Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunday School Challenge

This Sunday is move up day in the children’s and youth departments.  Some students will be leaving my class and going into youth, some will be leaving Mrs. Leslie’s class and coming into my class & Mrs. Leslie officially gets the children old enough to leave the nursery. Make a pledge to yourself and your family & use this 1st Sunday in September as the day you decide to get involved with Sunday school.  I can hear it now… I know all the excuses. I have used them all because I use to not go to Sunday school. When the boys were very little, I worked in Birmingham. I got up at 4 am every day & got back home between 4:30 and 5 in the evening, picked up my boys from daycare, fed us, bathed them and were back in the bed by 9. Saturdays I loafed around & Sunday was my do nothing day. I sure wasn’t getting up early to go to Sunday school...not after I got up at 4 am during the week.  I was too busy, too tired & those people who kept inviting me to SS had no idea how busy I was. I went to SS as a child but I never really cared for SS so that was another excuse. PEOPLE I AM TELLING YOU NOW EXCUSES ARE FROM THE DEVIL! He does not want you in Sunday school, He does not want your children in SS and he does not want your spouse in SS.  He wants you to stay home and sit out on the deck listening to the birds chirp a little  longer because you might miss a valuable lesson about Jesus. He wants you to stay home and have that extra cup of coffee & read the paper because he doesn’t want you to build relationships with other believers. He wants you to stay home and let your sweet child get some extra sleep because he knows if your child comes to SS that might be the day they learn about salvation. Is your coffee, paper, chirping birds & extra sleep worth your child missing out on learning about their salvation? I hope not! Don’t take this as me being rude or pushy. I am just trying to say I have been in your shoes. My parents would pick my babies up and take them to SS when I wouldn’t. Isn’t that sad? Thank God for loving grandparents who did what was right for my boys when I wasn’t doing it. God convicted my heart every Sunday & finally I gave in to the idea of SS. I am telling you give it 3 weeks of coming in a row & you’ll be hooked. It will be a routine for you. So I am challenging you now.  If you are only coming to SS once in a blue moon, then I am challenging you to make a real effort to become regular in SS.  Ok I am getting off my soap box now but keep in mind that I am an aging woman and my heart can’t take much disappointment so show up for SS and don’t disappoint me! Haha
This Wed. night the children will have a “Back to School Blowout”, 6-7 in the gym. Just going to have devotion, snacks & play a few games. The following Wed. September 4, we will be back to our regular lessons.  The new children’s class will   start that Wed. night too. For ages 3 1/2 – 5 yrs. old. The teachers are Ashley Fortenberry, Donna Smith & Courtney Jones. **Please note** It will be upstairs in the church. Just go straight up the stairs, take a left and go down the hall 2 doors on the right. It is a bright green classroom. If your child doesn’t come on Wednesday nights, bring them. They will have great time learning about Jesus! I do want to give a BIG THANK YOU to Allison Williams. Allison has helped me with the children since she came to WBBC. She jumped right in & worked w/ the children & I branched off with the youth. We finally hired a youth minister several years ago and Allison continued to help me with the children. She has led VBS for several years and does fantastic job! This Sunday, her youngest daughter Macie will join the students and leave the children’s dept. behind. Since Allison will not have a child in the children’s dept. any longer she has decided to take a break from working with the children on Wed. nights. We have been many places together, slept on some hard floors, cleaned up puke in the middle of the night,  drove up some crazy mountains, rolled many yards but nothing will compare to the experiences we have had watching children come to know Jesus together.  I will miss her help but I am so thankful for the years we have spent together.  She has been a true blessing to me.  This Sunday I’ll be missing some sweet girls too. Some of them I have had since they were in 1st grade & it is amazing to see how they have grown into beautiful young ladies. Arlo…. I hope you are ready for them! I did warn them that once they have me for a SS teacher, I am their SS teacher for life and if I ever see or hear of them not acting right I will come get them, drag them out of where ever and intervene so they have been warned! Lol  
Remember to pray for Trey & Jinell Mink, the kids, Trey’s mom Elaine & sister Nikki this week as they say goodbye to Trey’s father, Junior Mink & pray for Amy Clark’s mom Kathy Tullis and Amy and her family. So thankful for Haley’s good news! I was thinking that you never know at one point in your life how people play roles and end up in your life later. Trey & Joey grew up together. They were always at each other’s house, which meant Trey was at my house. There was a group of boys that were like my little brothers. They were just always around. Trey was one of those. Amy Clark worked with my Aunt Lisa, Momma & Debbie’s sister. My aunt passed away many years ago. I remember Amy from then. Lisa loved Amy. I can still remember Amy sitting in the waiting room with us.  I was in college then just engaged to marry Jami. Never in my mind did I think years later we would end up at a little church in Whorton Bend, Joey being the preacher , Amy Clark and her family, Try Mink and his family being part of the same church and Lisa’s son Wesley coming to that same church. God works in some miraculous ways! I hope you all have a great week! Enjoy some football, an extra day off but most importantly come to Sunday school!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Back to School Time

