Tonight was a special treat for us courtesy of the Martinsville/Henry County Chamber of Commerce. We have a college league baseball team in Martinsville. At the moment I can’t remember what league it is a part of, but the Chamber of Commerce made available complementary tickets. This was James and Rebecca’s first trip to a professional baseball game. The trip was put together by one of our youth sponsors. We had a great time. Rebecca, James and I all took some of these pictures. There are many more than the ones that I have. At first I thought we were going to be treated to a losing effort by the home team. Going into the bottom of the seventh, we were down 3 to 0. The bottom of the seventh produced a 10 run rally by the Mustangs and they increased their lead in the bottom of the eighth. The visitors tried to make one more attempt scoring 3 more in the top of the ninth, but Martinsville closed them down. It was a great night at the local ballpark.
On Good Friday night Dale and I were taking one of our teen girls home after the Good Friday service. Dale and I like when we have one of our church’s students in the van because it is a great time to get to know them. It is also a great time for them to get to know us and find out we are not as mean as they think we are when we are at church. On the way to her house she asked if it would be ok to make cards to give to a man who has been sick a lot. Would it be ok?! At that moment, I just wanted to do the happy dance. Oops, just remembered that Wesleyans do not dance. You know what I mean. Dale and I have be preaching and teaching on the subject of noticing others. We have been trying to get the students and adults to do Christian service. Sometimes it feels like no one is listening. We have several Compassionate Ministry projects we are working on. One project is to help a local food bank and relief organizing with boxes of Jello (This is an ongoing project) and the other is donating gift cards to a Elizabeth Home. While to big churches and ministries this might not seem like much and appears to be just a drop in the bucket, it is a start — it may not rock the world or fix all the world problems. This teen knows it takes one little act of God’s kindness to start changing the world.
April’s Compassionate Ministry Challenge:
This month’s compassion ministry is send a card or a letter to someone that you might have been thinking about lately. It may seem like this is not very important but to the person who will be receiving, it might be the best thing they have received in a long while.
We returned back to a regular format this week at Mosaic. Unfortunately because of sickness, we were a bit shorthanded when it came to staff. We had a good group (19) of students show up. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am starting to see some real growth among some of our students. Several who sang in the choir on Sunday, really surprised me by being engaged in the discussion tonight. That is a nice change of pace. Those same students sang out during the worship as well.
Before we gathered for Mosaic, our bank held a customer appreciation day. This is race weekend in Martinsville. Believe it or not, it is something that the entire region looks forward to. Yes, it is a pain to get around on such a weekend, but these loyal racing fans bring a great deal of money to our struggling economy. Sundays are interesting because several of our congregation work the race in some way. Because the race is in town, and our bank sponsors one of the Nationwide Series cars, they had their car at the bank. The backup driver enjoyed having his picture taken with James. They were also giving away free popcorn, drinks and cookies and other assorted stuff. I’ll be away this weekend, but I’m sure Pam will be taking pictures of several of the displays throughout Martinsville and I’ll post those Sunday night.
Until then — Carp Diem! (Seize the Day!)
Things went great until I got home and started feeling very sick to my stomach. We had a great group of 22 students and five staff. Our worship was a little shorter than usual because I was planning to show and did show a clip from the Steven Curtis Chapman Live! DVD. It is a clip based on the story “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” by Elizabeth Elliott. What a great story of the love and grace of God. I think it impacted our Middle and High School students greatly.
Like I said, I’m feeling a little under the weather. I’m going to get some sleep hopefully. Blessings…
Tonight’s update will be short. We had a good night again. It seems the students are really beginning to enjoy the worship, rather than just enduring it. It’s been a two year journey though. We had some technical difficulties with the projection software, but when I rebooted at home everything worked fine. We had twenty students and seven staff, which is a little above our current average and a little behind our yearly average. Rebecca taught the high school tonight for the first time. Tonight was one of those nights I hoped something that I taught sunk in. The middle schoolers were a little wired. The hit of the night was the pigs-in-a-blanket and potato chips and dip. Unlike two weeks ago, the ride home was uneventful. Thank you Lord, for letting us minister to the students of Martinsville and Henry County.
