Friday, June 22, 2012

Gearing up...

The time is almost here! The mission team from Judson Baptist in Nashville started arriving today and we are gearing up for a Block Party this coming Sunday followed by a great week of Vacation Bible School.  Those that arrived this afternoon toured the church, went to dinner and then I took them for a quick hike up to one of the waterfalls at Hyalite Canyon.  We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the rest of the team over the next couple days!
First part of the Judson mission team made it to Bozeman!
At Hyalite Canyon

This past week has been a crazy God blessed one.  Sunday at church there were two baptisms and a sweet six year old boy prayed to receive Christ after Sunday School.  It is so sweet to talk with little children and see them hear and respond to the Gospel message!  Their faith and trust in Him often far surpasses those who are much older.  Pastor also said there was more people in service than there has been in a year and a half, so we are praising Him and praying they will return again and get plugged in and that we can disciple them.

Tuesday the Pastor and his family and I road tripped to Billings (about two hours each way) to pick up some ministry materials for a week of camp later in the summer and got to stop at one of two Cracker Barrell's in the state... woo hoo!  Then that afternoon at the Kickball Club ministry we had a ton of children come out and play and we did a devotion on how His light always overpowers the darkness and just loved on the kids and had a great time!

Kickball Club

Kickball Club devotion with some of the kiddos

Wednesday, we (the Pastor's wife Misty and Jennifer who just moved here from Kentucky and I) had a great time of fellowship with a couple ladies we met at the women's bible study we are attending this summer here in town.  It is sweet to study the Word with others and I am continuing to pray about the relationships that will be formed through that time. 

I also got to eat my first moose burger this week at the initial meeting for the adult kickball club I joined for the summer.  A lot of my teammates are skiers in the winter and I am looking forward to getting to know them better throughout the season!

In preparation for VBS, we also have decided we can start a painting and prop making business.  In the last few days, we have painted many signs as well as built a plane and hangar for the sanctuary since the theme is "Amazing Wonders Aviation: Discovering God's Awesome Power."

Getting ready for Block Party with Alex and Muranda

Hangar and plane

Please join us in praying for God to display Himself in big ways through this next week; that He would open the hearts of those we will be ministering to and that they would see Christ's love displayed in a tangible way.  Also, please pray He would unite all of us serving together from both Kirkwood and the Judson mission team!

Also, please pray for all the Judson mission teams out this next week - so exciting seeing those willing to serve Him and take His name to the ends of the earth!  There will be teams or individuals in the following locations from Judson that I know of over this next week: Montana, Knoxville, TN, Honduras, New York, Brazil and Kenya.

In the Bible study on Nehemiah Kelly Minter writes, "God stands to accomplish the impossible through us while too often we're content to settle for the explainable.  The impossible requires taking time to listen for what He has put in our heart to do.  It means believing that He will accomplish what He has spoken." 

"If God is for us, who can be against us?" - Romans 8:31

So grateful for those who have been such an example to me of what it means to step out in faith and follow Him. 

It will be awesome to come back after this next week and give Him all the glory as He accomplishes His purpose each day!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bozeman Highlights

The last week has been quite a crazy one.  Here is a run down of the events I said were coming up in the last post and some pictures of the various events!

My dad came in for a few days to visit.  We went to Yellowstone for a day and it was 70 degrees and perfect.  The next two days it SNOWED (yes in June) so I got him involved in some of the ministry stuff I had going on, including hanging posters in the children's ministry room and chasing all over town looking for a large world map that will help when talking to the kids about missions.  He also came to church on Sunday, where Pastor James gave a great sermon on Matt 5:33-37, where it talks about "simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No,' 'No.'"  It was a great reminder that in a world where there are constantly needs to be met, we are not meant to say 'Yes' to everything, but to seek the Lord for direction and only say 'Yes' to the things that align with His plans for us.  Sometimes that means saying 'No' to some good opportunities while in pursuit of the great ones He has for us.
My dad and I at Yellowstone

Sunday night our outdoor worship service at the Covered Wagon got rained out, but we rescheduled it for July right before another week of camp we are running and we are trusting that God's timing is perfect!

Monday, the 11th I had my wisdom teeth out, and proceeded to look like a chipmunk, trying to hide nuts in both cheeks, who had been in a fight the next few days, as my cheeks swelled and turned black and blue. Yay ... or not!  The procedure went well and I have started to feel a little better the past couple days.  Thank you for your prayers surrounding that matter!

Tuesday, we started kickball club and had some kids from the neighborhood and even one of their parents join in.  Everyone had a great time and we were able to do a devotion at the end that focused on 1 John 1:5 - "God is light and in him there is no darkness at all."  We are praying the next five weeks of the club will allow us to build on that, and that through the devotions and building relationships we will be able to share the Gospel.
First day of Kickball Club
Devotion at the end of Kickball Club

Wednesday was the first day of the community Bible study myself, and the Pastor's wife Misty have joined for the summer.  We are studying the book of James.  We have taken on the challenge of trying to memorize the book of James throughout the study and are praying God will help us to meet this challenge!  It will be a great time in the Word and fellowship with a new group of people!