Well it is a start of another school year. The twins did great getting up and moving this morning. Baby Jack is back with me this year and he ran in like he had never been without us for the summer & my Jack is up watching cartoons, so a very easy morning in the Christopher house. Tomorrow I add taking my Jack into preschool for the 1st time, so I am anticipating tomorrow being the more stressful morning as far as getting everyone out the house on time.  As usual, I forgot to take a picture of the 1st day of school so maybe I’ll remember when the boys come home this afternoon.
I know today is stressful for the parents, very emotional for many, but I want to give you something to think on & hopefully encourage you. I have been waiting & saving this message all week. Last Saturday I was listening to the radio and the speaker was talking about when Jesus was a boy. Back in the day & maybe now for all I know, Jews were considered men at the ripe old age of ……12! Can you imagine your 12 year old being considered a man at 12? I personally don’t consider my boys men until they are off living on their own & supporting themselves. Anyway, back in the old times momma’s children grew up a lot quicker than ours do in America. I am sure in many countries in present day children are considered adults at much younger ages than the typical American age of 18. We are blessed that we don’t live in a time  or country were our children are expected to be adults, work the harvest, work in sweat shops, no school because they have to walk to the well to get the days water supply or be married off at early ages. In our society we get to have our children live under our roofs, provide them with everything the need, love on them for many years, experience many teenage first with them and in many cases send them off to the best colleges where they live off of mom & dad’s dollar until their 20’s. We get more time to love and experience our kids now than any time in the past. So yes I know many of you are upset this morning, but enjoy the moment, sit back and soak it up knowing that you are blessed to be able to watch your child walk into school, or catch the bus for the 1st time.  God gives us encouragement in Jeremiah 29:11-13, For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the Lord, ”plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. So that is telling me that God has a plan for my child, a plan that includes prospering & not harming him, He gives my child hope and a future, not only all of that but then if my child calls on God and prays to Him, He is going to listen to my child’s prayer. Then when my child seeks God, he will find God. I don’t know about for yall but that is pretty encouraging for to me. I know that during any situation that could come up during the school year that God is with my child. That brings me peace.  I hope all this makes sense. Maybe I need to jot down notes when ideas come to me, but I would probably lose my notes. I love having my boy’s home with me all summer but I am not at home crying today nor did I shed a tear this morning. I know this is the process of growing up and they have to go back to school and I am thankful my children have the opportunity to walk thru the school doors for another 1st school day because so many children do not get that chance.
I love the fact that WBBC is a church that isn’t afraid to change preaching up a little and welcome children, youth, teachers, parents & grandparents to the alter for a special prayer. I think it really shows our children that our church really supports them and in this world they need to see that support. As a parent of school age children I am thankful for everyone praying yesterday for our children. I am thankful for Jenny Clough’s encouraging words to the students. I am thankful for Godly teachers in our schools who I personally know have prayed for their students. A praying teacher is blessing! I look forward to Sunday and hearing the kids tell me about how the 1st week of school went.  I did want to give you parents a tip that I feel like works wonders at our home on school mornings. Believe it or not, my house can get loud and rushed, when boys don’t want to get out of bed, or eat or someone forgot they needed cash at the last minute, it can be crazy. Sometimes I have to get loud to get them moving. Anyway, it seemed like mornings just weren’t the best time for us years ago, so once we are in the car and everyone is calm & collected, we pray. I might lead the prayer or one of the boys might. Either way, it is a calming moment where my kids know all is alright & ok because we are talking with God. I think it helps us put the morning unhappiness behind us & gives them a positive feeling for the day. Try it! I think you will find it is a great way to send your children off for the day!
