Good morning. Let me first start off by saying thank you to everyone that filled out an application and dedicated their time to serving in DL this September. I greatly appreciate you volunteering, and I wanted the current volunteers that have been working this past year to be encouraged as well. Thank you, it is truly making a difference in these kids, my kids, lives. Just last week I was teaching the main session for the 1st -5th graders and was prompted by the curriculum to quiz everyone through the use of a game. So, I set up the game and began to ask these questions to the crowd to respond with a true or false answer. Let me just read these off: Not only did I get the right answer from the children, they resoundingly gave the corrected answers to the false questions! This blessed me greatly. Not only that but my 4 year old girl is starting to retell the story of Saul and king David and how they obeyed or disobeyed God. This was an amazing set up for me to take the conversation to Jesus and present the gospel. That is so important to me. So thank you to all who have served and brought all the children into contact with the gospel and Jesus.
It is because of stories like these that I believe what we are doing in DL is a good thing for our church and for the people that walk through the door on Sunday morning that are not members. The gospel is being taught. Here is a number that I thought is important to share; did you know that around 50% of all the children that went to DL this past year were in fact children of guests. So it is not just about serving ourselves, we are a front where the gospel is being shared to people visiting our church.
So, I wanted to give everyone a progress update on current commitments to make all this happen again next year. We are currently around 35% of volunteers we need to keep the lights on and the programs running back there. We need 400 volunteers and or we are looking at downsizing by the end of July. Its July because we would need to redesign the ministry to ensure the safety and effectiveness. So if you holding on to your application please turn that in to help us avoid downsizing the program. Just to give you some perspective of how big of a ministry it is, if you would take a look at this section of the congregation. This section represents around 400 people. That is the average of people that occupy DL right now. On average we have 300 children and 75-100 adults back there every Sunday.
That is why we need you to consider signing up. And just so we are clear, bulk of people that have already signed up to serve are parents with kids. The gap that we are experiencing needs to be filled with singles; it needs to be filled with empty nesters; it needs to be filled with seniors; it needs to be filled with young married couples. This is our need. We need you to volunteer to serve one Sunday a month for the next year starting September to ensure these stories and gospel opportunities keep going. Our church is and will be a place where young families can come to hear about Jesus and feel served.
Will you consider? Thank you.
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May 17 2016 at 3:38 pm 0 Comments
On Sunday, P.J. Smyth interviewed Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett who shared about his journey from abject poverty in Louisiana, to college, law school, and ultimately, public service. Ike offered warm words of encouragement for getting involved in serving those in need in our community.
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November 24 2015 at 2:59 pm 0 Comments
This January we are once again holding the Introducing God course. On Sunday, we enjoyed Sharon Harvey's testimony of how God transformed her life through the last session of Introducing God.
"I can't begin describing my Introducing God experience without first sharing a bit about my personal spiritual journey. I grew up believing that success depended on my own efforts. I was hard on myself when I failed, and even when I did succeed, my life felt empty. I was never satisfied, and I felt I needed to be perfect all the time. Gradually, I began to think my hard work defined my self-worth, and I started seeking other people’s approval to fill that emptiness. I reached a low point after college, and questions in the back of my mind began to surface. What is all this hard work for and what is my purpose? I had grown up hearing my cousin speak about God, but I had always been indifferent. However, God, in his mercy and grace, used this weak point in my life to persuade me to learn more about Him.
With the encouragement of a friend and now a precious sister in Christ, Hannah Stogsdill, I started attending Sunday sermons at Covenant Life Church. Introducing God happened to be starting their Spring 2013 class around the same time, and Hannah invited me to attend the course with her. During the next 9 weeks, I witnessed God's transforming power, heard countless testimonies, and learned more about God's merciful and forgiving nature. Most of all, I came to experience Christ's love through the thoughtful conversations, questions, and care of my discussion group. As I grew closer to Hannah and these brothers and sisters, I also grew closer to the Lord. I learned through them that Jesus Christ sacrificed his perfect life on the cross for a sinner like me. I didn’t need to earn God’s love. He loves me unconditionally, and he was calling me to satisfy all my needs and desires in Him. The emptiness I felt in my life started to be filled. A few months after taking the course, I had proclaimed my trust and faith in my Lord and Savior.
