Category Archives: Bulletin Articles

Words of wisdom from our weekly bulletin

Church On A Mission: Mission Possible

Last year we began a practice that sent us into a portion of our community that struggles and exists on the brink of poverty.  We mowed lawns for elderly people. We brought food to families.  We also conducted several home repairs, some quite extensive, at our expense with our own labor force.  We called it Mission Possible because we believed it was possible to reach our and plant our footprints in the community and make a difference.

We are calling it Mission Possible again because we believe it is still possible to make a difference.  Some of those who participated last year (about 90 of us) reflected on the efforts made and said things like, “I didn’t know people had this kind of need right here in our community.”  “What a blessing it was, personally, to help others in need.”  “How can we do this kind of thing more often?”  “Why didn’t we see this before?”  We had an eye opening experience.

Efforts like Mission Possible aren’t intended to replace personal responsibility.  The big effort we make as a church is aimed to encourage ongoing mission efforts in our lives throughout the rest of the year.  Doing good in your neighborhood or workplace individually, making some special efforts to serve others with your Home Bible Study group, or taking your family to do a work of service are the kinds of results Mission Possible hopes to instill in your lifestyle.

Several from our congregation have shared their stories with me regarding the help they have been able to share with others over the past year.  Some were already in the habit of helping; others indicated they were inspired to help because they had participated in the Garage Give Away or Mission Possible events we have hosted.  The stories encourage me and make me want to do more to bless others.

We are hosting Mission Possible again this year.  I’m excited about it.  Several of you have contributed food and/or money to support the effort.  Your contributions will be a blessing to some folks in our community.  We will share what we have and perhaps some people will go to bed for a few nights less worried about their struggles.  Some might go to bed without that hungry feeling in their gut.  Some might thank God for the first time in years or perhaps just for the first time.  Who knows what good God will bring from efforts like this?

We want your participation in Mission Possible.  We want you to give some money to help make an impact on some lives. We want you to bring some food to share.  We want you to come and assemble the food boxes.  Want you to come and deliver the food to the families we are helping.  And we want you to share your talents in home repair as we go out and replace window, fix gutters, repair handrails, fix leaks, and whatever else we choose to work on.

But we want more.  We are a church on a mission.  Anyone can get up some food and share it.  Anyone can collect some money and fix some stuff.  But the church does so in the name of Jesus.  We want you to help in the name of Jesus.  (Read Matthew 25:31-46)  We want you to participate with an eye for building relationships with those who have yet to hear or obey the good news of salvation in Christ alone.  So, partner with each other to advance the kingdom of God and pray for God to bless the mission.  ~ Sam

PARENTING WITH LOVE & LOGIC

Our Parenting With Love & Logic class begins on Monday, July 21st,
2014.  The focus will be on early childhood through 12 years old.  We
will meet from 6:30 PM until 7:45 PM.  This course will go for 6
consecutive weeks.   Childcare will be provided.  The required
workbook for this course is $15 per person. Space is limited so please
contact Sam H. Pace as soon as possible to let him know you will be in
attendance.

The Weight Of The World

My son is a tyrant. He’s 16 and full of strength and energy. I’m 43 and it’s been several years and several hundred latte’s since I exercised vigorously. Needless to say, I’ve accumulated some extra pounds and lost some much needed physical prowess to keep up with my 16 year old tyrant. We hit the gym together this morning for the first of what he hopes to be many workouts this summer. He’s hounded me for a few months now to work out with him and I finally succumbed to his antagonizing comments about my weakened and feeble state.

I might be aging a bit, but I still have enough pride to make myself miserable. I successfully avoided the weightlifting by heading to the exercise bikes for some cardio work. I was able to complete a decent cycle on the cycle. But at the end of the cycle program I saw we still had about 20 minutes to workout before I had to head for work. So, we headed to the fitness machines. (Torture devices really.)

My son wanted to work on core strength exercises and so we went to the crunch and reverse crunch machines. I got on the crunch machine and ripped off 25 or 30 reps and thought, “That wasn’t so bad.” Then I hit the reverse crunches and ripped off 40 reps and thought, “I’m not doing too bad.” That’s when I got the bad news. As I began to walk away my boy said, “Where you going? We’ve got to do three sets.” To keep my pride intact I said, “Oh, yeah, of course!”

I was surprised at how quickly I recovered from the dizziness and nausea after the third set. I got through it, but just barely. Afterwards I realized two things: One, I’m really out of shape. And, two, my pride is gonna get me in some serious trouble pretty quickly this summer. The Proverbs writer says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Proverbs 16:18) In my case, pride goes before a stomach ache, dizziness, and nausea. Ugh.

Let’s make use of this experience to illustrate something spiritual. It may be the case that you’ve let yourself go spiritually in recent days. Perhaps the weight of the world has added a few pounds to your life and perhaps you’ve been drinking the latte’s of the world and adding a few of the worlds values to your system. By the weight of the world I don’t mean problems, I mean to reference the ways of the world that we acquire when we get to friendly with the world we live in.