Ok lots going on at WBBC the next few months. Move Up Day in Sunday school is  Sunday September 1, September 14 is the Beth Moore simulcast & I know they are trying to get the word out on ticket sells, Sunday September 15 is National Back to Church day and we will be pushing high attendance in SS that day, October 13 is the Old Fashion Day where we will celebrate our church’s 100th anniversary and Trunk or Treat will be October 26.  The children will start back their regular Wednesday night lessons in Big City Studio September 4 and the new class for children 3 ½ - 5 yrs. will start that same night. Ashley Fortenberry and Donna Smith have volunteered to teach this class but I am looking for one more helper. Pray on it & let me know if you are interested.  This Wednesday night the children who are moving up to youth are going out to eat at Zaxby’s. Meet at the church at 5:45 be back at 7. No money needed. The other children will have devotion & games led by Teresa Coley.  Wednesday August 28 the kids will have a back to school blowout to celebrate making it thru the 1st week of school. Lots going on so be in prayer that everything we do brings someone in contact with God. Get out an invite someone to church. We have so many events at WBBC to invite someone too. I always feel easier asking someone to some event and then once they are there & comfortable with me or people they meet I’ll invite them to preaching or Sunday school. Whatever method works for you when inviting someone be like the Nike logo and JUST DO IT!
Keep Haley Smith, Kathy Tullis and Brenda Jones’ Family in your prayers. Say a special prayer for those kids who moved up to middle school or high school today. Those seem to be the toughest situations. I know we are going to have a great year… How can we not when we have Jesus on our side?!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

What Do Your Actions Reflect?

Let me start by saying anything I blog about is never directed at anyone in particular. I was asked a few weeks ago if my blog or something I had put on FB (like a video) was meant for a certain person & to be completely honest it never is. Most of the time I never know what I am going to talk about until I sit down at the computer. I come across many videos & links looking at children ministry material and some of those stick out to me so I post them. There has been a time when a theme lingers with me and I’ll run with that theme but for the most part I type as I think & of course just ramble a lot of the time. This has been one of those weeks where the theme lingered. I was studying the other day and the verse I was going to teach in SS just stuck with me. I think y’all know by now I do not believe in luck. I believe everything I come across, run into, bump into is an act of God. He directs it all. The verse comes from Proverbs 20:11 and says, “Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right.” I told my SS children yesterday that means our actions is what people know us by. So the question became, “what do your actions say about you?’ Think hard on that on folks. The lesson went on to say people remember actions not your words. So what do your actions show? If I say, “OH, I never drink!” but you see me leaving the Shell station with a case of beer, what do my actions show & what are you going to remember? You are going to remember you saw your child’s SS teacher with a case of beer.  If I say, “Oh I just love children and would love to have more.”  But yet you hear me hollering, screaming and beating on my children all the time, what action are you going to remember. You are going to remember me hollering, screaming & beating my children & you’re going to think man she doesn’t need to have any more kids. If you hear me say ,”how much I love Jami” but yet you hear me talking down to him, ordering him around and basically dogging him out in front of others then you are going to think I really don’t care for him at all. I know these are extreme examples but they are what they are. If I say I love the Lord and love to worship Him but you never see me at church………… what are you going to think about my LOVE for the Lord? Probably that I don’t have too much LOVE for Him. So our actions are what others see and what they remember. Of course with the children I used much more kid friendly ways to say all of that. Let me give an example of Christian actions. Yesterday in SS I asked a child to read the Bible verse, actually I was going down the row asking all to read it. I go to one child who said he didn’t want to read it & that is definitely fine, but you could just tell he really wanted to but was unsure about himself. Another little boy said come on____, you can do it. I know you can & when the child read the verse that same little boy told him how great he did. Those encouraging, lifting up actions showed me what was in that little boy’s heart. He could have laughed and giggled even made fun of the other child for not wanting to read but instead he encouraged & praised the other child. I thought about that act of kindness and love all night. As usual, I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to actions not always being the best, so I am definitely not throwing stones. I reflect bad actions too sometimes, we all do,  but I know with God in my heart I show many  more good actions. So today, reflect on your life, reflect on how you are living and really pray hard on it. Question is your actions pure and right? If not God will convict you, you’ll feel a little nudge or tug from Him. You know what is right or wrong. Ok sermon done…now for the kid stuff!

