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Archive for June, 2006

July 4th

WORDS FROM THE PRESIDENT ON

INDEPENDENCE DAY

On July 4, 1776, our Nation’s Founders declared “That these United Colonies are, and of Right, ought to be free and Independent States.” This declaration marked a great milestone in the history of human freedom. On the 230th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we pay tribute to the courage and dedication of those who created this country, and we celebrate the values of liberty and equality that make our country strong.

The patriots of the Revolutionary War acted on the beliefs that “all men are created equal” and “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” By advancing these ideals, generations of Americans have unleashed the hope of freedom for people in every corner of the world.

As we celebrate our independence, Americans can take pride in our history and look to the future with confidence. We offer our gratitude to all the American patriots, past and present, who have sought to advance freedom and lay the foundations of peace. Because of their sacrifice, this country remains a beacon of hope for all who dream of liberty and a shining example to the world of what a free people can achieve. May God continue to bless the United States of America.

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Keeping Kids in Church/part four

By: Glenn R. Embree

 

Practical Applications

 

We need to make church life a positive experience for our children.  Let me offer three practical suggestions to help keep kids in church:

 

1. Help your kids be awake and ready for church on Sunday morning. 

Some parents let their kids stay up late on Saturday night.  Then on Sunday they struggle to get the kids out of bed.  When the family finally gets to church, the children don't get much out of the experience. (See the story of Eutychus in Acts 20:9.) Is it any wonder why some kids dislike church? Let Friday be stay-up-late night. Get your kids to bed at a reasonable hour on Saturday so they and, for that matter, you will be rested and alert on Sunday, ready to hear God's word. Sundays are too important to be given less than our best. We need families that are awake and refreshed.

 

2. Be Willing to Make Sacrifices to Keep your Kids in Church.

I've heard all sorts of titles given to parents, including taxi driver.  I've even seen bumper stickers declaring, "Mom's Taxi."  It calls for sacrifice to keep kids in church, especially if you live any distance from the church.  It's worth the effort to get our kids to church regularly, for service and for youth activities.  Patterns are being established that will last a lifetime.  Make sure you help set the right ones.

 

3. Be Faithful to the Church and its Purpose.

While I was growing up, church was always the major focus of our family. I have watched too many kids "visit" our church with their parents and, before I could get to the door to greet them and give them a youth calendar, they were gone. We must center our family on the church and its mission and allow our children to see there is much more to church life than simply attending the Sunday morning worship service.

 

SHOW, DON'T TELL

There are no quick solutions or easy answers to the challenge of keeping kids in church. It takes hard work and time to build a strong, Godly foundation in their lives. Home is the primary place for spiritual training, and parents need to take their God-given responsibility seriously.  Allow God's commands to the Israelites to transcend the barriers of time and culture and become part of the fabric of your family. Love God with all your being, obey His commands, and teach your children to love an obey Him.

 

A young father who had a drinking problem decided to walk to the local pub instead of having alcohol in the home. One night during a snowstorm he trudged down the street only to hear the sound of crunching footsteps behind him  He turned to see his five-year-old son trying to put his little boots in the footprints left by his father. Slightly amused, the father asked his son what he was doing. The young boy replied, "I'm trying to follow in your footsteps."  Somberly the father picked up his son and headed for home.

 

My prayer is that, as Christian parents, we will rise to the challenge and model a consistent, Godly life.  

 

The above material was published by Focus On the Family in 1996.

 

It still works today because the biblical principals never go out of style.

Thank you Reverend Embree for the time and effort you put into this ministry. 

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Keeping Kids in Church/part three

By: Glenn R. Embree

 

A Biblical Foundation

There is an excellent blueprint for the spiritual development of the

family in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

 

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.

 

These verses are known as the Shema and were foundational to the religious education of Hebrew children. They emphasize the importance of obedience, of practicing God's laws daily. Deuteronomy 6:2 gives the reason God gave these commandments to the people of Israel;"…so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands…that you may enjoy life." By obeying these commands, the Israelites would live with a constant awareness of God. In fact, these verses established a pattern and direction for the spiritual dimension of Hebrew families that would be passed down from generation to generation.

 

The instructions were established within the Israelite culture in 1400 B.C., but strong parallels and applications are relevant to the family today. Here are five applications drawn from these verses to help make church life and spiritual matters a positive experience for our children.

 

1. Talk about God's laws when you sit at home.

What kind of things do you talk about at home? Football, cars, school work, vacation? There is nothing wrong with these things, but do you talk about spiritual matters as well? Notice, I didn't say the church; I said spiritual matters, the things of God. Talk with your children about Jesus Christ, His attributes and characteristics, including His faithfulness. We're instructed to make spiritual matters a regular part of our family conversation.

