Faith is believing in what we cannot directly observe. Faith is trusting in God instead of our own nature. In Hebrews 11:1, Paul encourages the Hebrews by describing faith and later goes on to provide multiple examples of people who showed tremendous faith throughout the bible. A common theme in...
At the end of last October, I took my family to serve for one evening of the Winter Relief program. It was a very remarkable experience and as I reflect back on it, there are three main takeaways that made a huge impact on my family...
1 Corinthians 1:18 says, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." It's like Jim Elliot said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."To us who believe in Jesus, this...
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...
A Winter Relief Story As Pam wandered around the Dollar Tree looking for Bingo prizes, she never imagined how God would use one of the items to bring a smile to Nan’s face. No Bingo this year. That was the word passed down from who-knows-where. The Winter Relief guests and volunteers...
You might know exactly what talents and abilities God has given you and where you are of most service in the body of Christ. Or, you might like to know where the biggest needs are and step into a serving spot that is desperate to be filled. However, you may have no idea where or even when you...
On Friday, February 18, over 400 people gathered at the Ignition Banquet in the Worship Center that was transformed into a banquet hall to launch our On The Road capital campaign. The evening was filled with fun, food, games and great conversation. A meal of salad, rice, chicken and...
What we need to understand in this journey, is that we are stewards of life, not owners! All of life belongs to God! When we call life ours, we are totally re-writing reality. We are disagreeing with the simple truth that we are stewards! God is a God who has given to each according to what He...
If you are a young adult, you are probably finishing up some kind of school or beginning a new career. You may have grown up in church like my wife, who felt like going to church was “what you did” and rarely thought about what she would do when given the option of how to spend her Sunday mornings.
Once she was in college she knew she wanted to have a strong faith, but she didn't know exactly how to live that out for herself. She and I struggled for a while to find our place in the community of Christ, really until we came to understand how important it was to build real and honest relationships with other Christians and to serve alongside them.
To find your place in the community of Christ, you have to get to know what that community looks like. Start by joining or starting a connect group for young adults (like SMASH, Real World, or YMP). Connect groups are where you can build close relationships with people who will understand what's going on in your life and will encourage you in your walk. You will need those relationships when dealing with the ups and downs that come along with college or starting a career.
You may feel a little lost as you transition from being part of your parent’s church activities to having your own church activities and relationships, but trust me when I say that you are not alone. There are many people just like you who are looking for others to connect and share life with. So look around and find some people who are prayerfully going to Jesus and asking him to lead them into developing a community like that described in Ephesians 4. Invite people to join you if you have to!
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
- Ephesians 4:11-16
At this stage in life you have a lot of new time and freedom. This is the best chance you will ever have to serve in different areas of the church and find where you fit best.
If you are thinking that you want to have a Christ-centered family that does great things in Jesus name, you don't have to wait. That was a big “aha!” that encouraged me to get more active serving. I realized that I did not have to wait to be the head of the family that God wanted me to be--that I could be a part of something whether my family was just me, or me and my wife.
Here at Severn Run we are lucky because there are many teams and ministries where you can serve throughout the year. This is also a great way of getting to know people outside your small group who will also support you and who you can bond with through serving. This is the mature faith that Paul describes in Ephesians 4, that we would each grow together and support one another as the body of Christ.
Anthony Lyle is originally from Pittsburgh and moved to Maryland with a company for work. We asked him about his experiences with his connect group. Here's what he had to say...
What is your occupation?
I move furniture and perform sound system installations. I do a lot of sound work for churches. I work on man caves as well. I have setup personal recording studios as well.
What drew you to the Church at Severn Run, and how long have you been a member?
I’ve been a member for about three years. I kept driving by and stopped in one day and stayed.
Do you consider yourself a “joiner”?
I am not usually a joiner, no.
What made you choose to get connected, and how did you decide which Connect Group to join?
Amber Adams, the Connect Group leader, played a big part in my joining a group. She is persistent!
I joined the Gambrills/Crofton Connect Group (GCCG). It is a diverse group of people from all walks of life who love to fellowship together. We believe that our differences make us stronger and our backgrounds enhance our stories. We believe that Christian education is the way to grow in our faith. We love to share the goodness of Jesus through our personal testimonies of loving well, living Jesus and believing big.
Once I met the leader of the group, Terence Lynch, he and the group made me feel very welcome.
Have you noticed any changes in yourself since becoming a member of the group?
I find myself talking to people more. I share more, spread the Word more.
Some folks may not have become Connect Group members due to schedules or other issues. Has it been a challenge to balance work/life commitments and keep up with the group?
Stuff happens, I had a recent experience with the Red Line Metro in D.C. where I was delayed for a while. For the most part I am able to meet with the group when I need to. God will make a way.
