DO NOT HINDER THE CHILDREN

“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” Matthew 19:14

It’s clear in Scripture that Jesus loved children. He wants them to come to Him. He wants them to learn of Him; ultimately He wants them to be saved! He even said that unless we become like one of these little ones, we shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.

In light of this, we begin our journey to plan for and initiate a ministry specifically designed to reach and teach children in the Lord. The prospect of successfully accomplishing this task may seem impossible; but He said, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

For me, the most exciting aspect of this journey is knowing that this is absolutely an adventure of faith, we must acknowledge that if this is to be, it is God that will make it happen. Any success we experience will be His victory and all the glory will be His.

Please Pray! For the children, their families, the planning committee, and those that will volunteer.

Jesus told His disciples, “do not hinder them!” There are many obstacles that may hinder our efforts. There are many things that will likely get in the way of the children as they take steps to come to Jesus. We must pray! We must do all we can to remove every hindrance and obstacle.

What are some of the obstacles to which we must be alert?

     1.    The Enemy: Satan absolutely does not want us to us to be successful in reaching the children and their families. The enemy will do all He can to defeat us. Regardless of his distractions and attempts – Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world. Our God reigns! We shall have the victory!

     2.    Parental Unbelief: If a child's parents are not believers, the child is at an extraordinary disadvantage. There is no one at home to lead them to Jesus. There are many children in our neighborhoods who live in these tragic circumstance.

     3.    Unsound Curriculum and Doctrine: Sadly, there are very few resources developing doctrinally sound and thorough curriculum that provides our children with a full spectrum of biblical knowledge. It is overwhelming what children can absorb and retain when they are repeatedly and systematically and progressively instructed in the great doctrines of the Bible. We will develop a learning plan that ministers to the whole child and prepares them for life – most importantly – prepares them for eternal life.

     4.    A Lack of Resources: There’s no question that we are greatly resource-challenged! We have few families with young children, we have a limited number of people available to lead and teach, we have limited building and physical resources, limited financial resources, etc., etc. But then, God loves to work in circumstances where success and victory is only possible through Him. Take Courage! Stand Strong! And see the deliverance of the Lord!

Let the children come!

November 2018

THINK MINISTRY

The Scriptures are clear that God has equipped each of us with gifts, talents, and/or abilities that are to be used to build up and edify the church. Take just a moment and think about the church at Caledonia, what most often comes to mind? Where is your heart? What are your passions?

We are told that we are all ministers and that scares some people! Some begin thinking that there is no way they could stand in front of others to lead or teach. It's important to know that there are many ways we can minister. There are some ministries that are very visible, up front, and center-stage. But, there are also many ministries that are behind the scenes and supportive. These behind the scenes ministries are nonetheless very important.

In our fast-paced, high-tech world we sometimes fail to recognize that God is intricately involved in the details of our lives. Not only is God involved in our humdrum routines, but He also wants us to be aware of and responsive to His presence.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Colossians 3:17)

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)

As we come to see that as Christians we are all called to do ministry, we ought to reflect upon how God has designed and gifted us to build up His church. We are called to more than salvation alone. We are also all called to be part of a community - the church.

We may never have the same recognition or influence that a well-known preacher may have, but each  of us can and should make a mark on the world around us. God has called us to Himself, called us into community, and called us to do His work in the world. Each of us has a unique contribution to make that is shaped by God's sovereign design and providential guidance. Ask God to give you a mind and heart for ministry. Ask Him to show you how He wants to use you in the community here - the Caledonia Church.



October 2018

AN ADVENTURE OF FAITH 

Abraham was called by God to leave his people and his country to go to the land to which God would lead him. Which land was that? God did not say; He simply said go, and I will show you the way. 

Centuries later, God delivered His people, Israel, from their bondage to Egypt and told them He was taking them to the Promised Land. This journey would test Israel’s faith over and over again. The obstacles they would have to overcome included being cornered at the Red Sea, lacking food and water, and even facing giants in order to enter the land God had promised. Their dilemma was to decide between going back to Egypt to continue doing things as they had before or to go forward to discover new challenges and opportunities to fulfill God’s plan for them. 


Much later, God called upon twelve men to begin an adventure that would not only change their lives, but would change the world. After just three years of training with the master, these men were tasked with establishing the church. A journey that took them from Jerusalem to Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the world. This journey began over two thousand years ago and continues to this very day. It is the journey and adventure we have inherited. The task is to make disciples, to teach people to know Christ, to seek out and save the lost. 


