Dear Church Family,
For students May is the month of finals, graduations, and preparation for the Summer. That is mostly true for the Student Ministry too! So, as we start to switch gears for Summer activities and discipleship, I would like to share with you what the past school year looked like for our students.
Last Fall we fully kicked off our Sunday Night Student Gathering for the first time since 2020. Student Gathering is essentially a worship service specifically for students. Our all-student worship band has been doing a fantastic job leading worship all year long! They have been teaching us new songs and helping us remember some old songs… even a few hymns! After worship I preach a message to our students from God’s Word. Since last September we have gone through the book of Malachi, and when the Spring is over, we will have had a sermon from each chapter of Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. After the hour-long service we get to spend about 45 minutes to an hour in fellowship, playing games, and hanging out. Sunday nights have been such a great time for students to worship and fellowship together!
Life Groups are what we do on Wednesday nights. Since the Fall, we have been gathering almost every Wednesday to meet in four different groups: High School Guys, High School Girls, Middle School Guys, and Middle School Girls. In these groups we focus on Bible study discussion that is based, either on a specific study the Student Ministry is doing, or on the sermon from Sunday morning. Since September we have gone through a video-based series called John 1-3, which took us through the first 3 chapters of John, the sermon series at church called All In, and we are currently in the sermon series called Guided. Life Groups are great because they give the students a closer connection to others their age and more opportunities to absorb and apply the scriptures through conversations.
While Life Groups and Student Gathering take place during the school year, our Sunday Morning Bible Study (SMBS) is on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am year-round. Since I first came to Oakhill over five years ago, we have gone through the entire Bible using The Gospel Project curriculum from Lifeway tracing the gospel through from Genesis to Revelation. Since we finished that over a year ago, we have been focusing on two major studies. The first was Religion: A Look at Major Religions and What the Bible Says About Their Beliefs. The second was Christianity: A Study of the Denominations and What We Believe from Scripture. Now that both of those have concluded, we are getting back into The Gospel Project to continue to see the gospel in all of scripture and apply all of God’s Word to our lives. The SMBS is such a great time for students to learn more about what the Bible teaches and why we believe what we believe.
I am so thankful to be a part of the many different ways our church invests in our students during the schoolyear and throughout! The Summer is going to offer just as many opportunities to minister to them through Summer Camp, helping with Vacation Bible School, Middle School Mission Week, and all the interpersonal discipleship during events and day trips. Please continue to pray for the younger generations as they finish school and prepare for a Summer full of possibilities to live for the Lord!
Dear Church Family,
Dear Church Family,
Spring is in the air, and I hope it has brought you the nicer weather and the beautiful sights that normally come with it. By the time you read this, I should be enjoying our newborn baby girl. It is appropriate for her to be born in the Spring when everything in nature is pointing to the power of God to bring life into the world. That is partly because she is a new life coming into the world, but another reason this is a timely event is because we have decided to name her Anastasia.
We picked the name Anastasia because of its meaning. It comes from the Greek word anastasis which means resurrection. Spring is the time every year that we are reminded that God is the God of life. Spring is also the time of year that we celebrate Easter: the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for the many different reminders that God is the giver of life, and not just life right now, but eternal, resurrected life to all who believe in Jesus as their risen Lord and Savior. This is the truth that I cherish the most, and Anastasia will help me to remember to believe it. Let me explain:
One of the most striking conversations in the Bible is recorded in John chapter 11 when Martha said to Jesus that if He had been there when her brother Lazarus was sick, then Lazarus would not have died. I can’t help but wonder what all she was thinking. Was she confused why Jesus delayed in coming to see them? Was she upset with Jesus? Was she simply stating a fact and wondering if there was anything Jesus could do now that Lazarus had actually died? All of those scenarios are plausible and unremarkable. But what is remarkable is Jesus’ response to her.
Jesus tells Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” This is an astonishing statement! We know from the rest of the narrative that Jesus brought Lazarus back to life. He really did it! Jesus called Himself the anastasis and then actually proved it in real life. But before He proved it, He asked Martha an important question; He said, “Do you believe this?” Well, do we?
We named our daughter Anastasia so that we will constantly be reminded to keep believing the truth; that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. When life gets hard, when hope seems to fail, when questions, worry, frustration, and confusion get the best of me, I want to remember that Jesus solved my real problem. He purchased my life for me, and I can take it easy knowing that He will raise me up to an everlasting life. In Him, I will never truly die. There is nothing that can stop those of us who believe this truth from living with all our might for the glory of God. So, will you commit to believing the truth? Will you live without fear? Will you live for God’s glory, which is your good? I hope Anastasia will help everyone she meets to do just that.