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Pastor's Points February 2019

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Dear Church Family,
Throughout my years of ministry, I have been puzzled at why so many people have an aversion to the spiritual discipline of prayer.  Most all believers believe in the importance of prayer.  They believe that communication to our God is important.  They believe in the power of prayer.  They believe that God hears and that prayer matters.  But there is a disconnect somewhere along the way because so many believers do not have a vibrant regular prayer life.

I am reading a book called Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church by John Onwuchekwa. In it the author shares a quote about the importance of prayer.  “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” This quote reminds us that prayer is essential for our very existence.  The author goes on to share… “breathing is necessary for everything we do. It enables every activity.  Likewise, prayer is basic and vital.  It is tied to our present existence and perpetual endurance.  Prayer is breathing.  There’s no better metaphor of what prayer should be for the Christian.”

I am convinced that we as a church family need to be “breathing” prayer on a much more regular and consistent basis.  Yes, we need to “breathe” individually, but as the body of Christ we need to “breathe” together in the spiritual discipline of prayer.  Prayer is the oxygen that we need to sustain us in all that God has planned for us as a local body of believers.

But for us to “breathe” together in prayer, we have got to know how to pray.  The simple acrostic A.C.T.S. helps us to understand four types of prayer found in scripture.   Adoration, Confession,    Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  Adoration is a prayer of praise to the God whom we cry out to.  By praising Him we show that we understand that it is an honor to be able to cry out to God prayer.  We recognize in our prayer of adoration who God is in all His perfection and greatness. Adoration is foundational to our prayer life because it helps remind us who we are praying to, and the great privilege that it is.  Confession is a prayer that should naturally come from us if we take the time to praise God for who He is and all He has done for us.  As we reflect on God’s grace and forgiveness through Christ, we’re led to confess.  Prayers of Thanksgiving should easily flow from our lips after considering all the greatness and goodness of God and his willingness to forgive us of all our sin.  We have so much to be thankful for, especially if we keep in mind that all that we have comes from God and not ourselves. And finally, Supplication is that prayer that we offer to God that declares our absolute need for Him. As we cry out to God to intercede in our lives or in the lives of others, we are recognizing His care for those that make him their refuge.

Over the course of this year we are going to “breathe” out these prayers together as the body of Christ.  I know that God will be glorified, and we will be edified if we prioritize prayer in our church family.  I am excited to see how God moves among us as we heighten the sense of urgency to pray together in our church!  I desire for our church to be alive, and to be alive we must “breathe” out these prayers to our great God!!

I love you and I love being your pastor

 

Posted by Alan Scott with

Spare Change February 2019

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I am writing this article in my new role as the pastor of Children and Missions.  It is an honor to serve in this capacity. I joked the other day that I have served in almost every way on staff except for worship pastor.  Tragically, the only musical ability I have is music appreciation, so that won’t be an option for me; but children’s ministry is something that I have grown to love over the past few years.  I started in youth ministry and have missed working with kids. I love being able to help young people to get to know and love Christ. It is one of the greatest joys of my life, to be able to return to that is really a blessing.

I began working with the Children's Ministry as my kids have grown and become more involved.  Kristi and I have both served in various roles in Upward, AWANA, Kids’ Camp, nursery, VBS, and Kids’ Life Groups.  We have grown to love the kids’ ministry at Oakhill. As I began to pray about this possible transition it felt natural.  I knew the programming, the systems, and the volunteers; however, I did not take this job out of convenience. I took it   because God impressed upon Kristi and I that it was time to return to working with kids in a greater capacity.

My desire is to build upon the foundation of our great children's ministry.  The kids’ ministry at Oakhill has always been a hallmark of the church, and I want to continue that tradition.  I want to continue our great programs that teach and disciple kids. I also want to connect with parents, so I can support and encourage them.  I know, as a parent, how hard it can be to desire to disciple your kid but not knowing how. I want the church to undergird the family. I want to help parents to know how to lead their children in knowing and loving Christ.  It is tougher than ever before out in the world, our kids face challenges that we could never have even dreamed about when we were kids. They need to know Jesus more than ever today. They need to learn to love Him and learn what it means to follow Him.

I am so excited for the future of the kids’ ministry, it's going to be fun and very rewarding.  This great ministry is only possible because of our great volunteer base. We have the best, most loving volunteers.  The last couple of weeks I have been learning the behind the scenes part of the ministry. The volunteers have impressed me immensely.  They really love the ministry. I am so fortunate to be able to work with them and I look forward to serving alongside of them. On that note, we are always looking for people to join the ministry.  Let me know if you have a heart for kids.

I, of course, will continue to oversee the missions ministry of our church.  I love the community outreach that we do with Harwood, our food pantry, and State Hospital.  I am looking forward to expanding our mission trips and partnerships in the coming year. I desire for our church to have a passion for evangelism and missions like never before.

It is clear to me that God has brought me to this place, in my life and in life of the church.  I am so excited about what He will do in and through us as our church family continues to grow. Thank you for your support and love for the past 12 years, I look forward to many more years of ministry together.

 

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

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