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Spare Change - October

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What Makes Our Kids’ Ministry Special?

Currently we are right in the middle of VBS.  We changed the format from a weeklong VBS to four Sunday evenings because of the pandemic.  So far it has been a great success.  We are also in the middle of preparing for the Upward season.  Teams will not start practicing until after Thanksgiving; however, there is a lot of work to do up front.  It takes a few months to get prepared for it.  We also have launched our AWANA program successfully and we have our Kids’ Life Groups on Sunday morning that are going well.

Why do I mention all of these programs and activities?  Certainly not because I want any praise or accolades. Truly, these events would not happen without the dedication of our amazing volunteers.  We have over 70 VBS volunteers, 25 AWANA volunteers, about 30 volunteers that make Sunday morning happen (this does not include the 30 more volunteers that serve on the nursery rotation).  Upward will see around 50 volunteers once the season is in full swing.  Can you see why our volunteers are so important?  These programs could not be done effectively without all these servants of the Lord making it happen.  It is one of the great joys of my life to be able to lead these people in ministry.  We are truly a blessed church!

Why do these people do it?  Why do they tirelessly spend time week in and week out serving?  They are not getting paid.  So why do they do it?  Because they love Jesus…plain and simple.  The only reason someone would spend time teaching, playing, helping, mentoring, etc. is because they are doing it in the name of, and for the glory of, God.  Our volunteers understand the importance of pouring the Word of God into the children at a young age.   We know that kids need to learn and be discipled.  We desire to see them come to know and love the Lord.  This will only happen with dedicated, Christlike volunteers, which we have.  Again, I say we are truly a blessed church!

Of course, this is only possible because of parents that choose to partner with our ministry.  We always want to make it clear that parents have the primary responsibility of discipling their children.  We are here to partner with families in that endeavor.  We pray that we are a blessing to your family!  We always want to be encouraging and challenging families to have a deeper walk with Jesus.  We do not see this just as a children’s ministry, rather we look at it as family ministry.  Our greatest desire is to see the Lord honored in your family.  If we join together in that goal, then our children will be raised to know and love the Lord.

So, you can see that even though our kids’ ministry is busy and requires a lot of volunteers, we do not see that as a burden, but a blessing.  We love the kids and the families so much!  We are passionate about doing kids’ ministry to the best of our ability and in that we bring glory to God.  I wanted to take just a little bit of time to explain that to everyone because sometimes the
vision and mission behind the ministry can get lost. 

We know parents are stressed, we know kids are busy, and there are a lot of pressures on families today.  That is why a kids’ ministry focused on the gospel is needed, now more than ever.  While the world wants to focus on performance, we want to
focus on grace.  The world wants to hold you up to the standard of super parent, then chastise you when you fall short.  This same standard applies to our kids as well, but that is not what the Bible teaches.  Sure, we need to strive for excellence, but we also do not need to live and die by our successes and failures.  We know that we are all people in need of Jesus and the grace that comes with the gospel; that is what this ministry is about, and I just wanted to remind everyone, including myself, about this truth.

If you read this and think, “I want to be involved in a ministry like this,” then come talk to me.  We always need people that are passionate about loving kids to serve in the kids’ ministry.  We need Life Group leaders, nursery workers, coaches, and the like.  You can make a difference in a family’s life!

Finally, I know there are many supporters in our church that do not directly serve but have a huge impact.  First, they give to help support the ministry.  These ministries do not happen without people giving.  Second, there are many people that are praying for this ministry, the families, and the children.  Thank you for your support.  I feel your prayers and know you are behind us!  I will say it again and again, we truly are a blessed church!!!

 

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Spare Change - September

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“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!” is a common motto of people competing in athletic competitions.  This slogan is plastered on encouraging memes on social media and on basketball sneakers; however, it is not just a slogan it is an important verse that is meant to be a great encouragement to believers that are facing all kinds of obstacles in their lives.

This verse is Philippians 4:13 and Paul wrote it to the church in Philippi.  Here is Philippians 4:10-13 to help us better understand the context of the verse.

“10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the  secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Paul was writing to encourage the believers from his own experiences.  They were greatly concerned about Paul’s wellbeing and with good cause.  We read a summary of Paul's sufferings in 2 Corinthians 11.  He tells the church he has been beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, gone without food, etc.  Paul understands he has suffered greatly for the cause of Christ, but he encourages the church not to worry because he has learned to be content in every situation.  Whether he has much, or little, he trusts the Lord.  It is in that vein that he says he can do all things through Christ.  Basically, he is relying on the strength of Christ to help him accomplish all that God has for him to do.  The challenges he faces are nothing more than obstacles that are to be conquered.  Paul is confident that God has a job for him to do and he is not going to stop no matter what comes his way because he relies on Christ through everything.

WHAT AN ATTITUDE!  Can you even imagine thinking about life in that way?  The sad reality is verse 13 is so much more than just a handy slogan; it is a banner that goes before us to remind us that we do everything for God’s glory.  First, we need to realize that God has a job for us!  God wants us to work, live, shop, eat, serve, parent, fill in the blank all for the glory of God.  He sets us on a course to accomplish His will in our lives.  It is carried out in how we raise our families, how we interact with co-workers, how we redeem our time and yes, even our possessions for the Lord.  That means you look for opportunities to share the gospel and actively disciple, serve, and love others in every facet of life.

Once we come to terms with our God-given mission, then we can understand that there will be challenges to that goal.  You will face internal and external influences that will try to get you to stop.  We fight against our flesh, the world, and the devil.  These three combine to challenge and defeat us and, often, they succeed.  However, if we take to heart what Paul says in Philippians 4 then we will not give up so easily.  We must understand that nothing can defeat us, not even death.  Paul makes that clear early in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  If we have nothing to lose then we cannot be beat!

Do you get it?!  We will face obstacles, we will be challenged but we cannot let that stop us.  Whether it is a ball game, a hard day at work, a failure as a parent or whatever, you can overcome it.  Just like Paul, you need to rely on the strength that is found only in Jesus Christ.  If you do that you will be unstoppable and God will get the glory for all it.  See this verse is bigger than just a sporting event, it is for every aspect of your life.  So, keep following the Lord, keep working for Him, and do not give up!  He will give you the strength you need, just rely on Him every day!

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