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Pastor's Points - October 2019

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Dear Church Family,

I want to talk to you about being thankful even though that topic would probably fit better next month in the November issue of the Oakleaves. But it is good for us to be thankful outside of Thanksgiving, so I am going to go ahead and approach the subject.

Simply put, I am so thankful for all that God is doing in our church family right now!  His blessings are numerous, He is moving, and we are moving with Him, and we have an exciting future ahead of us!!  But we must have as our goal to be thankful in the good and bad times in life.  Consider this article written by Dr. Danny Akin, the President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

[15] And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. . .. [17] And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
(Colossians 3:15, 17 ESV)

Here in a span of a few short verses the Apostle Paul makes clear that the appropriate character clothing of the Christian will always include a faithful heart. He does not say our thankfulness should depend on circumstances, nor on whether or not we “feel” it. Rather, he simply commands, “Be thankful.” This is a volitional act, not an emotional decision. Further, we can make two additional observations about thanksgiving from these verses.

Be Thankful Comprehensively
There are no limitations or qualifications to this bold imperative. Why? Because we are naturally ungrateful. We get angry, fuss and fume when:

We don’t get what we want.
We don’t get it when we want it.
We don’t get how much we want.
We don’t get it the way we want it.

We are always and everywhere faced with situations in which we may be ungrateful. But here and in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Paul says, “In everything give thanks.” As followers of Jesus, we must take each and every one of these situations and infuse them with a spirit of gratitude.

Be Thankful through Christ

We are to give thanks (a) to the Father (b) through Christ. Why? Because as 1 Thessalonians 5:18B says, the “in everything” of our thanksgiving is “the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” We have been given in Christ “every spiritual blessing” (Eph 1:3). This does not mean there will not be times to mourn, or to lament, or to work for change because we see evil in the world. What it does mean, though, is that none of these things can supplant the enormity of what God has done for us in Christ, and for that we should always be thankful.

This is one of the most difficult pieces of character clothing for the Christian to put on. It is also one of the most important, for it can be done only with the eyes of faith and a settled confidence in a sovereign and gracious God. When we understand God’s hand is in all things, through Christ, then we can thank Him for all things. Unable to trace His hand, we can still trust His heart!

Let’s continue to choose thankfulness in the good and bad times of life!

I love you and I love being your pastor!

 

Posted by Alan Scott with

Spare Change - October 2019

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This Upward season will be our 12th year of doing Upward Basketball & Cheer.  We have been so blessed as a church to offer this ministry.  My oldest child started Upward nine years ago.  It has been a huge blessing to our family and our church.  So as we begin another year of Upward, I wanted to reflect on why I love Upward so much.  I hope you are encouraged and will consider volunteering in this great ministry.

Upward is Gospel Focused
Upward, above all, is a gospel focused ministry.  The only reason we do Upward is so we can share the message about Jesus Christ.  We believe this is the only life-changing truth there is.  The gospel is our foundation and we want as many kids and parents as possible to hear about it.  We want our volunteers to both live it and share it throughout the Upward season.  There is a dedicated time that coaches send home a DVD for kids to watch.  It is a sports parable that shares the gospel as they watch.  Then coaches will follow up with their team. We have seen many kids come to Christ through Upward; even one of my own kids.

Relationship Focused
The Upward ministry also seeks to build relationships with our community.  Our hope is that people from the community will join our league.  It could be an invite from another family or a flyer they see in the community.  It could be a childcare family or from one of our other events. Whatever the case, we want to get to know as many people as possible.  Our volunteers love working together and have the best time serving.  Our coaches love connecting with families.  We have many families that have learned about our church through Upward Basketball. For us it's all about the people not a program!

Basketball & Cheer Skills Focused
Of course, this league is also about basketball and cheer skills.  I love that we get kids with all skill levels in our league.  We focus not on winning and losing, although there is some of that, but rather on learning skills.  It is great to see a kid that hasn’t played much get out there and score a basket or even learn to dribble up the court.  It is so much fun to see our cheer squads put together a half-time routine. They are so excited when they pull it off during the tournament. Kids that enter the league will learn and grow as players in sportsmanship, teamwork, and skills.

These are our three main focuses and three reasons why I love the Upward league.  My hope is that you will understand this so you can help us in this ministry.  First, we need prayer partners, please commit to pray for the kids coming to know Jesus and pray for our volunteers. Second, you can volunteer.  We need coaches, assistant coaches, scorekeepers, set-up, and concession stand volunteers.  If you want to volunteer please contact me (All volunteers must submit to a background check.) Thank you for supporting this ministry.

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

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