you need it. But anytime you expect other people to meet your needs instead of God, you’re going to be frustrated and disappointed, because nobody on Earth can meet all your needs. Only God can do that.

If you want a cure for stress, learn to look to God to meet your needs.

Some people find their security in their job, and when they lose their job, they lose their peace of mind.

Others put their security in their marriage. Then their spouse dies or they go through a divorce, and they ask, “Who am I? What is my identity?”

Or maybe you put your security in your money. There are a lot of ways to lose your money.

I recommend that you never put your security in anything that can be taken away from you. You can lose your job, your health, your reputation, your spouse, and your mind. But you cannot lose your relationship with Christ.

When you put your security in that promise, you can trust God to meet all your needs.

Romans 8:32 says, “Since he did not spare even his own Son for us but gave him up for us all, won’t he also surely give us everything else?”.

If God loved you enough to send Jesus Christ to die on the cross, don’t you think he loves you enough to take care of every other need in your life? Yes! Of course he does.

Every time you start to get stressed out, pause and say, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).

God’s going to provide. He’s going to take care of you. Instead of stressing out, look to him to meet all your needs!

GET UP AND GET IN CHURCH TODAY! God has an AMAZING MESSAGE for YOU!

We can’t wait to see you!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy

When you forget how eager God is to help you, it’s easy to start depending on yourself and to stop asking God for his help and provision.

Perhaps you only ask God for the “big stuff” and not the “small stuff.” Guess what: Everything is small to God. None of your requests are big in God’s eyes! He has every hair on your head numbered, and He knows how many fell out in the sink this morning!

You’re not bothering God when you give him your requests. He’s the one who set up the system of prayer in the first place. That’s why the New Testament tells us more than 20 times to ask for whatever we need in prayer: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).

If it’s big enough to worry about, it’s big enough to pray about. Worry won’t solve it, but prayer will.

God grows your faith and trust the same way a parent teaches a child to trust (Luke 11:13). First, the child recognizes an unmet need. Second, the child expresses that need. Third, the parent meets that need.

God uses this same cycle to teach you how to trust him. You have an unmet need. You express that unmet need to God. God meets that need, and you learn to trust him more. If you’re not expressing your needs to God, how can you grow in trust? That’s the only way you learn.

God proves his goodness when you ask. But you must wait patiently for God’s timing to deliver. God often does not give immediate answers because he wants to test your faith.

We learn to trust God by watching for the many ways He meets our needs and answers our prayers. This reminds us that God is reliable and can be counted on!

Email Tammy and me with any prayer requests.

See you in tomorrow-Don’t miss our services!

Pastor Dickie and Tammy