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August Beats by Mark

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One of the things that the Lord has been impressing on me constantly this summer is what an incredible privilege it is to work with your students. They have amazed me constantly as they serve, lead, and love those around them in such beautiful ways. This past July was no different. Our junior high students served the families of the Pleasant Ridge Mobile Home Park by leading a daily Bible club. Each day our students would lead kids through a Bible lesson, crafts, and fun games (all pictured above).  Almost equally impressive is that they did this through very hot, wet, messy days.  I am so proud of them!!

In a world where we hear so many stories of students making bad decisions, going down bad paths, and hurting themselves or others, it is so encouraging and life-bringing to serve alongside our students. They display incredible patience, love, and leadership. They are able to share and teach about the Gospel through both lessons and conversations. I’m eager to see how the Lord will continue the relationships built at Pleasant Ridge. 



The theme for Camp this year was Proclaim. Our camp pastor, Rob Turner, boldly challenged the students in their understanding of the Gospel and whether the Gospel was affecting how they live their lives, how they use their words, or how they serve. 

God used Rob and this camp theme to really convict some of our students about how they’ve used their words and many of them walked through repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation with one another. This in turn led to an authentically beautiful time of confession and students sharing their stories.  It is hard to describe in words how truly  stunning it is to watch the Spirit lead out students into such deep community. In these moments I think we see actual love. So often we experience and see shallow and surface level love in this world. But in moments like this one, we see love as it should be.

God showed His power, His beauty, and His grace in unbelievable ways this year. 10 students came to know Him throughout the week, and I’m eager to see how God is going to continue to work in and through these students as we head into this fall.

Upcoming Dates

August 16           Promotion Sunday

August 12           Party in the Park

August 16 - 29    No activities for students

August 23           Parent Meeting

August 30           Fall Schedule Begins

July Pastor's Points

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Church Family,

Last month I shared with you my deep affection I have for you as my church family.  I am so thankful for the loving relationship that we have with one another.  It is so easy to take for granted the great blessing of the love and friendship of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  My prayer is that our love will grow deeper and deeper as we navigate the changing landscape of the world around us.  As I shared Sunday, it is imperative that we love God completely and love others compassionately in the months and years to come.  If we will live this way we can be sure that our relationships inside the church family and outside the church will grow stronger, and we will be able to give a wonderful Gospel testimony with our lives.

As we hold on to these two truths let me encourage you to consider six actions that we as believers can take as well in light of the recent Supreme Court decision.  These were shared this past Sunday by Pastor Greg Laurie as he spoke to his church family.  Laurie shares…

There are at least six things Christians can do in the wake of the Supreme Court decision and other attacks on Christians and Christianity, Laurie suggested.

One, "don't panic; God is still on the throne," he told the church. He quoted Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, as saying: "The Supreme Court can do many things, but the Supreme Court can't put Jesus back in that tomb. Jesus of Nazareth is still alive; He is still calling the universe toward His kingdom." The church thrives when it is in sharp contrast to the culture around it, Laurie said, giving the example of the first century Christians, who also lived in a pagan culture where immorality was rampant. Yet, "they turned the world upside down." They didn't do it through protests or marches, the pastor said. "They
out-loved, outplayed and out-gave the non-believers."

Two, “we need to remember that Romans 8:28 is still in the Bible,” Laurie told the congregation. "Even a ruling like this can, in God's sovereign will, work together for our good and His glory," he said.

Three, “we need to show this culture what a biblical marriage looks like,Laurie shared. A reason why marriage is a big deal to God is because "of all of the pictures, of all of the illustrations He could have chosen to illustrate His love for the Church and His Church's love for Him, He chose marriage." "Your marriage should be a testimony and an example" to the non-believing world, Laurie urged. If you have problems in your marriage, "forgive and move forward," the pastor said, explaining that differences between spouses are bound to happen but love can overcome them.

Four, “we need to show the love of Christ to everyone,” Laurie said. To do that, we need to meet them where they are and greet them with the Gospel, he added. "God loves everyone, no matter what they have done." Nobody is born a gay, the megachurch pastor said. One may be tempted with attraction for the same-sex, which can be resisted, he explained, and read out a letter a former lesbian woman wrote to him about how she turned away from homosexuality after her conversion as she listened to his messages on the radio. "The Gospel does not define us by our temptations, but by the righteousness of Christ," Laurie stated. Laurie also said we need to love homosexual people but not condone or accept homosexuality. Evaluating and speaking the truth in love are not judging or condemning, he explained.

Five, “we need to engage all people with the Gospel,” Laurie said. Deep down, everyone is searching for a relationship with God, he said. "God can change anyone."

Six, “we need to pray no matter what,” Laurie said. "We need to pray that America has a spiritual awakening." There's no political messiah that is going to save us now, Laurie underlined. "This is bigger than politics, this is bigger than culture … this is a spiritual war we are engaged in, and we need a spiritual solution. … America needs a revival like she has never needed it before." We might lose a few battles, but the Bible says we're going to win the war, Laurie emphasized, stressing the importance of being equipped with the armor of God. He quoted Ephesians 6:10-13: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done
everything, to stand."

I love you and I love being your pastor,

 Pastor Alan

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