School’s In!

With autumn’s snap and vibrant colors comes the beginning of other things . . . a  new school year, new church ministries, new seasons of life.

I do miss it! The notebooks and pens. The crayons and bookbags. The new shoes and clothes. Always an elementary teacher at heart, I dearly love September and its trimmings–the colors, the textures, the smells of it all. (I know, a little weird.)

I no longer have little (or big) ones in school. But within church life, ministry opportunities are getting cranked up and I get the same kind of goose-pimply feelings! It’s the same for most churches — September is a busy, busy month!

Last Wednesday, we had our Awana’s Kick-Off. We average 130 children each Wednesday night in this ministry. It’s an awesome opportunity to help the children memorize God’s Word and keep it in their heart. (Pam Bowen Green and I were busy filling orders for new Awana’s shirts and books that night.)

 

In addition, our church is a little old-fashioned in that it still has Sunday School classes instead of small groups. My newest Discovery Class begins next Sunday and is designed for children pondering salvation and those who’ve already taken this important step. We treat these (and ALL children) as precious little flowers that must be handled with the utmost care.  They are never railroaded or pushed beyond their understanding and God’s timing. Time and time again, it’s been proven–if a child does not have a good foundation in biblical truths, he/she will grow up to be an adult who’s confused about these concepts as well. SO IMPORTANT!

Here at Ridgecrest, we’ve also begun the adventure of re-tooling our Women’s Ministry in several ways. Personally, I’ve always been drawn to Titus-2 spiritual mentoring/disciplining among ladies of different ages, and the Lord seems to be leading us to explore this option in the future.

And in our choirs, we begin Christmas (yes, Christmas!) music, thinking ahead to our big Christmas program in December. Whew! Lots of new ways to serve. . . and allow the Lord to use us.

Do you get excited about the opportunities the Lord presents this time of year? Have you seen His hand pointing you to certain ministries?

Lord, may You be the center of everything done, every desire in our hearts, every program implemented. Without You in the midst, it becomes merely busy-ness!  May You receive all the glory and honor! We give You the praise for what will be accomplished . . . .

Lookin’ up,

 

 

 

Receptive Crowds and Refreshing Saints

The place: Playstead Park in Medford, Massachusetts.

The people: Redemption Hill Church, assisted by six out-of-state mission teams, sponsored a Community Fun Night. This event topped off a week-long “Serve Medford” work-project blitz.

The purpose: Hundreds of folks with whom we’d interacted all week showed up.

There were game booths, blow-ups for the kids. We grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, prepared sno-cones and popcorn. Door prizes were given away, including Red Sox baseball tickets.

A fun time was had by all! Lots of personal contacts were made by the pastors of Redemption Hill Church.

Prayerfully, hopefully, these individuals will feel the tug of the Spirit to attend Redemption Hill Church in the future. There, they will hear the gospel, be loved on by its members, and perhaps come to know Christ as their Savior!

I was part of the “stuffing crew” for Fun Night, along with several folks from First Baptist Church of Charlotte (NC). Like it sounds, we stuffed hamburgers and hotdogs into buns. I received a neat personal blessing working alongside the Charlotte bunch. Terry, Rosemary, Whitney, and Phil were a delight!

FBC had three creative assignments for the week. They interacted with the senior citizens at Saltonstall senior housing complex across from our hotel. They also placed door hangers in neighborhoods. Lastly, they participated a $50 servant evangelism challenge. This called for them to decide how to best spend the $50 given to them, so they could bless strangers on the street and invite them to the Community Fun Night.  They ended up buying gift cards to the local Dunkin’ Donuts to give away.

We swapped different “stories” from our weeks. We encouraged each other and gave different perspectives on how God was moving within our own churches. How wonderful it is to see how God is working in other places besides Durham! To me, they were refreshing saints. . . .

 “A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.” (Proverbs 18:4 NLT)

May God continue to use all efforts to His glory from “Serve Medford” week!  We on the Ridgecrest team were truly blessed to be part. . .  and we can’t wait for next year! (Special thanks to Cindy Davis, part of our Ridgecrest team, for her pictures of the event.)

 

Lookin’ up,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ripples

I am part of a 21-member team who are serving in Medford, Massachusetts, this week as “friends of the Redemption Hill Church.”  This the second year in a row we have made the journey to Boston.

Like ripples across water, God works in mysterious and often surprising ways! Jon Chasteen, co-pastor of Redemption Hill Church in Medford, Massachusetts, told us a story of God’s favor that came in direct result of God blessing our group’s efforts of cleaning Medford parks last year.

This spring Redemption Hill Church wanted to sponsor  a Medford-area Easter Egg Hunt. This would be an event that would not only increase their presence in the community but help the church get to know many of the families. Jon and Tanner (another pastor of Redemption Hill) were scheduled to plead their case and get approval for the Egg Hunt before the Medford City Council.

They showed up on the appropriate scheduled day.  Down at the front of the room was a man named Mike Nester. Mike Nester is Director of the Medford Parks and Recreation Department.

Mike got to know Jon and Tanner because of an impression made from a mission project last summer. That’s when four neighborhood parks had been overwhelmingly cleaned, painted, repaired, and spiffed up by a group from Durham, NC, who pitched in at the invitation of Redemption Hill Church.

Fast forward. It was now time for Jon and Tanner to ask permission from the powers-that-be to use one of the larger Medford parks for the Egg Hunt.

The Council debated the event’s merits back and forth. Remember, this is an area of the country known for priding itself on its acceptance of all religious beliefs. The Medford city government supporting a decidely Christian event might not be received well.

That’s when Mike Nester spoke up and in so many words said, “I want you to know this is the same group of people who cleaned up EIGHT parks last summer for us and did a bang-up job. I say let them have their event.”

It was approved. Redemption Hill had their Easter Egg Hunt and made personal contact with many more families in the community, thanks to the ripple effect of God’s blessing.

You never know how what you’re doing for the Lord today will affect God’s blessings tomorrow, next month, next year! Thank You, Father, for giving us this glimpse of how You’re moving. . . we are humbled and in awe of You, Lord.

 

Lookin’ up,