Monday, August 25, 2014

Operation Christmas Child SIng

A World of Opportunity at the 2nd Annual Operation Christmas Child Meeting and Gospel Sing

Westwood Baptist Church Family Center, Live Oak, FL – 2:00 – 5:00 PM - September 13, 2014 

Enjoy first-hand the unique experience of how a small Christmas gift box can mean so much to needy children all over the world.   We are honored and excited to learn more about the impact of a shoebox on the lives of Lejla Allison from Bosnia;  Alex Nsengimana, a survivor of genocide in Rwanda; and Livia Satterfield from Romania.

Gospel music will be provided by Amber Jones, Life Song Gospel Music Trio and Amber Lee Abbott.  
Along with the Gospel music there will be a baked potato bar with all the fixings.  There is a suggested donation of $5.00 each, all of which will go toward Operation Christmas Child.

For more information,
contact: Colleen Ruehl
Suwannee Valley & NC FL Area Coordinator
Operation Christmas Child - Samaritan's Purse
(850) 556-1787 - cell

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Get Your Walking Shoes On..

The annual Pregnancy Care Center's Walk/Run for Life will be September 27.  Last year our church took the prize for most participants!  We have a trophy we've kept all year at our church.

This year the competition is open among our area churches for the trophy.  Let's keep a hold of it another year!!  Please plan to attend the walk and show your support for our local Pregnancy Care Center!

Friday, August 15, 2014

How to Grow In God

Are you thirsty? Are you craving time in God’s Word? Peter instructs us to yearn for the Word of God as a baby needs milk. This reflects the way our longing should feel as we thirst for knowledge of God. It’s also a lovely reminder that studying God’s Word should never be a labor; it should always be a delight. Filling up on God’s promises and instructions is a satisfying, nourishing, enlightening experience.

Make it a goal to grow in the Lord. To do this calls for you to discard behaviors that are unlike your God. To embrace the spiritual truths found in God’s Word. Getting rid of the bad and desiring the good are actions you can take each and every day of your life. No matter how long you have been a believer—10, 20, or 30 years—you should still crave the Word of God. In fact, the desire increases the more you grow in Christ!

God calls you to discard… and to desire. Make God’s goal your goal. Purge whatever is not righteous and good in your life so you can grow in Him.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Characteristics of an Effective Leader

The new church year will be starting soon!  This is always an exciting time for the church as new leaders emerge and seasoned leaders can be revitalized for the coming year.

If you are a involved in a church ministry or considering becoming a part, a recent article shared some characteristics of an effective leader.  Remember, we're not leading if no one is following and when others follow, we want to lead as Christ leads.  May we seek the Lord for effective ministry and for Him to work in our lives His character.

Intentional: You need to know your purpose and make deliberate efforts to follow the process for getting there. Intentionality is important because people need to believe that where you are going will make a difference in their lives.

Honest: You need to be authentic, transparent, real. Honesty is important because people need to sense that they can trust you.

Consistent: You need to practice what you preach, always be fair, and bring some sense of stability into this chaotic world. Consistency is important because people need to know that they can count on you.

Sensitive: You need to understand and accept that not everybody is at the same place in their walk nor do they have the same needs. Sensitivity is important because people need to feel that they matter to you.

Loving: You need to give of yourself to others in ways let them see how devoted you are to them which would include all of the above traits and more. Love is important because people need to know you truly care about them.

Notice that the importance of these characteristics is not merely to make us more effective or make us look good to others. Rather, it’s the effect we have on the people we serve, … the message these traits relay to the people we serve. If we are not connecting with people, all our smooth-running programs or eloquent words will lack the full impact they could have.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Cor. 13:1-3)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Showing Jesus to Others

If Jesus is who He says He is, then we should want to introduce Him to others who might not know Him in these ways. We can do that through . . .

Our words ... what we say

Lecture might occasionally be good in the classroom, if used effectively, but in every day life we can't just preach at people about Jesus. We need to respectfully engage in dialog with them. See 1 Peter 3:15-16.

