Weddings, Graduations and Ballgames

33111390_1745663085522615_5586217125841731584_nThere was a BIG wedding Saturday.  And no, I’m not talking about the one in England.  My niece, Slate and Julie’s daughter, got married.  Lena married her long time friend and sweetheart, Luke Reynold’s.  I have to give the couple a shout out this morning.

My family was the only one unable to attend the wedding, but that was due to Micah’s graduation Friday night.  The weather was great!  Not exactly what many people have been able to say this week.  All of the young people graduating from this congregation, did so with several honors.  It was impressive.  Congratulations to all the young people receiving their diploma’s from all our schools.

Speaking of weather, this crazy rain has delayed state playoffs the past week.  They will try to get them in today, which should be interesting.  Kaitlyn, Madison and their Master’s Academy team, are set for a 10:30 am start.  As of 9:30 am, the game is still on.  Gage, Nick and the VB high school team are set for a 4 pm first pitch.  The baseball team is ready to wait as long as 10 pm to begin their game, if delayed.  It should be a fun day.  You can keep up with any updates on the churches Facebook page.  Click here to get to the site.

Fortunately our Sunday services are inside a “dome.”  My favorite part from yesterday was leading our newest song “In Need.”  We have been working on it for the past month, on Wednesday nights, but you are never sure how things will go on that first Sunday.  It was AMAZING!  I wish everyone could have heard from where I was standing.  The volume, four part harmony and emotion was off the charts.  It sounded like we have been singing it for years.  Thanks to everyone for listening to the videos, participating on Wednesday nights and making this a special song for worship.  We are now working on our newest song “Highly Exalted.”  This is the one David Paladin has wanted us to learn.  We want to do this as a going away present to him.  This will be the last new song before we take a break for a couple of months.  Help us get ready by listening here.  We will sing it without any help from the audio this Wednesday.

Speaking of David, the going away party for the Paladins will be June 24th at 5 pm in the Fellowship Hall.  It is a Hawaiian theme.  Yesterday we began sign-ups for food and clean-up.  Let’s send them out with a blast.  There are rumors we will throw David into an active Volcano at the end.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Yesterday we looked into the great topic of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit of God has been with man since the beginning, in darkness, hovering over the chaotic waters as creative life began (Gen. 1:2).  The Spirit was the agent of creation, pushing back the darkness with light and bringing order to chaos.  He was there breathing life into mankind.  Even after the Fall, the Spirit continued to empower servants of God to do His work in our world, and ultimately bring about the manifestation of the Son of God in the person of Jesus (Lk. 1:35).  This same Jesus would pour out the Holy Spirit into penitent believers through a liquid anointing (Acts 2:33, 38).  Once again, the Spirit of God is hovering over the darkness and chaos of our world, ready to create new life, a new creation, that is imperishable, glorious and spiritual.  From that moment on, we are indwelt and guided by the presence of the Spirit in our lives.  We continue to live and grow as we stay in tune with His presence within us and His Word.  May we allow the Fruit of the Spirit to flow from our lives daily (Gal. 5:22-23).

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Rainy Mondays

Monday’s are bad enough without rain.  Don’t get me wrong, I love rain and stormy weather.  There is nothing better than an afternoon thunderstorm.  But Monday’s are hard enough.  When you get used to watching the sunrise from Panera, you get spoiled and in a routine.  To top it off, someone “stole” my regular booth.  I have enjoyed a nice pity party sobbing into my bagel and coffee.  Then I started putting things into perspective – I left four of my blessings sleeping a moment ago; I’m enjoying a nice cup of coffee, inside, and out of the rain; I’m singing in about three hours for a group of people who have lost friends and family in law enforcement (a true rainy Monday); I was able to spend time with some great people from this church.  I could go on, and I’m sure many of you could pile on other Monday blessings, but you get the idea.  Sometimes you just have to stop and take an inventory (and coffee helps).  Enjoy your rainy day and do like our praise team did this morning – sing in the rain.

