Buckle Up!

It is hard to believe that this summer is already over.  It has been kind of busy and stressful at times, but it has also been very productive.  I have learned alot, and God is definately stretching me in some areas. 

To be honest, I’ve been somewhat stressed these past few days.  With the busyness of the summer, it sometimes hurts my head to think what the upcoming school year is going to be like.  However, I am very excited about what the upcoming year holds.  This evening I was able to spend some time reading my Bible and praying.  I was reminded through the story of Gehazi in II Kings that I must not forget the main reason for everything I do.

Gehazi had it all, a personal internship with Elisha, the prophet who had a double blessing! However Gehazi let personal gain become a huge distraction, instead of remembering the reason behind it all- God’s glory!  Elisha knew it was all about God and not him, but Gehazi seemed to miss that lesson.  Gehazi never lived up to his full potential because he failed to put God first!

As I begin this upcoming year, I must remember to put God first in my life.  I have been given many opportunities and responsibilities, but if I’m going to suceed God must be priority number one. I’m excited about this upcoming year. I believe God is going to do a great thing in our student body at TBC! My challenge is that we all buckle up, put God first, and see what He is going to do this year!

How Do Flowers Grow?

The campers were all listening intently as Miss Rachel was going over the guidelines for a fun time at camp.  Right in the middle of it all one little girl raised her hand, and asked Miss Rachel this off topic question, “How Do Flowers Grow?”  I am still not really sure why she asked this question, perhaps it was from looking at the apple seeds from the apple core in her napkin left over from breakfast.  Maybe it was just another random question from the innocent mind of a child.  However, I believe that this summer, we are going to see how flowers grow!

The camp that I am at is a day camp at Eureka Gardens.  Eureka Gardens is a Jacksonville neighborhood best known for its drugs and violence.  On Sunday, the day before the camp began, there was another murder in this neighborhood.  While many people see this place as a complete disgrace, God is doing a great work there.  This work began long before the start of camp though.

A couple of years ago, a handful of people from Trinity including Miss Rachel got a burden for these children here at Eureka Gardens.  Knowing that these kids needed some Godly guidance they began a mentoring program.  Many of the people at the church spend each weekend mentoring these children and help them to know the love of the Heavenly Father.

Last summer, Eureka Gardens gave Trinity a chance to run a day camp in their community center.  The name of the camp is Camp Come Alive.  The goal is to see these kids grow in the abundant life that only Christ can offer.

I have been given the opportunity to help teach some of the morning Bible lessons at the camp.  In addition to teaching, I am looking forward to spending time with these children and seeing how God is gonna grow them in His love and grace. 

Please join me in praying for this camp and for these kids, that they might see the true love of the Heavenly Father.  To learn more about Camp Come Alive visit their website at CampComeAlive.com.

In My Head

So I have not written a post for a couple months, and frankly I just have not felt like it.  I mean if I could I write blogs in my head I would have a lot to write.  Anyways I have got a lot of things to write about and hopefully these next couple weeks I will have some written.  Stay Tuned!

Stampede!

Ok, I have been wanting to write this post for a while now, and finally have time to right now, so here it goes! Last Saturday morning we had our Kids Club Easter Eggstravaganza.  I know that many people were praying for this special day, as we saw the results of answered prayer that day!

One thing I am learning as I continue working in ministry, is to expect God to do the unexpected! This day was exactly that.  Like times before we had a plan, but God kind of just stepped in and said, “Here, try my plan instead!”  God’s plan is always better anyways! We started out with our inflatable as well as facepainting and Easter Egg decorating for the kids in the neighborhood.  These things went great, especially thanks to all of our awesome volunteers.  Everyone did what they were supposed to do and helped make this a great time.

We also had a lot of help from the staff at the neighborhood in Woodland Estates.  The staff there, including the manager, Jackie, really care about the kids and wants to see them do well.  So this first part went really well, and we had around 50 to 60 kids in attendance.

The second part of the day was to have our program and then after that the Easter Egg Hunt.  We told the kids that after the program we would do the egg hunt.  Well we started out with our singing time and they sang very well.  I think the kids from the missions mentoring program really helped with that! Then we had game time.  The games were fun and everyone was having a good time.

Now it is at this point that I am thinking, “good plan, Jason, this is going great!” Well as I was getting ready for our skit which would lead into the lesson time, the kids were told to “GO” sit back down on the tarp after game time.  It was at this point that everything changed! Apparently the kids thought that “GO” meant go run to the easter egg hunt as fast as you can and then get as many eggs as you can in one minute until all the eggs are gone and make sure that no little kids get any!

