An Incredible Promise

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” - Matthew 28:20 (NIV)

What a promise, right? It’s reassuring, comforting, and may even give you a warm, fuzzy feeling to think that no matter where our lives take us, we will never be alone; That God will be right there, watching and keeping us. 

But we have a tendency to cherry pick the Bible, just like we did with this verse.

You see, there’s more to this passage than just a nice promise. Let’s back up to verse 16:

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” - Matthew 28:16-19 (NIV)

This is the other part of the story - the work required in exchange for that promise. Here we read about the disciples receiving the Great Commission from Jesus.

Imagine, for a moment, how important this promise was the the disciples. They were being asked to go out into a world that did not readily accept Christ, and share his gospel. They were facing torment, ridicule, and potentially even persecution. Although the disciples were dedicated to Jesus, they were still human and very well may have been worried or frightened at this prospect. 

This promise was more than just comforting words to them. It reassured them that whatever lay ahead of them, they would not face it alone, so long as they were carrying out the commission.

Jesus makes it clear that the commission and the promise are not separate things - that one comes with the other. 

This opportunity wasn’t exclusive to the disciples. That same promise is available for you and I, but the job is for you and I too. We are called to “go” and “make” and “baptize” and “teach” - to take action for Christ. And when we take on that journey, God goes with us every step of the way. 

Recovery Trail

Transitional Sober Living for Sevier County

If you’ve turned on the news or checked social media lately, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the ever-growing drug and alcohol crisis plaguing east Tennessee. You’ve heard the statistics and maybe even wondered what more can be done to help those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol in our area. Toby Wagner, a member of Middle Creek’s congregation, has a plan to do just that.

By the grace of God and his recovery family, Toby has been sober since February 26, 2010. Since that time, he has become deeply involved in helping others on their own journey to recovery. He has shared his own experience and a message of hope in the Sevier County Jail every Wednesday night, served on the Great Smoky Mountain Recovery Campout committee, and assisted with various 12-step meetings in the area. 

In 2017, Toby felt drawn to do more. He realized that more help was needed for individuals who desperately want a new way of life but have toxic home environments that feed the cycle of relapse. He then began the process of forming a non-profit organization that would serve these individuals, and in May 2108, Recovery Trail was born.

Recovery Trail is a non-profit organization on a mission to provide a safe living environment for those who want to recover from drug and alcohol addiction and return as productive members of our community. The program will teach accountability, self-reliance, and a spiritual connection that will build self-esteem and self-worth.

Recovery Trail is not affiliated with any religious denomination. Instead, the group seeks to model a godly life of love and service to others. 

The Recovery Trail program will offer services like:

  • Recovery-Based Structured Residences
  • Supportive, Peer-Driven, Spiritual Community
  • Random Drug Testing
  • Required 12-Step Meeting Participation
  • Case Management
  • Employment and Educational Assistance
  • Community Involvement
  • and More!

Toby has taken the first steps toward making this dream a reality, but he needs our help to cross the finish line. Find out how you can support Recovery Trail and improve conditions for those suffering from addiction in our community. Click here to donate or visit recoverytrail.org to learn more.


For more information, please contact:
Toby Wagner, Executive Director
(865) 654-3884
info@recoverytrail.org

Changing Lives For Christ

Middle Creek was recently blessed with the opportunity to hear from a representative of Gideons International. He shared with us the story of a man whose life was forever changed by the work of the Gideons. 

Let’s call this man Jimmy. 

Jimmy was thief. As a young man, he began picking pockets. Time passed and Jimmy's thievery evolved. He began breaking into homes and hotel rooms to steal. One day, he had broken into a local hotel room while its occupant was away. He removed the pillow from its case and began filling the pillowcase with any valuables he could find - everything from jewelry to credit cards to the book in the nightstand drawer.

Mid-robbery, the occupant of the hotel room - a tall, burly man - returned, catching Jimmy in the act. Jimmy ran to the balcony and jumped over the railing to escape. Well, unfortunately for Jimmy, he had forgotten that he was on the fourth floor.

With two broken ankles, of course Jimmy was caught and taken to the hospital. While laying in his hospital bed recovering, he searched the bedside table and found a book. Jimmy thought to himself that this book looked just like the one he took from the hotel room. He opened to book to find one particular verse staring back at him in capital letters: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS (Matthew 27:37). He kept reading about this Jesus person and learned he was crucified between two thieves and that he died for the sins of the world.

Of course, Jimmy still had to serve his punishment for what he had done, but he left that hospital room a changed man. He continued to read the Bible and grow in his faith. His sentence was shortened by his good behavior and he now serves in ministry. 

This is just one small example of the impact made by the work of the Gideons.

Founded in 1899, the Gideons International has distributed over 2 billion copies of God’s word and have over 3000 members worldwide. They have a presence in over 200 countries and distribute bibles in over 95 different languages. They've even developed an app to make the bible even more accessible in today's tech-centric society.

These bibles are distributed two ways: First, as we learned from Jimmy’s story, scriptures are placed in many locations, including hotels, motels, hospitals, medical offices, shelters, and prisons. Pocket-sized bibles are also distributed personally to individuals whenever possible.

The work of the Gideons is truly incredible and has been changing lives and bringing people to Christ for many years.

So, how can you support this ministry with us?

Well first, as our speaker put it to our congregation, “If we could buy bibles with dirt, I’d be standing up here talking about dirt.” But the fact of the matter is, it costs money to buy bibles. Hotel room bibles cost $5 and personal bibles range from $1.25 to $1.40. Every dollar donated goes directly toward the purchase of a bible that will impact someone’s life for Christ. If you feel so inclined, donations can be made online: https://www2.gideons.org/donate

You can also support the Gideon’s in prayer - prayer for open doors to share their message, safety for those ministering in dangerous parts of the world, and prayer for funding that their ministry may continue to grow. 

“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…” (Col. 4:3)