Yesterday we completed our four part series on Abba, Father.  It is important we understand the God of the Hebrew Bible.  The early church knew the name He proclaimed in Exodus 34 and that Jesus was the testimony of His character.  They saw the Father as the rider on the clouds, defender of the least of these, and called to His mission of serving.  Yahweh does not enjoy punishing His creation, but rather weeps over their destruction and longs to restore them.

Why is this so important?  For one, the early believers relied heavily upon the “Old Testament” in their understanding.  To understand the tabernacle of God is imperative to knowing the Book of John.  To read the writings of Paul, you will miss out on its richness and meaning without a foundation in the Hebrew text.  And forget about reading the Books of Hebrews and Revelation, packed full of Old Testament quotes and knowledge.  We could go on, but you get the idea.

Secondly, rejecting the Old Testament is the new atheists movement that was lead by  Richard Dawkins.  If you listen to modern day unbelievers, their arguments are founded in the God of the Hebrew Bible – God is cruel, oppressive, devoid of love, a warmonger, etc.  Instead of truly understanding our Creator, many choose to “unhinge” themselves from the Old Testament.  This is the very thing being taught by the most popular preachers in our culture.  Read what happened last week here to see where we are headed.  Many are using lazy studies of texts like Acts 15 to “prove” their points.  This is not a call to animal sacrifice, which is why you read the New and Old Testaments together to understand things like this and its connections with Christ.

Finally, we need to understand the influence Marcionism has had on the church for centuries.  As we briefly talked about yesterday, Marcion was a second century Christian who began to teach his heretic ideas that would toss the “Old Testament” and most of the New, for his beliefs of a God who enslaved, acted cruelly and lacked love.  All of his beliefs were not carried on, but the damage has be done over the centuries.  The Father, we studied the last several weeks, has not been taught in most places and the result has been an anti-Old Testament movement.  Most (including myself) never dove into these texts, but accepted its criticisms at face value.  The Protestant movement, which makes up most churches today, was founded upon these basic ideas.  And yes, so were the Churches of Christ.  Marcionism is very much alive and well today.  It not only robs us of the love and grace of God, but is a dagger being used against Christianity by the new atheists.

The apostle Paul said it best, All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable to teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.  (II Tim. 3:16-17)

FINAL THOUGHTS:

All that said, yesterday we learned there is a difference between a “God of wrath” and the “wrath of God.”  Our Father isn’t hiding behind clouds waiting to strike us down for the smallest mistake.  He isn’t a short-tempered Being that lashes out when someone steps out of line.  And certainly, God’s wrath is not because He is devoid of love, but rather out of love.  Yahweh brings down the evil (belial) that has brought havoc upon the innocent of society.  A God of justice and peace (shalom).  Even so, the Father is slow to anger, almost to a fault.  What is most amazing, is a God who takes down evil and weeps at their downfall.  A God who sends judgement, but also offers grace for the future.  What an amazing Abba!

Graduate Night

31950128_10155437047746301_3538626338313207808_nLast night we celebrated with six of our high school graduates.  As usual, we watched video presentations of each, listened to parent letters and watched David Rogers fight back tears.  Afterwards, we moved to the Fellowship Hall to enjoy tables set up for each graduate and given opportunity to talk to them about their future plans.  Our young people are heading to the Citadel, Harding, Lipscomb and Ole Miss.  We also had cake!  A special thanks to everyone who helped make this night special from the parents, who labored putting videos together, to those don’t have graduates but took out their time to make sure this was an important moment.

On a personal note, this was mine and Melissa’s third high school senior to go through this presentation.  You never forget the people who celebrate important moments with your family.  If this church will keep me another four years, we will have watched all of our children go through grad night with this congregation.  It is moments like this this that makes you realize how important your church family is in your life.  Other churches may appear to have “greener grass” at times, but there is something about staying with the people who loved you and celebrated important moments in your life.