2. Talk about God's laws when you walk along the road.

Israelites didn't have many options when traveling. They could walk or they could ride a donkey. There were no stereos or CD players to entertain them on the journey. Families talked, sang, told stories and interacted with one another as they traveled. They had time to share the important things of life. In these fast-paced days, we need to make time to talk with our families about things that matter. Riding together in the car can offer quality time. Turn off the stereo and talk.

3. Talk about God's laws when you lie down and when you get up.

Some say, "It's how you start and how you finish that's important. Throughout the day there are many interruptions and distractions that can get us off course. This is also true for young people. At school and when interacting with peers, Christian teens face numerous temptations that challenge their faith, but how they start and finish the day can make a difference. If possible, start the day with family prayer. In the evening, around the dinner table, set aside time for family devotions. Don't let your family's spiritual experience consist only of Sunday morning at church. Make opportunities each day to teach your children about the things of God.

4. Tie God's laws as symbols on your hand and bind them on your foreheads.

The Israelites of Moses' day wore phylacteries, little boxes that contained portions of Scripture. The idea was to keep the word of God close to their hearts and minds. One way to make spiritual matters a positive experience for kids is to make sure they have a readable Bible. You can find several Bibles on the market written specifically for young people, which make it readable and understandable. If we demonstrate a love for God's word, they will too.

5. Write God's law on the door frames of you houses and on your gates.

The Bible isn't telling us to paint our homes with scripture verses. The Israelites attached a mezuzot, a small wooden or metal container that contained the written Word of God on the door-frames of their homes. If you visit Israel today, you'll still find them in many places. This verse is saying we should have the Word of God around the house, to be conscious of its presence not only in our homes, but also in our lives. When people come into our homes, do they sense something different? Do our neighbors see us model our faith? Do we witness for Jesus Christ? As we impress the law of God on our children's hearts, we'll lay a strong foundation for church life now and in the future.

 

(to be continued)

 

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Keeping Kids in Church/part two

By: Glenn R. Embree

 

 

WHY DO KIDS LOSE INTEREST IN CHURCH?
A few years ago I had lunch with the father of one of our youth group members at his downtown office. His son was extremely busy in school, held a part-time job, and also maintained an active social life, but was starting to make excuses for not going to youth night at church. I expected him to criticize me or my program, but he surprised me. Instead, he said he recognized his son's spiritual training was his responsibility. He asked if I had any insight into why certain kids become disinterested in spiritual matters. As we talked I shared some of the factors I believe contribute to a child or adolescent not wanting to be involved in the church:

*Challenge Authority. One reason kids lose interest in church is because adolescence is a time when many teens challenge the authority of parents, teachers, pastors and even God. Young people are anxious to grow up and be independent of adult control.

*Question Relevancy. Some kids lose interest in church because it no longer seems interesting or relevant. Our children are growing up in a society that competes for their attention through television, movies and music. As parents and church leaders, we need to offer alternatives, but above all, make them understand their need for Christ and the importance of being part of the body.

*Haven't Personalized their Faith. Many individuals come to Christ either through revival or personal difficulty, whose lives are radically changed. But when children born into the homes of such converts haven't personally experienced a dramatic conversion and merely follow the ethic of their parents' faith. Young people who grow up in Christian families have a rich heritage, and there are many opportunities for spiritual training and education in a Christian home. Nevertheless, they may become disinterested in the church if they don't personalize their faith. It's been said God has no grandchildren, only daughters and sons. We must teach our kids that they can't make it to heaven on our relationship with Christ; we must lead them to a relationship of their own.

*Double Standard in the Home. A few years ago, while speaking at a summer camp, I talked with a fifteen-year-old girl who had trouble understanding something her mother had done, and it was interfering with her ability to make a decision for Christ. She said she'd been raised according to the Bible, and her mother, a single parent, had faithfully taken her to church. But she cried as she related that while she was at camp, her mother was in Hawaii with her boyfriend. It was difficult to talk to her about the importance of chastity with he lump in my throat.

 

It's not enough that we speak the truth to our children; we must live it in front of them. Teens whose parents are not Christians and don't attend church can successfully serve the Lord; teens whose parents are Christians and who are raised in church have an even greater chance of successfully serving the Lord. But teens whose parents live a double standard will rarely decide to follow Christ.

 

A friend of mine involved in youth ministry once did an informal study to discover why his youth group was losing so many teenagers. In one year alone they lost thirty percent of the kids. This is what he learned:

 

Where both parents were faithful and active in church, ninety-one percent of the youth remained in church.

Where only one parent was active and faithful, seventy percent of the youth remained in church.

Where the parents were only reasonably active in church, forty-six percent of the youth remained in church.

Where the parents attend church infrequently, only six percent of the youth remained in church.

That underscores the responsibility we have to our kids.