Thursday night we had our Vacation Bible School work night, where about 15-20 church members got together for the evening to work on getting all the crafts organized and stage decorations put together in preparation for Vacation Bible School which begins June 25th!  It was a great time of fellowship and seeing the body of Christ coming together working for His glory. We are excited for the mission team from Judson that is coming to help to get out here to Bozeman next weekend!
VBS Work Night

VBS Work Night

VBS Work Night

All is well here in Bozeman and we are excited about the doors God is opening and what lies ahead!  Please continue to pray as we prepare for Vacation Bible School, for the mission team to travel out here safely, and for many children from the community to come and learn about the eternal hope we have in Jesus Christ.  Also pray for the Lord to send some people into our lives that we can disciple to lead, for Him be present at the other events we have going in the community (i.e. kickball club) and in everyday conversations on the street.  We serve an awesome God!

I have been studying the book of Nehemiah and it has been talking about how even through trials and potential distractions coming from all angles, Nehemiah did not waver from what God put on his heart to do - to rebuild the wall surrounding Jerusalem.  He constantly sought the Lord in prayer, was willing to sacrifice personal gain, was a humble leader of the people, was willing to say "no" to things that did not align with God's plans, and gave Him the credit and glory in each circumstance.  I thought of the times in my walk I let little distractions derail me and take my focus off the Lord.  It was a great reminder that God's call doesn't change based on how we feel or what is going on around us.  Our job is to continue to humbly seek His face (Psalm 105:4) everyday and watch Him work ... What has God put on your heart to do?  FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS AND GO DO IT!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ready to Run!

This week's update comes through praises, upcoming events and prayer requests for what's going on here in Bozeman as well as a quick food for thought!!  I have heard from so many of you which means so much and it's exciting to hear what God is doing in the other parts of the USA and around the world!  To all of you at Judson Baptist in Nashville: I have been praying for you this week as Vacation Bible School is happening back there!

- Andrew and Jennifer Lane and their children have arrived from Kentucky!  They felt the Lord calling them to move to Bozeman to share the Gospel and we have been anxiously awaiting their arrival.  Andrew will be running the Youth ministry at Kirkwood and we are excited to have them here!

- The kids in Bozeman get out of school today!!  June 7th is their last day so we are getting ready to hit the summer running after a couple great weeks of preparation!

- I have decided to join a Bible study held here in Bozeman this summer in order to get to know more people in the community.  Please pray that will be a good time of fellowship and connecting with other Christians in the area!

- There is also an adult kickball league I will be participating in beginning the end of June, in hopes of meeting people in the community to develop relationships that open the door to share the Gospel.  Please pray that my back will hold up during the season and that God will open doors with the people there.

Here are our upcoming events at Kirkwood Baptist:
-Clean-up at the Covered Wagon, Thursday, June 7th
-Outdoor Evening Worship Service, Sunday June 10th ... pray the weather cooperates!
-Kickball Club starts Tuesday, June 12th (for kindergarten through 6th graders) - will run for six weeks and includes weekly devotions with the children
-VBS Block Party: Sunday, June 24th
-VBS: Monday-Friday, June 25th-29th
-Family Day at Kirkwood, Sunday, July 1

Prayer Requests:
- I have some meetings I am trying to set up in the next couple weeks with different people around Bozeman (Christian leaders on MSU campus, etc).  Please pray that we will be able to get together and, if it is the Lord's will, we will be able to partner in some way in sharing the Gospel here in Bozeman.

- Please pray for our first outdoor worship service scheduled for this Sunday, June 10 at the Covered Wagon, a community close to the church and for Pastor James as he brings the message.

- Pray that children will come to the Kickball Club and we will be able to develop relationships with them and their families while sharing the Gospel with them in a tangible way each time we are together.

- The mission team will be joining us from Judson for Vacation Bible School.  The week will kick off with a block party Sunday, June 24th and then VBS will run June 25-29th.  Please pray many children and families will attend and respond to the message of the eternal hope we have in Jesus Christ.

- My dad visiting this weekend - pray we are able to share Christ with him in a tangible way.

- I unfortunately have to get my wisdom teeth out Monday, June 11th.  Pray I will heal quickly because I need to do ministry the next day!!!

- Pray for Pastor James as he leads Kirkwood, and for his wife Misty who is due with their fourth child in October.  It is a blessing to serve alongside them!

Quick food for thought:
This past week I started reading the book, "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns and below is a brief excerpt:

"We are...Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us." -2 Cor. 5:20

"God chose us to be his representatives. He called us to go out, to proclaim the "good news" - to be the good news - and to change the world. Living out our faith privately was never meant to be an option... (p. 3)"

Our personal and transforming relationship with Jesus Christ should lead us to have "a public and transforming relationship with the world."

It goes on to talk about asking the question "what if?" ... "What if each of us decided with renewed commitment to truly embrace the Good News...what if we each said to God, "USE ME!"

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes." - Romans 1:16

It caused me to stop and look at my life and evaluate if there are better ways I can be spending my time, using the resources God has blessed me with, and using my talents to impact the body of Christ to the glory of God.  Each day we have a choice.  I know God works in and through us to accomplish His purpose, but that comes through our complete and total surrender and a willingness to sacrifice many of the things the world deems as important.  May the prayer each of us lift up today be, "Use me, Lord!"