Just today, I invited a few youthworker friends to join a network that I’m involved with. I shared the difference it’s made in my life/ministry and passed on a email with all the important information about the organization. One friend responded pretty quickly and basically said, “I would have normally just deleted the email, but since it was from you, I’m intrigued.” I can relate to that thought! I get so many emails everyday…even emails about things I’m interested in tend to get glossed over, deleted, or “filed away for later”. BUT, a personal note from someone I trust changes the priority level of that email. There’s power in a personal invitation.
Let me encourage you to consider who you can invite to church with you. Sharing the difference it’s made in your life and extending an invitation may be just the thing they need.
The campers and volunteers at last week’s Weird Animals Day Camp had a blast! It was a week filled with solid biblical teaching and many fun activities. Throughout the week the campers learned that when they are left out, different, afraid, or even when they don’t understand or do wrong, Jesus loves them. They heard stories about real kids who have applied these principles to their lives and how God helped them. They also got to go on some fantastic field trips each day!
I heard many stories from volunteers of how they witnessed God working on a child’s heart. One day they learned about how Jesus took everything they’ve ever done or will do wrong on the cross and that He gave himself for them. In the Bible Adventures Station on this day, the campers wrote their names on a cross to symbolize this. One camper that’s been attending our Day Camp for a few years wrote I ♥ Jesus under their name. The volunteer that was telling me about this story said that this camper has never shown much interest in the spiritual side of Day Camp, and that it was such a sweet moment to witness God working on their heart. It’s these kinds of moments that we pray and are thankful for; to see the campers experience the life-changing power of Jesus Christ.
Whether you volunteered the week of Day Camp or served by donating needed items, this week wouldn’t have been possible without you!!! Thank you so much for giving these kids an opportunity to relish in the love of Christ through your service.
Check out this highlight video of the week. I think you’ll agree that we had lots of fun! I pray many of you are able to be a part of Day Camp next year!
Grace and Peace,
Day Camp 2014 Weird Animals Highlight from Arlington Countryside Church on Vimeo.
I hope you’ll join us tomorrow evening for some delicious pie and a great time of worship and learning. Free high fives if you come wearing face paint.
For years I’ve always had some sort of candle on my desk. I typically light it when I am reading my Bible, praying, or preparing a sermon. Occasionally even during a counseling appointment.
I do it as a visual reminder. Fire is a symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Bible – as I pray or study I want the Holy Spirit to illuminate the Scriptures for me, to guide me into truth, to be my teacher. I want my prayers to be empowered by him; I want my listening and my speaking to be filled with his gentleness and wisdom.
I am not going to lie – a nice pumpkin spice candle also makes my office smell better! But trust me, that’s not the primary reason it is burning. I am inviting the Holy Spirit to do his work in my office, on my desk, in my heart.
SCOTUS, DOMA, and Prop 8. I feel like I’ve had to learn a new language this week! There’s a flurry of information out there. As you’re getting your head around this issue and what it means for our country, the church, and individuals, I wanted to share with you 4 resources (articles and blog posts) that I thought were well written and very helpful.
I read an interesting article this week: “The Gospel of Gatsby and Draper: What if the self-made man wakes up one day and hates himself”. As the title suggests, it’s a look at the worldview of Jay Gatsby (of the Great Gatsby) and Don Draper (of the TV show Madmen). Both men despise their upbringing/family of origin and have created a new life/name for themselves. They are successful by every standard of the world, yet they are empty. These men are talented and driven and while their accomplishments are commendable, they remind us that happiness is not found in the sum of our achievements. These men love and worship themselves over and above anything else – a path that never leads to fulfillment.
The following quote from the article really stuck out to me:
Freedom…is about finding yourself in the steady, unrelenting, knowing, freeing gaze of someone who knows you—you, the you that you despise—and who is glad to be near you, who loves you anyways. Freedom, at its core, is about love, is inextricable from love, is love.
Wow! I think we all long for that kind of freedom/love. That’s exactly the kind of love that God has for us.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.
May you know the unconditional, steadfast love of God. May it bring hope, healing, and freedom in the deepest parts of your heart.
I saw this quote on Twitter today.
“Tolerance isn’t about not having beliefs. It’s about how your beliefs lead you to treat people who disagree with you.”
