Fall Retreat is coming on fast! We are planning a great weekend for all of our youth! November 10-12, at Camp Vineyard in Troy Alabama. This event is pivotal because we don’t have another big retreat until D-Now in February 2019. This is also the first big event we have with the new youth that have moved up. I have seen God use Fall Retreat to lead youth to a deeper faith and build a strong unity in the youth group. Youth will grow closer together as we dive into God’s Word. That is why Fall Retreat is so important. Yes, we have many events to choose from. Sometimes the list can seem endless. However, I can promise you that there is nothing quite like Fall Retreat.
Parents, registration is now open. The cost of the weekend in $100 and that covers everything! You can sign up in the gym, by emailing me or call the church office and speak with Lauren. Retreat Packets will be available soon.
Church Family, with that in mind, I would like for you to join me in praying for our Youth Fall Retreat in November. Here are a few requests: 1. Pray for the leadership and adults who will be teaching, driving, cooking, and everything else that ends with an “ing.” Fall Retreat would not happen without them. They are here to not just help but to pour their lives into our students. 2. Pray for the youth that will be on the retreat. God has placed them on this trip for a reason. Pray that we will have a lot of youth who will go on this event. Many youth have invited their friends who have not come to faith in Jesus and they are praying for their friends to meet Him there. 3. Give a scholarship to help a student go on this retreat. Anything you give is helpful!
A weekend can change everything! Do you believe that? Will you pray like that? -Bro. Mark
As you read this article, our youth are completing a two week mission trip to Mexico! Our ministry moves forward on your prayers and my desire is that you’ll continue praying for youth leaders, students and myself as we strive to fulfill our call. Our mission team is was so large that we had to split it up into two teams! Each team worked in the same area but different neighborhoods for back-to-back weeks. This provided many challenges and opportunities. Church, will you join me in praying for the local church that we’ve served the last two weeks?
Pray for our missionary, Luis Martinez, in Mexico and the work that he does to support us. Pray for the local pastors and churches we will be working with. Pray for the youth and adults who have served on this mission trip and that it will have abiding fruit in their lives. Pray for me as I’ve been away from my family for 14 days. Pray for those who heard the gospel and responded that they will follow our Savior in the days to come. We’ve seen God do amazing things! As our work here ends, we know that it is just beginning for the local church as they follow-up. So, we are asking you to pray! Psalm 34:17 says “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.” I love my church!
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
I am sitting here in my office trying to stay clear minded through the jet lag. I am thinking about our trip and trying to quantify all that the Lord has done in our team and the work He has done through our local missionary on the ground. It is hard to put into words all that we saw and experienced. Our team saw the hand of God and His sovereign control over everything. We experienced success and failure, ups and downs, but through it all God was glorified.
Our team landed in country and began working on a college campus with students who loved music and skateboarding. Our team was able to use relationships, music, and sports to share the good new of Jesus. The team took over a music store to sing praises to Jesus. We were able to work with college students in a coffee shop to share the Gospel. We spent some time on the college campus with an entrepreneurial club to exchange ideas for marketing that led to building relationships to share the Gospel. Everything the team did was revolved around sharing the Gospel with college students. God showed himself approved. Listen, first hand, to the testimony of one of our team members, Kelela, tell about what God did in her life this past week:
Our senior mission trip to SE Asia was one of many surprises and was unlike anything we had ever experienced before. We often had no idea what our day was going to consist of and at any moment the schedule was subject to change. We were forced to be completely reliant and trusting of God’s plan for this trip. For example, on several occasions God allowed us to use our musical talents to encourage fellow believers and spark conversations for the Gospel. This was something none of us ever expected! On the second night we were there, we were given the opportunity to play a few songs at a nearby coffee shop. This turned into a pizza party hangout which allowed us to further talk with some university students we had met nearby. I personally had begun forming a friendship with a girl a few years older than me who also had a passion for music. It was through our common interest of music that we were able to bond, but something we struggled with was the language barrier. Something we all soon encountered as we began to direct our conversations to the truth of the Gospel. However, after we had been playing a while, one song in particular struck the interest of my new friend, Amazing Grace. She began to tell me how she had once heard this song in a movie and it inspired her to learn how to play it on her flute. This led to a conversation about God’s mercy and forgiveness as well as some of her own beliefs, but was sadly cut short as we had to prepare to leave the shop. However, God proved yet again how complex and perfect His plans are. About a couple days after, my friend and I were able to get in touch through a social media network. She continued to ask questions about different songs we had played that night in the coffee shop which led into a presentation of the Gospel in Romans. I was able to share with her the love of Christ through Romans 5:8 and the true cost of our sins from Romans 6:23. These verses led to a discussion of God’s love for us and of who Jesus is. However, my dear friend has not yet come to an understanding of faith in Christ. While she has felt God’s love for her, often through music, there are still many questions and truths that she is pondering. Even so, I praise God for His perfect plan and the work He continues to do within my friend and within others we were able to meet.
So, why do we go? Simply put, we go because God has called us to go. Matthew 28:19 says, “Go, make disciples of all nations.” 2 billion people live in South East Asia, but 90% of those people have never heard the message of the Gospel. NEVER. Not even once. The name of Jesus Christ is completely foreign to them. So we go! But as we go we meet Jesus ourselves. We see Him working ahead of us, in us, and around us. On mission, our eyes are opened to see God in ways we never have before. Our distractions and the pressures of American life are left behind us, leaving us open and vulnerable to the crazy love of God. So we go! We go because people need to hear the name of Jesus and the love He offers.
Where will God lead you this year?
-Mark and Kelela
“We should prayerfully and persistently pursue the presence of lost people, then proclaim and persuade at the prompting and in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
- Will McRaney
When it comes to sharing your faith, time is always the issue. In my own conversion experience in evangelism I see this to be true. From time to time we may lead someone to Christ during the first conversation, but most of the time it is through a relationship that we build using different styles and methods of evangelism. If you want to lead people to the grace of Jesus in this postmodern context, building credible relationships that attempt to communicate the message of Christ is the way to go. However, if you are going to pursue a relationship you should know something: it’s going to be messy.
The reason it will be messy is because we as fallen people are messy. People come to Christ with a lot of baggage, and that can take time to work through. It takes time to see that Christ is the only possible way for our sins to be taken away. I would call it the messy work of evangelism because the way one goes about leading someone to Jesus is different almost every time. What works for one may not work for another. People get caught up in different excuses of why they should not follow Jesus. So, as you move forward don’t get stuck on just one way to lead someone to the grace of Jesus.
In my own experience in evangelism I have found service evangelism to be the most fruitful and rewarding. This goes right into helping lost people address their misconceptions/misperceptions regarding the gospel. Many people have a very misplaced understanding of what being a Christian is all about. Meeting people where they are and serving them is a great way to turn the conversation to Christ. Many people who don’t follow Jesus have a misunderstanding of faith that has been shaped by many things and most of those things did not come from the Bible.
Dear Follower of Jesus, keep doing the messy work of sharing your faith. I wish I could tell you a sure fire way to do it, but the reality is that there is no perfect way. But Jesus says, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” It is not by my power, but His. Jesus wants your faithfulness. It is through your faithfulness that the Holy Spirit moves so that others may know Him. God can use a believer who is ready to give an account for the faith that is in them to lead people to who Jesus really is.
Sheep who Shepherd: