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It is hard to believe that 2022 is almost halfway over! I remember when the year started, I had so many plans and now that the year has been flying by I realize that, well, I need to start. In so many areas of our life we often have great intentions but then life gets complicated and congested with other things. So every so often we should stop and evaluate our plans and examine what is really important in our lives.
Church is often the last place we want to share our struggles
As you know we are in the midst of a sermon series called “Is Your Family Broken? Ours Too!” The reality is that our families struggle more often than we often want to admit. We know that God can heal our hurts, God can provide support in difficult times and that God placed us together as a church for that very reason. However, sometimes the church is the last place we want to turn and particularly the last place we are willing to share our struggles.
When we talk about broken families, we often think of single parents, divorced parents, out of control kids and abusive situations. They all are signs of broken families but that is not the only kind of brokenness our families face. One other sign of brokenness deals with spiritual warfare. We see spiritual warfare in lack of forgiveness, sin and the evil of this world. Families today face worries that most of us did not face while we raised our kids. The things our youngest have to deal with such as gender identity, the lack of leadership in our culture and even school shootings. We are often aware of our physical health but then overlook our emotional health.
We often are aware the importance of our physical health but then overlook our emotional health.
Sin is all around us and the events of our world can lead many into the depths of depression, suicidal thoughts and hopelessness. Katie Swafford is a friend and a licensed counselor who is with the Texas Baptist General Convention. She recommends several things when our moods, our emotions and our thoughts are not as they should be. There are several strategies we should implement to help with our mental and emotional health.1 First, drink water. Water helps flush out toxins and help provide hydration. Next is exercise. This is one we all know we should do but don’t have time or energy to complete. This doesn’t mean necessarily lifting weights but it can be as simple as walking. We have P31 for ladies and we have a gym at the church that allows you a place to walk in the air conditioning-just let us know when you want to walk and take advantage of it. Third, eat healthy. It is recommended we need to eat more vegetables and fruits. These will be good for your body’s blood sugar and almost guarantee a difference in how you feel. Sleep is the next thing on the list. It is recommended to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night and that it is a quality sleep. An emotional outlet is also critical to your wellbeing. This is the importance of community, small groups and what the church offers you. The last thing on the list is “How’s your spiritual walk?” I think this one is one we all take for granted. God created us as social creatures.
Genesis 2:18 says: The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
As the summer begins, it is a time that we often become less diligent in our attendance in church and our time in God’s Word. Let me encourage you that church is important because God created us to be together and support one another. As we look at broken families and broken people we all need the Lord and to help one another. God is a very present help in times of trouble, but we must be plugged into His power source.
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:9-10)
Don’t let the summer be an excuse to overlook the power source and come to church and be an encouragement to those who need it and find the hope we all need.
In Christ, Brother Alan
Summer is here. There are so many exciting things planned for our youth. We are gonna do some fun stuff such as youth camp, having a BBQ and going to a waterpark, but most importantly they will be serving. This is our Summer of Servants. A couple weeks ago I spoke with the students about what it means to be a servant.
Matthew 20:28 “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many.”
This is our focus verse for the summer. There are many opportunities for our students to serve. Just last Wednesday we had students running the sound board, running the computer and videos for children’s choir and others dancing on stage teaching VBS songs to the children. All of the students were having a great time doing these task, but they did not realize that each one of them was being a servant.
Serving God could mean simply helping in our local church.
I told them that what they were doing was helping spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to these younger children. Serving God does not mean that we have to go to a foreign country and preach the gospel, we can if God calls us to, but we preach the gospel simply by serving here in our local church.
Serving God could mean using your talents.
VBS is coming up next week. This is great opportunity for out students to get involved and help serve. The following week is a music workshop. This week will be more about teaching students that they all can learn a musical talent which can be used to praise God and share the gospel through song. Youth Camp will be June 27 - July 1. I pray that our students catch a fire for Jesus so huge that when they come back home, they can’t help but not talk about what Jesus did for them. They are gonna be bombarded with fun activities and the Word of God.
Serving prepares us to share the gospel.
We will also have some service opportunities such as picking up trash at our local parks, helping clean around the church and hopefully some deep discipleship training. I hope these students have an amazing summer filled with opportunities that prepare them to share the gospel and be servants of God. Please pray for our students and pray for me. God is gonna go great things with these students.
The last few weeks of May have been difficult. The horrific actions of mass shootings in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, TX have rocked our country. The Uvalde incident has been especially shocking because the perpetrator was basically a child (18 years old) enacting violence and murder against other children in a supposed safe place, a school. It's left the whole world asking why? Why would anyone murder indiscriminately or in the Buffalo shooting, murder out of hatred for a particular race? Why are suicides skyrocketing as a means of dealing with stress or hardship? Why has abortion become "birth control?" Why does our world no longer value the life we've been given?
Society has rejected God in favor of the idea that everything is meaningless.
The only answer that rings true to me is our world's rejection of God and the moral framework He created from the beginning of time. In striving for freedom from the "confines" of rules, humanity has labeled God as a man-made construct and replaced God with the idea that everything is meaningless, life is random and stripped our world of any hope. This concept has its roots in nihilism, a philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche that states that there is no sustainer, such as God, of lasting purpose, meaning or hope for human life, even if humans create their own transitory purpose, meaning or hope. Our whole world is meaningless, there is nothing after we die and therefore my life, your life, unborn life...any life holds no value. Hopeless indeed!
Fortunately, as Christians, we know the Sustainer, the Creator, the One who made all for a purpose and holds all things together! It's our job to proclaim these truths to this hopeless world. The theme of our Vacation Bible School this year could not have come at a better time!
Spark Studios is centered around Ephesians 2:10, For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)
The songs, the Bible stories, the crafts and games, even the snacks all point children to God and the meaning for which He created us.
Creator God provides the meaning and hope in a dark world.
That one bible verse provides the hope that has been stripped from our society today. Once we believe in God the Father then we are given meaning from our Creator, as His workmanship, We are given purpose from Jesus to do good works. We are given a heritage because God prepared and thought out this plan for our creation. And we are given hope because God's plans are prepared for us to "walk in them" as we step into the future.
Join us and pray as we impart these vital truths to the precious children of this scary, lost world!
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