Showing items filed under “Christian Living”

Joe Thompson - On Mission

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The pastor graciously invited the team to his church for refreshments. Joe ducked through the doorway of a shed no taller than 4 feet high and 10 feet long. It had no electricity and the walls were made of mud. He and the nine members of his team sat shoulder to shoulder, crammed into what they were told was a church building. As he sipped his tea and nibbled biscuits, Joe realized that after being in the country of Nepal for less than 24 hours, he was already getting a glimpse of the kingdom of God.

Joe began his journey in Hawaii, at the training base for Youth With a Mission. Out of the group of trainees, 9 would become his lifelong friends. After two and a half months of training, they were ready to head to Nepal.

It was in Katmandu, inside the church (shed) of the pastor, that Joe understood for the first time the gift of the mission he was about to undertake. That he would be forever changed not because of anything he was going to do but because of how the Holy Spirit would use the people of Nepal to teach him about being in relationship.

In Katmandu the team worked a lot with the church youth. They went into the slums to share the gospel through the season of Christmas, lead music, minister to shut-ins, and do intercessory prayer at Buddhist and Hindu temples.

After about 3 weeks they boarded a bus to ride 25 hours over dirt-packed, rutted, winding roads to the eastern Nepal city of Dharan. They spent another 8 hours driving and 10 hours hiking to a village that was building an orphanage to house abandoned children.

The team helped with the construction of the orphanage. In doing so, Joe met a village woman who had been taking orphans into her own home for years. She and her husband housed and fed the children and taught them to farm. This woman was not a Christ-follower. However, some of her adopted children became recipients of Operation Christmas Child boxes. In the boxes they received, she found and read the gospel message in Nepalese. She accepted Christ and is now starting a church in the village.

Next the team traveled 36 hours in the opposite direction to west Nepal. They served at a medical camp in a remote village where they treated some seriously affected individuals. In addition, they helped in church ministry by preaching the gospel, leading soccer camps, and taking food to the slums.

Joe Thompson in Nepal

The Himalayas can be quite chilly in February so the team sought warmth within the mud walls of an out-kitchen. As Joe huddled next to the stove a young orphan began to describe the hopelessness of being born into the caste system. With no ability to rise any higher than the lowest caste, he found little will or reason to work hard. Joe shared with him that God sees his unlimited potential. That God has a special plan for him and that he is unique and priceless. But as God often does, even as he was sharing with the boy, God showed Joe his own worth and identity in Christ.

Over the course of six months, Joe had some amazing experiences. God showed him the importance of relationships. People are the same in Nepal as they are in Severn, and those people want to be seen and be in relationship with others, and with Jesus. Joe learned the importance of being able to depend on his teammates for everything from safety, to borrowing items, to living and traveling together, to prayer. Most importantly, Joe realized, “God is bigger than I allow him to be”.

So true. We all need to BELIEVE BIG and allow God to do what only he can do!

__________

Joe has just accepted a position to be a leader with YWAM this fall, read more about it from his personal blog here. If you’d like to support Joe and celebrate God's call in his life, and Joe's willingness to serve, please follow this link to get more information.

Give to Joe's Next Journey

 

 

 

 

Falling in Love Jesus-Style

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This summer, the Church at Severn Run was SUBMERGED! The entire campus was flooded. Don’t worry! It wasn’t with water, but with Jesus and kids and a whole lot of laughter!

I felt God pushing me to volunteer. I am in school, a mommy, and recently transitioned from working 60+ hours as a restaurant assistant manager…I was tired. With finals in two classes and an additional two just beginning, I was busy.

At least those were my excuses.

I thought that I had missed the deadline. Then one Sunday, while I was sitting in the service, they announced they still needed and were accepting volunteers. Once again, I felt Jesus nudging me. So I did exactly what He told me to do.

I volunteered.

