Showing items for 'October 2016'

5 Reasons to Serve

Posted by Alane Pearce on

Serving is not about waiting tables at church. But it is about sharing food, handing out coffee, giving a smile, and using your skills and gifts to help, encourage, and support the people around you. Serving is about volunteering your time and talents to fill a need. If you are an extrovert you...

Showing items filed under “October 2016”

It's Never Too Late To Let Love Win!

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We're all masters at missing the point. Almost all of the ugliness and damage that has been done in Christian and church history is because we miss the point. One of the crucial turning points of faith is rejecting the legalism that the human heart longs for. Legalism (religious rules) is a cheap alternative to grace-based living from a broken heart!
 
The truth is, there is something foundational that has to happen before you can ever be an authentic follower of Jesus Christ. To be an authentic follower of Jesus, something has to happen in your life that is about brokenness. Whether we can get to Jesus or not, really depends on our brokenness. We all want to find ways around our brokenness but you really can't do it because to be 'unbroken,' means that you're still in control!
 
When I talk about unbroken, I'm talking about us demanding control --that's the issue!
 
To come to Jesus requires a brokenness of surrender where you and I experience the pain of giving up control. Us wanting control is kind of an insanity loop that brings it's own kind of brokenness to life. 

It's kind of like steering the car and pressing on the brake after it goes off the cliff! Yes, you have control of the wheel but you're not really doing a whole lot of good in the situation. So it's like we're in a control that's not working but we don't want to give up control to a God who will make life work!
 
When we move toward Jesus without being broken, we get religion. Religion is based on a lot of things, but in addition to control, religion is based on rules. These rules can be written and unwritten. We come up with all of these rules and rituals and we're just making stuff up. We need to call ourselves out on our own hypocrisy and recognize that legalism is like gravity, it's a downward pull!
 
Part of authentic faith is recognizing that I am broken, that I am in danger, and that I need help. Jesus is the rescuer, and the process of rushing to Jesus is where the healing begins! 
 
Jesus takes our lives and brings us into a relationship where we soar! When we believe, Jesus helps us defy the gravity of earth and its brokenness.
 
If you've been broken and you've come to Jesus and experienced real hope in life, if you're not very very careful, at some point, you will stop soaking in the presence of God and experiencing the warmth and joy of God. If you're not careful in your spiritual journey, you're going to take a step back into the deadly ease of legalism and you're going to give in to the downward pull of rules, of ritual and of empty living!
 
In biblical Christianity we are only justified by faith through grace and our faith is based in the person of Jesus Christ! The justification that you and I have is the same, it is the love of God in the life of Jesus! (Ephesians 2:8-9)

It is a gift! So I cannot be proud of something I did not earn. I received this, and there is a real humility that comes when we understand that our justification comes from Jesus and not ourselves! 
 
Jesus' touch means something --it's a reason to celebrate, a reason to live, and to lift our hands and praise our God! It transforms us from living soul sick to becoming eternally alive!
 
What God said in the Old Testament is true for all of us, "These dead bones of ours can live again!" It's the breath of God --an up close and personal encounter that changes everything! (Ezekiel 37)
 
But Jesus only touches the willing, broken hearted people (Matthew Chapter 9).

If you want Jesus, you've got to run to Him! You've got to be broken and you've got to get on your knees and beg for a life change --that's when Jesus gets real! The rest is just religious garbage and legalistic lies! Until we're desperate in need and willingly loved, we'll die in the distance of legalism! 
 
There are so many of us longing to be loved but we're just not willing. Believe you can be loved! Let love win -it's never too late to let love win! -Dr. Drew Shofner

5 Reasons to Serve

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Serving is not about waiting tables at church. But it is about sharing food, handing out coffee, giving a smile, and using your skills and gifts to help, encourage, and support the people around you.