(to be continued)

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Just some thoughts

When I woke up this morning the first thing on my mind was "Unshakable Riches", the sermon my husband preached yesterday. We live in a crazy world where everyone is crisis oriented, the stock market is up and down, there are wars and rumors of wars and nothing is really certain. On top of that I live nearly right on top of the San Andreas Fault. Talk about shaky. Read the next couple of paragraphs and remember when you see San Juan Bautista and The Pinnacles that I live right there. San Juan Bautista is 6 miles and The Pinnacles are 20 miles from me.

On the theory that the great 1906 earthquake did not dissipate much of the accumulated strain South of Black Mountain (as it presumably did North of San Francisco), the USGS in 1988 assigned a relatively high risk (30% over the next 30 years) of a major earthquake along the Santa Cruz Mountains section of the San Andreas, between Black Mountain and San Juan Bautista. This was the highest risk assigned to any fault segment in the Bay Area.

Pinnacles National Monument, located near the San Andreas Fault along the boundary of the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, is an excellent example of tectonic plate movement. The Pinnacles Rocks are believed to be part of the Neenach Volcano that occurred 23 million years ago near present-day Lancaster, California, some 195 miles (314 km) southeast. The giant San Andreas Fault split the volcano and the Pacific Plate crept north, carrying the Pinnacles. The work of water and wind on these erodible volcanic rocks has formed the unusual rock structures seen today. I could really get frightened.

However, let me get back to my original thoughts from this morning:

1. My Personal experience of Salvation

I will NEVER forget the very first time I received the precious gift of the Holy Ghost. It was April 2, 1964, the night before my 7th Birthday. I was kneeling at the old altar in our church on the corner of Harvey and Thesta in Fresno, CA when God miraculously filled my child heart with this precious gift. Bro. Verbal Bean was preaching for us and he had preached on the rapture. I have since been filled many, many times but I will never forget that first time. Even though now that old building doesn't exist and there is a freeway that goes over that spot I could almost take you there. This is one of my "Unshakable Riches".

2. God's Divine Ability to Keep Me

I know beyond a shadow of doubt that God "will keep that which I have committed to Him against that day." My salvation and soul are in His hands and He is a Good Keeper.

3. The Assurance of Immortal Life

Now this is where my hope comes from. Even though I live on the San Andreas Fault and the "big one" could take place today and if it does, I will meet you in Heaven. If we all live until the rapture takes place I will still meet you in Heaven. When you get there just come to the front of the throne because that is where I'll be. I have already made plans with Mother, Daddy, Keith, Grandma and Grandpa Layne, Uncle Dean, Grandma and Grandpa Pound, Uncle James, Bro. McCoy, Sis. Opal, Sis. Lokey, Bro. Bill Henry, Bro. Gary Dewberry, Sis. Dorothy Crowell, Sis. Faye Megason, Sis. Juanita Whiseant, Sis. Ima Kilgore, Bro. Shawn Cox, Sis. Bearden and her little daughter Melissa who died with her in childbirth and a host of saints who have gone on to their reward, to meet them all in front of the throne. Do you think I would miss this reunion for the world. NO WAY! This is one of my precious treasures that is Unshakable and THIS COULD BE THE DAY!

Thanks again, Nathan for reminding me in the hustle and bustle of life; helping Danelle plan her wedding, getting music ready for church services, practices with Vessels of Honor and Kidz Choir, Studying for P.A.S.T.O.R.S. course, teaching Sunday School, keeping the house, etc, etc. that there are things that are for sure. I am keeping my eyes on the prize.

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New Church

Thank You Bro. Jim, Bro. John and Bro. David

The taping is almost finished. WOW You guys are awesome. I was really impressed when I came by the church Saturday. You are fast and good workers.

 

 

I took this picture right before church Sunday June 11, 2006. Bro. David had left to go pick someone up for church. I put this pic on the Church page too.

 

 

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Surprising Insights

Some Surprising Insights about Unchurched People

From Dr. Thom Rainer

 

Surprise #1 Most of the unchurched prefer to attend church on Sunday morning if they attend.

Surprise #2 Most of the unchurced feel guilty about not attending church.

Surprise #3 Ninety six percent of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if they are invited.

Surprise #4 Very few of the unchurched had someone share with them how to become a Christian. And Christians have not been particularly influential in their lives.

Surprise #5 Most of the unchurched have a positive view of pastors, ministers and the church.

Surprise #6 Many of the unchurched have a church background.

Surprise #7 Some types of "cold calls" are effective; many are not.

Surprise #8 The unchurched would like to develop a real and sincere relationship with a Christian.

Surprise #9 The attitudes of the unchurched are not correlated to where they live, their ethnic or racial background, or their gender.

Surprise #10 Many of the unchurched are far more concerned about the spiritual well-being of their children than themselves.

Copyright 2003 by Dr. Thom Rainer

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