I didn’t know where they would have me helping out, but then I got the email from Pastor Steve. I was assigned to the 10 year old group. Monday morning rolls around, and I drag my three year old out of the bed at 6 a.m. He, like his mommy, is not a morning person. So we head to the church, still not completely excited about the idea of being there.

By the end of day one, I was amazed at the change in my heart. I was so excited for the next day! I began praying not only for God to work in their hearts, but also in my own.

I can definitely say, “If you want to have fun, all you have to do is ask a room full of 10 yr. olds what questions they have for Jesus.”

Our lesson was on Nicodemus coming to Jesus by night. At the end of the lesson, we asked, "What are the questions you have for Jesus?"

I was not prepared for what would follow. We got many, many questions. In fact, so many that we had to skip game time at the end to finish asking questions. These questions included:

  • What is Jesus’ favorite color? (This I expected.)
  • Do animals go to Heaven?
  • Does God really care about me?
  • So what happens if someone hears about Jesus and says maybe later, but they die before they can pray?
  • What happens if a baby dies and can’t get saved? (Broke my mommy heart!)
  • Why was Jesus born?
  • Why did God create Satan?
  • So God created everything… so he has magic? Like Harry Potter? (NO! Jesus is not Harry Potter. PLEASE do not go home and tell your parents Jesus is Harry Potter!)
  • If God created everything, who created Him?
  • If God is God, and there’s only one God, then how did He send His SON? (Wow! You kids are good.)

In complete honesty, there were about 50 more questions that Miss Jess and I had to address. At the end, we handed out little cards that asked the children to choose an answer:

  • I have already accepted Jesus into my heart as my Savior and Lord.
  • No, I am not ready to talk about Jesus.
  • I want to know more about Jesus.
  • YES! I am ready now to accept Jesus as my Savior and Lord.

Two little boys, handed in cards saying “YES! I am ready now.” In the rally that day, I stood there as little guys prayed and accepted Jesus as their Savior. I took a picture with them and told them how VERY happy I was for them.

I came home and told my husband that I was “falling in love Jesus-style.” I spent three days with these kids and my world was flipped upside down! I saw their hearts.

The motto for this week was “Jesus knows. Jesus sees. Jesus saves.” Boy, was it true!!!! These eleven 10-yr olds snuck their little way into my heart in less than a week. Jesus really does know, see, and save. He used these little children to completely change my heart! I will forever be grateful for the days I could spend with these children!

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”    
Matthew 19:14

A Treasure from the Heart

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A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. (Matthew 12:35)

In 2013, John and Mary stumbled upon what is now known as the Saddle Ridge Hoard. In a field they owned in California, a collection of coins buried in the late 1800s was discovered. These coins had a face value of $27,890 and now valued at $10M. What a treasure! No one knows who left it. Someone spent a lifetime gathering a treasure and never used or shared it. That’s not what God intended for our treasures. 

We all have a treasure we can share. It has no cost and there's no fee to disburse it. For some it comes easily, not so with others. Words are that treasure. Such an immense treasure that if chosen carefully they can:

Build up.

Show love.

Motivate.

Encourage.

Comfort.

Change a life. 

In Matthew 6:21 Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Simple steps can be taken to build this treasure of your heart:

  • Spend time with God daily.
  • Ask questions.
  • Take a sabbatical from social media.
  • Watch what you watch.

What is put into the word treasury is what comes out when you talk to yourself and with others.

Good stuff in, good stuff out!

Today, build and share the treasure of your heart and use your words to change life - your life and the lives of those around you!

Summer Fun Ideas for You and Your Kids

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Have you already used up most of your ideas for summer fun for your kids? Are they looking for new ways to spend their time? Are you looking for novel and exciting activities to create great memories together this summer?

If you want some fresh ideas for family fun—here are lots of ideas and resources for you!

