Thursday, October 28, 2010

Articulate Your Faith!

If I were to tell you that Starbucks is giving away free venti frappaccino's tomorrow, what would you do? What if I told you the only way to receive your free drink was if you're wearing a red shirt? When you run to share the good news with your friends, would you leave that part out? Of course not!! You would articulate the fact that they need to wear a red shirt in order to relish the frothy drink for free!!! Boy how I wish Starbucks really was giving away free drinks! That would definitely be some great news to share! This weekend in grade school we're talking about articulating our faith, sharing it!!!

Everyone enjoys hearing good news! When we go a while without hearing any, doesn't life begin to feel drab? God's Word is chock-full of good news! The best being that Jesus saved us from eternal separation from God! While we were still sinners, God sent Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin, so that we can be in a freedom-filled relationship with the Father. Once we believe this, Christ's love compels us to articulate, communicate, and express this faith to those who don't yet know His rescuing love! That's exactly what Philip did (in Acts 8:26-40) with a total stranger…

God sent an angel to tell Philip to take a walk down the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza. So Philip went. On the road there was an Ethiopian man of high authority returning home in his chariot. The man was trying to read from the book of Isaiah, but didn't understand much. Philip was compelled by the Spirit of God to go near the chariot. He sat with the man and read the scriptures to him. The Ethiopian man asked who Isaiah was speaking about and Philip was able to articulate the wonderful truths of Jesus Christ! As they continued down the road they came to some water. The man said to Philip, "See here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" (v.36) Philip answered, "If you believe with all your heart, you may!" And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." Halting the chariot, they went down to the water where Philip baptized the Ethiopian man as a symbol of his rebirth in Jesus Christ!

There are so many people in this world who go about life knowing of God, but never having a relationship with Him. Many of them would relish the free gift of Christ if someone would just share His love with them! John 1:1 says that Jesus is the Word. We have the Word, God's Word alive inside of us. We don't need to know all the answers. If we simply articulate our faith, the Word, God will do the rest—just like He did with Philip!

Lord, You are the Best News anyone could ever accept. Give us boldness in articulating our faith. Let Your love lead us to those who need to hear about you. Your name and renown is the desire of our hearts!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

House of Refuge

Where is your house of refuge when you are in the midst of the storms of life? When you are in the turmoil of conflict, facing serious health issues, or attacked for your beliefs? These are the times that try our faith. Who can keep us safe? Is Jesus really able to calm the storms?

Most of us are not facing life threatening storms, but when David wrote many of his psalms he was on the run, fearful for his life, without a home. Yet he knew the power and unfailing faithfulness of the one true God. He wrote “Keep me safe, O God, for in You I take refuge.” Psalms 16:1, and “For in the day of trouble, He will keep me safe.” Psalm 27:5

Much like David, in this weekend’s Bible story your preschool child will hear about Rahab a woman who put her faith and trust in the one true God. She risked her life to hide the Israelite spies who came to her city, because she believed in the power and faithfulness of their God. When the wicked city was attacked by the Israelites everything was destroyed, except Rehab’s house and her family. She could count on God to keep her and her family safe. God was her refuge!

Through the fun small group activities, your child will discover “God Can Keep You Safe”. For a preschooler, it is important to know that in good times and scary times God is there protecting you. Perhaps you have a story to share with your preschooler about a time when you were afraid and you called on God to keep you safe. For me, it was when I was 6 years old and my older brother teased me about not looking over a high cliff we were on. I cautiously walked to the edge only to have the earth give way and I tumbled down trying to grab on to branches. In that moment I thought only God could save me. He did! I came to rest on a small patch of earth just a few feet from a 100’ drop off. I knew then that my God would keep me safe in any situation!

Our God is amazing! Whether it is life threatening situations or just the storms of everyday life He is there for us! What storm in life are you facing? You can have His peace and comfort as you trust in His refuge!

Carolyn Hillegeist
Early Childhood Coordinator

Friday, October 8, 2010

Give Me Your Eyes

"What if there's a bigger picture? What if I'm missing out? What if there's a greater purpose that I could be living right now? I don't wanna miss what matters, I wanna be reaching out! Show me the greater purpose so I can start living right now, outside my own little world." -Matthew West

So many times I zoom right past someone or something that I could have aided. Often times I don't even see that I had the opportunity because I wasn't thinking "outside of my own little world." Focused on ME, focused on what IIIIIII have to get done, on how people should be helping ME. (Please tell me I'm not the only one in the world who does this?) In Cove Kids, we're talking about a man who was "GOD-FOCUSED." And because He wasn't focusing on his "own little world," God was able to use Him in a mighty way.