Whew! Pam and I are home after a long day of ministry. Not that it was bad, but long. Most of you are aware that we have this thing called Mosaic Student Ministries. We rotate the assignments among those who have volunteered to help. There are at least three ways to serve as an adult in Mosaic:
Drive the church van or your vehicle to pick up and drop off students
Teach elementary, middle school, or high school
Cook the evening meal/snack
Tonight was not only Pam and my turn to drive the van (I drive, Pam supervises) but also to cook (we were planning pancakes and bacon.) Mosaic is unique in that most of our students do not have their own transportation and use ours. It makes for some interesting evenings. Tonight was no exception. Let’s put it this way, we left the church at 5:25 PM and got back at 6:50 PM, about 20 minutes late, so we had to improvise without going too late and still get everything done. The short story is everything worked out (it’s nice to have a plan, even when it doesn’t work and needs to be changed.) At 7:40 PM, we piled the students back in the van for the homeward bound trip, finally at 9:30 PM, we arrived back at home, slowed in part to a vigorous snow squall that quickly dumped about an 1 to 2 inches of snow. We were unaware they were even calling for snow. Thank you Lord for your traveling mercies. Interesting that the National Weather Service didn’t issue an advisory until 9:00 PM.
We had a good time with the students tonight. Once the rowdier students were off the van, we had some great conversation. The relationships with our students are growing deeper each week, which is such a cool thing. Mosaic has really lit a fire in my soul lately and in part because it seems like our students are wanting to grow spiritually. The students ate up the pancakes and bacon so, on our way home I stopped at Hardee’s for supper. We had one student left on the van, so we treated her to a snack. We try to do that occasionally, making sure we rotate the students we take out.
Pam and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary with lunch at the Runway Cafe. It is a little restaurant at the local airport. Mosaic and our little celebration were part of the highs. We continue on this roller coaster emotional ride of late. Pam’s mom has been struggling physically. If fact, we are still waiting as I write for some results.
Like I said, “What a day!” The great thing is that God was with us throughout the day. I am in awe of His presence day by day by day. Carp Diem!
Tonight, we gathered for Mosaic as usual, but I also planned an Ash Wednesday observance. Now, just this week I posted about red states. I am smack dab in the middle of a red block of baptists. No that there is anything wrong with that, but like my friend Mark wrote today, many think it is Catholic or Lutheran. I actually like the observance for the three reasons Mark listed.
1. It is a reminder of our mortality. From dust we come — to dust we shall return.
2. It is a call to humility. We must rememer that apart from Christ, we’re only dust.
3. It is a challenge to repentance — since life is short, and we live only by grace — we shoud mend our ways and follow the Savior wholeheartedly. We all searched our hearts at the service and made sure everything was right with God.
Now, last year we almost ended up burning down the church, so there was to be no open flames except for a candle. Last year, I had each person write sins that God revealed to them on a piece of paper. Each person brought their slip of paper forward and placed it in a container, which then I tried to set aflame (This is just a bad idea!) Thanks to Wesleyan blogger, Phil, I got an idea to do the same thing, but only shred the slips of paper to indicate forgiveness. One thing I added was to play Casting Crown’s “East to West” during the time of reflection. It was very powerful.
We didn’t place ashes, but we did read scripture, sing some songs, and participated in communion together, which is always interesting with student ministries. It seemed as the night came together the theme was forgivness — the forgiveness that we receive from God, we must impart to others. I’m thankful that it came together so well. This week has been a roller coaster of emotion because my mother-in-law has had some serious health issues and it is hard to be away at times like this. Again, I want to praise our students, who were well behaved two weeks in a row (This is a major praise!) I was under some major stress because last year our students had some real behavioral issues (sometimes it just feels like baby sitting, but not tonight)
The Holy Spirit was a work. Anna did a great job with the media, especially considering that the whole order of service had changed by the end of the night. We dropped a few songs and added a video and didn’t use all the scripture and responsive readings we had planned.