This Wednesday night Katie Smith will teach on missions. Please have your children at church for this lesson. Katie will also be encouraging the children to collect school supplies for the school that Joey is always talking about. This is a real need! Sunday, August 18 we will not have children’s church because we will stay in preaching to have a special back to school prayer.  Wednesday August 21, Teresa Coley will lead games & a devotion for all kids except those who have just gone into 6th grade. Those children will meet me at 5:45 & go out to eat for a final send off into youthL.  Wednesday, August 28 will be our “Back to School Blowout” Celebrating the fact that we made it thru the 1st week of school. In September, we will be back to learning in the ‘Big City Studio”.  The 1st Sunday in September will be move up day in the children & youth departments. September will have some great opportunities for our church to welcome new folks in. Of course, I always want children invited to church so step out & invite someone to the “Big City’. Women have a chance to invite someone to the Beth Moore simulcast on Sept. 14 & Sunday Sept. 15 is national “Get Back to Church” Sunday. Don’t let these opportunities go to waste. Get out an invite someone to church.  Fall will be full of great fellowship at WBBC. We have the Old Fashion Day & Trunk or Treat in October, Community Thanksgiving in November and the children’s Christmas play in December.  I will be asking for children’s church volunteers for Sundays soon so be in prayer about helping with that. I am still looking for someone to teach the 4 & 5 yr. olds on Wednesday nights from 6-7. Ashley Fortenberry has agreed to help but I really need 1 or 2 others to step up and help. The church will provide all the materials. Be in prayer for that need please! Please keep the children in your prayers as school starts. They face so much in school and need all the prayer they can get. Say a special pray for those who move up to the middle school this year. Going from 1 school knowing everyone to a combined school possibly having classes w/ nobody you know, w lockers & changing classes is a big deal to these kids so please pray for them.  RMS children go get lockers tomorrow and it can be so stressful on those 1st timers. I believe our Westbrook children got their lockers last week. Keep Haley Smith and her family in your prayers. I also wanted to thank each of you who brought food, helped set up, serve and cleanup for Brenda Jones’ family. Those actions shown yesterday are what I am talking about in the words above. There was a need and you opened your hearts and filled that need yesterday. Love was shown to Chris and Courtney and that is what having Jesus in your heart reflects. Continue to pray for the Jones and Tanner families. I hope you all have the most blessed week & enjoy the last week of summer vacation for most of us.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Too busy? Slow Down & Listen to God

I decided to get productive this morning & clean so I thought I would turn on the radio thru the computer. I don’t know all the terms but I think it is called streaming. Anyway, I had my station up ready to go & realized someone had taken my speakers, so now there was no way for me to hear the music. Of course, that made me think & yes I know I think of odd things but I was thinking we can sometimes be like the computer with no speakers. God steams what He needs to say into us but sometimes our ears & hearts are turned off. We can’t hear what He is saying. Life gets so busy, especially this time of year that we just don’t slow down to hear God. We think we have to get this outfit and those shoes for our kids, get them signed up for this sport or that art class and make sure we get that last quick trip in.  I am so guilty too! I did the same thing on Friday. Had to make sure the boys had new shoes & a few outfits to start school off, planned out a quick trip, scheduled haircuts & discussed whether the boys were playing soccer this year, Judson needed to be signed up for guitar lessons & Jock for something at the Sports Zone.  I gave the run done of what we needed to get and when  we needed to get it and how much money it would cost to Jami & told the twins how much free time they had left until school started & what they had to get done when such as lockers & their hair apts.  I explained to Jack about going to school this year and that his daddy will drop him off but I’ll be back to pick him up.  I know Jack probably didn’t pay any attention to what I said but I always try to explain what ever changes we are going to have to the kids. I don’t like to just spur of the moment say ok you are going here or there.  So I get the whole busy thing. I want to encourage you to look at your life, just as I am going to do with mine, and see if there is stuff in the way of you hearing God. Is there stuff in the way of your children hearing God? I want to encourage you as the new school year begins to declutter your life, put things in perspective and really try to listen to God. I also want to encourage you to go to get your family in Sunday school. Sunday school is where your child learns about God and where you develop relationships with other believers.  I am going to be honest here & tell you that I get so down when I have a packed house on Wednesday night but 4 children in my Sunday school class. So as you get ready to start school in 2 weeks make plans with our family to start attending Sunday school. We have a class for everyone & like Joey says,” If we don’t we can make one.” So you know who teaches what age groups & can go ahead and tell your children who their teacher will be, here is a list.
