One of the best things about our Awana program is the Listeners. We pair each kid with an adult who spends about twenty minutes each evening helping them with their work and building a relationship. The kids know who their person is and they go straight to them.
It has been so successful that we are going to expand it to include the teen group. Alfred’s teen group is very enthusiastic and have been great help in the skits during the opening.
Recently we have had some visitors sign up and it just made sense to have adults that will build relationships with them. Studies show that the more adults a kid knows at Church the more likely they are to retain their faith.
What the listeners are doing is critical to the spiritual success of our kids. Thank you so much for your work.
In Matthew chapter 22, Jesus tells the parable of a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. When those who had been invited refused to come, he opened the invitation to everyone. It was the custom for the king to provide wedding garments for the guests. It was usually a long white robe. To refuse to accept or wear the gift was an expression of highest contempt toward the king.
When this king went in to see his guests, he found one man not wearing the robe. He questioned the man who had no excuse. He had deliberately rejected the king’s gift. In anger, the king had him cast from the splendor of the feast into the darkness of the street.
One day there will be a heavenly banquet. The king, the Lord God Almighty, wants all to come. He has provided the wedding garment. “He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.” (Isaiah 61:10) These garments are far more costly than a long white robe. To refuse them is to insult the Creator of the universe. To wear them, shows grateful respect to God Who offers salvation through His Son. Only those clothed in God’s garments can be present at the banquet.
Let us humbly don the robe of righteousness God has provided as we eagerly await His feast.
We all know that saying “Thank you” is important. Last Sunday we had our first Awana event and all I want to say is “Thank you.” Everything went smoothly because we had plenty of help to do something that takes a lot of help. We had everything we needed because the elders and this congregation are behind what we are doing. It was organized because I was smart enough to ask Kathy and Tausha to help me get things ready. I loved roaming through the building watching everyone do their job so well. Everything made me smile and be thankful. Most of all, I am thankful to God. We asked him to bless our efforts and to put his Holy Spirit behind this and we saw it in the eyes of the kids. They all got a heavy dose of Bible story, Bible memorization, relationships with adults, and fun. Praise God. This is a combination that will grow results for years to come. Thank you God.
This coming up Monday we will hold a service for Alice Stephens. Alice lived alone in her apartment off Hopeman Parkway for a long time and finally had to move into Choice of Waynesboro, a care facility. I know we always say it, but this time it is as true as it has ever been that she is in a better place. When I first moved here, I didn’t realize that Alice suffered mentally. I would argue with her sometimes over the things she said. I eventually realized to not do that. This week, all of Alice’s problems came to an end. I believe she will make a beeline to Jesus to ask him to heal her just like the woman who suffered from bleeding did. The next time we see Alice, we might expect her to say something crazy, but she won’t. She will be in her right mind – completely healed. That is the gospel.
Homework Let me remind you that I gave an assignment for class this week. It was to fast for 24 hours from being critical. I got this from reading Catherine Marshall. She got it from Matthew 7:1-2 which reads, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” From that she writes, “One morning last week. He gave me an assignment: for one day I was to go on a ‘fast’ from criticism. I was not to criticize anybody about anything.” (taken from Spiritual Classics) Find a day to practice this and come to class and share your experience. You can speak up in class or write about your experience and have me read it. Whichever feels comfortable for you. I look forward to hearing what you found.
The disciples return to their homes, but Mary Magdalene stands outside the tomb crying. Jesus appears to her in a precious exchange, ultimately telling her: “I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
Through the course of this day and the days following, Jesus appears to his disciples and hundreds of others.
Through his death and resurrection, all things are made new.
By now, the Roman guards are meeting with Jewish leaders about their incredible experience with the angel who moved the stone – money is being paid, stories created. Remarkably, it seems the Jewish leaders believed the soldiers.
The disciples, in contrast, did not believe the women who reported that the tomb was empty and that angels had spoken to them.
Peter and John run to the tomb…. it is open – the body is gone!
It is now the Feast of First Fruits – celebrating the miracle of the seed: planted in the earth to die, so that it might grow and yield a bountiful crop.
see a map indicating the location of the tomb in the EasterNow app
This wonderful content is put together in an app called EasterNow . Visit their website to download the app to your phone and experience this great story along with others.