MESSAGE. German pastor and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “The aim of friendship is exclusively determined by what God’s will is for the other person.”
Jonathan, David’s friend, is a sterling example of true friendship. David was in exile, hiding in the Desert of Ziph, when he learned that “Saul had come out to seek his life” (1 Sam. 23:15). Jonathan went to Horesh to find David. The significance of this scene lies in Jonathan’s intent: He helped David find strength in God or, as the text puts it, he “strengthened his hand [grip] in God” (v.16).
That is the essence of Christian friendship. Beyond common interests, beyond affection, beyond wit and laughter is the ultimate aim of sowing in others the words of eternal life, leaving them with reminders of God’s wisdom, refreshing their spirit with words of His love, and strengthening their grip on God.
Pray for your friends and ask God to give you a word “in season” to help them find renewed strength in our God and His Word. (ODB)
Life-change happens best in circles, not rows.
MINISTRY. This week was all about Vacation Bible School. The church was saturated with happy smiles, joyful songs, exciting games and valuable spiritual lessons. I was impressed with the number of our church leaders and lay members who volunteered to help. Becky Denton and Cory Goss brought together an excellent team of people who genuinely love children. Here is what Becky posted last night:
“What an amazing week of VBS! GAME ON! 72 kids for the week total! Praise the Lord and we raised over $290 for stock the lockers! And got over half a barrel of supplies( pencils, markers, paper, pens, erasers, folders, paper, glue, crayons,socks, underwear, sanitizer, high lighters, rulers, binders, and so much more). A huge thanks to all of our incredible staff and all there time and love! Thanks to the parents for bringing your children and supporting VBS and teaching your kids that loving Jesus is such fun! And that “Jesus cares about me”, Jesus gives us hope, Jesus helps me believe ,Jesus loves me, Jesus gives me joy! And kids thanks for loving Jesus and being so much fun! And remember just because VBS is over sabbath doesn’t mean you don’t keep remembering our themes and live for Jesus!“
Heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who helped. Below are a few photos from the VBS program. (courtesy of Becky’s Facebook 🙂 ).
CHURCH LAWN. Our church property is ready for the Sabbath day! All the lawns around the church look absolutely neat. All because Tracy Downey was there every day cutting the grass for hours and hours in spite of the unbearable heat and humidity. Thank you, Tracy! Your dedication and hard work is sincerely appreciated!
OFFICE. There are billions of things that need to be addressed by the church office staff. Ordering supplies and literature, answering phone calls, creating bulletins for memorial services and buying flowers for birthday parties. Fridays are especially busy. Thank you, Steve, for your dedication. Below is our Steve on a regular Friday (new filing cabinets arrived all banged up… need to be shipped back 😦 ). Next week our office will be closed. Steve is finally taking his family on vacation (to help his elderly mother).
BLUEBERRIES FOR OAKS.
Connie Jones picks fresh organic blueberries every morning from our church blueberry field. She is offering them as a fundraiser for the OAKS tuition assistance fund. Please pick up a box tomorrow. Donations to the fund can be made using your tithe envelope. Thank you, Connie!
PRAYERS. Marlene Keaton fell last night while helping at the VBS. She is thankful that there were four nurses around her. Carleen Zalabak drove Marlene to the Emergency room where Marleen spent most of the night. She has a fractured bone and several bruises on her face. Please, pray for Marlene’s speedy recovery.
Pastor Alexei from Severodonetsk sent me a photo from the Thursday night Bible study. The auditorium was full! Our new brothers and sisters are faithfully attending Sabbath services and Bible studies. Praise God! Please, keep them in prayers.
This week we had a special treat with our grandson Pierce visiting from Florida.
(courtesy of Dasha Crawford Photography 🙂 )
See you tomorrow for a special Message in Music Sabbath with Jaime Jorge playing for both services.