Has being in a Connect Group helped you with relationships, work, personal issues or spiritual growth?
I want to go out and minister more to other people. I like to visit other houses of worship and see how they are growing.
What advice would you give to someone considering becoming a member of a Connect Group?
It opens the doors for relationships. We learn how to become a disciple, and not just exist as Christians. Connect Groups are important because they help us grow in the Word. We start to graduate from milk as new Christ followers and become disciples who are feeding on the meat of God’s word.
At the Church at Severn Run, part of loving well, living Jesus and believing big is connecting with other members and working together to grow the body of Christ.
We invite you find a Connect Group as you continue on your walk.
As she walked around the corner at the train station, a man who appeared to be homeless, made eye contact and began moving toward her. He seemed to be inebriated. As he mumbled to her she heard, “I wan’t to be delivered from my addition today.” Walking to him, she placed her hand on his shoulder and felt God move.
Jill Poldervaart was at Union Station in the heart of Washington DC. She was handing out blankets to the needy and offering prayer to anyone who would accept it as part of her Blanket the City ministry. Over the years she had meet and spoken to many people living on the street. She knew immediately that this encounter was different than any she’d had in the past.
It begin in Colorado with a lunch-hour invitation. It seemed innocent enough. A co-worker invited her to join their group serving the needy and homeless that day simply by handing out food and offering prayer. On one particularly cold and raining day the group was heading out at usual. Jill considered not going due to the elements. The warmth of the office was inviting and comfortable. Despite the taunting in her mind, she choose to go. As they handed out food one of the recipients made it clear, it’s not just food that he needed, it was cold, he needed a blanket. He laid out where he’d be should someone such as Jill be willing to return later with a blanket. Circumstances as they were, a long drive home and a long drive back all while not knowing if the man would be traceable, made it impossible to fulfill with the request.
That’s not where it ended as it was through this man, Filling the Void Ministry was launched. An annual event lead by Jill and her family to reach out to those who were cold and living in the streets. With a few volunteers to help procure and deliver, new blankets began being gifted on an annual basis to those in need living in the Colorado cold. Although the blanket is a tangible gift, some may recognize the gifts that are given of even greater worth - a conversation, an exchange of names, and a look into the eyes of the recipient with an offer of prayer.
The ministry in Colorado continued and impacted numerous people over the years. God then moved Jill and her family to Maryland. Not knowing the area, their first winter in their new home left Jill wondering if the ministry could continue not just in Colorado but could it come to this area as well? During the second winter, the Holy Spirit prompted Jill encouraging her to take a step into a new ministry in the area she now lived. This lead her and her family into Washington DC. January easily created a homeless population at Union Station of people needing blankets. People needing conversation, People needing prayer. Jill, along with volunteers from her connect group, boarded a train to their destination seeking out those in need.
It was on one of those trips that as she sought out people to gift with a blanket that she encountered the addict needing deliverance that day from his addiction. And that was the day, the power of God reach through Jill and into the man. Jill could feel the Holy Spirit move through her and into the addict. Jill’s husband who witnessed the event was certain he’d never seen anything like it.
A huge smile came across the addict’s face. He appeared to relax immediately and it seemed as though something had left him. They exchanged a few words and parted ways. Had God healed him? What became of the man? This we will never know, but God does know. There’s peace and confidence in believing that God has healed and that he has provided for the addict touched by the Holy Spirit through Jill.
Through this experience and many others Jill sees clear evidence of God's agape or unconditional love. God's love that is always giving and impossible to be taken away."God loves everyone and we should treat every person we meet in the same way,” explains Jill.
Blessed. Righteous. Selfless. These are just a few words that describe taking to the streets and gifting those in need. In Matthew 25:35-46, Jesus reminds us that when we take the time to feed, clothe, give drink, and visit the “least of these” we are doing these things to and for him, Jesus Christ. To those righteous followers, the Bible tell us in verse 46 that they will be rewarded with eternal life. Jill, her family, and the volunteers of Blanket the City are touching the lives of the needy.
Not only is this act of service changing the lives of those being served, it is changing the lives of Jill, her family and each person who participates. They are witness of God’s great love while being his hands and feet. As Jill explains it, "Those in need are more than the people who appear homeless…we are all in need, we are all broken."
Want to get involved? People can support the ministry by donating small, new, inexpensive blankets easily carried. Jill will also tell you, "If any other group would like me to take them out to do a Blanket the City they can rally their folks together and I will be happy to show them the way!"
For more information, reach out to our offices at The Church at Severn Run @ 410-551-6654 or find ways to serve on our website at http://severnrun.com/serve/.
So you are a new believer! Welcome to the family! You're excited to begin your walk and wondering… What's next?
You may also be asking things like…
- How do I become a part of the church?
- How do I grow in my prayer life?
