Sunday, December 19, 2010

You did it!

You did it!
You gave like I hoped and prayed you would.
You received a challenge and stepped up to it.
The hope has been that we, as one local congregation, could make a big difference for others.
The invitation has been given over the past several weeks and concluded today.

  • to Worship (God)  Fully 
  • to Spend Less ($)
  • to Give More (self & time)
  • to Love All (with grace & peace)
Today's love offering for Destiny Rescue, Dave & Beth Watters, and Transforming Wesleyan Church of Detroit was awesome!  (I am pumped to share $5,500 amongst these deserving ministries.)

Thanks for being generous with your love and your money.  Thanks for evaluating what you and your family needs vs. wants.

You did it.  Thanks.
May God be praised.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

252 Basics

If First Look provides children with their first impression about God, 252 Basics provides them with the truth about God that they need as they grow up. 252 Basics is so named because of Luke 2:52, which says, "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." 252 Basics is for children in 1st through 6th grades. Over the course of three years, students hear 150 Bible stories that communicate 36 virtues, all designed with 3 basic truths in mind.

1. I need to make the wise choice.
2. I can trust God no matter what.
3. I should treat others the way I want to be treated.

Here is a video that provides an introduction to this curriculum, which also will be launched in February.

If you'd like to be a part of helping our children grow up like Jesus did, we'd love to have you a few times a month. If you think this is children's church like it's always been, you'll get a pleasant surprise. Our goal is to make Sunday morning the best hour of a child's week. Here are a few roles you could fill (similar to those of First Look):

1. Small group leaders who build relationships with kids through activities, games and memory verses.
2. Hosts who introduce the storyteller and lesson for the day.
3. A worship coordinator who leads our 4th through 6th grade students in singing as the worship team.
4. Storytellers who communicate the bottom line for the week in creative ways. Don't worry, the script is already written. You just have to use it!
5. Tech people who run the audio/video from the back.
6. True behind the scenes people who get all the crafts and activities ready for small group leaders.

Our goal is to make volunteering as easy as possible for you. If you're a host, that's your only responsibility. If you teach, you won't have to worry about the worship music or getting activities ready. I'm excited for what this means for thinking orange and partnering with parents as well as the further spiritual growth of our children. Be sure to look back here later this week for an update on youth ministry and the way it fits with preschool and children's ministry at NBWC.

Monday, December 13, 2010

First Look

When it comes to a relationship with Christ, many of us can't remember a time when we weren't a Christian. Sure, we all go through a time of making what was our parents' relationship our own, but our earliest experiences with Jesus and the church form us for a lifetime. That's why we're excited to begin using First Look during children's church on Sunday morning. It's for kids ages 18 months (or so) through kindergarten.

First Look teaches three basic truths:
1. God made me.
2. God loves me.
3. Jesus wants to be my friend forever.

While we won't start this until February 2011, take a look at this video now to get a basic overview.

If you want to be a part of giving a child their first look at their heavenly Father, we'd love to have you join us a couple times a month during the worship service. You're invited to be a part of making Sunday morning the best hour of a preschooler's week in one of the following ways:

1. Small group leaders who build relationships with kids through crafts and memory verses.
2. Hosts who introduce kids to the lesson for the day.
3. Puppeteers who "sing" with the worship and assist the storyteller in telling the story.
4. A worship coordinator who leads our younger elementary students in learning songs, because they will be the worship team for our preschoolers.
5. Storytellers who communicate the truth of Scripture in a meaningful way, with the puppets, for 10-12 minutes each morning.
6. True behind the scenes people who make copies, cut things out, and get all the activities ready for small group leaders each month.

You can talk to Pastor Josh for more details. I'll also be making phone calls this week to talk to you about joining us! Look back later in the week for information about 252 Basics, the companion curriculum for elementary students!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Local Jesus

I'm not sure how your community celebrates Jesus.  Maybe your community doesn't do anything.  I hope it does something.   Here's a snapshot at how my town celebrates!

This caught my eye for a few reasons:
  • Joseph is man enough to wear pink.  Way to go man!
  • Jesus is depicted as being born next to a...pallet.  
  • The Christmas scene is still accepted in my town.  Go North Branch. 
And why wouldn't a Nativity Scene include a pallet?  Jesus was likely born in a pretty simple and basic location anyway; although most assume there was little more coverage than a single pallet.  Probably a cave or barn of some sort.

To consider that God made himself know to us through his son Jesus is amazing.  Theologically this is called the Incarnation.  As a result of the incarnation, a love gift, humanity has been impacted on multiple dimensions.
What is so striking is that Jesus was come to earth to meet us on our turf.  Isaiah 66:1 says the heavens are God's throne and the earth is God's footstool.  So although God has always been connected to his creation in Jesus he showed how deeply connected he desires to be.  

Pallet, barn, cave.  Doesn't matter.  The reality is Jesus has come.  He has come full of grace and truth (John 1:14).  He has come for me and he has come for you.