Serving is about volunteering your time and talents to fill a need. If you are an extrovert you can do this in a visible way like being a greeter, working in the nursery, or leading a group or class. If you prefer to work “behind the scenes” you can volunteer in the office, use your skills for the creative team or in the office, or by working in other non-public ways. You can volunteer for Impact Projects or help with ministries…there is always a need to fill using the gifts God gave you. 

Beyond knowing that there is a need, why volunteer for the church?

  1. God has Gifted You
    As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace. (1 Peter 4:10 ESV)

    You were created by God on purpose, for a special purpose. You are where you need to be, you are who you need to be. God has designed work for you to do so you can be his hands, his feet, his love, to a hurting and needy world. Whatever it is that you know how to do is exactly what your community needs you to share with them.

  1. Service Demonstrates your Faith
    In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:17 NIV)

    Taking action by choosing to share your gifts to encourage and help others demonstrates that you have been changed by Jesus. Before we realize God’s love, we are self-centered and self-serving. But Jesus isn’t like that. Jesus cared for and served others—even as he died on the cross. If we have truly been touched by the love of Jesus, we will also want to be like him in service to others.

  1. Serving Blesses - Both You and the Recipient
    He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT)

    Encouragement and healing go hand in hand. As we encourage others they find healing, and we see God working so we are encouraged. This is why people who go on mission trips say they came home feeling like they went to be a blessing and came home blessed beyond measure.


  2. Serving Helps us Share the Love of Jesus
    Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. (Isaiah 58:10 NIV)

    We are called to share the love of Jesus with the world around us. But the fact is, it’s hard to reach a heart when someone has a physical or emotional need. You can’t cure physical thirst with only a testimony of Jesus’ love. If someone is thirsty, it’s better to give them a cup of water to quench their thirst first. Then they will be able to hear the message of God’s love. This is serving which leads to sharing the love of Jesus.


  3. Serving is Good for You
    Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38)

    Volunteering is so good for the mind and body that it can ease symptoms of stress and depression. It gets you out of your own head and doing something to better the world around you. Tapping into your gifts and passions builds self-confidence, energy, and strength. Serving others can also be the best distraction from our own worries.


There are so many places where you can use your gifts at Severn Run!

If you aren’t serving, maybe it’s time to start. Volunteer an hour, a day, a week. Help out a need. Do a project. You can even volunteer from home!

Here’s how to find a place to serve at Severn Run:

  1. Pray and ask God how he wants you to serve
  2. Go to severnrun.com/serve
    --Read through the serving opportunities and choose one that fits your skill set
    --Or click the Categories arrow and choose a place to serve by ministry
  3. Click the blue title of the serving opportunity
  4. Learn more about the need
  5. Sign up by filling out the form at the bottom of the page

 

Posted by Alane Pearce with

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

When they saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. “It's a ghost!” they said, and screamed with fear. Jesus spoke to them at once. “Courage!” he said. “It is I. Don't be afraid!” (Matthew 14:26-27)

How are you dealing with your fears so far this week?

Are you letting them overcome you, or have you found the strength in Christ to press through them? No matter where you are on that spectrum, there is hope.

When Peter saw Jesus walking on the water, he was able to overcome his fear. But once he lost sight of Jesus and began to doubt, that is the moment he started to sink.

Keep your eyes on Jesus. He has set the example for us, and he has the strength that we all lack. He is stretching out his hand to us, and all you have to do is grab hold, never let go, and never look back.

 If you find yourself struggling, remember the words to the song “Oceans” (Hillsong United): 

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Your sovereign hand will be my guide

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me

 

 

You've never failed me and You won't start now

His grace abounds, no matter where you are. It’s never too late. There is no fear too great nor sorrow too deep where he cannot find you. Reach out your hand and call on him. He will lift you up.

Even David, oftentimes considered to be one of the greatest kings of all time, knew fear. Time and again he called out to God because he knew that with him, even a small boy could face a giant.