Nursery is for newborns - 3 yrs. old & Glenda Southerland teaches them a lesson every Sunday.
Children 4 yrs. of age – 1st grade is taught by Leslie McGlaughn & Jennifer Deru
2nd Grade – 5th grade is taught by me.
6th grade – 8th grades is taught by Arlo & Jennie Guthery
9th grade – 12th grades is taught by Jason & Lauren Ayres
We offer several adult classes.
We have 3 classes taught for ladies only. Those classes are taught by Allison Williams, Sue Johnson & Mary Pruitt.
We have 2 classes for just men taught by Tom Coley or Brent Lawley  and the other by Bruce Carr.
Last but most defiantly not least is the co ed class taught by Todd and Jenny Clough. This class is made up of couples and singles with mixed ages.
If you are an adult come try one of the classes. If you don’t feel like it is the right class for you, try another. I know we have a perfect fit for you @ WBBC.

So now that I plead my case for Sunday school I pray you will make time for it this year.  I want to see my Sunday school class full!

I am not going to say what we will be doing this Wednesday night because I really don’t know. I had the park scheduled but I forgot the youth would be gone with the van. I hate to even say we are doing anything outside because it seems to rain every outside plan I make out. So just show up Wednesday night & see. I know we will have devotion & do something fun. I do know that Wednesday August 14th Katie Smith will teach missions. The children will be collecting school supplies that night so please bring in anything extra you can. I believe those supplies are going to the school Joey always mentions during preaching or business meetings.  WMU is also collecting school supplies for the mission center.  Wednesday, August 21 the children who just finished 5th grade & are going into youth will meet at the church at 5:45 to go out for supper. They do not need any money. This is a farewell treat from the children’s dept.  The girls chose yesterday to go to Zaxby’s and we will be back by 7:00. The other children will have game night lead by Teresa Coley from 6-7. As we finish August up Wednesday, the 28th will be ”We made it thru a week of school Blowout.” We’ll celebrate the 1st week and a half of school, have devotion and send our 6th graders off into the youth with a bang. Remember we are looking for a new Wednesday night class to form for kids who are about 3 ½ thru 5 yrs. old. Ashley Fortenberry has agreed to help with this class but I would like to get 2 more ladies that way if one person is out they are still covered w/ 2 adults.  If you feel lead to help with this class please let me know. This is a real need in our church this year. Focus on God and listen to Him…He might be telling you to step up and minister to our children for Him!
Please continue to pray for Brenda Jones and her family Chris, Courtney, Ethan & John Wyatt. Haley Smith ( last week I said McVeigh) is at Children’s as I type so please remember her today and her family, Dale & Lauren McVeigh & Kelsie, continue to pray for the Ayres as they are touching lives in China and of course the youth mission team who left out this morning for North Carolina. I pray that they touch lives while they are gone, show love to everyone they come in contact with & that they have safe travels plus a great time together.  Pray for Joey this week as he preaches a revival. I hope hearts are open to receiving God’s word.
Finally, there will be a lot going on at WBBC the next few months. The Beth Moore Simulcast in September, Old Fashion Day in October which I think is the church’s 100th anniversary (I might have dreamed that up) and the Trunk or Treat towards the end of October. Get involved with one of these events and get out an invite people to your church! I hope you all have the absolute best week. I hope you slow down & listen to God’s call on your life!