As a parent, my prayers go out to those who are preparing for your first child to leave the nest.  I can only tell you it is rewarding to watch your children grow and mature.  And there is always grandchildren (too soon?).  For those of you who are watching your last child leave home, I don’t know what that is going to be like yet, but I believe in prayer and the future.  Of course you could always have more children.  Thanks to the Wilson’s new baby girl, Bella wants us to have a baby.  NO!  Babies are cute but they turn into teenagers.  Seriously, may all of us parents enjoy these moments in our lives.

IN THE NEWS:

This time of year provides a lot in the news feed on social media.  Here are a few I caught this week.

31502873_10155423775581301_684999519380701184_nBrian Porter received the JROTC scholarship.  This will go a long way in helping him get through the Citadel.  I believe Brian was in ROTC all four years in high school.  Now he is headed to the Carolina’s to prepare for his next mission.  Like his father and grandfather before him, Brian plans to serve our country.

31946815_10156952242724386_2009032559714893824_nI’m putting Kaitlyn Cutshall and Madison Dean’s accomplishments together.  Can you really mention one without the other?  Last week was Master’s athletic banquet.  Kaitlyn won the “Mighty Spirit Award” for softball and the “Cornerstone Award” for volleyball.  And, of course, Madison won the “Cornerstone Award” for softball and the “Mighty Spirit Award” for volleyball.  They also won their district championships in softball and will be playing Mount Dora tomorrow for the regional finals.

31895268_2130474057190010_6354524996286545920_nGage Brackett and Nick Dean also have some sports accomplishments to share.  Last week they won the district championship.  Tomorrow night they are playing the next round to reach the ultimate goal of state championships.  The game will be on their home field (The Reservation) at 7 pm.  They will be playing the team that put them out last year.  Shout out to Connie Lee for the great photo.

31942258_730336930690786_4349179404002263040_nLast, but certainly not least, is our other college graduate, Carolyn Walker.  She received her AA degree from Indian River State College in Human Service.  But she’s not finished yet, she will start back up in the fall to get her four year degree.  I love to hear young people complain about having to get job in college to help pay college bills.  Add a husband, children and a full-time job to it and you have the Carolyn Walker experience.  Way to go!  I will be looking to add more news about Carolyn in the future.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

family-meeting-siteThis Sunday we will be changing our time of worship to 9:30 am and having no classes.  We realize it is Mother’s Day, but it was the best time for the elders to roll out a few things to the congregation.  After our 9:30 am worship we will have a “Family Meeting” with those who are apart of this congregation.  There are some exciting things that have been happening since the first of the year that needs to be shared as we look toward our future.  Some wonder what will happen next after two ministers have moved on to new jobs.  What is the plan?  What is the purpose?  Remember, worship begins at 9:30 am.

THE WRAP UP:

Yesterday we dove deep into the Book of Jeremiah to discover a God who weeps for His children.  There isn’t any emotion you can encounter that our Father hasn’t felt.  Yahweh understands pain, betrayal, anger and heartbreak.  He feels deeply for us, even when we are being punished for sinfulness.  And if God can weep bitterly over a people who had prostituted themselves with many gods, He can cry tears for you when you are going through the hardships of life.  The “Old Testament” God is not One we should fear and run away from, but a Father we should run toward because He loves us more than we can ever realize.  Your tears are felt and understood no matter if you were the one hurt or if you are the one who hurt others with your sinfulness.

This week we wrap up our series by looking into a centuries old belief that Yahweh is a God of wrath.  Jeremiah shows us that God sent judgment upon Judah (the Southern Kingdom) and had done so to Israel (the Northern Kingdom) years before.  But is this who God is?  It is so important we answer this question, because it is the very thing that drove a wedge between Christians and the Hebrew Bible in the 2nd century.