Taking a new path or journeying to unknown places can by frightening. It is truly an adventure of faith! Like Abraham, we do not know exactly where God may be leading us. We do know however, that He desires that we walk with Him and that as we do, we make a difference in the lives of those we meet. Like Israel, we will face obstacles and be tempted to stay in our comfort zones or we will choose to press on to explore new opportunities in Christ. We ought to be praying for the boldness of the apostles that we may proclaim the risen Lord to our neighbors and the community beyond. 


In each journey mentioned, God was faithful. He always did exactly as He promised. The key to Abraham, Israel and the Apostles being successful in reaching their destiny or accomplishing the task given to them was to faithfully follow His Word, to be obedient. As we begin our present adventure and take this journey, be assured that we will first and foremost be devoted to His Word. 


The truth of His Word is by far more important than holding onto things that are merely tradition or in striving to take part in the latest fad to simply drive up numbers. Our adventure involves ministry to those in need, identifying those of our community and neighboring areas that have physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual needs; realizing these needs can only be met through Christ. The Truth shall set them free! Please pray that our eyes will be opened to see those in need and to have the courage and knowledge to reach out in the name of Jesus to meet those needs. 


Where will this journey take us? All that God has in store for us is yet to be discovered. How big is your faith? What do you believe God wants from us as His church in Caledonia? If Jesus came to Caledonia, where do you think He’d spend His time? What do you think He would do? With whom would He spend His time? Let’s decide to do the same. Let’s walk with Him and journey forward on this adventure of faith. 



September 2018

SHOW THYSELF APPROVED


2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

The Bible, the Word of God is a living Book. I wonder, do we fully understand the value of Bible study?

The Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is His written Instruction Book to mankind. It answers every important question in life. It explains how to live—and reveals the road to salvation.


Then why do so few know HOW to study the Bible?


Why study the Bible? 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us, “…to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”


Proper Bible study leads to approval from God. The same verse says that as workmen, we need not be ashamed—if we study God’s Word.  Studying becomes fulfilling and satisfying. We have done what God expects us to do.


Rightly dividing the Word of Truth—knowing the Bible, inside and out—takes a lifetime. God’s Holy Spirit opens our minds to spiritual understanding (Psalm 119:18). True biblical knowledge and understanding come from diligent effort and God’s Spirit working in us.

God expects us to familiarize ourselves with His Word. Only by fully appreciating it will we act on it.

Christ said, “…It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Psalms 119:105 affirms: “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

In light of the importance of His Word, this fall we will be expanding our Sunday School class offerings to create more opportunities for Bible Study. In so doing, we are praying that we can better meet the needs of our church family. Please be praying about our teaching ministry and for God to bless our efforts.

Our plans for the fall include:

  -   A new adult class for women – studying, the Armor of God

  -   A new adult class for younger adults, those in their 20’s and 30’s. Studying a variety of topics.

  -   Reviving and revising our elementary classes to reach and meet the needs of those that attended VBS        and that live within the area.

You are needed!!!

On Wednesday, August the 8th we will be having a meeting to talk about the children’s classes. We are asking for everyone currently involved in teaching children and anyone that may be interested in taking part to get involved and join us on the 8th. Our ministry to the children of Caledonia and Marion County is vital to reaching their families for Christ.


August 2018

Facing Giants

Are you facing any giants today? How do your giants compare with Goliath?

1 Samuel 17:4 says: “Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.” History tells us that six cubits and a span would make Goliath over nine feet tall. When you consider the average height of a man in Biblical times was five feet three inches. Goliath was truly a giant.

1 Samuel 17:5 says: “He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale-armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze.” According to my research Goliath’s helmet weighed roughly 66 pounds and his brass coat weighed roughly 175 pounds.

1 Samuel 17:7 says: “The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him. ” The tip of Goliath’s spear… not the entire spear… but just the tip weighed approximately 20 pounds.  Try picking up a 20 pound dumbbell and imagine that weight on the end of a spear!

Without question, Goliath was a fierce-looking, trash-talking, massive killing machine who struck terror in the hearts of his opponents. Have you faced any Goliaths lately? I’m not talking about a natural giants, but struggles and behaviors that hinder your walk and cause you to live in fear, shame, or guilt.

Throughout July and August we will be discovering the good news from Scriptures to overcome the giants in our lives. Giants like – Bitterness, Anger, Pride, Lust, and others.

David approached Goliath with confidence and said, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.”

We can have the same confidence with the giants we face. God wants us to be victorious and to experience the abundant life. In Christ, we are more than conquerors. Our strength comes from the Lord. There is nothing in all creation that can separate us from His love.