Nehemiah was a leader with Initiative! What exactly does that word mean? Initiative is the ability to act and make decisions without the leading of other people. My definition of initiative would be: Immediately stepping out on faith to accomplish the mission at hand. This is exactly what Nehemiah did. He lived in Babylon and worked as the cupbearer to the Persian King. Having never visited Judah, but being from Jewish decent, Nehemiah sought reports concerning the city of Jerusalem. It had been 78 years since the Jews had returned to the city and the city walls we STILL in ruin. The city couldn't protect itself and the people were living in disgrace. When Nehemiah heard this, his heart was burdened for God's people. He immediately took initiative, risking His own life many times. Nehemiah demonstrated that when a leader with initiative is prompted by God to do something, they cannot stand still.

Nehemiah's eyes weren't focused inward, but upward. Where are your eyes focused? The prayer that I've been praying lately is one inspired by Brandon Heath: "Give me Your eyes for just one second. Give me Your eyes so I can see everything that I've been missing. Give me Your love for humanity. Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted, the ones that are far beyond my reach. Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten. Give me Your eyes so I can see." Nehemiah glimpsed Jerusalem through God's eyes initiating the restoration of the city. What has God burdened your heart for? What are you passionate about seeing come to restoration? I want to see God's Kingdom come. But not only do I want to see it, I want to partake in the coming of His majesty!

Lord, give us Your eyes so that we can take the initiative to step outside of our own little world, and into Your Kingdom. Let Your Kingdom come. On earth, just as it is in heaven. Amen!

Carole Loebs

3rd-5th Grade Coordinator

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Who Can You Count On?

Life can be full of anxieties and lonely when you have no one who you can count on to help you! Perhaps you can remember a time when you thought who can I count on to help me in this time of trouble. For me, it was one late afternoon when I was in a hurry to get to a doctor’s appointment. I was already late as I pulled into the parking lot and dashed to the office door. It wasn’t till after the appointment when I reached in my purse to get my car keys that I realized something was wrong. I couldn’t find my keys. Maybe I dropped them on the way in. I searched the path to the doctor’s office. No keys. It was then that I looked into my car and saw my keys on the driver’s seat. Now what do I do? My husband was on a trip; my friends work out of town. I didn’t have any family that lived near by. I had a spare key at home, but it was a 3 mile hike and I couldn’t leave my car with the keys in full view. To top things off I was to go to my first Life Group meeting that evening. So I called the Life Group host and told her I would probably not make it as I had locked my car with my keys inside. Much to my surprise she said "Where are you?" and within a short time she came to pick me up take me to my home After getting my spare key, she drove my back to open my car. She was so kind and understanding! She didn’t even know me yet she made me feel like a close friend! I know God put her in my life to show me who I can count on-Him!

This weekend your preschool child will learn “God Can Save the Day” as they hear the Bible story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and the Fiery Furnace. The story is from Daniel 3:10-30. In a continuation of last week’s message “I can always count on God”, this week the children will discover that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, much like Elijah trusted in God and knew that they could always count on Him. They didn’t bow down to the fake God of the King, so he threw them into a fiery furnace. God saved the day by sending an angel to protect them and they came out of the furnace without harm!

We may never face being thrown in a fiery furnace, but you may have had an experience where God saved the day for you. Please share your story with your child to help them realize God can always be counted on to help you. Life can be scary for a preschooler so your own story of God’s faithfulness will help them in times when they are afraid or in trouble. Ask you child to think of a time when they were scared or in trouble? Did they know that God was with them and He would help them?

Please help your child learn the Bible verse “Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid” Deut. 31:6 Once they can say the memory verse they will receive a reward. The children are having a blast with the new small group activities and loved the “Super Hero” capes! We hope you are putting stars on your child’s Super Hero Challenge Sheet as they show you they are a “Do the Right Thing Hero”, “Sharing Hero”, “Brave Hero” or “Helpful Hero”. By the end of this month, your child will know that being the “Super Hero” that God wants them to be is much better than being a fantasy hero.

Carolyn Hillegeist
Early Childhood Coordinator