A Bitter Sweet Day

In case you were not able to be here, David Paladin made the announcement that he will be leaving to take a ministry position at the Jenks Church of Christ in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  When he came on here he approached us about interning and found himself in a full time position.  Now he leaves because he was the top prospect for a church hundreds of miles away.  It has been rewarding watching David develop.  We have talked a lot about this opportunity the last few weeks, and when he told me he took the job, I was happy.  Not happy to see my friend go, but excited for he and Christin.  I understand the minister and moments like these.  I’m sure sadness will set in after he leaves, but for now I rejoice with David and his family.  Until then, I have at least 6 more weeks to torture him.  🙂

Along those lines, we have had a search committee looking for our next youth/associate minister.  In my 26 years of experience, our top four candidates are the best I have ever seen in quality and quantity.  It is exciting.  Thanks to the work of our past ministers, like David and his children’s rooms, we have become a place others want to be apart the work.  Right now we ask each of you to pray for this process, as we seek God’s blessings.

This leads us to an important day for our church family.  We are having a family meeting on May 13th to talk about the future.  You will get updates about the candidates coming in, the youth and children’s programs and long term goals.  It will also be a time to ask questions.  We will NOT have our regular scheduled Bible classes that day.  Worship at 9:30 am and family meeting following.

GOOD NEWS:  We have officially reached our goal for Mission’s Sunday – $50,000!  Again, we want to thank everyone who helped out.  Now we put it in the hands of God to bless these funds.

THIS WEEK:

  • Friday night there is a dinner, movie and sleepover for the guys in the youth group.
  • Sunday morning we continue our sermon series (Abba, Father) by diving into Jeremiah 8-9.  A powerful text we are calling “Abba’s Tears.”
  • Sunday lunch will be shared with Care Groups A-B and P-R.  I believe David Paladin, leader of Care Group P-R, challenged Care Group A-B as to who makes the best food.
  • Sunday night is our Annual Grad Night.  We have seven seniors this year!  This is a great night to show our support for these young people.

COMING SOON:

  • May 13: Family Meeting following 9:30 am worship in the auditorium.
  • May 14: This congregation has been honored by being asked to sing at the annual Wreath Placement Ceremony.  It is held each year to remember law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty this past year.  Our praise team will be singing the National Anthem and Let God Arise.  Most people in our community have never heard a cappella singing.  It is one of the things that makes us unique.  It will be held in front of the courthouse (2000 16th Ave) at 10 am.
  • June 2:  We are having a short seminar on millennials with Payton Minzenmayer from Norman, Oklahoma.  He has a passion to help people understand and relate to a group many have labeled “difficult.”  He has read up, written and talked about this topic on his podcast.  We ask everyone to join us from 10 am-noon.  He will also be preaching for us on that Sunday.

IN THE NEWS:

Sort of a proud daddy moment.  Over the last couple of weeks, Lex has accepted a youth/college ministry in Fairfax, Virginia and graduated with his master’s degree from Oklahoma Christian.  Missy and I are enjoying this time in our lives.  Thank you for letting me share some of our good news.

THE WRAP UP:

Yesterday we saw a demonstration of the name/character of Yahweh.  A God of compassion, grace and love.  The rider in the clouds who is the father to the fatherless, the defender of widows, provider for the poor and lonely and deliverer of the oppressed.  Jesus Messiah showed us what this looks in human form – caring for the poor, the blind, weak, the diseased and social outcasts.  We are to share in God’s fight against injustice and oppression.  That means we must not to be so wrapped up in our own rights we forget about those who have none.  I love our constitution, which lays our rights as citizens of this country, but can we be so concerned with these things we fail to show compassion, grace and love to those who have none?  What about those who have found themselves in a financial grave after a horrible tragedy or loss of job?  What about women or children who are trying to escape an abusive relationship?  What about refugees trying to flee persecution and death?  What do we fight for?  Our rights or the rights of others?  Read the Gospels and notice the things that gets Jesus stirred up.  It wasn’t the people who mocked Him and ultimately crucified Him, it was the downtrodden.  This is what a true follower is all about.  It will not make you popular.  Those who fought to end slavery and racism wasn’t popular.  Those who have fought for women’s rights wasn’t popular.  Those who fight to end persecution of others in different countries are not always popular.  Yahweh is the greatest warrior of all times, but He didn’t fight with manmade weapons, He fought with love and compassion.  The greatest victory, in the history of our world, wasn’t won by an army.  Death was defeated by Jesus Messiah out of extreme love.