James says, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4) John says, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1st John 4:4) When we get away from the spiritual disciplines of Scripturereading and prayer we caneasily turn the tide toward allowing he who is in the world to become greater than He who is in us.

Reading Scripture and praying isn’t the end game of a Spirit-filled life. These disciplines are preparation for action. In other words, these disciplines prepare and enable us for the action God calls us to in the world. Spiritual strength is to be deployed in the day-to-day engagements of life when we see people in need of physical assistance, teaching, or encouragement. So, don’t neglect the daily reading of Scripture and time in prayer. More than that, put the spiritual strength you gain by being responsive to the opportunities God presents each day.

~ Sam

Seeing God

A while back I was talking to a woman about wearing glasses and she shared her story. As a child her parents were quite poor and though they knew she needed glasses they just couldn’t afford them. She was about 9 years old when the time came that her parents could afford the glasses. Even at 60 years of age she was recalling her story with enthusiasm and she said, “You know, I put them on and I didn’t want to take them off. For the first time in my life I could see, I could really see. I wanted to sleep with them on and never take them off!”
I was reminded of her story this past week when I went to the eye doctor for an exam. I’ve been prescribed glasses since I was a young boy, but my story isn’t filled with excitement and joy like her story. I didn’t want glasses. My eyesight wasn’t that bad, but to see the chalkboard I needed them. I didn’t want to arm my peers with any other excuse to make fun of me or pick on me. Glasses meant that I wasn’t just short and slow, but I was also “four eyes” and a “nerd.” I had all the attention I could take from my peers and glasses meant more negative attention.
While I’m not entirely over the negative attention of my peers during my years as a young boy, I’m getting better. Well, the truth is, my eyesight has diminished with age and now I want to see more than I fear the rejection of my peers. So, after I got the news from my eye doctor that I would likely never pass the eye exam to drive without glasses again, I figured it was time to give in and get glasses. So, take note, I’ll probably be wearing them next time you see me. If I’m not, it’s because my wife didn’t catch me trying to get away without them. Ugh.
So, let’s take a moment to think of this as an illustration for something else. Think of going through life wondering about the existence of a Creator. You could see the evidence of His existence through what you could see, hear, touch, and taste, but you needed more to answer the questions. Is there a God? What is God like? What does God want from me? Doesn’t God care about us? You could imagine the list goes on and on . . . but looking through the lens of our physical eyes doesn’t answer those questions. Seeing a mountain or a beautiful landscape or an amazing sky full of stars doesn’t give us clarity about the purposes of a Creator God for our existence.
I’ve had the privilege of seeing many people over the years read the Scriptures and find the answers they couldn’t see in Creation. For them, reading the Scriptures opened their spiritual eyes to see the purposes behind the creation of the Creator who loves and redeems. They not only see the past, but they understand their purpose for the present and their future with their Creator God who will bring them into His presence for eternity. You can almost see the light come on in their spiritual darkness and their eyes light up with excitement and sometimes they fill up with tears of joy.
The Bible reveals the answers to the questions we seek to answer in life. The Bible reveals the God who created us. The Bible reveals the love He has for us. The Bible reveals the way we are to live and love. The Bible reveals all we need to really see God and be His redeemed people. So, read your Bible and allow it to open your eyes to see . . . to really see. ~ Sam
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

A CAST OF THOUSANDS

To make a movie of epic proportions one needs not only majestic scenery, good actors and authentic costumes but many extras. As the credits roll after the movie these people  are often called, “ A cast of thousands.” Their names remain unknown but they probably get a thrill out of just being in a movie.

In God’s inspired Word many names have survived down through the centuries. We are quite familiar with the patriarchs, the prophets, the kings, Jesus’ apostles, friends, family and even His enemies.

However, we are left to wonder about the names of so many Biblical people. Just a few from this “cast of thousands” should arouse our curiosity. What was the name of the Centurion, the poor widow who gave two copper coins, the many lepers, paralytics, lame and demon possessed He cured? What were the names of Jesus’ sisters, Peter’s mother-in-law? The fact that we don’t know their names does not lessen their impact and example.

Jesus did not always work with His small group of apostles but also spoke to and interacted with large “casts of thousands”. The sermon on the Mount was one and the feeding of the 5000 and 4000 were two others. We don’t know the names of any of these listeners nor even of the boy with the 5 loaves and 2 fish but Jesus taught  a powerful spiritual lesson about physical food versus spiritual food.

Today we are part of a cast of thousands if we are part of Christ’s church. Jesus can use us to minister to a spiritually hungry crowd and nobody needs to know our name.

We can get a thrill out of being an “extra” in God’s plan.

Jim Bailey