The Lord used these godly brothers and sisters, some of whom have become my best friends, to be salt and light in my life, and it is with joy and thanksgiving that I can now be a witness to others of God's saving power. I would like to invite you now to join me in serving in this ministry to be a witness to others and to be a part of God's great commission to make disciples. God's plans are bigger than our own, and He may just use you to transform another person's life like he used many others to transform mine. And if you are not a Christian, I encourage you to attend. Not only will this course challenge your own beliefs and give you a fresh perspective on Christianity, it will also give you lifelong friends and a heart for the Lord."
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October 20 2015 at 2:18 pm 0 Comments
Did you miss Peter Giglio's video testimony on Sunday? Check it out here. It's encouraging to hear how God is using the basketball outreach he started to build relationships among teens here in our community.
Have an idea for your own outreach in our community? Apply for a Go Grant that could provide funds to help get your idea off the ground!
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October 13 2015 at 10:48 am 0 Comments
On Sunday, we heard from Dave and Jen Brewer about how the Lord has used them as foster parents to minister to children in need in our community. If you're considering getting involved in foster care, or possibly adopting a child, contact The Beloved Ministry for guidance and additional resources.
Dave: Being a foster parent to abused or neglected kids is something that Jen and I had talked about for a number of years, but we put it into the category of “when our kids are out of the house, maybe we could use the space and time to invest into kids in the community.” A pivotal moment that began to change our timeline was when Jen and I started doing short term missions trips. Jen participated on the church missions trip to Uganda, which was an amazing, life changing time for her. She came back and told me she wanted to move our family to Uganda to start an orphanage. I said, “babe, that ain’t happening!” but this thought caused us as a family to ask “Well, we may not be able to move to Uganda to start an orphanage, but where are there orphans in need here in MoCo?” This led to a long, prayerful and deliberate process of our family considering if we should do foster care sooner rather than later. In considering this idea, we asked a lot of questions, sought a lot of counsel, and we simply took the next step we felt God was placing in front of us, all the while praying that he’d make His will clear to us, and by the end of months of classes, interviews, meetings with foster families, we were confidant that this is where God was leading our family.
"Well, we may not be able to move to Uganda to start an orphanage,
but where are there orphans in need here in MoCo?"
Jen: We received our first placement of two children in our home two years ago. They ended up staying in our home for almost a year. Since then, we’ve had three more children in and out of our home. It’s been incredibly rewarding to give our lives to help others, but it has also been incredibly difficult at times as well. But the blessing to our family has far outweighed the challenges, as we have been able to help children right here in MoCo, who have basic needs for things like food, a bed to sleep in, clothes to wear and most importantly, love.
The goal of foster care is reunification with their biological family in the quickest and safest time frame possible. And as you can imagine, that process has its difficulties. You are receiving a child who has been abused or neglected, who was just removed from their family, and is now being dropped off at your home. You get to know these children like they are your own, knowing that one day, at a time undetermined by you, you will be saying goodbye to them and most likely never seeing them again.
Dave: It’s a very difficult proposition…but, a couple things have helped our thinking:
Gensis 3 gives us a framework for understanding how painful this world can be because of the effects of sin. And when Christians step toward meeting needs in this broken and fallen world, that in itself can be painful and messy. Will our hearts get broken? Yes. They will. But they are broken already because we see children in need and hear their stories. James 1:27 – “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction…”
"'Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction…' Who else is going to help these children? I really do believe that Christians should be on the front line of taking-in orphans, kids who have been abused or neglected, and thereby introducing them to saving power of Jesus Christ."
Who else is going to help these children? I really do believe that Christians should be on the front line of taking in orphans, kids who have been abused or neglected, and thereby introducing them to saving power of Jesus Christ. Hopefully, by helping these children, we are teaching OUR OWN children what following Jesus is about. Be a disciple who makes disciples. Be compassionate. Take care of those weaker than you. Share what you have. Love people.
Lastly, we were helped by another foster family in our church, who said, “What an opportunity we have! Whether it’s for a day, week, month or year, we get to love kids and share Jesus with them with as much time as we are given!”
If foster care or adoption is something you are considering or praying about, feel free to contact The Beloved Ministry for more information.
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September 15 2015 at 10:04 am 0 Comments
Listen as Dennis Casteneda shares his testimony of God's transformative work in his life, and his call to start and lead the Every Day is Christmas ministry.
Learn more about Dennis' ministry Every Day is Christmas.
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