Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Life Giving Christmas

This past Sunday we talked about JOY!  We discussed the ways we can share the joy God has given us with others, especially during this holiday season.  And what better way to live into joy than to spend time in fellowship with one another playing Christmas games?  So games were played:

Also, there are lots of great things going on in the next few weeks that I wanted to make sure you were aware of!

Connections: FUSION Gathering (aka Youth Group) will meet at our Connections Sunday night discipleship this Sunday, December 22nd as we finish our Advent study, "A Life-Giving Christmas".  Join us at 5:45pm in the fellowship room for coffee and dessert, then youth group in the youth suite from 6-7:30pm.  ***Please note: There will be NO CONNECTIONS on Sunday, December 29th.  

Caroling: Please join us tonight, Tuesday, December 17th at Brookview Assisted Living at 6pm for caroling to the residents in the dining room.  We will carol for about 30 minutes as Sarah Critzer accompanies us on the piano, and lyrics will be provided!  Wear something festive!

Also, you are invited to join us on Sunday, December 22nd at the Wall's house at 1109 High Street at 3:45pm for caroling through the Avenues.  Dress warm!

Christmas Card Delivery Service:  Don't forget about our Youth Mission Trip fundraiser that is going on right now!  We've already raised $105 and are hoping to raise at least enough for one youth to attend the mission trip ($325) during this first fundraiser.

Spontaneous Christmas Pageant:  Our 5:30pm Christmas Eve service needs your help!!!  I need youth to help with the Scripture readings and lighting of the Advent wreath.  If you can serve in this way, please let me know!

Youth Ushers:  The youth are scheduled to usher for our 11am worship service on December 29th!  Please let me know if you are available to serve in this way.

Youth Mission Trip:  Don't forget to make your plans to attend this summer's youth mission trip to Project SPY in Christiansburg, VA!  The registration deadline is January 31st!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

High School Retreat

Despite the weather, we had a great time at the high school conference retreat this last weekend at Eagle Eyrie!  Check it out:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Life-Giving Christmas

YOUTH: Join us on Sunday nights at Connections at 5:45pm for our Advent study beginning this Sunday, December 1st.  We will be looking at how we can do Christmas differently this year by focusing on the things that really matter: HOPE, PEACE, JOY & LOVE!  Rev. Michael Kendall will be leading the adult study for this as well, so bring the whole family!

A Life-Giving Christmas!

Friday, November 22, 2013

High School Retreat

High schoolers: Don't forget that the deadline to register for the high school retreat at Eagle Eyrie is THIS MONDAY, November 25th!  I must have your permission slip and $120 by 3pm in order for you to go!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Middle School Retreat

We had an awesome time at Eagle Eyrie last weekend for the conference middle school retreat!  With the leadership of Margot Starbuck, we learned all about what it means to love our neighbors.  Check out some of the pictures from the weekend:


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkin Carving Party!

This Sunday we joined together with family and friends for a pumpkin carving party!  We had over a dozen pumpkins to carve and decorate that will be delivered to church members in nursing homes or that are home bound.  We also had cards to decorate, pumpkin lanterns to make and coloring pages...along with lots of delicious treats to eat!  What a fun night of creativity!

Don't forget to get in your registration forms and money for our middle and high school youth conference retreats in November and December!!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Actions vs. Words

St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words."

This past Sunday night we explored this quotation and how our actions often speak louder than our words.  Do people know you are a Christian just by the way you act?  How can you communicate your love for Christ to others through your actions?  Why is it important for our actions to match what we say?  What type of impact could you have (negative or positive) on someone who doesn't know the love of God with the way you act?

These are all important questions to think about as we realize that it is not just what we say that matters to God and has an impact on others around us, it's how we act as well!  God calls us to live in ways that care for and share God's love with all of God's creation...this should be evident in both what we say and what we do!  I challenge you to think of someone in your life who you can better share God's love with this week through your actions!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Got Fruit?

This past Sunday at FUSION Gathering at Connections we explored the fruits of the Spirit!  Take a look at Galatians 5:13-26.  The Apostle Paul discusses 9 fruits of the Spirit which are characteristics we should embody when we align ourselves with God's will.


Healthy trees bear good fruit!  So what does it mean to be a "healthy Christian"?  Are we seeking to grow in our faith?  Are we loving God and our neighbors in every way we can?  Are we asking for God's guidance in our lives?  When we practice spiritual disciplines like praying, reading Scripture, serving others, etc. we bear good fruit!  And this "fruit" looks like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control!  How will you live your life in order to be a healthy and fruitful "tree"?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Do Justly

On Sunday at Connections, we talked about how God calls us to help our neighbors.  We started by watching a video of three teenage friends who learned about how the lack of access to clean water for children in Africa has resulted in some children being unable to cry from being so dehydrated.  It seemed like an overwhelmingly impossible issue for them to deal with, but they wanted to do something!  So they created bracelets that said "No More Dry Tears" and sold them at their school and church to raise money to build wells in Africa that would provide access to clean water for some of the villages.  What started as raising a few dollars, ended up leading to their own non-profit organization that has now built many wells and an irrigation system in parts of Africa!

Are there injustices that you see in the world that seem too big for you to do anything about?  God calls us to respond!  We may not be able to solve the world's problems on our own, but we can make a difference...no matter how small!!  What are injustices you see in your own community?  What's a small first step you can take to help?  Grab a friend and talk about something you might be able to do to make a difference.

One of the mission projects our church is involved in is Operation Christmas Child.  OCC provides a shoebox full of Christmas gifts to children all around the world.  These shoeboxes not only contain small toys, but essential hygiene items like soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.  They also contain a Bible study written in the language of the children they will go to introducing God's love and the Gospel story to children who in many cases haven't heard it before.  You can learn more about OCC's work here: Operation Christmas Child.  So, in response to our topic for the evening, we spent the rest of our time stuffing teddy bears that some of the women of our church stitched.  These teddy bears will be packed in OCC shoeboxes and become a source of comfort and love for many children across the world!  Check it out:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Once Upon a Parable

This week at FUSION Gathering, we talked about parables!  Jesus often used these everyday ordinary stories to explain a greater heavenly understanding.  Sometimes lofty theological thoughts only make sense when we look at them from our earthly standpoint.  Have you ever used a story to explain something to someone else?  I bet you have, maybe without even realizing it.  Jesus knew he could connect with the people by talking about things like fishing and farming because those were topics they were very familiar with.  Maybe parables today would include things like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!  Regardless, Jesus' parables still have a lot to teach us today about how God calls us to live as disciples of Jesus Christ.

We took some time reading several parables from the Bible and then chose two to act out!  Check out the youth re-enacting the Parable of the Prodigal Son and the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  What's your favorite parable?

See you next Sunday!!  Don't forget that the youth will be helping serve lunch after church this Sunday for the Operation Christmas Child lunch fundraiser.