If you’re facing difficult, if not, seemingly impossible obstacles or other attacks of the enemy, you can take comfort in knowing that God is on your side. He’s with you no matter where or what kind of battle you’re facing. With God by your side. There’s no reason to fear or doubt the outcome of the battle.

Join us each Sunday morning throughout the summer to discover how to defeat the giants in your life. It’s time to live victoriously!


July 2018

God is Looking for Walking Partners!


From the very beginning, God had a relationship with Adam and Eve that found them "walking in the garden in the cool of the day" (Genesis 3:8). God created man for the enjoyment of a walking relationship that involved companionship, dialogue, intimacy, joint decision-making, mutual delight, and shared dominion. God longs to walk with you.


These past several weeks we have been examining Ephesians and have found that God desires that we walk in a manner that is worthy of Him, that we walk in purity, in love, in wisdom, and in His light. The manner in which we live and walk matters to God. He loves us and desires what is best for us. He desires to walk with us.


Enoch was the first man in the Bible who walked with God, Genesis 5:22–24. Even though men began to call upon the name of the Lord in the early days (Genesis 4:26), Enoch was the first man to uncover the true delight of walking with God. He found something even Adam didn't experience. He sought after God until he learned how to commune with God through every facet of life. To find that dimension of relationship certainly required an intense spiritual pursuit, and then when he found it, the Lord made a graphic statement by taking him up to heaven.



When the zeal of God captures you, it will ignite you with a great passion to walk with Him and to be his friend. Imagine being Enoch and living 365 years—and having this growing relationship with God! One can only wonder what glorious depths of intimacy Enoch uncovered. 



As you draw close to God, he will not likely take you up to heaven as he did Enoch. However, he does desire to reveal His character and beauty to you. As we walk with him, he will open the Scriptures to us through the Spirit of wisdom and revelation and reveal to us the light of the glory of God that is to be found in him.



When we walk with God, we enter the dimension where God unfolds the secrets of his kingdom. These are the paths that the ancients trod before us. Noah knew the secret of walking with God (Genesis 6:9), as did Abraham (Genesis 24:40). Through Christ, you can explore the glorious riches of knowing God like they did—and to even a greater degree because of the Spirit which has been given to us!



God wants to walk with us before he works through us. So he will wait to act until he finds the right man or woman through whom he can work. To put it bluntly, God works with his friends. When God has a friend, divine activity accelerates. When God has a useful vessel that has been prepared for noble purposes, he will use that vessel. God will use the one who walks with him. But he's looking especially for three crucial qualities: humility, faithfulness, and loyalty. Jesus was the quintessential example of a man who walked with God.


Jesus told us that he confides his kingdom purposes to his friends (John 15:15). Our prayer should be: “Lord, I want to be your friend, your confidant, loyal to the death. I want to walk with you, talk with you, listen to you, hear your heart, and participate in your plans for my church and community. Teach me. Lord, to walk with you!”


June 2018

Taking the Temperature of Morality in America


Nashville-based LifeWay Research Group found 81 percent of Americans agree with the statement, “I am concerned about declining moral behavior in our nation.” Let’s take a closer look at what that actually means.


The Decline of the Family: Nearly half (48 percent) of American children are born to a mother who is not married. Forty-three percent of American children live without a father in the home.


The Decline of Education: The average American school teaches much less about important subjects such as American history, English grammar, and literature and are instead teaching much more about “social justice,” environmentalism, and sex.


The End of Male and Female: At the core of the same sex marriage argument and the redefinition of marriage is the idea that gender doesn’t matter. Marriage is marriage and gender means nothing, the argument goes. Why? Because for the first time in recorded history gender is regarded as meaningless. 

The End of Right and Wrong: At least two generations of American young people have been taught that moral categories are nothing more than personal (or societal) preferences.

The End of Religion: There are no moral truths because there is no longer a religious basis for morality. It was the Bible that guided the Founders’ and other Americans’ values. Not anymore. Instead of being guided by a code higher than themselves, Americans are taught to rely on their feelings to determine how to behave.

The End of Beauty: Just as morality is subjective, so are beauty and excellence. There is no good or bad art or literature. “Street art” and graffiti is now worthy of museum exhibition; paint thrown by an “artist” from atop a ladder onto a canvas is considered high art and fetches over $100 million.

Despite the evidence, the Huffington Post recently ran an article by John Pavlovitz entitled, “The Christian Myth of America’s Moral Decay.” In it, Pavlovitz states, “…the truth is America is not in decline any more than at any time in its history.” He goes on to say, “It’s reckless for Christians to keep playing the Decay card with such regularity, and irresponsible for the Church to wring its hands and shout doom and damnation from a distance, instead of looking for the beautiful, loving, redemptive work already happening in the world, and joining in.”