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me; he freed me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4)


 

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Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes Impact Lives

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We are the Fishers - Steve, Carolyn, Ellie & Micah. Our family has participated in the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Collection for many years. We have packed shoeboxes for so long that the kids don't remember a time when we didn't pack them. Ellie & Micah love to shop for special and specific items for each shoebox. They always add a note with a picture in hopes that someday we might hear back from a child who received one of our shoeboxes. We also track our shoeboxes and learn about the countries where our shoeboxes are distributed.

For the last few years, we have volunteered at Severn Run during Collection Week, accepting shoeboxes from groups bringing them in and then packing them into shipping boxes that go to the Processing Center. The kids enjoy helping and it's great for them to be involved in another step in the process.

Last year was special for us. Ellie is in a Christian character development program called American Heritage Girls. As a sixth grader last year, Ellie was eligible to earn an award by fulfilling certain requirements, one of which was helping to plan, organize, and run a special event for the Troop. Since Operation Christmas Child is so special to her, she wanted to have a packing party and shoebox collection for her Troop.

Her goal for the Troop was to pack and collect 100 shoeboxes. With the support of Pastor Steve and Elaine at Severn Run, she planned and ran a very successful packing party and collection, even being recognized as the youngest Project Leader at an OCC Project Leaders’ Workshop.

After more than 20 hours of planning, packing, and delivering shoeboxes to drop off locations, our Troop exceeded its goal and collected 120 shoeboxes! We also took some of the girls from our Troop on a tour of the OCC Processing Center and met a young lady who received a box when she was a child.

Ellie is hoping to either run the packing party and shoebox collection again this year, or have the opportunity to mentor a younger girl as that girl leads the project. We are also excited that Ellie will be old enough to volunteer at the Processing Center this year, and may even spend part of her birthday there.

We are thankful to American Heritage Girls for the opportunity for Ellie to develop her leadership skills and to Severn Run for all the encouragement and support they have provided for Ellie and our family.

We are looking forward to a great year with Operation Christmas Child and praying for everyone here as they are packing shoeboxes, and the children and families around the world who will receive a shoebox this year!


 

There is still time to fill a shoebox, sponsor mailing, or volunteer for our distribution center! Contact the church today to learn more.

Posted by Carolyn Fisher with

Operation Christmas Child – Teaching the Virtue of Generosity

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As a teacher of a Christian faith-based preschool, I teach virtues as a way of encouraging young children’s moral development as well as modeling the very characteristics of our Lord Jesus Christ. During the month of November, the virtues of thankfulness and generosity are emphasized. For three and four year olds, I define thankfulness as, “being appreciative of all that you have and are” and generosity as, “happily giving away something that belongs to you.”

I have participated in the Operation Christmas Child (OCC) program at Severn Run for many years. God spoke to my heart when I realized that having my preschoolers and their families participate in OCC would provide a wonderful family-building experience as well as a real-life application of our November virtues.

Having already talked about and modeled the virtues of thankfulness and generosity within the classroom, I introduce the OCC program by reading Boxes for Katje written by Candace Fleming. It is a post World War II story about an American girl who sends packages filled with needed supplies to a girl living in Holland. After explaining the OCC program, we discuss the differences between needs and wants and then brainstorm about what items could be packed into a box. I later show them my completed OCC box. This whole process builds excitement about collecting and buying items to “happily give away!”

Newsletters to the families explain the program and while it is a prime example of modeling our virtues, it is completely voluntary. Children are able to show off their boxes to their peers, thereby further increasing participation and excitement.

Not only did I advertise the OCC program to the preschool families but in its second year, I also introduced it to the Methodist Church, which houses the preschool where I teach. Both the preschool and church families return the filled boxes to me. Now a mainstay at the preschool and church, OCC is continuing in its fifth year having provided 315 boxes!

What used to be two boxes filled with love and supplies from my family has grown to an average of 78 boxes per year donated by many families. While the ultimate goal is helping children in poverty-stricken areas, children here at home are learning spiritual and moral behaviors that hold the hope of glorifying God for a lifetime!

Posted by Jen Holcomb with

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