Lessons From The Beach

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by Brian Sharpe

For me the beach is a very relaxing place.  As a family we were blessed to have someone let us stay at their beach house for a week.  We went to the beach every day.  Most days we went to the beach several times.  While at the beach I love to wade ankle high and just watch the waves come in and go out.  I learned a lot during those times over the week.

One of the things learned was discipleship happens when you live life together.  My daughters have a lot of personality.  They love life.  My oldest, Ellice loved getting in the water.  Even though the Pacific Ocean is really cold she wanted to play in the waves.  I had a choice as a dad.  I could have said, “sweetie, it is too cold to go in the water.”  She would not have been happy with me, but I would have been justified in saying that.   I gave in and let her play in the waves.  I taught her the “proper” way to take on the waves.  I taught her to jump when the wave was just about to hit her.  We would hold hands and go out as deep as she wanted to go and then we would jump over the waves together.  It is a memory I am not going to forget.  Well, my middle child, Annyah is a little less adventurous than Ellice.  She did not want to get too deep into the water, but she wanted to play by the water.  Ellice would be out a little bit jumping over waves.  Annyah would go a little bit into the water and then run away from what she perceived as a big wave.  Well, after a while I noticed that Annyah wasn’t too far from Ellice and she too was jumping over waves.   They were having a great time together laughing and jumping over waves.

If disciple-making is about taking what you know and passing it on, then Ellice made a disciple of Annyah.  How often do we in in our church try and figure out the best way to make disciples?  We plan and we sit and try to come up with the best programs, but what we aren’t doing is living life with people.  We need to invite them into our lives, into our families, so that they can learn just by being around us.  They can learn just by us walking with them and talking about spiritual things.  If we want to make a difference on South Hill, then we need to create space to share Jesus with those in our neighborhoods.  We need to do this by living life with them.  That can and should lead to spiritual conversations where we can introduce them to Jesus.  This starts with us living life together, desiring to make disciples who make disciples.

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by Steve Kearns

As I was reading in 2 Peter 2 today my thoughts strayed back to vs. 19 over and over again. I wanted a better understanding of the word depravity so I went to my “Random House Webster College Dictionary” for help. I was a little shocked when I found the word vitiate, I will get to that in a bit.

Here is what Mr. Webster had to say, de-prav-ity  1. The state of being depraved. 2. A depraved act or practice. Okay so what did he have to say about depraved? de-praved, morally corrupt or perverted. I understood that pretty well. (my life before Christ) So what does Webster say about the root of these two words? de-prave, 1. To make morally bad or evil, vitiate; corrupt.  2. To impair or weaken the effectiveness of.  3. To debase; corrupt; or spoil.  4. To make legally invalid; invalidate; to blemish.

Going back to vs. 19 (NIV) it says “they themselves were slaves of depravity – for a man is a slave to whatever has Mastered him.”  With that in mind remember the word vitiate? (vitiate for a believer means) a Christian who is Mastered by or a slave to sin has 1. Impaired the quality of his or her Christianity,  2. Weakened the effectiveness of his or her Christianity,  3. Debased, corrupted or spoiled their faith and witness for Christ,  4. Has invalidated or blemished their witness or effectiveness as a Christian.

So my question is, as a believer can I be enslaved to, or mastered by sin and still be an effective witness for Christ? I say absolutely not!

As I read on to vs. 20 God’s word bears that out, “If they had escaped the corruption ofthe world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.”

God’s desire for believers is that we be witnesses for Christ in a corrupt and fallen world, a good witness not a bad witness!

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I will let you down.

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by Dan Amos

Saying “I will let you down” is not a statement of intent, it’s merely an acknowledgement that it happens. I often think I should warn people of this because I’ve known me for a long time and I know it’s the truth. I can get cranky and selfish. I can stick my size 11 foot in my mouth and I can make the wrong choice. What I don’t want is to have my perfect savior judged by my imperfect actions.

These thoughts are inspired by things I’ve seen on Facebook recently where I enjoy reading what is posted by our young adults. It’s not always easy because they tend to post wildly divergent thoughts in sentence-long bursts that are nearly always devoid of context. They swing from the thoughtful to the silly, to the ones that make me wince. Still, they make me think.