Around Your House

  • Have a sidewalk chalk art show: draw frames on your driveway or sidewalk and let the kids draw works of art. Later, invite your neighbors over for lemonade and an art show.
  • Make homemade ice cream—there are many great recipes online.
  • Play family games.
  • Make your own frozen treats.
  • At the library, borrow family movies to show during the hot afternoons; then challenge your kids to make costumes and put on a play about the movie or a scene from the movie.
  • Make puppets from lunch bags and let your kids put on a puppet show.
  • Let your kids take a digital camera for the day and discover their inner artist.
  • Grow a container garden—start with something easy like herbs or lettuce and discover the joy of gardening together.
  • Host a neighborhood slumber party.
  • Have a dance contest to different eras and genres of music.
  • Make paper boats and have a boat race in a plastic kiddie pool.

Around Town

  • Try new fruits or vegetables from a local farmer’s market.
  • Take in a movie for $1: both Cinemark and Regal participate by showing family movies for $1 admission.
    • Check listings for Cinemark (plus get a coupon)
    • Check listings for Regal 
  • Take a trip to the dollar store and pick out summer toys for your kids to share with the neighbors.
  • Check out a local farm.
  • Go to a museum, find a children’s museum if you have young ones.
  • Participate in Vacation Bible School!
  • Head to the library and participate in their summer reading program.

Ideas from the Web

 

Remember that some of the best memories are made when we share our time, love, and laughter with our families.

Have any ideas of your own? Log in and post in the comments!

Spring Into Serving Recap

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The weather forecast for the weekend was bleak. You know what they say about Maryland: If you don’t like the weather, wait half an hour and it’ll change. However, the forecast held steady and one thing was for sure—it was going to rain.

At the start of the week people were beginning to question whether or not Spring Into Serving was still going to happen. Some of our partner ministries even indicated that we should reschedule. Amber sent out Contingency Plans A, B, and C.

BUT, we are Severn Runners!

We knew God had great things in store for our partner ministries and we would not be hindered by a raincloud or two (or lots).          

"Jesus led broken people on the road so that they would bump into other broken people in order to reveal His kingdom."   

 

 

-Amber Adams                                

Spring Into Serving Projects:

Broken WallFight Club and Going Deep cleared an existing but unusable baseball backstop of brush and vines at North Bend Elementary School in Catonsville, Maryland.

Grace Redeemer Church Families with Young Children and Odenton Connects hosted a block party for 100-150 folks from the church and surrounding neighborhood in Meade Village. There was food, face painting, moon bounce, and TONS of fun!

Pascal Senior CenterHearts and Minds and Young Married Professionals (YMP) cleaned and manicured the garden at the Center in Odenton. The director of Center actually emailed Bob Ogle, the project leader, and told him not to worry about bringing a group out, but the team went anyway. The director was pleasantly surprised when she saw all the work that had been done when she arrived at work on Monday morning.

Elevate ChurchThe Real World went to the pastor’s house in Annapolis and helped him fix the steps leading to his patio. They also picked up trash in the community and cleaned up a playground.

Transformation CenterSeeking Our So That went to Brooklyn Park to sort clothes for the Clothing Closet and did a neighborhood clean up.

The WellMoms of Severn Run helped clean out/sort/organize their clothing closet (Hope Chest). A combination of clothes from the Severn Run Clothing Swap and Hope Chest allowed them to host a Free Community Clothing Market. Pizza and hot dogs were served to over 125 shoppers. Leftover clothing items were taken to Transformation Center. In addition, the husbands of the “Moms” helped the building manager to lay sand and pavers to create a back patio area.

Amber Adams, the Connect Leader for Severn Run says, “Jesus led broken people on the road so that they would bump into other broken people in order to reveal His kingdom. Our Connect Groups and IMPACT ministry connected with other local ministries to build relationships and serve with our brothers and sisters. We sent 143 Severn Runners to six different locations from Annapolis to Baltimore where they served with over 200 other believers and non-believers. From a Free Clothing Market to Block Parties to Gardening we saw a glimpse of what it means to be the Church.”

Follow this link to view a slideshow of photos taken at all the Spring Into Serving projects!

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