Have a great week.

Happy Belated Earth Day

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Yesterday was “Earth Day”, in case you didn’t know.  It’s like Easter Sunday, in that, it is a day we should remember everyday, but nice to have a special time to remember its significance.  Too many people get caught up in all the agendas of a political party of what is real or imagined.  We can all – democrats, libertarians, republicans – agree that the earth is a precious gift from the Creator.  We can agree that humankind is to be the caretaker of the world’s environment.  We can agree we can all do our part, through recycling, picking up trash, caring for environmental issues, etc., to make a difference.  If you would like to read a great article from the Psalms and creation you can find it here.

abba_father_std_t_nvSpeaking of our Creator, we looked at one of the most important text in Scripture (Ex. 34:6-7).  What is known, by many, as “The God Creed.”  With all the misrepresented opinions of our Father, these verses clear the way to true understanding.  Once you see it, you find it all over the pages of the Bible.  Rarely do I ask you to memorize verses, but really want to encourage you this text.

Yahweh-Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin.  (Ex. 34:6-7 – HCSB)

Also, this series is the result of 150+ preachers, connected in a private group, to examine images the Father in the Hebrew Bible.  Each week we take a text, talk about the things we have learned in our studies, read books and individually piece together our sermons.  It has been encouraging reading the comments each week.  150+ preachers, within the Churches of Christ, dedicated to bringing God’s people face-to-face with the Father.  Yahweh is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  These “Old Testament” passages have been collecting dust for centuries but enlighten our understanding of grace, love, Jesus and our “New Testament.”  The early church writers leaned heavily on the Hebrew text.  Hopefully Exodus 34 helped you to see it’s importance to our lives.

This Sunday we will continue our series by looking into a protective Father toward His children.  We are going into interesting Psalm, (Ps. 68), along with other passages of Scripture.  You might be shocked what we discover.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

There are a couple of big events happening over the next month or so.  We want you to mark your calendars and be here:

  • May 6th: Care Group Luncheon (A-B & P-R).  These are Mark Anderson and David Paladin groups.
  • May 6th: Grad Night.  It is our annual recognition of graduating seniors who are getting ready to move on to new things.  It is always bitter sweet to think of these kids… uh… young adults, heading to college or starting a new career.  Many have come and gone from this congregation and we hope we have made a lasting impression.  It will be the first Sunday night of May beginning at 5 pm.
  • June 2nd: Millennials Seminar.  We are excited about having Payton Minzenmayer to give an interactive seminar on a group of youth people that are sometimes difficult to understand.  Payton comes to us from Norman, Oklahoma.  He talks about this topic often on his podcast.  He is a graduate of Oklahoma Christian University and is currently working on his Master’s degree.  This topic is for all ages.  We deal with millennials everyday, whether it be our children, grandchildren, people we work with, encounter at the grocery store, etc.  They are known as a difficult group to reach with the Gospel of Christ.  This seminar will go a long way in helping us relate, as well as understanding these young adults.  PLEASE invite friends, family, co-workers, neighbors or whoever you know to join us.  It will be from 9 am-12 pm in our Fellowship Hall.

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WHO IS THIS?  I might have to make this a part of my Monday Morning report.  Can you name the person in the photo?  The results will be given next week.