Thank you Lord, for giving us the chance to reach out to the students of Martinsville/Henry County. I really believe we are starting to make a difference. Carp Diem!
Oh, what a night! Without exageration, we had the best night of Mosaic Student Ministries that we have had. It was that good. Why? From the very beginning several students came with the expectation that we would sing and worship. This is something new and hasn’t always happened. It’s not like we have alot of fancy gadgets (except for the video projection) and a lot of fancy instruments; just me and my guitar. Something was different as we worked our way through the four song worship set, which was a mix of new and old. We started with Lord, I Lift Your Name on High, then went to Matt Redman’s Blessed Be Your Name. At that point I introduced the Getty and Townend In Christ Alone. What we did unique here is that instead of me playing by myself and singing, we sung along with the WOW! Worship CD, which is a couple of years old. By the second verse it was amazing and by the end, it was so cool to hear our students singing praises to God. After that we went into a real favorite, Here I Am to Worship. The singing was so strong that I actually dropped out and listened to the students. I know that God was pleased. I taught the Middle School class which can be interesting, and I do think it went well. We had 21 students tonight and 8 staff people! Praise God! We finished the night with nachos, which is always a favorite.
My takeaway tonight: I know that I am always quick to give God the praise he deserves for a night like this. How could I do anything but praise when my heart feels like it does tonight? But as we were singing Blessed Be Your Name, I remembered that the name of the Lord is praised in the good and the bad. So the next time we have one of those nights that makes you want to pull your hair out (and I can’t afford to do that anymore) I need to remember to praise God then too, because we are making a difference in Martinsville/Henry County and we are doing our part to build God’s Kingdom here. Carp Diem!
Wednesday evening is Mosaic Student Ministries around here. For those new to my blog, Mosaic as we know it has been going now for about 18 months. Mosaic is the student ministries portion of Preston Wesleyan Church. We have a wonderful volunteer staff of seven adults. Many thanks go to Vicky, Rhonda, Gayle, Dreama, Connie, Mary, and Pam. I am the lone male influence and not only do I serve as pastor of Preston Wesleyan, but I also serve as the student ministries pastor for now.
Mosaic is a “bringing in” ministry. Most of our students are picked up by our staff and brought to church and then we take them home. I’ve mentioned this before, but bus ministry still exists in small towns like Martinsville. Several of Martinsville’s big churches have multi-bus fleets that go around picking up students. So, Preston Wesleyan and Mosaic has a van ministry. Instead of guessing who to pick up, we ask our students to call us if they are coming to church. For the most part this works well, occasionally we will have a glitch. By the amount of calls that came in this afternoon, I thought we were going to have a small crowd, but by the time we gathered for worship, we had 16 students along with 7 staff for a total of 22. This is small compared to earlier in the year, but larger than two years ago.
Pam had a great class of high school girls and the high school boys that I taught weren’t too bad either. Gayle deserves the patient servant award tonight for teaching the middle school class (7 girls and 2 boys) and the two boys talk as much as the girls.
So what does a typical night of Mosaic look like? We gather all the students for a time of musical worship for about 15 minutes. Then we split up for 30 minutes by ages. At the end of the evening, several of our ladies have been cooking up a delicious snack. Tonight it was sloppy joes and potato chips.
From what I can tell, we had a great night of ministry. Thank you for your prayers. God bless you and have a great week.
After several weeks of relative quiet in the area of prayer requests, today brought in several. Cancer seems to be the word right now. There were several non-cancer related requests as well.
Mosaic was kind of different tonight. I can’t put my finger on it, but the students were strangely silent. Maybe they were in shock from my lack of hair. They were plenty talkative on the van, but during worship they didn’t talk (which is good) but they didn’t sing either. It was just a unique night, but you have that in student ministries. We had 19 show for the second week in a row, which is right around our average not including staff.
I think the students are expecting to have off tomorrow. I already received a call from Rebecca. They have close to an inch on the ground in Central, SC. We are expecting an inch of snow followed by sleet and freezing rain. It’s a very good chance that our students will have a long weekend. They have off on Monday and Tuesday as well.
That’s about all for now!