Our actions ... how we live

What we do communicates volumes more than what we say. See Matthew 5:16.

Our character ... who we are

This past month the MinTools Blog looked at characteristics of an effective ministry worker. These traits will obviously affect what we do. For example, one of the traits in that post is consistency. There are so many traits that could have been included in that post like this month's Be-Attitude, being concerned. What about being reliable?  See Galatians 5:22-23.

Our reactions ... how we emote

When faced with the difficulties of life do we exhibit the peace that comes from knowing the Source of peace or are we frazzled and in despair? How do we react when ministry doesn't go as expected? How do we react when somebody on our ministry team has a different opinion than us? See 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.

People are looking at the whole of who we are, not just our words, to see if they want this Jesus who claims to be the way, the truth, and the life. What do they see when they look at you?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Family is forever ...and it is important.  Churches are all about family and seeking for families to worship together. But in our fast paced society, family time cam be scarce and should be guarded.  But in our quest for family time, are we shutting out God and turning our backs on His opportunities?  A very interesting article challenges church families to look deep at their lives.  Are we putting God first and allowing His order to be in our families or are we putting our family first and shutting out God? 
"If we aren’t careful, instead of encouraging worshipping families, we become family worshippers. The following are possible signs that we have begun worshipping the family rather than encouraging our family to be worshippers:"
We Seldom Host Others:  If our home is seen primarily as a citadel set against the world, there is a problem. A home centered upon Christ will be marked by growing hospitality. It is a way station of truth and worship. We gladly invite others into it for rest, encouragement, and strengthening.
We Seldom Reach Out to Others:  If our family is so insular that others don’t know us, there is a problem. A Christian family filled with love and worship should overflow to those around them. Neighbors and co-workers can’t help but be touched by the love that permeates in and cascades from our family.
We Seldom Serve in the Church: If our family is so focused on just being a family that we can’t attend  mid-week bible studies or are so intent on being together Sunday morning that the parents can’t teach Sunday School or assist in the nursery, there is a problem. As a Christian family we are to see ourselves as part of the community. Not separate from it. Not more important than it. But essential to it.
We Seldom Have Time: If our family is always busy with its own activities, whether soccer, piano, ballet, family vacations, or even family worship to the point that we have little time for others, there is a problem. The enrichment and growth of our children, even in spiritual things, is not to pull us away from people but towards them. Yes, we only have so many years to train and teach our children while they are at home. But are we teaching them that they and their activities are the center of life or worshipping Christ and loving others is what is most important?
We Seldom Sacrifice: If our family is reluctant to give generously, because of what it costs our family, there is a problem. We hesitate to give above our tithe to missionaries, the local church, the building fund, or the homeless shelter because our children’s college education comes first. We neglect supporting the church member headed out on a short-term mission’s trip, because our family “educational trip” is more important. We always have an excuse. And it is always our family’s need that provides the ground for that excuse. Rather, the Christian family should be generous in giving—generous to the point of giving sacrificially.
e Seldom Have Flexibility: If others feel like they are always interrupting our family by calling, visiting, or proposing a time to get-together, there is a problem. Others will notice it before us. They begin to feel like our family’s routine cannot be interrupted under any circumstances. We convey this consciously or even subconsciously and others pickup on it. Rather, our family should be noted by its flexibility and joy when others stop by, friendliness when called, and availability when needed.
We Seldom Speak Well of Others: If our family tends to have an arrogant air about it, there is a problem. We have it together. Others don’t quite understand the importance of the family, worship, and our calling as parents. Our conversations are too often critical and judgmental. If only others understood as we do. May it never be! Our families should be filled with thanking God for others. Our children should hear us commending and promoting others. People should find that we are refreshing to their souls, rather than critical of their practices.
By all means, let us enjoy and treasure our families. Let us celebrate the gift they are. Let us pour out our lives and hearts into ministering to our spouse, rearing our children in Christ, and filling our homes with the love and truth of Christ. However, in so doing, let us also be worshippers of the Christ we are seeking to honor. Let us worship Him in our worshipping families, rather than worship our families in the name of worshipping Him.