Last, and certainly not least, special thanks goes out to all those who helped with a water leak Sunday morning.  It came from the upstairs bathroom and soaked a couple of the children’s classrooms on the first floor.  And yes, it flooded the Noah’s ark room.  Thankfully no real animals were harmed, just a few stuffed ones.  It was an ordeal for a time, but some of our people got on it and kept it from being much worse.  Thank you.

An aerial view of Burj Dubai is seen in DubaiFINAL THOUGHTS:  What an amazing Abba we serve.  Yahweh overflows with faithful love (hesed) that towers above the Biblical skyline to shower His grace upon us.  In great patience, He withholds His wrath, not wanting any of His creation to perish (II Pet. 3:9).  No matter how vile your sin may be, we can call upon God’s character and repent.  He is quick to forgive!  Sending His Son is proof of how much the Father loves us and wants to be with us.  Read the story of Hosea, Jonah and the Exodus.  Witness “The God Creed” in the flesh, by studying the Messiah.  Let it bring you to your knees in repentance and praise!

Romans 8:15, For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”  (HCSB)

Big Weekend

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It was our annual Mission’s Sunday, and Arthur David was our guest speaker.  Brother David has been with us several times as one of the missionaries we supported in Liberia.  This year he took on a new role.  He is no longer supported by this church but a true friend and advisor to missions.  During Bible class he answered questions and spoke of personal experiences in his work over the years.  Sunday morning he gave a great lesson on “What’s in your hands?”.  Someone told me I’ve got to pick it up to match his energy. I might have to start drinking energy drinks on Sunday mornings.  Arthur will be headed back to Searcy, Arkansas today.  We pray for safe travels.

As far as our collection, we had a goal of $50,000 and raised $42,000+.  Usually we have people out of town, or unable to be here, who will give that will hopefully help us reach our goal.  We appreciate everyone who sacrificed to give to our various mission points.  Now we have a responsibility to pray about how this collection will be used.  We pray that God will bless it and help others to come to know our Savior.  Please take as much, or more time, in prayer for these things as you did determining how much money to give.  May God’s Spirit move through the nations!

Afterwards, two of our Care Groups shared a meal together.  Along with Arthur David, we had a few visitors in the community.  It was good time of fellowship.

Saturday night was the big fish fry fund raiser for Sasha, Deja and Troy.  Catching fish is fun.  Cooking fish is exhausting.  Cooking fish in high winds is frustrating.  A big thanks to those who fought the elements to put on a great dinner.  Also, if you were unable to go to the fish fry but wanted to give to help them in their mission trip to Antigua, there is still time.

We will be back to our regular schedule this week.  Our Wednesday adult class will continue to maneuver through the end of II Samuel (especially chapter 22).  And Sunday morning I will be back in the pulpit beginning a new sermon series.

abba_father_std_t_nvUsually I’m excited about starting a sermon series, but sometimes Sunday cannot come fast enough.  That is how I feel about the next four weeks.  It is a game changer.  It’s amazing how you can read the Bible your whole life and miss a pattern that has been there for thousands of years.  When you see it, it blows your mind.  Most have a view of the Father as a vindictive, angry God.  Not that He isn’t capable of other wonderful traits, but the focus seems to always be on the love and compassion of Jesus.  Unfortunately, we have not been a people of the Old Testament.  Many times it is thought to be a book of laws that God (a great Judge) uses to sentence His people for any infraction.  Usually this is based on a few stories, and often misused.  Our series, Abba, Father, will help us understand the God of the Old and New Testament.  Here will be our series titles:

  • Introducing God (Ex. 34:6-7)
  • Protective Abba (Ps. 68)
  • Abba’s Tears (Jer. 8-9)
  • Father of Wrath??? (Nah. 1:3)

So this week we will go to the Bible’s introduction of God.  But, it doesn’t just say, “This is the God of Israel…”.  This text shows up over and over again in both testaments.  The Scriptures make sure we never forget.  What is even more amazing, is this introduction comes after one of the most heinous sins of Israel.

