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Student Ministry January 2019

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Dear Church Family,
           The Christmas season has come to an end yet again, and it’s back to life as it used to be. A truly sad reality for some and a very welcome prospect for others. But there are some definite things that should never change for a Christian after Christmas time: Love, Joy, and Peace. These are words that we have seen posted everywhere during the Christmas season. And there is nothing wrong with that! It’s kind of nice to see people aspiring to Christian values. But the problem is, people in the world can only hold those values for a short season. And even during that season, those values are actually quite lacking. I’m not sure how many people actually feel the love, joy, and peace when fighting the crowds at the mall or driving up and down Green River Road! Why is it that having love, joy, and peace is so hard to keep up?

The answer is that love, joy, and peace come from the Lord. They belong to Him, and it is only in Him that we can find them. Unbelievers can aspire to these values as much as they want. But eventually they will burn out and default back to themselves. Even Christians seem to have this same experience. But if believers and unbelievers alike cannot attain love, joy, and peace for   longer than a couple weeks in December (if that), then what’s the difference? And that’s my point. There is a difference. Believers truly can have love, joy, and peace throughout the year, in all circumstances. I did not say they would be healthy and wealthy, but that they could have Christlike attitudes through all of life’s situations. The key is that we must ask God to give us these values instead of thinking we can muster them on our own.

Where is this coming from and why am I writing about this? Well, it’s coming from Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” And I’m writing about it because I have found that having Christian values, even as a Christian at Christmas time, can be very difficult. The Lord has shown me that love, joy, and peace (and all the rest), are not just values that I need to try to live out, but they are realities in my heart that will only be displayed when I walk by the Spirit and not in my flesh. That simply means that I must ask God to give me His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control every single day. If I am not asking the Holy Spirit to guide my heart daily, then something else will. And it will make me unloving, dissatisfied, and in an uproar within.

I see those sad realities around me all the time in the life of students. They are dissatisfied with life, constantly fighting  internal turmoil, and only full of love for themselves. It is also a reality for unbelieving adults. But it really doesn’t have to be our reality. Every Christian can have love, joy, and peace, because we all have the Holy Spirit living in us! And we can have, and do have, these things for all of our lives. Maybe you feel the same tension of being a believer but struggling to experience them in your life. Maybe you know a student who desperately needs to be encouraged to pray and ask God to give them these things. My hope and challenge for us all is to be a people who walk by the Spirit and rely on Him to give us love, joy, and peace all year long! If you are following Christ, then this is your reality. Now, ask the Lord to help you experience it more this year than ever before!

Sincerely,

Brian Van Doren

 

Posted by Brian Van Doren with

Worship Ministry January 2019

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Church Family,
I pray this new year finds you well. God did so many great things through our church in 2018, and we cannot wait to see what’s in store for 2019. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who was involved in our Christmas Worship Program. We could not have done it without our praise band, praise team, choir, and production team. I am so thankful for every single person who helped make our Christmas Program a special event. I also want to thank everyone who came out to participate and worship with us. I know there were so many things you could have done with your evening, so thank you if you came to be a part! It was a great night and I am so grateful for everyone was a part.

Moving on into 2019, I want to share three prayers that I have for our Church Family this new year, and I hope you would pray these things with me as well. I know there are so many things we could pray for, and so many things that we do pray for. But the sake of space, and I’ll share just a few:

1) I pray that worshipping God would be our main priority. I pray that worship would be the goal of my heart, all day, every day. I don't mean only on Sunday mornings. Should we make worship a priority on Sunday mornings? Absolutely. Should worship slide down our priority list during the rest of the week? Absolutely not. Whether we are alone, whether we are together, whether we are at work, or whether we are with our families, I pray we would worship the one who gives us all of these things. God is good, all the time, and he deserves our worship all of the time.

2) I pray that we would pray more. I pray that I would pray more. I pray that you would pray more. I pray that we would see every meal, every goodnight story with our children, every morning coffee, as a chance to come to God in prayer. I pray that we would pray more than once a day. I’m really excited that our Church focus for 2019 is prayer, if even that I would pray more myself, with my family. How much should we pray? I can’t give an exact amount of time we should spend in    prayer. But I know that I should pray more than I am, and we should all pray more than we are. Join me, and let’s just pray more!

3) I pray that we would worship God in a fresh way on Sunday mornings. Does this mean that we will worship God in a new way? No. Does it mean that we will worship God in a different way? No. But I also believe that God is the ultimate creator of all things. So, my prayer is that God would create something new in us as we come to worship together on Sunday morning. Let’s set our expectations high. Let’s set our standard high. I believe that God will do more than we ask or imagine. Let’s expect Him to do just that.

I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us this year.
I love you all and I will see you on Sunday!

In Christ,
Jared

 

Posted by Jared Mitchell with

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