Thursday, June 01, 2017

VBS Answered Prayers

Guest blog by Kay Richardson

VBS on the #BTCampus is June 11-15... just days away! Things are coming together. The only area I'm a little weak in is guides and God has really answered some prayer this week!

Last Monday, I was in the church office when a man called and asked if he could enroll his 4th grade autistic son in our VBS. I spoke with him and asked if he could meet me Thursday so I could talk to him about his son. I have 2 adult guides for each grade level, but I knew I was going to need another adult in that 4th grade class because this little boy probably will need some 1 on 1. Later that afternoon, I was working in my SS room on some VBS stuff and a young woman came in. She said, "Do you have to be a member of the church to work in VBS?"

I told her NO, I could use the help! Then she said, "I'm a 4th grade teacher at the charter school."

I told her I had just the place for her! She then told me her parents have a small church on the west side of SA and she just wanted to be a part of our VBS to learn. She said they have some Swahili children who come to their church and asked if she could bring them to our VBS! Oh, my! What a blessing to have these sweet children come and be a part! She has to learn to drive her church's van so she can bring them! So pray she is able to drive their church van!

Now, know that we REALLY need guides for PK4 & Kinder!

I sat in front of the church at a VBS table to catch parents from the charter school to enroll children in VBS. We had sent home a flier the day before. I enrolled 2 different families. BOTH parents were interested in our Adult VBS AND one parent said she has 3 teenagers who would love to help!!! Hello PreK/K!!!

A couple of other people took registration forms with them and said they would return them later. I really was afraid they would forget – it was the last day of school – BUT they did not forget! One family registered a child and an 8th grader who might be a guide. Another family registered 5 kids.

We so want to reach out into our community for this VBS. Last year we did a prayer walk and passed out flyers but didn't get much response. This year we have sent fliers and set up tables at our school and day care. We will be doing two prayer walks and passing out fliers. This year we added "call the church office if you need van transportation" so we'll see what happens.

A young mother has been coming to my Sunday morning Bible study class. She and her kids are living in a women's shelter. She wants to bring her kids to VBS and help so we will be picking her up on a van! Perhaps there are others who live there who will want to come.

My van drivers are gonna be busy!

Please continue to pray for our VBS! If you can be a part of one of the Prayer Walks through the neighborhood that would be great! We have 2 opportunities to pray and pass out fliers on Saturday, June 3 from 9-11 and Friday, June 9 at 6pm.

I'm praying that God will use all of you to teach kids about Jesus and encourage them to follow him!

We will have time for set up on Saturday, June 10 from 9-12 and then after morning worship on Sunday, June 11. I plan to meet with the Guides at 3:30 and ALL volunteers at 4:30. We can then go eat dinner at 5 and we start at 6.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

What if worship is about God and not about us?

Everyone has a preference for what worship ought to be. There are preferences in music, preaching, programs, time, and length. There is probably a church out there that will satisfy your individual taste. But what satisfies God? What if worship is about God and not about us?

The Temple represented the presence of God. Its leaders fiercely defended the traditions that governed the rituals and sacrifices connected with Temple worship. Jesus told them that their rigid adherence to tradition was keeping people from God. In fact, he called these “holy” men “whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” (Matthew 23:27)

At this holiest time of the year, Passover, Jesus cleared the crowded Temple in a spectacular way. There were animals running amok, coins rolling on the ground, merchants scrambling in every direction, people screaming, people laughing, a crowd gathering... Jesus definitely got everyone's attention. (John 2:13-25)

Jesus brought needed change to worship. He was the one that the prophets foretold, the Word made flesh. The Temple once contained God's presence but, now, Jesus was the presence of God. Fully God and fully man, his death paid for our sin, his resurrection brought us eternal life. This made it possible for God to be present in his people through the Holy Spirit. The church is who we are not where we go.

Many people today look for churches where their needs will be met. They want a certain style of music, programs for their kids, and to be around people who look like them. But Jesus said that we should be like him. He came to serve not to have his needs met. (Mark 10:45)

True worship moves us beyond our comfort zones. Jesus turns over the tables of our complacency, scatters the coins of self-interest, and chases away the animals of our preconceived notions. It takes us beyond what we believe to be the minimum requirements. Let's open our hearts to what God wants from us that we may be transformed.

We have 52 Sundays to gather together for worship. How many will you skip because of something more important? What things in your life take precedent over worshiping God?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

From Prison to Praise

Armando took some wrong turns in life and wound up doing 17 years in prison. Gangs, drugs and violence were destroying his body and soul. It was at what he remembers as the lowest point in his life that his brother led him to Jesus through the ministry of Outcry in the Barrio. Today he lives out the words found in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “The old has gone, the new has come...”

He has been a servant of the Lord for 12 years and started Immanuel Motorcycle Ministry (IMM) to bring the gospel to others who are on the path to destruction. Twice a month he preaches at prisons in Hondo and Cuero. Armando feels a call to minister to people behind bars and the families they have left behind.

His wife, Rosalinda, serves alongside him as a leader in IMM. She began her ministry caring for women coming out of a life on the streets. Her assignments ranged from cooking and cleaning to street evangelism and leading Bible studies. Rosalinda is a member of Kairos Prison Ministry, serving at the women’s prison in Lockhart.

I met them last both last year when they attended a lecture I was giving on church marketing at Baptist University of the Americas (BUA). They had some questions about organizing and leading their motorcycle ministry. They also were interested in the ministries of Baptist Temple. Armando lived near Baptist Temple as a child and remembers the generosity we showed his family in those days. He felt that the ministry of BT meshes well with that of IMM and started working with us right away. In the last few months he has led a memorial service, a blessing of the bikes and brought a large number of volunteers for our hunger fighting efforts.

I recently received a letter from a man who will soon be released from incarceration in Hondo. He grew up in our neighborhood and remembers driving past Baptist Temple many times. He became a Christian last year and is part of a discipleship program inside the prison walls. He will be released in a few months and wants to find a church to help him in his walk with Christ. He came across some information about our church through a series of circumstances that were sparked by IMM. The Acostas will help us to disciple this man and others like him who have been born again.

Armando and Rosalinda will serve in the outreach ministries of Baptist Temple as we follow our Lord's command to “Go to the highways, and the hedges and compel them to come in, so that my house may be full...” (Luke 14:23). Their primary ministry will through Immanuel Motorcycle Ministry which will become another of the BT Campus' numerous outreach arms.