My niece had expressed astonishment the KKK still exists. It doesn’t surprise me because there’s so much hate in the world and sometimes it is practiced by those who claim to be Christians but who really are not. And one of our own wrote, “Everyone’s practicing the exact opposite of what they’re preaching.” I don’t know the context of what he was saying, but often it is true. If we believe in Christ and our lives are being transformed, why do we do the opposite of what we know we should?

So, outside the body of Christ there’s hate and self-centeredness. Inside the Church we follow a God who lived as a loving, selfless, serving, sinless man. When he calls us and we are made a part of his family the Bible says we are being transformed, being made new. But this doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that lasts as long as we remain in this life and isn’t completed until we are face-to-face with him.

We still make mistakes. Even Paul made mistakes and he was miraculously saved by Jesus on the road to Damascus and spent one-on-one, face-to-face time with the risen and glorified Lord. I’ve even thought if only I had this type of encounter I would have so much more faith, but that’s not how it works. Paul’s life was completely redirected and he still lamented that he would do the things he didn’t want to do and that he was the chief of sinners.

The point here is we don’t follow people; we can’t. We are instructed to live a life as an example to others and to learn from others’ examples. But, we follow Christ and must keep our eyes on him. On occasion we will let each other down but Christ never will. He never has and never will. Don’t give up on Jesus because of his people. Instead exercise the grace and mercy he has shown each of us and we’ll grow together—imperfectly and sometimes annoying each other—and we’ll be perfected when we all are in heaven with Jesus and without the scars of sin.

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One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One Body, One Service!

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by Martin Schlomer

This fall, the Elders and ministry leaders decided to stay at one service. Having one service keeps everyone together, hearing the same message at the same time with the same passion! This is the first time we that we believe we will be able to comfortably enjoy one service due to the increased seating capacity from replacing the back wall with a movable wall.September will be a trial run to see how well this seating works on a longer-term basis. In October, the Elders and ministry directors will then evaluate how well this is working.

In Children’s Ministries, we will continue to run Discipleland, a program designed to disciple our children in their relationships with Christ. This ministry will continue to run through the fifth grade during the worship service. Because the classes have grown we will be splitting them to accommodate additional children.

In Adult Ministries, we will offer adult seminars as teachers are available. These seminar classes will run from 8:45-9:45 a.m. On October 3 Harold Eash will begin a series on 1 Corinthians. As of this moment, no child care is available. However, if you are available to help, please see Cheryl.

Last but certainly not least, the Young Adult Ministry will meet for their Sunday morning study from 8:45-9:45 at Starbucks (near Sports Authority) where for another month they will continue to wrestle with the ideas in the book, Under the Overpass, taking on a new chapter and verse study after that has been completed. In addition to their Sunday morning times, they meet on Friday evenings and will be going through The Truth Project.

On Wednesday evening, September 29 AWANA will kick off its brand new year. Three weeks later, we will launch KidReach on Wednesday afternoons, in partnership with Zeiger Elementary, to tutor at-risk kids. It is our prayer that we will see many of these kids engage in the AWANA ministry. To help facilitate this effort, we will offer dinner to make the transition to Wednesday evening’s AWANA easier and more inviting.

The first week of October will mark the beginning of the next cycle for our small group ministries. The Tuesday morning Women’s Bible Study, led by Helen Eash, will start a study by Anne Graham Lotz called, “Pursuing More of Jesus.” This study will dive into John 10-21. The Tuesday evening Women’s Bible Study, led by Kim Schlomer, will take on the gospel of John as well as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John. In addition to the Women’s Bible studies, community groups will begin around the same time. Sign-ups for all of these will begin September 12!

Youth Ministries (a.k.a.“Common Ground Student Ministries”) has a lot planned!  Junior and Senior High will meet every Sunday to connect with God and grow together in their relationships with one another.  We will do a large group/small group model.  This means there will be a teaching time followed by a small group time to process what was taught.

In addition to Sunday nights the senior high will be doing midweek small groups.  Our hope is to have five senior high small groups.  The junior high girls are going to have a small group that meets on Sunday night before youth group.  There will be many additional activities and trips, so be sure to look at the Common Ground student ministries page on the website and download the events flyer for this fall.

It’s tough to believe September is already here! It seems to have taken everyone by surprise this year. At Elim, it seems like we are always “mixing things up” in an effort to better accomplish Christ’s mandate for this Body: To grow PASSIONATE, LIFELONG FOLLOWERS OF JESUS CHRIST!

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