IN THE NEWS:

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We have all kinds of news popping up about our church family.  For starters, Bob Brackett threw out the first pitch at the annual Jackie Robinson baseball game yesterday.  This is a big honor.  We are happy to report Bob didn’t embarrass us with a wild pitch.  Honorable mention goes out to Madison Dean.  She showed up at Bob’s house with a bucket of balls to make sure he was ready.

By the way, if you would like to read a link about the historic day Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Vero, you can read it here.

Last, but certainly not least, Daisy Cabanas has had a busy couple of weeks.  First she was inducted into the National Honor Society and then was honored at the Teen Writers Workshop.  If I had the ability to post videos to my blog I would put her speech.  If you are friends with Merrilyn Hale on Facebook you can see it.  Very well done!  She also runs the PowerPoint slides on Sunday mornings.  Way to go Daisy!

THE WRAP UP:

We seemed to be down in number yesterday.  Please think about the people who normally sit around you.  If someone was missing, make a phone call to check on them.  There was also bad storms that came through Vero yesterday afternoon.  There may be some folks who need help.  Please let the church office know if you learn someone needs to be added to the prayer list.  Have a great week and spread the joy of the Lord among those who meet.

Mission’s Week!

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This Sunday is our annual mission’s Sunday.  As Bob mentioned yesterday, this congregation has been in Vero Beach for 70 years and has supported mission works for over 60 years.  What a legacy.  This day is very important to continue to the support of ministry’s internationally and a couple within the United States.  Sometimes someone will pray, during our collection, that the money we give each week helps to support missions.  Actually, our weekly collection has nothing to do with missions.  Mission Sunday is the only day each year the contribution goes to support these works for the next 365 days.  What is given this day sets the missions budget for the year.  Most people will give the full amount that day and others will choose to pledge a certain amount of money for the year, so they will be able to give more.  Our goal is $50,000.

Along those lines, Wednesday night the adults will meet in the Fellowship Hall for a special presentation of our mission works.  This is a great time to ask questions and learn more about the places our collection will be going.

Following morning services, Care Groups C-E and P-R will enjoy a meal together.  We will also be given an opportunity to eat and fellowship with Arthur David.  We will send an email out this week to the groups to give more details.

As far as Mission Sunday, we are fortunate to have Arthur David speaking to us.  We supported him for years in Liberia.  He is one of the most kind, compassionate, godly men I have ever met.  Make sure you join us as he brings the message this week.

Speaking of mission work, this Saturday (from 5-7 pm), will be the annual fish fry for three of our young people to go to Antigua.  Sasha Chisholm, Deja Miller and Troy Wiley have worked hard, along with others, to make this a great success.  Wednesday night is the last day to buy tickets.

On a lighter note, I was able to watch some of our young people in action this weekend.  Gage Brackett and Nick Dean took down one of the top teams in the area Friday night.  Both had good hits and made plays in a 6-2 win over Treasure Coast High School.  One of the pictures shows Nick at short stop and Gage catching.

Two more of our teens, Bella Moore and Cheyenne Roberts, competed in the area middle school tournament Saturday.  Both had good games, but fell short in the championship game against Sabastian.  One of the pictures shows Cheyenne pitching and Bella playing first base.

Also, Madison Dean and Kaitlyn Cutshall played in a tournament in Orlando.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go to this game, but did catch some photos and reviews on social media.  These girls have had a great year.

THE WRAP UP:  As children of God, we are blessed by the presence of God within us.  The Scriptures tell us we are lead and guided by the Spirit.  Through the Scriptures, prayer and patience, God helps us in those difficult decisions we face.  But we must remember there is a battle between the flesh and the Spirit within, and therefore, must be careful in our treatment of the desires of the heart.  As we continue to live and walk in the Spirit, more and more of the Father’s plan will be revealed.  It takes faith, because the will of God isn’t always easy, but always rewarding.