Pavlovitz is leading people astray, promoting “tolerance” and “getting along” as paramount in the relationship between the church and society. The following invitation greets first time visitors on the website of the church where he pastors, “It doesn’t matter where you are on the spiritual journey—new and eager, or seasoned and disillusioned. Your political leanings don’t matter either. Nor does your race, or whether you’re straight or gay. None of that matters to us. We’ll invite you to belong—right along with everybody else.” In the Statement of Faith lists the following comments in regard to their beliefs on sin: “Consequently, at NRCC, we’re not too focused on one another’s sin. We don’t spend much energy trying to keep one another on the straight and narrow.”

How sad! More importantly, how very misguided and wrong.

1 Timothy 3:1-5 says: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

As believers, we must stand out as God’s witnesses to truth. Our world is changing. We live in a world that is spinning out of control morally speaking. The nearer we get to our Savior’s return the more distance we will see between society and the church. More and more the world needs to see the hope that is within us. Society desperately needs a path to discover a sane, healthy, and moral alternative. That path is Jesus and is found through His church. “Let your light so shine among men that they see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Mt. 5:15-16)


May 2018

Love Your Neighbor 

What does the Bible say about loving your neighbor?  What does the Bible say about loving people at all?  Love is a big topic in the Bible, it discusses 3 types of love.  In Greek, pornea is the selfish cravings dealing with lust and sex.  Phileo is brotherly love.  Lastly, agape, is the unconditional love that denies “self” for the care and compassion of others. 

 

The Greatest Commandment: Matthew 22:36-39, a Pharisee asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  

 

The kind of love expressed in both of these laws is agape love.  In regards to the second commandment, this love seeks for the greatest good for our neighbor.  By way of definition, “neighbor” in this passage refers to anyone who is around us:  our actual neighbor or the person at the desk next to us at work.  Here are practical tips for loving our neighbors as ourselves. 

 

Seek Out Your Neighbor: In Ezekiel 34:16a, God says, I will seek out the lost, and I will bring back the strayed.  God does this so many times through his flock.  Jesus did not spend His time around the saved, but the unsaved.  We should model our lives after His.  Seek out someone that God has placed on your heart.  Seek them and love them for who they are, not for who you want them to be.  Jesus ate with tax collectors, he talked with prostitutes and spent time with the sick.  His reputation was not even a factor.  He spent time with them because He loved them unconditionally.  We have to put pride and our reputations down at the cross if we want to truly love others. 

 

Bless Those Who Persecute You: Yes, the ones who persecute you need Jesus more than ever.  Romans 12:14 says, bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  This is a reflection on Jesus’s words in Matthew 5:44 when He says, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  God has never stopped seeking the hearts of man. We need to pray throughout the day for those who persecute us.  And in all circumstances, show them love no matter what.  It is the very least we can do considering the grace and mercy God has given us through Christ’s death. 

 

Be Real:  “People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.” -Theodore Roosevelt. We live among hurting people, ourselves not excluded. So often we struggle with life and its consequences, and sometimes these struggles are faith shattering. How do we cope? How do we live? Who can we turn to? Can I overcome with God’s help, or do I even need God anymore? Most of us have been there and they’re looking for real people to stand with them. Our love must be sincere. Our relationships must be authentic. 

 

Be a Good Listener: We all know what it is like when we try to talk with someone and they interrupt us or ask, “What did you say again?”  It feels like they don’t even care and they honestly may not.  You will always feel like someone cares for you when they genuinely listen to you.  Listening is a conscious choice you have to make.  James 1:19 says, be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.  Following this model, we will show our neighbor love even if they don’t recognize it. 

 

Respect The Boundaries: You will not be seen as loving if you break into a person’s home.  You have not respected their boundaries.  The same goes for the peripheral boundaries that each person has set for themselves.  It is important that we as Christians can read the signs.  To love like Christ is to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).  Salt adds flavor and seasoning to food.  We are to be like salt.  People want flavor.  Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”  When we answer our neighbor like we “ought” to, they will be drawn to us.  They will notice something different about us if they are not already a believer, and that is what attracts them.  While respecting someone’s boundaries, they will be more inclined to converse and they will be much more receptive to what we have to say. 

 

Conclusion: In order to really focus on loving others, we have to constantly be aware of how much Jesus loves us by how He laid His life down for us on the cross.  When we are thankful for Him, we can really express the love needed to plant the seed into an unbeliever’s heart.  I pray that we all can learn daily how to love even more then yesterday. 


April 2018

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