I love this! I think our culture has such a messed up view of tolerance. We’re often labeled as intolerant if we disagree with someone on the basis of religion and/or morality. The reality is, we can’t all agree! It doesn’t work that way…never has, never will. BUT, we can get along! Some of my closest friends are people that I’ve disagreed with on major issues. Being able to get along with people we disagree with brings beauty and depth to our relationships. More than that, it’s biblical!
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
- Colossians 4:5-6
S.O.S. When I was in high school, the student service organization was S.O.S. – Service Over Self. As students, we went out into the community as well as participated in in-school projects in order to help those around us who were in need. It was fun, and a great learning experience. As Children’s Ministry gears up for our new school season, our focus is naturally turning to staffing our classrooms with volunteers. I initially got involved years ago with children’s ministry because I had a teaching degree and no teaching job. I figured why not hone some skills on Sunday morning? Then, when I became a mom and was bringing my girls to church, I chose to get involved in their classrooms.
Although stepping into the classroom could be intimidating at first, I really loved it! It can be scary thinking… “Oh boy, I need to not only teach these kids about Christ, but I need to keep them interested and engaged! What have I gotten myself into?” But I quickly found that one of my greatest joys of being in the classroom is simply building relationships. I love hearing about the kids’ weeks, their interests, their challenges. The teaching comes naturally after that, and it is truly joyful to me knowing these children.
Part of ACC’s Vision is our strategy of “worship plus two.” What does this mean? This means that as an attendee of ACC, it is our goal to 1) Have you worship with us as a body of Christ. Come to services on Sunday mornings and rejoice and praise God with fellow believers and seekers; 2) Join a growth ministry. Worship is a wonderful way to express our thankfulness to our Lord and Savior, but we don’t want to become stagnant in our belief. Living a Christ-focused life is a process that lasts throughout our lifetimes. We all go through good times and bad and need our brothers and sisters in Christ to help us on our journey. Join a growth group, women’s Bible study (Coffee Hour), men’s study (FUEL); and 3) Find somewhere to serve. Pray about your strengths and use them to serve within ACC. Are you musical? Think about joining the worship team. Do you enjoy meeting new people? Join the welcome team on Sunday mornings. Are your strengths technical? Working sound on Sunday morning may be a perfect fit. Love children and seeing them grow and develop in their knowledge and belief of the Lord? Get involved in children’s ministry.
Of course, I am going to focus on this last point. We are in need of dedicated people to serve within our Sunday morning children’s programs. As I noted above, I absolutely love getting to know these wonderful kids. I love the quiet ones and the loud ones; the active and the calm. I love the smiles I see every Sunday. I love my current volunteers and their capacity to love and their passion to teach.
If you aren’t serving at ACC, prayerfully consider joining our children’s ministry team. If children’s ministry is not your “thing”, get involved somewhere. You won’t be sorry!
Blessings to you and your family,
Here is a list of five things I’m pumped about right now:
- We are having the cello and viola make an appearance this Sunday! I love mixing things up musically and having “different than the norm” instrumentation once in a while.
- Chris Modrzejewski is finishing up week three of his five week sabbatical! I am so thrilled for him that he gets this time away. (But at the same time I miss him and the strong coffee he brews for our Thursday Band of Brothers group!) Join me in continuing to pray for him and his family, that they would savor this time, and that God would bring Chris back to us refreshed, recharged, and ready to jump back into the next season of ministry.
- This Sunday, we kick off our new series: PRAY. I am eager to be challenged and to grow in my personal prayer life as we take four weeks to dive into this important topic. Speaking of prayer …
- We are having a launch lunch for our ACC Prayer Team this Sunday after the 10:30 service. I believe this ministry has the potential to be a game-changer in the life of our church. I recently read a quote that said, “If only we knew what was happening when we pray, we would never cease to pray.”
- In case you didn’t know, today is National Star Wars Day. May the fourth be with you!
Today is Good Friday. I hope you’ll join us for our service at 7PM tonight. We will be considering Christ’s final words on the cross and sharing in the Lord’s Supper together.
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
A Good Friday Prayer
In your great love,
You sent your Son Jesus Christ,
To suffer and die on the cross.
By reflecting upon his crucifixion this day:
May we find consolation in our suffering;
May we find healing in our sickness;
And, clinging to the hope that we have in Christ,
May we who will die find salvation.
We pray in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.