- Should I get baptized?
Here's a good place to begin answering some of those questions.
Grow In Your Personal Relationship with God
Just as we would develop our relationship with a spouse by spending time with them and being in constant communication, we need to develop a relationship with God by spending time with him and being in constant contact.
We communicate with God through prayer throughout each day as we seek guidance and assistance. It is also important to make “quiet time” a priority. A “quiet time” is a time we set aside each day to focus on discussing with God our triumphs, our failures, and our struggles. Many people also read personal Bible studies or devotionals during their quiet time. There are many great resources for these studies online.
You don’t even have to follow a plan to grow your relationship with God. You can simply read a few chapters in your Bible (the books of John or Matthew are a good place to start), and after you read, pray and ask God what he wants you to know from what you read. This kind of daily communication with God will help you grow in your faith and learn how to communicate with and listen to God.
Baptism is an important symbol of our decision to declare Jesus as Lord of our lives. There is nothing magical about the personal experience, but baptism brings attention to what God is doing in our lives and that is what makes it such a critical step in a new believer's walk. We have a huge celebration when a new believer rises out of the water, and there is an even bigger celebration in heaven.
Join the Severn Run community
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)
Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them. (Matthew 18:19-20)
Throughout the bible, we are encouraged to connect with other believers. An easy way to begin connecting is to join the church. This simply requires attending a Membership Matters class one Sunday afternoon, where we discuss the passions of the Church at Severn Run and hear about all of the places where we can play our parts within the church.
A common saying at Severn Run is that “life is better connected”. This sums up the idea behind Connect Groups, where a group of believers share real-life together. There are Connect Groups covering all stages of life, often with multiple times to fit different schedules. Connect Groups give us the opportunity to grow into real and honest relationship with others. This happens through shared life experiences, friendship and encouragement during our walk with Christ.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. (Hebrews 6:10)
The final passion of our church is to serve others. There is a limitless number of ways to serve, but what is important is that we find our gift. We find our gift(s) by prayerfully looking for different opportunities to serve and being willing to say “yes” to God when those opportunities arise. This may require us to step outside our comfort zone, but when we have faith, that is when God can really take over in our lives and do wonderful things.
Finally, finding a friend to help you walk through your new faith journey will help you tremendously. The Church at Severn Run is eager to walk beside you as you learn about God’s love for you. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need any help. You can call the office at 410-551-6654. You can email us at
In the middle of what was supposed to be a restful night’s sleep, Bob Ogle heard from Jesus. It was 3 AM and He had a response for something Bob had been pondering.
Pastor Drew always encourages Severn Runners to serve outside of the walls of our church building. Bob and his Connect Group, Hearts and Minds, had been exploring options for where their group could become involved in Loving Well and Living Jesus in our community. At 3 that morning Bob felt his heart turn toward the men, women and families represented in the Anne Arundel County Western District Police Station.
Hearts and Minds decided they would utilize Valentine’s Day to share “Boxes of Love” that included a donated Chick-Fil-A gift card, a hand-written note, several edible goodies, and a laminated “Policeman’s Prayer” card. They prayed over the boxes and delivered them to the station on February 13th so that the officers coming in at midnight in the wee hours of Valentine’s Day would receive a box at the beginning of their shift.
On Valentine’s Day at 11:30AM, this “unofficial” response came via the Severn Run website:
“I wanted to take a second to thank you all for the Valentine’s Day gifts you brought to us at the Western District. I can’t explain just how much these acts of community service mean to myself and my colleagues, and how appreciative we are when our community reaches out to thank us.
This message is not being sent to you as representative of the police department, but as a fellow citizen and community member who is extremely moved by the gesture your church has made to us as law enforcement officers. I want you all to know that I am thankful to be able to serve you, and that coming in today to the box on my desk helps me to maintain the perspective that despite the troubled times we find ourselves currently facing in our profession, we have the support of our community. Thank you all.”
Signed “Thankful Detective”
Hearts and Minds are continuing to grow their relationship and ministry with the West County department. They performed lawnmower tune-ups for the officers, and recently teamed up with the Moms of Severn Run Group to host a Police Appreciation Breakfast in the Severn Run Atrium.
“You can really form relationships over a heaping pile of bacon!” Bob mused. “The officers got to see that we are not the ‘caricature of religion’ that Andy Stanley talked about in Go Fish and truly had a good time just getting to know us.”
The morning was lively and fun as officers let the kids attending the breakfast sit in their cruisers and blast the siren, and warm conversations abounded.
Next, Bob and the Hearts and Minds Group are planning to host a car wash and cook-out for the officers in the coming months.
“Our goal is to never let them forget that there are so many out there who respect them, admire them, and appreciate the sacrifice that they (and their families) make to keep us safe. AND to pray for them daily.”