OK, at this point I am freaking out! The kids honestly started stampeding down the little way to the playground where the eggs were hidden like they were in the running of the bulls in Spain! It was one of the most craziest things I have ever seen! My heart sank inside, this was not the plan.  I honestly thought it was over, that there was no way that we would get the kids to sit back down so we could present the gospel to them.

Well, guess what? God had different ideas and miraculously after all the kids had found their easter eggs they all came back and sat on the tarp.  They listened intently to the skit, and then were engaged during the lesson time.  I was dumbfounded! I could not believe they would come back.  If anything it helped that the unruly kids that were just there for candy left; all the rest of the kids were still there and listened carefully.  The best part was that four children accepted Christ as their Saviour! What a great easter!

I was glad that once again God proved that he did not need my plan or my ability to accomplish his purpose! I am so thankful that our God hears our prayers and that He is working on our behalf! Even when the perfect plan fails God steps in and amazes us all!

Crazy Times

Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of blogs this past week.  It has been one crazy week.  I’m looking forward to sharing some of the events of the past couple of weeks including our Kids Club Easter Outreach the next couple of days.  So don’t worry, I’ll have some new posts coming!

Chocolate Bunny Eating Contest

If you have not already figured it out, I love doing special things in children’s ministry for Easter.  It is such a great opportunity to get kids engaged into the Gospel story, using special activities that center around Easter.  Don’t get me wrong the resurrection of Christ should be our main focus, but using some other methods to get kids excited about bringing their friends to hear the Gospel is not a bad thing.

One thing I found really exciting while in Delaware was our Overflow Children’s Ministry Chocolate Bunny Eating Contest.  I actually got the idea while I was working on Bro. Ed’s bus in Milford.  He had two of his workers compete to eat a one pound solid chocolate bunny as fast as possible.  Of course, I got to be one of the participants.  It is not as easy as you would think! Anyways I decided to the same thing with my kids in our Overflow ministry.

Now I am not suggesting or endorsing anyone to use this idea in their ministry.  I am not even sure if I would use it again, but I do want to share how it went.  I promoted this even for several weeks before to the children.  Finally the night of the contest came.  I selected two boys and two girls.  I made sure they had their parents permission before hand to participate.

Both the girls and boys were each given a one pound solid chocolate bunny.  Their goal was to eat all of their bunny together as soon as possible.  Easier said than done.  When I said go they eagerly began biting the head off of their bunny.  We quickly found out that eating a one pound bunny even with the help of a friend is a difficult task. 

I remember the excitement as they tried to figure out how to go about this task.  They began to think of ways to break up the bunny into more manageable pieces.  Long story short, I do not think they ever fully ate either of their chocolate treats, but memories were made that I hope last a long time.

Here is the point, what can we do in our ministries this Easter to make a lasting impact? The point of doing that was not for the chocolate high, but to invite children to be excited about Easter and the story of the resurrection of Christ.  I look forward to making future memories in ministry, and connecting more children to a relationship with Christ!

The Easter Pizza Miracle

As I work on putting together plans for next weeks Kids Club Easter Eggstravaganza,  I am reminded of something cool that happened a few years ago in Ohio.  I was attending the Biblical School of World Evangelism at the time and working on Bro. Ed Barclay’s bus route.  My friends, Nick Hilliard and Michael Carter, and myself decided to do a little outreach in a couple of our bus neighborhoods. 

We did not do anything fancy, we simply went to the dollar store, bought some plastic eggs and candy, and had an Easter Egg hunt for the kids in the neighborhood.  The first neighborhood we went to was Oak Brook.  We went around to our usual riders and told them that we were going to have an Easter Egg Hunt and to invite their friends.  Soon enough we had a crew of eager egg hunters. 

The egg hunt went great and all the kids got plenty of candy.  We also got to invite new kids to come and ride our bus the next day.  As we were talking, here they came: OTHER CHURCH PEOPLE.  Lets be honest, it seems as if most of the time churches are always competing to try to get kids come to their church.  I thought oh great these people are going to try to steal our kids to come to their church tomorrow. 

Here is the miracle, they were not there to steal after all! They simply had bought some pizza and wanted to share it with us to be able to feed it to the children.  WOW! They did not even want anything in return!  I really do not know why those people were there that day with extra pizza.  I honestly think it was just a God thing.  God had put it in their hearts to be a blessing.  Not only was it a blessing to the children but it was an encouragement to me, as I again saw God’s hand working in my life and others. 

What kind of miracles is God doing in your life?  As we prepare for this Easter, I am again excited and prayerful to see what kind of miracle He is going to do this time.  Will you pray with me that the greatest miracle of all, salvation through Christ, will happen in people’s lives this Easter? Will you be willing, like these pizza people, to let God use you to be a blessing to someone today?